Nuclear Facility dangers abound during severe Earth Changes

Nuclear plant in Taiwan catches fire

Nuclear plant in Taiwan catches fire
A loud noise was heard at midnight around the plant as the turbine released steam into the sky during the process, Taipower said. (Representative Photo)
BEIJING: Taiwan has shut down two reactors after a fire broke out at a nuclear power station in southern Taiwan shortly before midnight on Sunday.
The incident has caused no radioactive leak and no personnel have needed to be evacuated, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said in a statement on its website. 

The fire began inside an auxiliary electrical transformer at the Third Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County, setting off an alarm at 11:58pm, Taipower said. It was put out by the plant's own firefighters within 17 minutes of its occurance, it said. 

A loud noise was heard at midnight around the plant as the turbine released steam into the sky during the process, Taipower said. 

Taipower said preliminary investigations suggest that it will take two weeks to get the second reactor operational again. The transformer, which was one of a number of devices supplying electricity to the plant, has been damaged due to short circuit. 

The accident is expected to affect China's ambitious plans that include launching eight new nuclear power plants this year besides granting approvals for another set of six new plants. The government aims to build capabilities for producing 30,000 megawatts by 2020. 

Chinese nuclear experts have argued that the country has the best safety standards in place after the government recently lifted the ban on new plants, which was imposed after Japan's Fukushima accident in 2011. 

Giving details of the accident, Taipower said that another reactor in the affected plant, the No. 1 reactor is unaffected. 

The second reactor, which has a electricity generating capacity of 951 megawatts, has been in operation since May 1985. 

Taiwan has three nuclear power plants in operation and another one under construction. There has been much public debate about whether the island should become a nuclear power-free society, particularly in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

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Egypt nuclear reactor in Cairo to begin June 21st and is already having problems, leaking radiocative materials.  Employees were forbidden to speak of the problems the facility is having.  It's a go.......... to open.views">

Uploaded by NibiruMagick2012 on Jun 6, 2011

The Anshas nuclear reactor, located on the outskirts of Cairo, has leaked ten cubic meters of radioactive water for the second time in a year, according to Samer Mekheimar, the former director of the Nuclear Research Center's atomic reactions department. Mekheimar submitted a note to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, saying the leakage took place on 25 May as a result of operating the reactor without taking into account safety precautions. He also said the Atomic Energy Agency kept the incident secret and threatened to fire the staff if they talked about it. "The fact that the reactor was by mere chance not operated the next day saved the area from environmental disaster," he wrote. "All ministries were changed after the revolution, except the Ministry of Electricity and Energy," he added. "It still kept the same minister and his deputies from the dissolved ruling party." Meanwhile, sources at the Nuclear Safety Authority said they were denied entry to the reactor to conduct an inspection. Director of the Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed al-Kolaly, said that levels of radiation inside the reactor are normal, and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has praised the reactor

Egypt nuclear reactor to begin operation this month
Saturday Jun 4, 2011 - 17:06

Fort Calhoun, NE -- OPPD declares notification of unusual event at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station.

Neb. nuke plant declares emergency due to flooding

ZetaTalk: Nuclear Reactor Accidents

Written November 27, 2010

Perhaps that we can expect incidents at nuclear stations during the 7 of 10 events, i.e. in SE Asia on achievement of a 7/10, in the west and the north of the S America during its roll, during rupture of the New Madrid fault line, in the western Europe during a tsunami? I assume that earthquakes and tsunami can present some problems on nuclear pollution even before the pole shift. Any comments of the Zetas?

After the Chernobyl disasters it is understandable that mankind is nervous about the coming pole shift and the potential of nuclear disasters in their nearby power stations. We have encouraged all to contact the operators of these facilities, and advise them of the coming disasters, encouraging them to shut down the facilities at the first sign of major quakes and the like. We have explained that to a certain extent we, as benign aliens under the control of the Council of Worlds, can step in and remove the explosive potential from these power stations, as we have from nuclear bombs held by the US, by Russia, and by other nations. In a shutdown procedure, bolts that inhibit the nuclear reaction are dropped between the reactor rods, stopping the nuclear reaction cold. This is a simplistic explanation, as the power plant controls run on electricity which can surge or fail, thus interfering with a shutdown. Such electrical surges or failure, happening during a shutdown, has been associated with nuclear accidents at Chernobyl, and SL-1 for example. As the hosing from the magnetic tail of Planet X continues to waft over the Earth, such surge and brownout can be expected. We predict that many nuclear power plants will be shut down, permanently, during the Earth changes leading into the pole shift, due to a combination of earthquake threats or damage and electrical surge and brownout. The grid will, in any case, be down after the pole shift, so this is only an early loss. As to flooding of reactors during the Earth changes or the pole shift tides, other than interfering with the electrical controls, this does not create, in and of itself, a disaster. Water is used to cool the reactor rods. It is the absence of water, due to the pumps being inoperable, that is a problem.

All rights reserved:

ZetaTalk: Nuclear Call
written February 4, 2012

The issue of whether benign alien assistance will come during disasters, neutralizing nuclear facilities, comes up often, understandably. Those who currently live near nuclear facilities worry constantly about sudden earthquakes or operator neglect, which can cause a meltdown with consequent radiation pollution far and wide. Fukushima is the latest example. As the earthquakes are on the increase, and the 7 of 10 scenarios about to afflict those countries which have utilized nuclear power extensively, this concern will only increase.

The answer in these matters, which we have repeatedly explained, is first that the Element of Doubt must be maintained. This is an aspect of the gradual awakening of mankind to the alien presence that ensures that contactees will not be savaged by those in panic, fearing for their lives. In the past, the establishment - MJ12 composed of the CIA, military intelligence, and the very wealthy - withheld information on their preliminary contact with aliens. Where they claimed they were saving the public from panic, this move was self serving as they wanted alien technology for themselves, and also did not want to be knocked from their perch in the eyes of the public.

Rather than reassure the public about the alien presence, the old MJ12 deliberately moved to foster fear in the public. Hollywood has been enlisted to produce a stream of movies showing aliens landing to eat people, colonize the Earth, and infect and takeover human bodies and minds. The old MJ12 likewise harassed and monitored contactees, to control the plethora of books and videos being produced by enthusiastic contactees. The Element of Doubt at base is to protect the growing army of contactees, whom the establishment fears. What it their threat? That they challenge the legitimacy of the establishment to lead, creating a secret network, an information exchange taking place on space ships among contactees, which the establishment is powerless to stop.

Enter the nuclear power plant issue, which is a legitimate concern even among those in the establishment. As the pace of the Earth changes has picked up, our answers have moved from being vague in 2008, stressing that this is in the hands of man, to hinting by 2010 that the collective Call from many in the Service-to-Other would make a difference and that alien interference would be allowed, to admitting after Fukushima in 2011 that some interference had occurred.

Has the degree of concern from Service-to-Other souls on Earth, giving a collective Call on this matter, made a difference? Unquestionably. From the start of ZetaTalk we have stressed that matters such as a healing only take place as a result of a Service-to-Other call. Those who Call for themselves, out of self interest, are ignored. The collective Call out of concern for others, made by those in the Service-to-Other on Earth, have and will make a difference on the nuclear power plant issue.

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 15, 2020 at 3:55am

Georgia Nuclear Plant Sinking, Critics Charge; Legal Action Filed

See the May 12, 2020, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) press release, and intervention petition/hearing request submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A quote in the press release concisely sums up the high risks: "Vogtle has finally admitted that the sheer weight of the nuclear island building is causing it to sink into the red Georgia clay," said Arnold Gundersen, an independent nuclear power plant engineer who provided analysis of the structural problems at Vogtle's Unit 3. He added, "It is figuratively and literally sinking under its own weight. Islands are not supposed to sink." A two-reactor nuclear power plant in Michigan -- Midland -- was blocked due to safety-significant building sinking into the ground; billions of dollars were wasted. Likewise, Vogtle 3 & 4, the only new reactors under construction in the U.S., are putting $12 billion of U.S. taxpayer money (in the form of nuclear loan guarantees) at risk, as well as many billions of dollars in Georgia ratepayer involuntarily "investment" at risk, as well. As mentioned in the Fermi-2/Covid-19 entry in today's bulletin, Vogtle nuclear power plant is also suffering one of the worst currently known coronavirus outbreaks at any nuclear power plant in the country.

BREDL's is not the only intervention against Vogtle's new build start up. On April 20, 2020, Nuclear Watch South announced the filing of a petition to block nuclear fuel loading into Vogtle Unit 3, due to widespread, alarming QA (quality assurance) violations involving safety-significant reactor-related ITAAC (inspections, tests, analysis and acceptance criteria). See the Nuclear Watch South press release and petition, here. (See photo, above right: Vogtle Units 3 (left) and 4, July 30, 2015. After around eight years of construction, both units are several long years behind schedule, and many billions of dollars over budget. Photo by High Flyer, special to Savannah River Site Watch.)

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 3, 2020 at 2:09am

SC earthquake strikes a mile from nuclear plant outside Columbia 

May 02, 2020 01:04 PM

An earthquake took place Friday about a mile from the V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant in Fairfield County, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The agency’s maps showed the epicenter of the quake was in Lake Monticello, also known as the Monticello Reservoir, near Jenkinsville, which is about 30 miles north of Columbia. The V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant is located on the southern edge of Lake Monticello, which supplies the plant with water. The epicenter of the quake was approximately 5000 feet from the nuclear plant, according to maps.
The quake reached 2.0 magnitude, which is considered a minor earthquake; at that magnitude, a slight shaking of the earth or a tremor inside a house might have been felt by people near the center of the quake.

But it’s unlikely that many people felt the earthquake — for the most part quakes that register 2.5 magnitude or less go unnoticed and are only recorded by a seismograph, according to Michigan Technological University. Any quake less than 5.5 magnitude is not likely to cause significant damage, according to the university.

Anyone who did feel the quake can report it to the United States Geological Survey.
The Monticello Reservoir was completed in 1978 by South Carolina Electric & Gas to supply water to cool the reactors in the nuclear energy plant, which began operating in 1984. Construction of two other nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer site was halted in 2017 after rising costs that eventually led to SCE&G being bought by Dominion Energy, which now owns the nuclear plant.
Lake Monticello Park is located on the southeastern shores of the reservoir.
South Carolina has about 10 to 15 earthquakes a year, according to the state’s Emergency Management Division.
In April a 2.3 magnitude earthquake was reported outside Rock Hill, according to a geological survey. In March a 2.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded near Charleston — and in January two earthquakes hit in Kershaw and Lexington counties.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 10, 2020 at 11:43pm

April 10 2020

Water leak shuts down one of two nuclear reactors at North Anna Power Station

Dominion Energy has shut down one of its two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station after operators discovered what a spokesman for the company called a "small leak of water" in the reactor’s coolant pumps.
Unit 2 at the plant in Louisa County was shut down at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday and remained offline on Friday afternoon. Unit 1 was unaffected and was still operating at 100 percent capacity on Friday.
The water leak was about 0.1 gallons per minute at the time the unit was shut down, said Ken Holt, a spokesman for Dominion.

“The water from the leak was contained in the containment building and did not go into the environment,” Holt said. “The source has been identified and repairs are underway. All the systems operated as designed during the shutdown and the reactor is currently offline and stable while repairs are being made.”
Richmond-based Dominion operates twin 980-megawatt nuclear reactors at the 1,043-acre North Anna Power Station. Each unit can produce enough energy for about 225,000 homes, but the company can pull power from other sources when a unit is down.
Dominion previously shut down Unit 2 at the plant because of a water leak in December 2017.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 9, 2020 at 5:50pm

FLAMING HELL Chernobyl forest fires release ‘locked radiation’ causing spike ’16 times higher than normal’

8 Apr 2020, 10:17Updated: 8 Apr 2020, 10:17

FOREST FIRES near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have reportedly pushed radiation levels in the area up to 16 times their normal levels.
The blazes are releasing radiation trapped for decades in soil surrounding the Ukrainian city of Prypiat, which was abandoned in 1986 following an explosion at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant that caused the world's worst nuclear accident.

The fires began on Friday evening in the western part of the exclusion zone and spread to nearby forests, some of which are in the part of the zone that still has higher radiation.
Footage shot by the emergency service shows forests covered with dense smoke, burning grass and shrubs.
Ukrainian authorities have attempted to play down fears that the radiation could spread to the capital Kiev just 62 miles from Prypiat.
Radiation levels at the centre of the inferno over the weekend had skyrocketed, according to Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service.

The fires began on Friday evening in the western part of the exclusion zone and spread to nearby forests

“There is bad news – radiation is above normal in the fire’s centre,” Yegor wrote on Facebook Sunday.
The post included a video with a Geiger counter showing radiation at 16 times above normal.
Yegor added that the blaze had spread to about 100 hectares of forest.
About 100 firefighters have been drafted in to fight the fire, as well as planes and helicopters.

What is the Chernobyl disaster?
Here's what you need to know about the world's worst nuclear accident
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is situated near the now-abandoned town of Pripyat in Ukraine
The power plant exploded in April 1986 when its poorly designed fourth reactor suffered a huge power surge
The explosion and subsequent fires released a lot of nuclear radaition into the astmosphere
The intial explosion killed two people but radiation sickness quickly began to kill more plant workers and emergency services employees who were responding to the inicdent
Authorities were slow to release information about the extent of the disaster to the outside world until radiation alarms began to go off at a nuclear plant in Sweden
Trees surrounding the area absorded so much radition they died and turned red resulting in an area known as the 'Red Forest'
116 000 people were evacuated from the surrounding area in 1986 and there is now a 30km exlcusion zone where it is illegal to live
Tourists who visit Ukraine can book a short tour of Chernobyl because a short time spent in the radiation is not thought to be harmful
The New Safe Confinement is the name of the shelter which now surrounds the exploded reactor and is intened to confine any radition that it stills gives off
This confinement was not compelted until 2018
Experts believe that the area won't be safe for humans to live in for another 20,000 years

The nuclear power plant exploded in 1986

The fires follow unusually dry weather but police also say they have identified a 27-year old local resident accused of deliberately setting fire to grass in the region.
Local authorities in Ukraine have dismissed residents' concerns that the fires have led to unsafe radiation levels.
The radiation levels in the capital Kiev and the exclusion zone established around the plant in 1986 "did not exceed natural background levels", the zone's authorities said.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 6, 2020 at 6:24pm

Most NE nuclear power offline due to timing fluke and problem

April 3 2020

All but unnoticed as the coronavirus pandemic tears through the Northeast: the New England power grid is without 75% of its nuclear power – with more to go.
Many nuclear power plants schedule refueling operations in spring and fall when electricity demand is lower, and that is the case in New England, where the three remaining nuclear plants typically supply about one-third of the electricity. The Seabrook Nuclear plant in New Hampshire went offline on Tuesday for its refueling – that’s 1,245 megawatts of power. Unit 2 of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, with about 870 megawatts, is due for refueling this spring as well.
But in the meantime, Millstone Unit 3, which carries about 1,230 megawatts , tripped offline less than a day after the Seabrook shutdown due to a circuit fault between the main generator and the switchyard, according to Kenneth Holt, spokesman for the plant’s owner Dominion Energy. The automatic reactor protection system kicked in as it was supposed to and the plant was shut down.
As of Friday noon, the grid mix showed nuclear at 8% and natural gas at a whopping 68%.
While the situation is abnormal and the timing with the health emergency a fluke, it does not pose any special risks for the region, especially since the demand for power is lower than normal because so much commerce and industry has temporarily shut down.
“One good thing going for us is we do have electricity,” Holt said. “It’s not like a hurricane or a blizzard that’s taken down the power lines. We as a company understand how important electricity is right now. For doctors. For manufacturing facilities making supplies.”

Nuclear plants have some wiggle room, but not a lot, for refueling. In the case of Millstone, each unit is refueled every 18 months in an alternating rotation. Unit 3, the one offline now, is due for refueling in the fall.

Refueling takes about one month during which one-third of the plant’s nuclear rods, which are about one foot-by-one foot by 12 to 14 feet long, are replaced. They last about 4.5 years.

Other maintenance is done at the time. Some is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Some is done because of the convenience of the plant being shut down and can be deferred. Due to the pandemic situation, Dominion plans to skip the optional work to minimize the number of workers needed.
There are typically 600 to 700 people on site at Millstone during normal operations. Under the pandemic emergency plan that’s been in place for the plant for about 20 years and is updated regularly, that force has been streamlined.
Anyone who can work from home must do so. There is a ready-reserve force of people on standby at home. Cleaning regimens have been stepped up and markers are now on the floor in 6-foot intervals to keep people separated.
Employees must take their temperature before they leave home for the plant. Their temperatures are taken again when they get there. Employees are not being held at the plant full time.
For refueling, typically an additional 800 to 1,000 workers are brought in. That force will be streamlined this year. Holt did not provide exact numbers.
Holt declined to discuss when Unit 3 would be ready to go back online. Other than refueling – that unit, which went into operation in 1986, was offline in December of 2019 for five days to make repairs to one the backup diesel generators.
Unit 2, which began operating in 1975, was offline in December of 2019 for three days for repairs to one of the pumps that supplies water to the steam generators.

and another:

Workers 'terrified' at Limerick nuclear plant amid coronavirus

Apr 5 2020

LIMERICK — Contractors working during a refueling project at the Limerick Generating Station are “terrified” they’re working in a “breeding ground” for COVID-19 and expressed concerns about the company’s safety practices during the pandemic.
“I’m in a constant state of paranoia. In my opinion, it’s just a complete breeding ground, a cesspool for this,” said one man, who spoke on condition of anonymity to MediaNews Group out of fear of losing his job.
The contractor said supplemental workers began showing up at the plant days before a Unit 1 refueling outage began on March 27. Montgomery County officials have said they were informed that up to 1,400 contractors may have been summoned to work on the project as a coronavirus outbreak was taking shape in the county.

The first cases of coronavirus were reported in the county on March 7.
The workers interviewed claimed that social distancing measures of standing at least six feet apart, which have repeatedly been recommended by health officials during the outbreak, were not in place at the plant as they initially reported for their jobs.
“From the first day I got there, there were no less than 100 people in the training room being processed. I have pictures from that day of people literally sitting on top of each other, no one enforcing social distancing,” the man said on Friday. “There were computer labs for people to take the tests they need to get into the plant, people sitting at every computer elbow to elbow. So, I’ve been concerned since the minute I walked in there.”

During shift changes, he said, people from both shifts congregated in the break room “standing room only, just packed in there.”
“They did not enforce any social distancing whatsoever until this past Wednesday (April 1) when the news got to the media. That’s when they started enforcing some social distancing,” the man claimed. “Being put at risk like this makes us mad.”
The contractor described the current social distancing at the plant as “a half-assed thing.” “They made us sit further apart in the break room. But that first week and a half we were elbow to elbow with 40 people in the break room at any given time,” he claimed.
Those interviewed said social distancing is now being practiced somewhat outside the plant but inside is a different story.
“There’s groups of people just working on top of each other, still to this day,” the contractor claimed on Friday, adding there are jobs in the plant where social distancing cannot be adhered to, “because you need multiple pairs of hands to accomplish the jobs.”

A second contractor, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed fear about working at the plant during the pandemic.
“People are starting to get nervous now,” that contractor said. “I am terrified. I have trouble sleeping and have crazy anxiety.”
The contractor follows a strict routine after a day of being at the plant.
“I strip down in the garage. I throw everything in the washer. I run and get in the shower. You wash yourself three or four times and you’re still so paranoid you don’t feel clean enough,” the second contractor described a routine that is followed before having contact with any friends or relatives. “It’s what I do now.”
Both contractors said that despite their fears, they continue to report to work because they need jobs and their income, especially during the current tumultuous economic times, continues...

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on March 31, 2020 at 1:45am

Nuclear plant could 'sequester’ employees to live on-site under pandemic plan
Posted Mar 27, 2020

COVERT, MI — The company that owns Palisades nuclear plant has a private pandemic plan that includes a contingency to sequester employees live at the site temporarily, though that scenario is unlikely, a company spokeswoman said.
Entergy owns the nuclear plant situated on the Lake Michigan shoreline about 7 miles south of South Haven. The plant generates 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes in Michigan, Entergy Spokeswoman Val Gent said in an email message.

The plant has about 600 employees, according to the website.
The plan includes contingencies to sequester a particular set of employees onsite, in the unlikely event such a measure is necessary. Employees are not currently being sequestered, she said on March 25.
Sequester means employees would reside on site, Gent said. The company declined to release its full plans to MLive because they contain business-sensitive information, she said.
“Palisades remains safe, secure and stable, and there is currently no impact on the delivery of energy," Gent said. “We are confident our business continuity plan, which is specifically designed for these types of situations, will ensure the reliable delivery of electricity. Entergy’s pandemic response plan consists of a phased approach to ensure adequate qualified resources remain available to safely operate and maintain Palisades.”
The power plant is not alone in preparing for expected impacts of coronavirus. Local governments have shut down meetings and buildings, while police and city utility operators are ready to shift personnel if the staff is hit. Many businesses have closed — most temporarily, but some for good.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on March 31, 2020 at 1:41am

About 7000 gallons of wastewater from SONGS spill into the pacific

Roughly 7,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater from the sewage treatment facility at the San Onofre power plant was released more than a mile out into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday morning.
According to the Hazardous Materials Spill Report that Southern California Edison filed with the governor’s office on Wednesday, the release of the partially treated sewage was caused by an influx of water at the treatment facility.
SoCal Edison, the owner the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS, said the spill, which was released through the plant’s Unit 2 conduit, was a non-radiological release.
“The wastewater underwent the proper dilution but was released before it could be fully processed,” Edison said in an emailed statement to Dana Point Times. “As designed, a signal alerted operators to the situation and the discharge pumps were turned off.”
Edison also said that while it’s working to identify the cause of the influx of the water, the system has been taken offline until it operations can safely return.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on March 12, 2020 at 3:27am


Federal regulators cite TVA for providing inaccurate info about Watts Bar problem
Regulators hit TVA for third time in four months with fine or proposed penalties for nuclear safety violations
March 10th, 2020

This story was updated Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 12 a.m. with more information.
For the second time in as many weeks, federal regulators have cited the Tennessee Valley Authority for violating nuclear safety standards in the past at one of its Tennessee nuclear power plants.

In a letter released Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission accused TVA of providing inaccurate and insufficient Unit 1 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, Tennessee.formation to regulators in November 2015 when pressurized water levels rose uncontrollably during the startup o The NRC citation, which TVA has the right to challenge, identifies a dozen violations of NRC rules and could lead to another civil penalty against TVA. The NRC is also considering license suspensions or restrictions on some current and former TVA nuclear employees involved in the initial response to the problem and subsequent reports.
Kenneth G. O'Brien, director of the special project team assigned to study the incidents for the NRC Office of Enforcement, said TVA failed to maintain proper operating logs and failed to use proper procedures to resolve a pressurized water problem in the reactor's residual heat remover. After internal investigations by both TVA and the NRC, O'Brien cited "multiple examples in which TVA apparently maintained or submitted to the NRC incomplete or inaccurate information from December 2015 to March 2016."
"Based on the results of the investigation, 12 apparent violations were identified and are being considered for escalated enforcement action," O'Brien wrote in a letter to TVA.
TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said the NRC notification stems from events more the four years ago and said the incident "caused no immediate public safety concern and did not impact employee safety."
"TVA is fully committed to the safe operation of its nuclear units," Hopson said. "We'll ensure we have corrected all findings the NRC has noted."
Read the NRC letter to TVA

The NRC finding of apparent violations comes just a week after the NRC also cited TVA for violating whistle blower protections for nuclear workers by disciplining and then firing nuclear engineers who raised questions about the leadership and processes at the Sequoyah and Watts Bar nuclear plants from 2015 to 2018. TVA continues to be under heightened regulatory oversight by the NRC for its "chilled work environment" for nuclear workers to voice their safety concerns.
Last November, the NRC also slapped a $145,000 fine on TVA for providing inaccurate information to the NRC regarding the licensing and startup work at the Unit 2 reactor at Watts Bar.
NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said the civil penalty last November and the apparent violations issued this month are all separate instances. But with three NRC enforcement actions against TVA in just four months — plus the ongoing "chilled work environment" assessment of the utility's nuclear program — TVA is currently facing the most amount of NRC enforcement actions of any U.S. utility.
TVA has the right to challenge both of the new NRC citations issued this month with either written responses or a contested hearing.
Last week, TVA Nuclear Chief Timothy Rausch said TVA disagrees with NRC's findings about improper retaliation against its nuclear engineers and said nuclear safety remains the highest priority for the federal utility.
Despite the NRC findings of apparent violations this month and the fine paid by TVA last fall, Rausch said "indications through recent independent evaluations are that our safety culture has improved at all three stations (Sequoyah, Watts Bar and Browns Ferry) and in our corporate office."
Since he was named head of TVA's nuclear power program in October 2018, Rausch said he has worked to improve TVA's safety culture and performance.
Hopson said the past problem cited by the NRC at Watts Bar and how it was handled in 2015 and 2016 "is not indicative of our current performance or culture."
"Watts Bar is a different site with a different leadership team and with improved performance," he said.
Indeed, the NRC's new annual assessment of the Watts Bar plant issued last week rates TVA's operation of the plant in the highest performance category "because all inspection finding had very low safety significance."

But Mark Miller, director of the NRC's division of reactor projects, said regulators are "still deliberating on the appropriate time to close the Watts Bar Chilling Effect Letter" regarding how employee safety concerns are handled and the NRC's heightened oversight of such concerns will remain in place, at least for now.
David Lochbaum, a former NRC and TVA nuclear engineer who was formerly the director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the latest incidents identified by the NRC last week "are but the latest in a long-standing practice of TVA violating federal regulations by retaliating against nuclear workers raising safety concerns" under different executives and nuclear managers.
"Despite this management musical chairs, TVA has managed to sustain its practice of illegally retaliating against nuclear workers," Lochbaum said after reviewing the latest retaliation findings against TVA's nuclear engineers. "Curious that an organization created and tasked with flood control is unwilling or unable to stem a flood of whistle blower infractions."

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 27, 2020 at 8:20am

3 plutonium-tainted Hanford facilities are at high risk of collapse, feds discover

Richland, WA
Three radioactively contaminated underground structures at high risk of collapse on the Hanford nuclear reservation could be filled with concrete-like grout within a year.
The Department of Energy has concluded they could fail and release radioactive contamination.
“A number of structures are overstressed and at risk of age-related failure, which could result in a release of contamination with impacts to human health and the environment,” DOE said in a letter last week to the Environmental Protection Agency, a Hanford regulator.

Two of the structures, a trench and a tank at the center of the site, are estimated to be contaminated with a combined 170 to 255 pounds of plutonium.

DOE could award a contract for grouting as soon as March, according to the letter.

Hanford was used to produce plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program during World War II and the Cold War. Environmental cleanup is underway now. Courtesy Department of Energy
It has not declared an emergency, but is calling the grouting a “time-critical” action, which allows work to proceed during a public comment period that could begin in late March.
The trenches and settling tank were all used at the Plutonium Finishing Plant in central Hanford, where plutonium from fuel irradiated in Hanford reactors arrived in a liquid solution into buttons the size of hockey pucks for shipment to weapons plans.
Earlier this month workers finished demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant down to the ground, but below-ground structures still need to be addressed.
Highest risk of collapse

After a partial collapse of a waste storage tunnel at Hanford’s PUREX plant in May 2017, DOE and its contractor CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. analyzed other old and contaminated structures to determine if they were at risk of collapsing.
They determined that the three below-ground structures at the Plutonium Finishing Plant presented the highest risk, requiring stabilization to prevent a collapse and the potential to spread contamination.

The structures include a settling tank and two cribs, sometimes called trenches, where liquid waste from the Plutonium Finishing Plant were poured into the ground.
A Governmental Accountability Office report released last week also looked at the larger of the two cribs and the settling tank, saying that the Z-9 crib might not be cleaned up until 2034 and the settling tank might not be cleaned up until 2028.

The Z-9 crib is contaminated with an estimated 105 pounds of plutonium and the nearly 100 cubic yards of radioactive sludge in the settling tank contains an estimated 65-150 pounds of plutonium.
The PUREX tunnel that collapsed and the second waste storage tunnel at the plant have both been filled with grout, in a process similar to what’s proposed for the Plutonium Finishing Plant underground structures.
According to preliminary information posted by DOE at, grouting the three structures most at risk now would not preclude more cleanup in the future.

Support for grouting
Hanford Communities, a coalition of Hanford-area-local governments, supports the grouting plan.
“Injecting engineered grout into the void space of all three structures will insure that the roofs will not collapse and provide a pathway for contamination to be released into the environment,” Hanford Communities said in a statement Monday.
The structures pose a greater risk even than the second Hanford PUREX tunnel, which was filled with grout to prevent a collapse, it said.
Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based Hanford watchdog group, does not object to the grouting as a short-term solution, but it should not be a substitute for complete cleanup, said Tom Carpenter, executive director.

Here’s what DOE plans:
▪ The Z-9 crib, which operated from 1955 to 1962, would be filled with about 4,000 cubic yards of grout, making it by far the largest of the three proposed grouting projects.
The crib is a 20-foot deep hole sloping to a 60-by-30-foot floor, where about 1 million gallons of waste from the plant was poured. It has a concrete roof, supported with six concrete columns.
The grouting could be completed in the fall or early winter of 2020.
▪ The Z-361 Settling Tank, which was used from 1949 to 1973, would be filled with 400 cubic yards of grout.
It is a reinforced concrete structure that is 28 feet long, 15 feet wide and up to 18 feet deep. Contaminated liquids were sent to the tank to allow solid waste to settle out.
A video inspection in 1999 showed cracking in the interior roof of the tank, dissolving of the interior steel liner and deterioration of the concrete sidewall of the tank.
Grouting could be completed this summer.
▪ The Z-2 Crib, which was used from 1949 to 1969, would be filled with 140 cubic yards of grout.
No estimate of plutonium in the crib was immediately available, but waste with about 15 pounds of plutonium was discharged to the Z-2 Crib and its companion Z-1 Crib. Overflow from the Z-2 Crib went to the Z-1 Crib.
The soil on top of the Z-1 Crib has sunk and extra soil was added there earlier.
Both cribs are open-bottomed boxes about 12-feet square and 14-feet tall.
DOE would like to have the Z-2 Crib grouted by summer 2020.
Tank, cribs cleanup plans
A final cleanup decision has already been approved for the three structures, and DOE believes the grouting will not interfere with those plans.
The structures of the two cribs are planned to be removed and the contaminated soil beneath them removed and treated for permanent disposal.
The plan for the settling tank is to remove the remaining sludge from the tank and grout it in place.
DOE’s proposed schedule to begin work starts with a contract award for grouting in March and testing of grouting equipment in April and May.
A video inspection of the underground structures could be done in May, with grouting beginning in July for the smallest structures.
That would likely but the start of grouting after the end of a 30-day public comment period. DOE also is expected to announce a public meeting in March to explain the project.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 17, 2020 at 1:05am

‘Don't panic’: Nuclear agency urges controlled reaction to radiation in South Tangerang housing complex

Jakarta / Sun, February 16, 2020 / 02:40 pm

Officers from the National Police's bomb squad and the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapetan) measure radiation levels at the Batan Indah housing complex in Serpong, South Tangerang, Banten, on Saturday. (Antara/Muhammad Iqbal)

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) has asked residents of the Batan Indah housing complex in South Tangerang, Banten, to remain calm after finding high levels of radiation within the complex.
Agency spokesperson Heru Umbara said locals should not panic because the case was being handled by the relevant authorities.
"Residents can carry out activities as usual, as long as they do not enter the area that has been marked as contaminated. If managed properly, exposure to this radiation will not endanger the residents," Heru said in a statement on Saturday.
The Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) first detected the radiation during a routine check meant to ensure that the agency’s mobile radiation detection unit was working properly.
“From Jan. 30 to 31, Bapeten conducted a function test with target areas of Pamulang, the Puspiptek [Center for Science and Technology Research] housing complex, the Muncul area, the ITI [Indonesia Institute of Technology] campus, the Batan Indah housing complex and the Serpong train station,” Bapeten spokesperson Indra Gunawan said in a statement on Friday.
He said that all of the areas showed normal radiation levels except for a vacant lot next to the volleyball court at Block J of the Batan Indah complex.
“A joint Bapeten and Batan team conducted a search to find the source of the high radiation on Feb. 7 to 8 and found several radioactive fragments,” he said, adding that after the fragments were removed, tests showed that the radiation levels in the area had decreased but were still above normal levels. “Based on those results, we concluded that the contamination had spread in the area and decontamination efforts had to be conducted by removing or dredging contaminated soil and removing contaminated trees and other vegetation.”
Bapeten spokesperson Abdul Qohhar Teguh said that the agency was not yet able to confirm the source of the radioactive fragments found in the area.

“For the time being, we have not focused on investigating the location of the source, where it came from, why it was there, who brought it. At the moment the joint team is still focusing on clearing the scene,” Qohhar told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
He added, however, that the team’s initial findings indicated that the radiation did not come from a nuclear reactor leak. The Puspiptek building, which is located about five kilometers away from the Batan Indah complex, houses several small reactors used for experimental purposes.
“The source of radiation that we found [in the complex] is Caesium-137, which is frequently used for industrial purposes,” he said. “Caesium-137 is also one of the substances that will contaminate the environment when there is a reactor accident, such as at Chernobyl or Fukushima. But in addition to Caesium-137 there would also be other substances [in a reactor accident]. In this case, the only radiation source is Caesium-137, so the hypothesis that this incident is due to a reactor leak is baseless.”
Qohhar added that when radiation exposure rate went above a certain threshold, the effects would be felt by humans, with symptoms such as changes in skin color, dizziness, nausea or even death.
“The exposure rate in Batan Indah is far below this threshold,” he said.
A resident of Batan Indah complex, who asked to remain anonymous, said that she received a letter from the neighborhood unit (RT) earlier this week informing her about the radiation. She felt everything was under control.
“I think there is no need to panic. I believe that the authorities are doing their best to solve the problem. And if they thought it was dangerous, they would have warned us. But so far there is still no warning, so we’re safe,” she said.
She said that she passed the volleyball field every day during her morning walk and that besides the yellow barrier tape around the vacant lot, everything looked normal.

Heru said that Batan was currently in the process of cleaning up the exposed area and had collected 52 drums of soil and vegetation from the locations.
“The results of the cleanup showed that the material causing the radiation had mixed with the soil. The findings are currently being analyzed in the Batan laboratory,” he said.
He added that after the cleanup, the radiation levels fell by 30 percent, from 149 microSieverts per hour to 98.9 microSieverts per hour. The normal exposure rate from background radiation is around 0.03 microSieverts per hour.
The clean-up process, Heru said, started on Feb. 12 and would continue until early March.
He added that the team would soon conduct a radiation test known as “whole-body counting” on residents who lived in the exposed area to measure their bodies’ radioactivity levels.
"We will keep doing the cleanup until the area is thoroughly clean and there is no longer any danger to the people and the environment,” Heru said.

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