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The sunken nuclear submarines: Russia’s ‘slow-motion Chernobyl’ at sea 

One of them is the K-27, once known as the “golden fish” because of its high cost. The 360ft-long (118m) attack submarine (a submarine designed to hunt other submarines) was plagued with problems since its 1962 launch with its experimental liquid-metal-cooled reactors, one of which ruptured six years later and exposed nine sailors to fatal doses of radiation. In 1981 and 1982, the navy filled the reactor with asphalt and scuttled it east of Novaya Zemlya island in a mere 108ft (33m) of water. A tugboat had to ram the bow after a hole blown in the ballast tanks only sank the aft end.

The K-27 was sunk after some safety measures were installed that should keep the wreck safe until 2032. But another incident is more alarming. The K-159, a 350ft (107m) November-class attack submarine, was in service from 1963 to 1989. The K-159 sank with no warning, sending 800kg (1,760lb) of spent uranium fuel to the seafloor beneath busy fishing and shipping lanes just north of Murmansk. Thomas Nilsen, editor of The Barents Observer online newspaper, describes the submarines as a “Chernobyl in slow motion on the seabed”.

While the vast size of the oceans quickly dilutes radiation, even very small levels can become concentrated in animals at the top of the food chain through “bioaccumulation” – and then be ingested by humans. But economic consequences for the Barents Sea fishing industry, which provides the vast majority of cod and haddock at British fish and chip shops, “may perhaps be worse than the environmental consequences”, says Hilde Elise Heldal, a scientist at Norway’s Institute of Marine Research.

But an accident while raising the submarine, on the other hand, could suddenly jar the reactor, potentially mixing fuel elements and starting an uncontrolled chain reaction and explosion. That could boost radiation levels in fish 1,000 times normal or, if it occurred on the surface, irradiate terrestrial animals and humans, another Norwegian study found.

Russia’s ‘slow-motion Chernobyl’ at sea  https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200901-the-radioactive-risk-of-sunken-nuclear-soviet-submarines, By Alec Luhn, 2nd September 2020

Beneath some of the world’s busiest fisheries, radioactive submarines from the Soviet era lie disintegrating on the seafloor. Decades later, Russia is preparing to retrieve them.

By tradition, Russians always bring an odd number of flowers to a living person and an even number to a grave or memorial. But every other day, 83-year-old Raisa Lappa places three roses or gladiolas by the plaque to her son Sergei in their hometown Rubtsovsk, as if he hadn’t gone down with his submarine during an ill-fated towing operation in the Arctic Ocean in 2003.

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October 2, 2021 Posted by | oceans, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russian and American nuclear wastes in the Arctic may release radiation as global heating melts the ice.


Climate change: Arctic’s unknown viruses’ and nuclear waste,  A rapidly warming Arctic could cause the spread of nuclear waste, undiscovered viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria, a report has found. BBC, 2 Oct 21,

It said potential radioactive waste from Cold War nuclear submarines and reactors and damage from mining could be released as the ice melts.

The nine million square miles of Artic dates to about a million years old.

Co-author Dr Arwyn Edwards from Aberystwyth University said much of the Arctic is still unknown.

Writing in Nature Climate Change, Dr Edwards co-authored report with academics from universities in the United States and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

The Arctic houses a diverse range of chemical compounds whether through natural processes, accidents or deliberate storage.

Nuclear waste, viruses and chemicals

Thawing permafrost, or permanently frozen land, has widely been seen as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as massive stores of Arctic soil carbon are released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, as well as causing abrupt change to the landscape.

However, the research found the implications are more widespread and less understood – with potential for the release of nuclear waste and radiation, unknown viruses and other chemicals of concern.

Between 1955 and 1990, the Soviet Union conducted 130 nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere and near surface ocean of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago off the coast of north-west Russia.

The tests used 224 separate explosive devices, releasing about 265 megatons of nuclear energy and more than 100 decommissioned nuclear submarines were scuttled in the nearby Kara and Barents seas.

Despite a Russian government launching a strategic clean-up plan, the review notes the area has tested highly for the radioactive substances caesium and plutonium, between undersea sediment, vegetation and ice sheets.

The United States’ Camp Century nuclear-powered under-ice research facility in Greenland also produced considerable nuclear and diesel waste.

Decommissioned in 1967, waste was left in the accumulating ice, which faces a longer term threat from changes to the Greenland Ice Sheet.

The 1968 Thule bomber crash in the same country also dispersed huge amounts of plutonium on the Greenland ice sheet……………………..

The report said despite its findings, it is still poorly understood and largely unquantified and further in-depth research in the area is vital to gain further insight into the risks………..   https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-58724710

October 2, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, environment, radiation | Leave a comment

Russia warns that AUKUS is a ” a great challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.”

AUKUS deal leaves Russia ‘concerned’ that Australia will have nuclear-powered submarines, ABC 1 Oct 21, Russia says it is concerned that the AUKUS defence agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States will allow Australia to enter the select group of nations that operate nuclear-powered submarines.

Key points:

  • Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the pact is a challenge to global nuclear non-proliferation
  • The EU has delayed free trade talks with Australia for a month but denies it is in retaliation for ripping up a submarine deal with France
  • The AUKUS announcement has angered China which has previously questioned Australia’s willingness to improve relations

Currently the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China operate such submarines.

The three-way pact, under which Australia will obtain nuclear submarine technology from the United States, has angered France and concerned China since it was announced………..

We are also concerned about the … partnership that will allow Australia, after 18 months of consultations and several years of attempts, to obtain nuclear-powered submarines in sufficient numbers to become one of the top five countries for this type of armaments,” Mr Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency.

“This is a great challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.”

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier in the week that the security pact brings a hidden danger to regional peace, stability and international order.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying also questioned whether Australia really cared about improving relations with China.

The defence pact has worried some of Australia’s closer neighbours………….   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-02/russia-concerned-about-aukus-and-nuclear-submarines/100509258

October 2, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ontario’s Unfunded Nuclear Decommissioning Liability is in the $18-$27 Billion CAD Range

 Ontario’s Unfunded Nuclear Decommissioning Liability is in the $18-$27 Billion CAD Range

https://tinyurl.com/5a9du4mz    Editorial Team, August 6 2021 Late last year I worked up the likely amount of public money that would have to be thrown at the nuclear industry in order to successfully and safely decommission the 100 operational reactors and the now shut down ones. Unsurprisingly, the nuclear industry had been very optimistic in its estimates of decommissioning costs and timeframes, when the global empirical averages were trending to a billion USD and 100 years per reactor.

Recently I was asked by an Ontario journalist what I thought the likely situation in Ontario would be, and whether the decommissioning trusts were equally underfunded. I was unsurprised to find that Canada is in the same boat as the US, with highly optimistic schedule and cost projections which belie Canadian empirical experience with the CANDU reactor, and that the fund had nowhere near the money necessary for the job. Let’s run the numbers. [diagram on original]

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is the chunk of the provincial utility that was carved apart in the late 1990s by the Mike Harris Conservatives to handle generation alone. It operates 18 aging CANDU reactors across three sites: Bruce, Pickering, and Darlington.

Table of operational nuclear generation reactors in Ontario

OPG has a nuclear decommissioning fund of about $5 billion CAD or US$4 billion right now. If the experience of other countries on the actual cost of a billion USD per reactor and an actual timeline of decommissioning of a century holds true, and I see no reason why it doesn’t, that means that there is currently a $17.5 billion CAD gap in Ontario, in addition to the existing $19.3 billion CAD in debt still being serviced from their construction. When the government of the era split up the utility, it moved all of the debt off of the components and into general debt. One of the many appropriate and sensible things that the McGuinty Administration did in the 2000s, in addition to shutting down coal generation entirely, was to move the debt back into the utility and set about servicing it from utility bills.

Most of the reactors at Bruce Nuclear are aging out, with several over 40 years old and the remainder approaching 40. Darlington’s are around 30, so they have a bit of runway. Pickering’s reactors are going to be shut down in 2024 and 2025 and start decommissioning in 2028. While refurbishment could bridge Ontario’s for another 20 years in many cases, that’s expensive and typically won’t pass any economic viability assessment compared to alternatives.

The likelihood is that all reactors in Ontario will reach end of life by 2035, and be replaced by some combination of renewable energy and HVDC transmission from neighboring jurisdictions, with both Manitoba and Quebec having excellent, low-carbon hydroelectric to spare.

Does the empirical experience of shutting down CANDU reactors track to the roughly billion USD that’s seen for other reactors? According to the World Nuclear Association, no.

The fourth unit is Gentilly 2, a more modern Candu 6 type, which was shut down at the end of 2012 after 30 years operation. It is being defuelled and the heavy water was to be treated over 18 months to mid-2014. A decommissioning licence was issued for 2016 to 2026 and the main part of the reactor will be closed up and left for 40 years to allow radioactivity to decay before demolition. All 27,000 fuel bundles are expected to be in dry storage (Macstor) by 2020. The decommissioning cost is put at C$ 1.8 billion over 50 years.”

That translates to US$1.44 billion, so it would appear as if CANDUs are on the expensive side to decommission. If that holds true, Ontario’s gap is actually in the range of $27 billion CAD.

Nuclear decommissioning funding comes from reactors operating revenue. In the US, it’s 0.01 to 0.02 cents per kWh as a set aside. I wasn’t able to find the required set aside for Ontario’s fleet, but obviously they aren’t setting aside sufficient funds now, or have absurdly optimistic fund growth expectations. They only have a decade to set aside more money from operating reactors, and have only set aside $5 billion CAD after 50 years, so the most generous assumption is that they will set aside perhaps $7 billion CAD in the OPG fund by end of life of the reactors, and have a liability for decommissioning of $15.5 to $27 billion CAD. For the next step, let’s assume $20 billion CAD for the sake of round numbers.

Given the likelihood of all of Ontario’s reactors being off of the grid by 2035, with major decommissioning occurring every few years until then, the kWh generated by Ontario’s nuclear fleet from now through 2060 will be in the range of about 1000 TWh assuming there are no lengthy outages at any of the plants, which to be clear is an awful lot of low carbon electricity.

However, $20 billion is a big number too. It turns into about 19 cents per kWh if you only count electricity generated from today through end of life for the reactors. It’s obviously a lot lower if you calculated from beginning of the lifetime of the reactors. However you count it though, that’s only the unfunded Ontario liability, and it’s on top of subsidized security costs Canada and Ontario and municipalities bear, and it’s on top of the outstanding $19.3 billion in debt that has only been receiving servicing on the interest since the McGuinty government brought it back into the utility. It’s likely that the majority of that debt will be outstanding in 2035 still, as it has gone from $20 billion to $19.3 billion in the last 11 years, so expecting it to be gone by 2035 is not realistic.

So yes, Ontario’s nuclear program will be a fiscal burden on Ontarians to the tune of around $40 billion CAD which will be spent through roughly 2135, finally being paid off by the great-grandchildren of babies born in 2021.

Nuclear, the gift that keeps on giving.

This article was originally published by Cleantechnica.com.

Read the original article here.

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Canada, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

With its reprocessing plant in La Hague, France has the highest radioactive discharges at sea in Europe.

With its reprocessing plant in La Hague, France has the highest radioactive discharges at sea in Europe. And these discharges are not decreasing, despite the commitments made in 1998, in Sintra, Portugal, by
the Member States of the OSPAR Convention for the protection of the North-East Atlantic.

But the results of the citizen surveillance ofradioactivity in the environment carried out by ACRO for more than 25years, show that the account is not there: the discharges from the Orano reprocessing plant in La Hague are visible. all along the Channel coast and, in the summer of 2021, they could still be detected as far as the Danish border.

The association therefore urges France to respect its international commitments by significantly reducing its radioactive discharges at sea. It will, for its part, maintain its vigilance.

 ACRO 29th Sept 2021

October 2, 2021 Posted by | France, oceans, radiation | Leave a comment

High rates of cancer and deaths among former nuclear workers at Ile-Longue nuclear submarine base.

Brest. A study points to the prevalence of cancer among former workers at
the Ile-Longue nuclear base. A sociologist from the University of Brest has
just completed a study on the former pyrotechnicians of Ile-Longue. From
1972 to 1996, these state workers assembled the warheads of nuclear
missiles “without any protection”. A quarter of them died early.

 France Info 30th Sept 2021

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/bretagne/finistere/brest/brest-une-etude-pointe-la-prevalence-des-cancers-chez-les-anciens-ouvriers-de-la-base-nucleaire-de-l-ile-longue-2273206.html

October 2, 2021 Posted by | France, health | Leave a comment

Global nuclear agencies get together to launch the big propaganda show ”Group of Vienna” ahead of COP26

Global nuclear leaders unite in Vienna to create group for future advocacy of industry  Power Engineering, 1 Oct 21,  The heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency and more than a dozen industry leading firms are going to work more closely together on promoting the role of nuclear technology in dealing with major global challenges.

Those challenges include climate change, disease, hunger and more. Lofty goals, for certain, but the newly formed Group of Vienna believe that their industry is key to helping solve pressing issues worldwide.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi helped guide formation of the so-called Group of Vienna, which includes his agency’s chief executives and top leaders from 13 companies and utilizes in U.S., China, Russia, South America and Europe. They met in Vienna during the latest IAEA general conference……..

In addition to IAEA executives, the Group of Vienna includes founding members from China National Nuclear Corp., EDF, Eletronuclear, NA Kazatomprom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nucleoelectrica Argentina, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR, ROSATOM, SNC-Lavalin Group, Urenco and Westinghouse Electric Co.

The high-level panel resolves to meet regulatory to discuss the latest developments in the nuclear field and how those contributions can factor into global challenges…..

New-build projects are extremely expensive to complete, such as the $27 billion Vogtle Unit 3-4 expansion in Georgia and the Hinkley Point C in the UK.   https://www.power-eng.com/nuclear/global-nuclear-leaders-unite-in-vienna-to-create-group-for-future-advocacy-of-industry/

October 2, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Russia confirms that ”Nuclear is Green”- George Orwell would be fascinated.

Russia confirms nuclear as green while EU remains undecided   NEI, 30 September 2021    The assignment of the status of a “green” energy source to nuclear power generation in the Russian Federation should be a signal for other countries considering the inclusion of nuclear energy in their “green” lists, Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev said on 27 September. The previous week, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had approved the criteria for the selection of “green” projects and initiatives in the field of sustainable development for concessional financing. 

Among the “green” areas of energy, nuclear energy is separately designated……….

The approval of the Russian“ green ”taxonomy is an important step within the framework of the national climate and environmental agenda, an incentive for the development of  green industries and projects,” Likhachev noted.   He added that the taxonomy officially established the status of nuclear energy as a “green” source, along with solar, wind and geothermal energy.

“This confirms the effectiveness of nuclear power plants in combating climate change and opens up access to green financing instruments. We hope that the Russian taxonomy will become a signal for foreign countries considering the issue of including nuclear energy in their green lists, he stressed.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has pushed back the deadline for objections to proposed rules for green investments, allowing an additional two months to scrutinise the policy. EU countries will now have until early December, instead of October, to scrutinise these rules………

The Commission is due to publish a second proposal in the coming months, confirming whether the taxonomy will label investments in nuclear and gas as green…………  Countries such as France and Hungary are strong supporters of nuclear power, and say investments the low-carbon energy source should be encouraged to fight climate change. Others, including Austria and Luxembourg, are strongly opposed. One EU official said the analysis suggested Austria may consider legal action if the EU included nuclear in the taxonomy, Reuters reported…….. https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsrussia-confirms-nuclear-as-green-while-eu-remains-undecided-9120845

October 2, 2021 Posted by | climate change, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Entergy faces federal fine for violations at its nuclear power plant near St Francisville

Entergy faces federal fine for violations at its nuclear power plant near St. Francisville, BY KRISTEN MOSBRUCKER | STAFF WRITER

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $150,000 fine against Entergy for three violations related to its River Bend Nuclear Station near St. Francisville. 

The federal agency found there was an issue with an exam proctor falsifying a test and submitting it, an operator skimped on safety checks at the plant’s control building and a senior reactor operator gave an unauthorized employee an access key to a room with cybersecurity-related equipment inside. 

The violations at the nuclear power plant occurred between 2018 and 2020, according to the commission’s report. ……………….. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_e35480aa-22dc-11ec-a3fc-c75f751ef8a3.html

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

China supports North Korea’s call to revise sanctions, return to nuclear talks

China backs North Korean call to revise sanctions to revive nuclear talks   SCMP,  2 Oct 21,
Instead of empty slogans, US should restart UN resolutions and ‘revise sanctions related to humanitarian aspects’, Beijing says
Denuclearisation talks stalled in 2019 and Pyongyang has resumed its missile tests

China has backed North Korea’s calls for the US to revise its sanctions to break the stalemate in denuclearisation talks.

Pyongyang resumed its missile tests last month after a six-month lull, the latest being a new hypersonic missile fired on Tuesday. It first fired a

nuclear-capable cruise missile on September 12, then followed up with two railway-borne ballistic missiles days later – in breach of UN Security Council resolutions.

Although the Chinese foreign ministry has continued to urge restraint from all parties in response to Pyongyang, spokeswoman Hua Chunying also called for North Korea’s “justified and reasonable concerns” to be taken seriously and addressed.

“The US should not fall back on empty slogans calling for dialogue, but should demonstrate sincerity and come up with a realistic dialogue proposal, restart the reversible UN resolutions at the Security Council, and revise sanctions that are related to humanitarian aspects,” Hua said on Thursday………………  https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3150921/china-backs-north-korean-call-revise-sanctions-revive-nuclear

October 2, 2021 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Hungary’s nuclear watchdog withholds permits for two new reactors


Hungary watchdog withholds nuclear expansion permits, seeks further info,   BUDAPEST, Oct 1 (Reuters)
– Hungary’s nuclear watchdog withheld permits for two new reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant pending additional information from the Russia-led project’s managers, further hampering a planned expansion beset by years of delays………………………

Hungary has amended its nuclear safety protocols to allow some work to begin before the entire expansion – initially planned to start in 2018 and with the first bloc set for completion in 2025 – got the regulatory nod.

It was unclear how much more the latest setback could delay construction of a project still in its preliminary stages and on which Russia this year agreed to delay payments for five years. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/hungary-watchdog-withholds-nuclear-expansion-permits-seeks-further-info-2021-10-01/

October 2, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Elon Musk , world’s richest man, pays no tax, likes nuclear power

A flippant Elon Musk takes shots at Biden, the SEC and anti-nuclear sentiment , SEP 29 2021 Lora Kolodny Kolodny@lorakolodny

  • At an appearance Tuesday at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California, Elon Musk criticized Joe Biden for not inviting Tesla to a White House summit on electric vehicles.
  • He also poked at the SEC and explained his point of view on taxation practices.
  • In addition, he said he didn’t quite understand why renewable energy supporters are against nuclear power.
  • SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized President Joe Biden on Tuesday, deeming his administration “biased” against Tesla and saying it appears to be “controlled” by unions during a speech on stage at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California.Musk, in his typically irreverent form, also repeated several of his prior taunts against federal financial regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission, reiterated his support for cryptocurrency and nuclear energy, and said he is optimistic about Tesla and tech in China despite recent antitrust and cryptocurrency crackdowns there

…………….On taxes. Swisher asked Musk — who is currently the wealthiest person in the world, according to Bloomberg — to respond to criticism that while his companies have received a good deal of government contracts and subsidies, the CEO has avoided paying some taxes personally in the U.S. through creative, if legal, accounting practices.

In June, the investigative news site ProPublica reported on Musk’s tax bill as part of a massive analysis of billionaires’ finances. They found that Musk’s income tax bill amounted to zero in 2018.

  • Musk insulted ProPublica’s reporting, calling it “tricky” and “misleading.”Then he said that the number was so low because he does not draw a salary, so his cash compensation is basically zero. Musk borrows money against stock options that vest over time instead.As he has amassed more and more shares in Tesla and SpaceX, he said, he has “not really bothered” to take money off the table by selling a stake……….
  • When asked for comment by CNBC, ProPublica responded with the following statement from Editor-in-Chief Stephen Engelberg:

“Elon Musk’s remarks confirm the accuracy of our reporting, which disclosed that he paid no federal income taxes in 2018. As we pointed out in our story, Musk has supported his lifestyle by borrowing money against his stockholdings, a textbook example of the strategy known as ‘buy, borrow and die.’ We noted in our story that his tax payments to the government in recent years were a tiny portion of his multi-billion dollar gains in wealth.”………….

In 2018, the SEC sued Tesla and Musk for securities fraud after the CEO wrote on Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private for $420 per share and had funding secured.They ultimately settled that lawsuit, with Musk and Tesla each paying a $20 million fine to the feds and Musk relinquishing his role as chairman of the board at Tesla. Musk also agreed to have his tweets reviewed by a compliance officer at Tesla before he posts them if they contain any material company information.

…………….. Crypto and China

Tesla made waves in February when it revealed it had purchased about $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin. After it disclosed the holdings, the price of bitcoin skyrocketed. In May, when Musk said on Twitter that Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin as a payment for its electric cars, the price of bitcoin plummeted.

When Musk tweets an endorsement of a particular coin — as he has done with dogecoin — its price tends to increase, at least temporarily.

When Swisher asked about cryptocurrency regulation, Musk said that the SEC should back off.

“Just let it fly,” he suggested.The People’s Bank of China recently declared all cryptocurrency-related activities illegal. …………

Space and energy Swisher and Musk discussed SpaceX, its competitors, plans to expand satellite internet service Starlink, and ambitions to make humanity a “multi-planet species” at length. During the course of their SpaceX discussion, Musk took the opportunity to mock the phallic shape of Blue Origin’s rocket and berate Jeff Bezos for his aerospace company’s litigiousness.……

…. “I’m also kind of pro-nuclear. And I’m sort of surprised by the public sentiment against nuclear.  https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/29/elon-musk-takes-shots-at-biden-sec-anti-nuclear-sentiment-at-code.html

October 2, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment