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Accident at Iran’s Natanz nuclear station

Guardian 11th April 2021, A spokesman for Iran’s civilian nuclear programme said an “accident”
struck the electrical distribution grid of the Natanz nuclear facility, a
day after the government announced it was starting up new uranium
enrichment centrifuges.

Behrouz Kamalvandi announced the accident on
Sunday, saying there were no injuries and no pollution. A mysterious
explosion in July 2020 damaged Natanz’s advanced centrifuge facility,
with Iran later calling the incident sabotage. Iran had announced on
Saturday that it had started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges at
Natanz, in a breach of its undertakings under the 2015 nuclear deal, days
after the start of talks on rescuing the accord.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/11/accident-at-irans-natanz-nuclear-plant-as-new-uranium-enrichment-starts

France24 11th April 2021

https://www.france24.com/fr/moyen-orient/20210411-en-iran-un-accident-survient-dans-l-installation-nucl%C3%A9aire-de-natanz

Iran says it has begun mechanical tests on its newest advanced nuclear
centrifuges, even as the five world powers that remain in a foundering 2015
nuclear deal with Iran attempt to bring the U.S. back into the agreement.

Independent 10th April 2021

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/middle-east/iran-nuclear-centrifuge-us-talks-b1829564.html

April 12, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

Alarming safety lapse at Hunterston nuclear site

March 23, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Serious security lapse at a Japanese nuclear plant

March 17, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Safety breaches at Sellafield have raised fears of a Chernobyl-style disaster. 

Fears of Chernobyl-style disaster after 25 safety breaches at Sellafield nuclear plant   There have been burst pipes, unstable chemicals, radiation leaks, a cooling tower failure and two plant evacuations in less two years at the site in Cumbria. Mirror  By John Siddle,  13 MAR 2021

Safety breaches at Sellafield have raised fears of a Chernobyl-style disaster.

Campaigners worry that incidents at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Cumbria could lead to a blast bigger than the 1986 Ukraine horror.

An official report logs 25 breaches in less than two years, including burst pipes, unstable chemicals, radiation leaks, a cooling tower failure and two plant evacuations.

The bomb squad was called in last August after chemicals “changed state”.

Janine Allis-Smith, of a local anti-nuke group, says campaigners “fear an explosion that would make Chernobyl look like a tea party”.

Sellafield – which now splits spent nuclear fuel into plutonium, uranium and waste – said incident reports were published to reassure the public…. 
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ttps://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fears-chernobyl-style-disaster-after-23709599

March 15, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Significant safety incident at EDF nuclear power plant in Flamanville

La Presse de la Manche 19th Feb 2021, The EDF power plant in Flamanville (Manche) declared, on Friday February 19, 2021, a level 1 event concerning the diesel of production unit n ° 1, still at a standstill. The management of the Flamanville 1-2 nuclear power plant (Manche) declared, on Friday February 19, 2021, a significant safety event at level 1 of the INES scale, with the Nuclear Safety Authority .

https://actu.fr/normandie/flamanville_50184/nucleaire-un-nouvel-incident-a-la-centrale-edf-de-flamanville-2_39650828.html

February 22, 2021 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Accidents in both USA’s and Russia’s use of nuclear power in space

Nuclear Rockets to Mars?, BY KARL GROSSMAN– CounterPunch, 16 Feb 21”…………There have been accidents in the history of the U.S.—and also the former Soviet Union and now Russia—using nuclear power in space.

And the NAS report, deep into it, does acknowledge how accidents can happen with its new scheme of using nuclear power on rockets for missions to Mars.

It says: “Safety assurance for nuclear systems is essential to protect operating personnel as well as the general public and Earth’s environment.” Thus under the report’s plan, the rockets with the nuclear reactors onboard would be launched “with fresh [uranium] fuel before they have operated at power to ensure that the amount of radioactivity on board remains as low as practicable.” The plans include “restricting reactor startup and operations in space until spacecraft are in nuclear safe orbits or trajectories that ensure safety of Earth’s population and environment” But, “Additional policies and practices need to be established to prevent unintended system reentry during return to Earth after reactors have been operated for extended periods of time.”

The worst U.S. accident involving the use of nuclear power in space came in 1964 when the U.S. satellite Transit 5BN-3, powered by a SNAP-9A plutonium-fueled radioisotope thermoelectric generator, failed to achieve orbit and fell from the sky, disintegrating as it burned up in the atmosphere, globally spreading plutonium—considering the deadliest of all radioactive substances. That accident was long linked to a spike in global lung cancer rates where the plutonium was spread, by Dr. John Gofman, an M.D. and Ph. D., a professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley. He also had been involved in developing some of the first methods for isolating plutonium for the Manhattan Project.

NASA, after the SNAP-9A (SNAP for Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power) accident became a pioneer in developing solar photovoltaic power. All U.S. satellites now are energized by solar power, as is the International Space Station.

The worst accident involving nuclear power in space in the Soviet/Russian space program occurred in 1978 when the Cosmos 954 satellite with a nuclear reactor aboard fell from orbit and spread radioactive debris over a 373-mile swath from Great Slave Lake to Baker Lake in Canada. There were 110 pounds of highly-enriched (nearly 90 percent) of uranium fuel on Cosmos 954.

Highly-enriched uranium—90 percent is atomic bomb-grade—would be used in one reactor design proposed in the NAS report. And thus there is a passage about it under “Proliferation and security.” It states that “HEU [highly enriched uranium] fuel, by virtue of the ease with which it could be diverted to the production of nuclear weapons, is a higher value target than HALEU [high assay low enriched uranium], especially during launch and reentry accidents away from the launch site. As a result, HEU is viewed by nonproliferation experts as requiring more security considerations. In addition, if the United States uses HEU for space reactors, it could become more difficult to convince other countries to reduce their use of HEU in civilian applications.”

As for rocket propulsion in the vacuum of space, it doesn’t take much conventional chemical propulsion to move a spacecraft—and fast……..more https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/02/16/nuclear-rockets-to-mars/

February 18, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Reference, Russia, space travel, USA | Leave a comment

An earthquake shakes Japan’s Fukushima region

An earthquake of 7.1 degrees on the Ritcher scale shook eastern Japan that Saturday (02/13/2021) and was strongly felt in Tokyo, without the Japanese authorities activating the tsunami warning for the moment.

Expansion continues  https://www.dw.com/es/un-terremoto-sacude-la-regi%C3%B3n-japonesa-de-fukushima/a-56559724?fbclid=IwAR2oJOXjuX6eB_OvmRWjaQjzzx6e4UtOTMIAf_1DPeOpNDt3-tQnZ5MaL_8

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Highest seismic activity before an earthquake occurs, are zero. The radioactivity contained in the pools of water that accumulate is a minor problem within this frame. We also remember that Japan’s nuclear program is a consequence of the unconditional surrender imposed by the U.S. after the Second War, to have control in the fissile material zone and lay its largest base on the island of Okinawa.
It was not an accident.
It’s not an earthquake fault.
It was the deliberate action of a conquest strategy, which made Japan a time bomb for all humanity.
NO TO THE HUALONG ONE!
OUT ATUCH!

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | 1 Comment

Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area

Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area, Japan Times 14 Feb 21, A powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck late Saturday off the coast of Tohoku, leaving at least 50 people injured and knocking multiple power plants offline.

The quake, which measured a strong 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale — the second-highest level — jolted Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region. No tsunami warning was issued.

The injuries were reported in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was seriously hurt.

Nationwide, at least 950,000 homes were without power as of midnight, top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference. Kato later said that multiple power plants in the nation were offline.

A government source said the power outage situation was expected to improve through the early hours of Sunday but that more time would be needed in the Tohoku region.

The quake, which was also felt in Tokyo, where it registered a 4 on the Japanese scale, struck at around 11:07 p.m., according to the Meteorological Agency. The epicenter was off the coast of Fukushima, about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo. Its focus was estimated to be at a depth of about 55 kilometers.

At a news conference early Sunday morning, a Meteorological Agency official said aftershocks of up to a strong 6 on the Japanese scale could occur for at least a week. The official said Saturday’s quake was believed to be an aftershock of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the same region on March 11, 2011.

“Because (the 2011 quake) was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0, it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later,” said Kenji Satake, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

The quake registered a strong 6 in the southern part of Miyagi, and in the Nakadori central and Hamadori coastal regions of Fukushima, the agency said…….

No abnormalities have been found at the Fukushima Nos. 1 and 2 nuclear power plants, according to Tokyo Electric Power. The same was true for Japan Atomic Power Co.’s inactive Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture and Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, according to their operators……….

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga immediately directed government agencies to assess damage, rescue any potential victims, work with municipalities and provide necessary information about any evacuation plans and damage as soon as possible. The government was setting up a task force to examine the quake.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi directed the Self-Defense Forces to gather information on the scope of the damage and be prepared to respond immediately.

The quake, which comes less than a month before the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, registered a 4 on the Japanese scale as far north as Aomori Prefecture and as far west as Shizuoka Prefecture. It was the strongest quake in the region since April 7 that year, the meteorology agency said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/14/national/earthquake-fukushima/

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Mike Pence’s ‘nuclear football’ was potentially at risk during Capitol riot 

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station containment buildings damaged by prolonged exposure to sea air

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station containment buildings suffer damage, ESI Africa, Feb 12, 2021   A recently released Eskom document has revealed that 40 years of exposure to sea air at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station has damaged the concrete of the containment buildings, according to Koeberg Alert Alliance.

At one stage the concrete containment dome was found to have cracked around the entire 110-meter circumference, states the Koeberg Alert Alliance.

“The containment buildings are the outer shells of the reactor buildings, built as pressure vessels to withstand the pressure if the reactors inside them ever malfunction and therefore prevent harmful radiation being leaked into the environment,” says DR, a member of Koeberg Alert Alliance and a retired analytical chemist.

“Where the chloride salts have entered, they have caused corrosion of the reinforcing steel bars, resulting in spalling and delamination of the concrete – it is even more alarming than I thought,” he says. Spalling results from water entering concrete which forces the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off. ……..

According to the Koeberg Alert Alliance, the provided 31-page report which refers to repairs done up until 2018, has eleven pages entirely blacked out and various other sections, photos and tables redacted with the reason given as “sensitive technical information”.

“The interesting parts are clearly those that have been redacted,” says University of Johannesburg Physics Professor, Hartmut Winkler. “The first big redact is titled History/Background and presumably describes past failures and recent damage that Koeberg Alert Alliance’s PAIA was interrogating. Why should the ‘History’ be sensitive due to technical information when the less redacted sections are full of technical details.

“The most puzzling redact to me are the references which are supposed to be publicly available documents, so why are they all being hidden? Do they expose some entities that Eskom does not want anyone to know have been involved with Koeberg and why? I would also query why the financial information would be redacted. Surely the public has a right to know how much money certain components cost, and what Eskom paid for them?” says Winkler.

This is a developing story, ESI Africa will do a follow up to give Eskom an opportunity to respond to the claims. https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/generation/koeberg-nuclear-power-station-containment-buildings-suffer-damage/

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, South Africa | Leave a comment

New types of computer malaware target nuclear facilities

February 13, 2021 Posted by | ASIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Slovakia: Krško nuclear power station shut down as a precaution after quake

Krško nuclear power station shut down as a precaution after quake | Slovenska tiskovna agencija https://english.sta.si/2849550/krsko-nuclear-power-station-shut-down-as-a-precaution-after-quake Krško, 29 December 20, – 

The Krško Nuclear Power Station was shut down as a precaution Tuesday after a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit near Petrnija, Croatia, around midday. Such a shutdown is standard procedure in the event of a strong earthquake, the company told the STA.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

In a massive cyber-attack, U.S. nuclear agency has been hacked

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Agency Hacked as Part of Massive Cyber-Attack,  TIME

DECEMBER 17, 2020 

The U.S. nuclear weapons agency and at least three states were hacked as part of a suspected Russian cyber-attack that struck a number of federal government agencies, according to people with knowledge of the matter, indicating widening reach of one of the biggest cybersecurity breaches in recent memory.

Microsoft said that its systems were also exposed as part of the attack.

Hackers with ties to the Russian government are suspected to be behind a well coordinated attack that took advantage of weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain to penetrate several federal agencies, including departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce and State. While many details are still unclear, the hackers are believed to have gained access to networks by installing malicious code in a widely used software program from SolarWinds Corp., whose customers include government agencies and Fortune 500 companies, according to the company and cybersecurity experts.

“This is a patient, well-resourced, and focused adversary that has sustained long duration activity on victim networks,” the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a bulletin that signaled widening alarm over the the breach. The hackers posed a “grave risk” to federal, state and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure and the private sector, the bulletin said. The agency said the attackers demonstrated “sophistication and complex tradecraft.”

The Energy Department and its National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains America’s nuclear stockpile, were targeted as part of the larger attack, according to a person familiar with the matter. An ongoing investigation has found the hack didn’t affect “mission-essential national security functions,” Shaylyn Hynes, a Department of Energy spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“At this point, the investigation has found that the malware has been isolated to business networks only,” Hynes said. The hack of the nuclear agency was reported earlier by Politico.

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the company had found malicious code “in our environment, which we isolated and removed.”……..

Biden’s Pledge

While President Donald Trump has yet to publicly address the hack, President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement Thursday on “what appears to be a massive cybersecurity breach affecting potentially thousands of victims, including U.S. companies and federal government entities.”

“I want to be clear: My administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government — and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office,” Biden said, pledging to impose “substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks.”

Russia has denied any involvement in the attack……… https://time.com/5922897/us-nuclear-weapons-energy-hacked/

December 19, 2020 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Hacking of U.S. nuclear weapons agency went undetected for 9 months

December 19, 2020 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

The cover-up of workers’ illnesss in radioactively polluted clean-up of Kingston coal ash spill

A Legacy of Contamination, How the Kingston coal ash spill unearthed a nuclear nightmare, Grist By Austyn Gaffney on Dec 15, 2020  This story was published in partnership with the Daily Yonder.

………………………………….The apparent mixing of fossil fuel and nuclear waste streams underscores the long relationship between the Kingston and Oak Ridge facilities………… .

……….In 2017, a former chemist named Dan Nichols stumbled upon a news story that revealed the existence of the additional health problems TVA feared. High levels of uranium had been measured in the urine of a former cleanup worker named Craig Wilkinson. Like Thacker, Wilkinson had worked the night shift. After dredges piped the coal ash back onshore, Wilkinson used heavy equipment to scoop, flip, and dry the wet ash along the Ball Field.

Although Wilkinson worked at the Kingston site for less than a year, he quickly developed health issues, including chronic sinus infections and breathing problems that eventually led to a double-lung transplant. Frustrated by his sudden decline in health, Wilkinson shelled out over $1,000 for a toxicology test because he wanted to know what occupational hazards might be lingering in his body.

After reading Wilkinson’s story, Nichols sat stunned. Though he was not associated with the spill, he’d been unable to shake his obsession with the Kingston disaster. Nichols had worked as a Memphis-based field chemist for a wastewater technology company, and he was used to studying lab reports on industrial water supplies and samples. For years he’d been trying to solve a mystery that no one else seemed to be aware of: why Kingston regulators deleted and then altered a state-sanctioned report showing extremely high levels of radiation at the cleanup site.

Roughly a month after the spill, Nichols read a Duke University press release stating that ash samples collected at Kingston by a team led by Vengosh, the geochemist, showed radium levels well above those typically found in coal ash. Nichols knew that the state environmental regulator, the Tennessee Department for Environment and Conservation, or TDEC, was also testing soil and ash samples at the site. After seeing Vengosh’s high radium readings, he wondered if TDEC’s report would also show high levels of either radium or uranium. (Radium is a decay element of uranium.) Later that spring, Nichols visited TDEC’s website and discovered the test results.

“I opened it up and went to uranium, and it was just off the charts,” Nichols recalled. In a 2020 affidavit, Nichols reported that these levels were “extremely high so as to be alarming.” At least 27 soil and ash samples were collected from at least 20 different sites surrounding Kingston beginning January 6, 2009. The levels ranged from 84 parts per million (ppm) to 2,000 ppm. The average level was over 500 ppm, as much as 50 times the typical uranium content found in coal ash.

The next morning, when Nichols slumped back into his computer chair and refreshed TDEC’s website, he saw that the report had been changed. The high uranium readings had plummeted. Now the average uranium levels in the ash were 2.88 ppm, a tenth of the typical uranium content found in coal ash and illogically, below levels naturally occurring in soil. Luckily, Nichols had downloaded the unaltered report the night before.

A month later, Nichols sent the two lab reports to one of the attorneys representing Tennessee residents affected by the spill in a lawsuit they’d brought against TVA. According to Nichols, the lawyers weren’t interested. Nevertheless, Nichols was determined to find more proof of the unusually high levels of on-site radiation. In between cutting hay and spraying weeds on his family farm, he spent years poring over information online about TVA, coal ash, and uranium before he stumbled across Wilkinson’s story.

Back in 2014, Wilkinson’s urine tested for unusually high levels of both mercury and uranium. The mercury is more easily explained: The most common cause of mercury contamination, according to the EPA, is coal-fired power plant emissions, which account for 44 percent of all man-made mercury pollution. The 2008 spill released 29 times the mercury reported at the Kingston site for the entire decade before it, and TVA documents show high levels of additional legacy mercury were present in the Clinch River and could have migrated into the Emory. Today, Wilkinson has symptoms attributable to methylmercury poisoning including blurry vision, fatigue, a hearing impairment, memory loss, and loss of coordination that caused him to fall out of the machines he operated until retiring on disability in 2015.

But most shocking to Nichols was the high level of uranium in Wilkinson’s body — it was 10 times the U.S. average, and identical to the median levels that one study found in workers exposed to the substance. Prolonged occupational exposure to uranium is strongly linked to chronic kidney disease, which Wilkinson suffers from. Because Wilkinson’s toxicology results were taken four years after he left Kingston, they likely show lower uranium levels than what he and other cleanup workers initially had.

Wilkinson’s results left no doubt in Nichols’ mind that the original uranium readings he’d saved were significant. A reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Jamie Satterfield, contacted him after the report he saved showed up in court proceedings. Satterfield published a story about the altered uranium readings in May of this year.

In response to her story, TDEC told the News-Sentinel that its updated uranium readings, which plummeted by 98 percent, were due to a change in the sampling method used for the tests. (Satterfield also reported that radium levels had been lowered between the initial TDEC report Nichols downloaded and the updated one; the department attributed this to a “data entry error.”) In an email response to Grist and the Daily Yonder, a TDEC spokesperson elaborated that the sampling lab, which was neither staffed nor supervised by TDEC, “discovered there were interferences in the analysis of soil and ash samples for uranium” and subsequently changed the method of analysis from one EPA-approved protocol to another. The new results were then published without public notice of the alteration.

“Changing lab reports is a very serious thing,” Nichols said. “But I can assure you data entry errors don’t cause a man to test for unusually high levels of uranium. That’s [TDEC’s] big problem.”

Unbeknownst to Nichols, Russell Johnson, the district attorney with jurisdiction over Roane County, where Kingston is located, had informed TDEC’s commissioner in 2017 that he was beginning a criminal probe into the Kingston cleanup. “I am deeply concerned with the apparent intentional conduct of the cleanup contractors and their supervisors, actions that took place in Roane County, conduct that may indeed have caused serious bodily injury or possibly even death to a number of people,” Johnson wrote in a letter to TDEC.

In concert with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Johnson began investigating whether TVA or its contractors “suppressed information” as part of the coverup alleged in the 2013 worker lawsuit against Jacobs. They now have Nichols’ evidence as well. But despite this ongoing investigation, it’s unclear if workers will ever learn for certain whether or not they were exposed to dangerous substances besides the coal ash itself. (Bob Edwards, an assistant district attorney working under Johnson, told Grist and the Daily Yonder that the district attorney’s office could not comment on a pending investigation.)………………….https://grist.org/justice/tva-kingston-coal-ash-spill-nuclear/

December 17, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, incidents, investigative journalism, Legal, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment