The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Britain’s government broke promise not to build nuclear reactors until a waste solution found

Ill-founded hope The belief was always that science would find some way of neutralising the dangerous radioactivity, and then it could be buried as simply as any other rubbish. This hope has proved to be ill-founded.

text-wise-owlThe British government promised four years ago it would not build any more nuclear power stations until it had found a solution to this 50-year-old problem. But it has abandoned the promise

Still No Solution to Storage of High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste Paul Brown, Climate News Network | January 25, 2015 A private consortium formed to deal with Europe’s most difficult nuclear waste at a site in Britain’s beautiful Lake District has been sacked by the British government because not sufficient progress has been made in making it safe.

It is the latest setback for an industry that claims nuclear power is the low-carbon answer toclimate change, but has not yet found a safe resting place for radioactive rubbish it creates when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life.

Dealing with the waste stored at this one site at Sellafield—the largest of a dozen nuclear sites in Britain—already costs the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century.

Hundreds of people are employed to prevent the radioactivity leaking or overheating to cause a nuclear disaster, and the cost of dealing with the waste at this site alone has already risen to £70 billion.

Dangerous to humans

This extraordinary legacy of dangerous radioactive waste is present in every country that has adopted nuclear power as a form of electricity production, as well as those with nuclear weapons. No country has yet solved the problem of how to deal with waste that remains dangerous to humans for thousands of years. Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s toxic waste of money in attempting to clean up Sellafield’s toxic nuclear waste


Over-budget and behind schedule on numerous projects on what is, admittedly, one of the most hazardous nuclear detoxifications in history, this consortium had been remarkably fortunate to see its contract renewed in 2013. After it had regained its contract, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) even apologised to MPs for its dismal performance…..


At a price tag of nearly £80bn, the Sellafield deal is one of the most significant commercialisations of what, historically, would have been public sector work. Davey, who I think has otherwise emerged from Coalition as a quietly formidable secretary of state, must ask himself why he did not block the contract extension in 2013.

It was a poor call from a minister who has otherwise earned the compliment of being a safe pair of hands. While he should be congratulated for finally getting this right, the GMB is equally correct that NMP should not stay in place any longer.

Time, on this project in particular, is money – and we cannot allow taxpayer funds to be mishandled for another 15 months.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Too massively expensive to really think about – getting rid of the world’s old nuclear reactors

Getting Rid Of Old Nuclear Reactors Worldwide Is Going To Cost Way More Than People Think, Business Insider,  NINA CHESTNEYGEERT DE CLERCQ LONDON/PARIS (Reuters)  20 Jan 15 – German utility E.ON’s breakup has led to worries that funds set aside for decommissioning reactors will not suffice, but globally the cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain as estimates range widely.

As ageing first-generation reactors close, the true cost of decommissioning will be crucial for the future of the nuclear industry, already ailing following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and competition from cheap shale gas, falling oil prices and a flood of renewable energy from wind and solar.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said late last year that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $US100 billion.

But many experts view this figure as way too low, because it does not include the cost of nuclear waste disposal and long-term storage and because decommissioning costs – often a decade or more away – vary hugely per reactor and by country.


“Half a billion dollars per reactor for decommissioning is no doubt vastly underestimated,” said Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear energy consultant.

The IEA’s head of power generation analysis, Marco Baroni, said that even excluding waste disposal costs, the $US100 billion estimate was indicative, and that the final cost could be as much as twice as high. He added that decommissioning costs per reactor can vary by a factor of four.

Decommissioning costs vary according to reactor type and size, location, the proximity and availability of disposal facilities, the intended future use of the site, and the condition of the reactor at the time of decommissioning.

Although technology used for decommissioning might gradually become cheaper, the cost of final waste depositories is largely unknown and costs might spiral over time. Reactor lifespans are measured in decades, which means financing costs and provisions depend strongly on unpredictable interest rate levels.

“The IEA estimate is, without question, just a figure drawn out of the air. The reality is, the costs are quite phenomenal,” said Paul Dorfman  honorary senior research associate at the Energy Institute, University College London………

The IEA’s Baroni said the issue was not the exact cost per reactor.

“What matters is whether enough funds have been set aside to provide for it,” he said. (Additional reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt, Svetlana Burmistrova in Moscow, Scott DiSavino in New York and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Dale Hudson)


January 20, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Nations make (optimistic) guesses at the cost of getting rid of old nuclear reactors

Getting Rid Of Old Nuclear Reactors Worldwide Is Going To Cost Way More Than People Think Business Insider,  NINA CHESTNEYGEERT DE CLERCQ LONDON/PARIS (Reuters)  20 Jan 15 –”…….The U.S. Flag-USANuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that the cost of decommissioning in the United States – which has some 100 reactors – ranges from $US300 million to $US400 million per reactor, but some reactors might cost much more.

flag-franceFrance’s top public auditor and the nuclear safety authority estimate the country’s decommissioning costs at between 28 billion and 32 billion euros ($US32-37 billion).

flag_germanyGerman utilities – such as E.ON, which last month said it would split in two, spinning off power plants to focus on renewable energy and power grids – have put aside 36 billion euros..

flag-UKBritain’s bill for decommissioning and waste disposal is now estimated at 110 billion pounds ($US167 billion) over the next 100 years, double the 50 billion pound estimate made 10 years ago.

flag-japanJapanese government estimates put the decommissioning cost of the country’s 48 reactors at around $US30 billion, but this is seen as conservative. Russia has 33 reactors and costs are seen ranging from $US500 million to $US1 billion per reactor………

January 20, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Reference | Leave a comment

Plenty of work for nuclear clean-up firms

Flag-USAflag-japanU.S. nuclear cleanup specialist goes from Hanford to Fukushima LEDGER INQUIRER BY ROB HOTAKAINENMcClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 18, 2015 “……After working at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state for 12 years, he’s helping to lead the cleanup at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which melted down in March 2011……… it’s the work that drives him, using American technology to help the Japanese people deal with the catastrophe at Fukushima.

McCormick works for Kurion Inc., a company headquartered in Irvine, Calif., that focuses on managing nuclear and hazardous waste. The company built a mobile processing system that’s helping to remove radioactive strontium from 400,000 tons of contaminated water stored near the Fukushima Daiichi plant. McCormick said the company was the only U.S. firm to win a contract from the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is overseeing the entire cleanup project.


Choosing to do the initial work in a nuclear-free environment, Kurion designed and built the treatment system in Washington state’s Tri-Cities area and shipped it to Japan on a cargo plane. It arrived in July and began operating in October, after a series of tests.

“Our contract was to build it in America, using American nuclear standards that are equivalent to the Japanese standards,” McCormick said.

As McCormick does his work, he’s avoiding the public debate over whether Japan should restart some of the 48 nuclear plants that were shut down after the Fukushima disaster………

a recent poll found that most Japanese citizens want the plants to remain closed, fearing another catastrophe.

“We don’t even know the final disposal place of the Fukushima waste. We should discuss this after we decide where to dispose of the waste,” said Hatsuhiko Aoki, an artist from Gifu Prefecture. Yoshitaka Mukohara, the president of a publishing company and the secretary-general of the Anti-Nuclear Kagoshima Network, said the Abe administration was acting irresponsibly. “There are some places that are not decontaminated, but the government is sending people back,” Mukohara said. “What they are doing is acting like nothing ever happened.”

McCormick has no interest in weighing in on the controversy.

“It’s really a decision that the Japanese people have to make, in terms of how they get their energy,” McCormick said. “I’ve been focused on the cleanup.”

But McCormick said part of the work in Japan would involve building public support for the cleanup and convincing people that it was a long-term project.

It’s a skill he used at Hanford, lobbying Congress to include cleanup money in annual appropriation bills.

“The cleanup of Fukushima, if you compare it to Hanford, is on the same scale: tens of billions of dollars,” McCormick said. “And it’s going to take many decades to complete.”

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese government gives up its plan to begin transporting radioactive wastes to interim storage sites

wastesflag-japanUbe : Gov’t to postpone moving radioactive waste to interim storage sites–Govt-to-postpone-moving-radioactive-waste-to-interim-storage-sites-19704037/  18 Jan 1Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki said Friday the government has given up its plan to begin this month transporting radioactively contaminated soil and other waste, collected during decontamination work following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, to interim storage sites at nearby towns.

The government now aims to begin such transportation by March 11 this year on the fourth anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, Environment Ministry officials said.

The delay was due to difficulties obtaining agreement from residents near the interim storage sites and local municipalities, the officials said.

Under the government plan, the radioactively contaminated waste will be kept in the interim facilities in the towns of Futaba and Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture and will be permanently disposed of outside the prefecture within 30 years, as requested by the Fukushima prefectural government in accepting the storage.

The site for final disposal of the radioactive waste has yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, Reconstruction Minister Wataru Takeshita offered an apology over the delay.

In October 2011, the government led by then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda released the target to begin the delivery of contaminated waste to interim storage sites in January 2015.

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Idaho’s New Nuclear Waste Deal done in secret – “DONE IN THE DARK OF NIGHT.


Democrat Andrus sat aside former Republican Governor Phil Batt, at the Andrus Center for Public Policy on Thursday morning, and both were clearly upset and appalled that Otter would break Batt’s 1995 landmark agreement, forbidding any more nuclear waste to come into Idaho.

“Neither one of us have any intention of letting this decision by two of the elected officials in the state of Idaho (Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden) come to pass,” Andrus said.

Both the governors spent large amounts of their terms stopping the importation of spent nuclear fuel into Idaho. Batt produced the 1995 Agreement, which was then ratified by more than 60 percent of Idaho voters.

“It’s not my agreement, it’s Idaho’s agreement,” Batt said.

But in spite of that 1995 pact,  Otter and Wasden have agreed to receive 50 spent nuclear rods, each weighting 1,500 pounds, for a total of 37.5 tons of nuclear waste, according to Andrus. The letter between Wasden and the Department of Energy states that the nuclear waste will be used for “research purposes.”

Batt doesn’t buy that. He wrote a letter to Otter on Jan. 12, criticizing Otter’s decision and reprimanding him for going ahead with it without consulting Batt or Andrus.

The danger of the waste accumulating at the Idaho National Laboratory, Batt said, is the risk it poses for the Snake River Aquifer, directly under the repository site.

“If there was contamination in that water,” Batt said, “it would cause our potato industry to fold up. It would cause fish farms to fold up in Magic Valley. It would create all kind of problems with municipal water.” “It could gain $10 million in revenue, but that isn’t one tenth of one percent of what you’re gambling against if any of that waste gets lose in the aquifer,” Andrus added……….

Andrus and Batt’s greatest fear with Otter’s decision is that Idaho will be stuck with the nuclear waste forever, and turn the state into the nuclear waste repository for America—and without any input from Idahoans.

“If this was so important to the state of Idaho and how we were going to gain from it, why didn’t he mention it in his State of the State address?” Andrus said. “I’ll tell you why, it’s because he didn’t want the people to know what they’d done in the dark of night in secrecy, in breaking this agreement and letting new waste come into the state of Idaho. It’s a travesty,”………..

January 16, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan’s electricity consumers to pay half the $180+ cost of dismantling each nuclear reactor

nuke-reactor-deadflag-japanJapanese electric power consumers to share NPP dismantling costs  It costs at least $180 million to decommission one reactor TOKYO, January 14. /TASS/. The costs of dismantling of outdated or unsafe nuclear power plants in Japan will be equally shared by the country’s electric power consumers, a working group of the economy, trade and industry ministry said on Wednesday………The government said nuclear power plants will be decommissioned when their authorized 40-year lifespans expire. Some 5 reactors are expected to be dismantled and the plans will be officially announced next month.

The loss due to decommissioning of one reactor is estimated at least at $180 million. Such expenses could deal a serious economic blow to private companies, which own the power reactors, and weaken the country’s economy in general.

Japan’s energy companies have submitted applications for another 19 reactors to resume their operations, but the process has been slowed down by safety checks and paperwork…….

January 16, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

UK’s Sellafield clean-up mess: Amec, Areva and URS stripped of £20bn contract

money-in-nuclear--wastesflag-UKSellafield nuclear clean-up firms to be stripped of £20bn contract, Telegraph UK  Management of Britain’s most toxic nuclear waste site expected to be taken back into state hands as heavily-criticised consortium of Amec, Areva and URS is stripped of its contract By , Energy Editor 12 Jan 2015 Nuclear waste clean-up operations at Sellafield are expected to be taken back into state hands, as the private consortium managing the Cumbrian site is stripped of its £20bn contract.

The Government’s decision to axe Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), comprised of Britain’s Amec, France’s Areva and America’s URS, is expected to be formally announced on Tuesday, six years into a 17-year contract to work on decommissioning the site.

Ministers surprised many by shying away from an opportunity to cancel NMP’s contract at a formal “break point” last year, despite criticism of the consortium by the National Audit Office (NAO) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over a series of failings.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had said it was considering taking the management of Sellafield back into state hands, an option that would have required ministerial approval.

However, there were doubts about how state management of the nuclear site, the UK’s biggest and most hazardous, would work in practice. It is thought a plan has now been drawn up and the NDA will exercise its right to terminate NMP’s contract “for convenience” with 12 months’ notice.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed only that the NDA and Government had been working on “alternative options at Sellafield”……..

the costs of the clean-up have since spiralled and annual spending at the site last year was £1.8bn, implying the remaining 11 years of the contract would be worth £20bn.

NMP earns tens of millions of pounds each year for managing the multi-billion pound operations.

Lifetime costs for decommissioning Sellafield, which is likely to take more than 100 years, were last year estimated to have risen to in excess of £79bn, but the NDA warned at the time that the total would rise further.

The NAO and PAC both criticised delays and cost overruns in NMP’s management Sellafield, where failings also included accidentally sending radioactive waste to a landfill site, resulting in a £700,000 fine………

January 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Cumbria’s call for clean-up of Sellafield’s ‘Legacy’ spent nuclear fuel ponds

text-radiation Sellafield Ltd’s announcement of two ‘unusual finds’ on West Cumbrian beaches in May and June 2014 (the discovery attributed to the new Groundhog Synergy 2 monitoring system introduced in May) should be ringing public health alarms in the corridors of those tasked to protect beach users from the radioactive materials routinely washed up on local beaches from Sellafield’s historic discharges to the Irish Sea.
Whilst the discovery of a radioactive stone in May – bearing the highest level of Caesium 137 yet discovered in over a
decade of local beach monitoring – is of grave concern, the subsequent discovery in June of a radioactive particle discovered on the more publicly accessible beach at Seascale requires immediate action to be taken by the Authorities to protect the general public.
highly-recommendedflag-UKSellafield Catch Up 2015  nuClear News Jan 15  Eddie Martin of the Cumbria Trust wrote to Stephen Henwood chair of the NDA in November about the spent fuel ponds. He said, given that the Sellafield “Legacy Ponds” are over 60 yearsold, contain significant amounts of spent Magnox nuclear fuel and other radioactively
contaminated nuclear waste items, are covered with water for cooling purposes, were originally
pronounced, in the mid 1970’s as for “short term storage until it can be reprocessed”, are open to
the elements, known to be leaking into the ground and, in the case of B30, are located within
150m of the River Calder, we would be obliged if the NDA would state what action it is taking
Prevent transfer of radioactive contamination, by birds or other creatures that may have
access to the open contents of such ponds, to members of the public and/or property,
outside the boundary of the nuclear licensed site.
 Prevent leakage, through the ground surrounding these old and known -to-have-leaked,
ponds, to areas outside the nuclear licensed site and, specifically, into the River Calder.
 Recover the contents of these ponds for assay and assessment of their nuclear and
radioactive status.
 Commence reprocessing of appropriate items of the recovered Magnox fuel
 Compact, encapsulate or vitrify, as appropriate, and the safe storage, of the contents of
these ponds.
 Decommission, demolish and safely dispose of the existing outdated and insecure pond
buildings, structures and equipment. (15)
In response Stephen Henwood said “we categorically refute the suggestion … that insufficient
attention or resources are being put into addressing this national priority which we inherited in
2005. Whilst we cannot turn the clock back to decisions that were made or not made in the past
and which have left us with the challenges we now face, we are determined to be the people that
resolve those challenges.” (16)

Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Money mess in escalating costs of dismantling Michigan nuclear facility

Exelon: Company dismantling Zion nuclear plant is running out of money By Julie Wernau Chicago Tribune, 9 Jan 12 contact the reporter The company dismantling the closed Zion nuclear plant on Lake Michigan is running out of money to finish the job, according to the site’s owner, Chicago-based Exelon.

The project, paid for with $800 million collected from state electric ratepayers over decades, is being closely watched by nuclear plant owners around the country who hope to replicate the arrangement. It was the first time regulators allowed a nuclear power plant owner to transfer a plant’s operating license and liabilities to a third-party decommissioner.

Utah-based EnergySolutions, the company dismantling Zion, wants to become the go-to decommissioner around the world. In the U.S., about 6 percent of nuclear plants face possible closing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


In Illinois, the Zion dismantling has taken on added significance as Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, has said three of its six nuclear plants in the state could be closed. ………. Continue reading

January 12, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The world’s first lump of plutonium – lost and found

How The First Lump Of Plutonium Made On Earth Got Lost finally found it again — thankfullybefore it got thrown out as radioactive waste.

This precious lump of plutonium dates back to 1941. Plutonium doesn’t exist naturally on Earth, except in trace amounts. So to study plutonium, scientists first had to make it. Berkeley physicist Glenn Seaborg got access to a newly built cyclotron, where he and his collaborators bombarded uranium with neutrons. The material then decays into the new element of plutonium.

After a year, they had enough plutonium for the first sample large enough to weigh. It was all of 2.77 micrograms.

Seaborg would go on to win a Nobel Prize for his discovery of plutonium and other transuranium elements. The room where he did his work in Gilman Hall has since become a US National Historic Landmark. That historic sample was converted into plutonium oxide and placed in a glass tube, where it was put on display in Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science.

In the late 2000s, however, Berkeley began to worry about the dangers putting the plutonium on display. The sample was removed and put away — except no one really knew where. Some time later, a box labelled “First sample of Pu weighed” was found at the Berkeley’s Hazardous Material Facility, a waystation for hazardous waste. Thankfully, a knowledgable eye saw it and discerned its historical value.

The label’s claim was promising, but how could we prove that this was actually Seaborg’s sample? With science, of course. The Physics ArXiv Blog explains:

It turns out that plutonium created in a cyclotron is very different from most plutonium, which is created inside nuclear reactors and then separated from spent nuclear fuel. That’s because this stuff always contains another isotope, plutonium-241.

This is a half-life of just over 14 years and decays into americium-241. So samples of plutonium from nuclear reactors, always contain americium-241 in amounts that grow over time. What’s more, Am-241 in turn decays producing gamma rays with an energy of 59 kiloelectron volts.

Eric Norman’s lab at Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering monitored the sample for gamma rays with an energy of 59 kiloelectron volts. They didn’t find any, meaning the sample was most likely created in a cyclotron like Seaborg’s. In addition, the mass matches up. The evidence all points toward this being the missing plutonium.

Now that Seaborg’s sample has been recovered, there’s talk of putting it back on display in his former office in Gilman Hall — perhaps a more fitting place than the trash bin. [The Physics ArXiv Blog]

January 10, 2015 Posted by | - plutonium, history | Leave a comment

USS Calhoun County and the dumping at sea of atomic waste

“Nuclear Waste Dumping Diary.”

Jan. 20 1957: “371 tons atomic waste.”

Feb. 7, 1957: “368 tons atom waste.”

Nov. 13, 1957: “299 (tons) poison gas (and) A.W.”

One of Albernaz’s last entries was on June 12, 1958: “200 tons. Spec. weapons,” or special weapons. That was the day, Albernaz later told his wife, that he helped dispose of an atomic bomb.

none of the men who served on theCalhoun County are eligible for automatic VA benefits for radiation illnesses because they did not participate in underwater or atmospheric atomic tests and related activities, the government says.

Thus, the crewmen do not meet their country’s definition of “Atomic Veteran.”

USS Calhoun County sailors dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into ocean, Tampa Bay Times , 20 Dec 2013  William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer  They asked the dying Pasco County man about his Navy service a half-century before. He kept talking about the steel barrels. They haunted him, sea monsters plaguing an old sailor.

“We turned off all the lights,” George Albernaz testified at a 2005 Department of Veterans Affairs hearing, “and … pretend that we were broken down and … we would take these barrels and having only steel-toed shoes … no protection gear, and proceed to roll these barrels into the ocean, 300 barrels at a trip.”


Not all of them sank. A few pushed back against the frothing ocean, bobbing in the waves like a drowning man. Then shots would ring out from a sailor with a rifle at the fantail. And the sea would claim the bullet-riddled drum.

Back inside the ship, Albernaz marked in his diary what the sailors dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. He knew he wasn’t supposed to keep such a record, but it was important to Albernaz that people know he had spoken the truth, even when the truth sounded crazy.

For up to 15 years after World War II, the crew of Albernaz’s ship, the USS Calhoun County, dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the Atlantic Ocean, often without heeding the simplest health precautions, according to Navy documents and Tampa Bay Times interviews with more than 50 former crewmen………. Continue reading

January 7, 2015 Posted by | history, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Entergy can’t afford, for decades, to dismantle Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Begins Slow Process of Closing, NYT  By JAN. 4, 2015 “………..The Entergy Corporation, a Louisiana-based energy company that operates nuclear plants around the country, purchased Vermont Yankee in 2002. The plant had withstood opposition from activists since it opened, but from 2007 to 2010, the collapse of a cooling tower, radioactive tritium leaks and misstatements from plant executives that had preceded them further eroded public confidence in the company.

State legislators tried to close the plant, but a judge ruled in 2012 that they could not. Shortly after that decision was upheld, in August 2013, Entergy announced it would nevertheless close the plant, citing economics.

“It became pretty clear that we could not, this would not be a financially viable resource going forward,” said Bill Mohl, the president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, which owns the plant, last week. He cited the plant’s small size, the low cost of natural gas for producing electricity and other issues with the market.

 He said it was not politics, although many who live here believe that the political environment made it harder to operate the plant.

“This plant, this area, ranks right up there with the highest antinuke sentiment across the entire country,” said Mr. Farabaugh, who worked in five other plants around the nation before coming to Vermont Yankee.

nuke-reactor-deadEntergy projects it will cost $1.2 billion to decommission Vermont Yankee, but its trust fund has about half of that, so the full dismantling of the plant will not begin for decades. Meanwhile, the operators will turn to the mammoth task of cooling, storing and securing the spent fuel there.

Federal law requires the government to develop a long-term storage facility for nuclear waste, but there is currently no plan in place. So the spent fuel at Vermont Yankee, like at closed nuclear facilities around the country, will stay on site, and officials say it will be safe.

The prospect of the plant’s future as a nuclear storage facility worries many of the area’s activists, like Clay Turnbull, the president of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, which is based in Brattleboro.

“It’s good that they’re not splitting atoms now, that’s very good, but we have 42 years of high-level waste that is far more dangerous if it were released to the environment than what would be in the reactor,” Mr. Turnbull said

January 7, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Enormous risk in France’s plan for nuclear garbage tip near the town Bure.

wastes-1flag-francehighly-recommendedNuclear Waste on the Aquifer Nuclear free by 2045? by Professor Canardeau translation of Des déchets (nucléaires) sur la nappe Le Canard enchaîné December 2014

A huge pocket of warm water exists beneath what is supposed to be France’s largest nuclear garbage pit, located near the town Bure. This site is destined to store, for at least 100,000 years, the most dangerous high-level waste that has accumulated since France built its first reactor. 125 meters tall, 30 kilometers wide and dozens of kilometers long, this reserve of warm water could sooner or later be used to produce heat or energy. The water is a comfortable 66 degrees, but it is found at a depth of 1,800 meters, while the nuclear waste is to be buried above it at a depth of 500 meters.

On January 5, 2015, the agency for the management of radioactive waste (ANDRA) will find itself on trial in high court in Nanterre for having divulged false information concerning the supposed absence of concern about significant underground water tables at the site in Bure. The citizen groups Sortir du nucléaireand Stop Bure 55, and Mirabel Lorraine Nature Environnement have brought the charges.

Some background: The fundamental rules related to deep geological disposal of nuclear waste, established in 1991 and still in force, clearly state that sites should not involve significant concerns about geothermal sources or build-up of heat. But in 2002, the geophysicist André Mourot (now deceased) was going through the archives at the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research in Nancy, Reims, and he discovered the existence of this aquifer, and he realized its significance as a source of energy. The geologist Antoine Godinot remembers that André Mourot wrote a report and distributed it to all interested groups. Next, they demanded that ANDRA conduct testing to learn fully about the aquifer.

ANDRA made no response until 2008. “What a disaster, this drilling and testing,” laughed the nuclear physicist Monique Sené. “The probe got stuck. They couldn’t even reach the aquifer.”

This fiasco didn’t stop ANDRA from declaring in 2009 that the geothermic source is negligible. Since then it has stuck to this position. To the malcontents it accuses of spreading this information about a geothermic potential, it responds, “The studies done by ANDRA concern whether there is an exceptional geothermic resource.” For ANDRA, as far as Bure is concerned, there is “no geothermic resource of exceptional interest.” Everything hinges on what is understood by “exceptional.”

Tada! At the end of 2013, at the request of the local information committee tracking the Bure laboratory (composed of representatives of the State, local collectives, and civil society groups), a Swiss group called Geowatt, specializing in geothermic energy resources, produced a report that stated, “We are of the opinion that the geothermic resources of the Bure region could at present be developed at an economical cost with the use of appropriate technology. The nail in the coffin was the additional comment stating, “The burial of nuclear waste prevents access to the geothermic resource.”

The physicist Bernard Laponche points out, “If we build this project at this site, we are going to impose enormous risks on future generations, and for sure one day people will want to exploit this geothermic energy, but they will stumble upon the nuclear waste that is blocking access to it. ”

Perhaps ANDRA will be able to leave their contact information for future generations to get in touch.


January 3, 2015 Posted by | France, wastes | 1 Comment


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