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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Unidentified attackers kill 5 nuclear engineers near Damascus

murder-15 nuclear engineers murdered near Damascus: monitor Agence France Presse, Daily Star, Lebanon 9 Nov 14  BEIRUT: Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus, near the research center where they worked, a monitor said on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its reports, was unable however to say how they were killed or supply their nationalities.

“Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighbourhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman………. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Nov-09/276996-5-nuclear-engineers-murdered-near-damascus-monitor.ashx#ixzz3IhMal9A0

November 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

Drone flights still happening over France’s nuclear power plants

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceFrench nuclear power plant drone flights continue, model plane fans freed  Golfech nuclear plant on the edge of the Garonne river between Agen and Toulouse Reuters/Regis Duvignau By RFI  8 Nov 14 

The mysterious drone flights over French nuclear power stations continued on Thursday night but the authorities were no closer finding who is responsible after the release of two model plane enthusiasts arrested on Wednesday…….

the public prosecutor announced on Friday that they were just modelling enthusiasts who wanted to film a boat they had made on the lake next to the plant.

As many as five flights have taken place on the same night, leading to speculation that they are part of an organised campaign but anti-nuclear groups have denied responsibility and no-one else has confessed.

Officials did not admit publicly the flights were taking place until 24 days after the first on 5 October and are anxious to calm public fears over security. http://www.english.rfi.fr/environment/20141107-french-nuclear-power-plant-drone-flights-continue-model-plane-fans-freed

November 8, 2014 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Again, mystery drone aircraft fly over France’s nuclear power plants

France records at least 15 mystery drone flyovers of nuclear power plants, ABC News 3 Nov 2014, A drone has flown over a nuclear plant in central France for the second time in two days, a source close to the case says. The unmanned flying machine went over the plant in Dampierre-en-Burly on Sunday evening, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous.

The power station had already been flown over on Friday evening.

Authorities are scratching their heads over the number of unidentified drones spotted over nuclear plants across France over the past month, and a probe has been launched to try and find out exactly who is piloting the remote-controlled machines.

They have counted at least 15 flyovers, sparking questions over the security of nuclear plants in France, which relies heavily on atomic energy for electricity……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-04/french-nuclear-plant-hit-by-another-mystery-drone-flyover/5864836

November 4, 2014 Posted by | France, incidents | 1 Comment

Uranium hexafluoride leak at Honeywell uranium plant, USA

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAU.S. nuclear regulators probing leak at Honeywell uranium plant BY LEWIS KRAUSKOPF Tue Oct 28, 2014 Oct 28 (Reuters) – U.S. nuclear regulators are investigating a leak of uranium hexafluoride that occurred on Sunday at an Illinois plant operated by Honeywell International Inc where union workers have been locked out.

Honeywell confirmed the Sunday evening leak at its Metropolis, Illinois plant, saying it was due to an equipment failure. There were no injuries and no reason to believe anyone was endangered by the leak, according to Honeywell.

An inspector from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission started an investigation at the plant on Tuesday, said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah.

“At this point we’re still in a fact-finding mode,” Hannah said. “We haven’t come to any conclusions about whether processesweren’t followed.” He said the investigation could take a few days to a week. Honeywell’s Metropolis plant is the only U.S. facility that converts uranium oxide into to uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, which is then enriched to be used as fuel in nuclear power plants.

Uranium hexafluoride is radioactive, and if released into the air can be chemically toxic……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/28/honeywell-intl-uranium-idUSL1N0SN0ZX20141028

October 29, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | 1 Comment

Radiation samples falsified to make Hunters Point look clean

liar-nuclear1Contractor Submitted False Radiation Data at Hunters Point, NBC Bay Area  In an internal report uncovered by the Investigative Unit, Tetra Tech says it provided the Navy false soil samples while working on the radiological cleanup of the Hunters Point shipyard By Vicky NguyenLiz Wagner and Felipe Escamilla Monday, Oct 13, 2014 

A Navy contractor tasked with cleaning radioactive soil at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco admitted in an internal report obtained exclusively by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that it mishandled soil samples and submitted false data.

Tetra Tech, a multinational engineering, construction and environmental corporation details in an April 2014 report how it was caught submitting false soil samples to the Navy in an apparent effort to declare the soil free of radiological contamination when it may not have been. The Pasadena-based company is a $2.7 billion per year business that has won more than $300 million worth of contracts for cleanup work at Hunters Point………

“If the Navy had not caught this,” Bowers said, “there would be very, very high levels of contaminated soil, radioactive soil in the ground, where the plans are in place to build homes for the general public to live in, with yards for children to play in.”

Bowers is one of four radiation specialists who blew the whistle on Tetra Tech’s practices and are now suing the company for retaliation, claiming they were fired after questioning the company’s actions. Bowers first spoke with the Investigative Unit earlier this year saying the cleanup of Hunters Point had been compromised and that Tetra Tech cut corners on safety to save money……..http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Contractor-Submitted-False-Radiation-Data-at-Hunters-Point-279025911.html

October 15, 2014 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Security officer shoots dead three colleagues guarding Kalpakkam nuclear power plant

murder-1flag-india3 CISF personnel shot dead by colleague at Kalpakkam atomic plant in Tamil Nadu , TNN | Oct 8, 2014, CHENNAI: Three Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guarding the atomic power plant at Kalpakkam near Chennai were killed and two others were injured when one of their colleagues opened fire on them on Wednesday morning.

Police said the incident happened inside the barracks where the security personnel were taking rest early in the morning. The reason for the attack was not known, police said.

The accused, head constable Vijay Pratap Singh, was nabbed and handed over to police……..The CISF head constable used a 9mm carbon rifle to attack his colleagues.

CISF senior officers have rushed to the scene. Further investigations are on. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-CISF-personnel-shot-dead-by-colleague-at-Kalpakkam-atomic-plant-in-Tamil-Nadu/articleshow/44679818.cms

October 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

Fire on ship carrying radioactive wastes leads to drift, and evacuation of oil rig

safety-symbol1flag-ScotlandIt is a serious incident and I think we need to review how we regulate the transportation of nuclear waste in our waters”

WWF Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SNP MSP Rob Gibson have raised concerns about radioactive waste being transported by sea.

Oil rig evacuated after ship carrying radioactive waste drifts BBC News Highlands and Islands 8 Oct 14 An oil platform has been evacuated after a ship carrying radioactive material caught fire and began drifting in the Moray Firth. Continue reading

October 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

IN UK 2 important nuclear power stations could be out of action for 2014

Two nuclear power stations could be out of action until December, says EDF

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool reactors are offline as Britain’s electricity system struggles with retirement of old plants   The GuardianThursday 4 September 2014 Two nuclear stations that play a vital role helping to keep Britain’s already fragile electricity system intact could be out of action till the end of the year, EDF Energy said on Thursday.

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

September 6, 2014 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Refueling crane console dropped into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 3 spent fuel pool

exclamation-Smflag-japanWorkers 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.

The post Workers drop refueling crane console into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 3 spent fuel pool appeared first on Enformable.

September 1, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

400-Kg Control Console Fell Into Fukushima Fuel Pool

exclamation-Smflag-japanTepco 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

September 1, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Israel aimed a stealth drone at Iran uranium enrichment site

terrorism-targets-2flag-IsraelIsraeli stealth drone downed at nuclear facility, Iran claims Revolutionary Guard hails act against ‘warmongers’ as incident reported at major uranium enrichment plant  in Jerusalem and  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

August 25, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Iran, Israel | Leave a comment

Cause of radiation accident at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) still unknown

safety-symbol-SmquestionCause 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

August 25, 2014 Posted by | incidents, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Los Alamos worker sold nuclear secrets

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/

August 22, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Safety problems, toxic spill, in Canada’s uranium industry

flag-canadaNuclear 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

August 20, 2014 Posted by | Canada, incidents, Uranium | 1 Comment

Sabotage of a nuclear reactor

sabotage-reactorBelgian 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

August 16, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

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