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Quiet diplomacy brought South and North Korean athletes together for the Winter Olympics

The Quiet Diplomacy to Save the Olympics in a Nuclear Standoff, NYT. 


February 10, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Progress in getting compensation for sick Hanford nuclear workers and ex-workers

Hanford atomic workers get state legislative boost for workers’ comp   February 9, 2018 CST  BY MARK GRUENBERG  HANFORD, Wash.—This is a good-news story. It involves a persistent union legislative director, a favorable election outcome, and bipartisan and cross-chamber cooperation in the Washington State legislature.

And the beneficiaries are and will be hundreds, if not thousands, of workers exposed to some of the most dangerous materials known to humans.

The workers are present workers and retirees, at the Department of Energy’s nuclear complex in Hanford, Wash. And as a result of all those factors, they’ll be more eligible for workers’ comp.

The story starts in 1942-43, says Nick Bumpaous of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598, located near the complex. That’s when the U.S. War Department took over the Hanford area to build the factory complex to make nuclear warheads for U.S. bombs. Hanford, like the whole Manhattan Project for developing atomic weapons, was top secret.

The feds, to their credit, realized Hanford’s workers would be in constant daily contact with uranium, plutonium and other highly radioactive materials. Who knew what would happen to them in later years due to those exposures?

“In the 1940s, the War Department got into a contract with the state legislature to have workers use Washington’s industrial insurance for workers’ comp claims if they got ill from handling the radioactive material,” Bumpaous said in a phone interview. “The feds would reimburse the state for any claims.”

The catch was when sickened workers went to their doctors, the doctors “couldn’t tell what the illnesses were” – because Hanford was secret – “so they couldn’t give you medication,” much less OK workers’ comp claims.

Common diseases among the Hanford workers include various cancers, according to a fact sheet for a later federal workers comp program for federal nuclear workers nationwide. The Steelworkers, who now represent many of those nuke workers, lobbied for and won the federal program. It began in 2001, with a second part added in 2004. But it caps lifetime benefits at $250,000, plus medical expenses.

“But you still put the burden of proof” upon the worker to show his or her toil at Hanford and exposure to the fissile materials there caused those ills, not to mention exposure to other threats, Bumpaous says.

One example: Exposure to diethyl mercury, “a silent odorless, colorless, tasteless stuff that induces neurological diseases and dementia.” In addition, “you have a whole generation of people with reactive airway disease,” he adds.

The doctors couldn’t diagnose the reasons for Hanford ills. The workers became so ill they couldn’t work and had to leave their jobs, “so they’re not getting a paycheck and they had no health insurance.” They had to navigate the bureaucracy “and their claims were denied,” Bumpaous explains. Workers’ comp denials at Hanford were 52 percent above average.

“It’s hard enough to take care of yourself when you’re battling the Department of Energy,” which now runs Hanford “and the state Department of Labor and Industry,” which runs workers’ comp, Bumpaous says.

With the burden of proof on the workers, Bumpaous got into the picture. Two years ago, he read about legislation the Fire Fighters successfully pushed elsewhere, shifting the burden of proof for certain diseases – known to be caused by Fire Fighter exposure to asbestos and other dangers on the job – from the worker to the state.

In short, if a Fire Fighter goes to the doctor with asbestosis, the doctor must presume the worker caught it from on-the-job exposure and is eligible for workers’ comp. Bumpaous wanted to create the same scenario for the Hanford workers. Workers and retirees still must go to the doctors, though.

“These brave workers continue to be exposed to some of the most hazardous substances known to man, including many chemical and radiological hazards as yet unidentified, and the safety measures intended to protect them are inadequate,” wrote David Groves in The Stand, the Washington State Labor Council’s online newspaper, which first reported the legislation.

But the Hanford workers couldn’t get workers comp because they had to “connect specific exposures to their disease — a virtually impossible task given the” top secret “circumstances at Hanford.”

Bumpaous enlisted two lawmakers to push the measure shifting the burden of proof from the workers to the state: State Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, and State Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, a longtime pro-worker advocate, who is now state Senate President Pro Tem and chair of the state Senate’s Labor Committee. Haler’s district includes Hanford.

And that’s where the political switch comes in. When Bumpaous, Haler and Keiser first tried to get their bill, HB1723, through, it passed the House, then died in the Senate, which the GOP controlled by one vote. Republican leaders wouldn’t even let it get out of committee.

But earlier this year, Manka Dhingra, a Democratic pro-worker woman with strong union backing, won a special election for an open State Senate seat. Control switched, Keiser took over – and the legislation for the Hanford workers sailed through: 76-22 in the House and 35-14 in the Senate.

“It’s important we take care of workers who suffered due to being exposed to harmful chemicals and processes at Hanford,” Haler said. “Despite all the safety precautions, families and individuals have been devastated by illness and disease. They need help. This will help make that easier,” Haler said after HB1723 headed for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk.

“Exposure to heavy metal and radiation has ruined people’s lives,” Keiser told the Senate before passage.

“I cannot think of a more suitable assertion for this Senate to make than putting our partisan differences aside to put people first. We are seeing people dying from dementia, cancer and lung disease who were systematically left out of workers compensation.”

“People went bankrupt paying for cancer treatments. This ordeal has been going on since the 1990s. We have seen a whole generation impacted by this tragedy. That is not right. Our Washington community cares about protecting all workers.”

Inslee is expected to sign the bill. But that’s not the end of the story for Bumpaous. “I want to see everyone get these benefits” nationwide if they worked in nuclear weapons and warhead production, he says. “That way we won’t have this type of stuff in the future.”


February 10, 2018 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear macho men spin propaganda to Indian kids

I had a bit of  a laugh, reading this one.

Russia is using the same pathetic old comics and jolly stories that Western nuclear companies have now given up on.

And once again – it’s the macho nuclear men that are doing the nuclear spinning to kids. (The West now uses sophisticated young women as much as they can, with more subtle propaganda)


Nuclear ABC: Rosatom Explains Nuclear Science to Indian School Children,

 As part of the celebrations marking 30 years of Indo-Russia cooperation in nuclear energy, a Festival of Science was organized in the Indian capital New Delhi. The festival was sponsored by the Russian State Energy Corporation Rosatom which also came up with a children’s book on nuclear science.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — During the festival that was held from 6 to 9 February, experts gave presentations and held interactive sessions with children and teachers from different schools in Delhi. The occasion was designed to nurture the interest of children towards nuclear physics, Rosatom officials told Sputnik.

Nuclear experts and scientists of Rosatom also visited some schools in Delhi and conducted awareness sessions for children on the peaceful use of the atomic energy. Rosatom also released a book titled ‘Nuclear ABC’ in English and Hindi to help in the awareness drive. The book was jointly released on Thursday by Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev, Professor Emeritus of Jawaharlal University R Rajaraman, Fedor Rozovskiy, Director of Russian Center along with officials of Rosatom at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, New Delhi. The book launch was attended by hundreds of school children.

“The book is yet another instance of the rich history of Indo-Russian scientific cooperation dating back to the Soviet era,” professor R. Rajaraman said during the launch.

Prof Rajaraman hailed Russia’s assistance in achieving its nuclear energy targets.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Education, India, Russia | Leave a comment

America now producing medical radioisotopes without use of a nuclear reactor

U.S. FDA Approves NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes’ RadioGenixTMSystem (Technetium Tc 99m Generator) for Non-uranium Sourced Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) Production of Imaging Isotope Technetium-99m (Tc-99m)– Enables domestic Mo-99 supply produced without uranium for U.S. healthcare –

– First U.S. source of medical radioisotope Mo-99 in more than 25 years –

BELOIT, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)--NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC, (NorthStar) a company involved in the production and distribution of radioisotopes used for medical imaging, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the RadioGenixTM System, an innovative, high tech radioisotope separation platform indicated for use in producing the widely used medical radioisotope technetium-99 (Tc-99m) from NorthStar’s non-uranium based molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The RadioGenixTM System is indicated as “a technetium Tc 99m generator used to produce sterile, non-pyrogenic Sodium Pertechnate Tc 99m Injection.”There has been no U.S. production of Mo-99, the parent isotope of Tc-99m, for more than 25 years. The supply of Mo-99 has been subject to frequent and sometimes prolonged interruptions, disrupting and often delaying the diagnosis and treatment of patients in need of medically important diagnostic tests that require the use of this radioisotope. Furthermore, current bulk production of Mo-99 is based on enriched uranium which poses significant environmental concerns.“With the FDA’s approval of the RadioGenix System, NorthStar can begin providing its customers with a reliable and environmentally friendly supply of the Mo-99 radioisotope for the United States,” said George P. Messina, Chairman and CEO of NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes. “As the first, and thus far only company to achieve the objective of being the first U.S. producer of Mo-99 in more than 25 years, we are extremely proud to pioneer domestic production of Mo-99 that is independent of uranium-based product. The approval by the FDA will reduce the U.S. healthcare system’s reliance on fragile foreign supply of Mo-99 and the use of enriched uranium target material.  The RadioGenix System allows for automated, on-site separation and preparation of U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m Injection from Mo-99. The RadioGenix is also a platform technology that has the potential ability to apply its separation capabilities at the point-of-care to other radioisotopes in the future, including therapeutic isotopes such as actinium-225/bismuth-213 (which will require FDA approval). ……….

The RadioGenix System is an innovative, high tech system that is approved for processing non-uranium/non highly enriched uranium molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) for the production of the important medical radioisotope, technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Prior to availability of RadioGenix technology, the U.S. supply chain for Mo-99 has been subject to frequent and sometimes severe interruptions which negatively impact patient healthcare. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 2018, the RadioGenix System is the first and only on-site, automated isotope separation system of its kind for use with non-uranium/non-highly enriched uranium based Mo-99. ………..

February 10, 2018 Posted by  | General NewsLeave a comment Edit

Netherlands project to produce medical isotopes with no need of a nuclear reactor

Steve Dale No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 10 Feb 18  There is also a promising electron accelerator approach too (started in the Netherlands) . Search for “Lighthouse” and you may have to translate the pages. Here is snippet “Lighthouse: next phase production of medical isotopes without a reactor
January 23, 2018
Chip machine manufacturer ASML has found a partner in the Belgian National Institute for Radio Elements (IRE) for the further development of LightHouse, a technology that makes it possible to make medical isotopes in an easy way without the release of radioactive waste. LightHouse was declared the (Dutch) National Icon last year, but is now being further developed by a Belgian company. With this, the phase of feasibility research seems to have been completed and the development is entering a new phase. First production of medical isotopes is expected in 2020.”

February 10, 2018 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

USA budget will benefit the nuclear industry

Congress To Pass Budget Deal Benefitting Biofuels And Nuclear Sectors, 

President Trump has, last night, signed a budget deal to raise spending and reopen the government. In its current form, the biofuels and nuclear power industries are set to benefit from the compromise deal.

A two-year agreement would provide tax incentives for the two energy sectors as well as credits for energy efficient car purchases of models manufactured in 2017. Another $1-a-gallon tax credit applies to refiners who mix biofuel in their products. Cellulosic ethanol, produced from garbage, algae, and corn stover, will also get an extension on its $1.01 per gallon credit.

An energy production tax credit for Southern Co.’s nuclear plants in Georgia will help the facilities there get off the ground.

In the last 20 years, the U.S. has seen only one new nuclear reactor that is functional, constructed by a government entity – the Tennessee Valley Authority. Further, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows that there are only four reactors currently under construction in the entire country. Two would be at the Alvin W. Vogtle station in Georgia, and two at the Virgil C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

These projects are implementing reactors manufactured by Westinghouse. Construction on all four are currently delayed over three years and are billions over-budget. Westinghouse itself was one of the last private companies to be commissioned for the manufacture of nuclear reactors—before over-budget, inefficient projects such as these pushed them into ruin. So far, Westinghouse remains committed to completing the projects.

Southern Co. also recently abandoned a coal-gasification plant project in Mississippi, which countered President Donald Trump’s plans to increase clean coal’s grip on the American energy mix.

“They’ve got the conundrum of having spent billions of dollars [on nuclear projects],” Glenrock Associates analyst Pail Patterson told Bloomberg over the phone. “That’s why abandonment in the middle of a project usually looks unattractive.”


February 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

South Africa’s nuclear decommissioning dilemma

Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy The Conversation,  Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, January 26, 2018 

Africa’s only operational nuclear power plant is in an area called Koeberg, outside Cape Town in South Africa. The life span of the plant was originally meant to end in 2024. But after an upgrade it’s now expected to operate until around 2044.

In theory it could be shut down, or decommissioned, earlier than if, for example, there was a spike in anti-nuclear sentiment, it becomes unprofitable or a serious technical failure developed……

The funding for decommissioning, which is an expensive process, needs to be secured well in advance. Failing to decommission the site properly would saddle Cape Town with a dangerous radiation hazard for generations to come.

Responsibility for Koeberg’s site rehabilitation rests with its operator, the state electricity utility, Eskom. For now decommissioning Koeberg is not a priority for Eskom’s newly appointed board given its need to deal with the financial pressure and allegations of corruption the utility is facing.

But it will nevertheless need to start planning soon……….

All nuclear power plants accredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency must regularly set aside funds to finance the eventual decommissioning. By 2016, Eskom had paid R10.9 billion into a trust for this purpose.

But these provisions seem insufficient and the utility will probably need to raise additional funding to shut down Koeberg.

Eskom is responsible to pay for the site’s rehabilitation, but not for final waste disposal. The funding of that process ultimately becomes the responsibility of the state.

Waste from Koeberg

The arrangement is that low and intermediate-level nuclear waste is transported to a site called Vaalputs in sparsely populated Namakwaland, about 500 km north of Cape Town. High-level waste is kept on site in Koeberg in what are known as fuel pools.

South Africa doesn’t have storage facilities for its high-level waste. Like the rest of the world, construction of nuclear plants was initiated without a specific waste disposal plan, with the understanding that each country would manage and pay for it themselves.

Unfortunately South Africa is likely to approach decommissioning Koeberg in the same way other countries have done it – by effectively leaving the waste on site indefinitely in temporary storage facilities. This avoids the expense of waste processing as well as making difficult political decisions. But it passes the problem to future generations while continuing to expose the nuclear plant’s neighbourhood to contamination risk. This is a serious risk at Koeberg given that it’s a mere 30 km from the Cape Town city centre.

Koeberg’s decommissioning is an awkward reality that cannot be ignored for much longer. This should become the main focus for nuclear professionals in South Africa, rather than new plants. Eskom and other parties in the energy space need to develop detailed, credible decommissioning work plans with realistic costing scenarios and funding strategies. A crisis can be avoided, but only through early and proper planning.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Africa | Leave a comment

50 years on, nuclear fusion still hasn’t delivered clean energy

Excerpt from the February 17, 1968 issue of Science News, BY MARIA TEMMING , FEBRUARY 8, 2018  Magazine issue: Vol. 193, No. 3, February 17, 2018, p. 4

Power within 30 yearsControlled thermonuclear fusion is moving so well that full-scale development could begin within five years, says Dr. David J. Rose….It might take 20 to 30 years beyond that before fusion could move into the power grid, though, he predicts. — Science News, February 17, 1968


Governments and private-sector start-ups are still trying to wrangle thermonuclear fusion — the process that lights up stars and ignites hydrogen bombs — for clean energy, with limited progress (SN: 2/6/16, p. 18). One of the biggest ongoing projects is ITER in France, an international effort to build the first magnetic fusion reactor that pumps out more energy than it consumes. ITER plans to flip on the machine in 2025. Optimistic estimates put the first fusion power plants on the grid no sooner than 2040.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | France, technology | Leave a comment

Idaho politics – differences between governor candidates on nuclear issues

Gov. candidates weigh in on nuclear cleanup deal, Post Register, Idaho,  February 8, 2018 , By NATHAN BROWN

The two Democratic candidates to be Idaho’s next governor want the state to take a tough stance on enforcing the 1995 Settlement Agreement, while the Republicans were more open to modifying the agreement and granting waivers to allow the shipment of research fuel into the state.

The 1995 Agreement sets milestones for the federal government to clean up and remove nuclear waste. If the feds miss one, the state’s recourse is to suspend small shipments of spent nuclear fuel INL uses for research.

In 2012, the Department of Energy missed a deadline to treat 900,000 gallons of liquid radioactive waste. Its treatment has been delayed by technical problems for years since then, although the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit may start processing waste for shipment out of the state by the end of the year. Another major deadline, to remove all transuranic waste from the state, is coming up at the end of 2018.

A.J. Balukoff, one of two major Democratic candidates running in the primary, put out a statement over the weekend “calling on Idaho’s state and federal lawmakers to insist the federal government abide by the terms of the landmark 1995 Nuclear Agreement.”

“With 900,000 gallons of liquid nuclear waste perched above the Snake River aquifer, Idaho can’t afford to be weak on this issue,” Balukoff said. “The Idaho National Lab will continue to be on the cutting edge of nuclear research, but Idaho shouldn’t become a nuclear waste dump in the process. The Feds must honor the agreement and treat the most dangerous nuclear material on site before the aging tanks become a threat to our aquifer.”

Former state Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, who resigned from the Legislature on Wednesday to focus on her campaign, is Balukoff’s opponent for the Democratic gubernatorial nod. She said there should be “no exceptions whatsoever to the commitments of the 1995 Settlement Agreement.”

“The state of Idaho should not be a dumping ground for the nation’s commercial spent nuclear fuel and the federal government should not be allowed to renege on what it agreed to do,” she said. “It is not just a matter of principle, but a matter of protecting our sustainable resources for the prolonged life of our citizens, ecosystem and food industry.”

By contrast, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, one of three major Republican candidates for the job, said he would support waivers to the agreement to allow shipments of research fuel for INL.

“The 1995 Settlement Agreement has been good for Idaho,” Labrador said in an email. “But the time has come to take a step back and ask ourselves if the Settlement Agreement is helping Idaho or hurting it. I believe thoughtful modifications to the Settlement Agreement are necessary and can solidify Idaho’s role as a leader in nuclear energy and will provide significant economic benefits to Idaho and the Idaho National Laboratory.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who is also running for governor and is co-chairman of the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission that works on INL issues for the state, said ”any good plan moving forward requires the next governor to work to update the 1995 settlement agreement to meet two key objectives — prioritizing environmental cleanup and retaining the incredible assets at the INL. The success of these objectives is interdependent.

“Allowing shipments of small quantities of research fuel maintains the INL’s premier status,” Little continued. “It facilitates additional resources and talent for research, (while) also ensuring the resources remain in Idaho for cleaning up and shipping out legacy waste.”

Treasure Valley developer and GOP candidate Tommy Ahlquist said he would be open to new shipments “as long as we can get consensus from all stakeholders, it’s done safely, and improves and protects Idaho’s position.” However, he also believes Idaho needs to “hold the federal government accountable to the ’95 agreement.”………

Jordan said she would be “solidly adamant” that cleanup deadlines be met.

“I would not allow any room for the federal government to renegotiate what they have already committed to as part of the agreement,” she said. “The INL should not be allowed to become permanent waste storage and transit facility but (I) understand the INL’s need for shipments as our nation’s leading nuclear research laboratory.”

February 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Stable Iodine Must Be Distributed Before Nuclear Accidents Not After Them 29, 2018

Because of the risk of possible terrorist attacks at the 15 UK nuclear reactors and >20 nuclear reactors in nearby countries, and because of the advanced ages of UK nuclear reactors, there is a need for greater preparedness to deal with nuclear accidents and incidents.

For these reasons, in June 2016, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee set up an Inquiry on Science in Emergencies: chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.  However neither the Committee’s subsequent poor Report nor the Government’s anodyne response dealt with the real issues in a forthright and open matter. In particular, they discussed neither the problems of evacuations (which I have discussed) nor the scientific evidence which amply supports the pre-distribution of stable iodine as occurs in most other EU countries.

In the event of a nuclear accident or incident, the three main responses are shelter, evacuation, and stable iodine prophylaxis. This article deals solely with iodine prophylaxis.

It is important to note that stable iodine ingestion only protects against thyroid cancer, and not any other cancers which could arise after exposure to the many nuclides which would be released if a serious nuclear accident or incident were to occur.  However it is the only cancer that we can prevent or mitigate if advance preparations are made.

The prior ingestion of stable iodine (often potassium iodide, ie KI) is an effective means of protecting the thyroid gland from thyroid cancer and other thyroid effects, especially among children. But it is necessary to consume stable iodine immediatelyafter a nuclear incident: the best way to provide for this is the advance distribution of stable iodine prior to any accident or incident.

In the UK, the Government has decided not to pre-distribute stable iodine tablets to the public. This is a poor decision. It was probably influenced by the Government’s  strong support, bordering on obsession, for nuclear power. In other words,  political considerations are held to be more important than public safety. Information on the locations of stale iodine supplies, stocks held, and arrangements for their distribution in the event of a nuclear incident or accident is unavailable in the UK.

After the warning of a nuclear accident or incident, it appears that the Government intends to distribute stable iodine to “…schools, hospitals and evacuation reception centres…” and “collection centres” for collection by the public. It is likely that such  distribution would take at least two days or longer, depending on the sizes of the affected areas. During this time, plumes would continue to cross such areas depending on the nature of the accident, wind direction and wind velocity.

At present, the Government assumes that most thyroid doses (from the radioative iodine in the plumes) will occur via the food pathway, mainly from the ingestion of milk and leafy green vegetables. This pathway could take a few days and could give time for stable iodine distribution to take place. However recent scientific evidence indicates that inhalation is much more important than ingestion for radio-iodine doses. This means advance stable iodine distribution is vitally necessary. The Government is ignoring this information, thereby putting the UK public at risk.

Several EU countries have already pre-distributed KI to all families. In addition, KI supplies and dose information are available on line from non-UK sources. It is therefore recommended that

  • Stable iodine tablets, with clear dose instructions and the reasons for their advance distribution, should be distributed to all families within at least 30 km of nuclear facilities in the UK without waiting for an incident or accident to occur.
  • Since radioactive plumes could reach cities with large populations (e.g. >500,000 people) located beyond 30 km, stable iodine pre-distribution should carried out here as well. This is because rapid evacuations from such large cities would be impractical, but their inhabitants should be afforded some protection.
  • For this reason, and to deal with the possibility of radioactive plumes from nuclear reactors on the continent, the Government should pre-distribute stable iodine to all families throughout the UK, as occurs in most other European countries.

A more detailed (9 pages) report can be found here main report on KI.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Reference, safety, UK | Leave a comment

France must redouble its efforts if it wants to achieve the goals it has set in terms of “green” energy.

Le Monde 7th Feb 2018 [Machine Translation] Can France catch up in renewables? A laggard compared
to many of its neighbors, the Hexagon must redouble efforts if it wants to
achieve the goals it has set in terms of “green” energies. “Let’s
accelerate the growth of renewable energies in the face of the climate
emergency. The theme chosen for the 19th annual conference of the Union of
Renewable Energy (SER), Thursday, February 8 in Paris, summarizes the
situation of an economic sector in the middle of the ford. A laggard
compared to many of its neighbors, France must redouble its efforts if it
wants to achieve the goals it has set in terms of “green” energy.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | climate change, France, politics | Leave a comment

The nuclear decommissioning process

Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy  The Conversation,  Hartmut Winkler  Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, January 26, 2018  

“……..There are three stages in the rehabilitation of a nuclear facility.

  1. The plant must be dismantled. This is complicated because most of the material in and around the plant is radioactive to varying degrees and therefore dangerous to anything exposed to it. Radioactivity reduces with time, but for some isotopes commonly found in nuclear waste, the drop in radiation levels can be very slow. Because of this a plant will only be dismantled years after it’s been switched off.
  2. The dangerous nuclear waste, or high level waste must be reprocessed. Most of the material stays dangerous for decades but some isotopes retain high levels of radiation levels for thousands of years. A portion of nuclear waste can be converted into reusable or less radioactive forms through nuclear engineering processes. These processes are complex and there are only a few facilities in the world that can perform them. This means that South Africa’s high level waste will have to be transported overseas. Reprocessing facilities include La Hague in France and the Russian Mayak site, thought to be responsible for the 2017 ruthenium leak incident.
  3. The remaining nuclear waste must be secured in storage, virtually forever. This needs an isolated site that can’t be damaged by natural disasters or other processes that could cause radioactive material to seep into the surrounding environment, especially ground water. This final storage need is a massive headache worldwide. An example is the German Gorleben final repository site. It’s been the scene of protests for decades, preventing any further storage of waste on the site.

There are a handful of cases where the first two stages have been completed, typically over periods of ten years. But completing the final storage phase of nuclear waste hasn’t been achieved for any former plants. Their most hazardous waste is still in temporary storage, sometimes even on site………

February 10, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor, Reference | Leave a comment

Good news: White House withdraws environmental nomination of fossil fuel shill Kathleen Hartnett White

Trump’s environmental good news, Religion News, By Mark Silk  | The good news out of Washington is that the White House has withdrawn the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White to head the President’s Council of Environmental Quality. A leading shill for the carbon industry, the one-time chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would have joined Energy Secretary Rick Perry and EPA Administrator Greg Pruitt in a troika of climate change deniers driving the Trump Administration’s environmental policies.

Hartnett White’s confirmation hearing in November did not go well, and although President Trump resubmitted her nomination last month, it can be presumed that he reversed course in the face of threats from at least a couple of Senate Republicans to vote her down……….

while the cause of climate change is hardly restricted to religious folks, it is perhaps the most religiously motivated of all progressive social causes today. Leading the way has been Pope Francis, with his great 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’. But it is a cause that has enlisted the full spectrum of the religious community — Jews and Muslims, Eastern Orthodox and Mainline Protestant, Hindu and Buddhist.

Except for white evangelicals. Outliers, they are now in thrall to a political party that over the past decade has increasingly opposed all efforts to address climate change. Their religious rationalization is that they are standing with a God who promised no more floods against pagan “Earth worshippers.”

“Slavery degrades the Religious Activity of the People,” preached Boston’s leading abolitionist minister Theodore Parker on July 4, 1858. Today it is climate change denial that is degrading the religious activity of the evangelical people.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham keen for “nuclear renaissance”

Sen. Lindsey Graham wants ‘nuclear renaissance,’ thinks Republican memo has no Mueller consequence
He also said he would put up “one hell of a fight” to keep MOX at SRS,
 Aiken Standard, By Colin Demarest

Feb 5, 2018 

    •  U.S. Sen.

Lindsey Graham, a Republican heavyweight from South Carolina, made a stop in Aiken on Monday afternoon……..  ‘Nuclear renaissance’Graham, in the very first minutes of his speech, called for a South Carolina “nuclear renaissance.”

“We’re going to do more, not less, on the nuclear side,” Graham said. In a pre-speech interview, Graham said he’d like to “completely, fundamentally” redesign energy in the United States……..

Graham confirmed U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who spent last Thursday and Friday at SRS, toured MOX. Graham said Perry was “impressed.” Wilson said he is convinced Perry knows MOX is 70 percent along.

Graham also said SRS is in a position to grow, echoing Perry, who said SRS’s future is “very bright.”

Graham said he supports spent nuclear fuel reprocessing at SRS and moving plutonium pit production there. Pits — the triggers to nuclear weapons — haven’t been produced since 2011. Graham said in order to modernize the American military, a promise he said Trump will fulfill, the nuclear arsenal needs a little love, too. ……

February 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency trying hard to market nuclear power to Indonesia (never mind the earthquakes)

IAEA Director General Visits Indonesia: Highlights Close Cooperation in Using Nuclear Technology, 

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano praised the cooperation between Indonesia and the IAEA in bringing the benefits of nuclear technology to countries in Asia and Africa, during his visit to the country earlier this week. He pointed to areas such as enhancing food security, cattle cultivation, and plant breeding, where Indonesia has assisted trainees from Mozambique and Papua New Guinea.

During the visit, Director General Amano and Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Muhammad Nasir, further strengthened this cooperation, signing Practical Arrangements on enhancing technical cooperation among developing countries. The Practical Arrangements cover a three-year period (2018-2021).

“Indonesia is an advanced user of nuclear technology in many areas and shares its expertise with other countries,” he said………

Mr Amano was also briefed on the consideration being given to possible nuclear power development and areas in which IAEA support would be required.  He noted that having nuclear energy is a Member State’s internal decision and the IAEA stands ready to support efforts when a national decision is made. Elements, such as the IAEA Milestone Approach, which includes public communication, stakeholder involvement and setting up of a nuclear energy programme implementation organization, were covered.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment