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September 29, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 29th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 29, 2016 – Medical Physics Web – Reference dosimetry for hadron therapy – Clinical reference dosimetry of high-energy radiation is performed using methods such as water calorimetry, which measures the temperature rise when radiation interacts with matter at a point in water. Currently, however, dose standards only exist for high-energy photons and electrons. For proton and heavy-ion beams, and lower-energy radiation, no primary absorbed dose standard exists. To address this shortfall, a team headed up by James Renaud at McGill University has designed a portable water calorimetry system for use with non-standard particle beams with reference depths of 6–20 mm. The short-range water calorimeter (SHREWcal) operates without a large water phantom, instead using a small glass vessel filled with pure water as the absorber. As a result, SHREWcal requires collimated radiation fields with diameters no greater than 70 mm and can accommodate electron energies as low as 6 MeV.

September 29, 2016 – 9&10news.com – Healthy Living: High-Dose Brachytherapy – Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. Patients have several different treatment options, including two types of internal radiation therapy — a low dose option, and a high dose option. Both involve having radioactive seeds implanted near the tumor. For years, very few patients took advantage of the high-dose option, but that may begin to change. A study by the Cleveland Clinic found that brachytherapy was the cheapest of all treatments for prostate cancer, with an average cost of $2,500. It is used only in patients whose cancer has not spread to other organs.

September 29, 2016 – Greenwood Democrat – HISTORY MINUTE: Dick Powell, a 1940s and 1950s noted actor – Though often forgotten today, Stone County native Dick Powell was one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood in his 30-year film career. His hard work and talent led him from Arkansas to tour the world and work with some of the most famous actors of the day. Richard Ewing Powell was born in Mountain View in 1904. His father was a salesman, and his mother taught him music. In 1914, his family moved to Little Rock, where Powell’s interest in performing expanded as he sang in church choirs and local bands. In 1957, Powell directed The Enemy Below, a story set in World War II that pit the captain of an American destroyer against a German submarine commander. The film won an Academy Award in 1958 for special effects. Powell later developed cancer. Some film historians have theorized that that he contracted it while on the set of The Conquerors, as the Utah set was near the site of an above-ground test detonation of eleven nuclear warheads. The test had been two years before filming, but the ground was apparently still contaminated in spite of reassurances from the army that the area was safe. Cancer rates of those on the set were reportedly three times higher than normal in the ensuing years, and producer Howard Hughes allegedly blamed the illnesses on the radioactive fallout. Whether these cancer cases were related, however, may never be known.

September 29, 2016 – Korea Herald – World’s first permanent nuclear waste disposal site under construction – The world’s first permanent nuclear waste repository is under construction on the small and tranquil island of Olkiluoto here. This storage facility, named Onkalo, which means cave or cavity, is being built in the granite bedrock deep underground about five kilometers from the two nuclear power plants at Olkiluoto just off the southwest coast of Finland. It is designed to keep high-level radioactive waste, the most worrisome by-product of nuclear power generation, secure for at least 100,000 years. High-level nuclear waste, which consists of spent fuel and some of the fuel’s decay products, can emit dangerous radiation for tens of thousands of years. To date, high-level waste has mostly been stored in water-filled pools at the atomic power plants where it was produced or in temporary offsite dry storage facilities. But these are impermanent and insecure solutions. Many experts say the only fundamentally viable solution may be facilities like Onkalo.

September 29, 2016 – Korea JoongAng Daily – Korea builds advanced particle accelerator – Researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology have built a fourth-generation synchrotron radiation facility, a type of particle accelerator that emits incredibly bright X-rays. Korea has become the third country, after the United States and Japan, to design and produce the cutting-edge facility. Postech as well as the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning celebrated its completion on Thursday at the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory in the North Gyeongsang port city. The facility, otherwise called the X-ray Free Electron Laser, is capable of emitting X-rays at 0.1-nanometer wavelengths, which are 10 billion times brighter than third-generation facilities.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Superconducting part of the European XFEL accelerator ready – An important milestone in the construction of the X-ray laser European XFEL has been reached: The 1.7-km long superconducting accelerator is installed in the tunnel. The linear accelerator will accelerate bunches of free electrons flying at near-light speed to the extremely high energy of 17.5 gigaelectronvolts. The bunches are accelerated in devices called resonators, which are cooled to a temperature of -271°C. In the next part of the facility, the electron bunches are used to generate the flashes of X-ray light that will allow scientists new insights into the nanocosmos. The European XFEL accelerator will be put into operation step by step in the next weeks. It will be the largest and most powerful linear accelerator of its type in the world. On 6 October, the German Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Johanna Wanka, and the Polish Vice Minister of Science and Education Dr Piotr Dardziński, will officially initiate the commissioning of the X-ray laser, including the accelerator. User operation at the European XFEL is anticipated to begin in mid-2017.

September 29, 2016 – heraldextra.com – Childhood cancer and radon gas awareness – SWAT Environmental, a leading radon mitigation service provider, has compiled key facts and advice about radon risks for concerned families. Since its discovery as a cause of lung cancer among uranium miners, scientists have found that the risks of radon gas are widespread and can be increased by modern housing trends. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is found in soil and water, and makes its way into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation. Radon is an extremely dense gas and the heaviest concentrations can be found close to the ground. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Making the world’s best radon detectors even better – The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recognises ANSTO radon detectors as the best in the world for global and regional atmospheric composition and baseline studies. However, ANSTO researchers are making computational refinements to data collected by its instruments in less than ideal conditions. Until now, to achieve high-sensitivity measurements with ANSTO detectors required a 45-minute response time, which has slightly compromised the usefulness of the two-filter dual-flow-loop style of detector under conditions of rapidly-changing radon concentrations. This is all about to change. With the help of an algorithm, inspired by methods used on early images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Alan Griffiths and a team of ANSTO researchers have developed a novel deconvolution method to computationally correct for the radon instrument’s relatively slow time response.

September 29 2016 – Gizbot – Here Are Battery Radiation Effects on Human Body and Ways to Avoid Them – The more we use our smartphone, the more we tend to affect our health. Thanks to the increasing amount of mobile phone radiation.The increasing usage of wireless mobile telephony is the reason behind the rise of phone battery radiation, which in turn causes serious health hazards.SEE ALSO: Amazon Deals: Top 10 Devices For Audiophiles to Buy in September 2016In case a person is on a call for hours together, it is common that the smartphone will tend to heat up. The heating effect will the ear pinna, internal ear, head surface and in turn, the brain to a great extent.SEE ALSO: Reliance Jio Offers Free International Calls? Check OutWe at GIZBOT have come up with the effects of mobile battery radiation, and the ways to avoid the same.

September 29, 2016 – Belaruse News – IAEA-compliant system to monitor radiation around Belarusian nuclear power plant – The automated radiation situation monitoring system in the Belarusian nuclear power plant area will work taking into account recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The information was released by Maria Germenchuk, Head of the National Center for Hydrometeorology, Radioactive Pollution Control, and Environmental Monitoring of the Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, during an online conference hosted by the BelTA website. The official remarked that the monitoring system is fully compliant with the IAEA requirements and recommendations. “Our leading specialists, who work in this field, are IAEA experts, this is why we put all the recommendations of the agency into practice right away,” remarked Maria Germenchuk.

September 29, 2016 – Courier-Gazette – DOC groping for alternatives after ditching X-ray body scanners – Maine Department of Corrections is considering new ways to detect contraband at correctional facilities after discontinuing use of transmission X-ray scanners, possibly because of concerns about radiation exposure. The Bureau of Labor Standards cited DOC earlier this year for “serious” safety violations related to operation of a body scanner at Maine Correctional Center. The scanners were introduced by former Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte and were used in at least two facilities, Maine Correctional Center and Maine State Prison, for two to three years starting around 2013, according retired MCC correctional officer Don Piper, who serves as the central Maine union chairman for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union.

September 29, 2016 – The Straits Times – Britain’s Hinkley Point contract set to be signed – The contract with a French-Chinese consortium to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in a generation is to be signed in London on Thursday (Sept 29) at a ceremony that is being kept low key, sources said. Following a delay over concerns about China’s involvement in the deal, Britain earlier this month gave the green light for the construction of the £18 billion (S$31.9 billion) complex. But it set the condition that EDF pledge not to cede majority control of the project.

September 29, 2016 – Bloomberg – French Power Surges Amid Low Availability at EDF Nuclear Plants – French power prices jumped amid concerns that reduced availability at Electricite de France SA’s nuclear plants may limit supplies as the winter heating season starts. Year-ahead prices surged to a 13-month high while the October contract rose to a record Thursday. EDF has 64 percent of its 58 reactors available compared with 76 percent a year ago, according to data from French grid operator RTE. Several halts have been extended as the French nuclear regulator inspects steam generators for potential anomalies.

September 29, 2016 – The Guardian – Mini-nuclear reactors could be operating in the UK by 2030 – report – The first small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) could be operating in the UK by 2030 with the right government support, according to a new report from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The analysis, released today by the government and industry-backed energy research body, examined the steps needed to support the first SMR in the UK and concluded a credible schedule for implementation can be set out – as long as a policy framework is developed to reduce risks for SMR developers and increase investor confidence.

September 29, 2016 – PhysOrg – Student’s surprise finding could improve future handling of nuclear waste – A researcher at The University of Manchester has made a surprise finding after observing variations of a chemical bond with a radioactive metal called thorium – and this newly revealed relationship could one day contribute to improving nuclear fuel management. Elizabeth Wildman, a PhD student in the research group led by Professor Steve Liddle, has reported compounds where unusual forms of phosphorus – known as the Devil’s element – are stabilised by thorium, a radioactive chemical element named after the Norse god of thunder which can be used as a nuclear fuel in the nuclear power industry.

September 29, 2016 – The Japan News – Hitachi, Toshiba, MHI seek to merge nuclear fuel units – Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) have started talks on merging their nuclear fuel units, with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of this year, it has been learned. The most likely plan would be to establish a new holding company — with each firm investing one-third of the required capital — and place each nuclear fuel business under its wing. As momentum for constructing new nuclear power plants has slowed globally since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, the government ultimately aims to merge the nuclear power plant businesses of Hitachi, Toshiba and MHI.

September 29, 2016 – Cancer Network – I-131 for Thyroid Cancer Metastases – Cancer Network: How do you determine whether distant metastases are appropriate targets for I-131 treatment? Can you describe the strengths and limitations of whole-body radioiodine imaging as a staging tool before radioiodine treatment? Dr. Van Nostrand: I think that there are several ways, but at this point there are a lot of controversies, as well. The most appropriate approach is a radioiodine scan to see if metastatic tumors are taking up I-131 and are thus I-131 functioning cancer. The problem with the scan is that at lower doses, scans don’t pick up all functioning metastases. The dilemma becomes whether or not the patient should be considered to be radioiodine-refractory. Some proponents say when the scan is negative, the patient is refractory. But nobody really knows at that point that they are refractory. There is literature suggesting that if you treat with radioiodine therapy 20% to 64% will have I-131 uptake on a post-therapy scan. Hence, they are radioactive iodine functioning. Now, that doesn’t mean they would get a therapeutic benefit—but it implies they would have that possibility.

September 29, 2016 – UVA Today – UVA Scientists Create Novel Imaging Technique with Potential for Medical Diagnostics – A unique new imaging method, called “polarized nuclear imaging” – combining powerful aspects of both magnetic resonance imaging and gamma-ray imaging and developed by physicists in the University of Virginia’s departments of Physics and Radiology ­­– has potential for new types of high-resolution medical diagnostics as well as industrial and physics research applications. “This method makes possible a truly new, absolutely different class of medical diagnostics,” said Wilson Miller, who, along with his colleague Gordon Cates, directed the research. “We’re combining the advantages of using highly detectable nuclear tracers with the spectral sensitivity and diagnostic power of MRI techniques.” A paper detailing the new imaging modality and related spectroscopic techniques, for which a patent is pending, appears in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

September 29, 2016 – Fox 13 News – Results are in from first round of Mosaic water testing – The first round of radioactivity well water test results stemming from the Mosaic sinkhole came back Wednesday and, while the news was good, neighbors weren’t convinced they’re totally out of the woods. According to Environmental Consulting and Technology, a private company hired by Mosaic to test private well water, there were only trace amounts of Uranium, which is normal in Florida. The results indicate that for these nine wells, all nine of the wells meet EPA drinking water standards,” said Gary Uebelhoer, a Vice President for ECT. “The land and the limestone beneath us naturally contains Uranium at some level, literally from Pinellas County to Orange County.”

September 29, 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. That message would not be heard by residents of Pierce County in North Dakota or Spink County in South Dakota said Mark Kelley, the Battelle project manager who had the “dubious honor” of leading the effort for only half a year, at a presentation yesterday at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “They were not to be convinced,” he said. “They were quite opposed to it.”

September 29, 2016 – Patriot Ledger – Pilgrim nuclear power plant braces for sweeping inspection – Entergy Corp., owner-operator of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, notified federal regulators Sept. 2 that the plant was ready to undergo a huge, comprehensive inspection of its equipment, staff and procedures. But just four days later, operators were forced to shut down the Plymouth plant for nearly two weeks when a faulty valve caused a water leak in the reactor containment building. Time will tell if the plant is truly ready for a swarm of 20 experts from all over the country, sent by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to scrutinize Pilgrim’s systems, starting Nov. 28. The event marks the third and final special inspection in a three-phase process that began in January.

September 29, 2016 – CapeCod.com – Mass. Congressional Delegation Urges NRC to Reject Pilgrim Request – The full Massachusetts congressional delegation has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny a request by the owners of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant to delay the implementation of federally-mandated post-Fukushima safety requirements. Earlier this year, plant-owner Entergy asked the NRC for an extension on its requirement to upgrade boiling-water reactors to include hardened containment vents. Following the Fukushima disaster, federal regulators issued a new policy mandating plants in the U.S. with similar designs to make safety upgrades.

September 29, 2016 – Wayne Post – Wayne County supervisors participate in nuclear exercise – In August, I participated in the annual Ginna nuclear power plant exercise along with supervisors John Smith, Ontario; Laurie Crane, Huron; Monica Deyo, Marion; and Ken Miller, Palmyra, and over 100 well-trained Wayne County, Monroe County, New York State and Ginna employees and several volunteers. Each year, a select number of our county staff shift around their busy schedules to participate in these exercises. This is to ensure that Wayne County is ready to act and protect the public in the event of an emergency at the Ginna nuclear power plant located in Ontario. I am very impressed with the investment of time and energy that our employees and volunteers put into these trainings and response exercises. George Bastedo, Wayne County emergency management director, and staff take these drills very seriously and our public can rest assured that every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety in the event of serious emergency.

September 29, 2016 – Mid-Hudson News – Efforts to stop widening of AIM pipeline near Indian Point are fear tactics, says spokesman – The efforts to have the courts put a halt to the project to enlarge the AIM pipeline as it runs past the Indian Point nuclear power plant is nothing more than “fear-mongering,” according to an official of plant owner Entergy. The group said if an enlarged natural gas pipeline was to fail and explode, it would take Indian Point with it. Indian Point spokesman Jerry Nappi said that claim has no basis in science or engineering. Nappi said independent studies demonstrate Indian Point is safe, even from the worst-case pipeline accident. And he said additional safeguards are going to be put in place. He said Indian Point owner Entergy has requested and the owners of the pipeline have made a number of enhancements to the pipeline in the village where it goes by Indian Point.

September 29, 2016 – Aiken Standard – Barnwell potential new home for additional nuke facility – Barnwell County could become the home of yet another nuclear waste repository, if an Aiken group sees its plans come to fruition. Mike Stake, president of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Group in Aiken, penned a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in July. In the letter, Stake officially announced intentions to apply for licensure that would allow the group to construct and operate a processing and disposition facility near Savannah River Site, just outside of Barnwell.

September 29, 2016 – Aiken Standard – Nuclear watchdog lawsuit against DOE stalls in court after attorney withdraws – A lawsuit filed against the Department of Energy over proposed shipments of liquid nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site has stalled in court. Legal counsel recently withdrew from a coalition of environmental and nuclear watchdog organizations that filed suit against the Department of Energy over proposed shipments of liquid nuclear waste from Chalk River in Ontario, Canada, across American roadways to SRS. Washington, D.C.-based attorney Diana Curran, legal counsel for the coalition, submitted a notice of withdrawal last week, notifying the judge in the case, Tayna S. Chutkan.

September 29, 2016 – World Nuclear News – L-3 MAPPS to upgrade Fermi 2 simulator – As part of the upgrade, the simulator’s plant models will be updated to account for FLEX modification. The “diverse and flexible coping capability” (or FLEX) strategy was an industry initiative announced in February 2012 to implement the NRC’s Fukushima task force recommendations. The FLEX update on the simulator includes the addition of an alternative source of cooling water and an external compressor to drive the non-interruptible air supply system. The simulator’s off-gas control system will also be modified to reflect updates performed at the plant. September 29, 2016 – Seattle Times – Report says NW nuke plant not ‘chilled’ workplace but still has issues – The Pacific Northwest’s only nuclear-power plant does not appear to have a chilled work environment where employees are afraid to raise safety concerns, according to a report released Monday by independent investigators. But the report did find some workplace problems at the Columbia Generating Plant north of Richland, including tensions between some employees and some managers who made sarcastic or demeaning comments, and behaved “in an intimidating matter.” The report by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman was spurred by whistleblower allegations that employees were afraid to report safety concerns for fear of retaliation.

September 29, 2016 – Public News Service – Bill in U.S. Senate Would Protect Whistleblowers at Nuclear Sites – A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would further protect whistleblowers at nuclear sites. Senate Bill 3394 is designed to level the playing field in cases where employees bring forward safety concerns, and even expands the definition of whistleblower to include anyone who reports on fraud, waste or abuse. Jeff Sprung, a lawyer in Seattle who specializes in representing whistleblowers, said the bill has particular significance in Washington state because of the Hanford Site, a contaminated nuclear reservation currently being cleaned up. Sprung said employees have voiced their concerns about the cleanup. “There has been a series of employees who have come forward to complain about particular problems with the cleanup at Hanford, and they’ve charged that they’ve been retaliated against,” he said. “This bill is designed to make sure that those people can come forward and give you and me, the public, information about what’s really going on.”

September 29, 2016 – San Luis Obispo Tribune – SLO County leaders should support Diablo nuclear plant’s retirement – Gene Nelson wants our local elected officials to follow the lead of New York in propping up the continued operation of an aging nuclear power plant (“SLO County leaders should save Diablo,” Sept. 14). Bad idea. They should support Diablo’s retirement. In the words of former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford, New York is “committing at least $7.6 billion in above-market payments to three of its six plants to assure that they operate through 2029 … Long-term subsidies for uneconomic nuclear plants also will crowd out penetration of these markets by energy-efficiency and renewables.” (“Compete or suckle: Should troubled reactors be subsidized?” www.theconversation.com)

September 29, 2016 – Bipartisan Policy – Moving Forward with Consent-Based Siting for Nuclear Waste Facilities – For decades, the United States has been grappling with the problem of what to do with the tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste generated by the nation’s commercial nuclear power industry and defense programs. Despite many efforts by the executive branch, Congress, industry, citizen groups and others—and despite the expenditure of billions of dollars, the United States still has no workable, long-term plan for permanently disposing of these wastes. Meanwhile, the federal government’s financial liability for failing to meet its contractual obligation to accept spent fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear power reactors—a liability that is already in the billions of dollars—increases with every year of continued paralysis and delay.