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Kind of a rough newsweek worlwide in the last week. A lot of this had
to do with a major PR push coming out of a major meeting in the middle
east promoting nuclear energy. At the end of the conference the US signed
an agreement with Kuwait to promote nuclear development there. Also, the
Italian high court tossed out legal requests by 10 regions demanding that
they get control over where new reactors could be located. Areva put out
a report card on how much money it has lost at its okiluoto facility in
Finland, that was followed shortly by a counter from Greenpeace saying
that Areva was hiding the true cost overruns. The safety agency HSE in
charge of evaluating the safety issues around the AP-1000 and EPR reactor
designs also put out a report claiming major progress had been made in
resolving issues. It was also followed by a Greenpeace report. And in
a PR stunt we are seeing a number of stories claiming that Bush's GNEP
project has found new wings, which is an open lie. The IAEA has never
let the project die, having even selected Russia and Kazahkstan to become
one of the first global nuclear fuel banks...
In what appears to be one of the most crucial stories out of UK is energy
Sec. Huhn's continued statements. This time he said that country would
do just fine without any new reactors. If the Tories continue on with
the campaign promise not to give any government funds for new reactors
it could very well severely crimp the nuclear push in the UK as EDF continues
to claim that it will not build unless it gets government money.
There were a number of stories around the world about new reactor plans
as well as a report from IEER on the state of India's push to radically
weaken any kind of serious liability issues for American nuclear companies
working there. The process of pushing the legislation has been given to
Hillary Clinton's state department.
In the USA there is news that Obama's $36 billion loan proposal for new
reactors is having trouble!
Nuclear Reactor News
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announces that, at the request of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the date of the one-day public hearing to consider AECL's application for the restart of the National Research Universal (NRU) Reactor is being rescheduled. The hearing was initially scheduled to take place on June 28, 2010.
Date: July 5, 2010
Place: CNSC Public Hearing Room
14th floor, 280 Slater Street
Time: as set by the agenda published prior to the hearing date
The public hearing will be webcasted live on the Internet via the CNSC Web site and archived for a period of 90 days.
The public was invited to submit comments on AECL's request until June 23, 2010. This time limit is not being extended. All submissions are available to the public upon request to the Secretariat."
President, Institute for Energy and Environmental
Research Before the Indian Parliament votes on limiting the liability of
nuclear operators due to accidents, it should carefully consider the much
higher limits that the United States has set for itself about $11 billion
per incident industry maximum (under the Price-Anderson Act). The liability
of the operator of the plant would be just Rs. 500 crores, about $110 million,
which is just one percent of the U.S. limit, and about $450 million per
accident. The proposed law allows an adjustment of this upwards or downwards
to a possible lower limit of just Rs. 300 crores, or about $65 million.
But more than that, Parliament should consider that the actual damages could
be far greater than the U.S. liability limit.
A 1997 study by the U.S. governments own Brookhaven National Laboratory,
on Long Island, New York, found that the severe spent fuel pool accidents
could result in damages from somewhat under $1 billion of up to $566 billion,
depending on a how full and hot the pool is at the time of the accident
and the intensity of the postulated fire. The high-end figure would amount
to over $700 billion in 2009 dollars. Vast amounts of land --- up to about
7,000 square kilometers in the worst case would have to be condemned. Large
numbers of people would have to be evacuated. Further, the maximum estimated
monetary damages do not take into account some critical elements. For instance,
the Brookhaven amount does not include excess cancer deaths, estimated to
range from 1,500 to more than 100,000. Worst case nuclear reactor accident
cancers and condemned area were estimated to be generally comparable to
the upper end of the spent fuel accident estimates.
Yesterday we brought you more of the continuing and farcical story of the state of the art European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) being built by AREVA at Olkiluoto in Finland. The many, many diverse delays incompetence in the project have led to it being (at the time of writing) four years behind schedule and 2.3 billion euros over-budget.
It's not just in Finland, however, where the reactor that was supposed
to relaunch the nuclear ‘renaissance is struggling. In the UK, where the
EPR - along with the Westinghouse AP1000 - is being evaluated for possible
construction there, the government's Health and Safety Executive has said
its design assessment process will miss its June 2011 deadline.
More information is required from the reactor vendors in a number of areas: fault studies, fuel design and electrical systems for AP1000; and mechanical engineering, environment and fuel design for the EPR. For both reactors the HSE wants more information on structural integrity as well as higher active waste and used fuel management."
Ukraine is seeking to supply its nuclear reactors with uranium mined in the country from 2015, Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Natalia Shumkova said.
Ukraine aims to increase uranium production to 5,000 metric tons a year in 2020 and 6,000 tons in 2030, from 830 tons, Shumkova said at a conference in Kiev today. The eastern European country needs to invest 9.9 billion hryvnia ($1.25 billion) in uranium output through 2013, she said.
The ministry this week announced a tender to build a uranium plant and will pick a winner by early October, according to Shumkova. Russia's OAO Tvel and Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse Electric Co. have the experience to build the plant, she said.
Ukraine plans to construct a third nuclear reactor at its Khmelnytskyi power plant by 2016 and a fourth by 2017, Yuriy Nedashkovskyi, the president of DP NAEK Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned operator of nuclear power stations, said at the same event. The construction is worth 30.1 billion hryvnia, he said. "
French nuclear giant AREVA were force to issue a profit warning yesterday. It has had to find an extra 400 million euros to cover the additional costs of building its so-called flagship European Pressurised Reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland. This is on top of 2.3 billion euro provisions put aside in previous years and brings the current estimated overrun to an eye-watering 2.7 billion euros. The initial cost of the project was 3.2 billion euros.
While the rocketing costs of the OL3 EPR have dragged down AREVA's results for years, this is the first time that they have sent the company into the red. The company's financial health has already been suffering thanks to the Olkiluoto project, as it struggles to build up its reserves for planned future investments.
But that's not the end of it. This announcement of another enormous cost overrun will not be the last.
This newly announced 400 million is based on the assumption that OL3 will be operational by end of 2012 and not the middle of 2012. However, it became clear last week that the end of 2012 milestone will - at best - be completion date for construction. It will then take at least another six months before the newly finished power plant can go into commercial operation. That would mean roughly another extra 400 million euros being added to the project's budget."
Areva SA, the French nuclear-reactor builder, took a new provision for cost overruns at a plant it's building in Finland, leaving the door open for more charges as the project is still 2 1/2 years away from completion.
The company said yesterday it will book a charge of about 400 million euros ($491 million) in the first half as Finnish customer Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said this month the OL3 plant will start nuclear operations at the end of 2012 rather than by a previous June 2012 deadline.
Areva "has now installed the reactor pressure vessel and continues work on piping, but history suggests further delays are very likely," Alex Barnett, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd., who recommends buying Areva investment certificates, said in a research note today.
The new charge takes total provisions for cost overruns to about 2.7 billion euros for the first-of-its-kind project, which Areva pledged in 2005 to build for 3 billion euros and complete in 2009."
You can take the girl out of Suffolk but you can't take Suffolk out of the girl. Stories inspired by her home county have been floating around former Look East broadcaster Boni Sones's head for years. Now she's sharing them. She spoke to Steven Russell
BONI Sones was eight when the bulldozers and cranes came. They changed forever the face of the coast and heathland where she played, scraping away more than 200 acres of scrub and grass to build a nuclear power station. Not that it put paid to youthful pursuits, for the construction site became an unofficial adventure zone for children from the tiny fishing hamlet of Sizewell and the scattered houses around. "As kids, we used to break into the site by burrowing under the fence and climbing the crane and so on. It was just an extension of our playground," she confesses of the early 1960s.
Not surprisingly, the magnox reactors had a major impact on the lives of
the communities in and around Leiston. "The power station definitely gave
a sense of menace," says Boni. "If you think, as eight-year-olds, we were
having to practise emergency evacuation procedures . . . It went from being
an idyllic childhood to something that had menace in it. I used to think
Where would we be safe, then, if it blew up?
In the latest twist to the growing nuclear debate in Latin America, Uruguay accused Argentina of neglecting due process of consultation before going ahead with plans to build a new nuclear power station.
The first hints of a developing row over Argentina's nuclear plans came nearly a month after Brazil unveiled plans to expand its uranium processing operations, possibly with sights set on export potential, and Venezuela's pledge to explore nuclear energy.
Uruguay's open criticism of Argentina, conveyed indirectly through the media, came within a week of near resolution of a 5-year dispute between the two countries on an eucalyptus pulp mill near the shared Uruguay river."
- 10 regions had appealed for say on location of plants
- Ruling gives central govt final say on siting
Italy's top court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by 10 Italian regions to have a say on the location of any nuclear power plants built, judicial sources said.
The ruling by the constitutional court, which had been championed by companies hoping to build the plants and opposed by environmental groups, effectively means the central government will have the final say on the site of the plants.
Italy is the only Group of Eight industrialised nation without nuclear power, but the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi aims to relaunch it and have a quarter of all power in the country generated by nuclear plants in the future.
Nuclear power was discontinued in Italy nearly 25 years ago after a referendum.
Enel (ENEI.MI) and France's EDF (EDF.PA) would like to start building four nuclear power stations in Italy in 2013.
Public opinion in Italy has been generally hostile to nuclear energy and local authorities had demanded a say in their approval."
The latest progress report from UK nuclear safety regulators has made the best-case completion of the Generic Design Assessment process seem unlikely.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said detailed examination of the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 was well underway and making reasonable progress with a rapidly increasing workrate.
However, it is facing a deadline of June 2011 when it is meant to issue the most meaningful design acceptance certificates that it can for the reactors. While most plant systems and features have posed no substantial problem, there remain some that could potentially have to be dealt with under separate processes which extend the overall GDA effort beyond June 2011. As well as acceptance certificates, the HSE said it is planning to publish "a suite of progress reports" in June 2011 "together with the requesting parties' resolution plans for any outstanding issues relating to GDA." "
* Egypt wants to build four nuclear plants by 2025
* Cairo backed 2012 conference on WMD-free Middle East
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is ready to cooperate with plans to build nuclear power plants in Egypt, which is now working on locations for construction, the head of the U.N. body said on Tuesday.
Egypt said in March it planned to build four plants by 2025 and inaugurate the first in 2019 in an effort to reduce the most populous Arab country's reliance on oil and gas. Officials hope the programme would add capacity of up to 4,000 megawatts."
The Hong Kong government is considering a plan that would require Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations and Management Co. to report minor accidents, Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News reported today. Under the proposal, Daya Bay would need to report small accidents such as the leakage on May 23 to shareholder CLP Holdings Ltd., the government's Environmental Protection Department and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Chinese- language paper said, without saying where it got the information. "
In 2007, the first application to build a new reactor in the United States in more than three decades was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). By the end of that year, four more applications had landed at the agency. In 2008, 12 additional applications arrived, with one more filed in 2009. Nuclear backers proclaimed a "renaissance" underway.
The NRC, which over the years had lost personnel because of a shortage of work, geared up, hiring 1,000 new staffers to handle the licensing requests. Things got so crowded at the Office of New Reactors that in May the agency broke ground for a third office building in suburban Washington."
The Vermont Public Service Board has set a hearing for the evening of July 8 at Brattleboro Union High School to take public testimony on whether it should order the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
The board is considering a petition by groups critical of nuclear power that Vermont Yankee be shut down until repairs can be completed to ensure any leaks of radioactive substances have stopped.
Critics of the plant also are calling for it to be penalized for misleading state officials. Plant personnel said in sworn testimony before the board and elsewhere that the Vernon reactor did not have underground pipes carrying radioactive substances.
Such underground pipes were found to be leaking earlier this year."
Approximately 310,000 pounds of soil and other solid waste from the groundwater contamination investigation at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has been packed into 10 tractor-trailer like containers for shipment to a licensed radioactive waste disposal facility, according to an update posted on the Vermont Department of Health's website on Friday.
But when the leak of tritiated water was discovered, the public was told by Entergy, which owns and operates Yankee, it would need to dispose of 240 cubic feet of earth from the excavation around what was determined to be the source of the leak.
If a cubic foot of dirt weighs on average 40 pounds, that's only 9,600 pounds. So where did the other 300,400 pounds come from?
Larry Smith, Yankee's director of communications, said he's not sure where the Department of Health came up with the 310,000-pound number.
Smith said Yankee plans to dispose of only 240 cubic feet of contaminated soil as a result of the leak. That soil will fit in three 3-by-4-by-4-foot approved containers that will be shipped to a low-level waste facility in Clive, Utah, he said. "
Mike Carlson was at his desk when he noticed his chair starting to move.
The computer monitor on his desk at Central Vermont Public Service Corp. in Rutland shuddered, too, Wednesday afternoon moving from side to side, thanks to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake in Canada at abount 2:30 p.m. that shook a region stretching as far west as Michigan and into New England.
Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon reported an "unusual event," the lowest of four levels of emergency classification. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan says the earthquake wasn't felt in the control room but was in other parts of the site. Yankee officials say there's no evidence of damage to the plant.
Vermont Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma said no reports of damage have been reported.
The state misidentified a town in a public announcement during a drill at the Salem nuclear power plant, the Office of Emergency Management said Thursday.
The mistake and a delay in getting instructions out to the public mean the state will have to conduct a second drill in July.
The drill tested the state's response to a nuclear disaster May 18. In a mock public notice, the state misidentified a town that was subject to a fish advisory, officials said.
The state also took 62 minutes to make all the necessary preparations to direct the public to evacuate, take shelter or consume potassium iodide pills in response to the nuclear accident. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the directions should have been issued within 45 to 50 minutes.
Everything else in the biannual drill went smoothly, state officials said."
Entergy Corporation today announced it has identified and stopped the source of tritium leakage at its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and has begun initial work to support the remediation of soil and groundwater at the plant site.
The successful effort to identify the source of the leakage, fix the problem and prevent a recurrence capped an intense and rigorous effort by Entergy with the oversight of state and federal regulators that began in January when elevated levels of the radionuclide tritium were detected in monitoring wells built for that purpose.
In a special briefing for key stakeholders, Entergy's Executive Vice President, Operations Mark Savoff expressed regret that the leak occurred. At the same time, Savoff announced that the company has embarked on a six-point, fleet-wide initiative to become an industry leader in tritium leak prevention, detection, and mitigation. The six-point initiative includes benchmarking industry best practices, prioritizing structures, systems and components, improved inspection techniques, and improved strategies for prevention, monitoring and mitigation of leakage."
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed Tuesday evening that a large fiberglass pipe in the recently rebuilt cooling towers at Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor had developed an 18-inch crack and was leaking water.
Another crack developed in a joint in another location along the same pipe, a spokeswoman for the NRC said.
The disclosure of the cracks in the large distribution or header pipe in the east cooling tower comes after Entergy recently completed rebuilding the infrastructure of the two cooling towers over the past three years, after the western tower partially collapsed in August 2007.
Samuel Collins, Region One administrator for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Donald Jackson, another NRC official, confirmed the cracks in the cooling tower pipe during a public meeting over the annual assessment of the plant's operation and condition held at Brattleboro Union High School. There are cracks in cell 1-5 and cell 1-8 in the east tower, which is closest to the Connecticut River.
Until the issue was brought up by Raymond Shadis, senior technical advisor to the nuclear watchdog group The New England Coalition, about two hours into the meeting, neither Entergy nor NRC officials had mentioned the problem, which was discovered Thursday by Entergy. The leaks have already undergone a temporary repair, according to Entergy spokesman Larry Smith."
Many might be alarmed to learn of a homemade nuclear reactor being built next door. But what if this form of extreme DIY could help solve the world's energy crisis?
By day, Mark Suppes is a web developer for fashion giant Gucci. By night, he cycles to a New York warehouse and tinkers with his own nuclear fusion reactor.
The warehouse is a non-descript building on a tree-lined Brooklyn street, across the road from blocks of apartments, with a grocery store on one corner. But in reality, it is a lab.
In a hired workshop on the third floor, a high-pitched buzz emanates from a corner dotted with metal scraps and ominous-looking machinery, as Mr Suppes fires up his device and searches for the answer to a question that has eluded some of the finest scientific minds on the planet."
Officials at Vermont's only nuclear power plant say a design flaw that kept engineers from inspecting underground pipes helped cause a leak of radioactive water into the ground.
In a report released Tuesday, Entergy Vermont Yankee says a pipe tunnel was blocked with construction material left over from the plant's construction in 1972 and prevented water contaminated with tritium (TRIHT'-ee-um) from passing through the drain line and into a tank.
A separate pipe installed in 1978 created a pathway that allowed the contaminated water to reach the soil on the plant's grounds."
A cracked containment lid at a nuclear power plant in Ohio needs replacing, and a new one will be installed in 2011, plant officials say.
FirstEnergy Corp. has purchased a replacement lid for the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, Ohio, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Monday.
The plant has been closed since Feb. 28 for work to repair cracks in its lid. Such cracks can allow radioactive coolant into the facilities containment building, the newspaper said."
An Idaho company is moving closer in its effort to build a nuclear power plant in Payette County.
Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. officially filed a rezone application on Tuesday, June 22, asking that 5,000 acres of land near New Plymouth be converted from agriculture to industrial use. In April, Payette County Commissioners unanimously approved a change to their county's comprehensive plan, opening the door for a rezone application.
A slate of hearings are expected to attract opponents and proponents of the plant, which Alternate Energy claims will create 5,000 jobs. Dates have yet to be announced, but check back to Citydesk for updates."
The federal regulators that are considering granting a license for DTE Energy's proposed Fermi 3 nuclear reactor have agreed to investigate quality assurance violations associated with plans for the new reactor.
Last fall the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a notice of violation to DTE for failing to have a plan to ensure that work done by contractors met standards.
According to the NRC, quality assurance (QA) comprises all planned and systematic actions that are necessary to provide adequate confidence that a structure, system, or component will perform satisfactorily in service. Attributes of a QA program include procedures, recordkeeping, inspections, corrective actions, and audits.
In June 15 ruling the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing board responded to a petition by a coalition of environmental groups by agreeing to hold a formal hearing on the issue of quality assurance violations."
A public hearing on Duke Energy Carolinas' plan for a third cooling water pond at its proposed Lee Nuclear Station quickly devolved into pro- and anti-plant factions talking past each other.
Not that the people did not have important things to say. But in the two-hour hearing Thursday night in Gaffney, S.C., only a few of the presentations involved the proposed pond and the plant's impact on the Broad River, which will provide the cooling water.
Instead, the discussion tended to be about the pros and cons of nuclear energy.
Supporters contended Duke has a strong nuclear safety record and the plant is needed to provide power and jobs for the Carolinas."
Nuclear Health and Safety News
Senators want uranium compensation on fast track
Colorado's two U.S. senators are seeking a hearing on a bill that would expand the compensation program for the nation's nuclear-weapons industry workers.
Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats, wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-N.J., urging a quick hearing on the measure, S. 3224, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2010.
The measure "would address key deficiencies in RECA, and extend compensation to a number of currently unqualified but suffering uranium workers and downwinders," the senators wrote.
The amendments would expand the qualifications for compensation for radiation exposure to include post-1971 uranium workers for compensation; equalize compensation for all claimants to $150,000; expand the downwind exposure area to include seven states; and fund an epidemiological study of the health impacts on families of uranium workers and residents of uranium-development communities. "
The U.S. Department of Labor will visit Livermore, Calif., on June 29 and Emeryville, Calif., on June 30 to present information about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which provides compensation and medical benefits to employees who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Through town hall meetings, officials will present details about two new classes of former employees at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently added to the EEOICPA's Special Exposure Cohort, as well as provide an overview of the program. The Labor Department's California Resource Center staff will also be available at the town hall meetings for extended periods of time to assist individuals with the filing of claims under the EEOICPA.
A worker who is included in a designated SEC class of employees, and who is diagnosed with one of 22 specified cancers, may receive a presumption of causation under the EEOICPA. On April 5, 2010, the secretary of health and human services designated the following two classes of employees as additions to the SEC: all employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors, who worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., from Jan. 1, 1950, through Dec. 31, 1973, and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., from Aug. 13, 1942, through Dec. 31, 1961, for at least 250 workdays occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with workdays within other classes of employees in the SEC. Both designations became effective on May 5, 2010. As the Department of Health and Human Services determines and introduces new SEC classes into the EEOICPA claims process, the Labor Department's role is to adjudicate these claims based on the new SEC class definition.
To date, more than $118 million in compensation and medical bills have been
paid to 1,004 eligible Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory claiments...
A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Tom
Udall, D-NM, is requesting a hearing on a proposed expansion of the Radiation
Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), aimed at reaching victims throughout the
western U.S. whose high rates of cancer and other diseases have been tied
to radiation exposure.
RECA currently provides funding to qualified "downwinders" in Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Washington and Wayne counties. The proposed expansion would extend coverage to all of Utah, along with the other six states, and increase the list of illnesses eligible for compensation.
Introduced in April, the bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, and the group wrote a letter to the committee requesting the hearing."
A NUCLEAR test veteran has described how he believes his battle for compensation from the Government may not be won in his lifetime.
Former RAF serviceman Archie Ross, of Oak Close, Castle GresleyArchie Ross, of Oak Close, Castle Gresley, made the claim as an appeal by the Ministry of Defence, against a decision to allow compensation for more than 1,000 servicemen, continues.
Mr Ross claims that exposure to radiation in 1950s nuclear tests, during his time as an RAF serviceman on Christmas Island, near Australia, has had a devastating effect on his health, his daughters and his grandson.
But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has rejected allegations of negligence and countered by saying that the claims for compensation are now out of date."
Vermont Yankee nuclear plant officials say two new cracks have been found and repaired in a rebuilt tower that cools water from the plant.
The cracks were found June 17,and were not publicly reported by the plant.
The water cools the reactor, but it is not radioactive.
The Rutland Herald says the cracks' existence came to light Tuesday during a meeting held by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Plant spokesman Larry Smith said yesterday the cracks in a 36-inch pipe were both about 12 to 15 inches long, and were spilling about 10 gallons of water a minute. He says the problem didn't meet the plant's threshold for public reporting.
In August 2007, a different cooling tower at Vermont Yankee collapsed. "
Utah's radiation programs have new leaders.
The new director of the Radiation Control Division is Rusty Lundberg, who has worked in the state's solid waste and sustainability programs.
Lundberg replaces Dane Finerfrock, who has led radiation programs for the past seven years and retires at the month's end.
"Rusty has excellent management and leadership skills," said Utah Department of Environmental Quality Director Amanda Smith, "and will do an outstanding job in the Division of Radiation Control."
Lundberg has been with DEQ for 25 years, serving for more than 15 years as the branch manager overseeing solid waste for the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste."
Safety at the Dounreay nuclear plant continues to improve, according to the bosses of the company leading the clean-up of the Caithness complex.
In their annual report, the directors of Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) said no time was lost through accidents between March 2009-10.
They said the low dosages of radiation workers were exposed to also underlined the priority given to safety.
Two workers were exposed to radiation last July. "
Bruce Power has added 40 long-term employees to a growing list of workers being tested for exposure to alpha radiation, company spokesman John Peevers said Monday.
"This is just another step based on what we learned from the restart project," Peevers said. "We put a number of measures in place to protect employees, to better monitor alpha, and now we're looking back historically to see if any of our long-term employees in operations have had any exposure to alpha over their career."
The company unexpectedly discovered alpha radiation when workers were doing Jprep work -- cutting and grinding down tubes that had carried coolant as part of the Bruce A Unit 1 restart project. Similar work on Unit 2 had been done without incident.
The first hint of airborne alpha radiation in the Unit 1 nuclear vault came during a routine air sample test on Nov. 26, 2009. Two days later, a similar radiation spike was found but the company didn't find out it was alpha radiation until Dec. 21.
"We have always been looking for alpha but we were using . . . industry standard assumptions" based on ratios of beta-gamma radiation which are quite common in nuclear plants, Peevers said. The company now knows "that the ratios weren't as accurate as we wanted." "
Cooper Nuclear Station, an electric power plant in southeast Nebraska, declared a "Notification of Unusual Event" Tuesday, June 22nd at 2:06 a.m.
The notification was made as part of safety and emergency preparedness procedures the station follows when flooding conditions are in effect. The procedures dictate when the Missouri River's water level reaches 42.5 feet, or greater than 899 feet above sea level, a notification of unusual event is declared.
There is no threat to plant employees or to the public; the plant continues to operate safely. Appropriate Local, County, State, and Federal agencies were also notified, as part of Cooper's Emergency Preparedness plan.
As a precautionary measure, when the river reached 897 feet above sea level last week, Cooper management initiated steps to barricade external doorways to the plant with sandbags. Should the river's level increase to 900 feet above sea level, plant personnel will also barricade internal doorways as another layer of protection for facility equipment."
Radioactive waste was being readied for isolation plant
A Savannah River Site worker is being evaluated for internal radioactive contamination after an accident in which his finger was punctured by waste materials.
The incident occurred Monday in the site's F-Area, where employees hired by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions were conducting transuranic waste remediation work, said Jim Giusti, a U.S. Energy Department spokesman at the site.
"His finger was punctured by something in the waste, and the waste is contaminated with radionuclides," he said. "It got into his skin and potentially into his blood. So we have a series of protocols we have to go through.""
Nuclear Regulatory Commission News
The above links will take you to the most important Nuclear Regulatory Commission activities.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is citing Florida Power & Light Co. for three violations and has proposed a $70,000 civil penalty against the company for an issue with the Unit 3 spent fuel pool racks at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant near Homestead, Fla., about 20 miles south of Miami.
In December 2009, the NRC became aware that the neutron-absorbing material called Boraflex in the Unit 3 spent fuel pool had degraded below the levels spelled out in the plant's design basis documents. Although FPL had taken compensatory measures including the addition of soluble boron, the regulatory requirements that ensure the spent fuel pool remains safe were not met.
The company's actions ensured the pool's condition did not pose an immediate safety concern, but the NRC found that FPL did not promptly identify and correct the condition. The NRC issued the civil penalty because the agency felt the company did not report the condition in a timely fashion. The NRC has determined that the issue has low to moderate safety significance and may result in additional inspections.
The NRC staff held a regulatory and enforcement conference with FPL in April, and the company disagreed with some aspects of the NRC's evaluation. After considering information provided by FPL, the NRC staff issued its final determination including the three violations and $70,000 fine."
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced the opportunity for public participation in a hearing on a Combined License (COL) application for two new reactors at the Turkey Point site near Homestead, Fla.
Florida Power & Light submitted the COL application June 30, 2009, seeking approval to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site, approximately 40 miles south of Miami. The Turkey Point application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/turkey-point.html.
The NRC staff has determined that the application contains sufficient information for the agency to formally "docket," or file, the application and begin its technical review. Docketing the application does not preclude additional requests for information as the review proceeds; nor does it indicate whether the Commission will issue the license. The docket numbers established for this application are 52-040 and 52-041.
The NRC has issued in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity to intervene in the proceeding on the application, and the deadline for requesting a hearing is Aug. 17. Petitions may be filed by anyone whose interest may be affected by the proposed license, who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding, and who meets criteria set out in the NRC's regulations. Background information regarding the hearing process was provided by NRC staff to members of the public during an April 2009 meeting in Homestead."
On January 30, 2009, General Electric (GE)-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) submitted an environmental report to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license to construct, operate, and decommission the GLE Global Laser Enrichment Facility. The proposed GLE Facility would be located in the North-Central Sector of the existing GE property near Wilmington, North Carolina. The proposed GLE Facility, if licensed, would enrich uranium for use in commercial nuclear fuel for power reactors. Feed material would be comprised of non-enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6). GLE would employ a laser-based enrichment process to enrich uranium to up to eight percent uranium-235 by weight, with an initial planned maximum target production of six million separative work units (SWUs) per year. GLE expects to begin preconstruction activities in 2011. If the license is approved, GLE would expect to begin facility construction in 2012, and continue some construction activities through 2017. GLE anticipates commencing initial production in 2013 and reaching peak production in 2017. Prior to license expiration in 2052, GLE would seek to renew its license to continue operating the facility, or plan for the decontamination and decommissioning of the facility per the applicable licensing conditions and NRC regulations. The proposed GLE Facility would be licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act. Specifically, an NRC license under Title 10, "Energy," of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Parts 30, 40, and 70 would be required to authorize GLE to possess and use special nuclear material, source material, and byproduct material at the proposed GLE site."
Nuclear Fuel Cycle News
After reports from a German lab highlighted the threat of high uranium content in water, linking it with high incidence of abnormalities among residents of the Southern-West Malwa region of Punjab, another preliminary report by Baba Atomic Research Center (BARC), Mumbai, and researchers at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, has found unsafe concentrations of uranium and heavy metals in water samples collected from Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and adjoining areas. This comes at a time when the state health department is facing flak for its alleged attempts to play down this serious threat to people's health.
Dr HS Kushwaha, director health, safety and environment group of BARC, said, "235 water samples were collected from the region about a year back, and many of these were found to have high uranium content. So, we assigned the task of exploring the possibility of uranium prospect and health risk assessments in area to physics department of GNDU, about six months back." "
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has completed a draft environmental statement recommending commission approval of a license for the Global Laser Enrichment facility proposed for the GE complex in Castle Hayne.
The approval was reported in a notice published in Friday's Federal Register, which stated: "The NRC staff preliminarily recommends that, unless safety issues mandate otherwise … the NRC should issue a license" to Global Laser Enrichment to operate a laser-base uranium enrichment facility.
The notice went on to say the "NRC staff in the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards is currently completing the safety review of (GE Hitachi's) license application. The safety review is currently scheduled for completion in December 2010.""
Some people in one Labrador community that could benefit from uranium mining are calling on the Inuit Nunatsiavut government of northern Labrador to end its three-year ban on uranium mining now.
They say that since the ban was narrowly approved in 2008 the community has gone from boom town to ghost town.
At the peak of exploration, the drone of helicopters and float planes continued from dawn to dusk.
"All we can hear now is the wind and the songbirds," said Glen Sheppard, a member of the Nunatsiavut Assembly representing Postville. "If it weren't for the number of homes around, you'd think you're at your [summer] cabin."
Sheppard said that since the moratorium almost half the town's residents have become unemployed and that 75 per cent of the people in the community want the moratorium lifted early."
The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) underwent an overhaul at a meeting last week in Accra, Ghana. Transformative changes reflect global developments that have occurred since the partnership was established in 2007, and include a new name—the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation—and a new mission statement.
The partnership started out as a U.S.-led initiative under President George W. Bush in 2006, seeking to improve the proliferation-resistance of the nuclear fuel cycle while guaranteeing access to fuel supplies through both political and technological initiatives.
But last year, after 14 hearings and 15,000 comments, the U.S. Department of Energy reportedly pulled the plug on domestic involvement in the partnership. A DOE spokesperson was quoted as saying that the nation's "long-term fuel cycle research and development program will continue but not the near-term deployment of recycling facilities or fast reactors." The spokesman noted that the international component of GNEP was under interagency review. "
The Danville Regional Foundation (DRF) announced Friday it has received proposals from two nationally-known groups, Resources for the Future and RTI International, to conduct an independent socioeconomic study on the regional impact of uranium mining. Abstracts of these proposals can be found online (http://danvilleregionalfoundation.org/Uranium/uranium-proposal-abstracts) and available for public comments for 30 days through DRF's Uranium Blog (http://danvilleregionalfoundation.org/Uranium/).
Registered public comments submitted online will be reviewed and used in selecting the organization to conduct the study.
Selection is expected to be announced in August with the final study due by year-end 2011, according to a DRF news release.
The proposed study will examine the potential effects of uranium mining and milling, and long-term waste management on people, institutions and economies within 50 miles of the proposed site.
Specific means of determining the socio-economic benefits and risks, such as impact on property values, taxes and institutions, are outlined in the abstracts, the release stated.
In the state of Virginia, there are currently four uranium mining, milling and tailings storage studies currently under way or planned. Each has different purposes, it continued.
A brief summary is online (http://danvilleregionalfoundation.org/news/documents/Uranium-Studies-FINAL.pdf)
Russia and Kazakhstan are on the brink of signing a number of documents on cooperation in the nuclear sphere, the head of the Russian atomic energy company Rosatom said on Saturday.
Sergei Kiriyenko said while he was in Kazakhstan on Thursday, cooperation in the nuclear sphere was discussed between Russia and Kazakhstan.
"A wide range of documents are on the deciding stage and the 'last leg' of these documents will be finished in a short period of time," Kirieyenko said at the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg."
Accelerated clean-up work at the Department of Energy's Piketon site is moving along well, officials said, following a $118.2 million infusion in federal stimulus money designed to speed up the process of decontamination and decommissioning, environmental remediation and waste management of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
The removal of contaminated groundwater from a plume on the east side of the plant is moving along better than planned, DOE Project Manager Bill Murphie said at a public open house Thursday evening.
"We've seen a cost savings there, and because of that, we've been able to do more groundwater removal than we initially thought with the (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) money," Murphie said."
Nuclear Waste News
HINKLEY Point A nuclear power station near Bridgwater has achieved a major milestone in its decommissioning programme - by using technology similar to an industrial car wash.
The site has decontaminated the last of its huge inventory of nearly 1800 'skips' that were used during generation to store spent fuel elements prior to their despatch to Sellafield. "
A FRESH trawl of waters off Dounreay will get under way next month to recover more rogue radioactive fragments.
A robot mounted on a bespoke subsea assembly is being mobilised to detect and then retrieve some of the hottest of the reactor fuel particles.
The operation is part of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd's attempt to tackle the legacy of radioactive pollution caused by sloppy historic waste practices at the site. A major part of its strategy is to target the seabed near the site's original sea effluent plant.
This area - the size of 10 football pitches - is thought to contain the 1500 to 2000 particles deemed to pose a significant health hazard.
Last year, a robot recovered 64 particles, including 13 in the significant category."
Radioactive waste buried under the Olympic Park could jeopardise plans to develop the site after the Games, it is claimed.
Traces of thorium and radium have been buried in a disposal cell under the site of the main stadium. The Olympic Delivery Authority insists the deposits pose no risk during the Games.
But experts say that a reassessment of the site after 2012 may be necessary before any development plans - housing, for instance - are put in place.
Independent nuclear analyst John Large said: "There is some doubt about the applicability and validity of the radiological risk analysis undertaken for the future legacy use."
The Lower Lea Valley site was industrial land which was used for landfill and where illegal dumping of waste was common in the Fifties and Sixties."
The development of the Olympic site in east London after the Games have finished could be in jeopardy because of radioactive waste buried beneath the site, experts have warned.
According to a Guardian investigation, any development of the site risks unearthing a hundred tonnes of radioactive waste dumped at the former landfill site decades ago. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) rules reveal that, contrary to government guidelines, waste from thorium and radium has been mixed with very low-level waste and buried in a so-called disposal cell under, or close, to the Olympic stadium."
A troubled site for disposing some of the nation's low-level radioactive waste has two more problems to deal with.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it'll issue a "notice of violation" within two weeks. It says Waste Control Specialists has stored a concrete canister of the hottest low-level radioactivity material at its West Texas site for more than the 365 days allowed by its waste processing license.
An agency spokeswoman says the commission's drafting what it will require of the company to deal with the violation. She adds, however, that the TCEQ will let the waste remain on site as long as WCS complies with the commission's corrective demands. She also says there will be no fines."
Hanford workers have resumed digging up temporarily buried transuranic waste in central Hanford with improved technology that should take some of the surprises out of the work.
Retrieval of the transuranic waste -- typically debris contaminated with plutonium -- was stopped in February by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. when it ran into problems. Since then the Department of Energy contractor has been working on improvements to its processes.
In 1970 Congress ordered transuranic waste sent to a national repository. But until the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico opened, Hanford workers have been storing waste suspected of being transuranic, often by temporarily burying it.
Much of the waste that Hanford workers have dug up so far to ship to New Mexico was buried in tidy rows and information about what's underground has been available.
But within the last year CH2M Hill has been progressing to more difficult burial trenches, and that's contributed to problems."
Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tuesday that he would work with State Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) and other federal and state lawmakers to keep more than 500 ammunition production jobs at the Milan Arsenal.
Bredesen has brought thousands of jobs to this state, and he told me today that he is just as intent in keeping them here, Finney said after wrapping up a Monday afternoon conference call with Governor Phil Bredesen and other state officials regarding the arsenal. An Army proposal would move the jobs to Iowa and replace them with depleted uranium to be stored at the Milan facility.
"The exchange is an unfair one for Gibson and Carroll counties, which are already suffering with double-digit unemployment."
"Here you have rural counties that could use some help, and now they re talking about taking away more jobs," Finney said.
"I'm not going to sit back and let that happen. We need to show that we are serious about keeping these jobs." "
Proposed new legal deadlines for treating or shipping Hanford's transuranic waste could extend work past the date a national repository is projected to be open to accept the waste.
Proposed Tri-Party Agreement deadlines would allow the Department of Energy to continue treating or shipping transuranic wastes -- typically debris contaminated with plutonium -- through 2035. No previous deadline had been set for shipping the waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the nation's repository for transuranic waste.
But current projections anticipate WIPP will stop accepting waste in late 2030 and work then would begin to close the repository. "
While a weekend derailment of a passenger train damaged about 400 feet of a short-line railroad's track, it didn't disrupt the owner's shipments, the president of the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum said today.
The owner, EnergySolutions, typically moves radioactive materials from the company's waste-processing facility on Bear Creek Road in Oak Ridge to its landfill in Utah.
Charles Poling, president of the museum, said "normal shipments occur at the end of the week," and track repairs were targeted for completion today.
The back diesel engine on the Secret City Scenic Excursion Train went off the tracks and derailed while carrying some 80 passengers Saturday afternoon."
The cost to remove radioactive dirt and debris from the nuclear waste dump along Route 66 in Parks has skyrocketed from $76 million to $170 million.
The increase adds to a growing tally of expenses related to the production of nuclear fuel at the former Nuclear Material and Equipment Corp. in Apollo and Parks from 1957 to the mid-1980s.
Lawsuits for personal injury and contamination, the razing and cleanup of two nuclear fuel plants and government payments to contaminated workers have topped $267 million over the last two decades.
The Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh, the federal agency charged by Congress to excavate and remove the radiological materials, revised its cost estimates as officials hammer out the details to start digging up the site next year."
Safely disposing of low-level radioactive waste is serious business and should lead to serious policy discussions. Unfortunately, The Salt Lake Tribune is less interested in getting its facts straight than using its Opinion page to take cheap shots at EnergySolutions. I do appreciate The Tribune 's willingness to let me set the record straight in response to its editorial of June 8.
Anyone reading The Tribune editorial could conclude that EnergySolutions and the Department of Energy are in discussions about a DOE takeover of the company's Clive waste disposal site, which is simply not factual or even possible. "
A competition between nuclear waste dumps has pulled the Nuclear Regulatory Commission into an unusual reconsideration of its rules to allow moderately radioactive materials to be diluted into a milder category that is easier to bury.
At issue is whether a site in Utah that is licensed to accept only the mildest category of radioactive waste, called Class A, could accept far more potent materials, known as Class B and C wastes, by blending the three together.
Even low-level radioactive waste is a growing problem, with few licensed repositories to dispose of it. The problem dates from the early 1980s, when Congress said that the federal government would take care of high-level waste, like spent fuel from nuclear power plants, but that the states would have to find sites for low-level material, like the radiation sources used in cancer treatments and industrial X-rays, and filters used in nuclear plants."
Nuclear Policy News
Kuwait signed here Wednesday a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the US Government on nuclear safeguards and other nonproliferation topics. The MOC was signed by Secretary General of the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee (KNNEC) Dr. Ahmad Bishara and the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Thomas D'Agostino during a ceremony held at the Department of Energy.
The MOC proposes cooperation in nuclear legislation and regulations; human resource planning and modeling; nuclear safeguards and security; radiation protection; environmental, safety and health issues; low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste management; reactor operations, safety and best practices.
During the ceremony, D'Agostino said "it is clear that both of our countries recognize the importance of preventing nuclear proliferation, and keeping dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists and proliferators."
European experts and a representative of the U.N. nuclear watchdog attended an Arab conference on nuclear power, which ended Friday in Tunis.
Yury Sokolov, deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told delegates to the First Arab Conference on the Prospects of Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation and Seawater Desalination his agency believes international cooperation is important to nuclear development, AllAfrica.com reported. He also spoke of the need for transparency.
The conference began Wednesday. On the final day a number of resolutions were adopted on the need for training and cooperation among Arab countries, KUNA, the Kuwaiti national news agency, reported."
In the Polish village of Klempicz, less than an hour from the German border, Lech Wojcieszynski is hoping to bring the first atomic reactor to his country, overcoming the Chernobyl disaster's legacy.
"I remember Chernobyl very well, but how long ago was that?" said Wojcieszynski, a local entrepreneur who arranged meetings with residents and government officials responsible for nuclear policy. "Technology has moved on to a completely different level."
Nuclear power is back in vogue in Eastern Europe 24 years after the meltdown at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in history, which blanketed the region with radioactive dust and halted development of atomic power. Klempicz is second on a list of 27 sites competing for the $11 billion project. A decision will be made at the end of the year in the country where burning coal supplies 95 percent of energy. "
* Nuclear producers say might study legal ways to fight tax
* Eye energy plan in August for new line on life extensions
German utilities said on Thursday they might sue the government over a planned tax on nuclear power production after a meeting in Berlin on Wednesday failed to appease them.
"We will look into possible legal steps if the tax is imposed without any compensation," a spokesman for E.ON (EONGn.DE) said.
A spokesman for RWE (RWEG.DE) said it would consider legal steps, once the tax plan became more concrete, not least because stock market regulations would oblige the company to do so.
"But, currently, it does not make sense to issue threats as the plans have not been spelled out in detail," he said."
Britain's lights will stay on even without new
nuclear power plants replacing the ageing reactors which are set to close
in the next few years, energy secretary Chris Huhne said on Thursday.
Reiterating that the government will not block new nuclear builds, Huhne said that nuclear's contribution to power generation could fall below the current 20 percent level with no risk of an energy gap if there was sufficient investment in other sources.
"If we set the right framework for low carbon generation, then the market will deliver enough with the right mix. If that includes nuclear, that's envisaged in the coalition agreement, then that will be up to investors," Huhne added at the sidelines of the UK Energy Summit conference."
Two of the world's leading nuclear states the
United States and China are set to clash at a closed-door meeting in Christchurch
About 200 technical and diplomatic officials from 46 nations that make up the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are at the Convention Centre for a week-long meeting, which started yesterday.
China is expected to be questioned about controversial plans to export two nuclear power-generating reactors to Pakistan. If a row develops, Beijing may claim Washington has double standards because the United States sold nuclear technology to non-member India in 2008 after pushing through an exemption with the help of other major powers.
Asked yesterday about a possible deal between China and Pakistan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said it was premature to comment. "
India and Canada are set to sign a civilian nuclear energy agreement this weekend that will allow the South Asian nation to secure uranium, and nuclear equipment and technology to meet its energy needs.
The accord is expected to be initialed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's stay in Toronto for the G-20 summit from June 26.
Negotiations have made "substantial progress" and the agreement is waiting for approval by both sides, Vivek Katju, a secretary at India's foreign ministry, said in New Delhi today. "The agreement will cover the large ambit of peaceful nuclear applications." "
The United States should consider a criteria-based nuclear deal for Pakistan as part of a comprehensive strategy to secure the key South Asian country's anti-militancy cooperation over the long-term, a new study by American scholars said Monday. In a critical appraisal of Islamabad's fight against terrorist threat since 2001 in the context of US-Pakistan cooperation as well as Pakistani policies, the Rand Corporation study notes the vitality of "politically valuable initiatives" that Washington should take towards ensuring Pakistan's sustained cooperation in the high-stakes struggle.
These initiatives should also include a free trade agreement between the two allies, the study entitled "Counterinsurgency in Pakistan" says.
The nuclear deal for Pakistan "could be based on an exclusive relationship with the United States, rather than seeking broad accommodation with the Nuclear Supplier's group and other regimes thatlimit the proliferation of nuclear technology and access to materials for nuclear programs, " authors Christine Fair of Georgetown University and Seth Jones of Rand Corporation suggest."
Environmental campaigners have accused the Government of preparing to allow a multi-million pound "handout" to firms building nuclear reactors.
Greenpeace said the move went against assurances given by ministers that the nuclear industry would not receive handouts to help build new nuclear power stations.
A study commissioned by the group claimed that firms would not be liable for dealing with the waste from new reactors, leaving the taxpayer with bills running into billions. The report, written by Ian Jackson, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said dealing with waste from each new reactor will cost around £1.5bn, but under current plans being considered by the Government, energy companies would "walk away", having contributed as little as £500 million.
Ben Ayliffe, senior energy campaigner for Greenpeace, said: "The Government has said there will be no public money for new nuclear power, but the unique financial model developed for this report shows that billions of pounds of public money could be spent to subsidise the nuclear industry, even though the Government is warning of painful cuts ahead for the country in key areas like education and health."
A recent operational abnormality at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant triggered public concern, even though management assured there were no safety implications.
Increasing nuclear power use is now the central government's official policy. To meet its emission reduction targets, China Light & Power has to purchase more nuclear power.
The difficult part is maintaining public confidence in the safety of nuclear power while achieving environmental objectives.
The Daya Bay power plant, located in Guangdong province about 50 kilometers from Hong Kong, was built in 1985 amid a cacophony of objections. Some even chose to emigrate because of the project.
Fortunately, the plant has operated since 1993 without incident until recently, when an increase in radioactive levels was reported in the cooling system."
The verdict in the Bhopal gas tragedy case has
sparked renewed protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP)
by locals who are prepared to strongly oppose the installation of three
more proposed units III, IV and V at the atomic power plant.
Street campaigns and public meetings have been organised against the new units after villagers, dismayed by the Bhopal judgement, discovered that the officials in the six districts that will be worst affected in case of a disaster at the plant have no emergency preparedness plan.
The street campaigns and three public meetings against Koodankulam in Kanyakumari district after the Bhopal verdict attracted a good audience, said National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements coordinator S.P. Udayakumar. "The Nadars and Pillaimars earlier kept away from the anti-nuclear and anti-Koodankulam campaigns, calling them anti-development," he noted. "But the Bhopal verdict made them realise how irresponsible our government is towards people's safety.""
Even the toughest possible version of a nuclear liability bill to provide compensation to people for nuclear damage is unlikely to impose any direct liability on the suppliers, experts have said amid calls for stronger legislation.
India expects to accelerate the growth of its nuclear power programme through imports of large 1,000MW-class reactors from French and US companies. But experts say direct liability on suppliers would block nuclear trade.
"This is a non-negotiable point," said an expert who has in the past advised the government on nuclear and strategic issues. "With liability on suppliers, none of them would be willing to supply. We just won't get reactors."
A parliamentary committee is examining proposed legislation that sets a maximum liability of $460 million on the nuclear operators for each nuclear incident. India's operators today are the public sector enterprises Nuclear Power Corporation and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini)."
Yesterday's decision by the UK government to withdraw its proposed loan of £80m to Sheffield Forgemasters is extraordinary. No other move could have had quite so much effect on the plans for nuclear power. Forgemasters wanted the money to buy a 15,000 tonne press, a necessary piece of equipment to make the pressure vessel at the centre of a power plant. Without the money, it says it will not proceed with its expansion into the nuclear market."
Sweden is to build new nuclear power stations in defiance of a 1980 referendum when Swedes voted to phase out atomic power.
After a debate in which Sweden's need for climate friendly, low carbon energy clashed with environmental concerns over atomic energy, Swedish MPs narrowly voted to build new nuclear reactor on Thursday night.
"A few months ago, the climate threat dominated the environmental debate. Now it is the oil disaster in the Mexican Gulf that is sparking the world's interest and horror," said Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish environment minister during a heated debate.
"Both are really two sides of the same coin, namely, we must leave
the dependency on oil and fossil energy behind."
Construction will begin next year to replace the 10 ageing reactors that still produce 40 per cent of Sweden's electricity.
But Sweden's centre-Left opposition, currently running neck and neck with the government in opinion polls ahead of elections is September, have vowed to reinstate the ban. "
AN £80m loan to support the civil nuclear supply chain has been cancelled as part of spending cuts announced by the government.
The loan to Sheffield Forgemasters was announced by the former Labour government before the election, but has fallen victim to the review of spending decisions taken since January.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: "This is a very serious blow for the UK nuclear industry and begs the question does the new government actually know what its doing and does it want nuclear ?
"The signs are not good, confusing at best."
Cracks in support for $36 billion in new US Department of Energy loan guarantee authority for nuclear projects appeared on Thursday, after a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee postponed a meeting scheduled to discuss a draft 2011 appropriations bill because the bill did not contain provisions for that authority. The Obama administration requested the additional authority in its 2011 budget, and that request has the support of most members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, an aide to Representative Chet Edwards said Friday. The Texas Democrat is the vice chairman of the subcommittee. "To eliminate or dramatically cut the President's $36 billion request for nuclear loans in fiscal year 2011 would be devastating for the jobs and economic growth our country desperately needs," Edwards said in a statement. "I believe a clear majority of House members favor the expansion of nuclear power in America, and I will do everything I can to work in partnership with business and labor, which are united in support of this effort," he added. "
The recent acceptance of $8.3 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees by the builders of the Vogtle nuclear reactors seems like good news for Georgia electric customers. The taxpayers of the entire country will now share in the costs and risks that had been on the shoulders of the customers of the utilities building the two reactors.
But don't celebrate too soon.
There are more loan guarantees in the pipeline — a total of $54.5 billion, none for Georgia reactors. These guarantees mean that you and I will repay the lender if the project cannot.
The $54.5 billion would amount to an exposure of more than $500 for every American family. Some in Congress want unlimited nuclear loan guarantees, which translate to unlimited taxpayer exposure.
For each of these loan guarantees, Georgia taxpayers will be exposed to the risks of new nuclear construction in such places as Texas, Maryland and South Carolina. Before long, the costs Georgians have passed on to taxpayers elsewhere through the Vogtle loan guarantees may be outweighed by the economic exposure that they will take on to help build reactors elsewhere."
Putting a lid on it takes some time and patience. In this case, crews are transporting a 150-ton nuclear reactor lid from the Port of Long Beach to a plant near Phoenix.
The lid, escorted by the California Highway Patrol, left the port last Tuesday. It's expected to arrive in the Coachella Valley by Wednesday night.
The lid's transport vehicle travels at about 5 mph.
Once in the Coachella Valley, crews will have to maneuver around a road sign near the Highway 111-10 Freeway interchange. The transport vehicle will cross from eastbound to westbound lanes and exit the interstate on the Highway 111 on-ramp."
Review of accelerated depreciation, investment tax credit, and production tax
credit provisions of Senator Kerry's and Senator Lieberman's American
In May 2010, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) released
a discussion version of The American Power Act (henceforth referred to
"K-L Bill" or the "APA"). The K-L Bill as proposed
is a wide-ranging piece of energy legislation that includes a number of
new subsidies to nuclear power. This memo
evaluates three of those nuclear provisions, describing how they work
and estimating their subsidy value to recipients in the nuclear power
* 5-year accelerated depreciation period for new nuclear power plants
* Investment tax credit (ITC) for nuclear power facilities (section 1122)
and the related grants for qualified nuclear power facility expenditures
in lieu of tax credits (section 1126).
* Modification of credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities
The K-L Bill includes a number of subsidies to nuclear power that were
not evaluated in this memo, and as a result this memo should be viewed
as one part of a larger picture of how federal subsidies distort US energy
markets and fuel choice.
Breaks Under Kerry-Lieberman Wipe Out Risk for Utilities Already Benefiting From Massive Loan Guarantees
Earth Track Analysis Finds That Just Two of the Subsidies Add Another $1.3 Billion to $3 Billion in Tax Breaks Per Reactor; May Make It More Likely Taxpayers Will Face Downside Risk.
Washington, DC -- The nuclear industry could end up facing no risk under massive tax break subsidies in the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill, according to an important new analysis conducted for Friends of the Earth by the research organization Earth Track. These tax breaks totaling $9.7 billion to $57.3 billion (depending on the type and number of reactors) would come on top of the Kerry-Lieberman measure's lucrative $35.5 billion addition to the more than $22.5 billion in loan guarantees already slated for nuclear power.
Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica said: "Doling out an additional $1.3-$3 billion in tax breaks per new reactor means the industry would be at the table playing almost entirely with taxpayer money. Industry will have little to lose when a reactor goes belly up. While taxpayers are bankrolling the industry's nuclear gamble they would share in none of the reactor's financial returns. In fact, all taxpayers will receive if the reactors are built is responsibility for disposing of the waste. By contrast, investors stand to make billions with no risk should their reactor gambit goes belly up and enter bankruptcy."
Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO
David M. Ratcliffe today announced that the company's Georgia Power subsidiary
has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to accept
terms for a conditional commitment for loan guarantees.
"This will provide Georgia Power customers significant savings," said Georgia Power President and CEO Mike Garrett.
President Obama and DOE Secretary Steven Chu announced the award of the conditional loan guarantees to Georgia Power on February 16.
"This is another step forward on the road to nuclear power playing
a prominent role in America's energy future," said Ratcliffe. "Nuclear
energy is vital in any effort to make meaningful reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions and meet this nation's rising demand for electricity. This
conditional commitment is an endorsement of the company's performance as
a safe, efficient nuclear operator with strong financial integrity."
While our government is demanding that BP pay up for the oil disaster in the Gulf, it is offering up billions of Americans' hard earned money to another high risk energy player — the wealthy nuclear power industry to build costly new nuclear reactors. Will this be another disaster waiting to happen?
Today the utility giant Southern Company agreed to the terms of its portion of the $8.3 billion conditional loan guarantee awarded by the Obama Administration back in February for the proposed two new reactors it wants to build along with its utility partners at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. So now U.S. taxpayers are officially on the hook if the project goes belly up. Which given the nuclear industry's past track record, is a likely scenario. Many of the problems with these nuclear loan guarantees are in the aptly titled report, "
Nuclear Weapons News
It's everyone's nightmare scenario: After a 65-year hiatus, nuclear bombs are again used as weapons. But despite the evident dangers posed by their existence, nine nations cling to nukes, and a few others, such as Iran, seem to want them. The existing nuclear powers resist disarmament because they believe, or claim to believe, in a number of myths about how easy bombs are for rogue regimes to get -- and how useful they are once in hand.
1. We can't eliminate nukes because countries would cheat and build them in secret.
2. Nuclear weapons are a guarantee of security.
3. As long as there is nuclear energy, there will be nuclear weapons.
4. If all nations dismantled their nuclear arsenals, a cheater with just
a few weapons could rule the world.
5. Nuclear weapons are the only way to become a global power."
A blinding flash of light followed by a cloud of complete darkness. A city in shambles. A face peeks out from beneath heavy wooden beams, eyes dart left and right, trapped as fires begin to consume everything.
These memories of the atomic bomb decimating Hiroshima haunt Takashi Teramoto.
Sixty-five years later, he recounts the story to about 40 Mill Pond students and their parents during a live video conference organized by sixth-grade teacher, Rebecca Kline and the Executive Director of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, Steve Leeper.
While it was early in the morning in Hiroshima when the live video conference took place, it was 7:30 p.m. for the audience in the Mill Pond auditorium. The live image of Teramoto, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima and his interpreter, Elizabeth Baldwin, were projected on a large screen while pictures were displayed in am accompanying slideshow.
This video conference was organized as part of a campaign by the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation to abolish all nuclear weapons in the world. Leeper explained that they are not doing this campaign to attack America or complain about what happened. Their concern is preventing mass destruction by nuclear weapons from ever happening again. "
The United States studied a plan for a nuclear strike on North Korea in 1969 but advisers to then-president Richard Nixon concluded it was best to remain calm, declassified documents showed Wednesday.
The documents, obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, foreshadow present-day US frustration on how to handle Pyongyang following its nuclear tests and the sinking of a South Korean ship.
In 1969, North Korea shot down a US spy aircraft over the Sea of Japan (East Sea), killing the 31 personnel on board."
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Tuesday his country will not stop its calls on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and submit its facilities to international observation.
Following a meeting here with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, Abul Gheit said his country will press ahead with its calls for submitting all Israeli nuclear facilities to international observation, state- run MENA news agency reported.
"I can not imagine any one in Egypt would say that we stop calls for submitting Israeli facilities to the observation of international society represented in the IAEA," he said.
Meanwhile, Abul Gheit said his meeting with Amano also touched upon ways the international watchdog could help Egypt to carry out its peaceful nuclear program."
While the world is busy watching the FIFA World Cup that is being held at South Africa, the CBS on Sunday went to throw some light on a still unsolved issue of 2007 when a raid was carried out at the Pelindaba's nuclear research facility that contained weapons-grade uranium.
Scott Pelley of CBS' "60 Minutes" is seen exploring the incidents and how such a raid could have had one of the most horrific effects on the whole world. CBS replayed its 2008 famous report on the issue that has brought the matter to the national attention.
The "60 Minutes" episode that once again enlivened in front of the viewers the horror of the attack with interviews with people who have been present at the place and also experts who provided insight into the matter and what consequences the raid could have yielded. Scott Pelley interviews Anton Gerber the man who was present at the plant on that fatal night and who had worked at Pelindaba for 30 years."
Abnormally high radiation levels were detected near the border between the two Koreas days after North Korea claimed to have mastered a complex technology key to manufacturing a hydrogen bomb, Seoul said Monday.
The Science Ministry said its investigation ruled out a nuclear test by North Korea, but failed to determine the source of the radiation. It said there was no evidence of a strong earthquake, which follows an atomic explosion.
On May 12, North Korea claimed its scientists succeeded in creating a nuclear fusion reaction — a technology necessary to manufacture a hydrogen bomb. In its announcement, the North did not say how it would use the technology, only calling it a "breakthrough toward the development of new energy.""
Amnesty International has accused the Israeli authorities of subjecting jailed nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by holding him in solitary confinement.
The 56-year-old, who spent 18 years in prison for revealing details of the country's nuclear arsenal to a UK newspaper in 1986, was sent back to jail for three months on 23 May on charges of contact with a foreign national, and almost immediately placed in solitary confinement."
India successfully test-fired on Friday a nuclear-capable, short range ballistic missile, the Prithvi-II, state television reported, citing defense officials.
The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II, India's first domestically produced ballistic missile, with a range of 350 km and payload capacity of 500 kg, was blasted off from the Chandipur firing range in the eastern state of Orissa.
India conducted the previous test of the Prithvi-II missile from the same base on March 27."
The Fissile Materials Working Group expressed disappointment that G-8 leaders didn't renew a Global Partnership effort to lock down weapons of mass destruction around the world.
According to info distributed by the coalition of nuclear security experts and advocates, the G-8 leaders opted to evaluate renewed funding options instead of making a firm commitment. In a statement, Kenneth Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security and co-chair of the Fissile Materials Working Group, said:
"The G-8 Global Partnership is a vital multilateral mechanism for securing
nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Its geographic expansion
and renewed funding commitment are essential for international security.
Department of Energy News
Washington's senators are calling for improvements in a program to compensate ill Hanford workers or their survivors.
They continue to hear from workers and their families that getting a claim approved is slow and difficult.
"Since the average length of time to process a claim takes between one and three years, one of the biggest concerns of Hanford workers is fully understanding upfront the requirements to qualify, rather than investing months and even years of time and resources to ultimately be denied," said the staff of Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both D-Wash., in a statement.
The senators sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Friday urging them to fix inefficiencies that can slow down claims processing in the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program for Hanford workers and those at other sites that have contributed to the Department of Energy nuclear program."
For the first time ever, Y-12 is opening its original Pilot Plant -- Building 9731 -- to public viewing this weekend as part of the Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge, and some media members and a few Y-12 retirees got a preview of the facility this morning.
The tour included a look at the Pilot Plant's Alpha calutrons, the only ones left in the world, as well as a couple of the Beta calutrons. The calutrons were used during the wartime Manhattan Project to test the electromagnetic separation processes used to separate the U-235 needed for the atomic bomb -- Little Boy -- ultimately dropped on Hiroshima, Japan."
After months of failed negotiations, members of the local unions that represent bus drivers, maintenance personnel, dispatchers, and the United Steel Workers, held an informational picket to let the community know about issues they have with Battelle Energy Alliance, the company who operates the INL.
This coming Monday, the contract between the company and the unions will end at midnight. Negotiations have been taking place since April, but so far, no resolution has been met.
A lack of communication, loss of seniority rights, and problems with labor relations are all reasons the group says they're picketing today. The main issue for the bus drivers is one proposal from Battelle would force them to take a four and a half hour mid-day, unpaid break.
Gerald Boyd, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge manager, said several of the environmental cleanup projects funded with Recovery Act money are coming in under budget, and Boyd said DOE hopes (plans) to spend those savings on other projects.
Oak Ridge officials apparently are expecting other stimulus money may become available as well.
"We have some proposals in Washington that we would like to do - a
few additional projects," Boyd said. "They're all EM (environmental
The Department of Energy is proposing extending a chemical barrier along the Columbia River at Hanford after a pilot project successfully trapped radioactive strontium before it entered the river.
At the same time, a system to pump contaminated water out of the ground and treat it, which had disappointing results, would be torn out.
DOE has been testing the chemical barrier technology since 2005, with the most recent results showing a 90 percent reduction in strontium contamination in ground water, according to DOE.
The test area extends 300 feet along the Columbia near Hanford's N Reactor, but DOE is proposing extending the chemical barrier to 2,500 feet to span the width of the area where strontium exceeds drinking water standards in ground water near the river."
The NNSA announced last week that it had gotten rid of some contaminated "excess tools" at Sandia National Labs in California under a "low-cost plan" that saved taxpayers about $4 million -- the cost of disposing of the equipment at the Nevada Test Site. The savings came about because an Oak Ridge company -- Toxco Materials Management Center -- agreed to take title to Sandia's hot tools, with plans to clean them up and sell them."
The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Steering Group met in Accra, Ghana on June 16-17, 2010 and approved unanimously several transformative changes to reflect global developments that have occurred since the Partnership was established in 2007. The transformation includes a new name - the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation -- and the establishment of a new Statement of Mission.
Participants in this new International Framework agreed that this transformation was necessary to provide a broader scope with wider international participation to more effectively explore the most important issues underlying the use and expansion of nuclear energy worldwide.
The Steering Group addressed follow-up actions to the International Framework's Executive Committee Meeting that occurred in Beijing on October 23, 2009, including ways to further enhance its activities, such as exchanges of views on approaches to assurances of fuel supply and cradle-to-grave nuclear fuel management. Jordan formally announced that it will host the next meeting of the International Framework's Executive Committee in the fall of 2010."
Other Energy News
In the remote county of Tongyu in northeast China's Jilin Province, 14-year-old Li Ruixue has more memories about sandstorms rather than colorful flowers and clean rivers, due to the howling winds that sweep the area from spring to winter every year.
Sand-filled winds from Horqin often leaves local farmers' land barren and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has described the county as being one of the areas of the world most unfit for human living.
But the Chinese government's new strategy to find more renewable energy might provide one of the country's poorest counties with the opportunity to improve its way of life. The reason for hope is a wind farm with a combined installed capacity of 1.9 million Kilowatt that will soon be completed in the county."
Nuclear Editorial and Opinions
What if Deepwater Horizon was a nuclear plant?
Extracting fossil fuels from ever-more-difficult environments is a dangerous business, a truth underlined spectacularly by the explosion at the Massey mine in April that killed 29 miners or the Deepwater Horizon spill that has left the Louisiana coast a blackened brackish mess.
Not in decades has the nuclear option looked more attractive. Earlier this year, the government extended funding to build two new reactors at the Vogtle plant * in Georgia, likely the first reactors to go online since 1996, and a lot more may be in the works. Oil and coal disasters like Massey and Deepwater Horizon may be some of the best arguments for nuclear power."
The lesson from Deepwater Horizon isn't that oil is bad and nuclear is good, says Mark Gimein in Slate, it's that, despite our best efforts, accidents happen
Slate's Mark Gimein says the BP oil disaster demonstrates why we need to end our pursuit of nuclear power.
On first glance, the BP oil spill seems like a good reason to push for more nuclear power, says Mark Gimein at Slate's The Big Money. Nuclear doesn't pollute the air, and it certainly doesn't "turn our beaches black." But, when you look deeper, the real lesson from the BP disaster is that "things go wrong, in unexpected ways, at unexpected times, to catastrophic effect," no matter how many levels of "failsafe" mechanisms we install. Which is why this disaster is a compelling argument against nuclear power. Imagine if Deepwater Horizon had been a nuclear reactor. Here, an excerpt:"
With regard to our energy independence, the BP oil disaster should be a call to action. Everyone knows we are dependent on fossil fuels coming from foreign sources yet; no one to date has the will to do anything serious and credible about it.
Nuclear energy is the Holy Grail of clean, safe and affordable energy that America can produce and exploit without detriment to the environment.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Glen L. Mc Cullough, Jr., the former chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Glen wrote a terrific paper entitled, "Five Smart Energy Steps for America." This is what Glen said with regard to nuclear power:"
Just once, it would be nice if a president would level with Americans on energy. Barack Obama isn't that president. His speech the other night was about political damage control -- his own. It was full of misinformation and mythology. Obama held out a gleaming vision of an America that would convert to the "clean" energy of, presumably, wind, solar and biomass. It isn't going to happen for many, many decades, if ever.
For starters, we won't soon end our "addiction to fossil fuels." Oil, coal and natural gas supply about 85 percent of America's energy needs. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects energy consumption to grow only an average of 0.5 percent annually from 2008 to 2035, but that's still a 14 percent cumulative increase. Fossil fuel usage would increase slightly in 2035 and its share would still account for 78 percent of the total. "