Steve Skutnik January 17, 2013 There is a hallowed tradition in Washington known as the “Friday Document Dump,” in which news and announcements the government wishes to bury are strategically timed for Friday afternoons, when such announcements tend to fall through the cracks of the typical news cycle (i.e., assuming reporters are even present to cover the event, the strategic timing tends to ensure it will miss the weekend papers, thus effectively “burying” the story by the time the new week rolls around).
China blazes trail for ‘clean’ nuclear power, TODAY online by Ambrose
Evans-Pritchard Jan 09, 2013“……Major players in the nuclear
industry have had a vested interest in blocking thorium. They have
sunk huge costs in the old technology, and they have bent the ear of
cash-strapped ministers. The hesitance of governments is
understandable, but the costs are going to hit whatever they do.
China’s dash for thorium is now changing the game…..”
But the continued operation of the Monju reactor is uncertain due to
frequent malfunctions. The Japanese government has admitted that it
may not be put into commercial use until 2050, prompting criticism
that the Rokashomura facility was a colossal waste of money.
Japan Could Reprocess Nuclear Fuel from Korea
January 07, 2013 From Chosun Ilbo The Japanese government is
considering reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods from Korea, Vietnam
and other Asian countries, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Sunday. Japan is
the only country in the world that has no nuclear weapons but the
facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods capable of producing
An advisory council to the Democratic Party of Japan in a report last
May said reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods would “strengthen”
Japan’s diplomacy, security and the country’s economy as well as
“contribute to the peaceful use of atomic energy.”
The report suggests using the Rokashomura nuclear reprocessing plant
in Aomori Prefecture, which will become obsolete if Japan scraps all
its own nuclear power plants in the 2030s. Read more »
just 1.6 tonnes of thorium metal would be enough to produce 8kg of uranium-233 which is the minimum amount required for a nuclear weapon.
”Small-scale chemical reprocessing of irradiated thorium can create an isotope of uranium – uranium-233 – that could be used in nuclear weapons. If nothing else, this raises a serious proliferation concern.”
Thorium: Proliferation warnings on nuclear ‘wonder-fuel’ , Phys Org, December 5, 2012Thorium is being touted as an ideal fuel for a new generation of nuclear power plants, but in a piece in this week’s Nature, researchers suggest it may not be as benign as portrayed.
The element thorium, which many regard as a potential nuclear “wonder-fuel”, could be a greater proliferation threat than previously thought, scientists have warned. Read more »
THORIUM REACTORS? http://fairewinds.org/demystifying, 8 Dec 12 by Peggy Conte
The latest nuclear power industry proposals focus on smaller reactors and the possibility of thorium fueled reactors. As the nuclear industry explores other fission products, Fairewinds Energy Education has been peppered with hundreds of questions regarding the feasibility and safety of thorium reactors that the nuclear industry is touting as a newer safer form of nuclear power.
The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is being sold as a “market based environmental solution” and advertised by the nuclear industry as cheaper than coal. Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) use a molten salt mixture as the primary coolant, and sometimes the molten salt is even mixed directly with thorium in the reactor fuel.
Since Fairewinds has received so many questions regarding Thorium Reactors, let’s look at the facts about Thorium: Read more »
More backup systems, he pointed out, would drive up the cost of small reactors, which already have a sizable economic disadvantage compared with large reactors. Because of economies of scale, the capital cost per kilowatt for a small reactor would be approximately 250 percent more than that for a large conventional reactor.
Lyman warned about allowing the industry to site small modular reactors in remote areas or developing countries that have no nuclear experience or emergency planning infrastructure. “UCS believes that [small modular reactors] are only suitable for deployment where there is an established infrastructure to cope with emergencies, and if sufficient numbers of trained operator and security staff can be provided
Nuclear Expert Dispels Myths about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in Senate Testimony http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/nuclear-expert-dispels-myths.html WASHINGTON (July 14, 2011) -- A physicist from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today testified before a Senate subcommittee that small modular nuclear reactors are not necessarily any safer or more secure than conventional size reactors and could be more dangerous. Companies vying to sell small reactors, he said, are overstating their benefits and downplaying their potential pitfalls. Read more »
MOX stands for “Mixed-Oxide Fuel.” It is a nuclear power reactor fuel made from plutonium mixed with uranium. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to make experimental MOX fuel using plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.
Use of MOX fuel fails as a means of getting rid of plutonium. Instead, the plutonium just becomes part of the lethal soup of ingredients termed “high-level nuclear waste”
What is MOX? http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/basicmoxinfo.htm The giant French nuclear firm Cogema, Duke Power and Virginia Power have formed a consortium to create and use plutonium MOX fuel in civilian atomic reactors in North and South Carolina and Virginia.
If their effort is successful, plutonium would be trucked from nuclear weapons depots in the west to the Savannah River Plant on the South Carolina/Georgia border, where new plutonium processing plants would be built. This new MOX fuel would then be trucked to commercial reactors in the Southeast, in order to turn this plutonium into high-level radioactive waste.
The MOX program is dangerous and unnecessary. More than 200 environmental and other organizations across the world have signed an International NIX MOX statement and have pledged to work to stop this program in the U.S. and similar programs in Russia, France and England.
What is MOX? Read more »
Proposed nuclear reactor could power future space flights By Mark Morgenstein, CNN, 27 Nov 12 For potential power sources on space flights beyond the horizon, scientists are looking back to the future.
A team of NASA and Department of Energy researchers has shown that a reliable nuclear reactor based on technology that’s been around for decades could be used in spaceships, according to a news release from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where some of the researchers are
“A small, simple, lightweight fission power system could lead to a new and enhanced capability for space science and exploration,” said Los Alamos project lead Patrick McClure. “We hope that this proof of concept will soon move us from the old frontier of Nevada to the new frontier of outer space.” http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/26/proposed-nuclear-reactor-could-power-future-space-flights/
Small nuclear reactors eyed for Oak Ridge site, Oakridger.com By Donna Smith/Staff Nov. 25, 2012 The former Clinch River Breeder Reactor site in Oak Ridge may become the home for four small modular nuclear reactors that could be operational by 2022. Read more »
Chernobyl Children Fukushima Children http://www.facebook.com/chernobylchildren.fukushimachildren 26 Nov 12 We were told the exact SAME LIES about Nuclear Fission. The exact same lies. Now it’s Fusion. A nuclear fusion power plant emits in normal operation 1000 times more radioactivity than a nuclear power plant and produces five times as much nuclear waste as a present-day nuclear fission power plant – Including the radioactive tritium beta emitter (heavy hydrogen). It mimics Hydrogen and becomes build in the DNA hydrogen bridges and causes childood leukemia. The nuclear fusion is not a “clean alternative” but a capital-intensive, centralized destructive force, based on the principle of the HYDROGEN BOMB, so the fusion is based on the fusion of radioactive Isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) to helium, with large amounts of energy. http://www.greenpeace-aachen.de/archiv/energie/bilder/atom-kernfusion.jpg
Japan’s new nuclear-proof robot gets stage fright http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/technology/AJ201211220024 November 22, 2012 REUTERS YOKOHAMA--A Japanese robot designed to withstand high levels of radiation and extreme heat at damaged nuclear plants such as Fukushima froze on its first public demonstration.
Despite being home to the largest number of industrial robots in the world, Japan did not have a device capable of entering the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Instead, Japan brought in U.S. robots to survey the extent of the damage inside the reactor buildings.
Toshiba Corp. unveiled Japan’s own nuclear-proof robot on Oct. 21, a four-legged device able to carry up to 20 kg of equipment and capable of lifting itself up if it falls over on uneven surfaces and amid debris.
During the demonstration, the robot experienced a case of stage fright. The shuffling Tetrapod locked up and suddenly froze after it tried to balance itself, forcing technicians to carry it away. It is the second time such Japanese robotic technology has experienced problems. Last October, a crawling robot developed by the Chiba Institute of Technology lost connection with operators and was abandoned inside Fukushima’s No. 2 reactor building.
“I think they were trying to use cleanup funds, which weren’t intended to be used for nuclear energy projects,” said Tom Clements, the non-proliferation policy director for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
“The whole SMR thing has always appeared very premature and rather half-baked; since these reactors don’t even exist the companies don’t have money to pursue them,” “So it’s all very highly speculative.”
SRS suspends portable reactor development, The Augusta Chronicle, By Rob Pavey, Nov. 10, 2012 Savannah River Site can no longer use its increasingly limited environmental management resources to pursue the development of small, portable nuclear power reactors.
The ambition to create a “small, modular reactor” farm, where a new generation of SMRs
could be perfected for the commercial market, is a key facet of Enterprise SRS, a futuristic strategy designed to create jobs and future missions for the 310-square-mile site.
Although the U.S. Department of Energy announced agreements in March with three firms that are hoping to use SRS as a home base to study and develop mini reactor technology, site contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions received a directive from headquarters to “stand down” and devote no further funds or resources to the effort. Read more »
Based on economies of scale, small reactors will produce more expensive electricity than large reactors, all other factors being equal.
Does DOE’s Funding Announcement Mark the End of its Irrational Exuberance for SMRs? http://allthingsnuclear.org/does-does-funding-announcement-mark-the-end-of-its-irrational-exuberance-for-smrs/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AllThingsNuclear+%28All+Things+Nuclear%29 Ed Lyman, senior scientist
November 21, 2012
On November 20 DOE finally announced that the Babcock and Wilcox Company (B&W) and its “mPower” reactor were the lucky winners of its Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a cost-sharing program with industry for the design and licensing of “small modular reactors,” or SMRs. Although DOE had originally said the announcement would come in July or August, it decided instead to bury it on Thanksgiving week – not usually a time the agency releases news of which it is particularly proud.
And in fact, the real news is not that a grant was awarded to B&W – this was a near-certainty – but that there was only one winner instead of two. Read more »
U.S. approval for laser enrichment - could spur new clandestine research and construction in other nations that might make bomb-building efforts by nuclear-arms aspirants easier to conceal.
Decision on Proliferation Assessments Pending at Nuclear Agency, Nov. 20, 2012 By Elaine M. Grossman Global Security Newswire
A roadway marker points to nuclear fuel operations at a GE-Hitachi campus in North Carolina. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission might soon decide whether to demand proliferation threat assessments from firms seeking licenses for new fuel-making activities, such as a commercial laser uranium-enrichment approach proposed by the energy conglomerate
Read more »
Pioneering planet hunter suffers radiation overdose, New Scientist, 20 November 2012 by Lisa Grossman The first space telescope to hunt for transiting exoplanets may be on its deathbed.
On 2 November, the COROT satellite, which launched in 2006, lost the use of its only remaining onboard computer. The spacecraft can no longer receive data from its 30-centimetre telescope, which searches for the telltale dimming of stars as planets cross in front of them.
The culprit was too much radiation, says project scientist Malcolm Fridlund of the European Space Agency. The orbiting spacecraft had spent a long time in a harsh particle environment called the South Atlantic Anomaly.
Earth’s magnetic field is especially weak at this region about 200 to 800 kilometres above the surface, leading to high levels of damaging radiation. Because of its passages through the anomaly, COROT had survived more than twice the amount of radiation it was designed to
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