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Ohio Senate to vote on subsidy bill to save state’s nuclear power plants.

Ohio Senate to vote on bill to save state’s nuclear power plants.  (Reuters) 18 July 19 – The Ohio Senate will likely pass a bill on Wednesday that will create subsidies to avoid the early shutdown of the state’s two nuclear power reactors, according to analysts and those watching the legislation.

The two reactors in Ohio – Davis Besse and Perry – are owned by FirstEnergy Solutions, which has said it would shut the money-losing plants in 2020 and 2021 unless the state provides some financial assistance to keep them operating.

FirstEnergy Solutions is a bankrupt unit of Ohio power company FirstEnergy Corp.

Analysts said the Senate version of the nuclear bill, House Bill 6 (HB6), would likely pass the Senate Energy and Public Utilities and the Senate Rules and Reference Committees before going to the full Senate for a vote.

If the Senate passes HB6 later today as expected, the bill will go over to the House for a concurrence vote,” said Josh Price, senior analyst at Height Capital Markets, noting the state House has an “if needed” session scheduled for Thursday if members need more time to debate the Senate changes to the bill. HB6 passed the House in May.

The current version of the bill would provide an overall reduction in consumer power rates by weakening the state’s renewable and energy efficiency goals even though FirstEnergy Solutions would receive an estimated $150 million a year from 2020-2026 to keep its reactors in service.

…. On Monday, U.S. electric generator LS Power warned it would be forced to terminate development of an expansion of its Troy natural gas-fired power plant in Ohio if the state passes legislation to subsidize nuclear energy. …..

July 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

US’ Nuclear Regulatory Commission planning to reduce inspections at the country’s nuclear reactors?

July 18, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief plans to step down early -diplomats

U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief plans to step down early -diplomats, VIENNA (Reuters) 16 July 19,- U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano plans to step down early, in March of next year, because of an unspecified illness that has visibly weakened him over the past year, diplomats who follow his agency’s work said on Wednesday……

July 18, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Long-delayed Finland Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor to start July 2020 – TVO

Long-delayed Finland nuclear reactor to start July 2020 – TVO    PARIS, July 17 (Reuters) – Finnish Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said in a statement on Wednesday that the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant would start generating electricity in July 2020.

TVO said that the Areva-Siemens Consortium that is building the reactor had informed it that nuclear fuel will be loaded into the reactor in Jan. 2020, the first connection to the grid will take place in April 2020, and start of regular electricity production in July 2020.

The EPR reactor in western Finland is already more than a decade behind schedule and had been due to start producing electricity in January 2020.

A similar reactor under construction for French utility EDF in Flamanville, France is also years behind schedule and billions over budget due to a string of major technical problems, including weak spots in its steel and faulty weldings.

In Taishan, China the world’s first EPR reactor went into commercial operation in Dec. 2018 and the second one is expected to go into full operation in the fourth quarter of 2019.

EDF, which has a 30 percent stake in the Taishan reactors, is also building two EPR reactors in Hinkley Point, Britain. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Bate Felix)

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Waste drum at Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory exploded, caught fire

Waste drum at Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory exploded, caught fire, By Andrew Brown, Jul 15, 2019

A waste drum at a nuclear fuel factory near Columbia caught fire and exploded last week, according to a federal safety report. 

The workplace accident occurred at a Westinghouse facility in Hopkins, just off of Bluff Road. The plant makes pellets for nuclear power plants.

In a report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Westinghouse said the drum exploded around 2 a.m. Friday after workers at the plant filled it with uranium-contaminated filters, rags, mops and some paper. The container held just over 70 grams of uranium, which is used in nuclear power plants to create a chain reaction that generates electricity.

Westinhouse said a chemical reaction caused the material to heat up, building pressure in the drum. The container blew off its lid, paper inside caught fire, and some of the contaminated material showered the surrounding area, according to the report.

A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the fire essentially put itself out.

No workers at the plant were injured during the accident and testing confirmed that radiation levels didn’t exceed federal safety limits, according to the company. Westinghouse employees also checked the other drums at the facility to ensure they wouldn’t overheat and explode.

Air samples taken within the area confirmed no impact to plant personnel, the public or the environment,” Westinghouse spokeswoman Courtney Boone.

Boone said Westinghouse was studying what caused the drum to explode. The company plans to set new rules to keep the wrong materials from mixing, and it will let containers of nuclear material vent to keep pressure from building inside. The Hopkins plant isn’t packaging waste in the meantime

NRC spokesman Joey Ledford said federal inspectors would address the explosion when they make a routine inspection later this month.

It’s not the first time the factory has caught the attention of regulators. The NRC reported last year that uranium at the factory leaked out a small hole and into the ground, according to a story in The State newspaper.

Thad Moore contributed to this report.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl radiation

The Real Chernobyl: Q&A With a Radiation Exposure Expert, UCSF, 

Ed note:  This article considers only external radiation emitters – fails to consider internal emitters

By Nicoletta Lanese  17 July 19, The Emmy-nominated HBO mini-series “Chernobyl,” which is a dramatized account of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster, has rekindled conversation about the accident, its subsequent cleanup and the long-term impacts on people living near the power plant.

UC San Francisco’s Lydia Zablotska, MD, PhD, grew up in Ukraine, trained as physician in Belarus, and has studied the long-term health impacts of radiation exposure on the Chernobyl cleanup workers, local children and others in the region. Her research helped uncover the connection between radiation exposure, thyroid conditions and leukemia, and remains relevant to global health today.

We talked with her about the real-life health impacts from the disaster portrayed in the HBO miniseries. The following answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What kind of radiation were people exposed to at Chernobyl?

The first responders, including firefighters and nuclear workers who tried to put out the multiple fires and prevent the explosion of other reactors at the nuclear power plant, were exposed to large doses of gamma radiation. Gamma radiation originates during the decay of radioactive isotopes of uranium or plutonium used as a nuclear fuel in nuclear power plants. As a result of decay, packets of electromagnetic radiation, which consist of high-energy photons, are emitted and could penetrate body tissues and cause damage to cells and their genetic material. Subsequently, DNA mutations could lead to the development of cancer.

The miniseries shows some workers dying instantly from acute radiation syndrome – what symptoms did they really experience?

The latest report from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effect of Atomic Radiation found 134 first responders who were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome (ARS) after the Chernobyl accident. Of these, 28 died in the first four months, but not instantaneously. Then 19 more died over the next 20 years. But the majority of these survived and lived a long life after that. There were no cases of ARS among the general public living in cities and villages around the Chernobyl power plant.

Large doses of radiation could affect a number of systems in the body that are necessary for survival. Patients with ARS could develop a bone marrow syndrome, which suppresses their immunity, or a gastrointestinal syndrome, which could lead to damage to the lining of the intestines and associated infection, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. Then, a couple days later, the circulatory system collapses so people start having blood volume issues and so forth. The whole body is essentially collapsing.

Can those exposed to intense radiation exposure “pass on” their radioactivity to others, as the HBO show suggests? 

There are types of radiation where human bodies could retain radioactive particles and remain radioactive over time, but this is not the type that was seen at Chernobyl. After gamma radiation has passed through the body, the person is no longer radioactive and can’t expose other people.

Based on what we know, at Chernobyl, there were also no effects on children who were exposed to radiation in utero.

How does radiation exposure relate to thyroid conditions?

We conducted two studies of thyroid conditions in children who lived at the time of the Chernobyl accident in affected areas in Ukraine and Belarus. We confirmed that the particular type of radiation in Chernobyl, radioactive iodine, could cause thyroid cancer. Unexpectedly, we also showed that radiation to the thyroid gland from ingesting radioactive iodine within two months after the Chernobyl accident by children and adolescents could lead to development of non-cancer thyroid diseases, such as thyroid follicular adenoma, thyroid benign nodules, and hypothyroidism.

We also showed that the youngest children were at the highest risk for developing these diseases. Children’s thyroid glands are very active and act as a sponge for iodine, because our body needs iodine. But our bodies cannot distinguish between dietary iodine, from salt or fish, and radioactive iodine. After the explosion of the nuclear reactor, parts of the core were dispersed in clouds and carried by the prevailing winds. This is how Belarus, which was in the path of winds in the first days after the accident, got really large doses. One of the most contaminated products was milk from pastured cows, mostly consumed by children.

What about leukemia?

We did a study of cleanup workers in Ukraine and confirmed that gamma radiation causes leukemia, as was found in atomic bomb survivors in Japan. Our truly unique finding was that radiation exposure can cause many types of leukemia, not just a select few. In particular, we showed that radiation doses of gamma radiation were associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most prevalent type of leukemia in adult, Caucasian men. CLL was not increased in the study of atomic bomb survivors, but as our group at UCSF reported in a later study, CLL is very rare in Japan, so this finding could have been missed. …… 

July 18, 2019 Posted by | radiation, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

U.S. Bill: he Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019

RECA bill calls for congressional apology to victims of radiation exposure, Jul 2019, By Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety  

HAGÅTÑA — The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019, officially introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, includes a congressional apology to individuals exposed to radiation while either working in or living near uranium mines or downwind from nuclear weapon test sites.

The bill, introduced by New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and cosponsored by Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, would expand the coverage of the RECA program to include Guam and the Northern Marianas.

The RECA program is set to expire in 2022. The bill, if enacted into law, would extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund until 2045.

Other jurisdictions covered by the proposed RECA expansion are New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nevada.

“Tens of thousands of individuals, including miners, transporters, and other employees who worked directly in uranium mines, along with communities located near test sites for nuclear weapons, were exposed during the mid-1900s to dangerous radiation that has left communities struggling from cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses,” states a press release from Lujan’s office.

The RECA amendment legislation provides health and monetary compensations for individuals who were exposed to high levels of radiation that caused sickness, cancer and deaths in identified jurisdictions.

A similar bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo in the U.S. Senate.

The 35th Guam Legislature is scheduled today, Thursday, to hold a public hearing on Resolution 94-35, supporting the passage of Crapo’s S. 947.

The bill does not include the CNMI.

In August 2018, CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said the Northern Marianas should also be considered “downwinders.”

“Perhaps, because the [Northern] Marianas was not represented in Congress in 2005, we were not included in a congressionally mandated study of how fallout from nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands may have harmed people on downwind islands,” Sablan said in an August 2018 letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think that inequity needs to be addressed.”

July 18, 2019 Posted by | employment, politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

New bill introduced in U.S. Congress will benefit Guam victims of radiation exposure

New bill introduced in Congress will benefit Guam victims of radiation exposure

Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, introduced The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019, which provides health and monetary compensations for individuals who were exposed to high levels of radiation that caused sickness, cancer, and deaths in New Mexico and other parts of the country, including Guam.

RECA was first passed in 1990 to ensure the federal government met its responsibilities to Americans who made sacrifices for national security. The new legislation has more than 35 co-sponsors, including Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas.

“This legacy issue for the people of Guam is more than about policy; it is about cancer, it is about the major impact these diseases have on our families, it is about the life and death of loved ones past, present, and future, and we are humbled to join Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján in making this right,” San Nicolas said.

Without this legislation, the current authorization for RECA will expire in two years – leaving thousands without the ability to pay for their medical care for illnesses directly linked to the exposure.

Senator Therese Terlaje, who coincidentally is having a hearing tomorrow, July 18, on Resolution 94-35 (COR), which is related to RECA, said she wants to thank the New Mexico congressman and Congressman San Nicolas for the introduction of the House RECA bill.

“That’s very good timing for us as we hold this hearing tomorrow,” Terlaje said during an interview with Andrea Pellacani on NewsTalk K-57.

The senator would also like to thank Robert Celestial, president of the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors (PARS) for his work and for building relationships that have ensured Guam’s inclusion in the House bill and in Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) compensation.

For his part: Celestial said: “The people of Guam thank and applaud Congressman Ben Ray Luján and sponsors for their compassionate and just recognition of the cancer and other ailments suffered on Guam from downwind exposure to nuclear fallout, as determined in a report to Congress 2005: “Assessment of the Scientific Information for the radiation exposure Screening and Education program ” by the National Academy of Sciences.”

Senator Terlaje’s Resolution 94-35 (COR) expresses support for S. 947, “The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019,” which includes Guam residents exposed to radiation during nuclear testing in the Pacific from 1946 to 1962.

S. 947 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Mike Crapo (R- Idaho) and would expand eligibility requirements and increase compensation for persons suffering health problems related to cancer caused by radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests.

Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Guam would be added to existing areas where victims can apply for compensation under the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program (RECA). Qualified claimants are entitled to free medical care, health screening, and $150,000 compensation for certain illnesses.

In 2004, The National Academies of Science confirmed Guam’s exposure to radiation as “downwinders” and recommended that Guam be included under RECA. Fifteen years later, Terlaje said Guam is still fighting an uphill battle for inclusion. S. 947 is the eighth version of the RECA Amendment bill introduced in the last 12 years.

Senator Terlaje’s hearing on Resolution 94-35 (COR) will be held tomorrow, July 18, at 10 a.m., at the Guam Congress Building.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, politics | Leave a comment

UK reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 – it is achievable

National Grid ESO 12th July 2019 Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable but requires immediate action across the energy system. National Grid Electricity System
Operator’s Future Energy Scenarios report maps out credible pathways and
scenarios for the future of energy for the next 30 years and beyond.

Based on input from over 600 experts, it looks at the energy needed in Britain,
across electricity and gas – examining where it could come from, how it
needs to change and what this means for consumers, society and the energy
system itself.

The report outlines five potential energy futures –
including net zero by 2050 – and is intended to stimulate debate rather
than provide definitive predictions. It highlights the importance of
different parts of the energy industry working together and details the
critical actions needed to accelerate the decarbonization of the system.

The analysis shows the positive role electric vehicles can play in
decarbonization, with a predicted 35 million electric vehicles by 2050
providing greater flexibility and supporting increased energy from
renewable sources. During periods of oversupply EVs could be used to store
excess electricity with the potential to store roughly one fifth of GB’s
solar generation for when this energy is needed. It also outlines large
scale changes in how power is generated, including growth in wind and solar
generation as coal plants close. There are domestic actions too – homes in
2050 will need to use at least one third less energy for heating than
today, with over 7 million hybrid heat pumps installed by 2050 to provide
continued flexibility.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

A nuclear reactor for Bradwell, on UK’s East coast? But what about storm surges, floods, coastal erosion?

BANNG 12th July 19 Blowers asks what might happen at Bradwell if the East coast floods again as in 1953  During the night of 31 January/1 February, 1953, in the moonlit dark, dead heart
of winter, the Essex Coast was struck by a surging storm, flooding the
creeks, overpowering the sea defences and leaving a trail of disruption,
destruction and death in its wake. I recollect my own astonishment when
walking to church that Sunday morning at the sight of the flooded factories
of the Hythe at Colchester.

I wonder what might happen to the low-lying
lands around the Blackwater if such a storm surge occurs again and if,
heaven forbid, a new nuclear power station had been built at the Bradwell
site. What must be recognised is that, with global warming and rising seas,
destructive storm surges, flooding and coastal erosion are quite likely
events over the lifetime of a new nuclear plant on the vulnerable shores of
Bradwell. In the circumstances it is difficult to conceive how the site can
be considered potentially suitable now, let alone into the next century
when decommissioning and radioactive waste management will become hazardous

July 18, 2019 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

July 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “What Happens When Parts Of South Asia Become Unlivable? The Climate Crisis Is Already Displacing Millions” • South Asia is already suffering as a result of climate change, a crisis caused by the developed world’s consumption patterns and fossil fuel-driven capitalism. Extremes of weather are driving people from their homes. [CNN] ¶ “High […]

via July 17 Energy News — geoharvey

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment