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Russia now offering to help Norway to deal with the inappropriate storage of radioactive waste.

Barents Observer 9th ~Nov 2018 , On Thursday, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a surprise move said
it was ready to assist Norway in dealing with the inappropriate storage of  radioactive waste. Norway’s nuclear and radiation watchdog, the NRPA, now tells the Barents Observer that a cooperation with Russia is possible, but no formal inquiry has yet come from Moscow to the radiation authority in Norway.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2018/11/norway-keeps-door-open-russian-assistance-secure-spent-nuclear-fuel-research
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November 12, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Cumbria Trust questions the independence of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)

Cumbria Trust 11th Nov 2018 , The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which advises BEIS on dealing with nuclear waste, has recently published a paper which Cumbria
Trust believes calls into question their independence. They are supposed to
act as an independent body, but some of their recent actions suggest to us
that they are too close to BEIS and failing to adequately perform their
advisory function and to challenge poor decision-making. A government
department which surrounds itself, and only listens to people who agree
with it, is at significant risk of repeating past mistakes. Cumbria Trust
have written the letter (below) to CoRWM expressing our concerns.
https://cumbriatrust.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/has-corwm-lost-its-independence/

November 12, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Holtec nuclear waste dry storage system (Hi-STORM UMAX) is a lemon and must be recalled

San Onofre: Defective Holtec Nuclear Waste Storage System Must Be Recalled.  SanOnofreSafety  November 8, 2018 by Donna Gilmore     (Holtec Board Member Norcross is a member of Trump’s Mar a Lago club.)
The Holtec nuclear waste dry storage system (Hi-STORM UMAX) is a lemon and is putting California’s safety, economy and security at great risk. It must be recalled. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Southern California Edison, California Coastal Commission (CCC), and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) must reject this system on both safety and financial grounds.  They cannot make lemonade out of this lemon. 
Congress must stop focusing on where to transport this unsafely stored nuclear waste and mandate the NRC do their job of protecting our safety.  Pending federal legislation  removes current storage and transport nuclear waste safety requirements, encouraging systems like this to be built, such as a similar one proposed by Holtec in New Mexico (pending state approval and removal of state and federal environmental and other rights).
 
Since Holtec started loading the San Onofre highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel waste into Holtec thin-wall canisters (only 5/8″ thick), there have been numerous Holtec engineering failures that have not and likely cannot be fixed.  Each thin-wall stainless steel canister holds roughly a Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The NRC doesn’t even require pressure monitoring or pressure relief valves in these pressure vessels. 

The NRC is investigating numerous Holtec failures at San Onofre, but has yet to issue a final investigation of these engineering failures.  If it wasn’t for whistleblowers, we would not know about any of these serious safety problems that are still unresolved — and likely cannot be solved with this defective Holtec system.

Instead of requiring Holtec take their defective system back, as they likely can do under their limited manufacturing defect warranty, Edison plans to continue loading canisters in order to destroy the spent fuel pools as soon as possible.  The pools cost them millions in overhead costs every year.

Edison also wants to access the over $4 billion in ratepayer Decommission Trust Funds in order to destroy the pools and the rest of the reactor facility (except for the dry storage systems), yet have no other method to replace failing canisters.
Decommission Trust Funds would be better spent replacing the defective thin-wall canister systems with proven thick-wall cask technology used throughout the world. Thick-wall cask systems are 10″ to 19.75″ thick and can be inspected, maintained, repaired and monitored to prevent radioactive leaks and hydrogen gas explosions. They meet Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) December 2017 recommendations to the United States Congress and the Secretary of Energy, regarding Management and Disposal Of US Department Of Energy Spent Nuclear Fuel, Executive Summary, page 7 – 9. They also meet Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 safety requirements.

Instead, Holtec and Edison are advocating for H.R. 3053 (pending in the US Senate) and other bills that would remove critical safety requirements for both storage and transport and remove a number of federal and state rights, including transparency, input and oversight. The House already approved this bill, under the misguided assumption they can trust the NRC to protect our safety. The bill would allow the DOE to take title to the waste at the current San Onofre site, eliminating Edison’s liability and responsibility for this mess they created.  All funding for waste management is currently mandatory.  This unfunded bill makes funding discretionary with Congress.

Edison plans to load a total of 73 Holtec canisters at the beach on Camp Pendleton.  There are 29 Holtec canisters already loaded with nuclear waste that are likely already cracking from the defective loading system. The NRC states once a crack starts in stainless steel it can grow through the wall in 16 years.  In hotter canisters, cracks can grow faster.  The NRC assumption that cracking will not start for at least 30 years ignores these canisters may already be cracked from the Holtec loading system (pit corrosion cracking by mechanical means) and the EPRI evaluation of a two-year old Diablo Canyon canister that showed it had a low enough temperature for corrosive salt to dissolve on the canister, one of the triggers for crack initiation.  The NRC is planning to “investigate” this issue, eventually.
 
HOLTEC FAILURE #1: Canister #29 almost dropped 18 feet due to a defective loading system design …….
 
HOLTEC FAILURE #2: Canister #30 was in the queue for moving to a storage hole, but is now stuck in limbo in a transfer cask in the Unit 3 fuel handling facility  …….
 
HOLTEC FAILURE #3: Holtec loaded fuel in four canisters with defective basket shims. ……
 
HOLTEC FAILURE #4: Holtec loading system caused damage in canisters walls — 29 canisters loaded so far.  
  …..Recommendations

The Holtec dry storage system is a lemon and must be recalled.  Edison finally admitted their replacement steam generators were lemons, but waited until after they leaked radiation into Southern California.  They need to declare this Holtec system a lemon before these containers leak and explode in Southern California. 

  • The NRC should revoke the license of this and other Holtec nuclear waste storage and transport systems.  Holtec has repeatedly demonstrated they are not a qualified vendor.  More Holtec Nuclear Waste issues here.
  • Edison should stop loading canisters with fuel and return this system to Holtec. They should issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that meet NWTRB and NWPA safety requirements for both storage and transport. The RFP should include a system for replacing all existing thin-wall canisters at San Onofre with thick-wall transportable casks.  This must be done before these canisters start leaking and exploding.
  • The Governor should declare a state of emergency. The State of California should revoke San Onofre state permits until this is done. They should create a multi-agency committee to address these issues and facilitate the development of an expedited solution to this critical problem before Holtec and Edison destroy our economy, security, safety and future.
  • The CPUC should stop funding this Holtec lemon and any further activities at San Onofre until this is done.

Congress and the President should mandate the NRC enforce safety standards as outlined above and force the NRC to stop misleading them about the safety of the systems they approve.  Transporting these thin-wall cracking canisters to another location will no more solve our nuclear waste problems than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would stop it from sinking. https://sanonofresafety.org/2018/11/08/san-onofre-defective-holtec-nuclear-waste-storage-system-must-be-recalled/

November 10, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

For USA the cost of not funding a nuclear waste solution is becoming greater than the cost of funding it.

Failure to Fund National Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository Leaves Decommissioning Funds Partially Unsupervised https://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/failure-to-fund-national-spent-nuclear-fuel-repository-leaves-decommissioning-funds-partiall/1787983,     Gina G. Scala, ggscala@thesandpaper.net Nov 07, 2018

Nearly four decades ago, the federal government charged the Department of Energy with finding a long-term solution for housing spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants as well as U.S. Navy reactors. In 2002, Yucca Mountain in Nevada was selected as the repository site. In 2010, the DOE unceremoniously rejected its own plans for a federal repository.

As a result, the only option for U.S. nuclear power plants is to store spent fuel from the reactor vessels onsite. That includes decommissioned or decommissioning power plants, like the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. Just last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved an exemption request from Exelon Generation, which owns the Lacey Township-based nuclear plant, to withdrawal monies from the plant’s decommissioning trust fund for spent fuel management and site restorations costs without first obtaining NRC approval.

“We approved these changes after reviewing the fund and projected cash flow,” said Neil Sheehan, public information officer for the NRC’s Region 1 office, noting the federal agency has approved similar requests before.

Oyster Creek, once the nation’s oldest operating commercial nuclear power plant, was taken permanently offline in September. It was licensed to operate until April 2029, but under an agreement with the state of New Jersey to forgo building cooling towers, company officials agreed to close the plant by Dec. 31, 2019. Earlier this year, citing financial costs and better opportunities for employees, the decision was made to shut down plant operations in September.

In July, Exelon Generation announced it had reached a deal with Holtec International, a New Jersey-based energy technology company, to purchase the plant and take over its decommissioning duties.

“An important note is that this exemption was based on Exelon’s earlier plan to place the plant into SAFSTOR, or long-term storage, before dismantlement work begins,” Sheehan said. “Holtec will need to submit an exemption request for the same uses of the fund based on its proposed DECON, or immediate dismantlement, approach. We anticipate receiving that request in November.”

The timeline for the NRC to review Holtec’s request to use decommissioning trust funds would be similar to what it was for Exelon’s request, which was submitted on March 22, 2018, and approved on Oct. 19, 2018, according to Sheehan.

“Holtec would not be able to withdraw any money until the NRC determines if it qualifies to take over the Oyster Creek license,” he said. “If it gets the go-ahead, Holtec would be free to begin withdrawals if and when it receives approval for the exemption.”

On Aug. 31, Exelon and Holtec filed a joint application to begin the license transfer application, asking for a decision by May 1, 2019. The public has until Nov. 8 to file a request for a public hearing on the federal agency’s review of the transfer. Written comments are being accepted until Nov. 19.

From the beginning, Holtec officials have said they would like to immediately begin decommissioning Oyster Creek. It’s their intention to expedite the dismantling of the nuclear plant and return the site, located on 779 acres of land in the Forked River section of the township, to unrestricted use in less than a decade, with the exclusion of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, or spent fuel pad, on site. Exelon’s post-shutdown activity plans included taking the full 60 years permitted under federal law.

“We do track how decommissioning funds are used and where they stand,” Sheehan said. “The owners of permanently shut-down nuclear power plants must submit updates to us on an annual basis.”

While the NRC is currently reviewing applications for two potential interim sites to house spent nuclear fuel, one in Texas and the other in New Mexico, the House of Representatives earlier this year voted to revive the Yucca Mountain project to store radioactive nuclear waste.

“Electricity consumers have contributed $40 billion into the nuclear waste fund,” according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the policy organization for nuclear technologies. “Meanwhile, taxpayers have been saddled with more than $6 billion in damages for the federal government’s inaction – an amount that grows by $800 million for every additional year the government does not act. The cost of not funding a solution is rapidly becoming greater than the cost of funding it.”

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Swedish Environmental Court has concerns about speed of corrosion of copper nuclear waste canisters

GDF Watch 4th Nov 2018 , The company responsible for delivering Sweden’s deep geological repository, SKB, is planning to subject their research into copper
corrosion to international peer review in the new year. SKB believe this is
the most transparent and open way in which to address concerns about the
contentious issue, which has held up final decision-making on the Swedish
national repository for higher activity radioactive waste.
Earlier this year the Swedish Environmental Court largely approved SKB’s plans for a
geological disposal facility in Osthammar. However, the Court had concerns
about the speed at which copper canisters corrode and the potential
consequential environmental impact. Conflicting scientific evidence was
presented to the Court. The Court decided that this was something the
Swedish Government needed to consider further before any approval was given
to the planned radioactive waste disposal facility. The Swedish Government
asked SKB to provide additional information by 31 March 2019.
http://www.gdfwatch.org.uk/2018/11/04/sweden-copper-corrosion-update/

November 5, 2018 Posted by | safety, Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s National Nuclear Security Administration under scrutiny, over plutonium pits

Watchdog groups seek review of plutonium plan http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/watchdog-groups-seek-review-of-plutonium-plan/article_52eb4d8b-05bf-5715-9c8f-233132157ca0.html, By Andy Stiny | astiny@sfnewmexican.com, 2 Nov 18

    Three nuclear watchdog groups across the U.S., including Santa Fe-based Nuclear Watch New Mexico, are accusing the National Nuclear Security Administration of creating a plan to increase production of plutonium bomb cores in violation of an environmental law.

The agency has failed to hold a review and public hearings on the plan, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the groups say.

Along with NukeWatch, Savannah River Site Watch in South Carolina and Livermore, Calif.-based Tri-Valley CAREs sent an Oct. 31 letter to NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, alleging the federal agency “explicitly plans to expand plutonium pit production but has made no visible effort to begin the legally required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.”

A spokeswoman for the NNSA said in an email Wednesday that “the pit production mission will be carried out in accordance with all applicable environmental and regulatory requirements.”

Plutonium cores, or “pits,” are the softball-sized components that initiate the detonation of a nuclear weapon. The NNSA announced in May that by 2030, 30 pits a year would be produced at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at least 50 a year at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

The watchdog groups’ letter says they are demanding an environmental review and public hearings because the agency has raised its projected production level above the currently sanctioned cap of 20 pits per year and also because it plans to establish pit production at a second site.

“Assuring the public’s ability to meaningfully comment is a key component of legal compliance,” the letter says.  The organizations are asking the NNSA to respond within 30 days.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s Sellafield nuclear decommisioning ‘a misuse of public funds’

CORE 31st Oct 2018 The findings of the spending watchdog’s latest report on the status of
Sellafield’s clean-up projects and costs makes yet more dreary reading
for the UK taxpayer – the costs described as ‘a misuse of public
funds’ by a spokesman for the report’s authors the Government’s
Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The PAC report pulls few punches in its
criticism of the way the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is
managing many of the major projects needed to clean up Sellafield. The site
currently receives some £2Bn of public money every year and, over the next
100+ years of decommissioning is expected to cost a total of £91Bn.
In a slight but revealing departure from the pattern of previous reports, PAC
raises the spectre of the UK’s plutonium stockpile (40% of the world’s
global stock) and the latest thinking by Government on its long-term
plutonium management options. [An NDA FoI response to CORE (29.10.18)
suggests an update on its plutonium plans is currently being finalised by
the NDA and could be published in the next month or so]
http://corecumbria.co.uk/briefings/spendthrift-sellafield-wayward-governance-and-the-latest-plutonium-view/?doing_wp_cron=1541014253.9727599620819091796875

November 3, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK Law changed so nuclear waste dumps can be forced on local communities

October 29, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Donald Trump saying different things about Yucca nuclear waste dump plan

Energy Secretary Says White House Still Backs Nevada Nuke Dump, Financial Express, By: Bloomberg  October 27, 2018

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the White House still supports construction of a planned repository for nuclear waste in Nevada, despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion over the weekend that he was reconsidering.

When asked if the Trump administration still supports Yucca Mountain, Perry swiftly said “Yes.”

“I’m making this presumption by looking at a budgeting process and there was money in the president’s budget to manage Yucca,” Perry said, after giving remarks at the department’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Trump requested $120 million in his budget proposal for the geologic repository 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

……….Trump told a Nevada television station he was reconsidering his support after campaigning last weekend with Senator Dean Heller, an embattled Republican senator who opposes the project and is in a tight re-election battle.

“I think you should do things where people want them to happen, so I would be very inclined to be against it,” Trump said in Oct. 20 interview with KRNV-News 4. “We will be looking at it very seriously over the next few weeks, and I agree with the people of Nevada.”…….. https://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/energy-secretary-says-white-house-still-backs-nevada-nuke-dump/1363704/

 

October 29, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Energy Secretary Rick Perry and decisions on nuclear waste dumping

Energy Department ready to approve nuclear waste dumping https://www.salon.com/2018/10/26/energy-department-ready-to-approve-nuclear-waste-dumping_partner/The Texas facility is operated by a major donor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s political campaigns SARAH OKESON OCTOBER 26, 2018

Our Energy secretary could ship treated nuclear waste from our nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site to a Texas nuclear dump near an aquifer suppling water from northern Texas to South Dakota. The dump was opened by one of Secretary Rick Perry’s largest campaign donors.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, signed by former President Ronald Reagan, was written to prevent potential disasters and mandates that the Department of Energy must send high-level waste to a network of underground tunnels and rooms where it can safely decay over millions of years.

Republicans and Trump’s new assistant secretary for environmental management, Anne Marie White,who did consulting work for the company that operates the dump, want to rewrite federal regulationsto say that some high-level nuclear waste isn’t really high-level nuclear waste so it can be stored elsewhere.

“It certainly raises questions about potential conflicts of interest,” said Tom Carpenter, the executive director of Hanford Challenge, a Seattle watchdog group.

Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who died in 2013 at age 82, owned Waste Control Specialists. Simmons and his wife, Annette, gave Perry’s campaigns more than $1.3 million.

Waste Control Specialists got state licenses in Texas in 2008 and 2009 to dispose of radioactive waste in a dump in Andrews County on the Texas-New Mexico border, adjacent to the giant URENCO USA nuclear enrichment facility at Eunice, N.M. Perry, then Texas governor, appointed the three commissioners of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who approved the licenses.

The dump is over or near the Ogallala Aquifer, depending on whether you believe the water table boundaries of the company or others. The dump is also in an earthquake hazard zone.

Waste Control Specialists wants to take radioactive waste from the Hanford nuclear weapons complex in southeast Washington state, one of the most contaminated places on earth. About 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste produced during World War II and the Cold War is stored in 177 underground tanks.

Hanford was created during the Manhattan Project in World War II and made the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

Waste Control Specialists says it could save the federal government up to $16.5 million. The dump would take waste after cesium is removed and It is encased in grout. In December, 3 gallons of waste, or about 0.0000053% of the waste in the underground tanks, was encapsulated in grout as a test.

Republicans have previously reclassified nuclear waste as less dangerous. In 2004, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) attached a rider to the defense authorization bill so the Department of Energy didn’t have to remove radioactive sludge from underground storage tanks in South Carolina and Idaho.

 

October 27, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Closing down France’s nuclear power plants

L’express 24th Oct 2018 , Sooner or later, EDF will have to close power plants. In front of the
company is a vast building site with many unknowns. And in the middle
flows the Meuse. Nestled in one of its loops, a few kilometers from the
Belgian border, the two cooling towers of the Chooz nuclear power plant
spew their plumes of white smoke.
On the other side of the river, under the
wooded hillside that has taken the colors of autumn, EDF is leading the
dismantling site of Chooz A. Shut down since 1991this reactor, installed in
an artificial cavern, saw its installations gradually dismantled and
evacuated. Still to settle the fate of the tank. Perched on a metal bridge
over a deep pool where she was diving, a handful of Swedish engineers from
the American company Westinghouse remotely maneuver the articulated arms of
a robot that cut it. A long work, which must occupy until 2022. After
which, the cave Chooz A will be filled with sand, for eternity.
https://lexpansion.lexpress.fr/actualite-economique/les-travaux-d-hercule-du-demantelement-nucleaire_2040298.html

October 25, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Concerns about aging nuclear plants in USA Democratic areas

October 23, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Hanford given more time to empty leak-prone radioactive waste tank

Hanford wants more time to empty leak-prone radioactive waste tank. Here’s the new deadline, Tri City Herald, BY ANNETTE CARY, acary@tricityherald.com, 18, 2018 , RICHLAND, WA 

The Department of Energy will have more time to empty some of Hanford’s leak-prone underground waste storage tanks under an order issued in federal court.

Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson agreed to a request by the state of Washington and DOE to give DOE until the end of 2026 to empty radioactive and hazardous chemical waste from nine more single-shell tanks.

It is an extension from March 31, 2024. A second deadline to keep work on pace to meet that milestone also has been extended.

DOE has another six months — until June 2021 — to have the first two tanks of the nine emptied.  New court-enforced consent decree deadlines for retrieving the waste from tanks and treating it at the $17 billion vitrification plant under construction were set by Malouf Peterson in 2016………https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article220235380.html

October 22, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The dangerous radioactive trash – 60,000 tons on the shores of the Great Lakes

60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores, THE EFFECTS OF A WORST-CASE SCENARIO — FROM A NATURAL DISASTER TO TERRORISM — COULD CAUSE UNTHINKABLE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION, Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, Oct. 19, 2018  More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is stored on the shores of four of the five Great Lakes — in some cases, mere yards from the waterline — in still-growing stockpiles.

“It’s actually the most dangerous waste produced by any industry in the history of the Earth,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

The spent nuclear fuel is partly from 15 current or former U.S. nuclear power plants, including four in Michigan, that have generated it over the past 50 years or more. But most of the volume stored along the Great Lakes, more than 50,000 tons, comes from Canadian nuclear facilities, where nuclear power is far more prevalent.

It remains on the shorelines because there’s still nowhere else to put it. The U.S. government broke a promise to provide the nuclear power industry with a central, underground repository for the material by 1998. Canada, while farther along than the U.S. in the process of trying to find a place for the waste, also doesn’t have one yet.

The nuclear power industry and its federal regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, point to spent nuclear fuel’s safe on-site storage over decades. But the remote possibility of a worst-case scenario release — from a natural disaster, a major accident, or an act of terrorism — could cause unthinkable consequences for the Great Lakes region.

Scientific research has shown a radioactive cloud from a spent fuel pool fire would span hundreds of miles, and force the evacuation of millions of residents in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto or other population centers, depending on where the accident occurred and wind patterns.

It would release multiple times the radiation that emanated from the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 — a disaster that led to mass evacuations, no-go zones that exist to this day, and a government ban on fishing in a large, offshore area of the Pacific Ocean because of high levels of radioactive cesium in the water and in fish. The fishing industry there has yet to recover, more than seven years later.

“The Mississippi and the Great Lakes — that would be really bad,” said Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University.

Added Jim Olson, environmental attorney and founder of the Traverse City-based nonprofit For Love of Water, or FLOW: “The fact that it’s on the shorelines of the Great Lakes takes that high consequence that would be anywhere and paints it red and puts exclamation marks around it.”

Spent nuclear fuel is so dangerous that, a decade removed from a nuclear reactor, its radioactivity would still be 20 times the level that would kill a person exposed to it. Some radioactive byproducts of nuclear power generation remain a health or environmental hazard for tens of thousands of years. And even typically harmless radioactive isotopes that are easily blocked by skin or clothing can become extremely toxic if even small amounts are breathed in, eaten or drank,  making their potential contamination of the Great Lakes — the drinking water supply to 40 million people — the connected Mississippi River and the prime agricultural areas of the U.S. a potentially frightening prospect. ……….

For five years, Michigan residents, lawmakers, environmental groups and others around the Midwest have, loudly and nearly unanimously, opposed a planned Canadian underground repository for low-to-medium radioactive waste at Kincardine, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Huron.

Meanwhile, spent nuclear fuel, vastly more radioactive, sits not far from the shores of  four Great Lakes — Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — at 15 currently operating or former nuclear power plant sites on the U.S. side. In Michigan, that includes Fermi 2; the Donald C. Cook nuclear plant in Berrien County; the Palisades nuclear plant in Van Buren County, and the former Big Rock Point nuclear plant in Charlevoix County, which ceased operation in 1997 and where now only casks of spent nuclear fuel remain.

Neither the U.S. nor the Canadian government has constructed a central collection site for the spent nuclear fuel. It’s not just a problem in the Great Lakes region — more than 88,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel, an amount that is rising, is stored at 121 U.S. locations across 39 states…….

Spent nuclear fuel isn’t only radioactive, it continues to generate heat. It requires storage in pools with circulating water for typically five years before it can be moved into so-called dry-cask storage — concrete-and-steel obelisks where spent fuel rods receive continued cooling by circulating air.

In practice, however, because of the high costs associated with transferring waste from wet pools to dry casks, nuclear plants have kept decades worth of spent fuel in wet storage. Plant officials instead “re-rack” the pools, reconfiguring them to add more and more spent fuel, well beyond the capacities for which the pools were originally designed.

“The prevailing practice in the United States is you re-rack the pools until they are just about as dense-packed as the nuclear core,” von Hippel said.

Only in recent years have nuclear plants stepped up the transition to dry cask storage because there’s no room left in the wet pools. Still, about two-thirds of on-site spent nuclear fuel remains in wet pools in the U.S.

That’s a safety concern, critics contend. A catastrophe or act of terrorism that drains a spent fuel pool could cause rising temperatures that could eventually cause zirconium cladding — special brackets that hold the spent fuel rods in bundles — to catch fire.

Such a disaster could be worse than a meltdown in a nuclear reactor, as spent nuclear fuel is typically stored with nowhere near the fortified containment of a reactor core.

“The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl,” a 2003 research paper by von Hippel and seven other nuclear experts stated.

The reference is to the worst nuclear power disaster in world history, the April 1986 reactor explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union, now a part of the Ukraine, where 4,000 to 90,000 are estimated to have died as a result of the radiation released. A study by the University of Exeter in Great Britain, released this June, found that cow’s milk from farms about 125 miles from the Chernobyl accident site still — more than 30 years later —- contains the radioactive element cesium at levels considered unsafe for adults and at more than seven times the limit unsafe for children.

Allison Macfarlane, a professor of public policy and international affairs at George Washington University, served as chairman of the NRC during the Obama administration from July 2012 until December 2014.

“What I think needs more examination is the practice of densely packing the fuel in the pool,” she said.

The NRC does not regulate how much fuel can be in a pool, in what configuration it’s placed, and how old the fuel is, Macfarlane said. ……….

In a Great Lakes region where magnitude-9.0 earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t a potential threat to stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, terrorism remains possible………

In a Great Lakes region where magnitude-9.0 earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t a potential threat to stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, terrorism remains possible.

“The NRC’s position on beyond design basis threats is essentially that this is a matter for the national security apparatus — it’s not our job, so somebody else will take care of it,” he said. “But if you look at the Pentagon, Homeland Security, I think you will look in vain to find any part of that apparatus that is addressing that area that the NRC says is not its job.”……….

Welcome to Zion, nuclear waste dump  ………..

Canada’s Yucca Mountain  

Because nuclear power is much more widely used in Canada — the province of Ontario alone has 20 nuclear reactors at three plants — it also generates much more nuclear waste.

In Ontario, nearly 52,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored on-site at nuclear plants along Lakes Huron and Ontario.

“There’s a huge amount of high-level, radioactive waste stored right along the water,” said Edwards, the president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility……… .   https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/19/nuclear-waste-great-lakes/1417767002/

October 20, 2018 Posted by | Canada, wastes | 1 Comment

Shikoku Electric Power Company submits plans for dismantling nuclear reactor

Shikoku outlines plans for decommissioning Ikata 2, WNN, 17 October 2018

According to the plan, decommissioning of Ikata 2 will take about 40 years and will be carried out in four stages. The first stage, lasting about ten years, will involve preparing the reactor for dismantling (including the removal of all fuel and surveying radioactive contamination), while the second, lasting 15 years, will be to dismantle peripheral equipment from the reactor and other major equipment. The third stage, taking about eight years, will involve the demolition of the reactor itself, while the fourth stage, taking about seven years, will see the demolition of all remaining buildings and the release of land for other uses.

During the first stage, all fuel is to be removed from the unit. This includes 316 used fuel assemblies that will be sent for reprocessing and 102 fresh fuel assemblies that will be returned to the fuel fabricator.

Ikata 2 became the ninth operable Japanese reactor to be declared for decommissioning since the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

In mid-March 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy revised the accounting provisions in the Electricity Business Act, whereby electric power companies can now calculate decommissioning costs in instalments of up to ten years, instead of one-time as previously. This enhanced cost recovery provision was to encourage the decommissioning of older and smaller units.

Shikoku decided in March 2016 to decommission unit 1 of the Ikata plant, also a 538 MWe PWR, which began commercial operation in September 1977. That unit had been taken offline in September 2011 for periodic inspections. Upgrades costing more than JPY170 billion (USD1.5 billion) would have been needed at the unit in order for it to operate beyond 40 years.

The NRA approved Shikoku’s decommissioning plan for Ikata 1 in June 2017. That plan also sees the unit being decommissioned in four stages over a 40-year period.

Unit 3 at the Ikata plant was given approval by the NRA to resume operation in April 2016, having been idle since being taken offline for a periodic inspection in April 2011. Shikoku declared the 846 MWe pressurised water reactor back in commercial operation on 7 September 2016. However, in December 2017, a Japanese high court ordered the suspension of the unit’s operation. The injunction was effective until the end of last month. The Hiroshima High Court in late September accepted Shikoku’s appeal and cancelled the injunction, allowing the utility to begin the process of restarting the reactor.  http://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Shikoku-outlines-plans-for-decommissioning-Ikata-2

October 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment