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

Trump withdraws from Open Skies Treaty, throws more doubt on the future of the New START nuclear treaty

May 26, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Federal report: 2019 Seattle radiation leak could have been disastrous, was a ‘near miss’

May 26, 2020 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Sizewell nuclear planning application should be rejected until coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted

May 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s new nuclear plants – nearly all parts are sourced and/or funded from China and France

David Lowry’s Blog 24th May 2020, Letter from David Lowry to The Times: Your important revelation follows Johnson’s assertion to MPs on Wednesday that he is pursuing “measures
to protect our technological base.” The initiative, “Project Defend,”
is aimed at creating a new national resilience framework, which, The Times
reports, will address the current over-reliance on China for “medical and
other strategic imports.”

One such strategic import is civil nuclear
technology, on which UK is 100 per cent reliant on foreign suppliers for
the critical core reactor infrastructure, with the Hinkley C nuclear plant
under construction by French state generator, Electricite de France ( EdF)
using French technology, supported by French and Chinese capital

The next new nuclear plant in line for construction, at
Sizewell C in Suffolk, will have 20per cent of its costs paid for by
Chinese state company China General Nuclear.

The third new plant, at
Bradwell in Essex, is planned to entirely built using 100 per cent Chinese/
French designed technology, mostly imported, and backed by 62 per cent
Chinese funding. It would also be operated by a primarily Chinese technical
team. Only smaller parts for these new plants will be sourced from the UK
supply chain.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | marketing, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Iran tops the list of countries which accepted inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2019.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Finland’s new nuclear reactor hit by valve leak

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Finland, incidents | Leave a comment

Canadian farming community not happy about taking on nuclear wastes

Teeswater area debating taking on ‘forever’ nuclear waste project, Scott Miller CTV News London  25 May 20, WINGHAM, ONT. — Anja van der Vlies is worried about the future of her 1200 dairy goat operation, if Canada’s most radioactive nuclear waste is buried a couple side roads away from her family’s farm.

“It’s fairly close to where we farm. If I just look at the radius of 10 kilometres from the proposed site, so much food is being prepared here. What’s going to happen to that?”she says.

Right next door, dairy farmer Ron Groen has posted signs around his property sharing his concerns about the proposed project, just north of Teeswater.

“The waste is going to be radioactive for a million years, so basically the waste will be eternally radioactive and our kids, grandkids, 33,000 generations after us living in and around town will have to worry about this problem,” he says.

About 1200 acres of farmland north of Teeswater has been optioned by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to potentially build Canada’s first permanent nuclear waste facility.

Over five million used nuclear fuel bundles, would be buried 500 metres under these Bruce County farms, if the community agrees to it.

Darren Ireland is one the landowners, whose agreed to option his land for the project.

“For me, it’s about five generations. This area has struggled for years to keep things going. I look at this as something, that we could be looking at for five generations, that’s huge,” he says.

The mayor of the municipality of South Bruce, Robert Buckle, also sees upside to the project…….

Signs opposing the project starting going up around the area around March. A local group has formed to keep nuclear waste out of South Bruce’s soil.

“The sooner we can stop this, the better for our community,” says van der Vlies…….

Two communities remain in the running to house Canada’s most radioactive waste. Ignace, in Northern Ontario, and the Municipality of South Bruce, north of Teeswater. One site will selected, no later, than 2023.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Sweden gets a new Nuclear Emergency Plan

Nuclear Engineering International 22d May 2020, Sweden’s Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) announced this week, that inaccordance with an SSM proposal, the government had decided on new emergency zones for operations with ionising radiation.

For Swedish nuclear power plants, this means an internal and an external emergency zone as well
as a planning zone with an approximate extent of 5, 25 and 100 kilometres
respectively. “The change is important in order to improve the
possibility of implementing effective protective measures in connection
with a nuclear accident,” SSM said.

In 2017, SSM, in collaboration with the Swedish Agency for Social Protection and Emergency Preparedness, the County Administrative Boards in Uppsala, Kalmar, Hallands, Södermanland,
Västmanland and Skåne and the municipality of Lund and the Rescue
Services South, reported an assignment to the government where the agency
proposed to make emergency preparedness zones.

The Government has now
decided on a new regulation (2003: 789) on accident prevention, which means
that the emergency zones for nuclear facilities are being redone, in
accordance with that proposal. In the zones, iodine tablets should be
pre-distributed, the population should be able to be alerted quickly and
there must be a planning for evacuation and indoor stay. Evacuation of the
internal emergency zone must be prioritised over evacuation of the external
emergency zone.

A planning zone will also be introduced where there will be
a planning for evacuation based on radiation from the ground cover
radiation, a planning for indoor living and a planning for limited extra
distribution of iodine tablets. “This means, when the emergency zones are
fully implemented, that Sweden meets international requirements for
emergency preparedness for these operations, while lessons learned from the
nuclear accident in Fukushima have been taken care of, said SSM specialist
Jan Johansson.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | safety, Sweden | Leave a comment

Lithuania, Belarus sign nuclear incident notification agreement

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international | Leave a comment

The folly of removing US caps on Russian nuclear fuel imports

The folly of removing US caps on Russian nuclear fuel imports, The Hill, 

BY IKE BRANNON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 05/25/20  The Trump administration’s recent Nuclear Fuel Working Group report provides a sobering view of the national security threat posed by Russia’s aggressive global strategy to dominate the nuclear power and fuel industry to extend its geopolitical influence. The report warns of Russia’s efforts to increase its market share of the U.S. nuclear fuel industry and the threat that its below-market prices pose to the survival of the U.S. nuclear fuel sector. If this is left unchecked, the U.S. may find itself dependent on Russia for its nuclear fuel.
Russia’s steps to boost its nuclear fuel market share are taking place at a perilous time. The market for nuclear fuel in the United States has weakened considerably in the past decade and the country’s production facilities are in danger of being driven out of business. The global industry has been hit with a one-two punch of decreased demand and increased supply; Japan and Germany have greatly reduced their nuclear power generation, and Russia’s state-owned nuclear enterprise has expanded production and marketing without regard to profit in a bid to obtain a dominant market share here and around the world. …..

May 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The danger to children of low level nuclear radiation has been underestimated

May 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | 1 Comment

Michigan flooding: a warning on potential triple disaster – climate, pandemic, and nuclear radiation

Michigan floods expose impossible challenges of mass evacuations during Covid-19 By Paul Gunter 24 May, 20  Two dam failures and major flooding in central Michigan, which also prompted a low-level emergency notification (scroll to NCR event #54719) at a nearby nuclear research reactor in Midland, have exposed the almost impossible challenge of evacuating people to safety during simultaneous catastrophic events.The sudden need to evacuate large numbers of people from severe flooding — also threatening to compromise a Dow chemical facility that uses a research reactor — during a time of national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, raises serious questions and concerns about the emergency response readiness and the viability of evacuation that might simultaneously include a radiological accident.

Michigan authorities were forced to face a “no-win compromise” between protecting the public from exposure to Covid-19 while at the same time moving people out of harm’s way after heavy rains caused failures at the Edenville and Sanford dams, leading to devastating floods.

The Dow plant insists there have been no chemical or radiological releases, but the situation will be evaluated once floodwaters recede. Fortunately, no full-scale commercial nuclear power plant was in the path of the Michigan floods.

Operating nuclear power stations are required by federal and state laws to maintain radiological emergency preparedness to protect populations within a ten-mile radius from the release of radioactivity following a serious nuclear accident. These measures include mass evacuations.

However, many communities around the nation’s 95 commercial reactors are presently sheltering-in-place at home as a protective action during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Michigan flooding has forced the relocation of thousands of citizens from their stay-at-home lockdown into the social distancing challenges of mass shelters. Evacuating tens of thousands from a likely more far-reaching radioactive cloud to mass shelters, as is presently planned during a nuclear emergency, raises difficult if not impossible choices under pandemic conditions.

In fact, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Sect.03.02 p.2) between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already obligates the federal government to re-exam radiological emergency plans around nuclear facilities specifically in response to a pandemic, and to identify any shortcomings, deficiencies and enhancements that might be needed under such conditions.

But to date, neither agency has taken the initiative to do so. In fact, the NRC actions are focused on relaxing safety measures required by operating licenses, resulting in extended work hours for reactor operators and security guards, and deferred safety inspections and repairs for as much as another 18 months. This makes an accident more likely.

Given what we are now seeing in Michigan, the NRC and FEMA should lose no time in reviewing their MOU and the viability of their radiological emergency plans, and take action to make any necessary enhancements or shut these nuclear facilities down.

Beyond Nuclear has identified two such actions under the MOU as vital to public health:

  • The NRC and FEMA must conduct a “Disaster Initiated Report”, as mandated by the MOU, on the adequacy of offsite radiological emergency response plans during the pandemic, and;
  • Federal and state response plans need to be bolstered by the immediate pre-distribution of potassium iodide (KI) tablets by direct delivery to every resident within the ten-mile radius of U.S. nuclear power stations, now, before any accident occurs. This is in accordance with disaster medicine expert recommendations including from the American Thyroid Association (ATA).
  • KI, if taken promptly in advance or shortly after exposure to radioactive iodine, is recognized by the US Food and Drug administration as a safe, inexpensive and effective prophylactic prevention for thyroid cancer and other developmental disorders caused by exposure to highly mobile iodine-131. Radioactive iodine is a gas released early in a serious nuclear accident.
  • KI is particularly important for the protection of infants, young children and pregnant women and should be readily on hand, according to the ATA and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    The ATA further recommends stockpiling KI tablets in schools, hospitals, police and fire stations from 10 miles out to 50 miles from every nuclear power plant. These institutions could then serve to pre-distribute KI free through the mail upon request to every home and business within 50 miles of an operating nuclear plant.

    KI is commonly used to iodize table salt in concentrations. When taken in tablet form, it saturates the thyroid with stable iodine and blocks the absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland.

  • KI only protects the thyroid. It does not protect other parts of the body, or prevent damage from other radioactive isotopes released during a nuclear power plant accident, such as cesium-137 or krypton or xenon gases. Ideally, it is used to provide protection to the thyroid — because iodine-131 can be the large and early radioactive exposure first to arrive — while people are still evacuating out of the oncoming radioactive fallout pathway.

    KI is a critical adjunct to evacuation, but it should not replace evacuation from a nuclear accident, even during a viral pandemic. If faced with an immediate threat to life, perhaps even a triple threat such as an extreme flood, a nuclear accident and Covid-19 exposure, evacuation must be the immediate decision.

    However, at least having KI tablets on hand provides for a reasonable protection from the radioactive iodine, a fundamental human right while seeking to shelter farther away from a nuclear accident.

    The prospect of a nuclear disaster prompting a mass evacuation during a viral pandemic reinforces the need for an energy policy focused on safe, clean and affordable renewable energy. It’s time to remove the added and unnecessary danger presented by the 95 nuclear reactors still operating in the US today and transition to a rapid phaseout before a nuclear emergency during a pandemic becomes a nightmarish reality.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | climate change, health, USA | Leave a comment

On weapons treaties US administration is blundering toward nuclear chaos


Fumbling the nuclear football: is Trump blundering to arms control chaos?

The president believes he alone can negotiate away nuclear weapons and win a Nobel prize – but he has quit three treaties and gutted his administration of experts, Guardian,   Julian Borger in Washington Sun 24 May 2020

The Trump administration signaled this week that it was ready to get back in the business of nuclear arms control. A newly appointed envoy, Marshall Billingslea, made his first public remarks to announce talks with Russia are about to resume.

“We have concrete ideas for our next interaction, and we’re finalizing the details as we speak,” Billingslea said.

The fact that this relaunch came on the same day that the US was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST) – the third withdrawal from an arms control agreement under the Trump presidency – underlined the contradictions at the heart of the administration’s approach towards nuclear weapons.

According to those who have worked for him on the issue, Trump is preoccupied with the existential threat of nuclear war, and resolved that he alone can conjure a grand arms control bargain that would save the planet – and win him the Nobel prize.

But at the same time, he is clearly thrilled by the destructive power that the US arsenal gives him, boasting about the size of his nuclear button, and a mystery “super duper” missile he this week claimed the US had up its sleeve.

Administration officials have been left to try to confect a coherent-sounding policy out of such contradictory impulses – so far without success.

“He believes only he has what it takes to make the big deal, if only everyone else – all the experts – would get out of his way,” a former senior official said. “But he just has no idea about how to make it happen.”

Billingslea, the new envoy, is not an arms control specialist. He previously served as the undersecretary for terrorist financing at the US Treasury and was nominated last year to the top human rights job at the state department – but that foundered amid controversy over his involvement in the post 9/11 torture programme . The arms control envoy job did not require Senate confirmation.

In his maiden speech as envoy, Billingslea made clear that if there were to be a new arms race, the US would win.

“We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion,” he said in a videoconference organised by the conservative Hudson Institute thinktank on Thursday. It was a statement of bravado as the US plunged into recession owing about $7tn in foreign debt, $1tn to China.

Billingslea argued Trump would succeed through his mastery of the art of the deal.

“The president has a long and successful career as a negotiator, and he’s a master at developing and using leverage,” he said, showing an early instinct for what it takes to keep your job in this administration.

So far, however, Trump has failed to negotiate a single arms control agreement. His flamboyant summitry with Kim Jong-un produced nothing, and the North Korean nuclear weapons programme has continued unabated. Meanwhile the president has taken the US out of three arms control agreements, leaving them dead, dying or maimed.

He walked out of the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, and the following year withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which had kept nuclear missiles out of Europe since the cold war. Then on Thursday, he confirmed the US was leaving the OST, agreed in 1992 as a means of building transparency and trust between Russia and the west through observation overflights of each other’s territory.

That may not be the end of Trump’s arms control demolition. The Senate never ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban treaty, which – partly as a result – has yet to come into force. But the US has signed it and observes a voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests.

Hawks in the administration, however, want a renunciation. At a high-level White House meeting last week, the suggestion was raised that the US carry out its first underground nuclear test since 1992, according to former officials. The proposal was resisted by the state and energy departments. A senior administration official told the Washington Post however the proposal is “very much an ongoing conversation.”

The only arms control agreement still in effect is the 2010 New Start treaty, which limits US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 each. It is due to expire in February but it can be extended for another five years. The Trump administration has not taken a position on whether it wants an extension, however.

“There’ll be plenty of time to look at the full range of options related to that treaty,” Billingslea said. At the same time he made clear he viewed New Start as being inadequate, criticising its verification requirements, its exclusion of non-strategic, shorter-range weapons – and, most importantly, the fact that it does not include China……

Arms control advocates in the administration believe that the insistence on China’s inclusion was originally pushed by Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, a lifelong opponent of arms control treaties, and his like-minded aide, Tim Morrison, as a means of killing off New Start.

……Disarmament advocates worry that even if Billingslea re-establishes regular contacts with Moscow, the US no longer has the diplomatic muscle to pursue substantive, complex arms negotiations because of the steady loss of experienced staff responsible for such negotiations.

“It’s not obvious they have a kind of a serious team in place to try and make that happen,” a western diplomat said.

“Three years after entering office, the Trump administration lacks a coherent set of goals, a strategy to achieve them, or the personnel or effective policy process to address the most complex set of nuclear risks in US history,” a group of arms control experts wrote in a report this month by the disarmament group, Global Zero. “Put simply, the current US administration is blundering toward nuclear chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.”

May 25, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Britain will have to decide whether it wants nuclear power stations funded — and powered — by China.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Burma, business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s Plan to spend Russia and China ‘into oblivion’ in arms race will bankrupt only America 

May 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment