The ongoing problems at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool reactors, taken offline last month, forced Centrica, a 20% owner of the atomic fleet with EDF, to issue a profit warning………The power outages following the discovery of a fault on a boiler “spine” at Heysham 1 have already led the National Grid to fast-forward an emergency plan to obtain more electricity from other providers to meet a possible shortfall…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/04/nuclear-power-stations-out-december-edf
Workers drop refueling crane console into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 3 spent fuel pool Enformable, 29 Aug 2014 The workers were carrying out operations to remove debris with a large remote controlled crane. At the time of the accident, workers were manipulating the control console for the refueling machine, a piece of equipment that weighs almost a thousand pounds.At the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, workers accidentally dropped a large piece of debris into the Unit 3 spent fuel pool on Friday, a little after noon.
TEPCO is working to check the 566 spent fuel assemblies in the Unit 3 spent fuel pool to see if any of them have been damaged by the most recent accident. According to decommissioning plans, the utility is scheduled to start removing spent fuel rods from the Unit 3 spent fuel pool in the first half of 2015 at the earliest.Tokyo Electric, who is in charge of cleanup operations at Fukushima Daiichi, told reporters that they have not detected any change in radiation levels around the spent fuel pool after the accident.
This is not the first time that debris and large objects have been accidentally dropped, pulled, or pushed into the Unit 3 spent fuel pool. Between 2012 and 2013, TEPCO workers used the remote control cranes to remove debris from atop the Unit 3 reactor building, and multiple instances were recorded where operators moving cranes via remote control knocked debris into the spent fuel pool or dislodged other materials on the roof.
In February 2013, workers accidentally knocked the 1.5 ton fuel handling machine mast into the Unit 3 spent fuel pool, and it was later found to have come to rest on top of the spent fuel racks after it narrowly avoided damaging the liner of the spent fuel pool.
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Tepco Says 400-Kg Control Console Fell Into Fukushima Fuel Pool Bloomberg, By Emi Urabe and Peter Langan Aug 29, 2014 Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said it’s detected no change in radiation levels in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 3 reactor building after a 400 kilogram piece of equipment slipped from a crane and fell back into a pool holding spent uranium fuel rods.
The accident happened at around 12:45 p.m. today as the company was attempting to move what it described as a crane control console, according to a statement on its website.
The console, which is about a meter wide and 1.6 meters high, was blown into the pool on March 14, 2011, when the No. 3 reactor building exploded following an earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima plant.
Today, the utility known as Tepco was attempting to move the device as part of its cleanup at the site, said spokesman Hiroshi Itagaki. …….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-29/tepco-says-400-kg-control-console-fell-into-fukushima-fuel-pool.html
Israeli stealth drone downed at nuclear facility, Iran claims Revolutionary Guard hails act against ‘warmongers’ as incident reported at major uranium enrichment plant Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem and Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Boston The Guardian, Monday 25 August 2014 Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards claimed on Sunday that an Israeli stealth drone had been brought down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iran’s elite forces had intercepted and brought down an unmanned aircraft belonging to “the Zionist regime”. The news was announced in a statement published by the guards, but it was not clear when the incident, if true, happened.
“This mischievous act once again reveals the adventurist nature of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and added another black page to this fake and warmongering regime’s file which is full of crimes,” said the Revolutionary Guards’ statement.
The state news agency ISNA reported that the aircraft was “of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area.”
A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards later told Iranian television that parts of the aircraft had been retrieved. Iran claimed to have reverse engineered a drone after capturing an American RQ-170 Sentinel in 2011.
“Major parts of the devices of the drone are intact and have been received by our friends that can be used for further information,” said General Ramazan Sharif. He did not say when the aircraft was shot down, but said it was “identified upon arrival in Iranian airspace”. He said authorities allowed it to fly for a short time to determine its destination.
Israeli political and military officials said they never respond to such claims. They have repeatedly threatened to take military action against Iran’s nuclear installations, but have been reluctant to do so without US backing or participation.
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium enrichment site, housing more than 16,000 centrifuges. About 3,000 more are at the Fordo plant, buried inside a mountain and hard to destroy…….. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/24/israeli-stealth-drone-nuclear-facility-iran-natanz
Cause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery , LA Times, By RALPH VARTABEDIAN contact the reporter 24 Aug 14 A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam.
The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered low-level radiation doses to 21 workers.
The accident contaminated the nation’s only dump for nuclear weapons waste — previously a focus of pride for the Energy Department — and gave the nation’s elite ranks of nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot unravel.
Six months after the accident, the exact chemical reaction that caused the drum to burst is still not understood. Continue reading
Los Alamos worker imprisoned for selling nuclear secrets CBS News, 21 Aug 14 A former contract employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 71, of Los Alamos, N.M., pleaded guilty to passing “classified nuclear weapons data to a person believed to be a Venezuelan government official,” and to lying to the FBI, the DOJ said in a statement.
Mascheroni is a Ph.D. physicist. Her husband was also a Los Alamos employee who pleaded guilty to similar charges. He has not been sentenced yet. Both were indicted in 2010……..http://www.cbsnews.com/news/los-alamos-worker-imprisoned-for-selling-nuclear-secrets-to-apparent-venezuelan-official/
Nuclear watchdog requests safety checks after B.C. mine breach CTV News, Dene Moore, The Canadian Press August 19, 2014 VANCOUVER -- A toxic spill from a British Columbia mine has prompted the country’s nuclear watchdog to request a series of checks at uranium facilities.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will discuss the failure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine during a meeting Wednesday.
In the interim, the commission has asked the uranium mining and milling operations it oversees to ensure that all necessary inspections and monitoring are in compliance with licence conditions……..
The breach sent 10 million cubic metres of waste water and 4.5 million cubic metres of silt into a network of salmon-bearing lakes and rivers near Likely, 600 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
The reason for the failure at Mount Polley is not yet known: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/nuclear-watchdog-requests-safety-checks-after-b-c-mine-breach-1.1966932#ixzz3AzIudlBn
Belgian Doel 4 nuclear reactor closed till year-end Major turbine damage forces closure till year-end By Geert De Clercq PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters)
* GDF Suez confirms outage was due to sabotage
* Other reactors down, Belgian nuclear capacity halved
* Further outage set to impact GDF Suez earnings (Adds GDF Suez quote on sabotage, detail on capacity)
- Belgian energy company Electrabel said its Doel 4 nuclear reactor would stay offline at least until the end of this year after major damage to its turbine, with the cause confirmed as sabotage.
On Tuesday, Electrabel had said the plant would remain offline until Sept. 15 as it carried out repairs and investigated an oil leak that forced its closure on Aug. 5. Its French parent company GDF Suez confirmed the closure was due to sabotage.
The shutdown of Doel 4’s nearly 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity generating capacity as well as closures of two other reactors (Doel 3 and Tihange 2) or months because of cracks in steel reactor casings adds up to just over 3 GW of Belgian nuclear capacity that is offline, more than half of the total.
The latest closure will put further pressure on the earnings of GDF Suez, which warned last month that the closure of the first two Belgian plants would push its 2014 group net recurring income to the lower end of its forecast range of 3.3 billion to 3.7 billion euros.
The French company said those outages would have an impact of about 40 million euros per month on net recurring income.
Electrabel said on Thursday the Doel 4 reactor had shut automatically on Aug. 5 following an oil leak in its steam turbine in the non-nuclear part of the plant. The firm said the leak had caused major damage to the turbine’s high-pressure section.
“Based on this partial analysis, Doel 4 will certainly not be available before Dec. 31, 2014,” Electrabel said.
A GDF Suez spokesman confirmed Belgian press reports about suspicion of sabotage.
“There was an intentional manipulation,” he said, adding that somebody had tampered with the system used for emptying oil from the Alstom-made turbine.
He said no outsiders had penetrated into the plant but declined to say whether an employee could have purposely caused the leak, as has been reported in some Belgian media.
He said Electrabel had filed a complaint and that the Belgian police had started an investigation.http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/14/belgium-nuclear-doel-idUKL6N0QK43R20140814
“Groundwater doesn’t know boundaries,” Smith says. “So if the contamination happened on Ameren’s property, it could very well move off site.”…..http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/08/04/radioactive-tritium-cobalt-60-found-in-monitoring-well-near-nuclear-reactor/
Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse – Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14 “……..Points of agreement: Fukushima is worse than reported and worsening still
Before detailing the multiple inaccuracies in the UNSCEAR report, the doctors list four major points of agreement. First, UNSCEAR improved on the World Health Organization’s health assessment of the disaster’s on-going radioactive contamination. UNSCEAR also professionally “rejects the use of a threshold for radiation effects of 100 mSv [millisieverts], used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the past.” Like most health physicists, both groups agree that there is no radiation dose so small that it can’t cause negative health effects. There are exposures allowed by governments, but none of them are safe.
Second, the UN and the physicians agree that areas of Japan that were not evacuated were seriously contaminated with iodine-132, iodine-131 and tellurium-132, the worst reported instance being Iwaki City which had 52 times the annual absorbed dose to infants’ thyroid than from natural background radiation. UNSCEAR also admitted that “people all over Japan” were affected by radioactive fallout (not just in Fukushima Prefecture) through contact with airborne or ingested radioactive materials. And while the UNSCEAR acknowledged that “contaminated rice, beef, seafood, milk, milk powder, green tea, vegetables, fruits and tap water were found all over mainland Japan”, it neglected “estimating doses for Tokyo … which also received a significant fallout both on March 15 and 21, 2011.”
Third, UNSCEAR agrees that the nuclear industry’s and the government’s estimates of the total radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean are “far too low.” Still, the IPPNW reports shows, UNSCEAR’s use of totally unreliable assumptions results in a grossly understated final estimate. For example, the UN report ignores all radioactive discharges to the ocean after April 30, 2011, even though roughly 300 tons of highly contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific every day for 3-and-1/2 years, about 346,500 tons in the first 38 months.
Fourth, the Fukushima catastrophe is understood by both groups as an ongoing disaster, not the singular event portrayed by industry and commercial media. UNSCEAR even warns that ongoing radioactive pollution of the Pacific “may warrant further follow-up of exposures in the coming years,” and “further releases could not be excluded in the future,” from forests and fields during rainy and typhoon seasons –when winds spread long-lived radioactive particles – a and from waste management plans that now include incineration.
As the global doctors say, in their unhappy agreement with UNSCAR, “In the long run, this may lead to an increase in internal exposure in the general population through radioactive isotopes from ground water supplies and the food chain.”……” http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/18/fukushima-bad-and-getting-worse/
Hot cooling canals threaten shutdown of Turkey Point nuclear power plants BY JENNY STALETOVICH JSTALETOVICH@MIAMIHERALD.COM 18 July 14, Rising water temperatures and severe algae blooms in cooling canals have threatened to force the shutdown of two nuclear reactors at Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point plant over the last few weeks.
The utility and federal regulators say there isn’t a public safety risk but the canal temperatures, climbing to 94 to 99 degrees, have come within one degree of a federal limit that would mandate an expensive shutdown at a time when power demands are soaring. The hot water has also stoked the spread of algae through the 168-mile long canal system, which has helped keep temperatures high and reignited concerns about the power plant’s impact on water quality in Biscayne Bay………
Mining companies just west of Turkey Point have also argued that saltier water from the sprawling canal system, which is heavier than freshwater, has sunk deep within the aquifer and migrated west, threatening their business as well as drinking water wells.
“When they were originally conceived and designed in the late 60s and early 70s, they were supposed to theoretically operate in a way that the salinity in the canals was going to mimic what’s in the bay,” said Ed Swakon, president of EAS Engineering and a consultant for Atlantic Civil, which operates a large mine just west of the canals. But over the years, salt built up, he said, making the water heavier and forcing it deeper underground.
At some 70 feet below the surface, he said, “it begins to spread like an inverted mushroom.”………
on Wednesday, Scott Burns, a chief environmental scientist with the water management district, said tests conducted in recent years indicate underground water is creeping west. And in a letter last month, Justin Green, chief of DEP’s office that permits power plants, said FPL has been “put on notice” about the creeping plume. DEP and the water management district, he said, are drafting an order to deal with it, which will include pumping water from the Floridan Aquifer, deep below the Biscayne.
“When we increase pumping, that will reduce salt seepage and stabilize the system,” Burns said.
But Phil Stoddard, mayor of South Miami and a longtime critic of Turkey Point’s nuclear operations, worries drawing more water from the lower aquifer will make things worse.
“All the crap we’ve thrown into the Floridan is going to end up in the Biscayne Aquifer heading toward the drinking water,” he said. “The green slime is absorbing heat and heating up the water. The problem for FPL is hot water doesn’t do such a good job of cooling the pipes.” http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/16/4239899/hot-weather-threatens-cooling.html
Regulators to look at Oconee Nuclear Station weld crack BY STAFF REPORTS Greenville News July 18, 2014 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a regulatory conference with officials of Duke Energy for July 31 to discuss an apparent violation of NRC requirements.
The apparent violation involved a crack in a weld on the Unit 1 high pressure injection system at the Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca about 30 miles west of Greenville, according to the NRC.
GreenvilleOnline.com first reported in November the shutdown of Unit 1 after a leak was discovered in what Duke Energy described as the reactor’s containment building.
“On Nov. 11, 2013, the licensee (Duke Energy) determined that a leak in the 1B2 high pressure injection line was pressure boundary leakage. Unit 1 was subsequently shutdown as required … ,” according to an NRC document.
