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July 7, 2016 – Press Pieces

On July 7th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

July 7, 2016 – PhysOrg – Quantum processor for single photons – “Nothing is impossible!” In line with this motto, physicists from the Quantum Dynamics Division of Professor Gerhard Rempe (director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) managed to realise a quantum logic gate in which two light quanta are the main actors. The difficulty of such an endeavour is that photons usually do not interact at all but pass each other undisturbed. This makes them ideal for the transmission of quantum information, but less suited for its processing. The scientists overcame this steep hurdle by bringing an ancillary third particle into play: a single atom trapped inside an optical resonator that takes on the role of a mediator. “The distinct feature of our gate implementation is that the interaction between the photons is deterministic”, explains Dr. Stephan Ritter. “This is essential for future, more complex applications like scalable quantum computers or global quantum networks.”

July 7, 2016 – MacIver Institute – Renewable Energy Mandates Come Up Short On Economic Promises – Do renewable energy mandates foster new industry and create waves of high-tech jobs, as many advocates claim? New research debunks this claim, indicating that the mandate’s costs far outweigh its benefits. The new research, “Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards,” was conducted by University of Wyoming professor Dr. Timothy Considine, who evaluated 12 separate states with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), including Wisconsin. The research describes the direct cost of the RPS to the Wisconsin electricity industry and therefore to electricity consumers. Wisconsin’s RPS forces consumers to pay higher electricity costs – $474 million in 2016 alone. By 2025, the increased cost paid by Wisconsinites attributable to the RPS is projected to increase to almost $500 million. Increased electricity rates caused by renewable energy mandates also result in approximately $1 billion in lost economic activity in Wisconsin each year. Job losses attributable to the RPS are 7,000 to 10,000 jobs below employment levels without RPS mandates, even after factoring in the meager number of new “green” jobs.

July 7, 2016 – Reuters – U3O8 Corp- MOU signed for Argentina nuclear power plant construction – Says minister of energy and mines has committed to fund upgrades to eleven nuclear medicine facilities in Argentina. Says committed to providing uranium required to fuel nuclear component of argentine government’s clean energy initiative. U3O8 Corp says memorandum of understanding has been signed regarding financing and construction of Argentina’s 4th and 5th nuclear power plants.

July 7, 2016 – Las Vegas Review-Journal – Sandoval letter underscores state’s Yucca Mountain opposition to House subcommittee – Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday reiterated Nevada’s steadfast opposition to the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain ahead of a hearing Thursday on the project in Washington, DC. “My position, and that of the state of Nevada, remains unchanged from my previous letters to this committee in May 2015, and January 2016: the state of Nevada opposes the project based on scientific, technical and legal merits,” Sandoval said in his letter to the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. “Furthermore, as set forth in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, only the governor is empowered to consult on matters related to the siting of a nuclear waste repository,” he said.

July 7, 2016 – Associated Press – Michigan nuclear plant closes unit after steam release – A rupture released steam at a nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan, forcing a utility to shut down one of the two units. Indiana Michigan Power says the steam was not radioactive, but it damaged a wall at the Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 2 early Wednesday in Bridgman. There were no injuries. The utility says there were no other complications and “all equipment responded appropriately.” Repair estimates are being made. Cook’s Unit 1 was not affected and is operating at 100%. Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating the incident.

July 7, 2016 – Maine News Online – Lost JAXA X-ray Satellite beams back Data on Perseus Galaxy Cluster – Earlier, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported that its X-ray satellite Hitomi is no more in touch with mission controllers. The agency, that time, also revealed that it has succeeded in scraping some data collected by the satellite. It managed to explore the Perseus Cluster, a cluster of galaxies with a supermassive black hole at the center. Findings by Hitomi allowed researchers understand the role of a black hole in the formation of a galaxy. The satellite succeeded in measuring the gas motion in the galaxy’s center with unprecedented precision. It was over 50 times better than devices in the past, as per astronomy professor Andrew Fabian from University of Cambridge in England. Data from the satellite hints that the galaxy at the center of the cluster must be much brighter and with much higher stellar mass, added Fabian, a researcher in an international team led by JAXA.

July 7, 2016 – Yahoo News – Iran’s Parchin Particles: Why Should Two Mites of Uranium Matter? – Two specks of uranium might determine whether or not the Iran nuclear deal succeeds or fails. “The Obama administration has concluded that uranium particles discovered last year at a secretive Iranian military base likely were tied to the country’s past, covert nuclear weapons program,” the Wall Street Journal reported last month. The International Atomic Energy Agency first disclosed the discovery in a footnote to a key report last December. The IAEA dismissed the matter, saying that the number of particles was too small to prove a connection to illicit activities. The U.S. government, however, has capabilities that may exceed those of the IAEA.

July 7, 2016 – PTI – France submits fresh plan for six nuclear plants in Jaitapur – France has given a fresh techno- commercial proposal for building six atomic reactors in Jaitapur even as it again raised concerns over India’s civil liability law and sought “same level of protection” which are available for companies at the international level. An Electricite de France (EDF) team, comprising senior officials, is currently holding talks with the Ministry of External Affairs and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIl) on setting up of these plants. “We have raised our concerns over the liability issue. France is a party to Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. We want similar binding conditions in the Jaitapur contract.

July 7, 2016 – Public News Service – Troubling Questions Arise About Radioactive Frack Waste Company – The paper trail of a company that dumped West Virginia radioactive frack waste into Kentucky landfills is raising serious questions. This spring, regulators cited Advanced TENORM Services for dumping the low-level radioactive waste in two municipal landfills. Not long after, the company disabled its website and moved its formal physical address to the West Liberty Public Library. But Tom FitzGerald, director with the Kentucky Resources Council, said state records show Cory Hoskins, who runs the company, is also connected to at least one other firm involved in a similar situation at a separate state landfill. “Cory Hoskins is also working in Ohio and has a couple of different company names,” he said. “How much other stuff, these elevated levels of radionuclides, ended up in our landfills?”

July 7, 2016 – Climate Home – Can nuclear really deliver 25% of global electricity by 2050? – The nuclear industry is celebrating breaking records that have stood for a quarter of a century − but a new update on its successes still fails to disperse the clouds over its future. Ten new nuclear reactors came on line last year worldwide, and more new reactors are being built than at any time since 1990. According to the report by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), there were 66 power reactors under construction across the world last year, and another 158 planned. Of those being built, 24 were in mainland China. In what it promises will be an annual update of the industry’s “progress”, the WNA presents a rosy picture of the future of the industry, which it hopes will produce ever-increasing amounts of the world’s power.

July 7, 2016 – The Korea Bizwire – Nuclear Protest Gone Wrong? – Victims lie on the ground at a busy public square in front of Busan Station. Among them are radioactive waste barrels and men in hazmat suits removing bodies. Fortunately, their were no real casualties, as the scene was the result of an unconventional flash mob. Members of Greenpeace and Korea’s leading opposition party, the Minjoo Party of Korea, arranged a flash mob Thursday afternoon, protesting the latest government approval of two additional nuclear reactors – Shin Kori No. 5 and No. 6 – at a current nuclear power plant in the southeastern coastal town of Gijang, Busan. At the moment, 23 nuclear reactors are in operation in Korea, providing the country with about 30 percent of its electricity supply. The new reactors will bring the total in South Korea to 30, including those currently under construction.

July 7, 2016 – World Nuclear News – REMIX fuel pilot testing starts at Balakovo reactor – Russia has started pilot testing of its new type of nuclear fuel, REMIX, at unit 3 of the Balakovo nuclear power plant. Rosenergoatom said on 1 July the unit is being loaded with a number of fuel elements containing the fuel, and that the use of REMIX “will increase the efficiency of uranium use in the nuclear industry”. Development of REMIX (from Regenerated Mixture) fuel is part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom’s strategy to enable better use of recycled uranium and plutonium on an industrial scale in pressurized water reactors. All four units at Balakovo are of the Russian V-320 PWR design. Rosatom has said the ultimate aim of REMIX is closure of the nuclear fuel cycle by minimising Russia’s accumulation of used nuclear fuel.

July 7, 2016 – EurActiv.com – Easy target for terrorists: Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant – The recent ISIS attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport hints at an alarming trend in which highly strategic areas are increasingly being targeted by international terrorist groups. A similar attack had taken place at Belgium’s Zaventem Airport a few months before, which revealed that ISIS may have been planning an operation at Belgian atomic plant. While nuclear terrorism was a remote threat during the 9/11 attacks, with al-Qaeda originally wanting to target nuclear power facilities, it is becoming a dangerously feasible possibility that ISIS followers could lunch a successful strike. One such potential target finds itself at the very borders of the EU: the Metsamor nuclear power plant, in Armenia. The dangers it incurs are multiple: The lack of a cooling mechanism makes the outdated nuclear centre an easy target; the continuous smuggling of radioactive material by jihadists increases the risk of producing a dirty bomb; the uncontrolled zone of the Armenian-occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh are used to dump radioactive waste, which could leak or be dispersed as a result of terrorist action.

July 7, 2016 – Japan Times – Japan Atomic Power to join Hitachi’s nuclear plant business in Britain – Japan Atomic Power Co. will join Hitachi Ltd.’s nuclear power plant business in Britain, informed sources said Thursday. The two companies will soon sign a cooperation agreement to make Japan Atomic Power the first Japanese power supplier to take part in an overseas nuclear power plant business in full scale. Japan Atomic Power will become part of a project to build nuclear reactors in Britain, which is undertaken by Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., a Hitachi unit in Britain, possibly engaging in licensing procedures for reactor construction.

July 7, 2016 – Harvard Press – BOH requires radioactivity testing of new wells – The Board of Health has expanded the regulation for water quality testing on all new and altered wells to include a “gross alpha screen,” which detects the presence of radioactive particles and determines whether further testing is needed for uranium or radium. The new requirement comes in the wake of a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study that identified areas in Harvard that are at increased risk for low-level radioactivity in water from bedrock wells. The USGS uranium risk map identifies a zone on the western side of a line that runs northeast to southwest, passing almost directly through the center of Harvard. The probability that uranium levels will be higher than the standard for public drinking water in that zone is between 4.8 and 13 percent.

July 7, 2016 – Rockland County Times – Indian Point Unit 2 Automatically Shut Down Again – Indian Point Unit 2 automatically and safely shut down Wednesday around 9:30 a.m. The automatic shutdown occurred at the same time technicians were testing electrical systems that are designed to automatically shut down the reactor if needed, Entergy said. The exact cause is under investigation. There was no release of radioactivity and no effect on public or worker health or safety, the energy company said in a press release. Equipment operated as designed and control room operators responded as expected during the shutdown.

July 7, 2016 – The Atlantic CityLab – The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Power in the U.S. – Nuclear plants still generate nearly 20 percent of electricity in the U.S., but that looks likely to change over the next few years. Thanks to plummeting oil and gas prices and rising safety concerns since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, more and more nuclear power reactors in the West are on their way to being decommissioned. Season 2 of Van Alen Sessions, presented by Van Alen Institute with The Atlantic and CityLab, wraps up with a trip inside the Pilgrim Nuclear Reactor in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The plant is now officially scheduled for shutdown in 2019, which has locals struggling with a range of issues: impending economic turmoil, toxic waste storage, and the dilemma of meeting lower emissions standards while letting go of the zero-carbon footprint of nuclear energy.

July 7, 2016 – The Atlantic – The End of a Nuclear Power Plant – Pilgrim Nuclear Reactor in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is scheduled to close down in 2019. It won’t be alone—because of increased concerns over the safety of these plants and decreased gas prices, many will struggle to stay open in the United States. In this short film, locals who work in the plant reflect on the effects of the impending closure.

July 7, 2016 – Reuters – BWX Technologies says a court ruled in favor of BWXT parties in a case alleging that they owed royalties on commercial nuclear contracts – On June 30, Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of BWXT parties in case alleging owed royalties on commercial nuclear contracts Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Bengaluru Newsroom: +1-646-223-8780).

July 7, 2016 – Michigan Live – Bridgman’s D.C. Cook nuclear plant steam line ruptures – A steam line rupture in the turbine building at D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant Wednesday morning damaged a wall in the plant’s Unit 2 turbine building, but has had no effect on the nuclear reactor or public safety, authorities said. Viktoria Mitlyng, senior public affairs officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Chicago area office, said the steam pipe rupture happened on the secondary, non-nuclear side of the plant, where the the turbine is located. “As far as we know no one was hurt” in the pipe rupture, Mitlyng said. The incident happened at 12:38 a.m. Wednesday, July 6. The steam line that ruptured was fairly large, she said. She was not immediately sure the extent of damage to the turbine room wall.

July 7, 2016 – Los Alamos Daily Post – Nuclear Testing, War Crimes And Native Sovereignty Topics At Summer School For Advanced Research – Summer is a season full of diverse colloquia and seminars at the School for Advanced Research. Through July, the public is invited to attend colloquia presented by the 2016 class of Summer Scholars, and a lecture by and reception for Indigenous Writer-in-Residence Kelli Ford in August. The Summer Scholar Colloquia schedule began Wednesday, June 29 with “Guys Like Me: Six Wars, Six Veterans for Peace,” presented by Michael Messner, Professor, Department of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California. Dr. Messner discussed that, in this time of apparently permanent warfare, U.S. men continue to return home from wars—many with physical and psychological injuries. Yet little scholarly attention is paid to the veteran whose combat experience results in a commitment to peace.

July 7, 2016 – Albuquerque Journal – DOE secretary promotes research collaboration at UNM – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz kicked off a day-long forum on energy innovation Tuesday at the University of New Mexico attended by scientists, researchers and private investors from across the Southwest. The Southwest Regional Energy Forum is aimed at sharing information about regional advances in materials science that can improve renewable energy technology and accelerate its deployment. In particular, participants hope to build closer collaboration among themselves and between the public and private sectors to bring more innovative technologies to market. It’s part of a national U.S. Department of Energy effort to promote collaboration around the country that draws on the strengths and opportunities unique to different regions.

July 7, 2016 – Deseret News – BLM weighs uranium mine expansion in southeast Utah – A now idled uranium mine could increase its physical footprint by more than tenfold under a proposed expansion under review by the Bureau of Land Management. The Daneros Uranium Mine in southeast Utah, once called the Denison Mine, would supply mined uranium ore to White Mesa, the country’s only operating, conventional uranium processing mill. The mill is about 60 miles north of the mine and a few miles outside of Blanding. On Tuesday, the federal land management agency extended the public comment period on an environmental assessment until Aug. 1, based on requests from multiple groups.

July 7, 2016 – Public News Service – Feds Head to Idaho for Meeting on Nuclear Waste – The U.S. Department of Energy will hold a meeting next week at the Boise Centre downtown to come up with a process for getting consent from local communities before siting new nuclear waste facilities. Idaho’s nuclear-watchdog group is having workshops tonight and Thursday to help the community prepare. Beatrice Brailsford, nuclear program director for the Snake River Alliance, said the Gem State already stores nuclear waste at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls and repeatedly has rejected new nuclear waste. “For decades, we have been the host state for waste that is supposed to go someplace else at some point,” she said, “but our experience has been that interim storage and permanent storage are, so far, pretty much one and the same.”

July 7, 2016 – Idaho State University – Idaho State University interns design robot for nuclear fuel facility – Cheers erupted from an audience peering over plywood walls into a mock-up work cell. The robot inside had successfully transported a surrogate radioactive sample from an inter-facility transfer box, out of its transfer containers, into an examination instrument, and then back again. It was a satisfying ending to a nine-month-long project for four Idaho State University (ISU) mechanical and nuclear engineering students serving internships at Idaho National Laboratory. One of those students, Larinda Nichols, served a prior INL internship, which included attending design meetings for future post-irradiation examination (PIE) work. From that, Mitchell Meyer, the lab’s director of characterization and advanced PIE, assigned Nichols a senior project to demonstrate the use of robotics in instrument cells.

July 7, 2016 – Tri-City Herald – WSU to start radiochemistry training program with DOE help – Washington State University in Pullman will launch a new training program in radiochemistry with the help of a Department of Energy grant. The nation has a growing demand for scientists trained and educated to understand radiochemistry, the chemical study of radioactive elements, according to DOE. DOE is contributing up to $3 million for a five-year program to train graduate students. Workers are needed both for complex scientific and technical work to advance environmental cleanup work at Hanford and other DOE cleanup sites and also to help the United States maintain global leadership in the next generation of safe nuclear energy, according to DOE.

July 7, 2016 – Tri-City Herald – Feds release plan to clean up highly radioactive building by Richland – The Department of Energy is proposing a seven-year plan to clean up a highly radioactive waste spill under a building at Hanford near Richland. A public comment period on the plan, focused on the removal of the 324 Building, started this week and will continue through Sept. 9. A public meeting is planned at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Richland Library. “This is an important project,” said Stephanie Schleif, the transition project manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology. “Ecology is pleased to see DOE moving forward on the 324 Building.” Washington Closure Hanford was working toward a legally binding deadline for DOE to have the building down in the fall of 2013.

July 7, 2016 – Utility Dive – Critics wary as California regulators prepare to reopen San Onofre nuclear settlement case – Initial comments are due tomorrow at the California Public Utilities Commission, as regulators try and determine how best to move forward following revelations of ex parte communications surrounding the settlement to close the San Onofre nuclear plant, KPBS.org reports. Southern California Edison (SCE) closed the plant after radioactive steam leaks were discovered in 2012, and a deal shouldered consumers with $3.3 billion in closing costs. Critics say those costs should have been borne by shareholders, and following discovery of secret meetings between utility officials and regulators, they may get another chance to make their case.

July 7, 2016 – San Diego Union-Tribune – Nuke plan diverts billions from climate change – Last month, California’s largest utility unveiled a deal with environmental groups to scrap Diablo Canyon, the state’s last nuclear power plant, by 2025. Regulators may get details later this month. The idea seems absurd, given the state’s campaign to combat climate change. Replacing the nuke’s output — cheap, zero-carbon power for 1.7 million homes — can only hurt the planet, as well as cost consumers billions of dollars that could otherwise go toward displacing fossil fuels. So the only way to understand the merits of scrapping a working nuke is to appreciate the upside for certain politicians, as well as the potential financial windfall for Diablo’s owner, Pacific Gas & Electric.

July 7, 2016 – Las Vegas Sun – Shame on Nevada leaders who sell out on Yucca Mountain – Some politicians in Congress are grasping at the fantasy of gaining control of Yucca Mountain so their states’ expended-but-still-lethally radioactive nuclear power plant fuel rods can be dumped in Nevada. Their strategy, which will be aired during a congressional hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, is to persuade Nevada politicians to betray their constituents and allow the use of Yucca Mountain’s frail geology as a tomb for the most deadly material known to man. This, in exchange for a bag of gold coins. More specifically, they are once again floating the notion that if Nevada politicians green-light the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository — something we have fought for 30 years — they’ll give us something in return: a north-south interstate highway, perhaps, or research money for UNLV.