Radioactive uranium has leaked through the floor at Westinghouse’s Bluff Road fuel factory, contaminating the soil in an area of Richland County with a nearly 35-year history of groundwater pollution from the plant. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the uranium, a toxic substance used to make nuclear fuel rods, seeped through a 3-inch hole in a concrete floor in part of the factory where an acid is used. The hole extends 6 feet into the ground, according to the NRC. The NRC learned of the leak July 12. Officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said they have no reason to believe the uranium has trickled off the site or that public water supplies are threatened. However, the agency said it does not have the results of recent groundwater tests on the Westinghouse property. Those test results will show whether pollution in the soil washed into the area’s shallow groundwater, which seeps into creeks in the Congaree River flood plain.
The State 24th July 2018 read more »
Nuclear power plants generate more than half of the US’s low-carbon electricity. However, record low gas prices associated with the US fracking boom have made many existing nuclear plants uncompetitive in the current market. About 90 terawatt hours (TWh) of nuclear generation is scheduled to retire in the next decade, more than all of the US’s current solar generation. Studies suggest that another 135TWh is probably not cost competitive with gas plants and, therefore, at risk of retirement. This means the source of about 15% of US low-carbon electricity could shut down and largely be replaced by gas, making it harder for the US to meet its emission reduction targets.
Carbon Brief 27th July 2018 read more »