The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

100 employees evacuated from office of French nuclear station , due to mysterious package found

Valeurs 17th Oct 2017,[Machine Translation] Security. According to information from France Bleu,
around a hundred employees were evacuated on Monday 16 October after the
discovery of a suspect package at one of the offices of the Cruas-Meysse
nuclear power plant in the Ardèche.


October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Japan: Disturbing Plutonium Exposure Accident

 Chihiro Kamisawa, Masako Sawai, CNIC  BY CNIC_ENGLISH · AUGUST 4, 2017 At around 11:15 on June 6, 2017, a plutonium release and exposure accident occurred in an analytical lab (Room 108, a controlled area) at Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s (JAEA) Research and Development Center Fuel Research Building. During work to inspect a storage canister (unopened in 26 years since 1991) containing plutonium and other nuclear fuel materials in laboratory fume hood H-1, the canister lid rose up after four of the six bolts were removed and the instant the remaining two bolts were removed the plastic bags inside the canister burst. The polyethylene container in which the nuclear fuel material was placed was double wrapped in two plastic bags. When these bags burst, the materials in the polyethylene container were abruptly released. The main person carrying out the task stated that he “felt wind pressure on his stomach.” The five persons, who were wearing half-face masks to carry out the task, inspected themselves with an α radiation surface contamination detector, confirming that they had all been contaminated.
While there are many unknowns regarding the accident and its cause, the exposure of the task personnel and other matters, we report here on what has become clear thus far and the problems that the accident poses. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is scheduled to release the agency’s “report” about a month after the accident.
Occurrence of the plutonium dust release
Table 1 [on original] shows a timeline of the events based on releases by the JAEA, NRA and news media.
Several black lumps fell onto the floor in Room 108, from which a maximum of 55 Bq/cm2 were detected. The facility management supervisor instructed that a greenhouse (a temporary enclosure to implement detection and decontamination when retreating from the contaminated area) be set up at 11:54, and it is reported that this was completed at 14:29. More than three hours passed between the time of the accident and the time when the five task personnel exited the greenhouse. Concerning the delay in setting up the greenhouse, JAEA explained to NRA that “(The delay occurred because) the main work personnel in the Fuel Research Building were carrying out this work and other staff were engaged in stabilizing procedures for nuclear fuel materials (and could not leave their positions).”
As a result of a nasal smear (to detect contamination in the nostrils) taken inside the greenhouse, contamination of a maximum of 24 Bq (α radiation) was detected in the nostrils of three of the five personnel.
The five task personnel finally exited the controlled area at 18:55. Since α radiation had been detected in their nostrils and there was a strong possibility that the five people had inhaled plutonium, they were transported to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Engineering Labs in Tokai Village, where measurement of plutonium inside their lungs was carried out using a lung monitor. Lung monitors detect the weak X-rays emitted by plutonium-239 and the gamma radiation emitted from americium-241 inside the lungs from outside the body. However, not only is this detection extremely difficult, it has poor sensitivity. The JAEA measurement results are shown in Table 2. [on original]………
This inappropriate long-term storage problem clearly shows, if one looks back at the historical series of organizations – the Nuclear Safety Commission, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the NRA, that for 30 years or more none of these organizations made any public announcements on the issue, or knew what was happening and simply turned a blind eye. The regulatory organizations’ neglect thus far and the defensive awareness that they do not want this to be aired in public has undoubtedly been one of the remote causes of the accident at Oarai. This extremely facile method of dealing with plutonium and nuclear fuel materials is apparent from the notion that, since no serious accident has taken place up to now, it is fine to have the facility operators quickly sweep the problem under the carpet…….

October 16, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Earthquake hits area near to North Korea’s nuclear test site

North Korea earthquake hits near nuclear test site THE AUSTRALIAN, 13 Oct 17 A series of tremors and landslides near North Korea’s nuclear test base probably mean the country’s sixth and largest blast has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be used for much longer to test nuclear weapons, experts say.

A small quake was detected early today near the North’s nuclear test site, South Korea’s weather agency said, but unlike quakes associated with nuclear tests, it did not appear to be man-made.

The tremor was the latest in a string of at least three shocks to be observed since Pyongyang’s September 3 nuclear test, which caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Today’s quake was a magnitude 2.7 with a depth of 3km in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, the Korea Meteorological Administration said. The United States Geological Survey measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude at a depth of 5km.

“This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean nuclear tests. The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event,” the US agency said.

But the Korea Meteorological Administration in the South said on its website that “analysis shows it was a natural quake”. “It is believed to have caused no damage,” it added.

The series of quakes has prompted experts and observers to suspect the last test – which the North claimed to be of a hydrogen bomb – may have damaged the mountainous location in the northwest tip of the country, where all of North Korea’s six nuclear tests were conducted.

“The explosion from the September 3 test had such power that the existing tunnels within the underground testing site might have caved in,” said Kim So- gu, head researcher at the Korea Seismological Institute.

“I think the Punggye-ri region is now pretty saturated. If it goes ahead with another test in this area, it could risk radioactive pollution.”

According to 38 North, a Washington-based project that monitors North Korea, numerous landslides throughout the nuclear test site have been detected via satellite images after the sixth test. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North’s previous tests, 38 North said.

The explosion from the sixth test was large enough for residents of the Chinese border city of Yanji, 200km north of North Korea’s nuclear test site, to feel the ground shake beneath their feet.

“The reason why Punggye-ri has become North Korea’s nuclear testing field is because this area was considered stable and rarely saw tremors in the past,” said Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul.

“The recent small quakes suggest that the test might have triggered crust deformation.” South Korea’s spy agency said recently the North was readying possibly two more tunnels following its latest test, according to ruling Democratic Party members who had been briefed on the issue…..

October 14, 2017 Posted by | incidents, North Korea | Leave a comment

Earthquake detected near North Korea’s nuclear site – raising fears of a new nuclear test

Fears of new nuclear test in North Korea after earthquake is detected near test site, Mirror UK, 12 Oct 17 All of North Korea’s previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes and the country’s latest tremor has struck on Friday the 13th A small earthquake has been detected in North Korea where previous nuclear tests have been carried out.

The United States Geological Survey said a 2.9 magnitude quake with a depth of 5km was recorded 23km north-east of Sungjibaegam.

 The area is has been used previously by the country to carry out nuclear drills which have resulted in subsequent tremors.

A statement on the US Geological Survey website reads: “This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests.

“The event has earthquake like characteristics, however, we cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event.”

All of North Korea’s previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.

The last test the country carried out on September 3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

The US Geological Survey said that quake struck 55 km north northwest of Kimchaek. There was no reports of damage or casualties……..

October 13, 2017 Posted by | incidents, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenpeace protestor show poor security at French nuclear station – by breaking in!

Protesters Broke Into a Nuclear Power Plant to Prove How Badly Defended It Is Stunt was to show poorly defended France’s nuclear plants are, Fortune, By Reuters  12 Oct 17 

Greenpeace activists broke through two security barriers and launched fireworks inside the grounds of a French nuclear plant on Thursday to highlight the vulnerability of the plants to attacks.

The environmentalist group issued video footage showing several of its members inside the fence of EDF’s Cattenom nuclear plant in northeast France, and launching several rounds of fireworks over the plant.

Local police said eight people had been detained. EDF said there had been no impact on Cattenom’s security and condemned Greenpeace’s intrusion as “irresponsible.”

“Do we need to wait for a malicious attack on a nuclear plant before EDF gets out of denial?” asked Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaign head Yannick Rousselet.

Olivier Lamarre, deputy head of EDF’s French nuclear fleet, said on a call with reporters that Greenpeace activists had broken through two barriers and reached the reactor’s nuclear zone to within a few tens of meters of the nuclear installations.

He said that as the activists had raised their hands in the air and unfurled a Greenpeace banner, police officials present on the site arrested them without violence within eight minutes……..

Greenpeace this week published a report saying the spent-fuel pools of EDF’s nuclear reactors are highly vulnerable to attacks as their confinement walls have not been designed with malicious attacks in mind……..

October 13, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

UK Navy officer bungled: torpedo fired into nuclear dockyard. A nuclear close call.

TORPEDOH! Bungling Navy officer accidentally fired a torpedo into a nuclear dockyard while doing maintenance  Seaman was given a ‘get well soon’ package to restore his confidence after he attempted spur-of-the-moment missile test without an instruction manual while moored in Plymouth , The Sun, UK By Jacob Dirnhuber 6th October 2017

October 6, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

A new minor cave-in halts work to stabilize Hanford nuclear waste tunnel

More dirt caves in during work to stabilize Hanford nuclear waste tunnel OCTOBER 04, 2017   Work to fill a Hanford nuclear waste tunnel that partially collapsed started, and then stopped, overnight Tuesday after some of the dirt used to initially stabilize the tunnel began to cave into it.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine accident – India’s nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra, damaged

India’s Nuclear Submarine Chakra Suffers Damage In Accident  New Delhi: In a setback to the Indian Navy, nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra, has met with an accident and being repaired to rectify “some damage” in sonar dome, media report said.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

A FOURTH unexploded bomb found near Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear site!

Bridgwater Mercury 16th Sept 2017, A FOURTH unexploded bomb thought to date back to the Second World War hasbeen found in the Bristol Channel not far from Hinkley C. Watchet
Coastguard say the 250lb device is partially detonated and is advising
vessels in the area to proceed with caution and stay at least 500m away
from the site. It is likely the device will be dealt with via a controlled
detonation later today (Saturday, September 16).
This is the fourth such device that has been found in the past two months, but EDF, who are
building a jetty for Hinkley C off the coast near Stogursey, say it is
normal practice to check the seabed before construction activity starts on
any marine project.

September 22, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Mystery seismic energy release following North Korea nuclear test

Seismologists stumped by mystery shock after North Korean nuclear test, Nature
A second jolt felt minutes after this month’s detonation continues to confound researchers.
 David Cyranoski, Eight-and-a-half minutes after North Korea set off a nuclear bomb on 3 September, a second burst of energy shook the mountain where the test had just occurred. More than a week later, researchers are still puzzling over what caused that extra release of seismic energy — and what it says about North Korea’s nuclear-testing site, or the risks of a larger radiation leak. Monitoring stations in South Korea have already picked up minute levels of radiation from the test.

A number of theories have emerged to explain the second event, ranging from a tunnel collapse or a landslide to a splintering of the rock inside Mount Mantap, the testing site. But seismologists can’t agree and say that they may not get enough evidence to pin down the cause.

“This is an interesting mystery at this point,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University in New York City.   The nature of the first seismic signal is clearer because it matches the profile of a bomb blast. The US Geological Survey (USGS) determined the magnitude of the seismic event associated with the nuclear explosion at 6.3, whereas the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna calculated it at 6.1 on the basis of a separate analysis. The explosion was many times the size of past North Korean tests and was the largest seismic signal from a nuclear test ever detected by the international network of seismic monitoring stations used by the CTBTO.

The second event came 8.5 minutes later and registered as magnitude-4.1, reported the USGS. The agency suggested that it was associated with the test and may have been a “structural collapse”. The possibility that the smaller shock was caused by a tunnel collapse inside the testing site has dominated discussion in the media. But Paul Earle, a seismologist at the USGS, told Nature that was just one possibility that was raised in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. The USGS, he said, was “basing that on previous nuclear tests of comparable size that had a collapse”.

Possible signs of a collapse are visible on satellite images taken of the testing site, according to an analysis released on 12 September by 38 North, a partnership of the US-Korea Institute and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

But the seismic signal doesn’t match what would be expected from a collapse, says Lianxing Wen, a geophysicist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. A collapse would produce mostly vertical movement of rock, but his own unpublished work suggests that the seismic clues point to a large horizontal movement as well, something he says would be more consistent with a landslide.

Sliding scale

Although the satellite data do show a lot of landslides on Mount Mantap, other researchers argue that they could not have caused the magnitude-4.1 event. Much larger landslides, such as at Bingham Canyon mine in Utah in 2013, haven’t produced seismic signals close to that size, says Ekström.  He also argues that the seismic signals he has seen do not match the pattern expected from a landslide……

September 15, 2017 Posted by | incidents, North Korea | Leave a comment

Former Nevada nuclear site experiencing wildfire

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.” Like monitoring is going to help or they’re going to share their data. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos even though they were “monitoring” – comment by  Helen Helen Mary Caldicott and Henry Peters

Wildfire burning in former Nevada nuclear site, Daily Mail UK By Associated Press 1 September 2017 RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Latest on wildfires burning across the western United States
An official says firefighters are battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in a remote part of the vast former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas. Nevada National Security Site spokeswoman Tracy Bower said Thursday that the fire covers almost 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) in the western part of what used to be the Nevada Test Site.

More than 1,000 nuclear detonations occurred at the 1,360-square-mile (3522-square-kilometer) secure federal reservation from 1951 to 1992. It now hosts non-nuclear experiments and safety training.

Bower didn’t have immediate information about the exact location of the fire or what tests may have taken place in the burn area in the past.

She says the fire started Monday and isn’t considered a threat to people or buildings.

It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation. :

September 9, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

A WW2 unexploded bomb found near to Hinkley nuclear station – for the 3rd time!

Third WWII bomb found in Bristol Channel near Hinkley Point, Guardian 30th Aug 2017  Half-mile exclusion zone set up near nuclear plants after third unexploded device discovered in as many weeks

A half-mile (1km) exclusion zone has been set up in the Bristol Channel near the Hinkley Point nuclear power stations after a third unexploded second world war bomb was discovered in as many weeks.

Bomb disposal experts will carry out a controlled explosion on the 250lb (113kg) ordnance on Wednesday, two miles north-west of the power plants. HM Coastguard has set up an exclusion zone around the unexploded device and warned ships to avoid the area.

The bomb was reported in the early hours of Wednesday by a diving team from the Hinkley Point plant. They were clearing the seabed for intake and outtake pipes for cooling water for the reactors on the Hinkley Point C plant.

It is the third suspected second world war bomb to be found in the Bristol Channel in the past three weeks. An EDF source conceded that divers could find more unexploded ordnance before the exercise to clear the area was completed, as the channel was used as a former army training range. The project to clear the seabed is expected to take several more weeks.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

UK Royal Navy detonates the second bomb found in the sea near Hinkley Point.

 West Somerset Free Press 22nd Aug 2017, A ROYAL Navy bomb squad was in action for the second time in eight days last Wednesday as it detonated another bomb found in the sea near Hinkley
Point. The 250lb Second World War device, discovered by divers checking the
seabed before the construction of cooling water tunnels for the power
station, was half the size of the bomb that Navy experts successfully
detonated on August 8, as reported in last week’s Free Press. As before,
the bomb was ringed by a one kilometre exclusion zone and the area was
off-limits for shipping for 24 hours.§ionIs=news&searchyear=2017

August 25, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Mysterious forest explosion a year ago- now revealed to have been a failed Russian missile launch

Mysterious forest flash was failed test of new nuclear missile

Remember the huge circular impact zone in the forest outside Arkhangelsk last August? Well, now it is confirmed to be the first test launch of Russia’s new Yars-M intercontinental ballistic missile.

Locals in the village of Ust-Pocha in the Pinega district (Arkhangelsk Oblast) were all shocked by two huge explosions on August 25th last year. The powerful blasts could be heard from several tens of kilometers away and caused strong vibration in their houses.

When walking into the forest, one and a half kilometers from the village, people were met by a scene that could have been from the James Bond movie GoldenEye. Trees were scattered in a circle several hundred meters in diametre.

There was no meteor or metal scrap to be found in crater in the middle. No visible burns. Some Russian media reported it could have been a rocket launch that failed. Plesetsk, the northern cosmodrome, lies only some 170 kilometers, and locals in the villages in the Pinega district are used to see rockets launched from Plesetsk flying into orbit over their houses.

But, strangely enough, no rocket launched were listed that day. Officials from Plesetsk didn’t either provided any information afterwards. Until now, nearly a year later.

In July, the third book in the serie «Russia’s Northern Cosmodrome» were presented, and there, in the list of launches from Plesetsk, a short line reviled it all; on August 25th, 2016, the very first test-launch of the Yars-M ICBM took place.

The information was soon republished at a Russian discussion blog-site for strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. Pavel Podvig, an independent analysts who runs the research project «Russian Nuclear Forces» picked up the info and linked it to last year’s infamous forest flash outside Arkhangelsk.

Yars-M is a smaller and lighter version of the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile. Making it smaller, the Russian strategic missile forces can base the new missile into the new so-called Barguzin ICBM-carrying railway missile train, like Deputy Prime Minister DMitry Rogozin announced would be developed by 2018, RIA Novosti reported last month.

According to several British media, like the Daily Mail, a successful test-launch of the Yars-M missile was done from Plesetsk in early November, just over two months after the launch of the missile that crashed in the forest 170 kilometers from the launch-pad in August.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Protestors against nuclear dumping injured in police attack in northeast France

French Police Attack Protest Against Nuclear Waste Site 16 August 2017 Protest organizers said 36 people were injured, with six gravely hurt.

Police in northeast France used water cannons and fired tear gas and stun grenades Tuesday against demonstrators protesting plans to store nuclear waste at an underground site.

The issue has been raging for years as the waste is the dangerous long-term by-product of France’s extensive nuclear energy program.

Around 300 protesters took part in the demonstration in Bure, a commune in the Meuse department, against plans to store highly radioactive waste 500 meters underground.

Protest organizers said 36 people were injured, with six gravely hurt in the clashes, while the local prefecture said at least three demonstrators had been injured, according to calls to emergency services.

The protest was one in a series to try to block the waste site. France’s Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot has said he needs more information before he gave his position on the project.

Earlier this month, the Nuclear Safety Authority said it had “reservations” about the project, known as Cigeo, citing uncertainty about the potential danger from highly inflammable material in the case of rising temperatures.

In July, the National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste said construction of the storage site would start in 2022 at the earliest.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, incidents, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment