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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Indigenous people and the nuclear industry – theme for July 16

uranium-mineIndigenous people continue to bear the brunt of nuclear toxicity. It started with uranium mining – of course, on indigenous land in rural areas, in USA, Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, Germany , India,  and of course to provide nuclear weapons material.

Then came the nuclear bomb tests – on remote rural indigenous lands and islands

map atomic bomb tests

Indigenous peoples either stayed on their polluted lands, as uranium mining continued, or were removed from bomb tests sites, unable to return.
Nevada_Test_Site_cratersAlgeria bomb siteEnewetak-atoll-Cactus-dome

Book Maralinga Anangu Story

 

 

 

 

This Radioactive pollution remains today, from uranium mining in many countries – but always on or close to indigenous lands. The nuclear bomb test sites remain too radioactive for the indigenous people to return home.

Mayak Russia

Uranium mining and milling, nuclear bomb tests and radioactive wastes ...

Russia is secretive about its nuclear wastes. They used to dump it in oceans, as  did the French and others. Russia is notorious for its extremely polluted remote area at Mayak, where the rural people suffer the health legacy to this day

The “developed” world realises that something must be done with the growing amounts of radioactive trash.waste on indigenous

Where to dump it?  That’s a “developed society” no brainer – ON INDIGENOUS LAND, of course.  There’s now a movement to export radioactive trash to remote rural areas, such as the Aboriginal lands of Australia

Next week we will look at the indigenous fight against the nuclear industry

 

June 18, 2016 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Japanese business community wants renewable power, losing faith in nuclear power

poster renewables not nuclearflag-japanJapan business lobby says Abe government can’t rely on nuclear energy http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-energy-idUSKCN1020XH TOKYO | BY OSAMU TSUKIMORI AND AARON SHELDRICK, 22 July 16  Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

San Onofre nuclear waste stranded on the beach

“That site will not survive for 10,000 years, just based on the normal erosion and other factors,”

“For most in Congress, their political horizon is two years, four years, six years out,” McFarlane said. “They’re not motivated.”

radioactive trashsan-onofre-deadfFOCUS: WHY SAN ONOFRE’S NUCLEAR WASTE STAYS ON THE BEACH Policy stalemate leaves toxic spent fuel stranded, San Diego Union Tribune BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI July 22, 2016 Some 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is all stored up with no place to go.

The plant has not produced electricity since January 2012 for the nearly 19 million people served by Southern California Edison, the majority owner of the facility, andSan Diego Gas & Electric, which owns 20 percent.

Edison officials overseeing the plant’s decommissioning have set a target date of the end of 2032 to remove nearly every remnant of the generating station, which hugs the Southern California coastline at the northern tip of San Diego County in Camp Pendleton.

The operative word is “nearly” because, in all likelihood, the waste — also called spent fuel or used fuel — will stay behind for years to come, stranded until a long-term solution is reached on what to do with it. Going back to the 1960s when the plant broke ground, anti-nuclear critics and Edison officials have not often seen eye-to-eye. But when it comes to the spent fuel, they are in complete agreement: Both sides want it off the premises as soon as possible.

“This is not the right solution, putting the waste on the beach,” said Ray Lutz, El Cajon resident and founder of the nonprofit Citizens Oversight. Lutz made the comment on June 22, just before a Community Engagement Panel, one of a series of public meetings Edison hosts every three months.

“It’s very frustrating,” Tom Palmisano, Edison’s vice president of decommissioning and the chief nuclear officer, said earlier this month.

So why is the waste stuck near the beach? Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

REGIONAL RISKS in America’s Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools

nuclear-spent-fuel-poolSpent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools: A Deadly and Unnecessary Risk in the United States. Based on an Institute for Policy Studies report by Robert Alvarez entitled “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage.” 

“…….New York. If a spent fuel fire were to happen at one of the two Indian Point nuclear reactors located 25 miles from New York City, it could result in as many as 5,600 cancer deaths and $461 billion in damages. Indian Point spent fuel storage has about three times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

 Los Angeles. The spent fuel at Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors have nearly 2.7 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Miami. Turkey Point reactors 65 miles from Miami have 2.5 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Dallas. The Comanche Peak nuclear station 60 miles southwest of Dallas has spent fuel that contains about 2.3 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Atlanta. The Vogtle nuclear reactors near Augusta are 147 miles northeast of Atlanta. These reactors have generated 2.5 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.  https://ratical.org/radiation/NuclearExtinction/IPS-RA-ReportFactSheet.pdf

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Foolish greed in South Australia’s unwise plan to import nuclear wastes

greed copyPoison In The Heart: The Nuclear Wasting Of South Australia  Counter Currents by  — July 22, 2016 

“Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are both leading instances of the irrationalities 

that result from a social world that has been constructed to concentrate power 
in the hands of tiny minorities, and to make it possible for them 
to maintain and defend their power.”
 Andrew Lichterman, 2012
“. . . because a few, by fate’s economy, shall seem to move the world
the way it goes.”
 Edward Arlington Robinson, 1916

Our planet is deeply burdened. It presently harbours 390,000 tons of high level nuclear waste produced by nuclear reactors and weapons programs over the past 70 years. Spent nuclear fuel is one of the most dangerous materials on earth. Most of it is stored underwater in numerous cooling ponds throughout the world. High level nuclear waste is dangerous to all life for unthinkable periods of time. Plutonium, which is produced in every nuclear fuel rod, has a toxic lifespan of 240,000 years. With each passing year, a further 10,000 tons of spent fuel is added to the world’s accumulated stores of deadly waste. In addition to the spent fuel from nuclear reactors, vast amounts of lower-level radioactive waste lie scattered in mining sites, tailings dams, undersea dumps and soil-borne contamination on every continent.

We have no idea what to do with the stuff. The Americans sank over $13 billion into the construction of a massive underground repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. It was closed down in 2010 without taking in a single gram of nuclear waste. The Soviets didn’t bother with such elaborate schemes and until recently, simply dumped much of their waste – including obsolete submarines complete with nuclear reactors – into the Kara Sea and elsewhere in the Arctic Circle where they slowly corrode, leaching their lethal contents into the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean.

In the meantime, a small cadre of aspirational Promethean technocrats in South Australia have somehow decided that Australia holds the solution to the global problem of nuclear waste. The recently releasedNuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report recommends that the South Australian government accepts over one third of the world’s high level waste for above-ground storage and eventual burial in yet-to-be-built underground repositories in the South Australian desert. The report proposes that South Australia imports 138,000 tons of high level radioactive waste in the form of spent fuel rods as well as an additional 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate level waste for storage and eventual disposal.

This has all been spruiked as a fail-safe commercial venture that will relieve the South Australian Government of its financial problems ever after and create a rosy economic future for generations that have yet to be born. Such madness blithely ignores the fact that the genetic and biological futures of those generations may thereafter be a different story…….  ww.countercurrents.org/2016/07/22/poison-in-the-heart-the-nuclear-wasting-of-south-australia/

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear weapons not able to reach Britain

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea admits ‘our nuclear weapons aren’t a threat to the UK’, Mirror UK, , 22 JUL 2016, [good pictures and video] 

The rogue state claimed that Theresa May’s comments on the nuclear threat that Kim Jong-un poses were “absolutely astonishing”. North Korea has admitted that its nuclear weapons CAN’T reach the United Kingdom. Pyongyang said that claims made by Theresa May on the threat it poses were “absolutely astonishing”.

A statement from the North Korean foreign ministry said: “It is illogical that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to the UK.

“It is a pity that the UK makes an excuse for the building of [nuclear submarines] by finding fault with the DPRK, thousands [of] kilometres away from it.”

Prime Minister May was making the case for renewing Britain’s Trident missile defence system when she pointed out that the UK must be prepared to act should it come under attack. May added: “We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts which would put our country in grave danger.”

However North Korea responded: “The DPRK does not regard the UK’s nuclear weapons as a threat to it.

“Therefore, the UK has no need to regard the DPRK’s nukes as a threat to it.”………http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/north-korea-admits-our-nuclear-8469712

July 23, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not clean, not carbon free- California is wise to phase it out

climate and nuclearThere are good reasons for California to phase out nuclear power, Huffington Post, Johann Saathoff,MP German BundestagCoordinator of energy policy for the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag  07/22/2016 “…….While electricity from nuclear power stations may be carbon-free at the time of production, looked at in overall terms it is anything but that and it is certainly not clean.

Nobody asks or calculates how much CO2 was released in the building of the power station. Nobody considers how CO2 is released through the mining, processing and enrichment of uranium and through its transportation.

And nobody in the world knows at this point where and how radioactive waste can be safely stored for the millennia to come, how much CO2 will have to be used in the process and what the costs will be in terms of the second energy bill, as in the case of fossil energy sources.

Considered in overall terms – even assuming no incidents – the actual costs of nuclear power per kilowatt hour and CO2 emissions are incalculable.

What is certain, however, is that unlike renewable energies, nuclear power is not carbon-free. For this reason alone a renaissance of nuclear power would be irresponsible. It would also be irresponsible because of the danger of accidents (particularly in earthquake-prone areas) and the unsolved question of the final storage of nuclear waste. Nuclear power is also not clean; discharges of hot water cause considerable damage to the environment – to say nothing of the enormous environmental damage caused by the extraction of uranium……..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-saathoff/there-are-good-reasons-fo_b_11133916.html

July 23, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Politics trumps good sense as EDF prepares to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear project

handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PAHinkley Point C nuclear project expected to get go-ahead next week EDF likely to greenlight construction of power plant in Somerset, providing boost to UK government amid Brexit fallout, Guardian, , 23 July, The Hinkley Point C nuclear project is poised to get the go-ahead from EDF next week in what will be a major boost to a new government trying to steady nerves on the economy after the British vote to leave the European Union last month.

A board meeting of the French energy group on Thursday 28 July is expected to give a final investment decision in favour of building new reactors in Somerset despite internal divisions over the £18bn scheme.

The decision has been repeatedly postponed, partly because of pressure from trade unionists on the board of the partly state-owned French group who claim EDF cannot afford the cost and risk of such a massive project in the UK.

But Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, has the support of the British government to press ahead with a scheme that represents an important shop window for selling nuclear technology and expertise worldwide.

EDF said it would discuss Hinkley Point C (HPC) – which involves building two so-called European pressurised reactors (EPR) – at its forthcoming board meeting and underlined the importance of building in Britain. “The HPC project is a major element of the group’s … strategy. The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point would strengthen EDF’s presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.”

EDF would not publicly commit itself to a decision in favour of the project, but nuclear industry sources said all company preparations were being made as if it was a done deal. “We are all expecting the go ahead next week,” the sources said.

The timing could not be better for the UK government, which regards Hinkley as a flagship energy scheme despite criticism from the City about its massive cost.

EDF insists it can build the project for £18bn but a complex system of subsidies agreed by the former chancellor, George Osborne, could cost the consumer up to £37bn, according to a recent estimate published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) website………

Critics remained vocal. “It’s right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.

“A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn’t yet been shown to work.

“For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.”………https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/22/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-project

July 23, 2016 Posted by | France, politics, UK | Leave a comment

India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

flag-indiaIndia Will Never Sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Says Sushma http://www.news18.com/news/india/india-will-never-sign-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-says-sushma-1271759.html CNN-News18 July 20, 2016,  New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

While making statement in the Lok Sabha, she said, India will continue to engage with China over its opposition to India’s entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“If someone does not agree to something once, it doesn’t mean that they will never agree to it. We are continuing our efforts in engaging with China on this issue,” the foreign minister said on India’s bid to gain entry to the NSG.

Swaraj’s statements on the NSG issue came in response to queries from Opposition members on the status of India’s bid for entry into the elite nuclear trading group.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New York’s nuclear subsidy plan will grow to a $multibillion cost to ratepayers

hungry-nukes 1Nuclear Subsidies Are Key Part of New York’s Clean-Energy Plan, NYT By VIVIAN YEE JULY 20, 2016 “………The commission is considering a proposal that makes the state’s three upstate nuclear plants important parts of its efforts to wean itself off fossil fuels, offering nearly $1 billion in ratepayer-financed subsidies over the next two years to save plants battered by rising costs and competition from cheap natural gas.

 The subsidy is likely to grow into the multibillion-dollar range over the 12-year period proposed by the state, a sum that has caused watchdogs to question whether the state is about to approve a major industry bailout with minimal public scrutiny — even though it is the public’s utility bills that will grow……..Though the commission outlined the plan in January, saying that the subsidy could cost anywhere from $59 million to $658 million by 2023, not until 10 days before the deadline for public comments did it disclose that the actual amount would be closer to $1 billion over the first two years. (The commission pushed the deadline back another week, to Friday, after a minor outcry, while maintaining that it had offered plenty of time and information.)………Exelon Corporation would stand to benefit the most from the plan; It owns two of the three upstate plants, and is in talks to buy the third, the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego. Exelon has spent at least $426,000 on lobbying over the past two years, according to state records.

With very little process, and very little time for the public to even know this is happening, what they’re proposing here is a multibillion-dollar uncompetitive subsidy to one company,” said Jessica Azulay, a spokeswoman for the Alliance for a Green Economy, an environmentalist group.

The alliance has calculated the total cost over 12 years as more than $7.6 billion…..http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/nyregion/nuclear-subsidies-new-york-clean-energy-plan.html?_r=0

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Priority to remove Wylfa nuclear waste

Oscar-wastesRemoving Wylfa nuclear plant’s radioactive fuel ‘priority’, BBC News, 22 July 2016

The push to recover used radioactive fuel from the last nuclear power station of its kind is under way.

Wylfa nuclear plant’s last reactor was turned off after 44 years at an outage ceremony on Anglesey in December.Workers have spent the past six months putting decommissioning plans into action, including a new safety regime.Removing 800 tonnes of spent Magnox fuel will now be the “dominant” focus over the next three years, officials have said.

“Once we are fuel free, over 99% of all the radioactivity on the site will have left,” said Gordon Malcolm, deputy site director at Wylfa. “Then the whole site moves on to the next phase of work, preparations for care and maintenance… which will last for the rest of this century.”

Spent fuel from Wylfa will be taken to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing, before much of the site is cleared, leaving just the reactor buildings and fuel stores.

According to officials, 99% of the fuel used to power Reactor One remains on site after it was shut down last year.On top of this, 60% of the old fuel used in Reactor Two until it was closed in 2012 is also at Wylfa………

Site staff also have one eye on developments next to their plant, where there are plans for a new nuclear plant built by Japanese-owned Horizon Nuclear Power.

The Wylfa Newydd developers are still waiting for approval to use their design for a new reactor and hope to submit planning applications in 2017. In the meantime, Horizon has been carrying out preliminary site investigations,including a seabed study…….http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-36836836

July 23, 2016 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Solar energy on track to become the cheapest power globally

Solar-Energy-WorldSoon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere http://www.enn.com/energy/article/49803  : Chris Goodall, The Ecologist,  July 22, 2016 Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall – its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all.

Towards the end of last year, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden made a little-noticed remark. He said that solar would become the “dominant backbone” of the world’s energy system.

He didn’t give a date for his prediction, or indeed define what ‘dominant’ means, but he accepted that the sun will eventually provide the cheapest energy source across almost all of the world.

This is what my new book, The Switch, is about. Just how long will it take to wean the world off fossil fuels using just the forces of the free market rather than quixotic governments? What technologies will we need to complement the intermittent power of the sun?

In some ways, van Beurden’s thought is an obvious one. The light and heat coming from the sun provides a continuous stream of about 90,000 terawatts of energy to the planet. (Don’t worry about the unit of measurement. The important thing is that this number is six thousand times the requirements of the entire world). Continue reading at ENN affiliate, The Ecologist.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Middle Eastern countries – a bonanza for Western nuclear salesmen

Despite years of building and development, nuclear power is on the decline in many parts of the world with its share of global electricity decreasing from 18 percent in 1996 to around 11 percent today according to the International Energy Agency.

Nuclear has become unfashionable in several countries not just because of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters: New safety requirements mean the cost of building nuclear facilities has been rapidly mounting.

The cost of the UAE’s Barakah plant is estimated at between US$25 bn and $32 bn, most of it being paid out of state funds. The initial cost estimate of Saudi Arabia’s nuclear programme – involving French, Chinese, Argentinian and South Korean companies building facilities both for power generation and for desalination – is $80 bn.  

Energy analysts say that rather than spending billions of dollars on prestige nuclear projects, subsidies should be eliminated to curtail usage and alternative energy sources should be developed.

The use of solar power is still minimal in many countries in the region yet it has enormous potential

marketig-nukes

 Middle Eastern rush to a nuclear powered future Middle East Eye Kieran Cooke 21 July 2016 A nuclear power bonanza is underway across the Middle East and North Africa.

Following the disasters at the Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants, many countries either cancelled or put on hold projects for nuclear power facilities but in the Middle East region at least 25 plants are planned and many more are being talked about.

Some studies indicate that up to a total of 90 nuclear facilities, – both big and small – are in the pipeline………

Opponents of the plans say going nuclear in what is one of the world’s most volatile geopolitical regions poses serious safety and security issues. Among other concerns there are the eye watering costs involved in nuclear building programmes and unresolved problems over radioactive waste disposal.

The nuclear salespeople have been busy across the region in recent years: in the United Arab Emirates, the Barakah nuclear power facility in Abu Dhabi, built and operated by the South Koreans, is due to come on stream next year, aiming to supply up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity.

Saudi Arabia plans to have its first nuclear power plant on stream by 2022, with another 15 facilities of varying size in the pipeline. Jordan and Egypt have signed agreements with Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear conglomerate, to build and operate reactors.

Despite recent tensions between Turkey and Russia, Rosatom is continuing construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant on the country’s southern coast.

Tunisia and Algeria have also been in nuclear discussions with the Russians and other suppliers…….. Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | marketing, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

The beginnings of the Nuclear Age

doomsday's pic copyAwakening the Nuclear Beast

The cadaverous face of nuclear energy was revealed right from the start. Marie Curie, who discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium, was fascinated with the peculiar luminosity emitted by the salts of uranium and radium. Her decades-long work with these elements was, however, invisibly accompanied by a slow and silent destruction of the blood-forming cells in her bone-marrow. This eventually led to her death from aplastic anaemia in 1934. Curie’s notebooks written over a century ago are stored in lead-lined boxes. Present-day researchers who wish to examine them are required to wear protective clothing.

The US military was among the first to realise the possibilities of glow-in-the-dark radium salts. Towards the end of World War I, it commissioned the painting of watch-dials and other instruments with radium. The idea became more widely popular and the United States Radium Factory was set up in New York in 1917. Over the following decade, 70 young women were employed to paint watch-dials with radium salts using fine camel hair brushes. They were instructed by their supervisors to keep the brush tips sharp by rolling them between their lips or on their tongues. Their inevitable fate is recounted in Eleanor Swanson’s powerful but harrowing poem The Radium Girls.

Ernest Rutherford’s work with uranium during the early years of the twentieth century led him to develop the first coherent model of the structure of the atom. Danish physicist Neils Bohr worked in his laboratory for a short time in 1912. Soon after, Bohr had refined Rutherford’s theory and formulated the idea that electrons moved in fixed orbits around a central nucleus and that, by absorbing or emitting energy, they could instantaneously change their orbits. His theory formed the core around which a more complete understanding of quantum mechanics could develop over the next decade.

Things then began to move very quickly. The development of particle accelerators enabled physicists to routinely transmute one element into another by the 1930s. In December 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann observed that bombarding uranium with neutrons resulted in the formation of lighter, rather than the heavier elements that they expected. Hahn was mystified by the results and communicated the findings to his former colleague Lise Meitner who had taken refuge in Sweden because of Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies. She was visited soon after by her nephew Otto Frisch, a physicist at Neils Bohr’s laboratory in Copenhagen, and spoke with him about Hahn’s letter. In the discussions that followed, they realised that Hahn had unwittingly described the phenomenon of nuclear fission – the breaking apart of atoms of uranium. Together, they pieced together a plausible account of the process and submitted a short paper outlining their theory to the scientific journal Nature. It was published in February 1939.

The Human Chain Reaction

Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment

Spent nuclear fuel pools are unsafe

Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools: A Deadly and Unnecessary Risk in the United States. Based on an Institute for Policy Studies report by Robert Alvarez entitled “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage.” 

Ì More than 30 million highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods are submerged in vulnerable storage pools at reactors all over the United States. These pools at 51 sites contain some the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet. Yet, they are stored under unsafe conditions, vulnerable to attacks and natural disasters.

Ì Spent nuclear fuel rods have enough pop to cause a catastrophic radiation fire, a nuclear chain reaction, or explosion. As the Fukushima Dai-Ichi tragedy shows, the risk to the public is all too real.

Ì Spent nuclear fuel rods are so deadly that a motorcyclist blasting past them at 60 mph at a distance of one foot would be killed from the effects of that fleeting radiation exposure.

Ì The metal tubing that holds the spent nuclear fuel is thinner than a credit card. This thin sheath is the only major barrier preventing the escape of radioactive materials. Cracked or damaged metal tubing that was holding deadly nuclear material at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactors resulted in the release of an enormous amount radioactivity, much of which seeped into air, soil, and nearby ocean water.

 

Ì Approximately 75 percent of U.S. spent nuclear fuel rods are kept tightly packed together in storage racks, submerged in pools located at nuclear reactors. These storage facilities resemble large above-ground swimming pools and this practice puts the American public at risk. Spent fuel storage pools are often housed in buildings no more secure than a car dealership. Instead, these fuel rods should be safely stored in dry, hardened, and sealed storage casks.

Ì Spent fuel storage pools are vulnerable. Massive land contamination, radiation injuries, and myriad deaths would result from a terrorist attack, earthquake, or even a prolonged electricity blackout — as happened at the Fukushima DaiIchi reactor site in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami. Pools need electricity to pump water to cool the rods, as well as to maintain a high water level to diffuse the escape of radiation. Despite these dangers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) doesn’t require nuclear reactor operators to even have back-up power supplies for these spent-fuel pools to prevent disaster.

Ì If the water in a spent nuclear fuel pool drains to six feet above the fuel rods, it would give off life-threatening radiation doses to workers on site. These pools were originally designed to hold less than one fifth of the radioactive material they now contain.

 

Ì If the water were to drain entirely from a spent fuel pool, it could trigger a catastrophic radioactive fire that would spew toxins and render hundreds of thousands of square miles uninhabitable. The devastated area would be larger than the wasteland that resulted from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

 

Ì Life-threatening incidents have occurred at multiple U.S. spent fuel storage pools. In Haddam Neck, Connecticut, a pool sprung a leak in August 1984. About 200,000 gallons of water drained in just 20 minutes, according the NRC.

 

Ì Dry cask storage is a much safer alternative to pools — which were originally designed to hold less than one-fifth of what they now contain. It doesn’t rely upon a constant supply of electricity or water, and it also can be stored in separate blast-proof containers, making it less susceptible to terrorist attack or earthquakes.

 

Ì Over the next 10 years, we could remove all spent fuel older than five years for a cost of $3 billion-$7 billion. The cost of fixing America’s nuclear vulnerabilities may be high, but the price of doing too little is incalculable……..https://ratical.org/radiation/NuclearExtinction/IPS-RA-ReportFactSheet.pdf

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Reference, technology, wastes | Leave a comment

Challenges in the transition from nuclear power to renewables

poster renewables not nuclearThere are good reasons for California to phase out nuclear power, Huffington Post, Johann Saathoff,MP German BundestagCoordinator of energy policy for the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag  07/22/2016 “……..In Germany the transition to renewable energies is proceeding although there are challenges to overcome. Two thirds of electricity in Germany is currently generated from renewables. We do not expect demand for electricity to fall in the future. Coupling the electricity market sector (including electric mobility) and the heat market will create overcapacity. This will be a good thing and any overcapacity can be put to good use in the electricity market.

One of the greatest obstacles at present to expanding renewables is the failure to expand existing and build new power grids. The energy transition and the decentralised production of electricity involves the need to adapt the entire power supply system in Germany and renew large parts. Up to now power stations have been located in the vicinity of the major power consumers; in future power stations will be much smaller and distributed throughout the country. They will also not supply electricity on a continuous basis. Sector coupling between the electricity market, heat market and mobility means that fewer networks have to be built since part of the electricity can be consumed locally.

It is important to ensure, however, that security of supply is guaranteed as the production of renewable energy increases. There is therefore a need for an intelligent grid with intelligent, i.e. controllable, electricity meters at least for the big energy consumers. Up to now the production of electricity has been geared to consumption. In the new energy world it will be possible to adjust the consumption curve to the production curve. It will be possible, as an example, for cold stores to be cooled down further at times when there is too much power in the grid. They will not then need any power if a few hours later there is too little power in the grid. For the operator of the cold store there will be a commercial incentive in the form of lower prices if he adjusts the way he runs his cold store to comply with the electricity market.

The cold store would thus function as a type of energy store. This, along with other storage systems such as pumped hydroelectric and compressed air energy storage, chemical storage and power-to-gas and power-to-heat plants, will become increasingly important with the growth of renewable energy and in the context of supply security. In the transitional phase, security of supply can be ensured locally by small modular gas power stations.

In Germany there is a broad consensus in society in favour of the phasing out of nuclear power by 2022. The reasons for phasing out nuclear power for us are the same as in California and elsewhere: the lack of a solution regarding the storage of nuclear waste, environmental damage and the risk of accidents. The danger of an accident comes from human error in operating the plant, a lack of maintenance and wear. In the past there was also a failure to properly appreciate the danger of terrorist attacks. These dangers apply to the plant itself, to the energy supply for the region in question and to the nation as a whole. Phasing out nuclear power and changing over to decentralised renewable energy removes a central target of attack from potential aggressors. Thus the energy transition also contributes to national security.

There may be a consensus within society in favour of the energy transition and the resulting structural changes that are required, but the state needs to be proactive in the process in order to ensure that this consensus is maintained. This means that people employed up to now in the nuclear sector must be given prospects for the future and those regions which have benefitted in economic terms up to now from nuclear power stations must be shown other options for economic development. One way would be to provide incentives in these regions for building production facilities for storage systems, cabling, wind farms or parts thereof.

One possibility for ensuring people’s support for the energy transition is to encourage them to be actively involved in citizens’ energy companies. This means they have a direct stake in the commercial success of the energy transition. In addition or perhaps alternatively the local authorities as the real agencies responsible for providing public services and representatives of local citizens, should hold large stakes in these energy companies. In this way all citizens participate in the energy transition, not just those who can afford to invest…..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-saathoff/there-are-good-reasons-fo_b_11133916.html

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Reference, renewable | Leave a comment

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