“Your measures failed to identify and correct a significant condition adverse to quality involving a crack in a weld located in the Unit 1 High Pressure Injection (HPI) system,” according to the document addressed to Duke Energy.
NRC and Duke Energy officials will discuss the safety significance of the apparent violation related to an undetected crack in a weld that led to reactor coolant system pressure boundary leakage and a forced shutdown of Unit 1, NRC officials said……..http://www.thestate.com/2014/07/18/3570369/regulators-to-look-at-oconee-nuclear.html?sp=/99/101/
Iraq tells UN that ‘terrorist groups’ have seized nuclear materials SMH, July 10, 2014 – Michelle Nichols New York: ISIL insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq has told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.
Nearly 40 kilograms of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter this week.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Mr Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction”. However, US security sources said it would be difficult to make weapons from the material.
“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” Mr Alhakim said.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
A US government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon………http://www.smh.com.au/world/iraq-tells-un-that-terrorist-groups-have-seized-nuclear-materials-20140710-zt2eb.html#ixzz378WRoppD
‘Very strong’ quake hits New Mexico border — Seismic data spikes at WIPP nuke site — Emergency declared at nearest nuclear plant — “Larger magnitude event could still occur” — TV: “Sounded like a train derailed” — “Very rare… Still trying to figure out what caused it… no known fault lines in area” (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/very-strong-quake-hits-near-new-mexico-border-seismic-data-spikes-near-wipp-site-emergency-decalred-at-nearest-nuclear-plant-larger-magnitude-event-could-still-occur-tv-sounded?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=e
USGS, June 29, 2014: M5.2 – 50km NW of Lordsburg, NM 04:59:33 UTC (Max CDI (maximum reported intensity) = VII, Very Strong)
Fox 10, June 29, 2014: “Thought we heard a train coming… it sounded like a train might have derailed… [Scared] is an understatement, we were shaking.” -Sherry Huggins, near New Mexico/AZ border
KOLD-TV Tuscon, June 29, 2014: “A very rare occurrence… even the lights were moving around [in our Tuscon studio]”
Fox 10, June 29, 2014: “A lot of people were like what’s going on?… Looks like a bomb went off.” -Steve Krafft, reporter
NRC, June 30, 2014: PALO VERDE (nuclear plant near Phoenix, AZ) [...] Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT [...] EMERGENCY DECLARED [...] “The following event description is based on information currently available. If through subsequent reviews of this event, additional information is identified that is pertinent to this event or alters the information being provided at this time, a follow-up notification will be made [...] Initial walkdowns of plant equipment and review of plant parameters have found no unusual conditions or damage to plant equipment. No abnormalities caused by the seismic event were observed. [...] Initial analysis of the Seismic Monitoring Instrumentation System indicated a seismic event, below the magnitude of the 0.10g spectra Operating Basis Earthquake (OBE) and the 0.20g spectra Safe Shutdown Earthquake (SSE). [...] Notified DHS, FEMA [...] Emergency classification termination was declared [...]
KOLD-TV Tuscon, June 29, 2014: “They are still trying to figure out what caused the quake because there is no known fault line in the area… It’s very common to see aftershocks, especially after a strong earthquake like what we saw… So where is this all coming from?… It’s probably occurring along a fault that we don’t know anything about… Maybe there is a new fault… and they’re going to be able to hopefully identify that fault… it’s not coming from any of the known faults.”
KRQE, June 29, 2014: “The southern half of New Mexico got a Saturday shake-up.”
Copper Area News, June 30, 2014: It is likely that small magnitude aftershocks will continue in the Duncan area for days or weeks. Most will probably go unfelt. A larger magnitude event could still occur. In the event of severe ground shaking, residents are advised to “Drop, Cover and Hold on”.
Erroneous Alerts, Sirens, Calls, Alarm Californians, Firehouse MATT HAMILTON ASSOCIATED PRESS JUNE 28, 2014 Repairs to a nuclear power plant’s siren system in San Luis Obispo County sent residents into a panic as they were accompanied by cellphone messages telling them to ‘prepare for action.’ LOS ANGELES (AP) — People in San Luis Obispo County received a series of unsettling, erroneous emergency alerts Friday as repairs were being made to a nuclear power plant’s siren system, including a vague cellphone message that told them to “prepare for action.”
The chain of mistaken alerts began arousing confusion and fear when a siren that’s part of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s warning system began wailing Friday afternoon for no apparent reason, county emergency services manager Ron Alsop said………http://www.firehouse.com/news/11539311/erroneous-alerts-sirens-calls-alarm-californians
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