Australian news, and some related international items

France’s nuclear giant EDF plans a whopping radioactive garbage pool

EDF plans to build a giant nuclear garbage pool in Belleville-sur-Loire instead of stopping producing unmanageable waste! release of February 13, 2018

On February 13, 2018, the Reporterre site revealed the new EDF project. In view of the prolongation of the operation of nuclear reactors and to unclog the four basins of the La Hague plant where used fuel is stored, the electrical firm wants to build a giant new “pool of deactivation” near the Belleville plant -sur-Loire (Cher). We strongly condemn this imposed, dangerous and expensive project. Rather than create a new trash, EDF must turn off the tap and dry up the production of unmanageable radioactive waste!

In France, spent fuel is stored in “deactivation pools” for the time needed to cool them (between 3 and 5 years). If each nuclear power plant has its own pool adjoining the reactor building, the La Hague plant (Manche) hosts 4 pools in which are immersed more than 10,000 tons of spent fuel, representing a hundred reactor cores waiting for a improbable “reprocessing”. Supposedly temporary, storage in these pools has been going on for 40 years. Consequences: the pools are full and the space is running out. Instead of starting a decline in spent fuel stocks by stopping the production of electricity from nuclear power, EDF is stubborn and plans to build an additional pool in Belleville-sur-Loire. But the experience of La Hague shows that the use of these pools goes hand in hand with disproportionate risks.

Vulnerable pools and potentially dramatic accidents The 4 cooling pools at the La Hague plant concentrate the largest volume of radioactivity in Europe. Belleville-sur-Loire could soon compete with this facility. Oversized, the giant basin that EDF plans to build in Belleville-sur-Loire could accommodate up to 8,000 tons of spent fuel, the equivalent of 93 cores of reactors.

This project is all the more worrying because EDF is never very concerned about the protection of the reactor deactivation pools it operates. Will the centralized Belleville pool be protected as recommended by nuclear safety authorities around the world since Fukushima? Nobody can say it. And the risk increases even if EDF chooses not to bunkerize the building that contains the pool, as is the case at the Orano factory in La Hague, where the basins are protected by a vulgar tin roof … But even with a concrete hull, in the event of an accident, the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere would be incommensurate with the releases resulting from an accident in the core of a reactor: to concentrate in the same place such a quantity of radioactive material has intrinsic risks. And what about the dangers of transporting such large quantities of radioactive waste across France?The Belleville-sur-Loire swimming pool project poses even more safety problems because it is supposed to house the assemblies of MOX – a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides – a particular fuel that, when it is used, releases much more radioactivity than “normal” uranium assemblages. And since MOX can not be reprocessed or reused, temporary storage in this pool could well become permanent storage. Finally, in normal operation, these pools are allowed to reject radioactivity. If a new bin of this kind were built, dangerous radioelements like tritium or krypton 85 would inevitably end up in the environment.An opaque and expensive projectEDF led this project with complete opacity. At the time Greenpeace submitted a report that points to the fragility and dangerousness of the 62 cooling pools scattered over the hex, EDF plans to build a 63rd, size XXL. Discussed on the sly, well protected from democratic choices and far from energy issues, the project was kept secret by EDF. Once again, citizens and residents of the region are faced with a fait accompli. Still, the idea is in the pipes for a long time. Urged by ASN – which invited it in 2013 to “revise its spent fuel management and storage strategy, by proposing new storage methods” – EDF, to comply with the National Plan management of radioactive materials and waste, once again chose the worst option.For EDF and the promoters of the atom, the construction of such an installation is only one way of guaranteeing new outlets for a declining nuclear industry and of claiming to ensure the management of spent fuel for a new period. . The “Sortir du nucléaire” Network strongly denounces this project and, alongside the associations of the region, will resolutely oppose its implementation. In no case this pool is a “solution” to the problem of the accumulation of radioactive waste. In order not to generate new risks and to put the costs of a disproportionate installation on the citizens, the only solution is to dry up the production of this unmanageable waste. Press contacts: Martial CHATEAU: 06 45 30 74 66 Catherine FUMÉ: 06 62 84 13 88

February 16, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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