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Enformable - August 1, 8:59 AM

Enformable | Fukushima Video Archive

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Source: enformable.com
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@iecjournal - Today, 9:26 AM

NRC Still Under Scrutiny After Former Commissioner Went to Work For Utility

The Project on Government Oversight notes that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of Inspector General found no violation of law when a former Commissioner went to work for a company that owned nuclear power plants shortly after leaving the NRC. This did not necessarily satisfy POGO:

As the OIG points out, current law (18 United States Code, section 207, to be precise) "is not intended to prevent private sector employment after an individual terminates Federal service." The memo continues: "Instead, it restricts an individual from engaging in representational activities before NRC after the individual has terminated Federal service."

But are there sufficient controls in place to ensure that NRC Commissioners are acting with the public's best interest in the waning days of their regulatory careers? That's certainly a question worth asking, especially in light of some of the recent criticism about the NRC's excessive coziness with the industry it's tasked with overseeing.

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@beanbagboy - Today, 9:07 AM

In Namibia 4 people arrested for theft of 'Yellowcake' - Uranium Oxide

Windhoek - Namibian authorities have arrested four people they suspect of stealing drums of radioactive material from a mine in the country that is a major exporter of uranium, officials said on Monday.

The four were arrested on Friday in the coastal town of Swakopmund, the drums have been recovered and the material is thought to have come from Areva's Trekkopje mine, they said.

Axel Tibinyane, regulator of the Atomic Energy Board of Namibia, said the contents of the drums are radioactive.

"The next step is to confirm that the material is indeed uranium oxide, but physical observation points in that direction. This will also allow us to fingerprint the origin of the material," Tibinyane told Reuters.

"Tests have been conducted to see if it concerns yellow cake or not. The results will be released on Thursday."

Areva's Trekkopje is one of the few mines in Namibia that has processing facilities for yellow cake - a form of uranium ore that can be enriched for nuclear fuel or, if enriched to a much higher level, for use in weapons.

The four suspects were expected to appear in court later on Monday.

Source: www.news24.com
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@informatica411 - August 28, 10:32 PM

Nuclear power plants for settlements on the Moon and Mars

The first nuclear power plant being considered for production of electricity for manned or unmanned bases on the Moon, Mars and other planets “may really look like it came from outer space.”

Plans for the first nuclear power plant for the production of electricity for manned or unmanned bases on the Moon, Mars and other planets were unveiled today at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

James E. Werner, the project leader at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said that innovative fission technology for surface power applications is far different from the familiar terrestrial nuclear power stations, which sprawl over huge tracts of land and have cooling towers and other large structures.

Werner contends that once the technology is developed and validated, it may prove to be one of the most affordable and versatile options for providing long-term base power for the space exploration programs.

Source: www.zdnet.com
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Global Markets - August 26, 11:35 AM

EDF says New Flamanville 3 Nuclear power plant delayed until 2016 after 2 serious accidents

France-based EDF said July 20 that its 1,650 MWe Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor will not begin producing electricity until 2016, around four years later than earlier estimates. Cost estimates for the nuclear reactor now are around 6 billion Euro ($8.5 billion) up from 3.3 billion Euro in 2005.

The company is introducing what it calls a "new approach" to organization at the construction site of the European Pressurized Reactor.

The approach is in response to recent events that EDF said have slowed progress at the power plant work site.

While 80 percent of the civil engineering work has been completed, two serious accidents have taken place, one of which stopped all civil engineering work at the site for a period of weeks earlier in 2011.

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Enformable - August 26, 8:42 AM

Fires Near Spent Fuel Site Force Workers At Idaho National Laboratory to Evacuate

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Firefighters struggled on Thursday to control a fast-growing 28,000-acre wildfire raging within several miles of spent nuclear fuel stored at a U.S.

The growth and intensity of the blaze, the nation's largest active wildfire, prompted the Idaho National Laboratory to order a key facility on the 890-square-mile site evacuated of all nonessential personnel, lab officials said.

Earlier in the day, nearly 50 firefighters from the lab and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management focused their efforts on protecting a separate facility where spent nuclear rods are stored, according to the lab.

Additional radioactive rods are kept cooled in storage ponds farther to the south at a site called the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center.

The center's workers "have taken shelter at the facility as a precaution," the lab said in a late update without further explanation.

"They're fighting (the fire) from all directions at the moment; winds are changing every minute," lab spokeswoman Sara Prentice said Thursday afternoon.

The exact distance between the leading edge of the rapidly spreading blaze and various facilities on the laboratory grounds, which also includes three working reactors, was not precisely known Thursday night, lab officials said.

Source: www.reuters.com
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Enformable - August 25, 9:16 AM

Wunderland theme park built around a nuclear reactor promises a fun-fuelled day

Wunderland near Kalkar, Germany, cleverly combines a never-been-used multi-million-pound reactor with classic fair rides, including a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, carousel and log flume.

There's a wing ride inside the cooling tower and you can even climb up the 130-foot-tall wall on the outside, reports the Daily Mail.

Since 2002, the park has seen the addition of more than 40 rides and a museum as well as a miniature golf course and tennis courts.
A spokeswoman at the park said they received some 600,000 visitors a year and employed about 550 people during the high season.

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Enformable - August 24, 1:50 PM

NRC Commits North Anna Nuclear Power Plant to Further Investigation - Likely to have extra margins built into the design"

WASHINGTON—U.S. nuclear officials and Dominion Resources Inc. are working to determine whether Dominion's North Anna nuclear-power plant in central Virginia was built to withstand the ground motion it sustained Tuesday after a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck nearby Mineral, Va.

The plant remains in what is known as "alert" status, the second lowest stage of four emergency situations tracked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The analysis of North Anna will determine whether the ground motion at the plant Tuesday exceeded the levels the plant was built to withstand.

The ground below North Anna is a mix of soil and rock, so there are two standards.

 

The rock part of the site is built to withstand the equivalent of a magnitude 5.9 quake.

 

The soil part of the site, meanwhile, is built to withstand a magnitude 6.2 quake.

 

The plant is likely to have "extra margins built into the design," NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.  So "the real-world performance" could be better than those levels.

 "We're still evaluating the information that's coming in regarding the epicenter and the strength of the quake and all of the instrumentation that's at North Anna," Mr. Burnell said. "We're determining what sort of forces North Anna dealt with."

The NRC is determining whether to send a formal team of inspectors to the North Anna plant.

Source: online.wsj.com
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Nuclear Crisis - News - Kyodo News - August 24, 9:11 AM

TEPCO reported possibility of huge tsunami to gov't on March 7th after making estimation in 2008

TOKYO (Kyodo)--Tokyo Electric Power Co. presented the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency a few days before the March 11 catastrophe with a calculation that its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could be hit by a tsunami higher than 10 meters, agency officials said Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told reporters on Wednesday that the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, reported the prediction to the agency on March 7th.

TEPCO says it made the estimation in 2008 when calculating the maximum tsunami height in the event of a very powerful earthquake near the plant.  The maximum possible wave height originally assumed by TEPCO when it designed the plant was 5.7 meters.

The agency says it ordered the company to submit a detailed report as quickly as it could and suggested the need to reform the facilities when the company provided the prediction.

The agency's official in charge of nuclear disasters, Yoshinori Moriyama, says it takes seriously its failure to fully predict the possibility of a major tsunami before the disaster.

TEPCO says it didn't mean to disclose the assessment since it was a tentative calculation for research purposes based on a simulation.

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Enformable - August 24, 8:46 AM

East Coast earthquake prompts safety alerts at 12 nuclear plants from NC to Michigan

WASHINGTON — Nuclear plants from North Carolina to Michigan are under increased scrutiny after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the East Coast.

Twelve nuclear plants declared an “unusual event,” the lowest level of emergency, after Tuesday’s earthquake, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. Virginia’s North Anna Power Station, about 13 miles from the epicenter, issued an alert, the next highest emergency level. The quake was centered 40 miles northwest of Richmond.

Two nuclear reactors at North Anna were automatically taken off line by safety systems. No damage was reported at the plant, which is being powered by emergency diesel generators.

The quake was also felt at the Surry nuclear plant near Newport News, Va.

Besides Surry, the other plants declaring an unusual event were the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland; Peach Bottom, Three Mile Island, Susquehanna and Limerick plants in Pennsylvania; Salem, Hope Creek and Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Shearon Harris in North Carolina; and D.C. Cook and Palisades in Michigan. All were placed under increased scrutiny but continued to operate.

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Enformable - August 23, 12:45 PM

India to expand nuclear energy by 400% in next 10 years

COIMBATORE: The country's nuclear power generation is expected to reach 20,000 MW in another 20 years, a top official of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) said on Monday.

At present about 4,785 MW is being generated by 20 atomic power stations of different capacity across the country and it would touch 7,300 MW by 2013, IGCAR Director S C Chetal told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

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@CPDArobotics - August 23, 10:46 AM

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog of Situation On-Site - Ripped Offline Suspicions Mount

An anonymous worker at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing the ups and downs of his experience as one of the lead robot operators at the crippled facility.
The blog posts, which have recently been deleted, depict the operators’ extensive robot training exercises, as well actual missions, including surveying damage and contamination in and around the reactors and improvising a robotic vacuum to suck up radioactive dust. The author, who goes by the initials S.H., also used the blog to vent his frustrations with inept supervisors and unreasonable schedules, though he maintains a sense of humor, describing in one post how he punched a hole on a wall while driving a robot and, in another entry, how a drunken worker slept in his room by mistake.
The material also raises questions about whether Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s owner, is acting with adequate speed and providing enough robots and supporting resources for the robot teams. It's ironic that, although the robots are remote controlled, the operators still have to work close to the highly damaged and radioactive reactors. There is no communications infrastructure, combining wired and wireless capabilities, that would allow the operators to do their work from a safer location.
Other problems, described by S.H. in some entries, include a lack of coordination and, on at least one occasion, neglect for the workers’ safety. In one incident, a technician not part of the robot team recklessly put a robotic mission in jeopardy, driving a truck over a tether and nearly severing the connection between the robot and the operators. S.H also reports that one day his personal dosimeter began sounding an alarm and wouldn’t stop; when he asked a radiation personnel in charge about it, he was told ignore it and continue working.
But what is perhaps most significant about the blog is its technical content. S.H. is part of a team assigned to operate robots provided by U.S. company iRobot. The robots, two PackBots and two Warriors, known for their explosive-disposal work in Iraq and Afghanistan, have performed remarkably well at Fukushima, even after repeated jobs in high-radiation environments, which damage electronics.

The posts show that, although the robots have to be strong and reliable, they also have to be nimble and compact, to be able to maneuver on stair landings and other tight spots. S.H. also describes challenges that many robot developers may take for granted, such as the difficulty of handling the controls wearing five pairs of gloves or seeing the user interface from behind bulky masks. Which means that the controls and interfaces need to be made even easier to operate than they already are.

Another big lesson for roboticists, based on the Fukushima operators experience, is that emergency robots shouldn’t be stand-alone machines: They work best in pairs or teams, in which case one robot can work as a wireless base station to allow another unit to travel farther, or they can help each other if they get stuck. And where radio signals don’t propagate well, using a combination of wireless and tethered robots is essential.
WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS?
Since the earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck on 11 March, there have been lots of questions about Japan's lack of robots to assist with the recovery operations. Japan, a robotics friendly nation with the world's highest levels of automation, had to count on foreign assistance. Less than a week after the earthquake, iRobot donated to Japan two PackBot 510 robots with Hazmat kits and two Warrior 710 robots with manipulator arms. iRobot engineers trained Japanese operators the following week.
But it still took three more weeks for TEPCO to actually use the robots, which quickly proved to be an essential tool. In mid-April, two PackBots provided the first video and radiation recordings from the interior of Reactors No. 1, 2, and 3. Later that month, they inspected the cooling water system and piping of Reactor No. 1, to confirm the equipment could be turned on. They’ve also helped detect “hot spots”—areas so high in radiation that a person would receive a lethal dose in seconds—and measured the radiation level of the water that flooded the basements, one of the plant's biggest contamination problems.
The S.H. posts show that, like other parts of the recovery efforts, the robot operations are assigned to contractors, which have only a handful of robots at their disposal and seem to rely on a great deal of improvisation. TEPCO’s robot fleet includes aerial drones, remote controlled construction machinery, and tank-like exploration robots like Qinetiq’s Talon. But currently only two robots, the PackBot duo used by S.H. and his coworkers, are capable of entering and navigating deep inside the reactors (the Warriors are too big). It seems to me that two robots is a small number, given that the machines might break down or need to undergo maintenance, and there are four reactors with multiple floors that need to be inspected. iRobot said in a statement that it continues to “provide spare parts and technical support” and is “working through our distributor in Japan to explore requirements for additional systems.”

