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October 18, 2016 – Press Pieces

On October 18th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

October 18, 2016 – Los Alamos Daily Post – How The U.S. Failed In Excess Weapons Plutonium Disposition … A Nuclear Sputnik Moment? – Putin’s withdrawal from the U.S./Russia agreement for each nation to destroy 34 tons of excess weapons plutonium, (W-Pu) enough for 17,000 nuclear weapons, is more the consequence of U.S. technical failure than the deterioration of an international relationship. Both nations agreed that the plutonium be either destroyed by fission or converted to a plutonium isotopic form that was not useful for weapons. Russia chose to build a fast-spectrum nuclear reactor in hopes of launching a new breeder technology. The U. S. chose to combine the plutonium with uranium for burning in one or more of the 100 U. S. light water reactors. Russia proceeded about as fast as their budgets could allow and finally, after 16 years, their W-Pu burning reactor is up and running through initial tests, although with substitute fuel instead of W-Pu. But no U.S. progress can be reported. Before the agreement, the U.S. W-Pu disposition effort suffered through the “out-of-sight and out-of-mind” urgency of burying W-Pu in Yucca Mountain, thought to be a solution to any and all of our nation’s nuclear waste problems. After controversy over the prospect that W-Pu could by natural means evolve to spontaneous nuclear explosions, that approach was abandoned. Because anything that can be buried can be dug up, this was never a permanent solution anyway.

October 18, 2016 – Bay News 9 – Mosaic laser mapping reveals depth of radioactive sinkhole – Mosaic has released pictures and video of its use of high-tech gear to map the inside of the Polk County sinkhole that allowed millions of gallons of slightly radioactive water to flow into the aquifer. Mosaic said it attached laser-mapping gear called LiDAR to a 1,300-foot cable strung across the sinkhole, which is in a gypsum stack near Bartow, and then lowered the gear into the hole. The technology uses laser light to make a 3-D map of an object or area. The company thinks the process was the first time the technology has been used in that way.

October 18, 2016 – Daily Energy Insider – NRC evaluates security inspection program, seeks efficiency improvements – The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) praised the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Thursday for its approval of a limited assessment of the security baseline program, including “force-on-force” evaluations that will test nuclear plants’ protective systems against design-basis threats. “The nuclear energy industry has demonstrated that it has the most hardened facilities in the U.S. infrastructure,” NEI Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Tony Pietrangelo said. “The performance of U.S. nuclear facilities during four cycles of security inspections remains exemplary. The commissioners’ direction to staff on its proposed review is a recognition of the maturity of the nuclear security programs.” Security baseline inspections of nuclear facilities evaluate plant operators’ effectiveness in protecting against design-basis threat, such as radiological sabotage, or the theft or loss of special nuclear materials. An additional memorandum from Oct. 5 calls on staff to concentrate inspection efforts on areas that are most likely to yield improvements and efficiencies.

October 18, 2016 – WBTV 3 – ‘Radium Girls’ coming to Catawba College – Catawba College’s freshmen class in Theatre Arts will be putting on a production of “Radium Girls” by playwright D.W. Gregory. The show, to be staged in Hedrick Little Theatre, opens on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. Additional 7:30 p.m. performances will be offered on Oct. 26th and 27th, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee offered on Sunday, Oct. 30th. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, and free for Catawba students and faculty members. “Radium Girls” is about a young woman named Grace Fryer, who works as a dial-painter to support her family during the aftermath of the Great Depression. Grace loves her job, but begins to notice her fellow employees falling ill. When she, too, becomes sick, Grace turns her attention to the company, believing it to be their fault. Everything comes to a head when the company is taken to court. There, Arthur Roeder, the president of the U.S. Radium Corporation, refuses to believe that his company is responsible for the mysterious illnesses of his former employees. Based on a true story, “Radium Girls” explores Grace’s perseverance through her trial and her illness.

October 18, 2016 – PhysOrg – Researchers road-test powerful method for studying singlet fission – Spin, an intrinsic property of electrons, is related to the dynamics of electrons excited as a result of singlet fission – a process which could be used to extract energy in future solar cell technologies. In a new study, researchers measure the spin properties of electronic states produced in singlet fission – a process which could have a central role in the future development of solar cells. Physicists have successfully employed a powerful technique for studying electrons generated through singlet fission, a process which it is believed will be key to more efficient solar energy production in years to come. Their approach, reported in the journal Nature Physics, employed lasers, microwave radiation and magnetic fields to analyse the spin of excitons, which are energetically excited particles formed in molecular systems.

October 18, 2016 – PhysOrg – How an army of engineers battles contamination and sleep deprivation to take Large Hadron Collider to new heights – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is the world’s largest particle accelerator, and experiments like this have reached a scale where physicists are no longer able to build them alone. Instead, qualified engineers now lead the construction of these behemoths. And we are part of a team of engineers and physicists working on upgrading the LHC and eventually constructing a successor. On the surface CERN is a 1960s glass and concrete building. It’s often described as what people 50 years ago thought the future might look like. The cafeteria looks like any other, except you probably don’t get as many Nobel Prize winners in most canteens. But the real work goes on underneath the surface. The tunnel that houses the LHC is 27km in circumference, which is the same as the Circle Line in London’s underground system. But while the deepest London tube line is only 60 meters down, the LHC is 175 metres below ground. In the tunnel is also 50,000 tonnes of equipment weighing the same as six Eiffel Towers.

October 18, 2016 – army-technology.com – Kromek wins contracts from US DTRA and UK MoD – Kromek has been contracted by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to facilitate the development of an isotope radiation detector for use in military applications. Under the two-year contract, Kromek will improve DTRA’s technology platform to develop the ruggedised, high-performance detector. The company will further improve the D3S platform to offer disruptive, low-cost radiation isotope identification devices (RIID) and mini RIID devices for radiation and nuclear defence systems. “The contract wins add to the visibility of revenues underpinning our belief in the continuing growth of the business.” Kromek also received contracts to supply nuclear radiation detection products for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and a major civil nuclear partner.

October 18, 2016 – Union of Concerned Scientists – Nuclear (Information) Power – Among many lessons learned from the March 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island was the need to collect, assess, and disseminate relevant operating experience in a timely manner. In other words, nuclear information has the power to promote nuclear safety, but only when that information is shared so as to replicate good practices and eradicate bad ones. Both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the nuclear industry undertook parallel efforts after Three Mile Island to improve operating experience efforts. The centerpiece of the NRC’s operating experience efforts is its generic communications program. The NRC instituted this program before the Three Mile Island accident, but took steps following the accident to expand the program and to shorten the time between events and advisories. The NRC also lowered the threshold used to screen the information to share more operating experience with plant owners.

October 18, 2016 – Energy Live News – Nuclear power: Good or bad? Join the debate at #EL2016 – What should the future energy mix look like? Was it a good idea for the UK Government to give the go ahead for the Hinkley nuclear power plant in Somerset? Those questions and many more will be discussed at the Energy Live 2016 conference in London next month. Tom Greatrex, CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), Dr Nina Skorupska, CEO of the Renewable Energy Association and former DECC nuclear strategist Hergen Haye will be debating on whether the UK needs new nuclear or not.

October 18, 2016 – Aljazeera – Controversial new nuclear plant ignites Belarus – Thirty years after an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station devastated the countryside on the southern border of Belarus, leaving behind lasting consequences for millions of people, the construction of a new nuclear station is stirring discord between government officials, opposition politicians, the local populace and foreign diplomats. The death of a 43-year-old Russian contractor last month, after an explosion at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) construction site near Astravets in northern Belarus on its border with Lithuania, is only the latest in a string of little-publicised incidents that has raised concerns at home and abroad about the how the station is being constructed. On July 10 of this year, the 330-tonne reactor casing dropped from a height of between two and four metres in an incident that only came to the public’s attention two weeks later when a member of the Belarus United Civil Party, Mikalai Ulasevich, leaked the news to the local press.

October 18, 2016 – DailyExcelsior.com – Indigenous nuclear sub reportedly inducted to complete nuke triad – The Indian Navy is understood to have quietly commissioned into service the country’s first indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant which is capable of firing nuclear weapons, completing India’s nuclear triad. The Defence Ministry and the Navy did not confirm or deny reports that the submarine was inducted in August this year to complete the nuclear weapons triad that gives the country capability to launch nukes from land, air and sea. Navy and defence officials maintained today that the matter does not come under their purview. At a press conference today, Vice Admiral G S Pabby ducked six questions on Arihant but indicated that a formal announcement might be made in the coming days. “There will soon be an opportunity to talk about it,” Pabby said when faced with persistant questions.

October 18, 2016 – Port News – HHI taps Mary Cullen as Vice President, Nuclear Propulsion at Newport News Shipbuilding – Mary Cullen has been appointed vice president of nuclear propulsion at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the company said in its media release. Mary Gullen will assume her new role on Nov. 14 following a transition into the job with the help of Barry Fletcher, who will retire from the position after 37 years of shipbuilding service. In her new position, Cullen will be responsible for overhaul engineering, reactor services, test engineering, radiological controls, construction and process engineering, as well as refueling production and nuclear support.

October 18, 2016 – Global Construction Review – Pakistan switches on its latest made-in-China nuclear reactor – Pakistan has connected its latest nuclear reactor, largely built by China, to its national grid, marking the next step in China’s rise as a nuclear power exporter. The reactor in Chashma, in the central province of Punjab, is the third for the Chashma power station and was activated “on a trial basis” on Saturday, 15 October, reports VOA. According to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the 340MW reactor will be subject to testing and will achieve full power in December 2016. State-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) helped build the new reactor, called Chashma-3.

October 18, 2016 – Tehran Times – Nuclear chief says Iran exports 25 radiopharmaceuticals – Iran’s atomic energy chief said in comments on Tuesday the country produces and exports 25 radiopharmaceuticals to Asian and European countries. “Currently, 25 radiopharmaceuticals are produced inside the country and exported to countries of Iraq, Egypt, and Germany,” Ali Akbar Salehi told the press on the sidelines of the 10th national talent seminar. The country has large export capacity for radiopharmaceuticals much beyond its current level, according to Salehi, but “new facilities have to be established to produce the radiopharmaceuticals on the basis of GMP standards.” GMP, which stands for Good Manufacturing Practices, is a quality standard which ensures the consistent production and quality of medicinal products appropriate to their intended use and as required by the product specification, according to the World Health Organization.

October 18, 2016 – South China Morning Post – Seoul residents fear terrorism, radioactivity within decade – Six out of 10 Seoul citizens think their city is vulnerable to various disasters, and cite air pollution, summer heat and yellow dust as three disaster types threatening them most, a survey shows. The respondents also said they expected terrorism would emerge as the fourth type of disaster within a decade, according to the survey of 1,344 citizens and 85 experts by the Seoul Institute, a think tank that advises the metropolitan government on policy. Only 14.7 per cent of respondents said Seoul was safe from various disasters, one-fourth the level of those who saw their city as dangerous, and far lower than the 29.4 per cent positive replies of experts.

October 18, 2016 – The Courier – Historic radioactive waste could be a factor in Dundee airport expansion – Plans to extend the runway at Dundee Airport will have to take into account radioactive waste dumped at Riverside landfill more than 20 years ago. Low-level radioactive waste was last stored at the Riverside landfill site in 1996. The site, now known as Riverside Recycling Centre, neighbours the current runway at Dundee Airport. The waste, which came from “hospitals, universities and other small users”, poses no harm to the public – according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Any plans to expand runway would need to take in to consideration the radioactive waste which was stored, according to SEPA.

October 18, 2016 – Brattleboro Reformer – Officials have authored a guide for other communities facing nuclear decommissioning – Early in a new report on Vermont Yankee’s shutdown, Windham Region officials acknowledge that the closure’s full impacts “have yet to be realized and may not necessarily be easy to quantify.” Nevertheless, they believe they’ve got a story to tell. That’s the purpose of the report, framed as “lessons learned” both before and after the Vernon nuclear plant’s December 2014 closure. The document – the result of a tri-state effort – serves as an advisory, a tutorial and a warning for other communities that may face a loss of jobs, tax revenue and residents due to a nuclear plant shutdown. The document’s perceived importance was emphasized by its release on Friday at a downtown Brattleboro gathering attended by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.; and Matt Erskine, a top official at the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

October 28, 2016 – Newburyport Daily News – Nuclear plant provides all data to NRC for license renewal review – NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant staff has provided supplemental information requested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That means that the federal agency can complete its review of the company’s license amendment related to a concrete degradation issue that’s plagued the plant in recent years. In mid-September the commission told NextEra it wanted more information before its staff could continue a review of the plant’s recently filed amendment to its 20-year license extension request. According to NRC’s letter to Seabrook Station Site Vice President Eric McCartney, the Sept. 30 submittal gives NRC staffers what they needed to complete their assessment.

October 18, 2016 – NY Daily News – EXCLUSIVE: Nuclear power company hit with federal tax penalty after deal to receive $7B subsidy from New York – An energy company set to receive a multibillion-dollar, state-approved subsidy that critics say could cost city utility ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars reported profits of $2.2 billion in 2015 and recently was hit with a massive federal tax judgment. Exelon Generation in September was ordered by U.S. Tax Court to pay the IRS $1.45 billion in back taxes, penalties, and interest stemming from an issue involving power plant leases in Illinois. The order came a little more than a month after Gov. Cuomo announced a proposed sale of the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in upstate Oswego County to Exelon by Entergy. The sale is part of a bailout for upstate’s three nuclear facilities, which Cuomo says is key to his clean energy plan designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

October 18, 2016 – Newser – Got $36M? This Nuke Plant Could be Yours – It’s not the Brooklyn Bridge, but authorities in Alabama do have a nuclear power plant they want to sell you. Minimum bids for the never-finished Bellefonte nuke plant start at $36.4 million, which is essentially the value of the 1,400-acre patch of land on the Tennessee River in Hollywood, Ala., with a couple of reactors thrown in, reports the Times Free Press. That’s a fraction of the approximately $5 billion that authorities have spent over nearly a half-century to develop the site, once the state’s largest energy project. Work began in 1973 on two nuclear reactors—four were planned—when demand for electric power was growing by 5% a year. But as demand ebbed, the project stalled and, faced with a final price tag of $8 billion, the Tennessee Valley Authority decided to quit while it was behind.

October 18, 2016 – The Guardian – MIT nuclear fusion record marks latest step towards unlimited clean energy – A nuclear fusion world record has been set in the US, marking another step on the long road towards the unlocking of limitless clean energy. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the highest plasma pressure ever recorded, using its Alcator C-Mod tokamak reactor. High pressures and extreme temperatures are vital in forcing atoms together to release huge amounts of energy. Nuclear fusion powers the sun and has long been touted as the ultimate solution to powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.

October 18, 2016 – Monticello Times – Radiological preparedness excercise scheduled this week at Monticello nuclear plant – The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DPS-HSEM), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Radiological Monitoring Assessment Center (FRMAC) will conduct a radiological emergency preparedness exercise around the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant this week (Oct. 17-21). The Northern Lights exercise will involve helicopter flights between the areas of Monticello and Camp Ripley. The helicopter may also fly over Benton, Cass, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties, stated a Minnesota Department of Public Safety news advisory issued this morning (Monday, Oct. 17).

October 18, 2016 – Kansas City Star – Anti-nuke priest still is spreading the word — and red paint – When the judge called the defendant’s name for the last hearing of the day, a gruff and hearty “Here!” came from the back of the courtroom. The Rev. Carl Kabat, a Catholic priest, rose and walked to the front of Courtroom G. He’s 83, used a cane and wore white sneakers. He wasn’t looking to beat the rap. He was looking for a fight. Facing charges of trespassing and destruction of property for splashing red paint on the door of the Honeywell plant in south Kansas City on July 4, Kabat wanted to put the federal government on trial for making nuclear weapons. “Nuclear weapons are insane,” Kabat, part of the original Plowshares Eight, said outside before his appearance in Kansas City Municipal Court. “These things will kill everybody. When did we vote to have them? No one ever did.”