Radiation sealed under sea

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A radioactive device stuck down an oil bore off the Taranaki coast had to be sealed under 60 metres of concrete to stop radiation leaking out.

The incident, in March, was one of four potentially hazardous situations last year requiring emergency responses by the Health Ministry’s National Radiation Laboratory. Manager Jim Turnbull said none caused harm to humans.

There were two accidents involving nuclear density meters, which use a radioactive isotope source to measure soil density and moisture content.



Nuclear plant gets 20-year extension

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The Shearon Harris nuclear-power plant that supplies Wilson with most of its energy has received a 20-year license extension that allows it to operate through 2046.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the operating-license renewal of the power plant in southern Wake County. The license was set to expire in 2026.

The extension, which was granted earlier this month, could mean future lower electric rates for municipal members of the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency. The agency owns a share of the Harris plant, and the plant provides member cities with 16 percent of their power generation. The plant is also the largest part of the agency’s debt that the 32 member cities are set to pay down until 2026.


Energy Dept. Issues Decisions Today To Build New Nuclear Bomb Plants, Endanger Communities

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LIVERMORE – In Federal Register notices published today, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) issued two legally-binding authorizations, called Records of Decision (RODs), to revitalize and rebuild the nuclear weapons complex, at Livermore Lab in California and other sites across the country.

The two RODs codify the DOE NNSA’s “preferred alternatives” laid out in the agency’s final Complex Transformation Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, issued on October 24, 2008.

One ROD covers all of the agency’s “programmatic” decisions, defined as operations involving plutonium, uranium and assembly/disassembly of nuclear weapons. The other ROD covers 3 of 6 “project-specific” decisions, defined as tritium research and development (R&D), flight test operations, and major environmental test facilities to assess performance of nuclear weapons under varying conditions. The 3 “project-specific” decisions that await a ROD are high explosives R&D, hydrodynamic testing, and weapons support functions at the Sandia, Livermore site.


Nuclear plant in Ohio shut down after oil leak

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A nuclear power plant near Toledo has been shut down after an oil leak was found in a non-nuclear area of the facility.

FirstEnergy Corp. says the Davis-Besse plant along Lake Erie likely will be generating power again early next week. Spokesman Todd Schneider says the leak was found Wednesday, operators began shutting down the reactor and inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission responded.

On Friday, engineers found that the leak was due to a clog in the lubrication system for the bearings of the plant’s turbine. Schneider says the system is being cleaned and plans are to test the turbine this weekend.


Tennessee Ash Flood Larger Than Initial Estimate

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Officials at the authority initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.

The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.

A test of river water near the spill showed elevated levels of lead and thallium, which can cause birth defects and nervous and reproductive system disorders, said John Moulton, a spokesman for the T.V.A., which owns the electrical generating plant, one of the authority’s largest.


The cleanup: Weeks, millions needed to fix impact from TVA pond breach

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A South Carolina environmental cleanup expert says the TVA Kingston steam plant spill will cost millions of dollars and will take many weeks to clean up.

“They’re going to have to do an extensive cleanup, that’s for sure,” said David Hitchens, CEO and chemist for AEO Advanced Environmental Options Inc. in Spartanburg, S.C. “It could get into the millions. If you’ve got 400 acres, and they’re going to have to clean it up, and dispose it in a landfill, and the landfills charge $30 to $40 a ton, you’re looking at approximately 2 (million) to 2.5 million tons.”

That’s based on TVA’s original estimate that 1.7 million cubic yards of ash and water broke through the wall. TVA raised that estimate Thursday to 5.4 million cubic yards.


Yucca plan doomed

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While the Tacoma News Tribune editorial, “No Yucca Mountain, no Hanford cleanup,” supporting Yucca Mountain was good, stating interim storage will stop Hanford cleanup is misleading. Storage of unprocessed fuel at Yucca is a failed concept driven by a 25-year old law pushed by anti-nuclear folks. And, since inception, environmentalists have pushed the definition of long-term storage from 10,000 years to 1 million years!

Unless I am badly mistaken, the battle to license Yucca for long-term storage will fail, leaving spent fuel spread all over the country. Or, Yucca will become an expensive interim storage facility. WPPS is now storing its spent fuel at Hanford in wet and dry licensed storage.

The facts are: We can build interim (40-plus years) fuels/waste storage facilities with current technology and licensing laws; and, we can build multiple facilities with the funds the nuclear utilities are contributing for Yucca (Yucca is not paid for by our taxes).