Given the stakes involved, why hasn’t TEPCO acquired more robots and stepped up its robotic efforts? At this pace, will it be able to achieve the plant's “cold shutdown” scheduled for next January? Only time will tell.
A TEPCO spokesman denied that there were delays in deploying the robots at the plant or that they lack robotics resources now. He told me that at this point "we don't have actual plans for adding PackBots. We will use more PackBots if necessary." TEPCO, he said, is planning to improve the safety of robot operators by building a "communication facility in the future."
THE BLOG VANISHES
Since the earthquake hit, S.H. wrote one or more posts on a daily basis. Early last month, however, after word of the blog (hosted at http://sh-blog.at.webry.info) began circulating among Japanese Twitter users and bloggers, all posts related to the robot work were deleted (the blog included posts on other topics as well). Not long after, the entire blog disappeared. It’s unclear whether TEPCO or S.H.'s supervisors demanded that the material be removed. Efforts to reach S.H. were unsuccessful.
Before the blog was removed, I used software to make a copy of it. IEEE Spectrum has decided to translate and publish portions of the posts because we consider the information to be in the public interest. The material offers important lessons about the Fukushima disaster—lessons that roboticists and others should heed if we want to be better prepared for tomorrow’s calamities. TEPCO has also been criticized for not being transparent, and these posts provide more information for Japanese citizens to decide whether the company and their government are doing a proper job.
(The contents of the blog have also been available on Google's cache, and recently a Japanese researcher republished some of the posts on his site.)
S.H. also published half a dozen YouTube videos, which now have been made private. The videos—nearly an hour of footage in total—show training exercises with the PackBot and Warrior robots. iRobot confirmed those were the robots it donated to Japan. While the videos were publicly available, I used a program to capture snippets, which I used to put together my own video. We believe we’re making fair use of the snippets, using them as documentation of the training process, which is a newsworthy event. Note that our video shows only brief moments of what might have been many hours of training and it probably doesn't reflect the operators' current skill levels. The video also includes some candid moments, such as when a worker takes a ride on a Warrior robot.

The blog posts and videos S.H. published are relevant not only to Japan. Other countries should take notice. The public, roboticists, and government officials should require that the nuclear industry in their nations be better prepared and equipped to handle disasters, and robots should be part of these preparations. Currently it seems that only France and Germany have plans requiring that an emergency robotics force be available.

Perhaps nuclear power companies should invite the Fukushima robot operators to give talks about their experience and help train robot teams in other countries. “This kind of natural disaster could happen anywhere,” S.H. wrote. “If there is a call for this same kind of work, I'll go anywhere in the world!” Let’s not wait for another disaster to make the call.
Below are portions excerpted from nearly 50 robot-related posts that S.H. published on his blog, titled "," or "Say Whatever I Want * Do Whatever I Want," covering a period from late April to early July 2011 [right, screenshot of a post]. This translation attempts to remain as close to the original text as possible, as well as preserve the author’s style and tone. The translated version, however, may have inadvertently introduced inaccuracies or altered the author’s views. Some sections (marked with [...]) were omitted for clarity or space. Please report any errors to e.guizzo@ieee.org. And leave a comment below saying what you think about the material.

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EX-SKF - August 23, 9:50 AM

More on Fukushima II (Daini): Loss of Function to Remove Residual Heat for Up to 2 Days and 23 Hours, March 11 to 14

I hardly paid any attention to Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant in the early days of the crisis, but I got curious reading the comment from the reader "Joe Neubarth" to the post on the eyewitness account of Fukushima II on the day of the earthquake:

"Core Damage comes from a loss of cooling. I know of no report of loss of cooling at that facility. Did they go dark when the one electrical transmission tower fell north of Fukushima during the earthquake? Did they then have a delay if the startup of Emergency Diesel Generators? If there was a delay or if they lost the EDG's totally THEN there might be a melt down, BUT I have not heard of this happening."

I didn't know either (or I totally forgot). Did they or didn't they? So I went to TEPCO's site and see what they say.

Fukushima II Nuke Plant has 4 reactors. When the earthquake hit on March 11, control rods were successfully inserted in all 4 reactors at 2:48PM. Then the tsunami hit, and at 6:33PM on March 11:

Occurrence of a Specific Incident Stipulated in Article 10 of the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness (loss of function to remove residual heat)

This happened on Reactors 1, 2, and 4, at the same time.

Then, the Residual Heat Removal System re-started one by one, on March 14:

Reactor 1: 1:24AM, March 14
Reactor 2: 7:13AM, March 14
Reactor 4: 3:42PM, March 14

So, the reactors weren't cooled for as long as 69 hours in case of Reactor 4, and 55 hours in case of Reactor 1. Is 55 hours long enough for the coolant (water) inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel to evaporate and for at least part of the fuel rods to be exposed and get damaged?

TEPCO also says the Suppression Chambers of Reactors 1, 2 and 4 suffered some event that caused the "loss of function to suppress pressure" in the morning of March 12. The function was restored on March 14 morning.

The above information is from TEPCO's status report on Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant as of August 21

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@mrss0212 - Today, 11:10 AM

Simulation shows Iodine and Cesium may have reached 15 prefectures

Radioactive iodine and cesium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant likely spread across a wide area encompassing Tohoku, Kanto and parts of Chubu, according to a simulation by the National Institute for Environmental Studies.

The results of the study are expected to provide a basis for information used in decontamination efforts and other quake-related projects.

"The simulation data does not necessarily reflect actual measurements," said Toshimasa Ohara, head of the institute's Center for Regional Environmental Research. "We want the data to be used as reference figures and indicators of where to measure radiation levels, especially in areas where the results indicate high levels."

Taking into account weather conditions, such as wind directions and rainfalls, Ohara estimated the amount of nuclear substances from the plant that had fallen on the ground and in nearby waters from March 11, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, until March 29, the date the radiation fallout was believed to have mostly eased off.

The results indicate the possibility that 13 percent of leaked iodine-131 and 22 percent of released cesium-137 fell on soil in 15 prefectures. Cesium-137 was estimated at high levels in spots scattered across a broad area, including Shizuoka, Nagano and Niigata prefectures.

In early May, the science ministry published the results of the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) to estimate the spread of radiation from the plant.

Many of SPEEDI's radiation monitoring locations recorded values close to the ones estimated by Ohara's simulation project. But the SPEEDI measurements were largely limited to an area close to the plant.

After radioactive cesium was detected in tea leaves in Shizuoka, Kanagawa and other prefectures, calls from the public intensified for assessments covering a much wider area.

The simulation map can be found on the National Institute for Environmental Studies' website in Japanese at (http://bit.ly/qImVbY).

Source: ajw.asahi.com
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@NanoMarkets - Today, 9:54 AM

Growth Predicted for Lower-Cost Radiation Detection Materials

The future is bright for higher-performance and lower- cost radiation detection materials, according to a new report by analyst firm NanoMarkets.

In its new report the company shows that scintillation-based radiation detectors hold over 70 percent of the radiation detector market and users are leverage these systems to provide better light output and linearity as well as energy resolution.

Based on the findings, NanoMarkets predicts strong demand for detectors based on novel materials such as oxides, simple salts, silicates and plastics.

The report also shows that semiconductor detectors market needs new materials that are less expensive because materials for semiconductor detectors can cost ten times those for scintillation detectors.

Source: it.tmcnet.com
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Enformable - Today, 9:19 AM

Plutonium-239 released from Fukushima — 23,000 times higher than previously announced

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)'s daily press conference is ongoing (August 29). The NISA spokesman Moriyama mentions neptunium-239's conversion ratio to plutonium-239 as 1 to 1.

According to the June 6 estimate by the NISA:

Plutonium-239: 3.2×10^9

Neptunium-239: 7.6×10^13

So, now it is:

Plutonium-239: 7.6 x 10^13, or 76,000,000,000,000 or 76 terabecquerels
The amount of plutonium-239 has increased 23,000-fold.

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News - Kyodo News - Today, 8:48 AM

Despite Protest and Parents Fears Fukushima Schools To Reopen

(Reuters) - Greenpeace said on Monday that schools and surrounding areas located 60 km (38 miles) from Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear power plant were unsafe for children, showing radiation readings as much as 70 times internationally accepted levels.

The environmental group took samples at and near three schools in Fukushima city, well outside the 20 km exclusion zone from Tokyo Electric Power's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan's northeast.

Calling the Japanese Governments safety measures "deplorably late and inadequate," Greenpeace said it had found average dose rates above the maximum allowed under international standards, of 1 millisievert per year, or 0.11 microsievert per hour.

Japan's education ministry on Friday set a looser standard, allowing up to 1 microsievert per hour of radiation in schools.

Greenpeace said that inside a high school it tested, the reading was 0.5 microsievert per hour, breaching international standards even after the government's clean-up.

At a staircase connecting a school playground to the street, it found radiation amounting to 7.9 microsieverts per hour, or about 70 times the maximum allowed, exceeding even Japan's own standard.

Greenpeace urged the government to delay reopening the schools as planned on September 1 after the summer break and relocate children in the most affected cities until decontamination was complete.

Fukushima city dismissed Greenpeace's calls, saying the schools were safe under the government's norms.

"We're finished decontaminating the schools, and they no longer have high radiation levels," city official Yoshimasa Kanno said. He added that postponing the opening of more than 100 schools in the city based on Greenpeace's findings of "only three" would be unreasonable.

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@ColorMeRed - August 26, 12:40 PM

12 Nuclear Reactors on East Coast Brace for Possible Loss of Off-Site Power from Hurricane Irene's Wrath

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- More than a dozen nuclear reactors along the U.S. East Coast are being prepared for potential loss of power and damage from high winds and storm surges as Hurricane Irene bears down on the region....

Irene, a Category 3 hurricane, is on track to become the first major storm to strike the U.S. since Hurricane Ike in 2008, following a similar path to Gloria in 1985, which swept through New York City into New England.

The storm's winds pose a greater threat to the switch yards and power lines that support a nuclear plant than the reactors themselves, which sit beneath containment structures of steel- reinforced concrete, Alex Marion, vice president of nuclear operations for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group, said in an interview.

PJM Interconnection LLC, the grid operator that coordinates electricity transmission across much of the region in Irene's anticipated path, is preparing for power outages caused by storm winds and falling tree branches, Ray Dotter, PJM's spokesman.

Other plants, including Constellation Energy Group Inc.'s Calvert Cliffs facility in Maryland, and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.'s Hope Creek and Salem facilities in southern New Jersey are at risk of losing power from the electric grid, depending on the storm's path, he said.

"They're all at risk of a loss of off-site power," Riccio said. If that happens, diesel generators are supposed to automatically kick in.

Source: www.sfgate.com
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Google News search for Fukushima - August 26, 9:49 AM

Operational status of Japan's nuclear power plants as of August 26 2011

Aug 26 (Reuters) - The following table shows the operational status of Japan's
nuclear power plants.
Hokkaido Electric Power Co shut the 579 megawatt No.2 rector at its sole
Tomari nuclear plant on Aug. 26, as scheduled, for planned maintenance.

The shutdown brought the number of online reactors in Japan down to 13, with
capacity of 11,320 MW, meaning only 23 percent of the nation's total nuclear power
capacity are in use.
Japan, the world's third-biggest nuclear power user, currently has 54 reactors for
commercial use, with a total generating capacity of 48,960 megawatts.
In the table below, capacities are shown in megawatts. "P" represents a planned
regular inspection shutdown and "U" an unplanned shutdown.

Company Plant Unit MW Current status
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 1 460 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 2 784 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 3 784 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 4 784 P from Nov. 30, 2010
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 5 784 P from Jan 3, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daiichi 6 1,100 P from Aug. 14, 2010
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daini 1 1,100 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daini 2 1,100 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daini 3 1,100 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Fukushima-Daini 4 1,100 U from Mar. 11, 2011
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 1 1,100 P from Aug. 6, 2011
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 2 1,100 U from July 16, 2007
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 3 1,100 P from Sept 19, 2007
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 4 1,100 P from Feb. 11, 2008
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 5 1,100 On line from Nov 18, 2010
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 6 1,356 On line from Jan. 23, 2011
Tokyo Electric Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 7 1,356 P from Aug. 23, 2011
Kansai Electric Mihama 1 340 P from Nov. 24, 2010
Kansai Electric Mihama 2 500 On line from Oct. 23, 2010
Kansai Electric Mihama 3 826 P from May 14, 2011
Kansai Electric Ohi 1 1,175 U from July 16, 2011
Kansai Electric Ohi 2 1,175 On line from Oct. 21, 2010
Kansai Electric Ohi 3 1,180 P from Mar 18, 2011
Kansai Electric Ohi 4 1,180 P from July 22, 2011
Kansai Electric Takahama 1 826 P from Jan. 10, 2011
Kansai Electric Takahama 2 826 On line Sept. 29, 2010
Kansai Electric Takahama 3 870 On line from Dec. 22, 2010
Kansai Electric Takahama 4 870 P from July 21, 2011
Chubu Electric Hamaoka 3 1,100 P from Nov. 29, 2010
Chubu Electric Hamaoka 4 1,137 U from May 13, 2011
Chubu Electric Hamaoka 5 1,380 U from May 14, 2011
Tohoku Electric Onagawa 1 524 U from March 11, 2011
Tohoku Electric Onagawa 2 825 U from March 11, 2011
Tohoku Electric Onagawa 3 825 U from March 11, 2011
Tohoku Electric Higashidori 1 1,100 P from Feb. 6, 2011
Kyushu Electric Genkai 1 559 On line from Oct. 5, 2010
Kyushu Electric Genkai 2 559 P from Jan 29, 2011
Kyushu Electric Genkai 3 1,180 P from Dec. 11, 2010
Kyushu Electric Genkai 4 1,180 On line from Oct. 30, 2010
Kyushu Electric Sendai 1 890 P from May 10, 2011
Kyushu Electric Sendai 2 890 On line from July 5, 2010
Chugoku Electric Shimane 1 460 P from Nov 8, 2010
Chugoku Electric Shimane 2 820 On line from Dec 2, 2010
Shikoku Electric Ikata 1 566 On line from July 11, 2010
Shikoku Electric Ikata 2 566 On line from Nov. 12, 2010
Shikoku Electric Ikata 3 890 P from April 29, 2011
Hokkaido Electric Tomari 1 579 P from April 22, 2011
Hokkaido Electric Tomari 2 579 P from Aug. 26, 2011
Hokkaido Electric Tomari 3 912 On line from March 7, 2011
Hokuriku Electric Shika 1 540 U from March 1, 2011
Hokuriku Electric Shika 2 1,206 P from March 11, 2011
Japan Atomic Power Tokai Daini 1 1,100 P from May 21, 2011
Japan Atomic Power Tsuruga 1 357 P from Jan. 26, 2011
Japan Atomic Power Tsuruga 2 1,160 U from May 7, 2011

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Risa Maeda in Tokyo)

Source: af.reuters.com
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Enformable - August 25, 10:15 AM

Breaking News - North Anna To Go Into Cold Shutdown - So possible containment building damage can be inspected

Both reactors at the North Anna plant will be going into a cold shutdown this week, which changes the atmospheric conditions of the coolant system to make it safe for inspectors to walk through the containment structure and check for any quake damage.

Jim Norvelle, spokesman for plant operator Dominion Virginia Power, said Wednesday that the plant “will be shut down until it is safe to restart,” though he could not say when exactly that would be.

Coincidentally, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had scheduled for Wednesday the announcement of a new senior resident inspector for the North Anna plant. At least two resident inspectors are assigned to every U.S. nuclear plant, according to the NRC. Despite the timing of that release, the new inspector had been on site at North Anna for several weeks, and the announcement was unrelated to the earthquake, Ledford said.

Combine that with the initial reports that the earthquake caused some of the asbestos insulation around the some of the piping to come loose is significant because that insulation isn't just sort of lying around on top of the pipes, it is seriously glued into place. So for some of it to come loose means there was a whole lot of shaking going on.

So, a whole lot of shaking going on, combined with only one coolant pump per unit running (after a 24-hour [or more] down period), combined with going into cold shutdown. Add it up, folks. The damage at North Anna may have been quite serious.

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Enformable - August 25, 8:41 AM

More Questions Than Answers As North Anna Restart To Take Days

Tuesday's earthquake apparently shook small protective devices at the North Anna Power Station enough to shut down the plant's two nuclear reactors, officials said.

Dominion Virginia Power would not say exactly when it expects the reactors — representing nearly 13 percent of the state's electric generating capacity — will start producing power again, but it will likely take days, the company said.

Sequence of Events

1 - Relays are relatively small switches used to protect the electrical transformers from damaging overloads.  However, the relays' opening interrupted electrical circuits carrying power from off the site to run the two reactors' cooling systems. Loss of the power in turn tripped the reactors offline.

 

2 - Power to the reactors was off for about 10 seconds before backup diesel generators picked up the required electrical loads to run the reactors' critical cooling systems, said Dan Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations for Dominion.

Stoddard, during an interview at the North Anna plant site Wednesday,

 

3- Stoddard added that operators in the power station's control room were reaching for switches to manually shut down the reactors when the reactors automatically shut down.

Earlier Wednesday, the company ended its alert condition, the second to least serious of the four Nuclear Regulatory Commission classifications, after starting a reactor cooling pump for each of the two North Anna nuclear units.

The 980-megawatt reactors were cooled by natural circulation and four diesel-powered emergency pumps while the reactor coolant pumps were not running.

Questions

Many questions still abound, the most prominent is why did it take more than 24 hours to restart the coolant pumps?  Why did they only start one pump for each reactor?  

Tuesday's earthquake apparently shook small protective devices at the North Anna Power Station enough to shut down the plant's two nuclear reactors, officials said.

Is it possible that the "two small protective devices" were two reactor coolant pumps?

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Enformable - August 24, 10:45 AM

North Anna Nuclear Power Station Restores Off-Site Power - Still No Word On Restart of Reactor

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power's North Anna Power Station has restored off-site power, eliminating the need to rely on its back-up generators. The station remains in an Alert, the second lowest of the four emergency classifications of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The station's two nuclear reactors shut down following an earthquake near the station that occurred at 1:51 p.m. EDT today. The reactors shut down automatically and no damage has been reported to systems required to maintain the station in a safe condition. Several aftershocks felt in the region that occurred later today did not affect the station.

As designed, four diesel generators supplied power to the station while the off-site power was unavailable. One of the four generators was taken off-line to repair a generator coolant leak.

No release of radioactive material has occurred beyond those minor releases associated with normal station operations.

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Enformable - August 24, 8:49 AM

N.J. nuke plants report 'unusual event' after quake

LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK — Seismic activity resulting from this afternoon's 5.8 magnitude earthquake triggered an "unusual event" at Hope Creek and Salem Nuclear plants, a normal response to such an event, said Lt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police.
The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, which is run by Exelon, is currently operating at full power, said spokeswoman Suzanne D’Ambrosio. Plant operators are following “seismic procedures,” which include walking throughout the facility to confirm the earthquake did not damage equipment or affect operations.

Exelon declared "unusual events" at its Oyster Creek, Limerick, Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island Unit 1 plants, a classification that is the lowest of the four emergency classifications used in the U.S. nuclear power industry, she added.

Source: www.nj.com
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Reuters: Utilities - August 23, 5:40 PM

EDF's Penly reactor 2 in short unplanned outage due to turbine stoppage

Aug 23 (Reuters) - EDF stopped the 1,300-megawatt reactor 2 at its Penly nuclear plant on Tuesday in an unplanned outage, a spokesman at the plant said.

The outage was due to the stoppage of a turbine during a regular test, he said.

The reactor was being relaunched and was expected to reach full capacity later on Tuesday, he said.

According to the website of French grid operator RTE, the outage occurred at 0815 GMT.

Source: www.reuters.com
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Enformable - August 23, 12:40 PM

Fire Burns 128 Acres Including 35 Acres at INL - Testing ground for nuclear reactors

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Firefighters on Monday raced to contain a wildfire that had burned 128 acres west of a federal nuclear reactor complex in Idaho.
Part of the burn area covered about 35 acres on the northwest edge of the Idaho National Laboratory, an 890-square-mile Department of Energy nuclear research complex in the high desert of eastern Idaho, officials said.
The fire, burning in parched grasslands and sagebrush, was 10 miles west of an advanced nuclear test reactor, one of three active reactors at the lab, said facility spokesman Earl Johnson.
The wildfire posed "no known radiological hazard to the public," lab officials said in a statement.
Roughly 40 firefighters were battling the fire, which briefly closed a state highway and damaged utility poles.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Jerry Norton)

The federal research facility was established in 1949 as the "National Reactor Testing Station" (NRTS), and generated enriched nuclear fuel used in nuclear weapons, including bombs used in the Trinity test, and Japan bombings.

The Idaho site was for a short time named ERDA and then subsequently renamed to the "Idaho National Engineering Laboratory" (INEL) in 1977 with the creation of the Department of Energy (DOE) under President Carter. After two decades as INEL, the name was changed again to the "Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory" (INEEL) in 1997. Throughout its lifetime, there have been more than 50 one-of-a-kind nuclear reactors built at the facility for testing.

There have been over 25 meltdowns that have occured at INL, the most notorius was a explosion at Low Power Unit 1 (SL-1) where 3 workers were killed, and rescuers received extremely high doses of radiation.

One worker who was found alive by rescuers was transported via ambulance to be examined by a doctor, but passed away en route.  The nurse who was riding with the stricken worker was exposed to high radiation levels, and suffered from symptoms of acute radiation exposure.

Source: www.reuters.com
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Nuclear Power News: Tennessee Nuclear Power News - August 23, 9:55 AM

TVA bans 'zombies' as it weighs decision to complete long-shuttered nuclear plant

CHATTANOOGA -- The Tennessee Valley Authority has a message for opponents of its long-shuttered, 37-year-old nuclear plant in northeast Alabama: No costumes.

"We don't know where zombies will turn up," Kurtz said of the new costume rule.

Last month, anti-nuclear protesters dressed as zombies marched at the TVA building in Chattanooga, Tenn., in opposition to the Bellefonte plant. TVA has banned costumes for its board meeting Thursday.

A month after zombie-costumed protesters paraded in Chattanooga to oppose TVA reviving what they described as a "corpse of a power plant," the nation's largest public utility has posted a new ban on costumes at its board meeting Thursday.

A TVA spokesman said the no-costume rule is intended to avoid any "disruption" at the meeting in Knoxville when the board acts on a recommendation to finish construction of a reactor at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant where work was stopped and the site became a pricey scrap yard.

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