Friday, February 24, 2006

Transport Of Radioactive Material

Low Level Radioactive Transport Leaks In Utah
24 February 2006

REUTERS (LOS ANGELES)-- Low level radioactive water from a Southern California nuclear power plant leaked from a transport truck this week on its way to a waste site in Utah, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports. Waste water leaked on dirt and asphalt at a truck stop parking lot on 22 February 2006 near Parowan, Utah. The leak provides no threat to the public, said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell. The radioactive water came from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente in northern San Diego County operated by Southern California Edison (SCE). Ray Golden, spokesman for SCE, said the company is looking into the transportation of the water. He, also, said the leak this week was not extremely dangerous. "If you were standing next to the water for an hour, you would get less than one-tenth (the radiation) of what you would get from one chest X-Ray," Golden said.
Source: (Reliability 8.5)


Friday, February 10, 2006

Enrichment & Processing

Uzbekistan Welcomed Into Emerging Nuclear Alliance
8 February 2006

THE MOSCOW TIMES (MOSCOW) - Russian President Vladimir Putin pitched Russia as a site for one of a handful of international nuclear fuel cycle service centers that would be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in line with a recent proposal by the nuclear watchdog. Having a center on Russian soil could help solve domestic nuclear fuel supply issues and prove lucrative, earning Russia tens of billions of dollars, analysts said. "Uzbekistan was a major base of uranium ore in the Soviet Union. Bringing it on board is a weighty contribution" to Russia's ability to rebuild its nuclear energy capabilities, said Gennady Pshakin, an expert on the nuclear industry who heads a nonproliferation analytical center in Obninsk, near Moscow. A stronger CIS nuclear energy block would also help Russia lobby internationally to have a nuclear fuel processing center on its territory, Pshakin said. Such a center would enrich uranium to for use as fuel at power stations and recycle the irradiated waste produced by nuclear power stations when they burn uranium or plutonium. "We have all the things necessary to accommodate [a processing] center, but who will be prepared to let us have it?" Pshakin said, adding that Putin's call was only "the start of a dialog." Putin will raise the idea of the processing center at the Group of Eight meeting later this year in St. Petersburg.

(Reliability 8)

Nuclear Fuel Fabrication

How To Keep Iran Honest
9 February 2006

FOREIGN POLICY (WASINGTON DC) - It won’t make the hawks happy, but helping Iran build its civilian nuclear program may just be the best way to keep it from building bombs. The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China are now brandishing the threat of U.N. Security Council sanctions in an effort to stop Iran’s march toward a full-scale nuclear program. Unless Iran and the powers reach a negotiated agreement, the path apparently leads either to economic sanctions or military action—deeply problematic options for all involved. Lost in the debate over options for containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions is potentially the most effective one—Iran’s proposal to set up a nuclear fuel fabrication consortium on its own soil, in exchange for the transparency of intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Source:

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Nuclear Waste Disposal

India Considers Joining GNEP
10 February 2006

HINDUSTAN TIMES (NEW DELHI)-On the face of it, the US invitation to India to join the so-called Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP, is worth considering. Provided Washington manages to clear its own domestic hurdles. Reprotedly, the US Undersecretary of Energy David Garman made the offer during meetings last Wednesday in meetings with Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran in New Delhi.

Comment: The idea behind GNEP is to create a new worldwide nuclear power system in which a group of supplier countries provides nuclear fuel and technology to another set of user countries. The GNEP would give energy-starved countries nuclear fuel for generating power, and take back the dangerous nuclear waste.

Transport Of Radioactive Material

US Nuclear Waste Strategies Evaluated
10 February 2005

NEW SCIENTIST (UNITED STATES)--Methods planned for transporting radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power reactors are generally safe, but questions remain over the safety of nuclear casks in the event of a sustained, hot fire, a review panel of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded. The NAS report released in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2006, found there are "no fundamental technical barriers" to safe transportation, but that a number of "serious challenges" remain. Assuming no new plants are built, disposing of fuel from the United States 112 operating plants will require a two-decade-long program of daily shipments, and more planning needs to be done for managing this massive operation, the report says.
The report assessed the adequacy of planning for every kind of accident scenario, but not the potential for deliberate acts such as terrorist attacks. To evaluate that aspect, it says, would require creation of a new committee with full access to classified materials. Source:

(Reliability 8)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Facility To Incorporate Gatling Guns For Security

ET (LOS ANGELES)- In an effort to beef up security at its nuclear lab, California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory deployed an undisclosed number of Dillon Aero M134D Gatling guns. Each gun is capable of firing 50 rounds per second and has a range of over 1,500 yards. Lynda Seaver, the lab's Manager of Media and Communications stated that each weapon equates to ten to twelve security guards, however, community watchdogs fear these weapons could threaten the surrounding community and the lab's own employees. Along with Los Alamos, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of the United State's two labratories whose mission includes designing nuclear weapons.
Source: (Reliability: 7)

Aerial view of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Comment: The 1.3 square mile labratory site is located near a suburban area with houses directly across the street from the facility. Most other labs that design nuclear weapons, including Los Alamos, are miles from residential communities.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nuclear Exploration, Mining, & Milling

Mining Project Concerns Villagers
6 February 2006

NDTV (INDIA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) mining project at the Nagarjunasagar reservoir in Andhra Pradesh. UCIL will be mining 1250 tons of U3O8, enriched uranium ore or yellow cake, every day. The mine located in Andhra Pradesh sits on an extensive 1300 acres, however 85% is forestland. This mine will compromise the reservoir used daily by the local natives located by the Nagarjunasagar mine as well as India’s largest Tiger sanctuary, Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Reserve, which sits three kilometers from the open cast mining site. Legal experts say the project violates the Supreme Court ruling preventing polluting industrial activity within 10 kilometers of a water body and the villagers, mostly Lambadas, are determined to stop the open cast mining fearful of what may become of their peoples future health.
Source: (Reliability: 9)

Comment: Uranium mines are becoming more of a concern for those who live within a close proximity to the open pits. Many local residents are fearful the radioactive waste from the mines will cause defects in young children and adults over long periods.

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Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

Japan Offers To Contribute To US Nuclear Fuel Program

PEOPLE'S DAILY (CHINA)-Japan has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the United States on a program to expand civilian nuclear energy within and outside of the United States. Experts from the two countries will work out the details of the program titled the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP, in the near future. The GNEP is aimed at safely providing nuclear fuel to developing nations and advancing technologies for recycling and protecting nuclear fuel and waste. Japanese officials said Japan can contribute by developing the latest technologies for fuel reprocessing and for fast-breeder reactors.

Source: (Reliability: 7)

Comment: The US also hopes to work with nations such as France, Great Britain, and Russia, which already posses nuclear reprocessing technologies. The Department of Energy is requesting from Congress USD 250 millon to launch this international effort.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Nuclear Fuel Fabrication

Belene Nuke Plant Bidder Stakes on Proven Safety
2 February 2006

SOFIA NEWS AGENCY (CZECH REPUBLIC) - Czech consortium Skoda Alliance, one of the bidders in the tender for the design, construction and commissioning of two units at Bulgaria's second nuclear plant presented publicly its offer. Skoda Alliance offers a project with proven safety of highest level. The Czech consortium has based it offer on the conception of the Czech Temelin nuke plant, which boasts two VVER 1000 reactors. The consortium says that their bid would allow Bulgaria use a proven practice and technology. Source: (Reliability: 9)

Comment: VVER reactors are quickly becoming a very popular reactor design. This is due to the combination of productivity and safety. With safety as such a political concern VVER reactors will make up a sizeable percentage of the next generation of reactors.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Transport Of Radioactive Materials

Port Of Singapore Risk
02 February 2006

THE MARKETING CORP.NET (UNITED STATES)--The Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) is highly sophisticated and efficient, but the port remains a possible high-profile terrorist target. A significant part of the world's oil and trade flows through the Malacca Straits, whose waters are shared by Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore is a close diplomatic ally of the US and has been supportive of its "war on terror". This, together with the large number of foreigners living in the island state, makes it a target for Islamist terrorist groups operating in the region. As a result, Singapore's government remains concerned that these groups could hi-jack a ship, place conventional or nuclear explosives on it, and then detonate them. Should this occur in one of Singapore's ports the world economy could suffer, as trade routes would no doubt be affected, particularly as Singapore's ports are among the busiest transshipment hubs in the world. However, Singapore has stepped up its surveillance activities with regards to ships entering its coastal waters. Measures include electronic tagging of vessels and co-ordinated naval patrols with Malaysia and Indonesia. Source: (Reliability 7)


Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

NRDC Says Reported Bush Nuclear Reprocessing Plan 'Unworkable'
1 February 2006

ENERGYWASHINGTON WEEK (WASHINGTON)-Nuclear expert and Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) nuclear program, Tom Cochran, slammed President Bush's plan to focus on nuclear reprocessing as a waste solution, saying it would squander an overwhelming amount of taxpayer dollars and ultimately encourage non-nuclear states to join the arms race. Administration sources believe Bush is planning to propose a DOE task force called the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative (GNEI), which would, among other things, heighten spent fuel reprocessing as a priority. Cochran insists the plan would result in exponentially increased costs for building new reprocessing plants, "lead to huge inventories of separated plutonium" and dramatically increase the risk of proliferation. And in addition to those concerns, Cochran said the U.S. would need "several 10s" of the new reactors just to "attack existing backlogs of waste." But proliferation risks aside, Cochran maintains that of the many reasons he sees for not going forth with such a proposal, the heart of the problem lies with the costs and timing that render the idea not feasible.

Source: "NRDC Says Reported Bush Nuclear Reprocessing Plan 'Unworkable'", Washington, in EnergyWashington Week 1 Feb 06 (accessed through LexisNexis Database). (Reliability: 8)

Comment: GNEI is the major component of the administration's reprocessing initiative. The administration views the plan as one that will allow emerging economies access to nuclear fuel without giving those countries the right to process the fuel.

Nuclear Waste Disposal

Envirocare Buys BNG America, Changes Name
3 February 2006

AP (SALT LAKE CITY)-British Nuclear Fuels PLC has sold its U.S. nuclear clean-up business BNG America to Envirocare of Utah LLC for $90 million, a person close to the deal said. Envirocare marked the purchase by changing its name Friday to EnergySolutions, which takes in another operation it bought in October, Scientech's Decontamination and Decommissioning Division. Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions now has more than 1,000 workers in 14 states. "With the acquisition of BNG America, EnergySolutions will have the depth and breadth of experience to pursue a broader set of business opportunities across the nuclear fuel cycle, including operations, decontamination, decommissioning and waste minimization and disposition," Steve Creamer, chief executive of EnergySolutions, said in a statement. Source: (Reliability: 9)

Comment: The Guardian newspaper added that Steve Creamer, CEO of EnergySolutions, said he would use the purchase of the U.S. firm as a springboard for an assault on the UK atomic clean-up market. The paper quoted him saying "we already run low level landfill waste sites and will look at a bid in April for the site at Drigg in Cumbria". (source: (Reliability: 9)
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Nuclear Fuel Management

China To Build First VHTR By 2010
2 February 2006

CRI (CHINA) — China is planning to build the world’s first Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) by the year 2010. China holds the role as the leader in new nuclear technologies worldwide. The VHTR is graphite-moderated and helium-cooled and operates on a once-through uranium fuel cycle. The VHTR also has the flexibility to adopt uranium or plutonium and offers enhanced waste minimization. China’s Tsinghua University, the China Huaneng Group, and the China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation are currently shifting their focus towards constructing this new reactor. China sees nuclear energy as an important energy source to power its economic development over coming decades.

Source: (6)

This diagram illustrates how the VHTR operates.

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Nuclear Exploration, Mining, & Milling

Uranium Hope From Domisaist Twin Site
2 February 2006

TELEGRAPH (INDIA)- Encouraging exploration results emerged from another spot in Meghalaya where mining of uranium may poses as an option. Located near Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills, Wahkyn stood out in a map prepared by the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) for extensive exploration and research two years ago. The Wahkyn mine appears similar to those in Domiasiat where the existence of the yellow cake remains apparent, yet further rounds of exploration are in the plans before mining can begin. The AMD identified five more spots in the Northeast located in West Kameng and West Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya where the possibility of mining remains high. Source: (Reliability: 8)
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