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September 22, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 22nd, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 22, 2016 – Nature World News – How the Earth’s ‘Hardiest Animal’ Could Pave Way to Radiation-Resistant Humans, Life on Mars – Researchers have discovered the secrets of tardigrades, the world’s “hardiest animal,” and how these water bears could survive extreme temperatures and radiation. Could humans one day survive X-ray and Mars? According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo has found a specific kind of protein that protects the tardigrades’ DNA. Tagged as “Dsup” (short for “damage depressor”), the said protein envelopes the animal’s DNA This breaks previous scientific assumptions that tardigrades survive radiation and extreme conditions by having the ability to repair the damage done on their DNA.

September 22, 2016 – Financial Express – Cows in Fukushima radiation zone find new purpose – In an abandoned Japanese village, cows grazing in lush green plains begin to gather when they hear the familiar rumble of the ranch owner’s mini-pickup. This isn’t feeding time, though. Instead, the animals are about to be measured for how they’re affected by living in radiation – radioactivity that is 15 times the safe benchmark. For these cows’ pasture sits near Fukushima, a name now synonymous with nuclear disaster. The area was once a haven for agriculture with more than 3,500 cattle and other livestock. Ranchers who refused a government order to kill their cows continue to feed and tend about 200 of them. The herds won’t be used as food; now science is their mission.

September 22, 2016 – NetworkWorld – Cisco: Yes, cosmic radiation could have caused router bug – Yesterday we reported on the reaction to a Cisco bug report that speculated “partial data traffic loss” on the company’s ASR 9000 Series routers was possibly triggered by “cosmic radiation causing SEU soft errors.” Reaction to that contention on a Reddit forum ranged from the obvious — acknowledgment that cosmic radiation is an issue — to sharp-tongued skepticism and tales of the cosmic radiation villain being used as a tongue-in-cheek place-holder meaning “we really don’t know what caused the problem yet.”

September 22, 2016 – All Africa – No Nuclear By 2035 Could Mean Another Power Crunch – If South Africa doesn’t have nuclear power by 2035, the country will be in the same position as in 2008 when there was a serious shortage of power supply, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said on Wednesday. Molefe was part of an Eskom delegation who briefed Parliament on the power utility’s tariff increase for 2016/17 and its amended pricing structure for municipalities. He was responding to a question from an MP, who asked him to elaborate on the cost slippage and delays of Eskom’s build programmes.

September 22, 2016 – National Review – Hillary Takes the Nuclear-Energy Option – Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Hillary Clinton in recent weeks about Pneumonia-gate, the Clinton Foundation, and her never-ending e-mail troubles, the Democratic nominee actually made an important policy statement, one that puts her directly at odds with America’s biggest environmental groups as well as her own party’s platform. What did Clinton do? She endorsed nuclear energy. In a candidate questionnaire published in the September 13 issue of Scientific American, she said that addressing climate change is “too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power . . . is one of those tools.” She went on, pledging to make sure that the “climate benefits” of existing plants are “appropriately valued,” adding that she will “increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power.”

September 22, 2016 – Idaho Statesman – ‘Interim storage’ of nuclear waste no real solution for Idaho – In the face of Nevada’s adamant opposition to the Yucca Mountain repository for spent nuclear fuel and the lack of needed land and water rights, in 2015 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission declined to issue a construction permit for the disposal facility. Even if construction were to begin, working through the mountain of legal opposition would take years. So, the Department of Energy is beginning to develop a consent-based approach for siting interim and permanent disposal facilities for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high level waste. This year the department held meetings around the country, including one in Boise. The public input has now been summarized online at.energy.gov/ne/consent-based-approach.

September 22, 2016 – New Hampshire Union-Leader – Hazmat team called to Keene High School – A radioactive material in the science lab at Keene High School caused a scare at the school Wednesday.The Keene Fire Department was notified at 10:36 a.m. of a possible hazardous materials incident at the school. Initially, firefighters evacuated the second floor wing of the building as a precaution until the hazardous material response team evaluated the situation, city officials said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. The personnel entered the area with radiological monitoring equipment.Personnel from the NH Radiological Health Office eventually determined that the source of the radiation was Cesium 137, which was located in a science lab. Cesium 137 is used for demonstration purposes in the science labs, according to officials.“The readings at the source were found within permissible limits outside the box. The source, however, was removed from the area and taken off site to prevent any further occurrence or alarm,” officials said.

September 22, 2016 – electronics-eetimes.com – Swiss researchers develop cost-effective gamma ray detector material – A research team from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Sciences (EMPA) and the ETH Zurich university has developed monocrystals of lead-halide perovskites that can be used to measure radioactive radiation at very high accuracy. The achievement could enable significantly lower prices for gamma ray detectors – for scanners in security areas, for wearable dosimeters in nuclear power plants and for medical test and diagnosis equipment. Experiments showed that monocrystals of lead-halide perovskites made from aqueous solutions or from cost-effective solvents have the same quality like the cadmium telluride semiconductors in use today – whereas the production process for the latter is far more complex and thus expensive.

September 22, 2016 – Horizon-Magazine.eu – Augmented reality could let us see radiation – SOFT Prize winner Jonathan Naish – Engineers at the Joint European Torus (JET) nuclear fusion experiment could be using augmented reality through Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to see where radiation hotspots are, according to Jonathan Naish, at the UK’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, who has developed an award-winning system to check exposure using virtual reality.‘For this VORTEX project, we were concerned about the gamma radiation after the upcoming … campaign (to perform a reaction at JET in 2017). To get a better understanding of the radiation fields calculated from computational models, complex 3D radiation data has been integrated with (computer-aided design) models to form a virtual reality environment using the HTC Vive (virtual reality headset). ‘When the headset is put on and the controllers picked up, an operator can walk around a virtual model of the reactor to practice scenarios. So if there is a piece of the machine that needs fixing, or equipment needed to be retrieved from the machine whilst it’s radioactive, we can plan this procedure and see how much radiation would be received by an operator in a virtual environment.

September 22, 2016 – Sputnik International – Russian Armata Tank Becomes Impervious to Depleted Uranium Shells – A new modification of an active protection system designed by Russian scientists has effectively made the Armata tank impervious to depleted uranium armor-piercing discarded sabot (APDS) shells. © Sputnik/ Evgeny BiyatovCloak of Darkness: Russia Testing Unique Smokescreen for Armata TanksThe Afganit active protection system Russia uses to shield its tanks is capable of protecting an armored vehicle from various types of anti-tank rockets and grenades, incoming from all directions. Now however, scientists from the KBP Instrument Design Bureau have taken it to a whole new level by making the Afganit system capable of intercepting and destroying depleted uranium armor-piercing discarded sabot shells (APDS), according to the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

September 22, 2016 – The Japan News – Decommissioning of Monju reactor must not disrupt nuclear fuel cycle – The nuclear fuel cycle is a cornerstone of Japan’s nuclear energy policy. The cycle must not be derailed. The government has decided to thoroughly overhaul its plans for the development of a fast reactor. It will consider options including decommissioning the Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor. A “fast reactor development council” including representatives from electric power companies and manufacturers will be established to discuss the issue, and will make a final decision before the end of the year.

September 22, 2016 – Nikkei Asian Review – Japanese manufacturers lead the way in particle-beam cancer treatment – Responding to growing worldwide demand, Japanese companies are at the forefront of developing new types of cancer radiation therapies. In particle-beam radiotherapy protons or carbon ions are accelerated to almost light speed and focused on cancer cells. Compared with conventional X-ray radiotherapy, the new method can target a tumor precisely, with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. X-rays are at their most powerful near the surface and weaken as they move inside the body. However, they run the risk of damaging healthy organs as they pass through to malignant tissue. Particle-beam therapy systems can increase the level of precision using the distribution characteristics of the radiation dose absorbed by the body.

September 22, 2016 – Napoleon Northwest Signal – Activists: Old uranium mines polluting Angostura – Members of three activist groups say recent research shows that abandoned uranium mines are contributing to elevated uranium levels in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills. The research was recently published in the journal Environmental Earth Sciences by authors that included two South Dakota School of Mines & Technology scientists, Rohit Sharma and James Stone. The article is titled “Stream sediment geochemistry of the upper Cheyenne River watershed within the abandoned uranium mining region of the southern Black Hills.”

September 22, 2016 – NorthJersey.com – Why should radon be on my radar during my home search? – Q: Because of a job relocation, I’m considering a move to the northern New Jersey. Coming from South Jersey, radon was not an issue when I bought our first home. Now that I am looking here, I’m being told about radon. What exactly is radon and should I be concerned with high levels in this part of the state? A: Susan, northern New Jersey is a beautiful place to live and work. Welcome. Radon, which has always been a part of our environment in New Jersey, is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soil in varying concentrations. The gas typically accumulates in enclosed places, such as a house, but its presence, even in high concentrations, cannot be detected by human senses because the gas is invisible and has no odor. Hence, when buying a home in New Jersey, it is advisable to have a radon test to determine exposure levels. If levels are elevated, you would be urged to consider remediation. For the most part, communities in northern New Jersey have low potential for radon as determined by a Tier-level system put in place by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

September 22, 2016 – BDLive – Nuclear waste less lethal than solar – NEIL Overy’s long, wrong article (Where will SA put lethal nuclear waste? September 20) shows he does not understand even the basic physics of the subject. Nuclear waste presents less of a problem than the waste of any other energy technology, including solar, wind and coal. All leave “lethal” wastes that remain dangerous forever. These include arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Only nuclear has procedures for storing its waste safely, which is easy to do since it is tiny in volume, solid and stable. Vaalputs in the Northern Cape that now takes our low and medium-level radioactive waste with complete safety, could take all our high-level waste (spent fuel) safely too. There is no technical problem; it just needs political permission.

September 22, 2016 – NewsMaker – Nuclear air filtration industry size is anticipated to exhibit potential growth from 2016 to 2023 – Nuclear air filtration market size is anticipated to exhibit potential growth from 2016 to 2023. Rising safety concerns regarding emission of radioactive particles is expected to drive industry growth over the forecast period, with the global industrial air filtration market size expected to exceed USD 6.7 billion by 2023. Nuclear power plant and equipment market is likely to exceed USD 67.3 billion by 2020. These systems play vital role in nuclear power plants, as it completely relies on proficient filtration of water, air as well as process fluids for efficient operation. Proliferating demand of these filters from nuclear industries is estimated to positively impact nuclear air filtration market growth. In addition, implementation of these filters also aids in enhancing reliability and also assures safety.

September 22, 2016 – Wall Street Journal – EDF Warns on Profit as Nuclear Plant Outages Increase – State-controlled power utility Electricite de France cut its earnings outlook on expectations of lower nuclear output from an increase of plant outages, sending its share price down. EDF, which last week got the go-ahead from the British government to build the £18 billion ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the U.K., said it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between €16.3 billion ($18.3 billion) and €16.6 billion. It previously had forecast a range of €16.3 billion to €16.8 billion. The company had already lowered its nuclear output forecast in July, but had maintained its earnings target.

September 22, 2016 – E&T – Costly Japanese prototype nuclear reactor shuts down – The Monju nuclear reactor in Japan, which has operated for less than a year in more than two decades at a cost of 1tn yen (£7.6bn), is set to be scrapped. The prototype fast-breeder reactor was designed to burn plutonium from spent fuel at conventional reactors to create more fuel than it consumes. The process is appealing to a country whose limited resources force it to rely on imports for virtually all its oil and gas needs. But Tokyo believes it would be difficult to gain public support to spend several hundred billion yen to upgrade the Monju facility, which has been plagued by accidents, missteps and falsification of documents.

September 22, 2016 – Cache Valley Daily – Nuclear power may be an option for Logan City in the future – It won’t happen right away, but there is a chance that Logan residents will someday utilize nuclear power. Members of the Logan Municipal Council agree that is a decision that would be up to the public to decide. At Tuesday’s council meeting, the group discussed a recent seminar hosted by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems where the organization’s Carbon Free Power Project was discussed. Council Chairman Herm Olsen said if Logan wants to it could become involved in a proposed development of a small modular reactor, or SMR, at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Olsen said it would be at least nine to 10 years before anything was generated.

September 22, 2016 – Mondaq – NY Creates New Emissions Credit For Nuclear Plants – The New York Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Clean Energy Standard (CES), adopted in August, includes a new emissions credit—the ZEC. The ZEC, or zero-emissions credit, is the first emissions credit created exclusively for nuclear power. The ZEC is the result of a highly politicized effort to support New York’s struggling nuclear power plants. New York’s four nuclear plants account for 31 percent of the state’s total electric generation mix. According to the PSC, “losing the carbon-free attributes of this generation before the development of new renewable resources between now and 2030 would undoubtedly result in significantly increased air emissions due to heavier reliance on existing fossil-fueled plants or the construction of new gas plants to replace the supplanted energy.” The ZEC Program is intended to keep the state’s nuclear plants open until 2029 and provide an emissions-free bridge to renewable energy.

September 22, 2016 – Business Standard – India seeks loan from U.S. for nuclear reactors, snags remain – India is negotiating with U.S. Export-Import Bank for an $8-9 billion loan to finance six Westinghouse Electric nuclear reactors, two sources familiar with the talks said, although a lending freeze at the trade agency threatens progress.

September 22, 2016 – Lexology – House Committee Approves Nuclear Production Tax Credit Extension – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee approved H.R. 5879, a bill to extend the production tax credit for new nuclear power plants. It would remove any deadline on awarding the 6,000 MW of nuclear capacity available under the tax credit. The Committee commented that the bill “ensures the effective operation of the tax credit for nuclear energy production.” From here H.R. 5879 will continue to move through the legislative process, hopefully soon to the House floor.

September 22, 2016 – Asharq Al-Awsat – Argentina Looking Forward to Boosting Nuclear Energy Cooperation with KSA – Argentina is seeking to boost its cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the field of nuclear energy, transform the agreement signed between the two countries in 2011 on peaceful use of nuclear energy into action and work on increasing Saudi investment and trade exchange to build a promising future of bilateral strategic cooperation, according to an Argentine diplomat. Argentina’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jaime Sergio told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We hope our strategic relations with Saudi Arabia would reach their highest levels in different political and economic fields.” Sergio said that the agreement between the two countries on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was signed between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) and Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services of Argentina.

September 22, 2016 – Los Angeles Daily News – Looking for place to dump nuclear waste? Ask the public – There are barbs about “mobile Chernobyls” and “floating Fukushimas,” fears of “coerced consent” and “economic racism,” and deep philosophizing about the nature of “consent” itself. Is such a thing is possible when generations unborn will be impacted by decisions made today? “‘Consent’ to dump nuclear waste in America’s back yard is not going to be approved by the American people no matter how your PR strategists massage the lipstick on that pig,” David Osinga told the U.S. Department of Energy in an email. The DOE’s latest idea for figuring out where to stash millions of pounds of nuclear waste garnered more than 10,000 comments from concerned citizens nationwide, according to documents released last week. And while many disagree vehemently on the particulars, they are largely united on one point: After decades of dithering, the federal government must finally take action on its long-broken promise to permanently dispose of highly radioactive spent fuel.

September 22, 2016 – Newburyport Daily Press – NRC wants more information from Seabrook nuclear plant – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requiring more information from NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant officials before it reviews the plant’s recently filed amendment to its 20-year license extension request. After years of research, the nearly 400-page Aug. 1 amendment deals with a concrete issue that has dogged the plant ever since its 2009 request to the NRC to have its operating license extended from 2030 to 2050. The condition, known as alkali-silica reaction, or ASR, was identified and reported to federal regulators by Seabrook Station staff in 2009. Discovered first in the reinforced concrete walls in a plant electrical tunnel about 40 feet below ground, ASR was later found in concrete walls throughout the plant. A slow chemical reaction between the alkaline cement and reactive silica found in some concrete aggregates when moisture is present, ASR forms a gel in the concrete that expands, causing micro-cracks that can affect concrete properties and cause deformation of walls.

September 22, 2016 – CapeCod.com – Cape Downwinders to Appeal State House Ban Restriction – On September 9, Mary Conathan, Doug Long and Diane Turco were arrested for participating in a sit-in in the Governor’s offices. The group refused to leave the office until Governor Charlie Baker addressed concerns about the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth and were charged with trespassing. The station is set to close by June 2019.

September 22, 2016 – Aiken Standard – In new letter, S.C. says DOE has no plans to ship transuranic waste out of Savannah River Site through July 2017 – A letter entered this week into the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility federal case indicates the U.S. Department of Energy has no plan for shipping transuranic waste out of South Carolina through July 31, 2017. The letter was entered into court records by the South Carolina counsel in its case against the Energy Department. In its address to the judge, the state’s counsel points to a declaration submitted during the case which expressed a potential pathway out of the Palmetto State for transuranic waste, or TRU waste, based upon the expected opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, in New Mexico. The semi-annual letter from the DOE is inconsistent with that declaration.

September 22, 2016 – Sarasota Herald Tribune – Lyons: Mosaic? You mean that environmental organization? – The Sierra Club’s Andre Mele says he has been talking for a while about filing a federal lawsuit against Mosaic, the multibillion-dollar phosphate mining company whose logo and ads he sees everywhere. That lawsuit wouldn’t necessarily be about the massive environmental degradation caused by Mosaic. It would involve the Federal Communications Commission, of all things. The suit he would love to file would charge Mosaic with flagrantly false advertising. I so get that. That company’s ads and public relations efforts are wonderfully effective. They show happy Mosaic employees proudly reciting the “I am Mosaic” mantra, often while doing something cool to protect the environment.

September 22, 2016 – WIZM 1420 AM – As nuclear plant near La Crosse gets decommissioned, residents express worries – A nuclear power plant located just 20 miles from La Crosse was shut down three decades ago but much of the Dairyland Power Cooperative reactor at Genoa is still standing. That will change over the next few years, as it is being decommissioned – something neighbors of the facility are concerned about. “People are concerned about the removal of the radioactive waste and the transportation of it,” Bruce Watson, a chief at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said.