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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

New nuclear power essentially connected to nuclear weapons – theme for May 2017

The “new nuclear” lobby spruiks Generation IV nuclear reactors as helping prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are two reasons why the development of Generation IV nuclear reactors promotes nuclear proliferation.

  1. Every new nuclear reactor, of whatever kind, brings the risk of being used for nuclear weapons.
  2. The nuclear weapons industry badly needs a new “nuclear renaissance” for the continuing research, training education of nuclear experts.

This week, I’ll outline that first reason.

All nuclear power concepts, including Gen IVs, connect to  to the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)  For example, Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) would breed their own fuel (plutonium-239) from uranium-238 from depleted uranium. Theoretically, the process would make it very difficult or impossible to use the plutonium directly in nuclear weapons. But a special cycle could be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Thorium fuelled reactors could also be used to irradiate uranium to produce weapon grade plutonium. The Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) or plutonium, used to start the thorium reactor, could be diverted for weapons production.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)  retain all the risks associated with supplying, maintaining, safeguarding, and dismantling large nuclear reactors, including weapons risks,  – only now those risks would be multiplied and decentralised. Although proponents of small reactors argue that stealing fissile material from the reactors is near impossible (via features such as a sealed core and the ability to bury the core underground), the risk is still higher than that of a large reactor. In addition, the smaller facilities required (e.g. containment structures) mean that attacks intending to destroy plants and spread nuclear waste may be more of a danger.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Study: S. Korean nuclear disaster would hit Japan the hardest

hjhklmmù.jpgThe projected spread of radioactive cesium-137 from a disaster at the No. 3 reactor’s spent fuel pool of the Kori nuclear plant in Busan, South Korea (Provided by Kang Jung-min)

A serious nuclear accident in South Korea could force the evacuation of more than 28 million people in Japan, compared with around 24 million in the home country of the disaster.

Japan would also be hit harder by radioactive fallout than South Korea in such a disaster, particularly if it occurred in winter, when strong westerly winds would blow radioactive substances across the Sea of Japan, according to a simulation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based think tank.

The simulation, based on a scenario of an unfolding crisis at the Kori nuclear power plant in Busan, South Korea, was led by Kang Jung-min, a South Korean senior researcher of nuclear physics, and his colleagues.

At events in Japan and South Korea, Kang, 51, has repeatedly warned about East Asia’s vulnerability to a severe nuclear accident, saying the region shares the “same destiny” regardless of the location of such a disaster.

The Kori nuclear complex is home to seven of the country’s 25 commercial reactors, making it one of the largest in South Korea. Its oldest reactor–and the first in the country–went online in 1978.

Spent nuclear fuel at the Kori plant is cooled in on-site storage pools next to reactors.

But the operator of the plant has ended up storing spent fuel in more cramped conditions than in the past because waste keeps accumulating from the many years of operations.

An estimated 818 tons of spent fuel was being stored at the pool of the Kori No. 3 reactor as of the end of 2015, the most at any reactor in the country.

That is because the No. 3 pool has also been holding spent fuel from the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors since their fuel pools became too crowded.

Storing spent fuel in such a manner greatly increases the risk of a nuclear accident, Kang warned.

Kang’s team simulated the series of likely events that would follow if the No. 3 reactor lost power in a natural disaster or an act of terrorism.

With no power, the spent fuel at the No. 3 reactor could not be cooled. The cooling water would evaporate, exposing the fuel rods to air, generating intensive heat and causing a fire.

Hydrogen gas would then fill up the fuel storage building, leading to an explosion that would result in the release of a large amount of vaporized cesium-137 from the spent fuel.

Assuming that the catastrophe occurred on Jan. 1, 2015, the researchers determined how highly radioactive cesium-137 would spread and fall to the ground based on the actual weather conditions over the following week, as well as the direction and velocity of winds.

To gauge the size of the area and population that would be forced to evacuate in such a disaster, the team took into account recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a private entity, and other organizations.

The results showed that up to 67,000 square kilometers of land in Japan–or much of the western part of the country–would fall under the evacuation zone, displacing a maximum of 28.3 million people.

In South Korea, up to 54,000 square kilometers would need to be vacated, affecting up to 24.3 million people.

The simulation also found that 18.4 million Japanese and 19 million Koreans would remain displaced for even after 30 years, the half-life of cesium-137, in a worst-case scenario.

Radioactive materials from South Korea would also pollute North Korea and China, according to the study.

Nineteen reactors in South Korea are located in the coastal area facing the Sea of Japan, including those at the Kori nuclear power plant.

Kang said the public should be alerted to the dangers of highly toxic spent fuel, an inevitable byproduct of nuclear power generation.

One ton of spent fuel contains 100,000 curies of cesium-137, meaning that 20 tons of spent fuel would be enough to match the estimated 2 million curies of cesium-137 released in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

An average-size light-water reactor produces about 20 tons of spent fuel in one year of operation.

East Asia is home to one of the world’s largest congestions of nuclear facilities, Kang said.

Japan, China and South Korea, which have all promoted nuclear energy as state policy for decades, together host about 100 commercial reactors.

A number of nuclear-related facilities are also concentrated in North Korea, particularly in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.

If a severe accident were to occur in China, the pollution would inevitably spill over to South Korea and then to Japan.

That is why people should take serious interest in not just their own country’s nuclear issues, but also in neighboring countries,” Kang said. “Japan, China and South Korea should cooperate with each other to ensure the safety and security of spent fuel and nuclear facilities.”

He said the risks of a fire would be reduced if spent fuel were placed at greater intervals in storage pools.

Ideally, spent fuel should be moved to sealed dry casks and cooled with air after it is cooled in a pool for about five years,” he said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703300001.html

 

May 22, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | , , , | Leave a comment

Switzerland’ binding referendum – voted to ban nuclear plants, shift to renewable energy

Switzerland votes to ban nuclear plants, shift to renewable energy, in referendum ABC News 22 May 17  Swiss voters have backed the Government’s plan to provide billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, ban new nuclear plants and help bail out struggling utilities in a binding referendum.

Key points:

  • Provisional data shows nearly 60 per cent backed Government plan
  • Solar and wind account for less than 5 per cent of Switzerland’s energy output
  • Voters get final say on major policy issues in Switzerland

Provisional final figures showed support at 58.2 per cent under the Swiss system of direct democracy, which gives voters final say on major policy issues.

The Swiss initiative mirrors efforts elsewhere in Europe to reduce dependence on nuclear power, partly sparked by Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Germany aims to phase out nuclear power by 2022, while Austria banned it decades ago.

“The results shows the population wants a new energy policy and does not want any new nuclear plants,” Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said, adding the law would boost domestic renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use and reduce reliance on foreign supplies……. http://www.abc.net.au/n

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Breakthrough for North Korea’s missile test – re-entry to Earth’s atmsophere

North Korea missile passes re-entry test in breakthrough for nuclear programme, Telegraph,  in Tokyo 20 MAY 2017
The ballistic missile launched by North Korea on May 14 successfully re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, according to analysts, a significant breakthrough for Pyongyang’s missile programme.

Defence officials in South Korea and the US have confirmed that the launch of the liquid- fuel Hwasong-12 was a success.

North Korea claimed that the weapon reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km (1,312 miles) and travelled a distance of 489 miles before breaching Japan’s Air Defence Identification Zone and splashing down in the Sea of Japan……..

After numerous test launches, North Korean scientists have already mastered long-range guidance and control capabilities, while a series of underground tests have demonstrated that the regime of Kim Jong-un has acquired nuclear weapons.

 As a result of the latest North Korean test, US authorities have decided to extend the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group in the Sea of Japan. The fleet – described as an “armada” by President Donald Trump – was due to depart from the region after the USS Ronald Reagan, another aircraft carrier, completed a refit at the US naval base at Yokosuka, Japan.

The USS Ronald Reagan put to sea on May 16 and the two strike groups are now scheduled to carry out manoeuvres with South Korean warships in the coming weeks…http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/20/northkorea-missile-passes-re-entry-test-breakthrough-nuclear/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chinese nuclear company keen to rescue troubled Cumbrian NuGen nuclear plant

NuGen takeover: Chinese power giant heads to London to discuss nuclear rescue package,  http://www.cityam.com/265098/nugen-takeover-chinese-power-giant-heads-london-discuss Oliver Gill, 21 May 17A Chinese state-backed suitor is circling Toshiba’s troubled Cumbrian NuGen nuclear plant, according to reports.

A delegation of executives from State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) is due in London this week. They will meet with representatives from NuGen and the Nuclear Industry Association on Tuesday, the Sunday Times reported.

Interest from China could test Prime Minister Theresa May‘s resolve over concerns about foreign takeovers of Britain’s energy, defence and telecoms firms.

Another state-backed operator, China General Nuclear, has 33 per cent stake in the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear project. Last year, May demanded the government be given a “golden share” in the project. This would give them a right of veto over any future sale.

One of May’s key political advisers, Nick Timothy, has previously said Chinese investment into nuclear power was a threat to UK national security.

The NuGen plant was put up for sale after Toshiba took huge losses from overruns and delays in its reactor business Westinghouse. Although the division’s key problems were in the US and Japan, Toshiba has mothballed its NuGen operations until a new owner can be found.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

North Korea’s vast military capabilities, even without nuclear weapons

How much damage could North Korea unleash even without nuclear weapons?, ABC News By Michael Collett, 21 May 17, There’s been a lot of focus on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and specifically, its hopes of developing a missile that could deliver a nuclear strike on the United States.

But what can be lost in the discussion of the country’s recent missile tests is the vast military capabilities the country already has.

This morning, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

This is why a diplomatic solution is widely seen as the only solution.

What do we know about North Korea’s military?

Nick Bisley, executive director of La Trobe Asia and editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, says the military is the second most important institution in North Korea behind the Kim dynasty.

“The whole economy and the purpose of the state is organised around ensuring that the military has vast capacity,” he said.

So despite North Korea having an estimated population of about 25 million — not much more than Australia — it has the second biggest military in Asia behind China……..

North Korea has vast artillery capabilities that are targeted on Seoul, which has a population of 10 million and is less than an hour’s drive from the DMZ……..

Ultimately, it’s all about regime security.

“Yes, there’s a paranoid streak in North Korean thinking, but it’s not unfounded. There is someone who’s out to get them,” Professor Bisley said…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-20/what-can-north-korea-already-do-without-nuclear-weapons/8543532

May 22, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump and retinue in Saudi Arabia – the main event $110 billion arms package

Saudis welcome Trump with gold medal, receive arms package, By JULIE PACE and JONATHAN LEMIRE, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP), 21 May 17  — President Donald Trump basked in Saudi Arabia’s lavish royal welcome Saturday as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington. Trump rewarded his hosts with a $110 billion arms package aimed at bolstering Saudi security and a slew of business agreements.

“That was a tremendous day, tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef……..

Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria’s civil war.

The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $350 billion over 10 years. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. The State Department said the agreement could support “tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

Trump was joined on the trip by the CEOs of several major U.S. companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis. Among them was a $15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.

The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump’s son-in law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka, both senior advisers, were also part of the official delegation………https://www.apnews.com/0f8266623c3548e1952525d93011bd56

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Election of Rouhani s good result for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal

Elysee: Rouhani reelection gives hope for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal http://theiranproject.com/blog/2017/05/21/elysee-rouhani-reelection-gives-hope-tehrans-compliance-nuclear-deal/  – The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

“The reelection of President Rouhani strengthens the hope that his government will abide accurately by the historic agreement of July 14, 2015, which allowed to regulate through the diplomatic means the disagreements on the nuclear issue and to engage in the new stage of the relations between Iran and the international community. France, in turn, will continue to exercise vigilance over the strict implementation of [the agreement’s] elements,” the statement distributed by Macron’s press office read.

In the document, the French president congratulated his Iranian counterpart on the reelection and expressed hope for the improvement of the economic, scientific and cultural ties between Tehran and Paris.

Apart from this, Macron called on Iran to contribute to the settlement of the crises in the Middle East.

“Adhering to the development of the political dialogue with Iran, France reiterates the necessity of the diplomatic regulation of the conflicts in the Middle East and urges Iran to participate in it,” the statement stressed.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Tepco completes sea wall at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

 

Tokyo Electric Power Co. release video footage is its completion of steel pipe sheet piles for a coastal wall designed to protect Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was damaged after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

http://armydotmil.com/tepco-completes-sea-wall-at-fukushima-no-1-nuclear-power-plant/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

High levels of radioactive material migrating down into soil around Fukushima

may 19 2017.png

High levels of radioactive cesium remain in the soil near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and these radionuclides have migrated at least 5 centimeters down into the ground at several areas since the nuclear accident five years ago, according to preliminary results of a massive sampling project being presented at the JpGU-AGU joint meeting in Chiba, Japan.

In 2016, a team of more than 170 researchers from the Japanese Geoscience Union and the Japan Society of Nuclear and Radiochemical Sciences conducted a large-scale soil sampling project to determine the contamination status and transition process of radioactive cesium five years after a major earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.  

The team collected soil samples at 105 locations up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the “difficult-to-return” zone where entry is prohibited. The project seeks to understand the chemical and physical forms of radionuclides in the soil and their horizontal and vertical distribution.

The Japanese government has monitored the state of radioactive contamination in the area near the plant since the 2011 accident by measuring the air dose rate, but scientists can only determine the actual state of contamination in the soil and its chemical and physical forms by direct soil sampling, said Kazuyuki Kita, a professor at Ibaraki University in Japan, who is one of the leaders of the soil sampling effort.

Understanding the radionuclides’ chemical and physical forms helps scientists understand how long they could stay in the soil and the risk they pose to humans, plants and animals, Kita said. The new information could help in assessing the long-term risk of the radionuclides in the soil, and inform decontamination efforts in heavily contaminated areas, according to Kita, one of several researchers will present the team’s preliminary results at the JpGU-AGU joint meeting next week.

Preliminary results show high levels radioactive cesium are still present in the soil near the plant. The levels of radiation are more than 90 percent, on average, of what was found immediately following the accident, according to Kita.

Most of the radiocesium in the soil was found near the surface, down to about 2 centimeters, immediately following the 2011 accident. Five years later, at several sampling points, one-third to one-half of the radiocesium has migrated deeper into the soil, according to Kita. Preliminary results show the radiocesium moved about 0.3 centimeters per year, on average, deeper into the soil and soil samples show the radiocesium has penetrated at least 5 centimeters into the ground at several areas, according to Kita.

The team plans to analyze samples taken at greater depths to see if the radiocesium has migrated even further, he said.  

Most of the radioactive cesium remains after five years, but some parts of the radioactive cesium went from the surface to deeper soil,” he said.

Knowing how much radioactive contamination has stayed on the surface and how deep it has penetrated into the soil helps estimate the risk of the contaminants and determine how much soil should be removed for decontamination. The preliminary results suggest decontamination efforts should remove at least the top 6 to 8 centimeters of soil, Kita said.  

The preliminary data also show there are insoluble particles with very high levels of radioactivity on the surface of the soil. Debris from the explosion fused with radiocesium to form small glass particles a few microns to 100 microns in diameter that remain on the ground, according to Kita. The team is currently trying to determine how many of these radiocesium glass particles exist in areas near the nuclear plant, he said.

We are afraid that if such high radioactive balls remain on the surface, that could be a risk for the environment,” Kita said. “If the radioactivity goes deep into the soil, the risk for people in the area decreases but we are afraid the high radioactive balls remain on the surface.”

Nanci Bompey is the manager of AGU’s public information office. This research is being presented Thursday, May 25 at the JpGU-AGU joint meeting in Chiba, Japan. 

http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2017/05/19/high-levels-radioactive-material-migrating-soil-around-fukushima/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) wanting to take over Britain’s Moorside nuclear project?

Times 21st May 2017 A Chinese state-owned power giant has set its sights on the £15bn nuclear plant planned for the Cumbrian coast. State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) is considering investing in Toshiba’s troubled NuGen
project at Moorside — risking a collision with Theresa May and her new interventionist approach to foreign takeovers.

Industry sources said a delegation from SNPTC and its parent, State Power Investment Corporation, was due in London. Eight senior officials will meet executives from NuGen and Britain’s atomic power trade body, the Nuclear Industry Association, on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether the election hiatus will hinder meetings with Whitehall officials. The talks underline China’s ambitions in nuclear power after another state-owned giant, China General Nuclear, bankrolled the £18bn Hinkley Point plant in Somerset. CGN took a 33% stake in Hinkley but its ultimate ambition is to build a power station, fuelled
with its own home-grown reactors, at Bradwell in Essex.

Sources said SNPTC could seek to power NuGen with its own reactor — a derivative of Westinghouse’s AP1000 model, which is planned for the site. SNPTC could not be reached for comment. NuGen said it was exploring a “universe of
options” for investment.   https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/chinese-eye-rescue-of-nuclear-plant-qlj09k5wn

May 22, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

A nuclear accident in South Korea could contaminate Western Japan, more eriously than South Korea

South Korean nuclear power plant accident would heavily taint western Japan: simulation http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/21/national/science-health/nuclear-accident-south-korean-plant-leave-western-japan-massively-contaminated-study/#.WSJ_W5KGPGg

KYODO  A nuclear accident at a power plant in South Korea could cause wider radiation contamination in western Japan than on its home soil, a study by a South Korean scientist has shown.

If a cooling system fails at the spent-fuel storage pools at the Kori power plant’s No. 3 reactor in Busan, massive amounts of cesium-137 would be released that could potentially reach western Japan, according to a simulation by Jungmin Kang of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. think tank.

In the worst-case scenario, up to 67,000 sq. km of Japanese soil would be contaminated and 28.3 million people would be forced to evacuate, the study said, though the fallout’s spread would depend on the season.

As for South Korea, an accident at the plant could taint more than half of the nation by contaminating up to 54,000 sq. km, it said.

A total of 818 tons of spent nuclear fuel were stored in pools at the site as of the end of 2015, Kang said. He said an accident could be triggered not only by natural disasters but by terrorism or a missile from North Korea.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan, safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Hanford nuclear waste site – a possible leak

Possible leak found at Washington nuclear site, NewsFix, MAY 21, 2017, BY CNN WIRE, WASHINGTON — Authorities at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site are investigating a possible leak after discovering radioactive material on a worker’s clothing. The discovery follows an incident two weeks earlier in which a site tunnel collapsed, sparking fears of radiation exposure.

Washington River Protection Solutions, a contractor working at the site, on Thursday detected high readings of radiation on a robotic device known as a crawler that workers were pulling out of a nuclear waste tank. Contamination was also discovered on the clothing of one of the workers.

“Established decontamination procedures were followed, which involves removing the contaminated clothing. Further surveying the worker showed no contamination remained. No other workers were affected, and all members of the crew were cleared for normal duty,” said WRPS spokesman Peter Bengtson.

The Double-Shell Tank AZ-101 contains 800,000 gallons of nuclear waste, according to the Washington Department of Ecology, which oversees the Hanford site. The nuclear plant is located in the south-central part of Washington state, about 45 miles from Yakima.

Using leak-detection instruments, WRPS said it did not find liquid escaping the tank. However, workers are preparing a plan to conduct a visual inspection by video.

State officials are also urging the US Department of Energy to investigate the incident and determine the safety of the site…….http://cw39.com/2017/05/21/possible-leak-found-at-washington-nuclear-site/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear storage plan at San Onofre beach leaves out tribal voices

Beachfront Nuclear Wasteland in Southern California? Nuclear storage plan at San Onofre beach leaves out tribal voices, Indian Country Today  Dina Gilio-Whitaker • May 15, 2017

A controversial plan to temporarily store more than three million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 100 feet from one of Southern California’s most popular beaches, San Onofre, is meeting with fierce resistance from local communities, including tribal members. The problem for the Native population is that while the formal decision-making process systematically involved a wide variety of stakeholders including local and state governments, community groups, environmentalists, academics, military, and business, education, and labor leaders, tribal governments were excluded.

The Backstory

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and with eight million people living within a 50-mile radius, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) looms above what is otherwise a pristine stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by San Onofre State Park, one of the state’s busiest parks, which sits within the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. San Onofre is the traditional territory of the Acjachemen people, who know the area as Panhe. Prior to colonization, San Onofre was also territory shared by the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians (Luiseño). Both are state-recognized tribes. All these factors mean there are many different people with strong opinions about nuclear waste storage near their communities.

The aging “nuke plant,” as local residents call it, is owned primarily by Southern California Edison, and was permanently shut down in 2013 after a discovery that it was leaking radioactive gas. It is scheduled for full decommissioning; at issue is how and where to store the accumulated radioactive waste in the short term before a long-term plan can be worked out.

“To the best of our knowledge, our tribal government was never contacted by Edison,” Rebecca Robles, Acjachemen tribal member and co-director of the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, told ICMN. Other local tribal leaders declined to comment……

Spent fuel rods currently stored in cooling pools in SONGS’ two reactors need to be removed to dry storage, which according to studies is safer. SONGS planned to move more than 100 steel casks encased in concrete containers and bury them onsite just 100 feet from the high-tide mark in an area already plagued by erosion. In addition, ocean levels at that site are rising faster than expected, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Google Earth images highlight the reason that residents are so alarmed by the location of the storage, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

With increased awareness of the issue has come increased public criticism. Critics believe burying the waste so close to the beach in an earthquake-prone region is a recipe for disaster, in light of the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe, according to the Orange County Register.

They also believe that the 5/8-inch steel casks that SONGS plans to use are far too flimsy, according to a report by the citizen group San Onofre Safety.

Because SONGS is in the coastal zone it is subject to California Coastal Commission rules, and was granted a permit by the commission to temporarily store the waste for 20 years. In November 2015 the community watchdog group Citizen’s Oversight filed a lawsuit against the Coastal Commission, demanding that the permit be revoked and another site found, Reuters reported. Citizen’s Oversight and the state are now negotiating a settlement, Fox 5 News reported on April 7.

Decisions Made Without Tribal Input……. State law AB 52 requires consultation with tribal governments before it issues permits for development-related projects, prompting questions about why local Native nations weren’t consulted in this case……

It remains to be seen if or how the lawsuit negotiations will affect the location of the waste storage site. No matter what happens, however, this is only the beginning stage of the interim storage at SONGS and there will be a need for the Community Engagement Panel for years to come to monitor the issue. That means there is still plenty of reason for a tribal appointment.https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/beachfront-nuclear-wastelandsouthern-california/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Costly consequences for UK nuclear industry, following Brexit

UK nuclear industry faces Brexit fall-out, Climate News Network, May 17, 2017, by Paul Brown,  Leaving the EU treaty that prevents radioactive materials falling into the wrong hands could prove costly for the UK nuclear industry.

LONDON,  – The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has put the country’s nuclear industry at risk because its trade in radioactive materials will be forbidden under international law.

In the worst case scenario, legal experts say, the lights could go out in the UK, but they think the more probable outcome is simply that the government will find itself with an expensive industrial problem and an embarrassing diplomatic mess.

The unintended consequence for the British nuclear industry of last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU is that the decision will also take the UK out of the Euratom treaty that protects the EU’s nuclear industry against radioactive material falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups.

Nuclear power stations already provide about one-fifth of the UK’s electricity, and the government has ambitious plans to build at least 10 more reactors as part of its strategy to cut carbon emissions.

It has withdrawn subsidies from onshore wind and solar power, and underwritten new nuclear stations instead.

However, the industry relies on foreign companies − based both in the EU and outside − that provide parts, fuel and raw materials. When the UK leaves Euratom, this trade will be contrary to international law.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industries Association, which represents 260 companies, says: “There is scope for real and considerable disruption.”

Nuclear materials

The Euratom safeguards are applied by the European Commission to provide confidence that nuclear materials in the EU are not diverted from their declared end use, which is producing electricity from uranium and plutonium, and dealing with the waste that results.

This enables countries inside the EU to trade with other member states in construction and providing parts and staff for nuclear power stations. It also allows trade in such dangerous materials as plutonium, uranium and spent fuel, provided it is both safe and for peaceful purposes.

There is no precedent for a member state leaving the EU. But, in theory, when the UK does so − and therefore leaves Euratom − possibly as soon as two years from now, this trade must cease, otherwise member states will be breaking the terms of the treaty.

This would effectively paralyse not only the UK industry, which relies on international trade to survive, but also many of its trading partners in the EU, and also Japan, China and the US, all of which the UK has nuclear deals with that would need a new safeguard regime in place in order to continue…….

Dame Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, which was established by the UK government in 2013, said a whole lot of new international agreements would have to be in place before anything in the nuclear sector could be transferred between countries.

“We would be crippled without other agreements in place,” she said. – Climate News Network http://climatenewsnetwork.net/uk-nuclear-industry-fall-brexit/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Makeshift fix for breached Hanford radioactive waste tunnel

Temporary cover in place over breached Hanford radioactive waste tunnel, BY ANNETTE CARY, acary@tricityherald.com  21 May 17, Heavy plastic was pulled over the top of a Hanford waste storage tunnel on Saturday, helping keep the radioactive contents of the tunnel contained while a more permanent fix is planned.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment