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

Chernobyl’s spent nuclear fuel to be stored (Holtec’s in on this one, too)

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May 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s present nuclear reactors – “time bombs” – at risk of another Chernobyl

Chernobyl (2019) S01 | Episode 01 | 1:23:45 | Opening Scene Suicide

One of the main risks stems from the use of ill-fitting US-made fuel rods. Some Ukrainian power plants are fueled by fuel rods produced by the US nuclear contractor Westinghouse. They are shaped differently than those produced in Russia, and incompatibilities have caused problems before.

“Westinghouse fuel was first used in Ukrainian nuclear power plants in 2012, and even before the first fuel cycle was over it became evident they were not compatible, and the fuel assemblies had to be extracted,”

As Chernobyl nuclear disaster feeds TV drama, is Ukraine looking at a real-life re-run? Rt.com 19 May, 2019 This month, HBO has launched its new historical drama ‘Chernobyl’, looking back at one of the worst nuclear disasters in history – but for Ukrainians, it’s also a chilling reminder that history could repeat itself.

US cable giant HBO is reviving the 33-year-old memory of one of the worst – and the most infamous – nuclear incidents in the world. It overlays history with personal drama and intrigue in its fresh mini-series – but what the general viewer might not realize is that it’s too early for Ukraine to consign nuclear problems to history and fiction. The name ‘Chernobyl’ is being brought up again in reference to the woes plaguing Ukrainian atomic energy today.

Ukrainian nuclear power plants have become a “time bomb,” Rada member Sergey Shakhov recently said. Reactors – some of them near densely populated cities – are aging without proper oversight or funding, contracts with Russia are broken, and homegrown nuclear experts are fleeing to find better opportunities abroad.

Emergencies have plagued at least two major Ukrainian nuclear power plants, causing a series of stoppages in operations in the past three years. Some reactors at the Khmelnitsky power plant (located in a city with almost 40,000 inhabitants) had to be halted at least three times since July 2016. A main pump malfunction at the Zaporozhye power plant (close to the regional center and its 750,000+ inhabitants) forced one of its six reactors to stop in September 2018, triggering a local panic. Soon after that, two more reactors were consecutively stopped for planned repairs. They still remain halted, though one of them was supposed to be restarted early in 2019.

Those are just the instances which received attention in the media, revealed either by MPs or by nuclear plant operators.

The situation is an ecological disaster in the making, Shakhov warned in an interview to the TV channel NewsOne. Ukrainian nuclear power plants, he says, have become a “mini-Chernobyl.”

But how did a country that relies on nuclear power for 60 percent of its electricity allow its power plants to degrade so far?

Russia could help, but Kiev doesn’t want it

Ukrainian nuclear facilities were built in the Soviet Union, and for the past decades were maintained in collaboration with Russia. But after the 2014 coup, new Kiev authorities have made every effort to break up links with Moscow, including severing the nuclear cooperation agreement in 2017.

That deprived Ukraine of Russian expertise, something the aging reactors desperately need, says Stanislav Mitrakhovich, an expert on energy policy in the National Energy Security Fund (NESF) and in the Financial University under the government of the Russian Federation.

“Many power blocks are already quite old, their resources were already prolonged according to a special procedure, but this extension cannot be done infinitely. And it is not too easy to do without the help of the Russian specialist who were previously responsible for these tasks.”

Ukraine could come have up with a solution by itself, but “it should have started 10 years ago,” says Ukrainian political scientist Mikhail Pogrebinsky, the director of the Kiev Center of Political Research and Conflict Studies.

“Of course Kiev doesn’t have the money to repair and upgrade the reactors, but there are still ways to solve this. One of the most efficient ones lies in Moscow, in the Kurchatov nuclear research institute. But considering the relations, Ukraine won’t go there for help.”

The problem has fallen victim to Kiev’s politics. “Ukrainian authorities have been doing everything with political gain in mind, and that is one of the reasons things have been malfunctioning and additional risks were created for the reactors… Equipment has to be checked and maintained, and that, again, means cooperating with Russia,” says another Ukrainian political scientist, Aleksandr Dudchak.

The immediate danger

Despite the apocalyptic buzz, predicting a new Chernobyl is taking things too far, Ukrainian experts believe. The danger is no less real, however, even if it’s less dramatic in scale. The reactors might not be about to melt down and send a massive radioactive cloud billowing into the atmosphere, like Chernobyl did – instead, they will simply stop working, plunging large parts of Ukraine into a blackout.

The immediate danger

Despite the apocalyptic buzz, predicting a new Chernobyl is taking things too far, Ukrainian experts believe. The danger is no less real, however, even if it’s less dramatic in scale. The reactors might not be about to melt down and send a massive radioactive cloud billowing into the atmosphere, like Chernobyl did – instead, they will simply stop working, plunging large parts of Ukraine into a blackout.

“There is no money, there are no contracts, the contract with [Russian nuclear energy giant] Rosatom has been broken – this is a dead-end situation that Ukrainian authorities will have to solve, and solve without delay, because under certain conditions we could have energy shortages, within five to seven to 10 years.”

International financial institutions have been supporting Ukraine with funds, but amid the more pressing day-to-day needs and the rampant corruption of the Poroshenko presidency, their effect on the restoration of dilapidated power plants is yet to be seen.

Basic incompatibilities

One of the main risks stems from the use of ill-fitting US-made fuel rods. Some Ukrainian power plants are fueled by fuel rods produced by the US nuclear contractor Westinghouse. They are shaped differently than those produced in Russia, and incompatibilities have caused problems before.

“Westinghouse fuel was first used in Ukrainian nuclear power plants in 2012, and even before the first fuel cycle was over it became evident they were not compatible, and the fuel assemblies had to be extracted,” Boris Martsinkevich, editor-in-chief of the Geoenergetics magazine, told RT.

Westinghouse fuel deliveries were restarted in 2015, and it’s unclear whether it’s been made more compatible with the Soviet-built equipment. If they were not, the fuel is “fully capable of halting the work of the nuclear power plants,” even though it won’t cause any mass hazardous incident.

Ukraine’s ailing economy, apart from directly depriving power plants of necessary maintenance and upgrade funds, has caused a ‘brain drain’ as collateral damage.

“Experts working at Ukrainian nuclear power plants are leaving. The situation in the country is unstable, and it’s been getting worse for five years… a lot of experts have moved out of the country, including to Russia and China, as well as other countries. Soon there’ll be no-one left to maintain the power plants,” Dudchak warns.

Irresponsible waste storage

Back when Ukraine was cooperating with Russia, Rosatom was contracted to take back and recycle spent fuel rods. Westinghouse doesn’t do that, so Kiev partnered with another US-based company – Holtec International – to build a shelter for the waste in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, effectively turning it into a radioactive dump……Westinghouse fuel deliveries were restarted in 2015, and it’s unclear whether it’s been made more compatible with the Soviet-built equipment. If they were not, the fuel is “fully capable of halting the work of the nuclear power plants,” even though it won’t cause any mass hazardous incident.

Ukraine’s ailing economy, apart from directly depriving power plants of necessary maintenance and upgrade funds, has caused a ‘brain drain’ as collateral damage.

“Experts working at Ukrainian nuclear power plants are leaving. The situation in the country is unstable, and it’s been getting worse for five years… a lot of experts have moved out of the country, including to Russia and China, as well as other countries. Soon there’ll be no-one left to maintain the power plants,” Dudchak warns……… https://www.rt.com/news/459661-ukraine-chernobyl-nuclear-blackout/

May 20, 2019 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear accident: how it happened, and the aftermath

In the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl, a total of 31 firemen and plant workers died. Some of their bodies were so radioactive, they had to be buried in lead coffins. A report by the World Health Organization estimated that 600,000 people within the Soviet Union were exposed to high levels of radiation, and of those, 4,000 would die. Those who lived near the Chernobyl site have reported increased instances of thyroid cancer, and they have an increased risk of developing leukemia.

700 Million Years

The Chernobyl accident is one of only two nuclear energy accidents that is classified as a “Level 7 Event,” the highest classification. The other is 2011’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. At the lowest level of Reactor 4 lies the famous “elephant’s foot”, a several-meter wide mass of corium that is still giving off lethal amounts of radiation. The half-life of radioactive elements is defined as the amount of time it takes for the radioactivity to fall to half its original value. The half life of U-235 is 700 million years. 

May 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

UK to become the first major economy to embrace a legally-binding net zero emissions goal

Business Green 10th May 2019 The UK government is preparing to announce that it will broadly embrace the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change and introduce a new target to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, according to reports from news agency Bloomberg. Citing officials familiar with the plan, the agency
reported the new target is likely to be announced within two months. Such a fast tracked timetable could potentially allow for amendments to theClimate Change Act to be passed before Parliament’s summer recess,especially given the limited nature of the government’s legislative agenda in the wake of the delay to Brexit.

Since the CCC’s wide-ranging report was released last week, leading Ministers have repeatedly hinted they want to see the government adopt the target as quickly as possible and ensure the UK becomes the first major economy to embrace a legally-binding net zero emissions goal.

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3075426/reports-uk-prepares-to-fast-track-new-net-zero-target

May 13, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The International Atomic Energy Agency itself predicted 4,000 cancer deaths from the Chernobyl nuclear accident

5 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Chernobyl, Live Science, By Laura Geggel, Associate Editor | May 9, 2019 The Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded more than three decades ago, in 1986, but you can watch it unfold on HBO’s TV miniseries “Chernobyl,” which premiered earlier this week.

While most people know the general story — that due to human error, the nuclear reactor exploded and unleashed radioactive material across Europe — few know the nitty-gritty details. Here are five weird facts you probably didn’t know about Chernobyl. [Images: Chernobyl, Frozen in Time]

About 30,000 people were near Chernobyl’s reactor when it exploded on April 26, 1986. Those exposed to the radiation are thought to have received about 45 rem (rem is a unit of radiation dosage), on average, which is similar to the average dose received by survivors after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, according to the book “Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2008) by Richard Muller, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

While 45 rem is not enough to cause radiation sickness (which usually occurs at about 200 rem), it still increases the risk of cancer by 1.8%, Muller wrote. “That risk should lead to about 500 cancer deaths in addition to the 6,000 normal cancers from natural causes.”

However, a 2006 estimate from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is associated with the United Nations, calculated much higher cancer fatalities. The IAEA looked at the total distribution of the radiation, which reached across Europe and even to the United States, and estimated that the cumulative radiation dose from Chernobyl was about 10 million rem, which would have led to an additional 4,000 cancer deaths from the accident, Muller wrote…… https://www.livescience.com/65450-weird-chernobyl-facts.html

May 11, 2019 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Four decades later, the Russian nuclear disaster—now the subject of an HBO miniseries—is still reverberating

Chernobyl (2019) | What Is Chernobyl? | HBO

Chernobyl Isn’t a Story About an Accident—It’s a Story About Endless Impact

Four decades later, the Russian nuclear disaster—now the subject of an HBO miniseries—is still reverberating, The Ringer, By an immense tradition of fiction about nuclear war or radiological mayhem. But somewhat paradoxically, a nuclear disaster, in and of itself, doesn’t make for particularly interesting television or film. You can’t fight radiation the way you can fire, or hide from it like you can a tornado. In the trailer for HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries, which premieres Monday night, Jared Harris’s Valery Legasov compares a radioactive atom to a bullet. Indeed, radiation kills instantly, though the process of dying from radiation poisoning can take anywhere from days to decades. By the time a nuclear accident happens, there’s nothing to do but limit the damage it causes.

A grim ‘Chernobyl’ shows what happens when lying is standard and authority is abused

HBO’s miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster resonates with a crucial warning. (subscribers only) Washington Post 6 May 19

 

Chernobyl Disaster – growing up in the fallout zone, Business Insider, 6 May 19

Janina Scarlet was just under 3 years old when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up.

  • Chernobyl was the worst nuclear-reactor disaster in history. The explosion spread toxic radiation over large swaths of Ukraine, including Scarlet’s hometown.

  • Scarlet said she was often sick as a child, with a weak immune system and frequent nose bleeds. She still has migraines and occasional seizures……..

Although it’s been 33 years since the Chernobyl explosion, the health consequences of that radiation exposure still plague people who lived near the plant. The Chernobyl disaster has been directly blamed for fewer than 50 deaths from radiation poisoning, but many researchers say the full death tally from the Chernobyl explosion and its lingering effects may never be known. The World Health Organization estimates that eventually, the disaster may become responsible for some 5,000 cancer deaths. …….

Kids who lived near the Chernobyl site have increased instances of thyroid cancer, and adults who helped with the reactor cleanup are more at risk of developing leukemia.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | incidents, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Negative ecological impacts of low dose radiation

Chernobyl at 33: More evidence of slow-moving ecological catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear, April 19       
Following more than a decade of research indicating negative ecological impacts of low dose radiation, a new study points to reduced success in breeding among a type of rodent living in contaminated areas of Chernobyl. The more radiation, the greater the impact; and what would be normal interactions with the natural ecology can make this impact even worse, which is why lab experiments can’t replicate it fully. These impacts “can lead to significant consequences for individuals, populations, and likely even entire ecosystems.”
Such revelations bode poorly for people who might resettle in areas contaminated by radiological catastrophes. Discovering what happens to people in these areas has been made more difficult because whole databases of radiation doses to humans  have gone missing and research has focused mostly on catastrophic impacts rather than more subtle impacts. This is according to a new book “Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future” by Kate Brown, interviewed on Nuclear Hotseat. Brown also reasons that before we think of using nuclear technology to address climate change, we need to figure out what radiation exposure from nuclear weapons and power has already done to our health.

April 27, 2019 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Life as a liquidator after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster

 

Hard duty in the Chernobyl zone,  Life as a liquidator after the 1986 nuclear disaster

Cathie Sullivan, a New Mexico activist, worked with Chernobyl liquidator, Natalia Manzurova, during three trips to the former Soviet Union in the early 2000s. Natalia was one of 750,000 Soviet citizens sent to deal with the Chernobyl catastrophe. Natalia is now in her early 60s and has long struggled with multiple health issues. She was treated last year for a brain tumor that was found to be cancerous. A second tumor has since been found and funds were recently raised among activists around the world to help with the costs of this latest treatment. Natalia and Cathie together authored a short book, “Hard Duty, A woman’s experience at Chernobyl” describing Natalia’s harrowing four and a half years as a Chernobyl liquidator. What follows is an excerpt from that book with some minor edits.

By Natalia Manzurova

When I tell people that I was at Chernobyl they often ask if I had to go. My training is in radiation biology and I was born in a city that was part of the secret Soviet nuclear weapons complex, much like Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the first A-bomb was built. People from my city considered it a duty to go to Chernobyl, just as New York City firefighters went to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Because of the radiation danger to women of child-bearing age, those under 30 did not go, but being 35 in 1987, I began my 4.5 years of work at Chernobyl. ………..

Sad experiences

In 1987, when I first arrived at Chernobyl, my group of about 20 scientists from the Ozyersk radio-ecology lab started a Department of Environmental Decontamination and Re-Cultivation. We used a 10-acre greenhouse complex for our plant studies, built before the accident, and for office space we used an empty, nearby kindergarten……..

Like many liquidators I ‘wear’ a ‘Chernobyl necklace’, the scar on the lower throat from thyroid-gland surgery.* While working in the exclusion zone I experienced slurred speech, memory loss and poor balance. One of my bosses and I realized that we were forgetting appointments and obligations and agreed to help each other remember who, what, where and when. I had severe amnesia for a time and read letters I wrote my mother to help fill in forgotten years.

The Chernobyl accident is not over, in fact its damaging effects on people and the land will only taper off slowly for generations—lingering harm that is almost certainly unique to nuclear accidents.

Natalia Manzurova, with fellow Russian activist, Nadezhda Kutepova, was awarded the 2011 Nuclear-Free Future Award in the category of Resistance.

Print copies of Hard Copy are available from Cathie Sullivan. Please email her at: cathiesullivan100@gmail.com. more  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2019/04/21/hard-duty-in-the-chernobyl-zone/

April 22, 2019 Posted by | employment, PERSONAL STORIES, social effects, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko issues nuclear decree, demands new reactors be built

Poroshenko issues nuclear decree, demands new reactors be built Kyiv Post ,By Jack Laurenson. April 6 at As the 2019 presidential election continues to dominate Ukraine’s news cycle, incumbent head of state Petro Poroshenko has quietly issued a decree ordering his ministers to urgently act on nuclear energy.The April 4 decree instructs the Cabinet of Ministers to “immediately” submit a bill to parliament on the placement, design and construction of two new reactors at the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant, located some 300 kilometers west of Kyiv.

Poroshenko appears committed to having the new reactors approved and built as soon as possible. The decree highlights Poroshenko’s resolve to ease financial burdens on ….. (subscribers only) https://www.kyivpost.com/business/poroshenko-issues-nuclear-decree-demands-new-reactors-be-built.html

April 8, 2019 Posted by | politics, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Photographer captures the eerie abandoned Chernobyl exclusion zone

News.com.au 23rd Feb 2019 , Eerie photographs taken recently show how nature is reclaiming an abandoned
town 33 years after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The harrowing
pictures show what is left of the towns of Chernobyl and Pripyat in
Ukraine, with gasmasks scattered about and dolls left abandoned in a day
care centre. Other captivating photos show an abandoned supermarket with a
shopping trolley outside and a rusting bumper car. Dutch photographer Erwin
Zwaan, 47, travelled to the 28-kilometre exclusion zone around Chernobyl in
Northern Ukraine in 2016 and 2018 to photograph the ghostly ruins for his
book Chernobyl – 30+ Years Without Humans. The power plant and nearby town
Pripyat — once home to 50,000 people — remain more or less untouched
three decades after they were evacuated in 1986.

ttps://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/natural-wonders/haunting-photos-show-dozens-of-gas-masks-littering-chernobyl-as-nature-reclaims-nuclear-plant-blast-site/news-story/bb8e136f596b754ddf45430c2366d1e4

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear safety agreement with Ukraine is a nuclear marketing exercise

Silver Post 17th Nov 2018 The signing of the agreement Ukraine-the United States on nuclear safety
will provide America the opportunity to sell the Ukrainians their nuclear
fuel. That is one of the main goals of this agreement is commercial.
https://sivpost.com/the-agreement-will-allow-the-united-states-to-make-ukraine-a-market-for-nuclear-fuel-scientist/33242/

November 19, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Ukraine, USA | 2 Comments

Radioactivity induced mutations in the animals of Chernobyl

November 5, 2018 Posted by | environment, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Radiation caused the deaths of 4,000 clean-up workers, and 70,000 disabled at Chernobyl nuclear disaster

 THE MELTDOWN AT the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine on April 26, 1986 was a massive tragedy that ultimately claimed at least 9,000 lives and affected millions more. It also created a toxic mess. Radioactive particles choked the atmosphere and rained down on cities, forests, and roads. In the immediate aftermath, fires had to be put out, debris cleared, contaminated waste buried deep underground.It was, obviously, not an easy task. Remote-controlled bulldozers and other robots proved too weak for the job, their circuitry fried by radiation. So the Soviet Union sent in humans—600,000 of them. These brave firefighters, soldiers, janitors, and miners—the so-called “liquidators”—did everything from hosing down streets to felling trees to building a concrete sarcophagus around the exposed reactor … all the while charged subatomic particles ravaged their cells and shortened their life spans.

“No personal sacrifice was too much for these men and women,” says photographer Tom Skipp. Moved by their story, he visited Slavutych, Ukraine in April to photograph survivors, now in their golden years. The portraits make up his haunting series The Liquidators.

“The liquidators were sent into impossible scenarios where even machines failed,” Skipp says. “Each has a human story seemingly entangled in the complex history of communism and duty to the motherland….

On average, the liquidators were exposed to 120 millisieverts of radiation, about 1,200 times the amount you get from a simple x-ray. In the years following the meltdown, more than 4,000 of them died from radiation-caused cancers, and another 70,000 were disabled by exposure. Still, the liquidators shared a steadfast sense of duty to their government and fellow citizens, even when they didn’t agree with the ruling system or found it difficult to talk about. “I think that there’s a certain amount of fear aligned with speaking out against any wrongdoings that were committed,” Skipp says. “Many live on a state pension.”

Skipp photographed the men and women with his Fujifilm GFX 50 in their homes, as well as at at a local museum dedicated to explaining the history of Chernobyl and Slavutych. Many of the portraits capture them standing proudly but solemnly before an image of the destroyed reactor and beneath a clock stopped at the exact time of the meltdown—the moment that defined their lives forever. https://www.wired.com/story/chernobyl-liquidators-photo-gallery/

September 10, 2018 Posted by | deaths by radiation, health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Solar power plant operating within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Positive News 24th July 2018 , A solar power plant has started producing electricity within the Chernobyl
Exclusion Zone, marking a new epoch for the notorious nuclear facility in
Ukraine. The €1m (£870,441), one-megawatt solar farm went live in May
and generates enough electricity to power a medium-sized village.
https://www.positive.news/2018/environment/33949/nuclear-wasteland-is-home-to-worlds-unlikeliest-green-energy-experiment/

July 27, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New report: economic benefit in stopping renewal of the Trident missiles system,and creating many more jobs

Morning Star 27th June 2018, A PIONEERING new report argues that thousands more engineering jobs could
be created by stopping the renewal of the Trident missiles system. The
report, Defence Diversification: International Learning for Trident Jobs,
was published today by the Nuclear Education Trust.

It examines various government and Civil Service initiatives in Britain, western Europe and the
United States. It argues that an internationally led programme to diversify
the work of Trident’s workers would cost far less than it would to renew
the cold-war-era nuclear weapons system — estimated to be between £180
billion and £205bn over the next several decades
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/scrapping-trident-nuclear-weapons-%E2%80%98could-create-thousands-engineering-jobs%E2%80%99

June 29, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | Leave a comment