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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia’s Nuclear Marketing – theme for July 17

Russia has taken the lead in marketing nuclear reactors overseas –  but for how long?  Just recently,they held a nuclear marketing extravaganza in Moscow the  IX AtomExpo International Forum.  The industry propagandist World Nuclear News was ecstatic – their report would make you believe that Russia-Nuclear is taking over the world.

And Russia itself churns out joyous news of marketing success – to Turkey, Uganda, Philippines, Sudan, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, India, Zambia, Kenya, Malaysia,  Tajikistan, Kuwait, Bangladesh, IndiaMyanmar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Ghana, Egypt, even Japan, Vietnam, Bolivia, Iran, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Britain, even USA

There was even a grand plan of partnership with USA and Saudi Arabia for a Middle East nuclear selling binge.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot. And Russia itself is waking up to the grim reality of the failing nuclear market. Ever keen to be a marketing leader, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is looking to renewables now.

And, just as well, for Russia’s customers are waking up to the dodgy deals offered by Russia. Russia’s much touted nuclear sales deals are not resulting in real development. Rosatom’s deals are in fact rather meaningless “memoranda of understanding” or “framework agreements.” 

Rosatom’s agreements lead to unhealthy dependency in the purchasing States,as they go into debt to Russia, which supplies the funding, expertise, and fuel for the nuclear build. Those States also risk being stuck with radioactive trash, with  lack of planning for nuclear waste processing and disposal.

 

 

 

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, marketing, Russia | 3 Comments

Ethical Foundations of Radiological Protection

“The economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country.”

It even applies to antinuclear activists. Immediately after 311 the priority for the Fukushima activists was the evacuation of the Fukushima children whereas the priority for the other Japanese antinuclear activists was to keep all Japan’s nuke plants from being  restarted.

Sadly at national level the second priority prevailed over the first priority, and no measures were in the end taken to evacuate or to protect the Fukushima children from continuous radiation exposure nor from prolonged internal exposure thru local foods.

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“..Regarding existing exposure situations after a large-scale nuclear accident, the economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country. For example, the former want to sell their agricultural production and the later avoids internal contamination….”
“…ICRP recognize that the assessment of beneficence and non-maleficence is a key challenge but has nothing else to propose than recommending, “that such an assessment [should] be transparent about what was included, recognise disagreements where they arise, and go beyond a simple balancing of direct health impacts against economic costs.” ICRP provides no example of good practice arising from these recommendations that are rarely implemented….”
“…Moreover some categories of people are more sensitive to radiations than others. It is particularly the case of children and infants. Justice would mean a better protection with lower limits for them. This is a strong request from families living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Some of them evacuated without any support in order to protect their children.
Similarly, individuals are not all equal in terms of genetic heritage and part of this population of hypersensitivity to the adverse effects of radiation (1 to 3% are heterozygous for ataxia telangiectasia). The radiation protection system cannot be built to protect the majority of citizens, but all citizens…..”
“…CRP does not address this issue of individual health in its draft report. How can it expect to answer to the demands of the populations and be understood by them?

Intergenerational justice has been addressed by the Commission for the management of radioactive waste […]. The Commission introduces responsibilities towards future generations in terms of providing the means to deal with their protection”. Justice could also be extended spatial consideration by forbidding the export of radioactive waste to foreign countries that did not benefit from the electricity production.

Implementation of radiological protection requires democracy to avoid abuses. Nevertheless, democracy is not considered as a core ethical value by ICRP….”
“…ACRO strongly supports the implementation of these three procedural values and considers that they should be implemented from the justification stage. This is not mentioned in the draft report, although it is a requirement the Aarhus convention for environmental issues. This should be extended to radiological protection….”
“…Most of citizen living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant still do not trust authorities. “Accountability” and “transparency” have being ignored by Japanese authorities. The arbitrary evacuation limit of 20 mSv/y has never been explained nor justified. People refusing this limit might have no other choice than remaining in contaminated territories due to economical constrains.

It is a pity that the ICRP has never tried to grasp the situation in contaminated territories as whole and has limited its so-called “dialogues” to a limited number of people that agrees with the Commission. It would have learned much more about the consequences of its recommendations in talking to all categories of people.

As conclusion, ACRO considers that studying the ethical basis of the radiological protection is a necessity but it is not achieved in the present draft report. It should be submitted to various stakeholders and discussed by other means than a simple public consultation on the Internet….”

http://www.acro.eu.org/fondements-ethiques-de-la-radioprotection-ethical-foundations-of-radiological-protection/

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Robotic Probe Has “Confirmed” Lumps that “Could Be” Fuel Debris in the No.3 Reactor…

 

Japan’s industry minister says the government hopes to have a policy in place by around September on how to remove melted fuel from the No.3 reactor of the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Hiroshige Seko told reporters on Tuesday that a robotic probe has confirmed lumps that could be fuel debris in the No.3 reactor, giving researchers valuable information.

Seko said he hopes a policy on how to remove the debris can be formulated, based on an analysis and assessment of the probe’s findings.

