Thursday, 19 April 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bulgaria Decides to Build New Unit at Kozloduy

The process to build a new reactor at Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant has started with an agreement in principle to go ahead with the project from the country's cabinet. The move comes two weeks after the government scrapped plans for a new plant at Belene.

Kozloduy's two operating units (Image: Kozloduy NPP)

Ministers formally agreed to authorise the country's minister of economy and energy to submit a report to the Council of Ministers on the merits and legalities of the project. Construction cannot begin until the necessary licences and permits are obtained under national and European Union law.

The announcement follows a recent government decision not to go ahead with the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Belene. Instead, the government decided that a more realistic option would be to build the unit at the existing Kozloduy site, where two Russian-designed VVER-1000 units are already in operation.

The new reactor would be Kozloduy's seventh unit. Kozloduy's first four reactors were closed down as a condition of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union and are now being decommissioned.

Preliminary site works had already begun and long-lead component contracts been placed by Russian supplier AtomStroyExport for the first of two 1060 MWe AES-92 pressurised water reactors at Belene when the government decided to drop the project. Belene had long been fraught with financing problems, following the withdrawal of German strategic investor RWE Power in 2009 and government reluctance to take a stake of 51% in the project as originally envisaged. The Bulgarian and Russian parties have been in negotiations over payments for work done to date, and Bulgaria has agreed to pay for the hardware that has already been manufactured, which will now be used at the new Kozloduy unit.

Prior to the cabinet decision, energy and economy minister Delian Dobrev confirmed that the seventh Kozloduy unit would not be state-funded and that a strategic investor would have to be found. A project company for the new reactor would not be likely to be formed until late in 2012 or early in 2013, he said, noting that a strategic investor would be unlikely to be found until extensive preparations - including environmental and geological studies plus licensing activities - were completed.

By World Nuclear News, 12 April 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

New Reactor Begins Operation In China

A new 650-MW reactor PWR began commercial operation in China April 8, 60 days ahead of schedule, plant owner China National Nuclear Corp.

A new 650-MW reactor PWR began commercial operation in China April 8, 60 days ahead of schedule, plant owner China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) said. The construction of this reactor began in January 2007.

The unit, Qinshan II-4, uses China's indigenous technology CNP-600 and is the seventh unit at the , located in Zhejiang (east coast). Qinshan II has four units totaling 2,600 MW, according to CNNC.

Qinshan II-1, 2 and 3 are also CNP-600 reactors, which are scaled-up versions of the CNP-300 used for Qinshan I. CNP-300 was China's first indigenously designed nuclear reactor. Qinshan III has two operating heavy water reactors provided by the Atomic Energy of Canada.

Nowadays, China has 26 reactors under construction and 16 units in operation.

China's Qinshan nuclear power station includes two CANDU 6 reactors that were built on schedule and under budget. About 10 per cent of the world's more than 440 nuclear reactors are CANDUs.

By Foro Nuclear, 11 April 2012

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

EVENT Scale - Level 1-7

INES – The international nuclear and radiological event scale The INES Scale is a worldwide tool for communicating to the public in a consistent way the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events.

Just like information on earthquakes or temperature would be difficult to understand without the Richter or Celsius scales, the INES Scale explains the significance of events from a range of activities, including industrial and medical use of radiation sources, operations at nuclear facilities and transport of radioactive material. Events are classified on the scale at seven levels: Levels 1–3 are called “incidents” and Levels 4–7 “accidents”. The scale is designed so that the severity of an event is about ten times greater for each increase in level on the scale. Events without safety significance are called “deviations” and are classified Below Scale / Level 0.
INES Nuclear Even Level Scale

INES classifies nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents by considering three areas of impact:
People and the Environment considers the radiation doses to people close to the location of the event and the widespread, unplanned release of radioactive material from an installation.
Radiological Barriers and Control covers events without any direct impact on people or the environment and only applies inside major facilities. It covers unplanned high radiation levels and spread of significant quantities of radioactive materials confined within the installation.
Defence-in-Depth also covers events without any direct impact on people or the environment, but for which the range of measures put in place to prevent accidents did not function as intended.

Communicating Events
Nuclear and radiological events are promptly communicated by the INES Member States, otherwise a confused understanding of the event may occur from media or from public speculation. In some situations, where not all the details of the event are known early on, a provisional rating may be issued. Later, a final rating is determined and any differences explained.
To facilitate international communications for events attracting wider interest, the IAEA maintains a web-based communications network that allows details of the event to immediately be made publicly available.
The two tables that follow show selected examples of historic events rated using the INES scale, ranging from a Level 1 anomaly to a Level 7 major accident; a much wider range of examples showing the rating methodology is provided in the INES Manual.

Scope of the Scale
INES applies to any event associated with the transport, storage and use of radioactive material and radiation sources, whether or not the event occurs at a facility. It covers a wide spectrum of practices, including industrial use such as radiography, use of radiation sources in hospitals, activity at nuclear facilities, and transport of radioactive material.
It also includes the loss or theft of radioactive sources or packages and the discovery of orphan sources, such as sources inadvertently transferred into the scrap metal trade.
When a device is used for medical purposes (e.g., radiodiagnosis or radiotherapy), INES is used for the rating of events resulting in actual exposure of workers and the public, or involving degradation of the device or deficiencies in the safety provisions.
Currently, the scale does not cover the actual or potential consequences for patients exposed as part of a medical procedure. The scale is only intended for use in civil (non-military) applications and only relates to the safety aspects of an event. INES is not intended for use in rating security-related events or malicious acts to deliberately expose people to radiation.

What the Scale is Not For
It is not appropriate to use INES to compare safety performance between facilities, organizations or countries. The statistically small numbers of events at Level 2 and above and the differences between countries for reporting more minor events to the public make it inappropriate to draw international comparisons.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Incident at French Penly-2 Nuclear Power Plant Classified INES Level-1

French nuclear safety authority (ASN) has classified a small fire and a leak in the reactor building of unit 2 at the Penly nuclear power station a level-1 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).

Smoke detectors released a fire alarm in the compartment of one of the four main reactor circulation pumps of the PWR unit 2 at Electricité de France's (EDF) Penly nuclear power site with two 1.300-megawatt pressurized reactor units at the French north-coast.

The operator declared a site alarm and informed local and national authorities. The fire brigade managed to locate the source of the fire and extinguish it successfully. The source was spilled lubrication oil of the main pump according to a provisional report by Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN).

Follow-up investigation by the operator showed that a bearing had lost oil and overheated. The pump damage released a reactor scram. Further investigation showed the pump was leaking and radioactive primary coolant liquid flew into the collection receptacle of the unit. EDF decided to depressurize and cool down the unit. This measure stopped the leakage.

According to EDF, no persons were injured, no radionuclides were released outside the reactor building, the cooling of the reactor core was permanently ensured and it is a safe state. Operation of Penly-1 continues. ASN was informed on the leak and has classified the event as an "anomaly" on level 1 of the INES.
By Foro Nuclear, 9 April 2012

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?

This interesting video below is a debate on whether the world needs nuclear energy or not. Watch this and decide for yourself...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Bill Gates Sees Future in Nuclear Energy

Bill Gates says he in investing in Generation IV nuclear power plants through Terra Power, which he says would be safer and more efficient than modern nuclear reactors. The first of such plants could come online in 2022 he tells Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray at the 2012 ''ECO:nomics conference''.

TerraPower is a nuclear reactor design spin-off company of Intellectual Ventures that is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington in theUnited States. TerraPower is investigating a class of nuclear fast reactors called the traveling wave reactor (TWR). One of TerraPower's primary investors is Bill Gates. In December 2011 India's Reliance Industries bought a minority stake through one of its subsidiaries. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani will join the company's board.Where as standard light water reactors such as PWRs or BWRs running worldwide use enriched uranium as fuel and need fuel reloads every few years, TWRs, once started, use depleted uranium instead and are considered to be able to operate for between 40 to 60 years without fuel reloading.

TerraPower has chosen TWRs as a technology for further development. The major benefits of these reactors are that they can get high fuel utilization (enhancing sustainability) in a manner that does not require reprocessing and could eventually eliminate the need to enrich uranium TWRs are designed to convert typically unusable fertile nuclides such as U-238 into fissile nuclides like Pu-239 in-situ and then shift the power from the highly-burned region to the freshly bred region. This allows the benefits of a closed fuel cycle without the expensive and proliferation-sensitive enrichment and reprocessing plants typically required to get them. All the fuel required for between 40 to 60 years of operation could be in the reactor from the beginning. TerraPower plans to have a TWR prototype built by 2020 producing electricity for the grid in the several-hundred megawatt capacity range.

Thorium Lasers Could Make Nuclear Cars A Reality

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Action Against Lynas Plant Premature

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has set April 12 to decide on a preliminary objection by the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the application for leave by local residents over the Lynas plant in Pahang.

Yesterday, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Rohana Yusuf set the date after hearing lengthy submissions by parties.

Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and SFC Noor Hisham Ismail acted for the A-G’s Chambers and Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) while Datuk Dominic Puthucheary represented Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Lead counsel Tommy Thomas and lawyer K. Shanmuga appeared for 10 local residents.

SFC Suzana submitted yesterday that local residents should have appealed to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and that a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has been set up to look into the Lynas plant

SFC Noor Hisham argued that AELB director-general Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan has affirmed in an affidavit that the Lynas plant still cannot be operated.

Dominic submitted that nothing had been done by AELB to allow Lynas Malaysia to operate the plant, adding that the application is premature.

Tommy argued that the local residents still could bring the matter to the court for its consideration.

The residents filed the application on Feb 17 to challenge the AELB’s decision to grant Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd a temporary operation license (TOL) and named AELB, the director-general of Environment Quality and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd as respondents.

The applicants are asking for leave to quash AELB’s Jan 30 decision to grant the TOL.

In Kuantan, Lynas Corp president Eric Noyrez said the issue of a permanent disposal facility site for its rare earth refinery would be irrelevant as all the residue produced would be recycled.

He said the three residue streams would be turned into economically viable products such as hardcore base for roads, plaster boards and fertilisers.

“We have no intention to dump the waste as we see money in it and have developed the technology to turn it into saleable items,” said Noyrez during a media briefing at the plant in Gebeng here on Tuesday.

- Taken from The Star dated 5th April 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Nuclear UAV Drones Could Fly For Months At A Time!

By James Holloway

06:38 April 3, 2012

Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.

A General Atomics MQ-9 (a.k.a Predator B, Reaper or Guardian) UAV drone's flight duration could be extended from days to months with the addition of a nuclear power source according to recent military research.

The word nuclear appears nowhere in the project summary obtained and published by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), but there are numerous indications that this was indeed the prime power source under investigation. Though the project summary euphemistically refers to a focus on "power technologies that went well beyond existing hydrocarbon technologies," the FAS identifies words such as "safeguards," "decommissioning and disposal," and "political conditions" that prevent such technology seeing the light of day (for now, at any rate) which seem to strongly suggest the examination of nuclear technology.

Further, Dr. Steven B. Dron, who was the project's lead investigator at Sandia is, as the FAS puts it, a "specialist in nuclear propulsion," who co-chaired a session titled Non-nuclear testing in support of nuclear thermal propulsion development at the 25th Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion in 2008.

With the usage of UAV drones, the US Air Force could carry out dangerous and risky  tasks without harming their troops. 

In a response to the FAS story, Sandia does not flatly deny the investigation of nuclear propulsion systems for unmanned drones, but does stress the preliminary nature of the study. "Sandia is often asked to look at a wide range of solutions to the toughest technical challenges," it told the FAS. "The research on this topic was highly theoretical and very conceptual. The work only resulted in a preliminary feasibility study and no hardware was ever built or tested. The project has ended."

However, the summary does make clear that UAVs fitted with "alternative" power sources would "be able to provide far more surveillance time and intelligence information per mission," and that the "technical goals for the project were accomplished."

The report suggests that only political will swayed by public opinion stands in the way of nuclear-powered drones. "Unfortunately, none of the results will be used in the near-term or mid-term future," it says, adding that "political realities would not allow use of the results."

In its interpretation of the report the UK's Guardian asserts that opposition would stem from "the inherent dangers of either a crash - in effect turning the drone into a so-called dirty bomb - or of its nuclear propulsion system falling into the hands of terrorists or unfriendly powers." However, the anticipated political objection could additionally stem from ethical objections to the idea of what effectively amounts to a permanent surveillance presence (with potential strike capability) over foreign territories.

Taken from