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Employee faked radiation test data at Swiss nuclear plant 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/safety-protocols_employee-faked-radiation-test-data-at-swiss-nuclear-plant/44723344T JANUARY 31, 2019 2:43 PMJAN 31, 2019 A worker at the Leibstadt nuclear power plant near Zurich was found to have fabricated data on safety tests that were not even performed.  The authorities claim this did not affect the safe operation of the plant.

The employee concerned failed to perform biannual tests on three mobile radiation measuring devices since 2016. The devices need to be tested to ensure they function properly. Instead, the worker entered fabricated data into the inspection logs.

The devices in question are used to measure radiation from containers for radioactive fuel before they are transported to an interim storage facility at another location. Once at the interim storage facility, the radiation levels of the containers are measured again.

According to the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (SFNSI)external link, no significant differences in radiation levels were observed between the plant and the interim storage facility, indicating that the error did not pose a threat to safety. Personnel transporting the radioactive fuel did not show any unexpected level of exposure.

Axpo, the company that operates and owns the plant, will have to submit a detail report SFNSI by February and the latter will make the final conclusions public. A review of other inspection protocols will later be conducted by an independent body.

“Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated one. It is part of a series of incidents at the Leibstadt power plant linked to human error,” said Georg Schwarz, deputy director of SFNSI in a statement on Wednesday. “Steps must now be taken to sustainably improve the safety culture at this facility.”

SFNSI already conducts around a 100 announced and unannounced inspection of the plant every year. This number is expected to increase significantly in the current year.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Grim outlook for uranium industry -financial analyst Jayant Bhandari

Investing News 29th Jan 2019, Speaking with the Investing News Network at this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, financial analyst Jayant Bhandari made a case for avoiding uranium projects, saying that low demand and the rise of renewable energy mean the commodity’s future is grim. “Most uranium-mining projects do not make sense unless uranium prices go up by100 or 200 percent,” said Bhandari.   https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/energy-investing/uranium-investing/jayant-bhandari-uranium-green-credentials-camouflage/?mqsc=E4025852

February 2, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Cleanup estimate for Hanford nuclear site increases by $82B

February 1, 2019 The Hanford nuclear site in Washington state became contaminated following the production of about two-thirds of the country’s plutonium for nuclear weapons programs. A new estimate puts the cost of remaining cleanup efforts at $242 billion, which is $82 billion more than previously thought……. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/cleanup-estimate-for-hanford-nuclear-site-increases-by-82b/

February 2, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, wastes | Leave a comment

Judge refuses to unseal criminal charges against Assange

January 31, 2019  FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request to unseal criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that were mistakenly revealed in another case.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a 10-page ruling that free-press advocates seeking to unseal the charges have no proof Assange has actually been charged.

The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press sought to unseal the charges after a federal prosecutor inadvertently typed a reference to “the fact that Assange has been charged” in an unrelated case.

The government has acknowledged it made an error but has not publicly confirmed that charges against Assange have been filed.

After the mistake was made, news outlets including The Associated Press reported that Assange has indeed been charged. But those reports relied on anonymous sources.

The precise charges against Assange are unclear. The Wikileaks founder has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 under a grant of asylum and has long expressed fear of a U.S. prosecution. WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables. In addition, WikiLeaks’ role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.

Criminal charges typically remain secret and under seal until a defendant has been arrested to prevent a target from fleeing prosecution or destroying evidence. Lawyers for the free-press foundation said that rationale for secrecy no longer exists given the inadvertent disclosure and the fact that Assange has long assumed he has been charged.

Brinkema, though, wrote in her ruling that the Reporters Committee “has not demonstrated with sufficient certainty that Assange has been charged. Unlike in other high-profile cases, the Government has not affirmatively disclosed that charges have been filed. Although the Government acknowledges that it made a mistake … the nature of that mistake is fundamentally unclear.”

Katie Townsend, a lawyer for the Reporters Committee, said no decision has been made on whether to appeal. “The disclosure of the nature of the charges against Assange are a matter of public interest and should be made public,” she said.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Anniversary of the momentous Cumbria County Council “no to a GDF” decisio

Council halted the search for a site to bury the nation’s nuclear waste
in Cumbria. In a impassioned speech, Council Leader, and now Cumbria Trust
Director, Eddie Martin refused to let the Managing Radioactive Waste (MRWS)
search process continue, recognising the overwhelming level of local
opposition and Cumbria’s unsuitable geology, amongst a number of other
reasons.

Copeland borough council’s strategic nuclear and energy board
have already started to hold meetings behind closed doors to discuss
joining the new process. As well as sidelining the county council, the new
process also ignores public opinion. The first and only opportunity the
public will have to stop the undemocratic process is after 20 years, during
which time the area will be subjected to intrusive investigations and
significant blight.
https://cumbriatrust.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/anniversary-of-the-momentous-cumbria-county-council-no-to-a-gdf-decision/

February 2, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Clean-up of molten salt nuclear reactor continuing – new plan to reduce the costs

Crews start project to reduce maintenance, operations costs at Molten Salt Reactor, Oak Ridge Today, JANUARY 22, 2019, BY JOHN HUOTARI Cleanup crews started a $4.7 million project this month to reduce maintenance and operations costs at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, which was shut down 50 years ago at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.The project is expected to save nearly $25 million in costs, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management said in an “EM Update” published Tuesday.

The cost-reduction project will relocate employees stationed at the decades-old facility. Personnel currently housed in the building will move to other site locations to help with other projects, the “EM Update” said……..

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment operated for only four years in the 1960s,  …….

Oak Ridge Today reported in November 2017 that DOE was, at the time, studying whether to entomb parts of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Those parts were reported to be too radioactively “hot” for humans. The current status of the entombment proposal wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday evening.

In 2017, Jay Mullis, manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, said most of the fuel at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, a unique reactor that operated from June 1965 to December 1969, was removed about 10 years ago. That included uranium, plutonium, and some uranium-233.

Oak Ridge Today reported at that time that some residual fuel and fission products remained, including cesium and strontium.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management has previously estimated the cost of removing the salt from the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and disposing of it at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico at between $150 million to $200 million. It’s not clear if that estimate has changed.

In the meantime, several million dollars has been spent each year on surveillance and maintenance at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and liquid and gaseous waste operations at ORNL, including at what are known as “hot cells,” and costs were expected to increase. Federal officials had asked for $12 million for those surveillance and maintenance operations in fiscal year 2019, the current fiscal year. Oak Ridge Today did not immediately have information on Tuesday about what amount was actually appropriated.

In 2017, Mullis said the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, which had a control room and reactor room, is degrading…….https://oakridgetoday.com/2019/01/22/crews-start-project-reduce-maintenance-operations-costs-molten-salt-reactor/

February 2, 2019 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

Low-flying choppers monitoring radiation in Atlanta (fears of nuclear terrorism?)

Low-flying choppers monitoring radiation https://wtkr.com/2019/01/27/low-flying-choppers-monitoring-radiation/JANUARY 27, 2019, BY CNN WIRE ATLANTA, GA (WGCL) – If you’re in downtown Atlanta or around Buckhead for the Super Bowl Experience or regular business, you might see some low-flying helicopters over the area.

The choppers are from the U.S. Department of Energy and are serving a specific purpose.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, is conducting the low-altitude flights as part of security operations for Super Bowl LIII. The choppers will measure naturally occurring background radiation, according to the NNSA.

The measurement of naturally occurring radiation will establish baseline levels and is considered a normal part of security and emergency preparedness, according to the NNSA. The agency said it was making the public aware of the flights to avoid any panic or alarm.

The helicopters, Bell 412 choppers, will fly in a grid pattern over the areas at 150 feet or higher at a speed of approximately 80 miles per hour, according to the Department of Energy. Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours and should take roughly three hours to complete per area scanned.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Washtenaw County’s preparations – in the event of a nuclear disaster

Here’s what could happen in a nuclear disaster in Washtenaw County, By Ryan Stanton | ryanstanton@mlive.com ANN ARBOR, MI , 1 Feb 19, – As Ann Arbor considers calling on the state and federal governments to better prepare for nuclear disaster, county officials note there already are some emergency plans in place.

Washtenaw County does not stockpile potassium iodide as some city officials are calling for in a proposed resolution, said Dave Halteman, the county’s emergency services director.

But in the event of an incident such as a meltdown at the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in southeast Michigan, the county would reach out to the state’s Emergency Operations Center to initiate access to a national pharmaceutical stockpile through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This plan has been in place for many years and the CDC stockpiles these pharmaceuticals in strategic locations all over the country,” Halteman said.

“However, given the potential time lapse in getting access to the national stockpile, I will continue to monitor Ann Arbor’s initiative to see how it might work on a county level.”

City Council will consider a resolution Monday, Feb. 4 calling for strengthening local emergency planning by stockpiling nonprescription potassium iodide in communities within 50 miles of the Fermi 2 plant, which is roughly 30 miles from Ann Arbor along Lake Erie.

The resolution would direct the city’s lobbying team to advocate to the state and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide the same level of KI protection to residents here as Canadian authorities provide to Ontario residents within 50 miles of the Fermi 2 plant.

The American Thyroid Association has called for pre-distribution of potassium iodide, also known as KI, to households within a 10-mile radius of nuclear power plants such as Fermi 2, and stockpiling it in public facilities such as schools, hospitals, clinics, post offices and police and fire stations in up to a 50-mile radius.

Timely ingestion of KI can reduce the effects of radiation and help prevent thyroid cancer in the event of a nuclear fallout, notes the resolution sponsored by Council Members Anne Bannister, D-1st Ward, and Chip Smith, D-5th Ward.

Without a local stockpile, it could take eight to 12 hours for CDC supplies to arrive, depending on the event, said Cindra James, the county’s public health preparedness administrator.

In some cases, it could be sooner based on local supplies, James said, noting the federal government has caches stockpiled “at various unknown locations that we aren’t privy to,” but those supplies can be accessed depending on need.

As far as potential evacuation of the county if there was a nuclear disaster, there’s no specific plan, but the county would coordinate with the state police and local law enforcement to close roads leading toward any hazard and redirect traffic away from the affected area, Halteman said.

The county’s outdoor warning sirens also would be activated followed by an emergency alert system message to inform the public via the media of the hazard and what actions to take, he said.

“We would also reach out to our transportation partners here in Washtenaw County to assist moving those without transportation,” he said, noting that could include the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and local school bus systems.

“Certainly the response would be scaled up or down to accommodate the size of the evacuation area,” Halteman said…….. https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/02/heres-what-could-happen-in-a-nuclear-disaster-in-washtenaw-county.html

February 2, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Bee-keeping business saved by the suspension of Wylfa Newydd nuclear project

Wales Farmer 1st Feb 2019 Multi-award winning bee keeper Katie Hayward, who runs Felin Honeybees, at
Cemlyn, near Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, is one the last people living in
immediate proximity to the now suspended Wylfa Newydd development at Cemaes
Bay. Since, the nuclear plans were first mooted, the future of Katie’s
farm, honey business and education centre was in “limbo” and many of
her activities ground to a halt when she was told she would have to leave
her property. Now, with the project officially suspended, Katie says she is
feeling a little more “optimistic” about her future and anticipates at
least a 12 month reprieve to get her farm business back on track.
https://www.walesfarmer.co.uk/news/17401966.limbo-of-beekeeper-in-shadow-of-angleseys-nuclear-plant/

February 2, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and corruption

Jacob Zuma given bags stuffed with cash every month for years, inquiry told The Times, 1 Feb 19, A bag stuffed with 300,000 rand in cash — about £17,000 — was delivered to Jacob Zuma when he was South African president every month for years by a corrupt business buying contracts and protection from prosecutors, an inquiry has been told.

The claim was made during extraordinary testimony by a whistleblower from a security company said to have bankrolled the extravagant lifestyles of Mr Zuma and other leading African National Congress (ANC) figures.

Angelo Agrizzi told the Zondo commission investigating South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid scandal that he personally organised much of the cash counting, gift buying and “special services” to Mr Zuma and his acolytes on behalf of a company, Bosasa, in return for state contracts……(Subscribers only) ……https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/south-africa-jacob-zuma-given-bags-stuffed-with-cash-every-month-for-years-inquiry-told-z0cw3n6l0

February 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment