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Nuclear Waste In The Arctic

July 13, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, Russia, wastes | 2 Comments

You don’t hear much about this, but the nuclear industry is worried about floods

Louisiana braces for epic flooding from Tropical Storm Barry

Strengthening Storm Spins Toward Rain-Soaked Louisiana Coast, Bloomberg,By July 13, 2019,
  •  Barry seen making landfall on Saturday, possibly as hurricane
  •  Ship traffic disrupted on the Mississippi River as waters rise
“………Entergy Corp., which runs two nuclear power plants in Louisiana, said it’s keeping a close watch on the storm. Cleco Corp., which supplies power to about 288,000 retail customers in the state, said it’s monitoring Barry and has crews on standby to respond to outages……”

July 13, 2019 Posted by | climate change | 1 Comment

Taiwan about to close second nuclear reactor

Taiwan to shut down 2nd nuclear reactor within days, July 12, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TAIPEI (Kyodo) — Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council agreed on Friday to shut down a second nuclear reactor on Monday when its 40-year operating license expires, moving the island a step closer to nuclear-free status.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Even the nuclear industry itself is pretty pessimistic about its future

Viewpoint: Building a belief in nuclear, financially and emotionally, WNN, 08 July 2019  “………. . Nuclear technology remains emotive and controversial in some countries, and public pressure can ultimately move policy, as has been seen in Germany, which is abandoning nuclear generation entirely, despite the impact this has on its ability to meet CO2 reduction targets.Delivering projects, on time and to budget

The nuclear industry is also susceptible to wavering investor confidence, as has been evident recently in the UK. Nuclear plants are exceptionally large and long-term investments, so private-sector investors set the bar very high when it comes to incentives and the reassurances they need before making final investment decisions.

When Hitachi suspended work on its Wylfa Newydd project, it cited the size of the financial burden as one of the main factors, while the high cost of Hinkley Point has, in part, been explained by the fact that EDF could only borrow capital funding at high interest rates. That’s because this project is deemed ‘risky’, and well over half the cost was attributed to raising the money over the lifetime of the project.

Following the publication of the UK National Infrastructure Assessment last year, these high borrowing costs for nuclear have come into even sharper focus. This report recommended that the Government restrict support to “one more nuclear plant before 2025” as the costs of renewable technologies were “far more likely to fall, and at a faster rate”.

Delays and cost increases don’t help public perception.  …………    It’s our responsibility as an industry to work together to change perceptions and provide stakeholders with the confidence that nuclear projects will be delivered on time and to cost, and to set out the evidence that demonstrates why nuclear energy must form part of the future energy mix. If we can’t do this then the trust simply won’t be there, and neither will the investment……..

we’re working alongside other leading industry bodies including Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, the Electric Power Research Institute, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency to deliver events like the Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy – A Global Forum, which took place in Korea last month………

Present a more positive future

There are many exciting possibilities for nuclear, from innovation in waste management and recycling to the emergence of small modular reactors. But, in order to realise this future, the industry has some short-term hurdles that it must overcome. And in particular we must drive efficiencies into existing programmes and onto existing plants.

EDF has said that, by applying lessons learned at Hinkley Point, huge economies of scale can be achieved if a second pair of EPR reactors are built at Sizewell. Even so, the confidence may not be there yet for stakeholders and investors to appreciate where the returns lie. We need to focus on what can make a real difference now, in order to bring about that future.

It’s a crucial time for the nuclear sector.  ……. can we work together to drive transformative change and help persuade all those who will need to invest in its future, both emotionally and financially, to believe in it too?,-financiall

July 13, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics, spinbuster | 2 Comments

Unrepentant, Catholic anti-nuclear activists face gaol for breaking into a nuclear base

July 13, 2019 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Planetary catastrophe – was not likely from the Russian nuclear submarine accident

Russian Navy Claims Sailors Prevented ‘Planetary Catastrophe’
Was the damaged submarine’s reactor in danger of causing a nuclear accident?  By Kyle Mizokami, Jul 10, 2019  A senior Russian Navy official said that accident on the nuclear-powered submarine Losharik was nearly a “planetary catastrophe,” were it not for the fourteen sailors killed in the incident. The submarine, widely believed to be a spy sub capable of operating on the deep ocean floor, was damaged in an accident on July 1st. The Kremlin denied there was risk of such a “catastrophe.”

An aid to the head of the Russian Navy, Sergei Pavlov, stated at a funeral for the sailors lost in the accident, “With their lives, they saved the lives of their colleagues, saved the vessel and prevented a planetary catastrophe.” Pavlov reportedly did not elaborate.

The Kremlin denied that the reactor had been at risk, stating that it had been “totally sealed off” and there were no problems with it. Radiation monitoring stations in Norway relatively near where the incident took place have not reported any spikes in radioactivity.

The accident, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, started in the sub’s battery compartment and spread. This suggests a fire that was the result of a buildup of hydrogen gasses inside the ship. Submarines, even nuclear ones, carry banks of batteries to provide a temporary source of power, and hydrogen is produced as a byproduct of the battery charging process. If the gas reaches a critical level of concentration, a spark onboard the ship could set off a fire.

According to Shoigu, the crew battled the fire for an hour and a half. Although the automatic fire extinguishers kicked in, they proved insufficient. The surviving crew managed to initiate an emergency blow procedure and the ship surfaced off the coast of the Kola Peninsula, where the remaining crew members were rescued.

Losharik, named after a cartoon horse made of interconnected juggling balls, got its name because the interior of the ship is made of seven interconnected steel or titanium spheres. The spheres give the ship its deep diving capability, with the sub reportedly capable of reaching depths of at least 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).

It is not clear where Losharik’s 5 megawatt nuclear reactor resides, but the ship is only 230 feet long with all personnel, propulsion systems, and mission equipment inside the seven spheres. The fire could not have been far from the reactor, but if the reactor and batteries resided in different spheres they could have been closed off from one another. Shoigu seems to be stating that was the case.

Even if the fire did reach the reactor it seems unlikely that the ejection of radioactive materials could cause a “planetary catastrophe” on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Losharik’s reactor generated just five megawatts, the RBMK reactor at Chernobyl was much more powerful and used much more nuclear material to generate up to 3,200 megawatts.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | 1 Comment

War with “small” nuclear weapons – No Such Thing As a ‘Small’ Nuclear War

There Is No Such Thing As a ‘Small’ Nuclear War (But Trump Wants Mini Nukes)
A really bad idea?
National Interest, by David Axe  12 July 19, The Democratic lawmakers who control the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing back against Pres. Donald Trump’s plan to expand the United States’ nuclear arsenal with new and smaller “tactical” weapons.
The Democrats’ version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which funds the military, faces opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, as well as from the president himself. Trump has threatened to veto the NDAA, potentially setting up a budgetary showdown that could force the Pentagon to operate on so-called “continuing resolutions” that essentially copy previous years’ budgets.

Trump in 2017 laid out a plan for a host of new and modernized nuclear weapons, including less-powerful nukes that some hardliners believe are more useful than larger-yield weapons are and could make limited atomic wars feasible and survivable on a planetary level.

But many nuclear experts disagree. No nuclear war is “small,” they argue. And any nuclear war would be devastating for the entire human race and the only planet that’s known to support life.

The House bill “signals a new, much-needed change in direction for U.S. nuclear weapons policy, one that would reduce the nuclear threat and cut some spending on these weapons,” wrote Eryn MacDonald, an expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Massachusetts.The House bill stands in stark contrast with the version the Senate passed easily in late June [2019], which would fully fund the Trump administration’s nuclear programs and in some cases even increase funding.

We support passage of the House version of the NDAA; if its version becomes law, it will be a victory not only for U.S. security, but also for common sense.

The House bill is chock-full of positive provisions. For example, it would prohibit deployment of the Trump administration’s new ‘low-yield’ nuclear warhead; cut funding for an unnecessary replacement for the current ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile; and reduce the excessive, but congressionally mandated, requirement for the number of plutonium pits that the National Nuclear Security Administration has been told to produce.The House’s version of the NDAA defunds the W76-2 low-yield warhead for the U.S. Navy’s Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which MacDonald described as “an ill-conceived attempt to lower the threshold for nuclear war.”

The W76-2 “would thrust U.S. ballistic-missile submarines into regional conflicts instead of reserving them for their crucial role as a nuclear deterrent, providing a secure means of retaliation if they should ever be needed,” MacDonald added.

The Trump administration requested $19.6 million for the Navy to begin installing these new warheads on missiles later this year. The House defense authorization bill sensibly zeros out this money, but Republicans plan to offer an amendment to the bill on the House floor that would restore that funding……….

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy

A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy

Devastated by Japanese nuclear plant’s meltdown in 2011, Namie hopes a new hydrogen-fuel facility can generate a turnaround. WSJ, By River Davis, July 12, 2019

NAMIE, Japan—Fukushima prefecture, a place synonymous in many minds with nuclear meltdown, is trying to reinvent itself as a hub for renewable energy.

One symbol is just outside Namie, less than five miles from the nuclear-power plant devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. At the end of a winding road through miles of barren land, construction is nearing completion on one of the world’s largest hydrogen plants.

The government hopes to show that hydrogen, a hard-to-handle fuel that hasn’t been used for large-scale power generation, can supplement intermittent solar and wind power.

……….. By 2040, Fukushima aims to cover 100% of its energy demand with non-nuclear renewable energy. Since 2011, the prefecture’s generating capacity from renewable energy, excluding large-scale hydropower, has more than quadrupled. More than a gigawatt of solar-energy capacity has been added—the equivalent of more than three million solar panels—while other projects are under way in offshore wind power and geothermal energy………

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry in the doldrums – desperate efforts to revive it

U.S. to extend nuclear reactor lifespans  PARIS (Reuters) 12 July 19 — The United States plans to extend the lifespans of existing nuclear reactors and support new technologies as it seeks to revive an industry seen as crucial to its energy security, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette told an International Energy Agency conference on nuclear and hydrogen in Paris that both technologies were crucial for reducing carbon emissions and boosting energy security.

The U.S. nuclear industry has been in the doldrums for years because of competition from cheap natural gas and falling wind and solar power costs.

Several nuclear plants have closed while a project to build two reactors in South Carolina was abandoned in 2017 with the reactors half-built and billions of dollars in sunk costs.

“We believe strongly that a strong domestic nuclear energy [industry], enabled by our existing fleet and enhanced by game-changing advanced nuclear technologies is critical to our nation’s energy security, our national security, our environmental sustainability,” Brouillette said.

The U.S. Department of Energy agrees with the IEA that extending the life of existing reactors is perhaps the most competitive way to produce low-carbon electricity, he said. The department was working to help extend the licenses for the existing fleet out to 80 years, he added

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress setting a more reasonable course for nuclear weapons policy

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s grandiose nuclear ambitions – expressed in its floating nuclear plant for the Arctic

Russian floating nuclear plant prepares for towing into Arctic seas,  Plant to support 50,000-person Chukotka region with power for oil and gas industries  Katie Toth · CBC News  Jul 10, 2019   Russia’s controversial nuclear barge is ready to travel through the Arctic seas — and observers across the globe are watching.

Greenpeace has called it a “floating Chornobyl.” 

But the Akademik Lomonosov, which will dock in the Eastern Siberian town of Pevek, also provides a small glimpse into Russia’s northern ambitions and the role of nuclear power in achieving them.

Russia’s atomic energy agency, the Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), has said in news releases that the future floating nuclear power plant will be a key piece of infrastructure as it develops its Arctic shipping route. 

Meanwhile, the agency has started work on a fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers to keep that route open. Its latest three ships can cut through three metres of ice, and each can produce 350 megawatts of power. 

It’s a lot more difficult to counter a catastrophe there than anywhere else on the globe.– Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace

Rebecca Pincus, an assistant professor with the U.S. Naval War College, says Russia’s vision for itself as a global superpower in the 21st century hinges on the far North.

Russia’s grand strategy for the century is centred on developing Arctic resources,” Pincus said. “That economic engine [is] … integral to Russia relaunching its place in the world.” 

According to statements by ROSATOM, the plant will supply the 50,000-person Chukotka region with power and it will support “key industries” in this oil-and-gas rich region. 

‘It’s a classical Russian solution’

The choice to build a floating nuclear power station is “a fabulous little encapsulation of all the challenges Russia faces in developing its Arctic zone,” Pincus said. “Floating a nuclear power plant to a tiny little city in the Russian Arctic is colossally challenging, colossally expensive … it’s a classical Russian solution.”

………. Jan Haverkamp, a nuclear energy expert with Greenpeace, says his organization is right to be worried. The Lomonosov will be docking in one of the most remote places in the world.

The Lomonosov, prior to a paint job. Greenpeace is concerned about the plant and its isolated location, saying that it would be difficult to counter a catastophe in the remote region. (ROSATOM)

“It’s a lot more difficult to counter a catastrophe there than anywhere else on the globe,” he said.

Haverkamp is also concerned about the power being used to extract fossil fuels.

“Climate change is a given.… Opening up new fossil projects at the moment, when the world needs to be fossil-free in 2050, does not seem to make very much sense.”

Meanwhile, ROSATOM says this barge is only a small piece of a new future for floating nuclear power. It’s building a second generation of the floating nuclear units, and it’s in talks with several countries looking to buy nuclear barges of their own.

Emails to ROSATOM’s media contact were not returned before publication.

The barge will start getting towed to Pevek in August.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, Russia, technology | Leave a comment

In the 1980s Hungarian villagers defeated a nuclear waste dump plan. Can they do it again?

July 13, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

For 6 years, Potentially Dangerous Nuclear Waste Was Shipped to Nevada as Low Level Wastes

DOE Was Shipping Potentially Dangerous Nuclear Waste To Nevada Site For Years
Energy officials told Gov. Steve Sisolak that the Nevada National Security Site received shipments from 2013 to 2018 that could contain “reactive” material.
By Sanjana Karanth, 12 July 19

The U.S. Department of Energy shipped potentially dangerous nuclear material incorrectly labeled as low-level radioactive waste into Nevada for several years, the state’s governor announced.

statement from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Wednesday said the department sent a total of 32 shipments to the Nevada National Security Site between 2013 and 2018 that were supposed to be low-level radioactive waste from a facility in Tennessee. (The DOE told the Las Vegas Review-Journal later on Wednesday that there were actually nine shipments that had 32 containers.)

But DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Brouillette told Sisolak on July 3 that some of those shipments may have included “reactive” material, which can release large amounts of thermodynamic energy.

Sisolak’s office said DOE officials have not confirmed that the shipments definitely contained reactive materials, which he said “would trigger additional safety concerns,” but the department did confirm Wednesday to the Review-Journal that the shipments were not in compliance with the security site’s waste acceptance criteria.

On July 5, Sisolak and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Jacky Rosen (D) sent a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry citing the risks posed to Nevada’s residents and environment and demanding that the DOE immediately correct the waste disposal mistake and create new procedures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“These egregious acts ― whether acts of negligence or indicative of something else ― are unconscionable and have potentially put the health and safety of Nevadans and our environment at unacceptable risk,” the letter stated.

The security site has been a place to permanently dispose of what the DOE categorizes as low-level radioactive waste, which can include materials like rags, construction debris and other equipment exposed to radioactive material. The site also takes in some forms of “mixed low-level waste,” which can contain some hazardous waste such as garbage and sludge. The governor’s office said mixed low-level waste is more strictly regulated and requires treatment prior to disposal and a more protective disposal method than low-level waste.

The shipments in question were not properly labeled to indicate which materials were low-level waste and which were more dangerous.

Federal officials, including from the National Nuclear Security Administration, gave an in-person briefing to Sisolak on Tuesday regarding the department’s findings and proposed response. During the briefing, the governor referred to an incident last year in which the DOE shipped half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium to the same security site and didn’t give notice until months later.

Yet again, the DOE has violated its mission, broken Nevadans’ trust and failed to follow its own compliance procedures,” Cortez Masto and Rosen said in a joint statement Wednesday. “We intend to immediately determine whether the mixed waste shipped to Nevada poses a hazard to the health and safety of Nevadans and will take every action necessary to hold the DOE accountable.”

DOE officials told the Review-Journal that they are launching an internal investigation to figure out how the shipments were miscategorized for six years, and will temporarily suspend all planned future shipments from the Tennessee facility. 


July 13, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ submarine lunched by President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron unveils France’s nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ submarine   12/07/2019  French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled France’s latest nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ class submarine on Friday, a €9 billion stealth vessel programme Paris says is key to maintaining its naval presence for decades to come…….

The French government has placed an order for six of the 5,000-tonne submarines made by Naval Group, in which defence company Thales has a 35 percent stake.

The Australian defence minister Linda Reynolds attended the ceremony unveiling the submarine. Australia recently ordered a non-nuclear attack class submarine fleet from the Naval Group………

July 13, 2019 Posted by | France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Intruders jump fence at U.S. nuclear reactor that uses bomb-grade fuel

Intruders jump fence at U.S. nuclear reactor that uses bomb-grade fuel Timothy Gardner  WASHINGTON (Reuters) 12 July 19,- Two people jumped a security fence at a GE Hitachi research reactor near San Francisco, the U.S. nuclear power regulator said on Thursday, raising concerns over a plant that is one of the few in the country that uses highly enriched uranium, a material that could be used to make an atomic bomb.

The intruders jumped a security perimeter fence at the Vallecitos reactor in Alameda County on Wednesday afternoon, a 1,600-acre (647.5-hectare) site about 40 miles (64 km) east of San Francisco, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on its website in a security threat notice.

They escaped security at the plant after being detected, but shortly afterwards suspects were detained outside the facility, the NRC said.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The NRC notice did not mention that the plant is one of the few in the country to use highly enriched uranium, or HEU. Such plants have been under pressure from non-proliferation interests to convert to low-enriched uranium, or LEU, a material that cannot be used to make a bomb…….

July 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment