tagged w/ Mox
Editor’s Note: Leaders and Elites of this World continue their lies, ignorant opportunism and greed, while they silence those actually trying to find an end to the Nuclear Generation X. I am talking about that myopic greed for Nuclear power which has bombed some of the World’s most beautiful Tropical Islands, into impossibility of use for thousands of years, while they bask us in “Pirates of the Caribbean “. If we continue, this World could accidentally explode one day! Those who call themselves Leaders cannot lead… since they would have to be immortal to lead Humanity through every difficulty. The only thing which is immortal, is humanity’s need for intelligent Action (which will always be more everlasting and harkened, than rich scum bags who try to rewrite History for profit/prophets). We consider a free Country one in which every person has a right to vote. Yet no one except for International Bankers and their pions, can determine foreign policy. So in that sense we are all (debt/credit slaves)… who still live in a World where no one except for 0.1% of the population can absolutely decide how stable an individual Country can be! Welcome to Corporate Feudalism…
” The World is on a nuclear cliff… if we do not stop now we will fall till we all explode!… ” # Anarchadia
http://anarchadia.com/2012/01/09/mox-nuclear-reality-censored/Editor’s Note: Leaders and Elites of this World continue their lies, ignorant... more
Nuclear threat level raised
Crisis rates in most severe category
Japan nuclear agency raises threat level
By Matt Smith, CNN
April 11, 2011 11:11 p.m. EDT
Click on picture to play Video
Anatomy of a ghost town
NEW: The agency raises the level from 5 to 7
7 is the highest possible level and is on par with Chernobyl
Japan's government has called for further evacuations
Cities covered by Monday's orders should evacuate in about a month, Edano says
Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese authorities Tuesday "provisionally" declared the country's nuclear accident a level-7 event on the international scale for nuclear disasters -- the highest level -- putting it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced the new level Tuesday morning. It had previously been at 5.
Regulators have determined the amount of radioactive iodine released by the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was at least 15 times the volume needed to reach the top of the International Nuclear Event Scale, the agency said. That figure is still about 10 percent of the amount released at Chernobyl, they said.
The amount of radioactive Cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, is about one-seventh the amount released at Chernobyl, according to the agency.
Japan's nuclear concerns explained
Hidehiko Nishiyama, the safety agency's chief spokesman, explained the final level won't be set until the disaster is over and a more detailed investigation has been conducted.
Tetsunari Iida, a former nuclear engineer-turned-industry critic, told CNN the declaration has no immediate practical impact on the crisis. It is a sign, however, that Japanese regulators have rethought their earlier assessments of the disaster, said Iida, who now runs an alternative energy think-tank in Tokyo.
According to the scale, a level 5 equates to the likelihood of a release of radioactive material, several deaths from radiation and severe damage to a reactor core.
The 1979 incident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island was a 5. The partial meltdown of a reactor core there was deemed the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history.
The Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union rated a 7 on the scale, which equates to a "major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures."
Japan's government called for evacuations Monday from several towns beyond the danger zone already declared around Fukushima Daiichi, warning that residents could receive high doses of radiation over the coming months.
Japan to evacuate more towns
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the municipalities are likely to see long-term radiation levels that exceed international safety standards, and he warned that the month-old crisis at Fukushima Daiichi is not yet over.
"Things are relatively more stable, and things are stabilizing," he said. "However, we need to be ready for the possibility that things may turn for the worse."
And about an hour after he spoke, a fresh earthquake rattled the country, forcing workers to evacuate the plant and knocking out power to the three damaged reactors for about 40 minutes, the plant's owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, reported. The magnitude 6.6 tremor came a month to the day after the magnitude 9 quake and tsunami that knocked out the plant's cooling systems, and followed a magnitude 7.1 aftershock Thursday night.
Neither the 6.6 quake nor any of the smaller ones that rippled across the region in its wake inflicted any more damage to the plant, Tokyo Electric officials told reporters.
At least six killed in latest Japan quake
Tuesday morning, a fire broke out in a battery storage building in a water discharge area of reactors 1-4 at Fukushima Daiichi, Tokyo Electric said. The fire was out a few hours later and the company said it caused no radiation emissions and no effect on cooling systems.
Japan's government said it did not know how many people would be displaced by the new evacuation orders. Evacuation orders have so far covered about 85,000 people inside the 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) zone, while another 62,000 within 30 kilometers have been told to stay inside, Fukushima prefecture officials told CNN.
The decision announced Monday does not create a wider radius around the plant, said Masanori Shinano, an official with Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission.
Instead, "if there are areas in the northwestern parts where there is a risk of exceeding 20 millisieverts as a cumulative dose over a one-year period, the area will be designated an evacuation area even if it is beyond the 30-kilometer area," Shinano told reporters Monday night.
That dose is a tiny fraction of what would cause immediate radiation sickness, but it's more than seven times the amount a typical resident of a western industrialized country receives from background sources in a year. Long-term exposures to those levels of radiation could increase the risk of cancer -- and the presence of cesium isotopes that have half-lives of up to 30 years means that radioactivity could linger for some time.
Nuclear threat level raised
Crisis rates in most severe... more
The New York Times...
New Doubts About Turning Plutonium Into a Fuel
Shaw Areva Mox Services
Photo: THE VISION A plant being built near Aiken, S.C., would turn weapons-grade plutonium into a fuel called mox.
By JO BECKER and WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: April 10, 2011
On a tract of government land along the Savannah River in South Carolina, an army of workers is building one of the nation’s most ambitious nuclear enterprises in decades: a plant that aims to safeguard at least 43 tons of weapons-grade plutonium by mixing it into fuel for commercial power reactors.
THE PROBLEMS The cost has soared to nearly $5 billion, and the structure — as big as eight football fields — is half finished.
The project grew out of talks with the Russians to shrink nuclear arsenals after the cold war. The plant at the Savannah River Site, once devoted to making plutonium for weapons, would now turn America’s lethal surplus to peaceful ends. Blended with uranium, the usual reactor fuel, the plutonium would be transformed into a new fuel called mixed oxide, or mox.
“We are literally turning swords into plowshares,” one of the project’s biggest boosters, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said at a hearing on Capitol Hill last week.
But 11 years after the government awarded a construction contract, the cost of the project has soared to nearly $5 billion. The vast concrete and steel structure is a half-finished hulk, and the government has yet to find a single customer, despite offers of lucrative subsidies.
Now, the nuclear crisis in Japan has intensified a long-running conflict over the project’s rationale.
One of the stricken Japanese reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant uses the mox fuel. And while there has been no evidence of dangerous radiation from plutonium in Japan, the situation there is volatile, and nuclear experts worry that a widespread release of radioactive material could increase cancer deaths.
Against that backdrop, the South Carolina project has been thrown on the defensive, with would-be buyers distancing themselves and critics questioning its health risks and its ability to keep the plutonium out of terrorists’ hands.
The most likely customer, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has been in discussions with the federal Department of Energy about using mox to replace a third of the regular uranium fuel in several reactors — a far greater concentration than at the stricken Japanese reactor, Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit No. 3, where 6 percent of the core is made out of mox. But the T.V.A. now says it will delay any decision until officials can see how the mox performed at Fukushima Daiichi, including how hot the fuel became and how badly it was damaged.
“We are studying the ongoing events in Japan very closely,” said Ray Golden, a spokesman for the utility.
At the same time, opponents of the South Carolina project scored a regulatory victory this month when a federal atomic licensing panel, citing “significant public safety and national security issues,” ordered new hearings on the plans for tracking and safeguarding the plutonium used at the plant.
Obama administration officials say that mox is safe, and they remain confident that the project will attract customers once it is further along and can guarantee a steady fuel supply. Anne Harrington, who oversees nuclear nonproliferation programs for the Energy Department, noted that six countries besides Japan had licensed the routine use of mox fuel. She accused critics of “an opportunistic attempt” to score political points by seizing on Japan’s crisis.
“Mox is nothing new,” she said.
Even so, the critics say there is an increasing likelihood that the South Carolina project will fail to go forward and will become what a leading opponent, Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, calls a “plant to nowhere.” That would leave the United States without a clear path for the disposal of its surplus plutonium.
A cheaper alternative, encasing it in glass, was canceled in 2002 by President George W. Bush’s administration. The energy secretary at the time, Spencer Abraham, is now the non-executive chairman of the American arm of Areva, a French company that is the world’s largest mox producer and is primarily responsible for building the South Carolina plant.
After the cold war, the United States and Russia were left with stockpiles of plutonium, and the fear was that one or the other would reverse course and use the plutonium to make new weapons, or that, in what the National Academies of Science called a “clear and present danger,” thieves could make off with it.
Plutonium is easy to handle because the radiation it gives off is persistent but relatively weak. The type used in weapons, plutonium 239, has a half-life of 24,000 years and emits alpha rays. They make the plutonium feel warm to the touch but are so feeble that skin easily stops the radiation. If trapped inside the body, though, alpha rays can cause cancer.
At the same time, plutonium is preferred over uranium as nuclear bomb fuel because much less is needed to make a blast of equal size. And while it is difficult to work with, it does not need to undergo the complex process of purification required for uranium.
The 43 tons of surplus plutonium in the American stockpile could fuel up to 10,000 nuclear weapons and even more “dirty bombs” — ordinary explosives that spew radioactive debris. Alternatively, they could fuel 43 large reactors for about a year.
After studying a range of options, the Clinton administration decided to build a mox fuel plant to dispose of a portion of the plutonium, awarding a contract to a consortium now called Shaw Areva Mox Services.
The rest of the plutonium was to be mixed with highly radioactive nuclear waste and immobilized in glass or ceramic blocks, making it difficult and dangerous for any thief to extract. The government judged the mox route to be more expensive, but the dual-track approach was seen as insurance should either fail.
That strategy also helped persuade Jim Hodges, the Democratic governor of South Carolina from 1999 to 2003, to sign off on plutonium shipments to the Savannah River Site. When the Bush administration canceled the glass-block disposal program, Mr. Hodges was furious.
CONTINUED...The New York Times...
New Doubts About Turning Plutonium Into... more
Japan reactor core may be leaking radioactive material, official says
By the CNN Wire Staff
March 25, 2011 1:35 p.m. EDT
Click picture to play video
Japan nuclear core may be leaking
NEW: Japan nuclear agency: Screeners have examined 87,813 people for exposure
NEW: Work stops at two other reactors with high radiation levels in water, utility says
Discovery of contaminated water suggests nuclear core leak, Japan officials say
Three workers who stepped in the water were exposed to radiation
Tokyo (CNN) -- Authorities in Japan raised the prospect Friday of a likely breach in the all-important containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a potentially ominous development in the race to prevent a large-scale release of radiation.
Contaminated water likely seeped through the containment vessel protecting the reactor's core, said Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Three employees working near the No. 3 reactor Thursday stepped into water that had 10,000 times the amount of radiation typical for a nuclear plant, Nishiyama said. An analysis of the contamination suggests "some sort of leakage" from the reactor core, signaling a possible break of the containment vessel that houses the core, he said.
The workers have been hospitalized and work inside the reactor building has been halted, according to the agency.
Work inside two other reactor buildings also had to stop and workers had to be pulled back Friday after the discovery of high levels of radiation in water at those locations, a Tokyo Electric Power Company official said Saturday. Water is still being pumped into the containment vessels, the utility official said.
Nuclear power experts cautioned against reading too much into the newest development, saying the workers exposed to radioactive water might not suffer injuries any more serious than a sunburn.
Moreover, evidence of radioactivity in the water around the plant is not necessarily surprising given the amount of water sprayed onto and pumped into the reactors, said Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts institute of Technology.
"I am not particularly alarmed," he said.
The reactor thought to be leaking contaminated water is the same one cited in the dramatic evacuation last week of a small crew of workers who had stayed behind after the plant's owner pulled most employees from the area. The workers were pulled back March 16 after white smoke began billowing from the reactor and radiation levels spiked.
At the time, the Japanese nuclear safety agency said it suspected damage to No. 3's containment vessel, but a government spokesman the next day said there had been no indication of a "major breach of containment."
That reactor is of particular concern, experts have said, because it is the only one at the plant to use a combination of uranium and plutonium fuel, called MOX, that is considered to be more dangerous than the pure uranium fuel used in other reactors.
Plant workers were also carefully watching the plant's No. 1 reactor, concerned that an increase in pressure noted inside that reactor could be a troublesome sign. Earlier, buildups of hydrogen gas had driven up pressure that led to explosions at three of the nuclear plant's reactors, including the No. 1 unit.
Nishiyama conceded that "controlling the temperature and pressure has been difficult" for that reactor, which on Friday had been declared stable.
The hospitalized employees were working to reconnect power to the No. 3 reactor building when they encountered water that was about 5 inches (15 centimeters) deep. Water rushed over the boots of two workers, who may have received what is called a "beta burn." The third worker had taller boots but was hospitalized as a precaution, according to Nishiyama.
The men were exposed to the water for 40 to 50 minutes, said Tokyo Electric, which owns the plant. The workers may have ignored alarms on devices intended to measure radiation levels, believing the readings to be wrong, said the International Atomic Energy Agency, citing Japanese authorities.
The two workers whose skin was exposed to the contaminated water had the highest levels of radiation recorded so far, the power company said.
One, in his 30s, was exposed to 180.7 millisieverts and the other, in his 20s, tested at 179.37 millisieverts.
Nishiyama said the third man -- who was exposed to 173 millisieverts but at first did not go to the hospital because his boots were high enough to prevent water from touching his skin -- has also gone to the same research hospital out of "an abundance of caution."
CONTINUED...Japan reactor core may be leaking radioactive material, official says
By the CNN Wire... more
The New York Times...
March 23, 2011
New Problems at Japanese Plant Subdue Optimism
By KEITH BRADSHER
The Japanese electricians who bravely strung wires this week to all six reactor buildings at a stricken nuclear power plant succeeded despite waves of heat and blasts of radioactive steam.
The restoration of electricity at the plant, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, stirred hopes that the crisis was ebbing. But nuclear engineers say some of the most difficult and dangerous tasks are still ahead — and time is not necessarily on the side of the repair teams.
The tasks include manually draining hundreds of gallons of radioactive water and venting radioactive gas from the pumps and piping of the emergency cooling systems, which are located diagonally underneath the overheated reactor vessels. The urgency of halting the spread of radioactive contamination from the site was underlined on Wednesday by the health warning that infants should not drink tap water — even in Tokyo, 140 miles southwest of the stricken plant — raised alarms about extensive contamination.
“We’ve got at least 10 days to two weeks of potential drama before you can declare the accident over,” said Michael Friedlander, who worked as a nuclear plant operator for 13 years.
Nuclear engineers have become increasingly concerned about a separate problem that may be putting pressure on the Japanese technicians to work faster: salt buildup inside the reactors, which could cause them to heat up more and, in the worst case, cause the uranium to melt, releasing a range of radioactive material.
Richard T. Lahey Jr., who was General Electric’s chief of safety research for boiling-water reactors when the company installed them at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, said that as seawater was pumped into the reactors and boiled away, it left more and more salt behind.
He estimates that 57,000 pounds of salt have accumulated in Reactor No. 1 and 99,000 pounds apiece in Reactors No. 2 and 3, which are larger.
The big question is how much of that salt is still mixed with water and how much now forms a crust on the uranium fuel rods.
Crusts insulate the rods from the water and allow them to heat up. If the crusts are thick enough, they can block water from circulating between the fuel rods. As the rods heat up, their zirconium cladding can rupture, which releases gaseous radioactive iodine inside, and may even cause the uranium to melt and release much more radioactive material.
Some of the salt might be settling to the bottom of the reactor vessel rather than sticking to the fuel rods. But just as a heating element repeatedly used to warm tea in a mug tends to become encrusted in cities where the tap water is rich with minerals, boiling seawater is likely to leave salt mainly on the fuel rods.
The Japanese have reported that some of the seawater used for cooling has returned to the ocean, suggesting that some of the salt may have flowed out again. But clearly a significant amount remains.
A Japanese nuclear safety regulator said on Wednesday that plans were under way to fix a piece of equipment that would allow freshwater instead of seawater to be pumped in.
He said that an informal international group of experts on boiling-water reactors was increasingly worried about salt accumulation and was inclined to recommend that the Japanese try to flood each reactor vessel’s containment building with cold water in an effort to prevent the uranium from melting down. That approach might make it harder to release steam from the reactors as part of the “feed-and-bleed” process that was being used to cool them, but that was a risk worth taking, he said.
Public alarm about the crisis increased on Wednesday after officials announced that levels of radioactive iodine had been detected in Tokyo’s tap water.
Recent rains might have washed radioactive particles into the water, as the Japanese government suggested. But prevailing breezes for the past two weeks should have been pushing the radiation mostly out to sea. And until Wednesday, some experts had predicted that radioactive iodine would not be much of a problem, because the fission necessary to produce iodine — which breaks down quickly, with a half-life of just eight days — stopped within minutes of the earthquake on March 11. The fear is that more radiation is being released than has been understood.
Preventing the reactors and storage pools from overheating through radioactive decay would go a long way toward limiting radioactive contamination. But that would require pumping a lot of cold freshwater through them.
The emergency cooling system pump and motor for a boiling-water reactor are roughly the size and height of a compact hatchback car standing on its back bumper. The powerful system has the capacity to propel thousands of gallons of water a minute throughout a reactor pressure vessel and storage pool. But that very power can also be the system’s Achilles’ heel.
The pump and piping are designed to be kept full of water. But they tend to leak and develop alternating pockets of air and water, Mr. Friedlander said.
If the pump is turned on without venting the air and draining the water, the water from the pump would hit the alternating pockets with enough force to blow holes in the piping. Venting the air and draining the water requires a technician to reach a dozen valves, sometimes using a ladder. The water is removed through a hose to the nearest drain, usually in the floor, that leads to machinery designed to remove radiation from the water.
The process takes a full 12 hours in a reactor that is operating normally, Mr. Friedlander said. But even then, the water in the pipes tends to be radioactively contaminated because the valves that separate it from the reactor are not entirely tight.
Backlash from the reactor is likely to be an even bigger problem when the water inside the reactor is much more radioactive than usual and is under extremely high pressure.
Japanese government and power company officials expressed optimism on Wednesday morning that the crisis was close to being brought under control, only to encounter two reminders in the afternoon of the unpredictable difficulties that lie ahead.
Fukushima Daiichi’s Reactor No. 3 began belching black smoke for an hour late in the afternoon, leading its operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, to evacuate workers. No. 3 is considered one of the most dangerous of the reactors because of its fuel — mixed oxides, or mox, which contain a mixture of uranium and plutonium and can produce a more dangerous radioactive plume if scattered by fire or explosions.
The cooling system at Reactor No. 5, which was shut down at the time of the quake and has shown few problems, also abruptly stopped working Wednesday afternoon, said Hiro Hasegawa, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric.
“When we switched from the temporary pump, it automatically switched off,” Mr. Hasegawa said. “We’ll try again with a new pump in the morning.”
David Jolly contributed reporting.The New York Times...
March 23, 2011
New Problems at Japanese Plant Subdue... more
In an exclusive interview, Laurence Pernot explains AREVA's role in the U.S. Department of Energy's $4.8 billion mixed oxide plutonium-based fuel program (MOX) under construction at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, and the "Nuclear Renaissance" in the United States. Pernot is the vice president of communications at AREVA Inc., the Washington-based U.S. branch of the French nuclear giant. A French citizen, she used to work at AREVA's La Hague site, in the North of France, which has been recycling spent nuclear fuel for decades.In an exclusive interview, Laurence Pernot explains AREVA's role in the U.S.... more
The New York Times
March 14, 2011 - 1:51AM PT
Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months, Experts Say
By DAVID E. SANGER and MATTHEW L. WALD
WASHINGTON — As the scale of Japan’s nuclear crisis begins to come to light, experts in Japan and the United States say the country is now facing a cascade of accumulating problems that suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months.
The emergency flooding of two stricken reactors with seawater and the resulting steam releases are a desperate step intended to avoid a much bigger problem: a full meltdown of the nuclear cores in two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. On Monday, an explosion blew the roof off the second reactor, not damaging the core, officials said, but presumably leaking more radiation.
So far, Japanese officials have said the melting of the nuclear cores in the two plants is assumed to be “partial,” and the amount of radioactivity measured outside the plants, though twice the level Japan considers safe, has been relatively modest.
But Pentagon officials reported Sunday that helicopters flying 60 miles from the plant picked up small amounts of radioactive particulates — still being analyzed, but presumed to include cesium-137 and iodine-121 — suggesting widening environmental contamination.
In a country where memories of a nuclear horror of a different sort in the last days of World War II weigh heavily on the national psyche and national politics, the impact of continued venting of long-lasting radioactivity from the plants is hard to overstate.
Japanese reactor operators now have little choice but to periodically release radioactive steam as part of an emergency cooling process for the fuel of the stricken reactors that may continue for a year or more even after fission has stopped. The plant’s operator must constantly try to flood the reactors with seawater, then release the resulting radioactive steam into the atmosphere, several experts familiar with the design of the Daiichi facility said.
That suggests that the tens of thousands of people who have been evacuated may not be able to return to their homes for a considerable period, and that shifts in the wind could blow radioactive materials toward Japanese cities rather than out to sea.
Re-establishing normal cooling of the reactors would require restoring electric power — which was cut in the earthquake and tsunami — and now may require plant technicians working in areas that have become highly contaminated with radioactivity.
More steam releases also mean that the plume headed across the Pacific could continue to grow. On Sunday evening, the White House sought to tamp down concerns, saying that modeling done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had concluded that “Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.”
But all weekend, after a series of intense interchanges between Tokyo and Washington and the arrival of the first American nuclear experts in Japan, officials said they were beginning to get a clearer picture of what went wrong over the past three days. And as one senior official put it, “under the best scenarios, this isn’t going to end anytime soon.”
The essential problem is the definition of “off” in a nuclear reactor. When the nuclear chain reaction is stopped and the reactor shuts down, the fuel is still producing about 6 percent as much heat as it did when it was running, caused by continuing radioactivity, the release of subatomic particles and of gamma rays.
Usually when a reactor is first shut down, an electric pump pulls heated water from the vessel to a heat exchanger, and cool water from a river or ocean is brought in to draw off that heat.
But at the Japanese reactors, after losing electric power, that system could not be used. Instead the operators are dumping seawater into the vessel and letting it cool the fuel by boiling. But as it boils, pressure rises too high to pump in more water, so they have to vent the vessel to the atmosphere, and feed in more water, a procedure known as “feed and bleed.”
When the fuel was intact, the steam they were releasing had only modest amounts of radioactive material, in a nontroublesome form. With damaged fuel, that steam is getting dirtier.