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September 20, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 20th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 20, 2016 – Phoenix Business Journal – Potential $1 billion work to clean up Arizona’s dangerous Navajo uranium mines – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is starting what could be a $1 billion, years-along process to clean up abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation land in northern Arizona. There are more than 500 abandoned uranium minds on the sprawling Indian reservation that cuts across northeastern Arizona as well as parts of Utah and New Mexico. From 1944 to 1986, mining companies extracted more than 30 million tons of uranium from mines on Navajo land. The mining was fueled by the U.S. Cold War with the former Soviet Union and the super powers’s nuclear arms race.

September 20, 2016 – EINPresswire – Southern California Commercial UAV Company Teams Up With a Radiation Detection Company to Create a Groundbreaking UAV – You may have seen FlyCam UAV’s aerial production work, but the UAV company that’s known for its stunning cinematography recently partnered with US Nuclear Corp (OTCBB: UCLE) to create a new device that’s right out of the movies — and can save real lives. FlyCam UAV launched the Cypher 6, a commercial-grade hexacopter, and The NEO, an all-weather commercial co-axial octocopter. The platforms are designed for use with US Nuclear Corp’s DroneRad aerial radiation detection system. DroneRad detects particles that contain alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation. A gas collection option tests for the presence of chlorine, biological particulates, and aerosols such as anthrax and poison gases, making the FlyCam UAV/US Nuclear Corp UAV suitable for radiological, chemical and biological detection missions. Future upgrades to the DroneRad package will detect methane and diesel. The UAVs can be used to detect radiation leaks in nuclear power plants or flown into plumes of smoke from a burning building to give first responders immediate data about what kinds of hazards might be present. It can also be used for to monitor public events, seaports or geographic areas to detect possible dirty radiological bombs or the use of chemical and biological agents.

September 20, 2016 – Novinite.com – EU Audit Office to Unveil Report on Kozloduy N-Plant Funding – The European Court of Auditors is set to publish its report on the use of EU funding by Kozloduy Nuclear power plant (NPP) in northern Bulgaria. The document is to establish what progress Bulgaria has made in decommissioning the units and managing the radioactive waste. It will also contain a forecast about whether the funding disbursed will be sufficient.

September 20, 2016 – Independent Online – Nuclear corruption rumours dispelled – The Department of Energy released yesterday further details of the companies it had used, in a bid to thwart reports that a company belonging to businessman Vivian Reddy’s son was among the firms getting a slice of the mooted nuclear build programme. The department said Empire Technology, a company that is owned by Reddy’s son, Shantan, was one of several companies that it had used in the past five years. It issued two statements within 72 hours to assure the country of the integrity of the procurement process.

September 20, 2016 – Nanowerk – Single crystal measures radioactivity – A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to gage radioactive radiation with high precision. Initial experiments have shown that these crystals, which can be manufactured from aqueous solutions or low-priced solvents, work just as well as conventional cadmium telluride semi-conductors, which are considerably more complicated to produce. The discovery could slash the price of many radio-detectors – such as in scanners in the security sector, portable dosimeters in power stations and measuring devices in medical diagnostics. Gamma photons virtually always accompany the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes. In order to identify radioactive substances, cost-effective and highly sensitive gamma detectors that work at room temperature are thus in great demand.

September 20, 2016 – Talk of the Town – O’Dowd calls on Minister to seek talks on safety of Sellafield – Local TD Fergus O’Dowd has expressed his serious concerns about issues raised in the recent Panorama programme on Sellafield and has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughton to seek discussions over the matter. The recent BBC programme highlighted safety concerns at the Cumbria facility, which is just across the Irish Sea from Co Louth. In a statement on the matter, the Fine Gael TD said: “I have called on the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten to meet urgently with his UK counterpart to discuss the serious safety issues arising from the programme.

September 20, 2016 – eXchange – Food Scientists Using X-rays to Figure Out Fats – University of Guelph researchers studying the intimate structure of edible fats are getting help from the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The researchers hope to replace unhealthful trans and saturated fats with better non-saturated versions – all without compromising texture. That swap could have great implications for the food industry, says Maria Fernanda Peyronel-Svaikauskas, a research associate working with food scientist Prof. Alejandro Marangoni. To conduct their studies, Peyronel-Svaikauskas and the other U of G researchers use the DOE’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. X-rays generated at that facility enable scientists to study and characterize the structure of edible fats at meso and micro levels (hundreds of nanometres to a few micrometres in size).

September 20, 2016 – Business Standard – Another Chernobyl or Fukushima risk plausible – Catastrophic nuclear accidents like Chernobyl disaster in the US that took place in 1986 and the more recent Japan’s Fukushima disasters in 2011 may not be relics of the past. But the risk of such disasters are still more likely to occur once or twice per century, a study has warned. The study found that while nuclear accidents have substantially decreased in frequency, this has been accomplished by the suppression of moderate-to-large events. The researchers estimated that Fukushima and Chernobyl-scale disasters are still more likely than not once or twice per century, and that accidents like 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in the US are more likely than not to occur every 10-20 years.

September 20, 2016 – Caixin Online – China to Get Community Feedback on All Nuclear Projects – The Chinese government plans to issue new rules making it mandatory for developers of all nuclear projects to solicit public comments before selecting a construction site. The decision follows a string of protests that have derailed projects. Expert debates and public hearings about possible nuclear plants and radioactive waste-recycling centers are now required before developers finalize a site for development or submit plans for official approval, according to draft regulations published Monday by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the National Energy Administration. China’s atomic ambitions have grown in recent years as it plans to generate a fifth of its national energy supply using non-fossil fuels by 2030. The Chinese mainland has 36 operating nuclear reactors, and another 20 are under construction, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Zheng Mingguang, a deputy general manager of State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. said earlier this month that another 30 reactors are in the planning stages and may be built within the next five years.

September 20, 2016 – Sputnik International – MEPhI Researchers Figure Out How to Improve Centrifuge Efficiency – Russia’s leadership in the global production of inexpensive enriched uranium for nuclear power plants is based on a technology that was developed in the mid-20th century. The modern gas centrifuge method for uranium enrichment requires no more than 2% of the energy consumed by the previously used diffusion method. At present, the cost of Russian uranium is dramatically lower than the equivalent US fuel. However, to stay ahead, we constantly need to improve the technology, the scientists note. The gas centrifuge method for uranium enrichment is based on the separation of uranium isotopes in strong centrifugal fields. It is important to determine the dependence of the optimal separation capacity of a centrifuge on the parameters of the centrifuge and the gas used. In other words, professionals need to understand how changing the parameters of the centrifuge – the rotor speed, length, diameter, etc. – will change the effectiveness of the isotopic mixture separation.

September 20, 2016 – The Japan Times – Japan’s Cabinet to hold meeting to decide fate of Monju reactor – The government said Tuesday it will hold a ministerial meeting on nuclear power the following day, with the fate of the trouble-plagued Monju fast-breeder reactor in focus. The meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening is expected to bring together officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which oversees the currently shuttered reactor in Fukui Prefecture, with other ministries and related entities.

September 20, 2016 – Guam Daily Post – Navy discovers elevated radon levels on base – Military officials discovered elevated levels of radon during regular testing carried out as part of the Navy’s Radon Assessment and Mitigation Program (NAVRAMP). Lt. Tim Gorman, Joint Region Marianas public affairs officer, said the elevated levels were discovered in non-housing buildings across Naval Base Guam. “In November 2015 several buildings were tested, none of which resulted in elevated radon levels,” he said in an email to the Post. “During the period of July 18 to Aug. 15, 2016, 325 buildings were tested. Of those, 46 were above the Department of the Navy required-action levels for radon.”

September 20, 2016 – Medscape – New Guideline: No Single Formula for Postmastectomy RT – There is no one-size-fits-all formula for physicians to determine which patients with breast cancer are the best candidates for postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT), according to the authors of a new joint clinical practice guideline update. Instead, the new guideline will help clinicians make more informed decisions and move toward more individualized patient care, say expert panel members from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) who developed the update. The guideline report was published online September 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Practical Radiation Oncology.

September 20, 2016 – WIZM 1410 AM – Genoa nuclear power plant heading into final stages of decommission – The future of the former nuclear power plant at Genoa is the topic for a meeting tonight in La Crosse. The plant, which shut down in 1987, is in its final stages of being decommissioned. At 6 p.m. tonight, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will discuss plans to terminate the license for the boiling water reactor. The project is expected to take about two years. The plant was operated by Dairyland Cooperative for 20 years near the Genoa Lock and Dam in Vernon County. The reactor itself was removed from Genoa nearly a decade ago, but spent nuclear fuel is still being stored on the site.

September 20, 2016 – Union of Concerned Scientists – NRC’s Nuclear Maintenance Rule – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) identified a disturbing trend in the mid-80s—the number of safety problems caused by inadequate maintenance was increasing. In some cases, ineffective practices during routine maintenance such as replacing worn-out gaskets or lubricating rotating machinery resulted in equipment that had been operating satisfactorily breaking down soon afterwards. For example, the NRC was receiving an increasing number of Licensee Event Reports (LERs) from plant owners about safety problems caused by inadequate maintenance. The NRC already had a regulation requiring owners to find and fix safety problems in a timely and effective manner, but the trends showed the regulation alone was not properly managing the risk.

September 20, 2016 – All Africa – South Africa: Energy Dept Urged to Elaborate On Nuclear Bid List – A list of consultants and firms that helped create the Department of Energy’s (DoE) nuclear strategy over the past five years leaves more questions than answers, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA). In a statement on Monday, the DoE revealed firms it had sourced or procured to “conduct thorough investigations on different aspects of the nuclear new build programme before a procurement decision is taken”. It said the National Development Plan (NDP) said South Africa needed a thorough investigation on the implications of nuclear energy, including its costs, financing options, institutional arrangements, safety, environmental costs and benefits, localisation and employment opportunities, and uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication possibilities.

September 20, 2016 – Belarus News – Belarus prepares seventh national report on nuclear safety convention fulfillment – The seventh national report on fulfilling the Convention on Nuclear Safety has been prepared in Belarus, BelTA learned from representatives of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry. According to the source, the document was put together by the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) in association with interested government agencies. In accordance with international commitments the report has been forwarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The document is also available to the general public on the Gosatomnadzor website in the section Knowledge for Everyone.

September 20, 2016 – The Ecologist – WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion – The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green – and full operations won’t resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. The facility was never designed to operate in a contaminated state. It was supposed to open clean and stay clean, but now it will have to operate dirty. Nobody at the Energy Department wants to consider the potential that it isn’t fixable. An analysis by the Los Angeles Times finds that costs associated with the February 2014 explosion at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) could total US$2 billion. The direct cost of the clean-up is now estimated at US$640 million, based on a contract modification made in July with contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership.

September 20, 2016 – EurActiv.com – EU’s ex-Soviet nuclear reactors’ decommissioning over-budget and behind schedule – A slew of USSR-era nuclear reactors within the EU are years behind schedule in decommissioning and still require billions in funding, a damning Court of Auditors report found today. Eight reactors across sites in three countries – Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovenia – were originally promised to be decommissioned as part of those countries’ EU accession process. Yet all still have funding gaps, and long-term storage solutions are still at a “conceptual” stage and decades away from being built or ready, the report finds. In an uncharacteristically strongly-worded report from the auditors, chief author Phil Wynn Owen said, “I am concerned that key decommissioning projects have suffered delays, that financing gaps remain, and that insufficient progress is being made towards final disposal of high-level waste.”

September 20, 2016 – Environmental Leader – Great Britain Gives the Go-Ahead to Build First Nuclear Plant in Twenty Years – Before the vote to exit the European Union, Great Britain had considered nuclear power its silver bullet — the one to help it reduce its carbon emissions while also keeping the lights on. But all that almost changed after the so-called Brexit vote — when the newly sworn in Prime Minister Teresa May hesitated, saying that she feared it would give the Chinese too much control over the nation’s electricity supply. Last week, though, Prime Minister May went ahead with the deal that Former Prime Minister David Cameron had started: Hinkley Point C, which will cost an estimated $24 million. The Chinese will invest about a third of the money while the largely stated-owned Electricite de France will build it.

September 20, 2016 – Yale Environment 360 – In Fukushima, A Bitter Legacy – Japan’s Highway 114 may not be the most famous road in the world. It doesn’t have the cachet of Route 66 or the Pan-American Highway. But it does have one claim to fame. It passes through what for the past five years has been one of the most radioactive landscapes on the planet – heading southeast from the Japanese city of Fukushima to the stricken nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daiichi, through the forested mountains where much of the fallout from the meltdown at the plant in March 2011 fell to earth. It is a largely empty highway now, winding through abandoned villages and past overgrown rice paddy fields. For two days in August, I traveled its length to assess the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in the company of Baba Isao, an assemblyman who represents the town of Namie, located just three miles from the power plant and one of four major towns that remain evacuated. At times, the radiation levels seemed scarily high – still too high for permanent occupation. But radiation was just the start. As we climbed into the mountains, the radiation measurements on the Geiger counter increased. More worrying, I discovered, was the psychological and political fallout from the accident. While the radiation – most of it now from caesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 30 years – is decaying, dispersing, or being cleaned up, it is far from clear that this wider trauma has yet peaked. Fukushima is going to be in rehab for decades.

September 20, 2016 – Buffalo News – Tainted soil due for burial at RiverBend – Soil and slag with low levels of radioactive material – a remnant of the steel-making process that once took place at RiverBend in South Buffalo – would be buried underneath a foot of clean soil at two locations on the property where workers are finishing the SolarCity solar panel factory. About 50,000 cubic yards of the contaminated soil – enough to fill nearly seven blimps – would be buried on 10 to 15 acres of the 90-acre site, according to a plan from the state’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. A smaller amount – not quite enough to fill a blimp – would be taken to a hazardous-waste landfill in Ohio. The level of radiation detected at the site about a year ago does not pose a threat to human health, officials said.

September 20, 2016 – BDLive – Where will SA put lethal nuclear waste? – ENERGY Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s announcement that the procurement of 9.6GW of nuclear power will begin at the end of September demonstrates the government’s commitment to its nuclear plans despite opposition. The opposition has almost exclusively focused on the potential financial costs of the procurement as they relate to the build of nuclear plants, and on the relative costs of electricity produced by nuclear power compared to other forms of generation. Surprisingly little has been said about the substantial additional costs of managing the radioactive waste that will be produced by new nuclear plants.

September 20, 2016 – Water Online – EPA’s Nuclear Emergency Drinking Water Guidelines Take Heat – The U.S. EPA has proposed a rule that could allow the public to temporarily drink water containing radioactive contamination in the case of a nuclear emergency and it isn’t sitting well with some. The Wall Street Journal reported that the EPA “thinks it would be acceptable for the public to temporarily drink water containing radioactive contamination at up to thousands of times normal federal safety limits.”

September 20, 2016 – Bradenton Herald – Mosaic starts to test wells at request of homeowners – Mosaic started to test wells at the request of homeowners after a sinkhole at the Mulberry plant leaked slightly radioactive water into the ground. James Maxwell, a resident near the plant, called Mosaic to have the company test his well for free. “I’m 75,” Maxwell said. “I’ve lived my life, but I’ve got grandchildren. And I worry about what this (will) do to them.” Almost 30 other residents also opted to have Mosaic test their wells by a third party. The company is looking for sodium, sulfate, fluoride and radioactivity. Mosaic executives said no contaminated water made its way from the plant to private wells, but Maxwell said he doesn’t buy it.

September 20, 2016 – Center for Public Integrity – Proposed export of enriched uranium runs counter to U.S. commitment, critics say – 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 20, 2016 – National Geographic – Can Reusing Spent Nuclear Fuel Solve Our Energy Problems? – Nuclear power, always controversial, has been under an especially dark cloud since Japan’s Fukushima disaster five years ago. And in the United States, few new nuclear plants have been ordered since the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, thanks to ongoing safety concerns, high capital costs, and the availability of lower-cost energy sources. But nuclear engineer Leslie Dewan believes that a safe, environmentally friendly, next-generation nuclear reactor isn’t just feasible—it’s commercially viable. As cofounder and CEO of Boston-based startup Transatomic Power, Dewan and fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad Mark Massie are working on commercial-scale development of a molten salt reactor first prototyped in the 1960s at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “We’ve changed the design to make it more compact, power dense, and able to run on spent nuclear fuel,’’ says the 31-year-old Dewan, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose energy and hip style belies the public image of a nuclear scientist as a lab-coated, pocket protector–wearing middle-aged man.

September 20, 2016 – Johnstown Tribune-Democrat – Plans to truck nuclear waste on the interstate sounding alarms – Government plans to truck nuclear waste along the interstate in western Pennsylvania and five other states is akin to allowing a series of potential “mobile Chernobyls on steroids,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog for the group Beyond Nuclear. Environmentalists are sounding alarms about the possible consequences, especially if a truck crashes, catches fire and causes the waste to escape its container. Kamps likened the possibility to the 1986 disaster in the Ukraine that killed 30 people, injured hundreds more and contaminated huge swaths of land. Beyond Nuclear and five other groups are suing the Department of Energy, hoping to halt the shipments until the government can study their impact.

September 20, 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 20, 2016 – UPI – Sinkhole opens, drops radioactive water into Florida aquifer – A massive sinkhole has opened at a fertilizer plant in Florida, dropping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the Florida aquifer, threatening drinking water and recreational areas nearby. About 215 million gallons of radioactive water have spilled in to the sinkhole in Mulberry, which fertilizer company Mosaic said is about 45-feet wide and 800-feet deep. The aquifer is the source of drinking water for millions of local residents and empties into springs that Floridians use for recreation, WFTS reports.

September 20, 2016 – Denver Business Journal – Lawyers looking for Rocky Flats neighbors to share in $375M settlement – Lawyers are looking for homeowners near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in the Standley Lake area to share in a $375 million class-action settlement. Earlier this year, a 26-year lawsuit filed by Rocky Flats neighbors was finally settled for $375 million. ​Lawyers are looking for homeowners near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in the Standley Lake area to share in a $375 million class-action settlement. Now, lawyers are looking for homeowners who owned property in the area on June 7, 1989. Up to 15,000 Rocky Flats neighbors may be eligible for settlement money in the suit, filed against the plant’s operators, Rockwell International Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., for devaluing the neighbors’ property values. “Did you own property near and downwind from the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Denver, Colorado on June 7, 1989? Are you an heir of someone who did? Are you the successor of an entity that did? If so, you could get money from a proposed $375 million class action settlement,” lawyers asked today in a statement.

September 20, 2016 – Mint Press News – Following Decades Of High Cancer Rates & Birth Defects, EPA Begins Cleanup Of Uranium Mines On Navajo Reservation – A cleanup effort funded by a $1 billion bankruptcy settlement is underway to reverse the devastating effects of uranium mine pollution on the Navajo Nation. Hundreds of abandoned mines are scattered across their territory in Arizona and New Mexico, and on Aug. 31 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a request for bids, offering $85 million to environmental assessment firms that can document the damage and determine where best to focus resources. “EPA’s contract is a vital step in the effort to clean up the legacy of uranium contamination in and around the Navajo Nation,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA Superfund in the Pacific Southwest, in a press release.