nuclear-news

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

Nuclear news this week

Teetering about on the edge of nuclear war –  that seems to be Donald Trump’s favoured position for the world. Or is it just that he is determined to be the dramatic centre of attention at all times? Trump has just threatened Iran with ‘obliteration’, (hardly something designed to give the Iranians confidence about peaceful negotiation). Meanwhile Trump  received a “beautiful” letter from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who in turn received an “excellent” letter from Trump, although actual negotiations between USA and North Korea are at a standstill.  It would be funny, if it were not so serious.

A bit of good news:  ‘Projects For Good’ – This Ingenious Website Makes it Easier to Change the World

The Middle East presents a dangerous nexus of nuclear reactors and violence: military action is still an option. “It’s absolutely essential to avoid any form of escalation in the Gulf” – UN Secretary-General Antonio GuterresWorld’s nuclear weapons – fewer in number, but not safer.

Nuclear power to solve climate change? Too many sound reasons against it.

Researchers Find Radioactive Particles from Fukushima or other Nuclear Disasters Could Stay in Environment, Human Lungs for Decades.

The world’s societies on the brink of unmanageable climate chaos. Worrying feedback loop between damaged ozone layer and climate change.

ASIA. Devastating future for Himalayan region, as melting of glaciers has doubled since year 2000.

ARCTIC. Nuclear wastes and other poisons are being released by melting Arctic ice.

USA. 

SAUDI ARABIA. Fears that a nuclear Saudi Arabia will destabise the region. Trump’s secret support.  UN Investigator: ‘Credible Evidence’ Ties Saudi Crown Prince, Khashoggi Death.

IRAN. Iran has NO nuclear weapons program.

ISRAEL.    Israel’s Secretive Nuclear Facility Leaking as Watchdog Finds Israel Has Nearly 100 Nukes-.  Israel’s Netanyahu ramps up the rhetoric against Iran. Pre-emptive Nuclear War: The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran.  Concerns about the safety of Israel’s aging Dimona nuclear reactor.

RUSSIA. The worrying secrecy of Russia about the true state of its nuclear wastes. Nuclear company Rosatom on a drive to sell nuclear technology overseas.  Russia’s nuclear weapons and the religious connection.  Russian officials warn on terrorists’ plans to steal nuclear weapons.

JAPAN.  Hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from effects of Fukushima nuclear meltdown.  No Damages To Nuclear Power Plants Reported After Earthquake In Japan – Trade Ministry.  First 3 Days of 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Race Route Thru Fukushima.

UK. Danger of nuclear bomb convoys in Scotland Sizewell nuclear budget meltdown could hit taxpayers under EDF proposals.  High costs of Britain’s nuclear submarine graveyards.

FRANCE. France wants EDF to sell more nuclear power to rivals, price could increase.  France’s EDF struggling with the costs of fixing ever-delayed Flamanville EPR nuclear project.   To comply with Paris climate agreement, France could switch to 100% renewables.

GERMANY. German climate activists storm open cut coal mine.

CHINA. China’s new solar thermal power plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 metric tonnes yearly.

SWEDEN. Sweden says two aging nu Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurateclear reactors safe to run till 2028.

UKRAINE.  Latest Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan operating this year, at cost of nearly £2billion   Secret military facility near Chernobyl nuclear site. Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurate.

INDIA. Why India’s Hypersonic Missile Could Trigger A Nuclear War.

MARSHALL ISLANDS. No justice for Marshall islands, with rising seas and nuclear trash.

NEPAL. CT scan service shut following radiation leak.

AUSTRALIA. Australians are more likely to be scared about the costs of nuclear power, than about the Chernobyl miniseries.

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June 25, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | 7 Comments

The Middle East presents a dangerous nexus of nuclear reactors and violence: military action is still an option

Trump’s new Iran sanctions have put airstrikes on hold — but nuclear risks remain
History suggests these dark scenarios cannot be dismissed. Even more critical, available measures to reduce these dangers must not be ignored. June 25, 2019, NBC News THINK,  By Bennett Ramberg, Former policy analyst at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs

The Middle East presents a dangerous nexus of nuclear reactors and violence. It remains the only region where foreign powers have attacked their enemies’ nuclear plants. On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order putting in place what he called “hard-hitting” new sanctions on Iran. Should continuing tensions between Tehran and Washington boil over into intense hostilities, one ominous nuclear policy question cannot be ignored: Will the presence of reactors in an enlarged conflict zone open a Pandora’s box to the first radioactive war in history?

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, wrote in a 2015 New York Times opinion piece that Washington needed to aim for “breaking key links in [Iran’s] nuclear fuel cycle” through military action. (And envisioned Israel playing a role.) That military option became moot when the Obama administration signed the Iran deal. Now that Trump has withdrawn from the agreement, however, military action is again an option — as well as serious consequences should any action go forward.

Consider, for example, if the current tensions escalate to the point that Tehran crosses Washington’s red line, as it has threatened, and expands nuclear materials production, openly breaking the deal struck with the Obama administration and its allies. Would the United States decide the time had come to eliminate Iran’s nuclear enrichment and related facilities?

In the powder keg of the Middle East, would Iran’s mullahs or their Hezbollah proxy then seek to make good on longstanding threats to launch reprisal rockets at Israel’s Dimona weapons reactor, releasing radioactive elements? And would such an attack propel Israel to respond in kind by striking Iran’s much larger Bushehr nuclear power plant?

History suggests these dark scenarios cannot be dismissed. Even more critical, available measures to reduce these dangers must not be ignored……..

Today’s Middle East nuclear reactor profile has become more complex, though. Iran now operates one Russian-designed 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Bushehr and is building two others. In 2020, a new power reactor is scheduled to go online in the United Arab Emirates, where three others are under construction. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt also now plan power reactors. …..

If a nuclear plant is hit, the results could be radiation hazards never seen in warfare. Several factors complicate risk projections…….

Acknowledging that mutually assured radioactive contamination would result from nuclear reactor attacks should be sobering enough to prompt all across the Middle East to heed the terrible lessons of Chernobyl: Releases of large inventories of radiation into the environment only sow grief that will last generations, benefiting no one. now https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-new-iran-sanctions-have-put-air-strikes-hold-ncna1021056

June 25, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Deep Isolation of nuclear wastes could be an effective part of permanently shutting down this toxic industry

I don’t usually post James Conca’s work, as he is a propaganda voice for the nuclear industry. Here he’s praising a nuclear waste disposal  technology, because Conca sees it as being able to ensure that the radioactive trash might later be retrieved, and, miraculously, function as fuel for nuclear fast breeder reactor. 

However, this technology has advantages in the cause of PERMANENT disposal of used nuclear fuel rods – disposal that could be done fairly close to the point of origin – each nuclear power station.

This has promise as a viable technique, as part of PERMANENT SHUTDOWN OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY.

Deep Borehole Nuclear Waste Disposal Just Got A Whole Lot More Likely, Forbes, James Conca, 24 June 19  Deep Isolation is a recent start-up company from Berkeley that seeks to dispose of nuclear waste safely at a much lower cost than existing strategies.

The Deep Isolation strategy begins with a one-mile vertical access drillhole that curves into a two-mile horizontal direction where the waste is stored. The horizontal repository portion has a slight upward tilt that provides additional isolation, and isolating any mechanisms that could move radioactive constituents upward. They would have to move down first, then up, something that cannot occur by natural processes.

 DEEP ISOLATION

The borehole technology was developed to frack natural gas and oil wells, but Deep Isolation realized it could dispose of nuclear waste just as well.

Today the company announced it was partnering with nuclear giant Bechtel National, Inc. to bring Deep Isolation’s patented technology to fruition……. The idea of deep borehole disposal for nuclear waste is not new, but Deep Isolation is the first to consider horizontal wells and is the first to actually demonstrate the concept in the field (see figure), showing that the technology is not just theoretical. The field demonstration occurred on January 16th when it placed and retrieved a waste canister from thousands of feet underground.

The technology takes advantage of recently developed fracking technologiesto place nuclear waste in a series of two-mile-long tunnels, a mile below the Earth’s surface, where they’ll be surrounded by a very tight rock known as shale. This type of shale is so tight that it takes fracking technology to get any oil or gas out of it at all. ……..

Under this new agreement, Bechtel will provide support such as project management, financial/business and engineering capability for Deep Isolation’s sales in both domestic and international markets, including those with the U.S. Department of Energy. Deep Isolation will provide options to support Bechtel’s cleanup work at federal government sites around the country. Deep Isolation could also be a key player in Bechtel’s decommissioning contracts at commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. and worldwide.

James Taylor, general manager of Bechtel’s Environmental business line, said, “Deep geologic disposal is the scientific consensus for permanently removing and disposing used nuclear fuel and high-level waste from their current locations around the country. We have long-term expertise in design, engineering and licensing, as well as the boots-on-the-ground experience with the everyday challenges of cleaning up radioactive waste. “….. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2019/06/24/deep-borehole-nuclear-waste-disposal-just-got-a-whole-lot-more-likely/#489747b767c8

 

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

44% of Americans oppose a pre emptive strike on North Korea, 33%, mainly Trump supporters, support that idea

June 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, public opinion, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Israel’s Netanyahu ramps up the rhetoric against Iran

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Worrying feedback loop between damaged ozone layer and climate change

Damage to the ozone layer and climate change forming feedback loop
New report finds that impacts of ozone-driven climate change span the ecosystem 
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190624111536.htm  June 24, 2019  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Summary:
Increased solar radiation penetrating through the damaged ozone layer is interacting with the changing climate, and the consequences are rippling through the Earth’s natural systems, effecting everything from weather to the health and abundance of sea mammals like seals and penguins.
Increased solar radiation penetrating through the damaged ozone layer is interacting with the changing climate, and the consequences are rippling through the Earth’s natural systems, effecting everything from weather to the health and abundance of sea mammals like seals and penguins. These findings were detailed in a review article published today in Nature Sustainability by members of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, which informs parties to the Montreal Protocol.

What we’re seeing is that ozone changes have shifted temperature and precipitation patterns in the southern hemisphere, Continue reading

June 25, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The worrying secrecy of Russia about the true state of its nuclear wastes

Environmentalists concerned about where Andreyeva Bay spent nuclear fuel is being sent  Bellona, June 24, 2019 by Anna Kireeva, translated by Charles Digges

Representatives from Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear corporation, have sought to sooth environmentalist over concerns that removing tons of spent nuclear fuel from an old submarine base near Murmansk won’t cause further contamination risks at Mayak, the country’s notorious fuel reprocessor, located 3,000 kilometers to the south.

The submarine base is Andreyeva Bay, situated 60 kilometers east of Russia’s Norwegian border, and its cleanup is one of the most important joint environmental efforts that Oslo and Moscow have taken on in decades. Bellona has been at the forefront of advocating for the removal of the base’s 22,000 spent nuclear submarine fuel rods, which threaten to contaminate the Barents Sea.

After years of negotiations among Bellona, and the governments of Norway and Russia, removal of the fuel at Andreyeva Bay finally began in June of 2017. From there it is taken to Mayak, near the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk, for treatment and reprocessing.

But Mayak has a checkered past. Now one of he world’s most voluminous nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, the Mayak Production Association is also responsible for decades of nuclear contamination throughout the Ural region.

The Russian government also has a history of covering up that contamination, and it was these concerns that some environmentalists brought to a press conference in Tromsø, Norway when a joint Russian-Norwegian Commission on nuclear submarine disposal wrapped up on Friday.

Vitaly Servetnik, co-chairman of the Russian Social-Ecological Union, was among the environmentalists who attended the press conference, which was a first time event for the Commission, which has traditionally closed its doors to the press and the public.

“Sending spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from the Murmansk region to the Chelyabinsk Region, in our opinion, is not only moving the problem from one region to another through the whole country, but also aggravating existing problems in the areas around the Mayak plant,” Servetnik said, addressing the commission. “In addition, there is no information available to us about how much and what kind of waste is being brought there.”

It’s necessary to point out that Russia doesn’t view spent nuclear fuel as waste. The Russian nuclear industry — like the ones Britain and France but unlike the one in the United States — adopts a closed nuclear fuel cycle. This means that it treats spent nuclear fuel – including the submarine fuel found at Andreyeva Bay, as a resource from which more fuel can be synthesized.

At present, and for the foreseeable future, Mayak is the only facility in Russia capable of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. Simply not taking the spent nuclear fuel from Andreyeva Bay to Mayak, as Servetnik suggests, is therefore a technological impossibility for Russia’s nuclear industry.

Servetnik also expressed concern about the transparency about how Mayak is run, and how difficult it is to get information about its procedures if an environmental group is not a member of Rosatom’s public council.

“The real situation at Mayak is much worse than what Rosatom representatives are telling us about it,” he said at the conference.

Rosatom representatives who were present fundamentally disagreed with Servetnik’s statement……….

After the conclusion of the conference, Servetnik and other environmentalists who attended weren’t reassured by Rosatom’s insistence that they need not worry about the fuel transfers from Andreyeva Bay to Mayak.

“The state corporation views the movement of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel as part of an integrated process,” he said. “If that’s the case, then all of the attention the Russian and international community devoted to the project of cleaning up Andreyeva Bay should now be devoted to Chelyabinsk Region [where Mayak is located].”

Andrei Zolotkov, who heads Bellona’s Murmansk office, agrees that much of Mayak’s environmental history leaves much to be desired, that that its transparency about its activities past and present is required.

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear company Rosatom on a drive to sell nuclear technology overseas

Russia’s Rosatom Sees Foreign Revenues, New Products Fuelling Rapid Growth, The state nuclear company aims to triple its revenues through new projects.   Moscow Times, 24 June 19, Russian state nuclear company Rosatom aims to triple its revenues in U.S. dollar terms by 2030, driven by foreign projects from Belarus to Bangladesh and new product areas such as carbon fibre, its chief executive told Reuters.

Rosatom is the world’s only integrated nuclear firm, providing a one stop shop from uranium enrichment to handling nuclear waste, after its two biggest rivals Areva and Westinghouse hit financial troubles.

Alexey Likhachyov, 58, has led Rosatom since 2016, with goals to increase competitiveness, add new markets and products, and boost its share of global nuclear technology exports.

By 2030, he expects up to 70 percent of Rosatom’s revenue to come from outside Russia and up to 40 percent from new products, including non-nuclear ones.

“The first step is to implement our entire order book portfolio — this is around $190 billion overall, of which $133 billion is for this decade. Out of these, around $90 billion are (started) plants abroad. This is 12 countries,” he said.

Rosatom is the world’s biggest nuclear company by foreign orders, with a total of 36 nuclear blocks on order outside Russia, including in Belarus, Bangladesh, China, India, Turkey, Finland, Hungary and Egypt. …….. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/24/russias-rosatom-sees-foreign-revenues-new-products-fuelling-rapid-growth-a66135

June 25, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Concerns about the safety of Israel’s aging Dimona nuclear reactor

Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor isn’t Chernobyl, but does have vulnerabilities  A disaster at Israel’s reactor would be far less catastrophic than the 1986 meltdown, but the core is being kept in service far longer than intended, and experts warn that’s risky, Times of Israel, By JUDAH ARI GROSS 24 June 19, The hit television miniseries “Chernobyl” has reminded the world of the ever-present specter of a nuclear catastrophe made possible by the deadly combination of negligence, ignorance and incompetence…….

The effects of the reactor explosion are still seen and felt today, inside the exclusion zone and far beyond, with a still unfolding impact on people, wildlife and plants. Notably, hundreds of thousands of so-called liquidators risked their lives and long-term health to contain the radiation after the explosion, including some 1,500 who live in Israel and are woefully neglected by the government.
Could such a catastrophe occur in Israel’s own nuclear reactor, the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center outside Dimona, in the south of the country? In a rocket strike on the facility — which IranHezbollahPalestinian Islamic JihadHamas and Syria have each threatened or attempted to carry out — would large swaths of the Jewish state become contaminated with radioactive material? Or what about in a large earthquake along the Syrian-African rift, which is expected at some point in the coming years?
………… there are safety concerns connected to Dimona — namely that its core is aging, and will nevertheless continue to be used as Israel is unlikely to get a new one — and these often go undiscussed in public due to the largely classified nature of the facility, which produces fissile material for nuclear weapons, according to foreign media reports.
Israel is believed by foreign governments and media to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear power, but has long refused to confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons, and officially maintains that the Dimona plant focuses on research and energy provision ……
In a nuclear catastrophe in Dimona, cleaning up this molecule    [Cesium-137 ] — which can easily mix with groundwater and is readily absorbed by people, animals and plants — would present a significant challenge, requiring large amounts of resources. This radioactive molecule is still being foundin marine life around Japan, some eight years after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.  ………

Rocket attacks aren’t the only threat

In addition to the overt threats posed to the Dimona nuclear reactor by terror groups and enemy nations, as well as by earthquakes and other natural disasters, one of the less-discussed concerns surrounding the core is its advancing age and Israel’s apparent resolve to keep it running regardless, the expert said.

The Dimona nuclear core, which was given to Israel by France and went active in the early 1960s, is one of the oldest still operating in the world.

Originally designed to operate for 40 years, the core is now being pushed to remain in service for twice that, according to the expert.

This is not from frugality or unwillingness on Israel’s part to purchase a new core, but a legal inability or disinclination by the countries that produce these cores to sell one to the Jewish state, as Jerusalem refuses to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

As a result of Israel’s inability to replace the nuclear core, it is motivated to keep it in service for as long as possible, the atomic expert said, replacing and upgrading whatever parts it can and carefully monitoring the components it can’t for any possible “show-stopping” signs of trouble, notably in its aluminum reactor tank…….

Despite the government’s assurances, several Israeli nuclear experts — including some of the scientists who founded the Dimona reactor — as well as politicians have for years been calling for the aging core to be shut down over the risks it posed. ……

One of the central issues regarding Dimona’s safety is that it has no independent oversight. Since Israel is a non-signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency do not inspect the site, nor do American inspectors, who did monitor the reactor in its early days until they determined that their checks were effectively worthless as many aspects of the site were being kept hidden from them. Instead, the reactor is monitored by Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission — the same body that is responsible for running it.

The highly classified nature of the work there also limits the amount of public debate about the nuclear research center……..

This secrecy and lack of independent oversight means Israelis (and to a lesser extent Jordanians) can only hope that the government is doing its all to prevent a nuclear catastrophe — albeit one that would be far smaller than Chernobyl. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-dimona-nuclear-reactor-isnt-chernobyl-but-does-have-vulnerabilities/

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Israel, safety | Leave a comment

France wants EDF to sell more nuclear power to rivals, price could increase,

France wants EDF to sell more nuclear power to rivals, price could increase, Bate Felix, PARIS (Reuters) 24 19,- The French government plans to increase the amount of nuclear energy utility EDF is forced to sell to its competitors by 50 percent to 150 terawatt hours and is in talks with the European Commission to potentially raise the fixed price.The government aims to have both measures ready before the November auction window of the so-called ARENH market mechanism, under which EDF’s rivals bid for wholesale nuclear electricity for the year ahead, the energy ministry said.

If we want power prices to be contained in 2020, we need to increase the ceiling and it is the wish of the government to move quickly on those two measure before the November auction window,” an official of the energy ministry told journalists.

There would likely be a slight increase in the fixed price”, the official added.

The EU’s executive arm, which regulates market competition in the bloc would have to approve any change in the fixed wholesale nuclear price……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-electricity/france-wants-edf-to-sell-more-nuclear-power-to-rivals-price-could-increase-idUSK

June 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Scientifically ignorant, is Australia’s Morrison government being conned into buying Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?

Fukushima, the ‘nuclear renaissance’ and the Morrison Government, Independent Australia, By Helen Caldicott | 25 June 2019 Now that the “nuclear renaissance” is dead following the Fukushima catastrophe, when one-sixth of the world’s nuclear reactors closed, the nuclear corporations – Toshiba, Nu-Scale, Babcock and Wilcox, GE Hitachi, Cameco, General Atomics and the Tennessee Valley Authority – will not accept defeat, nor will the ill-informed Morrison Government…..

To be quite frank, almost all of our politicians are scientifically and medically ignorant and in an age where scientific evolution has become extraordinarily sophisticated, it behoves us – as legitimate members of democracy – to both educate ourselves and our naive and ignorant politicians for they are not our leaders, they are our representatives.

Many of these so-called representatives are now being cajoled into believing that electricity production in Australia could benefit from a new form of atomic power in the form of small modular reactors (SMRs), allegedly free of the dangers inherent in large reactors — safety issues, high cost, proliferation risks and radioactive waste.

But these claims are fallacious, for the reasons outlined below.

Basically, there are three types of small modular reactors (SMRs), which generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity compared with current 1,000-megawatt reactors.

1. Light-water reactors

These will be smaller versions of present-day pressurised water reactors, using water as the moderator and coolant, but with the same attendant problems as Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Built underground, they will be difficult to access in the event of an accident or malfunction.

Because they’re mass-produced (turnkey production), large numbers must be sold yearly to make a profit. This is an unlikely prospect because major markets — China and India — will not buy our reactors when they can make their own.

If safety problems arise, they all must be shut down, which will interfere substantially with electricity supply.

SMRs are expensive because the cost per unit capacity increases with a decrease in reactor size. Billions of dollars of government subsidies will be required because investors are allergic to nuclear power. To alleviate costs, it is suggested that safety rules be relaxed.

2. Non-light-water designs

These include high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) or pebble-bed reactors. Five billion tiny fuel kernels consisting of high-enriched uranium or plutonium will be encased in tennis-ball-sized graphite spheres that must be made without cracks or imperfections — or they could lead to an accident. A total of 450,000 such spheres will slowly and continuously be released from a fuel silo, passing through the reactor core and then recirculated ten times. These reactors will be cooled by helium gas operating at high very temperatures (900 degrees Celcius).

A reactor complex consisting of four HTGR modules will be located underground, usually to be run by just two operators in a central control room. Claims are that HTGRs will be so “safe” that a containment building will be unnecessary and operators can even leave the site (“walk-away-safe” reactors).

However, should temperatures unexpectedly exceed 1,600 degrees Celcius, the carbon coating will release dangerous radioactive isotopes into the helium gas and at 2,000 degrees Celcius, the carbon would ignite, creating a fierce, Chernobyl-type graphite fire.

If a crack develops in the piping or building, radioactive helium would escape and air would rush in, also igniting the graphite.

Although HTGRs produce small amounts of low-level waste, they create larger volumes of high-level waste than conventional reactors.

Despite these obvious safety problems, and despite the fact that South Africa has abandoned plans for HTGRs, the U.S. Department of Energy has unwisely chosen the HTGR as the “next-generation nuclear plant.” There is a push for Australia to follow suit.

3. Liquid-metal fast reactors (PRISM)

It is claimed by proponents that fast reactors will be safe, economically competitive, proliferation-resistant and sustainable.

They are fueled by plutonium or highly enriched uranium and cooled by either liquid sodium or a lead-bismuth molten coolant. Liquid sodium burns or explodes when exposed to air or water, and lead-bismuth is extremely corrosive, producing very volatile radioactive elements when irradiated.

Should a crack occur in the reactor complex, liquid sodium would escape, burning or exploding. Without coolant, the plutonium fuel could reach critical mass, triggering a massive nuclear explosion, scattering plutonium to the four winds. One-millionth of a gram of plutonium induces cancer — and it lasts for 500,000 years. Extraordinarily, they claim that fast reactors will be so safe that they will require no emergency sirens and that emergency planning zones can be decreased.

There are two types of fast reactors: a simple, plutonium-fueled reactor and a “breeder,” in which the plutonium-reactor core is surrounded by a blanket of uranium 238, which captures neutrons and converts to plutonium.

The plutonium fuel, obtained from spent reactor fuel, will be fissioned and converted to shorter-lived isotopes, caesium and strontium, which last 600 years instead of 500,000. The industry claims that this process, called “transmutation,” is an excellent way to get rid of plutonium waste. But this is fallacious because only ten per cent is fissioned, leaving 90 per cent of the plutonium for bomb-making and so on.

Then there’s construction. Three small plutonium fast reactors are grouped together to form a module and three of these modules will be buried underground. All nine reactors will then be connected to a fully automated central control room operated by only three operators. Potentially, then, one operator could face a catastrophic situation triggered by the loss of off-site power to one unit at full power, another shut down for refuelling and one in startup mode. There are to be no emergency core cooling systems.

Fast reactors require massive infrastructure, including a reprocessing plant to dissolve radioactive waste fuel rods in nitric acid, chemically removing the plutonium and a fuel fabrication facility to create new fuel rods. A total of 14-23 tonnes of plutonium are required to operate a fuel cycle at a fast reactor, and just five pounds is fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Thus fast reactors and breeders will provide extraordinary long-term medical dangers and the perfect situation for nuclear-weapons proliferation. Despite this, the Coalition Government is considering their renaissance.  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/fukushima-the-nuclear-renaissance-and-the-morrison-government,12834

June 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear reactor facility halted after ‘safety incident’

Two workers exposed to unsafe radiation dose at Lucas Heights nuclear facility, Guardian, Michael McGowan @mmcgowan 24 Jun 2019

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear medicine facility halted after ‘safety incident’   Production has ceased and an urgent investigation has been launched after two employees at a newly opened Australian nuclear medicine facility at Lucas Heights were exposed to an unsafe dose of radiation late last week.Just two weeks after it was granted a licence to enter into full domestic production, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) has confirmed production at its new $168m nuclear medicine facility has been halted after “a safety incident” on Friday morning.

Ansto said three of its workers were “attended to by radiation protection personnel” after the incident, in which contamination was detected on the outside of a container holding 42 millilitres of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).

Two of those workers received a radiation dose above the legal limit roughly equivalent to a conventional cancer radiation therapy treatment, an Ansto spokesman said……

Located at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility in Sydney’s south, the $168m nuclear medicine facility was announced by the federal government in 2012 with the goal of tripling Australian production of Mo-99, the parent isotope of Technetium-99m. …..

It is the second contamination scare at the Lucas Heights facility in only a few months.

In March three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility were taken to hospital after they were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/24/two-workers-exposed-to-unsafe-radiation-dose-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-facility

June 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Insurer Looks at Ending Cover for Gambling, Arms, Nuclear Power

Insurer Looks at Ending Cover for Gambling, Arms, Nuclear Power

  •  ASR Nederland may refuse to sell insurance to 243 companies
  •  Allianz says engaging with ‘black sheep’ will do more good

Europe’s biggest insurers refuse to sell policies to coal miners and arms producers. A Dutch firm may go further by denying coverage to gambling companies and nuclear-power generators.

The asset-management arm of ASR Nederland NV already has a list of 243 companies that it won’t invest in for ethical reasons. Now the Utrecht, Netherlands-based firm is considering applying that list to the insurance side as well, according to Chief Executive Officer Jos Baeten.,,,, (subscribers onlyhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-24/insurer-looks-at-ending-cover-for-gambling-arms-nuclear-power

June 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Sweden says two aging nuclear reactors safe to run till 2028

Sweden says two aging nuclear reactors safe to run till 2028, OSLO (Reuters) 24 June 19 Vattenfall’s Forsmark 1 and 2 reactors in Sweden have safety clearance to operate for another decade, taking them beyond their initial 40-year planned lifetime, the Swedish radiation safety authority said on Monday…… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sweden-nuclear-vattenfall/sweden-

June 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Trump Approved Cyberattacks on Iranian Missile systems — Mining Awareness +

From Middle East Monitor (MEMO): “Trump approved cyberattacks on Iranian missile systems June 23, 2019 at 9:57 am | Published in: Asia & Americas, Iran, Middle East, News, US US President Donald Trump approved a cyberattack that neutralized Iranian computer systems that activate rocket and missile launches, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing US officials, […]

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June 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment