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September 19, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 19th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 19, 2016 – Washington Examiner – House panels investigate claims of Energy Dept. stifling science – A House committee this week will question if the Department of Energy fired a biologist for promoting her program to Congress against agency wishes. Two House Science, Space and Technology subcommittees will hold a hearing Wednesday titled “Examining Misconduct and Intimidation of Scientists by Senior Department of Energy Officials.” The hearing will examine claims that a scientist in the department was fired after briefing Congress about the Low Dose Radiation Research Program, which was being discussed as a part of House legislation. According to a February letter sent to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, a senior radiation biologist briefed the committee on the program in October 2014. Shortly thereafter, she was terminated. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wrote in the letter that he believed it was because of the briefing.

September 19, 2016 – The Hankyoreh – After Gyeongju earthquake, stress tests for nuclear power plants moved up one year – A recent earthquake in Gyeongju has prompted the South Korean government to move up planned stress tests for all nuclear power plants by one year and bolster their earthquake resistance. But no measures have yet been suggested for reducing or closing plants built in earthquake-vulnerable regions like Gyeongju. The decision by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to further bolster the “extreme natural disaster countermeasures” pursed in the wake of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant came at an earthquake follow-up measures review meeting presided over by the minister on Sept. 18 at the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) southern Seoul headquarters in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood. As a first step, stress testing of nuclear power generation facilities is to be completed by late 2018. The project had an original completion date planned for late 2019, but was moved up one year in response to growing concerns about power plant safety. First introduced in the European Union after the Fukushima disaster, stress testing involves assessing the soundness of nuclear power plants against natural disasters and other outside influences.

September 19, 2016 – EDN Europe – Chip-scale atomic clocks extend temperature ranges – With full operating and storage temperature, these Microsemi devices are aimed at high-reliability applications in defence, underwater geophysical survey and scientific markets. The thermally improved Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) components offer the lowest power holdover atomic clock technology without compromising size, weight and power (SWaP) while operating at a wide temperature range. With an operating temperature range of -10 to 70C the components feature improved product design, process enhancements and robust product verification/validation. Their technology enables new applications and missions not possible in the past with traditional OCXO and Rubidium clocks, offering the lowest SWaP clock technology at 17 cm ³ in size, 35g weight and 120 mW power. Microsemi’s CSAC product offers ±5.0E-11 accuracy at shipment and a typical ≤ 9.0E-10/month ageing rate, which makes it suitable for many low power atomic clock holdover applications.

September 19, 2016 – Physicsworld.com – Flash Physics: TRIUMF licenses isotope-production technology, Marsquakes may help to sustain microbial life, PandaX-II spots no dark matter – A consortium of Canadian research institutes including the TRIUMF accelerator lab in Vancouver has granted ARTMS Products a licence to use its proprietary technology to produce the medical-isotope technetium-99m using medical cyclotrons. These cyclotrons can be found in many large hospitals and the move is part of a Canadian effort to produce the isotope without the need for a nuclear reactor. This is necessary because the NRU reactor at Chalk River, Ontario – which currently supplies all of the technetium-99m used in Canada and the US – will stop making technetium-99m at the end of October. ARTMS is based in Canada and run by Paul Schaffer, who also heads up the life-science research division at TRIUMF. The technique involves firing a proton beam at a special target and then rapidly extracting the short-lived technetium-99m.

September 19, 2016 – Mirror.co.uk – Radioactive water leaks from 45ft sinkhole – with enough liquid to fill 300 Olympic swimming pools – Radioactive water – enough to fill 300 Olympic swimming pools – is leaking from a 45ft sinkhole that has opened up in Florida. The hole, spanning 45 feet (13.7m) in diameter, opened at a Mosaic Co phosphate fertiliser facility leaking 215 million gallons of “slightly radioactive water,” a company spokesman said. Mosaic said the monitoring system at its New Wales facility at Mulberry, Florida, showed a decline in water levels on August 27 from the retention pond of a phosphogypsum stack, a hill of hazardous waste. Phosphogypsum is a radioactive byproduct resulting from the production of phosphate.

September 19, 2016 – Focus Taiwan News – Taiwan Photon Source opened – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attended the inauguration of Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) and its multidisciplinary experimental facilities at the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) in Hsinchu on Monday. While visiting the facility, which had been under construction for more than six years, Tsai expressed the hope of seeing more Taiwanese researchers conduct advanced research as did Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who accompanied her at the ceremony.

September 19, 2016 – StreetInsider.com – ViewRay’s (VRAY) MRIdian Linac Receives CE Mark – ViewRay, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRAY) announced that the company has received CE Mark approval for its next generation linear accelerator-based MRI-guided radiation therapy system, the MRIdian Linac. The MRIdian Linac builds on the first generation MRIdian system, but replaces cobalt with linear accelerator technology. The MRIdian is the world’s first and only clinical MRI-guided radiation therapy system.

September 19, 2016 – CRIEnglish.com – China to build 60 nuclear power plants in upcoming 10 years – China plans to build more than 60 nuclear power plants over the next 10 years. The country’s three major nuclear companies—State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), China National Nuclear Corporation, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation will each build at least two nuclear power plants annually. SNPTC vice president Zheng Guangming made the announcement at the World Nuclear Association Symposium in London. Among the 60 plants, Zheng said six to ten will use Chinese-developed CAP1400 technology.

September 19, 2016 – Creamer Media – DoE insists ‘compliant’ nuclear management system contract part of procurement preparations – South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) has listed the names of several expert advisers whose services it has used over the past five years in relation to the country’s controversial nuclear procurement programme. However, the value of the various contracts was not immediately provided. The list was released on Monday in response to media articles suggesting that individuals with strong ties to President Jacob Zuma were the beneficiaries of the first major nuclear-related contract awarded by the department. The Mail & Guardian reported that a company trading as Empire Technology was awarded a R171-million contract for the procurement of the nuclear build programme management system. It noted that the company’s sole director is Shantan Reddy, the son of a long-time Zuma associate Vivian Reddy.

September 19, 2016 – WMGT 41 – Shaky Nuclear Program Could Get U.S. Bomb-Grade Uranium – The Obama administration won praise for promising in 2012 to curtail the use of bomb-grade uranium in the production of medical diagnostic tools. But now the U.S. Energy Department is getting brickbats for proposing to send such materials to several European nations, including Belgium, where a shaky nuclear program has in recent years been plagued by sabotage, radicalization and terrorist surveillance. It’s not the first time that the administration has been accused of failing to fulfill one of its nuclear weapons-related commitments. In this case, in 2012, the United States, Belgium, France and the Netherlands declared at a summit meeting in South Korea that they would begin phasing out the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for making medical isotopes, with the understanding that by a 2015 deadline, the material would be replaced with less concentrated uranium that could not be used by terrorists to construct a nuclear weapon.

September 19, 2016 – Bellona – “Academian Lomonosov”: Mooring trials now being conducted – Mooring trials have started for the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The trials are planned to be finished by the 30th of October next year, after which the floating NPP will be undocked and ready for transport. Loading of nuclear fuel will commence in the first quarter of 2017, according to the news agency RIA Novosti. The prototype, “Academian Lomonosov”, will be sent to the harbor-city of Pevek from the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. The route will take it from the Baltic Sea, along the Norwegian coast, through the Barents Sea and further along the Northeast Passage to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The floating NPP will secure the energy needs of the region, replacing the Bilibino NPP, which is projected to close in 2019.

September 19, 2016 – GovConWire – General Dynamics Electric Boat Lands $330M Nuclear Submarine Contract Option – General Dynamics‘ (NYSE: GD) Electric Boat subsidiary has secured a $329.6 million contract modification to perform design, planning yard, engineering and technical support work on active nuclear submarines for the U.S. Navy. The service branch obligated $284,038 from its fiscal 2016 “other” procurement funds at the time of award of the modification, the Defense Department said Friday. Seventy-three percent of the work will take place in Groton, Connecticut and the rest will occur at various locations in Washington, Virginia, Rhode Island, Georgia and Hawaii.

September 19, 2016 – BBC News – Radioactive material flown from Scotland to US – Radioactive material that was being kept at the Scottish nuclear power site Dounreay has been flown to the US. Saturday’s flight was the first movement of material held at the Caithness plant to the US since an announcement in February. David Cameron, who was prime minister at the time, said the UK and US governments had agreed to an exchange of nuclear materials. He said the UK would receive a type of uranium used to diagnose cancer. But Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd has criticised the weekend’s flight and the level of secrecy surrounding the handling of nuclear material at Dounreay. She said there should not be a need for an exchange of nuclear material, and the UK should be able to purchase what it requires for medical diagnoses.

September 19, 2016 – Arka News Agency – Armenian nuclear power plant to be halted for planned repair – Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor will be halted on September 20 midnight for the scheduled annual repair and refueling, a statement on the official website of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said. The ministry said the halt will be used also for the major repair of the operating unit ‘with the aim of extending its service life period.’ Due to this the halt period this year will be longer than usual, the ministry said adding that the facility will be reconnected to the power grid on November 20th. The ministry noted that the planned halt of the nuclear power plant will not affect the electricity tariffs in the country.

September 19, 2016 – East Anglian Daily Times – Lib Dems give thumbs down to new nuclear power station deal which could pave the way for Sizewell – Grassroots, who vote for party policy at their conference each year, agreed the deal to build Hinkley Point – which was given the green light by Theresa May last week – was poor value for money. This was despite a plea not to rule it out from the senior Liberal Democrat and former energy minister Ed Davey who negotiated the original deal. He told activists they should not be dismissing any sources of low-carbon energy, adding: “We should not be taking nuclear off the table because of the risks posed to our children and their children by climate change.”

September 19, 2016 – Charlotte Business Journal – As major power players queue up to extend nuclear plant licenses, Charlotte’s Duke Energy mulls the same – Dominion Resources’ Surry Nuclear Power Station or Exelon Corp.’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant are poised to test the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s willingness to extend licensing for nuclear plants to 80 years. The reactors at both plants were built in the early 1970s. Their current licenses are set to expire in 2032 to 2034. Both companies have announced plans to ask the commission to extend license for 20 years beyond that.

September 19, 2016 – Daily Energy Insider – License termination plan and partial site release requested for La Crosse nuclear power plant – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a request for comment on Wednesday in relation to the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor nuclear power plant’s request for a partial site release and license termination plan. The license termination plan revealed current site radiological information, future plans for demolition and decommissioning tasks. It also included plans for final radiological surveys and data required to permit termination of the plant’s NRC license. The partial site release requested that “unrestricted use” designation be granted for all areas within the La Crosse site that have are not affected by nuclear reactor operations. If granted, the areas would be removed from the plant’s licensed area.

September 19, 2016 – UT Tennessee Today – UT Student Spent Summer Conducting Tests at Nuclear Sites in Pacific – Nashville native Adam Stratz got to experience what might be considered an ideal summer vacation just before the start of the fall semester, spending eighteen days in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. But for Stratz, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, his mission was anything but vacation. Stratz was the lone student taking part in the recent radiation survey of former United States atomic and thermonuclear test sites in the islands on a team led by Terry Hamilton, scientific director of the Marshall Islands Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

September 19, 2016 – WTVC 9 – Delays expected for Watts Bar reactor replacement – The process of bringing TVA’s newest nuclear reactor to generate power has been dealt a setback. A transformer now has to be replaced in the switch yard at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant after a fire two weeks ago. A TVA spokesperson says that transformer served the Unit 2 reactor, which has been undergoing testing to get it ready for full power operation. Since the fire, Unit 2 is not producing any power, and will not until the transformer is replaced.

September 19, 2016 – WPSD 6 – Paducah leaders urge DOE for 10-year cleanup contract – The gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah played an important role for more than 60 years from fighting the cold war to enriching uranium. Now, the focus is on cleaning up the site. There are more than 1,200 employees currently doing the decontamination and decommissioning. That number could increase for the next cleanup contract cycle, which our leaders hope to be for a longer term. But it’s also a wish for business owners who rely on the workforce to keep them open. Business has not always been as usual for Kenny Forthman. When word of plant layoffs reached his grocery store, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

September 19, 2016 – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Korte Co. constructing support building at uranium processing facility – Korte Co. has begun construction of a $19.5 million design-build project at the Uranium Processing Facility planned at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The project includes the design and construction of a three-story Construction Support Building for the facility. The 64,000-square-foot building will include offices and meeting rooms as well as warehouse space. The building is expected to be completed next summer.

September 19, 2016 – Santa Fe New Mexican – New report details scope of LANL cleanup: 20 years, $4B – A new draft report detailing the federal government’s plans to clean up decades-old hazardous waste from nuclear weapons production during the World War II-era Manhattan Project and the Cold War says Los Alamos National Laboratory and neighboring areas won’t be free from the legacy waste for more than 20 years, and the project’s costs could reach nearly $4 billion.
The August report by the lab’s Environmental Management Office, released publicly this week, provides the clearest picture the public has seen of the scope of work left to rid the lab and surrounding canyons of radioactive waste and environmental contamination. It lists 955 sites that could contain contamination and says 5,000 cubic meters of legacy waste remain at the lab — half the total that workers began cleaning up 25 years ago.

September 19, 2016 – Pacific Coast Business Times – Mayors urge CPUC to deny PG&E proposal to close Diablo Canyon – A group of mayors from six San Luis Obispo County cities asked the California Public Utilities Commission to deny a proposal to close the Diablo Canyon Power Plant because the proposal does not fully outline steps to be taken to mitigate effects of the closure. In a request filed with the utilities commission on Sept. 15, mayors from San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande said Pacific Gas and Electric did not adequately outline the economic effects the plant’s closure will have on their communities in its proposal to close the plant. The request also asks for an independent third party to analyze the effects of the plant’s closure and for PG&E to disclose its long term plans for handling nuclear waste and spent fuel rods at the site.