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Roof collapse at USA’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – more nuclear safety worries

An Albuquerque watchdog group is calling for an additional federal review before WIPP can reopen.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad has been working for nearly three years to recover from a radiation accident in February 2014.

safety-symbol1Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPPRoof collapses at WIPP raise new safety questions,Albuquerque Journal By Lauren Villagran / Journal Staff Writer Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 In a salt mine more than 2,000 feet underground where drums of nuclear waste are embedded in enormous rooms – some radiologically contaminated – workers heard a loud noise and saw a spray of salt dust.

It was just before 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Still recovering from a radiation accident nearly three years ago, managers of the nation’s only deep geologic repository for defense nuclear waste had just two weeks prior decided to shut down the far south end of the mine after the salt ceiling collapsed in two places.Suspecting a rock fall, workers reported the incident to the Central Monitoring Room on the surface. Managers called for an evacuation of the underground and, following the latest safety protocol, activated the Emergency Operations Center 26 miles away in Carlsbad as a precaution.

The next day, a team of geotechnical and radiological control experts, members of the mine rescue team and a representative from the Mine Safety and Health Administration descended into WIPP. They found a massive area of the ceiling in Room 4 of Panel 7 had crashed: a rock fall two-thirds the length of a football field, eight feet thick.

WIPP is supposed to reopen this month. The U.S. Department of Energy has not publicly changed its position that WIPP will begin putting waste underground in December, a symbolic “end” to a recovery that still will likely go on for years.

There are regulatory hurdles left to clear. WIPP managers are expected to make public the results of a DOE “operational readiness review” this week, which could include corrective actions and could alter the time frame. New Mexico’s Environment Department must also complete a review of safety equipment, procedures and staff training and sign off that WIPP is ready.

But experts say the recent roof collapses inside WIPP – which have injured no one, thanks to precautionary closures of troubled areas – call into question the facility’s ability to handle ground control in a contaminated mine.

At the least, they say, the latest roof fall reduces available real estate underground, including potentially eliminating Room 4. At worst, the inability to keep up with maintenance could threaten worker safety, although WIPP managers frequently repeat that safety is the “highest priority.”……..

The radiation accident drastically reduced ventilation underground, curbing the number of vehicles that can operate. Workers must wear bulky protective clothing and respirators in contaminated areas and thus work more slowly. These and other constraints mean they can’t bolt back the roof at pre-accident rates, and some areas have been left unattended.

Salt was the chosen burial ground for certain types of legacy Cold War nuclear waste because, once filled and closed, the salt will slowly encapsulate the drums forever. But salt’s dynamic nature means WIPP managers are in a race against time – one they have not been winning.

“People have to understand, for WIPP to work it has to be a successful and a safe mining operation,” said Robert Alvarez, a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and former senior policy adviser to the Energy Secretary in the 1990s in the lead-up to WIPP’s opening. “They are just not out of the woods. But they are under enormous pressure to get this thing open because of all these sites sitting on this transuranic waste.”

Transuranic waste consists of boots, gloves and other materials contaminated during weapons production. Hundreds of shipments of “TRU” waste are piling up at sites around the country, including at Los Alamos and Idaho national laboratories and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina………

Federal review sought

An Albuquerque watchdog group is calling for an additional federal review before WIPP can reopen.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad has been working for nearly three years to recover from a radiation accident in February 2014.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy dated Nov. 21, Albuquerque’s Southwest Research and Information Center and the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council asked DOE to submit WIPP to a review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.
The last NEPA review of WIPP came in 1997 – documents that “are now known to be incomplete, and in some cases, erroneous,” according to the letter.
Specifically, the letter requests NEPA analyses of WIPP’s recovery and its waste disposal plans – such as studies outlining the impacts of an underground fire like the one that occurred days before the radiation release in an unrelated accident – as well as a new analysis regarding the probability and impacts of a hot reaction inside a waste drum like the one that contaminated the facility.
– Lauren Villagran  https://www.abqjournal.com/902842/new-safety-questions-come-up-at-wipp.html

December 7, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Russia kept secret about an explosion at a nuclear power plant

 https://realrussiatoday.com/2016/11/22/explosion-at-nuclear-power-station-in-russia/6th reactor building of the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant, that was built based on an experimental reactor VVER-1200, could only work a few weeks at full capacity until an accident occurred.

Locals reported a powerful explosion at the nuclear power plant, reports Russian ecological media Bellona.ru.

At the same time, Russian state-owned media traditionally kept extremely silent regarding the details of the incident. In particular, news agency RIA Novosti reported that “the 6th power unit of Novovoronezh nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid due to failure of the power generator.” Meanwhile, independent environmental organizations found out that the problem is actually much more serious.

“Turning off the 6th unit at the night of November 10 was preceded by an explosion that smashed the turbine hall,” writes the local media “Notebook Voronezh”, citing eyewitness of the accident. “Alarm systems in all vehicles in the area were screaming for at least 15 minutes. The generator in the turbine hall of the 6th unit burned down beyond repair. Also, a transformer blown, and all electrics burned. A state commission is working at the station, the situation is an emergency.”

Employees of Novovoronezh NPP deny the information about an explosion. They say that a loud sound was caused by a fault trip.

“During the power test, an electrical generator failure occurred, which led to the shutdown of the power grid,” told a representative of Novovoronezh NPP administration on a condition of anonymity. “When you disconnect a power generator and a turbine, a system triggers that prevents building up pressure of the steam over the limit. The loud sound was caused by a rapid opening of valves.”

Source: rusjev.net

November 28, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is worried over Iran losing a nuclear device

Iran Loses Nuclear Device, Sparks GCC Worry , Oil Price, 

Aside from the security concerns, at the forefront in the GCC’s mind is what impact the radioactive device—wherever it may be today—could have on water supplies.

According to the newspaper, the device went missing after the car transporting it was stolen. Thankfully, the vehicle was recovered, but the radioactive nuclear device was not so lucky.

The GCC has contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the incident—both organizations are concerned that Iran’s nuclear program may pollute the waters in the Gulf, Asharq al-Awsat quoted GCC Emergency Management Center chairman, Adnan al-Tamimi, as saying.

Most members of the GCC – which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman – desalinate sea water from the Gulf. If contamination from the device were to reach desalination stations, an already critical situation becomes even more critical.

The missing device is set to lose half of its power after 74 days of inactivity, Tamimi said, noting that it still should be handled with care even after that period……..http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Iran-Loses-Nuclear-Device-Sparks-GCC-Worry.html

November 28, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Iran | 1 Comment

Electrical fault and small fire in Indian Point nuclear station

Electrical fault, fire triggers low-level emergency notice at Indian Point http://westfaironline.com/82994/electrical-fault-fire-triggers-low-level-emergency-notice-at-indian-point/ By Ryan Deffenbaugh November 8, 2016  An electrical fault and small fire in Indian Point Energy Center’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor Tuesday morning caused the plant’s owners, Entergy Corp. to declare and subsequently terminate a Notice of Unusual Event emergency notification.

The unusual event notice is the lowest of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s four emergency classification levels. The fire was self-extinguished moments after it started and there were no injuries or impact on plant operations, Entergy said.

The cable that experienced the electrical faulty carries electricity between both operating units at the Buchanan plant.

The company is investigating the cause of the fault, according to Entergy.

November 11, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Scottish power plant forced offline for a week by swarm of jellyfish

Power plants seek nuclear option to end jellyfish raids, Sunday Times, There are plenty of problems for those in charge of nuclear power stations to worry about when they look out to sea, from rising sea levels, erosion, storm surges, even in some cases tsunamis, but few are as ever present, or as irritating, as jellyfish.

Swarms of them have plagued coastal power plants worldwide by clogging their water intakes and cooling systems. In June 2011, Torness in the east of Scotland was forced offline for a week after moon jellyfish blocked its filters.

Yet they are fiendishly difficult to stop, track or predict because jellyfish have no hearts and thus… (registered readers only) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/power-plants-seek-nuclear-option-to-end-jellyfish-raids-tqjzf7bst

October 24, 2016 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear research facility hacked

how-to-hack-wordpressNation-State Hackers Hit Japanese Nuclear Facility, Info Security Magazine, 19 Oct 16,   A Japanese nuclear research facility has been hacked, resulting in the theft of 59,000 files.

The University of Toyama’s Hydrogen Isotope Research Center is one of the world leaders in tritium research. Tritium, also known as Hydrogen-3, is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is an important fuel for controlled nuclear fusion, and a key component of hydrogen bombs.

It is also one of the contaminants in the water building up at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The infiltrators stole the lab’s tritium research, according to Japanese media, along with the personal details of 1,493 researchers. Attackers stole data in three batches: December 2015, March 2016 and June 2016.

The malware that was used in the breach was delivered via a spear-phishing attack in November of 2015, when a hacker posed as a Tokyo university student working on a research assignment. Investigators said that the malware samples they analyzed were also pre-programmed to search the victim’s computer for the term IAEA, which is the acronym for the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The breach at the University of Toyama’s Hydrogen Isotope Research Center is a textbook example of the sort of cyber-threats facing academia,” said Vishal Gupta, CEO of Seclore, via email. “Researchers are extremely lucrative targets for nation-states, as it’s cheaper to invest in the theft of existing data then to conduct the research outright…….. http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/nationstate-hackers-hit-japanese/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Third ceiling collapse at Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

WIPPWaste Isolation Pilot Plant sees third ceiling text-relevant
collapse, A
iken Standard,  By Thomas Gardinert gardiner@aikenstandard.com Oct 8 2016  New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has suffered its third ceiling collapse.

The first collapse was discovered Sept. 27, and the following two happened this past week. The third collapse was identified on Friday morning and was found to have followed the cave-in earlier in the week.

According to a WIPP update sent Friday evening, the area of the collapse continues to remain restricted for workers and employees. According to SRS Watch Director Tom Clements, who has been inside the facility, material regularly comes off of the walls and ceiling.

WIPP is an underground facility, cut into salt beds. Over time, groundwater and other natural forces are designed to form the salt deposits around the waste containers. He said the facility was designed to encase the nuclear waste buried there to permanently dispose of the material…

The WIPP facility was shut down in 2014 after a containment leak and an underground salt-truck fire. The facility is set to reopen in December 2016 and shipments are expected to resume in the fall of 2017.

WIPP is the intended resting place for some of the nuclear material at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site near Aiken. The Energy Department is currently disposing of plutonium through a process called dilute and dispose. That material is among those eventually intended for WIPP disposal.

According to the WIPP update, emergency evacuation routes were also out of date. The routes were still based on the facility before sections were closed, including the areas where the cave-ins occurred. The update said, “The Department of Energy identified a deficiency in the WIPP Mine Escape and Evacuation Plan, which still relied on evacuation routes established before some areas had been posted as prohibited. NWP had identified compensatory measures – immediate changes that could be made while the Evacuation Plan is formally updated.”

October 10, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

How three brave Chernobyl workers saved Europe from nuclear catastrophe

exclamation-Despite Three Mile Island, Daiichi Power Plant in Japan and Chernobyl, the industry still poo-poos the danger. At Chernobyl, after the initial explosion, the 185 tons of melting nuclear waste was still melting down. When it reached the water a thermonuclear explosion would have occurred. It was estimated it would have wiped out half of Europe and made Europe, Ukraine and parts of Russia uninhabitable for 500,000 years. This was prevented when three workers volunteered to dive in the radioactive water and open the valves to drain the pool and prevent a second explosion, knowing it would mean death by radioactive poisoning. They succeeded in draining the pool, but died of radiation sickness within a few weeks. Their bodies remained radioactive and were buried in lead coffins.

  If a similar “incident,” as the nuclear industry insists they be called, happens in Clinton, do you think Rep. Bill Mitchell, the Clinton School Board, DeWitt County Board of any of the 700 workers or any other advocates of keeping the plant open will step forward?

October 10, 2016 Posted by | history, incidents, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, Ukraine | 1 Comment

5 October – an anniversary reminder of the nuclear industry’s poor record, and poor future

the real problem is that the nuclear industry lost its credibility almost at its inception, and has never recovered. It was hastily launched, endowed with the sort of government indulgence that breeds sloppiness, and has tried to conceal its faults through secrecy and legal bluster

GIL SCOTT HERON – WE ALMOST LOST DETROIT

 

50 years after ‘we almost lost Detroit,’ America’s nuclear power industry faces even graver doubts, LA Times, 5 Oct 16   Michael Hiltzik Contact Reporter  The history of nuclear power in the United States has been marked by numerous milestones, many of them bad — accidents, construction snafus, engineering incompetence, etc., etc. One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel.

One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel. Continue reading

October 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, history, incidents | Leave a comment

180 mishaps in UK nuclear waste transport vehicles

radiation-truckflag-UKUK nuclear weapons convoys ‘have had 180 mishaps in 16 years’  Vehicles carrying nuclear weapons have had collisions, breakdowns and brake failures, disarmament campaign says, Guardian, , 21 Sept 16Military convoys carrying nuclear weapons through Britain’s cities and towns have experienced 180 mishaps and incidents, including collisions, breakdowns and brake failures during the last 16 years, according to a report produced by a disarmament campaign.

The incidents catalogued in the report – based on official logs released under theFreedom of Information Act – include fuel leaks, overheated engines, clutch problems, and other mechanical faults in the convoys.

At other times, according to the report, the convoys went the wrong way, were diverted, and lost communications with commanders. The rate at which the incidents have occurred has risen in recent years, with 43 in the last three years.

In its report published on Wednesday, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) warns that a serious accident involving the convoys could spread radioactivity over cities, contaminating communities and increasing cancer risks.

The convoys pass through cities and towns between Scotland and southern England. However, an opinion poll commissioned by Ican shows that nearly two-thirds of British adults did not know that the military transports nuclear warheads on British roads, prompting the campaigners to argue that members of the public have not given their consent to the dangers they pose.

Materials for nuclear weapons are driven through or flown over 122 local councils in the UK, including densely-populated areas such as Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, according to Ministry of Defence data…….

The Ican report describes how nuclear warheads are carried in dark green, 44-tonne trucks between a bomb factory at Burghfield near Reading in Berkshire and a naval depot at Coulport on Loch Long near Glasgow, where they are loaded onto submarines.

The 900-mile round trips, usually spread over one or two days, are completed between two and six times a year, with the most recent onereported to have been completed this week.

According to Ican, the convoys – comprising up to 20 vehicles including police cars and a fire engine – use a variety of routes. One from Burghfield, where the warheads are assembled and maintained, goes along the M40, round Birmingham and past Preston on the M6, and then the M74 to Glasgow……..

Matt Hawkins, spokesman for Ican, said the report “painted a grim picture of the great risks posed by nuclear convoys”, adding that nuclear weapons “only add danger to our lives, exposing us all to the risk of radiation leaks or an attack by terrorists on one of these convoys”.

In 2003, following pressure from the Guardian, the MoD was forced to publish a list of accidents involving nuclear weapons between 1960 and 1991 after decades of secrecy. It showed that the weapons had been dropped, struck by other weapons and carried on a truck that slid down a hill and toppled overhttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/21/uk-nuclear-weapons-convoys-have-had-180-mishaps-in-16-years


September 22, 2016 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear dangers: the 15 costliest nuclear disasters


safety-symbol-SmThe 15 costliest nuclear disasters and the nuclear risks of the future,
Treehugger, Christine Lepisto (@greenanswer)  September 20, 2016 The names Chernobyl and Fukushima connote nuclear disaster. But do you remember Three Mile Island? Have you ever heard of Beloyarsk, Jaslovske, or Pickering? These names appear among the 15 most expensive nuclear disasters.

  1. Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986): $259 billion
  2. Fukushima, Japan (2011): $166 billion
  3. Tsuruga, Japan (1995): $15.5 billion
  4. Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, USA (1979): $11 billion
  5. Beloyarsk, USSR (1977): $3.5 billion
  6. Sellafield, UK (1969): $2.5 billion
  7. Athens, Alabama, USA (1985): $2.1 billion
  8. Jaslovske Bohunice, Czechoslovakia (1977): $2 billion
  9. Sellafield, UK (1968): $1.9 billion
  10. Sellafield, UK (1971): $1.3 billion
  11. Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA (1986): $1.2 billion
  12. Chapelcross, UK (1967): $1.1 billion
  13. Chernobyl, Ukraine (1982): $1.1 billion
  14. Pickering, Canada (1983): $1 billion
  15. Sellafield, UK (1973): $1 billion

A new study of 216 nuclear energy accidents and incidents crunches twice as much data as the previously best review, predicting that

“The next nuclear accident may be much sooner or more severe than the public realizes.”

The study points to two significant issues in the current assessment of nuclear safety. First, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves the dual masters of overseeing the industry and promoting nuclear energy. Second, the primary tool used to assess the risk of nuclear incidents suffers from blind spots.

The conflict of interest in the first issue is clear. The second issue may not be transparent to the layperson until they understand more fully how industry conducts the probabilistic safety assessments (PSAs) which are the source of the standard predictions of the risk of nuclear accidents. …….http://www.treehugger.com/energy-disasters/15-costliest-nuclear-disasters-and-nuclear-risks-future.html

September 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, incidents, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

It could have been an ISIS terrorist. Lucky it was only a peace protestor holding up nuclear weapons convoy

flag-ScotlandIf just two peace protestors can get this close and hold up a nuclear weapons convoy why couldn’t ISIS?

  • 78-year-old anti-nuclear campaigner lies under military truck in Stirling 
  • The vehicle thought to be carrying nuclear warheads was part of a convoy
  • Police intervened and stopped traffic so it could continue trip to Scotland  

By JESSICA DUNCAN FOR MAILONLINE 17 September 2016

The incredible moment a 78-year-old retired teacher managed to hold up four military trucks thought to be carrying nuclear warheads has emerged online.

Shocking moment retired teacher, 77, holds up nuke convoy

The vehicles with their large police convoy were spotted passing through Raploch, in Stirling, at around 5pm yesterday after they had left the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield near Reading on Wednesday to make their way up to Coulport, Scotland.

But they were stopped by two activists including Brian Quail, an anti-nukes campaigner who is also believed to be a former teacher, and his younger colleague Alasdair Ibbotson, 21.

Speaking to the Mail Online Mr Ibbotson, who is a student and Green Party supporter, said: ‘I have been campaigning for nuclear weapon disarmament since I was 16. I am passionate about it because at the end of the day it causes the mass murder of millions of people, and is just wrong on every level.

‘The money spend on trident could be better spent on our NHS.

‘And if a pensioner and a student can stop them, anyone else with actually ill intent could do.

‘The MOD need to think about how this and whether they should use the road at all.‘We knew the convoy was passing through the area around that time because we have a national network tracking when they leave the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield and head to Coulport in Scotland.

‘We don’t know what was on board but we do know they are currently undertaking an upgrade programme and we believe regular parts are being taken between the two bases to be reassembled.’

Mr Quail and Mr Ibbotson were seen working as a duo to stop one of the vehicles.

Mr Ibbotson first jumped out in front of one of the vans with his hands above his head while the OAP quickly lay on the floor wedging himself in front of one of the back wheels.

Police on motorbikes rushed to drag the first protester to the roundabout but it took over two minutes and more than six police personnel to remove Mr Quail from under one of the vans.

The younger man has another attempt to lie down on the road as police move him to the pavement before ten members of the police are required to get them into the back of police vans.

The incident also brought rush hour traffic to a standstill as police swarmed the area and other road users got out of their cars to see what’s happening.

It is reported that the convoy was held up for over 20 minutes as police apprehended the two protesters.

The five minute clip, posted by Stirling University Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), is filmed at a roundabout in the city and begins with the person behind the camera saying that the footage is being filmed ‘about a mile from the town centre’ over the sound of police sirens.

The police escort and first lorry make it past the protesters but the third vehicle in the convoy is forced to slam on its brakes as the two men dart out in front of it with their hands above their heads.

With the incident causing an ever-increasing tailback of rush-hour traffic, it takes over six officers to eventually remove the man and sit him up on the nearby pavement.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: ‘Two males have been arrested and charged for a breach of the peace after a military convoy was disrupted as it made its way through Stirling on Thursday, September 15.

‘Both men, aged 21 and 78, have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal and are expected to appear in court at a later date…………. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3792600/If-stop-Terrifying-moment-77-year-old-retired-teacher-student-21-holds-nuclear-weapons-convoy.html

September 17, 2016 Posted by | incidents, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Belarus – problems, secrecy, ignorance on nuclear unsafety

safety-symbol-SmMysteries Of The First Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, Belarus Digest Lizaveta Kasmach06 September 2016 On 26 August 2016, a 43-year old worker was injured and killed as a result of the explosion of an oxygen gas tank at the Astraviec nuclear power plant (NPP) construction site.

A series of unfortunate events

Reports of incidents at the Astraviec construction site have been piling up in 2016, bringing more and more attention to the first Belarusian nuclear project. For instance, in April 2016, Poland-based TV channel Belsat reported the collapse of a supporting structure in one of the maintenance buildings on the site.

This death was the latest in a series of accidents which have already started to raise nuclear safety concerns, both domestically and internationally.

In July 2016, the Belarusian media reported another dangerous incident which occurred during the installation of a reactor. It also turned out that the NPP’s management had been concealing this news for more than two weeks. This lack of transparency is reminiscent of the suppressed news of the Chernobyl catastrophe back in 1986.

As a result, NPP construction has come under closer scrutiny and even the state-run media picked up the topic of nuclear security. However, all these events have not led to massive anti-nuclear protests in Belarus.

Despite the fact that an employee tipped off journalists, the NPP management responded by denying that the accident had even taken place and referred to the news as “absolute nonsense.” Later, the Belarusian Ministry of Energy nevertheless confirmed the accident, trying to downplay its severity.

Less than two months ago, authorities tried to conceal another, more serious accident which interrupted the installation of the nuclear reactor. On 10 July 2016, the reactor casing, weighing over 330 tonnes, reportedly fell to the ground from a height of 2 to 4 metres.

However, the wider public became aware of this disaster only on 25 July. Local anti-nuclear activist and United Civil Party member Mikalai Ulasevich reported that more than ten anonymous insider sources could confirm that something went wrong during the test lifting procedure……..

Lithuania also expressed its concerns. On 23 August, president Dalia Grybauskaite referred to the Belarusian NPP as an instrument which could potentially be used in an unconventional manner against the Baltic states. In her opinion, the Belarusian NPP potentially represented “an energy, military, health, and territorial security problem, if used by a hostile country.”

What about Belarusian environmentalists?  Belarusian environmentalists had already adopted a clear anti-nuclear position by 2005, when officials started mentioning plans for an NPP. In 2006, the Belarusian NGOEcodom, backed by the opposition parties, pioneered anorganised anti-nuclear movement. By 2008, major anti-nuclear initiatives united within the Belarusian Anti-Nuclear Campaign.

However, Belarusian authorities did everything possible to neutralise the dissenting green movement. For instance, during the so-called public debates on the NPP construction in October 2009, only a few anti-nuclear activists were allowed to attend. The event ended with the arrest of anti-nuclear expert Andrei Ozharovskii.

Moreover, the Institute of Sociology at the National Academy of Sciences produced surveys indicating a surprising turn in public opinion towards acceptance of nuclear energy. ……

Even though in 2016 the anti-nuclear movement has captured more attention, environmentalists fear that Belarusian society is dangerously naive when it comes to NPP construction. According to the coordinator of the Green Network association, Yaraslau Bekish, this explains why even serious accidents in Astraviec have not catalysed significant public protests.

So far, Belarusian authorities have succeeded in protecting their pet project in Astraviec. Neither Belarusian independent anti-nuclear activists nor the EU have the leverage to interfere in these plans. However, there is a chance that their voice could be heard if such emergencies and accidents continue in the future.   Lizaveta Kasmach is a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, Canada. http://belarusdigest.com/story/mysteries-first-belarusian-nuclear-power-plant-27097

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Belarus, incidents, safety | Leave a comment

Watts Bar nuclear reactors shut down indefinitely, following transformer fire

Transformer fire forces TVA to shut down Unit 2 reactor indefinitely TVA probes cause of switchyard fire at Watts Bar Tuesday night. Times Free Press August 31st, 2016 by Dave Flessner

The Tennessee Valley Authority today is trying to determine the cause of a fire in the switchyard of its Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant that started around 9:11 p.m. Tuesday night and took TVA fire crews about an hour to extinguish.

The blaze in one of the main bank transformers connected to the new Unit 2 reactor triggered notice of “an unusual event” — the lowest of four emergency classifications for problems at a nuclear power plant. Although the fire did not affect any nuclear or generation equipment in either the reactor or turbine buildings at Watts Bar, it did damage a transformer and required TVA to shut down its Unit 2 reactor indefinitely, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said today.  ….

When the fire erupted, the reactor had to be shut down and the unit will remain idle until a new transformer is installed and the cause of the fire is determined. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2016/aug/31/transformer-fire-nuclear-plant-triggers-emergency-notice/384326/

September 2, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Groundwater infiltrates turbine building in Vermont Yankee nuclear station

Nuclear plant: Water infiltration down for turbine building http://www.wcax.com/story/32850407/nuclear-plant-water-infiltration-down-for-turbine-building  Aug 27, 2016  VERNON, Vt. (AP) – A nuclear energy company says the level of groundwater infiltrating a turbine building at its Vernon plant is falling.

Entergy Nuclear tells The Rutland Herald 700 gallons of groundwater a day infiltrated the Vermont Yankee turbine building this month. Between 3,000 and 2,500 gallons had been infiltrating the building each day in January. The plant closed in 2014.

The company says ongoing drought conditions likely contributed to the drop and allowed for foundation cracks and a sump-pump drain to be sealed.

The company says it has paid about $1.2 million to ship and treat water from the plant.

Entergy says it has effectively suspended its request to discharge slightly radioactive water from the building into the Connecticut River.

Federal nuclear regulators plan to inspect the plant next week.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment