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Elon Musk’s Space Tesla Will Be Destroyed by Radiation

The Drive, BY KYLE CHEROMCHAFEBRUARY 7, 2018    Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Tesla Roadster. Its billion-year mission: To circle the sun, to hopefully not crash into Mars, to boldly go where no car has gone before.

That is, unless the cosmic radiation eats it first.

Elon Musk’s old Roadster became the first car in history to be blasted into space on Tuesday, riding the successful test launch of the Falcon Heavy mega rocket to an orbital path that’s projected to send it out to Mars—or maybe even further. In a tweet, Musk reported that the “third burn” procedure to push the Roadster out of Earth’s orbit worked a little too well, with the trajectory now slated to reach the edge of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. (Someone didn’t listen to C-3PO.)

But as Live Science reported, big space rocks aren’t really the most significant threat to the spacefaring sports car. No, that would be good ol’ radiation, which has the potential to mostly disintegrate the Tesla Roadster within a year or two, according to William Carroll, an Indiana University chemist and molecular expert. Without the protection afforded by the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, the Roadster will be bombarded by radiation that will eventually tear apart anything not made of metal on the car.

“All of the organics will be subjected to degradation by the various kinds of radiation that you will run into there,” Carroll said, noting that the term “organics” in this case includes not only fabric and leather but all plastic components as well as the car’s carbon fiber body. “Those organics, in that environment, I wouldn’t give them a year.”…….


February 9, 2018 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

 Utility Sues Nuclear Energy Institute For Extortion

We aren’t lawyers, but extortion sounds like a serious charge. NextEra Energy, parent of Florida Power and Light and owner of several nuclear power stations around the country recently launched a lawsuit against the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the nuclear industry’s trade group.

NextEra, which is also a major player in the renewable energy business, withdrew from NEI after that group backed the Trump Energy Department’s ill-fated proposed rulemaking. This measure was designed to prop up less-than-economically-viable nuclear and coal-fired power generating stations disguised as a reliability booster for the nation’s power network. However, the proposed rule did not even pass muster with the President’s own Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Nevertheless NextEra was not happy about the NEI’s stance, accusing the organization of trying to instill a false panic about reliability.

Disputes within trade organizations are not unusual, although the organization usually manages to keep them in house. Outright member withdrawals though occur less frequently. There are real downsides to withdrawing from a trade group like NEI.

NextEra as a major nuclear plant operator depends on a data base maintained by the NEI on existing and prospective nuclear workers. Like many nuclear facilities operators, NextEra hires outsider contractors and consultants to aid in refueling its nuclear power stations. And it cannot do so without a thorough personnel evaluation–which NEI’s data base conveniently provides.

According to the lawsuit, NEI denied NextEra access to its nuclear personnel data base without an $860,000 payment. NextEra claimed this was like being forced to pay for membership yet again. That’s where the charge of extortion comes in.

Let’s assume the name calling is the work of over-excited corporate litigators. It’s in both parties interest to allow NextEra access to the data they need to hire qualified workers. But there’s another, bigger issue here.

What does this say about nuclear policy issues and splits within the industry? Do we have two warring industry groups: regulated nuclear power generators, who are plugging along just fine, economically versus nuclear power generators experiencing difficult conditions in competitive power markets. The latter group look desperate for any lifeline. This is often the fate of high cost producers in a commodities market. (Not to be unsympathetic, but these firms willingly chose to enter competitive wholesale electricity markets. Nobody forced them.)

Under its previous leadership the NEI carefully parsed its arguments and lauded the improvements in nuclear operations for example. Attempting always to look and sound like a voice of industry reason (not always an easy task for an organization in an often controversial industry). And even attempting to paper over intramural differences so to speak.

Jumping into the polar vortex/reliability fracas and taking the easy political “bait” may have affected the credibility of the organization. But it also ends up discrediting the nuclear power endeavor by presenting such a weak or bogus rationale for keeping aging nuclear plants running. The nuclear industry still provides one fifth of our nation’s electricity. It needs to get its act together.


February 9, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Clean-up to start on tons of liquid radioactive trash from all 4 of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactors

Bellona 7th Feb 2018, In a major step toward cleaning up the world’s worst nuclear disaster,
workers at Chernobyl have begun moving much of the stricken facility’s
liquid nuclear waste into long term storage.
The commissioning of Chernobyl’s liquid radioactive treatment plant is meant to tackle the
22,000 tons of irradiated water gathered not only since the plant’s
number 4 reactor exploded in 1986, but from continued operation of the
plant’s other three reactors, which continued producing electricity for
14 years after the disaster.
Surprisingly, these reactors were not decommissioned until 2000, nine years after the collapse of the Soviet
Union, when the Chernobyl plant became the newly-independent Ukraine’s
inheritance from Moscow. That the rest of the plant’s reactors continued
to operate in the middle of a irradiated disaster zone serves shows how
heavily Ukraine has depended on nuclear power since it struck out on its
own. That dependence – despite atomic energy’s domestic unpopularity
– hasn’t dropped with time: Kiev still relies on its other 15 reactors
to produce a little over half the country’s electricity.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Questioning France’s National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (Andra)

Le Monde 7th Feb 2018, [Machine Translation] Bure landfill: the impossible scientific proof of
safety. “The World” had access to the thesis of a researcher who studied
the management of uncertainties surrounding the storage of nuclear waste in
the Meuse.

It is an embarrassing document for the promoters of the
Industrial Center of geological storage (Cigeo) aiming to bury, in the clay
subsoil of the village of Bure, in the Meuse, the most dangerous French
nuclear waste.

It describes how the National Agency for the Management of
Radioactive Waste (Andra), unable to formally demonstrate the safety of
this facility for hundreds of thousands of years, dedicates its efforts to
convince the nuclear control authorities of the feasibility of such
storage. At a loss to present some of his results in a biased or incomplete
way. Beyond this public institution, under the tutelage of the ministries
in charge of energy, research and the environment, it is also the chain of
evaluation of nuclear safety in France that is questioned.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

What’s next for the West Lake Landfill

St Louis Public Radio,  • FEB 6, 2018The Environmental Protection Agency has released the full details of its proposal to remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill. The agency will make a final decision after a public comment period.

 The EPA will take feedback from individuals, environmental groups and companies responsible for the Superfund site until March 22. A public meeting will be held March 6 at the District 9 Machinists Hall in Bridgeton.

Last week, the agency announced plans to remove 70 percent of the radioactivity at the landfill, in northwest St. Louis County. The site sits about 600 feet from an underground smoking fire at the Bridgeton Landfill.

Residents have tried to convince the EPA to clean up the site for years, and to many, the agency’s decision is a victory. But activists and some people who live near the site worry that removing only some of the waste may not be enough……

February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

San Onofre nuclear waste moved closer to beach

CBS 8  Feb 08, 2018 By David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer SAN ONOFRE, Calif. (NEWS 8) — Millions of pounds of nuclear waste is being moved closer to the ocean at the closed-down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

News 8 recorded video at San Onofre State Beach on the morning of January 31, the first day workers started moving canisters full of spent fuel rods to dry storage at the nuclear power plant.

We were met by armed security guards on the public beach.

“You guys are at your own risk being in this area.  It’s your own risk, radiation risk,” one unidentified guard warned.

From the fence line, the video shows a huge crane used to transport stainless steel canisters filled with highly-radioactive waste.

The dry storage area is about 100 feet from the beach.

“What you’re looking at are 73 silos that are going to hold very large cans filled with very heavy nuclear waste,” explained Charles Langley, the executive director of Public Watchdogs.

The group opposes the waste move near the beach.

Once stored in pools of cold water inside the plant, the hot fuel rods will now be kept outside in silos protected by a cement bunker.

“If you look at this, you can see that it’s 108 feet from the water.  The one thing you don’t do is put nuclear waste close to the water,” said Langley.

The canisters are welded shut before the move.  It will take more than a year to slowly relocate all of them – one by one – into the silos.

Opponents worry the canisters will eventually corrode and crack in the salt air.  And, if water gets inside, they say, a meltdown could result.

“These cans are literally a few feet above the salt water table.  They’re made of steel.  It’s good quality stainless steel but it’s only about the diameter of dime,” Langley said.

A 28 foot high sea wall protects the San Onofre facility from tidal wave action.

But what about an earthquake or a tsunami?

Scientists say they’ve studied the risks and there’s nothing to worry about……..


February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Research into effects of uranium waste exposure on Native Americans

Albuquerque Journal 5th Feb 2018, Researchers hope to measure the effects of mixed metals and uranium waste
exposure on Native American populations living in close proximity to
abandoned mines, and better understand how these toxins spread through the

That’s the objective of the newly created Superfund Research
Center at the University of New Mexico, which is funded by $1.2 million a
year for five years from the National Institute of Environmental Health

There are more than 4,000 abandoned uranium mines — some 500 on
the Navajo Nation alone — and some 160,000 abandoned hard rock mines
scattered throughout the West, and some 600,000 Native Americans who live
within about six miles of those sites, said center director Johnnye Lynn
Lewis, a research professor in the UNM College of Pharmacy.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | environment, health, indigenous issues, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

UK government funds £7.5 million National College for Nuclear

Carlisle News and Star 7th Feb 2018, The £7.5 million National College for Nuclear is due to be officially
opened today. The college, at Lillyhall, near Workington, will train
thousands of technicians and engineers to support Britain’s future
nuclear programmes, create cleaner energy and provide a highly skilled

The National College for Nuclear will have hubs in Cumbria and
Somerset and facilities which include virtual, simulated laboratories. It
is one of five national colleges being established by government as part of
its Industrial Strategy.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | culture and arts, politics, UK | Leave a comment

2,200 Massive steel containers produced – to house Sellafield’s piles of radioactive trash

Whitehaven News 6th Feb 2018, Hazadous nuclear waste will be taken out of Cumbria’s Sellafield plant in
massive stainless steel containers which have just come off the production line.

The highly-engineered 1.3 tonne boxes are playing a major part in the decommissioning of the West Cumbrian plant as the waste is moved into safe
storage for centuries to come. Darchem Engineering, of Stockton on Tees, and Metalcraft in Cambridgeshire have finished manufacturing the first
batch of containers.

A total of 2,200 of the boxes will be needed to hold  legacy waste from one of the world’s oldest nuclear stores,
Sellafield’s Pile Fuel Cladding Silo. Sellafield bosses have described it as the most significant step yet towards getting the waste out of the
facility next year.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Chairman of USA nuclear weapons oversight agency steps down amid internal turmoil

Chairman of nuclear weapons oversight agency steps down amid internal turmoil, By Patrick Malone, Center for Public Integrity Feb. 8, 2018 

February 9, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

United Arab Emirates moves on in plan to develop nuclear power

Nuclear authority board approves 2018 operational plan

February 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Desperate to save its failing nuclear business, Toshiba looks to Ukraine

Toshiba seeks deal in Ukraine to revive nuclear power business, Asahi Shimbun, By TOSHIO KAWADA/ Staff Writer, February 8, 2018  Toshiba Corp. is planning another foray into an overseas nuclear-power industry, forced in part by the disastrous consequences of its previous failure abroad, sources said.

The Tokyo-based company has started negotiations with Energoatom, a Ukrainian state-run power company, to supply turbine generators for use in its nuclear power plants. The two companies concluded a memorandum in October 2017.

Toshiba in March 2017 said it was withdrawing from the business of designing and constructing entire nuclear power plants overseas following the collapse of its U.S. nuclear arm, Westinghouse Electric Co.

However, Toshiba judged that it would not suffer such a huge deficit again if it only supplies equipment to nuclear power plants abroad, the sources said.

“There will be little concern that we will suffer a huge loss (from an overseas deal),” a source related to Toshiba said.

Energoatom operates 15 nuclear reactors and is building two others in Ukraine. It plans to replace the generators of old reactors to increase output.

Toshiba wants to win a deal with Energoatom to export the replacement generators and provide maintenance services after they go into operation.

If Toshiba succeeds in the equipment supply business in Ukraine, it will consider looking at other markets abroad, the sources said.

Toshiba is desperate for a steady source of income…….

Toshiba plans to earn steady profits from its nuclear business, believing competition with other companies will not be so fierce, the sources said.

But if this endeavor fails to pan out, Toshiba’s management situation could worsen.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A new arms race – for the Middle East? Saudi Arabia’s nuclear power plan is not economic

How a Saudi nuclear reactor could accelerate an arms race. kingdom’s nuclear ambitions make little economic sense, 8 Feb 18 

IN THE desert 220km (137 miles) from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a South Korean firm is close to finishing the Arab world’s first operational nuclear-power reactor. The project started ten years ago in Washington, where the Emiratis negotiated a “123 agreement”. Such deals, named after a clause in America’s export-control laws, impose tough safeguards in return for American nuclear technology. When the UAE signed one in 2009, it also pledged not to enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel into plutonium. Both can be used to make nuclear weapons. Arms-control wonks called it the gold standard of 123 deals.

Saudi Arabia only wants bronze. The kingdom has its own ambitious nuclear plans: 16 reactors, at a cost of up to $80bn. But, unlike the UAE, it wants to do its own enrichment. Iran, its regional rival, is already a step ahead. The most controversial provision of the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015 allows it to enrich uranium. Iran did agree to mothball most of the centrifuges used for enrichment, and to process the stuff only to a level far below what is required for a bomb. Still, it kept the technology. The Saudis want to have it, too.

Lawmakers in Washington are worried. Granting the Saudis such a deal could prompt other countries, such as the UAE, to ask for similar terms. It may undermine global efforts at non-proliferation. Indeed, critics of the Iran deal fear that a Saudi enrichment programme would compromise their effort to impose tighter restrictions on Iran. But Donald Trump, America’s president, is less concerned. He has close ties with the Saudis. He has also pledged to revitalise America’s ailing nuclear industry. Among the five firms bidding for the Saudi project is Westinghouse, an American company that filed for bankruptcy last year. It would not be able to join the project without a 123 agreement.

Even some critics of the proposed deal concede that it may be the least bad option, because it would give America influence over the Saudi programme. The kingdom has other suitors. One is Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear-power company, which is pursuing a frenetic sort of nuclear diplomacy in the Middle East. In December it signed a $21.3bn contract to build Egypt’s first power reactor. Jordan inked a $10bn deal with the Russians in 2015. Despite their differences, particularly over Syria, the Saudis are keen to have closer ties with the region’s resurgent power. King Salman spent four days in Moscow in October, the first such visit by a Saudi ruler.

Yet nuclear energy does not make much economic sense for the kingdom. Saudi Arabia burns 465,000 barrels of oil per day for electricity, forgoing $11bn in annual revenue. But the last nuclear reactors will not go online until the 2030s. They will generate less than one-sixth of the 120 gigawatts needed during periods of peak demand. In a country with vast deserts, it would make more sense to use gas and invest in solar energy. Today the kingdom generates almost none: its largest solar farm, at the headquarters of the state oil company, powers an office building.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Russia postponing new nuclear reactors because of costs

Nucnet 5th Feb 2018,  Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom is ready to postpone
the commissioning of two nuclear power units for two years in an effort to
slow down increases in energy prices, the state-owned Tass news agency
In a report which Rosatom also published on its own website, Tass
said commissioning of Novovoronezh 2-2, planned for January 2019, would be
postponed by a year, and commissioning of Leningrad 2-2, planned for
February 2020, by two years.
Tass said the decision was taken because under
a government-regulated fixed power supply agreement with wholesale
consumers, any return on nuclear investment must be at least 10.5%, which
would mean electricity prices for the consumers would increase to meet the
Fixed power supply agreements have been in place in Russia since
2008 to guarantee returns on investment in generating capacity. The final
wholesale prices are usually higher than the prevailing market price to
compensate costs incurred by the investor during construction. The
agreements include government-regulated price levels for various types of
consumer, dependent on their maximum consumption. Neither Tass nor Rosatom
gave details, although Tass said postponing commissioning of the units will
lead to a reduction in the rate of electricity price growth in 2019 from
12.9% to 11.1%.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

The Trump administration’s planned nuclear upgrade is being undermined by cost overruns.

Tennessean 5th Feb 2018,

Amarillo-area nuclear weapons plant affected by cost overruns for federal
program. Millions of dollars in promised savings at the Pantex Plant in the
Panhandle and another nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee haven’t
appeared. But the federal government has still awarded a contractor extra

February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment