nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Protestors against nuclear dumping injured in police attack in northeast France

French Police Attack Protest Against Nuclear Waste Site http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/French-Police-Attack-Protest-Against-Nuclear-Waste-Site-20170816-0012.html 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

A bomb found near the Hinkley C nuclear project – for the SECOND time

Second World War bomb found off coast of Hinkley Point http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/second-world-war-bomb-found-335854    Watchet Coastguard shared a notice on their Twitter account telling people to stay clear of the cordon, BY RUTH OVENS 16 AUG 2017, 

A 250 pound bomb has been found off the coast of Hinkley Point.

Mariners are being advised to avoid the area of the bomb which is thought to date back to the Second World War.

 Watchet Coastguard shared a notice on their Twitter account telling people to stay clear of the cordon.

Hinkley Point C Harbour Authority have shared the following notice:

“Mariners are advised that a 250 pound bomb thought to date from Second World War has been discovered in position Latitude 51’13.43’ North, Longitude 003’09.22 West. This position is approximately six cables south-east from Gore Bouy. “Vessels within this area are requested to proceed with caution, maintain minimum safe distance of 500 metres and keep continued watch on VHF channel 16.”

Earlier this month, the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team destroyed a piece of ordnance that was found in the sea off the West Somerset coastline. A 1km exclusion zone was put in place after the large piece of ordnance was found 2.5nm off Lilstock Range in the Bristol Channel on August 8.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | 1 Comment

Multiple violations found at Washington State’s nuclear power plant

Multiple violations found at state’s nuclear power plant, Susannah Frame, KING   August 10, 2017 The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) last month suspended indefinitely the shipment of radioactive waste from the state’s sole nuclear power plant.

Internal documents obtained by the KING 5 Investigators reveal that the Columbia Generating Station, operated by the publicly owned Energy Northwest, made repeated errors in its shipping of radioactive waste, in violation of state and federal regulations, dating back to 2014.

“There have been multiple deficiencies with the shipments of radioactive waste which has resulted in noncompliance with Federal, US Ecology, and State of Washington requirements,” wrote Robby Peek, Energy Northwest Quality Services supervisor in a July 26 interoffice memo.

Peek characterized the problems as “significant” and wrote the pattern of errors has led to a “loss of regulatory confidence.”

“Additionally, incorrect details within the shipping manifest can increase risk to the health and safety of the public,” wrote Peek.

The most recent event caused the DOH to revoke the plant’s shipping rights for the third time in the last three years.

A July 26 letter from the DOH to Energy Northwest outlines what led to the temporary ban. Inspectors at the state’s low level radioactive waste dump found a July 20 shipment of waste was far more radioactive than what was listed on the shipping manifest.

“Inspections of your shipment revealed (violations) of the US Ecology Radioactive Materials license…and the Washington Administrative Code,” wrote Kristen Schwab, DOH Office of Radiation Protection waste management supervisor. “Because of the nature of the violations found in this shipment, authorization to use the commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal site by Energy Northwest has been suspended indefinitely.”……. http://www.king5.com/news/local/multiple-violations-found-at-states-nuclear-power-plant/463541510

August 14, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Unexploded bomb found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

Bomb found at Fukushima nuclear plant — Officials concerned device could explode — “Military unit is headed to the site” — “Police have cordoned off the surrounding area” http://enenews.com/breaking-bomb-found-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant-military-unit-is-headed-to-the-site-police-have-cordoned-off-the-surrounding-area

August 10th, 2017
By ENENews Mainichi, Aug 10, 2017 (emphasis added): Suspected bomb found on premises of Fukushima power plant: TEPCO — What appears to be an undetonated bomb has been discovered on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 10. The device was discovered buried in the ground at a parking lot currently undergoing maintenance in the western corner of the premises… Police have cordoned off the surrounding area

Kyodo, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded ordnance found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

NHK, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded bomb found near Fukushima plant — Police are checking what appears to be an unexploded bomb found near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant… Police were sending the pictures of the object to the Self-Defense Forces to determine whether it could explode

BBC, Aug 10, 2017: Fukushima disaster: ‘WW2 bomb’ found at Japan nuclear site — A suspected unexploded bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant… Tepco said construction work was immediately suspended after the object was found and a temporary exclusion zone put in place while bomb disposal experts were deployed…

AP, Aug 10, 2017: Officials say the rusty object is about 85 centimeters (33 inches) long and 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide. A military unit is headed to the site

AFP, Aug 10, 2017: Japan’s Jiji Press reported that under such circumstances police call in bomb disposal experts from Japan’s military.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Workers’ health at risk at Idaho nuclear lab

Unheeded warnings, repeated mistakes put workers’ health at risk at Idaho nuclear lab, Idaho Statesman, BY PATRICK MALONE AND PETER CARY, The Center for Public Integrity AUGUST 10, 2017 

August 11, 2017 Posted by | employment, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Unexploded WW2 bomb found near Hinkley Point C nuclear power project

BBC 8th Aug 2017, A bomb believed to be from World War Two has been found in the Bristol
Channel near Hinkley Point nuclear power station. The 500lb device was
discovered 2.5 nautical miles from the coast, about 8m below the surface.

Divers conducting a survey for the construction of the new power station
found the ordnance on Monday. It was destroyed in a controlled explosion at
about 15:00 BST on Tuesday. The “unusual” ordnance was found off Lilstock
Range, just west from Steart point and Bridgwater in Somerset.

The coast around Lilstock was used as part of a practice bombing range for the Royal
Navy. EDF Energy said its team of divers made the discovery 8m below the
surface while checking the seabed ahead of the construction of the main
cooling water tunnels for new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station being
built.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-40865105

August 11, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Gas may have ruptured bag at Japan’s nuclear facility

Gas may have ruptured bag at nuclear facility https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170721_01/NHK has learned the operator of a nuclear research facility northeast of Tokyo believes a bag containing nuclear fuel materials ruptured last month due to a buildup of gas in it.
The rupture occurred on June 6th at the facility run by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Ibaraki Prefecture. Five workers were exposed to plutonium and other radioactive materials.

In the bag was a plastic container that stored nuclear fuel materials. The materials were held together by an adhesive agent to make it easier to use in experiments.

A report compiled by the agency says gas is believed to have been generated when radioactive rays disintegrated the adhesive agent, the polyethylene container, and the molecules of water in the bag.

The agency plans to submit a report to the Nuclear Regulation Authority as early as Friday. It will also conduct further analyses to determine the amount of the adhesive agent and the condition of the nuclear fuel materials when they were inside the container.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

America’s NRC to examine safety vulnerabilities, following fire and explosion at Turkey Point nuclear station

Turkey Point: Fire and Explosion at the Nuclear Plant, UCS , DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | JULY 11, 2017The Florida Power & Light Company’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station about 20 miles south of Miami has two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors that began operating in the early 1970s. Built next to two fossil-fired generating units, Units 3 and 4 each add about 875 megawatts of nuclear-generated electricity to the power grid.

Both reactors hummed along at full power on the morning of Saturday, March 18, 2017, when problems arose.

The Event

At 11:07 am, a high energy arc flash (HEAF) in Cubicle 3AA06 of safety-related Bus 3A ignited a fire and caused an explosion. The explosion inside the small concrete-wall room (called Switchgear Room 3A) injured a worker and blew open Fire Door D070-3 into the adjacent room housing the safety-related Bus 3B (called Switchgear Room 3B.)

A second later, the Unit 3 reactor automatically tripped when Reactor Coolant Pump 3A stopped running. This motor-driven pump received its electrical power from Bus 3A. The HEAF event damaged Bus 3A, causing the reactor coolant pump to trip on under-voltage (i.e., less than the desired voltage of 4,160 volts.) The pump’s trip triggered the insertion of all control rods into the reactor core, terminating the nuclear chain reaction.

Another second later and Reactor Coolant Pumps 3B and 3C also stopped running. These motor-driven pumps received electricity from Bus 3B. The HEAF event should have been isolated to the Switchgear Room 3A, but the force of the explosion blew open the connecting fire door, allowing Bus 3B to also be affected. Reactor Coolant Pumps 3B and 3C tripped on under-frequency (i.e., alternating current electricity at too much less than the desired 60 cycles per second). Each Turkey Point unit has three Reactor Coolant Pumps that force the flow of water through the reactor core, out the reactor vessel to the steam generators where heat gets transferred to a secondary loop of water, and then back to the reactor vessel. With all three pumps turned off, the reactor core would be cooled by natural circulation. Natural circulation can remove small amounts of heat, but not larger amounts; hence, the reactor automatically shuts down when even one of its three Reactor Coolant Pumps is not running.

At shortly before 11:09 am, the operators in the control room received word about a fire in Switchgear Room 3A and the injured worker. The operators dispatched the plant’s fire brigade to the area. At 11:19 am, the operators declared an emergency due to a “Fire or Explosion Affecting the Operability of Plant Systems Required to Establish or Maintain Safe Shutdown.”

At 11:30 am, the fire brigade reported to the control room operators that there was no fire in either Switchgear Room 3A or 3B.

Complication #1…….

Complication #2…… Complication #3……. Complication #4…..

…….The NRC needs to understand HEAF factors as fully as practical before it can determine if additional measures are needed to manage the risk. The NRC is also collecting information about potential HEAF vulnerabilities. Collectively, these efforts should enable the NRC to identify any nuclear safety problems posed by HEAF events and to implement a triaged plan that resolves the biggest vulnerabilities sooner rather than later. http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/turkey-point-fire-and-explosion-at-the-nuclear-plant

July 14, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Hanford nuclear station has a widlfire, now 85 percent contained

Wildfire partly on Hanford nuclear site is 85 percent contained http://komonews.com/news/local/wildfire-partly-on-hanford-nuclear-site-is-85-percent-contained by Associated Press, 6 July 17RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – A wildfire burning in part on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is 85 percent contained and does not threaten any of the site’s nuclear facilities.

The grass and brush fire covers about 35.9 square miles in Yakima and Benton counties.

There are no evacuations or closures related to the fire, which started last Sunday.

Fire officials say a drone aircraft flew over the fire area on Tuesday, temporarily grounding aircraft assigned to fighting the fire.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Fire on board a Russian floating nuclear plant near St Petesburg

Fire breaks out on floating nuclear plant at Russia shipyard https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/fire-breaks-out-on-floating-nuclear-plant-at-russia-shipyard/2017/07/04/a5d82a7e-60    July 4 MOSCOW — Russia’s emergency services ministry says a fire broke out on the floating nuclear power plant being built at a shipyard near the center of St. Petersburg, but was extinguished before anyone was injured.

Construction of the floating plant, which is to be deployed in Russia’s Far East, has caused concern among environmentalists. Rashid Alimov of Greenpeace’s Russian branch said Tuesday’s fire showed that plans for loading nuclear fuel into the plant’s reactors are “irresponsible.”

The shipyard is about two kilometers (1.25 miles) downriver from some of St. Petersburg’s most renowned tourist sites, including the State Hermitage Museum.

The ministry statement says the fire was caused by a short circuit in a storage battery.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Cause of Japan’s Oarai research center nuclear accident is thought to be decomposing resin

Rotten resin gas ‘most likely’ cause of Ibaraki nuclear accident http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707040020.html  July 4, 2017 The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) now considers the most likely cause of last month’s nuclear contamination accident at its Oarai research center to be gas produced by decomposing resin containing plutonium and other radioactive substances.

The June 6 incident at the facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, exposed five workers to plutonium when they handled 26-year-old radioactive waste stored there.

Resin was used to stick the radioactive waste on an aluminum sheet and stored in a tightly sealed polyethylene container, which was wrapped in plastic bags and placed in a stainless steel container.

The accident occurred when the workers opened the steel container and were exposed to radioactive particles that seeped out of the polyethylene container in gas that ruptured the plastic coverings and escaped into the room they were in.

“Decomposition of resin by a radioactive substance is considered as the most likely cause of the gas’s formation,” said Toshio Kodama, JAEA president, at a July 3 meeting with the science and technology ministry’s special investigation team that was set up to determine the cause of the accident.

JAEA found that the polyethylene container inside the plastic bags contained powdered plutonium set in pieces of epoxy resin.

The agency is looking at other possibilities, but now considers decomposition of the resin as the most likely cause.

On the same day, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba announced that three of the five workers have been admitted to its facility for the third time to receive medication via an intravenous drip that speeds the excretion of radioactive substances from their bodies as urine.

The health of the five workers has not changed, according to NIRS.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Nuclear catastrophe narrowly avoided at Los Alamos National Laboratory

A near-disaster at a federal nuclear weapons laboratory takes a hidden toll on America’s arsenal , Science Repeated safety lapses hobble Los Alamos National Laboratory’s work on the cores of U.S. nuclear warheads By The Center for Public IntegrityPatrick Malone Jun. 29, 2017 Technicians at the government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory settled on what seemed like a surefire way to win praise from their bosses in August 2011: In a hi-tech testing and manufacturing building pivotal to sustaining America’s nuclear arsenal, they gathered eight rods painstakingly crafted out of plutonium, and positioned them side-by-side on a table to photograph how nice they looked.

At many jobs, this would be innocent bragging. But plutonium is the unstable, radioactive, man-made fuel of a nuclear explosion, and it isn’t amenable to showboating. When too much is put in one place, it becomes “critical” and begins to fission uncontrollably, spontaneously sparking a nuclear chain reaction, which releases energy and generates a deadly burst of radiation.

The resulting blue glow — known as Cherenkov radiation — has accidentally and abruptly flashed at least 60 times since the dawn of the nuclear age, signaling an instantaneous nuclear charge and causing a total of 21 agonizing deaths. So keeping bits of plutonium far apart is one of the bedrock rules that those working on the nuclear arsenal are supposed to follow to prevent workplace accidents. It’s Physics 101 for nuclear scientists, but has sometimes been ignored at Los Alamos.

As luck had it that August day, a supervisor returned from her lunch break, noticed the dangerous configuration, and ordered a technician to move the rods apart. But in so doing, she violated safety rules calling for a swift evacuation of all personnel in “criticality” events, because bodies — and even hands — can reflect and slow the neutrons emitted by plutonium, increasing the likelihood of a nuclear chain reaction. A more senior lab official instead improperly decided that others in the room should keep working, according to a witness and an Energy Department report describing the incident.

Catastrophe was avoided and no announcement was made at the time about the near-miss — but officials internally described what happened as the most dangerous nuclear-related incident at that facility in years. It then set in motion a calamity of a different sort: Virtually all of the Los Alamos engineers tasked with keeping workers safe from criticality incidents decided to quit, having become frustrated by the sloppy work demonstrated by the 2011 event and what they considered the lab management’s callousness about nuclear risks and its desire to put its own profits above safety.

When this exodus was in turn noticed in Washington, officials there concluded the privately-run lab was not adequately protecting its workers from a radiation disaster. In 2013, they worked with the lab director to shut down its plutonium handling operations so the workforce could be retrained to meet modern safety standards.

Those efforts never fully succeeded, however, and so what was anticipated as a brief work stoppage has turned into a nearly four-year shutdown of portions of the huge laboratory building where the plutonium work is located, known as PF-4.

Officials privately say that the closure in turn undermined the nation’s ability to fabricate the cores of new nuclear weapons and obstructed key scientific examinations of existing weapons to ensure they still work. The exact cost to taxpayers of idling the facility is unclear, but an internal Los Alamos report estimated in 2013 that shutting down the lab where such work is conducted costs the government as much as $1.36 million a day in lost productivity.

And most remarkably, Los Alamos’s managers still have not figured out a way to fully meet the most elemental nuclear safety standards. ……

these safety challenges aren’t confined to Los Alamos. The Center’s probe revealed a frightening series of glaring worker safety risks, previously unpublicized accidents, and dangerously lax management practices. The investigation further revealed that the penalties imposed by the government on the private firms that make America’s nuclear weapons were typically just pinpricks, and that instead the firms annually were awarded large profits in the same years that major safety lapses occurred. Some were awarded new contracts despite repeated, avoidable accidents, including some that exposed workers to radiation…….

George Anastas, a past president of the Health Physics Society who analyzed dozens of internal government reports about criticality problems at Los Alamos for the Center, said he wonders if “the work at Los Alamos [can] be done somewhere else? Because it appears the safety culture, the safety leadership, has gone to hell in a handbasket.”

Anastas said the reports, spanning more than a decade, describe “a series of accidents waiting to happen.” The lab, he said, is “dodging so many bullets that it’s scary as hell.”http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/near-disaster-federal-nuclear-weapons-laboratory-takes-hidden-toll-america-s-arsenal

June 30, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Cyber attack knocks out the radiation monitoring system of Chernobyl nuclear plant

Chernobyl nuclear plant’s radiation monitoring hit by cyber attack: Officials http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/jun/28/chernobyl-nuclear-plants-radiation-monitoring-hit-by-cyber-attack-officials-1621663.html  By AFP  28th June 2017 UKRAINE: The radiation monitoring system at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear site has been taken offline after a massive cyber attack, forcing employees to use hand-held counters to measure levels, officials said on Tuesday.

“Due to the cyber attack, the website of the Chernobyl nuclear plant is not working,” said Ukraine’s exclusion zone agency which oversees the Soviet plant that exploded in 1986 and is now surrounded by an uninhabited contaminated zone.

“Due to the temporary shutdown of the Windows system, the radiation monitoring of the industrial area is being done manually,” the agency said on its website.

“That means that our measurers go out with hand-held meters on the Chernobyl plant like it was decades ago,” a spokeswoman for the agency, Olena Kovalchuk, told AFP.

The plant’s destroyed reactor was enclosed in a huge metal structure last year in a bid to stop radiation leaks at the site, where more than 200 tonnes of uranium remain.

 Ukraine, along with Russia and companies across Europe, was hit on Tuesday in a wave of cyberattacks which IT experts identified as a modified version of the Petya ransomware that struck last year.

Ukraine’s exclusion zone agency said that Chernobyl’s “technological systems are working as usual” and that radiation control is “without delays”.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Hackers trading passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants

Russian hackers trade passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants – including ‘Rad1at10n’ and ‘Nuclear1’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4635420/Russian-hackers-trade-passwords-UK-nuclear-plant-staff.html, 

  • The passwords of two senior EDF nuclear plant managers were traded online
  • French-owned firm EDF Energy operates all 15 of Britain’s nuclear reactors 
  • Comes as thousands of government officials – including MPs – were hacked 

The passwords – ‘Nuclear1’ and ‘Radiat10n’ – are thought to have been used on the business site LinkedIn.

They were being traded by hackers who had easily guessed the letters and numbers.

EDF, which operates Britain’s 15 nuclear reactors, did not comment about the breach.

But the French-owned firm did say, according to The Times, that it is ‘continually reviewing its defences and preparedness in this area’.

The lists on which the passwords appeared were traded privately before being made public.

It comes as around 1,000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7,000 police employees and more than 1,000 Foreign Office officials were all understood to have had confidential information traded online without their knowledge.Even some of the prime minister’s closest government ministers, including education secretary, Justine Greening, and business secretary, Greg Clark, are thought to have been affected by the hack.

The huge database was being sold for just £2, with the low price justified by the fact it had already spent months being passed around. Its original price is likely to have been much higher.

Hackers can easily guess many passwords, especially those which are merely a word associated with a certain person but with ‘3’ instead of ‘E’ or ‘1’ instead of ‘I’.

There have been warnings that the hacked passwords could be used to blackmail workers in sensitive jobs, or even to break into government servers.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 2 Comments

Mystery drone flew over French nuclear power plant

Le Parisien  19th June 2017 A drone flew over a nuclear power plant located in the commune of Avoine, a
few kilometers from Chinon, Sunday evening in the early evening. An
investigation is underway. The Chinon nuclear power plant was overflown
by a drone on Sunday night. At around 8:20 pm, a small flying object was
observed by a station employee. Thirty minutes later, the specialized
gendarmes go to the scene, view the video surveillance images and confirm
the employee’s testimony. A research device was launched by the soldier. No
results so far. A complaint must be filed by the plant manager. The inquiry
is conducted by the Chinon Research Brigade.   http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/indre-et-loire-un-drone-survole-la-centrale-nucleaire-de-chinon-19-06-2017-7066137.php

June 21, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment