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July 5, 2016 – Press Pieces

On July 5th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

July 5, 2016 – Reuters – Germany to limit offshore wind power – Germany plans to cap the expansion of offshore wind power at the start of the next decade to ensure the future growth of renewables keeps step with the construction of new power lines, according to a revision to a new energy law seen by Reuters. Between 2021 and 2025 the government plans to limit offshore wind installations to 3.1 gigawatts (GW) of capacity since high-voltage power lines needed to carry green energy from the windy north to the industrial south will not be ready. The reforms to the energy law are aimed at bringing down the costs of Germany’s shift towards renewables sources of energy and away from nuclear power and fossil fuels known as the Energiewende. The rapid expansion of green energy, which now makes up more than 30 percent of the power mix, has pushed up electricity costs in Europe’s biggest economy and placed a strain on its grids.

July 5, 2016 – New York Daily News – Manhattan Project nuke mess cleanup in New Mexico to get underway – Department of Energy contractors are scheduled to start removing toxic contaminated soil in northern New Mexico left over from the Manhattan Project and early atomic Cold War research. Work is expected to begin this week on the south-facing slopes of Los Alamos Canyon, The Los Alamos Monitor reported. The contaminated soils eventually will be shipped to a permanent area once tested, officials said. The Los Alamos Canyon cleanup is one of many included in a consent order signed last month between the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy.

July 5, 2016 – Recycling International – Computer discovery could aid nuclear fuel recycling – Using a newly-developed computer model, US scientists have discovered a material that could help to recycle nuclear fuel by capturing gases released during reprocessing. The material, a metal-organic framework (MOF) with the designation SBMOF-1, can remove radioactive krypton and xenon at ambient temperatures. “This is a great example of computer-inspired material discovery,’ comments Praveen Thallapally, one of the researchers and associated with the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. ‘Usually, the experimental results are more realistic than computational ones. But this time, the computer modelling showed us something the experiments weren’t telling us.’

July 5, 2016 – Time – Coming of Age in the Shadow of Chernobyl – Thirty years after reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown, releasing massive amounts of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, one small town, called Slavutych, carved out of a forest about 25 miles from the plant, seems to be thriving. “I saw around 2010 some news about a project to build a city from scratch in the south of Ukraine. It sounded like a failure in the making,” Niels Ackermann, this year’s recipient of the Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award, tells TIME. Since 2012, Ackermann has documented the life of Yulia: a teenager coming of age in Slavutych—from flirts and wild parties, drinks and short relationships to a married life with a job and responsibilities. “Through her life and the life of her friends, I could document intimately this process we all go trough,” Ackermann says.

July 5, 2016 – Aiken Standard – Nuclear waste acceptance criteria updated for WIPP shipments – Starting today, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, along with other transuranic waste generating sites across the Department of Energy, will have to follow newly revised packaging and certification criteria that resulted from investigations into a 2014 radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP. WIPP is a geological repository for transuranic waste located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The site was shut down in 2014 following the radiological release and a salt truck fire, halting shipments from facilities like Savannah River Site.

July 5, 2016 – Changrai Times – Chiang Rai Airport to Get Full Body Scanners – President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) said the agentcy will upgrade screening systems at Chinag Rai’s airport to enhance airport security standards. Walk-through metal detectors will be replaced with full body scanners which will be able to spot both metal and non-metallic objects, weapons and explosives, concealed under clothing. Besides the full body scanners, the current X-ray machines which rely on constant visual supervision to screen carry-on baggage will also be replaced with new detection devices, called Advanced Technology X-ray, which will be able to detect and identify hidden explosive objects.

July 5, 2016 – Quartz – Some so-called clean-energy projects are contaminating millions of gallons of incredibly valuable water – In this election year–notable for concerns both about the US energy future and extreme droughts in parts of the US and around the world–there is a remarkable disconnect between energy policy proposals and concerns about water quality and availability. Yes, awareness is higher about water issues, stemming from the severe drought in Western states and the recent lead contamination crisis in Flint, Mich. But traditionally we view energy and water as separate concerns, when in fact they are inextricably linked. Scientists recognize what is sometimes called the “energy-water nexus.” The nexus pulls resources in both directions. Vast water resources are used in some forms of energy extraction and production, particularly in mining or drilling for fossil fuels used for transportation and electricity generation and in mining and electricity generation using nuclear fuels.

July 5, 2016 – Inhabitat – Uranium extracted from the oceans could power cities for thousands of years – Over four billion tons of uranium present in the ocean could help provide energy for “the next 10,000 years,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The element could be used to fuel nuclear power plants, except extraction poses significant challenges. The DoE funded a project involving scientists from laboratories and universities across the United States, and over the last five years they have made strides towards successfully extracting ocean uranium using special adsorbent fibers.

July 5, 2016 – PhysOrg – Transition radiation detectors work in record-high energy fields – Employees of MEPh are the first to develop detectors of transition radiation, able to split hadrons (protons, K-mesons and pi-mesons) in record-high energy fields from 1 to 6 TeV. Transition radiation (TR) is a form of electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through inhomogeneous media, which for the first time was demonstrated theoretically by Ginzburg and Frank in 1946. It was detected experimentally at the Yerevan Physics Institute in 1959. The MEPhI Department of Physics actively participates in international physical experiments including ones connected with the application of transition radiation. A new experimental small angles spectrometer (SAS) is planned separately from the ATLAS experiment at CERN, where MEPhI scientists contribute. A new IP detector is planned for its launch under the supervision of Professor A.S. Romaniuk.

July 5, 2016 – Novinite – CEO of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy Nuclear Plant Replaced – The chief executive of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Dimitar Angelov, has been dismissed. The decision was taken by the Board of Directors at the the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), the entity bringing together state-owned energy assets, BEH’s own website says. Ivan Andreev, who was deputy to Angelov, has taken over. BEH cites the fact that Angelov’s term expired on July 03 (the latter assumed office in September 2014). But the development comes days after allegations from Georgi Kadiev, a former socialist lawmaker who recently set up his own party, that Angelov was tangled in corruption practices, inflating prices for repair works at Kozloduy NPP and having set up a Seychelles-based offshore company.

July 5, 2016 – WECT – Brunswick Nuclear Plant sirens to be tested July 13 – Sirens around the Brunswick Nuclear Plant will be tested between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13. The 38 sirens located within 10 miles of the plant will be tested at low volume for 10 seconds. Officials said that the test may be repeated to make sure all the sirens are working properly. This quarterly test is performed in coordination with emergency officials from Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

July 5, 2016 – Independent Australia – Chocolates, bananas, ionising radiation and a nuclear waste dump – On the matter of ionising radiation and health, Noel Wauchope rebuts five misleading speakers at the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury hearings on Australia’s nuclear waste importation plan. IN TWO DAYS of 25 Citizens’ Jury sessions in Adelaide (on 25-26 June), about nuclear waste importing, there was minimal coverage of the question of ionising radiation and health. What little there was, was skimpy, superficial and downright deceptive, in 209 pages of transcripts. There was not one mention of the world’s authoritative bodies on the subject — The World Health Organisation, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or any of the reports on biological effects of ionising radiation. There was no explanation of the “linear no threshold” (LNT) theory on ionising radiation and health, despite the fact that this theory is the one accepted by all the national and international health bodies, including the Ionising Radiation Safety Institute of Australia who, on this topic, quote the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

July 5, 2016 – Union of Concerned Scientists – Nuclear Plant Accidents: Sodium Reactor Experiment – The best aspect of the defense-in-depth approach to nuclear power safety is that one thing, even one very bad thing, is unlikely to trigger an accident. If offsite power is lost, onsite power from emergency diesel generators will automatically take over. If a pipe ruptures to drain cooling water from the reactor vessel, emergency pumps will automatically start up to supply makeup cooling water. If a pump fails, at least one other pump is ready to step in. And so on. It takes a lot of things to defeat defense-in-depth. Defense-in-depth’s downside is that none of the protective layers is 100% reliable. If any single layer provided absolute reliability, the other layers would not be needed. Instead, defense-in-depth banks on the collective reliability from multiple layers. This commentary begins a series of posts about times when the multiple layers collectively failed to prevent nuclear plant accidents. The good news is that the number of nuclear plant accidents is relatively small. The bad news is that nuclear plant accidents are becoming more severe.

July 5, 2016 – Shanghai Daily – Pacific Ocean radiation levels returning to normal after Fukushima disaster – A new international research has found out that radiation levels across the Pacific Ocean are quickly returning to normal five years after the Fukushima disaster. A review by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, which brought together some of the world’s foremost ocean experts, found radiation levels off the east coast of Japan were fast returning to normal after being tens of millions of times higher than usual following the disaster.

July 5, 2016 – Power Mag – Nuclear Regulatory Commission Down to Three Active Commissioners – Following the end of William C. Ostendorff’s term on June 30, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is now down to only three active commissioners on staff. Ostendorff became a commissioner on April 1, 2010, following a distinguished career as a U.S. naval officer, engineer, lawyer, and policy advisor. His departure adds another vacancy to the one that already exists on the commission (Figure 1). That spot opened when former Chairman Allison Macfarlane left on January 1, 2015, to take a position at George Washington University. President Obama nominated Jessie Hill Roberson on July 15, 2015, to fill the void, but the Senate has not taken action to confirm the pick.

July 5, 2016 – GreenWorld – Michael Mariotte: Counterweight to Nuclear Energy (1952 – 2016) – Let us be clear: without Michael Mariotte’s decision in the mid 1980’s to devote his talents to stopping the nuclear industry, many things would be very different today. Michael could not do what he did without Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), and the many thousands of people who work with NIRS could not have produced the results they did without Michael at the helm. This is one telling of this story. Dispassionate passion: The smartest one in almost any room… but never resting on his own analysis; always digging, asking the next question, checking the facts. Michael Mariotte was a journalist and an organizer and at bottom it was these talents that made his leadership of the civilian end of the US anti-nuclear community so deft. Michael’s dispassion was sometimes misunderstood as indifference, but he was standing back, watching as the pieces of a puzzle would come together.

July 5, 2016 – Brockton Enterprise – Nuclear safety expert seeks data about Pilgrim incident – A well-known nuclear safety expert is looking for more information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding a report that both emergency diesel generators at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station had been out of commission at the same time for a short period in April while the reactor was operating at full power. David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, questions how long the plant had been running with no emergency generators, which provide a default power source to safely shut down the reactor, maintain safe shutdown conditions and operate all essential systems if primary and secondary power sources have failed.

July 5, 2016 – Niagara Falls Reporter – Radioactive Waste no Cause for Concern: According to Falls’ Senior Planner, Desantis – Niagara Falls city officials attempted to address concerns this week in the wake of an expose in The Reporter on the creation of a radioactive waste dump on North Avenue here. Approximately 100 tons of radioactive soils was excavated during the construction of the city’s new train station and dumped at the North Ave site which sits about 75 yards from the new train station. How dangerous were the materials stored at the dump? A tall, padlocked chain link fence was built around it, festooned with warning signs. “DANGER HARD HATS, SAFETY GLASSES, SAFETY SHOES REQUIRED IN THIS AREA AT ALL TIMES,” one states. Another advises, “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL 911 FIRE RESCUE POLICE.” A third sign warns of the presence of “RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL” and reads: “Caution Radioactive Materials Area.” Last week, The Reporter visited the site and found that the gate of the fence had fallen down, and that large holes and tears appeared in the plastic safety sheeting used to cover the radioactive waste. In some sections, the plastic sheeting had blown off and the area was soaked with groundwater.

July 5, 2016 – Pittsburgh Tribume-Review – Groundwater testing begins in Parks Township – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the federal Environmental Protection Agency are conducting routine groundwater testing this week in and near the nuclear waste dump in Parks Township. Officially known as the Shallow Land Disposal Area, the nuclear waste dump received chemical and radioactive material primarily in the 1960s from a former nuclear fuels plant in Apollo owned by the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) and its successors, the Atlantic Richfield Co. and Babcock & Wilcox, which owns the site. Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers is looking for a contractor to restart a 10-year cleanup estimated to cost $350 million.

July 5, 2016 – Charleston Post & Courier – Judge hears arguments in South Carolina MOX plutonium case – A federal judge is deciding whether to dismiss South Carolina’s case against the Department of Energy in which the state seeks $100 million and the removal of plutonium from the Savannah River Site in Aiken. Judge Michelle Childs heard arguments from both sides Thursday morning in Columbia. She did not indicate when she will rule on the state’s request for summary judgment to avoid prolonging the case, or on the Department of Energy’’s request to throw out the case altogether. The lawsuit, filed by the state earlier this year, stems from a missed deadline at the MOX plutonium recycling plant, housed at the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

July 5, 2016 – Charleston Post & Courier – Santee Cooper authorizes $831M debt sale to fund nuclear project – Santee Cooper will use proceeds from a $831 million bond sale to help pay for its share of escalating construction costs at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion, the utility said Thursday. During a special meeting, the state-owned power provider’s board also authorized Santee Cooper to secure a fixed-price option on the construction contract for the nuclear plant. The option substantially sets the costs to complete two new reactors at the facility in Jenkinsville. Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper owns 45 percent of the nuclear plant while South Carolina Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of Cayce-based SCANA Corp., owns the rest. The nuclear project’s price tag has ballooned to about $14 billion because of cost overruns and delays. Santee Cooper’s share of the project would stand at $6.2 billion — 20 percent more than the utility projected in 2012 — if the fixed-price option is adopted.

July 5, 2016 – Chattanooga Times Free Press – TVA asks 3,500 nuclear workers to consider quitting or retiring in cost-cutting move – As it prepares to start up its last remaining unfinished nuclear reactor this summer, the Tennessee Valley Authority is preparing to cut its nuclear power staff to its lowest level since the federal utility launched America’s most ambitious nuclear construction program a half century ago. TVA is offering the 3,500 employees in its nuclear unit incentives to voluntarily quit or retire within the next three months to help pare its staff and operating expenses to meet its fiscal 2017 budget targets. TVA has not announced yet how many jobs it intends to cut. But in a similar company-wide program over the previous three years, TVA eliminated about 2,000 jobs and reduced its overall staff to just over 10,000 employees. At its peak in 1981 when TVA was building nuclear units across its seven-state region, TVA had 51,709 employees.

July 5, 2016 – KWES NewsWest9 – License application for Andrews nuclear waste site missing key safety, security details – Federal regulators declined to review a license application submitted by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) for a high-level nuclear waste facility in Andrews County, records revealed. WCS, a Dallas-based company with a nearly 15,000-acre site in western Andrews County, filed the application with plans to expand its existing low-level radioactive waste site. The proposed facility would house spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors across the country for at least 40 years. However, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials determined the company’s license application lacked “sufficient technical information” and safety-related details, according to a letter dated June 22 from the commission to WCS.

July 5, 2016 – Kearney Hub – Cooper Station’s excellent rating its first since 1991 – Nebraska’s largest single-unit nuclear electrical generator, Cooper Nuclear Station, has earned an excellent rating from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. The rating comes about three months before a scheduled shutdown at the southeast Nebraska plant. During the outage, NPPD will replace a high-pressure turbine that has been operating at the plant since it opened in 1974. In addition, a variety of other equipment replacements and inspections will take place, and one-third of Cooper’s fuel rods will be replaced. The operation is budgeted to cost $43 million.

July 5, 2016 – Carlsbad Current Argus – DOE renews agreements for safe transportation – The Department of Energy renewed its cooperative agreements with the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and the Western Governors’ Association regarding the safe transportation of waste travelling to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The Dept. of Energy’s $6.8 million renewal of the agreement with New Mexico and the $9 million agreement with the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) provide state entities with funds for independent inspection of drivers, reporting bad weather and road conditions, as well as preparation of emergency response plans and procedures, should an accident occur while transuranic waste is in transit to WIPP. According to the WGA, more than 90 percent of existing inventory of transuranic waste is located in western states.

July 5, 2016 – Arizona Business Daily – Arizona Public Service changes leadership team at Palo Verde nuclear site – Arizona Public Service has made changes to its senior leadership team at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station near Tonopah. Bob Bement will be executive vice president, nuclear, and will continue reporting to Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Randy Edington. Jack Cadogan, presently the vice president of nuclear engineering, will replace Bement as senior vice president of site operations. On Oct. 31, Bement will take over as executive vice president and chief nuclear officer while Edington becomes executive vice president and adviser to the CEO.

July 5, 2016 – San Luis Obispo Tribune – Diablo Canyon closure brings back memories of construction, protests – When I first saw Diablo Canyon back in the 1970s, it was just a hole in the ground. The only sign of development was some archaeologists digging for historical objects and information. They had to do it quickly, as an electric-generating nuclear plant would soon be built there. That plant now produces 9 percent of the electricity produced in California. But plans are now afoot to greatly increase the generation of electricity from other sources, such as wind and sunshine. Diablo Canyon would no longer be needed.

July 5, 2016 – Atomic Insights – PG&E Agreed To Kill Diablo Canyon In Self-Protecting Deal – The first indication I had of the agreement to destroy Diablo Canyon in the prime of its life came from a press release issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It stated that they had signed a deal with PG&E, IBEW local 1245, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Environment California, and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility. There is an implied quid pro quo. The groups will support PG&E’s request for an extension from the California Lands Commission of its land use permit that allows access to ocean cooling water at the Commission’s June 28 meeting. In return, PG&E will agree to withdraw its 20-year license extension application at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Instead, it will aim to retire the two-unit site when its current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.