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Danger of grid blackout to California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

How Safe Is Diablo Canyon in a Station Blackout?   b PG&E’s Nuclear Power Plant Is Tied to the Grid  In the wake of Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy due to the devastating wildfires, death, and destruction caused by its aging and vulnerable transmission lines, the big question is, how safe and secure is its “grid tied” Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant?

Diablo is dependent upon the electric grid to function. Without electricity, the operator would lose instrumentation leading to the inability to cool both reactor cores. Unfortunately, out-of-control forest fires and damaged power lines could cause a “station blackout” in which all off-site power is lost.

Every nuclear power plant has emergency diesel generators to counter off-site power loss. Now, especially because of President Trump’s threat to cut back on inspections at atomic power plants, including the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, my main concerns are whether Diablo’s emergency generators are in good working order and will there be enough on-site diesel fuel to power the facility if the regional electric grid goes down for a couple of weeks or longer? In the event of a station blackout, core damage is estimated to begin in approximately one hour if the auxiliary feed-water system and high pressure injection flow aren’t reestablished in time.

The loss of off-site power could also cause a failure of the spent-fuel-rod cooling systems. When the spent-fuel cooling pumps stop working, the water in the pools starts to boil off. Once the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s overcrowded spent-fuel assemblies become uncovered, the fuel rods cladding will start to melt. As bits of the melting fuel fall into what’s left of the water, the water will flash to steam causing the pressure in the buildings to increase. Radioactive particles carried in the steam would then begin to exit the buildings through non-sealed portals and doors.

Exposing hot zirconium fuel-rod cladding to the air causes an exothermic reaction; the cladding will actually catch fire at about 1,000 degrees centigrade causing toxic radioactive isotopes to be released into the atmosphere. Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concedes that this type of fire cannot be extinguished.

Another reason why PG&E is caught between a rock and a hard place is because of its mandatory power cut-offs during hot, dry, and windy weather. Will Pacific Gas & Electric have to choose between power outages to curb the possibility of raging wildfires and the threat of a “station blackout” at its more-than-hazardous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant? What if a major Fukushima-like-earthquake were to occur during a “station blackout” during which all off-site electricity is lost due to a mandatory power cut-off? This definitely is a lose-lose situation!  Why must we continue to live with this unnecessary danger?

Now more that ever, it’s time to Close Diablo Down!

July 8, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools During Earthquakes in California & Elsewhere? NRC’s Devil May Care Attitude.

Mining Awareness +

Diablo Canyon NPP
Diablo Canyon, California. The name says it all- Devil’s Canyon. Swimming Pools said to be Fresh Water Reservoirs

In the mainstream news on Monday was discussion of a secret document from last year, found online at the Friends of the Earth web site. As the US NRC is voting today on an Environmental Impact Statement, which excludes seismic considerations from 4 nuclear sites, 3 on the west coast, and with a major California earthquake on the weekend, it is timely:
U.S. inspector wanted reactor shut on quake fears: report
Posted:Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:31:14 GMT
(Reuters) – A federal nuclear inspector urged U.S. regulators to shut down a California nuclear power plant until tests showed its reactors could withstand shocks from nearby earthquake faults, according to the Associated Press and an environmental group

Diablo Canyon: Secret document details federal safety inspector’s alarm over plant’s vulnerability to…

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July 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

California governor declares state of emergency after earthquakes

The 7.1 quake was the strongest in Southern California since one of the same magnitude hit Hector Mines in 1999, officials said.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Was Russian nuclear submarine accident close to a planetary catastrophe?

Russian servicemen ‘averted planetary catastrophe’ during nuclear submarine accident, military official claims at funeral

Kremlin refuses to reveal mission of vessel, citing state secrets Tom Embury-Dennis   8 July 19, Families of the 14 Russian servicemen who were killed after a fire broke out on a nuclear submarine have reportedly been told that their relatives averted a “planetary catastrophe” before they died.

A high-ranking military official is said to have made the comment at a funeral for the crew in St Petersburgh days after the accident in the Barents Sea earlier this week.

The incident remains shrouded in mystery after the Russian government refused to reveal the submarine’s name and its mission, claiming them as state secrets.

However, the Kremlin has said the accident was sparked by a fire in the battery compartment of the submarine.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier this week that the onboard nuclear reactor was “operational” after the crew took “necessary measures” to protect it.

  • His deputy Andrei Kartapolov also claimed the “hero” submariners sealed a hatch to contain the blaze.
  • The Kremlin has not revealed what exactly occurred, or whether a major incident was averted by the servicemen’s actions.Paying tribute to the crew at the memorial, the unnamed military official said the submariners had prevented a much bigger tragedy, Russian news outlet Open Media reported.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

City councillors call for New York City to divest from companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons

Nuclear Weapons Money 27th June 2019 Move the Nuclear Weapons Money welcomes the initiative of New York CityCouncil members Daniel Dromm, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos to call on New York City to divest from companies involved in the production of nuclear
weapons, and to reaffirm New York City as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.

On June 26, the city councillors introduced Resolution 976 calling on the City
Council to make such a policy decision, and Initiative 1621 under which the
City would establish an advisory committee to examine nuclear disarmament
and issues related to recognizing and reaffirming New York city as a
nuclear weapons-free zone.

The council declared New York to be a
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in 1983 with the adoption of Resolution 364 which
prohibits the production, transport, placement or deployment of nuclear
weapons within the territorial limits of New York City, and the adoption of
Resolution 568 which declared that no ship be permitted to bring nuclear
missiles into the harbour of New York.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | 1 Comment

£1.68bn pre-tax loss forHorizon Nuclear Power, builder for suspended Wylfa Newydd project

BBC 5th July 2019 The company behind plans to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey has reported a £1.68bn pre-tax loss. Work at Wylfa Newydd was suspended in
January by Hitachi due to rising costs. The latest accounts filed by its
subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd show it cut the value of the land and
equipment by £1.52bn as it does not intend to build a new power station.

The accounts also show that staff redundancies and winding up work also
cost £127m. Horizon will now be put into a “suspended state” following the
release of most of its workforce and termination of most of its commercial
contracts, according to its annual report.

A report by the Welsh Affairs Committee said the UK government should encourage Hitachi to sell the site if it is not prepared to resume work. Horizon previously said its main
planning permission was being considered, as it keeps its options open.
“They are going ahead with the application because they’ve done so much
work already, it’s worth spending the additional money to finish that
work,” said Dr Edward Jones, economics lecturer at Bangor University.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Nukes and the bigger picture — Beyond Nuclear International

18-year old says climate justice must mean an end to spending on nuclear weapons

via Nukes and the bigger picture — Beyond Nuclear International

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Expert opinion: small nuclear reactors a very bad deal for Scotland

“Even if a safe and affordable design were to emerge from the current research projects, the whole concept relies on there being a sufficient guaranteed pipeline of orders for the construction and ramping up to scale of a large and expensive production facility,” NCG said.

“Without such a pipeline – itself requiring an unlikely level of long-term policy consistency – it is difficult to see the private sector being willing to finance such a facility.”

“We need to rapidly scale up investments in clean, safe renewable power and improving energy efficiency rather than fall for the latest sales pitch of the failing nuclear industry.”

Small nuclear reactors for Scotland? No thanks, say experts, The Ferret, Jenny Tsilivakou on July 7, 2019

A report by scientists proposing that Scotland should consider building an array of small nuclear power reactors to help combat climate warming has been dismissed as “disingenuous”.

Three experts under the banner of the Nuclear Consulting Group think tank say that a new report from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) displayed a “disappointingly poor grasp of the realities of the nuclear issue”.

They have been backed by campaigners, but the RSE has warned against ruling out energy technologies that may not meet “every possible criterion”. The nuclear power industry welcomed RSE’s report.

The RSE report on ‘Scotland’s Energy Future’ was published on 17 June 2019 following a two-year inquiry. Its lead authors were Sir Muir Russell, who was head of the Scottish civil service and principal of the University of Glasgow, and Rebecca Lunn, an engineering professor at the University of Strathclyde.

It accepted that there were “well recognised challenges” with nuclear such as costs, decommissioning, and the disposal of radioactive waste. “Addressing these issues will require substantial investment over a prolonged period of time,” it said.

But the RSE report suggested that “small modular reactors” (SMRs) could be a solution. They are reactors designed to be assembled from pre-made parts to generate under 300 megawatts of electricity, a quarter of that produced by current nuclear stations……

“SMRs could provide many of the benefits of large-scale nuclear energy, but in a form that may prove more acceptable to the public,” the report said.

“There is a high level of uncertainty over how long this technology will take to sufficiently develop.”

The RSE report cautioned that “no energy policy, no matter how well-considered, will ever solve all of the problems and paradoxes of energy supply and use”. There was an “energy quadrilemma”, it contended, that had to take account of climate change, affordability, energy security, and social acceptability and economic wellbeing.

The Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG) has now issued a sharp riposte to the RSE report. It has published a paper by three experts: Dr Paul Dorfman from University College London; Tom Burke from the climate think tank E3G; and Steve Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy from the University of Greenwich.

They concluded that “Scotland’s energy future has no need for nuclear”. They criticised the RSE report for “conflicting” and “confusing” messages about nuclear power.

The RSE report didn’t provide evidence to back up some of its claims, the NCG paper argued. The RSE failed “to note that all nuclear is significantly more carbon intensive than all renewables”.

NCG maintained that renewables such as wind power were cheaper than new nuclear. It was particularly critical of the idea that SMRs could help Scotland achieve its climate targets. Continue reading

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Iran to breach nuclear deal limits: still far from producing a nuclear weapon

Iran Announces New Breach of Nuclear Deal Limits and Threatens Further Violations, NYT, By David D. Kirkpatrick and David E. Sanger, July 7, 2019

Iran said on Sunday that within hours it would breach the limits on uranium enrichment set four years ago in an accord with the United States and other international powers that was designed to keep Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon……….. The steps Iran has taken are all easily reversible. …..

In violating the limits on uranium enrichment, Tehran still remains far from producing a nuclear weapon. It would take a major production surge, and enrichment to far higher levels, for Iran to develop a bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium, experts say. It would take even longer to manufacture that material into a nuclear weapon……..

The European strategy for the next few months, one senior diplomat involved in the discussions said, is to buy some time and hope to defuse the crisis. There is no immediate urgency about starting the process for “snapback” sanctions, and European officials, led by the French, hope to begin some kind of negotiation process that would make that unnecessary.

If Iran’s increase in the enrichment level is modest — say, to 5 percent, a level often used for fueling reactors — there would be no political momentum for sanctions, especially because European officials largely view President Trump as the instigator of the nuclear deal’s demise. ……

For a year after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from what he called a “terrible” deal negotiated by his predecessor, Iran stayed within the accord’s limits. It pressed Britain, France and Germany to make good on their promises to compensate the country for oil revenues and other losses resulting from American sanctions. …….

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Chernobyl radiation proves harmful to vital forest mammal — Beyond Nuclear International

Bank voles’ abundance impaired by chronic radiation exposure

via Chernobyl radiation proves harmful to vital forest mammal — Beyond Nuclear International

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Noam Chomsky on Fascism, Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, Julian Assange and more — Rise Up Times

Why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it. On April 12, 2019, hundreds of people packed into the Old South Church […]

via Noam Chomsky on Fascism, Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, Julian Assange and more — Rise Up Times

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back from the Brink platform, a Green New Deal for the nuclear threat.

Climate change isn’t our only existential threat,, By Ira Helfand, July 6, 2019    (CNN)America confronts a long list of critical problems and they all require urgent attention. But among them, two issues stand out: catastrophic climate change and nuclear war are unique in the threat they pose to the very survival of human civilization. The enormity and imminence of these twin existential threats cannot be overstated and how to confront them must be the central issue of any presidential campaign.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Together Against Sizewell C: the battle to save UK’s Suffolk coast from nuclear development

The nuclear fight for Sizewell on Suffolk’s coast, BBC, 7 July 2019  

Joan Girling has been fighting the nuclear industry most of her adult life.

She was at school when the new Magnox reactor was begun on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell in the 1960s.

Her father told her it was a “necessary evil”.

But when she moved to Leiston, just a few miles from the nuclear power station, and work began on Sizewell B in the 1980s, she could no longer ignore it………

in 1989 the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) proposed a Sizewell C and Joan decided she had to do something.

At a fractious meeting at the Leiston Film Theatre in the High Street opposite the fish and chip shop, she founded Community Against Sizewell C.

Joan and an array of other anti-nuclear groups won that fight. Sizewell C was cancelled. The plan was resurrected in 1993 and Joan helped fight and win that one as a local councillor. But she has no illusions about what swung the argument.

“It was the finances that didn’t work out for them, ” she says resignedly. “Not the environment. It’s always finance that has the final say.” ……..

EDF and Sizewell C

The CEGB is now long gone. Today it is the giant French energy group EDF who wants to build Sizewell C. The protestors now call themselves Together Against Sizewell C (TASC).

In the next few weeks the plans will go to the Planning Inspectorate and then on to Secretary of State. If it is approved Joan expects ten years or more of construction, millions of tonnes of aggregate roaring in by road or rail, spoil heaps and a campus of more than 6,000 workers, on what she calls “my beloved coast.”………

Sizewell and Hinkley would  be a blueprint for a nuclear future.

Joan sighs at the thought: “No, nuclear plant, never, not one, has come in on time and on budget.”

Protected areas

Sizewell is hemmed in with every kind of protected area. Philip Ridley, Head of Planning and Coastal Management at East Suffolk Council, admits: “If you were looking for a place to build a nuclear power station you could not have chosen a more environmentally sensitive spot.”

The whole coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The shingle beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Sizewell Marshes, just behind the plant is a Special Protected Area (SPA). The Leiston Sandlings to the south are another SPA. There’s even an ancient monument nearby, Leiston Abbey.


But it is hard to compromise on Minsmere, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and an SSSI. The thousand hectares of marsh, less than a mile to the north, is the pride of the RSPB, where in 1947 the avocet, now the emblem of the charity, started breeding again for the first time in 100 years. It is home to 5,800 plant and animal species, marsh harriers, otters, water voles and bearded tits.

Adam Rowlands, Minsmere senior site manager, says: “For the RSPB, the scale of risk is higher than anything else we have ever been faced with before.

“The proposed footprint extends into the marshes behind the site which is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and we are concerned at the loss of habitat over the ten years of construction due to noise and light and disturbances, and also the effects on the water table.”

At the moment Minsmere’s water levels are delicately controlled by sluices. Mr Rowlands says any unexpected rise or fall of a few centimetres could flood nests and destroy habitats.

It’s not just the fresh water inland but the salt water of the North Sea that worries the RSPB.

It is an unpredictable and mobile coastline. The RSPB fears that higher sea defences and a concrete landing strip for barges could drastically alter the shoreline – and Minsmere.


In response EDF has issued lengthy consultation papers. The local Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s response to the latest and most detailed one is littered with references to “inadequate assessment”.

What’s more, there are fears EDF will only release a full assessment immediately before the plans go before the Planning Inspectorate, giving local groups little time to respond…….

July 8, 2019 Posted by | environment, opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Special UN meeting to discuss Iran: Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany try to keep nuclear deal

UN nuclear watchdog to hold special meeting on Iran at request of US,  RTE, 6 July 19 The United States has called an emergency meeting of the UN atomic watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors to discuss Iran, according to the US mission to the agency.

It comes after Tehran breached its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Any country on the board can call a meeting, and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in a note to member states that the meeting would be held next Wednesday after the IAEA this week said Iran had exceeded the maximum stock of enriched uranium allowed under the deal……..

The IAEA is in charge of verifying the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities imposed by the deal, which also lifted international sanctions against Tehran. The IAEA has repeatedly said it is up to the parties to the deal to decide whether there has been a breach of its terms.

Iran has said it will go over the deal’s nuclear restrictions one by one in retaliation against crippling economic sanctions Washington has imposed on it since the US withdrawal. It has said that as of 7 July it will enrich uranium beyond the 3.67% purity cap imposed by the deal.

Other signatories to the 2015 deal, apart from Iran and the United States, are Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.     Those five countries are trying to keep the deal alive.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 2 Comments

Chernobyl’s $1.7B nuclear confinement shelter finally revealed

Chernobyl’s $1.7B nuclear confinement shelter revealed after taking 9 years to complete,  By Paulina Dedaj | Fox News  4 July 19  A new structure built to confine the Chernobyl reactor at the center of the world’s worst nuclear disaster was previewed for the media Tuesday.

Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded and burned April 26, 1986.

The complex construction effort to secure the molten reactor’s core and 200 tons of highly radioactive material has taken 9 years to complete under the auspices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It was built to cover the temporary concrete and steel Shelter Structure, which was built immediately after the disaster, but which had begun to deteriorate in the 1990s.

The structure itself cost 1.5 billion euros (almost $1.7 billion) and the entire shelter project cost 2.2 billion euros. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development managed a fund with contributions from 45 countries, the European Union and 715 million euros in the bank’s own resources.

The shelter is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 843 feet and a total weight of over 36,000 tonnes.

“This was a very long project,” said Balthasar Lindauer, director of the bank’s Nuclear Safety Department. He noted that preliminary studies began in 1998 and the contract for the structure was placed in 2007.

He said Ukraine was a big contributor, contributing 100 million euros in cash along with expertise and personnel. …….

July 8, 2019 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment