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Trump insurgents came within seconds of capturing ‘nuclear football’ on Jan. 6

Trump insurgents came within seconds of capturing ‘nuclear football’ on Jan. 6, Mark Sumner  Daily Kos Staff,  Wednesday July 21, 2021  During Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, video footage of events on Jan. 6 revealed just how close Mike Pence came to falling into the hands of the people who were chanting for his execution. Fourteen minutes after the mob of Trump supporters first breached the Capitol, Secret Service agents led Pence from the Senate chamber and down a flight of stairs. He entered that stairwell just seconds ahead of the arrival of insurgents, some of whom were carrying rope or zip ties. Had those insurgents not been delayed through the actions of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, they could easily have been there to capture Pence and take him to the gallows waiting on the lawn outside.

But in addition to Pence, they might have captured something else that would have been especially problematic. For most of us, our electronic devices—phones, tablets, and laptops

—are regularly trusted with our most confidential information. That’s one of the things that helps to make these devices our constant companions and among the most vital objects that we own. However, there is still information that’s considered too valuable, too sensitive, to be trusted to any electronic device, and one prime example was in the hands of a military aide who was with Mike Pence as he fled from the Senate. 

That aide was carrying a small satchel, and inside that satchel was a book listing the locations of classified military sites, a description of how to activate and use the Emergency Broadcast System, a “black book” of pre-planned military actions, and a small card that contains the codes necessary to authorize a nuclear strike. That aide was with Pence at the top of the stairs in the video that was shown during the Senate trial.

The Jan. 6 insurgents didn’t just almost get Mike Pence. They almost got the backup copy of the president’s Emergency Satchel. Better know as the “nuclear football.”

As Reuters reports, concern over how close the satchel came to being captured by the Trump horde is calling for a review of just how the vital information is carried and secured…………………….

July 24, 2021 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

In extreme heat wave, forest fire threatens Sakatchewan uranium mine – another example of global heating hitting nuclear activities.

Forest fire burns uncontained near Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Sask., CBC, 2 July 21, All non-essential personnel have been evacuated due to the fire, Cameco said in a statement.

The Cameco Corporation has reported a forest fire in the vicinity of its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan.

In a statement Thursday morning, the company said it has evacuated about 230 workers from the mine and roughly 80 people remain on site to keep the facility in a safe state. 

Cameco said, should the wildfire threat continue to grow, there is a plan to keep the workers there safe and a number of precautions have been implemented. It said it’s working closely with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency on site. 

Cameco said the fire is complicated by extremely warm, dry weather resulting from the heat dome currently over Western Canada

Production at the Cigar Lake mine has been temporarily suspended. …….

…… As of early Thursday afternoon, the provincial government’s website listed 19 active fires across Saskatchewan. Five are not contained, including the Briggs fire near the Cigar Lake mine.

July 3, 2021 Posted by | Canada, climate change, incidents | Leave a comment

EDF will try to minimise the radiological leak at the Taishan nuclear plant – but the damage is done.

 A minor operating incident of a Chinese reactor at the French-designed Taishan NPP, pinned down by CNN. The small world of nuclear power has still not returned from the tortuous journey of this information. Monday, June 14, the American channel released a world scoop by reporting that the French group Framatome warned the American authorities of an “imminent radiological threat” to the Taishan power plant. In the hours that follow,

EDF, a 30% shareholder in the Taishan EPR plant, will specify that this is only a fuel rod leak (supplied by Framatome), confined in the very secure circuit. primary of a reactor. An operating incident under control, a priori without consequences. But the damage is done.

 Le Figaro 24th June 2021


June 29, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

Magnox Silo Liquor “Crack Under Control.” note: it isn’t.

How does the Nuclear Industry get away with wanting to produce ever more and ever hotter nuclear wastes when they cannot contain the existing wastes. The Magnox Swarf silo is leaking – from an unknown point – part
of the silo is below ground. United Utilities are abstracting drinking water for West Cumbria from boreholes at South Egremont a short distance away.

This is just one of the tenders Sellafield has put out for help with “seepage.” Sellafield are asking contractors to help: The Key Questionis “Can We Stop This Leak Which Is In The Building” “Can We Identify The Location”.

 Radiation Free Lakeland 25th June 2021

June 29, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

China’s Taishan nuclear reactor has 5 damaged fuel rods

 There are likely five damaged fuel rods in the 1,750 MW Taishan-1 EPR in
China, which have led to an increase in radiation levels within the reactor
coolant, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a
statement June 16, providing the first official explanation for the nuclear
reactor’s recent technical problems.

French power company EDF, a minority
owner of the Taishan plant, said in a statement June 14 that Taishan-1 had
seen an increase in the concentration of radioactive gases in its primary
circuit. The environment ministry added that “at present, the radiation
activity of [Taishan-1’s] reactor circuit coolant … is still within the
scope of allowing stable operation as stipulated in the technical
specifications for the operation of the nuclear power plant.”

The meeting
of technical specifications, which define the licensed operating parameters
or a reactor, and operational safety of the Taishan plant are guaranteed,
the ministry added. It also said the increase in radioactivity in
Taishan-1’s primary circuit is related to fuel-rod damage.

 S&P 16th June 2021

June 24, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

What actually happened at Taishan?

What actually happened at Taishan?   NFLA call on nuclear regulator to carefully investigate possible radioactive leak and its implications for Hinkley C & Sizewell C | NFLA, 16 June 21,

The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is concerned to read many contradictory reports over what has been called a ‘radioactive leak’ by some and ‘performance issues’ by others at the Taishan nuclear plant some 100kms from Hong Kong in the Guangdong region of China. NFLA has written to the UK nuclear regulatory, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), to ask it to investigate this matter with real urgency in terms of the implications for similar reactors being considered for the UK.

The Taishan plants developed in China use the same EPR (European Pressurised Reactors) technology being planned for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset and currently being considered in a public inquiry at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

Taishan is a prestige EPR project built after China signed a nuclear electricity generation agreement with ÉDF. Construction started in 2009, and the two units started generating electricity in 2018 and 2019, respectively. It is 70% owned by CGN, and 30% by Framatome, a subsidiary of EDF.

This incident came to light following an investigation by CNN, and it appears to have been going on for some considerable time. 

According to the CNN investigation, in late May, one of the EPR reactors started venting radioactive gases – it is not known precisely why or when. The CNN article mentions possible fuel failures, and this is a possibility. It appears the Chinese nuclear regulator and the Chinese Government reacted by proposing to increase the safety limits for residents downwind in order to keep the reactor operating, and they told Framatome of this intention. Framatome objected to such an action and said China should instead shut down the reactor to find out what had gone wrong. The response from Chinese authorities was negative to this suggestion. As a result, Framatome (unusually) submitted an operational safety assistance request to the US Government on June 3rd, formally asking for a ‘legal waiver’ that would allow them to address an urgent nuclear safety matter. This was sent to the US Department of Energy (DOE), warning their officials that the nuclear reactor was leaking fission gas.

On June 8th, EDF asked the US DOE for an expedited review of their request, according to a memo obtained by CNN. “The situation is an imminent radiological threat to the site and to the public and Framatome urgently requests permission to transfer technical data and assistance as may be necessary to return the plant to normal operation” read the memo. Framatome reached out to the US government for assistance, the document indicates, because the Chinese government agency was continuing to increase its limits on the amount of radioactive gas that could safely be released from the facility without shutting it down, according to the documents reviewed by CNN.

Since this report came out, EDF and the Chinese authorities have tried to downplay that any serious incident took place, suggesting these matters were merely “performance issues” within safely levels. It should be noted though that an extraordinary board meeting has been requested by Framatome with its Chinese partners to discuss the matter. (2)

NFLA believe some kind of safety incident could well have taken place at the Taishan reactor, and sincerely hopes that it has not been anything approaching a major nuclear incident. The reaction of the Chinese nuclear regulator is of real concern to us, as is the large level of confusion that has clearly taken place over this incident.

NFLA has written to the UK Chief Nuclear Inspector asking for the Office of Nuclear Regulation to investigate this incident as part of the nuclear regulators’ Multinational Design Evaluation Programme, which includes a working group on the EPR that focuses on reviewing lessons learnt from commissioning, construction and early phase operations. Any concern that comes from this incident needs to be learnt quickly given the development of a similar reactor at Hinkley Point and a proposed reactor at Sizewell. For NFLA, this incident only goes to confirm its concern that the EPR reactor is highly complex and difficult to build, and safety issues could well remain within it.

NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:

“The murky details of what has actually happened to one of the Taishan Chinese EPR reactors in this incident is indicative of the lack of transparency that remains in the global nuclear industry. It also shows the real communication problems that can occur between in this case the French and Chinese nuclear companies and regulators. I hope this has not been a serious incident, but the detail initially provided to CNN suggests something has gone wrong and needs to be carefully considered in terms of its impact on this new nuclear reactor. It confirms to NFLA that there remain so many inherent issues in new nuclear that it would be far better to pursue instead safer, cheaper, more easily realisable and radioactive waste-free renewable energy alternatives.”

Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 07771 930196.

June 17, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

Is the leak in a nuclear reactor in China due to a Framatome manufacturing defect ?

Is the leak in a nuclear reactor in China due to a manufacturing defect in
the Drôme? The nuclear rods for reactor n ° 1 in Taishan, China, are
manufactured by the Framatome site in Romans-sur-Isère. One of the
hypotheses considered to explain the leak in the circuit could be a
manufacturing defect.

It is difficult to know for the moment what caused
the leak within the reactor n ° 1 of the EPR of Taishan, in China. In
recent months, “rare gases” have been identified in the primary circuit
after the degradation of a few rods containing the uranium pellets. These
pencils are made in Romans-sur-Isère, on the Framatome site.

 France Bleu 16th June 2021

June 17, 2021 Posted by | China, France, incidents | Leave a comment

Fire at Hinkley Point C building site

 A fire broke out on the building site for Hinkley Point C this morning
(Tuesday, June 15). A pall of smoke was spotted in the sky over the power
station near Bridgwater in Somerset and reports of a blaze quickly began to
circulate on social media.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue attended the
plant after one of the galleries used to run pipes and cables around the
station caught alight. Shortly after 9.30am, pictures of the smoke cloud
were uploaded to Facebook by people living nearby, in Burnham-on-Sea. A
spokesman confirmed that the Hinkley Point’s internal fire crew
extinguished the blaze and there were no casualties. He said the incident
was now being investigated and EDF energy will ensure “lessons are learned”
from the event.

 Somerset Live 15th June 2021

June 17, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Is China covering up a nuclear leak?

US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility, By Zachary Cohen, CNN, June 14, 2021

The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an “imminent radiological threat,” according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN.

The warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down, according to a letter from the French company to the US Department of Energy obtained by CNN.

Despite the alarming notification from Framatome, the French company, the Biden administration believes the facility is not yet at a “crisis level,” one of the sources said.

While US officials have deemed the situation does not currently pose a severe safety threat to workers at the
plant or Chinese public, it is unusual that a foreign company would unilaterally reach out to the American government for help when its Chinese state-owned partner is yet to acknowledge a problem exists. The scenario could put the US in a complicated situation should the leak continue or become more severe without being fixed.

June 15, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia?

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia?

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia? The INS Chakra was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2012 on a ten-year lease  The Week, Web Desk June 09, 2021 On June 4, Twitter was abuzz after photographs from Singapore showed the Indian Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra transiting through the Malacca Straits.

Later in the day, reports emerged that the warship was on its way back to Russia. India agreed to lease the INS Chakra from Russia nearly two decades ago and inducted it into the Indian Navy in 2012 on a ten-year lease. The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) bans the sale of nuclear-powered vessels, but is silent on leasing of such ships. This was the second Indian Navy submarine to have the name Chakra.

The ‘early’ return of the INS Chakra had triggered a buzz as she was the only nuclear-powered attack submarine in the Indian Navy. Attack submarines are meant primarily to destroy enemy surface ships and submarines. The Chakra was from a Russian class of submarines that NATO codenamed the Akula (shark in Russian). Before being handed over to the Indian Navy, the Chakra was known as the Nerpa in Russian service….

On Wednesday, Russian state news agency TASS reported the early return of the INS Chakra was necessitated due to an explosion on board the vessel in the spring of 2020, which damaged both its hulls. The Chakra, like many other Russian-designed submarines of its era, is a ‘double-hulled’ submarine, with a pressure inner hull and a lighter outer hull to allow for more buoyancy and capacity to absorb damage in the event of being hit by a torpedo or mine.

The Russian language website of TASS quoted a source in the Russian “military-industrial complex” as saying, “The explosion of a high-pressure air cylinder on the Chakra submarine… occurred in the spring of 2020.” The report claimed the high-pressure air cylinder was located between the two hulls. In addition to damage to the hulls, the explosion also damaged “electronic weapons and hydro-acoustic equipment”.

Previous accidents……….

June 10, 2021 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

EDF’s report on silo collapse at Hinkley Point C nuclear construction raises more questions than answers

Stop Hinkley 24th May 2021, EDF Energy has published its report on the Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) silo collapse which took place on the Hinkley Point C construction site on 10th June last year. The report’s headline conclusion on the sudden silo collapse – that it was caused by the overloading of a bolted joint due to inadequate design, raises more questions than it answers.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Corrosion in the fuel cladding at France’s Chooz and Civaux nuclear stations

An investigation is underway at the Chooz and Civaux nuclear power plants
(6 GW) following the discovery of corrosion on the fuel cladding, in order
to prevent any radioactive leakage, announced EDF and the Nuclear Safety
Authority (ASN).

Montel 25th May 2021

May 27, 2021 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

The dark legacy of a nuclear meltdown – The Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Newsletter: The dark legacy of a nuclear meltdown, and what it means for climate change L.A. Times, By SAMMY ROTH. STAFF WRITER MAY 20, 2021

”………………The Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Despite growing up in Los Angeles, until recently I knew next to nothing about Santa Susana, which is nestled in the Simi Hills west of the San Fernando Valley. As my L.A. Times colleagues have chronicled, it was a nuclear reactor and rocket engine test facility for decades, and the site of a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. Today more than 700,000 people live within 10 miles.

Santa Susana is an incredibly toxic site.

 And the parties responsible for the long legacy of radioactive waste and other contaminants — namely Boeing, NASA and the federal Department of Energy — have done hardly anything to clean it up.

“That work was supposed to be completed by 2017. Yet much of it has not even started,” columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote last year.

Santa Susana is also the subject of a new documentary, “In the Dark of the Valley,” which is making the rounds on the film festival circuit. It’s a gut-wrenching story about children living near the field lab who have been diagnosed with cancer, and whose mothers have banded together to demand a full cleanup, in hopes that other families won’t suffer like theirs have.

The film focuses on Melissa Bumstead, whose daughter Grace Ellen was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia at age 4. Bumstead started a petition that has garnered more than 700,000 signatures, calling on politicians including Gov. Gavin Newsom to compel Boeing and the federal agencies to live up to their long-unfulfilled promises.

“I’m not going to stop. So we’ll just have to find out who has more endurance, me or them,” she says in the film’s closing moments. “The thing that’s heartbreaking is that it’s just going to continue. But it’s the kids who have to suffer, and it’s the parents who have to bury them.”

….  there’s been research suggesting that Santa Susana may pose a serious health risk to people nearby.

In 1997, UCLA scientists reported that field lab workers exposed to higher doses of radiation from 1950 through 1993 were more likely to die of cancer. A decade later, University of Michigan researchers found that people living within two miles of the site had been diagnosed with thyroid, bladder and other cancers at a 60% higher rate than people living more than five miles away.

The scope of the contamination far exceeds a single meltdown more than 60 years ago.

Daniel Hirsch — a retired UCLA and UC Santa Cruz lecturer whose students originally uncovered the meltdown, which was hidden from public view for two decades — says there were several accidents at the field lab, worsened by a lack of containment domes for the nuclear reactors. There were shockingly unsafe waste disposal practices too. For years, workers used rifles to shoot barrels of toxic chemicals to make them ignite or explode. Radioactive waste was also routinely burned in open-air pits, Hirsch said.

This was completely illegal. They weren’t supposed to be doing it,” he said

Hirsch runs the anti-nuclear group Committee to Bridge the Gap, and he’s been trying to get Santa Susana cleaned up for more than 40 years. His concerns include the continued presence of cancer-causing chemicals that can seep into groundwater, or be flushed down into the San Fernando and Simi valleys during rainstorms — or become airborne during a wind-driven wildfire.

That was a major worry during the 2018 Woolsey fire, which was ignited by a Southern California Edison electrical line at the field lab. State officials said the wildfire smoke wasn’t any more dangerous to breathe than usual, but Hirsch had a hard time believing that.

“They set up the air monitor two days after the fire,” he said.

……….. Hirsch and many local residents say Boeing and the federal government have repeatedly tried to weasel out of their commitments. And the Department of Toxic Substances Control hasn’t put up much of a fight, critics say. In January, for instance, the agency agreed to confidential talks with Boeing to resolve a dispute over the extent of the cleanup.

Another wrinkle is NASA’s recent decision to nominate the entire field lab for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, citing its Native American cave drawings and archaeological relics. Critics fear the historic designation is a thinly veiled attempt by NASA to shirk some of its cleanup obligations, a charge the space agency denies, as my colleague Louis Sahagún reported.

…… I was definitely jarred by Hirsch’s response when I told him I had hiked in the Simi Hills, within a few miles of the Santa Susana Field Lab, and asked whether he would feel safe doing the same. He didn’t hedge. He told me he would not.

“Every area around the site has been found to have contamination,” he said.

May 22, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Early atomic bomb research – the ‘demon core’ that killed physicist Harry Daghlian 

The Demon Core: How One Man Intervened With His Bare Hands During A Nuclear Accident 17 May 21,

Following the end of World War 2 and the devastating impacts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings, the Cold War was looming. The immense destruction and power promised by atomic bombs pushed world superpowers into a nuclear research frenzy, with the USA preparing to drop a third on Japan , and the remaining nations creating their own arsenal as a deterrent or defense.  

Enter the ‘demon core’. Sitting at a sizeable 6.2 kilograms (13.7 pounds) and 3.5 inches in diameter, this spherical mass of radioactive plutonium (at the time named ‘Rhufus’) was designed in nuclear research to be a fissile core for early iterations of the atomic bomb. Throughout 1945 and 1946, the demon core was experimented on ……

As expected from its’ ominous title, the demon core was not kind to the nuclear physicists involved. Designed as a bomb core, it had just a tiny margin before it would increase radioactivity and become supercritical (once the fission reaction has begun, it increases in rate). Therefore, any external factors that could increase reactivity, for example, compression of the core (which is how the fission bomb detonates), must be carefully monitored around the demon core.

Despite the danger, researchers used the core as an experimental piece on supercriticality, using neutron reflectors to push it to its’ limits. Neutron reflectors are used to surround the core, and as the nuclear fission reaction occurs, they reflect neutrons back at the nuclear material to increase the amount of fission taking place.

In 1945, alone in his laboratory, physicist Harry Daghlian was performing a neutron reflector experiment on the demon core when he mistakenly dropped a brick of reflective tungsten carbide onto the core, pushing it into supercriticality and releasing a deadly burst of neutron radiation. After a 3-week battle with acute radiation sickness, Daghlian succumbed to his wounds, leading to tighter legislation around nuclear research in the Manhattan Project – although it would not be strict enough.

Despite the danger, researchers used the core as an experimental piece on supercriticality, using neutron reflectors to push it to its’ limits. Neutron reflectors are used to surround the core, and as the nuclear fission reaction occurs, they reflect neutrons back at the nuclear material to increase the amount of fission taking place.

In 1945, alone in his laboratory, physicist Harry Daghlian was performing a neutron reflector experiment on the demon core when he mistakenly dropped a brick of reflective tungsten carbide onto the core, pushing it into supercriticality and releasing a deadly burst of neutron radiation. After a 3-week battle with acute radiation sickness, Daghlian succumbed to his wounds, leading to tighter legislation around nuclear research in the Manhattan Project – although it would not be strict enough.

That burst of radiation would kill Slotin within 9 days of exposure. Stood right beside him during the accident, Alvin Graves would also receive a huge dose of radiation but would survive the ordeal and live for another 20 years before death. Owing to Slotin’s quick thinking and body position, which absorbed most of the radiation, the remaining onlookers were shielded from the blast and survived to tell the tale.  

Following the accidents, the core would finally gain its name as the demon core, before being recycled down into other fissile cores. 

May 18, 2021 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

OVER 440 safety incidents have been recorded at Scotland’s nuclear bases over the last three years,

The National 16th May 2021, Faslane and Coulport** OVER 440 safety incidents have been recorded at Scotland’s nuclear bases over the last three years, with events becoming increasingly more frequent.
More than 80% of the incidents occurred at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane,
where most of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet is located. A number of
safety incidents were also recorded at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at
Coulport, home to the nuclear warheads. SNP MP Deirdre Brock, who obtained
the figures, told The Scotsman: “This is an appalling safety record and
it just should not be tolerated. Scotland has an arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction sitting just a few miles from our biggest city.

May 18, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment