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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission the victim of cyber attacks

cyber-attackU.S. government’s nuclear watchdog victim of cyber attacks -report, Yahoo7 News 
August 20, 2014, By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was “successfully hacked” three times in recent years in attacks involving tainted emails, according to an internal investigation on cyber attacks at the agency, Nextgov.com reported on Tuesday.

At least two of the attacks originated overseas, according to the report obtained by Nextgov, a rare public report with details of a cyber attack on the energy sector.

The publication said it obtained a copy of a report by the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General, which reviewed 17 suspected breaches from 2010 to 2013.

The report did not name the countries where the attacks originated or say if data had been stolen from the regulatory agency, which holds sensitive data on the nuclear power industry.

Reuters was not immediately able to access the report, which Nextgov said it obtained through a Freedom of Information request……..https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24757967/u-s-governments-nuclear-watchdog-victim-of-cyber-attacks-report/

August 20, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Lax security at Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant

safety-symbol1Flag-USA7News Investigates: Security at Seabrook Nuclear Plant 7 News  Aug 19, 2014  by Cheryl Fiandaca SEABROOK, N.H. (WHDH) – Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant is one of the 107 nuclear facilities in the country considered to be a potential terrorist target by Homeland Security. Now a long time Seabrook employee has come forward telling 7News he thinks the plant is vulnerable.

“We’re not checking who’s coming on and off the property,” the employee, who asked to not be identified, said.

It seemed like no one was checking on three different days this summer when 7News videotaped cars coming and going through an unmanned employee gate at Seabrook Station.

No one approached the crews and security patrols never passed the area, even with the cameras no one questioned the 7News photographers and reporters.

The employee said it has been nearly a year since there was a person manning the employee entry.

“You’d be able to see where upgrades have been placed in, where defensive positions are, where alarmed fences are at.”………

“It doesn’t take a security expert to know that a nuclear power plant is a place that would be an attractive target and would cause unimaginable mayhem and injury,” Amore said…….An unmanned gate may not be the only concern: a recent study initiated by the defense department claims significant security gaps exist at the nation’s nuclear power plants. http://www.whdh.com/story/26311206/7news-investigates-security-concerns-at-seabrook-power-plant

August 20, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea – getting “full up” with nuclear radioactive trash

Oscar-wastes

any-fool-would-know

 

 

they must just stop making this trash!

 

South Korea running out of space for nuclear waste http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-18/south-korea-running-out-of-space-for-nuclear-waste/5679626  South Korea is running out of space to store its spent nuclear fuel, with some of its storage facilities set to reach capacity by 2016, according to an independent body that advises the government on nuclear issues.

A Public Engagement Commission, consisting of nuclear experts, professors, and officials, was set up in October 2013 to take account of public opinion on spent nuclear fuel issues and feed into policy decisions.

Commission chairman Hong Doo-seung says it is urgent to find more storage sites for spent fuel.

“We will have to stop nuclear power generation if we fail to find additional temporary space, Continue reading

August 20, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

High radiation levels 60 km from Fukushima nuclear plant

Fukushima-molten-coresGov’t: Radiation level 60 km from Fukushima plant is as high as the most contaminated areas in Chernobyl — “Fukushima far exceeded any crisis previously encountered” — “A risk of destruction of the society” — Expert: “It’s unprecedented in scale and duration” (VIDEOS)http://enenews.com/govt-radiation-level-60-km-fukushima-plant-high-contaminated-areas-chernobyl-fukushima-exceeded-crisis-previo

Interview with Dr. Brad Sample, ecotoxicologist and Hazard/Risk Assessment Editor for ‘Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’(at 8:10 in): “The event [at Fukushima Daiichi] is unprecedented in scale and duration.” >> Full interview here

IRSN News Magazine – Fukushima special report (pdf): “The Fukushima disaster far exceeded any crisis previously encountered”

Fukushima Accident — Contamination of People and the Environment, IRSN (emphasis added):

  • 6:45 in — Didier Champion, IRSN: “Japanese authorities… measured… 15 million Bq/m2 for Cs-137 for example. This isquite comparable to that we see in the most contaminated areas around the Chernobyl accident.”
  • 7:00 in — Researchers have mapped the contamination of soil… It goes far beyond the evacuation zone, and extends to more than 80 miles away — agricultural and urban areas inhabited by hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Watch video here

Jacques Repussard, IRSN Director General (at 5:15 in): “These are such serious accidents covering so many aspects of life in a country… The ability of associations, of local elected officials, to act in an intelligent and in an efficient manner, is a great resource. And also a factor in social cohesion in a disuniting situation, wherethere is a risk of destruction of the society.” >> Watch video here

Fukushima Accident — Response of the Japanese Society, IRSN (at 1:30 in): 60 kilometers from the power plant, farmers organized themselves collectively [and] turned to a researcher in bioscience from Dokkyu Medical University [Dr. Shingo Kimura]… They travel the region to measure contamination on roadsides, in fields, and even within homes… Along this road the dosimeter shows a gamma wave radiation level at more than 50 microsieverts per hour — a tremendous level akin to the highest contamination from Chernobyl. [0.03 microsieverts per hourbefore 3/11] >> Watch video here

August 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry’s survival hangs on tax-payer funding – World Nuclear News

text-my-money-2Banking on nuclear, World Nuclear News,  18 August 2014The nuclear industry needs to satisfy the multi-criteria approach to risk that banks take when they decide whether to invest in a large infrastructure project. Only then, can it expect to attract this form of financing to nuclear new build projects, writes Ron Cameron.

Specifically, banks look for long-term certainty on price, stable government policy, industry reputation, regulatory certainty, the process for addressing planning and environmental issues and public acceptance, in addition to the economics of the project.

European wholesale electricity markets are currently not favourable to nuclear power,……..

there is a real difficulty in seeing where nuclear new build is going to come from in Europe, without government action. ……the UK is trying to do something about the market disadvantage which is keeping investors away from nuclear. ……

Other countries, too, are making clear that the State is behind nuclear new build. For example, in the US, new nuclear power plants are being built with loan guarantees and tax credits. …….http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/E-Banking-on-nuclear-1808201401.html

August 20, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

South Korea’s preparation for pre-emptive nuclear strike against North Korea

exclamation-Smflag-S-KoreaFROM THE POPE TO WAR GAMES IN SOUTH KOREA ORGANISING NOTES, BRUCE GAGNON , AUGUST 19, 2014

Global Network board member Sung-hee Choi, long time activist on Jeju Island, wrote today:

Recently, Pope Francis has visited Korea from Aug. 14 to 18. He left us many moving messages of peace and justice, but the South Korean (ROK) conservative Park Geun-Hye government  started the World-biggest war exercise Ulji Freedom Guardian (In government drill, about 480,000 personnel join. In military drill, about 50,000 Korean soldiers and 30,000 US soldiers) started along with the United States on his leaving day. It ends on Aug. 21.

The exercise targets North Korea and the strategy includes preemptive nuclear strike against her. The exercise will be a passage for the US to push for the US-Japan-ROK trilateral military alliance and Missile Defense system. http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/from-pope-to-war-games-in-south-korea.html

August 20, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Safety problems, toxic spill, in Canada’s uranium industry

flag-canadaNuclear watchdog requests safety checks after B.C. mine breach CTV News, Dene Moore, The Canadian Press August 19, 2014 VANCOUVER -- A toxic spill from a British Columbia mine has prompted the country’s nuclear watchdog to request a series of checks at uranium facilities.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will discuss the failure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine during a meeting Wednesday.

In the interim, the commission has asked the uranium mining and milling operations it oversees to ensure that all necessary inspections and monitoring are in compliance with licence conditions……..

The breach sent 10 million cubic metres of waste water and 4.5 million cubic metres of silt into a network of salmon-bearing lakes and rivers near Likely, 600 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

The reason for the failure at Mount Polley is not yet known: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/nuclear-watchdog-requests-safety-checks-after-b-c-mine-breach-1.1966932#ixzz3AzIudlBn

August 20, 2014 Posted by | Canada, incidents, Uranium | Leave a comment

Finland’s government in angst over nuclear power plant and Ukraine crisis

Ukraine divides MPs over Fennovoima nuclear plant ownership Yle uutiset 19 Aug 14  According to an Yle poll, two Finnish party leaders say they could back the construction of the Fennovoima nuclear plant in Pyhäjärvi if Finnish ownership were at 50-53 percent. Four leaders declined to comment and four stand against the plant on principle. The uncertainty is partly due to the Ukrainian crisis.

Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori of the National Coalition Party said that the proposed Fennovoima nuclear plant would have to be under “clear domestic ownership”.

Neither Vapaavuori nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs have announced how much of the plant should specifically be owned by Finnish interest groups.

One reason behind the uneasiness of some MPs is the escalating situation in Ukraine, and the repercussions on Finnish-Russian ties. Russia enforced EU-wide sanctions as a countermeasure to EU and US sanctions in early August……..

Ownership figures misleading

The Russian national nuclear power company Rosatom currently owns 34 percent of the Pyhäjoki plant. According to Fennovoima, the Finnish stake is at 52 percent.

However, the company fails to discount two companies – Rautaruukki and Kestra – in their calculations. Kestra announced in March that it washes its hands of the power plant issue, while Rautaruukki was acquired by the Swedish SSAB in July.

As Kestra owns 4.5 percent of Fennovoima and SSAB owns 3.3 percent, a simple equation will show that the Finnish ownership of the power plant is actually only at 44.2 percent. http://yle.fi/uutiset/ukraine_divides_mps_over_fennovoima_nuclear_plant_ownership/7420930

August 20, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Banks won’t lend for new nuclear projects. Industry wants tax-payers to fund them

Banking on nuclear, World Nuclear News,  18 August 2014 “……..Banks are reluctant to become involved with first-of-a-kind projects, whether that concerns a new reactor technology or a country embarking on nuclear power for the first time.

fleecing-taxpayer

 

Our focus then should perhaps be on trying to get banks into new projects at existing sites, such as plant life extensions. The latter is a lower risk process because the banks would be funding the cost of upgrades needed for plants whose construction costs have been essentially amortized and yet which could run for another 20 years.

And there are usually no great public concerns attached to life extensions, since the plant has already operated for some time. If the banks got involved with those and became familiar with nuclear industry issues, then they could one day be willing to join a consortium in new build projects. Banks look particularly at the track record of the industries that they are working with. And of course there is always the concern of delays for them. So some certainty that the government is behind these projects and prepared to support them with some form of guarantee is important………

Banks also monitor public opinion, but even more importantly, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the European Investment Bank are driven by the appetite from their member countries for financing nuclear power projects. It is up to the consortia of countries that are in favour of nuclear power to have more of a say on the banks’ boards. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/E-Banking-on-nuclear-1808201401.html

August 20, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Mississippi Public Service Commission refusing to take nuclear wastes

Presley to Obama: Mississippi doesn’t want nuclear waste  POLITICAL LEDGER  Geoff Pender, The Clarion-Ledger10 August 19, 2014 Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has forwarded to President Obama resolutions passed by the PSC in opposition to storing nuclear waste in Mississippi.

Last year, federal officials considering alternatives to plans to store the nation’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, mentioned Mississippi’s salt domes as a possible option. At the time, the Mississippi Energy Institute issued a report that said creating a nuclear waste center in Mississippi would “serve as a platform for significant opportunities … to develop a massive nuclear energy industry center in the state of Mississippi.”

Presley said that more recently, Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons was quoted as calling Mississippi one of “the most public of potential hosts to express interest in taking high-level waste.”

Presley, Northern District commissioner with the three-member PSC, this week sent Obama recent unanimously-passed PSC resolutions opposing permanent nuclear waste storage in Mississippi, …….http://www.clarionledger.com/story/politicalledger/2014/08/19/nuclear-waste-presley-psc/14283689/

August 20, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Europe’s aging reactors: increasing safety and cost problems

safety-symbol1With exposure to radiation, high temperatures and pressure, the components of nuclear plants take a battering over time. “They can, for example, become more brittle, susceptible to cracking or less able to cope with temperature extremes,” said Anthony Froggatt, senior research fellow at London-based thinktank Chatham House.

Insight: The cost of caring for Europe’s elderly nuclear plants LONDON (Reuters)
flag-EU18 Aug 14
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Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars.

Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union’s electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc’s 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years.

And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds…….

as nuclear plants age, performance can suffer, and outages – both scheduled and unplanned – rise.

With nuclear safety in the spotlight since the 2011 reactor meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant – which in turn prompted Germany to call time on its entire nuclear fleet – operators can take no chances with their elderly plants, but the outages get longer and more difficult.

“These reactors were designed over 30 years ago. The people involved are either retired or dead, and most of the companies involved no longer exist,” said John Large, an independent nuclear engineer and analyst who has carried out work for Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority.

Jean Tandonnet, EDF Group’s nuclear safety inspector, said in January that its French fleet last year had a series of “problematic unit outages”, and scheduled outages were extended by an average of more than 26 days. Regular maintenance and major equipment replacement jobs had increased by 60 percent in the last six years, he said. France is the EU’s nuclear leader, its 58 reactors producing nearly three quarters of the country’s electricity. France’s nuclear watchdog will make a final decision on whether to extend the life of the French fleet to 50 years in 2018 or 2019. EDF has estimated the extension would cost 55 billion euros.

“The average age of the (French) reactors is now about 30 years, which raises questions about the investment needed to enable them to continue operating, as ageing reactors increasingly need parts to be replaced,” according to the World Nuclear Industry Status report 2014.

SAFETY FIRST

Though the EU has conducted risk and safety tests on the bloc’s nuclear plants, environmental campaigners say the tests failed to address risks associated with ageing technology, among other things.

With exposure to radiation, high temperatures and pressure, the components of nuclear plants take a battering over time. “They can, for example, become more brittle, susceptible to cracking or less able to cope with temperature extremes,” said Anthony Froggatt, senior research fellow at London-based thinktank Chatham House.

“While this can be monitored, it can be problematic if ageing occurs at a greater rate than anticipated or it occurs in areas which are difficult to access or monitor,” he added.

As reactors age, there is also a risk of finding a generic design flaw that could affect all the reactors in a country if they are of the same design. ………..Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Geert de Clercq in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman) http://www.firstpost.com/world/insight-the-cost-of-caring-for-europes-elderly-nuclear-plants-1668443.html

August 18, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Hong Kong still restricting foodstuffs imported from Japan’s irradiated areas

plate-radiationThe government of Hong Kong rejected Japanese request to lift restriction on Japanese imports http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/08/government-hong-kong-rejected-japanese-request-lift-restriction-japanese-imports/  On 8/13/2014, Hayashi, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries visited Hong Kong to request the government of Hong Kong to lift the restriction on Japanese imports however Ko Wing Man, the chief of the department of food and hygiene rejected the offer.

Since Fukushima accident, the government of Hong Kong stop importing vegetables, fruits, milk, milk based drinks and powdered milk from 5 prefectures to consist of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba.

Ko Wing Man commented “Lifting the restriction is difficult at this moment.”.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | China, Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

Positive progress in U.N.s nuclear diplomacy with Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranU.N. Nuclear Chief Positive After ‘Useful’ Iran Visit: Reuters http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-n-nuclear-chief-positive-after-useful-iran-visit-reuters-n182671 18 Aug 14,

Iran has given a firm commitment to cooperate with a U.N. nuclear watchdog investigation into suspected atomic bomb research, the head of the agency said after what he described as a “useful” visit to Tehran on Sunday. Yukiya Amano made the trip ahead of an Aug. 25 deadline for Iran to provide information relevant to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s long-running inquiry into what it calls the possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear program.

The issue is close ly tied to Iran’s negotiations with six world powers aimed at ending a decade-old standoff over its atomic activities and dispelling fears of a new Middle East war. Iran denies its program has any military objectives.

 “This has been a short visit, but a useful one,” Amano said in the Iranian capital after talks with President Hassan Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials, according to a statement issued by the IAEA in Vienna.

Since Rouhani was elected in mid-2013, Tehran has promised to work with the U.N. agency to clear up the suspicions about its nuclear aspirations. After meeting Amano, Rouhani said on his English-language Twitter account that Iran was “determined to forge accord with the IAEA in the shortest possible time span. God willing, it can be done in less than a year.”

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors do not measure up to the hype of their proponents

text-SMRsOne size doesn’t fit all: Social priorities and technical conflicts for small modular reactors  Science Direct,  M.V. Ramana,  Zia Mian   2014.04.15

 

Abstract

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been proposed as a possible way to address the social problems confronting nuclear power, including poor economics, the possibility of catastrophic accidents, radioactive waste production, and linkage to nuclear weapon proliferation. Several SMR designs, with diverse technical characteristics, are being developed around the world and are promoted as addressing one or more of these problems. This paper examines the basic features of different kinds of SMRs and shows why the technical characteristics of SMRs do not allow them to solve simultaneously all four of the problems identified with nuclear power today. It shows that the leading SMR designs under development involve choices and trade-offs between desired features. Focusing on a single challenge, for example cost reduction, might make other challenges more acute. The paper then briefly discusses other cultural and political factors that contribute to the widespread enthusiasm for these reactors, despite technical and historical reasons to doubt that the promises offered by SMR technology advocates will be actually realized.

1. Introduction

Continue reading

August 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

Wind energy takes over, as 4 nuclear power plants shut down

wind-nuclear-4 Nuclear Power Plants Shut Down; Wind Power Steps In Clean Technica August 16th, 2014 by   Wind power in the UK is helping to fill the void left by the shuttering of four nuclear reactors. One reactor was found with a defect on its boiler spine, so EDF Energy decided to shut it down, along with three others. It is expected they will be offline for about two months. (EDF is a French utility responsible for managing many nuclear reactors. It stands for Electricity de France.) The reactor with the potential boiler spine issue is at Heysham-1 plant in Lancashire. Another was shut down at Heysham as well. The remaining two that were taken offline are at Hartlepool. The UK energy supply should not suffer from the nuclear shut downs.

“Demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now,” explained National Grid. In fact, the UK just set a new summer record for wind powergeneration, “According to figures from trade association RenewableUK, wind reached its maximum output at 10pm on Sunday night, delivering an average of  5.0GW of power over the hour and meeting 17 per cent of national demand.”…….

One of the small ironies about wind power filling in somewhat for nuclear reactors is that wind is criticized for being intermittent.

This is a very minor point, but there seems to be some slight discrepancies in the reporting about the reactor shut downs. The UK-based Financial Times reported that all four were shut down.  The UK-based Guardian say they were to be shut down. The New York Timesreported that one was shut down in June, and that it had recently been decided by EDF to shut down three more. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/16/4-nuclear-power-plants-shut-wind-power-steps/

August 18, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

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