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New nuclear plants will produce far more radiation

New nuclear plants will produce far more radiation Industry documents reveal modern reactors more dangerous in an accident than the ones they replace THE INDEPENDENT By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor 8 Feb 09

New nuclear reactors planned for Britain will produce many times more radiation than previous reactors that could be rapidly released in an accident, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The revelations – based on information buried deep in documents produced by the nuclear industry itself – calls into doubt repeated assertions that the new European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) will be safer than the old atomic power stations they replace.

Instead they suggest that a reactor or nuclear waste accident, althouguh less likely to happen, could have even more devastating consequences in future; one study suggests that nearly twice as many people could die……………………Until now the reactors have been widely thought to be less dangerous than those already in operation, largely because they contain more safety features and produce less waste. But the information in the documents shows that they produce very much more of the radioactive isotopes technically known as the “immediate release fraction” of the nuclear waste, because they could get out rapidly after an accident.

New nuclear plants will produce far more radiation – Green Living, Environment – The Independent

February 16, 2009 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Tons of Radioactive Material From India Found in Germany

Tons of Radioactive Material From India Found in Germany DETSCHE WELLE 15 Feb 09

Germany is investigating 150 tons of steel items imported from India which were contaminated with radioactivity, a leading newsmagazine said in a report to appear in its Monday issue.

It said the most serious case was five tons of stainless steel wool which had to be disposed of by a nuclear-waste company, GNS.

 

The contamination was thought to be the result of the radioactive isotope cobalt 60, which is used in nuclear medicine, being inadvertently mixed with steel scrap and being melted down at three Indian steel works.

 

Anyone near the container of steel wool, which had been intercepted in August last year in the German port of Hamburg, would have received one millisievert of radiation in 24 hours.

 

Der Spiegel said German regulations treated more that one millisievert in an entire year as unsafe………………….

The ministry also said it would like to see an initiative developed on the international level to address the issue of irradiated goods.

In France, Sweden and the Netherlands, radioactive steel from India was discovered which in some cases had been used to manufacture buttons used in elevator control panels.

 

Tons of Radioactive Material From India Found in Germany | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 15.02.2009

February 16, 2009 Posted by | environment, Germany, India | Leave a comment

Greece announces nuclear moratorium

Greece announces nuclear moratorium – edie.net by Sam Bond 11 Feb 09 “……………..environmental campaigners are claiming victory after Greek development minister Kostis Hatzidakis ruled out future investment in nuclear and, perhaps more importantly, coal-fired power plants.

WWF Greece was part of a coalition that has been fighting a ‘no to coal’ campaign amid a will-they-won’t-they saga over government backing for coal plants and rumours that the ruling administration planned to introduce nuclear power to the country’s energy mix.

Demetres Karavellas, chief executive of the NGO, said: “We feel that our efforts to prove that Greece does not need coal power plants and nuclear energy have been justified. Today, we can be more optimistic that Greece might make the necessary shift towards a more sustainable and competitive green economy.”

The government change of stance on the issue was signalled by legislative changes to streamline and assist investment in renewable energy and by Mr Hatzidakis emerging from a cabinet meeting in late January to say “We want 2009 to be the year of renewable energy sources .”

Greece announces nuclear moratorium

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Greece, politics | Leave a comment

Oyster Creek concerns transcend drywell issue

Oyster Creek concerns transcend drywell issue APP.com 15 Feb 09

The focal point of most of the safety concerns at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant recently has been the drywell, a steel barrier surrounding the plant’s reactor vessel that is supposed to contain radiation in the event of an accident. The fear is that the 40-year-old drywell is continuing to erode to the point it could buckle, creating a potentially cataclysmic accident.

That concern is well-warranted. Thanks to the tenacity of citizen activists, approval of a 20-year license renewal is being held up pending further analysis of the drywell’s structural integrity…………………….

But that issue has tended to obscure broader concerns about nuclear power — issues that argue strongly against the renewed push to increase the nation’s dependence on it. The point was underscored at a forum last week sponsored by the Ocean County League of Women Voters. Two experts on nuclear waste, Paul Gunter of Nuclear Watch, and Frank von Hipple, a physics professor at Princeton University, expounded on the topic.

They addressed two major issues: the vulnerability of Oyster Creek’s spent fuel pool to a terrorist attack and the ongoing failure to find a safe, practical way to dispose of the huge amounts of nuclear waste being generated by the nation’s, and the world’s, reactors……………………… even if the drywell passes muster, the plant as a whole, and nuclear power, likely never will. Despite claims by the industry that nuclear power is efficient and affordable, it benefits from huge indirect federal subsidies, and the economics are growing worse.

According to the current issue of FP magazine, it costs $5 billion to $9 billion to construct new plants, takes nine to 12 years to build them once they are approved and requires 2,400 people to operate them. For nuclear energy to even maintain its current 15 percent global share of electricity through 2030, a 1,000-megawatt reactor — nearly double that of Oyster Creek — would have to be built every 16 days for the next 21 years.

Extending the life of Oyster Creek is a bad idea. Counting on nuclear energy to supply the electrical needs of future generations is economic and environmental suicide.

Oyster Creek concerns transcend drywell issue | APP.com | Asbury Park Press

February 16, 2009 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Deployment of nuclear warship off the coast of Japan touches a nerve

Deployment of nuclear warship off the coast of Japan touches a nerve- THE CANADIAN PRESS 16 Feb 09 YOKOSUKA, Japan

— As Masahiko Goto sees it, the USS George Washington is not a ship. It’s a floating nuclear disaster waiting to happen near one of the world’s biggest cities.The recent deployment of the huge aircraft carrier to a port just south of Tokyo has been welcomed by brass bands, an open-house crowd of 30,000 and promises of greater security for Japan and northeast Asia.

But to determined opponents here, it all boils down to two nuclear reactors and one big question. Are they safe?”It is unthinkable that we have reactors floating in the bay,” said Goto, a lawyer who is leading an effort to have the USS George Washington banned from Japan. “If there was a problem, it would affect not just our city, but Tokyo and the heart of Japan.”The George Washington is the first and only U.S. nuclear-powered warship with a home port outside the United States, and officials know that Japan – the only country ever attacked by nuclear weapons – has special sensitivities about anything nuclear…………………………..

Two recent incidents have raised concerns, however.

The George Washington’s arrival in September was delayed after a fire broke out in its lower decks on May 22 while it was docked in the United States under repairs. A Navy investigation found it took nearly eight hours to discover the source of the smoke and flames, by which time the fire had burned through eight decks and damaged 80 compartments…………………………a month earlier, it emerged that the submarine USS Houston had leaked radiation during visits to two Japanese ports, provoking headlines and a formal Japanese government protest.

Goto and others, who are pushing a referendum on whether Japan should host nuclear-powered vessels, have raised both incidents, saying they undermine the Navy’s general claim that the George Washington is safe.

The Canadian Press: Deployment of nuclear warship off the coast of Japan touches a nerve

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Editorial: Cut the bluster in nuclear disarmament talks

Editorial: Cut the bluster in nuclear talks The Dominion Post | Monday, 16 February 2009

Few issues in international affairs are as riddled with cant and hypocrisy as that of nuclear proliferation, writes The Dominion Post.

The United States regards Iran’s nuclear programme which the Iranians maintain is only for the peaceful generation of power as abhorrent and and a huge danger to world peace. At the same time it turns a blind eye to the nuclear programme of Israel, which has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

US President Barack Obama’s answer when asked if he knew of any nuclear power in the Middle East was an evasive warning of the dangers of an arms race in the region. If he had chosen to answer honestly, he would acknowledged that Israel, which will neither confirm nor deny whether it has the bomb, is thought to have about 200 nuclear warheads. He would have pointed out that the Israelis will not allow international surveillance of its Dimona nuclear plant, in the southern Negev desert.

Similarly, the US was equivocal in its response when Pakistan became a nuclear power, and agreed to share nuclear technology with India, another country that joined the nuclear club after the non-proliferation treaty.

It is also easy to forget that the non-proliferation treaty was founded on a bargain. Countries without the bomb agreed not to go chasing after it; those with the bomb agreed to work towards getting rid of their arsenals. There has been much talk and some progress in achieving that but thousands of weapons still remain.

One estimate, by the Federation of American Scientists, is that the US still has 9400 warheads, though only 2200 operationally deployed in a strategic role, and with a good proportion of the others retired and awaiting being dismantled. The same organisation estimates Russia has about 2700 deployed strategic warheads, but is also reducing its arsenal and intends to be down to 1800 by 2015.

Those numbers are still an obscenity that defies belief and, especially in the case of Russia, with its rundown infrastructure, terrifyingly high……………………….Mr Obama’s desire to “restart” the conversation with Russia over nuclear weapon reductions and work on further cutbacks in the two countries’ arsenals is welcome. His recognition that only then will Russia and the US “have the standing to go to other countries and start stitching back together the non-proliteration treaties that, frankly, have been weakened over the last several years” is exactly what is needed in both Washington and Moscow.

Editorial: Cut the bluster in nuclear talks – Editorials – The Dominion Post

February 16, 2009 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment