RADIATION WATCH 2011
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Food maker Meiji Co. received information on three occasions in mid-November about radioactive cesium in its baby food but paid no heed to the leads for about two weeks until it finally looked into the matter when approached by Kyodo News and a citizens' group earlier this month, Kyodo learned Friday...
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RADIATION WATCH 2011
...Dominion officials said it now appears the reactors shut when the earthquake caused a problem inside the cores at both units rather than from the loss of outside power to the plant as initially reported.
‘[color=Chartreuse]It looks like the (fuel) rods were going into the core prior to the transformer opening,’ possibly from a relay problem, a Dominion executive said.
MINERAL — The North Anna nuclear plant is expected to begin producing electricity again today for the first time since a magnitude-5.8 earthquake shut down its two reactors almost three months ago.
North Anna is likely to begin generating electricity tomorrow for the first time since both reactors at the Louisa County power station were shut down by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on Aug. 23...
The review found cracks caused by the 5.8-magnitude quake, which was greater than what the reactors were built to withstand. But the NRC said that it found no functional damage that would prevent the plant from safely restarting.
Some residents disagreed with the findings and said they were “concerned the NRC and Dominion will put profits over safety.”
The memo, from May 1977, was the conclusion of an investigation into whether criminal charges should be brought against VEPCO for concealing this info. It notes that the plant’s original owner, Virginia Electric Power Company, along with engineering contractors the company hired, tried to cover up the fact that a fault had been found under the site in 1970.
The company had already invested $730 million in the plant, and didn’t want the plant’s ability to get a license to operate compromised.
From the memo:
Abandonment of the site would have been intolerable from both a financial and public relations standpoint for all persons involved. In addition, the contemporaneous notes of the VEPCO team are replete with suggestions to “overwhelm the NRC with talent” and prepare “a convincing story.”
[color=Chartreuse]It is deeply disturbing to think that the people entrusted with design and construction of nuclear power plants for the purpose of producing energy for the public actually view the public as adversaries.
The NRC staff is currently reviewing the exemption requests concerning NUHOMS HD-Dry Shielded Canisters being loaded to the incorrect heat load limits at the Surry and North Anna Power Station ISFSIs...
... At the time of loading, [color=Chartreuse]the decay heat limit was exceeded for twelve fuel assemblies.
The twelve fuel assemblies are distributed over the seven identified DSCs...
...In February 1970 the construction excavation wall for Reactor Unit 1 collapsed. A month later, three independent geologists visited the site, [color=3BB9FF]identified a major fault zone, took pictures and reported their finding to Vepco’s resident engineer.
Disregarding this evidence, Vepco representatives who testified before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board later that year omitted any mention of these problems.
Vepco’s comprehensive Safety Analysis report for North Anna stated: 'Faulting at the site is neither known nor suspected.'
Three years later, on May 17, 1973, the Atomic Energy Commission received notification from Vepco about faulting under North Anna. On that same day the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board closed the license hearing record on public comment.
On June 21, 1973 an [color=3BB9FF]Atomic Energy Commission memo confirmed faults beneath all four reactor sites. Inexplicably, in 1974 the Atomic Energy Commission deemed the site acceptable.
On April 1, 1978 the agency granted an operating license to Vepco for North Anna Units 1 and 2, [color=Chartreuse]the only nuclear plants in the nation located on top of a geologic fault...
Another recent report of radioactive manure in California:
UC Berkeley Food Chain Sampling – Dried manure sample, Collected at a farm in Sacramento, collection date 8/16:
Cs134 @ 5.18 Bq/kg (140.4 pCi/kg) Cs137 @ 7.93 Bq/kg (214.9 pCi/kg)
... Many questions remain unanswered about the disaster nine months ago when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling and power at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Tomoyuki Taira, a Japanese parliamentarian, wrote in a commentary in the journal Nature today...
The legislators, both members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said [color=3BB9FF]it’s particularly important to establish whether self-sustaining reactions are continuing in the damaged cores and [color=FDD017]whether explosions that rocked the station in the days after March 11 were nuclear [color=FDD017]in origin...
Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — Dominion Resources Inc. found a small crack on a wall with “no safety significance” in a room of a containment building at the North Anna nuclear plant after an Aug. 23 earthquake in Virginia, a company official said.
The fissure was a '[color=3BB9FF]superficial crack in a wall that serves no safety significance,' said Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher.
The 5.8-magnitude earthquake may have caused ground motion that [color=Chartreuse]surpassed the power plant’s design, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Aug. 29.
Dry casks storing radioactive spent fuel also [color=FDD017]shifted from one to four-and-a-half inches in their storage area at the complex, the company said yesterday.
The [color=Salmon]casks may not be returned to their original positions, Daniel Stoddard, the Richmond-based company’s senior vice president for nuclear operations, told reporters today.
The company will complete a damage analysis next week, Stoddard said...
...The casks may not be returned to their original positions
The quake was strong enough to make 17-ton canisters of spent fuel skitter a few inches on their storage pad.
Scientific American...'[color=3BB9FF]Continued operation and continued licensing activities do not pose an imminent risk to public health and safety,' the task force of NRC experts said.
'However, the Task Force also concludes that [color=Salmon]a more balanced application of the Commission's defense-in-depth philosophy using risk insights would provide an enhanced regulatory framework that is logical, systematic, coherent and better understood,' according to a summary released by the NRC last night.
The dozen recommendations include:
• Requiring that equipment and procedures are in place to keep reactor cores and spent fuel pools cool for [color=FDD017]at least 72 hours after an emergency, and that backup power is available to run cooling systems for at least eight hours if power from the outside grid or emergency generators is lost in a "station blackout" emergency. [color=3BB9FF]Some U.S. plants have a four-hour backup power capability.
The 72-hour requirement would be new.
• Requiring that emergency plans address accidents involving multiple reactors on the same site. [color=Chartreuse]Current regulations generally center on single-reactor emergencies.
• Adding seismically protected systems and instrumentation to assure continued cooling of spent fuel pools, [color=Salmon]including at least one source of electric power that can operate cooling pumps and instruments at all times.
• Requiring hardened vent designs for Mark I and Mark II reactors, the models at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex where three units suffered explosions tentatively blamed on hydrogen that leaked from vent systems.
• Strengthening regulatory oversight of plant safety "by focusing more attention on defense-in-depth requirements."
• “The explosion in Reactor 3 at Fukushima I Nuke Plant on March 14 was nuclear!”
• “There was a flicker of fire”
• “Then a vertical, black smoke up the reactor building”
• “A hydrogen explosion does not produce such a black smoke”
• "[color=Chartreuse]The mushroom cloud — It resembles a nuclear explosion”
RADIATION WATCH 2011
Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s crippled reactors in Fukushima are in a state “equivalent to cold shutdown” even though the definition would be different in the case of an undamaged plant, Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of responding to the disaster, said today.
‘[color=Cyan]We understand that there is a difference between the cold shutdown state for a normal nuclear reactor and the state of cold shutdown that we have achieved at Fukushima Dai-Ichi,’ Hosono told reporters in Tokyo.
'The goal is to have nuclear fuel where it is kept in a cold state and to ensure that radioactive materials are not emitted. That is the whole point of the cooling system that we have in place.'
Closing Yucca Mountain will leave 130,000 metric tons of nuclear waste stranded at 131 different sites spread across 39 states. The federal government will be at risk of breach-of-contract lawsuits for breaking agreements with utility companies.
Some estimates indicate the potential for the Obama DOE could incur more than 50 billion dollars of legal liability in the case.
"You can do all the recycling in the world, but you are still going to be left with a residue that has to be stored somewhere, preferably underground. You’ve got this residue. Where are you going to put it?"
Mitch Singer, a spokesperson for the nuclear energy industry.
In 1987, Washington unilaterally decided the waste was going to Yucca without seriously considering other potential sites. Not surprisingly, Nevada citizens have railed against the top-down plan ever since.
If the government doesn’t bow to pressure and reverse its decision, US nuclear waste planners will be going back to the drawing board for what promises to be another very prolonged and expensive exercise.
The root reason the waste problem isn't solved is technical. Since radioactive emissions are strong enough to destroy ANY container, the "technical" problem will NEVER be solved.
New alloys, new crystal structures, microbes that eat radioactive waste, vitrification -- all worthless. Rocketing the waste into space, subduction zones in the sea, deep holes -- won't work either.
On December 20, 2011, The First Nations of the North Shore Tribal Council strongly rejected the prospect of the North Shore of Lake Huron becoming a site for the long-term storage of nuclear waste for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).
“We cannot idly stand by and watch as they inject Mother Earth with this cancer,” says Chief Lyle Sayers, chairman of the North Shore Tribal Council. “We must ensure that the future natural resources of this area are there for our children, generations to come, and businesses alike.”
Almost 30 years ago, Uncle Sam entered into a contract with utilities to dispose of their nuclear waste beginning in 1998. That disposal was supposed to happen at Yucca Mountain. Under the law, all nuclear facilities were required to pay an annual fee to the nuclear waste trust fund to cover the cost of Yucca Mountain.
When the federal government missed the 1998 deadline, utilities sued the government to recover their costs incurred in storing the waste. So far, according to federal officials, it will cost the government some $16.2 billion to pay the legal judgments entered against the government…[color=FDD017]assuming there will be a completed federal disposal site by 2020.
All of the fees collected in excess of the costs of building the Yucca Mountain facility,
instead of being placed in a trust fund, were simply spent by the government as quickly as
they were received.
As a result, a group of state regulators and the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade organization, are suing the Department of Energy, seeking to suspend collection of the annual fees utilities pay into the waste fund.
"There’s no sense paying a fee if you are not getting a program for it," said NEI’s Steven Kraft...
(...) When it comes to plans for Yucca Mountain, the fact remains that you can never eliminate the risk that will accompany shipping nuclear waste across more than 40 states, through communities utterly unprepared to deal with radioactive contamination.
We are talking about shipments passing by homes, hospitals and schools every single day for four decades.
[color=Chartreuse]And even more incredible -- at the end of those forty years -- there will be even more waste in cooling ponds then was there when the shipments began.
That’s because as long as a plant is operating, some amount of nuclear waste will always remain at the nuclear facility. That is why the threat posed by Yucca Mountain must be weighed against the availability of dry-cask storage as an affordable solution to this problem that’s available today.
Using this method, we can secure waste at existing sites in hardened containers where it can remain for the next 100 years.
[color=Salmon]And at the end of the day, the cost to build and operate Yucca Mountain will exceed the amount it would cost to settle lawsuits by plant operators seeking payment for the cost of moving waste into dry casks.
It’s also extremely important to remember that moving ahead on Yucca Mountain won’t mean savings for families in nuclear states.
Instead, they will continue paying a "Yucca Mountain Tax" that is slapped on power bills each month.
The Oak Ridge and Hanford facilities stand out among them as being among the largest leaks of toxic and/or radioactive waste in the world. At Oak Ridge, literally millions of pounds of mercury have leaked into the ground, the aquifer, and a streambed that then winds many miles through the Tennesee countryside and through several towns...