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What to do with Fukushima’s contaminated water?

How long will treated water be stored at Fukushima nuclear plant?  Japan News,  March 09, 2018, The Yomiuri Shimbun Steadily progressing with the decommissioning of the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will accelerate Fukushima Prefecture’s recovery. TEPCO must make safety the top priority when doing this work.

According to a schedule drawn up by the government and TEPCO, fuel from reactor No. 3’s spent nuclear fuel pool is slated to be removed in fiscal 2018. Equipment necessary for this work is already in place.

The large volume of nuclear fuel should not be kept inside the heavily damaged reactor. It is vital to reduce the risks posed by this fuel.

The schedule stipulates that the method for removing molten nuclear fuel from Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors — which suffered meltdowns — will be decided in fiscal 2019. To accomplish this, it also will be necessary to more precisely gauge the extent of the damage to the nuclear reactors and the levels of radioactive contamination.

In January, a camera sent in from the side of reactor No. 2 captured images of sediment that appears to be melted fuel at the bottom of the reactor. Moving forward, it is essential to retrieve some of this fuel to confirm its exact condition. …….

the “frozen soil wall” — constructed at a cost of ¥34.5 billion from government coffers — has had some effect in preventing water from seeping into the buildings. The underground wall freezes soil in a perimeter around the building and prevents groundwater from flowing through. The volume of contaminated water generated has declined from about 500 tons per day to about 150 tons. ……..

The frozen soil wall was expected to be a trump card for reducing the volume of contaminated water. While it cannot be counted on to be quite so effective, the government’s Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment, a panel of experts, on Wednesday positively assessed the overall effort, saying, “A groundwater management system has been constructed.” It is vital to have multiple measures in place to prevent water contamination.

Yet challenges still abound. The committee pointed to the difficulties in dealing with heavy rain at the nuclear plant. Rainfall causes the volume of contaminated water to surge. Efforts to prevent rain from entering through damaged sections of the buildings and through drains must be sped up.

Contaminated water at the plant is treated and all radioactive materials, except tritium, are removed. What to do with this treated water also is a knotty problem. At other nuclear power facilities, treated water is released into the sea in accordance with discharge standards. About 850,000 tons of such water is being stored in tanks on the Fukushima nuclear plant grounds.

At some point, there will be no more room for new tanks. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa has repeatedly said, “There is no option but to dilute the water and release it into the sea.” The government and TEPCO should not put off making a decision.

They will also need to take steps to thoroughly prevent harmful rumors from spreading, such as by ensuring that the safety of this process is widely known.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

What if Pickering nuclear power plant had a Fukushima type accident?

Report paints grim picture of Fukushima-scale nuclear accident in Pickering, A Fukushima-scale nuclear incident at Pickering would mean the loss of 154,000 Toronto-area homes for up to 100 years, says an environmental group.  The Star, By Sun., March 11, 2018 


March 14, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Prospects for any North Korea diplomatic breakthrough are clouded by senior State Department vacancies,

The State Department is riddled with key vacancies as Trump seeks nuclear talks with North Korea  [excellent interactive graphics] John W. Schoen

As President Donald Trump steps up efforts to engage North Korea in nuclear disarmament talks, the State Department is in the most turmoil since the president’s inauguration.

The latest upheaval came Tuesday with the sudden firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was dismissed with few details provided by the White House. Trump picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state.

The moves followed Trump’s abrupt announcement last week of a yet-to-be-arranged meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But the prospects for any diplomatic breakthrough are clouded by senior State Department vacancies, including a permanent U.S. ambassador to South Korea. The Trump administration has also yet to fill other positions critical to any talks with North Korea, including a permanent undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs, as well as a permanent assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Dozens of other key diplomatic jobs remain unfilled, including ambassadors to key U.S. allies such as Germany, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

 More than two dozen ambassador posts are waiting for nominations to be put forward; nominees for more than a dozen others are waiting for confirmation.

The vacancies have strained ties with key U.S. allies. On Tuesday, Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth tweeted that Tillerson’s firing won’t help.

“The dismissal of Rex #Tillerson does not make anything better,” Roth said in a tweet.

Tillerson’s departure also adds to ongoing uncertainty about Trump’s promised reorganization of the State Department. Last fall, the senior official charged with overseeing that effort stepped down after less than four months on the job amid widespread criticism from current and former American diplomats.

Rumors about friction between Trump and Tillerson began circulating last year. In October, NBC News reported that Tillerson called the president a “moron,” something Tillerson never directly denied. Tillerson continued to insist his relationship with the president was solid and brushed off rumors of strain between them.

His departure is just the latest in a high-velocity revolving door that has dogged the Trump administration. Last week chief White House economic advisor Gary Cohn resigned after a heated dispute over Trump’s announcement of steep steel and aluminum tariffs, a move Cohn opposed.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Examining New York’s subsidies for nuclear power, on the anniversary of Fukushima

Blair Horner: Fukushima Anniversary And NY’s Subsidies Of Nuclear Power, WAMC,  • MAR 12, 2018  “……..The power plants in Fukushima are of the same design as some in New York State, which are located on Lake Ontario.  While no one would expect the same scenario to occur, those plants have been the focus of state policies in recent years.

The plants, built in the 1960s, have exceeded their expected useful lifetimes.  Generally, plants of that design and era are expected to be used for roughly 40 or so years.  Yet those plants continue to operate under a deal negotiated largely outside of public view.

In the summer of 2016, negotiators from the Cuomo Administration and the plant owners agreed to a multi-billion dollar bailout of the plants – which were slated for closure.  At that time, the state did not reveal the estimated costs, but subsequent analyses estimated that the costs could run anywhere from $2.9 billion to $7.6 billion over a 12-year period.  The negotiation contained no new safety requirements for the plants, just a guarantee that virtually all New Yorkers would be required to pay to make the nuke plants profitable – whether they received power from the plants or not – to keep them open.

The safety records of the plants came under new scrutiny in a report issued last week by the Alliance for a Green Economy, an upstate New York nuclear watchdog organization.  The report analyzed recent inspection reports and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) documents and identified three issues of concern:

  • The group identified regulatory violations without penalties: 18 violations of Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations were reported between March 2017 and February 2018 for the four Upstate reactors, but no penalties or fines were assessed.
  • The group identified examples of weakened regulations at the request of nuclear operators. For example, at the request of one of the plant’s owners, the National Regulatory Commission changed the requirement for what constitutes an “unusual event” regarding Lake Ontario flooding.  As we all know, there had been extensive flooding last year in the Lake Ontario area.
  • Lastly, the group identified missed deadlines for fixing known safety and maintenance issues: one plant near Oswego does not have a containment vessel likely to be able to contain the pressure and radiation released by a meltdown and installation of a required vent has been delayed; the plant’s owner is behind schedule for fixing numerous maintenance issues.

New York State should learn the lessons of the dangers of relying on nuclear power and follow the path set by California: move to shut down these aging facilities, and instead move toward greater reliance on solar, wind and geothermal power. 

Those power generators have been starved of adequate support since so much of the state’s wealth is tied up in propping up the Lake Ontario plants.  New York energy efficiency programs are anemic and lag far behind neighboring states and currently solar only generates about 1 percent of the power for the state.  Instead of mandating that New Yorkers subsidize aging, inefficient, 20th century nuclear plants, that money should be redirected to 21st century conservation and renewable energy programs.  Blair Horner is executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.


March 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Countries Seek to Export Nuclear Energy Projects to Keep Industry Alive

Truth Out 9th March 2018, Linda Pentz-Gunter: Countries Seek to Export Nuclear Energy Projects to
Keep Industry Alive. Ten years ago, The Washington Post called then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy “the world’s most aggressive salesman for nuclear
power.” Today, that mantle has been passed to the country’s current president, Emmanuel Macron — just another case of the French saying, “plus
ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (“The more things change, the more they remain the same.”)

As if to dispel any remaining doubt about his commitment to the French nuclear sector, Macron was happy to accept an invitation to India to cement a French nuclear deal there, according to Indian officials.

France is not alone on the nuclear salesmanship world stage, however. It joins Japan, the United States and South Korea, whose nuclear projects are fading at home but who are happy to market their wares to countries such as Saudi Arabia, China and India — countries where resistance is likely to be either minimal or suppressed.

Anti-nuclear protesters in India, for example, have been met with violence, sometimes fatally, and have been barred from public meetings at gunpoint.

An impetus for this export frenzy could be Russia, which reportedly holds a 60 percent share of the international nuclear power plant market, with contracts for 34 reactors in 13 countries — an estimated total value of $300 billion.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, marketing | Leave a comment

A mother’s call to protect future generations from the toxic nuclear industry

Radiation Free Lakeland 11th March 2018 The government has yet another consultation out on new build – on where to site new nuclear reactors.This entirely vicious consultation to enable new nuclear build has been difficult to reply to as there should be no new reactors anywhere.

Today is Mothers’ Day and this is for all those whose children are no longer here to wish them a happy Mothers’ Day. It is for all those in Fukushima who are suffering 7 years after the tsunami caused a
terrible and ongoing nuclear disaster.

It is for my own peace of mind that I as an individual and as a volunteer with Radiation Free Lakeland, am doing everything I can to protect my family and our water, our air, our earth and our sea from ever more pernicious nuclear developments.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Washington State colludes with the Pentagon, funding lobby to promote militarism

Dahr Jamail | Washington State’s Deep Political and Economic Alliance With the Pentagon, Truthout, March 12, 2018, By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report  “…….what if you learned Washington State was allocating millions of dollars of its taxpayers’ money to fund an institution set up to do nothing more than lobby for a larger military presence?

Additionally, what if you found out that one of your elected representatives, who you were led to believe was a liberal Democrat, had positioned herself atop said institution, and had actively sponsored a bill aimed at allowing the military free reign to do what it wants — wherever it wants to do it — within the state, with little or no recourse for the citizens it could impact?

In supposedly “blue” Washington State, this is exactly what is happening.

The taxpayer-funded institution set up to lobby for military expansion is the Washington Military Alliance (WMA). The politician is Washington Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Democrat who also happens to be the executive director of the WMA. The bill she sponsored, HB 2341 (SB 6456 in the state senate), would have essentially handed United States military commanders control of the state’s land use powers.

“Kristine Reeves is double dipping, although it might be legal, [by] being the executive director for the Washington Military Alliance while proposing laws that advance the objectives of the WMA as a Washington State legislator,” Glen Milner, a researcher with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, told Truthout.

“In addition, the Washington Military Alliance gets its grants from the DOD,” added Milner, who has been tracking the expanding militarism across Washington State for decades. “I suppose this is just corruption at work.”

While Reeves might be progressive on many issues, she’s clearly doing the military’s bidding, according to Milner.

And while HB 2341 failed, for now, to make it out of committee — thanks to committed grassroots efforts by citizens concerned about their state becoming a wider-scale military training area — Reeves’ efforts run far deeper than just that bill.

“Washington State residents should be concerned because the WMA sees at least some parts of the state as a ‘power projection platform’ for the military,” Milner warned Truthout.

In fact, “power projection platform” are not Milner’s words, they are Rep. Reeves’ words. The lawmaker used the exact same phrase in an email to members of Washington State’s Department of Commerce. In the January 2016 email obtained by Truthout, Rep. Reeves discussed her efforts to help generate a graphic for the deputy chief of staff at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington, a massive military installation south of Tacoma, to show “the value of the strategic placement of JBLM and its dependence on the ‘outside the fence’ infrastructure that creates the designation of power projection platform.”

Her rough graphic shows four arrows emanating from Washington State and pointing across the Pacific toward North Korea and other locations.

A “power projection platform,” a term used by both the military and the WMA, is a hub for the combined elements of national power — political, economic, informational and military — that facilitates a country’s ability to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces around the world.

Reeves is far from alone in her efforts. Jay Inslee, Washington’s so-called “green governor,” along with his Department of Commerce, appears to have been, for years, acting as a strong proponent for military activity in Washington State. By actively supporting the WMA and other similar efforts, as well as signing off on documents like the Retaining and Expanding Military Missions: Increasing Defense Spending and Investment, Inslee has sought to increase military personnel and training across Washington.

“This is all about who controls Washington State,” Milner warned. “Does our state government follow the wishes of state citizens, or the Department of Defense?”

A Truthout investigation points toward powerful forces in the state government actively collaborating with the Department of Defense.

Washington State’s Not-So-Secretive Collusion With the WMA

Founded in 2012 under then Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, the WMA was made operational under Governor Inslee in 2014, with a $4.3 million grant from the DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).

The OEA has provided other grants for Washington State and counties, such as funding for Joint Land Use Studies, which are supposedly planning efforts between active military installations and their surrounding jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, and other affected stakeholders aimed at addressing compatibility around military installations and military operations. In 2016, the OEA provided a $585,000 grant to the Department of Commerce (which includes the WMA) to create a legislative report for military issues and for 2017 program funding.

“As you might expect, all of this creates nothing more than propaganda for the Department of Defense,” Milner explained. “Whenever the WMA addresses anything, the first thing mentioned is jobs, jobs, jobs — without any analysis of how the civilian sector could use huge areas of real estate in Washington State that are now military bases. The various Joint Land Use Studies and the legislative report are all propaganda with no input that might stand against military objectives.”

Documents show that, via the Washington Military Alliance, Washington’s Department of Commerce hired The Spectrum Group as their go-to beltway consulting group to assist in making all of Washington State “more compatible” with military activities.

Several emails have revealed Rep. Reeves’ ongoing efforts to work closely with military personnel by sharing meals and meetings with them over recent years, as they collaborated on many issues geared towards giving the military more control over land-use decisions across Washington.

Unfortunately, the taxpayer funded WMA/Department of Commerce reports appear to have been accepted as fact by Reeves and some other members of the legislature, as evidenced by the egregious nature of failed-HB 2341.

All of this has serious practical implications for residents of Washington State……….


Charles Knutila is a retired Command Sergeant Major in the Army who lives on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Just before HB 2341 went into committee, Knutila reached out to his state representatives to express his outrage over their collaboration with the DOD.

In an email he wrote to his representatives which he provided to Truthout, Knutila wrote, “The executive director of the WMA, Representative Reeves, although a member of the House of Representatives, is functioning as a lobbyist for the Department of Defense in obtaining Economic Adjustment dollars in order to put together a lobbying organization to protect the military/industrial sectors interests.”

Knutila questioned whether a person could represent both the military and the people.

“Is Representative Reeves registered as a lobbyist?” he wrote. “Who does Representative Reeves, the house sponsor of this bill, similar to the Senate version, work for? The defense industry, the Department of Commerce, or actually the citizens of the State of Washington?”

Knutila told Truthout that he “strongly objects” to Washington’s Department of Commerce “funneling DOD dollars into a military-industrial complex lobbying group for the purpose of influencing state and local business matters.”    ……..

Given that the US is, at least in theory a democracy, advocates say that what is missing in this equation is civilian opinion — especially since, ultimately, it is civilian lives that will be most affected.

At the time of this writing, Truthout’s request for comment from Rep. Reeves has not received a response.


March 14, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Support for Iran nucIear deal, from top USA general

U.S. general signals support for Iran nuclear deal, Idrees Ali, 13 Mar 18, WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. general on Tuesday signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, saying the agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.

“The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel. JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help“fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.

Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran. He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.

Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.

“There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. … Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese residents gathered along the north-east coast, remembering the Fukushima disaster

The National 12th March 2018, JAPAN has marked the seventh anniversary of a tsunami that claimed more
than 18,000 lives on the north-east coast and triggered a nuclear disaster
that turned nearby communities into ghost towns.

Residents along the coast gathered outdoors to remember the tragedy as sirens wailed at 2.46pm, the
moment the magnitude-9.0 offshore earthquake that set off the tsunami
struck on March 11 2011. The tsunami overwhelmed sea walls and washed away
buildings, cars and entire neighbourhoods as it swept inland. It knocked
out power at the seaside Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, causing
partial meltdowns in three reactors.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste containers: the problem of corrosion in copper canisters

The court said no to the application because it considered that there were problems with the copper canister that had to be resolved now and not later. 

the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is to carry out an expert peer review of a Canadian research programme on microbiologically influenced corrosion of canisters that will be used to dispose of used nuclear fuel.

The Copper Corrosion Conundrum  No2Nuclear Power

The Swedish Environmental Court has rejected the Nuclear Waste Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden. This is a huge triumph for safety and environment – and for the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG), the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), and critical scientists. Now it is up to the Swedish government to make a final decision.

The Environmental Court took into consideration viewpoints from all parties in the case, including scientists who have raised concerns about disposing spent nuclear fuel in copper canisters. During the legal proceedings, the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) presented the shortcomings of this method of disposal. For many years, the environmental organisations have been arguing that the Nuclear Waste Company SKB need to listen to critical scientists, and investigate alternative disposal methods, especially the possibility of developing a very deep boreholes disposal system. (1) Johan Swahn, Director at MKG said:

“Several independent researchers have criticized both the applied method and the selected site. There is a solid documentation base for the Environmental Court’s decision. It is hard to believe the Swedish Government’s conclusions will be any different from the Court’s.”

MKG has made an unofficial translation into English of the Environmental Court opinion. (2)

The court said no to the application because it considered that there were problems with the copper canister that had to be resolved now and not later. The translation shows the courts judicial argumentation and why it decided not to accept the regulator – the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s (SSM’s) opinion that the problems with the integrity of the copper canister were not serious and could likely be solved at a later stage in the decision-making process. The court is quite clear in its statement and argumentation:

“The Land and Environmental Court finds that the environmental impact assessment meets the requirements of the Environmental Code and can therefore be approved. All in all, the investigation meets the high standards set out in the Environmental Code, except in one respect, the safety of the canister.” (Emphasis added)

“The investigation shows that there are uncertainties, or risks, regarding how much certain forms of corrosion and other processes can impair the ability of the canister to contain the nuclear waste in the long term. Overall, these uncertainties about the canister are significant and have not been fully taken into account in the conclusions of SKB’s safety analysis. The Land and Environmental Court considers that there is some leeway for accepting further uncertainties. The uncertainties surrounding certain forms of corrosion and other processes are, however, of such gravity that the Court cannot, based on SKB’s safety analysis, conclude that the risk criterion in the Radiation Safety Authority’s regulations has been met. In the context of the comprehensive risk assessment required by the Environmental Code, the documentation presented to date does not provide sufficient support for concluding that the final repository will be safe in the long term.” (Emphasis added)

The court says that the application is only permissible if the nuclear waste company SKB:

“…produces evidence that the repository in the long term will meet the requirements of the Environmental Code, despite remaining uncertainties regarding how the protective capability of the canister may be affected by: a. corrosion due to reactions in oxygen-free water; b. pit corrosion due to reaction with sulphide, including the contribution of the sauna effect to pit corrosion; c. stress corrosion due to reaction with sulphide, including the contribution of the sauna effect to stress corrosion; d. hydrogen embrittlement; e. radioactive radiation impact on pit corrosion, stress corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement.”

The main difference between the court’s and the regulator’s decision-making was that the court decided to rely on a multitude of scientific sources and information and not only on the material provided by SKB. It had also been uncovered that the main corrosion expert at SSM did not want to say yes to the application at this time that may have influenced the court’s decision-making. In fact there appear to have been many dissenting voices in the regulator despite the regulator’s claim in the court that a united SSM stood behind its opinion.

The court underlines in its opinion that the Environmental Code requires that the repository should be shown to be safe at this stage in the decision-making process, i.e. before the government has its say. The court says that some uncertainties will always remain but it sees the possible copper canister problems as so serious that it is not clear that the regulator’s limits for release of radioactivity can be met. This is a reason to say no to the project unless it can be shown that the copper canister will work as intended. The copper canister has to provide isolation from the radioactivity in the spent nuclear fuel to humans and the environment for very long time-scales.

It is still unclear how the process will proceed. The community of Östhammar has cancelled the referendum on the repository, as there will be no question from the government in the near future. The government has set up a working group of civil servants to manage the government’s handling of the opinions delivered by the court and SSM. SKB has said that it is preparing documentation for the government to show that there are no problems with the canister. Whether the government thinks this will be enough remains to be seen. This is likely not what the court had in mind. The government would be wise to make a much broader review of the issue. There is a need for a thorough judicial review on the governmental level in order to override the court’s opinion. Otherwise the government’ decision may not survive an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.

There are eminent corrosion experts who believe that copper is a bad choice as a canister material. There is also increasing experimental evidence that this is the case. The court’s decision shows the importance of democratic and open governance in environmental decisionmaking. It is important that the continued decision-making regarding the Swedish repository for spent nuclear is transparent and multi-faceted. (3)

Copper Canisters The canister has to enclose the nuclear waste for a very long; it is the final repository’s primary safety function. The canister has a 50 mm thick copper shell with an insert of cast iron. The canister must withstand corrosion and mechanical stress.

The investigation on the capability of the canister is extensive and involves complex technical and scientific issues. These include groundwater chemistry, corrosion processes, as well as creep and hydrogen embrittlement (this latter affects the mechanical strength of the canister). However, the parties taking part in the court proceedings disagreed on several issues crucial to the final repository’s long-term security.

The Land and Environmental Court considered the following uncertainties regarding the canister to be most important in the continued risk assessment:

  • 1. General corrosion due to reaction in oxygen-free water. The parties have different views on scientific issues surrounding this kind of corrosion. The Court found that there is considerable uncertainty on this topic that has not been taken account of in SKB’s safety analysis
  • .· 2. Local corrosion in the form of pit corrosion due to reaction with sulphide. The Court found that there is significant uncertainty regarding pit-corrosion due to reaction with sulphide. This uncertainty has not been included in the safety analysis. In addition, there is uncertainty about the sauna effect, which may have an amplifying effect on pit corrosion.
  • · 3. Local corrosion in the form of stress corrosion due to reaction with sulphide. The Court found that there is significant uncertainty regarding stress corrosion due to reaction with sulphide. This uncertainty has not been included in the safety analysis. In addition, there is uncertainty about the sauna effect, which may have an amplifying effect on stress corrosion.
  • · 4. Hydrogen embrittlement is a process that affects the mechanical strength of the canister. The Court found that significant uncertainty regarding hydrogen embrittlement remains. This uncertainty has not been taken account of in the safety analysis.
  •  · 5. The effect of ionizing radiation on pit corrosion, stress corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement. There is significant uncertainty regarding ionizing radiation impact on pit corrosion, stress corrosion and hydrogen sprays. This uncertainty has been included to a limited extent in the safety assessment.

Meanwhile, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is to carry out an expert peer review of a Canadian research programme on microbiologically influenced corrosion of canisters that will be used to dispose of used nuclear fuel. The NNL has been contracted by Canada’s National Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) to review its work on the potential for corrosion of the copper-clad canisters. The NWMO is responsible for designing and implementing the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel under a plan known as Adaptive Phased Management. This requires used fuel to be contained and isolated in a deep geological repository, with a comprehensive process to select an informed and willing host for the project.

The used fuel will be isolated from the environment using a series of engineered barriers. Fuel elements comprise ceramic fuel pellets, which are themselves highly durable, contained inside corrosion-resistant zircaloy tubes to make fuel elements. Bundles of fuel elements are placed into large, durable copper-coated steel containers which are designed to contain and isolate used nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository, essentially indefinitely. The canisters will be placed in so-called “buffer boxes” containing by bentonite clay, providing a fourth barrier.

World Nuclear News reports that although copper is highly resistant to corrosion, under anoxic conditions – that is, where no oxygen is present – sulphate-reducing bacteria have the potential to produce sulphide, which can lead to microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) of copper. Waste management organisations and regulators therefore need to understand the levels of sulphide that will be present in a geological disposal facility, to understand its potential to migrate to the canister surface and the potential for it to cause copper corrosion, the NNL said.

The NWMO has been actively developing computer models that will be used to evaluate the potential for MIC once a disposal site has been selected, and has selected the NNL to carry out a peer review of its work because of the UK laboratory’s expertise in the biogeochemical processes that could affect repository performance and in developing computer modelling techniques that simulate the effects of sulphate-reducing bacteria. The work is linked closely with NNL’s participation in the European Commission Horizon-2020 MIND (Microbiology in Nuclear waste Disposal) project. (4

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Reference, Sweden, wastes | 1 Comment

Saudi cabinet approves nuclear power program national policy: SPA

 DUBAI (Reuters) 13 Mar 18 – Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved on Tuesday the national policy of the atomic energy program, state news agency SPA reported……… DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved on Tuesday the national policy of the atomic energy program, state news agency SPA reported.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion: If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is

The Guardian view on nuclear fusion: a moment of truth   Until recently the attractions and drawbacks of nuclear fusion reactors were largely theoretical. Within a decade this will not be the case 13 Mar 18

One of the cliches of nuclear power research is that a commercial fusion reactor is only ever a few decades away – and always will be. So claims that the technology is on the “brink of being realised” by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a private company should be viewed sceptically.

The MIT-led team say they have the “science, speed and scale” for a viable fusion reactor and believe it could be up and running within 15 years, just in time to combat climate change. [?] The MIT scientists are all serious people and perhaps they are within spitting distance of one of science’s holy grails. But no one should hold their breath.

Fusion technology promises an inexhaustible supply of clean, safe power. If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. For decades scientists struggled to recreate a working sun in their laboratories – little surprise perhaps as they were attempting to fuse atomic nuclei in a superheated soup. Commercial fusion remains a dream. Yet in recent years the impossible became merely improbable and then, it felt almost overnight, technically feasible. For the last decade there has been a flurry of interest –and not a little incredulity –about claims, often made by companies backed by billionaires and run by bold physicists, that market-ready fusion reactors were just around the corner.

There are reasons to want to believe that fusion will one day be powering our lives. The main fuel is a heavy isotope of hydrogen called deuterium which can be extracted from water and therefore is in limitless supply – unlike the uraniumused in nuclear fission reactors. But fusion’s science is tricky and the breakthroughs rare. So far there has been no nuclear fusion reaction that has been triggered, continued and self-sustained. Neither has the plasma soup that exists at temperatures found in the stars been magnetically contained. Nor has any research group sparked a fusion reaction that has released more energy than it consumed, one of the main attractions of the technology. Perhaps the most successful fusion reactor has been the JET experiment, so far Europe’s largest fusion device, which ended up in the UK after the SAS stormed a hijacked German airliner in 1977 and Bonn backed the then prime minister Jim Callaghan’s request to host it. JET hasn’t even managed to break even, energy-wise. Its best ever result, in 1997, remains the gold standard for fusion power – but it achieved just 16 MW of output for 25 MW of input.

Hopes for fusion now rest with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), a multi-national $20bn effort in France to show that the science can be made to work. Within a decade Iter aims to control a hydrogen bomb-sized atomic reaction for a few minutes. It is a vast undertaking. At its heart is a doughnut-shaped device known as a tokamak that weighs as much as three Eiffel towers. Iter’s size raises a question of how large a “carbon footprint” the site will leave. Like JET, Iter uses a fusion fuel which is a 50-50 mixture of deuterium and a rare hydrogen isotope known as tritium. To make Iter self-sustaining it will have to prove that tritium can be “bred”, a not inconsiderable feat. Iter will also test how “clean” a technology fusion really is. About 80% of a fusion reaction’s energy is released as subatomic particles known as neutrons, which will smash into the exposed reactor components and leave tonnes of radioactive waste. Just how much will be crucial in assessing whether fusion is a dirty process or not.

Iter’s worth is that it is a facility in the real world, where fusion’s promise can be tested. If it turns out to be better than expected then private investment is going to be needed to commercialise a fusion reactor. If it falls short then there must be a realistic rethink of fusion’s potential. After all, the money that has been poured into it could have been spent on cheap solar technology which would allow humanity to be powered by a fusion reactor that’s 150m kilometres away, called the sun.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby gearing up to convert youth to the nuclear faith

Investing in Youth: IAEA, International Youth Nuclear Congress Sign Agreement, 

To motivate young people to study and opt for careers in nuclear science and technology, the IAEA and the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) have agreed to strengthen their collaboration. An  agreement, signed on 28 February, calls for joint work in various outreach initiatives related to climate change, innovation and knowledge transfer in nuclear technologies.

The agreement adds to the IAEA’s list of practical arrangements the IAEA has with various universities, research institutes, governments and international organizations that help boost the number of young people opting for careers in nuclear science.

“This partnership will increase the IAEA’s engagement with young professionals to ensure their participation in collaborative activities and events,” said Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “This includes side events at major international conferences, workshops and related IAEA activities targeting professional development.”……..

March 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Education | Leave a comment

Russia hopes to build nuclear reactors in Sudan (just the safest place?)

Sudan, Russia to sign accord to develop nuclear power: SUNA agency Reuters Staff, 13 Mar 18KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan will sign a“roadmap” with Russia to build nuclear power stations during a visit to Moscow by Khartoum’s electricity minister, state news agency SUNA said on Monday.

SUNA said Water Resources, Irrigation, and Electricity Minister Moataz Mousa, who left Khartoum on Monday, would meet the head of Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom. The trip comes four months after Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin he wanted to discuss nuclear power cooperation with Russia. SUNA quoted a spokesman for the ministry as saying the two sides would sign several memorandums of understanding including the roadmap“to implement a plan to develop nuclear (power) stations”. It did not elaborate.  Reporting by Omar Fahmy, editing by David Evans

March 14, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

France to commit 700 million euros to International Solar Alliance 

13 Mar 18
France will commit 700 million euros to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday at the founding conference of the organization, reiterating the European country’s commitment to the alliance and clean energy.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment