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

Reprocessing is NOT a solution to the nuclear waste problem

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Reference | Leave a comment

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

February 22, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | Leave a comment

All the world is betraying the world’s children, the World Health Organisation has found

February 22, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear activists break into France’s Tricastin nuclear station

Reuters 21st Feb 2020. Activists from Greenpeace broke into the Tricastin nuclear power plant in southern France in order to demand its closure, the environmental pressure group said on Friday. “Some 50 Greenpeace activists gained access to several points at the Tricastin nuclear power plant this morning,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Cecile Genot. “We are protesting and drawing attention to an aging nuclear power plant that is dangerous and should be shut down.” Officials for French state-controlled power group EDF, which runs Tricastin, had no immediate comment on the situation.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

All wars are serious, but this climate war could have the direst consequences

THE ONE WAR THAT THE HUMAN SPECIES CAN’T LOSE  The New Yorker, By Robin Wright, 20 Feb 2020  “……… For almost a half century, I’ve covered wars, revolutions and uprisings on four continents, many for years on end. I’ve always been an outside observer watching as others killed each other. I lamented the loss of human life—and the warring parties’ self-destructive practices—from an emotional distance. In Antarctica, I saw war through a different prism. And I was the enemy. “  “Humans will be but a blip in the span of Earth’s history,” Wayne Ranney, a naturalist and geologist on the expedition, told me. “The only question is how long the blip will be.”

Last week, the temperature in Antarctica hit almost seventy degrees—the hottest in recorded history. It wasn’t a one-day fluke. Famed for its snowscapes, the Earth’s coldest, wildest, windiest, highest, and most mysterious continent has been experiencing a heat wave. A few days earlier, an Antarctic weather station recorded temperatures in the mid-sixties. It was colder in Washington, D.C., where I live.  Images of northern Antarctica captured vast swaths of barren brown terrain devoid of ice and with only small puddle-like patches of snow.

The problem is not whether a new record was set, “it’s the longer-term trend that makes those records more likely to happen more often,” John Nielsen-Gammon, the director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A. & M. University, told me this week……

The iceberg that I watched break off from Antarctica was part of a process called calving. It’s normal and a necessary step in nature’s cycle, except that it’s now happening a lot faster and in larger chunks—with existential stakes. The ice in Antarctica is now melting six times faster than it did forty years ago, Eric Rignot, an Earth scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of a major study of the continent’s ice health, told me.

This month, an iceberg measuring more than a hundred square miles—the size of the Mediterranean island of Malta, or twice the size of Washington, D.C.—broke off the Pine Island Glacier (lovingly known as pig, for short) in West Antarctica. It then broke up into smaller “pig-lets,” according to the European Space Agency, which tracked them by satellite. The largest piglet was almost forty square miles.

The frozen continent is divided into West Antarctica and East Antarctica. (The South Pole is in East Antarctica.) Most of the melting and much of the big calving has happened in the West and along its eight hundred-mile peninsula. But, in September, an iceberg measuring more than six hundred square miles—or twenty-seven times the size of Manhattan—calved off the Amery Ice Shelf, in East Antarctica. Calving has accelerated in startling style. Two other huge soon-to-be bergs are being tracked as their crevices and cracks become visible from space. One is from pig in the West, the other is forming off the Brunt Ice Shelf in the East……….

“By 2035, the point of no return could be crossed,” Matthew Burrows, a former director at the National Intelligence Council, wrote in a report last year about global risks over the next fifteen years. That’s the point after which stopping the Earth’s temperature from rising by two degrees Celsius—or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit—will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, in turn triggering “a dangerous medley of global disasters.”

And that, in turn, goes back to ice and its role in fostering human civilization. “What’s coming—or is happening—is the end of the earth’s stability,” Glendon told me. “In human terms, that means a return to migration, but in a population of not just a few million, but several billion.”

Before I went to Antarctica, I checked in with Donald Perovich, a geophysicist at Dartmouth who tracks sea ice. We got to talking about wars. “You can argue that in all wars, there are winners and losers. Afterward, societies go on. There’s an opportunity to recover and move forward. If you approach climate change as a war, there are some really severe consequences across the board,” he told me. “This,” he added, “is the one war we can’t lose.”



February 22, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is

We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is

Olivia Alperstein 21 Feb 20,  If the current state of global affairs reminds you of an over-the-top plot by a white-cat-stroking James Bond villain, you’re not far off. When it comes to nuclear policy, we are closer than ever to a real-life movie disaster.During his February 4 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump declared that “the Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.” He omitted the part where he withdrew the United States from the only existing international treaty with the capability to compel the Iranian regime to do so.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aka the Iran Deal, is the one international treaty that has effectively de-escalated tensions and ensured continued progress in securing Iran’s nonproliferation. It’s vital that the United States reenters the Iran Deal, or it could take ages to repair the damage and restart progress.

That treaty isn’t the only one on the chopping block.

The United States has also withdrawn from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and Russia, a vital arms reduction treaty that was responsible for eliminating over 2,600 intermediate-range missiles, bringing tangible progress in stabilization and disarmament efforts between the two countries.

The most important remaining international arms control treaty to which the United States is still a party, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), is set to expire in February 2021, just a year from now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly offered to immediately extend New START, without any preconditions. However, the treaty’s future is unclear — Trump may attempt to reach a broader deal involving China, as some of his advisors have suggested, or may trash this treaty as well.

Nuclear weapons make us all less safe. The United States can and must once again lead on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Nothing less than human health and survival is at stake. We all have a vested interest in ensuring nuclear weapons are not used.

Despite that existential risk, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed on February 5 that the Navy has deployed a low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead. Bill Arkin and Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists first disclosed the deployment a week before that.

These warheads lower the threshold for potential nuclear conflict while increasing the chances of a real-life James Bond movie situation, due to human error or miscalculation. These low-yield warheads may be indistinguishable on radar from missiles armed with high-yield bombs, meaning an adversary could respond to such a launch with a full attack, immediately escalating the conflict to full nuclear war.

Proponents of this low-yield nuclear warhead say it is more “usable,” a euphemistic phrase that should send chills down the spines of anyone who can’t afford to escape planetary orbit on a SpaceX rocket.

“Low-yield” nuclear weapons are misleadingly named. At 6.5 kilotons, they are 591 times more powerful than the largest conventional weapon the United States has ever used, the GBU-43/B “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” (MOAB) bomb, and 2,600 times more powerful than the 1995 Oklahoma City bomb.

In fact, the W76-2 “low-yield” nuclear weapon that was deployed on those submarines can have up to 43 percent of the yield of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. That bomb killed between 90,000 and 166,000 people.

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, we’re at just 100 seconds to midnight, thanks in part to the Trump administration’s reckless, systematic dismantling and undermining of vital international arms control agreements.

We can and must avoid getting any closer to the brink of nuclear war — we’re already dangling too close to the edge. It’s time for the United States to reenter or renegotiate vital arms control treaties like the Iran Deal and extend New START.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Energy Agency’s “pretend transparency”

February 22, 2020 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Confusion and contradiction in Trump’s policy on nuclear waste and Yucca Mountain

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site has always been a political football. Trump is the latest president to fumble, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Allison Macfarlane, February 21, 2020  As with much policy-setting in the Trump administration, a single tweet from the president on February 6 appeared to reverse a previous stance. The message about Yucca Mountain, the nation’s proposed geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste, set the media alight with speculation about new actions in US nuclear waste policy. But has anything changed, really?

The new policy, if it is such a thing, is a little wobbly. It’s unclear whether the administration is or is not supporting Yucca Mountain as a waste repository. The Energy Department’s Undersecretary for Nuclear Energy and nominee for Deputy Secretary, Mark Menezes, stated six days later in a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that “what we’re trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca.” A White House official tried to square the circle of conflicting messages, stating: “There is zero daylight between the President and Undersecretary Menezes on the issue.”

At the same time, Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget did not include funds for Yucca Mountain, unlike in previous years. In point of fact, though, Congress has not appropriated funding for Yucca Mountain in the past decade. The proposed repository site made it about halfway through the licensing process at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and halted when the Obama administration’s Energy Department tried to pull the license application. The state of Nevada still strongly opposes Yucca Mountain and hasn’t changed its tune since passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments in 1987 (colloquially known in Nevada as the Screw Nevada Bill), which designated Yucca Mountain as the proposed repository site.

Trump’s tweet acknowledges the fierce and long-standing opposition to Yucca Mountain in a swing state he lost by a slim margin in 2016. The Democratic presidential candidates are unanimously opposed to storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

A permanent impasse. Yucca Mountain has spent much of its existence as a political football. The original Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 required detailed characterization of three potential repository sites for the disposal of the nation’s spent commercial nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from the nuclear weapons complex. By 1986 it was clear that work on three sites would be very costly, and Congress balked at the price tag. Political wrangling ensued, and it was no accident that among the three states under consideration—Nevada, Texas, and Washington—the one with the most-junior congressional delegation, including a newly elected Senator Harry Reid, was selected as the only site to be characterized by the Energy Department for suitability as a repository. ………

At the moment, no one involved in the process has an incentive to make progress. An extremely partisan House and Senate are at a permanent impasse on an issue that bears little on re-election chances (except in Nevada). The nuclear industry has found they can build new reactors—the two Westinghouse AP1000 units under construction in Georgia—without a solution to their spent fuel problem. The Energy Department, originally tasked with solving the problem, has no legal authority (or appropriations) to move forward. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which passed a Continued Storage Rule in 2014, vacated its ability to force a solution. And many anti-nuclear interest groups that oppose waste transport and repositories have called for “hardened on-site storage.”……..

February 22, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan’s paralysis over what to do with the nuclear industry’s plutonium wastes

Review the nation’s quest for a nuclear fuel cycle     The uncertain fate of the spent mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel removed from two nuclear power reactors in western Japan last month — for the first time since the commercial use of plutonium-uranium fuel in light water reactors began about a decade ago — is yet another sign of the stalemate over the government’s nuclear fuel cycle policy. While the government maintains that all spent nuclear fuel will be reprocessed for reuse as fuel for nuclear reactors, there are no facilities in this country that can reprocess spent MOX fuel so it will remain indefinitely in storage pools at the nuclear plants.

A reprocessing plant owned by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. that is under construction in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, can only handle spent uranium fuel. No concrete plans have been made for building a second plant capable of reprocessing spent MOX fuel. Completion of the Rokkasho plant itself has been delayed for years amid an endless series of technical glitches resulting in huge cost overruns since construction began in the early 1990s. When the plant is completed and begins operating it will likely only add to Japan’s plutonium stockpile. This is because the use of plutonium in MOX fuel remains sluggish due to the slow restart of reactors idled following the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.
Instead of shelving hard decisions on the nuclear fuel cycle policy any further, the government and the power industry need to candidly assess the prospects of the policy and proceed with a long-overdue review.
Under the policy that touts efficient use of uranium resources, fuel assemblies spent at nuclear power plants will be removed from the reactors to extract plutonium, which will be blended with uranium to make the MOX fuel. What were removed from the reactors at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata reactor in Ehime Prefecture and Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture in January are the MOX fuel rods that were installed in 2010. The government maintains that it’s technologically feasible to reprocess spent MOX fuel, but experts are doubtful about the efficiency of this practice.
Initially, the policy assumed a transition to fast-breeder reactors in Japan’s nuclear power generation. Touted to produce more plutonium than it consumes as fuel, a fast-breeder reactor was deemed a dream technology in this resource-scarce country. However, Monju, the nation’s sole prototype fast-breeder reactor — on which more than ¥1 trillion was spent — was decommissioned in 2016 after sitting idle for much of the time since it first went online in 1994 due to a series of accidents and troubles. The government sought to continue research on next-generation fast reactors in a joint project with France, but that bid has been in limbo since Paris decided to substantially scale back the project in light of the abundance of  uranium resources, which cast doubts over its economic feasibility.
As completion of the reprocessing plant in Rokkasho continues to be pushed back, some 15,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored at nuclear power plants across Japan. Combined with 3,000 tons kept in the storage pool at the Rokkasho plant, the total comes to around 18,000 tons. The volume will only increase if more reactors are restarted without the launch of the reprocessing plant, and the capacity of storage pools at power plants is limited.
On the other hand, Japan is under pressure to utilize its 45-ton stockpile of plutonium as fuel due to proliferation concerns. As the Monju project went nowhere, the government and the power industry have pursued the use of MOX fuel in conventional light water reactors since around 2010. However, the use of MOX fuels has remained slow following the shuttering of most of the nation’s nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Currently, MOX fuel is used in only four reactors across the country — far below the 16 to 18 planned prior to the Fukushima accident. There are also doubts about the economic viability of the use of MOX fuel, which is more costly than conventional nuclear fuel.
It seems clear that the nuclear fuel cycle policy is stuck in a stalemate, but neither the government nor the power industry will accept that — apparently because abandoning the program would seriously impact nuclear energy policy. An alternative to reprocessing is to bury the spent fuel deep underground — a method reportedly adopted in some countries. But then the spent fuel — which has so far been stored as a resource to be processed for reuse — will be turned into nuclear waste, raising the politically sensitive question of where to dispose of it. That, however, is a question that cannot be averted given Japan’s use of nuclear power. It should not be used as an excuse for maintaining the quest for the elusive nuclear fuel cycle. It’s time to review the policy.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

France starts out on the path to withdraw from nuclear energy

February 22, 2020 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Bavaria’s renewable capacity growing as nuclear plant shutdown boosts power imports

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Bruce County, Ontario, protest against nuclear waste dump plan Thursday, February 20, 2020  LONDON, ONT. — About 40 Bruce County residents protested outside Bruce County council chambers in Walkerton this morning.They’re protesting plans to bury Canada’s used nuclear fuel under 1300 acres of farmland north of Teeswater. South Bruce is one of two communities in Canada left in the running to host the country’s high level nuclear waste.

A 1300 acre site just north of Teeswater has been identified as a potential underground site for the multi-billion dollar project, that would house approximately 5.2 million used fuel bundles, that remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization says they’ll pick one site between South Bruce and Ignace, in Northern Ontario, by 2023.

Michelle Stein lives near the proposed site in South Bruce. She organized today’s protest.  “Burying your problems to get them out of site is never the answer. I don’t want this underground mess to be the heritage that I leave for my children and grandchildren.”

Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau is the one bringing forward today’s motion to support DGR’s to store nuclear waste. “There’s an international scientific consensus that the best way to store waste materials from nuclear power production is through passive isolation in a Deep Geological Repository.”

The protest comes as Bruce County council debates a motion to reinforce its support for a permanent solution to the country’s nuclear waste, specifically the Deep Geological Repository model that encases the waste in copper containers, encased in clay “buffer boxes”.


February 22, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S. pentagon wary about morale of staff at nuclear bases

February 22, 2020 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump to visit India as salesman for Westinghouse nuclear reactors

February 22, 2020 Posted by | India, marketing, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Desperate nuclear industry hypes up unlikely new gimmick, HALEU nuclear fuel

The World’s Tiniest Nuclear Plant Is Coming to Idaho, The demonstration represents a new-generation of micro-reactors.  Popular Mechanics, Feb 21, 2020 “…… 

  • experts suggest that Oklo’s timeline is unrealistic with years of nuclear approval process ahead…….
  • In December, Oklo received a permit to begin building their new Aurora plant, which is the first and only permit ever issued in the U.S. to a nuclear plant using something other than a light water (“water-cooled”) reactor. The specific mix of fuel they plan to use is called HALEU for short: “High-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) …..
  • There are big obstacles in Oklo’s way, though. Their planned timeline, which Grist says is to open between 2022 and 2025—after just receiving a permit in December 2019—would be one of the shortest in U.S. nuclear power history. For the first-of-its-kind commercial, HALEU-fueled fast breeder reactor, this seems optimistic, to say the least.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment