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Swiss nuclear power station shut down, due to a technical problem

Technical problem shuts down Swiss nuclear power station, SwissInfoCh, 29 Dec 19, The Leibstadt nuclear power station in northern Switzerland has been disconnected from the power grid and shut down because of a technical fault.

Once the cause has been clarified, the plant will be put back into operation as soon as possible, the operator said. It is not clear when that will be. ……

Transducers replaced 

Two reactor shutdowns had already occurred at Leibstadt in April and May 2019. Both had the same cause. According to ENSI a malfunctioning transducer led to incorrect values in a channel of the main steam pressure measuring system. These triggered a rapid closure of the turbine inlet valves.

……Saturday’s shutdown comes a week after the 47-year-old Mühleberg nuclear power plant near Bern was permanently switched off. It was the first Swiss nuclear power reactor to be decommissioned. https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/leibstadt_technical-problem-shuts-down-swiss-nuclear-power-station/45461886

December 30, 2019 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Switzerland to shut down uneconomic Mühleberg nuclear reactor

December 19, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Switzerland’s old Beznau nuclear power plant

October 17, 2019 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Court orders Swiss authorities to publish arms export data

Court orders Swiss authorities to publish arms export data  https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/war-materiel_court-orders-swiss-authorities-to-publish-arms-export-data/44918258 APRIL 24, 2019 Switzerland’s highest court has ruled that the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) must give a Swiss journalist company data on arms exports.

The Federal Court rejected an appeal by SECO which had refused to transfer detailed information to a journalist from the WOZ newspaper on companies that had filed arms exports requests in 2014.

In a decision published on Wednesdayexternal link, the court backed an earlier ruling by the Federal Administrative Court on behalf of the WOZ journalist, who had filed a freedom of information request.

Last March, the Federal Administrative Court had ruled in favour of the journalist, stating that it was public interest to ensure greater transparency and information on arms exports and that the media played an important role in holding the authorities to account in this regard.

SECO had argued that, in accordance with the law on war materiel, only the parliamentary oversight committee should be sent the details on Swiss arms exports. It said that publishing details on arms exports could also displease importing countries.

However, the Federal Court said publishing such information was not a threat for Switzerland’s interests. If there is no business secret involved, SECO must publish the firms’ names.

Hot topic

Rules governing arms exports and calls for greater transparency remain a hot topic in Switzerland. In 2008 the government tightened rules on arms exports; in 2014 it relaxed them on behalf of parliament.

In October 2018 the government abandoned plans to ease Swiss weapons exports following a public outcry.

In December 2018 campaigners started collecting signatures for a people’s initiative to prevent the Swiss government from relaxing rules for exporting arms to conflict-ridden states.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Legal, media, Switzerland | Leave a comment

A nuclear accident in one of Switzerland’s old reactors would be devastating to the health of other European countries

What a Swiss nuclear disaster could do to Europe, Swissinfo.ch , By Susan Misicka, MAY 21, 2019 – If there were to be a serious accident at one of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors, many of the radiation victims would be residents of other countries.

A Swiss-led study has calculated the potential effect of nuclear meltdowns on the health of people living nearby. Its focus is on how meteorology and geography would influence the movement of a radioactive cloud.

For example, this clip [on original] illustrates how the weather conditions on January 19, 2017 would have shaped the aftermath of an accident at the Gösgen reactor between Bern and Zurich.

The study was led by Frédéric-Paul Piguet at Institut Biosphèreexternal link, an interdisciplinary research institute in Geneva. Piguet and his team examined the accident risk at Switzerland’s five nuclear power plants, which fall between Fukushima and Chernobyl in terms of size. This includes 50-year-old Beznau I in northern Switzerland, the oldest nuclear reactor in the world.

The research team used the weather conditions throughout 2017 to calculate the fallout of disasters at the Swiss reactors and concluded that 16-24 million Europeans would be affected by a nuclear meltdown in Switzerland, which itself has a population of 8.5 million. They reckoned that 12,500-31,100 people would die on account of cancer and heart problems caused by the radiation. On top of that, there would be additional health problems, including genetic maladies and sterility.

According to the study, wet weather would nearly double the number of severe radiation-related illnesses. In 2017, there were 36 such “bad weather” days. The study is being presented in detail on Tuesday in Bern……….  https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/worst-case-scenarios_what-a-swiss-nuclear-disaster-could-do-to-europe/44977606

May 23, 2019 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Switzerland’s nuclear meltdown in 1969

Historic nuclear accident dashed Swiss atomic dreams  https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/radioactive_historic-nuclear-accident-dashed-swiss-atomic-dreams/44696398  JAN 21, 2019 

Fifty years ago today, a nuclear meltdown occurred in Switzerland’s first experimental nuclear power station. Built in an underground chamber in Lucens in the western part of the country, it was the site of the worst nuclear accident in Swiss history.

The plant was opened in 1962, with the aim of not only producing energy, but also allowing Switzerland to develop a reactor bearing the “Made in Switzerland” label and enabling experiments with nuclear energy.

But these plans were pushed aside when disaster struck in the plant’s reactor cavity on January 21, 1969. A pressure tube burst which created a power surge leading to the reactor malfunctioning and an explosion. Luckily, a member of staff who was scheduled to be working on the reactor at the time was found safe and sound elsewhere. The plant’s underground design also prevented people and the environment from being harmed.

The accident’s severity registered at 5 out of a possible 7. The concentration of leaked cooling gas that was behind the door of the reactor cavity was lethal. It wasn’t even possible to measure the radioactivity because it was above the maximum level on the measuring instruments.

But the reactor cavern was not completely sealed: the radioactivity spread to the control room 100 metres away. In the machine cavern closest to the reactor, a team involved in shutting down the turbine had been exposed to radiation. A witness report said that since the decontamination showers had been out of order, the workers had to shower in a temporary facility without hot water.

The government ordered an inquiry into the incident and a report was eventually published ten years later. The Swiss Association for Atomic Energy found there had been no major negligence on the part of the plant’s managers. The cause of the incident was corrosion in a pressure tube, brought about by humidity.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | history, incidents, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Swiss Government under pressure to sign nuclear ban treaty

Government under pressure to sign nuclear ban treaty, SWISS INFO.CH DEC 12, 2018 Parliament has urged the Swiss government to ratify a United Nations accord banning nuclear arms and to submit it to a political debate for approval.The Senate on Wednesday followed the House of Representatives approving a formal call thereby overruling a government decision earlier in the year not to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Supporters said failure to sign the accord sent a negative message to the international community and undermined Switzerland’s credibility as a champion of humanitarian law………

The TPNW will enter into force when at least 50 countries ratify it. Signatories have obligations not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The agreement also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and assistance to any country involved in prohibited activities.

So far, 67 countries have approved the treaty and another 19 have ratified it. https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/parliament_government-under-pressure-to-sign-nuclear-ban-treaty/44613098

December 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, Switzerland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Switzerland’s Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant cuts production because of hot weather

Swiss nuclear power plant forced to reduce production as warmer waters in river struggle to cool reactors  https://www.thelocal.ch/20180727/swiss-nuclear-power-plant-forced-to-reduce-production-as-warmer-waters-in-river-struggle-to-cool-reactors  The Local, news@thelocal.ch @thelocalswitzer 27 July 2018

July 28, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Malformed insects found around Swiss nuclear power plants

Abnormal bugs found around Swiss nuclear power plants http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2018/7/11/abnormal-bugs-found-around-swiss-nuclear-power-plants.html  A new study, believed to be the first to investigate health effects on insects near operating nuclear power plants, has found a highly significant twofold increase in morphological malformations on true bugs in the 5 km vicinity of three Swiss nuclear power stations.

The study — Morphological Abnormalities in True Bugs (Heteroptera) near Swiss Nuclear Power Stations — was conducted by Alfred Körblein, a physicist and authority on the health impacts of low-dose radiation, and Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, who has studied and painted insects affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (You can read more about Hesse-Honegger’s work here.) Earlier studies on wildlife around Chernobyl and Fukushima found large and highly statistically significant incidences of radiation-induced mutation rates.  Due to its ecological design, however, the Swiss study cannot answer the question whether the effect is caused by radiation from nuclear power plants. However, given the results, the researchers are calling for future studies to confirm their findings. Read the study.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | environment, Reference, Switzerland | Leave a comment

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar – huge solar-powered ship

Business Insider 26th May 2018, This huge seacraft is developed by Swiss company PlanetSolar, who wanted to
create a vessel which was environmentally friendly and produced
zero-emissions. Developed in 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the
largest solar-powered boat ever built. Its 500 solar panels can provide 120
kilowatts of energy, allowing the ship to travel around 5 knots.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/this-huge-seacraft-is-entirely-powered-by-solar-energy-planet-solar-2018-5

May 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Swizerland’s Health Office recalls jewellery contaminated with radioactive thorium and uranium

Radioactive jewellery recalled in Switzerland  swissinfo, 7 May 18 A Swiss company has sold esoteric “negative-ion” jewellery containing high levels of uranium and thorium. The Federal Office of Public Health has written to people who have bought the jewellery, telling them to send it to the health office.

Health office spokesman Daniel Dauwalder on Monday confirmed media reports that an unnamed company had imported rock powder from China with levels of the two radioactive substances that were harmful for skin cells and the outer skin layer.

The health office said if the bracelets, necklaces and earrings were worn for several hours a day over a year, the skin’s dose threshold of 50 millisieverts could be exceeded. In the long term, the risk of skin cancer would increase, it added.

….The radioactive rock powder was discovered by German customs guards, who informed the Federal Office of Public Health.

Dauwalder said the office had already received many items of jewellery, which would be disposed of accordingly. The jewellery must not end up in the normal rubbish, the office said.https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/uranium-earrings_radioactive-jewellery-recalled-in-switzerland/44101980

 

May 9, 2018 Posted by | health, Switzerland, thorium | Leave a comment

Westinghouse closing down nuclear stations in Sweden

Nucnet 16th March 2018, US-based Westinghouse Electric Company has completed a decommissioning
project at the Barseback nuclear power station in Sweden that included the
underwater segmentation and packaging of the reactor vessel internals.
Westinghouse said it had also carried out upfront engineering studies, and
equipment manufacturing and qualification for the project, which was part
of the first dismantling and decommissioning of a commercial nuclear power
plant in Sweden.

Barseback-2, a 600-MW boiling water reactor unit, began
commercial operation in July 1977 and was permanently shut down in May
2005, with decommissioning work beginning in August 2016. The closure
decision, announced in October 2004, followed what the government described
as failure to reach an agreement with the power industry on the details and
timetable for a voluntary phaseout of Sweden’s nuclear facilities Its
sister unit, Barseback-1, was permanently shut down in November 1999.
Westinghouse said it is now due to begin decommissioning work on
Barseback-1, with an estimated completion date of April 2019.

https://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2018/03/16/westinghouse-completes-decommissioning-project-at-sweden-s-barseback

March 22, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Sweden agonises over nuclear waste burial project that no community wants

GDF Watch 2nd Feb 2018, A week on from the Environmental Court’s ruling, and it would seem nobody in Sweden is any the wiser about what happens next. The general view seems to be that this is a hiccup, and everything will eventually continue as planned.

But don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, and at least not until after this autumn’s national elections in Sweden. Anders Lillienau, who chaired the Court’s Hearings, is reported as saying that while they had significant concerns about the safety of the copper canisters, the Court did not otherwise see any barriers to the safety of the repository.

The Court has asked SKB, the organisation responsible for the repository, to provide further information on copper canisters to address their concerns. It is understood that SKB are preparing such information, and reportedly told a community meeting in Östhammar earlier this week that they intend to provide that information later this year.

Anders Lillenau has also made clear the ball is now in the Government’s court: “In the
end, it is still the case that the Government may make the overall assessment whether or not this will be allowed.” A Swedish Government spokesman, Magnus Blücher, explained that this was a complex issue and it was too soon to say what the Government might do, or when.

Back in Östhammar, the local referendum planned for 4 March has been postponed. The referendum was advisory, and any final decision on agreeing to host the repository has to be taken by the local council. A spokesman for Östhammar Municipality says that it is too soon to know when the referendum and council vote will now take place.

Local resident Åsa Lindstrand chairs a resident’s group opposed to the repository. She told the local newspaper that she was pleased but surprised by the Court’s decision, but feels little will change:

“Actually, nobody else in Sweden wants this nuclear fuel repository, so the rest of Sweden would probably be lucky if someone takes it. The municipality is so marinated by SKB that it is not easy to
say ‘no’. For us who live here, it’s more about noise and traffic than about the copper capsules, it’s happening before they get there at all.” Her sense of pyrhhic victory is shared by environmentalist Johan
Swahn, who added, “but only if the government stays passive and the copper canister issues raised by the Court become a matter solely for SKB.” His organisation, MKG, has raised concerns about the long-term
safety of copper canisters over many years.

While delighted that the Court accepted the case presented by leading corrosion scientists, he now wants
the Swedish Government to guarantee an open scientific re-evaluation of the issues relating to copper canister corrosion.  http://www.gdfwatch.org.uk/2018/02/02/sweden-update/

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Switzerland, wastes | Leave a comment

Swiss nuclear station closed due to faulty AREVA fuel rods

Faulty Areva fuel rods sent to nuclear reactors, Swiss plant closed

* Areva sent faulty fuel roads to several nuclear plants

* Says no danger, declines to identify which reactors

* Swiss Leibstadt closed, no comment on EDF reactors

 By Geert De Clercq and John Revill PARIS/ZURICH, Nov 17 (Reuters) – French nuclear group Areva delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors but said on Friday that there was no safety risk.   Swiss media, however, reported that a Swiss nuclear plant was closed due to problems with the rods.

Areva said in a statement that following the discovery of a leaking fuel rod at its Paimboeuf, France, zirconium-tube manufacturing plant, tests had showed that some fuel rods which should have been rejected were delivered to utilities companies.

Fuel rods which already have been loaded in reactors can continue operating without impairing plant safety and none of the affected rods have caused leaks, Areva said.

An Areva spokesman said that utilities operating the faulty tubes had been informed but declined say to which companies were involved, citing “industrial confidentiality”.

He declined to say whether French utility EDF, Areva’s main customer, had received faulty rods. EDF has had to close several reactors in the past two years due to manufacturing problems at Areva foundry Creusot Forge.

Swiss broadcaster SRF reported that the Leibstadt nuclear plant in northern Switzerland has been closed till the end of the year because of faulty Areva fuel rods.

A spokeswoman for the Leibstadt plant confirmed that a supplier had informed the utility that there was a problem with 16 new fuel rods, but declined to identify the supplier.

She added that the supplier later also said that six fuel rods which had already been installed were also faulty. The rods – which hold the uranium pellets that generate heat in the reactor core – had been installed in the last three-four years.

The rods that were already installed had not caused any problems but we removed them as a precaution. There was no safety issue,” she said.

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate has been informed and that the plant – which had been set to reopen Nov. 7 following maintenance – will remain closed till end December.

Leibstadt, built in 1984, is one of five nuclear power plants in Switzerland. The site, which is owned by a consortium of Axpo, Alpiq and BKW, is the biggest electricity supplier in Switzerland, providing power to 2 million homes in the country. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq in Paris and John Revill in Zurich Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pesticides-basf-se/u-s-soybeans-escape-yield-losses-after-signs-of-chemical-damage-basf-idUSKBN1DH1QT

November 17, 2017 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Swiss government worried about obsolescent cooling circuits of nearby French nuclear reactors

TV5Monde 4th Nov 2017, [Machine Translation] The French nuclear power plant Bugey is located only
70 km from Geneva. The Swiss Federal Government of Geneva is concerned
about the obsolescence of the cooling circuits of the four reactors of this
nuclear power plant, one of the oldest in the French park. Interview with
Antonio Hidgers, Minister of Energy of Geneva.
http://information.tv5monde.com/info/surete-nucleaire-geneve-s-inquiete-de-la-centrale-de-bugey-201543

November 8, 2017 Posted by | safety, Switzerland | Leave a comment