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Questions about viability of nuclear power in a warming world

Europe’s Nuclear Reactors Fall Victim to the Heat,BY ANDY ROWELL – AUGUST 10, 2018

Closures raise questions about viability of nuclear power in a warming world

This story originally appeared in Oil Change International.

As many parts of the Northern hemisphere continue to experience an unprecedented heat-wave, with near-record temperatures in Spain and Greece this weekend, the heat-wave is having an effect on the continent’s nuclear reactors.

But first let’s keep joining the dots. What we are witnessing this summer is climate change in action.

For many people trying to understand why we are having record temperatures this year, there is further evidence contained in the annual “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,” which is for actually for last year but gives us further evidence of our warming world.

The “State of the Climate 2017” report, as it is known, is compiled by over 500 scientists from sixty five countries. It states:

“In 2017, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide — reached new record highs. The annual global average carbon dioxide concentration at Earth’s surface for 2017 was 405.0 ± 0.1 ppm, 2.2 ppm greater than for 2016 and the highest in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core  records dating back as far as 800 000 years. The global growth rate of CO2 has nearly quadrupled since the early 1960s.”

The report adds: “Notably, it was the warmest non-El Niño year in the instrumental record.”

My hunch is that 2018 will be warmer that 2017, but we will have to wait to see. And this year it is not just people dying in wild-fires or mountains in Sweden literally melting in the heat, but now the excessive temperatures have forced the closure of over half a dozen nuclear reactors.

The French energy company, EDF has halted four nuclear reactors at three different power plants in France due to the heat, a spokesman confirmed yesterday.

The force of the closure was the high temperatures registered in the Rhone and Rhine rivers, which are used to cool the nuclear reactors, according to Reuters.

But these are not the only nuclear reactors suffering in the heat. Due to increased sea temperatures in Nordic region, Reuters is also reporting that the heat “has forced some nuclear reactors to curb power output or shut down altogether, with more expected to follow suit.”

One of those plants struggling is Vattenfall’s Ringhal’s plant in Sweden. The company, which operates seven reactors in Sweden, shut a 900 megawatt PWR unit — one of the four located at its Ringhals plant — earlier this month, as water temperatures exceeded 25 degrees Celsius, according to Reuters.

The short-term nuclear shut downs raise numerous issues.

Vegard Willumsen, section manager at Norway’s energy regulator NVE, told Reuters. “If nuclear reactors in the Nordics shut down or reduce power due to the heatwave, it could also put pressure on the supply and consequently on the Nordic power prices.”

But more importantly, there is an obvious question that needs answering. For the last decade the nuclear industry has been telling us it is the solution to climate change. But if their reactors can’t work in our rapidly warming world, are we just building a whole new generation of expensive white elephants?

August 13, 2018 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | 1 Comment

A new Summit between South and North Korea

Koreas prepare for summit as North asks US to ease sanctions,,By YOUKYUNG LEE  Aug. 10, 2018  SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The rival Koreas plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between their leaders, as Pyongyang called on the United States to reciprocate its “goodwill measures” by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first.

The plans by the Korean leaders to meet come as Washington and Pyongyang try to follow through on nuclear disarmament vows made at a U.S.-North Korea summit in June between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In the most recent sign of growing frustration between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea criticized senior American officials for insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons first before easing sanctions. Notably, the statement didn’t directly criticize Trump.

North Korea said in a statement Thursday that “some high-level officials within the U.S. administration” were making “desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure.”

“We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust” between Pyongyang and Washington, the North’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. “However, the U.S. responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure.”

Those American officials are “going against the intention of President Trump to advance the DPRK-U.S. relations, who is expressing gratitude to our goodwill measures for implementing the DPRK-U.S. joint statement,” it said referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Washington has said that sanctions will not be lifted until Pyongyang fully and finally dismantles its nuclear weapons. Some experts say that North Korea does not want to denuclearize first or maybe denuclearize at all because it wants a long, drawn-out process that sees external aid shipped in in return for abandoning nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang has also stepped up its calls for a formal end to the Korean War, which some analysts believe is meant to be the first step in the North’s effort to eventually see all 28,500 U.S. troops leave the Korean Peninsula.

A South Korean official at the Unification Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the two Koreas will also discuss on Monday ways to push through tension-reducing agreements made during an earlier summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Among the agreements was holding another inter-Korean summit in the fall in Pyongyang.

The rival Koreas may try to seek a breakthrough amid what experts see as little progress on nuclear disarmaments between Pyongyang and Washington despite the Singapore summit in June and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s several visits to North Korea.

Pyongyang insisted that the U.S. should reciprocate to the North’s suspension of missile launches and nuclear tests and other goodwill gestures such as the return of remains of American troops killed in the Korean War. The United States cancelled a joint war exercise with South Korea that was due to take place this month while dismissing calls to ease sanctions until the North delivers on its commitments to fully denuclearize.

The inter-Korean meeting on Monday will be held at Tongilgak, a North Korean-controlled building in the border village of Panmunjom. South Korea’s unification minister will lead the delegation from Seoul but North Korea, which proposed the Monday meeting first, did not confirm the makeup of its delegation.

It wasn’t clear when another inter-Korean summit might happen, but if the April 27 summit agreements between Moon and Kim are followed through on, the leaders will likely meet in Pyongyang in the next couple of months.

In the meantime, both Koreas are seeking an end of the Korean War. South Korea’s presidential spokesman said last month that Seoul wants a declaration of the end of the 1950-53 war sooner than later. The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because the fighting ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

Earlier Thursday, North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that ending the Korean War is “the first process for ensuring peace and security not only in the Korean peninsula but also in the region and the world.”

Kim and Moon met in April at a highly publicized summit that saw the leaders hold hands and walk together across the border, and then again in a more informal summit in May, just weeks before Kim met Trump in Singapore.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

North Korea Now in Standoff With U.S.A. on nuclear negotiations

Once ‘No Longer a Nuclear Threat,’ North Korea Now in Standoff With U.S. NYT, By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, Aug. 10, 2018   WASHINGTON — North Korea is insisting that the United States declare that the Korean War is over before providing a detailed, written disclosure of all its atomic weapons stockpiles, its nuclear production facilities and its missiles as a first major step toward denuclearization.

Two months after President Trump declared his summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un a complete success, North Korea has not yet even agreed to provide that list during private exchanges with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to American and South Korean officials familiar with the talks.

Mr. Pompeo maintains progress is being made, although he has provided no details. But John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, this week said, “North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize.”

On Thursday, North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called the declaration of the end of the war “the demand of our time” and that would be the “first process” in moving toward a fulfillment of the June 12 deal struck between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. Pyonygang also wants peace treaty talks to begin before detailing its arsenal.

If the standoff over the parallel declarations remains, it is hard to see how the two countries can move forward with an agreement.

“The North Koreans have lied to us consistently for nearly 30 years,” Joseph Nye, who wrote one of the National Intelligence Council’s first assessments of the North’s weapons programs in 1993, said at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday.

“Trump is in a long tradition of American presidents who have been taken to the cleaners,” Mr. Nye said.

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pompeo has acknowledged the impasse. But officials said South Korea has quietly backed the North Korean position, betting that once Mr. Trump has issued a “peace declaration” it would be harder for him to later threaten military action if the North fails to disarm or discard its nuclear arsenal.

Against North Korea’s continuing nuclear buildup — and its threats to strike the United States — Washington has long refused to formally declare the end of the war, which was halted with a 1953 armistice but never officially brought to a close.

And fears remain that making concessions to Pyongyang — especially after Mr. Trump shelved annual American military exercises with South Korea that he called “war games,’’ the phrase used by the North — would outrage Republicans in Congress and open Mr. Trump to charges that he has been outmaneuvered by the North Korean leader.

The White House has never reconciled Mr. Trump’s post on Twitter after meeting Mr. Kim that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” with Mr. Bolton’s assessment that the Singapore agreement has so far yielded almost no progress in the nuclear arena. That view is shared by many in Congress and the American intelligence agencies.

For Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo, much rides on how this standoff is resolved — or whether it results in the collapse of what the president called his determination to “solve” the nuclear crisis.

Mr. Pompeo has told associates that he believes his tenure as secretary of state will be judged largely on how he handles the negotiations. In recent weeks he has softened some of his statements toward North Korea, saying the United States is open to a step-by-step approach that most officials had previously rejected.

“The ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by Chairman Kim,”Mr. Pompeo said last week — a stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s statements last year that North Korea should give up its weapons rapidly, or face tremendous, if unspecified, consequences.

Challenged about the lack of progress so far, officials at the White House and State Department pointed to three developments as signs that the strategy with North Korea is advancing.

They noted that North Korea has not conducted a missile or nuclear test since November. Since the Singapore summit, Pyongyang has returned the remains of about 55 Americans killed in the Korean War, which appear genuine, a good-will gesture though one unrelated to the nuclear program. And satellite evidence suggests North Korea has begun dismantling a test site where it has developed missile technologies and launched space satellite missions. Experts cautioned, however, that all the steps taken so far are easily reversible……..

August 13, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

With the unsolved wastes problem, the threats from climate change, why build new nuclear?

Mersea Life August 2018 ,Andy Blowers: It’s interesting to see how government works. The other day I was invited to give evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They were pondering the Draft National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure. Arcane, perhaps, but undoubtedly important and a riveting topic for anyone concerned with the future of our environment.

Although I said what I wanted to say, I felt my words went into a void, rather like the geological void that was the topic of debate. Recently the Government published its policy for the development of a deep geological repository in which to bury all the most dangerous nuclear wastes created by its military and civil nuclear programmes.

That something needs to be done is not in doubt but a repository must be in suitable geology, safely engineered and must achieve public support – conditions unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future.

The problem of managing the wastes that already exist will be difficult enough. But, the idea that a repository can also be used to accommodate the unknowable quantity of dangerous wastes from a new build programme is surely preposterous.

Yet this is what the Government proposes, stating its belief that ‘effective arrangements will exist to manage and dispose of the waste from new build power stations’.

How can they possibly know? There is no foreseeable solution to the problem of wastes from new nuclear power stations, other than leaving them in stores scattered around our coasts at vulnerable, low-lying sites like Bradwell for the indefinite future.

If Bradwell B is ever built these wastes will be left, according to the Government’s own estimates, until at least the turn of the twenty-third century, that is seven generations from now. The future physical conditions on the site and the state of society so far away is simply undefinable. It is unethical and should be unthinkable to present such an intractable problem to our children, grandchildren and generations beyond.

New build wastes take a very long time to cool before they can be ready for disposal. On current evaluations it could require between 60 and 140 years before disposal. So, let’s assume that Bradwell B starts generating in 2030 and continues for 60 years until 2090. It will then be between 2150 and 2230 before all its wastes could be disposed of, assuming,of course, there is a repository available. The simple truth is we have absolutely no idea how to estimate, let alone manage, the spent fuel and other dangerous wastes that will arise from a new nuclear power station at

But we do know that the site is liable to flood and to be exposed to sea- level rise, coastal processes and storm surges as climate change proceeds.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The growing costs of Scotland’s police protecting nuclear waste shipments

Herald 11th Aug 2018 , Police Scotland is expecting a £4 million windfall from external
organisations for protecting nuclear waste shipments and policing sporting
events. The force has made almost £1 million this year so far for
providing logistical support for nuclear waste transfers and policing
football matches. The ongoing logistical support — known as Operation
Ailey — is understood to involve traffic management and public order
protection for nuclear waste travelling from the decommissioned Dounreay
nuclear plant for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Holtec plan for transporting its own nuclear waste casks – conflict of interest?

opposition in New Mexico to siting the facility there, and opposition along any potential transportation routes, would doom the idea

“It’s extremely troubling because they are going to be handling a decommissioning fund of almost a billion dollars,” Tauro said. “This really points to the need absolutely for the independent oversight board. To lend this whole deal transparency and independence, and having people on that board who have absolutely nothing to gain.”

Once a privately held company is in charge of decommissioning, she said, transparency will be lost.

Will Oyster Creek’s nuclear waste be cash cow for buyer Holtec?   MICHELLE BRUNETTI POST Staff Writer, 10 Aug 18

    • A high-level nuclear waste storage facility doesn’t exist yet, since the federal government stopped its attempts in 2011 to develop the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada in the face of local and regional opposition.

So, for the foreseeable future, nuclear plants’ spent fuel must be stored on site of both operating and closed plants.

But Holtec International, which is trying to buy the Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township for decommissioning, has an application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to open a short-term facility in New Mexico. It proposes to store high-level nuclear waste there, such as spent fuel rods from nuclear plants.  A Holtec spokesperson did not respond to requests for information.

Holtec would likely try to transport Oyster Creek’s waste to the New Mexico facility. That and the fact that Holtec manufactures casks for storage of nuclear waste bring up conflicts of interest, said Clean Water Action Board Chairwoman Janet Tauro, of Brick Township. She has been fighting to get the Oyster Creek plant closed for years.

Tauro said whoever does the decommissioning should have to choose the best and safest cask and storage options, not the ones that will make the most money for them.

“How do you do that if it’s all your stuff, if Holtec is managing the decommissioning and buying their own casks and choosing to store at a Holtec-owned site in New Mexico?” asked Tauro.

Tauro is especially concerned about Holtec casks, since some of them malfunctioned at the decommissioned San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County, California, she said

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the problem was discovered Feb. 20 “during a mandatory pre-loading inspection of multipurpose canisters, the stainless-steel casks that hold the spent fuel.”

He said it involved a broken shim standoff bolt inside the cask. The loose bolt — about 4 inches long and 7/16th of an inch in diameter — was found in the bottom of one of the casks.

It was shipped back to Holtec, Sheehan said. Holtec inspected other canisters at its facility in Camden and found another with a broken standoff bolt.

On March 6, Southern California Edison, which owns San Onofre, halted its dry cask loading activities. The site subsequently resumed that work, using casks with a different approved shim design, Sheehan said.

Other plants that have casks with the same design are Vermont Yankee, Dresden, Grand Gulf, Hatch, Columbia, Watts Bar and Callaway.

The New Mexico storage facility is unlikely to become a reality, said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel, since it would require moving high-level radioactive waste across the country.Sheehan said Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vermont, and Oyster Creek are the only nuclear plants ever proposed to be sold for decommissioning.

However, in 2010, Exelon transferred the license for Zion Nuclear Power Station in Zion, Illinois, to EnergySolutions of Salt Lake City to do the decommissioning, and will take the license back after the work is done. In that case, Exelon continues to be responsible for the spent fuel.

“Years ago we called them ‘mobile Chernobyls,’” said Tittel of the idea of moving such waste by truck or train. His organization has also fought to close the plant for decades. Tittel predicted opposition in New Mexico to siting the facility there, and opposition along any potential transportation routes, would doom the idea
Tauro is also concerned about Holtec’s plans to subcontract the decommissioning work to Comprehensive Decommissioning International LLC, of Camden. CDI was formed earlier this year as a joint venture company of Holtec and SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin has been charged with corruption, fraud and bribery in Canada, according to Canadian media reports.

“It’s extremely troubling because they are going to be handling a decommissioning fund of almost a billion dollars,” Tauro said. “This really points to the need absolutely for the independent oversight board. To lend this whole deal transparency and independence, and having people on that board who have absolutely nothing to gain.”

Once a privately held company is in charge of decommissioning, she said, transparency will be lost.

“NRC staff, both in our regional offices and headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, closely monitored the actions being taken by plant owners and Holtec, the cask vendor, in response to the issue,” Sheehan said. “Holtec and the plant owners performed root-cause and extent-of-condition analyses. Those assessments determined that the heat flow inside the casks would not be adversely impacted by the problem. We are still reviewing the issue.”


August 13, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Israel flagrantly violated the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

A double-flash from the past and Israel’s nuclear arsenal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Leonard Weiss, 12 Aug 18 , August 3, 2018 

For more than half a century, Israel has maintained a cover of silence and opacity regarding its nuclear program and arsenal, backed up by the threat of severe punishment and persecution for any Israeli (see Mordechai Vanunu) who dares publicly breach the cover. In return for this silence, plus a pledge of restraint on certain nuclear development activities, the United States has reportedly agreed in writing not to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or get rid of its nuclear arsenal. (See this recent New Yorker article by Adam Entous.) US policy on Israel also includes its own public silence concerning Israeli nuclear weapons. But this policy should change as a result of a new scientific study of an event that took place nearly 40 years ago, during the Carter Administration. That study makes it virtually certain that the event was an illegal nuclear test. This strengthens previous analyses concluding that Israel likely carried out a nuclear test in violation of US law and the Limited Test Ban Treaty. The response to this new study will determine whether the United States and the international community of nations are serious about nuclear arms control.

On September 22, 1979, a US Vela satellite, designed to detect clandestine nuclear tests, recorded a “flash” off the coast of South Africa that every nuclear scientist monitoring the satellite’s detectors at the time believed fit the classic description of a nuclear explosion. President Jimmy Carter’s book based on his White House diaries notes that he was immediately informed of the “flash” by his national security team; with the information came speculation that the event was an Israeli nuclear test at sea, with South African participation. ……..

Important new and dispositive evidence that the “flash” was a nuclear test has been added recently by two respected scientists, Christopher Wright of the Australian Defense Force Academy and Lars-Eric De Geer of the Swedish Defense Research Agency (Ret.), writing in the journal Science & Global Security. (The 22 September 1979 Vela Incident: The Detected Double-Flash, Science & Global Security, 25:3, 95-124, DOI: 10.1080/08929882.2017.1394047) ……….

The new study by Wright and De Geer should receive wide attention because it provides a test of the commitment by the international community to nuclear arms control and nonproliferation norms. While a comprehensive nuclear test ban is yet to be achieved, the nations of the world did manage to put in place an extremely important arms control, non-proliferation, and environmental protection measure called The Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT). This treaty, which went into force in 1963, bans nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water, thus rendering legal only those nuclear tests performed underground. Israel signed the treaty in 1963 and ratified it in 1964. The Israeli nuclear test puts Israel in violation of the LTBT, which has been signed by 108 countries, including all the officially recognized nuclear weapon states plus India, Pakistan, and Iran. Israel would also be in violation of the Glenn Amendment to the Arms Export Control Act, a US law passed in 1977, requiring the cutoff of military assistance to any country setting off a nuclear explosion. The president can waive the sanction, but he has to face the issue.

In the meantime, what should be a consequence of the flagrant violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty?

At a time when public demands for nuclear transparency are loudly and justifiably trumpeted toward Iran and North Korea, which are pariahs in many Western eyes, it is illogical at best and hypocritical at worst for the world, and particularly the United States, to maintain public silence on Israel’s nuclear program, especially in the face of a violation of an important nuclear norm. For the sake of future progress on arms control, on steps to reduce nuclear risk, and on honest public as well as private communication among governments and their constituents to achieve such progress, it is time to end an existing double standard that has allowed Israel to escape accountability for developing advanced nuclear weapons by violating a major international treaty.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Deteriorating health may make Julian Assange leave the Ecuadorian embassy


How come the Australia government, which gives help to convicted murderers overseas – does nothing to help whistleblower Julian Assange?  It’s a national disgrace!

Assange may finally leave Ecuadorian embassy in London as health worsens – report

Assange may finally leave Ecuadorian embassy in London as health worsens – report Julian Assange, who has spent more than 2,230 days in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, is expected to leave the building soon with his health deteriorating, sources say.

This latest information about the WikiLeaks founder, who was already expected to leave the embassy “in the coming weeks,” was Wednesday by Bloomberg which cited “two people with knowledge of the matter.” The news agency reported that the whistleblower’s health “has declined recently.”

The news comes days after Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced that Assange must “eventually” leave the embassy. “Yes, indeed yes, but his departure should come about through dialogue,” the Ecuadorian president said in answer to a reporter’s question on whether he will eventually have to leave.

“For a person to stay confined like that for so long is tantamount to a human rights violation,” Moreno said, stressing that Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses a danger” to the whistleblower‘s life.

The whistleblower’s health is deteriorating, according to the Courage Foundation, a group that fundraises for the legal defense of whistleblowers. Assange is in “a small space” and has “no access to sunlight,” the group , adding that this has a serious impact “on his physical and mental health.”

Rape allegations, stemming from Assange’s visit to Sweden in August 2010, were the main reason that he sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 when a warrant was issued for his arrest. Assange maintained that he could be extradited from Sweden to the US, where he would be prosecuted for his whistleblowing and would not receive a fair trial. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017, but a British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands.

Washington simply “wants revenge” for the “embarrassment” WikiLeaks caused it, and wants it to serve “as a deterrent to others,” human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT earlier in July. “Someone who’s published that information in the same way that the New York Times or the Guardian publish information, I don’t think they should face risk 30 or 40 years in jail in the United States,” Tatchell added.

Launched in 2006, the WikiLeaks project is aimed at exposing government and corporate secrets. It garnered global attention back in 2010 with its massive release of classified US military documents, which included those detailing how American military equipment was deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange won thousands of admirers, with many applauding his willingness to speak the truth.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Tens of thousands rally for removal of US base off Okinawa, By Mari Yamaguchi 12 August 2018 —  Tokyo:  Tens of thousands of protesters in Okinawa vowed to stop the planned relocation of a U.S military base, saying they want it off the southern Japanese island entirely.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Controversial dumping of 320,000 tonnes of allegedly radioactive mud in the Bristol Channel

Penarth Times 10th Aug 2018 , A start is to be made on Thursday next week on the controversial dumping of
320,000 tonnes of allegedly radioactive mud in the Bristol Channel just a
mile off the Penarth sea front. The mud comes from the vicinity of the
Hinkley Point nuclear reactor site where a third nuclear power station is
now being built by the French energy company EDF – and will be dumped at
the so-called “Cardiff Grounds” site .

EDF has given the Welsh Labour Government’s environmental arm – Natural Resources Wales – the
absolute bare minimum of notice. EDF is required by its licence to give at
least 10 days’ notice of the commencement of the mud-dumping operations
off Penarth – and EDF has given exactly the minimum amount of notice
it’s required to give – just 10 days – and no more.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

BBC wants to place cameras in apartments opposite Julian Assange’s refuge at Ecuadorian embassy

Is BBC Spying on WikiLeaks Founder Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy? 09.08.2018   Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno recently raised the issue of WikiLeaks’ founder leaving the country’s embassy in the UK, where he has been holed up since 2012, fearing the UK police will arrest and extradite him to the US.

On Thursday WikiLeaks Twitter account posted a screenshot of a letter received by some of the residents of no. 18 Hans Cres, London — an apartment building across from the Ecuadorian Embassy that serves as an asylum for Julian Assange. The letter, which has a BBC News logo in its top right corner, asks permission to install permanent cameras outside residents’ apartments so that they overlook the embassy.

The letter was motivated by a desire to better cover Julian Assange’s story and promised to compensate for any disturbances caused. The letter also contains Jonathan Whitney’s email as a contact for those interested in the offer. According to Whitney’s profile, he is a BBC News Deployment Editor.

WikiLeaks chief editor Julian Assange has been living in Ecuador’s UK Embassy since 2012 fearing the UK may extradite him to the US, where he could face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked US military and diplomatic documents. Recently Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno touched upon the issue of expelling Assange from the embassy, but noted that the UK must first guarantee the activist’s safety.

His statements followed conflicting media reports that Ecuador might revoke Assange’s asylum and that the whistleblower might leave voluntarily to due increasing health issues.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Fire at Hanford radiation-testing laboratory

Fire at Hanford radioactive lab sends workers to hospital, BY ANNETTE CARY, August 09, 2018  RICHLAND, WA 

August 13, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Potential for a catastrophic nuclear tunnel collapse at Hanford, warn tri-City mayors

Tri-City mayors worry about ‘catastrophic’ Hanford tunnel collapse , BY ANNETTE CARY,,  August 10, 2018  RICHLAND, WA 

Tri-City-area mayors say the public is at risk of a “potentially catastrophic tunnel collapse” if work doesn’t start soon to stabilize a Hanford tunnel storing radioactive waste.

The Department of Energy recently asked the Washington State Department of Ecologyto allow Hanford nuclear reservation workers to fill the longer of the two tunnels with concrete-like grout.

Federal officials requested an answer by July 23 to begin work in August.  Ecology, a regulator at the Hanford nuclear reservation, is legally required to give an answer as soon as it practically can.

Starting work in August would allow most work to be done before the worst of the winter weather makes roads icy, according to federal officials. The project will require 5,000 truckloads of grout.

“What DOE is asking is to take irreversible action — put grout in that tunnel — before the the public process really has a chance to get off the ground,” said Alex Smith, Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program manager.

But many worry about the decaying tunnel and upcoming winter weather.

A video inspection of the inside of the second tunnel shows corrosion of bolts and weld plates.

“It could go another 50 years. It could go another 50 days,” said Doug Shoop, manager of the DOE Richland Operations Office told the Hanford Advisory Board on Tuesday. “I wish I could tell you.”

An unusually wet and snowy winter may have contributed to the partial collapse of the first tunnel. Precipitation-soaked soil on top of the tunnel would have increased the weight on the tunnel’s flat roof made of timbers.

The coming winter also could be unusually wet, Al Farabee, a DOE Hanford project director, told the advisory board this week.

The state is legally required to hold a 45-day public comment period, which it plans to start on Aug. 13, according to the Department of Ecology. Public hearings are planned 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Richland library and Sept. 5 in Seattle.

The mayors of Kennewick, Richland, Pasco and West Richland sent a letter July 31 to Smith, saying they were frustrated by how long the state was taking to make a decision………

The issue stems from the partial collapse in May 2017 of the older of two PUREX plant waste storage tunnels.

Questions have been raised about how rail cars filled with waste could be removed eventually from a tunnel filled with grout, although DOE says cutting up the grouted waste and removing it should be possible.

The partial collapse of the first tunnel triggered a structural analysis of the second and longer waste storage tunnel, which was built in 1964, eight years after the first.
The analysis found the 1,700-foot tunnel also was at serious risk of collapse……..  Annette Cary; 509-582-1533; @HanfordNews

August 13, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Senators deplore Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s plan to weaken protections on decommissioning reactors, and on wastes

A group of senators recently sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) expressing concern over a draft proposed rule on nuclear
power plant decommissioning that has been presented to the commissioners
for review.

The rule includes proposed changes to emergency preparedness,
physical security, cyber security, funding assurance, financial protection
requirements and environmental considerations, among other issues.

Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),
and Kamala Harris (D-CA) said in their letter to NRC Chair Kristine L.
Svinicki that the rule would limit the general public’s opportunity to
participate in the decommissioning process.

They also wrote that the rule does not adequately address concerns about the long-term storage of spent
nuclear fuel and reduces financial protections, especially in case of an
accident, which increases financial risk for taxpayers and communities.
“By failing to propose a comprehensive set of decommissioning and cleanup
regulations, by automatically approving facilities’ exemptions from
safety, security and emergency planning regulations, and by continuing to
rubber-stamp the industry’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities
report, as currently drafted, this proposed regulation would abdicate the
NRC’s responsibility to ensure the safety of these plants,” the
senators wrote.

“This is more an absence of rulemaking than a rule that
will affirmatively guide plants and communities through the decommissioning

Daily Energy Insider 9th Aug 2018

August 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Egypt going into a huge debt to Russia for building Dabaa nuclear plant

Middle East Monitor 10th Aug 2018 , Egypt will obtain a license to build the Dabaa nuclear plant by mid-2020,
the Russian deputy minister of industry and trade said. Georgy Kalamanov
added that Russian experts are currently completing designing the nuclear
plant and surveying the area where it will be built.

In 2015, Russia andEgypt signed a deal which would see Russia build Egypt’s first nuclear
power plant in the Dabaa area, located on Egypt’s northwestern coast.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cairo would access a loan for the project
from Moscow. In 2016, the Egyptian official Gazette reported that the loan
would amount to $25 billion, which would finance 85 per cent of the cost of
contracts signed for the plant’s construction. The loan repayment period
is 35 years. Egypt will finance the remaining 15 per cent.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment