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July 14, 2016 – Press Pieces

On July 14th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

July 14, 2016 – Sci/Tech Times – Reconstructing the first atomic bomb test from a chunk of scorched earth – If the CSI family of television shows has blunted your appetite for impossibly omniscient crime scene analysis, consider the real, and very serious, science of nuclear forensics. If someone flouts the ban on nuclear weapons testing, we want to know as much about it as possible. And the resources backing that effort are substantial. Seismic waves betray the occurrence of underground tests, and air samples grabbed soon afterward can contain the radioactive proof. But both are transient, and even radioactivity at the site of the explosion can fade too quickly to be of much use. A group of researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated a new technique than can reveal the potency of the bomb from the debris—even decades after the fact.

July 14, 2016 – New Times – Nuclear storage is inadequate – As Chris McGuinness wrote in “Wasted forever,” July 7, tons and tons of extremely radioactive nuclear waste will remain right here on our coast for an insanely long time. What the article failed to mention, however, is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the U.S. allows operators to store the nuclear waste in vulnerable and inadequate 1/2- to 5/8-inch thick canisters instead of the thick (10- to 20-foot) casks that are used in most of the rest of the world, including Japan, Germany, France, and other nations. Why? Because they’re cheaper. It’s as if the nuclear industry here were being run by Montgomery Burns of The Simpsons. Except, it’s not at all funny. What makes it scarier is that these canisters cannot be inspected (even on the outside), repaired, maintained, or monitored prior to a radiation release. Oh, and ours happen to be getting blasts of ocean air while sitting on cement pads in a seismically active area.

July 14, 2016 – MedGadget – X-ray Teleradiology to Remain Largest Segment by Modality in Western Europe Teleradiology Market – According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research “Teleradiology Market – Western Europe Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 – 2023”, the teleradiology market in Western Europe was valued at US$ 305.8 Mn in 2014 and is projected to reach US$ 1443.7 Mn in 2023 at a CAGR of 18.5% from 2015 to 2023. The teleradiology market in Western Europe has been segmented based on modality. X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear imaging are major types of teleradiology services provided in Western Europe. The X-ray teleradiology segment held the largest share of the market in 2014 and is likely to maintain its leadership position during forecast period from 2014 to 2023.

July 14, 2016 – Optics.org – Westinghouse to test laser printing for nuclear components – The US Department of Energy (DOE) is funding a number of photonics-related projects designed to help commercialize promising new technologies for the energy industry – with laser additive manufacturing, Raman analysis and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) all winning backing. Last month the DOE announced that it was supporting 54 energy projects across numerous major US research facilities with a total $16 million through its “technology commercialization fund”. The nuclear power specialist Westinghouse Electric said that one of the funded projects in which it is involved will look to develop a laser 3D printing technique to make metal components.

July 14, 2016 – EnviroReporter.com – Critics question safety of Boeing’s Santa Susana Field Lab hikes – Eighteen demonstrators with vivid placards lined the roads into the Santa Susana Field Laboratory [SSFL] April 23. They were protesting lab owner Boeing’s “Nature Walk Earth Day Celebration” through the so-called 1,143-acre Southern Buffer Zone [SBZ] of the former Rocketdyne lab. Two Protesters April 23 2016“BOEING EARTH DAY FRAUD” and “TURN BACK! Toxic Trails AHEAD” greeted startled hikers arriving in cars at the entrance to the 2,850-acre lab at the top of Woolsey Canyon in the Simi Hills. “SSFL MAKES ME SICK” and “Don’t Let BOEING Fool You” were not exactly what the trekkers expected judging from their shocked faces passing by. Some may have been mystified by one sign that read “MELTDOWN ZONE AHEAD.” The former rocket testing and nuclear research complex has suffered at least three partial meltdowns since the 1950s, one worse than Three Mile Island in radiation spewed into the environment. Little did the walkers know that their hike would take them through much of the drainage of two confirmed nuclear-contaminated areas that are the subject of a decades-long cleanup costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

July 14, 2016 – aaj.tv – Selfies can make you age faster – It is bad news for all the selfies addicts out there, as this habit may cause damage to your skin and appearance and worst make you look older. And how that, one could ask is all thanks to the electromagnetic radiation and light emitted form smartphones, which dermatologists says can damage the skin, promote wrinkles and simply speeds up the ageing process. According to The Summit Express, the startling revelations were made by dermatologists at the Facial Aesthetic Conference and Exhibition in London. Dr. Simon Zoakei, the Medical Director of the Linia Skin Clinic, said people who take a lot of selfies should worry about the dangers of such activity, because the radiation emitted from electronic devices is of different wavelengths, making one’s regular sunscreens and ordinary creams simply ineffective. “Even the blue light we get from our screens can damage our skin,” said Dr. Zoakei.

July 14, 2016 – Japan Times – Iodine jelly to be handed out to infants living within 30 km of nuclear plants – The Cabinet Office said it will soon start distributing iodine jelly to infants living within 30 km of nuclear power plants in a bid to protect their thyroids from possible radiation exposure in the event of a nuclear disaster. According to the office, about 110,000 infants qualify for the iodine jellies. There are 21 prefectures where the 30-km radius applies. In addition, infants living within three other prefectures — Kanagawa, Osaka and Okayama — which have nuclear fuel processing facilities are also part of the initiative. Some local governments have been distributing iodine tablets to all residents for over three years, including in a tablet form for infants that would have to be crushed and mixed with syrup in the event of an accident. But to date this had not been in an iodine jelly form.

July 14, 2016 – Optics & Photonics – Plasmonic Lasers Get a Sharper Focus – Lasers based on coherent surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs)—subwavelength oscillations of electrons that are excited when incident light hits a metal-dielectric interface—hold promise for ultraminiaturized, chip-scale optics, and also as a possible platform for terahertz quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). But there’s a catch: SPP lasers, precisely because of their subwavelength apertures, tend to have divergent radiation patterns, making it tough to produce a sharp, directional beam. Now, a research team led by Sushil Kumar of Lehigh University, Penn., USA, has devised an “antenna feedback” scheme that reportedly can provide single-mode operation and strong, highly directional far-field coupling in such SPP lasers, bringing them “closer to practical applications” (Optica, doi: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.000734). The team’s work includes a proof-of-concept terahertz QCL based on the scheme that, according to the study, achieved the narrowest beam yet reported for such a QCL.

July 14, 2016 – Syracuse.com – ‘Nuclear is an unsafe bridge to clean energy and one not worth the risk’ – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sleight of hand of a proposed green energy designation for nuclear power is an environmental farce and an obvious effort to avoid closure of the aging nuclear plants in New York state, specifically FitzPatrick and Nine Mile. The only number they clearly haven’t considered in their calculation is the cost of an accident. These plants are now being run long past their intended life span of 40 years. (Nine Mile Unit 1 is the second-oldest plant in the country.) They routinely emit radiation. (Remember the NRC’s statement, “There is no safe exposure to radiation.”) The metal is embrittled, assumptions about “leak before break” are questionable at best, and regulations about firewalls were changed to allow for the materials that failed meet their initial standard. There are no redundant safety features for the waste pools, and on it goes.

July 14, 2016 – Daily Beast – Russia Is Building a Nuclear Space Bomber – The Russian military claims it’s making progress on a space plane similar to the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B robotic mini-shuttle. That in itself isn’t terribly surprising or even, for the United States, particularly worrisome. Lots of governments and even private companies are working on space planes that can launch from rockets or runways, boost into orbit for a period of time then return to Earth for quick refurbishment and re-use. The tech is pretty basic. But alone among space-plane developers, the Kremlin is proposing to arm its space plane. With nukes.

July 14, 2016 – BBC News – Hinkley Point ‘still worth the cost’ as price tag soars – The government remains committed to building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, the new chancellor has said. Philip Hammond’s vow came despite the rising potential cost to the government of the electricity it will produce, according to the National Audit Office. He said Hinkley was vital to a strong economy and still worth the cost. The new power station was initially supposed to cost just £6bn, but has more recently been estimated at £18bn. As part of the 35-year deal signed with France’s EDF in 2013 to build the plant in Somerset, the government agreed to pay £92.50 for each megawatt hour of electricity. Wholesale energy prices have fallen since that price was agreed, which meant the government must now make up the difference.

July 14, 2016 – Fox News – First anniversary of Iran nuclear deal marred by massive cheating – Expect the Obama administration to take more victory laps this week by claiming Iran has complied with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that reaches its first anniversary on July 14. However, recent press reports paint a very different picture, one that confirms its critics’ worst fears: massive Iranian violations of the agreement. In an annual security report issued this month, German intelligence said Iran made a clandestine effort last year to acquire illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies at a “quantitatively high level,” and that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.” A German intelligence agency reported 141 clandestine Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear and missile technology in 2015 versus 83 in 2013.

July 14, 2016 – Politico – Kerry: Iran nuclear deal has ‘made the world safer’ – Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday heaped praise on the nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and five other powers on the occasion of its one-year anniversary, remarking that it has “lived up to its expectations” and “made the world safer.” “As of today, one year later, the program that so many people said will not work, a program that people said is absolutely doomed to see cheating and be broken and will make the world more dangerous has, in fact, made the world safer, lived up to its expectations and thus far, produced an ability to be able to create a peaceful nuclear program with Iran living up to its part of this bargain and obligation,” Kerry said in Paris before attending a parade for Bastille Day.

July 14, 2016 – Reuters – Hungary says shuts reactor at Paks nuclear plant due to malfunction – Hungary temporarily shut a reactor at the Paks nuclear power plant on Thursday due to a malfunction of control equipment, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority said. The reactor, which automatically stopped due to the malfunction, remains safe, it said in a statement on its website. It could come back online at about 1000 GMT on Friday, said Antal Kovacs, a spokesman for the plant.

July 14, 2016 – International Business Times – Nuclear weapon details exempted from RTI query ambit – Citizens will no longer be allowed to any information about nuclear weapons stockpile or details on their testing through an RTI application after the Strategic Forces Command was added to the list of 25 organisations excluded from the purview of the RTI Act, except for information pertaining to corruption or human rights allegations. The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has responsibility of the process of delivering nuclear weapons and warheads in the event of a planned strike and as per protocol initiates instructions to the Nuclear Command Authority that works under the command of the prime minister.

July 14, 2016 – Briston Herald Courier – Nuclear reactor operating again after steam prompts shutdown – Officials say a nuclear reactor in southwestern Michigan that was shut down after a rupture released steam is back in operation. Cook Nuclear Plant spokesman Bill Schalk tells The Herald-Palladium (http://bit.ly/29GJy3O ) that the Unit 2 reactor was returned to power on Tuesday. Indiana Michigan Power has said the steam was not radioactive but it damaged a wall at Unit 2 early on July 6 in Bridgman. There were no injuries. Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission were investigating. Cook’s Unit 1 reactor wasn’t affected.

July 14, 2016 – Investigative Post – Schumer to EPA: assess radioactive hotspots – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday called on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to “move into a higher gear” and conduct a comprehensive assessment of radioactive hotspots in Niagara County and Grand Island. Schumer was responding to an Investigative Post story last week that reported the government has failed to address some 60 properties previously determined to contain elevated levels of radiation. “What I hope will happen next is the EPA will investigate, they’ll find out how many hotspots there are, what their level of radioactivity is, if they present a danger and then we’ll ask them if they do to present a plan to remediate,” Schumer told Investigative Post.

July 14, 2016 – Financial Times – Nuclear waste: keep out for 100,000 years – We are in a red metal cage bumping slowly down a mineshaft to our destination, half a kilometre under the ground near the small town of Bure in eastern France. Above us are yellow fields of oilseed rape. Below is the maze of reinforced concrete tunnels that, if it wins final approval from the French government, will from 2025 be the last resting place for the most destructive and indestructible waste in history. This is the €25bn deep geological storage facility for France’s high and medium-level radioactive waste, the residue of more than half a century of nuclear power. When the work here is finally finished, no one must ever take this journey again or, at least, not for 100,000 years. France is the world’s largest exporter of electricity and the world’s most committed nuclear nation, with 58 reactors producing 75 per cent of the country’s power. As a result, it also produces enough toxic radioactive waste every year to fill 120 double-decker buses (about 13,000 cubic metres worth, or 2kg a year for every French person). The challenge at Bure is not only to build a massive dump for radioactive trash but also to guard it from human intervention for an impossible amount of time — more than 4,000 human generations.

July 14, 2016 – Nuclear Energy Insider – US reactor closures raise urgency of new decommissioning rules – A recent spate of early U.S. plant closures has increased the need for a swift implementation of new decommissioning regulations which match post-operation risk profiles, industry experts said. Challenging power market conditions have prompted a surge in early plant closure announcements in recent months. Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) said it will close its 484 MW Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska by the end of 2016 and Exelon has decided to retire its 1.1 GW Clinton and 1.9 GW Quad Cities facilities in Illinois, in 2017 and 2018. California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced June 21 it would shut down its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025. Nuclear operators are optimizing spending in response to difficult market conditions and the industry has called for improvements to regulations for post-shutdown operations in order to reduce costs.

July 14, 2016 – Morning Consult – Why Does Nuclear Energy Account For Less Than a Fifth of Our National Energy Mix? – Even though the United States has more nuclear-electricity generating units than any country in the world, nuclear power makes up less than 20 percent of our nation’s energy fuel. It’s the only baseload power source with zero air pollution and the ability to run around the clock. We’re also on the verge of making nuclear fuel completely renewable by pulling uranium from seawater. So why isn’t a power source that’s incredibly clean, with low ongoing fuel costs, cornering our domestic energy market? According to a 2015 International Energy Agency study, nuclear energy offered the lowest level cost of electricity (LCOE) across 22 surveyed countries. But there’s a catch. That’s only the case using a 3 percent discount rate for capital. As the cost of financing nuclear power projects increases, they understandably become less competitive energy options. At a 7 percent discount rate, the median LCOE of nuclear is competitive with coal, and at 10 percent, it is higher than both coal and natural gas.

July 14, 2016 – Daily Caller – Nuclear Agency Brags About Duping Washington Post Reporter – The federal agency in charge of maintaining America’s nuclear weapons stockpile gave a well-choreographed sham tour of their facilities to a senior Washington Post reporter, and then bragged about their ruse in an internal email. When Dana Priest toured a laboratory of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in 2012, she was treated to “a serious rope-a-dope” by the administrators and lab directors, according to an internal NNSA email obtained by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). “Yeh [sic], Ms. Priest was subject to a serious rope-a-dope by Neile [Miller, NNSA Principal Deputy Administer] and the Lab Directors,” an unnamed NNSA official reported internally in an email.

July 14, 2016 – Associated Press – Vermont nuclear plant owner wants to ship radioactive water – The owner of the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is seeking to ship hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive water to an Idaho processing facility. The Rutland Herald (http://bit.ly/29vczkt ) reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is evaluating responses from Entergy Nuclear after asking the company earlier this year to provide more details on a plan to dispose of 200,000 gallons of radioactive water. The plan calls for the water to be disposed in a torus, a large structure located at the bottom of the reactor core that holds 1.1 million gallons of water.

July 14, 2016 – Pittsburgh Business Times – FirstEnergy moves toward full ownership of Beaver Valley second unit – FirstEnergy Corp. doesn’t completely own the second unit at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station, but the company is taking measures for full ownership by next June, the Beaver County Times reported. Ohio Edison has a 21.6 percent leased interest in Unit 2 and Toledo Edison has 18.2 percent, leases that expire on June 1, 2017. FirstEnergy has already acquired the rights to those ownership interests, Neil Sheehan, a spokesman with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the newspaper. FirstEnergy is striving for NRC approval for the changes by April 14.

July 14, 2016 – Associated Press – Virginia group says new nuclear plant would be boondoggle – A consumer group says if a new $19 billion nuclear plant in Virginia were built it would be one of biggest ratepayer ripoffs in the history of producing electricity. The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council filed a comments Tuesday with state regulators arguing that Dominion Virginia Power should stop spending money on a potential new nuclear power plant because it will unfairly burden the company’s customers while enriching its investors. Dominion has not committed to build the new plant, known as North Anna 3, but plans to have spent at least $647 million by next year preparing for a potential build. The company says ratepayers will benefit from having the option to build a reliable, long-lasting and carbon-free power source.

July 14, 2016 – Louisiana Record – Man alleges he was exposed to radioactive material on jobsite – A man claims that his work exposed him to radioactive materials that could have damaged his health. George Almeida filed a suit against Chevron USA Inc., ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Co., Shell Offshore Inc., Swepi LP, Devon Energy Production Co. LP, Marathon Oil Co., BP Products North America Inc., BP America Production Co., Atlantic Richfield Co., Oxy USA Inc., Intracoastal Tubular Services Inc., Packard Pipe Terminals LLC and OFS Inc. in the 24th Judicial District Court on June 8. According to the claim, the plaintiff was employed by AMF Tuboscope from 1978 to 1991, during which time he completed various tasks, including visiting and working at a number of pipe-cleaning facilities. While working at the facilities, the plaintiff alleges was caused to breathe in radioactive dust which was released in the cleaning process. The suit further states that the plaintiff was caused great physical damages, including an increased risk of cancer.

July 14, 2016 – The Oak Ridger – Alexander: Energy bill supports research at ORNL – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement today after voting to allow the Senate to begin negotiations with the House of Representatives to resolve differences between the two chambers’ broad, energy policy bills to bolster the United States’ competitive advantage and put the country on a reasonable path to create clean, cheap, reliable energy. “I am glad the Senate voted to begin working with the House of Representatives to negotiate a comprehensive energy bill that will help the United States create clean, cheap, reliable energy innovation to spur our free enterprise system. The Senate bill would reauthorize energy programs in the America COMPETES Act and would increase funding authorizations for the Department of Energy to double funding for basic energy research over the next 10 years – which would include funding for research done at our national laboratories, including at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Alexander said.

July 14, 2016 – NBC Chicago – Several Security Guards at Nuke Plant Along Lake Michigan Placed on Leave Amid Scrutiny from Federal Regulators – A nuclear power plant on the shores of the Chicago area’s largest source of drinking water is facing scrutiny from federal regulators over its fire protection practices. NBC 5 Investigates has learned the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert, Michigan, has placed some of its security officers on paid administrative leave as a result, pending completion of an internal investigation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it identified an issue with fire tours at Palisades while conducting routine inspections. According to an NRC spokesperson, inspectors had questions about the tours and began looking further into the issue.

July 14, 2016 – Midwest Energy News – Nuclear advocates eye former coal plant sites for small reactors – As coal plants around the country close, utilities, elected leaders and local residents are all wondering and debating how to deal with the sites. Some plants are being retrofitted to burn natural gas. Others are being torn down, with redevelopment ideas including condos, parks, solar farms, big box stores or breweries. Jeff Terry, a physics professor and nuclear energy expert at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has another vision for these sites, including the former site of the State Line coal plant near his hometown in northwest Indiana. He’d like to see nuclear reactors. Specifically, small modular reactors, or SMRs, nuclear plants with a capacity of 300-600 megawatts or less that are prefabricated and can be shipped around the country on trucks or trains.

July 14, 2016 – Los Alamos Daily Post – In Memoriam – Dr. Abraham (Abe) Van Luik – The Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) workforce is saddened by the recent loss of Dr. Abraham (Abe) Van Luik. Abe was a key member of the CBFO team and was well respected at DOE and in the international community. Abe led the CBFO International Repository Science Program. His work included contributions to coordinated research and sharing of results through bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Interacting with several international organizations, he supported the DOE Office of Environmental Management and Nuclear Energy radioactive waste management program plans and international exchanges for developing and operating geological repositories.

July 14, 2016 – Ruidoso News – Two events Saturday honor Trinity fallout survivors; Ruidoso participants sought – The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium is hoping to attract participants from Ruidoso to a pair of events Saturday designed to draw attention to the ongoing health effects of the first atomic explosion more than 70 years ago. Bishop Oscar Cantu of the Diocese of Las Cruces will lead prayers at a candlelight vigil starting at 8 p.m. at the Tularosa Little League field on La Luz Avenue in West Tularosa and deliver a blessing for those who have died or still suffer from cancers believed to have been caused by fallout from the Trinity blast. “The event is beautiful actually and very touching,” said Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Consortium. “It is hard to hear all the names read out loud. We estimate it will be over 600 names this year of those who have passed away.”

July 14, 2016 – Idaho Falls Post-Register – Feds plan Boise nuclear waste meeting – The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting a public meeting Thursday in Boise to gather input on how to deal with the country’s growing stockpile of nuclear waste. The Boise stop is part of an eight-city national roadshow that DOE officials began in March. It will include presentations by top DOE officials, Idaho nuclear experts, and include opportunities for public input. The department is developing a “consent-based siting process” that it hopes will lead to finding a locally accepted location where it can bury the nation’s growing amount of spent nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste.

July 14, 2016 – Pahrump Valley Times – Commissioner provides county’s voice at Yucca hearing – Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen traveled to Washington, D.C. for a hearing on Thursday to give the county a voice on the issue of Yucca Mountain. Schinhofen said county officials believe in “the integrity of the scientific review process for the Yucca Mountain repository,” adding, “We want to see the federal government follow the law.” Schinhofen was the lone local voice to testify to the Congressional Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy on Yucca Mountain during a hearing titled, “Federal, State, and Local Agreements and Economic Benefits for Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal.” The hearing comes during the latest effort to revive the project in legislation in the House that would allot the U.S. Department of Energy $150 million to continue an application process to license Yucca Mountain as a nuclear storage facility.

July 14, 2015 – KKOH Reno – Money Approved To Fight Yucca Mountain Dump – Nevada’s “State Board of Examiners” has approved another 2.5 million dollars to keep pushing back against the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Dump. This extends a 7.5 million dollar contract for Egan and Associates, a Virginia law firm. This follows another congressional hearing last week about nuclear waste storage. Governor Brian Sandoval says we must be vigilant and aggressive in opposing Yucca Mountain. He says this money is well spent.