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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan’s very problematic law on removing nuclear waste for Fukushima Prefecture

Diet passes legislation to remove nuclear waste from Fukushima in 30 years http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411200041 November 20, 2014 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

wastes-Fukushima-for-incineThe Diet passed a bill Nov. 19 mandating that radioactive soil and debris from the Fukushima decontamination work be moved outside the prefecture within 30 years, a step toward building interim storage facilities for the waste.

The law amendment was one of the five conditions set in September when the Fukushima prefectural government agreed to accept interim facilities to store contaminated waste collected during cleanup efforts around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki praised the legislation as a “major step forward.” However, hurdles remain high for the interim facilities–planned in Okuma and Futaba near the nuclear plant–to start accepting the waste in January as scheduled.

The bill amends a law regulating operations of the government-affiliated Japan Environmental Safety Corp. (JESCO), which is commissioned to dispose of used polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).

The revised law stipulates the government will take necessary measures to remove waste from the prefecture for final disposal within 30 years after the interim facilities start operations. It also holds the government responsible for running the interim waste storage facilities and commissions JESCO to operate them.

Among the other conditions set by Fukushima Prefecture, the central government has agreed to earmark construction-related subsidies in its budget and take charge of the operation and maintenance of traffic routes for carrying in the waste.

One big problem for the government, however, is purchasing land for the facilities. The planned construction zone stretches 16 square kilometers, comprising 2,365 land plots belonging to individual owners.

As of the end of September, the government has located the whereabouts of only 1,269 landowners, partly because they live outside their properties as evacuees.

The government first plans to create temporary storage sites on individual land plots it purchases to start accepting radioactive waste there as early as possible. But it has not reached a purchase or lease agreement with a single landowner.

Taking into account this stumbling block, reconstruction minister Wataru Takeshita said Nov. 7 that the government’s plan to open the interim storage facilities in January will likely be pushed back.

(This article was written by Teru Okumura and Takuro Negishi.)

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant contains volatile materials – “potential bombs”

exclamation-Flag-USA“Patented explosives” reported inside plutonium waste drums at US nuclear facility — TV: So volatile, experts comparing it to ‘bomb’ — Official: I’m appalled we weren’t told about real and present danger — Over 5,000 drums a threat — Invisible reactions may have already occurred (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/investigation-patented-explosives-drums-plutonium-waste-nuclear-facility-tv-volatile-experts-calling-potential-bomb-5000-drums-threat-invisible-reactions-occurred-other-containters-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Sante Fe New Mexican, Nov. 15, 2014 (emphasis added): The combination [of neutralizer and wheat-based organic litter] turned the waste into a potential bomb that one lab chemist later characterized as akin to plastic explosives, according to a six-month investigation by The New Mexican. [Los Alamos National Lab] then shipped [the waste] to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant… Feb. 14… the drum’s lid cracked open… Temperatures in the underground chamber soared to 1,600 degrees, threatening dozens of nearby drums… Documents and internal emails show… officials downplayed the dangers… and withheld critical information.

Patented Explosives

  • LANL chemist Steve Clemmons [found] the drum’s contents match the makeup of patented plastic, water-gel and slurry explosives… “All of the required components included in the patent claims would be present,” Clemmons wrote… “I am appalled that LANL didn’t provide us this information!” [wrote DOE official Dana Bryson]… On May 27, when they learned of the memo about patented explosives… WIPP abandoned plans for the next day to sample the area where the breach occurred, fearing it was too dangerous. “In a phone call withLANL, they indicated that there is a possibility that any sampling of the kitty litter/drum contents could cause another event,” [wrote] David Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership’s chief nuclear engineer… “We have a formal letter on LANL letterhead implying there is a real and present danger in the WIPP underground,” Bryson wrote.

Up to 55 more drums of waste ‘destabilized ‘

  • The intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste [near the one that ruptured], calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst. “[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures… is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”

Over 5,000 more waste drums a threat

  • LANL began treating waste with assorted varieties of organic kitty litter as early as Sept. 2012spawning thousands of drums of waste that hold the same organic threat… [It] may have been mixed in up to 5,565 containers of waste at LANL.

LANL (pg. 21 of pdf): [The team] evaluated the effect of a heat generating event on the adjacent waste containers [that] could have chemically or physically changed the waste and introduced a reaction hazard. Unreacted drums of nitrate salt waste stream… continue to pose a potential reaction hazard… Reactions may have occurred within some of these drums at levels insufficient to lead to detectable visible evidence.

KOB, Nov. 16, 2014: Nuclear waste so volatile, it’s been called a potential bomb by experts… Greg Mello, former nuclear waste inspector for LANL: “The drum in question was basically kind of a time bomb.”… [A WIPP] assessment… estimates over 5,000 drums of waste may contain the volatile organic kitty litter that caused the one drum to split open.

Watch the broadcast here

November 19, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief warns that Commission is not geared for needs of decommissioning

Macfarlane, AllisonNuclear Agency Rules Are Ill-Suited for Plant Decommissioning, Leader Says NYT By NOV. 17, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rules are not geared for supervising the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, the task that will occupy much of its time in the coming years, the head of the agency, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Monday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in a wide-ranging look at her agency and the industry before she leaves the job at the end of the year, Dr. Macfarlane said the industry had instead set itself up about 15 years ago to oversee more reactor construction, a revival that did not occur. “The industry was really expecting to expand,” she said. “The agency’s not facing the future that five years ago people envisioned.”

Instead, a plunging price of natural gas and slack demand for electricity have made some existing plants uncompetitive, and the pace of retirements has been high. But the commission’s rules on areas like security and emergency planning are geared to operating plants, she said. So shut-down plants are applying for exemptions to the rules that no longer seem to fit the risk that the reactors pose when decommissioned.

As with nuclear waste, the commission’s rules on reactors seem more focused on construction and operation than on the “back end,” said Dr. Macfarlane, a geologist who is returning to academia.

Decommissioning

In her comments, Dr. Macfarlane said that the future of a proposed nuclear waste repository near Las Vegas, blocked for years by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as majority leader, was still far from assured, despite the coming change of party control in the Senate. The commission’s job would be to rule on whether the repository should be licensed, but it could never approve a license without “a willing applicant,” she said.

That applicant would be the Department of Energy, which dropped work on the project after a campaign promise by Barack Obama when he ran for president the first time.

To resume work on the proposed repository, at Yucca Mountain, the Energy Department and the commission would need a new appropriation, she said. And at the time work was stopped, in 2010, “there were more than 300 contentions challenging the application,” she said. Each must be argued before a panel of administrative law judges.

And even then, she noted, Yucca Mountain would not be big enough for all the waste.

In light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 in Japan, Dr. Macfarlane said that the commission should consider new rules on some reactors whose design does not resemble the ones that melted down in Japan. The commission has required older plants of the General Electric design to improve their systems for venting gases in an emergency, but perhaps other models should have to do the same, she said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/us/nuclear-agency-rules-are-ill-suited-for-plant-decommissioning-leader-says.html?_r=0

November 19, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Government Accountability Office wants public input into decisions on nuclear waste


text-wise-owl

wastes-1Flag-USAGAO: Nuclear Waste Issue Requires Public Buy-in http://blogs.rollcall.com/energy-xtra/gao-nuclear-waste-issue-requires-public-buy-in/?dcz= By Randy Leonard Nov. 13, 2014 In response to a request from House Republicans, the Government Accountability Office looked into the challenges of the Energy Department’s handling of spent nuclear fuel – which without a central or interim waste storage facilities has been piling up at reactors in 33 states. The office concluded that no matter which path the administration and Congress take, the department needed to conduct a public outreach program.

“Without a better understanding of spent nuclear fuel management issues, the public may be unlikely to support any policy decisions about managing spent nuclear fuel,” the GAO wrote.

The administration in 2010 stalled plans for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, though a court order last year and Republican control of the Senate will likely meansome further action toward developing the site.

But even proponents of Yucca like Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., say that an alternative strategy and facility are needed to process all the waste being generated. He has signed on to a bill that would set up a new administration for handling nuclear waste.

“Officials noted that the department’s strategy cannot be fully implemented until Congress provides direction on a new path forward,” GAO wrote. “However, experts and stakeholders believe that one key challenge – building and sustaining public acceptance of how to manage spent nuclear fuel – will need to be addressed irrespective of which path Congress agrees to take. In this context, they suggested the need for a coordinated public outreach strategy regarding spent nuclear fuel management issues, including perceived risks and benefits, which would be consistent with the administration’s directive to be more transparent and collaborative.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Even the pro nukes know that burying dead nuclear reactors is a growing and massively costly problem

World Energy Outlook Warns Nuclear Industry On Decommissioning And Disposal 12 Nov (NucNet): The nuclear energy industry needs to be ready to manage “an unprecedented rate” of decommissioning with almost 200 of the 434 reactors that were operating commercially at the end of 2013 to be retired by 2040, a report by the International Energy Agency says. World Energy Outlook 2014 (WEO), released today in London, says “the vast majority” of these reactor retirements will be in the European Union, the US, Russia and Japan. … The IEA estimates the cost of decommissioning plants that are retired to be more than $100 billion.

Decommissioning

But WEO warns that “considerable uncertainties” remain about these costs, reflecting the relatively limited experience to date in dismantling and decontaminating reactors and restoring sites for other uses.
Regulators and utilities need to continue to ensure that adequate funds are set aside to cover these future expenses, WEO says.
It also warns that all countries which have ever had nuclear generation facilities have an obligation to develop solutions for long-term storage.
In one scenario examined in WEO, the cumulative amount of spent nuclear fuel that has been generated (a significant portion of which becomes high-level radioactive waste) more than doubles, reaching 705,000 tonnes in 2040.

Today – 60 years since the first nuclear reactor started operating – no country has yet established permanent facilities for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste from commercial reactors, which continues to build up in temporary storage, WEO says..

November 15, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

An alliance of German activist groups wants to stop nuclear waste export to the USA

Protest-No!flag_germanyfrom Diet Simon,  13 Nov 14  An alliance of German environment activists plans to prevent the export of CASTOR containers with highly radioactive fuel pebbles to the USA from Jülich and Ahaus.

When the supervisory board of the Jülich research centre meets on 19 November to discuss what to do with the CASTORS there, activists will mount a protest outside.

The activists argue that several expertises show that the thought-about exports of highly radioactive materials to South Carolina would be illegal. They say government plans to produce legality by simply relabeling the commercially operated Jülich reactor an experimental one won’t work.

“The AVR reactor is without a doubt an output reactor and is listed that way by the Federal Agency for Radiation Protection. That brings it under the law changed last summer which bans the export of radioactive fuel elements and requires the safest possible storage in Germany,” suggests Rainer Moormann, who used to work in the power station and the research centre.

Peter Bastian of the SOFA Münster group emphasises the aspect of societal responsibility: “Though the operators of atomic facilities try to shirk their responsibility for highly radioactive waste, exporting the radiating problems abroad is no solution in our view. An out of sight, out of mind strategy that makes innocent third parties suffer is unacceptable for the disposal of our atomic waste.“

Kerstin Ciesla, of BUND, the German section of Friends of the Earth, demands that the coalition parties in the North-Rhine Westphalian state government, Social Democrats and Greens, keep to their coalition agreement. “That stipulates that the CASTORS, especially those stored in Jülich, will be transported only one more time, and that is to a final repository once a location has been found for one. We will not sit back and watch the coalition agreement being broken, we will try to stop this transport with all the means we can muster.”

The catchcry of the anti-nuclear movement, “Nothing in, nothing out!“ is the basic tenet of the new alliance, currently comprising 13 groups, with more likely to come on board.

At the end of September a tour through Germany with Tom Clements, a South Carolina environmental activist and politician, who heads the Savannah River Site Watch, kicked off the joint activism. The alliance plans to build on that success and decided on continuous cooperation.

The following organisations have joined the alliance:

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia’s underwater nuclear graveyard- the danger in the Arctic

Sunken Soviet Submarines Threaten Nuclear Catastrophe in Russia’s Arctic, Moscow Times. by Matthew Bodner Nov. 13 2014 While Russia’s nuclear bombers have recently set the West abuzz by probing NATO’s air defenses, a far more certain danger currently lurks beneath the frigid Arctic waters off Russia’s northern coast — a toxic boneyard for Soviet nuclear ships and reactors whose containment systems are gradually wearing out.

Left to decay at the bottom of the ocean, the world is facing a worst case scenario described as “an Arctic underwater Chernobyl, played out in slow motion,” according to Thomas Nilsen, an editor at the Barents Observer newspaper and a member of a Norwegian watchdog group that monitors the situation.

Map-Russian-Arctic-sunken-n

According to a joint Russian-Norwegian report issued in 2012, there are 17,000 containers of nuclear waste, 19 rusting Soviet nuclear ships and 14 nuclear reactors cut out of atomic vessels at the bottom of the Kara Sea.

For extra historical details see: Soviet Nuclear Submarine Wrecks at Bottom of Arctic Ocean (Video) Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | oceans, Russia, safety, wastes | Leave a comment

West Chicago needs $millions to carry out radioactive thorium cleanup

wastes-1Lawmakers press for more thorium cleanup money Daily Herald, Robert Sanchez 21 Oct 14 With money running out to pay for removal of radioactive thorium waste at a former factory site in West Chicago, local officials are appealing to the federal government for help….So far, their request for as much as $40 million in federal funding for the cleanup hasn’t been granted……..

n July, the U.S. House approved legislation that provides $20 million to reimburse work at cleanup projects nationwide. Nearly $6 million of that money could be used in West Chicago.

But the Senate hasn’t approved the measure. It’s proposing legislation that would cut the funding amount to $10 million……

While the roughly 60-acre property is vacant, it used to house a factory that produced radioactive rare earth elements such as thorium for federal atomic energy and defense programs, dating to World War II.

The process created a sandlike material that the factory made available to residents for landscaping and building projects. In addition, a storm sewer from the factory site carried thorium to nearby Kress Creek and the West Branch of the DuPage River.

Then it was determined that thorium causes an increase in cancer.

Kerr-McGee, which bought the factory in 1967, started a massive cleanup to remove thorium from the waterways, hundreds of individual residential properties, Reed-Keppler Park and a wastewater treatment plant.

But after officials spent decades and roughly $1.2 billion cleaning area sites polluted with radioactive thorium waste, the environmental response trust overseeing the work doesn’t have enough money to finish the cleanup of the factory property. Two areas within the fenced site remain contaminated.,…….http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141021/news/141029730/

November 8, 2014 Posted by | wastes | Leave a comment

Thorium reactors have very little relevance to strategies for dealing with nuclear waste

Thorium-pie-in-skyThorium nuclear reactors are unlikely to take over from uranium ones, and are considered irrelevant to strategies to deal with nuclear wastes ,The Engineer finds 27 October 2014 “……..The Cambridge research will explore the pros and cons of different fuel combinations, including thorium, plutonium and the main material the designers are focusing on, uranium silicide, which is more power dense and so more cost-effective than the uranium oxide currently used.

Parks said that because the I2S is an evolution of existing light water reactor designs it could be brought to market more quickly than other reactors proposed for use with a thorium fuel-cycle, suggesting it could even be deployed within a decade and be installed in old nuclear power stations such as Sizewell B.

However, he also admitted that with current uranium stocks there was no major economic necessity to move to a thorium fuel-cycle at the moment and that such a transition would only happen if the government committed to thorium through a long-term flagship research project.

A paper published by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory in March 2012 found that ‘the thorium fuel cycle at best has only limited relevance to the UK as an alternative plutonium disposition strategy and as a possible strategic option in the very long term,’ and recommended ‘a low level of engagement in thorium fuel cycle R&D’.”

November 8, 2014 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

20 years, $4.5 billion minimum to get rid of San Onofre nuclear power plant

nuclear-plant-San-OnofreShutting down San Onofre to take 20 years, cost $4.4B, NRC says http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/10/28/shutting-down-san-onofre-to-take-20-years-cost-4-4b-nrc-says/ , OCTOBER 28, 2014, BY   SAN DIEGO- IT WILL TAKE 20 YEARS AND COST $4.4 BILLION TO DECOMMISSION THE SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR POWER STATION, REGULATORS SAY.

Activists and residents peppered the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday with pointed questions about the decommissioning process. “How can you tell us a price when you can’t even tell us how long the waste will be there,” asked a woman at the meeting.

San Clemente resident Rochelle Becker said she thinks the process will end up costing much more than the commission’s estimate.

“The NRC has never met a budget. Why in the world should they now?” Becker asked rhetorically.

While the commission estimated that it would take 20 years to decommission the reactor, that doesn’t include removing the plant’s spent nuclear fuel rods. The spent nuclear waste will remain on the property for up to 100 years, under the current plan.

There is no federal nuclear waste storage site, so every nuclear reactor faces the same problem. At the end of their life cycle, nuclear power plant will become nuclear waste storage sites until that changes, according to the commission.

October 29, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

German govt sets up commission to seek solution to nuclear waste disposal

wastes-Gorleben-salt-mineflag_germanyWhere Shall We Store Our Radioactive Waste? Red Baron’s Blog, 18 Oct 14, From September 20 to 22, 2014 the Deutsch-Schweizer Fachverband für Strahlenschutz (Swiss-German Radiation Protection Association) held a symposium in Mainz dealing with the topic: Zwischenlager – Dauerlager – Endlager: Wohin mit unserem radioaktiven Abfall? (Intermediate, permanent and final storage: Where shall we store our radioactive waste?)

……….. the question is where can we find places to safely store material still presenting a hazard in more than 100,000 years? Such a choice not only needs our consent but that of future generations too. Germans stoke their Angst and trust their Bauchgefühl (gut feeling) so it will be difficult to reach the same general consent on a repository as in the case of the entry in and exit out of nuclear power.

The Federal Government has set up a commission of 33 persons to deal with the deposition of highly-radioactive waste according to the Standortauswahlgesetz(Law for selecting a site). The German government called scientists, members of environmental associations, representatives of the Churches!!, economy, trade unions, members of parliament and state governments into the commission to find a consensus on a site until December 31, 2015. In their initial sessions the members of the commission lost their time on points of order; so I doubt that they will meet the deadline set by the government…….http://mhoefert.blogspot.com.au/

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

At least 4 years to scrap nuclear reactor barge

NUCLEAR-REACTOR SHIP HEADED TO GALVESTON TO BE SCRAPPED Kristi Nix, The Pasadena CitizenMonday, October 20, 2014 GALVESTON, TX –

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently announced plans to tow a World War II-era Liberty ship converted to a barge-mounted nuclear reactor to Galveston from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to be scrapped. The barge is expected to arrive at the Malin International Shipyard in mid-December……..The entire process is expected to less than four years, but the details of the scrapping operation once the USS Sturgis arrives in Galveston have not been finalized, officials said. http://abc13.com/news/nuclear-reactor-ship-headed-to-galveston-to-be-scrapped/358319/

October 21, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Partial report by NRC creates false impression that Yucca Mountain nuclear waste plan could go ahead

Yucca-MtOfficials from the state of Nevada, which has fought against Yucca Mountain, challenged the report. Robert Halstead, director of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, said the NRC staff did not fully consider all the probabilities that could affect safety.

“It’s a pretty meek endorsement,” Halstead said. A review of the license application by state scientists and lawyers came up with 229 technical challenges, or contentions, that Nevada is prepared to pursue if the Yucca program moves forward.

The release of only a partial report “creates a false impression that the safety review has been completed,”

NRC staff: Yucca Mountain could meet safety needs http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nrc-staff-yucca-mountain-could-meet-safety-needs by STEVE TETREAULT STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON  17 Oct 14 — A long-awaited report issued Thursday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found the Yucca Mountain site — once considered by the government but halted by the Obama administration — could be safe to store nuclear waste.

The federal agency released a staff analysis of a plan that the Department of Energy submitted for a license in 2008 but later disavowed. The 781-page document concluded that the site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas “with reasonable expectation” could satisfy licensing rules.

The report immediately was seized by supportive lawmakers on Capitol Hill and executives in the nuclear industry as evidence the Yucca Mountain program largely dismantled by the Obama administration should be reassembled.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the NRC study shows the Nevada site is “a safe, worthwhile investment” that should be allowed to move forward.

If Republicans capture Senate control in the midterm elections next month, Murkowski would likely become chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Other Republicans have said that fresh votes on Yucca would be among the priorities in a GOP-controlled Congress.

Officials from the state of Nevada, which has fought against Yucca Mountain, challenged the report. Robert Halstead, director of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, said the NRC staff did not fully consider all the probabilities that could affect safety.

“It’s a pretty meek endorsement,” Halstead said. A review of the license application by state scientists and lawyers came up with 229 technical challenges, or contentions, that Nevada is prepared to pursue if the Yucca program moves forward.

The NRC staff report analyzed the most far-reaching aspect of the repository plan: Whether the natural geology of Yucca Mountain coupled with a system of man-made barriers that would be built within the mountain could keep decaying radioactive particles from leaking into groundwater over periods of up to a million years.

After dissecting relevant parts of the license application, NRC analysts concluded it was reasonable to expect it “satisfies the requirements” for long-term nuclear waste storage.

Other aspects of the plan are still being studied by the NRC staff, and are expected to be discussed in other evaluation reports scheduled to be released before the end of the year. The report issued Thursday was Volume 3 of what is envisioned to be a five-volume study. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

No solution in sight, to South Korea’s mounting tonnes of radioactive trash

text-wise-owlflag-S-KoreaAs Nuclear Waste Piles Up, South Korea Faces Storage Crisis, Scientific American, 14 Oct 14 Among the usual commercials for beer, noodles and cars on South Korean TV, one item stands in marked contrast. By Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) – Among the usual commercials for beer, noodles and cars on South Korean TV, one item stands in marked contrast.

A short film by a government advisory body carries a stark message: the nation faces a crisis over storing its spent nuclear fuel after running reactors for decades.

The world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power has around 70 percent, or nearly 9,000 tonnes, of its used fuel stacked in temporary storage pools originally intended to hold it for five or six years, with some sites due to fill by the end of 2016.

It plans to cram those sites with more fuel than they were originally intended to hold while it looks for a permanent solution, suggesting little has been learned from the Fukushima disaster in neighboring Japan.

In the Fukushima crisis in 2011, the storage of large amounts of spent nuclear fuel in elevated pools posed a threat of massive radioactive release on top of meltdowns at three reactors. Spent fuel rods heated up after a quake knocked out water-cooling pumps, underlining the dangers of holding troves of radioactive material in relatively exposed cooling ponds.

“We cannot keep stacking waste while dragging our feet,” said Park Ji-young, director of the science and technology unit at respected think tank the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

“If we fail to reach a conclusion (on how to manage spent fuel), it would be time to debate if we should stop nuclear power generation.” With South Koreans still spooked by Fukushima and a scandal at home over fake safety certificates for nuclear equipment, the commission has its work cut out to come up with more than a temporary fix to the storage crunch in a report due by year-end………..

OUT OF FAVOR

A permanent solution remains elusive, Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission – “continued storage rule” takes over from “Waste Confidence Rule”

The action of the commission, although not addressing all potential impacts, is effectively saying, “so what?” “There are no significant environmental impacts from indefinite storage of used fuel.”.

Flag-USA Finding a permanent nuclear storage center, Aiken Standard  By CLINT WOLFE Guest columnist Oct 13 2014 “……..In a meeting that took only a few minutes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission passed a ruling regarding continued used nuclear fuel storage……..

 The essence of the issue is that the lack of a geological repository specifically identified for used nuclear fuel has caused the government to consider other alternatives. These include, but are not limited to, on-site storage of the fuel and consolidated interim storage.

A series of court challenges over time has seen the commission stick to its so-called waste confidence rule.

This rule has at least two aspects that are pertinent to this discussion.

One is that “if you don’t have a place to put the used fuel, then you can’t make any more.”

Waste-Confidence-Rule
Anti-nuclear activists have pushed this viewpoint that no more nuclear power plants should be licensed until there is a permanent repository.

The commission has responded in the past that they are confident that a repository would be available before it is needed and merely kept changing the date on which that would occur. This approach led to a challenge that the commission was violating the National Environmental Protection Act by proposing a significant new federal project without having determined the environmental impact. This environmental impact could be looked at in every case to significantly slow each new license application.

The commission’s recent action closes out the waste confidence rule and introduces the continued storage rule. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

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