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 February 16, 2020 at 7:47pm

Holes found in protective liner at SC nuclear fuel factory. Should you worry?

Inspectors at the Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory near Columbia recently found 13 small leaks in a protective liner that is supposed to keep pollution from dripping into soil and groundwater below the plant.
Now, the company plans to check a concrete floor beneath the liner, as well as soil below the plant, for signs of contamination that could have resulted from the tears, which were characterized in a federal inspection report as ‘’pinhole leaks.’’
The pinhole leaks, discovered by Westinghouse late in 2019, may have formed after company employees walked across the liner and weakened it, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

If that’s true, it would mark the second time in two years that Westinghouse has run into trouble over employees walking across protective liners.

Foot traffic weakened a liner in another part of the plant that contributed to a 2018 leak of uranium solution through the plant’s floor, according to the NRC. The 2018 leak, which occurred near a spiking station that mixes solutions, contaminated soil, prompting an outcry from community residents about operating practices at Westinghouse.

Since the leak of uranium solution, state and federal agencies have revealed the existence of previously unreported leaks at the plant. Troubles at the plant have sparked public meetings in eastern Richland County, where many neighbors have criticized Westinghouse for not keeping them informed.
The Westinghouse plant converts uranium hexafluoride into uranium dioxide to make nuclear fuel assemblies for atomic power plants. Chemicals used in the process can be hazardous if people are exposed to substantial amounts. Among the threats are kidney and liver damage. Uranium is a radioactive material that also can increase a person’s risks of cancer.
Paul Threatt, an area resident and former Westinghouse employee, said he’s glad the company is looking for such problems. Westinghouse reported the pinhole leaks to the NRC after an inspection. The pinholes had not showed up in inspections before, the NRC says.
“If they caught this in time, it’s not such a big deal,’’ said Threatt, a member of a citizens group monitoring the Westinghouse plant. “The other (liner issue from 2018) had been ignored for quite a while and it ate through the concrete and allowed uranyl nitrate to escape into the ground.’’
The NRC inspection report, completed in January, said Westinghouse was supposed to ensure that walking pads were across the liner to prevent problems, but “this proved to be ineffective.’’ The report said “13 pinhole leaks were found in the liner, indicating that the liner had been walked on.’’ The problems, discovered Dec. 9, occurred in a section of the plant with a second spiking station, similar to the spiking station where the leak was found in 2018.

Tom Clements, a nuclear safety watchdog and one of the plant’s most vocal critics, said the latest problem is nothing to ignore. Walking on the liner contributed to the 2018 leak, and now the company has found holes from employees walking on another section of the liner, he said.
“It reveals they have not learned any lessons from the other incident,’’ Clements said.
Westinghouse had little to say about the pinhole leaks, referring to comments in the recent inspection report. The company noted that it found the leaks and told federal regulators. The company said it is replacing the spiking station where the pinhole leaks were found.
“Appropriate corrective actions have been taken for the causes of this issue,’’ spokeswoman Courtney Boone said in an email Friday.
Laura Renwick, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, said her agency was aware of damage to the liner. The agency said Westinghouse will submit a testing plan to DHEC in the next month as it investigates “the area under the spiking station.’’ She did not elaborate but said the public is not in danger because the area in question is inside the building.

Like the NRC, DHEC regulates the Westinghouse plant.
Westinghouse’s Bluff Road fuel plant, a major employer with more than 1,000 workers, is one of only three like it in the country. Established in 1969 between Columbia and what today is Congaree National Park, the factory makes fuel rods for the nation’s atomic power plants.
The company has a decades long history of groundwater contamination. Regulators say the pollution is contained on the site, and if tainted water does trickle off the property, it won’t flow toward homes in the Hopkins area that rely on wells for drinking water. Groundwater problems include contamination from fluoride, solvents and nitrate. Concerns have risen recently upon the revelation of previously unknown leaks at the plant in 2008 and 2011. Westinghouse knew about the leaks but did not inform regulators for years.
Westinghouse also has had multiple problems in the past five years complying with federal nuclear standards. In addition to the 2018 uranium leak, the company also had troubles in 2016 when inspectors found that uranium had built up in an air pollution control device, creating a potentially dangerous situation for workers. Last year, the company dealt with a small fire in a bin containing nuclear plant refuse, as well as uranium-tainted water leaking from a rusty shipping container.

Comment by M. Difato on February 1, 2020 at 3:10pm

Power outage hit San Onofre nuclear plant on Wednesday

Backup systems continued to power essential systems, officials said

Backup generators rumbled to life at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when an issue with transmission lines feeding the plant caused a 44-minute power outage, operator Southern California Edison said.

Power cut out at 5:05 p.m. and was restored by 6 p.m., said Edison spokesman John Dobken. Workers followed procedures and were continuing to restore plant systems into the night. All systems were powered back up on Thursday.

San Onofre is where the power systems of Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric meet. In Wednesday’s high winds, SDG&E had a glitch in its system close to 6 p.m., nearly an hour after San Onofre lost power, so was likely not tied to the outage there, an SDG&E spokeswoman said.

The cause of the outage is still being investigated, but may be due to high winds affecting the lines feeding San Onofre. This story will be updated as more information comes forward.

Electricity powers water circulation around the hot waste in San Onofre’s spent fuel pools — one of the reasons officials are eager to move all waste into dry storage as soon as possible. Dry storage requires no electricity. All waste is slated to be in dry storage later this year.

The fuel in the pools has been cooling for more than five years, and backup power was directed to other essential systems, Dobken said. Diesel generators and other equipment responded as designed “and at no time was there any public impact,” Edison said in a statement.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission office was notified as a courtesy.

PUBLISHED: January 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm | UPDATED: January 31, 2020 at 11:17 am

 (Photo courtesy of Edison International)


Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on January 21, 2020 at 4:50pm

Fukushima nuclear plant's frozen wall leaks

Tokyo Electric Power Company says coolant has seeped out from an underground frozen soil wall built around its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The frozen soil wall came into operation four years ago. It was built to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings. They were damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdowns.

The utility firm, TEPCO, says it found coolant leaking at three locations from components that connect pipes in the wall. The company had noticed a reduction in coolant in its tank earlier this month and was searching for the cause.

TEPCO says it believes 20,000 of 1.1 million liters of the coolant has leaked, but that this will not affect the operation of the wall.

The company says it will replace the components in the wall and repair another leak that was found in December.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on January 13, 2020 at 5:43am

Canadian province retracts alert of nuclear power incident

An emergency alert issued by the Canadian province of Ontario reporting an unspecified “incident” at a nuclear plant is shown on a smartphone today. Ontario Power Generation later sent a message saying the alert “was sent in error.” The initial message said the incident had occurred at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, though it added there had been no abnormal release of radioactivity from the station.

TORONTO >> People throughout the Canadian province of Ontario awoke today to a cellphone alert warning them of an “incident” at a nuclear plant just east of Toronto — only to later be told the message was a mistake.

The message, which was transmitted throughout the nation’s most populous province, was accompanied by a shrill emergency broadcast noise. It said an unspecified event had occurred at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. There was no abnormal release of radioactivity, it added, and people did not need to take protective action.

More than an hour later, utility officials sent another message saying the alert “was sent in error” and that there was “no danger to the public or environment.”

“No further action is required,” said the message, which was also sent to television screens.

The alert went out during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement that apologized for the mistake.

She said the government had started a full investigation and would “take the appropriate steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Jim Vlahos, a 44-year-old Toronto man, awoke to the alert and quickly made a hotel reservation more than 60 miles away in Niagara Falls. He said he figured he would go as far west as possible and then cross the border.

“Having watched ‘Chernobyl’ didn’t help,” he said, referring to the HBO show about the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union. “The lack of communication following the alert didn’t help either,” he said.

“I have no problem leaving my phone on for these types of alerts,” Vlahos said. “But I would expect some more info from the government so I wouldn’t have to overreact the way I did.”

Many people slept through the first alert and saw it was a false alarm by the time they woke up.

Jonathan Davies, also 44, was taken aback when he spotted the alert while driving. But he waited until after he picked up his Tim Hortons coffee to check the news.

“I can’t cope with much until I have my coffee, at least a few sips,” he said. “I got scared and went online but found no information.” He later saw the the follow-up alert that indicated it was a false alarm.

Scott Pelton, a 48 year-old Toronto resident, wondered if was a cyber attack.

“Could be sign of a hack or could just be an innocent mistake? But is a mistake like that possible?” Pelton said.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said he was “very troubled” by the message. He said on Twitter that he spoke to provincial officials and demanded an investigation.

Toronto Mayor John Tory joined him, tweeting that there were “far too many unanswered questions” about the warning that was sent across the province of 14 million people.

Terry Flynn, who teaches crisis communications at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said the error runs the risk of eroding public trust.

“When we have continuous problems in these systems, then we have a lack of trust and people begin to ignore them. So that’s the biggest fallout from this scenario,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general recommended changes to the emergency alert system in the United States after Hawaii officials in 2018 mistakenly warned the public about a nonexistent incoming ballistic missile. An employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent the missile alert to cellphones and broadcasters, triggering panic until the agency sent another message 38 minutes later notifying people it was a false alarm.

Pickering, which opened in 1971, was scheduled to be decommissioned this year, but the provincial government committed to keeping it open until 2024. Decommissioning is now set to start in 2028.

The plant generates 14% of Ontario’s electricity and is responsible for 4,500 jobs across the region, according to Ontario Power Generation.

The station has experienced several earlier incidents. In 2011, a pump seal failure caused the spill of more than 19,200 gallons (73,000 liters) of demineralized water into Lake Ontario, though with no significant risks to public health, according to local authorities.

In 1994, the plant automatically shut down after a faulty valve caused 132 tons of heavy water to spill. It was the first time a Canadian nuclear reactor had to use its emergency core cooling system to prevent fuel overheating.

Ontario Power “has a sophisticated and robust notification process in place that we would immediately follow in the unlikely event of an incident at the station,” Chief Nuclear Officer Sean Granville said. “I want to assure the public that there was no incident at the station, and the plant is operating as designed.”

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on November 17, 2019 at 8:18pm

Officials on alert after tunnel collapse at Hanford nuclear waste s...

Officials in southeastern Washington state went on alert Tuesday after reporting a cave-in of a tunnel containing radioactive materials at the Hanford Site, a deactivated nuclear weapons complex that has become one of the nation’s most challenging nuclear cleanup sites.

No injuries have been reported, all cleanup employees are accounted for, and officials have not confirmed any release of radiation, according to the Hanford Emergency Operations Center. The center went into operation at 8:26 a.m. after workers discovered a 20-by-20-foot section of soil had collapsed over a tunnel.

By Tuesday evening, the operations center posted a notice on its website: "Officials continue to monitor the air and are working on how they will fix the hole in the tunnel roof. They are looking at options that would provide a barrier between the contaminated equipment in the tunnel and the outside air that would not cause the hole in the tunnel’s roof to widen."

The collapse appears to have occurred where two tunnels, made of wood and concrete, connect near the site’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility. The facility, called Purex, reprocessed fuel for the nation’s nuclear weapons program between 1956 and 1990.

“The Department of Energy informed us this morning that a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement, adding that the White House had ed his office about the situation. “Federal, state and local officials are coordinating closely on the response, and the state Department of Ecology is in close communication with the U.S. Department of Energy Richland Office.”

The tunnels “house sealed rail cars containing packaged contaminated materials," U.S. Sen. (D-Wash.) said in a statement. "We need to understand whether there has been any environmental contamination resulting from the subsidence at these tunnels."

About half a dozen cleanup employees were evacuated from the immediate area of the collapse, and more than 4,700 other workers at the Hanford Site were at one point ordered to shelter inside in case any radiation was released, according to emergency officials.

By Tuesday afternoon, all nonessential employees had been cleared to leave the area and were sent home for the day, with no decisions announced on whether normal work would resume Wednesday.

The site is about seven miles northwest of the town of Richland, population 53,000, which has not been affected. Federal officials have instituted a five-mile no-fly zone around the site up to 5,000 feet in altitude, which is lower than that typically flown by commercial airliners.

Officials are still on the scene investigating.

The Hanford complex produced the plutonium for the world’s first nuclear explosion, in New Mexico, and also for the atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. The facility went on to produce plutonium for decades, producing hundreds of billions of gallons of liquid waste that was poured or buried in the ground.


5:15 p.m.: This article was updated to report that officials are studying how to repair the cave-in without causing the hole to become larger.

3:15 p.m.: This article was updated to report that non-essential employees at the Hanford facility had been cleared to leave the area and were sent home for the day.

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with details on the tunnel cave-in and quotes from Jay Inslee and Maria Cantwell.

10:15 a.m.: This article was updated with background on the site.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on November 10, 2019 at 8:37pm

Dominion Energy shuts down V.C. Summer plant after finding 'small leak'

A company spokesman says there is no danger to the public.
11:15 PM EST November 9, 2019

JENKINSVILLE, South Carolina — Operators at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County have been monitoring a leak in a valve associated with the reactor coolant system.

A spokesman for Dominion Energy, Ken Holt, tells News 19 the leak is very small and was captured within the site's containment building.

He added that the leak is not impacting the environment.

"Although the small leak is not at a level that would require a plant shutdown, operators have made the conservative decision to shut down the reactor to address the leak," said Holt. "During this shutdown, the plant is taking proactive measures to find and address any other impacted components."

Officials say they shut down the plant late Wednesday night into Thursday.

As for when service will be returned, Holt says Dominion Energy does not provide that information because it's considered market sensitive.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on October 19, 2019 at 6:21am

Japan finds radioactive waste leaked in typhoon aftermath Updated: 2019-10-18 16:45:21 KST

Japanese media report that traces of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant have been found in various places following the season's strongest typhoon, Hagibis.
The Tokyo Shimbun reported Friday that ten bags that had contained radioactive waste were found empty along the Furumichi River, indicating that the contents had spilled out.
Those are understood to be some of the bags that the nearby city of Tamura said earlier this week were swept away by the storm's heavy rain.
Meanwhile, two other villages in Fukushima Prefecture, Kawauchi and Nihonmatsu, say they found a total of 33 bags downstream and two of them were empty.
The Japanese government had collected about 30 million tons of radioactive debris after the nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The Tokyo Shimbun also pointed out that the authorities had not managed the nuclear waste facilities properly.
According to local media, four of the temporary storage units in Gunma and Fukushima Prefectures have been made inaccessible because of landslides and floods, so workers cannot even inspect them.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened.
In 2015, around 240 bags of contaminated waste from the Fukushima plant went missing in similar circumstances when the region was hit by torrential rain.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on August 25, 2019 at 1:25am

Lightning strike affected Dounreay nuclear site

  • 22 August 2019

A nuclear power complex was among sites affected by a power cut caused by a lightning strike, it has emerged.

Supplies in part of Caithness were disrupted during bad weather on 17 June.

The operators of Dounreay said there was a short loss of supply to the site near Thurso.

Dounreay's incident control room was set up and operators said there was no risk to people or the environment. The site's regulators were informed.

There was not a direct strike on the experimental nuclear power plant.

The site of Britain's former centre of nuclear fast reactor research and development, Dounreay is in the process of being decommissioned and the land cleaned up.

An interim end state, when the decommissioning work has been completed, is expected to be reached between 2030 and 2033.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on August 11, 2019 at 2:47am

Five dead after explosion at Russian nuclear facility during missile test — radiation spike detected: report

Russia’s nuclear agency said Saturday an explosion during missile testing in the Arctic left five workers dead and involved radioactive isotopes after a nearby city recorded a spike in radiation levels.

Rosatom said the force of the explosion on Thursday blew several of its staff from a testing platform into the sea.

Russia’s military did not initially say that the accident involved nuclear equipment, but stressed that radiation levels were normal afterwards.

Officials in the nearby city of Severodvinsk nonetheless reported that radiation levels briefly increased after the accident.

The incident occurred in the far northern Arkhangelsk region during testing of a liquid propellant jet engine when an explosion sparked a fire, killing two, a defence ministry statement said.

It was not known whether those two deaths were among the five that Rosatom reported.

Russian state news agencies quoted a defence ministry source as saying both defence ministry and Rosatom employees had been killed.

Rosatom said its staff were providing engineering and technical support for the “isotope power source” of a missile.

The missile was being tested on a platform at sea when its fuel caught fire and triggered an explosion, Rosatom said in a statement quoted on Russian television.

Several staff were blown into the sea by the blast, the nuclear agency said, adding that it only announced the deaths once there was no more hope that the employees had survived.

The accident left three other people with burns and other injuries, Rosatom said.

Authorities initially released few details of the accident at the Nyonoksa test site on the White Sea, used for testing missiles deployed in nuclear submarines and ships since the Soviet era.

The defence ministry said six defence ministry employees and a developer were injured, while two “specialists” died of their wounds.

Professor Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies said his “working hypothesis” was that the blast “was related to Russia’s nuclear-powered cruise missile, the 9M730 Burevestnik (NATO name: SSC-X-9 Skyfall).”

Radiation spike

Authorities in Severodvinsk, 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the test site, said Thursday on their website that automatic radiation detection sensors in the city “recorded a brief rise in radiation levels” around noon that day.

The post was later taken down and the defence ministry said radiation levels were normal after the accident.

A Severodvinsk civil defence official, Valentin Magomedov, told TASS state news agency that radiation levels rose to 2.0 microsieverts per hour for half an hour from 11:50 am (0850 GMT).

This exceeded the permitted limit of 0.6 microsieverts, he added.

Greenpeace Russia published a letter from officials at a Moscow nuclear research centre who gave the same figure, but said higher radiation levels lasted for an hour. The officials said this did not present a significant risk to public health.

Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists noted on Twitter that the missile “is suspected to have some sort of a miniaturized reactor in its propulsion unit,” and added: “a crash likely resulted in not-insignificant radioisotope dispersion.”

Russian online media published an unattributed video which reportedly showed ambulances speeding through Moscow to a centre that specialises in the treatment of radiation victims.

Rosatom said the injured were being treated at a “specialised medical centre”.

– Iodine panic –

An expert from Moscow’s Institute for Nuclear Research, Boris Zhuikov, told RBK independent news site that isotope power sources are not normally dangerous for people working with them.

“If they are damaged, people who are nearby could be hurt. Isotope sources use various types of fuel: plutonium, promethium or cerium,” Zhuikov said.

The radioactivity levels involved are “absolutely not comparable with those during serious accidents at reactors,” he added.

But news of the accident prompted Severodvinsk residents to rush to pharmacies for iodine, which can help prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation.

“People started to panic. Within a matter of an hour all the iodine and iodine-containing drugs were sold out,” pharmacist Yelena Varinskaya told AFP.

In 1986, the Soviet Union suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl, a disaster that authorities initially tried hard to cover up.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on July 31, 2019 at 1:26am

Radioactivity found in drinking water north of Columbia

July 30, 2019 10:35 AM,

State regulators are pressing a small utility with a history of troubles to explain why elevated levels of radioactivity showed up in the drinking water the company piped to customers last year in Fairfield County.

The Jenkinsville Water Co. violated state drinking water standards for radioactivity from July through December of last year, even though the company had installed a treatment system to filter out the contamination.

Radioactivity levels have dropped to within safe standards in recent months, but not by much — and state regulators say they are concerned about the 2,500 people who rely on Jenkinsville Water.

The letter gave Jenkinsville a month to tell the public about the violations. In the meantime, DHEC is considering making an enforcement case against Jenkinsville Water that could result in fines or other sanctions. The violations have been referred to DHEC’s enforcement staff, agency spokeswoman Laura Renwick said in an email.

Jenkinsville, a community of working class neighborhoods and higher-end lake houses north of Columbia, has had problems with radioactivity in the water before. Since 2010, the water company has been sanctioned by DHEC four separate times for failing to comply with state drinking water standards, including two for radioactivity.

The company began treating the water at one problematic well after finding radioactivity exceeded safe drinking water standards in 2013 and 2014. Some of the problems cleared up after the treatment process began, but radioactivity levels spiked last year in the public supply well on Clowney Road, DHEC records show.

The Jenkinsville Water Co. operates in a part of South Carolina served by the V.C. Summer nuclear plant, but its problems are not known to be related to the power plant. Like some other small water systems, Jenkinsville is in an area where radioactivity occurs naturally in groundwater.

Despite that, water systems must take steps to lower the naturally occurring radiation in drinking water they supply to customers to make sure people’s health is protected. Over time, drinking water with elevated levels of radioactive pollutants can increase a person’s chances of bone cancer and kidney damage.

In this case, Jenkinsville was cited for having gross alpha levels above safe drinking water standards. These readings are a measure of radioactivity in the water from contaminants such as radium or uranium.

DHEC says it is not common for water systems to have violations for high gross alpha readings. Agency records show that from 2012 to 2018, the agency made more than 250 enforcement cases for drinking water violations statewide, but only about a dozen were for radioactive pollution in water.

Jenkinsville Water Co. manager Greg Ginyard said the water is safe to drink. He maintained that the treatment system is functioning since radioactivity has met the safe drinking water standard this year. DHEC said other wells the company relies on comply with the radiation standard.

Ginyard questioned whether elevated levels of gross alpha radiation last year resulted from DHEC errors since that agency tests the water. He is scheduled to meet with DHEC Aug. 7.

“It could have been a mistake,’’ Ginyard said. “We didn’t know anything about it until Thursday, when we got the letter from DHEC.’’

The Jenkinsville Water Co. is one of many small utilities across South Carolina that struggle to comply with drinking water requirements. Unlike big systems, scores of smaller systems lack the money or the expertise to operate in compliance with state and federal safe drinking water laws, The State reported in its “Tainted Water’’ series this past March. Small water systems individually serve only small pockets of the state’s population, but collectively provide water to about 800,000 people.

“You are responsible for providing safe potable water to your customers,’’ according to a July 23 letter to Jenkinsville from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Water quality “data indicates a necessity for you to initiate an investigation and some form of corrective actions to resolve the violations.’’

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