During the survey last week, a submersible robot found lumps below the reactor pressure vessel and at the bottom of the containment vessel.
It’s the first time a probe has identified what could be a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and broken metal parts lodged inside a reactor container.

Removing the fuel debris would require the use of remote-controlled robots. It is considered the most challenging step in the process to decommission the reactor.

The industry minister suggested that the government plans to honor the existing timetable for decommissioning.

The plan calls for setting specific methods for removing fuel debris by the first half of 2018, so the actual work can begin by 2021.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170725_16/

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Deposits in reactor likely to be fuel debris?

 

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant released video footage on Monday of what is likely to be melted fuel debris.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, found the solidified lumps during a robot inspection of the containment vessel of Fukushima’s wrecked No. 3 reactor. The 3-day survey ended on Saturday.

TEPCO had earlier only made public still images from the probe. The 4-minute video shows black or grey lumps hanging down close to a structure just below the reactor.

The lava-like lumps are piled in layers, a phenomenon unknown before the accident.

TEPCO officials say the debris is probably melted nuclear fuel mixed with broken reactor parts.

In addition to metal scaffolding and other structural components, rocks and sand-like sediment can be seen getting stirred up by the movement of the robot.

The government and TEPCO plan further analysis of the footage in order to determine methods for removing the debris.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170724_27/

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

How Much Fuel Was in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 Reactor?

“Basically, at Daiichi Unit 3 TEPCO has misplaced 50 plus tons of reactor fuel that was “enriched” with plutonium and now were are being encouraged to think that shards of melted-fuel debris represent the entirety of the missing reactor core….a core that weighed more than a school bus….”

melted fuel 23 july 2017 2

 

 

Via Majia’s Blog:

I’ve followed the Fukushima Daiichi disaster so closely for so long that I was surprised to discover this morning that I really don’t know exactly how much fuel was in reactor 3.

I have the data on fuel contained in the spent fuel pools, but NOT the data on fuel in the REACTOR CORES.  

Below find the spent fuel pool data:

TEPCO. Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (16 November 2010), http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf

[PARAPHRASING] The total spent uranium fuel inventory at Daiichi in March 2010 was reported as 1,760 tons. The 2010 report asserts that approximately 700 spent fuel assemblies are generated every year. The report specifies that Daiichi’s 3,450 assemblies are stored in each of the six reactor’s spent fuel pools. The common spent fuel pool contains 6291 assemblies. The amount of MOX fuel stored at the plant has not been reported.

SO, 700 spent fuel assemblies were generated at Daiichi each year. There were 6 reactors at Daiichi, although not all were operational at time of earthquake. Assuming they were operational, can we infer that each reactor core contained approximately 100 assemblies? 

That estimate is supported by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s information on fuel assemblies found here, which suggests a reactor may contain up to 200 assemblies, with each assembly containing 200 or more rods:

US NRC (2017, April 10). Fuel assembly (fuel bundle, fuel element). https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/glossary/fuel-assembly-fuel-bundle-fuel-element.html

A structured group of fuel rods (long, slender, metal tubes containing pellets of fissionable material, which provide fuel for nuclear reactors). Depending on the design, each reactor vessel may have dozens of fuel assemblies (also known as fuel bundles), each of which may contain 200 or more fuel rods.

The website titled Nuclear Power Net, described as non-profit and founded by nuclear engineers, suggests a typical reactor  contains 157 fuel assemblies but those are composed of over 45,000 fuel rods (which is more than 200 in each assembly):

Nuclear Power Net (no date). http://www.nuclear-power.net/nuclear-power-plant/nuclear-fuel/

An 1100 MWe (3300 MWth) nuclear core may contain 157 fuel assemblies composed of over 45,000 fuel rods and some 15 million fuel pellets. Generally, a common fuel assembly contain energy for approximately 4 years of operation at full power. Once loaded, fuel stays in the core for 4 years depending on the design of the operating cycle. During these 4 years the reactor core have to be refueled. 

During refueling, every 12 to 18 months, some of the fuel – usually one third or one quarter of the core – is removed to spent fuel pool, while the remainder is rearranged to a location in the core better suited to its remaining level of enrichment. The removed fuel (one third or one quarter of the core, i.e. 40 assemblies) has to be replaced by a fresh fuel assemblies.

The variation in data is puzzling but I think we can move forward assuming that there were approximately 100 fuel assemblies in each reactor.

A typical fuel assembly for a Pressured Water Reactor (PWR) “stands between four and five metres high, is about 20 cm across and weighs about half a tonne” according to the World Nuclear Association (http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/conversion-enrichment-and-fabrication/fuel-fabrication.aspx).

USING THESE DATA POINTS, I can infer that Unit 3’s reactor core contained approximately 50-75 tons of fuel. Does that sound roughly correct? A ton is 2,000 pounds so 50 tons of fuel is 100,000 pounds. For metric users, that converts into 45359.237 kilograms.

Why is it so important that I determine how much fuel was in reactor 3?

The reason lies in the media representations of TEPCO’s robotic probe, Little Sunfish, which allegedly has (likely) located unit 3’s  missing reactor fuel, illustrated in the media as “rocks on the floor”:

Kohei Tomida (July 23, 2017). Melted nuke fuel images show struggle facing Fukushima plant. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707230012.html 

In particular, what is believed to be nuclear fuel debris is scattered in the form of rocks in the area directly beneath the pressure vessel. 

My point is not to deny that these found rocks might be nuclear fuel debris. Rather, my point is that these shards of melted fuel and debris can hardly be construed as representing the entirety of the fuel.

Put otherwise, there is no compelling evidence that TEPCO has located the majority of fuel that was contained in Unit 3.

I decided to search my notes, books, and the web validated statistics on how much fuel each reactor contained. I was struck by how little information is available about the missing fuel and the sanitized accounts of what happened at unit 3, the one running MOX fuel.

Basically, at Daiichi Unit 3 TEPCO has misplaced 50 plus tons of reactor fuel that was “enriched” with plutonium and now were are being encouraged to think that shards of melted-fuel debris represent the entirety of the missing reactor core….a core that weighed more than a school bus….

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/07/how-much-fuel-was-in-fukushima-daiichi.html

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

High School Girls Used to Promote a Beach in Fukushima

They used high school girls to promote a beach in Fukushima. The same way that they were using highschool kids to pick up trash along the Joban Expressway….

 

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“Photo Journal: Long-awaited laughter”

High school students in the garb of Hawaiian hula dancers play in the waves at the Usuiso seaside resort in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, after the beach opened for the first time in seven years on July 15, 2017. The resort was heavily hit by the 2011 tsunami, which took the lives of 115 residents and destroyed close to 90 percent of homes in the district. However, the resort finally reopened its stretches of white sands to families on Saturday, with lively hula performances by local high school girls. (Mainichi) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170715/p2a/00m/0na/014000c

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Likely Melted Fuel Heap Found Inside Fukushima Daiichi’s Reactor 3 Shows Future Removing Difficulties

Underwater robot finds likely melted fuel heap inside Fukushima reactor

melted fuel 23 july 2017 3This image captured by an underwater robot provided by International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning on Saturday, July 22, 2017 shows heaps of solidified lava-like rocks believed to be nuclear fuel.

 

TOKYO (AP) — Images captured by an underwater robot showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1 meter on the bottom inside of a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. The three-day probe of Unit 3 ended Saturday.

Locating and analyzing the fuel debris and damage in each of the plant’s three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels.

During this week’s probe, cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the destroyed plant.

TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it would take time to analyze the debris in the images to figure out debris removal methods.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170723/p2g/00m/0dm/033000c

Melted nuke fuel images show struggle facing Fukushima plant

melted fuel 23 july 2017 2What is believed to be nuclear fuel debris has accumulated at the submerged bottom of the containment vessel in the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in an image taken on July 22. Part of the collapsed metal scaffolding is seen at back right.

 

Images captured on July 22 of solidified nuclear fuel debris at the bottom of a containment vessel of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant show the enormity of decommissioning of the facility.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will closely study the images from the No. 3 reactor’s containment vessel to determine the spread and amount of nuclear fuel debris.

After analysis, TEPCO will decide on a policy to retrieve the fuel debris.

The government and TEPCO plan to start the retrieval process in one of the three crippled reactors at the plant from 2021.

It will be a formidable task, given that a method of recovering debris that is stuck to the floor has yet to be considered.

The recent images were taken by a submersible robot, which was sent into the containment vessel on July 19, 21 and 22.

The No. 3 reactor’s containment vessel is filled with water to a depth of 6.4 meters.

On the final day, the remote-controlled robot was dispatched to the deepest part of the containment vessel.

The images showed that pieces that fell from the structure and deposited material accumulated to a height of about 1 meters at the bottom of the containment vessel.

In particular, what is believed to be nuclear fuel debris is scattered in the form of rocks in the area directly beneath the pressure vessel.

The latest investigation has confirmed TEPCO’s assumption made through analyses that most of the reactor’s nuclear fuel melted through the pressure vessel and accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel.

It also discovered that the nuclear fuel debris has spread throughout the containment vessel.

The images marked the first confirmation through a robot probe of a large amount of nuclear debris in any of the embattled No. 1 through No. 3 reactors.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707230012.html

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Pictures Likely Show Melted Fukushima Fuel for First Time

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New images show what is likely to be melted nuclear fuel hanging from inside one of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima reactors, a potential milestone in the cleanup of one of the worst atomic disasters in history.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest utility, released images on Friday showing a hardened black, grey and orange substance that dripped from the bottom of the No. 3 reactor pressure vessel at Fukushima, which is likely to contain melted fuel, according to Takahiro Kimoto, an official at the company. The company sent a Toshiba-designed robot, which can swim and resembles a submarine, to explore the inside of the reactor for the first time on July 19.

Never before have we taken such clear pictures of what could be melted fuel,” Kimoto said at a press briefing that began at 9 p.m. Friday in Tokyo, noting that it would take time to analyze and confirm whether it is actually fuel. “We believe that the fuel melted and mixed with the metal directly underneath it. And it is highly likely that we have filmed that on Friday.”

800x-1.pngPictures taken on July 21 inside of Fukushima reactor. Source: Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

 

If confirmed, the substance — which has the appearance of icicles — would be the first discovery of the fuel that melted during the triple reactor accident at Fukushima six years ago. For Tokyo Electric, which bears most of the clean-up costs, the discovery would help the utility design a way to remove the highly-radioactive material.

The robot, which is about 30 centimeters (12 inches) long, will search for melted fuel at the bottom of the reactor on Saturday. It is possible that the company will take more pictures of what could be melted fuel spread across the floor and lower levels, according to Tokyo Electric’s Kimoto. Fuel from a nuclear meltdown is known as corium, which is a mixture of the atomic fuel rods and other structural materials.

Early Signs

It is important to know the exact locations and the physical, chemical, radiological forms of the corium to develop the necessary engineering defueling plans for the safe removal of the radioactive materials,” said Lake Barrett, a former official at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who was involved with the cleanup at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in the U.S. “The recent investigation results are significant early signs of progress on the long road ahead.”

Because of the high radioactivity levels inside the reactor, only specially designed robots can probe the unit. And the unprecedented nature of the Fukushima disaster means that Tepco, as the utility is known, is pinning its efforts on technology not yet invented to get the melted fuel out of the reactors.

Removal Plans

The company aims to decide on the procedure to remove the melted fuel from each unit as soon as this summer. And it will confirm the procedure for the first reactor during the fiscal year ending March 2019, with fuel removal slated to begin in 2021.

Decommissioning the reactors will cost 8 trillion yen ($72 billion), according to an estimate in December from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Removing the fuel is one of the most important steps in a cleanup that may take as long as 40 years.

Similar to the latest findings on Friday, Tepco took photographs in January of what appeared to be black residue covering a grate under the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor, which was speculated to have been melted fuel. However, a follow-up survey by another Toshiba-designed robot in February failed to confirm the location of any melted fuel in the reactor after it got stuck in debris.

A robot designed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. also failed to find any melted fuel during its probe of the No. 1 reactor in March.

The significance of Friday’s finding “might be evidence that the robots used by Tepco can now deal with the higher radiation levels, at least for periods of time that allow them to search parts of the reactor that are more likely to contain fuel debris,” M.V. Ramana, professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, said by email.

If some of these fragments can be brought out of the reactor and studied, it would allow nuclear engineers and scientists to better model what happened during the accident.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-22/japan-pictures-likely-show-melted-fukushima-fuel-for-first-time

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Highly likely fuel debris found for 1st time at Fukushima plant

21 july 2017 melted fuel #3.jpg

 

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex said Friday it found material likely to be nuclear fuel debris in its latest probe at one of the plant’s three damaged reactors.

It is the first time material “highly likely” to be melted fuel has been spotted inside a reactor at the complex since the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said.

Material found near the bottom of the damaged pressure vessel of the No. 3 reactor is likely to have been formed by fuel that melted, Takahiro Kimoto, a Tepco spokesman, said at a press conference.

“We think that the fuel inside the vessel melted and caused structures to fall from above,” Kimoto said.

Tepco is trying to confirm the condition of fuel debris inside the No. 3 reactor with a robot to start work on removing the debris in 2021, one of the most difficult stages of the decommissioning project that is expected to take at least 30 to 40 years to complete.

Decommissioning work has progressed slowly as radiation levels inside the reactors remain extremely high.

Water around 6.4 meters deep, which was injected into the reactor to cool fuel debris inside, has accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel.

21 july 2017 melted fuel #3 2.jpg

 

Tepco used a cylinder-shaped underwater robot with a diameter of 13 centimeters, dubbed “little sunfish.”

In Friday’s probe, following one on Wednesday, the robot looked inside the reactor’s containment vessel housing the pressure vessel, which is partially filled with contaminated water.

Another round of probe is scheduled on Saturday, where the remote-controlled robot is expected to swim deeper to the bottom of the containment vessel to locate a chunk of melted fuel that is believed to lie.

On March 11, 2011, a huge tsunami hit the six-reactor plant, located on ground 10 meters above sea level, and flooded power supply facilities.

Reactor cooling systems were crippled and the Nos. 1-3 units suffered fuel meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis.

From January to March, Tepco conducted robot surveys including sending a self-propelled robot into the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors, where water levels are lower than the No. 3 reactor, but they failed to ascertain the condition of fuel debris.

21 july 2017 melted fuel #3 3.jpg

 

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/07/135f7551ff7d-update1-black-objects-found-hanging-in-damaged-fukushima-plant.html

 

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s dangerous nuclear industry: theft of 100s of containers with radioactive materials

Specter of Chernobyl: Ukraine ‘Losing Control’ of Its Nuclear Facilities https://sputniknews.com/europe/201707191055679086-ukraine-radioactivity-theft/ 19.07.2017 Hundreds of containers with radioactive materials inside have been reportedly stolen from a nuclear storage facility in central Ukraine. An expert told Sputnik about the consequences this and other such cases could have for people in and outside the country.

According to 1+1 TV channel, the containers with Cesium-137-contaminated soil and metals, which had spent the past 30 years buried at an unguarded storage site near the city of Krapivnitsky in Kirovograd region, were supposed to stay there for at least 300 years more.After the unknown thieves dug up the containers, the radiation level in the area jumped 10 times above normal.

In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Valery Menshikov, a member of the Environmental Policy Center in Moscow, shared his fears about the dangerous situation in Ukraine.

“What is now happening is Ukraine is bedlam, period. The stringent Soviet-era controls are gone and not only there. All nuclear storage facilities in Ukraine pose a very serious radiation threat. It’s a very alarming situation we have there now,” Menshikov warned.

He underscored the need to place such nuclear storage sites under strict control.

“Such places must be fenced off, have adequate alarm systems, etc. However, it looks like [the Krapivnitsky facility] had none of these things. In addition to vials with Cesium, there was also metal there and this metal could now be used in construction or smelted, which means that radiation will keep spreading,” Valery Menshikov added.

He blamed the sorry state of Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector on the erratic policy of the Kiev government.

“There are regulations, both domestic and international, drawn up by the IAEA, but the problem is that the current political situation in Ukraine has made it possible to get rid of experienced managers and specialists  in the nuclear energy and other economic sectors and replace them (with incompetent ones),” Valery Menshikov emphasized.

“The loss of radiation safety is also evident at Ukrainian nuclear power plants, hence the strange things that keep happening there,” Menshikov concluded.

Ukraine’s nuclear industry has been in dire straits since Kiev ended nuclear energy cooperation with Russia in 2015 and specialists fear that the recurrent cases of thefts of radioactive materials and lax security at the country’s nuclear facilities are dangerously fraught with a repetition of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Russia decides to fuel floating nuclear plant in Murmansk, following pressure from Norway

After pressure from Norway, Rosatom says floating nuclear plant will be fueled in Murmansk
The two reactors on “Akademik Lomonosov” will not have uranium fuel on board when being towed around Scandinavia next year, 
Barents Observer, Thomas Nilsen, 22 July 17,

In late June, State Secretary Marit Berger Røsland in Norway’s Foreign Ministry raised safety concerns about Russia’s plans to tow its first floating nuclear power plant around the coast of Norway.

“We clearly expressed that the Government is highly critical to the planed twoing of the nuclear power plant along the coast of Norway,” Berger Røsland said after meeting Rosatom officials at the annual Joint Norwegian-Russian commission on nuclear safety.

Norway and Russia has since the mid-90s cooperated on nuclear safety projects in the high north. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo has in total granted some €200 million in support, mainly for nuclear waste and reactor safety projects on the Kola Peninsula.

For Norway, having a floating nuclear power plant with two reactors loaded with irradiated uranium fuel sailing outside the coast has caused public concerns about possible accident and, in worst-case, radioactive contamination of marine resources.

On Friday, Russia’s State Nuclear Corporation Rosatom announced the shift of plans.

Will be loaded in Murmansk

“The loading of nuclear fuel into the reactors of the floating nuclear power plant “Akademik Lomonosov” and the start of the reactors will take place in Murmansk after the plant has be delivered without fuel on board,” General Director of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev says.

“We will carry out the transportation through the Baltic and the Scandinavian region without nuclear fuel on board,” he noted and said this will meet the wishes of the countries of the Baltic-Scandinavian region……..

Not everyone, though, is happy with the move. Regional environmental group Priroda i Molodezh (Nature and Youth) in Murmansk on Saturday tweeted “This is transfer of the problem to another region where people also live.”

Another tweet from the organization reads: “By this logic, St. Petersburg is a nuclear-free zone, and Murmansk is a testing ground for nuclear tests?”

Atomflot is located less than a kilometre north of the nearest apartment blocks in the Rosta district in Murmansk.

Testing in Murmansk

After testing the reactors in Murmansk, a city with some 300,000 inhabitants, the floating nuclear power plant will be towed along Russia’s northern coast to the Arctic port town of Pevek on the Chukotka Peninsula……

Rosatom has further plans to build a series of similar floating nuclear power plants, both for use in remote Arctic regions and for leasing to other countries. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2017/07/after-pressure-norway-rosatom-says-floating-nuclear-plant-will-be-fueled

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Just Moms, St Louis

The Fallout, In St. Louis, America’s nuclear history creeps into the present, leaching into streams and bodies. Guernica, 

Joe Trunko from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources … told Dawn that there is a landfill near her home, that it is an EPA Superfund site contaminated with toxic chemicals, that there has been an underground fire burning there since 2010. “These things happen sometimes in landfills,” he said. “But this one is really not good.”

Joe told Dawn that this landfill fire measures six football fields across and more than a hundred and fifty feet deep; it is in the floodplain of the Missouri River, less than two miles from the water itself, roughly twenty-seven miles upstream from where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River before flowing out to the sea. “But to be honest, it’s not even the fire you should be worrying about,” Joe continued. “It’s the nuclear waste buried less than one thousand feet away.”

Joe explained how almost fifty thousand tons of nuclear waste left over from the Manhattan Project was dumped in the landfill illegally in 1973…….

Weeks later, she found herself standing outside the chain-link fence that surrounds the landfill with half a dozen environmental activists who had gotten hold of some air-sampling equipment……..

Karen Nickel didn’t know much about the landfill—she’d only just learned about it a few weeks before—but she knew about the waste……

Karen did look into it and learned that many of her classmates and neighbors and childhood friends had died of leukemias and brain cancers and appendix cancers—rare in the general population, but, again, apparently common among those who live or had lived near the creek. It couldn’t possibly be a coincidence…..

When Dawn and Karen learned what the EPA had proposed years earlier, in their Record of Decision, they immediately pushed back. They called the media, gave interviews, started a Facebook page. “I remember getting so excited when we hit two hundred members,” Karen told me. “Now we have over seventeen thousand.” They all lobbied their representatives, their senators, City Council members, mayors…….

“We’re just moms!” Karen and Dawn would answer. “We’re just citizens concerned about the health and safety of our kids and our community!”

Soon after, Karen and Dawn, along with another resident, Beth Strohmeyer, officially formed Just Moms STL………

After a few weeks of making these graphs, they realized the fire wasn’t under control, it wasn’t going out. It was, in fact, moving toward the waste, inching toward the known edge, spreading through the old limestone quarry. Now one thousand feet away. Now seven hundred………

Robbin and Mike Dailey moved to this house in 1999, after their kids had moved out and started families of their own. It’s a relief their children never lived here, she tells me. In this neighborhood children fall ill. There are brain cancers and appendix cancers, leukemias and salivary-gland cancers. Up the street from Robin and Mike there’s a couple with lung and stomach cancer. They bought their home just after it was built in the late 1960s.

I ask what they think might happen if the fire ever reaches the waste. The question hangs in the air for a moment as the TV flickers from the far wall. “Look, we know it won’t explode,” Robbin explains. “We’re not stupid. We know that’s not how it works. But just because there’s no explosion doesn’t mean there won’t be fallout.”…….

I’ve looked at thousands of pictures of this landfill, aerial photos and historical photos, elevation photos and topographical maps, but nothing has prepared me to see it in person, this giant belching mound of tubes and pumps and pipes. There’s some kind of engineered cover over the dirt itself, which is supposed to suffocate the fire and capture the fumes. It looks like little more than a green plastic tarp patched together over a hundred acres of sagging hills.

“This is the burning side,” Robbin tells me. “The radwaste is on the other side.” The patchwork is topographical and bureaucratic: the burning side is the southern section of the landfill and falls under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; the radioactive waste is mostly on the northern side, and under EPA jurisdiction. On the burning side, workers drive over the tarp on utility carts, wearing hard hats and work clothes. No gloves, no masks, no protection from the destruction buried underneath their feet……….https://www.guernicamag.com/the-fallout/

 

July 24, 2017 Posted by | environment, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

The enormity of decommissioning of the Fukushima Reactor No.1 shown by images of melted nuclear fuel

Melted nuke fuel images show struggle facing Fukushima plant http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707230012.html, By KOHEI TOMIDA/ Staff Writer, July 23, 2017 Images captured on July 22 of solidified nuclear fuel debris at the bottom of a containment vessel of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant show the enormity of decommissioning of the facility.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will closely study the images from the No. 3 reactor’s containment vessel to determine the spread and amount of nuclear fuel debris.

After analysis, TEPCO will decide on a policy to retrieve the fuel debris. The government and TEPCO plan to start the retrieval process in one of the three crippled reactors at the plant from 2021. It will be a formidable task, given that a method of recovering debris that is stuck to the floor has yet to be considered.

The recent images were taken by a submersible robot, which was sent into the containment vessel on July 19, 21 and 22.The No. 3 reactor’s containment vessel is filled with water to a depth of 6.4 meters. On the final day, the remote-controlled robot was dispatched to the deepest part of the containment vessel.

The images showed that pieces that fell from the structure and deposited material accumulated to a height of about 1 meters at the bottom of the containment vessel.

In particular, what is believed to be nuclear fuel debris is scattered in the form of rocks in the area directly beneath the pressure vessel.

The latest investigation has confirmed TEPCO’s assumption made through analyses that most of the reactor’s nuclear fuel melted through the pressure vessel and accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel. It also discovered that the nuclear fuel debris has spread throughout the containment vessel. The images marked the first confirmation through a robot probe of a large amount of nuclear debris in any of the embattled No. 1 through No. 3 reactors.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

In Mosul, ISIS nearly had the means to make a radioactive “dirty bomb”

More certain is the fact that the danger has not entirely passed. With dozens of Islamic State stragglers still loose in the city, U.S. officials requested that details about the cobalt’s current whereabouts not be revealed.

They also acknowledged that their worries extend far beyond Mosul. Similar equipment exists in hundreds of cities around the world, some of them in conflict zones.

“Nearly every country in the world either has them, or is a transit country” through which high-level radiological equipment passes

How ISIS nearly stumbled on the ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb’, WP,   July 22   On the day the Islamic State overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, it laid claim to one of the greatest weapons bonanzas ever to fall to a terrorist group: a large metropolis dotted with military bases and garrisons stocked with guns, bombs, rockets and even battle tanks.

But the most fearsome weapon in Mosul on that day was never used by the terrorists. Only now is it becoming clear what happened to it.Locked away in a storage room on a Mosul college campus were two caches of cobalt-60, a metallic substance with lethally high levels of radiation. When contained within the heavy shielding of a radiotherapy machine, cobalt-60 is used to kill cancer cells. In terrorists’ hands, it is the core ingredient of a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that could be used to spread radiation and panic.

Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt and watched anxiously for three years for signs that the militants might try to use it. Those concerns intensified in late 2014 when Islamic State officials boasted of obtaining radioactive material, and again early last year when the terrorists took over laboratories at the same Mosul college campus with the apparent aim of building new kinds of weapons.

In Washington, independent nuclear experts drafted papers and ran calculations about the potency of the cobalt and the extent of the damage it could do. The details were kept under wraps on the chance that Mosul’s occupiers might not be fully aware of what they had.

Iraqi military commanders were apprised of the potential threat as they battled Islamic State fighters block by block through the sprawling complex where the cobalt was last seen. Finally, earlier this year, government officials entered the bullet-pocked campus building and peered into the storage room where the cobalt machines were kept.

They were still there, exactly as they were when the Islamic State seized the campus in 2014. The cobalt apparently had never been touched.

“They are not that smart,” a relieved health ministry official said of the city’s former occupiers.

Why the Islamic State failed to take advantage of its windfall is not clear. U.S. officials and nuclear experts speculate that the terrorists may have been stymied by a practical concern: how to dismantle the machines’ thick cladding without exposing themselves to a burst of deadly radiation.

More certain is the fact that the danger has not entirely passed. With dozens of Islamic State stragglers still loose in the city, U.S. officials requested that details about the cobalt’s current whereabouts not be revealed.

They also acknowledged that their worries extend far beyond Mosul. Similar equipment exists in hundreds of cities around the world, some of them in conflict zones.

“Nearly every country in the world either has them, or is a transit country” through which high-level radiological equipment passes, said Andrew Bieniawski, a vice president for the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative who once led U.S. government efforts to safeguard such materials.

“This,” he said, “is a global problem.”

A lethal dose in three minutes

The worries began within hours of the Islamic State’s stunning blitz into Iraq’s second-largest city. As TV networks showed footage of triumphant terrorists parading through Mosul’s main thoroughfares, intelligence agencies took quiet inventory of the vast array of military and material wealth the Islamist militants had suddenly acquired. The list included three Iraqi military bases, each supplied with U.S.-made weapons and vehicles. It also included bank vaults containing hundreds of millions of dollars in hard currency, as well as factories for making munitions and university laboratories for mixing chemicals used in explosives or as precursors for poison gas.

U.S. officials also were aware that the Islamic State had gained control of small quantities of natural or low-enriched uranium — the remnants of Iraq’s nuclear projects from the time of Saddam Hussein’s presidency — as well as some relatively harmless radioactive iridium used in industrial equipment.

But a far bigger radiological concern was the cobalt. Intelligence agencies knew of the existence in Mosul of at least one powerful radiotherapy machine used for cancer treatment, one that could potentially provide the Islamic State with a potent terrorist weapon.

Outside experts were becoming aware of the threat as well…..

Leaders of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are known to have sought materials for a dirty bomb, a threat that has added urgency to efforts by U.S. agencies and private groups to improve security for machines with heavy concentrations of cobalt-60, or other radioactive elements such as cesium-137, which comes in a powdery form that is even easier to disperse.

The machines are a necessary fixture in many cancer clinics around the world, but in Western countries efforts are underway to replace the most dangerous models with new technology that cannot be easily exploited by terrorists, said Bieniawski, the former Energy Department official. His organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, has raised money to try to speed up the transition, but for now, he said, older machines such as the ones in Mosul are commonly found in developing countries where the risk of theft or terrorism is greatest.

“The ones we see overseas are in the highest category — the highest levels of curies — and they are also portable,” he said. “They are exactly the ones we are most worried about.”

Morris reported from Beirut. Mustafa Salim in Irbil, Iraq, contributed to this report. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-isis-nearly-stumbled-on-the-ingredients-for-a-dirty-bomb/2017/07/22/6a966746-6e31-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.564e04f5c470

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Iraq, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Memoirs of 1945 photographer of the devastated city of Hiroshima

FULL VERSION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI FILM THEY DIDN’T WANT US TO SEE 34962,

(this is not the same as the film discussed below)

Memos found from man who shot Hiroshima ‘phantom film’, Asahi Shimbun , By GEN OKAMOTO/ Staff Writer, July 23, 2017 SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa Prefecture--Memos written by a photographer who documented the damage inflicted on Hiroshima after the atomic bombing and his personal feelings have been discovered by his grandson and will be displayed in Tokyo next month.

Kiyoji Suzuki took the notes with sketches when a documentary team, in which he was a member, roamed the flattened city between September and October 1945.

The documentary, “Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” was undertaken by a Japanese film company to scientifically record the extent of the damage done to both cities, including footage of destroyed cityscapes, injured people and the existence of vegetation.

The shooting of Nagasaki ran into difficulties as the U.S. military meddled in the project. But the crew managed to continue with their work after being commissioned by the U.S. military.

Although the documentary was completed in 1946, the U.S. military confiscated the film and didn’t return it to Japan until 1967. The footage became known as the “phantom film” on the atomic bombings.

Hiroshi Nose, also a photographer who lives in Sagamihara, found his grandfather’s memos at his home in 2013.

Suzuki’s entries began on Sept. 18, 1945, when he was living in Tokyo and assigned to the film project in Hiroshima.

His memos show sketches of a “shadow” of a person or object etched on a nearby building by the bomb’s thermal flash and of a deformed leaf of a plant.

Suzuki also mentioned which lenses he used for filming and the weather that day.

Although many of the memos concern objective data, others appeared to reveal his personal feelings in the midst of the devastation…….

Nose completed a 28-minute documentary film last fall, titled “Hiroshima Bomb, Illusive Photography Memos,” after visiting places in Hiroshima that were associated with Suzuki’s memos.

The documentary compared footage of Hiroshima today and that of the city 72 years ago shot by his grandfather.

The memos will be displayed for the first time to the public at Art Gallery 884 in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward on Aug. 5-9. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707230019.html

July 24, 2017 Posted by | history, Japan, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Financially unachievable – UK govt’s £43 billion plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system

Plans to replace Trident slammed as “unachievable” by Westminster watchdog, http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15427620.Plans_to_replace_Trident_slammed_as____unachievable____by_Westminster_watchdog/ THE UK Government’s £43 billion plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system and build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Clyde are “in doubt” or “unachievable”, according to a high-powered Westminster spending watchdog.

A new report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury in London has condemned three major nuclear projects run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for being poorly managed, over-budget and beset by technical problems.

The financial rating for a submarine reactor manufacturing plant has been sharply downgraded for 2017, while two other nuclear submarine projects have had “major risks” every year for the last three years. All of the IPA’s assessment of a fourth £20bn plan to upgrade Trident warheads has been kept secret for national security reasons.

To try and combat the problems the MoD has launched a major reorganisation and set up a new Submarine Delivery Agency. It has also renamed the Trident replacement programme Dreadnought, and engaged in “rebaselining” to delay project delivery.

The IPA report, which covers 143 projects run by 17 UK Government departments, was posted online last week. Buried in a table and spreadsheet released at the same time were damning indictments of the MoD’s flagship nuclear projects.

A £1.7bn project to build new submarine reactor manufacturing plants at Rolls Royce in Derby called Core Production Capability is given the IPA’s worst rating of ‘red’ for 2017. “Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable,” said IPA.

“There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.”

The reactor plants were £250 million over budget and needed “rebaselining” to meet target dates, IPA said. It had previously rated the plants as “amber” in 2015 and 2016, meaning they they had “significant issues” requiring management attention.

The £31.6bn project to build four new nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines to replace Trident and a £9.9bn programme to build seven new conventionally-armed nuclear-powered Astute-class submarines were both rated as “amber/red” for the third year running. All the submarines are due to be based at Faslane on the Gareloch near Helensburgh.

According to the IPA an amber/red rating suggests the schemes may not be viable. “Successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas,” it said.

“Urgent action is needed to address these problems and/or assess whether resolution is feasible.”

Three of the Astute submarines have been delivered to the MoD, and four are still to be completed. “Overall affordability remains the programme’s key challenge,” said the IPA.

The date when the nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines are currently scheduled to be ready to replace ageing Trident boats has been kept secret. The Vanguard-class submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles have already had their lives extended from 25 to 38 years.

The IPA has also assessed the financial viability of the MoD’s £20bn Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme to upgrade the weapons. But its verdict has been deleted from its report on the grounds that it is exempt from freedom of information law under national security and defence provisions.

The Scottish National Party argued that Trident costs were escalating out of control. “A billion here – a billion there – to add to the bill for these weapons of mass destruction,” said SNP defence spokesperson, Stewart McDonald MP.

“The Westminster obsession with Trident is already squeezing conventional defence expenditure as everything else is sacrificed for these redundant, eye-wateringly expensive weapons. The Tories need to get a grip on costs if they insist on Trident renewal.”

Arthur West, chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, pointed out that MoD projects kept going substantially over budget. “The Trident programme in particular continues to be a shambles from a cost point of view,” he said.

The Nuclear Information Service, which monitors nuclear activities, warned that the UK was going to encounter more problems building a new generation of nuclear weapons. “The delays and cost increases that we are already seeing cast further doubt on the MoD’s ability to deliver these projects on time and within budget,” said the group’s research manager, David Cullen.

The MoD has set aside a “contingency” of £10bn in case replacing the four Trident submarines costs more that the estimated £31bn. There were matters relating to nuclear weapons that it could not discuss openly, it said.

“These ratings reflect the complexity and scale of delivering the most advanced submarines ever commissioned by the Royal Navy, the ultimate guarantee of our national security,” stated an MoD spokesperson.

“We are determined to get our submarine programmes right. That’s why we have established a new Director General Nuclear sponsor organisation and a new Submarine Delivery Agency.”

July 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment