Australian news, and some related international items

Weapons-grade plutonium secretly sent from South Carolina to Nevada removed early

The Nevada site was used to conduct nuclear weapons testing from 1945 to 1992. Press, September 17, 2022, CARSON CITY, Nev — Weapons-grade plutonium that secretly was sent to Nevada over objections from the state has been removed ahead of schedule, federal officials said.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement that she was notified by the National Nuclear Security Administration late Friday that the plutonium had been removed. The work that started last year had been expected to wrap up by the end of 2026.

The U.S. Energy Department under former President Donald Trump had planned to ship a full metric ton (2,204 pounds) of plutonium to Nevada from South Carolina, where a federal judge ordered the material be removed from a Savannah River site.

Nevada had argued in a lawsuit that the clandestine shipment of half a metric ton (1,100 pounds) of plutonium to the vast Nevada National Security Site — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island — in 2018 amounted to a “secret plutonium smuggling operation.” The U.S. government argued it kept the shipment secret because of national security concerns.

The Nevada site was used to conduct nuclear weapons testing from 1945 to 1992.

The legal battle ended in mid-2020 after the federal government agreed to remove the highly radioactive material already trucked to Nevada and abandon any future plans to send more.

The material now is held at a site in New Mexico, a congressional aide told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Walk held to protest storing nuclear waste in Northwest

The group of over 50 people gathered outside MP Patty Hajdu’s office before their walk and shared their concerns over the possible storage of nuclear waste in the region Staff, 18 Sept 22

THUNDER BAY – Nuclear Free Thunder Bay held a walk on Saturday in solidarity of other walks happening in Northwestern Ontario throughout September to protest the transport and burial of nuclear waste in the north.  

The group of over 50 people gathered outside Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Hajdu’s office before their walk and shared their concerns over the possible storage of nuclear waste in the region. 

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization currently has two potential siting areas the Municipality of South Bruce in southern Ontario and The Township of Ignace in northwestern Ontario. 

The site selected will then be home of Canada’s deep geological repository where nearly 5.5 million spent nuclear fuel bundles from across Canada will be shipped to and then stored. 

“We are opposed to it largely because there are all kinds of weaknesses with the DGR and no one can predict over the next hundred-thousands of years how safe it’s going to be for your next generation and generations to come,” said Dodie Legassick, co-organizer of the walk. 

“And we’re also opposed because it is a real transportation issue. There’s going to be two to three truckloads carrying UFTPs (Used Fuel Transportation Packages) per day for 45 to 50 years and there are going to be super loads in addition to that and they want to bring in.” 

Charles Faust, co-organizer, says that they’re also concerned with the lack of transparency from the NWMO. 

“We have major concerns with the citing process that they’ve undertaken. Which is, as I said, not a legislative or regulatory requirement,” he said. “It’s a public relations exercise, where they are looking for an impoverished community like Ignace to accept them as a willing host for this project.” 

The walk ended at the office of Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois’ to petition the Ontario Government to adopt the proximity principle which advocates that waste should be disposed of (or otherwise managed) close to the point at which it is generated. 

“We’ve got a petition out that we’ve that we’re getting signed to present to the Legislature of Ontario,” said Faust. “So, we’re asking people to get involved, to tell their friends, to tell her family to walk with us, to take a sign and to write letters to the editor and basically to spread the word.”

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France Urges Brussels To Label Nuclear-Produced Hydrogen “Green”

   EurActiv , By  Paul Messad, French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher is trying to get EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson to include nuclear among energy sources for the production of so-called “green” hydrogen, according to a letter seen by EURACTIV France………………..

 according to the French minister, the current rules leave little room for the production of green hydrogen from “low-carbon” electricity, mostly nuclear power.

Given “the absolute priority of the next decade for hydrogen, […] the only important issue is the carbon content of the hydrogen produced and not the production vector,” Pannier-Runacher wrote to the European Commissioner…………………………….

France riding solo

The pro-nuclear position of the French when it comes to green hydrogen is not entirely shared by the industry.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, which represents the interests of the industry in 25 EU countries, said the letter is proof that France is “going solo” on nuclear and putting itself in a “dangerous insular position”………

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France sends reprocessed nuclear fuel to Japan, despite environmental and safety dangers CHERBOURG, France 18 Sept 22

Two ships carrying reprocessed nuclear fuel destined for Japan set sail Saturday morning from northern France, an AFP photographer said, despite criticism from environmental campaigners.

The fuel was due to leave the northern French port city of Cherbourg earlier this month but was delayed by the breakdown of loading equipment.

Environmental activists have denounced the practice of transporting such highly radioactive materials, calling it irresponsible.

The previous transport of MOX fuel to Japan in September 2021 drew protests from environmental group Greenpeace.

MOX fuel is a mixture of reprocessed plutonium and uranium.

“The Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret, the specialised ships belonging to British company PNTL, left Cherbourg harbor on September 17. They will ensure the shipment of MOX nuclear fuel to Japan,” French nuclear technology group Orano said in a statement Saturday.

They are bound for Japan for use in a power plant and Orano said it expected the shipment to arrive in November.

Japan lacks facilities to process waste from its own nuclear reactors and sends most of it overseas, particularly to France.

The operation was carried out “successfully”, Orano said, and it is the second shipment that arrived in Cherbourg from a plant in La Hague, located 20 kilometers away, after the first came on September 7.

Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France previously denounced the shipment.

“Transporting such dangerous materials from a nuclear proliferation point of view is completely irresponsible,” he said last month.

MOX is composed of 92 percent uranium oxide and eight percent plutonium oxide, according to Orano.

The plutonium “is not the same as that used by the military,” it said.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France’s problems with nuclear power now causing electricity shortage in Britain, too

More than half of France’s 56 nuclear reactors are offline due to issues
around corrosion. That has left their owner, EDF, struggling to generate
enough electricity to meet the nation’s needs.

Last week it warned it
would take a €29 billion hit as production from nuclear power dipped to a
30-year low. EDF has indicated it wants to get its reactors back online by
the winter, but the problems have raised fears not just for France’s
energy supply, but the UK, which typically imports a chunk of its energy
via undersea cables called interconnectors.

 Times 18th Sept 2022

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EDF contractors relax radiation exposure limits to speed up reactor repairs

By Benjamin Mallet – Friday 16 Sept 22, PARIS (Reuters)– Some contractors helping French power giant EDF to inspect and repair its corrosion-hit nuclear reactors are planning to relax their rules on radiation exposure limits so that their workers can spend more time on the job, EDF told Reuters.

The company, which is rushing to get its fleet of nuclear powerstations ready for the winter, said the new threshold was in line with its own standards and remained well below French legal limits.

“We have been informed by some of our partners that they expect to increase the radiation exposure limit for some of their staff,” EDF said in emailed comments on Friday, responding to a Reuters query.

“The activities currently underway at our plants lead to a higher number of hours worked in the nuclear part of our sites. This additional activity had not been foreseen by our partners when they set their radiation limits,” the company said.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the repair works told Reuters that at least one EDF contractor, French company Monteiro, had already increased the maximum exposure its workers could be subject to, adding this posed no health risk.

A Monteiro spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

The sources said the changes to the safety guidance illustrated how EDF was racing against the clock to restart 15 reactors taken offline last winter after the emergence of stress corrosion at some plants.

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September 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment