nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Britain’s nuclear nightmare -the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant

UK’s dream is now its nuclear nightmare https://climatenewsnetwork.net/uks-dream-is-now-its-nuclear-nightmare/?fbclid=IwAR3CEunSXXOxdK_-N8Ka9kwpCMzvHFXNkZf23VGjd6oFuDecember 14, 2018, by Paul Brown 

Nobody knows what to do with a vast uranium and plutonium stockpile built up in the UK by reprocessing spent fuel. It is now a nuclear nightmare.

LONDON, 14 December, 2018 − Thirty years ago it seemed like a dream: now it is a nuclear nightmare. A project presented to the world in the 1990s by the UK government as a £2.85 billion triumph of British engineering, capable of recycling thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel into reusable uranium and plutonium is shutting down – with its role still controversial.

Launched amid fears of future uranium shortages and plans to use the plutonium produced from the plant to feed a generation of fast breeder reactors, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, known as THORP, was thought to herald a rapid expansion of the industry.

In the event there were no uranium shortages, fast breeder reactors could not be made to work, and nuclear new build of all kinds stalled. Despite this THORP continued as if nothing had happened, recycling thousands of tons of uranium and producing 56 tons of plutonium that no one wants. The plutonium, once the world’s most valuable commodity, is now classed in Britain as “an asset of zero value.” Continue reading

Advertisements

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Reference, reprocessing, UK, wastes | 2 Comments

How France multiplies hazardous nuclear waste.

Reporterre 11th Dec 2018  Claiming to ” recycle ” used nuclear fuel, the reprocessing industry complicates the management of waste by increasing the amount of plutonium and hazardous materials.
Most countries engaged in this dead-end way come out … but not France.
According to the official communication, the reprocessing does not generate
contamination, only ” authorized discharges ” . They are spit by the
chimneys, dumped at the end of a pipe buried in the Channel.
In reality, according to the independent expert Mycle Schneider, ” the plant is
authorized to reject 20,000 times more radioactive rare gases and more than
500 times the amount of liquid tritium that only one of the Flamanville
reactors located 15 km away. ” . It contributes ” almost half to the
radiological impact of all civilian nuclear installations in Europe ” .
https://reporterre.net/Comment-la-France-multiplie-les-dechets-nucleaires-dangereux

December 13, 2018 Posted by | France, Reference, reprocessing, wastes | 2 Comments

Robots in effort to clean highly radioactive Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant

Sellafield: Europe’s most radioactively contaminated site

Inside Sellafield’s death zone with the nuclear clean-up robots, 27 November 2018

The Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield, Cumbria, has recycled its final batch of reactor fuel. But it leaves behind a hugely toxic legacy for future generations to deal with. So how will it be made safe?

Thorp still looks almost new; a giant structure of cavernous halls, deep blue-tinged cooling ponds and giant lifting cranes, imposing in fresh yellow paint.

But now the complex process of decontaminating and dismantling begins.

It is a dangerous job that will take decades to complete and require a great deal of engineering ingenuity and state-of-the-art technology – some of which hasn’t even been invented yet.

This is why.

Five sieverts of radiation is considered a lethal dose for humans. Inside the Head End Shear Cave, where nuclear fuel rods were extracted from their casings and cut into pieces before being dissolved in heated nitric acid, the radiation level is 280 sieverts per hour.

We can only peer through leaded glass more than a metre thick at the inside of the steel-lined cell, which gleams under eerie, yellow-tinged lighting.

This is a place only robots can go.

They will begin the first stage of decommissioning – the post-operative clean-out – removing machinery and debris……….. Cleaning up other parts of the plant will also need robots and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Some will need to be developed from scratch, while others can be adapted from systems already used in other industries, such as oil and gas, car manufacturing and even the space sector……..

The site in Cumbria contains a number of other redundant facilities, some dating back to the 1950s and many of them heavily contaminated, which are currently being decommissioned………

Remote submarines have explored and begun cleaning up old storage ponds. Other remote machines are being used to take cameras deep inside decaying bunkers, filled with radioactive debris.

The job of developing machines like these is shared with a large network of specialist companies, many of them based in Cumbria itself. They form part of a growing decommissioning industry within the UK, as the country grapples with the legacy of its first era of nuclear power.

The NDA believes that these companies can use what they learn at Sellafield, and other plants, to attract further business from overseas……..https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46301596

November 29, 2018 Posted by | reprocessing, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s THORP nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield was a dud – never met its operational targets

International Panel on Fissile Materials 18th Nov 2018 Martin Forwood: The UK government announced on 14 November 2018 that the  THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield has started its planned shutdown. A
Sellafield Stakeholder committee was told that by 11 November 2018, THORP would have chopped up (sheared) its last batch of spent fuel, bringing to an end almost a quarter century of operation.

Based on the officially published ‘annual throughput’ figures (tons reprocessed per year) collated
by the environmental group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) since the plant opened in 1994, THORP has failed to meet its operational targets and schedules by a large margin. Just 5,045 tons were
reprocessed in the first 10 years of operation–the 7,000 tons only being completed on 4 December 4 2012–over nine years late. Not once during the Baseload period (1994-2003) was the nominal throughput rate of 1,000 tons
per year achieved. http://fissilematerials.org/blog/2018/11/sellafields_thorp_reproce.html

November 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, reprocessing, UK | Leave a comment

Closure of UK’s Sellafield Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant – a commercial failure

15th Nov 2018 On the morning after the Financial Times has called on the UK Government to reassess its long-term energy plans following the demise of Toshiba’sMoorside nuclear project, the Stop Hinkley Campaign has published a  briefing about lessons we can learn from the Sellafield Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant which is in the process of closing after only 24 years of operation and a very chequered performance.

The “Lessons for Hinkley from Sellafield” briefing says: The cost of building THORP increased from
£300m in 1977 to £1.8bn on completion in 1992. With the additional cost of associated facilities this figure rose to £2.8bn. Originally expected to reprocess 7,000 tonnes of spent fuel in its first ten years, it has managed only around 9,300 in 24 years.

The original rationale for THORP ended with the closure of the UK’s fast reactor programme in 1994. The new rationale – to produce plutonium fuel for ordinary reactors – was a disaster costing the taxpayer £2.2bn.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “The rationale for building the THORP plant at Sellafield had disappeared before it even opened. The lesson for 2018 is that we should scrap Hinkley C now before costs escalate. The cancellation costs are small relative to the £50billion extra we’ll have to pay for Hinkley’s electricity, if it ever generates any. If we wait any longer to scrap it,
we risk heading for another Sellafield-scale financial disaster.”  http://www.stophinkley.org/PressReleases/pr181115.pdf

November 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, reprocessing, UK | Leave a comment

Commercial nuclear reprocessing ends at Sellafield site 

BBC 14 November 2018   Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from around the world has ended at Sellafield.

The last batch of waste has gone through its Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp), which opened in 1994.

It has generated an estimated £9bn by extracting new nuclear fuel from 9,000 tonnes of used rods from 30 customers in countries as far afield as Japan.

Thorp will operate until the 2070s as a storehouse for spent fuel as the site around it in Cumbria is cleaned up.

Sellafield Ltd said there would be no redundancies as a result of the closure, with all employees in roles no longer required offered alternative jobs in the business.

The decision to wind it down was taken in 2012, as a result of the majority of its customers opting to store rather than reprocess their fuel…….https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-46206495

November 17, 2018 Posted by | reprocessing, UK | Leave a comment

Court action over planned shutdown of Savannah River Site’s MOX project.

WJBF 26th Sept 2018 , A Federal Appeals Court is set to discuss, Thursday, the future of Savannah
River Site’s MOX project. In a letter sent to a Texas congressman and
filed in court documents, the National Nuclear Security Agency says it
agrees with the decision made by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to stop the
project.
The State of South Carolina is suing the DOE saying its opinion on
the matter was never considered when Secretary Perry issued the directive
to end MOX earlier this year.
Meanwhile, President Trump signed a new bill
last week that would effectively cut MOX down from over $300-billion to
$220 billon…which is the exact amount of funds it would take to close the
incomplete project safely and in a timely manner.
https://www.wjbf.com/news/south-carolina-news/future-of-savannah-river-site-s-mox-facility-to-be-discussed-in-court/1477008484

September 29, 2018 Posted by | Legal, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear reprocessing has little future in Japan, as utilities end funding

Japanese utilities ended funding for nuclear fuel reprocessing in 2016, putting MOX program in doubt https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/09/03/national/japanese-utilities-ended-funding-nuclear-fuel-reprocessing-2016-putting-mox-plans-doubt/#.W48CsSQzbGg

4 Sept 18, Kyodo,, Utilities that operate nuclear power plants stopped funding the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in fiscal 2016, their financial reports showed Sunday, a step that may affect resource-scarce Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy.

The 10 utilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Japan Atomic Power Co., apparently halted allocating reserve funds for reprocessing costs due to the huge expenses linked to building the reprocessing facilities, sources said.

The government, along with the power companies, has been pushing for the reuse of mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel, which is created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel.

While Japan has not changed its policy on spent fuel reprocessing, the outlook for it has remained uncertain since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. At the same time, the government’s latest energy plan in July also stated for the first time that disposal of spent MOX fuel as waste can be considered.

If MOX fuel cannot be reprocessed, nuclear fuel can only be reused once. For the reprocessing of spent MOX fuel, the utilities had allocated about ¥230 billion in reserves as of March 2016.

Currently, only two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama power plant, one reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant and one reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai power plant use MOX fuel in so-called pluthermal power generation.

As Japan has decided to cut its stockpile of plutonium, the government and utilities aim to increase plants for pluthermal generation. But if spent MOX fuel is not reprocessed, it would be considered nuclear waste, raising concerns over how to deal with it.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. — in which power companies have invested — has been pursuing the construction of a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in northeastern Japan as well as a MOX fuel fabrication plant, with the costs coming to about ¥16 trillion.

But a series of problems has resulted in their delay. When operational, the Rokkasho plant in Aomori Prefecture, key to Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy, can reprocess up to 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel per year, extracting about 8 tons of plutonium.

With this setback, if new MOX reprocessing plants are to be built, it would be hard to secure further funding.

September 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Japan’s failed Monju reprocessing reactor- at last the shutdown begins

Final fuel-removal exercise starts for problem-plagued Monju reactor https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/08/19/national/final-fuel-removal-exercise-starts-problem-plagued-monju-reactor/#.W3ndHCQzbGg, AUG 19, 2018

The JAEA will launch actual fuel removal operations this month if it finds the work can be conducted safely. It was initially planned to begin late last month but was postponed after problems plagued the equipment test.

In the final exercise, control rods instead of real fuel assemblies will be removed from a container filled with sodium coolant by using the aforementioned equipment. The rods will be then packed in cans after the sodium is rinsed off and transported to a water-filled pool.

It has not been decided when the exercise will end, the agency said.

The decommissioning process for the glitch-riddled Monju is slated to take 30 years.

In the first phase, 530 assemblies in the reactor and a storage container outside the reactor will be moved to the water pool by December 2022. The JAEA has so far transferred only two fuel assemblies to the pool — one in 2008 and the other in 2009.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Questions: why does USA allow only Japan to reprocess plutonium?

Japan’s ‘plutonium exception’ under fire as nuclear pact extended https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-Relations/Japan-s-plutonium-exception-under-fire-as-nuclear-pact-extended  Beijing and Seoul question why US allows only Tokyo to reprocess, TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. — the pillar of Tokyo’s nuclear energy policy — renews automatically on Monday after the current pact, which took effect in 1988, expires.

The agreement allows Japan to be the sole non-nuclear-weapons state to use plutonium for peaceful purposes and underlies the country’s policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel.

But the renewal comes at a time when Japan’s “plutonium exception” is increasingly under scrutiny. Instead of negotiating a new pact that could last several decades, Washington and Tokyo chose an automatic extension of the current agreement.

The agreement signed three decades ago stated that after the 30-year period expired, the terms would remain in force but could be terminated by either side with a six months’ notice. Japan worries that without a new long-term agreement, the country enters an “extremely unstable situation,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono has said.

Japan’s neighbors have cried foul over Japan’s plutonium exception. China has said it creates a path for Japan to obtain nuclear weapons. South Korea, which also has a nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S., has pressed Washington hard to be granted similar freedom on fuel reprocessing.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia that are looking to develop their own nuclear programs have also protested.

Under President Barack Obama, Japan’s plutonium stockpiles — much of which is stored in the U.K. — drew uncomfortable attention in Washington. In March 2016, Thomas Countryman, the then-assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, told a Senate hearing that he “would be very happy to see all countries get out of the plutonium reprocessing business.”

President Donald Trump has shown less interest in preventing nuclear proliferation, but is committed to dismantling North Korea’s nuclear facilities and materials. Resolving the inconsistent treatment afforded Japan’s plutonium stockpile would make it easier to convince Pyongyang to give up reprocessing capabilities as part of its denuclearization, Countryman told Nikkei recently.

The Trump administration appears aware of these arguments. The National Security Council and State Department have requested that Japan reduce its stockpile and otherwise ensure its plutonium is used and managed appropriately. On July 3, Japan’s cabinet approved a new basic energy plan that includes reducing plutonium holdings, aiming to assuage American concerns.

But Japan’s mostly idled nuclear power industry makes working through the stockpile a challenge.At one point after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, all of the country’s reactors were offline. Nine have managed to restart under stricter safety standards adopted in the wake of the meltdowns, but only a few Japanese reactors can run on so-called mixed-oxide fuel containing plutonium.

Regulators have asked utilities such as Shikoku Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power that are working to restart nuclear reactors to look into consuming plutonium fuel held by other power companies. But this would require potentially difficult negotiations with local governments.

One other option is to pay overseas countries that store plutonium on Japan’s behalf to dispose of them, but that would involve discussion on the international level.

“The only viable option is to explain to the world the steady efforts we are making toward reduction,” said an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is responsible for Japan’s energy policy.

So far, the U.S. has not called on Japan to abandon its plutonium entirely, or to speed up its reduction. And there is little chance the U.S. will end the cooperation agreement, as “Japan’s nuclear technology is indispensable to the American nuclear industry,” according to a Japanese government source.

But Tokyo worries that the Trump administration may apply the same transactional approach it has to other foreign policy issues to the question of Japan’s plutonium.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear reprocessing must end – to stop accumulation of weapons-useful plutonium

Make US-Japanese nuclear cooperation stable again: End reprocessing, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Victor GilinskyHenry Sokolski, June 27, 2018 

In a little-noticed but remarkable statement last week, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono described a key pillar of the Japanese-American alliance—US-Japanese peaceful nuclear cooperation—as “unstable.” His pronouncement comes on the eve of the automatic renewal of the 1988 US-Japan peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement in July and days after US officials privately pressured Tokyo to reduce its vast plutonium holdings (some 45 tons —which translates to nearly 9,000 nuclear bombs’ worth).

The starting point in dealing with this massive plutonium stockpile: Keep it from growing. That means Tokyo needs to freeze plans to open its large Rokkasho reprocessing plant, which can separate eight more tons of plutonium a year.

The United States and Japan got to this awkward spot in the 1970s and ‘80s, when Tokyo insisted it needed plutonium to fuel a future generation of fast breeder reactors and sought permission to extract it from irradiated US-supplied uranium fuel. We had earlier allowed the Euratom countries to do this and so President Reagan, hesitating to distinguish among close allies, relented. As Under Secretary of State Richard T. Kennedy told the Senate in 1982 in explaining blanket approvals for Japan and Euratom, “The US will not inhibit or set back civil reprocessing and breeder reactor development abroad in nations with advanced nuclear programs where it does not constitute a proliferation risk … nations which regard the uses of plutonium as crucial to meeting their future nuclear energy needs.”

The 1988 understanding with Japan was the only US nuclear cooperation agreement with an individual country that granted blanket reprocessing approval for the duration of the agreement (which, with automatic extensions, effectively meant forever). The agreement approved reprocessing for Japan both in British and French reprocessing plants and in any that Japan itself might build. Meanwhile, Japan’s fast breeder development faltered (as did other such breeder programs around the world), and Japan installed no commercial reactors of this type. Because it has a large fleet of nuclear power plants that produce spent nuclear fuel containing plutonium and reprocessing arrangements at home and abroad, Japan has amassed an enormous plutonium stockpile.

The legal basis of this blanket approval was problematic from the start. The General Accounting Office (GAO) told Congress that the agreement was so permissive it violated the strict nonproliferation requirements in Section 131 of the US Atomic Energy Act. For this reason, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged the Reagan administration to renegotiate the agreement, but the administration overrode Congressional opposition.

In Section 131 b 2, the Atomic Energy Act requires that reprocessing of nuclear reactor fuel supplied by the United States, and extraction of plutonium, take place only with US permission and sets forth the standard for granting reprocessing approvals: The secretaries of Energy and State must find that the action “will not result in a significant increase of the risk of proliferation.” The “foremost consideration” in making that finding is whether the United States will have “timely warning,” that is, “well in advance of the time at which the non-nuclear weapon state could transform the diverted material into a nuclear explosive device.”………..

The official justification for allowing nuclear power systems based on plutonium—a fuel that is also a nuclear explosive—argued that they would be subject to IAEA inspections, which are intended to deter diversion of fissile material to military use by providing warning in time to thwart any such diversion. But the IAEA couldn’t do that in the case of separated plutonium, so something had to give. What buckled was the definition of timely warning, which was rationalized to be met if we had sufficient confidence that the recipient of our exports would not build nuclear weapons. Hence, Under Secretary of State Kennedy could speak in 1982 of countries like Japan where nuclear explosive materials do “not constitute a proliferation risk.”

The situation today, though, is radically different. The economic prospects of civilian nuclear power are now generally far less favorable than they were then; the rationale for plutonium-fueled breeder reactors, once widely believed to be the energy source of the future, has essentially evaporated.

There is no longer any reason to twist the plain meaning of the Atomic Energy Act’s requirement for timely warning. It effectively rules out approvals for plutonium separation, and therefore for reprocessing. Whereas one could have once plausibly argued that this would impose a severe cost on Japan, the situation is now completely reversed: If Japan shut down its Rokkasho reprocessing plant, it would now be freed from an outdated policy and would save a great deal of money.

The Rokkasho decision is of course up to Japan. But the United States should make clear where it stands, which it has not yet done. Such a step should be part of an overall US approach to end plutonium separation throughout the world, for which current nuclear power programs have no need. Nonproliferation and economics point in the same direction: no reprocessing provisions in future 123 agreements and urging other countries that sell nuclear material and technology to include such provisions in their agreements. The recent Korean summits emphasizing denuclearization and Secretary Pompeo’s recent stand against reprocessing in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are steps in the right direction. They underline the importance of Japan ending its reprocessing. https://thebulletin.org/2018/06/make-us-japanese-nuclear-cooperation-stable-again-end-reprocessing/

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Why Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project – The Asahi Shimbun

EDITORIAL: Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201806180025.html, June 18, 2018

France has decided to sharply scale down its ASTRID fast-reactor project, which is supported by Japan.

France’s decision underscores afresh the dismal outlook of Japan’s plan to continue the development of fast-reactor technology by relying on an overseas project.

Now that it has become unclear whether participation in the ASTRID project will pay off in future benefits that justify the huge investment required, Japan should pull out of the French undertaking.

Fast reactors are a special type of nuclear reactors that burn plutonium as fuel. The ASTRID is a demonstration reactor, the stage in reactor technology development just before practical use.

The French government has said the Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration, if it comes on stream, will generate 100 to 200 megawatts of electricity instead of 600 megawatts as originally planned. Paris will decide in 2024 whether the reactor will actually be built.

Japan has been seeking to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system, in which spent nuclear fuel from reactors will be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which will then be burned mainly in fast reactors.

When the Japanese government in 2016 pulled the plug on the troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, which was at the technology stage prior to that of a demonstration reactor, it decided to make the joint development of the ASTRID the centerpiece of its plan to continue the nuclear fuel recycling program.

The government will provide some 5 billion yen ($45.2 million) annually for the French project through the next fiscal year, which starts in April, and decide, by the end of this year, whether and how it will be involved in the project after that.

Because of significant differences in the roles of prototype and demonstration reactors, a simple comparison between the Monju and the ASTRID can be misleading.

But it is clearly doubtful whether the ASTRID, which will be smaller than the Monju, will offer sufficient benefits for Japan’s fuel recycling program.

If it fully commits itself to the joint development of the ASTRID in response to France’s request, Japan will have to shoulder half the construction cost, estimated to be hundreds of billions to 1 trillion yen, and assign many engineers to the project. But these resources could end up being wasted.

Over the years, the government spent more than 1.1 trillion yen of taxpayer money on the Monju, designed to be a small-scale example of the potential of the fast-breeder reactor technology. But the prototype reactor remained out of operation for most of the two decades after it became operational. It actually accomplished only a small fraction of what it was designed to achieve.

The government should make an early decision to end its involvement in the ASTRID to avoid repeating the mistake it made with the Monju project, which was kept alive at massive cost for far too long as the decision to terminate it was delayed for years without good reason.

The government has only itself to blame for the current situation. Despite deciding to decommission the Monju, it stuck to the old fuel cycle policy without conducting an effective postmortem on the Monju debacle. Instead, the government too readily embraced the ASTRID project as a stopgap to keep its fast-reactor dream alive.

The government needs to rigorously assess whether it is wise to continue developing fast-reactor technology.

Producing electricity with a fast reactor is costlier than power generation with a conventional reactor that uses uranium as fuel. The United States, Britain and Germany phased out their own fast-reactor projects long ago.

France has continued developing the technology, but feels no urgent need to achieve the goal. The country predicts that the technology will be put to practical use around 2080 if it ever is.

Even if Japan wants to continue developing fast-reactor technology, it would be extremely difficult to build a demonstration reactor for the project within the country given that even finding a site to build an ordinary reactor is now virtually impossible.

The government would be utterly irresponsible if it aimlessly keeps pouring huge amounts of money into the project when there is no realistic possibility of the technology reaching the stage of practical application.

If it abandons the plan to develop fast-reactor technology, the government will have to rethink the entire nuclear fuel recycling program.

Any such fundamental change of the nuclear power policy would have serious implications. But there is no justification for postponing the decision any further.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Why does Japan persist with dangerous, unnecessary nuclear Rokkasho reprocessing? Is it to enable nuclear weapons?

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Japan approves 70-year plan to scrap nuclear reprocessing plant

 https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180613/p2g/00m/0dm/072000c

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

MOX nuclear fuel project in deep trouble, but judge rules against suspending its construction

Judge’s ruling keeps over-budget nuclear project from being shut down, BY SAMMY FRETWELL sfretwell@thestate.com  June 07, 2018

A judge on Thursday stopped the federal government from suspending construction of a nuclear fuel factory at the Savannah River Site atomic weapons complex near Aiken.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs damages federal efforts to walk away from the over-budget and behind-schedule mixed oxide fuel project, which has been on the drawing boards for more than two decades and is currently under construction. The mixed oxide fuel plant would turn excess weapons grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

The U.S. Department of Energy has been trying in recent years to suspend the project, saying it is expensive and no longer necessary to dispose of the plutonium. The latest federal plan is to ship excess plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear bombs, to a New Mexico site for disposal.

Childs’ order temporarily halts the federal shutdown process until arguments can be heard in court over whether to keep the effort going. ……..

Savannah River Site Watch’s Tom Clements, an opponent of the MOX project, said he was disappointed in the judge’s ruling Thursday. Clements says the project isn’t necessary.
“The judge doesn’t understand what deep trouble the project is in,’’ he said, noting that building the MOX project doesn’t necessarily mean South Carolina will get rid of all surplus plutonium at SRS.

The project is about $12 billion over budget and years behind schedule, but employs hundreds of people who would be out of work if the project shuts down, boosters say. It has been touted as a way to provide new missions for SRS.

Federal officials say they won’t forget SRS in shutting down the MOX plant. They have proposed converting it to a factory to make plutonium pits for nuclear weapons. http://www.thestate.com/latest-news/article212778069.html

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Legal, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment