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
Nuclear bomb nearly detonated after falling on North Carolina, declassified report says June 11, 2014 SMH, Dan Lamothe and Walter Russell Mead There are few things in this world that can change the course of history faster than a nuclear bomb exploding. The devastation is immediate and lasts for years.
That makes the latest details to emerge about a January 24, 1961, incident involving two nuclear bombs all the more jarring.
A B-52 bomber broke up in the sky over North Carolina, and one of the two bombs on board was in the “armed” setting by the time it hit the ground near Goldsboro, North Carolina, according to a newly declassified report published on Monday by the National Security Archive. f the switch had not been damaged by the impact of the crash, the weapon could have detonated, the report said……..
That incident, which led to an anti-nuclear movement in Britain, where the plane was bound, is one of many stories Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, tells in Command and Control.
During the cold war, nuclear bombs fell out of the sky, burned up in plane crashes and were lost at sea. In the incident Schlosser describes in greatest detail, “the Damascus accident” of September 18, 1980, the warhead from a Titan II missile was ejected after a series of mishaps that began when a repairman dropped a socket wrench and pierced a fuel tank.
Tactical nuclear weapons scattered across Europe had minimal security; misplaced tools and failed repairs triggered serious accidents; inadequate safety procedures and poor oversight led to dozens of close brushes with nuclear explosions.
People have died in these accidents, sometimes as a result of their own carelessness or bad luck, but often while doing their best to protect the rest of us from an accidental nuclear blast.: http://www.smh.com.au/world/nuclear-bomb-nearly-detonated-after-falling-on-north-carolina-declassified-report-says-20140611-zs3en.html#ixzz34OSCZMvQ
Breaking Bad: A Nuclear Waste Disaster By Joseph Trento, DC Bureau, June 5th, 2014 “…..There were warnings that not all was sanguine at WIPP. On Wednesday February 5, a truck used to haul salt taken out of the mine to make room for more and more radioactive casks caught fire because of a fuel spill. A fire in a mine is always serious. But a fire in a high-level nuclear storage facility is very serious. The first concern was a storage cask or canister had caused the fire but no radiation monitors went off, only a fire alarm. Eighty-six workers were slowly evacuated from the mine.
Fortunately, the workers made it to the surface and the fire was isolated to the ruined truck and involved no radioactive waste. That day there was no plutonium flash, no compromised canisters; just six workers were transported and treated at Carlsbad Medical Center. Another seven workers were treated at WIPP for smoke inhalation and the facility closed until everyone was certain the fire was out. A crew had to be sent in to do the inspection because, inexplicably, the WIPP facility is remarkably short of sophisticated remote sensing equipment. DOE immediately began an investigation.
The DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) put together an Accident Investigation Board (AIB) to review what had gone right and wrong. The main contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, as well as the entire Carlsbad DOE field office was under scrutiny. DOE issued a press release saying, “The fire was a serious event that posed a threat to workers deep underground. In this case, the fire resulted in minor smoke inhalation to six workers, but it did not impact the public or the environment. There is no indication the fire was related to the February 14 radiological release.”
What investigators found was shocking. Carlsbad DOE officials did not conduct basic oversight of the private contractors running WIPP. The contractors failed to implement basic fire safety procedures, such as managing flammable truck fuel in an underground nuclear storage facility. In addition, WIPP officials repeatedly ignored the recommendations of the Defense Facilities Board – the gold standard for maintaining basic safety standards at all defense facilities. But the most damning part of the report said the safety culture required in such a dangerous environment no longer existed. Ironically, as the fire investigation was still underway, investigators had time to prevent the explosion that was to come. But their observations were ignored. The DOE EM report should have resulted in the immediate shutdown and full safety review of the facility. Instead, DOE Washington pressed to keep the waste flowing into WIPP. “The reality is DOE is overwhelmed with nuclear waste and has no safe place to put it,” Greg Mello says.
Nine days later, 2150 feet under the New Mexico desert, just before midnight on February 14, a canister of Los Alamos plutonium-tainted nuclear waste exploded. In a nuclear repository holding thousands and thousands of similar canisters and casks in what was supposed to be the most secure nuclear storage facility in the world, the very thing that was never supposed to happen did. No security cameras had been installed that could view the explosion. The radiation unleashed by the cracked canister quickly contaminated the sprawling underground salt mine. The seven football-field sized rooms in the Panels contain canisters that could have then caught fire and exploded. The continuous air monitor (CAM) finally detected the radiation and an alarm sounded alerting the night shift that high-level radiation had been detected. At that point, the contractors and DOE had no idea of the extent of the damage.
A DOE press release put the best face on a disaster: “Only 11 employees were at the WIPP site on the surface, no employees were in the underground. Two other WIPP employees reported to the site a couple hours later. The continuous air monitor measured airborne radioactivity close to the operating location where waste was being emplaced. Ventilation air is pulled from the underground repository by huge fans on the surface. This exhaust consists of unfiltered clean air… When the CAM alarmed, two dampers were automatically closed in the exhaust duct that redirected the exhaust through high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that removes radioactive particles.
DOE said, “The next day an above ground exhaust air monitor on the WIPP site detected very low levels of airborne radioactive contamination. The 140 employees at the site were kept indoors as a precaution while air samples were taken. The 13 employees present during the radioactive release event on February 14 were tested for internal radioactive contamination after the event. The 140 employees have also been offered testing.
“It is believed that a small amount of radioactivity leaked by the exhaust-duct dampers, through the unfiltered exhaust ducts and escaped above ground. The exhaust duct dampers are large ‘butterfly’ valves that are designed to close and cut off the airflow through the exhausters. However, the valves do not fully seal the exhaust ducts and still allowed a small amount of unfiltered air to escape.”
In fact, DOE employees used spray foam to seal the dampers to keep more radiation contaminated air from escaping from a half mile underground.
That night America’s only official high-level nuclear waste site was rendered useless for at least the next three years. Everything that was supposed to happen did not. Air vents to the surface did not automatically close. DOE failed to keep computer records updated of what deadly waste was in what container and where it was located. That small explosion not only contaminated 21 workers and caused an unknown amount of radiation released into New Mexico’s air, but it also revealed a Department of Energy that is the midst of a nuclear security crisis not in some far off country like Pakistan or one of the former Soviet Republics but here at home.
This time the Environmental Management team asked to investigate by DOE did not have to face the pressure of telling headquarters that WIPP should be shuttered. Radiation contamination did that for them.
The loss of WIPP means the most deadly substances science has managed to create will have to be stored in place across our country in places totally unsuited for such storage. At WIPP, the deadly conditions created by the explosion will make monitoring the remaining radioactive materials very difficult. The official report of the WIPP accident was scathing. But scathing reports on DOE operations are common…. “.http://www.dcbureau.org/201406059835/natural-resources-news-service/breaking-bad-nuclear-waste-disaster.html
2 Linked to Pakistan nuclear program killed in attack Fox News June 04, 2014 A suicide attacker killed two military officers linked to Pakistan’s nuclear program, along with three civilians, near the Kamra air base, not far from this capital, police told Efe.
The incident occurred in the Fateh Jang area about 10 a.m. when a vehicle belonging to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was boarded by the suicide bomber, who was on foot, after which he detonated the explosives attached to his body…….http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/06/04/2-linked-to-pakistan-nuclear-program-killed-in-attack/
Horror on board Plymouth nuclear submarine as crew battles to survive By Plymouth Herald June 04, 2014 By TRISTAN NICHOLS Defence Reporter @tristan_nichols A “CATASTROPHIC” systems failure on board a Devonport-based nuclear submarine caused a mass-casualty incident, The Herald can today exclusively reveal.
Eight of those casualties were in a ‘life-threatening’ condition.
Temperatures inside the boat soared to 60 degrees Celsius with 100 per cent humidity as the crew battled to fix the problem miles from land.
With the three-year anniversary of the previously unreported incident having just passed, Ryan Ramsey, the submarine’s Commanding Officer at the time, today revealed: “I genuinely thought there was going to be a loss of life on board. People were going to die.”
The tragic incident happened at about 10.30am around three hours after the hunter-killer submarine had left Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates on May 26, 2011……….http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Horror-board-Plymouth-nuclear-submarine-crew/story-21181219-detail/story.html
6 Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers report smelling chemical vapors in tank farms http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/29/6-hanford-nuclear-reservation-workers-report-smelling-chemical-vapors-in-tank/ RICHLAND, Wash. – Six workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are receiving medical evaluations after they reported smelling chemical vapors at two underground storage tank farms.
Washington River Protection Solutions, which operates the underground tanks at Hanford, says five of the workers reported symptoms typically related to chemical vapor exposure.
The employees were working in or near Hanford’s AP and SY Tank Farms when the vapors were reported. All workers immediately exited the area and moved upwind.
Hanford officials are taking samples and checking for possible sources of the vapors.
There have been numerous incidents in recent months when Hanford workers have reported smelling chemical vapors while working in the tank farms.
The tanks contain radioactive wastes left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.
Fires sweep southern California and prompt partial evacuation of San Onofre nuclear power plant news.com.au 15 May 14 FIREFIGHTERS are scrambling to control multiple blazes in southern California on the second day of a sweltering heatwave.
At a press conference today, fire and emergency officials said the greatest concern is now in the city of San Marcos north of San Diego, where a new blaze broke out in the late afternoon and some 21,000 evacuation notices have been sent to residents……One fire prompted the partial evacuation of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, theLos Angeles Times is reporting……..
The blazes, which also closed a major north-south highway, come amid record temperatures in the western US state, where the annual wildfire season typically starts much later in the year………http://www.news.com.au/world/fires-sweep-southern-california-and-prompt-partial-evacuation-of-san-onofre-nuclear-power-pant/story-fndir2ev-1226918410622
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