The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Radiation monitors failed at Hanford nuclear station – spread of contamination was not detected

Report says radioactive monitors failed at nuclear plant, abc news, By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RICHLAND, Wash. — Mar 9, 2018,   A new report says mistakes and mismanagement are to blame for the exposure of workers to radioactive particles at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.


March 9, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive leaks from Bugey nuclear power plant, near Lyon, France

Sortir du Nucleaire 7th March 2018,  In December 2017, a radioactive leak was detected at the Bugey nuclear
power plant, 35 km from Lyon. Four associations complain and call for the
immediate shutdown of the plant, which combines risks of all kinds.

On December 20, 2017, EDF detected an abnormal concentration of tritium in a
piezometer (tube allowing access to the water table) on the site of the
Bugey nuclear power station. The concentration of this radioactive
substance, which can cause serious damage to the DNA, reached 670
Becquerels per liter.

Larger concentration peaks (up to 1600 Bq / l) were
detected on subsequent days and at other locations on the site. This
presence of tritium in the Rhône water table suggests the release into the
environment of other radioelements and probably chemical elements.
Contaminated water has also certainly reached the Rhône.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Unknown – whether there were nuclear missiles on Russian ship that was ravaged by fire

Bellona 27th Feb 2018, A Russian official has admitted there were missiles aboard the
Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine when it was ravaged by fire during repair
work at a shipyard near Murmansk in late 2011, reviving a six year old
mystery about what specific dangers faced the Russian public when the
accident occurred.

And while many Russian media rushed to report the
official’s remarks as conclusive proof that the submarine was armed with
nuclear missiles when it was swept by the blaze, it remains unclear whether
they, in fact, had been topped with their warheads at the time the fire
swept through the sub, injuring 19.


March 2, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

A forgotten nuclear disaster? 1985 Russian submarine accident

In 1985, a Russian Submarine Created an Atomic Disaster. The Radiation Lingers to This Day.  Kyle Mizokami, 27 Feb 18, 

According to Nuclear Risks, the accident scene was heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Gamma ray radiation was not particularly bad; at an exposure rate of five millisieverts per hour, it was the equivalent of getting a chest CT scan every hour. However, the explosion also released 259 petabecquerels of radioactive particles, including twenty-nine gigabecquerels of iodine-131, a known cause of cancer. This bode very badly for the emergency cleanup crews, especially firefighters who needed to get close to the explosion site, and the nearby village of Shkotovo-22. Forty-nine members of the cleanup crew displayed symptoms of radiation sickness, ten of them displaying acute symptoms.

In 1985, a Soviet submarine undergoing a delicate refueling procedure experienced a freak accident that killed ten naval personnel. The fuel involved was not diesel, but nuclear, and the resulting environmental disaster contaminated the area with dangerous, lasting radiation. The incident, which remained secret until after the demise of the USSR itself, was one of many nuclear accidents the Soviet Navy experienced during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union’s nuclear war planners had a difficult time targeting the United States. While the United States virtually encircled the enormous socialist country with nuclear missiles in countries such as Turkey and Japan, the Western Hemisphere offered no refuge for Soviet deployments in-kind.

One solution was the early development of nuclear cruise missile submarines. These submarines, known as the Echo I and Echo II classes, were equipped with six and eight P-5 “Pyatyorka” nuclear land attack cruise missiles, respectively. Nicknamed “Shaddock” by NATO, the P-5 was a subsonic missile with a range of 310 miles and 200- or 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. The P-5 had a circular error probable of 1.86 miles, meaning half of the missiles aimed at a target would land within that distance, while the other half would land farther away.

The missiles were stored in large horizontal silos along the deck of the submarine. In order to launch a P-5 missile, the submarine would surface, deploy and activate a tracking radar, then feed guidance information to the missile while it flew at high altitude. The system was imperfect—the command link was vulnerable to jamming, and the submarine needed to remain on the surface, helpless against patrol aircraft and ships, until the missile reached the target. Eventually the P-5 missiles were withdrawn and the P-5 missile was replaced with the P-6, a similar weapon but one with its own radar seeker for attacking U.S. aircraft carriers.

The introduction of the P-6 gave the Echo II a new lease on life.  ……

On August 10, the submarine was in the process of being refueled. Reportedly, the reactor lid—complete with new nuclear fuel rods—was lifted as part of the process. A beam was placed over the lid to prevent it from being lifted any higher, but incompetent handling apparently resulted in the rods being lifted too high into the air. (One account has a wave generated by a passing motor torpedo boat rocking the submarine in its berth, also raising the rods too high.) This resulted in the starboard reactor achieving critical mass, followed by a chain reaction and explosion.

The explosion blew out the reactor’s twelve-ton lid—and fuel rods—and ruptured the pressure hull. The reactor core was destroyed, and eight officers and two enlisted men standing nearby were killed instantly. A the blast threw debris was thrown into the air, and a plume of fallout 650 meters wide by 3.5 kilometers long traveled downwind on the Dunay Peninsula. More debris and the isotope Cobalt-60 was thrown overboard and onto the nearby docks.

According to Nuclear Risks, the accident scene was heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Gamma ray radiation was not particularly bad; at an exposure rate of five millisieverts per hour, it was the equivalent of getting a chest CT scan every hour. However, the explosion also released 259 petabecquerels of radioactive particles, including twenty-nine gigabecquerels of iodine-131, a known cause of cancer. This bode very badly for the emergency cleanup crews, especially firefighters who needed to get close to the explosion site, and the nearby village of Shkotovo-22. Forty-nine members of the cleanup crew displayed symptoms of radiation sickness, ten of them displaying acute symptoms. …….

 The K-431 incident was one of several involving Soviet submarine reactors. Ten Soviet submarines experienced nuclear accidents, and one other, K-11, also suffered a refueling criticality….



February 27, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Chinese and USA officials scuffled over the “nuclear football”

Nuclear football’ scuffle broke out during Donald Trump’s visit to China , ABC News 20 Feb 18 

A scuffle broke out between Chinese and US officials over the “nuclear football” — the briefcase containing the US nuclear launch codes — during a visit to Beijing by US President Donald Trump last year, according to media reports.

Key points:

  • Report says Chinese official tackled to ground
  • Secret Service confirms scuffle but not tackle
  • Chinese not believed to have taken possession of briefcase

US news website Axios said multiple sources confirmed an incident in which Chinese officials tried to block a military aide with the briefcase from following Mr Trump into the Great Hall of the People, despite the aide being required to stay close to the President at all times.

The report said when Mr Trump’s chief of staff Mike Kelly attempted to intervene, a Chinese official tried to grab him before a US Secret Service agent tackled the Chinese official to the ground.

The Secret Service did not initially deny the incident took place, but in a tweet said reports that a host nation official was “tackled” to the ground were “false”.

The federal law enforcement agency later confirmed an incident had taken place……..

The “nuclear football” is a leather briefcase that contains the codes needed to launch a nuclear strike while away from fixed command centres.

It is carried by a rotating group of military officers near the President whenever he is travelling.



February 21, 2018 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant – another scare, with fire event

Fire at Rickety Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Gives California a Scare — Shutdown Slated for 2025, bureau EnviroNews Headline News , by Shad Engkilterra on January 27, 2018 , (EnviroNews USA 


January 29, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

USA jet -with 4 nuclear bombs on board – crashed in Greenland 50 years ago

50 years ago, a US military jet crashed in Greenland – with 4 nuclear bombs on board   The Conversation, Timothy J. Jorgensen
Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University  January 18, 2018     
Fifty years ago, on Jan. 21, 1968, the Cold War grew significantly colder. It was on this day that an American B-52G Stratofortress bomber, carrying four nuclear bombs, crashed onto the sea ice of Wolstenholme Fjord in the northwest corner of Greenland, one of the coldest places on Earth. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Danes were not pleased.
The bomber – call sign HOBO 28 – had crashed due to human error……
 The Thule crash revealed that the United States had actually been routinely flying planes carrying nuclear bombs over Greenland, and one of those illicit flights had now resulted in the radioactive contamination of a fjord.

The radioactivity was released because the nuclear warheads had been compromised. The impact from the crash and the subsequent fire had broken open the weapons and released their radioactive contents, but luckily, there was no nuclear detonation.

To be specific, HOBO 28’s nuclear weapons were actually hydrogen bombs. As I explain in my book, “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation,” a hydrogen bomb (or H-bomb) is a second-generation type of nuclear weapon that is much more powerful than the two atomic bombsdropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those two bombs were “fission” bombs – bombs that get their energy from the splitting (fission) of very large atoms (such as uranium and plutonium) into smaller atoms.

In contrast, HOBO 28’s bombs were fusion bombs – bombs that get their energy from the union (fusion) of the very small nuclei of hydrogen atoms. Each of the four Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs that HOBO 28 carried were nearly 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima (1,400 kilotons versus 15 kilotons).

Fusion bombs release so much more energy than fission bombs that it’s hard to comprehend. For example, if a fission bomb like Hiroshima’s were dropped on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., it’s likely that the White House (about 1.5 miles away) would suffer little direct damage. In contrast, if just one of the Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs were dropped on the Capitol building, it would destroy the White House as well as everything else in Washington, D.C. (a destructive radius of about 7.5 miles). It is for this reason that North Korea’s recent claim of achieving hydrogen bomb capabilities is so very worrisome.

Nuclear Explosion Power Comparison

After the crash, the United States and Denmark had very different ideas about how to deal with HOBO 28’s wreckage and radioactivity. The U.S. wanted to just let the bomber wreckage sink into the fjord and remain there, but Denmark wouldn’t allow that. Denmark wanted all the wreckage gathered up immediately and moved, along with all of the radioactively contaminated ice, to the United States. Since the fate of the Thule Air Base hung in the balance, the U.S. agreed to Denmark’s demands………


January 19, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, history, incidents, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Truck overturns, on its way to collect nuclear waste

Vehicle on way to bring nuclear waste topples in Karwar, TNN | Jan 18, 2018, Karwar: A multi-axle vehicle, which was going towards Kaiga to bring nuclear waste, met with an accident near Bole village in Karwar taluk on Wednesday afternoon. The trailer of the vehicle, which was loaded with an empty flask, separated and turned upside down.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) clarified that the flask was empty and there was no nuclear leakage. No one has been injured in the accident, NPCIL said. Sanjay Kumar, site director of Kaiga Generating Station, said that there is no effect on environment or human beings due to this accident.

This is second such accident involving vehicles meant for transporting nuclear waste between Karwar and Kaiga in the past three months. In October last year, one such vehicle fell into a gorge near Keravadi village.

The vehicle that met with accident on Wednesday had warning stickers to indicate that it was carrying radioactive material. These vehicles are used to transport the spent nuclear fuel which refers to the bundles of uranium pellets encased in metal rods that have been used to power a nuclear reactor. Nuclear fuel loses efficiency over time and becomes unable to keep a nuclear reaction going. Periodically, about one-third of the fuel assemblies in a reactor must be replaced……
Senior officials of Nuclear Power Corporation in Kaiga admitted that the lorry was going to Kaiga to bring the spent fuel……

January 19, 2018 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

Radiation problem so serious that Hanford Plutonium Plant demolition has been stopped

Regulators to DOE: No more Hanford demolition until we say it’s safe, BY ANNETTE CARY,, January 11, 2018, Hanford regulators have ordered the Department of Energy not to restart demolition of the nuclear reservation’s highly radioactively contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant until regulators agree the work can be done safely.



January 13, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Low cooling water levels at Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

Unusual Event’ Declared At Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant, Low water levels in plant’s water intakes were apparently caused by weather conditions from the recent storm Lacey Patch, By Patricia A. Miller, Patch Staff LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ – Control room operators at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant declared an “unusual event” early Saturday morning when water levels in the plant’s water intakes dipped too low, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Control room operators reduced reactor power to about 70 percent in response to the lower-than-normal water intake levels and will continue to monitor and evaluate conditions throughout the day, spokesman Neil Sheehan said

An “unusual event” is the lowest of the NRC’s four levels of emergency classification, he said.

Water from the intake canal is used for cooling purposes, doesn’t flow through radioactive materials and is discharged at higher temperatures to the outfall portion of the canal, Sheehan said.

NRC resident inspectors assigned to Oyster Creek on a full-time basis responded to the plant to verify the plant was in safe condition……


January 8, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nine nuclear incidents in Belgium in 2017 , Oscar Schneider, 02 January 2018 Nine nuclear incidents occurred in Belgium in 2017, data from the Federal Nuclear Control Agency, AFCN, showed on Tuesday.

While this number was much lower than the previous year, one incident was above the lowest level on the INES scale, for the first time since 2015.

The International Nuclear Events Scale (INES) has seven levels, Level 1 being the lowest.

In 2016 there were 15 nuclear incidents in Belgium, all on Level 1. While there were fewer incidents this year, one of these was on Level 2.

That incident took place in July, during the transport of poorly packaged radioactive material that had been sent on passenger flights from Cairo to Brussels via Zurich. Many passengers, including one Belgian, were potentially exposed to radiation above the prescribed limit, but without any significant consequences for their health.

One of the Level 1 incidents was at the Doel plant where a deterioration of the concrete was observed in October.


January 3, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

Radioactive leak in German nuc lear reactor

Suddeutsche Zeitung 29th Dec 2017, [Machine Translation] In the nuclear power plant Neckarwestheim a leak hasbeen discovered during a tour in Block II in the control area. This was
announced by the Ministry of the Environment on Friday in Stuttgart. As a
result of the leak on a pipeline behind a circulation pump discovered on 22
December, about 100 liters of radioactive concentrate had leaked into the
control area of the reactor auxiliary building. However, this has no or
only a very low safety significance, said the Ministry. The operator had
shut off the pump. The affected area had been decontaminated, people were
not harmed. The cause will be further investigated. The system will be out
of service until the repair is complete.—stuttgart-leck-in-rohrleitung-bei-atomkraftwerk-neckarwestheim-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-171229-99-447002


January 1, 2018 Posted by | Germany, incidents | Leave a comment

Incident at Russia’s Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant may have caused radiation cloud over Europe

Environmentalists point the finger of blame at Mayak, the plant to process Kola’s Cold War legacy,  ByThomas Nilsen, – Barents Observer 30th Nov 2017

A mysterious cloud of radioactive ruthenium-106 blowing over Europe earlier
this autumn triggered many speculations about Russia trying to
‘cover-up’ a leak from the country’s largest nuclear waste treatment

Nadezhda Kutepova a local environmentalists from the closed city
of Ozyorsk near Mayak who was forced to flee Russia in 2015, now reveals
more inside information. Kutepova says Mayak was testing new equipment on
September 25 and 26 at the reprocessing plant and that something abnormal
may have happened.«Emission of ruthenium may come from the reprocessing
plant 235 or RT-1 in Mayak where the vitrification plant for very
high-level nuclear waste is located,» Kutepova tells.

She points to the new vitrification furnace which started operation last December and
experienced problems during construction and testing. «My idea is that the
furnace was built with a lot of problems that emerge in the operation and I
think this is the cause of the ruthenium-106 leak we saw in September,»
she explains.

Mayak has loads of high-level liquid radioactive waste that
needs to be stabilized and made safer and starting the new plant was,
according to Kutepova, rather urgent. She calls the equipment bought for
the electric furnace «low-quality»


December 4, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Disturbing faults, safety dysfunction in France’s Paluel nuclear power plant in Normandy.

Bastamag 1st Dec 2017 [Machine translation] A new accident reveals serious dysfunctions in terms
of nuclear safety in France. In March 2016, during a replacement operation,
a 465-ton steam generator fell in the heart of the Paluel nuclear power
plant in Normandy. A serious and unprecedented accident, which miraculously
does not cause serious injury or radioactive contamination. Since then,
experts have investigated the causes of the accident.

Consulted by Bastamag, their report, the conclusions of which will be summarized to
employees this 1st of December, reveals major dysfunctions in the
preparation and supervision of the site, largely related to the massive use
of subcontracting. Disturbing faults, while the renovation projects of the
power stations will multiply.


December 2, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Russian refugee talks about radioactive leak, and Mayak living conditions

France TV 29th Nov 2017, [Machine Translation] Ruthenium leak: Russian refugee activist in France
tackles nuclear taboo in Russia. Today a Russian activist testifies about
the living conditions around the nuclear site of Maïak. She is convinced
that the ruthenium 106 found in Western Europe comes from a leak on this


December 1, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment