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

Tepco and other utilities eye joint nuclear plant project in Aomori Prefecture

higashidori, aomori NPP.jpg
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and other major utilities will start talks this spring on jointly building and operating a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, sources close to the matter said Friday.
The plan involves Tepco’s Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, the construction of which was suspended following meltdowns at the firm’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011. Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., and Japan Atomic Power Co. are expected to participate in the project, according to the sources.
Kansai Electric Power Co. is also considering joining a group to discuss the role of each utility and how to shoulder the huge costs related to the Higashidori plant, they said.
The government, which holds the majority of Tepco’s voting rights through a state-backed bailout fund, is expected to support the move.
Tepco, which began constructing the Higashidori plant in January 2011, hopes to compile a joint venture plan around fiscal 2020.
Struggling under the burden of huge compensation payments and plant decommissioning costs from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Tepco is aiming to rebuild itself through realigning its nuclear business. The utility has been asking other power companies since late last year to join in with construction of the Higashidori plant.
Other utilities may benefit from the joint business as they can share know-how and resources through the initiative at a time when profitability is deteriorating, due to suspensions of nuclear power plants for tighter safety screening introduced after the Fukushima disaster.
Still, many utilities remain wary that teaming up with the crisis-hit Tepco could result in their share of plant decommissioning costs increasing in the future.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Govt. bans decontamination work by foreign interns


March 16, 2018
The Japanese government has decided to ban companies from using foreign trainees to carry out decontamination work in areas affected by the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The decision comes after a Vietnamese man complained that he was asked to remove contaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture. He told a news conference that he would never have come to Japan if he had known that he would be doing this kind of work. He also expressed concern about the possible impact on his health.
The man came to Japan under a government-backed technical internship program that allows foreigners to acquire skills and knowhow.
The ministries in charge of the program say that decontamination is not suitable work for interns.
They say they will make it mandatory for companies to submit a pledge that trainees will not be asked to do this kind of task.
A group that supports foreign interns says there have been similar cases.
The ministries will warn companies if other cases are discovered and may consider revoking their permission to hire foreign interns.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Fukushima doomed to become a dumping ground for toxic waste?

march 16 2018
16 Mar 2018
Despite promises of revitalisation from Japan’s government, seven years on from the nuclear disaster the area is still struggling
This month, seven years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns and explosions that blanketed hundreds of square kilometres of northeastern Japan with radioactive debris, government officials and politicians spoke in hopeful terms about Fukushima’s prosperous future. Nevertheless, perhaps the single most important element of Fukushima’s future remains unspoken: the exclusion zone seems destined to host a repository for Japan’s most hazardous nuclear waste.
No Japanese government official will admit this, at least not publicly. A secure repository for nuclear waste has remained a long-elusive goal on the archipelago. But, given that Japan possesses approximately 17,000 tonnes of spent fuel from nuclear power operations, such a development is vital. Most spent fuel rods are still stored precariously above ground, in pools, in a highly earthquake-prone nation.
Japanese officialdom relentlessly emphasises positive messages regarding Fukushima’s short- and medium-term future, prioritising economic development and the gradual return of sceptical evacuees to their newly “remediated” communities. Yet the return rate for the least hard-hit communities is only about 15%. Government proclamations regarding revitalisation of the area in and around the exclusion zone intone about jobs but seem geared ominously toward a future with relatively few humans.
The Fukushima prefecture government is currently promoting a plan, dubbed The Innovation Coast, that would transform the unwelcoming region into a thriving sweep of high-tech innovation. Much of the development would be directed towards a “robot-related industrial cluster” and experimental zones like a robot test field.
march 16 2018 waste storage area in futaba
Aerial view of a nuclear waste storage area in Futaba, with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the background.
The test field would develop robots tailored for disaster response and for other purposes on a course simulating a wide range of hurdles and challenges already well represented in Fukushima itself. Large water tanks would contain an array of underwater hazards to navigate, mirroring the wreckage-strewn waters beneath the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a number of meltdown-remediating underwater robots have met a premature demise in recent years.
Elsewhere on the robot test field, dilapidated buildings and other ruins would serve as a proving ground for land-based disaster-response robots, which must navigate twisted steel rods, broken concrete and other rubble. Engineered runways and surrounding radiation-hit areas would serve as prime territory for testing parlous aerial drones for a range of purposes in various weather conditions – which would be difficult or impossible to achieve elsewhere in relatively densely populated Japan.
The planned site for the test field would link with a secluded test area about 13km south along the coast to coordinate test flights over the exclusion zone’s more or less posthuman terrain.
Naturally, unlike Fukushima’s human residents, robots would be oblivious to the elevated radiation levels found outside the Fukushima Daiichi facility. In addition, prefectural officials have suggested that the exclusion zone environs could play host to a range of other services that don’t require much human intervention, such as long-term archive facilities.
Proud long-time residents of Fukushima, for their part, see all this development as a continued “colonisation” of the home prefecture by Tokyo – a well-worn pattern of outsiders using the zone for their own purposes, as were the utility representatives and officials who built the ill-fated plant in the first place.
march 16 2018 check post exit from the exclusion zone of Futaba town
A guard gesturing at a check post exit from the exclusion zone of Futaba town, Fukushima prefecture.
Years of colossal decontamination measures have scraped irradiated material from seemingly every forest, park, farm, roadside, and school ground. This 16 million cubic metres of radioactive soil is now stored in provisional sites in and around the exclusion zone, waiting to be moved to an interim storage facility that has hardly been started and for which nearly half of the land has not yet even been leased.
The state has promised to remove all the contaminated soil from Fukushima after 30 years, and government officials have been scrupulous in insisting that this will be the case – for soil. Yet in a nation with about 17,000 tonnes of highly radioactive spent fuel rods and no willing candidates for secure repositories, it is only a matter of time before it becomes possible for politicians to publicly back the idea of transforming the area around Fukushima Daiichi into a secure repository.
Government officials, including those tasked with nuclear waste storage, describe the quintessentially Japanese strategy of saki-okuri, or calculated postponement, in the context of nuclear waste storage. Such perception management is a subtle business, but by quietly and unrelentingly pushing back the day of reckoning – slowly changing the terms of debate – the broadly distasteful prospect of storing Japan’s most dangerous material in its most tragically maltreated region would become gradually less intolerable to Japanese sensibilities.
The expanse of Fukushima in and around the exclusion zone represents an already contaminated area with, since 2011, far fewer residents to protest against such plans. Such a rare opportunity for relatively unopposed intervention in a struggling area will surely prove irresistible to the nuclear lobby.
Fukushima has been marginalised, disenfranchised, and outmanoeuvred for decades. After all, the electricity from Fukushima Daiichi went straight to the capital, not to Fukushima itself, which bore the risks. Since 2011, Fukushima has been saddled with the staggering burden of the meltdown’s aftermath that, despite government PR, will encumber and stigmatise its citizens for at least several decades.
• Peter Wynn Kirby is a nuclear and environmental specialist at the University of Oxford

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Sanitising the Fukushima nuclear waste situation: Japanese newspaper succumbs to pressure

The Great Train Photo Robbery 

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

USA’s power plants, including nuclear ones, attacked by Russian hackers

Feds: Russian Hackers Are Attacking U.S. Power Plants, TIME  By NASH JENKINS 16 Mar 18  Officials in Washington say that Russian hackers are in the midst of a widespread attack on crucial components of U.S. infrastructure, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report released Thursday.

The targets of these attacks include the country’s electric grid, including its nuclear power system, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the statement said.

The report is damning confirmation of what has for months been suspected: that hackers in Russia are capable of infiltrating and compromising vital systems relied on by millions of Americans. According to the new report, the attacks began at least as early as March 2016, thriving on vulnerabilities in these systems’ online operations.

………..The report cites a widely circulated investigation from Symantec released in October 2017 that linked the hacking group Dragonfly, suspected to be Russian, to a series of attacks on energy systems in the U.S. and Europe.

Bloomberg reports that victims of the attacks included a nuclear power plant located in Kansas.

The new report came on the same day that the U.S. government announced new sanctions against Russia over the country’s reported interference in the 2016 presidential election.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s underwater nuclear graveyard – a great place for fishing?

Russia’s Arctic nuclear dump may become promising fishing area

Thousands of containers with radioactive waste were dumped in the Kara Sea during Soviet times. Now, Russia’s Federal Agency for Fishing believes it’s a good idea to start fishing. By Thomas Nilsen March 15, 2018

“We shall present soon a program on development of promising fishing in the Kara Sea,” said Sergey Golovanov at the 5th international conference of fishing in the Arctic, organized in Murmansk this week. He is quoted by news agency TASS.

Golovanov is head of the Science and Education Department with the Federal Agency for Fisheries and has a background from PINDRO, the Marine research institute in Murmansk.

According to Gulovanov, the Kara Sea’s advantage for the fishing industry is that it is a shelf sea, it does not border any territorial waters of other nations. “This is why Russia can have own fishing regulations there,” he said according to TASS.

In 2013, a Norwegian-Russian joint study expedition to the dump-site of K-27 concluded that it is feasible to lift the ill-fated submarine from the seabed. Although dumped 30 years ago, the hull of the submarine is intact.

Several other areas of the Kara Sea were also visited by the science expedition.

Nuclear weapons testing

Additional to the nuclear waste dumped across the Kara Sea, the waters are also next to the Soviet Union’s largest testing area for nuclear weapons. At Novaya Zemlya, 79 nuclear- and hydrogen bombs where detonated in the atmosphere between 1955 and 1962. In the period from 1963 to 1990 another 35 warheads were tested in tunnels under ground. Today, most of Novaya Zemlya is closed off miitary area.

At the conference in Murmansk, nothing was said about the Kara Sea being the main dumping ground for nuclear waste during Soviet times. No other oceans worldwide have more dumped radioactive waste than Russia’s Arctic Kara Sea.

Here, there, everywhere

17 ships and barges loaded with radioactive waste are dumped here. So are 17,000 containers with radioactive waste. Even worse, along the east coast of Novaya Zemlya is 16 nuclear reactors dumped, six of them with spent uranium fuel still on board.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, both the military Northern Fleet and the civilian icebreakers stopped dumping waste at sea.

Entire nuclear sub dumped in 1982

On shallow waters in the Stepovogo Bay on the southeast coast of Novaya Zemlya, an entire nuclear-powered submarine, the K-27, was dumped in 1982.

The submarine had then been laid-up for more than 15 years after one of the two troublesome reactors suffered a severe leakage of radioactive gasses and inadequate cooling causing extensive fuel element failures.

Dumping the entire submarine at sea was done in what the Soviet reactor engineers and scientists believed would be a safe way to avoid leakages of radionuclides into the marine environment.

The two on board reactors are liquid-metal cooled and contain spent nuclear fuel, 800 kilograms of uranium to be precise.

Both Russian and Norwegian radiation experts have repeatedly warned that failing to lift the submarine eventually one day will cause leakages of radioactivity into the Kara Sea. A worst-case scenario has even pointed to the danger of an uncontrolled chain reaction that could be triggered inside the reactor in case sea water one day starts to leak in through the protecting cover that today isolates the compartment holding the two reactors.

In 2013, a Norwegian-Russian joint study expedition to the dump-site of K-27 concluded that it is feasible to lift the ill-fated submarine from the seabed. Although dumped 30 years ago, the hull of the submarine is intact.

Several other areas of the Kara Sea were also visited by the science expedition.

Nuclear weapons testing

Additional to the nuclear waste dumped across the Kara Sea, the waters are also next to the Soviet Union’s largest testing area for nuclear weapons. At Novaya Zemlya, 79 nuclear- and hydrogen bombs where detonated in the atmosphere between 1955 and 1962. In the period from 1963 to 1990 another 35 warheads were tested in tunnels under ground. Today, most of Novaya Zemlya is closed off miitary area.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

$US 100 billion for kids’ education? No- sorry – it’s for nuclear submarines.

New US nuclear submarines come with $128b price tag, 9 news, By Richard Wood

The total cost of the US navy’s new ballistic missile submarine fleet will be an “eye-watering” $US100 billion ($128b).

Earlier this week, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said deep under the ocean remains the best best place to hide a nuclear deterrent – but it comes at a price.

The US Navy is seeking to build a fleet of 12 Colombia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), reports The Diplomat.

 “All of sudden you’re talking about the submarines and there is a number that will make your eyes water. Columbia will be a $100 billion program for its lifetime.

“We have to do it. I think we have to have big discussions about it,” Spencer added.

Underwater has proved to date the most elusive environment for detecting an SSBN, he explained.

However, “it comes at a price,” the Navy secretary added. 

Construction of the first Columbia-class sub is scheduled to start in 2021, with the US navy taking delivery from 2028.

Australian maritime warfare expert James Goldrick told the US is determined to keep its edge in submarine technology.

Despite recent developments in underwater detection, submarines remain difficult to pinpoint, he said.

“The sea is a very complex medium. It remains the most impenetrable environment, and I think the US is banking on this continuing.”

And Rear Admiral Goldrick said despite Russia and China unveiling new planned nuclear weapons, the US maintains an advantage in submarine technology.

Putin claims new weapons could strike ‘anywhere in the world’

“The Americans are well ahead of the Chinese. The Russians, however, have become well advanced in modernising their submarine fleet.”

The Columbia-class vessels are due to replace the US navy’s current Ohio-class SSBN fleet.

Technical details of the new vessels remain sketchy, but they are set to be the biggest sub the US navy has ever commissioned, The Diplomat reports.

Designed by General Dynamics Electric Boat, they measure 171m and have a beam of 13m.

The first sub delivered to the US Navy will cost $US14.5b, according to the Congressional Research Office. The remaining 11 vessels are estimated to cost $US8b.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

March 17, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In 2019, Japanese govt hopes to extract a small sample of melted nuclear fuel from Fukushima reactor 2

First samples of Fukushima plant nuclear fuel debris to be collected in FY 2019    (Mainichi Japan)  The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are set to extract a small sample of melted nuclear fuel from the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant as early as fiscal 2019.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia warns they will develop nuclear weapons, if Iran does

Saudi Arabia raises the stakes in Middle East with Iran nuclear threat, Riyadh: Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if its arch-rival Iran does so, the kingdom’s crown prince said in remarks released on Thursday, raising the prospect of a nuclear arms race in a region already riven with conflict.

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS in a 60 Minutes interview that will air in the United States on Sunday.

He also reiterated previous comments he has made likening Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Hitler.

“He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time,” the prince says in the interview.

“Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realise how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East.”

The Sunni Muslim kingdom has been at loggerheads with revolutionary Shi’ite Iran for decades. The countries have fought a long-running proxy war in the Middle East and beyond, backing rival sides in armed conflicts and political crises including in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Prince Mohammed, who also serves as Saudi defence minister, said last year that the kingdom would make sure any future struggle between the two countries “is waged in Iran”, prompting Iranian threats to hit back at most of Saudi Arabia except the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Riyadh has criticised the 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which economic sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for the Islamic Republic curbing its nuclear energy program. US sanctions will resume unless President Donald Trump issues fresh “waivers” to suspend them on May 12.

The comments by Prince Mohammed, who at 32 is heir to the throne, also have implications for Israel, another US ally which neither confirms nor denies the widespread assumption that it controls the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal.

Israel has long argued that, should Iran develop nuclear weapons, it would trigger similar projects among the Persian power’s Arab rivals and further destabilise the region.

It has never joined the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has said it would consider inspections and controls under the NPT only if was at peace with its Arab neighbours and Iran.

Civilian projects

Saudi Arabia is stepping up plans to develop a civilian nuclear energy capability as part of a reform plan led by Prince Mohammed to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.

The world’s top oil exporter has previously said it wants nuclear technology only for peaceful uses but has left unclear whether it also wants to enrich uranium to produce nuclear fuel, a process which can also be used in the production of atomic weapons.

The United States, South Korea, Russia, France and China are bidding on a multi-billion dollar tender to build the country’s first two nuclear reactors.

Prince Mohammed’s comments, ahead of a trip to the United States next week, could impact the bid by a consortium that includes Toshiba-owned Westinghouse.

US companies can usually transfer nuclear technology to another country only if the United States has signed an agreement with that country ruling out domestic uranium enrichment and the preprocessing of spent nuclear fuel — steps that can have military uses.

In previous talks, Saudi Arabia has refused to sign up to any agreement that would deprive it of the possibility of one day enriching uranium.

Reactors need uranium enriched to around five percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to a higher, weapons-grade level. This has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival which enriches uranium domestically.

Riyadh approved a national policy for its atomic energy programme on Tuesday, including limiting all nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, within the limits defined by international treaties.


March 17, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

More bad news on the danger to astronauts of space radiation

There’s more harmful radiation in space than previously thought, UNH study says   

Space travel just got even more complicated.

University of New Hampshire researchers recently concluded there’s at least 30 percent more dangerous radiation in our solar system than previously thought, which could pose a significant risk to both humans and satellites who venture there.

In their study, published Feb. 22 in the journal Space Weather, the researchers found that astronauts could experience radiation sickness or possibly more serious long-term health effects, including cancer and damage to the heart, brain, and central nervous system, said Nathan Schwadron, a space plasma physics professor at UNH and lead author of the study.

“Both concerns are very serious, but what we’re seeing in deep space is that over time, radiation seems to be getting worse,” Schwadron said.

Why is it getting worse? The sun’s activity has been low, the lowest it’s ever been during the Space Age, which began in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite.

That’s bad because an active sun intensifies the sun’s magnetic field, which shields our solar system from cosmic rays, the university said in a statement.

“When we started sending human beings to the moon in the late 50s, the solar activity cycles were fairly strong, so the number of cosmic rays were lower,” Schwadron said. “But now the cosmic rays number is going up.”

Scientists expect the solar activity levels to vary, but they don’t know why the current activity is so weak, he said.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, technology | Leave a comment

Death of Arthur Holly Compton, of the Manhattan Project

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 15 Mar 18  Today the 15th of March is another red letter day in the nuclear arena with the 56th anniversary of the death of Arthur Holly Compton, surprisingly (very surprisingly) the only one of the “Big Four” with the Manhattan project who did NOT die of cancer due to his reported time exposed to radioactivity.

However the other three Robert J Oppenheimer, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and Enrico Fermi went to their graves, victims of cancer fueled by their exposure to radiation in a nuclear industry despite all precautions taken. The commonality of nuclear death doesn’t discriminate between engineers, scientists, physicists and the grunts at the front line, though its the grunts that fall short of compensation, acknowledgement, or appreciation of their service.

We have all heard of the death of Marie Curie, physicist and her lead lined coffin and radioactive grave site, Harry K Daghnian Jr, and Louis Slotin who both died of acute radiation sickness from exposure while serving on the Manhattan project, the death of Los Alamos chemical operator Cecil Kelley, and seven engineering crew aboard the K-19 sub from radioactive exposure, only to name but a few, however the nuclear industry spends time and money debunking the rights of people afflicted by hard to prove nuclear contamination in this dangerous industry. Nuclear fueled brigandage of the planet does NOT have a conscience.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s old nuclear operating controls – safe from Russian hacking – we hope

Russia Hacks U.S. Nuclear Plants, Infrastructure ‘Hundreds Of Thousands Of Times A Day’  Investors Business Daily MICHAEL LARKIN-16 Mar 18, Russian hackers are attacking critical U.S. infrastructure, including the energy grid, nuclear power plants, and airports, according to U.S. government officials.

Water processing plants are among the other targets being repeatedly tested by rolling attacks. Last year, more than a dozen power plants in seven states were breached due to Russia’s ongoing campaign of cyberattacks.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday cyberattacks are “literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day. … The warfare that goes on in the cyberspace is real, it’s serious, and we must lead the world.”

Such attacks were cited as being one of the reasons the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a series of Russian organizations and individuals Thursday. In a doomsday scenario, such attacks could leave millions without water and electricity……..

An alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI Thursday laid out in more detail what the Russians have been targeting, and how they are going about it.

“Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors … targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the alert said.

The techniques being employed include sending spear-phishing emails from compromised legitimate accounts, host-based exploitation and the targeting of industrial control system infrastructure………

While information theft was one of the goals, a key prize would have been gaining control of systems used by infrastructure. They could then launch attacks that could leave millions without water and power.

An even more worrying prospect would be hackers gaining control of a nuclear power plant. A sudden shutdown can trigger safety systems designed to disperse excess heat and prevent a meltdown, though safety systems themselves may be vulnerable to attack. However, the operating systems used at such plants are usually decades-old legacy controls that cannot be exploited by hackers. …….


March 17, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

USA govt demands proof that steel is safe in Hanford’s giant nuclear waste treatment plant

U.S. demands proof steel is safe in Hanford nuclear plant March 16, 2018, By Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press  

March 17, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

San Onofre nuclear trash – now a panel of experts are to try to solve this

Panel of nuclear experts assembled to get waste out of San Onofre Nikolewski Contact Reporter

The group includes a former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the independent agency in charge of all safety-related matters surrounding nuclear energy in the U.S., and a former director of policy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The panel was put together as part of an out-of-court settlement negotiated last summer between Southern California Edison — the utility that operates SONGS — and attorneys for two San Diego-area plaintiffs who opposed a permit granted by the California Coastal Commission allowing waste to be stored on the plant’s premises.

One of the terms in the settlement called for creating a team of authorities in engineering, radiation detection and nuclear waste siting and transportation to learn if any alternative sites exist to store SONGS’ spent fuel.

“If the waste can be moved to a safer location, this is the group that can make it happen and Edison should get acknowledged and get credit for keeping their word,” said Michael Aguirre, one of the attorneys at the Aguirre & Severson law firm that worked on the out-of-court settlement.

“This is a very significant step; this hasn’t been done before,” Aguirre said. “There hasn’t been an owner of nuclear waste that has brought together a panel working with the community that’s focused on figuring out how to move (the waste) to a safer location.”

SONGS sits between the Pacific Ocean and one of the busiest freeways in the country — Interstate 5. About 8.4 million people live in a 50-mile radius of the plant in an area with a history of seismic activity.

Among the members of the panel is Allison Macfarlane, who chaired the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012 to 2014, and Thomas Issacs, whose time at the Department of Energy included policymaking regarding waste management and security.

Speaking in general terms about nuclear waste, Macfarlane told the audience, “It is our ethical responsibility to deal with this material and not leave it for future generations.”

The other members of the panel are:

  • Kristopher W. Cummings, a fuel storage expert and engineer with Curtis-Wright Nuclear Division.
  • Gary Lanthrum, the former director of the National Transportation Program for Yucca Mountain.
  • Richard C. Moore, a consultant specializing in transportation of radiological materials who works for the Western Interstate Energy Board.
    • Josephine Piccone, a health physics and radiation control expert with regulatory compliance experience

    “We believe this distinguished panel of experts will make significant contributions to a growing industry-wide effort to achieve off-site storage of nuclear fuel,” Tom Palmisano, vice president of decommissioning and chief nuclear officer at SONGS said in a letter to members of the facility’s Community Engagement Panel.

    “We have a long road ahead as we undertake this difficult task but selection of these experts is an important step,” Palmisano said, adding that the panel will begin its work “in the coming weeks.”

    The team of experts was assembled with input from the attorneys involved in the settlement and from Edison officials.

    About 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel has accumulated at nuclear reactor sites across the country.

    The Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada was supposed to accept large amounts of waste, but Nevada lawmakers, especially then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were firmly against opening the site. The Obama administration cut off funding for Yucca Mountain in 2010.

    The Trump administration has called for Congress to come up with $120 million in initial funding to restart Yucca Mountain.

    An interim storage facility in a remote location in southeastern New Mexico has been discussed as a possible location for SONGS waste but ground has yet to be broken.

    Aguirre has called for sending SONGS waste to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Plant in Arizona, a facility that Edison owns a 15.8 percent stake. But a committee at the plant rejected a resolution put forth by Palmisano last October.

    Aguirre, however, said Thursday, “We haven’t given up on Palo Verde.”

March 17, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Heavy guarding for Ukraine’s spent nuclear fuel dump near Chernobyl

Nuclear waste storage facility near Ukraine’s Chernobyl to be heavily guarded: report
KIEV, March 15 (Xinhua) — The Ukrainian government has included the facility for nuclear waste near the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant into a list of heavily guarded objects, local media reported Thursday, citing a government decree.

The decree, which was adopted by the cabinet earlier this week, envisages that the central spent fuel storage facility (CSFSF) will be guarded by the officers of the National Guard of Ukraine.

The building of the CSFSF, which will store spent nuclear fuel from three Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is currently underway at the 30-km-radius exclusion zone around the plant.

The construction of the facility has started in November 2017 and its first stage is due to be completed in 2019.

The building of the CSFSF is aimed at boosting Ukraine’s capabilities in managing and storing its nuclear waste. Currently, the East European country relies heavily on Russia for storing spent fuel from its power plants.

Ukraine generates over half of its electricity from nuclear energy. Currently, 15 reactors in four nuclear power plants are operating in the East European country.

The Chernobyl plant, located some 130 km from Kiev, witnessed one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history on April 26, 1986.

The blasts at the No. 4 reactor spread radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other European countries.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment