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Issues pertaining to radiation and radioactivity are not static. Regulations change, an item of concern at one facility raises issues of concern at others, public perceptions influence decision-making, and new discoveries are made all the time. Once each day, Plexus-NSD reviews its various sources of information so that we can keep ourselves and our clients constantly and continuously informed.

On a periodic basis, we summarize what we have found and post it at this web site in the "Regulatory Action", the "Press Pieces", and the "Upcoming Events" categories. In the "Plexus-NSD Announcements" section you can read about what our staff has been up to lately, including a description of some of our publications and products, copies of which we would be glad to send to you at no cost. In the "Plexus-NSD e-Newsletters" section is a listing of headlines from recent editions, as well as an invitation to subscribe to this free monthly publication. We encourage you to check back frequently so that you too can keep up on the ever-changing world of radiation and radioactivity.

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September 29, 2016 – 81 FR 67014 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Talen Energy Combined License Application for Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is granting the Talen Energy request to withdraw its application for a combined license (COL) for the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant (BBNPP). This new reactor would be identified as the BBNPP located adjacent to the existing Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. DATES: The effective date of the withdrawal is September 22, 2016.

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September 29, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 29th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 29, 2016 – Medical Physics Web – Reference dosimetry for hadron therapy – Clinical reference dosimetry of high-energy radiation is performed using methods such as water calorimetry, which measures the temperature rise when radiation interacts with matter at a point in water. Currently, however, dose standards only exist for high-energy photons and electrons. For proton and heavy-ion beams, and lower-energy radiation, no primary absorbed dose standard exists. To address this shortfall, a team headed up by James Renaud at McGill University has designed a portable water calorimetry system for use with non-standard particle beams with reference depths of 6–20 mm. The short-range water calorimeter (SHREWcal) operates without a large water phantom, instead using a small glass vessel filled with pure water as the absorber. As a result, SHREWcal requires collimated radiation fields with diameters no greater than 70 mm and can accommodate electron energies as low as 6 MeV.

September 29, 2016 – 9&10news.com – Healthy Living: High-Dose Brachytherapy – Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. Patients have several different treatment options, including two types of internal radiation therapy — a low dose option, and a high dose option. Both involve having radioactive seeds implanted near the tumor. For years, very few patients took advantage of the high-dose option, but that may begin to change. A study by the Cleveland Clinic found that brachytherapy was the cheapest of all treatments for prostate cancer, with an average cost of $2,500. It is used only in patients whose cancer has not spread to other organs.

September 29, 2016 – Greenwood Democrat – HISTORY MINUTE: Dick Powell, a 1940s and 1950s noted actor – Though often forgotten today, Stone County native Dick Powell was one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood in his 30-year film career. His hard work and talent led him from Arkansas to tour the world and work with some of the most famous actors of the day. Richard Ewing Powell was born in Mountain View in 1904. His father was a salesman, and his mother taught him music. In 1914, his family moved to Little Rock, where Powell’s interest in performing expanded as he sang in church choirs and local bands. In 1957, Powell directed The Enemy Below, a story set in World War II that pit the captain of an American destroyer against a German submarine commander. The film won an Academy Award in 1958 for special effects. Powell later developed cancer. Some film historians have theorized that that he contracted it while on the set of The Conquerors, as the Utah set was near the site of an above-ground test detonation of eleven nuclear warheads. The test had been two years before filming, but the ground was apparently still contaminated in spite of reassurances from the army that the area was safe. Cancer rates of those on the set were reportedly three times higher than normal in the ensuing years, and producer Howard Hughes allegedly blamed the illnesses on the radioactive fallout. Whether these cancer cases were related, however, may never be known.

September 29, 2016 – Korea Herald – World’s first permanent nuclear waste disposal site under construction – The world’s first permanent nuclear waste repository is under construction on the small and tranquil island of Olkiluoto here. This storage facility, named Onkalo, which means cave or cavity, is being built in the granite bedrock deep underground about five kilometers from the two nuclear power plants at Olkiluoto just off the southwest coast of Finland. It is designed to keep high-level radioactive waste, the most worrisome by-product of nuclear power generation, secure for at least 100,000 years. High-level nuclear waste, which consists of spent fuel and some of the fuel’s decay products, can emit dangerous radiation for tens of thousands of years. To date, high-level waste has mostly been stored in water-filled pools at the atomic power plants where it was produced or in temporary offsite dry storage facilities. But these are impermanent and insecure solutions. Many experts say the only fundamentally viable solution may be facilities like Onkalo.

September 29, 2016 – Korea JoongAng Daily – Korea builds advanced particle accelerator – Researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology have built a fourth-generation synchrotron radiation facility, a type of particle accelerator that emits incredibly bright X-rays. Korea has become the third country, after the United States and Japan, to design and produce the cutting-edge facility. Postech as well as the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning celebrated its completion on Thursday at the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory in the North Gyeongsang port city. The facility, otherwise called the X-ray Free Electron Laser, is capable of emitting X-rays at 0.1-nanometer wavelengths, which are 10 billion times brighter than third-generation facilities.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Superconducting part of the European XFEL accelerator ready – An important milestone in the construction of the X-ray laser European XFEL has been reached: The 1.7-km long superconducting accelerator is installed in the tunnel. The linear accelerator will accelerate bunches of free electrons flying at near-light speed to the extremely high energy of 17.5 gigaelectronvolts. The bunches are accelerated in devices called resonators, which are cooled to a temperature of -271°C. In the next part of the facility, the electron bunches are used to generate the flashes of X-ray light that will allow scientists new insights into the nanocosmos. The European XFEL accelerator will be put into operation step by step in the next weeks. It will be the largest and most powerful linear accelerator of its type in the world. On 6 October, the German Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Johanna Wanka, and the Polish Vice Minister of Science and Education Dr Piotr Dardziński, will officially initiate the commissioning of the X-ray laser, including the accelerator. User operation at the European XFEL is anticipated to begin in mid-2017.

September 29, 2016 – heraldextra.com – Childhood cancer and radon gas awareness – SWAT Environmental, a leading radon mitigation service provider, has compiled key facts and advice about radon risks for concerned families. Since its discovery as a cause of lung cancer among uranium miners, scientists have found that the risks of radon gas are widespread and can be increased by modern housing trends. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is found in soil and water, and makes its way into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation. Radon is an extremely dense gas and the heaviest concentrations can be found close to the ground. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Making the world’s best radon detectors even better – The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recognises ANSTO radon detectors as the best in the world for global and regional atmospheric composition and baseline studies. However, ANSTO researchers are making computational refinements to data collected by its instruments in less than ideal conditions. Until now, to achieve high-sensitivity measurements with ANSTO detectors required a 45-minute response time, which has slightly compromised the usefulness of the two-filter dual-flow-loop style of detector under conditions of rapidly-changing radon concentrations. This is all about to change. With the help of an algorithm, inspired by methods used on early images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Alan Griffiths and a team of ANSTO researchers have developed a novel deconvolution method to computationally correct for the radon instrument’s relatively slow time response.

September 29 2016 – Gizbot – Here Are Battery Radiation Effects on Human Body and Ways to Avoid Them – The more we use our smartphone, the more we tend to affect our health. Thanks to the increasing amount of mobile phone radiation.The increasing usage of wireless mobile telephony is the reason behind the rise of phone battery radiation, which in turn causes serious health hazards.SEE ALSO: Amazon Deals: Top 10 Devices For Audiophiles to Buy in September 2016In case a person is on a call for hours together, it is common that the smartphone will tend to heat up. The heating effect will the ear pinna, internal ear, head surface and in turn, the brain to a great extent.SEE ALSO: Reliance Jio Offers Free International Calls? Check OutWe at GIZBOT have come up with the effects of mobile battery radiation, and the ways to avoid the same.

September 29, 2016 – Belaruse News – IAEA-compliant system to monitor radiation around Belarusian nuclear power plant – The automated radiation situation monitoring system in the Belarusian nuclear power plant area will work taking into account recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The information was released by Maria Germenchuk, Head of the National Center for Hydrometeorology, Radioactive Pollution Control, and Environmental Monitoring of the Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, during an online conference hosted by the BelTA website. The official remarked that the monitoring system is fully compliant with the IAEA requirements and recommendations. “Our leading specialists, who work in this field, are IAEA experts, this is why we put all the recommendations of the agency into practice right away,” remarked Maria Germenchuk.

September 29, 2016 – Courier-Gazette – DOC groping for alternatives after ditching X-ray body scanners – Maine Department of Corrections is considering new ways to detect contraband at correctional facilities after discontinuing use of transmission X-ray scanners, possibly because of concerns about radiation exposure. The Bureau of Labor Standards cited DOC earlier this year for “serious” safety violations related to operation of a body scanner at Maine Correctional Center. The scanners were introduced by former Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte and were used in at least two facilities, Maine Correctional Center and Maine State Prison, for two to three years starting around 2013, according retired MCC correctional officer Don Piper, who serves as the central Maine union chairman for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union.

September 29, 2016 – The Straits Times – Britain’s Hinkley Point contract set to be signed – The contract with a French-Chinese consortium to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in a generation is to be signed in London on Thursday (Sept 29) at a ceremony that is being kept low key, sources said. Following a delay over concerns about China’s involvement in the deal, Britain earlier this month gave the green light for the construction of the £18 billion (S$31.9 billion) complex. But it set the condition that EDF pledge not to cede majority control of the project.

September 29, 2016 – Bloomberg – French Power Surges Amid Low Availability at EDF Nuclear Plants – French power prices jumped amid concerns that reduced availability at Electricite de France SA’s nuclear plants may limit supplies as the winter heating season starts. Year-ahead prices surged to a 13-month high while the October contract rose to a record Thursday. EDF has 64 percent of its 58 reactors available compared with 76 percent a year ago, according to data from French grid operator RTE. Several halts have been extended as the French nuclear regulator inspects steam generators for potential anomalies.

September 29, 2016 – The Guardian – Mini-nuclear reactors could be operating in the UK by 2030 – report – The first small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) could be operating in the UK by 2030 with the right government support, according to a new report from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The analysis, released today by the government and industry-backed energy research body, examined the steps needed to support the first SMR in the UK and concluded a credible schedule for implementation can be set out – as long as a policy framework is developed to reduce risks for SMR developers and increase investor confidence.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Student’s surprise finding could improve future handling of nuclear waste – A researcher at The University of Manchester has made a surprise finding after observing variations of a chemical bond with a radioactive metal called thorium – and this newly revealed relationship could one day contribute to improving nuclear fuel management. Elizabeth Wildman, a PhD student in the research group led by Professor Steve Liddle, has reported compounds where unusual forms of phosphorus – known as the Devil’s element – are stabilised by thorium, a radioactive chemical element named after the Norse god of thunder which can be used as a nuclear fuel in the nuclear power industry.

September 29, 2016 – The Japan News – Hitachi, Toshiba, MHI seek to merge nuclear fuel units – Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) have started talks on merging their nuclear fuel units, with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of this year, it has been learned. The most likely plan would be to establish a new holding company — with each firm investing one-third of the required capital — and place each nuclear fuel business under its wing. As momentum for constructing new nuclear power plants has slowed globally since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, the government ultimately aims to merge the nuclear power plant businesses of Hitachi, Toshiba and MHI.

September 29, 2016 – Cancer Network – I-131 for Thyroid Cancer Metastases – Cancer Network: How do you determine whether distant metastases are appropriate targets for I-131 treatment? Can you describe the strengths and limitations of whole-body radioiodine imaging as a staging tool before radioiodine treatment? Dr. Van Nostrand: I think that there are several ways, but at this point there are a lot of controversies, as well. The most appropriate approach is a radioiodine scan to see if metastatic tumors are taking up I-131 and are thus I-131 functioning cancer. The problem with the scan is that at lower doses, scans don’t pick up all functioning metastases. The dilemma becomes whether or not the patient should be considered to be radioiodine-refractory. Some proponents say when the scan is negative, the patient is refractory. But nobody really knows at that point that they are refractory. There is literature suggesting that if you treat with radioiodine therapy 20% to 64% will have I-131 uptake on a post-therapy scan. Hence, they are radioactive iodine functioning. Now, that doesn’t mean they would get a therapeutic benefit—but it implies they would have that possibility.

September 29, 2016 – UVA Today – UVA Scientists Create Novel Imaging Technique with Potential for Medical Diagnostics – A unique new imaging method, called “polarized nuclear imaging” – combining powerful aspects of both magnetic resonance imaging and gamma-ray imaging and developed by physicists in the University of Virginia’s departments of Physics and Radiology ­­– has potential for new types of high-resolution medical diagnostics as well as industrial and physics research applications. “This method makes possible a truly new, absolutely different class of medical diagnostics,” said Wilson Miller, who, along with his colleague Gordon Cates, directed the research. “We’re combining the advantages of using highly detectable nuclear tracers with the spectral sensitivity and diagnostic power of MRI techniques.” A paper detailing the new imaging modality and related spectroscopic techniques, for which a patent is pending, appears in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

September 29, 2016 – Fox 13 News – Results are in from first round of Mosaic water testing – The first round of radioactivity well water test results stemming from the Mosaic sinkhole came back Wednesday and, while the news was good, neighbors weren’t convinced they’re totally out of the woods. According to Environmental Consulting and Technology, a private company hired by Mosaic to test private well water, there were only trace amounts of Uranium, which is normal in Florida. The results indicate that for these nine wells, all nine of the wells meet EPA drinking water standards,” said Gary Uebelhoer, a Vice President for ECT. “The land and the limestone beneath us naturally contains Uranium at some level, literally from Pinellas County to Orange County.”

September 29, 2016 – Science Magazine – Protests spur rethink on deep borehole test for nuclear waste – Along the way to testing an old-but-new concept in nuclear waste storage—burying spent fuel in a hole drilled kilometers below the surface—the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors relearned a lesson that seems frequently forgotten: Get the locals on board first. Failure to gain the trust and approval of residents in rural North and South Dakota doomed the start of a $35 million project that would have drilled a borehole 5 kilometers beneath the prairie into crystalline basement rock. Early this year, the agency tapped Battelle Memorial Institute, a large research nonprofit based in Columbus, to lead the effort. The hole would not have been used for radioactive material, but was rather intended to garner insight to the geology and technical challenges of such drilling. That message would not be heard by residents of Pierce County in North Dakota or Spink County in South Dakota said Mark Kelley, the Battelle project manager who had the “dubious honor” of leading the effort for only half a year, at a presentation yesterday at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “They were not to be convinced,” he said. “They were quite opposed to it.”

September 29, 2016 – Patriot Ledger – Pilgrim nuclear power plant braces for sweeping inspection – Entergy Corp., owner-operator of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, notified federal regulators Sept. 2 that the plant was ready to undergo a huge, comprehensive inspection of its equipment, staff and procedures. But just four days later, operators were forced to shut down the Plymouth plant for nearly two weeks when a faulty valve caused a water leak in the reactor containment building. Time will tell if the plant is truly ready for a swarm of 20 experts from all over the country, sent by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to scrutinize Pilgrim’s systems, starting Nov. 28. The event marks the third and final special inspection in a three-phase process that began in January.

September 29, 2016 – CapeCod.com – Mass. Congressional Delegation Urges NRC to Reject Pilgrim Request – The full Massachusetts congressional delegation has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny a request by the owners of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant to delay the implementation of federally-mandated post-Fukushima safety requirements. Earlier this year, plant-owner Entergy asked the NRC for an extension on its requirement to upgrade boiling-water reactors to include hardened containment vents. Following the Fukushima disaster, federal regulators issued a new policy mandating plants in the U.S. with similar designs to make safety upgrades.

September 29, 2016 – Wayne Post – Wayne County supervisors participate in nuclear exercise – In August, I participated in the annual Ginna nuclear power plant exercise along with supervisors John Smith, Ontario; Laurie Crane, Huron; Monica Deyo, Marion; and Ken Miller, Palmyra, and over 100 well-trained Wayne County, Monroe County, New York State and Ginna employees and several volunteers. Each year, a select number of our county staff shift around their busy schedules to participate in these exercises. This is to ensure that Wayne County is ready to act and protect the public in the event of an emergency at the Ginna nuclear power plant located in Ontario. I am very impressed with the investment of time and energy that our employees and volunteers put into these trainings and response exercises. George Bastedo, Wayne County emergency management director, and staff take these drills very seriously and our public can rest assured that every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety in the event of serious emergency.

September 29, 2016 – Mid-Hudson News – Efforts to stop widening of AIM pipeline near Indian Point are fear tactics, says spokesman – The efforts to have the courts put a halt to the project to enlarge the AIM pipeline as it runs past the Indian Point nuclear power plant is nothing more than “fear-mongering,” according to an official of plant owner Entergy. The group said if an enlarged natural gas pipeline was to fail and explode, it would take Indian Point with it. Indian Point spokesman Jerry Nappi said that claim has no basis in science or engineering. Nappi said independent studies demonstrate Indian Point is safe, even from the worst-case pipeline accident. And he said additional safeguards are going to be put in place. He said Indian Point owner Entergy has requested and the owners of the pipeline have made a number of enhancements to the pipeline in the village where it goes by Indian Point.

September 29, 2016 – Aiken Standard – Barnwell potential new home for additional nuke facility – Barnwell County could become the home of yet another nuclear waste repository, if an Aiken group sees its plans come to fruition. Mike Stake, president of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Group in Aiken, penned a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in July. In the letter, Stake officially announced intentions to apply for licensure that would allow the group to construct and operate a processing and disposition facility near Savannah River Site, just outside of Barnwell.

September 29, 2016 – Aiken Standard – Nuclear watchdog lawsuit against DOE stalls in court after attorney withdraws – A lawsuit filed against the Department of Energy over proposed shipments of liquid nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site has stalled in court. Legal counsel recently withdrew from a coalition of environmental and nuclear watchdog organizations that filed suit against the Department of Energy over proposed shipments of liquid nuclear waste from Chalk River in Ontario, Canada, across American roadways to SRS. Washington, D.C.-based attorney Diana Curran, legal counsel for the coalition, submitted a notice of withdrawal last week, notifying the judge in the case, Tayna S. Chutkan.

September 29, 2016 – World Nuclear News – L-3 MAPPS to upgrade Fermi 2 simulator – As part of the upgrade, the simulator’s plant models will be updated to account for FLEX modification. The “diverse and flexible coping capability” (or FLEX) strategy was an industry initiative announced in February 2012 to implement the NRC’s Fukushima task force recommendations. The FLEX update on the simulator includes the addition of an alternative source of cooling water and an external compressor to drive the non-interruptible air supply system. The simulator’s off-gas control system will also be modified to reflect updates performed at the plant. September 29, 2016 – Seattle Times – Report says NW nuke plant not ‘chilled’ workplace but still has issues – The Pacific Northwest’s only nuclear-power plant does not appear to have a chilled work environment where employees are afraid to raise safety concerns, according to a report released Monday by independent investigators. But the report did find some workplace problems at the Columbia Generating Plant north of Richland, including tensions between some employees and some managers who made sarcastic or demeaning comments, and behaved “in an intimidating matter.” The report by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman was spurred by whistleblower allegations that employees were afraid to report safety concerns for fear of retaliation.

September 29, 2016 – Public News Service – Bill in U.S. Senate Would Protect Whistleblowers at Nuclear Sites – A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would further protect whistleblowers at nuclear sites. Senate Bill 3394 is designed to level the playing field in cases where employees bring forward safety concerns, and even expands the definition of whistleblower to include anyone who reports on fraud, waste or abuse. Jeff Sprung, a lawyer in Seattle who specializes in representing whistleblowers, said the bill has particular significance in Washington state because of the Hanford Site, a contaminated nuclear reservation currently being cleaned up. Sprung said employees have voiced their concerns about the cleanup. “There has been a series of employees who have come forward to complain about particular problems with the cleanup at Hanford, and they’ve charged that they’ve been retaliated against,” he said. “This bill is designed to make sure that those people can come forward and give you and me, the public, information about what’s really going on.”

September 29, 2016 – San Luis Obispo Tribune – SLO County leaders should support Diablo nuclear plant’s retirement – Gene Nelson wants our local elected officials to follow the lead of New York in propping up the continued operation of an aging nuclear power plant (“SLO County leaders should save Diablo,” Sept. 14). Bad idea. They should support Diablo’s retirement. In the words of former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford, New York is “committing at least $7.6 billion in above-market payments to three of its six plants to assure that they operate through 2029 … Long-term subsidies for uneconomic nuclear plants also will crowd out penetration of these markets by energy-efficiency and renewables.” (“Compete or suckle: Should troubled reactors be subsidized?” www.theconversation.com)

September 29, 2016 – Bipartisan Policy – Moving Forward with Consent-Based Siting for Nuclear Waste Facilities – For decades, the United States has been grappling with the problem of what to do with the tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste generated by the nation’s commercial nuclear power industry and defense programs. Despite many efforts by the executive branch, Congress, industry, citizen groups and others—and despite the expenditure of billions of dollars, the United States still has no workable, long-term plan for permanently disposing of these wastes. Meanwhile, the federal government’s financial liability for failing to meet its contractual obligation to accept spent fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear power reactors—a liability that is already in the billions of dollars—increases with every year of continued paralysis and delay.

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September 28, 2016 – 81 FR 66699-66700 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Notice of Meeting – In accordance with the purposes of Sections 29 and 182b of the Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C. 2039, 2232b), the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) will hold a meeting on October 6-8, 2016, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland.

September 28, 2016 – 81 FR 66700-66701 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – License Renewal Application for Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing a final plant-specific supplement, Supplement 56, to NUREG-1437, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants” (GEIS), regarding the renewal of the DTE Electric Company (DTE) operating license NPF-43 for an additional 20 years of operation for Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant (Fermi 2). DATES: The final Supplement 56 to the GEIS is available as of September 28, 2016.

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September 28, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 28th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 28, 2016 – Science Magazine – Protests spur rethink on deep borehole test for nuclear waste – Along the way to testing an old-but-new concept in nuclear waste storage—burying spent fuel in a hole drilled kilometers below the surface—the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors relearned a lesson that seems frequently forgotten: Get the locals on board first. Failure to gain the trust and approval of residents in rural North and South Dakota doomed the start of a $35 million project that would have drilled a borehole 5 kilometers beneath the prairie into crystalline basement rock. Early this year, the agency tapped Battelle Memorial Institute, a large research nonprofit based in Columbus, to lead the effort. The hole would not have been used for radioactive material, but was rather intended to garner insight to the geology and technical challenges of such drilling.

September 28, 2016 – Horizon Magazine – Nuclear clock could help blind people, autonomous cars navigate – Measuring energy fluctuations in the nucleus of a rare radioactive element could improve the accuracy of GPS from metres to centimetres, while marbled volcanic magma is being used to create eruption countdowns, thanks to groups of European researchers who are pushing the boundaries of timekeeping. From grains of sand in an hourglass to the position of the sun, people throughout history have used different physical attributes in order to accurately tell the time. Today’s gold standard of timekeeping are so-called microwave atomic clocks, which use microwave radiation to measure the oscillation of electrons within a caesium atom. The best of these are off by just one nanosecond in a month. Atomic clocks are used in the synchronisation of our increasingly complex power networks, stock markets and mobile phone communications, but they don’t just set the world’s time. In the same way that the first portable timepiece allowed sailors to navigate at sea, the relationship between distance and time means atomic clocks underlie today’s satellite-based global positioning system (GPS).

September 28, 2016 – News Medical – Tau PET imaging in Alzheimer’s disease increases opportunities for developing effective drugs – Tau PET is a new and promising imaging method for Alzheimer’s disease. A case study from Lund University in Sweden now confirms that tau PET images correspond to a higher degree to actual changes in the brain. According to the researchers behind the study, this increases opportunities for developing effective drugs. There are several different methods of producing images showing the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The tau PET method reveals the presence of a protein in the brain, tau, with the help of a gamma camera and a specially selected radioactive molecule (F-AV-1451).

September 28, 2016 – GlobalResearch.ca – Radioactive Cesium Builds Up In Fukushima Dams, Contamination of Water and Agriculture – Dams surrounding the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) have become de facto storage facilities for high concentrations of radioactive cesium as the element continues to accumulate. With no effective countermeasures in sight, the government insists that water from the dams is safe, but to local residents, the government’s stance comes across as the shelving of a crucial problem. “It’s best to leave it as it is,” an official from the Ministry of the Environment says, with the knowledge that in 10 dams in Fukushima Prefecture, there is soil containing concentrations of cesium over the limit set for designated waste — or over 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

September 28, 2016 – Idaho State Journal – INL Radiological Control director honored for commitment to profession – Cheré Morgan, INL Radiological Control director, has received the Charles D. (Bama) McKnight Memorial Award from the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists for her outstanding efforts in the radiation protection field, leading to increased knowledge and professionalism among radiation protection technologists. She is the fifth recipient of the prestigious award since it was established in 2005. The NRRPT’s objective is to encourage and promote the education and training of radiation protection technologists and, by doing so, promote and advance the science of health physics.

September 28, 2016 – 7th Space Interactive – Multi-analytical investigation into painting materials and techniques: the wall paintings of Abuna Yemata Guh church – Abuna Yemata Guh is one of the nine Saints who are traditionally claimed to have come to Northern Ethiopia in the beginning of the sixth century and established monasteries in the Tigray region. The church, named after him, is hewn out of the side of one of the highest sandstone spires in the Gheralta area. Though the local tradition claims earlier dates, the paintings in the church are suggested to belong to the second half of the fifteenth century on the basis of their theme, style and iconography. We report here the investigation into the materials and techniques of the paintings using diverse complementary analytical techniques: Polarized light microscopy (PLM), portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF), scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM–EDS), synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction (SR-XRD), pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), micro-Raman spectroscopy (MRS) and micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (micro-FTIR).

September 28, 2016 – DefenseWorld.net – North Korea Possesses 88 Pounds Weapons-Grade Plutonium – North Korea has drastically progressed in miniaturization of its nuclear weapons and allegedly possesses at least 88 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium. The North had reinforced its strategic capabilities and is continuing development of nuclear and biochemical weapons and ballistic missiles, South Korean Defense Ministry was quoted as saying by Sputnik News Wednesday. “We suppose, that North Korea possesses 40 kilograms [88 pounds] of weapons-grade plutonium and the uranium enrichment program is underway,” the ministry said.

September 28, 2016 – Cancer Network – Higher RT Dose in Pediatric Brain Tumors Limited Vocabulary Development – A small study has found that among children with primary brain tumors who were treated with cranial radiation, cerebral volume and radiation dose may affect the rate of vocabulary development. The results of the study were published in Cancer. “Although the treatment of primary brain tumors in children, and medulloblastoma in particular, is associated with neurocognitive deficits, the underlying pathophysiology is unknown,” wrote Harold Agbahiwe, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues. “We found a significant relation between cerebral volume and performance on the PPVT-3 (an IQ estimate), with larger volumes associated with higher scores.” Cranial radiation is required in most children with primary brain tumors in order to achieve long-term disease control. Use of cranial radiation is associated with cognitive impairments later in life. As survival from primary brain tumors has improved, researchers have shifted their focus to improving long-term consequences of these diseases.

September 28, 2016 – PhysOrg – X-ray laser speeds up the process of determining protein structures – An international team of scientists has learned how to determine the spatial structure of a protein obtained with an X-ray laser using the sulfur atoms it contains. This development is the next stage in the project of a group led by Vadim Cherezov to create an effective method of studying receptor proteins. A detailed description of the study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

September 28,2 016 – Tech 2 – Government scouting possible sites for Nuclear plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand – The central government is looking at possible sites in the northern states of Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana for setting up new atomic power plants, a minister said on Tuesday. “We are exploring the possibility of having such establishments in other places, for example near Dehradun in Utarakhand and near Patiala in Punjab. We are also looking for a place in Bhiwani in Haryana,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said while addressing a conference here on nuclear power organised by industry chamber Assocham. “The present government can stake claim of having set up an atomic energy plant in Gorakhpur in Haryana, so we have brought atomic energy northwards which it had been waiting for 60-70 years and we made it to cross through Delhi because atomic energy never had the opportunity to see the capital of this country,” he added. The Prime Minister’s Office looks after the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

September 28, 2016 – BDLive – Nuclear new build programme thrown into disarray, again – SOUTH Africa’s intended nuclear new build programme has been thrown into renewed turmoil‚ after a senior minister contradicted Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on the commencement date for the call for proposals‚ intended to officially start the much-anticipated process. Three weeks ago‚ Joemat-Pettersson told Parliament that the request for proposal on nuclear new build — the first official indication of what the government expects the scale and cost of the project to be — will be published this Friday‚ September 30. But on Tuesday‚ while addressing the parliamentary press gallery on behalf of the economics cluster to which the Energy Department reports‚ Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor flickered a red light‚ saying she believed the request for proposal on the deal — which industry experts believe could be worth between R700bn and R1.6-trillion, depending on scale and specifics — would not be announced by Friday because the relevant government policies were not in order.

September 28, 2016 – Sputnik International – Rosatom Helping Bolivia Formulate Requirements for Nuclear Research Center – The Russian nuclear agency is helping the Bolivian side formulate requirements for the construction of the Nuclear Research and Technology Center El Alto.VIENNA (Sputnik) — Russia’s Rosatom nuclear energy corporation is helping Bolivia to formulate precise requirements for the construction of the Nuclear Research and Technology Center (NRTC) in Bolivia’s El Alto, Rosatom Deputy CEO Vyacheslav Pershukov told Sputnik on Wednesday. “We [Rosatom] are helping them [the Bolivian side] to formulate their requirements [on the construction of the scientific nuclear center] in the right way, they cannot do it all by themselves because of the lack of experience, which is normal for many newcomers. Our goal is to help them,” Pershukov said. In August, Rosatom signed the first commercial contracts with the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN) on the center’s construction.

September 28, 2016 – Reuters – German nuclear commission warns of delay to waste storage deal – Germany should speed up implementation of recommendations requiring operators of nuclear plants to pay billions of euros into a fund to cover the costs of waste storage, a commission urged the chancellery in a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The commission tasked with finding a solution for how to fund the storage of radioactive waste said in April it wanted utilities to pay 23.3 billion euros ($26.08 billion) into a state-fund to cover the costs.

September 28, 2016 – The Independent – Secret US nuclear base hidden in Greenland icecap to be revealed thanks to global warming – A secret abandoned nuclear base is likely to be revealed by the melting of a large icecap in Greenland due to global warming, experts have warned. Toxic waste is expected to leak into the sea if the ice continues to melt around Camp Century, a research facility decommissioned by the US military at the height of the Cold War in 1967. The base became home to the world’s first mobile nuclear generator when it opened its doors to 200 soldiers in 1959, and included a 3km network of tunnels buried within the icecap.

September 28,l 2016 – Economic Times – Would Donald Trump ever use nuclear weapons first? The answer is not clear – Donald Trump often says he never wants to signal to the nation’s adversaries what he would do as commander in chief — an embrace of the concept of “strategic ambiguity” that is as old as warfare. But on the critical question of whether the United States should ever be the first to use nuclear weapons, he appeared somewhere between contradictory and confused during his debate with Hillary Clinton on Monday.

September 28, 2016 – Lexology – DOE Heavily Criticized in New Nuclear Whistleblower Program Audit – The Department of Energy (“DOE”) touts the importance of safety in the nuclear industry – and with good reason. The impact of a catastrophic failure at a nuclear plant can last for years and affect people who live far from a reactor. Even smaller-scale safety deficiencies can seriously harm hundreds of workers. Despite its stated emphasis on compliance, however, the DOE does little to protect civilian contractors who speak up about nuclear safety issues, according to a scathing report issued by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) on July 14 of this year.

September 28, 2016 – Reuters – Finnish client takes new legal action against Areva over nuclear project – Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has started fresh legal action against French nuclear group Areva to avoid further delays at its Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Finland, company spokesman said. The project, almost a decade behind its original schedule, is nearly complete, but TVO wants assurances that a restructuring of plant supplier Areva won’t cause further delays and that the plant would be ready to begin production in 2018 as planned. “We have asked for this several times but have not received the necessary assurances,” he said by phone, adding that TVO is now seeking assurances through a case filed in Nanterre Commercial Court, in France.

September 28,2 016 – Power Engineering International – CGN Power acquires $1.5bn of nuclear assets – CGN Power has agreed to acquire two nuclear power plants and an engineering unit from its parent company, China General Nuclear Power, for $1.5bn. China’s nuclear power operator will acquire 61 per cent equity interest in Fangchenggang nuclear power station in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The Fangchenggang project will have a combined generation capacity of 6 GW on completion. CGN Power will also acquire 100 per cent interest in the 2.5 GW Lufeng Nuclear and 100 per cent interest in CGN Engineering, a project construction management firm.

September 28, 2016 – Public Citizen – U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear Flawed Arguments Against Nation’s Landmark Clean Power Plan – Early media previews have billed litigation over the Clean Power Plan as key to President Obama’s “climate legacy.” But the legacy belongs to all of us. The question is whether we will muster the political will to curb climate change before we lose the chance to prevent catastrophic harm to our health, economy and way of life. Time is running out. Opponents of the Clean Power Plan greatly rely on arguments that the rule will hurt consumers by raising electricity prices. They are wrong. In a series of studies, Public Citizen found that electricity bills will decline under the rule. Although the price of electricity likely will rise modestly, the rule will spur energy efficiency improvements so that people use less electricity and as a result pay lower bills. In our 50-state study of the final rule, we found that electricity bills will be lower in nearly every state by 2025 under the Clean Power Plan, and in all states by 2030.

September 28, 2016 – Forbes – Passive-Aggressive Fight Against Plutonium Economy Continues Unabated – Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Energy released an updated performance report on the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF). DOE’s internal Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced the report using assumptions and data provided by DOE leadership. The report concludes that if the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) — the semi-independent branch of the DOE that is running the project — continues managing and supporting the MFFF with the same enthusiasm and oversight that it has been investing for the past half dozen years, the facility won’t be completed until 2048. It will cost $12.5 billion more than has already been spent.

September 28, 2016 – Vermont Public Radio – Vermont Yankee To Sell Equipment, Supplies Worth $20 Million At Public Auction – The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closed in December 2014, and now the plant is auctioning off decades worth of accumulated inventory. The owners of the VY plant had to keep a lot of spare parts around to keep the facility running. While the plant was open, the company had a warehouse filled with equipment that workers might need in case something broke down. For 25 years, Dave Bauer was the supply manager at Vermont Yankee, and it was his job to purchase and inventory all of the spare valves, gauges and pumps Entergy needed in case something had to be replaced.

September 1, 2016 – Boston Globe – State ought to have an interest in closing Pilgrim nuclear plant – WAS IT serendipity that The Boston Globe’s editorial “Too risky to wait for Pilgrim plant’s shutdown” appeared at about the same time that Cape Cod’s Downwinders hand-delivered a letter to Governor Baker requesting immediate closing of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station? This group has been calling for the plant’s closing for years. One might say that such a move is a function of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not the state. Yet aren’t the health and welfare of the residents a responsibility of the Commonwealth? From the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 to the Chernobyl accident in 1986 to Fukushima in 2011, we see that nuclear power is not what it was cracked up to be.

September 28, 2016 – Platts – Talen will shut Pennsylvania nuclear unit for repairs soon – Talen plans to shut its 1,330-MW Susquehanna-2 nuclear generating unit in Berwick, Pennsylvania, “within the next few weeks” to repair a turbine blade that has shown indications of cracking, the company said Monday. The steam turbines at the Susquehanna station have experienced cracking since 2011, and many turbine blades have been replaced at a cost of at least $150 million so far. Susquehanna-2 will be shut for an unspecified amount of time so the turbine blade in question can be replaced, spokesman Todd Martin said Monday. Talen said the outage would be “brief,” but gave no specifics.

September 28, 2016 – Bloomberg – Mosaic’s Radioactive Sinkhole Problem Could Mean Mine Delays – As the world’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizer, Mosaic Co. is used to digging up parts of Florida to recover the mineral. But lately, one particular hole is causing the company some headaches. A sinkhole 45 feet (14 meters) wide has opened up in a pile of mining waste at the company’s New Wales site in Polk County, about 30 miles east of downtown Tampa, swallowing about 215 million gallons of radioactive wastewater — enough to fill about 326 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Mosaic says it believes the sinkhole has reached the Floridan aquifer, which provides the local community’s water supply. While Mosaic first noticed the problem in late August, it didn’t make a public announcement until Sept. 15. Three local residents are now suing the company, alleging improper storage of chemical waste. The spill could mean increased hurdles for Mosaic’s expansion plans in Florida, according to Jonas Oxgaard, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

September 28, 2016 – Tri-City Herald – Ticket sales end Sept. 27 for historic B Reactor concerts – Reg Unterseher has sung in venues around the world. But, “I’ve never sung in any place remotely like this,” he said. “This” is Hanford’s historic B Reactor. And on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, Unterseher — an acclaimed composer and performer — will take part in a pair of ground-breaking concerts at the site. The shows by Mid-Columbia Mastersingers are the first-ever choral concerts to be in a decommissioned nuclear reactor anywhere in the world. “It is such an amazing thing,” Unterseher said. “I think it’s our responsibly to tell our stories. That’s what this concert does.”

September 28, 2016 – San Luis Obispo Tribune – PG&E wants to limit discussion on what happens after Diablo Canyon closes – PG&E doesn’t want to talk about its post-closure plans for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant or requests to close the facility early, but it does want to discuss how to replace the lost power with greenhouse gas-free and energy-efficient resources. Those are some of the key takeaways from the utility’s response to comments and protests filed with the California Public Utilities Commission regarding its application to close the plant by 2025. The utility company filed its official response Monday to the 29 comments and protests filed by various community groups and organizations since PG&E announced its plan in June to not relicense its two nuclear reactors when they expire in 2024 and 2025.

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September 27, 2016 – 81 FR 66301-66314 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations – Pursuant to Section 189a.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is publishing this regular biweekly notice. The Act requires the Commission to publish notice of any amendments issued, or proposed to be issued, and grants the Commission the authority to issue and make immediately effective any amendment to an operating license or combined license, as applicable, upon a determination by the Commission that such amendment involves no significant hazards consideration, notwithstanding the pendency before the Commission of a request for a
hearing from any person.

September 27, 2016 – 81 FR 66301 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Establishment of Atomic Safety and Licensing Board; Tennessee Valley Authority – Pursuant to delegation by the Commission, see 37 FR 28710 (Dec. 29, 1972), and the Commission’s regulations, see, e.g., 10 CFR 2.104, 2.105, 2.300, 2.309, 2.313, 2.318, 2.321, notice is hereby given that an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (Board) is being established to preside over the following proceeding: Tennessee Valley Authority (Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Units 1, 2, and 3). This proceeding involves a challenge to an application by Tennessee Valley Authority for an amendment to the operating licenses for the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Units 1, 2, and 3, located in Athens, Alabama. In response to a Federal Register Notice, “Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information,” published on July 5, 2016, see 81 FR 43661-43669, the Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team/Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation (BEST/MATRR) filed a Petition to Intervene and Request for Hearing on September 9, 2016.

September 27, 2016 – 81 FR 66199 – DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY – Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage Contingent Cost Allocation – On August 3, 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued in the Federal Register a notice and request for comments on a proposed information collection developed in connection with its proposed rulemaking under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The notice stated that comments on the proposed information collection were to be submitted by October 3, 2016. At a public workshop held on September 16, 2016, to discuss the information collection proposal, and in written comments thereafter, members of the public requested an extension of time within which to submit comments. This document announces that the period for submitting comments on the proposed information collection is extended to November 7, 2016.

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