nuclear-news

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

Suffolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB not impressed by EDF’s bribes for environment

A joint statement by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB has outlined the
two charities “significant concerns” with proposals for a new £20 billion
power station on the Suffolk coast.

Earlier this month EDF Energy, which
has a controlling stake in the Sizewell C project, set out £250m of
financial contributions, known as the Deed of Obligation, designed to
mitigate the impacts of the project, provide legacy benefits and compensate
some of those affected. This included £78 million to form an independent
environmental body to enhance the landscape of the area and £22m for
biodiversity improvements and the creation of wildlife and habitat areas.


However, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB, who have been against the
construction of Sizewell C since consultations began, are still adamant
that, if built, the power station would cause considerable environmental
damage.

 

Suffolk Live 21st Oct 2021

https://www.suffolklive.com/news/animal-charities-warn-protected-wildlife-6092590

October 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

COVID Restrictions Deny Southern Belarus Children Rare Escape From Chernobyl Radiation

COVID Restrictions Deny Southern Belarus Children Rare Escape From Chernobyl Radiation   https://www.voanews.com/a/covid-restrictions-deny-southern-belarus-children-rare-escape-from-chernobyl-radiation/6278627.html

October 20, 2021 Ricardo Marquina. In Belarus, just across the border from Ukraine, many children have been living with chronic radiation sickness since a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986. They have returned to school after being unable to escape contamination for yet another summer due to COVID-19 pandemic border restrictions. For VOA, Ricardo Marquina has more from the Gomel region of southern Belarus in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | children, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Birth defects in the Chernobyl region

What about studying consequences rather than causes?  Studying birth abnormalities in places where they occur more often than is normal? The Omni-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Prevention Program, came up with this different approach, reported in July 2012.  http://ibis-birthdefects.org/start/pdf/BaltimoreAbstr.pdf 

Measuring radiation is difficult, and can produce ambiguous results.  But measuring babies with malformations is a concrete matter. Facts are facts here As Dr Vladimir Wertelecki says “ a baby that has no head is a baby that has no head.”

THE PROGRAM

The program started in 2000, conducting a 10 year study on 5 provinces of the Ukraine – measuring and monitoring all newborn babies. The study, led by Dr  Wertelecki, was done in co-operation with Ukraine health authorities.  This was a descriptive epidemiological study. It could prove only a difference between geographical areas. It cannot  prove the cause of difference.

Within 2-3 years it was obvious that the rates of spina bifida and other defects of the nervous system, were many times greater than expected, particularly in one province.  A few years later an excess of conjoined twins (“Siamese twins”) was found. They found other nervous system problems, mainly microcephaly (tiny head) ..  After 10 years of study they published a report showing an excess of frequency of anomalies of nervous system and of these conjoined twins.

This was found especially in the northern half of the province – an area that is a unique ecology niche – mainly wetlands. And this area also has a unique population, an ethnic group living there since recorded history. They live in small villages, very isolated, and they rely completely on local foods.

These foods are all radioactive. The soil there is such that plants absorb many times more radioactivity. People there are absorbing much higher levels of radiation. – 20 times more than there would be in soil 50 km. away.

Dr Wertelecki reminds us that there are many causes of birth abnormalities. One well recognised cause is foetal alcohol syndrome, due to alcoholism in the mother.   However, the program did in fact research this question.  6 universities joined it in a  very well funded and thorough study of pregnant women. It showed that in this Northern area, alcohol use among pregnant women is statistically less than in the Ukraine in general. . Alcohol does not explain the birth abnormalities. Radiation is the obvious major cause.

ABNORMALITIES IN THE DEVELOPING FOETUS- TERATOGENESIS

Little research has been done on the causes of this in humans. Studies on non human species show that foetuses in first three months are about 1000 times more vulnerable to environmental effects.

Dr Wertelecki’s team focused on teratogenesis – changes caused by environmental interference to a developing foetus, a foetus with with normal genes.  This must be distinguished from gene mutations, inherited from parents and the two processes have different effects.  The genetic, inherited defects are most likely to cause mental disability. But with the teratogenic abnormalities, the baby, if it survives, most often is of normal intelligence.

This process can begin very early, before the ovum has been implanted in the wall of the womb –  before the woman knows that she is pregnant. That very early “line” of the embryo can split. In this case – the result is – twins.  This split can be incomplete – resulting in conjoined twins, (“Siamese twins”).  A  fetiform teratoma is a sort of failed Siamese twin,  a monster like mass, containing a mixture of tissues.

Abnormalities that are started at a little later stage of pregnancy include spina bifida, ( opening in lower back  body wall), opening in front body wall with  heart on the exterior,  anencephaly (absence of head or of most of the skull and brain)

Later effects  –  anophthalmia , (missing eyeball) , microphthalmia (tiny eye)

Full article at http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/a-baby-that-has-no-head-is-a-baby-that-has-no-head/

October 9, 2021 Posted by | children, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s legacy recorded in trees

The twisted stems of Scots pines have been attributed to mutations caused by radiation exposure

 Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested. Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought.

They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected. Writing in the journal Trees, the team said it was the first study to look at the impact at a landscape scale. “Our field results were consistent with previous findings that were based on much smaller sample sizes,” explained co-author Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US.

“They are also consistent with the many reports of genetic impacts to these trees,” he told BBC News. “Many of the trees show highly abnormal growth forms reflecting the effects of mutations and cell death resulting from radiation exposure.”

 BBC 9th Aug 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23619870

September 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear zone is becoming more radioactive: they don’t know why.

Chernobyl’s Blown Up Reactor 4 Just Woke Up. Scientists don’t understand why. https://historyofyesterday.com/chernobyls-blown-up-reactor-4-just-woke-up-74bedd5fc92d
Andrei Tapalaga 

The nuclear disaster that occurred in 1986 will forever be remembered, but the world will soon have a reminder of the event as the zone for some reason (yet unexplained by scientists)is becoming more radioactive. For those who may not be aware of the incident here is an article to get you up to speed.

“Chernobyl will never be a problem”

Underneath reactor 4 there is still nuclear fuel that is active and which will take around 20,000 years for it to deplete. The uranium is too radioactive for anyone to live in the city and since the incident, the European Union had created a shield around the reactor which should not allow for the radioactive rays to come out.Chernobyl officials presumed any criticality risk would fade when the massive New Safe Confinement (NSC) was slid over the Shelter in November 2016.”

“The €1.5 billion structure was meant to seal off the Shelter so it could be stabilized and eventually dismantled.”

However, many other parts around Chernobyl have also been affected due to prolonged exposure, some more than others, and many of them have not been contained as they were not presenting any major radioactive activity until now. Neil Hyatt, a nuclear chemist from the University of Sheffield had mentioned that there is a possibility for the uranium fuel to reignite on its own.

Hyatt also offered a simple explanation on how this is possible, just like charcoal can reignite in a barbeque, so can nuclear materials that have once been ignited. He as well as a handful of nuclear chemists have mentioned previously the possibility of the uranium from Chernobyl to reignite, but the scientists from Ukraine that are responsible for managing the nuclear activity within the vicinity never really listened, until now.

Scientists from Ukraine have placed many sensors around reactor 4 that constantly monitor the level of radioactivity. Recently those sensors have detected a constant increase in the level of radioactivity. It seems that this radioactivity is coming from an unreachable chamber from underneath reactor 4 that has been blocked since the night of the explosion on the 26th of April, 1986.

What could be causing this?

The experts from Ukraine don’t really understand why this is happening although they do have a hypothesis. Water is used to start the fission process within nuclear materials, this makes the nuclear material release energy that within a nuclear reactor can be maintained under control, but in this instance, the experts are afraid they will not be able to control it.

Another hypothesis is that since reactor 4 has been completely shielded, no water from the rain was able to reach the nuclear fuel. The water from rain may have been what kept the nuclear material under control. With no water, the nuclear fuel may be at risk of overheating, leading to another nuclear disaster.

There may be another reason for this constant increase in radioactivity, what has been mentioned above are only hypotheses, maybe something totally different is occurring under reactor 4 or within the nuclear material left inside. This is something that definitely should ring some alarm bells in order to prepare for the worst sort of situation and hopefully the world’s smartest in the field of nuclear chemistry can come together to identify the problem and come up with a potential solution.

Sources:…………

September 21, 2021 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

AUKUS military agreement – bad timing ahead of Glascow Climate Summit.

 The timing of the new defence deal between the US, UK and Australia has dismayed climate experts, who fear it could have a negative effect on hopes of a deal with China on greenhouse gas emissions ahead of vital UN climate talks.

The Aukus trilateral security partnership has been interpreted as seeking to counterbalance Chinese power in the Asia-Pacific region, and has been likened to a new cold war by China. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson warned the three countries to “respect regional people’s aspiration and do more that is conducive to regional peace and stability
and development – otherwise they will only end up hurting their own interests”.

Tom Burke, founder of the E3G environmental thinktank, said: “This [Aukus announcement] is bad timing ahead of Cop26, as Glasgow is time-critical and it’s hard to see what was critical about the timing of this announcement. It does not appear to suggest that the prime minister is taking Glasgow very seriously. And it exposes the fact that he has not gotmuch to offer ahead of Glasgow.”

 Guardian 16th Sept 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/16/aukus-pact-dash-hopes-china-emissions-deal-cop26-climate

September 19, 2021 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Fission reactions have been spiking in an inaccessible Chernobyl chamber since 2016 – possibility of a runaway nuclear reaction

Chernobyl Alert and The Doomsday Clock The Conversation,  BY ROBERT HUNZIKER  21 May 21, Like the mythical Phoenix, Chernobyl rises from the ashes.

A recent… “Surge in fission reactions in an inaccessible chamber within the complex” is alarming scientists that monitor the ruins of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. (Source: Nuclear Reactions at Chernobyl are Spiking in an Inaccessible Chamber, NewScientist, May 11, 2021).

It is known that this significant renewal of fission activity is located in Sub-Reactor Room 305/2, which contains large amounts of fissile material from the initial meltdown. The explosion brought down walls of the facility amongst tons of fissile material within the reactor as extreme heat melted reactor wall concrete and steel combined with sand used to control the explosion to form a lava-like intensely radioactive substance that oozed into lower floors, e.g., Room 305/2. That room is so deadly radioactive that it is inaccessible by humans or robots for the past 35 years.

Since 2016, neutron emissions from Room 305/2 have been spiking and increased by 40% over the past 5 years. It signals a growing nuclear fission reaction in the room. According to Neil Hyatt/University of Sheffield-UK: “Our estimation of fissile material in that room means that we can be fairly confident that you’re not going to get such rapid release of nuclear energy that you have an explosion. But we don’t know for sure… it’s cause for concern but not alarm,” Ibid.

If it is deemed necessary to intervene, it’ll require robotically drilling into Room 305/2 and spraying the highly radioactive blob with a fluid that contains gadolinium nitrate, which is supposed to soak up excess neutrons and choke the fission reaction. Meanwhile, time will tell whether the monster of the deep in Room 305/2 settles down on its own or requires human interaction via the eyes and arms of a robot, which may not survive the intense radioactivity. Then what?

Meanwhile, an enormous steel sarcophagus, a $1.8bn protective confinement shelter, the New Safe Confinement (NCS) was built in 2019 to hopefully prevent the release of radioactive contamination. NCS is the largest land-based object ever moved, nine years construction in Italy delivered via 2,500 trucks and 18 ships. It is expected to last for 100 years. Thenceforth, who knows?

Nevertheless, according to nuclear professionals, the question arises whether this recent fission activity will stabilize or will it necessitate a dangerously difficult intervention to somehow stop a runaway nuclear reaction.

Inescapably, the bane of nuclear power, once dangerously out of control, remains dangerously out of control, forever and on it goes, beyond human time. Unfortunately, one nuclear accident is equivalent to untold numbers, likely thousands, of non-nuclear accidents.

“We thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” (Albert Einstein)    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/05/21/chernobyl-alert-and-the-doomsday-clock/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear tomb will eventually collapse. Sellafield, too, will need £132 billion, at least, to decommission.

LADBible 15th May 2021, A scientist has warned that Chernobyl nuclear power plant must be dismantled in the next 100 years or else it will collapse.

Professor Neil Hyatt is the Royal Academy of Engineering and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s research chair in radioactive waste management. Speaking to LADbible about recent developments that nuclear reactions had been detected from deep within the mummified plant – 35 years after its core exploded in what is widely viewed as history’s worst nuclear disaster – he says it’s time to act.

“If we don’t take it down, it’s going to fall down,” says Professor Hyatt, who teaches at Sheffield University. “The original shelter was built as a temporary facility to stabilise a situation and the New Safe Confinement is essentially the same thing – to buy us time. [But] it only buys us around 100 years or so.

“If you think about nuclear decommissioning, which I do all the time, look at the projects that are going on around the world. “There’s the Sellafield site in the UK – that’s one hundred years to decommission the Sellafield site at a cost of £132 billion, at least. “That probably tells you it’s going to take at least 50 years, if we started today, probably at a cost of about £900 million, to decommission Chernobyl.

“These are orders of magnitude, and the reason is because we still don’t know everything we need to know to decommission it, about the material inside.” He adds: “If we don’t take it down, it’s gonna collapse eventually. If you’ve bought yourself 100 years, you really need to start cracking on with the dismantling – probably in the next 20 years.

https://www.ladbible.com/news/news-scientist-warns-chernobyl-must-be-dismantled-in-next-100-years-20210512

May 17, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Human intervention may be required at Chernobyl as radiation levels spike

Unilad 13th May 2021, Scientists monitoring increased radiation levels at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant are considering whether human intervention may be required to prevent a further catastrophe.

It was reported last week that sensors in one of the basement rooms containing solidified fuel (FCMs) from the remains of the destroyed nuclear reactor had been picking up increased levels of neutrons over the past four years, signalling the nuclear fission process has restarted. Nuclear scientists monitoring the activity say they aren’t
sure why the reactions are increasing, and they can’t rule out the possibility of an accident should levels continue to rise. Now, authorities are working to figure out a solution.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/news/human-intervention-may-be-required-at-chernobyl-as-radiation-levels-spike/

May 15, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear fission reactions are happening at Chernobyl again

Nuclear Fission Reactions Are Happening at Chernobyl Again

Scientists are scrambling to neutralize the threat. Popular Mechanics, BY CAROLINE DELBERT, MAY 10, 2021

  • melted amalgam of nuclear fuel at Chernobyl is beginning to react.
  • The issue is rainwater, which has activated materials buried deep within the closed plant.
  • The reaction could burn out naturally, but it could also require human intervention.

On April 26, 1986, Reactor No. 4 exploded at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, causing the worst nuclear accident in history. Now, thirty-five years later, smoldering nuclear “embers” are still buried within Chernobyl site, raising questions about just what might happen there—and what’s at stake.

Ukrainian scientists recently realized that leftover nuclear fission fuel made of uranium has begun reacting again in an “inaccessible room” deep within a damaged area of the shuttered plant. The telltale sign is increased readings of neutron activity—a measurable byproduct of nuclear fission, according to the scientists from Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, who held discussions about dismantling the reactor last month, according to Science magazine.

  • Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is surrounded by a massive megastructure called Chernobyl New Safe Confinement (NSC). At NSC, there are hundreds of sensors working around the clock to monitor factors like air quality, and the sensors have detected increased neutron activity near the fallen reactor hall where the “embers” are.
  • Some zones within the NSC are fully sealed off in their own sarcophagus-like structure called the Shelter—including the reactor hall where scientists have noticed the increasing neutrons. That means tough questions about what the best course of action is.Inside the reactor hall, everything is a dangerous mess. 
  • Science’s Richard Stone reports:
  • “When [the] reactor’s core melted down, uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, graphite control rods, and sand dumped on the core to try to extinguish the fire melted together into a lava. It flowed into the reactor hall’s basement rooms and hardened into formations called fuel-containing materials (FCMs), which are laden with about 170 tons of irradiated uranium—95 [percent] of the original fuel.”

It’s important to note that experts don’t fear a second Chernobyl disaster, as there isn’t enough viable material or surrounding collateral for that kind of threat or damage. But the right kind of small nuclear activity could bring down the Shelter itself, which is 34 years old and “rickety.”

Scientists believe rainwater leakage has caused similar higher neutron readings in the past, and they’ve since installed special chemical sprinklers that can stanch neutrons in most of the interior of the Shelter. But some basement rooms are just out of reach even for the sprinklers………. https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a36364988/chernobyl-nuclear-reactions/

May 11, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Restless radioactive remains are still stirring in Chernobyl’s nuclear tomb.

‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl  https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/05/nuclear-reactions-reawaken-chernobyl-reactor

By Richard Stone, May. 5, 2021 ,  Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall. “It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit,” says Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield. Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident.

Sensors are tracking a rising number of neutrons, a signal of fission, streaming from one inaccessible room, Anatolii Doroshenko of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, reported last week during discussions about dismantling the reactor. “There are many uncertainties,” says ISPNPP’s Maxim Saveliev. “But we can’t rule out the possibility of [an] accident.”

The neutron counts are rising slowly, Saveliev says, suggesting managers still have a few years to figure out how to stifle the threat. Any remedy he and his colleagues come up with will be of keen interest to Japan, which is coping with the aftermath of its own nuclear disaster 10 years ago at Fukushima, Hyatt notes. “It’s a similar magnitude of hazard.”

The specter of self-sustaining fission, or criticality, in the nuclear ruins has long haunted Chernobyl. When part of the Unit Four reactor’s core melted down on 26 April 1986, uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, graphite control rods, and sand dumped on the core to try to extinguish the fire melted together into a lava. It flowed into the reactor hall’s basement rooms and hardened into formations called fuel-containing materials (FCMs), which are laden with about 170 tons of irradiated uranium—95% of the original fuel.

The concrete-and-steel sarcophagus called the Shelter, erected 1 year after the accident to house Unit Four’s remains, allowed rainwater to seep in. Because water slows, or moderates, neutrons and thus enhances their odds of striking and splitting uranium nuclei, heavy rains would sometimes send neutron counts soaring. After a downpour in June 1990, a “stalker”—a scientist at Chernobyl who risks radiation exposure to venture into the damaged reactor hall—dashed in and sprayed gadolinium nitrate solution, which absorbs neutrons, on an FCM that he and his colleagues feared might go critical. Several years later, the plant installed gadolinium nitrate sprinklers in the Shelter’s roof. But the spray can’t effectively penetrate some basement rooms.

Chernobyl officials presumed any criticality risk would fade when the massive New Safe Confinement (NSC) was slid over the Shelter in November 2016. The €1.5 billion structure was meant to seal off the Shelter so it could be stabilized and eventually dismantled. The NSC also keeps out the rain, and ever since its emplacement, neutron counts in most areas in the Shelter have been stable or are declining.

But they began to edge up in a few spots, nearly doubling over 4 years in room 305/2, which contains tons of FCMs buried under debris. ISPNPP modeling suggests the drying of the fuel is somehow making neutrons ricocheting through it more, rather than less, effective at splitting uranium nuclei. “It’s believable and plausible data,” Hyatt says. “It’s just not clear what the mechanism might be.”

The threat can’t be ignored. As water continues to recede, the fear is that “the fission reaction accelerates exponentially,” Hyatt says, leading to “an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy.” There’s no chance of a repeat of 1986, when the explosion and fire sent a radioactive cloud over Europe. A runaway fission reaction in an FCM could sputter out after heat from fission boils off the remaining water. Still, Saveliev notes, although any explosive reaction would be contained, it could threaten to bring down unstable parts of the rickety Shelter, filling the NSC with radioactive dust.

Addressing the newly unmasked threat is a daunting challenge. Radiation levels in 305/2 preclude getting close enough to install sensors. And spraying gadolinium nitrate on the nuclear debris there is not an option, as it’s entombed under concrete. One idea is to develop a robot that can withstand the intense radiation for long enough to drill holes in the FCMs and insert boron cylinders, which would function like control rods and sop up neutrons. In the meantime, ISPNPP intends to step up monitoring of two other areas where FCMs have the potential to go critical.

The resurgent fission reactions are not the only challenge facing Chernobyl’s keepers. Besieged by intense radiation and high humidity, the FCMs are disintegrating—spawning even more radioactive dust that complicates plans to dismantle the Shelter. Early on, an FCM formation called the Elephant’s Foot was so hard scientists had to use a Kalashnikov rifle to shear off a chunk for analysis. “Now it more or less has the consistency of sand,” Saveliev says.

Ukraine has long intended to remove the FCMs and store them in a geological repository. By September, with help from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it aims to have a comprehensive plan for doing so. But with life still flickering within the Shelter, it may be harder than ever to bury the reactor’s restless remains.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s nuclear industry in crisis – corrupt, unsafe, with politicised decision-making

Could Ukraine’s nuclear industry face another Chernobyl?

Thirty-five years after the disaster, the nuclear industry is Ukraine’s most reliable economic lifeline. But critics say it faces a perennial crisis caused by corruption, safety problems and politicised decision-making. Aljazeera, By 

Mansur Mirovalev, 26 Apr 2021  ”…………………. The nuclear industry remains Ukraine’s most reliable economic lifeline.

But domestic and international critics claim that the industry faces a perennial crisis caused by corruption; safety problems with ageing, worn reactors; disruption of ties with a Russian nuclear monopoly; and a politicised switch to US-made nuclear fuel.

Industry insiders, environmentalists and politicians claim that the construction of a spent fuel storage facility near the capital, Kyiv, and the proximity of Europe’s largest nuclear station in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia to Europe’s hottest armed conflict add to their concerns about the possibility of a nuclear incident, particularly in a nation that went through two popular uprisings since 2005 and lost a chunk of its territory to Russia.

……….. uranium dioxide sealed in zirconium alloy tubes in the rods emits radiation that has to be contained in hermetically sealed reactors. Ukraine’s Soviet-designed rods are hexagonal, resembling bee cells, while Western-made rods are square.

The switch is far from simple – but necessary, because Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear monopoly that charged Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars a year, is controlled by the Kremlin. And the Kremlin has a well-known proclivity to use energy supplies as a political cudgel.

The switch to Westinghouse fuel is potentially dangerous,” Oskar Njaa, the Russia and Eastern Europe adviser for Bellona, a Norway-based nuclear industry monitor, told Al Jazeera.

In 2012, Westinghouse fuel rods had to be removed from the South Ukrainian power station after protective envelopes in two reactors were damaged.

Ukraine asked Rosatom for fuel and help – prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to remark gloatingly that Rosatom experts had “to solve complex technical problems, take [the Westinghouse fuel] out and load the Russian fuel back in”.

Ukraine’s losses amounted to $175 million, Mikhail Gashev, Ukraine’s top nuclear safety inspector at the time, claimed – and banned the use of Westinghouse fuel.

Ukrainian experts doubted his assessment, and his decision was overturned after he was fired among hundreds of pro-Russian officials following Ukraine’s second anti-Russian popular uprising, the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.

Former Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov, another pro-Russian political figure who fled Ukraine after the revolt, said in 2017 that the decision was made “in spite of Ukraine’s security interests”.

Westinghouse modified the rods – and no further incidents were reported.

“That might be a sign of a better culture for safety and security in the industry,” Njaa said adding that his group is, however, “worried that incidents might become more severe and greater in numbers due to the ageing equipment at the plants.”………

Apart from the fuel, observers are also concerned about Ukraine’s ageing, worn reactors, 12 of which began operating in the 1980s and were supposed to be shut down in 2020. But Energoatom extended their lifespan spending hundreds of millions on each, thanks largely to loans from the European Union.

This is a common practice worldwide – the average lifespan of almost 100 nuclear reactors in the US is 40 years, and 88 have been approved for another 20 years. But some experts are worried about the safety measures and upgrades.

“What we witness every time a decision [to extend the lifespan] is made, some of the safety upgrades have either not been made or have not been made in full,” Iryna Holovko, the Ukraine coordinator for Bankwatch, a Prague-based environmentalist group, told Al Jazeera.

Bankwatch has for years been urging Ukraine to stop extending the lifespan of its “zombie reactors” without correcting “safety deviations” and detailed assessments of all the environmental risks for the people living around the stations and in neighbouring nations……….

The fuel switch brought about another problem; unlike Rosatom, Westinghouse does not take the spent fuel back for processing or storage.

Until December, Ukraine had two pretty problematic storage facilities – and an unfinished third one. One at the shut-down Chernobyl station is almost full. At the second one, an open-air yard outside the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, thousands of spent fuel rods are stored in ventilated concrete containers. In 2014, the plant was about 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of the front line of the separatist conflict.

The sight was horrifying to a visiting expert.

“I suddenly stood in front of the utterly unprotected interim storage,” Patricia Lorenz of Friends of the Earth, an environmentalist group that visited the plant on a fact-finding mission in 2014, told Al Jazeera. “It is basically unprotected against war and terrorism, while the front was close by back then.”

In May 2014, the station’s security and police turned away dozens of armed and masked far-right nationalists who tried to enter the plant to “protect” the station from the separatists.

Since then, the front line has moved eastward, and in December, Energoatom opened a third facility a mere 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Kyiv, in the Chernobyl exclusion zone that is scheduled to receive the first batch of spent fuel in June.

But plans to transport spent fuel via Kyiv, the city of more than two million, drew sharp criticism.

“This will be happening in a country where everything turns upside-down, collides, explodes, and where lawlessness rules,” Kyiv-based environmentalist Vladimir Boreiko told reporters…………….  https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/4/26/does-ukraines-nuclear-industry-face-another-chernobyl

April 29, 2021 Posted by | politics, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Chernobyl nuclear disaster: ‘Three-day evacuation lasted 35 years’.

BBC 26th April 2021, Chernobyl nuclear disaster: ‘Three-day evacuation lasted 35 years’.
Thirty-five years ago an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine released lethal radiation into the atmosphere. The nearest city, Pripyat, home to around 50,000 people, was evacuated along with other communities in a 4,000 sq km zone.

Lyudmila Honchar was four years old at the time and lived in Pripyat with her parents. We joined her as she
returned to try and find her family home, 35 years on.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-56864709–

April 27, 2021 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Soviet Documents Reveal Cover-Ups At Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Before 1986 Disaster

Soviet Documents Reveal Cover-Ups At Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Before 1986 Disaster https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/soviet-documents-reveal-cover-ups-at-chernobyl-nuclear-plant-before-1986-disaster-2422532 26 Apr 21, After a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the plant, located in what was then Soviet Ukraine, clouds of radioactive material from Chernobyl spread across much of Europe in what remains the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

The Soviet Union knew the Chernobyl nuclear plant was dangerous and covered up emergencies there before the 1986 disaster, the Ukrainian authorities said as they released documents to mark the 35th anniversary of the accident on Monday.

After a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the plant, located in what was then Soviet Ukraine, clouds of radioactive material from Chernobyl spread across much of Europe in what remains the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

The archives show there was a radiation release at the plant in 1982 that was covered up using what a KGB report at the time called measures “to prevent panic and provocative rumours”, Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said in a statement on Monday.

There were separate “emergencies” at the plant in 1984, it added.

“In 1983, the Moscow leadership received information that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was one of the most dangerous nuclear power plants in the USSR due to lack of safety equipment,” the SBU said.

When a French journalist collected water and soil samples from the Chernobyl area after the accident in 1987, the KGB swapped the samples for fake ones in a special operation, the SBU cited another KGB report as saying.

Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the immediate aftermath of the 1986 disaster, mostly from acute radiation sickness.

Thousands more later succumbed to radiation-related illnesses such as cancer, although the total death toll and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense debate.

The present day government in Kyiv has highlighted the Soviet authorities’ bungled handling of the accident and attempts to cover up the disaster in the aftermath. The order to evacuate the area came only 36 hours after the accident.

“The 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy is a reminder of how state-sponsored disinformation, as propagated by the totalitarian Soviet regime, led to the greatest man-made disaster in human history,” the foreign ministry said.

April 27, 2021 Posted by | history, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine opens new nuclear waste site

On 35th anniversary of Chornobyl disaster, Ukraine opens new nuclear waste site, 

Ukraine president vows to transform Chornobyl exclusion zone into a revival zone. Ukraine’s president on Monday unveiled a new nuclear waste repository at Chornobyl, the site of the world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster that unfolded exactly 35 years ago…….

Moving forward, the Ukrainian authorities announced they will use the deserted exclusion zone around the Chornobyl power plant to build a storage facility for Ukraine’s nuclear waste for the next 100 years.

The ex-Soviet nation currently has four nuclear power plants operating and has to transport its nuclear waste to Russia. The new repository will allow the government to save up to $200 million US a year…… https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/chornobyl-35th-anniversary-1.6002314

April 27, 2021 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment