nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

February 21 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have built a better flow battery. Using a predictive model of molecules and their properties, University of Utah and University of Michigan chemists developed a charge-storing molecule around 1,000 times more stable than current compounds. Their results are reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. [Phys.Org]

Flow battery in operation Flow battery in operation – color represents charge

¶ Research from the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz found a strong association between the diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia among children and levels of nearby oil and natural gas development. Children living near oil and gas wells are far more likely to develop the leukemia than those that aren’t. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Researchers from the University of California Irvine studied data collected from 1991 to 2015 on glaciers found in the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Arctic. They found that, from 2005…

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump Associates Who Reportedly Facilitated Back-Channel Ukraine “Peace Plan” Include Trump Lawyer Cohen plus Russian-American Sater, Who Pled Guilty in a Mafia-Connected Racketeering Case

Mining Awareness +

Artemenko said he was put into contact with Cohen by Felix Sater, a Russian-American business associate of Trump’s who pleaded guilty in a mafia-connected racketeering case in 1998.” (RFERL, see below)

Mr. Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in New York, served as an executive at a firm called Bayrock Group, two floors below the Trump Organization in Trump Tower, and was later a senior adviser to Mr. Trumphttps://nytimes.com/2017/02/19/us/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-russia.html

Cohen lives in Trump Park Avenue, according to the NYT. He “joined the Trump Organization in 2007 as special counsel, he has worked on many deals, including a Trump-branded tower in the republic of Georgia and a short-lived mixed martial arts venture starring a Russian fighter.https://nytimes.com/2017/02/19/us/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-russia.html
Trump Tower and Trump Park Ave
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Park_Avenue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Tower
Green Acres (vs. 5th Ave “Penthouse View”): http://youtu.be/umS3XM3xAPk

From: http://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-trump-cohen-plan-russia-sanctions/28320083.html: “Trump Associates Reportedly Facilitated Back-Channel Ukraine Peace Plan

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 20 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Easy as Two Plus Two: How to Regain our Democracy” • We can get our democracy back, and improve our lives as we do. If those who disapprove of the Washington establishment we have turn down residential thermostats by 2° F and drive two miles fewer per day, it will cost those who bought this government $10 billion per year. [Green Energy Times]

Image: Wikimedia Commons Image: Wikimedia Commons

¶ “Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world” • Like many extreme events, the Oroville emergency is a combination of natural weather likely intensified by climate change. California regularly sees “atmospheric rivers” that deluge the state with rainfall, but a hotter world will make them worse, scientists say. [The Guardian]

¶ “Jobs and Prosperity Are in Clean Energy, Not Destroying the Planet” • The Republican Party is almost entirely united in their claims…

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EDF Disses Nuclear !

Nuclear Power Nuclear War Everyday JFK quote

INcredible admission from a senior Vice President of EDF that nuclear is “dying”

This is from this weeks newsletter http://www.carboncommentary.com.
Industry news

Week ending 19th February 2017

1, EDF and decentralised energy. Les Echos, the French business newspaper, carried an extraordinary article from a Senior Vice President of EdF, the largely state-owned utility that will build the nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in England. Mark Boillot contends that ‘large nuclear or thermal power plants designed to function as baseload are challlenged by the more flexible decentralized model’. He says that the centralised model of power production is dying, to be replaced by local solar and wind, supplemented by batteries and intelligent management of supply and demand. Not only will this be cheaper in the long run but customers are actually prepared to pay more for solar electricity and actively work to reduce usage at times of shortage. His conclusion is…

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Secret for “U.K. Eyes Only” on Russia Reaction to US Policy on Syria 1957; Putin’s Play-Book Similar

Mining Awareness +

Document images, below, from the British National Archives. Notice the sign off by HM Queen Elizabeth who was 31 years old (b. 1926) and had been Queen for 5 years. Now she is 90 years old.

Russian President Putin was almost 5 years old. A former KGB officer for the USSR, President Putin (b. Oct. 1952) has acted remarkably like the British predicted in 1957. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin President Putin’s grandfather was cook to Lenin and Stalin both of whom may have been poisoned to death. Due to fears of poisoning, the cook is probably the most important official. Former Sec. of State John Kerry was born in 1943, so he was 14 years old. President Obama was born in 1961. President Trump was 11 years old. Exxon CEO become US Sec of State Rex Tillerson was 5 years old. General Eisenhower was president.

19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 HM signoff
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe A p. 1
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe A p. 2
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe A p. 3
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe B  p. 1
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe B  p. 2
19 Sept. 1957 Possible Soviet reactions to United States policy on Syria UK Gov CAB 301/148 Annexe B  p. 3

The Suez Crisis, also named the Tripartite…

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EDF faces £1m a day bill to keep Flamanvile nuclear reactor offline

Prolonged closure at Flamanville plant after fire damage piles further financial pressure on state-owned energy firm

screenshot-from-2017-02-20-032017

Image source EURDEP showing small spikes and a switch of yesterday,  in the radiation monitoring in Cork Ireland (Maybe to hide radiation releases from Flamanville?). All of Irelands radiation monitoring network was switched off.

The prolonged closure of a major French atomic reactor after an explosion this month probably costs EDF at least £1m a day, according to experts.

The nuclear plant operator, which will spend £18bn building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation, shut unit 1 at its Flamanville plant after a fire broke out in the turbine hall.

The company initially estimated it would switch on the reactor within a week, but later pushed the date to the end of March. Work begins this week on replacing damaged equipment.

The unexpectedly long closure adds to the financial pressure on EDF, which last week reported a 6.7% decline in core earnings to €16.4bn (£14bn) in 2016. Closures of its French nuclear plants last year, partly for safety checks, have already cost the 85% state-owned company an estimated €1.3bn.

Prof Neil C Hyatt, head of nuclear materials chemistry at the University of Sheffield, said the lost revenue from the reactor closure in Normandy could be £1m per day.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/maps/embed/feb/2017-02-09T11:30:22.html

“Bringing a nuclear power plant back online after an unscheduled outage is a complex task and EDF will want to ensure that all parts of the system are working safely and effectively. A short delay to complete the necessary checks is to be expected, given that the outage was unplanned,” he said.

Another expert said the cost of closure could be up to £1.8m per day, depending on energy market prices, and questioned why there was a delay.

“It took operator EDF almost a week to progressively correct the original outage estimate from one day to 50 days. EDF has provided no information as to why the outage time went from a few days to seven weeks,” said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear energy consultant based in Paris.

The 1.3GW reactor at Flamanville is one of a dozen of EDF’s French nuclear fleet currently offline, which the company said was usual for this time of the year

It did not say why the restart date for the reactor had been revised four times, or why it had jumped from a few days to more than six weeks.

John Large, a nuclear consultant who has advised the UK government, said initial reports that the fire was in a ventilator suggested the offline reactor would be back online within a week or two. Replacing such parts should be relatively straightforward, he said.

He added that the plant’s continued closure would also add to headaches at the French grid operator RTE, which warned of power cuts at the start of winter due to nuclear outages. “The continuing impact on the grid is likely to be significant, especially if a cold snap develops,” Large said.

A second reactor at the plant is still supplying electricity to the French grid. EDF said: “Work on recommissioning the affected equipment has started this week and should last several weeks, with reconnection to the grid planned for the end of March.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/21/edf-faces-1m-a-day-bill-to-keep-french-nuclear-reactor-offline

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Worries over UK’s decision to quit Euro nuclear agency

The government’s plans to quit the Euratom treaty pose a fresh threat to the UK’s increasingly embattled nuclear new build programme, a new report has warned.

Last month Brexit secretary David Davis confirmed its intention to pull out of Euratom, the European nuclear research agency that predates the European Union and its predecessors. The plans were included in explanatory notes to the Brexit Bill.

The decision was criticised by Tom Greatrex, the chief exectuive of the Nuclear Industry Association, who said: “The UK nuclear industry has made it crystal clear to the government that our preferred position is to maintain membership of Euratom. The nuclear industry is global, so the ease of movement of nuclear goods, people and services enables new build, decommissioning, R&D and other programmes of work to continue without interruption.”

Now a new study by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) says the government’s plans to quit the treaty could imperil fuel supplies, jeopardising energy security as well as threatening plans to build new nuclear reactors and decommissioning activities.

The IME said the government should create a transitional framework for the nuclear industry instead and as well as create new nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs) with Euratom and non-EU trading countries ahead of leaving Euratom.

In particular, nuclear goods, services and research activities should be part of any new trade deals negotiated with the US, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment at IME and lead author of the report, said: “Without suitable transitional arrangements, the UK runs the risk of not being able to access the markets and skills that enable the construction of new nuclear power plants and existing power stations may also potentially be unable to access fuel.

“There needs to be a thorough framework in place to provide assurances on nuclear safety, nuclear proliferation and environmental issues.

Last week, the government’s nuclear new build ambitions were branded “pie in the sky” by an international energy expert who said it would not be able to afford the level of capital support required.

Reports suggested the Treasury was looking to sweeten deals for private investors by taking stakes in new nuclear power stations, worth up to 30%. But Mycle Schneider, who has advised a number of European governments on nuclear issues, said: “We are taling about very large sums of money. This is pie in the sky.”

http://www.building.co.uk/news/worries-over-uks-decision-to-quit-euro-nuclear-agency/5086323.article

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IRISH EPA FRACKING STUDY HAS MAJOR FLAWS

GEAI submission to Oireachtas Committee.

GEAI has made a major submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Climate Action and Communications on the EPA-commissioned Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction (UGEE) Joint Research Programme.  This Study had as its major research question: “Can UGEE be carried out while protecting the environment and human health?”

Conclusions do not reflect findings

We have discovered that the overall summary report did not reflect the findings of the five research reports, which more correctly should have highlighted that:

  • UGEE (fracking) operations globally have major impacts on the environment and on human health, but as human health was not included in the Terms of Reference for the study, the impact of fracking on human health was not included in the study.
  • There are several unknowns around the process of fracking globally and it is not possible to guarantee that hydraulic fracturing can be carried out without contamination of groundwater and air.
  • The hydrogeological profile of the Northwest Carboniferous Basin (mainly Leitrim and Fermanagh) is heavily faulted with deep-seated aquifers and shallow shales, which makes it unsuitable for fracking.

Summary Submission

Full Submission

EPA FRACKING STUDY HAS MAJOR FLAWS

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

All at Sea – Sellafield’s discharges sink international efforts to reduce them.

19th February 2017

Sellafield’s ongoing failure to meet its obligations to an international Strategy is the subject of a CORE critique submitted to  OSPAR’s recent Radioactive Substances Committee meeting. CORE’s investigation has revealed that the UK and Sellafield have repeatedly failed to comply with the principal objectives of the Strategy – the ‘progressive’ and ‘substantial’ reduction of discharges from Sellafield’s B205 (magnox) and THORP (oxide) reprocessing facilities.

Along with other European governments, the UK signed up in 1998 to the Strategy designed by the OSPAR (Oslo/Paris) Commission to protect and conserve the North East Atlantic maritime region. Sellafield’s failure to date to meet the discharge reduction objectives has significantly threatened the Strategy’s ultimate aim of ensuring that, by 2020,  levels of radioactive substances in the sea are ‘close to zero’ above historic levels.

CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood said today:
‘Sellafield’s failure, aided and abetted by successive UK Governments, makes a mockery of the corporate claim that environmental stewardship is a core value of the company, and we await a response to our findings from the UK Government’s Head of Delegation to OSPAR’s committee meeting last week. We have also warned OSPAR that, for its Strategy to retain any shred of credibility, it needs to get a grip on those who fail to comply and, contrary to claims in its most recent report, acknowledge the routine breaches by the UK and Sellafield’.

OSPAR’s most recent report the Fourth Periodic Evaluation was published by its Radioactive Substances Committee in October last year. Assessing Sellafield’s discharges between the period 2007- 2013  and comparing them with those from 1995 onwards, the report concluded that no assessments of contracting parties showed any evidence of any increase in discharges.

That claim is roundly debunked by CORE whose investigation has found that, as a Contracting Party, the UK has overseen multiple increases of discharges from Sellafield over the years, including the 2007-2013 period covered by the recent OSPAR publication. The main findings of CORE’s report are that:

• Sellafield’s reprocessing discharges, driven largely by commercial interests, have routinely breached the principal discharge reduction objectives of the Strategy and will continue to do so until the end of reprocessing around 2020. 
• OSPAR has failed to censure the UK – as a contracting party – for non-compliance with and lack of commitment to the Strategy.

discharge-768x265

The graphic shows that, contrary to the ‘progressive’ discharge reduction required by the Strategy, Sellafield’s reprocessing throughput (tonnes of spent fuel/year) has fluctuated widely in ‘yo-yo’ fashion since 1995 – with correlated fluctuations in discharge. As has been pointed out to OSPAR, the only ‘substantial’ reduction (2004/05) shown in the graphic resulted from the major accident that closed THORP for almost three years and that, since that event and for the 2007-2013 period of OSPAR’s Fourth Periodic Evaluation, discharges are again on the rise to further compromise the prospect of meeting the 2020 ‘close to zero’ target.

The risk of missing that target was recognised a decade ago by Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) when both were advocating that the then predicted end of reprocessing around 2012 would allow a number of years – a clear breathing space – for the radioactive substance levels to reduce/decay to close to zero by 2020.

But as a result of poor plant performance, the subsequent extensions of reprocessing and its discharges – THORP to 2018/19 and B205 to 2020 – has removed any remaining breathing space. Such an outcome was recognised by the NDA in 2010 with the suggestion to ‘move to a contingency plan – i.e. agree not to meet OSPAR deadline (emphasis added) or put in place a different strategy’. The suggestion epitomises the apparent disdain of officialdom towards the Strategy.

http://corecumbria.co.uk/news/all-at-sea-sellafields-discharges-sink-international-efforts-to-reduce-them/

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EDF France, the writings on the wall for energy!

Week ending 19th February 2017

EDF and decentralised energy. Les Echos, the French business newspaper, carried an extraordinary article from a Senior Vice President of EdF, the largely state-owned utility that will build the nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in England. Mark Boillot contends that ‘large nuclear or thermal power plants designed to function as baseload are challlenged by the more flexible decentralized model’.

He says that the centralised model of power production is dying, to be replaced by local solar and wind, supplemented by batteries and intelligent management of supply and demand. Not only will this be cheaper in the long run but customers are actually prepared to pay more for solar electricity and actively work to reduce usage at times of shortage.

His conclusion is that ‘the traditional model must adapt to the new realities, thus allowing the utilities to emerge from …hypercentralized structures in a world that is becoming more and more decentralized’.

In most jurisdictions Mr Boillot would have been asked to clear his desk. What will EdF do about one of its most senior people openly forecasting the end of the large power station as it tries to raise the ten billion Euros necessary to pay for its share of Hinkley?

http://us9.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a336c39e55a6260d59adbffb0&id=6945e1e273&e=59b188af48

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

N Korea Sanctions not diplomacy?

During the meeting, Yun also expressed Seoul’s skepticism about opening any dialogue over North Korea’s demand to sign a peace treaty, the sources said. Pursuing talks with North Korea simultaneously on denuclearization and a peace treaty would give the regime an excuse to delay its denuclearization, Yun was also quoted as telling Tillerson

Foreign minister Yun dissuades Tillerson from reward-for-nuclear freeze deal with N. Korea: sources

2017/02/21 12:24

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) — Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se has voiced South Korea’s reservations about any U.S. agreement with North Korea that would reward Pyongyang for a nuclear freeze, sources said Tuesday, referring to the policymaker’s recent talks with American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Instead, any deal with Pyongyang should aim to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” manner, the sources quoted Yun as telling Tillerson during their talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday,

It was Yun’s first meeting with the U.S.’ top diplomat under the Donald Trump administration, which came after North Korea’s launch of an intermediate ballistic missile on Feb. 12. The provocation highlighted North Korea’s nuclear issue as one of the most pressing security challenges facing the new U.S. administration.

The sources said that the South Korean foreign minister stressed that a mere freeze on North Korea’s nuclear program would be meaningless mainly because the country is believed to be already in possession of dozens of nuclear weapons and a freeze of North Korea’s highly-enriched uranium program may be hardly verifiable.

“The (South Korean) government regards it as meaningless to pursue a freeze deal when North Korea shows no intention to give up its nuclear weapons program although freezing its nuclear facilities would be part of the inevitable process before the complete, verifiable and irreversible (nuclear) dismantlement,” the sources told Yonhap News Agency.

During the meeting, Yun also expressed Seoul’s skepticism about opening any dialogue over North Korea’s demand to sign a peace treaty, the sources said. Pursuing talks with North Korea simultaneously on denuclearization and a peace treaty would give the regime an excuse to delay its denuclearization, Yun was also quoted as telling Tillerson.

The foreign minister then underlined the importance of maintaining the on-going pressure-oriented diplomacy toward North Korea, suggesting broader sanctions on North Korea and Chinese firms doing business with the North. He also called for continuing pressure on North Korea’s human rights violations as a desirable policy approach toward the reclusive country, according to the sources.

Yun’s policy stances are likely to be put to discussion when the South Korean and U.S. representatives on the North Korean nuclear issue hold a meeting in Washington possibly before the end of this month.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/02/21/0301000000AEN20170221006700315.html

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toshiba shares fell from around 250 yen apiece to 186 yen by the end of Monday

February 21, 2017 12:00 pm JST

……..The 21st century has brought new challenges. Toshiba logged a net loss of 254 billion yen after the information technology bubble burst. The financial crisis put the manufacturer 398.8 billion yen in the red, and the accounting scandal gave rise to a 460 billion yen loss. Each time, the company managed a recovery by selling off operations such as liquid crystal display panels, medical equipment and dynamic random-access memory chips, known as DRAM.

Now, amid the fourth crisis of this century, onlookers seem less willing to cut Toshiba slack. The earnings delay and plunge into negative net worth have sparked overwhelming selling of Toshiba stock, with the shares falling from around 250 yen apiece to 186 yen by the end of Monday. If the company ends the fiscal year with net worth below zero, it will drop from the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section to its second section.

“Are corporate governance measures actually functioning?” Kazutoshi Inano, chairman of the Japan Securities Dealers Association, asked Wednesday. Sources at the TSE called the reporting delay “routine.”

Toshiba sees the need to relinquish control of memory operations to escape the latest pinch, and will begin anew negotiating the sale.

“Don’t be discouraged — keep doing your best,” Tsunakawa told employees in a broadcast on the evening of the 14th. “We’ll do all that we can.”…….

(Nikkei)

http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/After-repeated-crises-battered-Toshiba-seeks-another-chance?page=2

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Coming 6th Anniversary of the beginning of the still ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe

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Our Rainbow Warriors Facebook group started in 2011 as an FB group about the Fukushima catastrophe, its old name was the “Fukushima 311 Watchdogs”. In June 2012, after an exhausting first year the Fukushima 311 Watchdogsgroup  was dissolved, and one month later was reborn as the Rainbow Warriors, with a broader scope of interests, environment protection, climate change etc.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/277245265712386/
However the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe still remains one of our our major concerns.
The Fukushima 311 Watchdogs has survived as a community FB page:
Fukushima 311 Watchdogs https://www.facebook.com/fukushima311watchdog/
and as a blog: Fukushima 311 Watchdogs https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/

This coming March 11th will be the 6th Anniversary of the beginning of the still ongoing nuclear catastrophe. Many people have disappeared along the way since March 2011, however among those who were with us right from the beginning, the Fukushima Watchers, the Fukushima Watchdogs, some haven’t yet forgotten  and are still here with us.

3.11.2017 FUKUSHIMA SIXTH ANNIVERSARY ONGOING DISASTER.
TAKE ACTION: #FUKU+6 Anniversary is happening 3.11.17 … six years since the #Fukushima nuclear meltdown and ongoing poisoning of our oceans began … our air land food water have been contaminated. #Fukushima continues to spew radioisotopes into the Pacific Ocean threatening vital marine life, ecosystems and the food chain. Japan continues to burn radioactive debris and dump it into the Pacific spreading poison into the atmosphere. Join the FUKU+6 actions and events fb page taking place worldwide. Act in solidarity, please click on this image, download it, and make it your cover pic, and help spread the word. https://www.facebook.com/groups/3.11fukushimasixthanniversaryactions/601393323403623/?ref=notif&notif_t=like&notif_id=1487640969842420

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

FOCUS: Failed Survey Complicates N-Fuel Removal at Fukushima Plant

It looks like its too radioactive for robots to survive. I wonder how they will do this work now?

article-10019-hero.jpg

Tokyo, Feb. 20 (Jiji Press)–A failed robot survey of melted nuclear fuel that has dropped through the bottom of a damaged reactor pressure chamber at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant complicates the formulation of a policy in the summer for taking out the fuel debris.
The removal of the molten nuclear fuel is regarded as the most demanding challenge in the decommissioning of the disaster-stricken plant’s reactors, said to take 30 to 40 years.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Co. <9501>, the manager of the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, is discussing the drawing up of a broad policy outline before conducting an additional survey to work out a detailed plan for the nuclear fuel removal, company officials said.
TEPCO’s initial plan called for a self-propelled survey robot, dubbed scorpion, to enter the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel and travel on a 7.2-meter rail to reach a metal grating directly beneath the reactor’s damaged pressure chamber. The robot would have surveyed the extent of damage to the chamber, while locating melted nuclear fuel that is believed to have dropped through the metal grating to the bottom of the containment vessel and shooting the fuel’s images.
The No. 2 reactor is one of the three units that suffered meltdown due to the failure of their cooling systems caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017022000007

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels at Fukushima reactor puzzle nuclear experts

It is unclear why there is less radioactivity under the reactor vessel, when it is where there should be the most.

21 feb 2017.jpg

A robot was expected to solidify ways to clean up the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but its short-lived mission raised puzzling questions that could derail existing decommissioning plans.

The robot, Sasori, was abandoned in the melted-down reactor after it became stuck in deposits and other debris that are believed to have interfered with its drive system.

But it did take radiation measurements that indicate Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, was too optimistic about the state and location of the melted fuel within the reactor. The melted fuel, in fact, may be spread out all over the reactor’s containment vessel.

Scientists had believed the melted nuclear fuel fell through the reactor’s pressure vessel and landed on metal grating and the floor of the containment vessel.

The results of Sasori’s investigation, coupled with previous data taken from possible images of the melted fuel, show the situation within the reactor is much worse than expected. And a fresh investigation into the reactor is now nowhere in sight.

A remote-controlled video camera inserted into the reactor on Jan. 30 took what are believed to be the first images of melted fuel at the plant, which suffered a triple meltdown after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Based on the images, TEPCO estimated 530 sieverts per hour at a point almost halfway between the metal grating directly beneath the pressure vessel and the wall of the containment vessel. Black lumps on the grating are believed to be melted fuel.

A different robot sent in on Feb. 9 to take pictures and prepare for Sasori’s mission estimated 650 sieverts per hour near the same spot.

Both 530 and 650 sieverts per hour can kill a person within a minute.

Sasori, equipped with a dosimeter and two cameras, on Feb. 16 recorded a reading of 210 sieverts per hour near the same location, the highest figure measured with instruments in the aftermath of the disaster.

Sasori was supposed to travel along a rail connecting the outer wall of the containment vessel with the metal grating to measure radiation doses and shoot pictures inside, essential parts of work toward decommissioning the reactor.

After traveling only 2 meters, the robot became stuck before it could reach the metal grating.

TEPCO at a news conference repeatedly said that Sasori’s investigation was not a “failure” but had produced “meaningful” results.

However, an official close to TEPCO said, “I had great expectations for Sasori, so I was shocked by how it turned out.”

Hiroaki Abe, professor of nuclear materials at the University of Tokyo who has studied TEPCO’s footage, tried to explain why high doses were estimated between the pressure vessel and the containment vessel.

Instead of directly landing on the rail, the melted nuclear fuel may have flown off after it reacted violently with the concrete, which had a high moisture content, at the bottom of the containment vessel, just like what happens when lava pours into the sea,” Abe said.

But he said this scenario raises a puzzling question, considering the estimated radiation readings near the area below the pressure vessel were down to 20 sieverts per hour, according to an analysis of the video footage.

If nuclear fuel debris had splattered around, the radiation levels at the central area below the pressure vessel must be extremely high,” he said. “In addition, deposits on the rail would have taken the shape of small pieces if they were, in fact, flying nuclear fuel debris. The findings are puzzling.”

Images by the remote-controlled camera also showed that equipment in the lower part of the pressure vessel was relatively well preserved, indicating that the hole at the bottom of the vessel is not very large.

How to remove nuclear fuel debris will all depend on how much remains inside the pressure vessel and how much fell out,” Abe said.

Toru Obara, professor of nuclear engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, stressed the need to retrieve substances from the bottom of the robots or elsewhere.

We could get clues as to the state of the melted nuclear fuel and the development of a meltdown if we could figure out which materials mixed with the nuclear fuel,” he said.

The surveys by the camera and robots were conducted from a makeshift center at the No. 2 reactor. The center’s walls are made from radiation-blocking metal.

TEPCO and the government plan to determine a method to remove nuclear fuel debris in fiscal 2018 before they proceed with the actual retrieval process at one of the three destroyed reactors.

One possible method involves filling the containment vessels with water to prevent radioactive substances from escaping.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702190042.html

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February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment