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16 Assemblies of Mox to be shipped to Japan from France

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As a reminder a transport of 16 assemblies of MOX (between 8 and 10 tons) is being prepared.
This MOX is destined for the nuclear reactor of Takahama n ° 4.
The Pacific Egret and the Pacific Heron, “armed to the teeth” are on the departure of Barrow-In-Furness in England to come to Cherbourg.
The transfer of brand new trucks (equipped with shielding type protection) loaded with MOX will take place late on Tuesday evening.
The loading will take place on Wednesday 5th (as I had announced a few weeks ago at the meeting of the CLI Areva de La Hague) in the morning at the Quai des Mielles and the boats should leave the port of Cherbourg in the evening.
Source: Yannick Rousselet – Greenpeace France

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July 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Secret Plutonium Fuel Shipment Planned for Japan’s Takahama Reactors

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Tokyo, 6 June 2017 – With today’s restart of the Takahama 3 reactor in Fukui Prefecture, Greenpeace revealed that the nuclear operator Kansai Electric and the French nuclear company AREVA are planning a secret plutonium fuel shipment from France to the Takahama plant. Plutonium fuel (MOX) reduces the safety of the reactor, increasing both the risk of a severe accident and its radiological consequences. The shipment is scheduled to depart Cherbourg France on 7 July.

This also presents serious security issues, both as it is a potential terrorist target and that the plutonium in the MOX fuel is direct use nuclear weapons material. Due to these risks, the U.S. State Department and other agencies are required to approve the security plan for plutonium shipments to Japan under the terms of the US – Japan Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement of 1988. The Trump administration has approved this shipment, despite the increasingly unstable conditions in the region.

The last thing Northeast Asia needs at this time, or at any time, is more nuclear weapons-usable material. Last year, the U.S. removed 331 kilograms of  plutonium from Japan due to security risks, while ignoring the 10 tons of material that remained. One year later, at least 500 kg more plutonium is being approved for delivery to Japan. Plutonium is not your normal cargo to be traded as a commodity. It can be used as nuclear bomb material. Japan’s bankrupt plutonium program, and its endorsement by the Trump administration, is a further threat to the peace and security of this troubled region,” said Shaun Burnie, nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany in Tokyo.

The shipment comes at a time when Northeast Asia is already destabilized due to threats on the Korean peninsula, the spectre of military conflict, and the increasing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation. Japan’s decades long and multibillion dollar plutonium program has failed to ensure energy security for Japan, but it has led to the nation accumulating over 48 tons of plutonium, 10 of which is stored in Japan, and the rest in the UK and France.

This shipment will consist of at least 16 plutonium fuel (MOX) assemblies, which are planned to be loaded into the Takahama 4 reactor during its next refueling, expected in 2018. The amount of plutonium in the shipment due to leave France next month is estimated to range from between 496-736kg – as little as 5kg is sufficient for one nuclear weapon.

Two lightly armed British vessels, the Pacific Egret and Pacific Heron, are scheduled to leave the French port of Cherbourg on 7th of July, and are expected to arrive in Takahama between mid-August and early September, depending on the route chosen. One of the ships will transport the plutonium fuel, and the other will act as ‘armed escort’.

Both Takahama 3 and 4 already have plutonium MOX fuel in their cores, with 24 and 4 MOX assemblies loaded into each reactor respectively.

KEPCO’s unjustified restart of the Takahama 3 reactor is made worse by the fact that they are planning a secret plutonium shipment which will increase the amount of dangerous plutonium MOX in their reactors. The Takahama reactors already pose an unacceptable threat to the people of Fukui and Kansai region. This will be compounded by the even greater usage of plutonium MOX fuel,” said Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist with Greenpeace Germany (currently based in Japan).

Due to the severity of the impacts of a nuclear disaster involving MOX fuel, citizens groups, including Greenpeace, have demanded that AREVA release vital safety data on the MOX fuel produced for Japan, including for the Fukushima Daiichi 3 reactor and the Takahama reactors, due to evidence of flawed production and quality control during manufacture.(1) To date, AREVA has failed to release any of the safety data. AREVA also refused to release the same data for MOX fuel loaded into the Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3 in 2000. The AREVA company which has suffered a near meltdown of its business in recent years, is desperate to secure more MOX fuel contracts with Japan, which suffered as a direct consequence of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident leading to the shutdown of the Japanese reactor fleet.

Of the five reactors now operating in Japan, three are operating with varying amounts of plutonium MOX fuel. There is a possibility of additional MOX fuel being in the shipment for other Japanese reactors – Ikata 3 is operating with MOX fuel, and the Genkai 3&4 will operate with MOX fuel if they restart before March 2018.

Notes:
1 – Letter to AREVA Japan Calling for Disclosure of MOX Fuel Quality Control Data, 2016-01-28, and FUNDAMENTAL DEFICIENCIES IN THE QUALITY CONTROL OF MIXED-OXIDE NUCLEAR FUEL, Fukushima City, Japan, March 27th 2000

2 – Tokai plutonium shipment March 2016

http://m.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/high/news/press/2017/pr201706061/#.WTcEEm0pf-M.facebook

June 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

The Different Dangerosity of Some Radioactive Elements.

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One night in July 2013, Xavier Nast, a French antinuclear activist, who many years before used to work at COGEMA, presently named AREVA, took the time to explain me the diffrence between some of the radioactive elements, in terms of their dangerosity.
 
As Xavier Nast told me, nothing is worth practical exercises to understand what is not always obvious at the first explanation.
 
Since the beginning of the Fukushima accident, everyone understands the situation as he/she perceives it, and everyone is right it is very serious indeed, but still we haven’t seen almost anything yet. And what we may risk to see and understand?
 
When sharing the “galette des rois”in France, some king cakes in the old days were stuffed with a a small gold coin (a gold Napoleon). If a greedy one swallowed it inadvertently, he will have to wait one to two days to recover it but his health will not be affected. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_cake
 
Imagine the coins gold plated and filled with actinides (highly toxic alpharadio transmitters) such as they all weigh 6 grams, have a diameter of 21 mm and the same visual appearance:
A) An Uranium 238 filled gold plated coin
B) A Plutonium 239 filled gold plated coin
C) A Plutonium 238 filled gold plated coin
D) A Polonium 210 filled gold plated coin
 
We will not see any difference in appearance and weight.
 
However the threshold for the lethal dose of an inhaled monolithic dust is:
0.835gram for A (Uranium 238)
0.000 000 4 gram for B (Plutonium 239)
0.000 000 001 6 gram for C (Plutonium 238)
0.000 000 000 007 gram for D (Polonium 210)
 
This means that the lethal dose of these coins could destroy:
6 lives for A (Uranium 238, there is a lot)
13,475,000 lives for B, more than Paris Metropolis population (Plutonium 239,there is a lot)
3,700,000,000lives for C, more than half of mankind (Plutonium 238 is rare)
850 billion lives for D, 120 times the world population. (Polonium 210 is very rare)
 
Yet these coins A, B, C and D have not caused you any damage after being swallowed, not even long after.Because they were all covered with a tenth mm of gold , which prevented the huge flow of alpha particles to destroy even just a little of your digestive tract.
 
Conclusion:alpha emitters radionuclides must remain CONFINED.
 
We therefore better have no nuclear plant to explode, especially one of those nuclear plants using MOX, as MOX fuel consists of 7% plutonium 239 mixed with depleted uranium, such as the ones we have many in France.
 
Knowing this, are you still willing for them to continue using their deadly nuclear technology? Do you still believe that civil nuclear is safe?

October 27, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Industry minister Seko inspects Ikata nuclear plant

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant is located in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku, across from the Bungo Channel that separates Kyushu and Shikoku.

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Ikata Nuclear Power Plant with pressurized water reactors by Mitsubishi Heavy Electric sits extremely close to Japan’s Median Tectonic Line, the largest fault in Japan, part of which is active.

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MATSUYAMA (Kyodo) — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko on Saturday inspected a recently restarted reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan to assess the safety measures there.

Seko visited an observation deck that overlooks the entire complex of Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s plant in Ehime Prefecture, as well as a facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the radiation-controlled area and other locations.

Seko was briefed on a system to provide electricity in the event of earthquakes and other emergencies by Seizo Masuda, the chief of the plant, and expressed satisfaction at the multiple backups available.

The No. 3 reactor at the Ikata plant was reactivated on Aug. 12, having cleared a set of safety requirements imposed in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.

The 890-megawatt reactor shifted to commercial operation on Sept. 7 following final checks by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The unit had not operated since it was taken off-line in April 2011 for regular checks.

Some snags occurred around the time of its reactivation, including a problem with a pump for the reactor’s primary cooling water and a leakage in a drainage pipe in related equipment.

The reactor is currently the sole unit in operation in Japan running on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, which contains plutonium extracted from reprocessing spent fuel.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161015/p2g/00m/0dm/070000c

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric restarts reactor under post-Fukushima regulations

Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, is restarted.

After the Tepco Fukushima Daiichi earthquake/tsunami disaster and the Kumamoto recent earthquake, it is to be wondered what Japan has learned?

The Ikata nuclear power plant is located on the Hinagu fault zone and Futagawa fault zone, themselves extension of Japan’s largest active fault “Median Tectonic Line”.

In case of any accident, for the residents living on Sadamisaki Peninsula evacuation would be only possible by boat to Kyushu Island, such evacuation would be therefore difficult, even impossible.

Unless there would be a Japanese Moses to open the sea, such evacuation plan should be referred to as an escape from reality.

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The Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture

MATSUYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Shikoku Electric Power Co. restarted a reactor at its Ikata power plant in western Japan on Friday, making it the fifth unit reactivated under tougher regulations set following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The No. 3 reactor at the plant in Ehime Prefecture is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to reach criticality, or a state of sustained nuclear chain reaction, on Saturday and begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday before resuming commercial operation in early September for the first time since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

“We will take steps toward criticality and resumption of power generation with priority on ensuring safety,” Shikoku Electric President Hayato Saeki said in a statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, around 70 residents and others opposing the reactor restart gathered around the seaside plant early Friday morning, chanting slogans such as “Don’t contaminate the Seto Inland Sea,” and “Stop the nuclear plant.”

Junko Saima, a 72-year-old woman from Yawatahama, adjacent to the town hosting the plant, which is located on one side of a narrow peninsula, said, “I am nervous that some kind of accident may occur.”

Opponents are concerned about the effectiveness of government-prepared evacuation plans in case of an accident and about potential major earthquakes that are not taken into account in the plans, while proponents are hailing the resumption as it could bring economic benefits.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of the Nos. 3 and 4 units at Kansai Electric’s Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata town and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart the No.3 reactor after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant eyeing to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu Island in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 kilometers east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

Meanwhile, in Kagoshima, new Gov. Satoshi Mitazono is planning to ask Kyushu Electric to suspend the two reactivated reactors at the Sendai plant to double-check any safety impact on the units from the powerful earthquakes that hit neighboring Kumamoto in April.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160812/p2g/00m/0dm/035000c

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric fires up Ehime plant MOX reactor amid protests

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Japan restarted another nuclear reactor Friday, as Shikoku Electric Power Co. reactivated reactor 3 at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture.

It will be the first time in some five years and three months for the reactor to be switched on, since it was suspended for a routine safety inspection in April 2011.

The Ikata reactor 3, which is powered by MOX fuel, is the fifth to go back online under the county’s new safety regulations, introduced in July 2013 after the March 2011 reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Ikata plant is now the second nuclear plant in operation in Japan, joining Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

On Thursday, local residents staged a protest over the restart.

Once you put a nuclear reactor back into operation, it’s hard to stop it,” said Shinichi Naide, a 51-year-old company employee.

Aki Hashimoto, 60, who joined the rally from Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, questioned what the country has learned from the Fukushima meltdowns. Nuclear authorities “must hear the voices of people who suffered from the Fukushima accident,” she said.

The reactivated reactor is slated to reach criticality, or a self-sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, early Saturday morning. On Monday, it will begin the generation and transmission of electricity, reaching full capacity on Aug. 22.

Shikoku Electric aims to start the plant’s commercial operations in early September.

The Ehime reactor 3 is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday and resume commercial operation in early September in its first operation since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart reactor 3 after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant, looking to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 km east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/12/national/shikoku-electric-poised-fire-ehime-plant-mox-reactor-amid-protests/#.V62BlzXKO-e

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric looks to fire up MOX-fueled Ehime reactor around Aug. 25

As if Fukushima ‘s catastrophe was not enough, Japan seems to have a death wish when it is now restarting the Shikoku Electric’s Ehime reactor, loaded with Mox-fuel.

This Ehime reactor standing right on the main fault line which caused the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in the nearby island of Kyushu, with plenty destruction.

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Shikoku Electric Power Co. is considering launching commercial operations of its No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture around Aug. 25, sources said. The date would be later than the initially planned time frame of mid-August.

The company reviewed the schedule to provide more time for a mandatory pre-use inspection from regulators, the sources said.

Shikoku Electric on Monday finished loading 157 fuel assemblies into reactor No. 3, including 16 units of mixed oxide, or MOX fuel — a blend of uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel.

The company plans to resume operations of the reactor as early as July 26 if the safety checks show no major issues.

Reactor No. 3 was shut down in April 2011 for a routine safety inspection.

Shikoku Electric expects the reactor to improve its earnings by some ¥25 billion annually after it begins commercial operations.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/30/national/ikata-looks-fire-mox-fueled-ehime-reactor-around-aug-25/

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment