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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan’s spent fuel problem will escalate, casting doubt on nuclear restart plans

spent-fuel-rodsSpent-nuclear fuel issues plague restarts http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/26/national/spent-nuclear-fuel-issues-plague-restarts/#.VWTjIdKqpHw JIJI MAY 26, 2015Spent fuel at the Hamaoka nuclear power station in Shizuoka Prefecture could exceed the capacity of storage pools some two years after the plant is restarted — much sooner than the previously assumed eight years, according to sources.

The faster pace is because the storage pools for reactors 1 and 2 at the Chubu Electric Power Co. plant will be removed from the complex’s total storage capacity following the decommissioning of the two units.

Previously, Chubu Electric planned to continue using the two reactors’ storage pools. The operations of the two reactors ended in 2009.

Last month, four power suppliers, including Kansai Electric Power Co., decommissioned a combined five aging reactors, significantly reducing storage pool capacity.

As of the end of March, the Hamaoka plant’s storage capacity fell by 440 tons in the past six months to 1,300 tons, reflecting the exclusion of the reactor 1 and 2 pools, according to Chubu Electric’s semiannual report to the Federation of Electric Power Companies. Meanwhile, the amount of spent fuel stored at the plant stood at 1,130 tons.

If the remaining three reactors at the plant are brought back online, the amount of spent fuel would exceed the storage capacity in 2.3 years, compared with the eight years estimated before the company’s decision not to use the reactor 1 and 2 pools.

Of all 15 domestic nuclear plants that operators are seeking to restart, storage space capacity appears to be lowest at the Hamaoka plant.

Only four of the plants have more than 10 years before they run short of capacity, including Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari plant, which has the longest time, at 16.5 years. The three others are Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Higashidori plant, with 15.1 years, Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika plant, with 14.4 years, and Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant, with 10.7 years.

All nuclear reactors in Japan are now offline.

Some nuclear plant operators are working to increase their spent-fuel storage capacities while pinning hopes on fuel recycling at Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.’s facilities in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

Chubu Electric has applied to build a dry-cooling storage facility at the Hamaoka plant to boost its total capacity to store spent fuel. It hopes to put the facility into operation in fiscal 2018 if the plan is approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

A Chubu Electric official said storage capacity prospects remain unclear at the plant because it is uncertain if any reactors will be allowed to restart.

May 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Unable to get volunteer locations, Japan will now impose nuclear waste sites

wastes-Fukushima-for-incineMETI changes tactics after search for nuclear waste host proves futile http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/22/national/meti-changes-tactics-search-nuclear-waste-host-proves-futile/#.VV-6ZdKeAXB

KYODO The government will select potential areas to host nuclear dump sites instead of waiting for communities to volunteer, according to the revised policy on permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste that was adopted by the Cabinet on Friday.

The revision, the first in seven years, was prompted after towns, villages and cities throughout Japan snubbed requests to host nuclear waste dumps. The government has been soliciting offers since 2002.

The move is seen as a sign that the government wants to address the matter as it proceeds with its pursuit of reactor restarts. All commercial units have largely sat idle since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.

It remains unclear when a final depository could be built, because the policy mentions no time frame. The government also plans to expand its storage capacity for spent fuel by building new interim facilities as a short-term fix.

“We will steadily proceed with the process as (resolving the problem is) the current generation’s responsibility,” minister of economy, trade and industry Yoichi Miyazawa told reporters, adding there will be “quite a few” candidate sites.

They will be chosen on scientific grounds, the policy says.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is seeking to revive atomic power, although the majority of the public remains opposed in light of the Fukushima disaster, which left tens of thousands homeless. Critics have attacked the government for promoting atomic power without resolving where all the waste will end up.

Permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste requires that a depository be built more than 300 meters underground, where the materials must lie for up to 100,000 years until radiation levels fall to the point where there is no harm to humans or the environment.

About 17,000 tons of spent fuel is stored on the premises of nuclear plants and elsewhere in Japan, but some would run out of space in three years if all the reactors got back online.

Under the revision, the government said it will allow future generations to retrieve high-level waste from such facilities should policy changes or new technologies emerge.

Worldwide, only Finland and Sweden have been able to pick final depository sites. Finland is building the world’s first permanent disposal site for high-level waste in Olkiluoto, aiming to put it into operation around 2020.

But many other countries with nuclear plants are struggling to find a site for such a facility. In the United States, President Barack Obama decided in 2009 to call off a plan to build a disposal site in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain due to local opposition.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

New private consortium to decommission nuclear power stations – will cut 1600 jobs

flag-UKMagnox nuclear decommissioning consortium to cut up to 1,600 jobs, Guardian, , 22 May 15  Cavendish Fluor Partnership says plans reflect ‘stepdowns’ in work at nuclear plants around UK The new private consortium that recently won the £4.2bn management contract for the decommissioning of 12 Magnox nuclear power stations has revealed plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs. Cavendish Nuclear, a division of Babcock International, plus its US partner Fluor, said the cuts reflected “planned stepdowns in the work programme” at a number of atomic sites around the UK.

The move comes amid speculation that Babcock is preparing to demand millions of pounds of extra subsidies from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the grounds that the workload was much heavier than anticipated.

money-in-wastes-2

Unions expressed shock that staff, agency and contract workers would lose their jobs between now and September 2016, although the Cavendish Fluor Partnership said it would try to find some alternative posts. Eleven of the plants have already shut down and the remaining one in operation – Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales – is due to stop generating power at the end of the year.

Problems with the decommissioning of the separate Sellafield site in Cumbria have recently led to the private consortium there which includes Amec and Areva of France – being thrown off the management contract.

The 12 nuclear power sites managed by the Cavendish consortium for Magnox include Berkeley, Gloucestershire; Bradwell, Essex; and Hinkley Point A in Somerset.

EDF last month announced plans to cut 400 construction jobs at the site of the planned new atomic plant of Hinkley Point C.

The reduction in workers comes amid continuing delays over a final investment decision on the £24.5bn project as negotiations with potential investors continue to move more slowly than expected. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/21/magnox-nuclear-decommissioning-consortium-cut-1600-jobs

May 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, employment, UK, wastes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Navy considers privatising disposal of old nuclear ships

Scrap War: US May Compete Nuclear Ship Disposal Deal, Defense News By Christopher P. CavasMay 17, 2015 WASHINGTON — All nuclear-powered US Navy ships go to die at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. That’s been an immutable mantra since the early 1990s, when the shipyard developed a recycling plan to dispose of old submarines and cruisers that were piling up as they reached the end of their lives.

Under the shipyard’s direction, shipboard nuclear reactors are defueled, the reactor vessels and their compartments are removed, encased and barged to the federal government’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southern Washington State, and the ships’ remains are cut up for scrap and recycling. The program has successfully disposed of more than 100 nuclear submarines and eight nuclear cruisers.

As the only US-certified facility with experience recycling nuclear ships, the plan has long been that, sometime in early 2017, Puget Sound would take on its largest disposal job by far — that of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, one of the most famous ships of the Cold War era.

But now, the Navy is considering throwing open the job to commercial bidders — a clear break from prior practice that could open the nuclear ship-disposal world to more competition……….http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2015/05/17/aircraft-carrier-enterprise-newport-news-puget-sound-naval-shipyard-nuclear-shipbreaking-ship-scrapping-recycling-brownsville-disposal-navy-navsea/27321139/

May 18, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Safety limits relaxed at Sellafield nuclear facility

regulatory-capture-Trusting Sellafield to comply with the new operating rule to control waste stocks was like asking a fox to guard chickens,

Sellafield nuclear waste storage safety limit relaxed following accident, Guardian, , 14 May 15  Amount of radioactive waste that can be kept in tanks allowed to breach legal limits to help cope with backlog caused by an accident in November 2013. Safety limits on the storage of some of the world’s most dangerous nuclear wastes at Sellafield in Cumbria have been relaxed after an accident knocked out a treatment plant.

sellafield-2011

The government’s safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), has permitted the private company that runs Sellafield to breach legal restrictions on the amount of hot, high-level radioactive waste that can be kept in tanks. The limits are likely to be exceeded by up to 350 tonnes between April 2014 and July 2016. Continue reading

May 15, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Serious concerns over the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear waste storage

Zaprozhia-nuclear-plant-UkrUkrainian nuclear waste stored in open air 200km from warzone, Alternative News May 13, 2015 Serious concerns have been raised by experts and environmentalists over the ‘shocking’ way spent nuclear fuel is being stored at Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, just 200km away from the front line in Donbass.

More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are being stored in the open air in mental casks close to the perimeter fence at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in conditions that have shocked environmentalists, The Guardian reports.

Nuclear experts say the waste should have another secondary containment structure, such as a building with a roof.

“With a war around the corner, it is shocking that the spent fuel rod containers are standing under the open sky, with just a metal gate and some security guards waltzing up and down for protection. It is unheard of when, in Germany, interim storage operators have been ordered by the court to terror-proof their casks with roofs and reinforced walls,” Patricia Lorenz, a Friends of the Earth nuclear spokeswoman who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission, told the paper.

Although the front line is for now too far away from the nuclear plant to be at any risk, the potential consequences of the conflict engulfing the power station is major worry to locals……..

The current Zaporizhia nuclear fuel storage unit was built to a US design and did involve testing to withstand a terrorist attack.

However a dry storage container with a bomb resilient roof and contained ventilation system would offer much greater protection. However this would be impossible to build on the current site and it would have to be constructed somewhere else nearby and then all the nuclear casks would have to be moved inside at even greater expense.

“It is obvious that if you do not have an array of dry cast [interim] stores with secondary containment around it, then that will have a greater risk of release of radioactive material,” said Antony Froggatt, a senior research fellow and European nuclear specialist at Chatham House, London.

Although sources at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) told The Guardian that any request for funding for such a structure would be seriously considered. The bank has already made 300 million euros available to extend the lifespan of Ukraine’s ageing nuclear plants………http://www.angrysummit.com/%E2%80%8Bukrainian-nuclear-waste-stored-in-open-air-200km-from-warzone

May 15, 2015 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Ontario Power Generation waste dump plan does not have the necessary approval of area First Nations.

First Nations oppose Ont. nuclear waste burial project  ROB GOWAN, POSTMEDIA NETWORK, MAY 08, 2015 OWEN SOUND, Ont. — A plan to bury nuclear waste near Lake Huron doesn’t have the key approval of area First Nations.
Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-O
“Of course we are opposed to it,” Saugeen First Nation Chief Vernon Roote said Thursday. “In our community that I represent … there are no members that are agreeable to the burial at the site at this time.”

The proposal by Ontario Power Generation cleared a key hurdle this week when a federal review panel approved the plan.
OPG continued to insist Thursday approval by the Saugeen Objiway Nation is necessary for the project to proceed.

“As we have stated in the past and we will state again, we will not build this project without SON support,” OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly said.

Roote said he’s concerned about possible contamination of the Great Lakes. “If something were to happen with the disposal or the leakage of nuclear waste, I wouldn’t want to be drinking the water downstream,” he said. “That means the balance of Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and also anyone drinking from those lakes, even into the U.S.A.”

OPG wants to bury low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from Ontario’s three nuclear plants in a shaft deeper than the CN tower is tall at the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine, Ont.

The site is in the traditional territory of the Saugeen Objiway Nation that includes Saugeen and Chippewas of Nawash First Nations. Chippewas of Nawash Chief Arlene Chegahno couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq has 120 days to review the environmental assessment report before deciding if she will authorize the panel to issue the licence to prepare the site for the so-called deep geological repository.
In its report, the panel concluded the project is “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

That conclusion dismayed Erika Simpson, an associate professor of international relations at Western University in London, Ont., who has written about the proposal.

“I can’t understand why they can claim the science says it’s permissible. The testimony, which I’ve read, had many scientists, many geologists, questioning the science,” she said…………http://www.torontosun.com/2015/05/08/first-nations-oppose-ont-nuclear-waste-burial-project

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, wastes | Leave a comment

Up to 592 Trillion Bq of Plutonium equivalent involved in disaster at US nuclear dump

PuFlag-USAGov’t Analysis: Up to 592 Trillion Bq of Plutonium equivalent involved in disaster at US nuclear dump – Over 5,000 times amount in waste drum blamed for WIPP release — Official: “We thought for sure” there were multiple ruptured drums — “It actually was measured” in city many miles away (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/govt-analysis-592-trillion-becquerels-involved-release-nuclear-dump-5000-times-waste-drum-being-blamed-wipp-disaster-official-thought-sure-multiple-ruptures-actually-measured-city-many-miles-aw?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

DOE Town Hall in Los Alamos on WIPP Leak Findings (mp3), Apr 23, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • Question (at 1:43:15 in): So you’ve come up with an amount that you think was in the drum, and you’ve been able to forensically track that. The underground is pretty contaminated at this point, the walls are contaminated, the filters are contaminated — andit actually was measured in Carlsbad 30 miles away. So that’s a significant quantity of plutonium or other isotopes. How is that quantity matching with what is in the drum?
  • Ted Wyka, US Dept. of Energy Chief Nuclear Safety Advisor and chairman of DOE’s Accident Investigation BoardYou’re right, any release is obviously too much. We do have hundreds of surveys… We think we have a pretty good source term calculation to the extent that we need to identify it as one drum…
  • Question: I don’t feel like that answers my question, which is of course is your job, right?… There’s so much plutonium, americium, or whatever those secret ingredients were, and now it’s spread all over in a layer and it’s leaked into the air — what is that quanity?…
  • Wyka (at 1:49:15 in): Does that mean there’s no other sympathetic secondary releases from other drums? I can’t tell you that.

U.S. DOE Accident Investigation Board (AIB) Report Phase 2, Radiological Release at WIPP(pdf), Apr 2015: The inventory in drum 68660 [was] 2.84 PE-Ci [plutonium equivalent curies]… Source terms initially released in Panel 7 Room 7 [is estimated at] 2 to 10 PE-Ci.

Savannah River National Laboratory WIPP Source Term Attribution Analysis (pdf), Aug 2014:

> ESTIMATES OF TOTAL INVENTORY OF ACTIVITY INVOLVED

  • Source Term (ST) = MAR [Material at Risk] x DR [Damage Ratio] x ARF [Airborne Release Fraction] x RF [Respirable Fraction]
  • Assume a 2 Ci release from Room 7 based on assessment from previous slide
  • Bounding Case 1… MAR = ST / (DR x ARF x RF) = 2 Ci / 0.5 x 0.0005 x 0.5 = 16,000 Ci[592,000,000,000,000 becquerels]
  • Bounding Case 2… MAR = ST / (DR x ARF x RF) = 2 Ci / 0.5 x 0.01 x 1.0 = 400 Ci

Note the AIB reports the total inventory of activity in drum 68660 was 2.84 Ci. SRNL’s estimate of total inventory of activity involved was 400-16,000 Ci (141-5,634 times drum 68660 inventory).

This may explain Wyka’s statement at the Carlsbad town hall, “We went in thinking there’s another drum…We thought for sure we’d see something. Most of the analysis team thought so.”

See also: Gov’t: Radioactive release “orders of magnitude” worse than predicted at US nuke dump — 370 Billion Bq of Plutonium equivalent may have escaped from WIPP drum — For amount that high, “significant number” of breached drums expected (VIDEO)

Full Los Alamos town hall here | Carlsbad town hall here

May 8, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Lake Huron is NOT the answer to Canada’s nuclear waste problem- Dr. Benishek

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-ODr. Benishek: Canada’s plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes unacceptable http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=1201537#.VUvfhY6qpHw 05.07.2015WASHINGTON D.C. –– More than seven million cubic feet of nuclear waste could be stored in less than a half of mile from Lake Huron.

A joint Review Panel in the Canadian government gave favorable recommendation Thursday on a proposal to place a permanent, underground, nuclear waste storage facility.

“The recommendation by the Canadian Joint Review Panel to approve a plan to bury waste from nuclear power plants less than a mile from Lake Huron is unacceptable,” said Dr. Benishek. “While I support the need to find long term storage solutions for nuclear waste, burying waste this close to the Lake Huron is not the answer. The Great Lakes play a tremendous role in our economy and way of life here in Northern Michigan and we must remain stewards of this natural resource. I am please there is bipartisan support in the House that is opposed to Canada’s plan, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that there is not permanent storage of nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin.”

‘Dr. Benishek is a cosponsor of H. Res. 194, a resolution that express that sense of the House of Representative that the President and the Secretary of State should ensure that the Canadian Government does not permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin.’

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

The nuclear decommissioning problem – a financial disaster looming

Decommissioningthe coming closures could drag on for decades and place unexpected burdens on investors, consumers or taxpayers.
U.S. nuclear dilemma: Reactors aging, decommissioning cash billions short, waste site eludes, Japan Times BY ISAAC ARNSDORFBLOOMBERG MAY 5, 2015 NEW YORK – At the edge of Humboldt Bay in Northern California lies a relic from the heyday of U.S. nuclear power. The reactor was shut down in 1976. The remaining cost to decommission the plant once and for all — cleaning up lingering radiological dangers, dismantling the remains — will be about $441 million, according to its owner, PG&E Corp.

The question is who will pay — for Humboldt Bay, and for dozens of other reactors that are in the process of closing or might soon.

text-wise-owlNuclear operators like PG&E are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, similar to how corporations fund pensions. Turns out, most haven’t.

PG&E’s Humboldt Bay trust fund, for instance, is currently $308 million short, according to a company filing to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. PG&E customers will shoulder the cost in the form of higher electricity bills.

“Somebody’s got to pay for it — the money doesn’t come from magic,” said Allison M. Macfarlane, a former NRC chairman. Brittany McKannay, a PG&E spokeswoman, said the company is committed to operating and decommissioning its nuclear plants safely.

The U.S. nuclear industry is feeling its age. Once touted as a source of electricity that would be “too cheap to meter,” plants need expensive upgrades to protect them from terrorism and natural disasters.

At the same time, they face growing competition from renewables and natural gas. Five new reactors are under construction, but current economics give little incentive to build more. Looming is an unprecedented wave of closures.

Yet 82 of the 117 U.S. nuclear power plants, including seven in the process of shutting down, don’t have enough cash on hand to close safely, according to NRC records. And closing tends to cost more than operators expect. Based on NRC filings, the actual combined cost may be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion — $43 billion more than the current balance of the trust funds.

So the coming closures could drag on for decades and place unexpected burdens on investors, consumers or taxpayers.

“The public has a right to demand that all nuclear power plant operators are secure in their funding,” Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement in response to questions from Bloomberg.

Among the underfunded plants are FirstEnergy Corp.’s Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, site of the 1979 partial meltdown, and Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point, about 35 miles north of New York City……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/05/world/u-s-nuclear-dilemma-reactors-aging-decommissioning-cash-billions-short-permanent-waste-site-eludes/#.VUldaI6qpHw

May 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | 1 Comment

Exelon has 60 years in which to remove Oyster Creek’s 650 metric tons of spent fuel

Oyster Creek: After 2019, what then?, asbury park press, Randy Bergmann, @appopinion10 May 3, 2015 For people who had lived in the shadow of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey for decades, the news in 2009 that it was to close 10 years earlier than allowed under its license extension was warmly welcomed. Finally, the health and safety threats posed by the plant would be coming to an end.

Well, not really — at least no time soon.

That “good news” has been tempered by the fact plant owner Exelon, which agreed to mothball the reactor in exchange for the state not requiring it to install cooling towers, has up to 60 years to remove the Decommissioning from its elevated spent fuel pool, totally dismantle the plant and clean up the site.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission rule change in 2011 extended the period in which closed nuclear reactors were allowed to decommission from 30 years to 60 years. Although Exelon has yet to establish a timetable for when that will be done, the company’s president and CEO, Christopher Crane, has said it will be no sooner than 10 years, as stipulated in its agreement with the state, and up to 60 years.

In some ways, the risks posed by a closed plant that has yet to be decommissioned can be as great as one that continues to operate and is closely monitored by the NRC.

What are the odds of a disaster occurring at Oyster Creek? They’re remote. But given the nightmarish consequences of such a disaster occurring at a site around which 4.5 million people reside within a 50-mile radius, they’re not remote enough for citizens and the state to sit back and allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has a well-deserved reputation as an industry lapdog, to dictate the process every step of the way……..

What is the likelihood of another major nuclear disaster occurring in the future?Researchers Spencer Wheatley and Didier Sornette at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Benjamin Sovacool at Aarhus University in Denmark last month calculated that there is a 50-50 chance a Chernobyl-like event or worse will occur in the next 27 years, a 50-50 chance another Fukushima event will take place within 50 years and a 50-50 chance a Three Mile Island-type event will take place within 10 years.

Long odds, for sure. But citizens and the state must do everything they can to ensure every step that can increase the margin of safety is taken.

Here are the top six reasons citizens, state and local officials and New Jersey’s federal representatives must pay close attention to the decommissioning of Oyster Creek:

1. The soonest the plant will be decommissioned under the agreement Exelon reached with the state to close the plant early is 2029. If Exelon chooses to close at the end of 60 years, Oyster Creek, the oldest commercial reactor in the nation, would be 110 years old…..

2. Oyster Creek is one of just three nuclear plants with the identical design of Fukushima I, which was the first of three units to melt down. ….

3. Keeping spent fuel in elevated spent fuel pools, as is the case with older plants like Oyster Creek and Fukushima, is believed by some critics to pose greater risks than spent fuel kept in dry casks.

Spent fuel contained in spent fuel pools is the leading cause for concern of those worried about the safety risks of plants that are closed but not fully decommissioned

4. No public participation or input by the state is required under NRC regulations in the development of a decommissioning plan….

5. It isn’t clear whether there will be sufficient funds to provide a safe dismantling of the plant when it is ultimately decommissioned…..

6. If an accident were to occur, the experience from superstorm Sandy demonstrated that the evacuation plan would not work…..

Five steps N.J. can take to improve safety margins………http://www.app.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/05/01/oyster-creek-nuclear-reactor-decommissioning/26735703/

May 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

This week, report on burying nuclear waste near Lake Huron due this week

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-OReport on burying nuclear waste near Lake Huron expected this week http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/report-on-burying-nuclear-waste-near-lake-huron-expected-this-week-1.3059419 By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press Posted: May 03, 2015 A Canadian environmental assessment of a proposal to bury nuclear waste deep underground near the shores of Lake Huron is expected this week amid fierce opposition to the idea from home and abroad.

Ontario Power Generation argues that storing the radioactive material in a huge underground bunker set in rock — the deep geological repository or DGR — is the safest way to deal with waste that is potentially dangerous for centuries.

For decades, the waste has been stored above ground at the Bruce nuclear power plant near Kincardine, Ont., and OPG says it could continue doing so safely but says a long-term solution is needed.

The proposed facility would be about 680 metres deep and close to the Bruce reactors and house hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of what is considered to be low- and intermediate-level waste from facilities across Ontario.

Stable bedrock and shale would essentially seal the facility, protecting both the surface and nearby lake for thousands of years, proponents say.Very favourable geologic features make the Bruce site in Kincardine one of the best possible locations,” OPG states.

Opponents say proposal is dangerous

Opponents, however, argue no system is foolproof and any problems – especially with a facility about one kilometre from a major water source for millions of people – could be catastrophic.

While the municipality, where many jobs and the economy are closely tied to the power generator, is officially a “willing host community” for the repository, grassroots groups have sprung up in the area to give voice to those concerns.

One of them, Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, has collected almost 75,000 signatures on an online petition and is already pledging to keep fighting the plan if the review panel green-lights it.

Group spokeswoman, Bev Fernandez, argues the intermediate-level waste — components from within the reactors — is almost as dangerous as spent nuclear fuel for which authorities are also seeking a permanent storage solution.

“This Kincardine waste dump is really the Trojan horse,” Fernandez says. “There is absolutely nothing stopping OPG from putting the high-level waste, the nuclear spent fuel, into this (repository); all it would take is a stroke of the pen.”

U.S. senator opposes underground storage of nuclear waste

Opposition has also been heard much farther afield. More than 150 communities, many in Michigan and Illinois, have passed resolutions opposing such underground storage.

Earlier this month, for example, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate calling on the Canadian government to ban any nuclear waste repository within the Great Lakes basin.

“A spill of nuclear waste into the Great Lakes could have lasting and severely adverse environmental, health, and economic impacts,” the resolution states.

The report from the three-person review panel will go first to the federal minister of the environment before being made public, likely Wednesday or Thursday.

Still, a positive environmental assessment will hardly be the last word on the project.

The minister will have four months to study the report and recommendations before deciding whether to give Ottawa’s stamp of approval.

Also required will be consultations with area First Nations as well as further approvals before construction can begin — which OPG hopes will happen in 2018 — with operations slated for 2025 if all goes well.

“There have been numerous studies that have proven this repository will not put the lake at risk,” Jerry Keto, an OPG vice-president has said. “We’ve been examining this rock for a decade.”

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Cheap, efficient deep bore waste disposal would abort nuclear reprocessing

successfully developing deep-hole disposal techniques would be a great development for society

it could be devastating for next-generation nuclear developers attempting to utilize existing used nuclear fuel stockpiles

highly-recommendedWhy Sending Nuclear Waste to the Center of the Earth is Bad News for General Electric,Motley Fool  By Maxx Chatsko   April 30, 2015 “………the U.S. Department of Energy is set to experiment with a technique to dispose of nuclear wastes by drilling 3-mile boreholes into the Earth’s crust and then, well, dropping radioactive materials into their geological tombs. For good

Wastes-Deep-Borehole-Inject

………Fergus Gibb, the technique’s pioneer, told The Engineer that each bore hole, measuring roughly 3 miles deep and 2 feet wide, would cost just a few tens of millions of dollars to drill. …

Gibb said about six boreholes would be sufficient to store all of the United Kingdom’s existing high-level wastes and would take just five years to drill, fill, and seal. That last part is a bit trickier, although the processes have been studied, and solutions have been developed or are in the works. You can read the details on your own…..

Continue reading

May 2, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, reprocessing, wastes | Leave a comment

Highly hazardous clean-up begins, of Sellafield’s radioactive sludge

Radioactive Sludge Clear-Up At Sellafield, Sky News, 23 Apr 15 The radioactive waste held in a six-metre-deep pond dates back to the 1950s, and would fill 21 double decker buses. Work has begun to remove sludge from an old storage pond at one of the most hazardous nuclear plants in Europe, Sellafield in Cumbria.
sludge removal Sellafield

Around 1,500 cubic metres of radioactive material is being emptied from an area which was built to store nuclear fuel for recycling in the 1950s.

Sellafield’s reactor is being decommissioned but reprocessing continues

The storage vessels were brought to Sellafield in separate sections and welded together, before being carefully slid into a reinforced concrete building to safeguard against leaks.

But there is an added complication: the pond is full of large metal boxes of nuclear fuel which they will have to work around and make sure remain fully submerged at all times.

Andy Lindley, from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, said: “This is highly hazardous waste and its removal will take some years to complete….http://news.sky.com/story/1450799/radioactive-sludge-clear-up-at-sellafield

April 25, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Uranium effluent discharged into Malawi river by Australian company Paladin

Malawi: Paladin Starts Discharging Uranium Wastes Into Public Rivers, AllAfrica,  By Bishop Witmos Karonga April 23: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River.

uranium sludge to river Malawi

Paladin Africa Limited, a member of the Paladin Energy group of companies, suspended its operations at Kayelekera Mine in the district in May, 2014, due to unstable uranium prices at an international market. The project is now on care and maintenance.

Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established Paladin invited Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo, to a meeting in Lilongwe early April this year (2015),to brief them about the company’s recent decision.

Paladin Africa Acting General Manager in Malawi, Greg Walker, confirmed in a telephone interview that the company, indeed, started releasing the uranium wastes into the public rivers………

Sere River flows into North Rukuru River, then into Lake Malawi.

When asked why the company decided to brief Paramount Chief Kyungu and the Karonga DC about their action in Lilongwe instead of explaining it to the general populace of Karonga, Walker said the company conducted enough meetings with relevant authorities in the district……..

Despite the decision by Paladin to start discharging its effluent into the public water, some people in the district feet it would have been safer if the company had constructed another dam where the wastes would be transferred into.

Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Patrick Kishombe, said in an interview the plan to release the waste water from the storage dam into Sere River is raising fears amongst communities who feel the water is not fully treated and could be a health hazard.

“This, I believe, will lead into many hazards, like killing of fish in Lake Malawi and may also cause skin cancer to some people,” said Kishombe.

Uranium contains gamma rays, particles that cause skin cancer to human kind, according to experts.

In developed nations, mining companies construct a stable tank that stores all the wastes, ready for transportation to recommended disposal sites. ……http://allafrica.com/stories/201504231621.html

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, Malawi, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

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