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10 out of 56 French nuclear reactors are currently shut down

“They are very anxious”: EDF in the face of nuclear reactor
breakdowns. Ten reactors out of 56 are shut down, i.e. 20% of French
nuclear production capacity. “In winter, the availability of the nuclear
fleet has never been so low”, observes RTE, the manager of the high voltage
network.

The black series continues for EDF. Thursday, January 13, the
group announced that a fourth nuclear reactor, Penly 1, in Seine-Maritime,
was affected by a corrosion problem on its safety injection system – a
device of capital importance in the event of a accident. His shutdown has
been extended until the end of May. Reporterre takes stock of the
situation.

 Reporterre 15th Jan 2022

https://reporterre.net/Ils-sont-tres-angoisses-EDF-face-aux-pannes-de-reacteurs-nucleaires
https://nuclearinformation.wordpress.com/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Swedish police hunt for drone seen flying over Forsmark nuclear station.

 Police in Sweden deployed patrols and helicopters to the Forsmark nuclear
plant to hunt for a large drone seen flying over the site late on Friday,
but were unable to catch the unmanned vehicle, they said on Saturday. The
incident came a day after Sweden’s military started patrolling the main
town on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland amid increased tensions between
NATO and Russia and a recent deployment of Russian landing craft in the
Baltic.

 Reuters 15th Jan 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/swedish-police-hunt-drone-seen-flying-over-forsmark-nuclear-plant-2022-01-15/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Sweden | Leave a comment

Cracks on safety-critical pipes in France’s nuclear reactors

Cracks on safety-critical pipes: the list of nuclear reactors concerned is
growing! At the beginning of the year, the four most powerful reactors in
the fleet, Chooz and Civaux, are shut down following the detection of a
worrying generic anomaly (cracks in a pipe of the safety injection system)
which concerns at least three of them.

On January 13, the Institute for
Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety announced that reactor No. 1 of the
Penly nuclear power plant (Seine-Maritime) was also affected by this
defect, information confirmed by EDF. This discovery calls for a
questioning of safety control and French energy choices, based on nuclear
power whose supposed reliability is not there.

 Sortir du Nucleaire 14th Jan 2022

https://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Fissures-sur-des-tuyauteries-cruciales-pour-la

January 17, 2022 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Large drone observed over Forsmark nuclear station in Sweden

A large drone has been observed over the Forsmark nuclear power plant in
eastern Sweden. The police moved out but could not follow it. The drone at
Forsmark was observed at around 8 PM on Friday. At the same time, flying
objects were reported over the Ringhals nuclear power plants on the west
coast and Oskarshamn in the southeast of the country, and, eventually, a
possible drone was also reported at the decommissioned Barsebäck nuclear
power plant in Skåne.

 Norway Today 15th Jan 2022

January 17, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Sweden | 1 Comment

Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD) wants transparency on the safety of EPR nuclear reactor design.

Safety defect of the Taishan 1 EPR reactor, CRIIRAD asks the authorities to draw all the consequences on the other EPRs including the one under construction in Flamanville.

According to information sent to CRIIRAD by a whistleblower from the nuclear industry, a generic problem could jeopardize the safety of reactors in the EPR sector

The serious malfunctions at the level of the EPR reactor n°1 of the Taishan power plant (China) – revealed in June 2021 and having led to its early shutdown on July 30 – would be partly linked to a design problem of the EPR tank.

The problems linked to the design of the EPR vessel in terms of hydraulics have been known to manufacturers since at least the end of the 2000s (model tests). The poor distribution of the primary liquid in the vessel would generate high levels of vibration of the nuclear fuel assemblies. These vibrations would have been observed as soon as Taishan 1 was commissioned in 2018.

The vibrations at the level of the reactor core would be the cause of the degradation of the sheaths of the nuclear fuel rods, thus causing leaks of radioactive rare gases, but also of radioactive isotopes of iodine and cesium. They would also have weakened the retaining grids of certain assemblies.

These leaks were noted by operators as early as October 2020 and have steadily worsened over the weeks. Given the risks this represents for workers, residents and nuclear safety, CRIIRAD believes that the Taishan 1 reactor should have been shut down well before July 30.

The damage to the nuclear fuel of the Taishan 1 reactor would be considerable. The whistleblower told CRIIRAD that 70 pencils are damaged belonging to about thirty different assemblies. Many retaining springs broke.

What about the French and Chinese Nuclear Safety Authorities? What do the French and Chinese Nuclear Safety Authorities know? CRIIRAD requests clarification and full transparency in an email sent to the French ASN on November 27, 2021: http://www.criirad.org/actualites/dos...

This more than worrying situation must absolutely be assessed and the results must be made public: nuclear safety and the protection of populations are at stake.

January 15, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

UK’s Advanced Gas Cooled (AGRs) reactors should be shut, as they are vulnerable to cracking

“The AGRs have already had a good run operating way beyond their intende 30-year lifecycle, but the fact is that as the reactors age so does the integrity of their graphite cores which moderate the nuclear reaction.

EDF case for continued AGR reactor operations ‘cracking up’, says NFLA.
The early closure of the final reactor at Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station last Friday (7 January) signalled yet another step towards the long-overdue demise of the outdated Advanced Gas Cooled (AGRs) reactors operated by EDF Energy, a subsidiary of French state owned EdF
(Électricité de France), across the UK.

After being shut down for much of 2019, EDF hoped to continue operations at Hunterston B until 2023 but increasing instances of cracks in the graphite cores of the reactor brought forward closure plans by a year.

The problem of cracks in the graphite cores which compromises safety has long been an issue of concern to the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA). Councillor Blackburn said “The AGRs have already had a good run operating way beyond their intende 30-year lifecycle, but the fact is that as the reactors age so does the integrity of their graphite cores which moderate the nuclear reaction.

Although EDF plans to close the last AGR in 2028, this is way too long and the timescale for closure needs to be brought forward in the interests of plant and public safety

 NFLA 12th Jan 2022

 https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/edf-case-for-continued-agr-reactor-operations-cracking-up-says-nfla/

January 15, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Greenpeace France calls for a halt to Flamanville EPR nuclear project, to assess viability of EPR reactors.

EDF announced this morning that the start-up of the Flamanville EPR, which has been under construction for 15 years, has been postponed by several months, to mid-2023. The cost of this project, already multiplied by 6, increases again.

This umpteenth slippage of EPR technology questions the positioning of certain presidential candidates who promote it irresponsibly and disconnected from the facts.

Greenpeace France is calling for a moratorium on the work of the Flamanville EPR, in order to conduct an
independent assessment of the viability of EPR nuclear reactors. The incident that led to the shutdown of the world’s first EPR in Taishan,China, nearly 6 months ago, remains unresolved to this day. Beyond the
setbacks of construction sites, the EPR technology therefore proves to be faulty even in operation.

 Greenpeace France 12th Jan 2022

January 15, 2022 Posted by | France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

A fifth French nuclear reactor affected by corrosion in safety system

Nuclear: a reactor at the Penly power plant also affected by a corrosion problem. This problem on a safety system has already been detected on four other EDF reactors currently shut down.

 Nuclear: a reactor at the Penly power plant also affected by a corrosion problem. This problem on a safety system has already been detected on four other EDF reactors currently shut down. A nuclear reactor at the Penly power plant (Seine-Maritime) is also affected by a corrosion problem on a safety system already detected or suspected on four other EDF reactors currently shut down, AFP told on Thursday. Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

 Le Figaro 13th Jan 2021

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/nucleaire-un-reacteur-de-la-centrale-de-penly-concernee-aussi-par-un-probleme-de-corrosion-20220113

January 15, 2022 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Drop in EDF’s 2022 production target due to nuclear outages because of cracks

 EDF has cut its 2022 nuclear production target by almost 10% to 300-330 TWh following outages extensions at five of its 56 nuclear reactors (7.3 GW). Previously, the French utility aimed to generate 330-360 TWh of atomic output this year.

The firm attributed the reduced production figure to outage extensions of up to nine months at its Civaux 1,2, Chooz 1,2 (1.5 GW each) and Penly 1 (1.3 GW) units due to ongoing checks on the pipes of their safety injection system (SIS) circuit, it said in a statement late on Thursday.

Last month, the firm unexpectedly shut down both its Chooz reactors for inspections following the discovery of cracks close to welding on the pipes at the Civaux plant. EDF said that preventive checks at Penly 1 revealed “similar defects on the SIS circuit”.

 Montel News 14th Jan 2022

https://www.montelnews.com/news/1292773/edf-cuts-2022-nuclear-output-target-by-10-amid-outages

January 15, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment

Cracked’ nuclear power station retired. 

Cracked’ nuclear power station retired. The Ecologist, Katrine Bussey 10th January 2022   ‘As the expensive and hazardous job of cleaning up the radioactive legacy Hunterston leaves in its wake now begins, Scotland must press on with plans to harness more clean, renewable energy.’

One of Scotland’s two nuclear power plants has been shutdown, bringing an end to almost 46 years of it generating electricity. 

Environmental campaigners said the final shutdown of Hunterston B, near West Kilbride – which started producing electricity 45 years and 11 months ago – was “inevitable”.

Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland, said the plant had become increasingly unreliable, and argued that growth in renewable energy means nuclear power is no longer required.

Technologies

Mr Banks said the “repeated failure to solve the problem of hundreds of cracks in the graphite bricks surrounding the reactor core means the closure of Hunterston B was inevitable”.

He added: “Thankfully Scotland has massively grown its renewable power-generating capacity, which means we’ll no longer need the electricity from this increasingly unreliable nuclear power plant.

“As the expensive and hazardous job of cleaning up the radioactive legacy Hunterston leaves in its wake now begins, Scotland must press on with plans to harness more clean, renewable energy.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Hunterston B, its operators and in particular the workforces who have staffed the plant for more than 40 years, have played an important role in supporting Scotland’s energy requirements.

“We do however remain clear in our opposition to the building of new nuclear power plants in Scotland under current technologies.

Transition

“Significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture provide the best pathway to net zero by 2045, and will deliver the decarbonisation we need to see across industry, heat and transport.

They added: “We recognise that planning will be crucial to ensure that economic and social opportunities from the transition are not missed.

“Our National Just Transition Planning framework sets out the consistent, ambitious approach we will take to developing transition plans.

We have committed to delivering our first Just Transition Plan as part of the forthcoming refreshed Scottish Energy Strategy, and will work in partnership with businesses, workers and communities to ensure this provides the certainty needed for investment in our net zero journey.

“As part of the jointly Scottish and UK Government funded Ayrshire Growth Deal, regional partners are developing a business case for the Hunterston Strategic Development Area to support a long-term strategic plan for the Ayrshire region, its people and businesses.”………………. https://theecologist.org/2022/jan/10/cracked-nuclear-power-station-retired

January 11, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

What’s going on at Michigan’s nuclear power plants? A troublesome past, and present.

FIRE REPORTED AT CRUMBLING MICHIGAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,   WHAT IS WRONG WITH MICHIGAN’S NUCLEAR PLANTS?  https://futurism.com/the-byte/fire-michigan-nuclear
by
ABBY LEE HOOD 9 Dec 22,

What’s going on with Michigan’s nuclear power plants? Yesterday, local newspaper conglomerate MLive reported that a fire was detected at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Berrien County, MI.

MLive reports that the “potential fire” was detected Thursday morning, complete with an alert from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, though in the end no actual fire was found. And that’s extremely lucky, because MLive reports that the fire protection system for the vault where the fire was detected is currently out of service.

Add that to a local radio news outlet’s report last year that the nuclear facility had deactivated all its warning sirens in favor of mobile alerts, and the incident is a perfect illustration of the United States’ dilapidated nuclear infrastructure.

Some workers have died in gruesome ways at the Cook nuclear plant over the years, which has racked up fines and even briefly shut down entirely in 1997 for grave safety concerns.

Dig a little deeper and other nuclear incidents surface in the same state. Last year, Downtown Publications reported that Fermi 2, a nuclear station located in Newport, MI, suffered the longest nuclear refueling and maintenance outage in 2020, lasting from March until August — and its predecessor, Fermi 1, suffered a partial core meltdown back in the 1960s.

Nuclear power remains a tempting stopgap as the world trundles toward renewables, but in practice it might not actually be the most effective energy solution. The 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan showed that even with modern safety precautions, events can still spin out of control. And we don’t have solid plans for containing radioactive waste, which stays toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Uranium pollutes groundwater, and new plants costs a fortune.

In the face of all that, you’d at least expect currently operating plants to be on the top of their game, but the situation in Michigan sounds anything but.

Will we come up with truly effective strategies before another nuclear disaster? Only time will tell.

January 10, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Fault found in France’s Chooz 2 nuclear reactor – its outage shutdown now extended


Chooz 2 nuclear reactor outage extended after fault discovered

Reuters  PARIS, Jan 6 (Reuters) – The outage of the 1.5 gigawatt (GW) No.2 reactor at the Chooz nuclear power plant in northern France has been extended after an inspection found the same fault as at the Civaux plant in the west of the country, operator EDF (EDF.PA) said on Thursday.

The two plants were shut down in December after discovery of corrosion in a safety system at the Civaux plant. read more

The reactor outage was extended to Apr. 20 from the previous expected return date of Jan. 23.

The repair solution is being investigated with the French nuclear safety authority ASN, EDF said, adding that inspections on the Chooz 1 reactor are still in progress…………French power grid operator RTE said in December that French nuclear capacity in January was expected to be at its lowest level ever for this time of year. read more
….Nuclear power accounts for about 70% of France’s electricity mix and the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed maintenance work on some nuclear reactors. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/chooz-2-nuclear-reactor-outage-extended-after-fault-discovered-2022-01-06/

January 10, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Going nuclear: Should nations unilaterally decide?

Going nuclear: Should nations unilaterally decide? DW, 6 Jan 22,

As nations like France extend the life of ageing nuclear energy infrastructure, bordering countries that could suffer most from a meltdown have little say.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster that spread radioactive waste across Europe — some of which remains present 35 years later — sparked a reevaluation of the cross-border impacts of nuclear energy. Some plant projects in border regions were abandoned, while existing reactors were subject to more stringent safety regimes.

Twenty-five years later, the fallout from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster caused the likes of Germany to commit to phasing out atomic fuel by 2022. Belgium also just confirmed it will be nuclear-free by 2025.

But a decade on from Japan’s tsunami-induced meltdown, countries from China to France and the United States continue to rely on power generated by nuclear reactors, many of which were constructed in the 1960s and ’70s.

France, the world’s most nuclear-energy dependent country that generates 70% of its electricity from atomic power, confirmed last February that it would extend the life of its 32 oldest nuclear reactors for another 10 years.

Due in part to increasing safety risks with ageing facilities, some are asking if such nations still have the right to make this decision on their own.

When France shut a reactor in February 2020 at its oldest nuclear plant at Fessenheim on the German border due to reported cracks in a reactor cover and other faults, then-German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze affirmed Germany’s wish to influence nuclear policy across the Rhine.

“We won’t let up in our efforts to campaign for a move away from nuclear power in our neighboring countries,” she saidadding thatthe”nuclear phaseout in Germany is rock solid.”

Who has the power to decide on nuclear?

Though a raft of treaties and agreements lay out minimum consultation requirements between states, there is no framework to specifically consult with local communities across borders that could be most affected by a nuclear accident, noted Behnam Taebi, co-editor of The Ethics of Nuclear Power and professor of energy and climate ethics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The 1991 Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context obliges contracting parties to prevent, reduce and control “adverse” impacts across borders, while the 1998 Aarhus convention applies Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration that states “environmental matters are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.”

But according to Taebi, these conventions are about transferring risks between states, and they do not say anything about local communities at the borders of neighboring counties, or whether and how they should be consulted. There is no binding transboundary procedure relating to nuclear energy development, and no framework in place that could, for instance, force France to communicate and consult with towns and cities across the border. ………………………………..

in 2018, referring to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the Dutch Safety Board — which independently investigates the causes of incidents or accidents — concluded that cross-border “cooperation has partly been arranged on paper, but that it probably will not run smoothly if a nuclear accident were to occur in reality.” 

For 10 years, Austria opposed the Czech Republic’s Temelin nuclear plant that opened in 2000 near its border, with some politicians threatening to block Czech entry into the EU until the latter agreed to tightened safety measures.

While the European Commission stepped in to help resolve that conflict, Kirchner noted that under current agreements, neighboring countries have no power to veto unwanted developments.

https://www.dw.com/en/going-nuclear-should-nations-unilaterally-decide/a-60312955

January 8, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Dangerous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Nuclear energy backers say it’s vital for the fight against global warming. Don’t be so sure, Los Angeles Times,  BY MICHAEL HILTZIKBUSINESS COLUMNIST , JAN. 6, 2022  

”……………………………………. Diablo Canyon, which is on the Pacific shoreline about 250 miles south of San Francisco and 190 miles north of Los Angeles, was the third location chosen by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a nuclear generating plant starting in the early 1960s.

The previous choices were abandoned because they were judged too close to active earthquake faults — even though PG&E initially asserted in both cases that no faults were nearby. The company then turned to Diablo Canyon, again asserting that there were no active faults within about 20 miles of the site.

As it eventually emerged, there are at least four major active faults within that range, prompting David Brower, the first executive director of the Sierra Club and the founder of Friends of the Earth, to jokingly describe nuclear reactors as “complex technological devices for locating earthquake faults.” (It was the Sierra Club’s endorsement of Diablo Canyon that prompted Brower to resign and form Friends of the Earth.)

With every discovery of a new fault in Diablo Canyon’s vicinity, PG&E minimized the threat and persuaded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal regulator responsible for licensing nuclear plants, to go along.

The NRC’s decision in 1981 to allow construction to proceed after a fault discovery without reexamining the plant’s seismic engineering provoked two commissioners, Peter A. Bradford and Victor Gilinsky, to issue a blistering dissent.

They described the confidence of two NRC advisory boards in the utility’s reassurances as “almost mystical,” and charged that the boards’ rationales for accepting PG&E’s arguments as evidence that neither board “had any idea what it was talking about.”

Then there’s PG&E’s atrocious safety record, which should curdle the blood at the thought of leaving the plant under its control. The company’s consistent failures include the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight and leveled an entire residential neighborhood in San Bruno.

PG&E’s equipment sparked more than 1,500 fires from 2014 through 2017, according to state records. In 2020, it pleaded guilty to 84 counts of criminal manslaughter related to the 2018 wildfire that all but destroyed the town of Paradise and ranks as the deadliest blaze in California history.

In September, the company was charged with 11 felonies and 20 misdemeanor counts related to what Shasta County Dist. Atty. Stephanie Bridgett called its “reckless and criminally negligent” operations, resulting in the deaths of four people. (“My co-workers are not criminals,” PG&E Chief Executive Patti Poppe said after the charges were unveiled. “We welcome our day in court so people can learn just that.”)

As recently as Tuesday, California state investigators concluded that a PG&E power line sparked last year’s massive Dixie fire, which burned more than 960,000 acres in five Northern California counties. The investigators referred the case to local criminal prosecutors.

“PG&E seems to be incapable of operating safely,” says Daniel O. Hirsch, a former environmental faculty member at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, an anti-nuclear group. “You’re mixing an incompetent utility with an unforgiving technology.”……………………..  https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-01-06/column-nuclear-energy-backers-say-its-vital-for-the-fight-against-global-warming-dont-believe-them?fbclid=IwAR015ej03ZDoUA2kcNoc_mAqJS3D2N8T

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Legal, Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Safety concerns: NRC was right to deny OKLO’s plan for small nuclear reactors

“The company asserted that its reactor was so small and so safe that it didn’t need to play by the same rules as those used to license larger reactors,” Lyman said. “But the fact remains that even a very small reactor contains enough highly radioactive material to cause significant radiological contamination in the event of an accident or a terrorist attack.”..


NRC denies Oklo Power’s plan to construct 1.5 MW advanced nuclear reactor in Idaho

Utility Dive Jan. 7, 2022 Robert Walton, Reporter   

Dive Brief:

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday announced it denied without prejudice an application by Oklo Power to construct the United States’ first advanced nuclear reactor, in Idaho. The small design, dubbed “Aurora,” would be capable of producing 1.5 MW of electric power.
  • The NRC cited “significant information gaps” in the company’s application, including details on potential accidents and its classification of safety systems and components. However, the company can resubmit its application and regulators said they are “prepared to re-engage” the company.
  • Oklo is reviewing the decision, but in a statement said it was “eager to continue moving forward” on the Idaho reactor as well as others. Opponents of the project say a failure to provide safety information could put the public at significant risk in the event of an accident or attack.

……………………….  according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, NRC was right to reject the application.

“Oklo simply refused to give the NRC the basic information that the agency needs to assess compliance with its regulations and its legal mandate to protect public health, safety, and the environment,” UCS Director of Nuclear Power Safety Edwin Lyman said in an email………

“The company asserted that its reactor was so small and so safe that it didn’t need to play by the same rules as those used to license larger reactors,” Lyman said. “But the fact remains that even a very small reactor contains enough highly radioactive material to cause significant radiological contamination in the event of an accident or a terrorist attack.”……….  https://www.utilitydive.com/news/nrc-denies-oklo-powers-plan-to-construct-15-mw-advanced-nuclear-reactor-i/616807/

January 8, 2022 Posted by | safety, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment