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Australia-Euratom Nuclear Safeguards: Plutonium Retransfers

…..The Agreement will enter into force when Australia notifies the Delegation to the European Commission that all domestic requirements necessary to give effect to the Agreement have been satisfied….

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by Arclight2011

31 May 2013

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Government

01/06/2013 | Press release
distributed by noodls on 30/05/2013 22:48

Australia and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) exchanged diplomatic notes in Canberra on 28 May 1998 as the first step towards bringing into force an Agreement under which Australia will – subject to certain conditions – broaden its consent for the return from the European Union to Japan of Australian obligated plutonium following the reprocessing of Japanese spent fuel in Europe. The European Union is an important provider of nuclear fuel cycle services for countries purchasing Australian uranium and Japan is a major market for Australian uranium exports.

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The new Agreement will represent a further refinement of Australia’s advance consent to plutonium retransfers under the 1981 Australia-Euratom Agreement concerning Transfers of Nuclear Material. In September 1993, Australia gave Euratom its consent for the retransfer from the European Union to Japan of plutonium bearing both Australian and United States safeguards obligations; the latter obligation acquired as a result of Australian nuclear material undergoing processing at some stage of the fuel cycle in the United States Under the new treaty-level Agreement Australia will give consent for the retransfer from the European Union to Japan of the small proportion of Australian obligated plutonium which does not also carry a United States safeguards obligation and is thus not covered by the 1993 agreement.

The refinement of prior consent rights under the Australia-Euratom Agreement is seen as desirable by both Euratom and Japan, and is consistent with the practice of their other major uranium suppliers; Canada and the United States. The Agreement is consistent with Australia’s non-proliferation and security objectives. Plutonium covered by the Agreement will continue to be accounted for by the Australian Safeguards Office.

<p>Photo by Auscape/UIG via Getty Images</p>

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The Agreement stipulates that retransfers of Australian obligated plutonium can only take place if it is transported with plutonium which is subject to the United States-Japan Agreement on nuclear cooperation – i.e. which also carries a United States safeguards obligation – and is thereby subject to the stringent and very detailed security arrangements for the transport of plutonium which the United States requires of Japan. The Agreement also provides for direct assurances from Euratom to Australia concerning the security arrangements being applied to transfers involving Australian obligated plutonium. Any retransfers of Australian obligated plutonium not conforming to the agreed conditions would continue to require case-by-case consideration by Australia.

In accordance with Australia’s treaty-making procedures, the exchanged diplomatic notes constituting the Agreement will be tabled in Parliament for fifteen sitting days and considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

The Agreement will enter into force when Australia notifies the Delegation to the European Commission that all domestic requirements necessary to give effect to the Agreement have been satisfied.


May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Harris shutdown could cost Duke Energy $1.5 million a day

…Duke has not said how much the shutdown is costing the company…
31 May 2013

The Nuclear Energy Institute says Harris Nuclear Plant’s shutdown could be costing Duke Energy as much as $1.5 million per day to replace power generated by the plant.

David Bradish, NEI’s manager of energy and economic analysis, says when a nuclear plant shuts down, it usually costs between $1 million and $1.5 million per day to replace power generated by the plant.

Bradish added that the cost estimate is based on the spot price of electricity in the area where the plant is shut down.

He says the cost to the power company increases depending on the time of the year as well. Most outages occur during the spring and fall seasons, but an unplanned outage during the summer will cost the company more.

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May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5/30/2013 — Volcano Sakurajima Erupts — Large eruption of lava/ash in South Japan


More images here ;


Published on May 30, 2013

This volcano never ceases to amaze! Its been a very long time since the last video the Japanese agency put out in regards to this volcano.

At one point during 2011 , this volcano erupted 10 times in one day !

Things have quieted down a bit there, but now we see this… reminiscent of 2011’s activity. Large static discharge lightning flashes, along with several lava bombs, and a LOT of ash fallout.

mirrored with permissions from:

Kyoto University Web Cams


There are instructions, but click on the button on the right and you get a 20 second countdown.. then you can toggle the view live..

Sakurajima Volcanological Observatory(No.1 (Main Bldg.))

Sakurajima Volcanological Observatory(No.2 (Kurokami Bldg.))
〔Disaster Prevention Research Institute〕

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Staff at French Tricastin nuclear plant on strike because of safety cuts!

UPMS workers continue strike action at Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant

The entrance to Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant is blocked with union flags as workers stage a strike over planned reductions in the numbers of safety staff.

Members of the UPMS (Unité de protection de la matière et du site d’Areva) at Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant continue to hold strike action over a planned reduction in the number of safety staff.


More pictures here


May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in nuclear news

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

USA. Senator Boxer reveals deceptions by  Southern California Edison regarding San Onofre nuclear power plant, and calls for  a criminal investigation.  The nuclear industry watches in trepidation. Closed down since January 2012, San Onofre could be the most significant ninepin to fall, and set the whole USA nuclear industry going down.   Navajo Nation will prevent the transport of uranium in Arizona.

Wastes: More concerns expressed about nuclear waste storage at Hanford, at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, in Michigan which is close to Canada;’s proposed waste dump near Lake Huron.

And – for the first time that I’ve ever seen, four USA State Attorneys General are petitioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Among other things they are suggesting, as an option for nuclear waste management –“ not allowing further production of spent fuel until there is a safe and environmentally acceptable permanent waste repository”

Japan‘s Prime Minister Abe, under huge pressure from corporations Hitachi, Toshiba  Mitsubishi  General Electric, Westinghouse  Areva has decided to put economic priorities above safety, and go allout for nuclear power. Still the Nuclear Regulator is insisting on strict conditions regarding earthquake risks, before restarting reactors.  Abbe is travelling about, marketing Japan’s nukes to Turkey and Middle Eastern countries.

Fukushima – critical state continues.  Japanese officials raised the level of acceptable radiation doses for evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to avoid increasing costs for compensation, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on Saturday.

Russia is not having success in its effort to market its Baltic Nuclear Power Project to European countries. is unable to get investment for this. Russia’s  particular nuclear reactor model VVER-1200 is regarded by many Europeans as unsafe.

Uranium. Niger is pretty much in  a state of war. Suicide bombers killed 20 people at a uranium plant, and French Special Forces are there to protect AREVA”s uranium projects.  Uranium markets remain gloomy – but all are pinning their hopes on China – even though China has significantly slowed down its nuclear power program.

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

The ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster: Eyewitness Report

Screenshot from 2013-05-30 07:57:31

Maggie Gundersen

Published on May 28, 2013


Host Margaret Harrington speaks with Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education, and Chiho Kaneka, Artist and Journalist, who has been to Fukishima several times after the disaster and Chikako Nishiyama who lives near Fukushima-Daiichi who gives an eyewitness report on the current status.

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Failing Uranium mining companies rely on China to help survive

….which estimates that 210 million pounds U3O8 will be needed by 2025 to fill a supply gap…..

…Zhou said that today’s market price is not a significant concern as he believes it is sufficient for new development. However, he also expects a market correction if one is needed to stimulate new production in the future…..

China's power will not wane and Australia must ake advantage of this while it continues to have one of the strongest economies in the world.

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Denver Post

MAY 29, 2013

DENVER, CO–(Marketwired – May 29, 2013) – Nuclear industry participants gathered in Beijing, China, for the 9th Annual China Nuclear Energy Congress (CNEC) on May 15-16, which focused on China’s nuclear power industry and culminated with a panel discussion moderated by TradeTech Business Development Director Bahi Sivalingham, which provided insight into supply and demand concerns in today’s global uranium market.

The panel discussed challenges of bringing new uranium mining projects into production, including the effects of today’s uranium market on exploration and development activities. Panelists included CNEC speakers Zhou Zhenxing, chairman of China General Nuclear Power Group and Chen Yuehi, vice general manager and vice director of China Uranium Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation’s Department of Geology & Mining, as well as James Dobchuk, president of Cameco Inc., who all agreed that market price may play a pivotal role in the future uranium supply industry.

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May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NKorea sanctions squeeze cash for aid groups

…The U.S. Treasury Department hit the North Korean bank with sanctions in March, effectively cutting it off from the U.S. financial system after accusing the country’s main foreign exchange institution of funding Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs….

“We are concerned regarding possible unintended effects of certain sanctions, in particular with regard to humanitarian assistance, and stress the need to overcome these unintended effects,”

South Koreans protest against US and South Korean policy towards North Korea, in Seoul - 26 April 2011

US officials have denied an accusation from former President Jimmy Carter that the US is withholding food aid from North Korea. 2011

May 30, 2013
Associated Press

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — New international sanctions aimed at thwarting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are having unintended consequences: halting money transfers by foreign humanitarian groups working to help those most in need and forcing some agencies to carry suitcases of cash in from outside.

At the same time, some restrictions are meant to sting the country’s elite by crippling the import of luxury goods, such as yachts, fancy cars and jewelry. But they do not appear to be stopping the well-heeled from living large in the capital Pyongyang.

Much of the aid group difficulties are linked to the state-run Bank of China’s decision earlier this month to follow Washington’s lead and sever ties with the North’s Foreign Trade Bank, the main money transfer route for most foreign organizations, U.N. agencies and embassies in Pyongyang. With that line cut, aid workers in North Korea say they are left with few other options to receive foreign currency for expenses including rent, bills and salaries for local staff.

The sanctions are not supposed to affect humanitarian aid, but six Pyongyang-based aid organizations headquartered in Europe issued a communique earlier this month spelling out their frustrations and calling the difficulties in transferring money to North Korea a “big problem.” They warned that they may be forced to suspend their operations if they cannot find ways to access cash. A handful of American non-governmental organizations also work in North Korea, but they cycle in and out and do not maintain a permanent presence.

Gerhard Uhrmacher, program manager for German humanitarian aid organization Welthungerhilfe, said when recent bank transfers failed, he managed to keep projects running by routing 500,000 euros ($643,000) to Chinese or North Korean accounts in China to pay for building supplies and other goods.

He said Welthungerhilfe, which signed the communique and works on agriculture and rural development projects in North Korea, has some reserves in Pyongyang but must also resort to carrying cash into the country by hand.

“It doesn’t give a good impression. We’re trying to be transparent, to be open to all sides and now we’re more or less forced to do something that doesn’t really look very proper because people who carry a lot of cash are somehow suspect,” said Uhrmacher who is based in Germany and has worked in North Korea for the past 10 years.

“Whatever you’re doing, everybody looks at you very closely,” he said. “That’s why we don’t like it because bank accounts are proper. Everybody can have a look at it and everybody can control it. Now we are forced to do something else.”

Some analysts said aid groups were simply “collateral damage” and that they will find a way to work around the sanctions as they have been forced to do in other countries. Others said the poorest North Koreas would be hurt if some humanitarian groups have to pull out of the country. The aid groups work on a range of issues from food security to improving health and assisting with disabilities.

Aid groups “may not provide as much support as governments, but they have the ability to reach the deep corners of the impoverished North where people are in most need,” said Woo Seongji, a professor of international relations at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. “Their help is both symbolic and substantial. It reaches kids, hospitals and food shelters that outside governments may not be able to support consistently because of political considerations.”

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it was aware of the concerns of humanitarian groups and was exploring ways to address them. But spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the onus was on North Korea to provide for its people and make alternative financial services available to international organizations.

“This is essentially on the plate of the North Korean government which has made the decision not to provide funding and the necessary aid to their own people, which is the reason why this (aid) is so necessary from the outside,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington. “We are aware of the challenges. We want aid to make its way to the people of North Korea.”

The latest sanctions have added challenges to the already difficult system of getting money into North Korea since ally China has restrictions on how much foreign currency can be legally taken beyond its borders.

Sanctions and trade embargoes have long been used by the international community to put an economic squeeze on troublesome regimes from Iraq and Myanmar to Cuba. But they are a blunt tool that can unintentionally add to the suffering of people living under oppressive rule by hindering development and the delivery of aid.

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May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How lethal are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons? How much damage would there be to india?

How lethal are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons? How much area would be immediately destroyed in a single attack?

h/t Geoff Olynyk and Joseph Boyle for links and commentary

By destroy an area, I mean the radius within which buildings fall, things burn and people die immediately. I don’t mean the after effects of nuclear radiation, which I understand would affect a larger area. The objective of this question is chalk out a rough evacuation plan if some day there is a strong chance of a nuclear attack
The short answer, of course, is very lethal, like all nuclear weapons. Read on for more details.

So according to the Pakistan and weapons of mass destruction article on Wikipedia, Pakistan possesses four delivery mechanisms for a nuclear attack in the area:

  • Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). Range, 2500 km. Estimated yield 300–500 kt (kilotons of TNT equivalent).
  • Nuclear-tipped Babur cruise missiles. Range, 700 km. Yield – ?
  • Nuclear bombs carried by fighter-bombers. Estimated yield up to 150 kt.
  • Cruise missiles carried by fighter-bombers. Warhead estimated yield 20–25 kt.

The fighter-bombers likely drop 150 kt bombs or launch cruise missiles with 20–25 kt warheads. The most powerful warheads in Pakistan’s arsenal are estimated to have a yield 300–500 kt, delivered by the Ghauri-I MRBM:

Ghauri medium-range ballistic missiles.

Note that this would be a very similar yield to the U.S.’s most advanced warhead, the 475 kt W88. (Although the Pakistani one is probably much heavier due to the less advanced technology, and thus you can’t carry as many of them on a missile.)

As we start discussing the effects, keep in mind the pictures of the destruction in Hiroshima (the Little Boy bomb had a yield of 13 kt), and remember that a 500 kt weapon is nearly 40 times more powerful.

Effects of a 13 kt air burst.

They are also apparently working on a sea-launched cruise missile (a naval variant of the Babur) and a smaller nuclear warhead that can be put on Pakistan’s Chinese-made C-802 and C-803 anti-ship missiles, but these delivery mechanisms are not operational yet.

Taking the upper end of the estimated range of Pakistani warheads (500 kilotons) is convenient because the U.S. government published a bunch of graphs on the effects of a 500 kt blast in the report Nuclear Attack Environment Handbook (FEMA, August 1990). The graphics below are taken from here, which reproduces the FEMA book.

Here is an overview of the effects of a 500 kt surface burst:

There is heavy damage (5 psi overpressure) out to a radius of about 2.2 miles.

If they are smarter about it and detonate it 1.1 miles in the air (see Geoff Olynyk’s answer to Bombs: Why doesn’t the blast from a nuke take place on the ground?), the damage radius is larger:

There is now heavy damage out to a radius of 3.2 miles. The government also helpfully calculated the winds produced by a 500 kt air burst:

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

San Onofre: call for criminal investigation into Southern California Edison’s statements

“Now that this precise failure has occurred, and there has been a leak of radioactive material, Edison claims that it could simply restart the nuclear plant at 70 percent capacity, and once again circumvent the full safety and licensing process,” Boxer said. “How could they first assert that tube failure would be a ‘disastrous outcome’ and now claim that it is no big deal?”

Boxer,-Barbara-Sen.Senator Boxer Seeks Criminal Probe of San Onofre Nuclear Plant WASHINGTON, DC, May 29, 2013 (ENS) – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California is asking the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Southern California Edison’s statements to nuclear regulators about replacing steam generators at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Located on the California coast south of San Clemente, San Onofre has been shut down since January 2012 due to premature wear found on over 3,000 tubes in replacement steam generators and a leak of radioactive material.

Senator Boxer Tuesday released a 2004 letter by an Edison executive to steam generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that she said presents “major new evidence of misrepresentation and safety lapses by Edison.” Edison replaced steam generators in 2009 and 2010 without review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because the company said the replacements met a federal test of being the same parts. Continue reading

May 30, 2013 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Sweden favours renewables to nuclear

“We have found a very cost-effective way to stimulate the development (of renewables), and they are driving down power prices.”

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30 May 2013


Sweden’s government will not subsidise new nuclear power stations, the energy minister said, sticking by a policy that casts doubt on the sector’s long-term survival after the major operator sought to delay new investment.

The centre-right coalition government in 2010 overturned a nuclear phase-out policy, dating from the 1980s, by permitting construction of new plants to replace Sweden’s existing 10 reactors, which now provide about 40 per cent of its electricity.

But it insisted this would not involve financial support from the government, although the high initial costs mean companies hesitate to invest in nuclear without help.

Reflecting this reluctance, operator Vattenfall last week said it was seeking leave from regulators to run five of its seven reactors for a decade longer than planned, which would put off a decision on fresh investments.

Energy Minister Anna-Karin Hatt said the government had not changed its stance.

“There will be no public subsidies for new nuclear in Sweden,” Hatt said in an interview.

“We say to the market: it’s up to you to decide on the energy sources you want to invest in,” she added.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Sweden must replace its ageing nuclear fleet between by 2022 and 2035, assuming an operational lifespan of 50 years for each reactor. Its policy on state support is unlikely to result in investment in new nuclear capacity.

“Very few examples of successful outcomes using such an approach exist and it is the reason why countries such as the United Kingdom have opted for introducing some price certainties for investors in nuclear power plant construction,” the agency, energy adviser to 28 industrialised countries, said in a report earlier this year.

Germany’s E.ON and Finnish utility Fortum also have investments in Sweden’s nuclear sector.

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May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Head of company overseeing leaking nuclear tanks at Hanford to step down

….The Energy Department is building a $12.3 billion plant at Hanford to convert the dangerous waste to a stable form, but that project is years behind schedule….

Screenshot from 2013-05-30 05:53:52



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Posted 2013-05-30 03:08:36 –

by Isaac Ibiyemi

The disposal facility for mixed and low-level radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is shown in an aerial image.

The head of the contracting company responsible for containment tanks found to be leaking radioactive liquid at the Hanford, Wash., Nuclear Reservation announced his retirement Wednesday.

The head of the contractor overseeing cleanup operations at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina will replace Mike Johnson, president and project manager of Washington River Protection Solutions, or WRPS, Johnson said in an email message to employees obtained by NBC station KING of Seattle.

Johnson gave no reason for his retirement, which he said would take effect at the end of June.

WRPS has been the subject of extensive federal scrutiny since it was learned in February that at least six of 177 underground tanks housing highly radioactive nuclear waste at the site were leaking. The tanks are believed to be losing about three gallons of waste liquid a day, the Tri-City Herald of Richland reported after Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., toured the site late last month.

The Herald also obtained Johnson’s message Wednesday.

The Energy Department is building a $12.3 billion plant at Hanford to convert the dangerous waste to a stable form, but that project is years behind schedule.


May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

French Nuclear-Waste Repository Postponed by Protests

French Debates on Nuclear-Waste Repository Postponed by Protests

Stock Greenpeace picture from 2011

French plans to build a nuclear-waste repository were set back when two public meetings were postponed by local opposition.

A debate scheduled for tomorrow in Saint Didier, northeastern France, and another in the nearby town of Joinville on June 6 have been pushed back, organizers said in a statement yesterday. The new dates are yet to be determined.

France is looking to store radioactive waste from Electricite de France SA’s 58 reactors, as well as from Areva SA (AREVA) and atomic-research organization CEA, at a site near Bure, which straddles the Meuse and Haute-Marne regions. The plans have already faced opposition as protests last week forced the cancellation of the first in a series of public consultations.

Debates on projects that have an impact on the environment and regional development “are a right and are protected by the law,” the organizers said in the statement, calling for “tolerance and openness.” The meetings, scheduled through Oct. 15, must be held before the government and the regulator can decide whether to approve the project.

Andra, the waste-management agency spearheading the plan, is seeking to start construction in 2019 and begin operations in 2025.

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Landfill on fire a threat to nearby nuclear waste

“The bottom line is it’s very serious,”  “What’s happening up here is not something that has ever been encountered before. They’ve had landfill fires and nuclear waste, but never in such close proximity.

Smoldering Landfill Could Threaten Nuclear Waste, abc News,  By JIM SALTER Associated Press BRIDGETON, Mo. May 29, 2013  Dawn Chapman can put up with the noxious smell caused by smoldering trash in a landfill near her suburban St. Louis home. But if the burning creeps close to buried nuclear waste, she’s ready to get out.

It’s a problem that worries many people in this densely populated area near Lambert Airport, where the trash burns just 1,200 feet from another landfill that holds radioactive waste dating back to the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb in the 1940s. Continue reading

May 30, 2013 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Serious safety concerns about Pickering, Canada’s oldest nuclear reactor

The lack of comparable plants means safety and accident statistics for the industry are based on much newer plants. As a result, he said, it’s questionable whether they should be used to predict events at Pickering.

Gunderson also said that Pickering’s vacuum building, which is designed to suck in radioactive steam and air in case of an accident, can handle only one reactor failure. Pickering has six operating reactors.

Aging Pickering nuclear plant seeks five more years, The Star, Canada’s oldest nuclear power plant is seeking to renew its operating license for five years. Critics say it should be closed By: John Spears Business reporter,  May 29 2013 Ontario Power Generation is confident it can safely operate its 40-year-old Pickering nuclear generating station 18 per cent longer than originally planned, OPG officials told Canada’s nuclear regulator Wednesday.

But members of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission still peppered emergency planners with questions about what happens if a nuclear accident does occur at the station, located in Canada’s largest urban area.

Pickering’s operating license expires June 30, and original plans called for it to be wound down in the next few years. Continue reading

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment