nuclear-news

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

Lawmakers seek safeguards on decommissioning of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

January 27, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Tepco estimates 44 years to decommission its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant.

Japan Times 23rd Jan 2020, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has estimated that it will take 44 years to decommission its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant. Tepco presented the outline of decommissioning plans to the municipal assembly of Tomioka, one of the two host towns of the nuclear plant, on Wednesday.

The Fukushima No. 2 plant is located south of the No. 1 plant, which suffered a triple meltdown accident in the wake of the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami.

According to the outline, the decommissioning process for the No.
2 plant will have four stages, taking 10 years for the first stage, 12
years for the second stage and 11 years each for the third and fourth
stages.

Tepco will survey radioactive contamination at the nuclear plant in
the first stage, clear equipment around nuclear reactors in the second,
remove the reactors in the third and demolish the reactor buildings in the
fourth. Meanwhile, the plant operator will transfer a total of 9,532 spent
nuclear fuel units at the plant to a fuel reprocessing company by the end
of the decommissioning process, and 544 unused fuel units to a processing
firm by the start of the third stage.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/23/national/tepco-fukushima-decommissioning/#.Xi1KBmj7RPb

January 27, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Britain’s £1.2bn cleanup begins, of Berkeley power station, closed 30 years ago

January 6, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Germany To Close All Nuclear Plants By 2022

Germany Aims To Close All Nuclear Plants By 2022,  https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Germany-Aims-To-Close-All-Nuclear-Plants-By-2022.html, By Tsvetana Paraskova – Dec 30, 2019, Germany is going forward with its plan to phase out nuclear reactors by 2022 as another nuclear power plant is going offline on December 31.Power company EnBW has said that it would take the Philippsburg 2 reactor off the grid at 7 p.m. local time on New Year’s Eve.

This leaves Germany with six nuclear power plants that will have to close by 2022.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, Germany ordered the immediate shutdown of eight of its 17 reactors, and plans to phase out nuclear power plants entirely by 2022.

The Philippsburg 2 reactor near the city of Karlsruhe in southwestern Germany has provided energy for 35 years. The Philippsburg 1 reactor—opened in 1979—was taken offline in 2011.

Over the past few years, nuclear power generation in Germany has been declining with the shutdown of its nuclear plants, while electricity production from renewable sources has been rising.

In January this year, Germany became the latest large European economy to lay out a plan to phase out coal-fired power generation, aimed at cutting carbon emissions—a metric in which Berlin has been lagging in recent years.

A government-appointed special commission at Europe’s largest economy announced the conclusions of its months-long review and proposed that Germany shut all its 84 coal-fired power plants by 2038.

Germany, where coal, hard coal, and lignite combined currently provide around 35 percent of power generation, has a longer timetable for phasing out coal than the UK and Italy, for example—who plan their coal exit by 2025—not only because of its vast coal industry, but also because Germany will shut down all its nuclear power plants within the next three years.

The closure of all nuclear reactors in Germany by 2022 means that Germany might need to retain half of its coal-fired power generation until 2030 to offset the nuclear phase-out, German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said earlier this year.

January 2, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Germany’s nuclear phase-out enters final stretch

Germany shuts down atomic plant as nuclear phase-out enters final stretch, DW, 1 Jan 2020, The Philippsburg power station is one of the only plants still operating in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Germany has vowed to start decommissioning every nuclear power facility by the end of 2022.Operators began shutting down the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in southern Germany on Tuesday, as the country puts into motion its plan to begin decommissioning all 17 of its atomic energy facilities by the end of 2022. …..

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan led to widespread anti-atomic-power protests across Germany. Two months after the accident, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that all plants would be closed over the next decade, making Germany the second country after Italy to shut down all of its atomic energy stations.

The German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) welcomed the news. A BUND spokesman said the group hoped to see the end of nuclear power being “conjured up again and again as a supposed healing charm and climate savior.”

However, Wolfram König, who heads the German government’s office for the nuclear phase-out, warned that the country still faced the great “challenge” of trying to phase out both coal and atomic energy at the same time.https://www.dw.com/en/germany-shuts-down-atomic-plant-as-nuclear-phase-out-enters-final-stretch/a-51845616

January 2, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture to be shut down

Nuclear watchdog OKs decommissioning plan for two reactors at Kepco’s Oi plant in Fukui   https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/11/national/nuclear-watchdog-oks-decommissioning-kepco-fukui/#.XfFJqegzbIUKYODO   The nation’s nuclear watchdog approved a plan Wednesday to decommission two reactors in Fukui Prefecture, a move their operator decided to take rather than shoulder the high cost of implementing safety upgrades.

Kansai Electric Power Co. will spend ¥118.7 billion to dismantle the Nos. 1 and 2 units at the Oi nuclear power plant, with work expected to wrap up in the fiscal year ending March 2049.

The units, which each have an output capacity of more than 1 million kilowatts, are the most powerful reactors to be approved for decommissioning by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

Following the disaster, the government placed a 40-year limit on the lifespan of reactors in the country, with a possible 20-year extension if strict safety standards are met.

As both units came online in 1979 and were approaching the 40-year limit, Kansai Electric had a choice of applying for the extension or scrapping them.

In December 2017, the utility announced it would scrap the aging reactors, citing the high cost of implementing additional safety measures. Kansai Electric submitted the decommissioning plan to the authority in November 2018.

The plant’s Nos. 3 and 4 units came online in 1991 and 1993, respectively, and are currently active.

Around 23,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste will be remain following the dismantling process, according to the plan, along with another 13,200 tons of nonradioactive waste.

The plan does not state where the waste will be stored.

December 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

8-10 years for Southern California Edison to demolish San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Coastal Commission OKs permit to dismantle the San Onofre nuclear plant,Southern California Edison will begin demolition in coming months but entire process will take 8-10 years to complete, San Diego Union Tribune, By ROB NIKOLEWSKI, OCT. 17, 2019

 The California Coastal Commission, on a 9-0 vote, gave approval Thursday for Southern California Edison to proceed with plans to dismantle the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, known as SONGS, where canisters loaded with nuclear waste are being moved from “wet storage” to a newly constructed “dry storage” facility on site.

The permit will allow Edison contractors to begin removing major structures at the facility, located on an 85-acre chunk of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton owned by the Department of the Navy. SONGS is home to 3.55 million pounds of used-up nuclear fuel, between the Pacific and Interstate 5…..

Ultimately, the federal government has the final say about where used-up commercial nuclear fuel should go. But since a permanent site has not been found, nuclear waste at plants like SONGS have been piling up for decades. …….

A provision within the commission’s vote added a special condition to the permit concerning the demolition of two spent fuel pools where used-up nuclear waste is stored.

Under the provision, Edison will not get rid of the pools until it funds an independent third-party review of an inspection and maintenance plan regarding the condition of canisters in dry storage and forwards the findings to the Coastal Commission. Edison also agreed to start the plan by March 31, 2020 — seven months earlier than scheduled.

In return, the commission agreed to not sit on the report and vote on a recommendation by Coastal Commission staff by July 2020.

The proposed demolition of the pools at Units 2 and 3 dominated much of the discussion that dragged out for most of the day.

While fuel inside a nuclear reactor typically loses its efficiency after about four to six years, it is still thermally hot and emits a great deal of radiation. To keep the fuel cool, nuclear plant operators place the used-up waste in a metal rack and lower it into a deep pool of water, typically for at least five years. Once cooled, the fuel is often transferred to a dry storage facility.

Some speakers supported removal of the pools but others insisted they must remain to make sure the canisters holding the waste can be retrieved and inspected.

While fuel inside a nuclear reactor typically loses its efficiency after about four to six years, it is still thermally hot and emits a great deal of radiation. To keep the fuel cool, nuclear plant operators place the used-up waste in a metal rack and lower it into a deep pool of water, typically for at least five years. Once cooled, the fuel is often transferred to a dry storage facility.

Some speakers supported removal of the pools but others insisted they must remain to make sure the canisters holding the waste can be retrieved and inspected………

The dismantlement will be carried out by a general contractor selected in December 2016 — a joint venture of AECOM and Energy Solutions called SONGS Decommissioning Solutions. The decommissioning will be paid for by $4.4 billion in existing trust funds, The money has been collected from SONGS customers and invested in dedicated trusts. According to Edison, customers have contributed about one-third of the trust funds while remaining two-thirds has come from investments by the company.

Some of the work can begin before the waste transfers are completed, provided they are “geographically separate from locations where fuel storage and transfer operations occur,” Dobken said.

After transfers were suspended for a little more than one year after the August 2018 incident involving the 50-ton canister, Edison resumed moving canisters in July. Workers have moved 35 canisters to dry storage thus far, with 38 more to go. Transfer operations are expected to be completed by mid-2020…….

SONGS is far from the only nuclear plant with waste on-site. About 80,000 metric tons of used commercial fuel has piled up at 121 sites in 35 states because the federal government has not found a repository where it can be stored. Federal authorities were supposed to begin taking custody of spent fuel in 1998https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/story/2019-10-17/coastal-commission-oks-permit-to-begin-dismantlement-at-san-onofre-nuclear-plant

October 19, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | 1 Comment

Removal of highly radioactive material from 60 year old Dounreay Fast Nuclear Reactor (DFR).

BBC 15th Oct 2019, Radioactive material jammed inside a Scottish nuclear reactor since the 1970s has been removed for disposal. Remotely-operated tools were specially made to extract the breeder elements from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR).

The DFR and its dome-shaped housing are to be demolished as part of the
wider decommissioning of the former nuclear power site near Thurso.
Dismantling the 60-year-old DFR is among the most challenging of the
decommissioning work.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-50055003

October 17, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Shutdown of Three Mile Island’s infamous nuclear plant symbolises the end of the nuclear energy era

Three Mile Island’s infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years  https://www.engadget.com/2019/09/21/three-mile-island-nuclear-plant-shuts-down/

It won’t be free of radioactive material until 2078.
Jon Fingas@jonfingas  An important if ignominious chapter in American nuclear energy has come to a close. Exelon has shut down Three Mile Island’s Generating Station Unit 1 reactor after 45 years of use. The reactor isn’t the one behind the accident in March 1979, but this effectively marks the closure of the plant — Unit 2, the reactor that failed, has been dormant for the past 40 years. It didn’t directly provide a reason, but it had warned in 2017 that it would shut down the plant in 2019 due to the high running costs.

This doesn’t mark the end of the overall story, however, as it’ll take decades to clean up. Some of the teardown will take place quickly. Staff will remove the reactor’s fuel supply in the next few weeks and store it in the used fuel pool. It’ll take much longer to fully decommission the reactor, however. Exelon estimated that the plant won’t be fully clear of radioactive material until 2078, or more than a century after it entered service. Unit 2 is expected to close in 2036.

Unit 1 has been relatively safe, with the only notable incident being an air pressure change that briefly exposed 20 employees to a mild amount of radiation. However, the reactor has long lived in the shadow of Unit 2, whose partial meltdown exposed nearly 2 million people to radiation. There don’t appear to have been any publicly disclosed health effects, but the incident led to stricter oversight and, along with the Chernobyl disaster, defined the public perception of nuclear energy.

Exelon wasn’t shy in trying to pin the blame on local government. It claimed that Pennsylvania law “does not support the continued operation” of the reactor, and that rules “fail to evenly value clean energy resources” while dirty power sources could “pollute for free.” It doesn’t think nuclear is getting a fair shake compared to renewables and other clean energy sources, in other words. It has also complained about low natural gas prices that make Unit 1 difficult to run.

It’s not certain just what happens next, but the odds aren’t high for a revival. While nuclear is relatively clean, the rises of both renewables and natural gas have reduced the demand for it. Like it or not, the industry has moved on — the closure is a symbol of that transition.

September 22, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

A very small nuclear reactor still results in expensive and risky decommissioning

Environmental groups concerned about demolition plan for Saskatoon’s SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-nuclear-reactor-demolition-concerns-1.5264231

Groups worried about transportation of nuclear waste, pouring treated water into sewer,


David Shield
 · CBC News ·Aug 30, 2019 
 Environmental groups from across the country are expressing concerns about the decommissioning of a small nuclear reactor near the University of Saskatchewan campus.

The Saskatchewan Research Council is applying to dismantle its SLOWPOKE-2 reactor. The demolition would likely happen next year, but before that happens the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in Ottawa next month to look at approving the plan.

Environmental groups’ concerns about the plan include the intentions to release treated water from the reactor pool into the City of Saskatoon’s sewer system and to send the non-radioactive building materials to a private landfill.

“We don’t know what the cumulative effect or the additive effect of the radioactive burden is going to be of either of those practices,” said Brennain Lloyd, project manager of Northwatch, an environmental group in northern Ontario.

Other concerns include the fate of the reactor pool itself. The proposed plan includes filling the empty pool with concrete, rather than removing the contaminated site completely, as long as the site meets radioactivity guidelines.

Michael Poellet of Saskatchewan’s Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative (ICUCEC) questioned leaving the pool site in the ground.

“The issue there is that the cement in the pool has absorbed radioactivity,” said Poellet. “It’s not assured that the cement will be able to keep that radioactivity within that cement.”

Northwatch, along with the ICUCEC and Nuclear Waste Watch, have all applied to provide comment at the hearing.

The groups said they have important questions, including concerns about eight cubic meters of nuclear waste being transported hundreds of kilometres to a holding facility in South Carolina and parts of the reactor being sent to long-term storage in Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

“It’s a big deal project,” said Lloyd. “It seems to have been flying under the radar but it needs to come out out front.” Continue reading

August 31, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Germany shows how it can lead the world in neatly shutting down nuclear power

Spectacular Video Shows Nuclear Power Plant Demolition in Germany

How to demolish a nuclear power plant without blowing it up, By Sheena McKenzie, CNN August 16, 2019 London (CNN Business)This is how you demolish a nuclear power plant German-style. No big red button. No dramatic countdown. No “kaboom!”

August 17, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Tower of German nuclear station demolished. The plant was on line for only 13 months

Short-lived German nuclear plant’s cooling tower demolished  https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/08/09/short-lived-german-nuclear-plants-cooling-tower-demolished/, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug 9, 2019 

BERLIN — The cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant next to the Rhine River in Germany that was online for just 13 months has been demolished, 31 years after it stopped producing electricity.

Remote-controlled excavators on Friday removed pillars that supported the tower at the Muelheim-Kaerlich plant, near Koblenz. The tower, whose top half had already been removed by a specially designed robot, collapsed under its own weight in a cloud of dust a couple of hours later.

Muelheim-Kaerlich was switched off in September 1988 after 13 months in service when a federal court ruled the risk of earthquakes in the area hadn’t been taken into account sufficiently. After a lengthy legal battle, demolition started in 2004. Operator RWE says nearly all radioactive material had already been removed by then.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors at Fukushima No 2 plant to be decommissioned

Tepco says it will decommission nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 2 plant https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/24/national/tepco-says-will-decommission-nuclear-reactors-fukushima-no-2-plant/#.XTjRFugzbIU, 24 July 19,

  Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, its president, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, told Fukushima Gov. Masao Ochibori at a meeting Wednesday.

The facility is the second nuclear plant that the utility company has decided to decommission after accepting it would need to shutter the nearby Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Tepco’s decision to scrap Fukushima No. 2, which is expected to cost some ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), will be formally approved at the company’s board meeting later this month if local municipalities accept the plan.

The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors at Fukushima No. 2, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts. The plant has been offline since its operations were suspended due to the 2011 disaster.

If the plan goes ahead, all 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture — four at the No. 2 plant and six at the No. 1 facility — will be scrapped.

It will also leave the utility company with only the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and the planned Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

Kobayakawa said at the meeting, also attended by the mayors of the two towns — Naraha and Tomioka — that host the plant, that Tepco plans to build a new on-site storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant.

The fuel will be placed in metallic containers and cooled using a dry storage approach, according to the operator.

No decision has been made regarding final disposal of the spent fuel, raising concerns that the radioactive waste may remain on-site for a long time.

The Fukushima No.2 plant currently has around 10,000 assemblies of spent fuel cooling in pools.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Push to speed up decommissioning of Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant

TMI nuclear plant can’t go away fast enough, some neighbors and ’79 accident survivors say, Penn Live Jul 23,   By 

As jarring as the closure of the Three Mile Island One nuclear power station is to longtime Harrisburg-area residents, a cadre of them told Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials Tuesday they’d like the plant’s planned decommissioning to take a faster track.

It’s known in NRC lingo as DECON, and it can allow for the deconstruction, clean-up and re-use of closed nuclear plants in less than a decade, as opposed to the six decade-plus track Three Mile Island Unit One’s owners, Exelon Generation, has started planning for.

Several longtime TMI watchdogs, born of the notorious 1979 partial meltdown at the adjacent Three Mile Island Two reactor, said the desire for speed is partly a matter of good riddance, and a world-weary resignation that past promises about the troubled plant have not panned out.

“How many dog and pony shows can you (the NRC) bring to Harrisburg over the last 40 years?” asked longtime TMI activist Gene Stilp, bemoaning the fact that under the current safe storage plan the island would be a nuclear waste dump long past the lifetimes of any current residents.

Stilp called on Exelon, and elected officials who fought for TMI’s economic preservation over the last two years, to put the decommissioning on a faster track to preserve more of the region’s existing nuclear-related jobs in the short term and allow for a faster rehabilitation of the site.

“You could start getting jobs for clean-up right now,” Stilp said. “Get retrained in some fashion and set up things for that. But you could actually have jobs right now and start on that. Not just monitoring the site… Start providing jobs right now, by starting the clean-up right now.

“This bargain with the devil to store it (spent nuclear fuel) on the Susquehanna River is an abomination to the river, an abomination to the citizens who live here…. and it provides more terrorist targets in a big way.”

NRC officials noted Tuesday it is ultimately the licensee’s decision whether to put a plant into safe storage or rapid decontamination.

Exelon’s current timeline calls for the site to spend most of the next 60 years in a “dormancy” stage, in which most activity will center around storage of spent fuel, and a wait for residual contamination levels to naturally break down until major reactor buildings and components can be dismantled.

Exelon, however, has recently changed paths with other retired nuclear plants – including one in New Jersey this year……..

There are other ways to join the TMI decommissioning conversation. Written comments on the report can be submitted through Oct. 9 either:

July 25, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

40 years, $2.5bn costs for 4 Fukushima Daini nuclear reactors to be shut down

Tepco to retire remaining reactors in Fukushima  https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Tepco-to-retire-remaining-reactors-in-Fukushima  Decommissioning is expected to take 40 years and cost $2.5bn JULY 20, 2019  TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will scrap the four Fukushima Prefecture reactors that escaped damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, moving to decommission all of the nuclear power plants the public utility owns in the disaster-stricken region.

The shutdown of the Fukushima Daini plant, which is located just 12km away from the Daiichi Plant crippled by fuel meltdowns, will be formally authorized at the company’s board meeting at the end of the month. This marks the first decision by the utility, known as Tepco, to decommission nuclear reactors apart from the Daiichi facilities.

Costs for decommissioning Fukushima Daini are estimated to exceed 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion). While Tepco’s reserves are not enough to cover them, the government adopted new accounting rules allowing operators to spread a large loss from decommissioning over multiple years. The company also believes it has secured enough people with necessary expertise to move forward.

Tepco soon will inform Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori of its decision. The utility intends to submit the decommissioning plan to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority by March next year.

The decision means all 10 reactors in Fukushima will be scrapped. The Daini reactors will be decommissioned in roughly 40 years, sharing the same timetable as the Daiichi site. Tepco owns one other nuclear plant, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility in Niigata Prefecture.

The Daini plant, where each reactor produced 1.1 gigawatts of power, served the Tokyo area for about three decades. Japan’s central government sought to restart the complex but faced withering opposition from local residents in Fukushima.

Including the Fukushima Daini facilities, a total of 21 reactors across Japan are now slated for decommissioning. Recent additions include two units at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture and one reactor at the Onagawa facility in Miyagi Prefecture.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment