Norway

Early this month, Bellona’s General Director and nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer wrote a short work-a-day analysis of a small leak of radioactive iodine 131 that occurred back in October at Norway’s Halden research reactor, and posted it on the organization’s website. The next day, Bøhmer awoke to find himself portrayed as a lone hero thwarting a pan-European conspiracy to hush up a Fukushima-level radiation emergency. His report soared up the ratings in Google, eclipsing all but three other returns for a search on “Halden Reactor.” The phone started ringing. Facebook exploded. Comment requests flooded the inbox of Ellen Viseth, Bellona’s press officer. Outside, according to reports still bubbling on the Internet, a radioactive cloud darkened the skies over Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain. Someone had sabotaged the web-based European Radiological Data Exchange Platform to make sure no one knew about it. The Norwegians were shredding readings on the leak, and the International Atomic Energy Agency was helping them by flat-lining their own suspiciously peaking radiation graphs.

Bellona 27th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Chernobyl

A Borders charity set up 16 years ago to help children living near the scene of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster in Ukraine is being wound up. Since 2001, youngsters from Belarus have visited the region annually for a month-long holiday away from contaminated countryside there, a break estimated to have increased their expected lifespans by two years. Now, however, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline’s Borders branch chairman Fraser Simm is stepping down, and as a result the charity has also come to an end.

Berwickshire 25th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 26 March 2017

Russia

A newly unearthed secret report claims Russia covered up a nuclear disaster four times worse than Chernobyl, it has been reported. During the 1950s, one detonation in Kazakhstan resulted in four times the number of cases of acute radiation sickness than those from the Chernobyl disaster, it is said. More than 600 people ended up in hospital and at least 100,000 people are believed to have been affected by the explosion. Children are still being born today with defects resulting from the fallout, according to the report by New Scientist. In August 1956, fallout from a Soviet nuclear weapons test at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan engulfed the industrial city of Ust-Kamenogorsk over 100 miles away.

Mirror 24th March 2017 read more »

IB Times 25th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 26 March 2017

Japan

Six years after Fukushima, much of Japan has lost faith in nuclear power. The Japanese government should consider a fundamental change in its current nuclear energy policy if it wants to recover the public’s trust in nuclear power, writes Tatsujiro Suzuki, Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University. According to Suzuki, staying on the current path will undermine Japan’s economic and political security.

Energy Post 22nd March 2017 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2017

France

Redundancies and cost savings are compromising safety at French nuclear group Areva’s nuclear waste recycling facility at La Hague in Normandy, the firm’s unions say in an internal document. In an undated and unsigned note from the Areva La Hague Health and Safety Committee (CHSCT), seen by Reuters, the plant’s unions say that the Areva management’s “frantic cost-cutting is jeopardizing long-established procedures” to prevent the risk of technical failures and human error. French nuclear safety authority ASN told Reuters it had received a copy of the note in November and had consequently inspected the plant, concluding that safety levels were acceptable. However, it confirmed an incident in late 2016 – highlighted in the union note – in which several batches of highly radioactive waste were not properly processed during vitrification. It also said it would remain vigilant about issues signaled by the unions and may adapt its monitoring procedures.

Reuters 23rd March 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 March 2017

Kenya

China General Nuclear (CGN) and the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) have extended their cooperation in the development of nuclear energy in the African country with the signing of two new agreements.

World Nuclear News 23rd March 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 March 2017

Fukushima

BEING in Japan when the Fukushima disaster struck is an experience Sellafield Ltd’s Alex Walsh will never forget. Mr Walsh – head of the company’s Risley offices – was in Japan on a fact-finding trip for the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) at the time in March 2011. But even he had reason to question the future of nuclear power six years ago as he sat in a shaken and battered Tokyo, having watched another near catastrophe unfold elsewhere in the country. He said: “Things were looking really good for the nuclear industry at the time.

Warrington Guardian 21st March 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 March 2017

US

U.S. utility owner Scana Corp. is facing increased credit and regulatory risks with Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse, the nuclear power-plant builder contracted to install two of its nuclear reactors, potentially restructuring, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s lowered Scana’s outlook to “negative” because of the “uncertain future” of Westinghouse, which is building the two nuclear units at Scana’s V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

Bloomberg 20th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 March 2017

China

A top Chinese official’s recent disclosure about how a nuclear disaster was averted after an earthquake nine years ago is a worrisome insight into Beijing’s readiness to be upfront about its nuclear industry. Appearing on state radio in mid-February, Wang Yiren, vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, said, “During the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a situation arose similar to what happened in Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake.” Wang added that quick action by plant workers headed off a catastrophe like the one at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011. While his comments appeared designed to highlight the safety of Chinese nuclear plants, nothing was ever mentioned about a possible crisis after the magnitude-7.9 quake struck in May 2008, killing about 87,000 people. China is pushing nuclear energy as a clean energy source that can provide a stable supply of electricity for its billion-plus population. China has drawn up plans for constructing nuclear plants by 2020 that will have a combined output of 88 gigawatts.

Asahi Shimbun 21st March 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 March 2017

Flamanville

System performance testing has begun at EDF’s 1,600-MW Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France with reactor startup scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018, the utility said in a statement on 16 March 2017. The first phase of the testing is system flushing, EDF said. Water will be circulated at very high flow rates in all pipes connecting safety systems in the primary reactor coolant system, including the reactor vessel. These flushing operations are scheduled to continue until the summer. Cold hydrostatic testing will follow, ensuring all equipment “fulfils the function assigned to it in the design”, EDF said. The final stage of the system performance testing is hot functional testing, which operates reactor systems at operating temperatures but without fuel in the core. After the testing phase is completed, the next milestone is the loading of fuel and start-up, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, EDF said.

Nucnet 17th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2017