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Environmentalists concerned: Turkey Point nuclear station could be allowed to operate for 80 years

FPL on the way to licensing Turkey Point nuclear plant for another 20 years, By MARCIA HEROUX POUNDS, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL , OCT 29, 2019 Turkey Point nuclear power plant, which is located about 20 miles south of Miami and helps power Florida Power & Light’s electric grid, has gotten a green light for extending its license.

The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended Monday that the commission approve the extension of Turkey Point for another 20 years, given its “limited” environmental impact. Renewing the licenses, as requested by FPL, “would not be unreasonable,” the staff says in its favorable report.

Juno Beach-based FPL said it was “pleased with this step forward,” which would allow FPL to operate the nuclear power plant for as long as 80 years total. If the extensions are approved, Turkey Point could be the oldest nuclear power plant in the country, according to data by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

……… Environmentalists have objected to extension of nuclear licenses or new plants due to concerns about climate change and environmental issues.

In 2018, FPL requested that customers pay more than $100 million to clean up environmental issues caused by Turkey Point’s cooling tanks leaking into Biscayne Bay. In April of this year, the Florida Supreme Court sided with the Florida Public Service Commission in allowing FPL to collect from customers for the cleanup.

If the license extension is granted, the twin nuclear units 3 and 4 at Turkey Point could be operated through 2052 and 2053. That could also have an impact on other nuclear power plants built in the 1970s and 1980s that are looking to extend their licenses. …….

FPL also has proposed two new nuclear power plants at the Turkey Point site, and has received a license. “We’re not planning to build a new nuclear plant at this time,” Silagy told the Sun Sentinel’s Editorial Board.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Military wants more rules for turbines near nuclear missiles

Military wants more rules for turbines near nuclear missiles, Star Tribune By JAMES MacPHERSON Associated Press, OCTOBER 29, 2019 —BISMARCK, N.D. — The military wants North Dakota and four other states with nuclear missile arsenals to consider introducing new rules aimed at preventing conflicts between wind turbines and helicopters that provide security at launch facilities.

Department of Defense and Air Force officials outlined their concerns in a letter before meeting Tuesday with North Dakota lawmakers and regulatory officials.

“Wind turbine development near launch facilities and missile alert facilities compromise the use of military helicopters to provide overhead security in sensitive locations,” the letter said……

October 31, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Warning on Fukushima fallout for Tokyo 2020 Olympians,

Warning on Fukushima fallout for Tokyo 2020 Olympians, VICTORIA LAURIE. SENIOR REPORTER. OCTOBER 29, 2019 

The Australian Olympic Committee has been urged to inform its athletes and team members about the ongoing health effects of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear ­reactor disaster for those attending the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Tilman Ruff, a public health expert who co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Melbourne, said he had written to the AOC to warn that levels of radioactivity in certain areas could be above the recommended maximum permissible exposure level. He said the Japanese Olympic Committee planned to host baseball and softball competitions and part of the torch relay in Fukushima City, 50km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

In 2011, multiple nuclear meltdowns at the damaged facility caused radioactivity to leak out across Japan and the Pacific.

“It was a catastrophe comparable only to the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl,” he said. While contamination was not as severe as at Chernobyl, “it was widespread and persists”.

At least 50,000 residents have not yet been able to return to the most affected areas in Fukushima prefecture. “The Japanese government is making a concerted ­effort to present the Fukushima nuclear disaster as over and effectively dealt with in the lead-up to the Olympics. Some of these ­efforts are misleading and should not be accepted at face value,” Dr Ruff said.

He said thyroid cancers had notably increased among young people in Fukushima, with a total of about 200 cases.

He has made several visits to Fukushima since 2011, the latest in May when he provided radiation health advice to the Fukushima prefectural government.

Dr Ruff said he then wrote to the AOC urging it to “properly ­inform and safeguard the best interests of the Australian staff and team, and their accompanying families, especially women who may be pregnant and young children”.

He said short-term visits to areas contaminated by radioactive fallout “now involve low to minimal risk”.

“However, if any (AOC) members or athletes plan to be based in Fukushima or neighbouring contaminated prefectures for weeks or months, they should be informed about the health risks of radiation exposure,” Dr Ruff said.

International physician groups have criticised the Japanese government’s decision shortly after the 2011 disaster to increase the maximum permissible radiation dose for Japanese citizens from one to 20 millisieverts. “Eight years later, it has not reversed that decision,” Dr Ruff said. “No other government in the world has ever accepted such a high level of radiation beyond the immediate emergency phase of a nuclear disaster for its citizens.”

An AOC spokesman said Tokyo 2020 provided regular updates to the IOC regarding the situation. “We have been given assurances that radiation levels in Fukushima City are safe, noting that the IOC Co-ordination Team has made several visits to the region and that ongoing monitoring is conducted independently of the Japanese government,” the spokesman said.


October 29, 2019 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

The hazards of nuclear submarines

Nuclear dangers of the naval kind HIMAL, BY ZIA MIAN, M V RAMANA AND A H NAYYAR, 28 OCTOBER 2019Southasia needs to pay attention to the increased risk of a nuclearised ocean.

In 2019, a new set of nuclear dangers emerged for Southasia. The growing danger was underscored during the military crisis between India and Pakistan in February 2019, when India put one or more of its nuclear submarines on “operational deployment mode.” During the crisis, the Pakistani Navy claimed to intercept an Indian submarine. No one has confirmed if this interception involved an Indian submarine carrying nuclear weapons. With India and Pakistan on an accelerated programme of acquiring and developing nuclear submarines, Southasia needs to pay urgent attention to the risks of nuclear accidents at sea.

India and Pakistan have been acquiring and developing nuclear submarines ­– those that are armed with nuclear weapons but powered by diesel as well as those that are armed with nuclear weapons and powered by nuclear reactors. With the advent of these underwater nuclear platforms comes the risk of nuclear incidents and accidents at sea. There has been a long history of such accidents around the world. In July of this year a Russian nuclear-powered submarine accident killed 14 crew members.

The expansion of nuclear operations to the sea also raises issues about who has the ability to authorise the use of these weapons, especially in a crisis. This is of particular concern in the case of India because it has already deployed such weapons. According to a November 2018 announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Arihant nuclear-powered submarine successfully completed its maiden “patrol”.

A further source of concern is the August 2019 announcement by India’s defence minister to the effect that the country’s ‘No First Use’ (NFU) policy – which pledges not to attack with nuclear weapon unless attacked first – “would depend on the circumstances.” His comments, made during a period of increased tension between India and Pakistan following the amendment to Article 370 of India’s Constitution conferring special status to Jammu & Kashmir, underscore these risks.

India’s nuclear submarines………    Strategic competition with China in the Indian Ocean may be another factor.  Serving and retired members of India’s Navy publicly express concerns about the deployment of Chinese submarines, warships and tankers in the Indian Ocean.

India’s growing arsenal also makes it a more valuable ally for the United States in its efforts to deal with the growth in China’s political and military power. For some time now, the US and India have been conducting joint naval exercises.

Pakistan’s naval force

Pakistan, for its part, announced the setting up of a Naval Strategic Force Command in 2012. Pakistan’s Navy has started preparing to put nuclear-armed cruise missiles on conventional submarines. The cruise missile is expected to be the 450-kilometer range Babur, which had a successful underwater test launch in 2018. There are reports that Pakistan is seeking to develop or acquire a nuclear-powered submarine…..

Submarine accidents

Almost all the countries operating nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed submarines have experienced accidents, often with significant loss of life and the spread of radioactivity in the environment. There have been over 40 accidents involving nuclear-powered submarines, claiming a total of over 650 lives. Of these accidents, more than half involved Soviet/Russian submarines resulting in over 400 deaths. The United States comes next, with at least a dozen submarine accidents leading to well over 200 deaths.

Two accidents have involved India’s nuclear submarines. …….

It would be unreasonable to expect that no more accidents involving nuclear submarines would ever take place. Nuclear submarines involve many technologies that are susceptible to a range of accidents affecting the submarine, nuclear reactor, missiles and nuclear weapons. All of these are operating under challenging conditions: deep under water, with limited supplies of air and water, possibly under attack. None of these factors is likely to change……..  Should a naval nuclear-reactor accident occur, especially at or near a naval base, coastal city or town the consequences could extend far beyond the vessel and its crew……

Pathways to war

The introduction of nuclear armed submarines, whether diesel or nuclear-fuelled, increases the likelihood of conventional conflicts escalating to a nuclear one. Any use of nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences, especially if the use of nuclear weapons by one country sets off a nuclear response from the other side.

In a military crisis, nuclear armed submarines increase the potential for nuclear war because they open up new risk pathways. The Australian strategist Desmond Ball pointed out in 1985 that “the sea is the only area where nuclear weapon platforms [of adversary states] … actually come into physical contact” and this contact can lead to accidents from several kinds of what seem to be typical naval operations.

There have already been incidents of Indian and Pakistani naval platforms coming into physical contact, for example in 2011, when the Pakistani vessel PNS Babur brushed past India’s INS Godavari. Contact between Navy forces from India and Pakistan might also result from deliberate attempts to attack submarines. Both countries are known to be acquiring anti-submarine warfare capabilities.The consequences of such events could be worse if submarines come into contact with each other during periods of heightened tensions or crises.

During a crisis, there may be inadvertent attacks on submarines carrying nuclear weapons, because these are intermingled with submarines carrying only conventional weapons. One notable instance occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when US ships used practice depth charges against Soviet nuclear-armed submarines. This almost led to the use of nuclear weapons by the Soviet submarine.

Challenges to controlling nuclear weapons

A significant new challenge resulting from the deployment of nuclear weapons at sea is managing command and control. To the extent that such things are publicly known, India and Pakistan were believed to keep their nuclear weapons on land separate from the delivery vehicles, be they missiles or aircraft. This separation makes it harder for the weapons to be used without proper authorisation. With submarines armed with nuclear weapons at sea, this separation may not be possible and so the risk of unauthorised use is greater.

At the same time, one purpose of the nuclear-armed submarine is to be a final fail-safe means of nuclear attack even if a country’s political leadership is killed and its cities destroyed. To serve this role, the nuclear weapons on the submarine cannot rely on timely launch orders from political authorities. A further problem for submarines is that they are supposed to remain hidden from the enemy. Constant communication from the submarine to the military or civilian leadership may make it easier to detect. All of this means that during the time of a crisis, the personnel in a nuclear submarine might be the ones making decisions on whether or not to use nuclear weapons.

Southasians need to consider how they feel about trusting their lives in some future crisis to the restraint of Indian or Pakistani submariners far from home and fearful that their vessel is under attack, trying to decide about launching their nuclear missiles in a ‘use them or lose them’ scenario. The consequences would be devastating.

~Zia Mian is co-director of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, where he also directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia.

~M V Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

~Abdul H Nayyar is a physicist and a founder and former President of the Pakistan Peace Coalition, a national network of peace and justice groups.

October 29, 2019 Posted by | India, oceans, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Why nuclear reactors are the perfect missile target in the Middle East, or anywhere, really

The ultimate Middle East missile target: Nuclear reactors, Washington Examiner, by Mark Dubowitz& Henry Sokolski October 22, 2019  What if a nuclear reactor had been the target of last month’s accurate missile attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities? We might now be mopping up a Middle East Chernobyl. The lesson should be clear: Don’t build more large reactors in the region. They’re radioactive sitting ducks.

Saudi Arabia has plans to build an array of large nuclear power plants. Next door, the United Arab Emirates is spending $20 billion to complete four commercial reactors at Barakah. Egypt and Turkey both have begun constructing two massive Russian-designed nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, Iran has two operating reactors and has begun constructing two more. After Iran’s Sept. 14 missile attack against Saudi Arabia, though, all of these plants risk being wiped out.

Precision guided missiles are the reason why. Shortly after the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia, pictures revealed each of the oil tanks struck at Abqaiq were hit in the exact same spot. The missiles’s estimated accuracy was one meter. That makes even the hardiest of large reactors easy marks. Rather than target the most protected part of the plant, the large concrete containment building covering the reactor’s core, accurate missiles can put key auxiliary reactor facilities at risk.

One such aim point is the power plant’s emergency electrical diesel generator building. Knock the generators out and you deprive the reactor of emergency backup power needed to keep its safety and coolant pump systems operating when external, grid-supplied electricity is cut off by blackouts, storms, or attacks.

Then, there are the main electrical power lines coming into the plant. Hit both of these and the emergency diesel backup generators and you rob the plant’s coolant pumps and safety systems of all power. Reactor core meltdowns and fuel fires in the reactor’s spent fuel storage pond are assured (similar to Fukushima).

Yet, another aim point is the reactor’s control room, which is often located outside the reactor’s containment walls. Knock it out and you lobotomize the plant, which again will set the reactor on a meltdown trajectory.

Finally, there’s the reactor’s spent fuel storage pond building. If it is hit and subsequently drained of coolant, the spent fuel it contains will catch fire, risking a major release of radioactivity.

How large of a release? The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimated a spent fuel fire at a typical power plant would likely discharge 100 times as much damaging radiation as was spread in the Fukushima accident. Accordingly, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission projected a desired evacuation area more than 700 times larger than what the Fukushima accident required.

Some nuclear reactor owners recognize the risks of aerial attacks. Belarus just announced its deployment of modern air and missile defenses to counter possible military attacks against its new nuclear plant. Iran and Algeria have air-defended their reactors, as has Israel. UAE officials also have suggested they have such systems.

But will they work against the kind of high-accuracy missiles Iran fired at the Saudis? In the September attack, all 25 of the low-flying attack drones and missiles flew undetected. None of Riyadh’s air defenses (which included U.S. Patriot, German Skyguard, and French Shahine systems) engaged.

Yet, some experts doubt any current air defense system could do any better. The Pentagon’s top policy official and Israel’s prime minister were both rattled by the Saudi attack. The United States publicly warned that NATO currently can’t cope with such low-flying missiles. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a crash multibillion-dollar Israeli air defense development program to deal with them. Securing such defenses won’t be easy.

In the meantime, Middle Eastern states need more large reactors like a hole in the head. That goes for Iran, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria, as well as Saudi Arabia. In fact, no one in the natural gas and the sun-drenched Middle East needs nuclear power. Renewable and gas-fired electricity are much cheaper, quicker to build, and far less provocative…..

October 24, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

Columbia nuclear fuel factory in trouble again, with safety problems

Nuclear workers hospitalized; Columbia plant runs afoul of safety rules – again, The State. BY SAMMY FRETWELL 22 OCT 19 

A Columbia nuclear fuel factory with a history of leaks, spills and other mishaps has again run into trouble, this time after three workers went to the hospital and an inspection found the plant didn’t have proper safety equipment.

The Westinghouse nuclear plant discovered last week that it had a device in place that was not adequate to prevent uranium from leaking into chemical supply drums at the site, federal records show.

That’s potentially significant because the drums were in a “non-favorable’’ position, which under certain circumstances could increase chances of a radiation burst inside the 1,000-employee plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking into the matter, reported by Westinghouse to the agency Oct. 16. Westinghouse shut down part of the plant where the improper equipment was found, a spokesman for the NRC said this week………

The nuclear fuel factory, one of only three of its kind in the country, has a long history of incidents, including events in which some workers were exposed to radiation or injured. But concerns have intensified in recent years among people who live in eastern Richland County, near the plant.

Since 2016, the facility has run afoul of federal regulators for allowing uranium to build up in an air pollution control device, leaking uranium through a hole in the plant floor and failing to notify authorities of historic leaks on the property. This past summer, federal officials learned that water had dripped through a rusty shipping container onto a barrel of nuclear waste, causing a leak into the ground. Officials also learned about a small fire this summer that erupted in a container that held nuclear material.

Groundwater beneath the site is polluted with an array of toxins, including nitrate, solvents and nuclear materials, dating as far back as the 1980s. Neighbors near the plant are leery, with some saying they don’t trust Westinghouse to safeguard the environment. The company has pledged to do better.

Westinghouse’s plant supplies fuel rods for atomic power plants across the country. Located between Interstate 77 and Congaree National Park, the 550,000-square-foot factory has been a key part of the Columbia economy since opening in 1969. The plant employs about 1,000 people. Operators are now seeking to renew a federal license, as well as state discharge permits.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

USA has 90 old nuclear reactors unreinforced and unsupervised

Dr W. 20 Oct 19, Anyone of dozens of reactors, in america could explode in the next year because they are embrittled deteriorating , more than 20 or 30 yers old and completely unsupervised.

Waterford in La was damaged by massive flooding from the Midwest USA and the last Hurricane.
8 reactors in Florida, Tennessee and Georgia could go with the Tropical storm currently pounding them, since hurricane Michael.

Diablo Canyon was severely damaged by a 7.0 earthquake in southern california in the last few months. It was damaged, embrittled and crumbling before that.
STP has no backuup . It has a cracked fuel pool.

Brunswick in carolina has damaged containment multiple leaks and no access to aome areas, after hurricane maria.

Indian point is at the brink of melltdown by New York City because it is so old and it has had so many transformer fires. It continues to leak tritium like a sieve by New York City.

Davis Besse, Fermi, Oyster Creek all have holes in their containtment.

All 90 shitty old reactors unreinforced and unsupervised under fuko the clown, and the brain damaged coked-out fairy Rick Perry. The other 6 in flood and earthquake zones along with th 90 other, very old death machines. Fuko is refusing to cleanup santa susana and hanford now. Fuko is responsible for Davis Besse fuko is allowing radioactive food to come from Japan. Fuko is responsible for the nuclear catastrophes at santa susana and idaho nuclear laboratory, in the past two years . Fuko is responsible for the nuclear explosion in russia recently by abrogating nuclear arms treaties and massively escalating nuclear arms proliferations and a new nuclear arms race.. Fuko is responsible for upcoming nuclear catastrophe in the USA in the next 6 months.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

More evidence of safety risks: Hunterston B nuclear reactors should be closed

The Ferret 17th Oct 2019, Hunterston, The graphite cores of two ageing nuclear reactors at Hunterston in North Ayrshire have begun to crumble as cracks spread, prompting safety inspectors to impose tough new conditions threatening future operations.

Technical reports released by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear
Regulation (ONR) reveal that at least 58 fragments and pieces of debris
have broken off the graphite bricks that make up the reactor cores.

According to ONR there is “significant uncertainty” about the risks of
debris blocking channels for cooling the reactor and causing fuel cladding
to melt. This could cause an accident and a leak of radioactivity.

The 50-strong group of Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is urging ONR to close down both reactors at Hunterston. “These latest alarming
revelations about the graphite reactor cores at Hunterston B starting to
crumble and potential issues with the fuel make us even more convinced that
reactor three should not be allowed to resume operation,” said NFLA
Scotland convener and Glasgow SNP councillor, Feargal Dalton.

“We will be pressing the Office for Nuclear Regulation very hard to examine very carefully any justification which EDF Energy puts forward to reopen reactor four after its initial four month trial, and to be open and transparent
about what they find.

The precautionary principle would suggest that this reactor too should stay closed.” NFLA radiation consultant, Dr Ian Fairlie, described ONR’s latest reports as “very worrying”. By considering the melting of fuel cladding the regulatory agency was “getting into even more dangerous matters than before”. He added:

“These reports and their harder language make one wonder why ONR granted
a four month extension to reactor four in August. Taken together the new
revelations strengthen the calls by local residents to close both reactors
at Hunterston B.”

October 19, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | 1 Comment

Safety concerns over Berkshire nuclear weapons factories

Safety concerns over Berkshire nuclear weapons factories, BBC, 17 Oct 19, Two nuclear weapons factories are to remain under extra scrutiny due to safety concerns over their ageing facilities, a government watchdog said. BBC News

The AWE sites in Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, make and maintain the UK’s nuclear warheads.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said the sites will be scrutinised closely for at least two years.

Contractor AWE Plc said the replacements for the outdated facilities had been delayed.

The private company manufactures the warheads for Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent at sea.

AWE had planned to replace the Burghfield facilities by 2016, but due to construction delays it is expected to be completed in 2023, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. ….


October 19, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

A single bird grounds America’s Navy ‘Doomsday’ plane

Navy ‘Doomsday’ plane built to withstand nuclear attack grounded after striking single bird, By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |OCT 18, 2019  The Navy’s “Doomsday Plane,” designed to withstand even a nuclear attack, suffered millions of dollars in damages after striking a single bird as it practiced a landing maneuver earlier this month at a Maryland air station.

The E-6B Mercury was supposed to only touch down momentarily before immediately taking off again from the Patuxent River Naval Air station – but a bird was sucked into one of the plane’s four engines while it attempted the “touch and go” move, according to…..

October 19, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Switzerland’s old Beznau nuclear power plant

October 17, 2019 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Risks of nuclear transportation

October 17, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Is UK’s regulator of Hinkley nuclear project ignoring the seismic risks of fracking in the area?

Drill or Drop 12th Oct 2019, Hinkley. The safety regulator for the nuclear industry has no information about the risk of earth tremors from fracking near the Hinkley Point power station, a campaign group has revealed. Frack Free Exmoor, Quantocks and Sedgemoor.

(FFEQS) has also shown that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has had no correspondence on the subject with either the oil and gas industry regulator, the power station operator, local exploration companies or Somerset County Council. FFEQS has described the failure to assess the risk of fracking on the nuclear station, which includes the new Hinkley Point C facility, as “a gaping hole” in the safety case.

In August 2019,  fracking by Cuadrilla near Blackpool caused more than 130 earth tremors, including the UK’s largest fracking-induced seismic event, measuring 2.9ML. This tremor led to formal complaints of cracks to walls, windows and doors to about 100 properties, DrillOrDrop understands. Hinkley Point is a few miles from an area where the exploration company, South Western Energy, has indicated it is interested in drilling for hydrocarbons (DrillOrDrop report).

Opposition to fracking appears to be growing in the region.
Sedgemoor District Council voted unanimously on 9 October 2019 to be a Frack Free zone. This follows previous similar votes in Somerset West and Taunton councils.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Russia’s fatal Skyfall missile test- a fatal nuclear accident

Putin’s Skyfall missile failed a test and exploded in a deadly nuclear accident, the US says. Business Insider, ELLEN IOANES, OCT 12, 2019, 

  • A report from a US State Department official on Thursday provides a clearer picture as to how the August 8 Skyfall accident occurred at a secret Russian military testing range.
  • “The United States has determined that the explosion near Nyonoksa, Russia, was the result of a nuclear reaction that occurred during the recovery of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile,” the official wrote. “The missile remained on the bed of the White Sea since its failed test early last year, in close proximity to a major population centre.”
  • Amid confusion and obfuscation from Russia and speculation from analyst, the report gives a clearer picture of how the accident, which killed seven Russians, occurred.
An August 8 nuclear accident near Nyonoksa, Russia, was caused by a nuclear reaction that occurred while Russians were attempting to recover a nuclear-powered cruise missile submerged in the White Sea after a failed test last year.

report to the UN General Assembly First Committee on Thursday by Thomas G. DiNanno, the deputy assistant secretary and senior bureau official at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, ended months of speculation about the exact cause of the accident, which killed seven Russians.

While experts at the time determined that the cause was a nuclear-reactor explosion and tied it to the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, which NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, DiNanno’s report gives a clearer picture of how the accident occurred.

“Russia also has much to answer for regarding the August 8th ‘Skyfall’ incident,” DiNanno wrote. …….

After the accident, Russia’s explanations and reactions to it varied greatly, from ordering an evacuation of the area to canceling it hours later. Four radiation sensor sites also went mysteriously offline after the accident, pointing to a potential cover-up. Russian officials said they were not obligated to share the data, which could have helped point to the cause of the accident, The New York Times reported.

Officials also declined to tell doctors treating engineers affected by the blast that they had been exposed to nuclear radiation and requested hospital staff sign a nondisclosure agreement, The Moscow Times originally reported…….

October 12, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Flamanville nuclear reactor repairs will cost $13.6 billion

EDF Cost Overrun at French Plant Piles Pressure on Nuclear Giant, by
Francois De Beaupuy, October 9, 2019, 
  •  Repairs at Flamanville reactor will lift cost to $13.6 billion
  •  Plant won’t load nuclear fuel until end of 2022 at earliest
Electricite de France SA said repairs of faulty welds at a nuclear plant under construction in western France will boost the project’s cost by 14% to 12.4 billion euros ($13.6 billion), adding further financial strain to the cash-strapped atomic power giant.

The latest budget hike at the Flamanville-3 reactor is yet another blow to the French state-controlled utility, which raised its cost estimate for two similar reactors it’s building in the U.K. just weeks ago. It also fuels doubts about nuclear’s future in France, where the government has been reluctant to approve new projects before Flamanville-3 is online….. (subscribers only)

October 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment