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September 28, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 28th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 28, 2016 – Science Magazine – Protests spur rethink on deep borehole test for nuclear waste – Along the way to testing an old-but-new concept in nuclear waste storage—burying spent fuel in a hole drilled kilometers below the surface—the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors relearned a lesson that seems frequently forgotten: Get the locals on board first. Failure to gain the trust and approval of residents in rural North and South Dakota doomed the start of a $35 million project that would have drilled a borehole 5 kilometers beneath the prairie into crystalline basement rock. Early this year, the agency tapped Battelle Memorial Institute, a large research nonprofit based in Columbus, to lead the effort. The hole would not have been used for radioactive material, but was rather intended to garner insight to the geology and technical challenges of such drilling.

September 28, 2016 – Horizon Magazine – Nuclear clock could help blind people, autonomous cars navigate – Measuring energy fluctuations in the nucleus of a rare radioactive element could improve the accuracy of GPS from metres to centimetres, while marbled volcanic magma is being used to create eruption countdowns, thanks to groups of European researchers who are pushing the boundaries of timekeeping. From grains of sand in an hourglass to the position of the sun, people throughout history have used different physical attributes in order to accurately tell the time. Today’s gold standard of timekeeping are so-called microwave atomic clocks, which use microwave radiation to measure the oscillation of electrons within a caesium atom. The best of these are off by just one nanosecond in a month. Atomic clocks are used in the synchronisation of our increasingly complex power networks, stock markets and mobile phone communications, but they don’t just set the world’s time. In the same way that the first portable timepiece allowed sailors to navigate at sea, the relationship between distance and time means atomic clocks underlie today’s satellite-based global positioning system (GPS).

September 28, 2016 – News Medical – Tau PET imaging in Alzheimer’s disease increases opportunities for developing effective drugs – Tau PET is a new and promising imaging method for Alzheimer’s disease. A case study from Lund University in Sweden now confirms that tau PET images correspond to a higher degree to actual changes in the brain. According to the researchers behind the study, this increases opportunities for developing effective drugs. There are several different methods of producing images showing the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The tau PET method reveals the presence of a protein in the brain, tau, with the help of a gamma camera and a specially selected radioactive molecule (F-AV-1451).

September 28, 2016 – GlobalResearch.ca – Radioactive Cesium Builds Up In Fukushima Dams, Contamination of Water and Agriculture – Dams surrounding the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) have become de facto storage facilities for high concentrations of radioactive cesium as the element continues to accumulate. With no effective countermeasures in sight, the government insists that water from the dams is safe, but to local residents, the government’s stance comes across as the shelving of a crucial problem. “It’s best to leave it as it is,” an official from the Ministry of the Environment says, with the knowledge that in 10 dams in Fukushima Prefecture, there is soil containing concentrations of cesium over the limit set for designated waste — or over 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

September 28, 2016 – Idaho State Journal – INL Radiological Control director honored for commitment to profession – Cheré Morgan, INL Radiological Control director, has received the Charles D. (Bama) McKnight Memorial Award from the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists for her outstanding efforts in the radiation protection field, leading to increased knowledge and professionalism among radiation protection technologists. She is the fifth recipient of the prestigious award since it was established in 2005. The NRRPT’s objective is to encourage and promote the education and training of radiation protection technologists and, by doing so, promote and advance the science of health physics.

September 28, 2016 – 7th Space Interactive – Multi-analytical investigation into painting materials and techniques: the wall paintings of Abuna Yemata Guh church – Abuna Yemata Guh is one of the nine Saints who are traditionally claimed to have come to Northern Ethiopia in the beginning of the sixth century and established monasteries in the Tigray region. The church, named after him, is hewn out of the side of one of the highest sandstone spires in the Gheralta area. Though the local tradition claims earlier dates, the paintings in the church are suggested to belong to the second half of the fifteenth century on the basis of their theme, style and iconography. We report here the investigation into the materials and techniques of the paintings using diverse complementary analytical techniques: Polarized light microscopy (PLM), portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF), scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM–EDS), synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction (SR-XRD), pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), micro-Raman spectroscopy (MRS) and micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (micro-FTIR).

September 28, 2016 – DefenseWorld.net – North Korea Possesses 88 Pounds Weapons-Grade Plutonium – North Korea has drastically progressed in miniaturization of its nuclear weapons and allegedly possesses at least 88 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium. The North had reinforced its strategic capabilities and is continuing development of nuclear and biochemical weapons and ballistic missiles, South Korean Defense Ministry was quoted as saying by Sputnik News Wednesday. “We suppose, that North Korea possesses 40 kilograms [88 pounds] of weapons-grade plutonium and the uranium enrichment program is underway,” the ministry said.

September 28, 2016 – Cancer Network – Higher RT Dose in Pediatric Brain Tumors Limited Vocabulary Development – A small study has found that among children with primary brain tumors who were treated with cranial radiation, cerebral volume and radiation dose may affect the rate of vocabulary development. The results of the study were published in Cancer. “Although the treatment of primary brain tumors in children, and medulloblastoma in particular, is associated with neurocognitive deficits, the underlying pathophysiology is unknown,” wrote Harold Agbahiwe, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues. “We found a significant relation between cerebral volume and performance on the PPVT-3 (an IQ estimate), with larger volumes associated with higher scores.” Cranial radiation is required in most children with primary brain tumors in order to achieve long-term disease control. Use of cranial radiation is associated with cognitive impairments later in life. As survival from primary brain tumors has improved, researchers have shifted their focus to improving long-term consequences of these diseases.

September 28, 2016 – PhysOrg – X-ray laser speeds up the process of determining protein structures – An international team of scientists has learned how to determine the spatial structure of a protein obtained with an X-ray laser using the sulfur atoms it contains. This development is the next stage in the project of a group led by Vadim Cherezov to create an effective method of studying receptor proteins. A detailed description of the study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

September 28,2 016 – Tech 2 – Government scouting possible sites for Nuclear plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand – The central government is looking at possible sites in the northern states of Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana for setting up new atomic power plants, a minister said on Tuesday. “We are exploring the possibility of having such establishments in other places, for example near Dehradun in Utarakhand and near Patiala in Punjab. We are also looking for a place in Bhiwani in Haryana,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said while addressing a conference here on nuclear power organised by industry chamber Assocham. “The present government can stake claim of having set up an atomic energy plant in Gorakhpur in Haryana, so we have brought atomic energy northwards which it had been waiting for 60-70 years and we made it to cross through Delhi because atomic energy never had the opportunity to see the capital of this country,” he added. The Prime Minister’s Office looks after the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

September 28, 2016 – BDLive – Nuclear new build programme thrown into disarray, again – SOUTH Africa’s intended nuclear new build programme has been thrown into renewed turmoil‚ after a senior minister contradicted Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on the commencement date for the call for proposals‚ intended to officially start the much-anticipated process. Three weeks ago‚ Joemat-Pettersson told Parliament that the request for proposal on nuclear new build — the first official indication of what the government expects the scale and cost of the project to be — will be published this Friday‚ September 30. But on Tuesday‚ while addressing the parliamentary press gallery on behalf of the economics cluster to which the Energy Department reports‚ Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor flickered a red light‚ saying she believed the request for proposal on the deal — which industry experts believe could be worth between R700bn and R1.6-trillion, depending on scale and specifics — would not be announced by Friday because the relevant government policies were not in order.

September 28, 2016 – Sputnik International – Rosatom Helping Bolivia Formulate Requirements for Nuclear Research Center – The Russian nuclear agency is helping the Bolivian side formulate requirements for the construction of the Nuclear Research and Technology Center El Alto.VIENNA (Sputnik) — Russia’s Rosatom nuclear energy corporation is helping Bolivia to formulate precise requirements for the construction of the Nuclear Research and Technology Center (NRTC) in Bolivia’s El Alto, Rosatom Deputy CEO Vyacheslav Pershukov told Sputnik on Wednesday. “We [Rosatom] are helping them [the Bolivian side] to formulate their requirements [on the construction of the scientific nuclear center] in the right way, they cannot do it all by themselves because of the lack of experience, which is normal for many newcomers. Our goal is to help them,” Pershukov said. In August, Rosatom signed the first commercial contracts with the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN) on the center’s construction.

September 28, 2016 – Reuters – German nuclear commission warns of delay to waste storage deal – Germany should speed up implementation of recommendations requiring operators of nuclear plants to pay billions of euros into a fund to cover the costs of waste storage, a commission urged the chancellery in a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The commission tasked with finding a solution for how to fund the storage of radioactive waste said in April it wanted utilities to pay 23.3 billion euros ($26.08 billion) into a state-fund to cover the costs.

September 28, 2016 – The Independent – Secret US nuclear base hidden in Greenland icecap to be revealed thanks to global warming – A secret abandoned nuclear base is likely to be revealed by the melting of a large icecap in Greenland due to global warming, experts have warned. Toxic waste is expected to leak into the sea if the ice continues to melt around Camp Century, a research facility decommissioned by the US military at the height of the Cold War in 1967. The base became home to the world’s first mobile nuclear generator when it opened its doors to 200 soldiers in 1959, and included a 3km network of tunnels buried within the icecap.

September 28,l 2016 – Economic Times – Would Donald Trump ever use nuclear weapons first? The answer is not clear – Donald Trump often says he never wants to signal to the nation’s adversaries what he would do as commander in chief — an embrace of the concept of “strategic ambiguity” that is as old as warfare. But on the critical question of whether the United States should ever be the first to use nuclear weapons, he appeared somewhere between contradictory and confused during his debate with Hillary Clinton on Monday.

September 28, 2016 – Lexology – DOE Heavily Criticized in New Nuclear Whistleblower Program Audit – The Department of Energy (“DOE”) touts the importance of safety in the nuclear industry – and with good reason. The impact of a catastrophic failure at a nuclear plant can last for years and affect people who live far from a reactor. Even smaller-scale safety deficiencies can seriously harm hundreds of workers. Despite its stated emphasis on compliance, however, the DOE does little to protect civilian contractors who speak up about nuclear safety issues, according to a scathing report issued by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) on July 14 of this year.

September 28, 2016 – Reuters – Finnish client takes new legal action against Areva over nuclear project – Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has started fresh legal action against French nuclear group Areva to avoid further delays at its Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Finland, company spokesman said. The project, almost a decade behind its original schedule, is nearly complete, but TVO wants assurances that a restructuring of plant supplier Areva won’t cause further delays and that the plant would be ready to begin production in 2018 as planned. “We have asked for this several times but have not received the necessary assurances,” he said by phone, adding that TVO is now seeking assurances through a case filed in Nanterre Commercial Court, in France.

September 28,2 016 – Power Engineering International – CGN Power acquires $1.5bn of nuclear assets – CGN Power has agreed to acquire two nuclear power plants and an engineering unit from its parent company, China General Nuclear Power, for $1.5bn. China’s nuclear power operator will acquire 61 per cent equity interest in Fangchenggang nuclear power station in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The Fangchenggang project will have a combined generation capacity of 6 GW on completion. CGN Power will also acquire 100 per cent interest in the 2.5 GW Lufeng Nuclear and 100 per cent interest in CGN Engineering, a project construction management firm.

September 28, 2016 – Public Citizen – U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear Flawed Arguments Against Nation’s Landmark Clean Power Plan – Early media previews have billed litigation over the Clean Power Plan as key to President Obama’s “climate legacy.” But the legacy belongs to all of us. The question is whether we will muster the political will to curb climate change before we lose the chance to prevent catastrophic harm to our health, economy and way of life. Time is running out. Opponents of the Clean Power Plan greatly rely on arguments that the rule will hurt consumers by raising electricity prices. They are wrong. In a series of studies, Public Citizen found that electricity bills will decline under the rule. Although the price of electricity likely will rise modestly, the rule will spur energy efficiency improvements so that people use less electricity and as a result pay lower bills. In our 50-state study of the final rule, we found that electricity bills will be lower in nearly every state by 2025 under the Clean Power Plan, and in all states by 2030.

September 28, 2016 – Forbes – Passive-Aggressive Fight Against Plutonium Economy Continues Unabated – Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Energy released an updated performance report on the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF). DOE’s internal Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced the report using assumptions and data provided by DOE leadership. The report concludes that if the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) — the semi-independent branch of the DOE that is running the project — continues managing and supporting the MFFF with the same enthusiasm and oversight that it has been investing for the past half dozen years, the facility won’t be completed until 2048. It will cost $12.5 billion more than has already been spent.

September 28, 2016 – Vermont Public Radio – Vermont Yankee To Sell Equipment, Supplies Worth $20 Million At Public Auction – The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closed in December 2014, and now the plant is auctioning off decades worth of accumulated inventory. The owners of the VY plant had to keep a lot of spare parts around to keep the facility running. While the plant was open, the company had a warehouse filled with equipment that workers might need in case something broke down. For 25 years, Dave Bauer was the supply manager at Vermont Yankee, and it was his job to purchase and inventory all of the spare valves, gauges and pumps Entergy needed in case something had to be replaced.

September 1, 2016 – Boston Globe – State ought to have an interest in closing Pilgrim nuclear plant – WAS IT serendipity that The Boston Globe’s editorial “Too risky to wait for Pilgrim plant’s shutdown” appeared at about the same time that Cape Cod’s Downwinders hand-delivered a letter to Governor Baker requesting immediate closing of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station? This group has been calling for the plant’s closing for years. One might say that such a move is a function of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not the state. Yet aren’t the health and welfare of the residents a responsibility of the Commonwealth? From the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 to the Chernobyl accident in 1986 to Fukushima in 2011, we see that nuclear power is not what it was cracked up to be.

September 28, 2016 – Platts – Talen will shut Pennsylvania nuclear unit for repairs soon – Talen plans to shut its 1,330-MW Susquehanna-2 nuclear generating unit in Berwick, Pennsylvania, “within the next few weeks” to repair a turbine blade that has shown indications of cracking, the company said Monday. The steam turbines at the Susquehanna station have experienced cracking since 2011, and many turbine blades have been replaced at a cost of at least $150 million so far. Susquehanna-2 will be shut for an unspecified amount of time so the turbine blade in question can be replaced, spokesman Todd Martin said Monday. Talen said the outage would be “brief,” but gave no specifics.

September 28, 2016 – Bloomberg – Mosaic’s Radioactive Sinkhole Problem Could Mean Mine Delays – As the world’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizer, Mosaic Co. is used to digging up parts of Florida to recover the mineral. But lately, one particular hole is causing the company some headaches. A sinkhole 45 feet (14 meters) wide has opened up in a pile of mining waste at the company’s New Wales site in Polk County, about 30 miles east of downtown Tampa, swallowing about 215 million gallons of radioactive wastewater — enough to fill about 326 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Mosaic says it believes the sinkhole has reached the Floridan aquifer, which provides the local community’s water supply. While Mosaic first noticed the problem in late August, it didn’t make a public announcement until Sept. 15. Three local residents are now suing the company, alleging improper storage of chemical waste. The spill could mean increased hurdles for Mosaic’s expansion plans in Florida, according to Jonas Oxgaard, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

September 28, 2016 – Tri-City Herald – Ticket sales end Sept. 27 for historic B Reactor concerts – Reg Unterseher has sung in venues around the world. But, “I’ve never sung in any place remotely like this,” he said. “This” is Hanford’s historic B Reactor. And on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, Unterseher — an acclaimed composer and performer — will take part in a pair of ground-breaking concerts at the site. The shows by Mid-Columbia Mastersingers are the first-ever choral concerts to be in a decommissioned nuclear reactor anywhere in the world. “It is such an amazing thing,” Unterseher said. “I think it’s our responsibly to tell our stories. That’s what this concert does.”

September 28, 2016 – San Luis Obispo Tribune – PG&E wants to limit discussion on what happens after Diablo Canyon closes – PG&E doesn’t want to talk about its post-closure plans for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant or requests to close the facility early, but it does want to discuss how to replace the lost power with greenhouse gas-free and energy-efficient resources. Those are some of the key takeaways from the utility’s response to comments and protests filed with the California Public Utilities Commission regarding its application to close the plant by 2025. The utility company filed its official response Monday to the 29 comments and protests filed by various community groups and organizations since PG&E announced its plan in June to not relicense its two nuclear reactors when they expire in 2024 and 2025.