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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.

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

USA Navy ‘s history of dumping nuclear wastes in the sea

When the Navy sank nuclear waste with machine guns,  https://www.wearethemighty.com/history/navy-nuclear-waste-dumping?r 

In the 1950s, nuclear reactors and weapons were all the rage. Bombs were getting bigger, people were hosting nuclear parties, and reactors were enabling the Navy to launch submarines and ships that could go years without refueling.

But all that nuclear activity had a dark consequence — and no, we’re not talking about the fun Super Mutants of Fallout.   As most everyone knows, using radioactive materials to generate power also creates waste. Triggering the nuclear process in a material (which is what you need to do to create said power) is basically irreversible. Once activated, nuclear material is dangerous for thousands of years.

The Navy was still in the process of learning that fact in the 1950s as they tried to decide what to do with a newfound problem: dealing with nuclear waste.

Their initial solution, unsurprisingly, was similar to how they dealt with chemical waste and other debris at the time. They dumped it — usually in 6,000 to 12,000 feet of water.

At this point, Godzilla is your best-case scenario.

Sailors like George Albernaz, assigned to the USS Calhoun County in the ’50s, were left to decide how they’d go about their job dumping the materials, typically low-level nuclear waste.

They would take about 300 barrels per trip out into the ocean from docks on the Atlantic Coast and roll them to the edge of the ship. When the ship tipped just right on the waves, they would push the barrels over.

Most of them, filled with dense metals, salts, and tools encased in concrete inside the barrel, would sink right away. Barrels that bobbed back up were shot with a rifle by a man standing on the end of the ship, which usually sent it directly to the bottom of the sea.

But the rifle fire wasn’t always enough.

In July 1957, two barrels bobbed back up during a dumping mission and simply would not sink. So, the Navy sent two aircraft to fire on them with machine guns until they finally sank to Poseidon’s depths.

While shooting radioactive barrels actually sounds sort-of fun, the sailors involved said that the Navy failed to properly inform them of the dangers of working with radiation, took shortcuts on safety and detection procedures, and failed to provide necessary safety gear.

That left men like Albernaz susceptible to a number of diseases and conditions associated with radiation, including cancer and other lifelong ailments.

1992 article in the New York Times detailed other shortcomings of the Navy’s programs, including instances where dumps occurred mere miles from major ports, like Boston, in only a few hundred feet of water, increasing the chances that radioactive particles could make their way into civilian population centers.

These days, Navy nuclear waste is taken to be stored on land, but the U.S. still lacks permanent storage for high-level nuclear waste. Instead, nearly all high-level nuclear waste in the U.S. is stored in temporary storage, often on the grounds of nuclear power generation facilities.

It’s not ideal, and a number of potential permanent sites have been proposed and debated, but at least barrels probably won’t come bobbing back up.

If they do, well, even the F-35 could probably sink them.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Remediation of low-level radioactive waste begins in Port Hope

 Global News 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Secrecy about proposed interim nuclear waste storage site

Lawmaker says he can’t get info on waste plan https://www.abqjournal.com/1195897/legislator-citizens-deserve-to-have-answers-about-nuclear-facility.html, By Maddy Hayden / Journal Staff Writer July 12th Albuquerque Journal

A legislator says he isn’t getting any answers out of the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez to questions about a proposed interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Radioactive and Hazardous Materials, sent nearly 60 questions to the heads of several state departments in April.

Only one responded.

“It raises the obvious conclusion that this governor and her administration have done no analysis on this project,” Steinborn said. “The citizens of the state deserve to have answers on our state’s ability to handle this facility.”

The senator wrote in a July 9 letter to the governor that the New Mexico Environment Department did respond to his questions “but without providing substantive information on the issues raised.”

The Environment Department provided that letter to the Journal.

In it, department Secretary Butch Tongate said NMED would review the Environmental Impact Statement in progress at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “and provide comments to the NRC as necessary.”

“The Senator’s questions should be directed to the NRC – the agency overseeing the process,” NMED spokeswoman Katy Diffendorfer said in an email.

Diffendorfer also said it is still unclear what role the NMED would play in the permitting and oversight of the proposed facility.

Questions were also directed to the Department of Transportation, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department and Department of Military Affairs, which did not respond to Steinborn’s inquiries at all, he said.

Steinborn asked for details about transporting the waste through the state, safety protocol should a leak or other event occur and how the state’s oil and gas industry could be affected by the project, and other issues.

Martinez has expressed support for the project.

The facility, proposed by Holtec International, would house spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants around the country.

The NRC is considering the facility’s license, a process that could take years.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan-US nuclear energy pact set to renew automatically in July 2018

 https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180116/p2a/00m/0na/005000c  (Mainichi Japan) 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Britain should clean up its fleet of decaying cold war nuclear-powered submarines

 New Statesman 4th July 2018 ,Since the 1960s, the Navy has put 30 nuclear-powered submarines into
action, and 20 of these have since been retired, yet none of these 20 have
been dismantled.

HMS Dreadnought, Britain’s first ever nuclear submarine,
has been de-fuelled but is still waiting for scrapping – despite being
taken out of service in 1980. It is one of the 11 submarines retired beforethe turn of the century that are still inexplicably moored in British
ports. Given

Theresa May’s recently announced £600m boost to submarine
funding, one can’t help looking at the 20 decaying subs and wondering if
potential savings are being missed. Between 2010-16 alone, £16m was spent
on upkeep costs for subs that will never sail again. In a time when
efficiency is the watchword for the MOD, perhaps we should begin by dealing
with our fleet of Cold War relics.
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/07/nuclear-submarines-britain-quietly-forgot-about-cost-16m

July 7, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Botched nuclear clean-up forces UK govt to take it back into public hands

UK nuclear cleanup contract back in public hands after £122m bill
Botched tender was for the disposal of materials at 12 UK sites including Dungeness,  https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/02/uk-nuclear-cleanup-contract-back-in-public-hands-after-122m-bill  Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 2 July 18.

The UK government has been forced to take a multibillion-pound nuclear cleanup contract back into public ownership, after a botched tender to the private sector landed the taxpayer with a £122m bill.

The government will take over the decommissioning of Britain’s 12 Magnox sites, including the former nuclear power stations at Dungeness in Kent and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The move is a response to the fallout from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) awarding a 14-year deal to the international consortium Cavendish Fluor Partnership in 2014.

Last year the government settled with two US companies that lost out on the £6.2bn contract and brought a legal challenge over the tender process.

Ministers terminated the contract early, leading to speculation over whether it would be put out to tender again to the private sector or brought back into public hands.

David Peattie, the NDA’s chief executive, told staff he understood they had faced uncertainty in recent months, as he confirmed that the private company Magnox Ltd would become a subsidiary of the NDA on 1 September. He said the change would result in “more efficient decommissioning”.

A source close to the process said: “The reason that this has been done is to remove some of the commercial complications and the large fees paid to contractors. This will ensure more money is spent directly on cleaning up these sites.”

Unions said they wanted talks with the new management regime for assurances over pay and terms.

Peter McIntosh, the Unite union’s acting national officer for energy, said: “This decision is long overdue. The 2014 contract should not have been awarded to any organisation.”

He added: “We need to ensure the taxpayer gets value for money through the transfer of the business and it is not paid for at the expense of the workforce.”

Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), has strongly criticised the NDA and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy over the handling and oversight of the nuclear cleanup contract, one of the government’s biggest ever.

A review of the failings that led to the bungled process, written by the former National Grid boss Steve Holliday, is due to be published later this year.

Bringing the Magnox work back into the public sector means that about 85% of Britain’s nuclear cleanup work is in public hands, after the NDA’s takeover of the Sellafield storage and reprocessing site in 2016.

The PAC last week announced an inquiry into the NDA’s work at Sellafield, which is forecast to be £913m over budget and faces potential delays.

Magnox Ltd looks after 10 former Magnox power stations and two nuclear research sites.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan nuclear agency urges measures to cut plutonium stocks

 http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/sns-bc-as–japan-nuclear-20180705-story.html MARI YAMAGUCHIAssociated Press

The annual “nuclear white paper” approved by the Atomic Energy Commission is an apparent response to intensifying pressure from Washington as it pursues denuclearization in North Korea. It says Japan’s fuel recycling program should continue, but minimize the amount of plutonium extracted from spent fuel for reuse in power generation to eventually reduce the stockpile.

Japan has pledged to not possess plutonium that does not have a planned use, but the promise increasingly sounds empty because of the slow restarts of Japanese power-generating reactors that can burn plutonium amid setbacks from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Though Japanese officials deny any possible misuse of the material and reprocessing technology, the large stockpile of plutonium that can make atomic bombs also raises security concerns as the U.S. wants North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

Commission chairman Yoshiaki Oka said the effort to tackle the stockpile is Japan’s own initiative underscoring its commitment to a peaceful nuclear program, and not because of the U.S. Oka said he was not aware of any outstanding problem between the two countries over the plutonium issue, but that Japan is taking into consideration the importance of maintaining “relationship of trust with the U.S.”

The commission is compiling guidelines to better manage and reduce the plutonium stockpile. Measures would include some government oversight in setting a cap on plutonium reprocessing and a study into how to steadily reduce the plutonium processed abroad.

Oka declined to cite a numerical target, but he said reducing the stockpile is a “must.”

Japan has nearly 47 tons of plutonium — 10 tons at home and the rest in France and Britain, where spent fuel from Japanese nuclear plants has been reprocessed because Japan is not able to reprocess it into plutonium-based MOX fuel at home.

The amount is enough to make 6,000 atomic bombs, but at Japan’s Rokkasho reprocessing plant denies any risk of proliferation, citing its safeguards and close monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency .

After years of delay due to technical issues, the Rokkasho plant is in the final stages of safety approvals by the regulators ahead of its planned launch in 2021. Critics, however, say that starting up the plant only adds to the stockpile.

The plant at full capacity can annually produce 8 tons of plutonium, and burning that would require 16-18 reactors — a long shot given the slow pace of restarts and public resistance. Japanese utility operators are also opting to decommission aged reactors rather than making costly safety upgrades to meet the post-Fukushima standards.

Only four reactors have restarted since the Fukushima crisis, using stricter safety requirements and despite resistance of neighbors.

Another setback for Japan’s plutonium balance is a failure of Monju, a plutonium-burning reactor built as the centerpiece of Japan’s fuel recycling program. Monju had been suspended after a major accident in 1995 and is now being scrapped.

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Find her work at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi

July 6, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

Danger of corrosion in Hanford’s nuclear waste tanks

an inspection in 2017, after most of the waste was retrieved from the tank, found widespread pitting on the bottom of the inner shell, allowing waste to seep through. The finding pointed to a corrosion problem.

Experts don’t know enough about the issue yet to tell if the thinning is recent or definitely say what caused it.

More Hanford nuclear waste tanks at risk of leaking https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article214069424.html, BY ANNETTE CARY, 1 July 18  acary@tricityherald.com 

July 2, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Holtec’s plan for interim nuclear waste storage park has fatal flaws

Fatal flaws in Holtec’s plan http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/fatal-flaws-in-holtec-s-plan/article_5cb7d5e5-e621-5e3f-b064-73b25ced1fb4.html, By John Buchser, 1 July 18 

Holtec International has proposed placing used fuel rods from all U.S. nuclear reactors in a shallow burial site near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Recently, The New Mexican reprinted a Carlsbad Current-Argusarticle featuring the point of view of Holtec executives, who painted too rosy a view of the safety issues this proposed facility could present.

There is pressure from the public to move used fuel rods away from their current locations — the reactor sites — especially when reactors have been shut down. The risks of storage in casks are low, the risks of transport are higher; in either case, the failure of a single cask, whether through natural degradation processes or terrorism, could release more radiation than did the accidents at Chernobyl or Fukushima.

After removal from a reactor, the fuel rods are placed in pools of water, which allow this high-level waste to cool. After several years of cooling, they are placed into casks. Radioactivity given off by these fuel rods remains dangerous to all life for at least 10,000 years. They are much more radioactive than the waste at WIPP.

The canister design approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Holtec proposes is a thin-walled design, with an interior five-eighth-inch stainless-steel cask holding fuel rods. That is placed into another stainless-steel cask, with lead and boron in between to abate radiation. Two vent holes in the exterior cask allow cooling air to flow. Casks need to cool to 400 degrees Celsius to allow safe transport.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates very low risk of cask failure for at least 20 years. However, it will take 20-30 years for the casks to cool enough for transport. Given that cask cracking has been observed after 10 years, ultimate failure seems likely.

The long-term solution is likely to be underground burial at a well-researched location. It is unlikely that this high-level waste will be cool enough for a long-term underground repository until about 60 years after it is removed from the reactor.

The proposed Holtec interim storage facility has numerous fatal procedural and structural flaws. Alkaline soils there are corrosive. Fencing the site will not protect the area from armor-piercing artillery launched by terrorists from either of the two roads surrounding the site. There will be no continuous monitoring program to detect leaks. There is no plan on how to deal with leaking canisters. The data on radiation exposure to workers is proprietary. Transport vibration could cause cracking of the fuel rods, after which they cannot be safely transported at all. The best transport is via rail at low speeds, but the railroads have not been contracted. The transportation casks have not been tested to failure: What about a head-on collision of two trains, or trains falling off of a bridge?

The storage plan should be an integrated one, which industry experts admit is not the current approach. The movement of casks should be minimized. Unless a permanent repository is developed, the proposed interim site could become permanent. WIPP was studied as a transuranic radioactive waste site, not a high-level waste site, and no high-level waste repository exists.

It is no wonder that pecan farmers, dairy farmers and the oil, gas and tourism industries are worried. One accident could shut down the entire region. After 10,000 canisters have been sent to southeast New Mexico, at least one serious accident is likely to occur, based on Department of Energy analysis performed by Sandia engineers regarding shipping high-level waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Your grandkids might never get to visit Carlsbad Caverns. Are the 50-100 jobs that Holtec would bring worth the risk of 10 centuries of contamination?

The deadline for comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is July 30. Submit comments to: Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov

For further information, go to riograndesierraclub.org/holtec.   John Buchser of Santa Fe is the immediate past chairman of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. He is interested in seeking solutions to sustainable use of our water in New Mexico and West Texas.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Plan to save nuclear reservoir at Winfirth from “collapse”

Dorset Echo, Richard Percival, 1 July 18 

A NEW scheme has been launched to prevent a concrete reservoir at a nuclear site with the capacity to hold a million gallons of water from collapse.

Blacknoll Hill underground reservoir is set to be decommissioned under new proposals which have been submitted to Purbeck District Council by Magnox.

The project is one of the biggest steps as part of the ongoing decommissioning of the former Winfrith nuclear power station by Magnox Ltd, who currently manages the western half of the former power station site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

The Blacknoll reservoir consists of a 126ft by 96ft reinforced concrete tank sunk approximately 17ft below the surface near to the top of Blacknoll Hill with the roof of the reservoir being supported by 28 steel reinforced columns and an internal wall running along its length.

Its purpose when it was built in 1960 was as a source of softened water supply for site operations and as a source of water in the event emergency cooling was required at one of the reactor plants throughout Winfrith operations.

In a planning document by Hayrock on behalf of Magnox, said: “Structurally, the reservoir is in good condition; however, deterioration could lead to the eventual collapse of the structure if it was abandoned.”

The decommissioning will consist of a number of steps with each completed before the next step commences………http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/16323812.plan-save-nuclear-reservoir-at-winfirth-from-collapse/

July 2, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Costs of UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: call for submissions by July 10

Public Accounts Committee 29th June 2018 , A new report by the National Audit Office into the NDA found that work at
Sellafield accounted for 61% of the NDA’s total £3.3 billion expenditure
in 2017–18. 8 of NDA’s 10 most hazardous sites are at Sellafield,
whilst NAO expected current major projects at Sellafield will cost £6
billion total.

The NAO found that the NDA had made significant progress in
reducing delays and meeting significant milestones, but expects major NDA
projects to cost more than originally estimated in 2015.

Evaluating performance at Sellafield remained difficult due to the complexity and
scale of the site, but more could be done to explain progress, and to
provide assurance of major projects. The Committee will take evidence from
the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority, and Sellafield to explore NDA and Sellafield’s
progress and performance. If you wish to submit written evidence to this
inquiry, the deadline to do so is midday on Tuesday 10 July.
https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/nuclear-decommissioning-authority-17-19/

July 2, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

A glut of plutonium pits. Oh great! USA can make more nuclear weapons

DOE considering new locations, weapons uses for some SRS plutonium https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/doe-considering-new-locations-weapons-uses-for-some-srs-plutonium/article_8707c68c-7aeb-11e8-be43-ff26df8805d9.html By Colin Demarest cdemarest@aikenstandard.com

Jun 29, 2018

      ,In order to remove 1 metric ton of defense plutonium from South Carolina within two years, as a federal court has required, the U.S. Department of Energy is considering the plutonium’s nuclear weapon uses.

According to a June 13 progress report, the DOE and its National Nuclear Security Administration are re-examining the possibility of repurposing some Savannah River Site plutonium for “future defense programs.”

“Approximately 1 metric ton was identified for possible use by the weapons production program,” the report reads. “The amount of candidate programmatic material at SRS is limited; most of the surplus material is not suitable for weapons program use.”

  • The DOE’s prospective plan would shift the plutonium from SRS to another site, either for interim storage or plutonium pit production.

    Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores, often referred to as triggers.

    Potential out-of-state relocation sites for the 1 metric ton of plutonium have been identified, according to the DOE.

    The June report did not specify where. Site studies concluded in April.

    Environmental impact assessments for moving the plutonium, required by the National Environmental Policy Act, are already underway and could be completed by the end of 2018, the report notes.

    In 2017, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the DOE to remove 1 metric ton of plutonium from the state within two years, the result of a lawsuit launched by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. At the time, Wilson celebrated the ruling as a major win.

    The DOE has stated disposing 1 ton of plutonium via downblending, also known as dilute-and-dispose, would take until fiscal year 2025 to complete at current funding and operation levels. A court-received declaration made by Henry Allen Gunter, then a plutonium program manager and technical adviser at SRS, reinforced the DOE’s claim.

    More funding and more trained personnel, according to the June report, would speed things up.

  • But planning related to dilute-and-dispose – mixing plutonium with inert material for burial at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico – ceased in June due to another court order that protected the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility.
  • The defense- and weapons-use option, according to the DOE’s report, vastly undercuts the 2025 estimate: “Indeed, the department believes that it is possible that, if successful, this option might allow the department to meet the current two-year timeline imposed by the district court,” the report reads.

    According to the DOE, the plutonium is “safe and secure in its present location.” Moving it costs money and poses radiological, safety and security concerns, all of which are listed at the end of the report.

    Eventually, the plutonium would have to be moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory or back to SRS for pit production.

    On May 10, the DOE and the U.S. Department of Defense recommended a pit production mission for SRS, which muddies the waters a bit. Those plans have not yet been finalized.

    Los Alamos currently does not have enough room for the 1 metric ton, the DOE report states. Holding it at an interim location incurs additional costs.

    More information and detail, including timing, will be made available in December, the June report states.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Finland’s nuclear waste dump will still be in the trial stage for years

Nucnet 25th June 2018, A full-scale in-situ system test for spent nuclear fuel disposal is
expected to begin this week at Posiva’s planned final deep geologic
disposal facility at Olkiluoto, Finland. Posiva’s owner Teollisuuden
Voima Oyj (TVO) said the test will be the first of its kind and means that
Posiva is making progress towards the operational test phase of its final
disposal system and technology.

According to TVO, the test will last for
several years. It aims to prove that the prototype processes for geological
storage at Posiva’s repository are “all working concepts”. The test
has been in preparation since December 2017, TVO said. The processes
include placing fuel assemblies packed in copper-steel canisters inside
holes drilled in the bedrock tunnels. This is followed by backfilling the
tunnels with bentonite clay and sealing them with a cast plug. Two test
canisters will be equipped with thermal resistors simulating the residual
temperature of spent nuclear fuel, TVO said. A TVO official said the
temperature and pressure in the canisters, test holes and the surrounding
bedrock, and the behaviour of the backfill of the tunnels, will be
monitored by some 500 sensors over several years.
https://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2018/06/25/finland-s-posiva-to-begin-world-s-first-in-situ-system-test-at-final-repository-site

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Finland, wastes | Leave a comment

EDF aims to be the key corporation in nuclear station decommissioning

EDF and VEOLIA Conclude a Partnership Agreement on Nuclear Plant Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Processing, Business Wire June 26, 2018 

“We are proud to have signed this agreement with VEOLIA, which underscores EDF’s determination to become a key player in decommissioning and radioactive waste management. This partnership is also tangible evidence of EDF and VEOLIA’s desire to pool their know-how in the interest of developing successful industrial sectors.”
On 26 June 2018, EDF and VEOLIA (Paris:VIE) entered a partnership agreement to co-develop remote control solutions for dismantling gas-cooled reactors (natural uranium graphite gas or UNGG in French) and for vitrifying radioactive waste, in France and worldwide.

EDF is currently decommissioning 6 gas-cooled reactors reactors at Bugey (Ain department in France), Chinon (Indre-et-Loire department) and Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux (Loir-et-Cher). Key milestones have already been secured on all these complex projects, and EDF confirms its objective to dismantle these nuclear facilities in the shortest timeframe possible. Veolia will thus provide EDF with its experience in remote handling technologies (robotics) with a view to designing and delivering innovative solutions to access the cores of gas-cooled reactors and to cut up and extract components under optimum safety and security conditions……..https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180626005932/en/EDF-VEOLIA-Conclude-Partnership-Agreement-Nuclear-Plant

June 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, France | Leave a comment