Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke NotesGermany’s Nuclear Energy Panic Attack

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes

 

Germany’s Nuclear Energy Panic Attack

Steep Rise in Energy Costs Likely If All 17 Reactors Are Closed
This blog post is an update of my coverage published in Fuel Cycle Week V10:N426 May 26, 2011, by International Nuclear Associates, Washington, DC.

Water Levels Fluctuate in Fukushima Building as TEPCO Looks for Leak

Water Levels Fluctuate in Fukushima Building as TEPCO Looks for Leak

TEPCO video: Steam and high rad levels in No. 1 plant

TEPCO video: Steam and high rad levels in No. 1 plant

Tokyo Electric Power Company has released a video, taken June 3 by a robot during a survey inside No. 1 reactor building, showing steam rising around pipe penetrations. Video below courtesy TEPCO.

Gundersen Discusses Current Condition of Reactors, TEPCO Claim of "No Fission" in Fuel Pool, and Lack of Radiation Monitoring in

Gundersen Discusses Current Condition of Reactors, TEPCO Claim of "No Fission" in Fuel Pool, and Lack of Radiation Monitoring in

Radioactive Fukushima Water Nears Overflow

Radioactive Fukushima Water Nears Overflow

arXiv blog Chain Reactions Reignited At Fukushima After Tsunami, Says New Study

arXiv blog

Chain Reactions Reignited At Fukushima After Tsunami, Says New Study

Radioactive byproducts indicate that nuclear chain reactions must have been burning at the damaged nuclear reactors long after the disaster unfolded

Are Nuclear Reactions Still Occurring at Fukushima? from Washington's Blog by Washington's Blog

Are Nuclear Reactions Still Occurring at Fukushima?

from Washington's Blog

China is drawing lessons from Fukushima crisis: official

China is drawing lessons from Fukushima crisis: official

Challenges in environmental protection still serious

Challenges in environmental protection still serious

Shutting Yucca dump ignores US law: House lawmakers

Shutting Yucca dump ignores US law: House lawmakers

Reuters - Roberta Rampton, Jim Marshall - ‎Jun 2, 2011‎
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Energy Department ignored the law by shutting down a controversial Nevada nuclear waste site because of opposition within the state, Republican and Democratic lawmakers complained at a hearing on Wednesday. ...

Yucca Mountain Decision Takes a Bipartisan Beating

GSN logo

Yucca Mountain Decision Takes a Bipartisan Beating

Obama Push to Cancel Yucca Mountain Dump Rejected by House Panel

Obama Push to Cancel Yucca Mountain Dump Rejected by House Panel

Yucca nuclear site raises hackles

Yucca nuclear site raises hackles

House Hearing on Storage of Civilian Nuclear Waste

Thursday, June 02, 2011

House Hearing on Storage of Civilian Nuclear Waste

UPDATE 1-Shutting Yucca dump ignores US law-House lawmakers

UPDATE 1-Shutting Yucca dump ignores US law-House lawmakers

Hastings slams DOE over Yucca Mountain closure

Hastings slams DOE over Yucca Mountain closure

Q+A: Yucca Mountain nuclear waste controversy

Q+A: Yucca Mountain nuclear waste controversy

Jaitapur nuclear power project will be implemented: Jairam Ramesh

Jaitapur nuclear power project will be implemented: Jairam Ramesh

Preparations under way for hot run of Kudankulam nuclear reactor T.S. Subramanian

Preparations under way for hot run of Kudankulam nuclear reactor
T.S. Subramanian

Main Use IAEA report to boost nuclear power plant safety


Main

Use IAEA report to boost nuclear power plant safety

At stricken Japanese nuclear plant, water is the biggest worry

At stricken Japanese nuclear plant, water is the biggest worry

The CIA Accurately Predicted How Long World Oil Supplies Would Last—in 1978

The CIA Accurately Predicted How Long World Oil Supplies Would Last—in 1978

William Hicks, The Downward Spiral
In 1978, an analyst for the Rand Corporation produced a report for the CIA predicting how long oil supplies would last--and got it exactly right.

Post Carbon Institute Natural Gas Report Supplements: Public Health, Agriculture, & Transportation

Post Carbon Institute Natural Gas Report Supplements: Public Health, Agriculture, & Transportation

by Richard Gilbert, Anthony Perl, Brian Schwartz, Cindy Parker, David Hughes, and Michael Bomford
The challenges posed by shale gas production have serious implications for the future of agriculture, transportation, and health in the United States. In this collection of articles, PCI Fellows explore what the Hughes Report means for these sectors.

Three strikes and you’re hot: Time for Obama to say no to the fossil fuel wish list Bill McKibben, TomDispatch

Three strikes and you’re hot: Time for Obama to say no to the fossil fuel wish list

Bill McKibben, TomDispatch

Nuclear Fusion: the elusive genie by Ugo Bardi

Nuclear Fusion: the elusive genie

by Ugo Bardi

AP 1000 Press Conference – Technical Statement

AP 1000 Press Conference – Technical Statement

Mr. Gundersen's technical statement for the press conference on post accident AP1000 containment leakage regarding containment integrity.
Link to Press Statement by Groups contracting for the analysis - http://www.nirs.org/press/04-21-2010/1.


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AP 1000 Press Conference – Technical Statement




Fairewinds Associates AP1000 Press Conference Statement w diagrams.pdf

Ramifications for the AP1000 Containment Design

Ramifications for the AP1000 Containment Design

 

Fairewinds AP1000 Supplemental Report 12-21-2010.pdf

Russia Today: Gundersen First to Say Fukushima Worse than Chernobyl

Russia Today: Gundersen First to Say Fukushima Worse than Chernobyl

The Importance of Venting, When a Reactor Threatens to Blow Its Stack

The Importance of Venting, When a Reactor Threatens to Blow Its Stack

Transcript The Implications of the Fukushima Accident on the World's Operating Reactors

The Implications of the Fukushima Accident on the World's Operating Reactors Transcript

Arnie Gundersen explains how containment vents were added to the GE Mark 1 BWR as a "band aid" 20 years after the plants built in order to prevent an explosion of the notoriously weak Mark 1 containment system.  Obviously the containment vent band aid fix did not work since all three units have lost containment integrity and are leaking radioactivity.   Gundersen also discusses seismic design flaws, inadequate evacuation planning, and the taxpayer supported nuclear industry liability fund.
Hi I'm Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds and it's been a little more than a week since our last video. The video computer we used had a meltdown and I'm sorry that that has set back our production schedule a little bit here. However, I'd like to thank those of you who donated: we were able to go out and get a better computer and hopefully these productions will be up and running again permanently. Thanks again.
Today, I wanted to talk about the lessons that could be learned worldwide for the operating nuclear reactors that are already done and in use, not under construction. The first and most obvious thing is the containment. Containments were made to contain radioactivity. The vents you hear about and how they failed were an add-on. Back in the 70's and 80's when these plants were designed, they weren't designed to have a vent. As a matter of fact, the pressurized water reactors around the world don't have a vent even now. So these containment vents were a bandaid fix to a problem that was identified after they were built. The vents have been tested three times, at Fukushima 1, Fukushima 2, and Fukushima 3, and they failed three times. That's a 100% failure rate. That's an indication that this design is seriously flawed. And it CAN happen here. It can happen in Germany where they also have this type of reactor and at the other BWR reactors around the world.
So first and foremost, the vent system that is on every boiling water reactor, needs to be evaluated to see if it can be made better or if it should be eliminated. And if it's eliminated, what should we do about the containment that can't withstand the pressures of an accident.
Vents can also cause problems. For instance, here in Vermont, the reactor is designed to be pressurized after an accident to push water into it. Well, if they open the vent and it stays open, they will lose that pressure and they won't be able to cool the reactor and we can have a meltdown. That doesn't apply just here, that applies at Dresden, at HB Robinson, and other plants. The NRC allowed this to happen. They allowed utilities to take credit for the containment pressure to push the water to the pumps. There are regulations on the books prohibiting that, but the NRC waived those regulations when they increased the power at Dresden and Vermont Yankee, Robinson and some others.
So it's important to remember that vents were designed to prevent a problem over pressure of the containment, but now they can actually create a problem if, when they are open, they don't close.
If you take a look at Fukushima, it's hard to be able to believe that you can guarantee those valves will close after an accident. I've been on the NRC's case about containment leakage for a long time. At Beaver Valley, there was a hole in the side of the containment. I brought that to their attention several years ago. The full report is on the website. At Fitzpatrick, there was a crack in the side of the containment. I brought that to the NRC's attention last year. And at Millstone, it has the smallest containment for the power output of any of that type of reactor in the world. I brought that to the NRC's attention about two years ago and they actually said from Millstone that they don't have the capability to analyze containment. It's in the notes. Yet, the NRC still assumes that containments will not leak. They have actually said that in an Advisory Committee to Reactor Safeguards meeting back in October of last year. So we've got a containment that doesn't contain. A regulator who doesn't have the capability to regulate. And an industry with a series of cracks or holes in containments that continues to believe that there is zero probability of a containment leak.
Well, moving on, I wanted to talk about seismic criteria. That's earthquake resistance. We now know that Fukushima 1 failed because of the earthquake, NOT the tsunami. It was leaking and in the middle of a meltdown before the tsunami even hit. We also know from another report that was on the website by Siemens, that Unit 4's fuel pool cracked from the earthquake, not from the tsunami. What that means is that the codes we use to analyze these plants are flawed. They shouldn't crack, they shouldn't break.
This wasn't, at Fukushima, that big an earthquake. It was, out at sea a nine, but by the time it got to Fukushima, they should have been able to ride out that storm, at least the seizmic issues of it. But what that says is that what we have been relying on in analyzing these plants may not be working. Two out of the four plants developed cracks from an earthquake and they should have been able to get through this. In the US reactors, we have got another reactor down at Crystal River in Florida that developed a 60 foot long crack in the containment when they cut a hole in it to replace the steam generator. What that means is that this was the most analzyed containment in history and they still never saw that crack coming. They tried to fix it and spent two years on the repair and as they were ready to run again, they found another crack had grown in a different direction. We clearly don't have the seizmic code capability to analyze these massive structures. Crystal River proves it here in the States and Fukushima proves it around the world.
Couple other ones that are really obvious are the batteries. There are not enough of them. The longest lived batteries in an American plant are eight hours, but most are only four. We could not ride out a loss of power accident like Fukushima. In fact, it would be worse.
The other thing is the tidal surge. Now, Fukushima had a tsunami. They were designed for a six or seven meter tsunami around 20 feet and, in fact, the tsunami was 15 meters. At the California plants, San Onofre, they are designed for a 30 foot tsunami, but yet we know there was a 45 foot tsunami in Japan. So, we need to take a look at these tidal surges that can wipe out, maybe not the diesels, but the pumps that pump the water to the diesels.
On the East Coast, you have Florida and the tidal surge from a hurricane. What that means is that the hurricane can push an enormous wall of water inland. For instance, the Turkey Point plants can get inundated by the flood from that tidal surge. We need to look at these events, that right now we have said are impossible, in light of what proved to be possible at Fukushima.
Two more things: First is emergency planning. In the United States, we analyze for ten miles out and there is really no basis in science for ten miles. Basically, we didn't know which way the wind was going to blow, so we put a ten mile circle around the plant and said everybody has got to be able to get out of here
within a couple of hours. But Fukushima showed us that the accident continues for weeks and it goes with a meandering plume deep inland. We are not prepared for an evacuation that would be 50 miles away. Fukushima is already contaminated now beyond 50 miles. There are some plants, like the Dresden Units in Illinois and the Indian Point units in New York State, that have major cities, Chicago and New York, within that zone. We really need to take a look at siting of nuclear plants and REAL emergency plans in place of the paper plans we have in place.
The last thing is multi-unit sites. Fukushima showed us that if one unit blows up, it can impede your ability to solve that problem On other units. Here we have Palo Verde out in Arizona and they have 3 units on one site and just two weeks ago the NRC gave them a 20 year license extension. Well, how could they possibly have analyzed the results of Fukushima and come to an adequate analysis of a multi-unit site?
Well thats a technical wrap up. There is one more political issue and it's Price-Anderson. Price-Anderson is the insurance program that utilities have in place. In the event of an accident, all of the reactors in the country pony up about 100 million dollars apiece and there is a ten billion dollar cap on their liability in the event of an accident. Fukushima is going to be around two hundred billion dollars. If it happens here, what does that mean? That means that you and I as tax payers shoulder the rest of that. We are on the hook for 190 billion in the event of this. And that's what Price-Anderson is. I think in light of Fukushima, we should evaluate whether or not it is right to give these reactors a free ride on their insurance.
Well that's all for now. Thank you very much.

 

Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History

Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History

A report from the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission Ex-Secretariat, Dr. Saji, credits the current status of the accident to "luck". Gundersen discusses what could have happened if the wind had been blowing inland.
I'm Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds and it's Friday, May 6th.
Couple of things I wanted to talk to you about today. They all relate to releases from the plant.
The first one is airborne releases from the plant.
The second is the explosion at Unit 3, a little follow up on that. And the last topic of the day is liquid releases.
The first topic is airborne releases. You'll recall that I've said several times in print and then on TV that the Japanese are lucky that the wind was blowing out to sea most of the time during this accident and not across the island. I just received an email just yesterday from a Dr. Saji. He's a former member of the Japanese Atomic Nuclear Safety Commission, and he's highly respected in Japan. I wanted to read you what he had to say about what I have been saying now for the last six weeks. He said two things. "We were just lucky due to the favorable meteorological conditions during the entire development of the accident. " And then a little further down in this report, he writes one report a day, and has since the accident began. He says, "We were very lucky even with a large release from Fukushima 3, due to the most severe hydrogen explosion, that could have induced a heavy land contamination. This resulted from the wind direction toward the sea at the time of the release, although this must have resulted in a wider ocean contamination far from the Fukushima unit." Well, that's pretty strong words for a senior member of the Japanese nuclear establishment. But it is about five or six weeks later than I recognized it.
Now why is this important? It's important for a couple of reasons. First, is that had the wind been blowing across the island instead of out to sea, we would have had an exclusionary area, like Chernobyl's, all the way across the island of Japan. Now what would have happened is that roads heading north to south, major roads would have been cleaned and you could have travelled from the north to the south. But as far as getting out of your car or living in that area, that would have been impossible. Certainly the Japanese were very lucky that the wind predominantly was blowing out to sea.
Related to that though, is the spin that I believe will be put on this issue by nuclear power companies around the world. And they'll of course say, look at this accident at Fukushima, there really weren't the fatalities we would have expected. Well, the problem there is that the wind was blowing out to sea. And the other problem is, as Dr. Wing discussed about a week and a half ago. What you've done is you haven't eliminated the cancers, you have spread them out in a world wide population so that really it may be more hard to determine whose cancer is a Fukushima cancer and whose is not. But it hasn't reduced the number of cancers. It certainly has saved the Japanese living near the reactor enormously.
The other thing that Dr. Saji said was, and this I found really important, was that the explosion at Unit 3 being blown out to sea must have resulted in wider ocean contamination far from the Fukushima plant.
Which leads me into the second point, and that's the condition of the Fukushima 3. You'll recall I had a long video on that about a week and a half ago. I've gotten a lot of emails, very thought provoking emails at that. All of them agree on a couple of things. That there was a hydrogen explosion, there's no doubt. But it wasn't entirely a hydrogen explosion. And that was a detonation, it was not a deflagration. I'm interested, though, in some of the other pieces that have come out since then, that viewers have sent me, some great discussion points.
The first is that, I was sent a frame by frame analysis of the explosion. In that, if you look at the fire. That's on the south side, on the right side of the building. The flame moves out further to the right, but it also moves straight up on the left side. Well to me, that confirms it is the fuel pool, because that is exactly where the fuel pool should be. The outside wall of the fuel pool shows damage which would indicate that the explosion pushed the outside wall and travelled up. On the inside wall, which would have been stronger as it abutted the containment, it moved straight up. So take a look at the first two frames of that and you'll see what I mean how the flame goes up on the left but heads out and further south on the right. So that tells me it's the fuel pool. The other thing that tells me it's the fuel pool is that this started as a hydrogen explosion but a hydrogen explosion could not have lifted the fuel out of the reactor. And that is because the reactor is in a deep pit and hydrogen is lighter than air. So there is no way that if hydrogen had been floating above, there is no way it could have gotten underneath the fuel and lifted it up. So everyone who has written to me agrees that there was a violent explosion at the bottom of the pool lifting it up and there has been some disagreement about what could have caused that. I've gotten a great discussion about a chemical reaction that could have involved uranium, plutonium and zirconium in the fuel that could lift the fuel up like that. That is a possibility. We need some more data to prove that. I had another person say that plutonium melts at a lower point than uranium and felt that there was a pool on the bottom of the reactor.
Now in my presentation last time I talked about a criticality too, prompt criticality. I need to talk a little about what that means to differentiate between a couple of theories here. When a uranium atom splits, it creates fission products, daughter products and about two and a half neutrons. On average, most of those neutrons shoot out and are called prompt neutrons. A few of them take their time, they have to have their coffee in the morning before they head out. They are called delayed neutrons. Normally a nuclear reactor works on the fact that these delayed neutrons are what perpetuates the reaction. But as I've said, I think that this reaction was caused by prompt neutrons. One of the readers suggested that we could have had nuclear bomb at the bottom of the reactor because the plutonium would melt differentially from the uranium. Now for that to happen, there would have to be a puddle at the bottom and a complete melting of the fuel and I'm not sure that the evidence suggests that. So my theory is that there WAS a prompt reaction but it wasn't like a bomb. They weren't traveling fast but that they slowed down in water and the criticality is called prompt but it's also called moderated. A prompt moderated reaction would certainly create just as much power as all of the other examples I have given you. There are two examples in history of this happening, these prompt moderated reactions.
The first is at a reactor called SL1 out in Idaho. There some operators were working on the control rods and one of the control rods blew through an operator and impaled the operator on the ceiling. That is an example of a prompt criticality. It HAS happened before and I think it happened again at Fukushima 3. I wanted to let you know as readers that i still believe my theory is correct, but there are some competing ways that a violent reaction in a fuel pool could cause a similar issue.
Finally on Unit 3, it is still possible that the reactor and containment could have been breached. Many viewers feel that that is the case. I don't because all of the data coming out of Fukushima now indicates that the pressure and temperature inside the containment and reactor are still in reasonable ranges. So I discount that, not because of the violence of the reaction but because data since then seems to indicate that the containment is intact.
Finally today, I wanted to talk about liquid releases from the reactor. Just yesterday, Fukushima 5 and 6, (now they are a long way away from Fukushima 1, 2 and 3), were still pumping radioactive water out of the basement of the turbine halls. Well, what that tells me is that the groundwater on site is contaminated. In order for groundwater to be contaminated, there has got to be a leak in one of the containments. Remember all this water is being poured in on the nuclear reactor and is now lying in the bottom of the containment. We know Unit 2's containment is breached and we know that water has gone into trenches all over the site. I don't think all of the leaks have been fixed. It would be hard to imagine all of the leaks being fixed. The big one that headed out to the ocean is but I am not convinced that all of the leaks have been fixed. Which means that water is seeping into the ground table and there will be contamination on that site for a long time to come. It could also move inland. This is groundwater; it doesn't have to move out to the ocean. It is clearly moving to the north. So ground water contamination on Fukushima will probably be the worst we have ever seen in nuclear history.
The second thing is, within the Fukushima prefecture, one town is now reporting radioactive sewage sludge. I don't know how that got there. Clearly that is a very disturbing issue. It could come from ground water. It could come from rain runoff. But it is a major concern. Now that sewage sludge was sold as construction material and has been shipped out of the Fukushima area. So some of the radioactivity is now going to have to be chased down, where it went as cinder blocks, and concrete blocks. They will have to be recovered. But that is a major concern that we will have to keep track of.
And finally today I wanted to talk about the Greenpeace ship called the Rainbow Warrior. It has asked for permission from the Japanese government to sample the waters within 12 miles of Fukushima, which are Japanese territorial waters. The Japanese have refused to allow the Rainbow Warrior in. Given the lack of the forthcoming nature of TEPCO's data. I'm saddened that Greenpeace cannot be getting independent data on it's own ship.
Lastly about independent data, the EPA has shut down all of it's post Fukushima air inspection stations and is not inspecting fish as well.
I think if there is anything that you and I as citizens can do, it can be a press congress to make sure that the EPA is continuing a robust sampling of data coming out of Fukushima.

 

Risky Advice

Risky Advice
Andy Stirling and Alister Scott, Project Syndicate: "Why do we seem to be witnessing an increasing number of nasty technological surprises? Indeed, this year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and last year's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have taken their place alongside older problems, such as ozone depletion. We believe that the way in which scientific advice is developed and communicated lies at the heart of the question. Science is increasingly used to support what are essentially public-policy decisions, particularly concerning new and complex technologies."
Read the Article

NRC chair expects more data soon on reactor design

NRC chair expects more data soon on reactor design

Nuclear power plant damage found during inspections

Nuclear power plant damage found during inspections


Published: Jun 3, 2011
Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found deterioration of concrete in below ground-level structures at the 1,245 MW Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire, according to Seacoast online.

Steam, high radiation detected at No.1 reactor

Steam, high radiation detected at No.1 reactor

Protecting coastlines and generating wave power by reflecting or absorbing 90 per cent of wave energy

Protecting coastlines and generating wave power by reflecting or absorbing 90 per cent of wave energy

Xinhua Hu and colleagues at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, have come up with a way to create shield against water waves that, unlike Enoch and Guenneau's set-up, could also double up as a wave-energy plant. Hu's team proposes using a rectangular array of stationary cylinders fixed to the sea floor in coastal waters. "The resonating cylinder array that we studied can be seen as a type of metamaterial for water waves," Hu claims.

Nuclear Power Cannot Solve Climate Change

Nuclear Power Cannot Solve Climate Change

A new report finds that nuclear power plants cannot be built quickly enough and in a safe and secure manner to be a major global solution for climate change

Why is nuclear power the core climate change solution?

Why is nuclear power the core climate change solution?

A Nuclear Solution to Climate Change?

A Nuclear Solution to Climate Change?

  1. William C. Sailor*,
  2. David Bodansky,
  3. Chaim Braun,
  4. Steve Fetter and
  5. Bob van der Zwaan

DRUM: A Nuclear Solution to Climate Change?

DRUM: A Nuclear Solution to Climate Change?

by S Fetter - Block all drum.lib.umd.edu results - 2000 - Related articles
Citation: William C. Sailor, David Bodansky, Chaim Braun, Steve Fetter and Bob van der Zwaan, "A Nuclear Solution to Climate Change?" Science, Vol. ...

Is nuclear power necessary? Is it sufficient?

Is nuclear power necessary? Is it sufficient?

I normally argue the importance of nuclear power, but recently I have run into a number of people asserting that nuclear power is sufficient. Of course, the question is sufficient for what.

Disposal of UK plutonium stocks with a climate change focus

Disposal of UK plutonium stocks with a climate change focus

In the 1950s, following World War II, the United Kingdom and a handful of other nations developed a nuclear weapons arsenal. This required the production of plutonium metal (or highly enriched uranium) purpose-built facilities. 'Civil' plutonium was also produced, since the facilities for separation existed and it was thought that this fissile material would prove useful in further nuclear power development.
Fifty years on, the question of what to do with the UK's separated plutonium stocks is an important one. Should it, for instance, be downblended with uranium to produce mixed oxide fuel in thermal reactors, and then disposed of in a geological repository when it has been 'spiked' by fission products and higher actinide isotopes? Or is, perhaps, there an alternative, which would be of far greater medium- to long-term benefit to the UK, because it treats the plutonium not as waste, but as a major resource to capitalise on?
In the piece below, Tom Blees explores these questions. This was written as a formal submission to a paper "Management of the UK's Plutonium Stocks: A consultation on the long-term management of UK owned separated civil plutonium". Click on the picture to the left to read the background paper (which is interesting and not all that long).
This is the final in the current series of three Brave New Climate posts which has advocated SCGI's position on the need for the IFR: (i) to provide abundant low-carbon energy and (ii) as a highly effective means of nuclear waste management and fuel extension for sustainable (inexhaustible)  nuclear fission. For more information on SCGI's mission and objectives, read this BNC post.
-----------------------------

Response to a consultation on the management of the UK’s plutonium stocks

Tom Blees, President, of The Science Council for Global Initiatives
Do you agree that it is not realistic for the Government to wait until fast breeder reactor technology is commercially available before taking a decision on how to manage plutonium stocks?
I strongly disagree, and I hope that you’ll take the time to read this and consider the fact that the fast reactor option is far more imminent than you might have heretofore believed. Not only that, but it is arguably the best option by far.
Current Fast Reactor Development
Worldwide there are well over 300 reactor-years of experience with fast reactors. Russia’s BN-600 fast reactor has been producing commercial electricity for over 30 years, and Russia is beginning to build BN-800 reactors both for their own use and for China. India’s first commercial-scale fast reactor is about to be finished within a year or two. South Korea has already built a sizeable pyroprocessing facility to convert their spent LWR fuel into metal fuel for fast reactors, and have only refrained from starting it up because of diplomatic agreements with the USA that are due to be renegotiated in the near future. China is building a copy of the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) that was the mainstay of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) development program at Argonne National Laboratory in the USA. Japan has reopened their Monju fast reactor to continue that research, though it should be noted that Toshiba and Hitachi contested the wisdom of that decision, favoring instead the metal-fueled fast reactor design as exemplified by the EBR-II.
Read more of this post

New tests find AP1000 shield 'strong,' Westinghouse says

New tests find AP1000 shield 'strong,' Westinghouse says

Fukushima Daiichi update: Friday June 3

Fukushima Daiichi update: Friday June 3

TEPCO is rapidly running out of room for contaminated water, due partly to water injection and partly to rain at the site. The company has announced that beginning tomorrow it will begin shipping two sizes of tanks (100 and 120 cubic meters in volume) from Tamada Kogyo Corporation's plant in Tochigi Prefecture to the Fukushima Daiichi site for installation. These will supplement all the other tanks being installed on site, and the "mega float" now firmly secured to the pier at the site. The company expects most of the shipments to be performed at night, and expects about six of the large units per day to be shipped from now until early July, and four units per day of the smaller size from the middle of June through the middle of August. This will vastly increase the capacity for contaminated and then later for cleaned-up water on site. NHK is carrying the line that TEPCO has reported having as much as 105,000 tons of contaminated water on site right now, in all of the various affected and damaged buildings, and tunnels and installed tanks as well as the rad waste building. Filtration equipment may be on line as early as June 15.

US anti-nuclear campaign buoyed by German opt-out

US anti-nuclear campaign buoyed by German opt-out
Washington (AFP) June 1, 2011 - US anti-nuclear campaigners are hoping German Chancellor Angela Merkel will try to persuade President Barack Obama to follow in Berlin's footsteps and drop plans for new atomic power stations. The German proposals, hammered out by Merkel's ruling coalition, will see the country shutter all 17 of its nuclear reactors, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid, by 2022. Merkel, ... more

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Armenian nuclear plant advised to boost safety

Armenian nuclear plant advised to boost safety
Yerevan (AFP) June 2, 2011 - International nuclear safety experts advised earthquake-prone Armenia on Thursday to increase safety measures at the country's Soviet-era reactor after the disaster in Japan. But the experts from the International Atomic Energy Authority's Operational Safety Team did not identify any "extraordinary" problems during their inspection of the reactor, which is located in a seismic zone that was ... more

EDF, Rosenergoatom bid for Bulgarian nuclear reactors

EDF, Rosenergoatom bid for Bulgarian nuclear reactors
Sofia (AFP) June 2, 2011 - A consortium led by France's EDF and Russia's Rosenergoatom was the sole bidder in a tender to extend the life of two units at Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant, the plant's chief said Thursday. Some 15 companies bought documents in the tender to rehabilitate and extend the operational life of the two 1,000-megawatt reactors, Kozloduy's chief executive Kostadin Dimitrov was cited by st ... more

Friday, June 3, 2011

FT podcast: Energy Weekly


 

FT podcast: Energy Weekly
In this week's podcast: Germany to phase out nuclear power; UK utility Centrica leaves a major gas field dormant; plus, the report into the Fukushima disaster raises questions about reactor structures.
http://link.ft.com/r/J0VG55/IYKVP2/C5MKOT/TPSD5I/UUNP6H/82/h?a1=2011&a2=6&a3=3

Germany’s nuclear U-turn may well empower France

Germany’s nuclear U-turn may well empower France

Secretary Chu to Travel to Russia Next Week

Secretary Chu to Travel to Russia Next Week

Secretary of Energy to focus on U.S.-Russian cooperation on civil nuclear, non-proliferation, clean energy technology, and energy efficiency

WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel to Russia from June 6-11 where he will highlight the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial cooperation and shared economic opportunities with Russia in the areas of innovative clean energy technology, safe and reliable civilian nuclear power, best practices in energy efficiency, and nuclear non-proliferation. The visit will promote continued collaboration between U.S. and Russian scientists, technical experts, and energy sector businesses. It will also pave the way for U.S. investment and clean technology exports to Russia.

"From clean energy to nuclear security, the United States and Russia have a growing number of opportunities for partnerships that can benefit both countries and the world," said Secretary Chu. "I'm looking forward to a constructive and productive dialogue on ways we can seize these opportunities and work closely together to achieve our shared goals."

The Secretary's unique itinerary will include visits to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and the closed city of Sarov. Secretary Chu will visit Sarov's All-Russian Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF), considered the "Los Alamos" of Russia, where he will tour the facilities, meet with VNIIEF's scientific community, and congratulate VNIIEF on the 65th anniversary of the institute.

The Secretary will depart the U.S. on Sunday, June 5, and arrive in St. Petersburg on Monday, June 6. Upon his arrival, he will visit the Optogan LED Factory, a unique Russian-owned facility that produces innovative LED lighting. He will tour the St. Petersburg Seaport to review radiation detection systems installed in cooperation with the National Nuclear Security Administration's "Second Line of Defense" program. The Secretary will address Russia's next generation of engineers and scientists at the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute, one of Russia's leading technical universities. He will also meet with St. Petersburg government officials to discuss cooperation on an energy efficiency pilot project for municipal buildings.

The Secretary then travels to Moscow on Tuesday, June 7, where he will chair the U.S.-Russia Presidential Bilateral Commission's Energy Working Group. Joint activities to be addressed at that meeting include a smart grid MOU between the cities and utilities of San Diego in the U.S. and Belgorod, Russia. Presidents Obama and President Medvedev highlighted this unique City-to-City smart grid project in Deauville, France on May 26. The Secretary will also attend Atomexpo 2011, an international forum on civilian nuclear power development. Secretary Chu will address a special plenary session along with Sergei Kiriyenko, Director General of the Russian State Corporation for Atomic Energy, and Bernard Bigot, Chairman of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

Other activities in Moscow include a meeting with Rusnano officials to discuss Russian innovation in nanotechnology, a meeting with the Russian Federal Power Grid Company to discuss power grid modernization and energy efficiency, a roundtable discussion with experts on climate change issues, a meeting with the Energy Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, a visit to the Kurchatov Institute, and meetings with renowned Russian scientists.

Fukushima radiation found in California milk, fruit, vegetables


Fukushima radiation found in California milk, fruit, vegetables

Merkel:German Nuclear Exit Gradual; 2022 Irreversible End-date

Merkel:German Nuclear Exit Gradual; 2022 Irreversible End-date

Nuclear Power and the Witch Hunt

Nuclear Power and the Witch Hunt

Germany’s nuclear energy panic attack

Germany’s nuclear energy panic attack

Editor's Note

Dear Readers
I will be attending my son's graduation on Friday, June 3rd, 2011. Will resume
posting this weekend.
Best Regards.
Michele Kearney

Yucca Mountain Decision Takes a Bipartisan Beating

GSN logo

Yucca Mountain Decision Takes a Bipartisan Beating

TVA will seek new $4.7B nuclear reactor

TVA will seek new $4.7B nuclear reactor

Tokyo Electric Power: Ethical Meltdown

Tokyo Electric Power: Ethical Meltdown

Nuclear power plant passes safety evaluation for license renewal

Nuclear power plant passes safety evaluation for license renewal


Published: Jun 2, 2011
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued its safety evaluation report (SER) for the proposed 20-year license renewals for units 1 and 2 at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Combined, units 1 and 2 generate 2,300 MW. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) submitted an application to the NRC in November 2009 to extend the licenses by 20 years for each unit.

NRC Issues Final Safety Report For PG&E Diablo Canyon Reactor

NRC Issues Final Safety Report For PG&E Diablo Canyon Reactor

Indian Point Profile, Part 1: Area Nuclear Plant Stresses Safety In Wake Of Japan Disaster

Indian Point Profile, Part 1: Area Nuclear Plant Stresses Safety In Wake Of Japan Disaster

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution leads expedition to measure radioactive contaminants in Pacific

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution leads expedition to measure radioactive contaminants in Pacific
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will lead the first international, multidisciplinary assessment of the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power plant—a research effort funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

What'll a Nuclear-Free Germany Cost?

What'll a Nuclear-Free Germany Cost?
by Peter Fairley
Merkel's plan to exchange nuclear reactors for offshore wind farms and a stronger grid could cost more than expected.
Read More »

Purdue University Study Finds Westinghouse AP1000® Shield Building Is Well Designed to Withstand Strong Earthquakes


Purdue University Study Finds Westinghouse AP1000® Shield Building Is Well Designed to Withstand Strong Earthquakes

US may seek more comment on nuclear reactor design


US may seek more comment on nuclear reactor design
Reuters
Loss of power to Japan's Fukushima plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown of the reactors, and officials are still working to contain the disaster. The technical issues are not related to the NRC's inquiry into Fukushima, ...

Latest TEPCO Update 6/2

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B9-69OPtAkWgNTJiMDlhNDQtMjZjYi00NzlmLWE3NDYtYjljZWZiMTU3ZDI0&hl=en_US&authkey=CN2a8dYI

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TEPCO Spraying Decontamination Gel at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station – Video

TEPCO Spraying Decontamination Gel at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station – Video

TEPCO spraying decontamination gel on the outside building surfaces of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The gel is able to bind, encapsulate, and remove surface radioactive contaminants.

(Please visit the site to view this video)

NRC Delays Diablo Canyon Relicensing at PG&E's Request

NRC Delays Diablo Canyon Relicensing at PG&E's Request

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed Tuesday to delay its relicensing process for California's Diablo Canyon nuclear plant as PG&E conducts further seismic studies.

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Source: NRCLike the San Onofre plant in San Diego County, Diablo Canyon 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles has commissioned extensive 3D modeling of faults near the plant, efforts that have intensified in the months following the earthquake-triggered crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. In April, PG&E asked the NRC to delay the relicensing process for Diablo Canyon's two reactors until the utility completes its research, expected to be finished in 2015.

Reuters quoted an NRC spokesman as saying that, although the agency granted the delay, it has already completed the Safety Evaluation Report for the relicensing, which will be issued soon. He said that report may be supplemented with additional information from PG&E.

It is now unclear when the NRC will issue its supplemental EIS for the relicensing, which had been scheduled for next year.

Westinghouse AP1000 Proposed for Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant

Westinghouse AP1000 Proposed for Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant

Westinghouse Electric Company has confirmed that it has made a proposal regarding the planned nuclear new build project for the Visaginas site in the Republic of Lithuania. Westinghouse sees Lithuania as an important market because it is a mature market with significant nuclear experience, and this project has a strategic significance across the whole Baltic Region.

Weather in France slows nuclear power production

Weather in France slows nuclear power production

Ohio looks to the future of its nuclear workforce

Ohio looks to the future of its nuclear workforce

About 35 percent of current nuclear workers will retire in next five years. Where will the next generation come from?

By Dan Yurman

Weather will not affect LFTRs output

Weather will not affect LFTRs output

Harnessing Variable Renewables: Where is the Beef? from The Nuclear Green Revolution by Charles Barton

Harnessing Variable Renewables: Where is the Beef?

from The Nuclear Green Revolution

Some Fukushima soil same as Chernobyl 'dead zone'

Some Fukushima soil same as Chernobyl 'dead zone'


By YURIY HUMBER and STUART BIGGS
Bloomberg
Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a "dead zone" remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.

Efficient Cars and Nuclear Power Efficiency from The Nuclear Green Revolution by Charles Barton

Efficient Cars and Nuclear Power Efficiency

from The Nuclear Green Revolution

16 Saudi Nuclear Reactors To Cost $300 Billion -- Arab News

16 Saudi Nuclear Reactors To Cost $300 Billion -- Arab News

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is planning to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $300 billion, according to a top official.

Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, also said that arrangements were being made to offer the project for international bidding and the winning company should satisfy the Kingdom’s needs for modern technology.

He made the remarks during the Gulf Environment Forum, which concluded in Jeddah on Tuesday.

Read more ....

US, Russia nuclear arsenal data released

US, Russia nuclear arsenal data released

Washington (AFP) June 1, 2011
The United States has 30 percent more deployed long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads than former Cold War foe Russia, according to new data released Wednesday by the State Department. Both countries are required to report key figures from their nuclear weapons arsenals as part of the landmark new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) adopted by Moscow and Washington

First IAEA report on Fukushima

First IAEA report on Fukushima

Mike Weightman at Fukushima Daini, May 2011 (Greg Webb/IAEA)The handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis was "exemplary," said a preliminary report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and could eventually show "what can be achieved in responding to such extreme nuclear events."

Talks on cost of anti-nuclear policy

Talks on cost of anti-nuclear policy
0
EOn is counting the cost of Germany's new energy policies and preparing to put its case to government for a multi-billion euro compensation deal.

New start for Lithuanian nuclear

New start for Lithuanian nuclear

Lithuania's new nuclear build plans have sprung back into life with the announcement of two proposals from reactor vendors. The energy minister said one could be selected within weeks.

Germany's nuclear energy blunder

Germany's nuclear energy blunder

A very good editorial on Germany's decsision on nuclear energy:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/germanys-nuclear-energy-blunder/2011/05/31/AGjjGkGH_print.html

Algae-Based Biofuels Represent a Trillion Dollar Potential Market Opportunity

Algae-Based Biofuels Represent a Trillion Dollar Potential Market Opportunity
Boulder CO (SPX) Jun 01, 2011 - Among next generation renewable fuel alternatives, algae stands out as one of the most promising and scalable options with the potential to supply key fuel and co-product markets. Strong demand from aviation and military consumers, technological breakthroughs in the production, cultivation, and extraction of algae oil, and the development of large-scale projects will be critical to widespread gr ... more

US on Pace to Become World's Largest Solar Market

US on Pace to Become World's Largest Solar Market
New Orleans LA (SPX) Jun 01, 2011 - GoSolarUSA welcomed news from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) this month that falling production costs are helping to make solar energy one of the U.S.'s fastest-growing industries. On a conference call with reporters last week, SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch said that the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems dropped 20 percent last year thanks to a mix of emerging te ... more

Joint Venture Secures Financing for Renewable Diesel Facility

Joint Venture Secures Financing for Renewable Diesel Facility
Irving TX (SPX) Jun 01, 2011 - Darling International has announced that Diamond Green Diesel, its previously announced joint venture project with Valero Energy Corporation, has secured financing for the planned construction of its renewable diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana. Financing will be provided internally by a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation. Randall C. Stuewe, Chairman and CEO of Darling, said, " ... more

UPS Begins Using Renewable Biodiesel at Major US

UPS Begins Using Renewable Biodiesel at Major US Hub
Jefferson City MO (SPX) Jun 01, 2011 - What can Brown do for you? For a start, it's making your world greener by using cleaner burning biodiesel. The United Parcel Service began using biodiesel blends at its most vital hub in Louisville, Kentucky this month. "There is a finite amount of petroleum-based fuel available from our planet so it is important that UPS and other companies invest in ways to use alternative fuels and tech ... more

PV installations to exceed 21 GW in 2011

PV installations to exceed 21 GW in 2011
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 02, 2011 - More than 21 GW of new PV capacity is predicted to be installed in 2011, up from around 18 GW in 2010 according to IMS Research's latest report on PV demand. The market research firm has raised its outlook for this year based on new information on supply chain pricing which will help stimulate demand in major markets. However, the firm also cut its long-term forecast slightly due to decreasing i ... more

German Utility will try to bill the German Government for Nuclear Shutdown

German Utility will try to bill the German Government for Nuclear Shutdown

Energy Storage News Updates 6/2


200 flywheels of storage to keep grid power steady
CNET
by Martin LaMonica A view of 100 flywheels, inside the blue cylinder-shaped structures, out of a planned 200 installed in a 20-megawatt storage system. Beacon Power later this month expects to complete installation of a flywheel energy storage system ...
See all stories on this topic »

CNET
Energy Storage Group Amps Up Advocacy
PR Newswire (press release)
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Electricity Storage Association (ESA), the preeminent trade association dedicated to fostering the development and commercialization of energy storage technologies as a means to solving the ...
See all stories on this topic »
New Report on Advanced Energy Storage Technologies
PCB007 (press release)
A report covering the analysis of over 40000 patents granted in the last five years in the field of energy storage technologies for electric vehicles - meaning e-mobility - shows that two Japanese players - Panasonic and Toyota now dominate the scene ...
See all stories on this topic »
Solving Wind Energy's Storage Problems
Flathead Beacon
And with nationwide mandates to considerably increase renewable energy, which is subject to nature's irregularity, Wilkins sees a vital industry in energy storage. Gov. Brian Schweitzer has emphasized the importance of storage. ...
See all stories on this topic »

Flathead Beacon
CBI To Demonstrate Energy Storage 2011; The 2nd Renewable Power Generation ...
Power-Gen Worldwide
CBI's Energy Storage 2011 - The 2nd Renewable Power Generation & Energy Storage System Industry Outlook will take place on September 8-9, 2011 in Beijing, China. This year's event will continue to demonstrate a high-level industry summit, ...
See all stories on this topic »
Renewables to Be Balanced by Grid-Level Energy Storage Systems
Sustainable Plant
By Sustainable Plant Staff June 1, 2011 03:24:17 pm ABB is partnering with Swiss distribution utility EKZ on a one-megawatt energy storage pilot project that will be the largest of its kind in Switzerland. Located in Dietikon, the pilot storage ...
See all stories on this topic »
EasyStreet Selects VYCON's Clean Energy Storage Flywheel Systems to Protect ...
Marketwire (press release)
Needing to accommodate its increased power load as well as improve its carbon footprint, the data center will now be protected by 2MVA of highly efficient, double-conversion UPSs combined with 2MW of VYCON's VDC-XE flywheel energy storage systems. ...
See all stories on this topic »
Mike Decelle Named President and CEO of Sun Catalytix
SYS-CON Media (press release)
Sun Catalytix Corporation, an energy storage and renewable fuels company, today announced that Mike Decelle has joined the company as its president and chief executive officer. Mr. Decelle's extensive business and technical experience will play a ...
See all stories on this topic »
Korean Government Pursues New Energy Storage System
Etnews
The Korea government rolled out a plan to nurture mid- to large-scale energy storage system (ESS) that can substitute for pumped storage hydroelectricity. According to the plan, it is aimed at taking 30% the global ESS market by making 6.4 trillion won ...
See all stories on this topic »
European neighbors, US reaffirm nuclear power plans despite German phase-out
Platts
In addition, he said, the country will spend money on research for energy storage technologies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government agreed early Monday to keep eight reactors now offline permanently closed and to phase out the other ...
See all stories on this topic »