Workers can only spend a few hours at the reactor site before they reach the maximum radioactive exposure limit, and work is thus progressing at a snail’s pace
Despite the incredible lengths required to build the structure, it’s still only a band-aid
This Massive Steel Structure Will Entomb Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 (GREAT PHOTOS) http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/11/this-massive-steel-arch-will-entomb-chernobyls-reactor-4/ KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN 30 NOVEMBER 2013 When an unexpected power surge sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in Chernobyl, nearly a quarter of a million construction workers risked their lives to build an ad hoc “sarcophagus” of concrete around the stricken reactor. It was a stop-gap measure — and now, almost 30 years later, one of the biggest engineering projects in history is underway to protect it.
The BBC reports on the $US2 billion project to protect the decaying metal sarcophagus, using an even larger metal shield called the New Safe Confinement, or NSC. In simple terms, the NSC is a massive steel archway that is designed to protect the surrounding region if the 27-year-old sarcophagus eventually collapses. Read more »
“It is not recommended to use the same generalizations used for adults when considering the risks and effects of radiation exposure during childhood,”
infants and children have smaller body diameters, and their organs are less shielded by overlying tissues, with the same exposure the doses to their internal organs is higher than that to an adult.
Effects of radiation exposure of children, relief web 25 Nov 13 Report from UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation Published on 25 Oct 2013 — View Original Publication of Volume II of the UNSCEAR 2013 Report Risk following exposure to radiation differs for adults and children, says UNSCEAR report Vienna 24 October 2013 (UN Information Service) – “Doses received by children and adults from the same source of ionizing radiation can have differing impacts, and therefore, should be considered separately in order to predict risk following exposure more accurately for children,” was the main thrust of the report “Effects of radiation exposure of children” presented today at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The report, which has been prepared by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), has been in preparation over the last two years (since 2011) and was presented today to the UN General Assembly as part of the Report of the 60th session of UNSCEAR to the General Assembly. “Because of their anatomical and physiological differences, radiation exposure has a different impact on children compared with adults,” said Dr. Fred Mettler, Chair of the Expert Group on the UNSCEAR Report on Effects of Radiation Exposure of Children.
He presented the report as a valuable resource for the international medical and scientific community, because as such, children are generally assessed along with adults in epidemiological studies and comprehensive overviews of the effect of radiation on children are generally unavailable. The report highlights some important issues. For instance, for a given radiation dose, infants and children are more at risk than adults of developing a variety of tumours. This risk is, generally, not always immediate but extends later into life. Read more »
The plutonium stockpile poses enormous problems for the government. Not only is it highly radioactive and an immense potential danger to health, it is also a target for terrorist attacks and for anyone interested in stealing nuclear weapons-grade material.
The NDA’s report to DECC is understood to conclude that the Prism fast reactor is as credible as the two other options based on Mox fuel, even though GE-Hitachi has not yet built a commercial-scale plant for burning plutonium waste. DECC, however, has refused to release the report under a Freedom of Information request
It is understood that the NDA has been impressed by proposals from GE-Hitachi to build a pair of its Prism fast reactors on the Sellafield site,
Revealed: UK Government’s radical plan to ‘burn up’ UK’s mountain of plutonium http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/revealed-uk-governments-radical-plan-to-burn-up-uks-mountain-of-plutonium-8967535.html 28 Nove 13 A radical plan to dispose of Britain’s huge store of civil plutonium – the biggest in the world – by “burning” it in a new type of fast reactor is now officially one of three “credible options” being considered by the Government, The Independent understands. However, further delays have hit attempts to make a final decision on what to do with the growing plutonium stockpile which has been a recurring headache for successive governments over the past three decades.
The stock of plutonium, one of the most dangerous radioactive substances and the element of nuclear bombs, has already exceeded 100 tonnes and is likely to grow to as much as 140 tonnes by 2020, bolstered by a recent decision to include foreign plutonium from imported nuclear waste.
Ministers had pledged to resolve the plutonium problem in a public consultation but are sitting on a secret report by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which is believed to confirm that there are now three “credible options” for dealing with the plutonium stored at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria. Read more »
Why TEPCO is Risking the Removal of Fukushima Fuel Rods. The Dangers of Uncontrolled Global Nuclear Radiation, Global Research, 24 Nov 13 By Yoichi Shimatsu After repeated delays since the summer of 2011, the Tokyo Electric Power Company has launched a high-risk operation to empty the spent-fuel pool atop Reactor 4 at the Dai-ichi (No.1) Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The urgency attached to this particular site, as compared with reactors damaged in meltdowns, arises from several factors:
- over 400 tons of nuclear material in the pool could reignite
- the fire-damaged tank is tilting badly and may topple over sooner than later
- collapse of the structure could trigger a chain reaction and nuclear blast, and
- consequent radioactive releases would heavily contaminate much of the world.
The potential for disaster at the Unit 4 SFP is probably of a higher magnitude than suspected due to the presence of fresh fuel rods, which were delivered during the technical upgrade of Reactor 4 under completion at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The details of that reactor overhaul by GE and Hitachi have yet to be disclosed by TEPCO and the Economy Ministry and continue to be treated as a national-security matter. Here, the few clues from whistleblowers will be pieced together to decipher the nature of the clandestine activity at Fukushima No.1. Read more »
MOX nuclear fuel – the secret and so dangerous ingredient in the Fukushima No 4 nuclear cooling pond
The un-irradiated rods inside the Unit 4 spent-fuel pool are, in all probability, made of a new type of MOX fuel containing highly enriched plutonium.
“…….Mystery of MOX super-fuel A Mainichi Shimbun editorial mentions in passing that the Reactor 4 pool contains 202 fresh fuel assemblies.(3) The presence of new fuel rods was confirmed in the TEPCO press release, which described the first assembly lifted into the transfer cask as an “un-irradiated fuel rod.” Why were new rods being stored inside a spent-fuel pool, which is designed to hold expended rods? What threat of criticality do these fresh rods pose if the steel frame collapses or if crane operators drop one by accident onto other assemblies, as opposed to a spent rod?
Against the official silence and disinformation, a few whistleblowers have come forward with clues to answer these questions. Former GE nuclear worker Kei Sugaoka disclosed in a video interview that a joint team from Hitachi and General Electric was inside Reactor 4 at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake. By that fateful afternoon, the GE contractors were finishing the job of installing a new shroud, the heat-resistant metal shield lining the reactor interior.(4)
TEPCO inadvertently admitted to the presence of foreign contractors at Fukushima No.1 up until March 12, 2012, when the management ordered their evacuation in event of a massive explosion during the rapid meltdown of Reactor 2. So far, leaks indicate the presence of the GE team and of a Israeli nuclear security team with Magna BSP, a company based in Dimona.(5)
Another break came in April 2012, when a Japanese humor magazine published a brief interview of a Fukushima worker who disclosed that radioactive pieces of a broken shroud were left inside a device-storage pool at rooftop level behind the Reactor 4 spent-fuel pool.(6) This undoubtedly is the used shroud removed by the GE-H workers in February-March 2011.
A curious point here is that the previous shroud had been in use for only 15 months. Why would TEPCO and the Japanese government expend an enormous sum on a new lining when the existing one was still good for many years of service?
Obviously, the installation of a new shroud was not a mere replacement of a worn predecessor. It was an upgrade. The refit of Reactor 4 was, therefore, similar to the 2010 conversion of Reactor 3 to pluthermal or MOX fuel. The same model of GE Mark 1 reactor was being revamped to burn MOX fuel (mixed oxide of uranium and plutonium).
The un-irradiated rods inside the Unit 4 spent-fuel pool are, in all probability, made of a new type of MOX fuel containing highly enriched plutonium. If the frame collapses, triggering fire or explosion inside the spent-fuel pool, the plutonium would pulse powerful neutron bursts that may well possibly ignite distant nuclear power plants, starting with the Fukushima No.2 plant, 10 kilometers to the south…..
The upgrade of the Reactor 4 shroud may well have involved the test-fitting of some MOX rods, which abandoned on the floor next to the reactor when the tsunami reached shore. In other words, in early March 2011 crane operators completely filled space inside the spent-fuel pool with new MOX rods and then simply left casks of assemblies on the roof and lowered more into the basement. That is the simplest explanation for the damage to the structural integrity of the reactor building. GE is not about to disclose its role in this disaster………. http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-tepco-is-risking-the-removal-of-fukushima-fuel-rods-the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-global-nuclear-radiation/5359188…..http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-tepco-is-risking-the-removal-of-fukushima-fuel-rods-the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-global-nuclear-radiation/535918
Legal right to enrich uranium for Iran http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/112302-uranium-enrichment-is-a-right-hans-blix 23 Nov 13, TEHRAN — Hans Blix, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his interpretation of Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that uranium enrichment is a “right”.
The remarks by Blix come as Iran and the six major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the 5+1 group) are negotiating in Geneva.
HORRIFIC EFFECTS OF DEPLETED URANIUM STILL CENSORED BY U.S. MILITARY, MEDIA HTTPS://AMERICANFREEPRESS.NET/?P=13599 NOVEMBER 03, 2013 BY RICHARD WALKER In a move seen by medical experts worldwide as an effort to suppress the truth about the horrors of depleted uranium (DU) munitions, the United Nations (UN) health arm, the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Ministry of Health of Iraq (MoH) on September 13, 2013, produced a report that was not even authored, meaning no experts attached their names to it, on birth defects among Iraqi babies in which DU was not even considered a factor.
The report was published on the WHO website at a time when birth defects among Iraqi babies have been rising steadily, especially in areas like Najaf and Fallujah, where DU shells were used indiscriminately, killing and injuring large numbers of civilians. Some estimates for the 2003 death toll in Iraq put the civilian casualties in Fallujah as high as 75% to 80%. Read more »
TV: Work at Fukushima plant to go on for 10,000 years? Nuclear Expert: “It’s longer than human history” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/tv-work-at-fukushima-plant-could-go-on-for-next-10000-years-nuclear-expert-its-longer-than-human-history-video
Arirang’s ‘Prime Talk’,, August 30, 2013 (at 1:45 in):
Dr. Suh Kune-yull, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Seoul National University: [Freezing the soil around Fukushima reactors] sounds more like a sci-fi story, science fiction. We call this permafrost — frosting the soil — for 50 years and as long as 10,000 years. It’s longer than human history, it’s just unrealistic.
Watch the broadcast here
Arirang’s ‘Prime Talk’, ’, August 30, 2013 (at 1:30 in):
Dr. Suh Kune-yull, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Seoul National University: I call this permafrost which [is] really freezing the soil but to me sounds more like a science fiction because they have to be doing this for work at least 50 years and as long as 10,000 years. So I think they were probably going to give this up one of these months. […]
The NRC believes the fuel can be safely stored for at least 100 in casks. But the radioactive half life is 16 million years, with a defined hazardous life of 160 million years. The world will soon be dotted with these ad-hoc radioactive dumps.
When it first fired up its twin reactors in 1973, the Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois — roughly 40 miles north of Chicago — was the largest in the world. It was a stunning work of technology that supplied electricity to some two million homes. And it could have easily lived on into the new century. But in 1998, its parent company, the energy giant Exelon Corp, turned off its lights and shuttered the facility rather than face some costly upgrades.For 12 years, Zion sat dormant on prime Lake Michigan shorefront as Exelon shelled out $10 million a year to maintain it and protect it with round-the-clock patrols of armed guards. By 2010, the facility had become home to drifting weeds and nesting falcons.
But that year, the federal government — in an arrangement never tried before — agreed to allow Exelon to transfer custody of the plant to EnergySolutions, a nuclear-waste storage outfit. The deal was worth a potential $1 billion in clean-up fees to EnergySolutions. It would be the largest nuclear power plant decommissioning ever undertaken in the United States. And it pledged to return the 375-acre site back to Exelon as grass and local shrubbery at the end of 10 years……..
EnergySolutions has spent the past year removing Zion’s fuel rods from a cooling pool and putting them into the canisters and casks for dry storage. The fuel, which is still about 400 degrees, can now be air cooled. Christian expects the company to begin moving the casks, via a heavy-haul rail, 100 yards south of the reactors by mid-October.
They will remain there until the feds come up with an alternative to Yucca Mountain. “Until we have a national repository open, this spent fuel has to stay where it is,” says Lawrence Boing, a nuclear decommissioning specialist at Argonne National Laboratory’s nuclear engineering division. “The big question now is what do we do with this stuff?” Read more »
Other Department of Energy studies showed that pyroprocessing, by generating large quantities of low-level nuclear waste and contaminated uranium, greatly increases the volume of nuclear waste requiring disposal, contradicting “Pandora’s Promise’s” claim it would reduce the amount of waste.
Scientist: Film hypes the promise of advanced nuclear technology By Edwin Lyman, CNN November 7, 2013 In his zeal to promote nuclear power, filmmaker Robert Stone inserted numerous half-truths and less-than-half-truths in his new documentary “Pandora’s Promise,” One of Stone’s more misleading allegations was that scientists at a U.S. research facility, the Argonne National Laboratory, were on the verge of developing a breakthrough technology that could solve nuclear power’s numerous problems when the Clinton administration and its allies in Congress shut the program in 1994 for purely political reasons.
Like the story of Pandora itself, the tale of the integral fast reactor (IFR) — or at least the version presented in the movie — is more myth than reality. In the final assessment, the concept’s drawbacks greatly outweighed its advantages. The government had sound reasons to stanch the flow of taxpayer dollars to a costly, flawed project that also was undermining U.S. efforts to reduce the risks of nuclear terrorism and proliferation around the world…….
What did “Pandora’s Promise” leave out? First, it does not clearly explain what a “fast reactor” is and how it differs from the water-cooled reactors in use today. Most operating reactors use a type of fuel called “low-enriched” uranium, which cannot be used directly to make a nuclear weapon and poses a low security risk. The spent fuel from these water-cooled reactors contains weapon-usable plutonium as a byproduct, but it is very hard to make into a bomb because it is mixed with uranium and highly radioactive fission products.
Fast reactors, on the other hand, are far more dangerous because they typically require fuels made from plutonium or “highly enriched” uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons.
In fact, fast reactors can be operated as “breeders” that produce more plutonium than they consume. To produce the large quantities of plutonium needed to fuel fast reactors, spent fuel from conventional reactors has to be reprocessed — chemically processed to separate plutonium from the other constituents. Facilities that produce plutonium fuel must have strong protections against diversion and theft. All too often, however, security at such facilities is inadequate.
In the IFR concept, which was never actually realized in practice, reactor-spent fuel would be reprocessed using a technology called pyroprocessing, and the extracted plutonium would be fabricated into new fuel. IFR advocates have long asserted that pyroprocessing is not a proliferation risk because the plutonium it separates is not completely purified.
But a 2008 U.S. Department of Energy review — which confirmed many previous studies — concluded that pyroprocessing and similar technologies would “greatly reduce barriers to theft, misuse or further processing, even without separation of pure plutonium.” Read more »
Nuclear energy film overstates positives, underplays negatives By Ralph Cavanagh and Tom Cochran, CNN November 6, 2013 - ”………The still-unrealized Integral Fast Reactor is the real star of the film, along with the nation of France, whose nuclear generation program is extolled as “one of the most inspiring stories ever” (“the trains are electric powered, they have clean air, and they have the cheapest electricity in Europe”). Nuclear power debates are the only places where you will ever see those at the conservative edge of the political spectrum argue that the United States should reorganize its economy to be more like France.
The Clinton administration killed the Integral Fast Reactor in 1994 because of concern over the potential diversion of the plutonium fuel by terrorists and non-nuclear weapon states of concern. Yet the film’s closing argument is that a “fourth-generation” reactor modeled on the Integral Fast Reactor will sweep the globe, burning waste created by the first three generations and “solving” the nagging problem of long-term disposal of nuclear waste. The film fails to mention that this would take hundreds to thousands of plutonium-fueled reactors operating over hundreds of years, resulting most likely in an increase in the releases of radioactivity to the environment as a consequence of operations by the Integral Fast Reactor’s fuel processing and fabricating facilities.
The film invokes Bill Gates as one of many forward-thinking new investors in nuclear innovation, but surely even Gates would recoil from the Integral Fast Reactor’s poor economic outlook compared to conventional reactors and the financial risks associated with building just one Integral Fast Reactor, let alone a global fleet of them. The film fails to acknowledge that the flagship fast reactor development efforts in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and Italy all failed, and that fast reactors were abandoned by both the U.S. and Soviet navies, hardly a strong selling point for resurrecting the Integral Fast Reactor program………..http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/06/opinion/pandora-nuclear-energy-opinion-cavanagh-cochran/
Unit 4 presented particular dangers because its entire stock of fuel rods was in the pool at the time of the accident.
If the operation goes as planned, attention will then focus on the massive challenges posed by Units 1, 2 and 3.
Tepco will not confirm the precise timing of the fuel rod operation but after so much public outrage at the company’s handling of the crisis so far, scrutiny of this latest episode will be intense.
Fukushima nuclear plant set for risky operation http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24843657 7 Nov 13 David Shukman A task of extraordinary delicacy and danger is about to begin at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station.
Engineers are preparing to extract the first of more than 1,000 nuclear fuel rods from one of the wrecked reactor buildings. This is seen as an essential but risky step on the long road towards stabilising the site.
The fuel rods are currently in a precarious state in a storage pool in Unit 4. This building was badly damaged by an explosion in March 2011 following the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Moving the rods to safety is a high priority but has only become possible after months of repair work and planning.
One senior official told me: “It’s going to be very difficult but it has to happen.” Read more »
Experts debate ‘safe’ dose of radiation http://www.wnem.com/story/23813407/experts-debate-safe-dose-of-radiation Nov 06, 2013 By Kimberly Wright - email (RNN) – Is there such a thing as a safe dose of radiation? Some experts say no. Research shows that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer.
Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer, according to the Physicians for Social Responsibility. The primary risk of radiation is cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, with the higher the radiation dose, the greater the chance of developing cancer.
The chance of developing cancer, not the seriousness of the cancer, increases as the radiation dose goes up. It can be difficult to discern what causes cancer when it is detected, as cancers caused by radiation do not appear until years after the radiation exposure.
Some are more likely to develop cancer than others from radiation. Less likely,radiation can also cause genetic mutations and birth defects to a developing embryo or fetus. Fetuses are most susceptible to radiation exposure, following by infants, children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fetuses are most sensitive between about eight to 15 weeks after conception. Read more »
Japan Nuclear Engineer: I don’t think they’ll ever get Fukushima’s melted cores; Will probably start covering reactors in concrete — German Expert: May encase areas in sarcophagus http://enenews.com/japan-nuclear-engineer-dont
November 4th, 2013
Helmholtz Special, 2012: Dr Walter Tromm is Spokesperson of the [...] Nuclear Energy and Safety at the Karlsruhe Insititue of Technology, collaborates on international expert committees on the safety of nuclear reactors: “Debris and scrap metal are to be removed from the plant bit by bit in order to finally dismantle it and/or encase the areas with the highest degree of radioactivity in a sarcophagus.”
‘Fukushima‘ by Mark Willacy, book published July 1, 2013 (Excerpt): […] there was much -expert scepticism about whether the government’s 40-year road map would be achievable. ‘I also hope decommissioning can be completed in 40 years,’ said [nuclear-reactor engineer] Hiroaki Koide. ‘But I do not think it is possible.’ […] In an interview with me 20 months after the meltdowns, TEPCO also appeared to be backing away from its four-decade decommissioning road map, admitting that the task in front of the company was unprecedented. ‘We hope to accomplish it in 40 years as per our engineering schedule,’ said Junichi Matsumoto. ‘But we will need to develop manipulators and other jigs and containers to put the bits in.’ […] the gravest challenge would be locating and removing the melted cores inside reactors 1, 2 and 3. ‘I don’t think they can pick up the melted nuclear cores,’ said Koide.
‘Instead, they’ll probably start work to cover the reactors in a concrete sarcophagus. It will take them more than ten years to even begin this work. And then it will take decades to finish each sarcophagus.’
“the first wall”: any nuclear fusion facilities must be fitted with an internal container made up by a “first wall” that faces the space where the reaction takes place.
This wall will be exposed to neutronic radiation. It won’t take long for it to become radioactive and begin to erode. In time, it will have to be replaced by another wall if the fusion reactor is to remain in operation.
Where will the discarded containers end up? These “first walls” will be loaded with radioactivity. As fusion technology develops, this can become a problem.
Nuclear Fusion: Is it as Safe as We Think? Dmitri Prieto http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=99809 4 Nov 13
HAVANA TIMES — It seems to me that we are not sufficiently aware of the risks surrounding a new, emerging technology. Producing energy through the fusion of light nuclei (such as deuterium and tritium, which are heavy, radioactive isotopes of hydrogen) is the dream of many physicists and technologists.
This is the process which takes place inside the sun, the stars and hydrogen bombs. The aim is to “domesticate” the thermonuclear reaction so that, on the one hand, it does not produce an explosion (like the 50-megaton hydrogen bomb detonated by the Soviets in the Arctic in 1961), and, on the other, the process stabilizes at a temperature in which the atomic nuclei can fuse and generate energy.
No fusion thermonuclear plant yet exists. Existing complexes are fission plants. I am referring to those that work on uranium and plutonium (like the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plants). Read more »
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