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Depleted uranium especially hazardous – gradually becomes more radioactive – a problem for Utah

depleted-uraniumFederal regulators hear Utah testimony on depleted uranium By , Deseret News, June 25 2015 “…………The NRC is proposing to adopt a rule that for the first time specifically addresses the disposal of the material, which is a waste stream generated from the enrichment process of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Depleted uranium poses unique disposal challenges because it does not hit its peak radioactivity until 2.1 million years, and actually grows more radioactive over time. In its disposal stage, however, depleted uranium contains radioactivity that falls under the lowest level classified by the federal government — that of class A — and is legally within limits on what can be buried in Utah at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility.

Matt Pacenza, executive director of the radioactive waste watchdog organization called HEAL Utah, believes that the NRC is making a huge mistake by classifying depleted uranium as class A.

“Right now, a regulatory loophole could allow waste that does not reach a peak hazard for 2.1 million years to be treated just like waste which loses 90 percent of its hazard in less than 200,” his presentation asserted.

Pacenza, who spoke at the briefing Thursday, said the safety of the public and the environment cannot be assured given the complex nature of depleted uranium and its long-lived radioactivity.

HEAL Utah has lobbied hard against any depleted uranium being disposed of at EnergySolutions’ commercial facility in Tooele County ever since the Salt Lake-based company inked a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to begin accepting stockpiles of the waste — with the initial shipments reaching 10,500 tons.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert intervened, successfully getting some of those shipments turned around after he launched objections with the federal agency over the uncertainties associated with the material’s disposal.

State regulators then convened multiple hearings and crafted their own rules governing the disposal of any significant amounts of depleted uranium, including the requirement that EnergySolutions develop a site-specific performance assessment designed to specifically contemplate depleted uranium’s unique character……….

The NRC’s proposed rule on depleted uranium would affect commercial facilities in Utah and Texas, as well as Washington and South Carolina.

Mike Garner, executive director of the Northwest Interstate Compact — a regional alliance with oversight of low-level radioactive waste management — argued before the commission that the proposed rule should not be hoisted on states that aren’t planning to take depleted uranium, a concern echoed by the Nuclear Energy Institute that argued the proposal would be unnecessarily costly and burdensome.

Pacenza, too, added that the proposal is undergoing significant modifications that show how much industry — particularly EnergySolutions — is influencing the potential regulation of depleted uranium……

Comments on the rule can be submitted atwww.regulations.gov

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631459/Federal-regulators-hear-Utah-testimony-on-depleted-uranium.html?pg=all

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June 27, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

A legal win for Australia’s nuclear test veterans

justiceflag-AustraliaRadiation in court: landmark success for Australia’s nuclear veterans, Ecologist  Chris Busby 24th June 2015

A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the ‘official’ ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby – reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain’s bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers.

At the end of last month the Veterans Appeals Tribunal Decision on the Case Jean Mahoney vs. Australian Repatriation Commission was published.

The result was a win for the appellant, setting aside of the earlier Australian government decision not to grant a pension to the widow of a veteran who worked among the ruins of Hiroshima and later died from metastatic colon cancer.

I was the expert witness in this case and persuaded the Australian Tribunal (in an expert report and with oral cross examination by telephone, Brisbane to Riga) that the radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) was not applicable to the kind of internal exposure to radioactive particles which her late husband, George Mahoney will have received. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Legal | Leave a comment

Bill Gates and his nuclear power company – no friend to renewable energy

Gates: Renewable energy can’t do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D, The Register , 26 Jun 2015 , Lewis Page

Gates'-travelling-Wave-Nucl

‘Only way to a positive scenario is innovation’ ……….In Bill Gates’ view, the answer is for governments to divert the massive sums of money which are currently funnelled to renewables owners to R&D instead. This would offer a chance of developing low-carbon technologies which actually can keep the lights on in the real world……

Gates is already well known as a proponent of improved nuclear power tech, and it seems he still is. He mentioned the travelling-wave reactors under development by his firm TerraPower, which are intended to run on depleted uranium stockpiled after use in conventional reactors.

June 27, 2015 Posted by | ENERGY, spinbuster, USA | 1 Comment

Nuclear power – the economic and safety facts

text-relevantThe Truth About Nuclear Power emphasizes the economic and safety aspects by showing that

  1. modern nuclear power plants are uneconomic to operate compared to natural gas and wind energy,
  2.  they produce preposterous pricing if they are the sole power source for a grid,
  3.  they cost far too much to construct,
  4.  use far more water for cooling, 4 times as much, than better alternatives,
  5.  nuclear fuel makes them difficult to shut down and requires very costly safeguards,
  6.  they are built to huge scale of 1,000 to 1,600 MWe or greater to attempt to reduce costs via economy of scale,
  7. an all-nuclear grid will lose customers to self-generation,
  8.  smaller and modular nuclear plants have no benefits due to reverse economy of scale,
  9. large-scale plants have very long construction schedules even without lawsuits that delay construction,
  10.  nuclear plants do not reach 50 or 60 years life because they require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years that do not always perform as designed,
  11. France has 85 percent of its electricity produced via nuclear power but it is subsidized, is still almost twice as expensive as prices in the US, and is only viable due to exporting power at night rather than throttling back the plants during low demand,
  12. nuclear plants cannot provide cheap power on small islands,
  13.  US nuclear plants are heavily subsidized but still cannot compete,
  14.  projects are cancelled due to unfavorable economics, reactor vendors are desperate for sales, nuclear advocates tout low operating costs and ignore capital costs, nuclear utilities never ask for a rate decrease when building a new nuclear plant, and high nuclear costs are buried in a large customer base,
  15. safety regulations are routinely relaxed to allow the plants to continue operating without spending the funds to bring them into compliance,
  16. many, many near-misses occur each year in nuclear power, approximately one every 3 weeks,
  17. safety issues with short term, and long-term, storage of spent fuel,
  18. safety hazards of spent fuel reprocessing,
  19. health effects on people and other living things,
  20. nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island,
  21.   nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima,
  22.   nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima,
  23. near-disaster at San Onofre,
  24. the looming disaster at St. Lucie,
  25.  the inherently unsafe characteristics of nuclear power plants required government shielding from liability, or subsidy, for the costs of a nuclear accident via the Price-Anderson Act, and
  26. the serious public impacts of large-scale population evacuation and relocation after a major incident, or “extraordinary nuclear occurrence” in the language used by the Price-Anderson Act.  Additional articles will include
  27. the future of nuclear fusion,
  28. future of thorium reactors,
  29. future of high-temperature gas nuclear reactors, and
  30. a concluding chapter with a world-wide economic analysis of nuclear reactors and why countries build them.  Links to each article in TANP series are included at the end of this article. http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-28.html

June 27, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes, as Germany’s renewable energy surges ahead

with the closure of this reactor, we see the victory of renewables over nuclear power. Germany is leading the way globally to the safe, clean energy future. The rest of the world needs to follow.
 
Germany-1013-renewGermany’s Energy Revolution goes from strength to strength as the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-reactor-closure/blog/53355/

 by Justin McKeating – 25 June, 2015 

One less nuclear reactor threat to the people of Europe with the early closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor. Germany’s 33 year-old Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor will be shut down permanently on June 27th as the country’s phase out of nuclear power continues. It’s the first reactor to close since Germany passed its Atomic Energy Act in July 2011 which requires the closure of all commercial nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.

The reactor is being shutdown seven months early as the disastrous economics of nuclear power and Germany’s drive for clean and sustainable energy have made it impossible for its owner E.ON to operate the reactor and make a profit.

E.ON and other large nuclear utilities only have themselves to blame. They failed to anticipate the growth of renewable energy and so they failed to invest in it. At the same time, electricity prices have fallen making their nuclear power plants even less profitable.

That said, even E.ON is waking up to the new energy future of Germany. “The transformation of Europe’s energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy,” said the company in a report from March this year.

But what are the implications of the closure of Grafenrheinfeld? Won’t it leave an energy gap?

In short: no. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany | Leave a comment

Pope Francis denounces nuclear power

Pope & St FrancisPope Francis Calls Nuclear Power Plants a Modern-Day Tower of Babel, Helen Caldicott MD by  on June 26, 2015 

In an audience with Japanese Bishops, Pope Francis had criticized nuclear power by comparing it with the Tower of Babel, as reported by Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of Tokyo. When human beings attempted to reach heaven they triggered their own destruction. “Human beings should not break the natural laws set by God,” the Pope said. (Mainichi Shinbun March 22, 2015; Asahi Shinbun March 25, 2015)

This is probably the first clear-cut criticism of the “civil use” of nuclear power issued by the Vatican. The Pope expressed his conviction during an ad limina meeting with the Japanese bishops on March 20. “The destruction of nature is a result from human beings claiming domination (over the earth).” With these statements the Pope referred to the TEPCO-nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011. Soon after the terrible disaster, the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference had publicly demanded from the government the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power plants.

During the audience, Bishop Katsuya Taiji, head of the “Council for Justice and Peace” of the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, had handed over letters of two activists from Fukushima to the Pope. The first author was Takumi Aizawa, a school clerk from Iidate Mura, the most contaminated place in Fukushima Prefecture, who is involved in health care and protection of children since the disaster. In fact Mr. Aizawa had the great wish to inform the Pope personally about the real situation of the people in the contaminated area because the government, the administration, many doctors and scientists, and the media try to cover up the extremely dangerous situation. The second author is Mako Oshidori, a well-known journalist from Tokyo, who attended most of the TEPCO press conferences with critical questions and who is investigating the contaminated region constantly…….

Until now the Vatican had condemned only the military use of nuclear power. Since the Vatican is member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it seems that with his critical statements about the “civil use” of nuclear energy Pope Francis deviates considerably from the position of his predecessors und is pursuing a new direction. Many Catholics hope that in his next encyclica on the protection of the environment the Pope will clearly voice also his critical attitude towards nuclear power.

Wolfgang Buff and Martin Repp
April 2015 http://www.helencaldicott.com/pope-francis-calls-nuclear-power-plants-a-modern-day-tower-of-babel/

June 27, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | 1 Comment

Plan to spend $1 Trillion on modernising USA’s nuclear weapons

missile-moneyShould the US Spend 1 Trillion on Nuclear Weapons? http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/should-the-us-spend-1-trillion-on-nuclear-weapons/ Given the rapid modernization of Chinese and Russian nuclear stockpiles, some argue the US might want to.By Franz-Stefan Gady  June 27, 2015  The United States will have to spend $18 billion a year for 15 years starting in 2021 to keep its nuclear weapons operational, Kris Osborne over atmilitary.com reports.

His assessment is based on the testimony of U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work in front of the House Armed Services Committee yesterday. The subject of the hearing was nuclear deterrence.

“We’ve developed a plan to transition our aging system. Carrying out this plan will be an expensive proposition. It is projected to cost DoD an average of $18 billion a year from 2021 through 2035,” Work noted.

The Pentagon is in the middle of initiating the modernization of its nuclear triad (land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and long-range bombers).

Among other DoD programs to upgrade nuclear weapons complexes, the Navy is trying to work out a deal with Congress over its $80 billion Ohio Replacement Program (12 new ballistic missile submarines to enter servicein the 2030).

The Air Force is speeding up the development of its Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) to enter service in 2025 in addition to initiating a new mobile land-based intercontinental ballistic missile program and upgrading 480 B61-12 bombs (to be carried by the F-35 A).

Total cost of modernizing the United States’ nuclear triad over 30 years could be as high as 1 $ trillion, with $ 348 billion spend over the next ten years, according to a proposed modernization plan of the Obama White House. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mainstream media now asking questions about Fukushima’s melted nuclear fuel

Major Newspapers Ask “Where Did Fukushima’s Melted Fuel Go?”, Your NewsWire,  June 25, 2015 by Carol Adl A few major news outlets have been asking the big question this month, that is: where did Fukushima’s melted fuel go?…

 ENE news gives a list of examples in this report: Just where is that fuel?… No one even knows where it is — Experts: The world’s never seen anything like this… We have 3 nuclear cores that hit groundwater.

AP, Jun 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Four years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns… Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel… [T]he hardest part of the decommissioning: Removing the melted fuel from the three wrecked reactors. The biggest questions are where the melted fuel isand in what condition… experts believe the melted fuel has breached the cores and fallen to the bottom of the containment chambers, some possibly seeping into the concrete foundation……… http://yournewswire.com/major-newspapers-ask-where-did-fukushimas-melted-fuel-go/

June 27, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Headlines

  1. How Rwanda’s clinics have gone off-grid and onto renewable energy The Conversation AU-24 Jun 2015  Despite this, it is making advances with off-grid renewable energysolutions for rural areas that could be a model for similar economies.

  2. Renewable Energy the Fastest-Growing Energy Sector of 2015 and …The Market Oracle 26 June 15 David Fessler writes: I’ve been talking about renewable energy at conferences for the last eight years. Every year, I’ve said renewables will …

    22% of electricity from renewables
    International-Haringey Independent-25 Jun 2015

    Explore in depth (78 more articles)

June 27, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

For The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit we need to develop a culture of security

A culture of security: Focus for the next Nuclear Security Summit? Igor Khripunov, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 June 15   Igor Khripunov is a distinguished fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia (USA) and adjunct professor at its School of Public and International…

It would not take much highly enriched uranium to kill hundreds of thousands of people: as little as what could fit in a five-pound bag of sugar. That it has not happened so far does not mean it may never happen, especially when one considers that there are more than2,000 metric tons of dangerous nuclear materials in hundreds of sites scattered across the globe. And that there have been more than 2,300 cases of theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material since the early 1990s.Consequently, one of the greatest dangers facing the global community is the risk of terrorists getting enough uranium or plutonium to build a working, crude nuclear bomb, or to spike a conventional bomb with enough radioactive material to create a so-called “dirty bomb”—one which disperses harmful radioactive material over a wide area. The latter in particular is quite a plausible scenario; just think how the public would react if such a device exploded in a major urban center.

To prevent either scenario from happening, a coalition of about 80 civil society organizations from across the globe has been working together for the past five years to improve the security of fissile materials. Known as the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), it has been a forceful advocate for the prevention of nuclear terrorism, by spotlighting attention on the issue, sponsoring talks, and publishing detailed, formal written recommendations, among other activities. Its latest contribution is the report “The Results We Need in 2016: Policy Recommendations for the Nuclear Security Summit” developed by a group of international experts and circulated this month at public events in Vienna and Washington, DC. The release of the report was timed to coincide with the most crucial meetings of the “summit sherpas”—the official representatives of the participating states charged with preparing its agenda and drafting the final communiqué.

With the planning of the next summit in mind, the report prioritizes the items that the nongovernmental expert community wants the 2016 summit to focus on during its two-day proceedings. The list includes enhancing the security of military nuclear material, information sharing, best practices, and the elimination of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications, among other agenda items. In so doing, the FMWG has elevated the role of the public from what was perceived not long ago as a bystander to that of a major and proactive stakeholder in nuclear security. And a unique feature of the group’s report is that it takes a much wider and longer-term perspective of nuclear security challenges compared to the rather short-term vision often espoused by most government experts.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: It turns out that there is more to ensuring the security of nuclear material than physically protecting it, or trying to account for the whereabouts of every last bit of, say, highly enriched uranium. There is also something a bit harder to define, but perhaps even more important: a broader, all-embracing culture of nuclear security, that takes into account the human factor. Known as nuclear security culture, this approach encompasses programs on personnel reliability and training, illicit trafficking interception, customs and border security, export control, and IT security, to name just a few. Security culture has become a bit of a buzzword in many security-related domains, and the FMWG report seeks to raise it above this level, explicitly detailing the concept and its implications in a special section…………

nuclear security culture must become part of a comprehensive, joint architecture that elevates security to a basic societal value. Sharing the progress made in the nuclear field with other domains—particularly the chemical and the biological—will call for deeper communication and cooperation. To avoid fragmentation, security experts will need a shared concept to work together.

Finally, we must treat nuclear security culture as a continuously evolving educational and training discipline. Collaboration among government, industry, and academia is pivotal to a thriving, broad-based nuclear security culture; this means that nuclear security culture promotion needs a multi-stakeholder approach.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit can leave a valuable legacy by addressing such issues in a nuclear security culture roadmap endorsed by participating states. Nuclear security culture is an agenda item that deserves much more attention at the upcoming summit. http://thebulletin.org/culture-security-focus-next-nuclear-security-summit8428

June 27, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Optimism for a nuclear agreement with Iran, but big hurdles remain

Big hurdles to Iran nuclear deal as deadline looms, Reuters  VIENNA | BY JOHN IRISH AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU 26 June 15 As a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues including sanctions relief and U.N. access to Iranian sites, a senior Western diplomat said on Friday.

“The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days,” the diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity in the Austrian capital, where talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran have entered their final phase.

“The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions (to Iran’s nuclear activity) and sanctions remain extremely problematic. We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences.”

 Iran and six major powers set themselves an end-June deadline for a long-term deal that would lift sanctions crippling the Iranian economy in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program that would remain in place for at least a decade. But diplomats said the talks would likely run into July……..

Officials close to the talks say they have yet to agree on the speed and scope of lifting sanctions, how Iran will reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, the future extent of Tehran’s enrichment-centrifuge research and development program, and access for U.N. inspectors to military and other sites, as well as U.N. access to Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments.

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

The real deadline is not June 30 but July 9, diplomats say.

The U.S. delegation must present the deal to Congress by July 9 if a mandatory congressional review period before President Barack Obama can begin suspending sanctions is to be limited to 30 days. After July 9, the review will last 60 days, according to a law passed recently by U.S. legislators…………..http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/26/us-iran-nuclear-talks-idUSKBN0P623G20150626

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia aiming to take over the world’s market for nuclear reactors

Russia to tighten grip on global nuclear market with standardised reactors, Global Construction Review, 17 June 2015 | By David Rogers Russia’s state nuclear corporation claims it will start mass-producing nuclear reactors to meet growing demand for nuclear power around the world.

“Something we have and nobody else does is that we have learned to replicate nuclear power plants,” said Valery Limarenko, head of Rosatom’s Atomstroyexport subsidiary, speaking during the Rosatom’s annual conference.

He said: “The serial production of nuclear power plants around the world is a difficult thing to do, but we have managed it because we are building a series of standard designs with options covering seismicity, climate and the other parameters. Our competitive ability is very high because a company that can build a series of projects, has a very strong position on the market.”………http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/russia-tighten-grip-glob8al-n4uclea0r6-4m2ar0k8et/

June 27, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Russia | Leave a comment