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

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov saved the world


September 28, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, history, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

USA, Russia, South Korea and China, salivating at thought of huge Saudi Arabia market for nuclear reactors

U.S. Makes Shortlist for Saudi Nuclear-Plant Deal, One stumbling block: Negotiations over restrictions meant to prevent spread of weapons. WSJ By Timothy Puko, Sept. 26, 2018

Saudi Arabia has put the U.S. on its shortlist of potential partners competing to build nuclear-power plants in the kingdom, while the two countries negotiate how to do a deal without spreading nuclear weapons, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

The kingdom has been hearing offers from several countries, including Russia, South Korea and China, for what could be the biggest new market for nuclear power. Mr. Perry told reporters Wednesday the kingdom recently made a decision that keeps U.S. businesses— foremost Westinghouse… (subscribers only)

September 28, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Debunking the claims about generation IV nuclear waste

Generation IV nuclear waste claims debunked, Nuclear Monitor 24 Sept 18   Lindsay Krall and Allison Macfarlane have written an important article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists debunking claims that certain Generation IV reactor concepts promise major advantages with respect to nuclear waste management. Krall is a post-doctoral fellow at the George Washington University. Macfarlane is a professor at the same university, a former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission from July 2012 to December 2014, and a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future from 2010 to 2012.

Krall and Macfarlane focus on molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors, and draw on the experiences of the US Experimental Breeder Reactor II and the US Molten Salt Reactor Experiment.

The article abstract notes that Generation IV developers and advocates “are receiving substantial funding on the pretense that extraordinary waste management benefits can be reaped through adoption of these technologies” yet “molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors – due to the unusual chemical compositions of their fuels – will actually exacerbate spent fuel storage and disposal issues.”

Here is the concluding section of the article: Continue reading

September 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Solar and wind power back on the day after Hurricane Florida: nuclear and coal not so resilient

Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal — solar and wind were back the next day, 25 Sept 18Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity.Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina’s energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy’s customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica, the utility’s solar farms sustained no damage.

Traditional energy providers have fared less well. A dam breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station, a retired coal-fired power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, has sent coal ash flowing into a nearby river. Another plant near Goldsboro has three flooded ash basins, according to the Associated Press, while in South Carolina, floodwaters are reportedly threatening pits that contain ash, an industrial waste from burning coal.

The lesson, according to environmentalists: Utilities’ vulnerability to major storms underscores the urgency of shifting to energy that it is not only clean and renewable, but also more resilient.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

French government group to Mururoa to meet nuclear test veterans

French group to visit French Polynesia nuclear sites 27 September 2018 A French government commission is about to visit French Polynesia’s nuclear weapons test sites to help modify the French compensation law. The 12-member commission includes three of French Polynesia’s parliamentarians in Paris as well as representatives of ministries such as defence, health and justice.

The group is due to visit Moruroa, Rikitea and Tureia over the next week to hear testimony of how the weapons tests, which were carried out from 1966, affected people on the atolls.

The commission’s head Lana Tetuanui has told local media their visit may be seen as late but as the heirs of the bomb, they will do their part.

During the week-long visit, the group will meet local representatives as well as test veterans groups.

The commission is expected to report to the French prime minister Edouard Philippe before the end of the year.

The compensation law, known as the loi Morin, is widely seen as too restrictive as most compensation applications have been thrown out.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Following Transatomic’s failure, small modular nuclear reactors face uncertain future

Is it worth spending $millions on a nuclear technology whose only real purpose is to train nuclear technologists?

A good announcement and a bad announcement for two nuclear-energy startups,NuScale Power takes a step toward engineering; Transatomic power shuts down. Ars Technica, MEGAN GEUSS – 9/26/2018  “…………….The old light-water reactors that serve America’s grid today create nuclear waste that’s politically impossible to dispose of. Nuclear plants with traditional reactors are also extremely expensive to build and difficult to permit.

For these reasons, many nuclear hopefuls have looked to advanced nuclear technology. Several startups have popped up, promising to make either the waste problem or the expense problem go away.

This week, two advanced nuclear-technology startups have announced major news, both good and bad for the future of advanced nuclear technology………..

 Transatomic is going to close down, according to MIT Technology Review. Several years ago, the startup raised millions on promises to use spent nuclear waste as reactor fuel, as well as to “generate electricity 75 times more efficiently than conventional light-water reactors,” according to MIT Technology Review. The company later retracted that “75 times” claim after a review from MIT’s Nuclear Engineering Department found issue with it.

Instead, Transatomic revised its estimates in 2016 to say that its reactor would be able to generate more than two times as much energy per ton of mined uranium than a standard reactor.

The company’s design to use spent nuclear-reactor fuel in a molten salt reactor was also called into question, causing Transatomic to state in its 2016 revision that its design “does not reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel.”

The lost confidence made it harder for Transatomic to find funding to complete the $15 million it needed to build a prototype reactor, although it had raised about $4 million already……..

Onward to manufacturing

NuScale Power, based out of Portland, Oregon issued a press release today saying that, after 18 months of searching, it has selected manufacturing company BWX Technologies to begin engineering work that will lead to manufacturing the company’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

Phase 1 engineering and manufacturing begins today and will last until 2020, NuScale wrote, and then Phases 2 and 3—”preparing for fabrication” and “fabrication,” respectively—will continue from there……..

Small Modular Reactors don’t solve the nuclear-waste problem mentioned at the top of this article, but in theory, they might solve nuclear energy’s expense problem. Building smaller reactors that can be modularly expanded if necessary could not only keep siting, construction, and regulatory costs proportionally lower, but using the same manufacturing and construction crews to build more, smaller reactors would theoretically develop a workforce with expertise in building and installing reactors.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Consumer society, high energy, lifestyle underlies climate change

 9/26/18 Population has grown super-exponentially over the 20th century, which has led to some alarmist messages along the way. The most well known of them is the 1968 book, The Population Bomb, by Stanford professor Paul Ehrilch. Mass starvation due to the classic Malthusian catastrophe of population growth outpacing food production was predicted for the 1970s and 80s in the absence of immediate implementation of population reduction measures. This dire prediction did not materialize, of course, thanks to the Green Revolution.

The main drivers of population growth are death and birth rates—but the initial population size is important as well. Lifespan has lengthened due to medical miracles, while fertility has dropped across the board due to birth controls and family planning. But most importantly, because of the education and empowerment of women.

While population growth rates have declined, total population has continued to grow due to the initial size of the population, referred to as population momentum. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs projected in 2017 that Earth’s population would surpass 11 billion by 2100, despite these fertility and population growth rate trends.

The UN expects that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population for the latter half of the 21st century would be made up of a population with fertility rates below-replacement (less than 2.1 births per woman). And yet, there has been a steady call for population reduction—only now in the context of emission targets developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to meet global warming goals.

This “Population Climate Bomb” alarm is founded on ignoring several important factors that have brought us to this state of affairs as far as climate change is concerned. Foremost is the arbitrary accounting of the impact of population on climate, which neglects the global trade network where emissions are moved around hidden in goods and services.

Even the lowered fertility rates among the educated and empowered women may be associated with an unintended upward bump in per capita consumption (as discussed below). Additional complications arise because humanity has yet to chart a course to increasing the Human Development Index without increasing the environmental footprint. All developed countries have a high environmental footprint and no developing country can achieve higher standards of living without increasing its per capita consumption.

The IPCC has often been accused of ignoring population as a driver of climate change and global warming. Population projections are very much a part of the calculations for future scenarios on emission, mitigation and adaptation—but some would like a more explicit mention of the impact of population reduction on greenhouse gas emissions……….

The developed world has a narrow base of younger population with a nearly even distribution up to the aging population. Japan stands as a stark example of an ever growing aging population due to stagnating birth rates.  Developing countries on the other hand display a pyramidal age structure with a large base of population under 25. This offers a golden opportunity to educate and empower girls and young women. Nothing has proven more effective as a contraception than educating and empowering women.

Climate assessments including adaptation and mitigation scenarios by the IPCC are indeed better served by focusing on reducing energy intensity of GDPs and carbon intensity of energy production. Population is a problem that is solving itself. Our penchant for high-energy lifestyle shows no signs of diminishing. Our energies are best focused on evolving into carbon-neutral sapiens who will naturally settle into a healthy population level.

Raghu Murtugudde is a Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Earth System Science at the University of Maryland. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in India. His research focuses On the role of the oceans on climate variability and change including the biological feedbacks on climate.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

“Protect Texas from Radioactive Waste Tour” on its way to Midland

Anti-nuclear waste tour to come through Midland, Meetings push to block a proposal to transport used nuclear fuel by train and store it in West Texas, MRT, by Matt Zdun, Texas Tribune , September 26, 2018  Organizers of the “Protect Texas from Radioactive Waste Tour” plan to travel to five Texas cities over the next week in protest of a proposed plan to store used nuclear materials in West Texas.Several Texas organizations gathered in Houston on Tuesday to kick off their “Protect Texas from Radioactive Waste Tour,” the beginning of a renewed push to block a proposal to transport used nuclear fuel by train through Texas and store it in West Texas.

The tour’s organizers said they want to make people aware of the “high risk” implications of a proposal to build and operate a facility for 40,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel rods at an existing site in Andrews County.

If approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the project by Interim Storage Partners, a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA, would transport nuclear waste from around the country to the consolidated site in Texas and store it until a long-term storage site becomes available, according to the venture’s website.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in an August letter it would begin reviewing Interim Storage Partners’ license application and that its safety, security and environmental reviews of the proposal could conclude as early as August 2020.

Karen Hadden, the executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, told The Texas Tribune that announcement triggered renewed opposition to the project and is one of the reasons for the tour.

The organizations involved — the Coalition of Community Organizations, Nuclear Information and Resource Services, Beyond Nuclear, the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition and Public Citizen — held a news conference by a railroad crossing in Houston, said Tom Smith, the special projects director of consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen. Smith, who helped organize the tour, said in an interview with the Tribune that the news conference featured a 16-foot railroad container meant to replicate the transport cask that Interim Storage Partners would use to transport used nuclear fuel.

We’re by the railroad tracks because we’re emphasizing that Texas businesses, hospitals and schools by the railroads are at high risk,” Hadden said. “It’s a bad idea to bring [nuclear waste] from around the country into Texas.”

The organizations instead want the used nuclear material to be kept at reactor sites in sturdier containers until a permanent storage site becomes available.

Smith said the proposed project presents a number of risks. A railroad accident would be disastrous, he said, because it could expose the public to harmful radiation and could cost municipalities hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up.

He also said nuclear waste on railcars running through densely populated areas like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio is at “high risk of terrorist sabotage.”…….

Smith said that after the news conference, the organizations planned to ask the Houston City Council to adopt a resolution against the proposed transportation of the nuclear material. He added that commissioners in San Antonio and Midland have already adopted similar resolutions.

“We’re trying to raise awareness because a lot of people don’t know this is planned,” Hadden said. She also said she hopes the tour will encourage people to submit comments on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website before the Oct. 19 deadline………

September 28, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

The relative hazards of nuclear fuel in reactor cores, spent fuel pools, and dry storage

September 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S. Appeals Court upholds New York program to subsidize nuclear plants

Federal court upholds New York program to subsidize nuclear plants, Washington Examiner, by Josh Siegel, September 27, 2018 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on Thursday upheld the legality of New York’s program that props up struggling nuclear plants to provide electricity without carbon dioxide emissions.

The court said the state subsidy program does not interfere with the power that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has over wholesale electricity markets, as charged by other electricity suppliers who filed suit, including the Electric Power Supply Association.

The three-judge panel acknowledged that New York’s program would keep nuclear plants alive, and raise costs for competitors, but said those effects were “incidental.”

……..The ruling comes a few weeks after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld a similar policy in Illinois………

FERC has filed amicus briefs in the cases affirming the programs do not preempt the agency’s legal authority set by the Federal Power Act.

Critics say the programs bailout failing nuclear plants in the state, that are struggling to compete with lower cost natural gas and renewables.

The Trump administration is considering a bigger, widely contested plan, on a national scale, to require grid operators to buy power from a select list of coal and nuclear plants.

Environmentalists cheered the state court rulings as a signal that courts consider states to have broad power to set clean energy goals, and to impose policies to achieve them. For example, many states have renewable portfolio standards requiring generators to obtain more and more of their electricity from clean sources.

“The 2nd Circuit’s decision rejecting a challenge to [New York’s] ZEC program may be narrowly covered as a decision affecting nuclear resources, but the much bigger reason it is major news is because it eliminates legal uncertainty for states in designing clean energy programs,” said Miles Farmer, a clean energy attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a Twitter post.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight Has Consequences for Climate Law

September 28, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Vatican will continue condemning nuclear weapons

Arch. Gallagher: Holy See will continue opposing nuclear weapons, Vatican News 

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, addresses a United Nations General Assembly meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons. By Robin Gomes, 27 Sept 18

The Holy See said on Wednesday it will continue to argue against both the possession and the use of nuclear weapons, saying the total elimination of nuclear weapons is not only a security issue, but a moral, humanitarian and environmental imperative.

The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher made the statement at a high-level meeting at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly to mark the September 26 International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Threat of annihilation

“The world is not safer with nuclear weapons; it is more dangerous,” Archbishop Gallagher said.  “A policy that relies on the possession of nuclear weapons,” he said, “is contradictory to the spirit and purpose of the United Nations because nuclear weapons cannot create for us a stable and secure world, and because peace and international stability cannot be founded on mutually assured destruction or on the threat of total annihilation.”

Environmental, humanitarian consequences

Speaking about the environmental disasters and humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, the Holy See official whose portfolio is equivalent to that of foreign minister, encouraged all countries to make the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) a reality by ensuring its entry into force….

September 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel removed from Oyster Creek plant – to concrete casks

Shutdown of N.J. power plant continues with removal of nuclear fuel The Associated Press

The owner of what was considered to be America’s oldest nuclear power plant until its shutdown last week says it has removed the nuclear fuel from the reactor.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. has notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it removed the last of the fuel rods from the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station on Tuesday.

The material was placed into a spent fuel pool where it will cool down for at least two years.

The fuel eventually will be placed into sealed concrete casks for longer-term storage on the grounds of the former plant in Lacey Township in New Jersey.

A Jupiter, Florida company, Holtec International, plans to buy the plant and move the fuel to an interim disposal site it is proposing in New Mexico.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Scientists study North Korea’s nuclear tests, and the earthquakes

Earthquake Studies Reveal the True Cost of North Korea’s Nuclear Tests Inverse,  By Emma Betuel September 26, 2018
On September 3, 2017, North Korea tested a nuclear bomb 17 times larger than the one that leveled Hiroshima, sending ripples of alarm across the world. More than just raise the eyebrows of policy makers, the blast also piqued the interest of experts at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, who show in a pair of recent papers that last September’s nuclear test may be responsible for many of the aftershocks that occurred in the past year.

While some existing research argues it’s unlikely that a nuclear test could cause a massive earthquake, the two papers identify 13 high-frequency tremors that traveled through North Korea in the months following the September test. More importantly, they confirm which of them were triggered by the explosion, which were unrelated earthquakes, and which — as some have feared — were caused by additional nuclear tests.

“North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests, but the latest one was huge. That’s what we’ve analyzed the signals from,” Woon Young Kim, Ph.D., the lead author of the Seismological Research Letters paper and a professor of seismology geology and tectonophysics, tells Inverse. “The question was: Were they explosions or were they earthquakes?”

The earliest rumblings occurred just eight minutes after the initial nuclear test but were not included in the paper’s aftershock count. But two occurred later that month and another on October 12. In December there were five more. The tremors continued into 2018, with four in February and the final one on April 22.

The issue, explains Kim, is that scientists were aware of these tremors as they occurred but nobody knew why they were happening. At the time, some expertsidentified these tremors as evidence that North Korea was testing more nukes on a smaller scale, but Kim’s new paper, published in conjunction with another studyauthored by his colleague David Schaff, Ph.D., suggests not only that some of those tremors were actually just earthquakes but also that they were tightly grouped along a fault line, where similar events will likely occur in the future.

Bomb or Earthquake?

To find out whether these shakes were organic or the result of nuclear testing, Kim analyzed two major wave types measured after the tests. Whenever the earth shakes (whether it’s due to an explosion or not), the first rumble to roll by is called an “P-wave” or primary wave. It’s typically the first wave to get picked up by monitoring stations and travels around six kilometers per second.

…….. After more analysis, the researchers concluded that “event 8” was actually an earthquake, together with two other suspected explosions.

“There have been about three events at the North Korea test site that we feel were misclassified,” Schaff tells Inverse. “No method is 100 percent certain, but combining the two methods, I was able to say with a very high probably of certainty that these were earthquakes.”

The Real Consequences of September 3, 2017

The good news is that these results suggest that North Korea isn’t testing bombs as frequently as some might fear They do, however, suggest that there could be something going on underneath the surface as a result of the September 3 explosion.

Using the data provided by Kim, Schaff showed that the tremors following the explosion were clustered along a unified path. As it turns out, what had originally looked like a random spattering of explosions and earthquakes over an area spanning five kilometers was actually a cluster of tremors that occurred within about 700 meters of one another near North Korea’s Chinese border.

The activity around this fault line can actually be traced back to that initial explosion in September of last year, explains Kim. “It’s not 100 percent sure, but I think somehow that the nuclear test was so large that it triggered these small seismic events to the north of the area,” he says.

As some have feared, it appears that North Korea’s testing hasaltered the landscape, at least near the surface of the Earth. In April, Kim Jong-Un announced that North Korea would stop testing nukes in its mountainous hideaway beneath Mt. Mantap, a move that Chinese scientists have suggested is due to the fact that a number of underground tunnels have collapsed beneath the mountain. Other studies have also suggested that continued testing has blown bits of Mt. Mantap to smithereens, making it a non-useful test site.

Should North Korea start testing again, says Schaff, he will be eager to continue the project. “It’s nice to be working on something that affects the state of the world we’re living in,” he says. “This is more than just knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | environment, North Korea, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sellafield nuclear site’s water use – a massive drain on Cumbria’s rivers and lakes

Radiation Free Lakeland 25th Sept 2018 The rain returned several weeks ago and our gardens and fields have
returned to their usual shades of green. However, United Utilities still
finds it necessary to take full-page advertisements urging us all “to use
a little less water,” to spend less time in the shower, to turn off the
tap when brushing teeth etc. These are, of course in themselves, laudable
actions, but it also seems reasonable to ask ‘Where has all the water
gone? ‘ and, subsequently, to speculate that a big part of the answer
lies in the enormous quantities of water being extracted from Cumbria’s
rivers and lakes to cool and service the many serious hazards that remain
at the Sellafield nuclear site, including Building 30.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | UK, water | Leave a comment