The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant radioactive leak due to kitty litter?

Nuclear expert says kitty litter contributed to radiation leak at WIPP Current Argus News, By Zack Ponce, 13 May 14 CARLSBAD >> A change in the type of “kitty litter” that’s mixed with transuranic waste may be to blame for February’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. A scientist who worked at WIPP until 2010 says he believes a change from non-organic kitty litter to organic litter caused a chemical reaction inside a waste drum, releasing the radioactive isotopes.

WIPP announced Monday night that photos taken over the weekend showed evidence of melted plastic and rubber on 55-gallon drums, indicating that the production of heat likely occurred in the underground area where waste is stored, according to a news release.

Jim Conca, who worked with WIPP from 2000 to 2010, said last week he believes a chemical reaction involving the kitty litter caused a small explosion inside a waste drum. New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn confirmed on Monday that he has heard Department of Energy officials discuss the possibility that kitty litter may have been to blame for the radiation leak. Flynn said it is just one of many theories the DOE is exploring and nothing is certain at this time.

WIPP Recovery Manager Jim Blankenhorn said during last week’s town hall meeting that officials believe the radiation leak was likely caused by nuclear waste that contained nitrate salt which gave off some sort of chemical reaction. Blankenhorn said a switch from a non-organic substance to organic was what triggered the event. According to Conca, the unidentified substance containing elements mirroring nitrate salt is kitty litter.

Under WIPP’s congressional mandate, the nuclear waste disposal facility located 26 miles east of Carlsbad cannot accept any liquid waste, and therefore kitty litter is used as a preventative measure to absorb any remnants of liquid before the drums are sealed and shipped to Southeastern New Mexico, Conca said………

May 14, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

9 Ukrainian citizens arrested for smuggling Uranium-235

flag-UkraineReport: Ukrainian Police Arrest 9 Militants Smuggling Uranium-235  Prison Planet, Bradford Thomas  May 8, 2014 Russian news outlet reported Monday that Ukrainian police in the Chernovci region arrested  nine militants—eight Ukrainian citizens and one Russian—who were in possession of 1.5 kilos of substance containing Uranium 235, contents that could be used to create a “dirty bomb.”

The car containing the U-235 had foreign plates and was coming from Pridnestrovie (or Transnistria), a Russian military occupied breakaway territory in Moldova………

May 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Uranium truck set on fire in India

exclamation-flag-indiaMaoists set truck carrying uranium for UCIL ablaze, DNA , 8 May 2014 Maoists torched a government-owned truck in a uranium mining area close to Jamshedpur.

The truck was carrying materials for the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and was engaged at the Bagjata Mines.

From last few weeks, posters with instructions for drivers to stop ferrying uranium ore from the Bagjata Mines have appeared on trucks at regular intervals, instilling fear and tension among transporters.

Maoist leaders have threatened transporters with dire consequences if they continue to do business with UCIL.

The banned outfit had been demanding permanent jobs for locals in the company as compensation for acquisition of their lands in Bagjata.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Jamshedpur Amol Venukant Homkar said the incident took place early this morning, and added that 15 unidentified armed persons pulled the driver down from the vehicle and then set it ablaze. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) plays a very significant role in India’s nuclear power generation programme……….

May 9, 2014 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

Explosion near Iran’s nuclear facility

exclamation-SmHuge blast reported near secret Iran nuclear site; City of Qazvin closed, 8 May 14, NICOSIA — Iran has been rocked by huge explosion near a nuclear facility.The Iranian media have reported an explosion in the northern Iranian city of Qazvin. The blast, reported on May 6, was said to have taken place near a secret nuclear enrichment facility in Abyek.

“The explosion took place in a storage facility,” Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, which reported at least 50 injured, said.

Officials said nobody was killed in the explosion. But they acknowledged a huge fire that was sweeping the industrial city, about 130 kilometers north of Teheran “Firefighters are trying to prevent the spread of the fire at a car oil storage facility,” Qazvin civil defense director Ali Ahani said.

Iranian opposition sources said scores of people were killed in the blast. They said Iranian Army and security forces closed much of Qazvin,
with a population of 1.1 million.

“It is not certain whether Abyek was the target,” an opposition source said. “But this incident will hamper access to the facility in the short-term.”

The opposition said Iran’s nuclear facilities have been repeatedly
targeted by Israel and the West……..

May 9, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

Large earthquake felt across wide area of Japan

Tokyo hit by worst quake since 3/11 — Felt throughout more than half of Japan prefectures — Expert: “People should take precautions for next several days” — AP: ‘Unusual’ quakes shake Alaska

Yomiuri Shimbun, May 5, 2014: The quake, which struck at about 5:18 a.m., measured lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo [...] the strongest seismic intensity level measured in central Tokyo since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. [...] Yohei Hasegawa, a Japan Meteorological Agency official in charge of monitoring earthquakes and tsunami, said at a news conference: “The earthquake is believed to have occurred inside the Pacific plate and it doesn’t seem to be related to an earthquake that could occur directly beneath Tokyo, which would have a different mechanism. It is unlikely to be followed by active aftershocks, but people should take precautions for the next several days.”

AP, May 4, 2014: It was the strongest earthquake since the 9.0 quake in March 2011. [...] The quake was felt across a wide area of Japan [...] There were no reports of damage or other abnormalities from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant [...] Reuters reported a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean [...] a second earthquake of magnitude 6.1 about 10 minutes later, further south. [...] On Saturday, a series of small earthquakes and aftershocks has rattled northern Alaska. [...]  the earthquakes are unusual, because the region isn’t a seismically active part of Alaska.

Standart News, May 5, 2014: jolts were felt in 26 out of 47 prefectures of Japan.

See also: Expert in 2010: Megathrust quake predicted to hit Fukushima around Nov. 2013… Recurrence interval of 75 years with last rupture Nov. 1938 — Planet’s most powerful type of seismic event

May 7, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Japan | 1 Comment

Secrecy over recent explosion at Hanford plutonium site

secret-agent-Smexclamation-SmNBC Right Now: Explosion at U.S. nuclear site — Kept secret from public — Happened in plant where plutonium was manufactured — “One of the most hazardous buildings” in America — Workers: “Flames shot out… big, loud bang like a shot gun” (VIDEO)

NBC Right Now (Yakima, WA), (Yakima, WA), May 1, 2014 (h/t Stock): Hanford union workers tell NBC Right Now there was an explosion at the plutonium finishing plant cleanup site weeks ago, but the event wasn’t shared with the public. The Hanford union representative says it happened when workers were cutting some pipe as part of the demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant [PFP]. The union representative wants to remain anonymous and says workers are concerned management isn’t putting worker safety first. [...] Workers describe the explosion as a spark then flames that shot out of a pipe and a loud bang [...] We’re told it happened two weeks ago [...] Workers say they think the contractor is playing down the explosion and possible safety concerns to protect themselves from fines and work delays. [...] The union representative says management wants to keep experienced workers quiet.

Hanford Union Representative: “: “Having a pipe explode at probably the most contaminated facility in the United States. This is one of the most hazardous buildings in the U.S. [...] Management continues to call it a small pop even though the workers say no this thing was a big, loud bang like a shot gun blast [...] People bring up concerns and they fall on deaf ears, especially at this facility. It’s like they’re dumbing it down because if this becomes a big concern, then they’re not going to be able to remove the pipe in a timely manor. Well, that’s not the concern. I could care less about your time frame and how much money you’re going to make when you get that pipe out. My concern is the people cutting the pipe in the first place and that doesn’t seem to be their concern. [...] PFP is not wanting to use experienced individuals anymore because we’re bringing up too many concerns in this plant. They want to bring in the guy that’s not going to ask any questions and they’ve started to do so.”

Department of Energy:: “The Department of Energy is overseeing the contractor’s response and will continue to evaluate their investigation into the cause of the event and corrective actions.”

KVEW (ABC),, May 2, 2014: Investigation Underway Following Pipe Explosion at Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant — An investigation is underway following a pipe explosion last month at the Hanford site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant. A spokesman for the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company says the employees were cutting a pipe on April 17th when they heard a loud bang and witnessed a small flame emit from the end of the pipe.

Watch the NBC broadcast here

May 5, 2014 Posted by | incidents | 1 Comment

Fire on ship carrying uranium – news covered up

exclamation-SmThere is new information about what the Atlantic Cartier had on board when it caught fire in Hamburg last year.  April 10, 2014 by 

news report in the HAMBURG taz dated April 3rd states: –

The Atlantic Cartier that caught fire May 1st, close to the opening of the 34th EvangelicalChurch Day, which had attracted thousands of people. (The first report said ‘onethousand’.)

Only two weeks later was the true situation revealed. It contained 3.8 tonnes ofammunition, 180 tons of explosive ethanol, as well as 8.9 tons of uranium hexafloride andeleven tons of unused, fresh uranium fuel rods.’

This is the first report which we have seen which mentions that the ship was carrying fresh uranium fuel rods.

In the middle of March another Atlantic Container Line (ACL) ship, the Atlantic Companion, was involved in an ‘accident’ at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, north-end Ceres terminal.  On this occasion four containers of uranium hexafluoride were dropped while being loaded aboard the ship.

Bibby Reply

In reply to our recent open letter to Bibby Ship Management we received the following from the company:-

‘ It is Bibby Ship Management’s policy not to discuss individual vessels or cargo detailshowever all of our vessels are managed and operated in line with the highest internationally agreed standards of vessel safety and pollution prevention.’

This is the full extent of the companies willingness to answer any of the many questionswhich we would like to put to them.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | incidents | Leave a comment

Air Force officers sacked after USA nuclear test cheating probe

U.S. Air Force fires nine officers following nuclear test cheating probe WP, By Ernesto Londoño , March 27,

The Air Force announced Thursday that it has relieved nine mid-level commanders assigned to safeguard the nation’s nuclear arsenal following a wide-ranging probe into a test cheating scandal that implicated scores of airmen.

The dismissed officers, most of whom were colonels and lieutenant colonels, were not found to have facilitated or condoned the cheating at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. But they were held accountable for creating a culture that enabled it, officials said…….

March 28, 2014 Posted by | incidents | Leave a comment

Mysterious plume over old New Mexico nuclear bomb test site

questionWeather experts baffled by mystery plume on New Mexico radar near 1945 nuclear bomb test site (EXCELLENT PICTURES)
There is speculation that the cloud could be the result of a weapons test
But the U.S. has not done A-bomb tests since the Test Ban Treaty in 1992
Plume originated from White Sands Missile Range in Socorro county

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER, 19 March 2014 A mystery ‘storm cloud’ caught on weather radar after erupting off a U.S. military missile testing ground in New Mexico has left weather experts baffled.

Conspiracy theorists have speculated that the plume-like cloud, which seems to appear out of nowhere, could have been kicked up by the explosion from an unreported weapons test.

Deepening the mystery, U.S. National Weather Service offices in Albuquerque and El Paso have confirmed the reading, but say they have no idea where it could have come from. The plume first appeared at sunset on Monday evening over the part of the vast White Sands Missile Range in east Socorro county, close to the ‘Trinity Site’ where the first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945.

It was spotted in publicly accessible radar data by a blogger, who tracked its progress and has published his findings in two YouTube videos and a blog post.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | incidents | Leave a comment

New Mexico nuclear waste facility has a second radiation leak

text ionisingSecond radiation leak detected at New Mexico nuclear waste site About one month after radiation leaks were reported at the United States’ first nuclear waste repository, a second release has been detected in the air by Department of Energy officials. 19 Mar 14According to the Associated Press, air-monitoring stations near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, have picked up elevated radiation readings, suggesting another small batch of radiation has been released into the air.
Officials said these types of small releases are to be expected, but that they should fall below the safety standards outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The WIPP – one of the world’s three deep nuclear repositories – has been shut down since February, when a sharp rise in radiation levels was linked to a leak in one of the underground tunnels storing radioactive waste about 600 meters underground. This radiation eventually made it into the plant’s surrounding area and was detected in the air by nearby monitoring stations…….One watchdog group, Southwest Research and Information Center, said plans to expand the plant’s operations could have led to lax security measures, and has labeled the WIPP a failure in terms of safety……

March 20, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Lucky they fixed nuclear reactor’s coolant leak

Perry nuclear power plant tritium leak fixed  By John Funk, The Plain Dealer PERRY, Ohio — Engineering crews have repaired the reactor coolant leak at the Perry nuclear power plant that deposited an unknown amount of radioactive tritium in groundwater near the leak. Repairs were completed overnight, said Jennifer Young, spokeswoman for FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., which owns the plant located 35 miles east of Cleveland on Lake Erie.

Workers discovered the leak Monday in a valve on a water line that carries reactor water back to the reactor after it has run through the plant’s steam turbine and then been condensed back into water.

The leaky valve was in a pipe contained in a hallway-sized steam tunnel running from the turbine and generator building through a second, auxiliary equipment building and then back into the reactor containment building, said Young.

Cameras monitoring the tunnel 24 hours a day first spotted the small spray of water and steam coming from the pipe, she said. ……

January 24, 2014 Posted by | incidents | Leave a comment

On the assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists

How the IAEA Basically Helped Assassinate Iranian Nuclear Scientists By Global Research News  December 29, 2013 “……In the fifth attack of its kind, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization – and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred……..

Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassination of Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan’s driver) have been apprehended, the statement read.

Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi are among those arrested, the ministry added.

The statement said Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has detected some of Mossad’s bases within the territories of one of Iran’s Western neighbors, which provided training and logistic support to the terrorist networks…….

January 1, 2014 Posted by | incidents, safety | Leave a comment

Paris derailment of nuclear waste freight train

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceFreight wagon with nuclear waste derails at depot near Paris, no leak PARIS Mon Dec 23, 2013 (Reuters) – A rail freight wagon carrying nuclear waste derailed at a depot in Drancy, 3 km (2 miles) northeast of Paris on Monday, the mayor of the town said.
There was no leakage of nuclear waste, Jean-Christophe Lagarde said by telephone.

“Today at 1605 (1505 GMT), a freight car transporting radioactive material derailed in Drancy station,” said the mayor, who is also a member of parliament for the French centrist UDI party. About 4,000 freight wagons carrying radioactive or chemical waste pass through the station each year, Lagarde said, calling the incident “intolerable”.

France’s “Europe Ecologie Les Verts” (EELV) Green party called for an end to the transportation of radioactive waste through urban areas and busy stations following the incident.

“The slightest accident can have catastrophic effects,” the EELV party said in a statement. “All (nuclear waste) transport is risky and exposes populations to unnecessary danger.”

December 24, 2013 Posted by | France, incidents | 1 Comment

US Nuclear Air Force Troubles

Recap of AP Reporting on Troubles in Nuclear Force, abc news, December 23, 2013  A recap of Associated Press reporting this year on troubles in the country’s nuclear force:
—In April, 19 missile crew members in the 91st Missile Wing at Minot, N.D., were deemed temporarily unfit for duty and given weeks of remedial training. The wing’s deputy commander of operations complained of “rot” in the force. Later, the officer in charge of the 91st’s missile crew training and proficiency was relieved of duty.
—In August, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom, Mont., failed a safety and security inspection. Nine days later the officer in charge of security forces there was relieved of duty. In October the unit passed a do-over test.
—On Oct. 11,…….—Also in November, the AP reported that key members of the Air Force’s nuclear missile force are feeling “burnout” from what they see as exhausting, unrewarding and stressful work. The finding, in an unpublished RAND Corp. study provided to the AP in draft form, also cited heightened levels of misconduct such as spousal abuse and said court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force.

December 24, 2013 Posted by | incidents | Leave a comment

Shut down Lynas! Call from Malaysians after 3rd death at rare earths plant

safety-symbol-SmCalls renew for Lynas shutdown after third death at plant  Malaysian Insider, 14 Dec 13 Opponents of the Lynas Advance Materials Plant in Pahang have renewed calls for the closure of the controversial rare earth refinery following the death of an engineer who drowned in a pond at the facility yesterday. The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) movement said the fatal accident, the third in two years at the plant near Kuantan, Pahang, should be viewed seriously, and warranted a full investigation.

“This is very serious. We are demanding the government shut down the Lynas Advance Materials Plant immediately and cease all activities in the plant until a full and comprehensive independent investigation is completed by the relevant authorities like the Department of Occupational Safety and Health to establish the nature and cause/s of the fatal accident,” its chairman Tan Bun Teet said today…….

The plant in Gebeng has been mired in controversy after residents claimed it emits the hazardous thorium compound that can cause cancer among humans. It is known that the processing of rare earth materials would produce a thorium by-product.

The Australian-owned plant’s ability to obtain a temporary licence, despite not revealing a waste disposal facility, has enraged activists who have opposed the company’s practices and the government for allowing such a plant within a 30km radius of 700,000 residents.

Groups have called for the government and Lynas shareholders to remove the company’s operations from Malaysia amid the company’s poor performance in the Australian bourse due to weakened rare earth prices.

SMSL said although previously some of the firm’s shareholders had wanted to conduct best practices in its operations abroad, it has been business as usual for Lynas.

However, yesterday’s death has given the group more cause to question the plant’s operational procedures and safety hazards……

December 16, 2013 Posted by | incidents, Malaysia, Uranium | Leave a comment


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