Japan Nuclear Engineer: US reactor at risk of ‘supercriticality’ during recent emergency… “That’s something scary” — Damaged nuclear fuel rods and fuel fragments found at plant, conditions reported as “seriously degraded” (VIDEO)http://enenews.com/japan-nuclear-engineer-reactor-risk-supercriticality-during-recent-emergency-big-spike-neutron-flux-scary-fragments-nuclear-fuel-later-found-plant-conditions-reported-be-seriously-degraded-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Satoshi Sato, Nuclear Engineer, April 28, 2015 (emphasis added): “I don’t know if you remember, there was the earthquake in 2011 in Virginia. That was a big one… enough to cause vibration to the North Anna reactor resulting in a big spike of neutron flux — or reactor power… and somehow caused the additional radioactivity into the core. So that’s something scary, potentially resulting in a supercriticality.” (IEER: “The neutron spike accompanying a sudden supercriticality can lead to an explosion of the reactor core. It is this sort of event which occurred at the Chernobyl reactor”)
U.S. NRC Event Notification, Aug 29, 2011: EMERGENCY DECLARED… North Anna Power Station declared an Alert [“actual or potential substantial degradation of the level of safety”] due to significant seismic activity… This notification is to report… a condition existed which met the emergency plan criteria but was not declared… Design Basis Earthquake limits may have been exceeded.
U.S. NRC, 2012: Reactor trips at both North Anna 1 and 2, were caused by a “Power RangeHigh Negative Neutron Flux Rate”… four possible causes [were identified] (1) loss of power to the control rod motor generator sets, (2) a dropped control rod, (3) movement of the nuclear instrumentation detectors, and (4) core barrel movement… Analysis included a third-party evaluation of the potential response of the core nucleate boiling… [Physics Forum: “nucleate boiling… reduces the heat transfer capability of the coolant… which leads to even more boiling, etc, until the fuel becomes ‘dry’… the cladding will burn and/or fuel will will melt”]
U.S. NRC email, Sept 2011: RE: North Anna… At this point, it appears that the grippers for several of the control rods deenergized and dropped.
Westinghouse patent: A dropped rod… will initially result in a reduction in the total powergenerated by the core. The reactor will then attempt to meet the load… by increasing powerin the remainder of the core which could lead to local overheating elsewhere in the core.
ASEE 2003 Conference: If a critical reactor is over moderated… the reactor can rapidly reach and exceed the prompt critical condition… Chernobyl started at a low power level, which corresponded to a positive void coefficient.
North Anna Root Cause Evaluation, Oct 2011: The last power decreases prior to the trips were of sufficient magnitude and rate to generate the negative rate trip… Root Cause Evaluation Team has postulated that the major cause of the power oscillations was void defect created by bursts of bubbles… which caused the power increases which followed the power decreases… It is postulated that [as] the seismic waves shake… a large portion of the [fuel] cladding surface is suddenly in the nucleate boiling region [and] causes the bubble burst… [I]t may not be plausible to generate sufficient void to decrease the core power up to 10% [therefore it] can be concluded that the bubble burst theory alone does not explain the magnitude of change [in] Units 1 and 2.
Enformable, Oct 2011: “It is likely that the North Anna Operators are going to be shocked… when they open the reactor to attempt to refuel it, and find that they cannot retrieve the fuel”
3 years later >> Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sept 30, 2014: Dominion Virginia Power has foundtwo damaged nuclear fuel rods in its North Anna 2 power plant [NRC in 2011: “It is noteworthy that the power oscillations were more pronounced on Unit 2“]… 15 uranium fuel pellets came out of two rods… [CEO David Heacock said] rods rubbed against the support structure, cutting grooves in them and eventually causing their tops to crack off… “We have accounted for about eight of the pellets”… The failed fuel assembly had been used during three 18-month operating cycles at North Anna…
U.S. NRC Event Notification Report, Sept 15, 2014: FAILED FUEL ASSEMBLY IDENTIFIED DURING CORE OFF-LOAD… North Anna Unit 2… Video inspection of the reactor vessel identified debris that has the potential to be fragments of fuel pellets resting on the core plate… this event is being reported [as an] event or condition that results in the condition of the nuclear plant, including its principle safety barriers, being seriously degraded.
A Morning Consult survey finds that a plurality of female voters, 42 percent, oppose increasing the use of nuclear power to generate electricity in the United States; 38 percent support it. A strong majority of men, 70 percent, support using more nuclear power, while 23 percent oppose.
The male-female gap is uniquely wide on this issue.
Previous Morning Consult polling has found much smaller differences between men and women on energy issues. In one poll from Jan. 2015, the gender split on approval for other energy source was 7 percent for natural gas, 10 percent for coal, 3 percent for wind, and 1 percent for solar. For nuclear, the split was 27 percentage points.
“It’s tough to speculate on what makes women more averse to nuclear power than men,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of The Energy Poll at the University of Texas at Austin. “Across issues, women are both less engaged on energy topics, and far less likely to express concern.”……..
A separate survey question reveals three possible explanations as to what’s driving female voter’s concerns over building more nuclear facilities: trepidations over storing nuclear waste, the risk for a disaster or meltdown, and the availability of “better” energy alternatives.
“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out,” said Linda Mayrand, a survey participant from Melbourne, Florida, “there are better alternatives.” Mayrand said she would never live within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission designated evacuation zones, areas that span a 10-mile radius from a nuclear power plant……..
Nicky Davies, a campaigns director for Greenpeace USA, an environmental advocacy group, said the nuclear industry has two Achilles heels. “It is a fact that there’s no safe way to expose of nuclear power,” and secondly “it’s incredibly expensive.”……….
The Morning Consult poll was conducted from April 5 and 7, 2014, among a nationwide sample of 2,047 registered voters. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. http://morningconsult.com/2015/05/men-and-women-divided-on-nuclear-power/
KI pill distribution coming near Pickering, Darlington nuclear stations OPG developing extensive awareness campaign prior to fall distribution Ajax News Advertiser By Keith Gilligan DURHAM 24 May 15 — Ontario Power Generation is planning an extensive public relations campaign prior to distributing potassium iodide (KI) pills near the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations.
Last year, OPG’s federal regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, mandated that KI pills be distributed to all homes and businesses within a 10-kilometre radius of nuclear stations.
Kevin Powers, the director of corporate relations and communications for OPG, told the Pickering Community Advisory Council on Tuesday, May 19 that distributing the pills is “quite a change in what our normal operations are.”
To better understand public knowledge of the pills, OPG has been doing research, Mr. Powers noted.“We did research to understand attitudes on KI pills. We wanted a better understanding of what their understanding was,” he said.
He noted only seven per cent of residents currently have the pills in their homes……… Distribution of pills has been done in New Brunswick and Quebec. It’s being done around the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce stations this year.
Pills are currently in some pharmacies within the 10-kilometre radius, “but not many people know. This change is in how we distribute them,” Mr. Powers noted…… The pills will continue to be available at pharmacies, he said. That’s because people might not get enough pills at their home or have moved and don’t have the pills.
“The CNSC mandated that pharmacies within 50 kilometres have the pills,” Mr. Powers said. http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/5636397-ki-pill-distribution-coming-near-pickering-darlington-nuclear-stations/
The final document of a landmark treaty review conference Friday would call on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.
Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program.
A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.
Discussions on the draft document are continuing after a request from Iran.
That’s a key, but controversial, question for the federal government. Although it might seem distasteful to put a monetary value on a life, when federal agencies consider adopting new health and safety rules — or strengthening old ones — they often do just that and weigh the proposed rule’s costs against its lifesaving benefits. The lower value they give to a life, the easier it is for them to reject a proposed safety measure as too costly. Continue reading
American Ships in South China Sea May Lead to War Between US, China It seems the United States has found another playground for its war games. The National Interest reported that Washington plans to send its military ships and planes to patrol areas in the South China Sea stirring up an already tense situation in the region, where several nations have competing territorial claims.
The Asia-Pacific Region might be on the verge of a military conflict, as the United States is trying to incite several nations, including Japan and the Philippines, to gang up on China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Obama Signs Congress Review of Iran Nuclear Deal Bill Into Law NBC News Halimah Abdullah May 23rd 2015 President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday legislation giving lawmakers a chance to review any nuclear deal the White House seeks to hammer out with Iran.
The U.S. and five other world powers have crafted a delicate framework with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons. The nuclear deal with Iran is a key part of the president’s foreign policy legacy, a fact he underscored during an interview this week with The Atlantic.
The law gives Congress at least a month to review the details of an agreement. During the review, the president would be prevented from lifting congressionally imposed sanctions on Iran……http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iran-nuclear-talks/obama-signs-congress-review-iran-nuclear-deal-bill-law-n363476
Do we really want to tell governments all around the world, including the U.S., that if they pass
legislation protecting the well-being of their citizens they could pay substantial fines to multi-national corporations because of the loss of future profits? What an incredible undermining of democracy! But that’s exactly what will happen if the TPP goes into effect.
The TPP MUst Be Defeated http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/the-tpp-must-be defeated_b_7352166.html?utm_hp_ref=politics Sen. Bernie Sanders 22 May 15
Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Congress is now debating fast track legislation that will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unfettered free trade agreement. At a time when our middle class is disappearing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, this anti-worker legislation must be defeated. Here are four reasons why.
First, the TPP follows in the footsteps of failed trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, and the South Korea Free Trade agreement. Over and over again, supporters of these agreements told us that they would create jobs. Over and over again, they have been proven dead wrong. Continue reading
Federal ruling calls future of Diablo Canyon reactors into question http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2015-05-federal-ruling-calls-future-of-diablo-into-question May. 21, 2015 by: Kate Colwell Friends of the Earth: Decision is beginning of the end for troubled nuclear plant
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a major victory that could mark the beginning of the end for the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners have ruled that an Atomic Safety Licensing Board will decide whether Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was allowed to illegally alter the plant’s license. This alteration is an attempt to hide the risk from powerful earthquake faults discovered since it was designed and built. The Commission’s referral of the issue to the licensing board parallels a move that presaged the shutdown of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear plant two years ago.
“This is a major victory that could be the turning point for a nuclear-free future for California,” said Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth, which had petitioned the NRC, saying that the secret amendment of the license was an illegal maneuver designed to avoid holding a public hearing on the issue as required by federal law. “PG&E now is following the same path that forced Southern California Edison to pull the plug on San Onofre,” Moglen said.
In a 3 -1 ruling released today, commissioners ruled that Friends of the Earth’s petition will now be considered by an expert panel of the licensing board. Friends of the Earth alleged that PG&E is operating the 1960-era nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon in violation of their license and called for the reactors to be closed immediately pending public hearings to prove it is safe.
The Commission did not rule on closing the reactors pending public hearings, but ruled that the safety issues should now be considered by the Commission’s executive director for operations.
Today’s decision is all but identical to that by the Commission in November 2012 in response to a similar petition from Friends of the Earth regarding the damaged nuclear reactors at San Onofre. In that case, the licensing board ruled in May 2013 that public hearings should be held as part of a formal license amendment proceeding to assess the safety of San Onofre. When Edison announced the closure of San Onofre a few weeks later, they referred to the ASLB decision.
“This decision is indeed the beginning of the end for Diablo Canyon,” said Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. “PG&E is not going to get away with running Diablo Canyon when the plant can not withstand the ground motion from the earthquake faults we now know surround these reactors,” said Freeman, a special advisor to Friends of the Earth.
The ruling comes days after the NRC sent PG&E a letter requiring the utility to conduct further seismic risk studies to show whether Diablo Canyon — California’s last nuclear plant, on the Pacific coast near San Luis Obispo — is operating within the bounds of its license. Diablo Canyon is one of only two nuclear plants the NRC classified as high priority for the seismic risk study.
Perhaps with his new $4 million Australia Consensus Center (covered here, here, here) Bjorn Lomborg may pick a better site than a US shipping storefront, since he’ll receive much more taxpayer money, directly, courtesy of the Australian government. That does seem simpler
Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center – Real Charity Or “Foreign Conduit”? DeSmogBlog By John Mashey • Sunday, April 26, 2015 Bjørn Lomborg is founder and president of the Copenhagen Consensus CenterUSA (CCC)), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose US physical presence is shown in the image: 262 Middlesex St, Lowell MA. Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center are known to DeSmog readers for efforts to downplay the importance of addressing climate change, a subset of climate science denialism that has infected the public debate across the English-speaking world.
Despite the name, it has not been based in Copenhagen since 2011. Deputy Director Roland Mathiasson remains there, but Lomborg moved to Prague in 2012. Workers seem mostly in Hungary, with a few in the US. The Board is Lomborg, Mathiasson, Scott Calahan (Ft Lauderdale) and Loretta Michaels (Washington, DC). Although some money is used for fundraising and PR in the US, much goes abroad to Mathiasson and Lomborg, who is said to travel 200 days a year.
The “real location” of CCC is unclear, and the Internal Revenue Service often cares about this with charities.
Copenhagen Consensus Center is a textbook example of what the IRS calls a “foreign conduit” and it frowns strongly on such things. It may also frown on governance and money flows like this, perhaps “inurement”:
From attached Form 990 summary, more than 60% went directly to Lomborg, travel and $853K promotion of his movie. According to Wikipedia it grossed $63K and the movie poster shows a picture of Lomborg, a light bulb and heading:
“A LIGHT BULB WON’T SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING
THIS GUY’S BRIGHT IDEAS MIGHT“
Even in a simple US charity, poor governance and obvious conflicts of interest are troublesome, but the foreign element invokes stringent extra rules. Legitimate US charities can send money to foreign charities, but from personal experience, even clearly reasonable cases like foreign universities require careful handling. It is unclear that Lomborg himself is a legitimate charity anywhere, but most of the money seems under his control. One might also wonder where income taxes are paid.
A foreign group’s creation of a US “shell” charity to gather US funds and funnel them abroad is the most obvious of “foreign conduits” in IRS parlance, #1 on its list of no-no’s. IRS revocation of 501(c)(3) status not only eliminates tax breaks for ordinary donors, but eliminates entirely crucial major gifts from private foundations like the Randolph Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Paul E. Singer Foundation.
CCC seems to break many rules. Foreign citizen Lomborg is simultaneously CCC founder, president, and highest-paid employee. Most people are a little more subtle when trying to create conduits, as in this example, where the IRS determined someone was not eligible for 501(c)(3) status, despite various stratagems to obscure the relationships.
Perhaps with his new $4 million Australia Consensus Center (covered here, here, here) Bjorn Lomborg may pick a better site than a US shipping storefront, since he’ll receive much more taxpayer money, directly, courtesy of the Australian government. That does seem simpler…….http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/04/26/copenhagen-consensus-center-real-charity-foreign-conduit
Deep Ground Repository for nuclear waste has local support and regional opposition, Radio Canada International By Carmel Kilkenny | email@example.com Monday 18 May, 2015 , The Deep Ground Repository (DGR) proposed for Kincardine in Southwestern Ontario, will be the topic of many conversations over this annual Victoria Day holiday weekend….
A kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron,
The Bruce power station is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world, with 4,000 employees drawn from several small communities around it. The majority here support the DGR, which will store over 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate radioactive waste from the Bruce, as well as the Pickering and Darlington nuclear power stations.
But farther away, and in the large urban centres of Toronto, and Chicago, the DGR is the subject of a divisive debate with thousands signing petitions and filing official objections to the proposal. The biggest complaint is the proximity of the DGR to the Great Lakes basin.
At just over a kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron, many fear the future of 40 million people, on both sides of the Canada-US border, could be at stake in the event of an accident or an unforeseen event.
Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a vocal opponent, said in a recent interview with the London Free Press, “If you contaminate that source, we’re done. That’s life, that’s life itself.”……http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2015/05/18/deep-ground-repository-for-nuclear-waste-has-local-support-and-regional-opposition/
Ontario First Nations demand a say over nuclear waste storage GLORIA GALLOWAY OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, May. 21 2015, First Nations in Northern Ontario say municipalities are opening their doors to the federal organization that is looking for a place to dump nuclear waste but most of the sites being proposed lie outside municipal boundaries on traditional treaty land.
Isadore Day, the Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief, has written to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to ask her government to talk directly with First Nations and to “come to a fair and acceptable resolution” about the location of the $24-billion Deep Geological Repository for the waste generated by nuclear reactors.
Environmental groups and some local residents reacted angrily earlier this month when a federal review panel agreed that a repository far below ground near Kincardine, Ont., could be used to store low-and intermediate radioactive nuclear waste including clothing and used parts.
But the hunt for a place to permanently store used fuel bundles, a far more contentious form of the hazardous material, continues. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has narrowed its search to nine municipalities – three in the southwestern part of Ontario and six in the North.
Those municipalities have all told the organization they are willing to explore the possibility of being a host site for the repository that will take decades to build and will store the spent nuclear fuel bundles for 400,000 years or more until they are safely non-toxic. Having the site nearby will mean increased jobs and improved infrastructure for a community.
All of the municipalities that finished the preliminary phase of the assessment received a $400,000 “sustainability and well-being” payment from the NWMO for showing leadership on a difficult national public policy issue.
But, even though it is the municipalities that are being consulted and compensated, most of the sites being considered for the dump lie well outside of their jurisdictions on traditional First Nations territory, said Mr. Day.
“The actual sites being looked at are on treaty lands and municipalities have no say about what happens on those lands,” Mr. Day says in his letter to Ms. Wynne. “This matter is a discussion that must take place between treaty partners.”………Mr. Day said the site selection process has been “fraught with controversy” and will not result in the support that is being sought from First Nations. “The social contract is not with municipalities,“ he said. “It’s with treaty nations.“http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-first-nations-demand-a-say-over-nuclear-waste-storage/article24540670/
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Opens Probe at Indian Point Federal agency’s involvement follows fire at plant WSJ By JOSEPH DE AVILA May 19, 2015 New York state is renewing its call for tougher oversight of electrical transformers at the Indian Point Energy Center after the third failure in eight years of one of the power-transfer devices at the nuclear plant.
A transformer for Indian Point’s unit 3 exploded and caught fire May 9 in the nonnuclear section of the power plant 30 miles north of New York City. No one was hurt and no other equipment damaged.
The state’s call for more intensive inspections comes as EntergyCorp., the owner of Indian Point, seeks to renew its operating licenses for units 2 and 3 with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The state has opposed the renewal……..http://www.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-regulatory-commission-opens-probe-at-indian-point-1432054561
Income-guarantee request envelops Davis-Besse nuclear plant in controversy again, By Dan GearinoThe Columbus Dispatch • Tuesday May 19, 2015 In a debate over an alleged “coal bailout” for power plants, Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station doesn’t quite fit.
And yet, it is among the seven Ohio plants — and the only one that doesn’t run on coal — whose owners are seeking income guarantees from state regulators.
This is the latest in a lifetime of controversy for the FirstEnergy-owned plant, which produced its first electricity in 1977.
“The nuclear industry cannot operate with profit in the marketplace, so they’re looking for these different schemes,” said Allison Fisher, outreach director on energy issues for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocate. “They’re trying to find a way to shift the risk from the company to the consumer.”
Hearings will begin next month for FirstEnergy’s request for an income guarantee, a case before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that already has thousands of pages of testimony and dozens of participants.
The PUCO has ruled on similar proposals from American Electric Power and Duke Energy, rejecting the plans but saying that their underlying concept was legal; both decisions are being appealed. AEP also has a separate proposal that is still pending……….
Under the proposal, the plants would have a guarantee of enough income to cover costs plus a profit. If the actual income is less than a specified level, then consumers would pay the difference through a charge on their bills……..http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/05/19/debate-returns.html
The order came a week after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.
On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met………..http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/16/megan-rice-anti-nuclear-nun-activist-to-be-freed.html
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