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French and UK -big nuclear waste woes

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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 12:36 AM
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French and UK -big nuclear waste woes
French nuclear mess
The financial problems that confront British Nuclear Fuels, and British Energy are not unique- the French nuclear industry is also facing similar challenges, and for much the same reasons. Firstly a major commitment to reprocessing of spent fuel. Secondly the realisation of the costs of this, and the nuclear programme generally, given the move towards part privatisation of Electricit de France (EDF), the state owned French utility. It sounds like a replay of events in the UK- privatisation of the CEGB, then the take over of most of the nuclear plants by British Energy and then the state bail out of BE and the even larger bail out of BNFLs (and BEs) liabilities.
Shaun Burnie, Paris based Nuclear Campaign Co-ordinator for Greenpeace International, told the Financial Times, Nov. 22, that the reprocessing company Areva had accumulated more than 80 tons of plutonium, and vast quantities of nuclear waste at its La Hague complex. Financial responsibility for this lies with EdF, yet it has squandered its reserve funds on investments worldwide. As it moves towards French-style privatisation, EdF is confronted with huge liabilities, and stocks of weapons-useable plutonium, but insufficient funds to cover them. The only certainty is that costs will rise, so EdF has not committed itself to reprocessing beyond 2007. The only hope for Arevas reprocessing business is if EdF can find sufficient funds, which is why EdF is now seeking to transfer its massive liabilities to the government waste agency, Andra, and billions in state aid, because, it says, these liabilities are not compatible with a liberalised electricity market.
He added the European Commissions decision to launch an investigation into the UKs Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has implications far beyond Sellafield. Illegal state aid, whether in the UK or France, is an issue not just for the Commission but for all consumers and taxpayers in the supposedly liberalised European electricity market.
He concluded, Greenpeace agrees with EdF that its liabilities are not compatible with competition. But the solution is to end reprocessing and the use of bomb material as fuel, and to phase out nuclear power.


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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 12:38 AM
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1. UK; & Russia waste woes as well
UK Nuclear Woes
AGR faults
It may not be possible to extend the operational lifetime of the British Energys Advanced Gas cooled Reactors, since there are concerns that cracks in the graphite moderators will require more frequent- and costly- inspection and maintenance. Hinckley B and Hunterston B are almost 30 years old, Hartlepool & Heysham 1 are already closed for repairs.
* BE announced losses of 234m for the six months to the end of last Sept- almost four times the 60m loss in the same period the previous year.

Shifting Nuclear Waste
Where are we going to put it? Last December, the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee said they were dismayed by the Governments lack of urgency. The UK has generated radioactive waste for more than half a century and still hasnt decided how to deal with it. Ministers seem to be using perpetual consultation exercises to put off making the crucial decisions. It felt that the governments advisory committee, CoRWM, should stop wasting time considering options that had been discarded by the international community and focus on underground storage or disposal, especially since the events of 9/11 raise questions of the vulnerability of existing storage facilities. It added that delays in developing a long-term radioactive waste management strategy should not be used as a pretext for deferring decisions on the future of nuclear power.
The Government however seems more concerned with how to offset the 48bn cost of dealing with the nuclear left-overs. It has reversed the 30 year old policy of insisting that the wastes produced from reprocessing spent fuel from other countries should be returned to them. Henceforth, as part of a sales effort to win contracts for reprocessing, the UK will keep the intermediate level waste, via a substitution arrangement with high level waste. Patricia Hewitt said that this would reduce the number of waste overseas shipments (which it will, at least per batch) and that the additional income, about 680m, would be used for nuclear clean-up, which will result in savings for the UK taxpayer over the longer term.
However, we are not doing too well with the clean up operation. Last year, at least 10 workers at the Dounreay nuclear site, which is being decomissioned, were found to have been contaminated with plutonium, with one nose blow sample being 200 times the action level that triggers a health investigation. Work on decommisioning the lab involved was halted meanwhile. In parallel, plutonium levels from discharges into the sea from BNFLs Sellafield plant have increased, in part it seems due to the Magnox reprocessing plant increasing its throughput to meet a 2012 deadline to deal with spent Magnox reactor fuel. But discharges of technetium have reduced after BNFL started a new waste treatment plant, following protests from Norway, where technetium was found in lobsters.



More in Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that new licenses will be given to 10 old reactors incuding some RBMK Chernobyl type plants. He also admitted that Russia had nearly 70 million tons of solid radioactive waste.

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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Proposed U.S. (SC) nuclear waste solution may be problematic
Grouting in the USA The U.S. Congress has supported a proposal that would allow the Department of Energy (DOE), with the consent of the State of South Carolina, to seal underground tanks containing high-level nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site with grout and leave it onsite permanently. It is claimed that grouting the tanks will safely immobilize the remaining high-level nuclear waste. But the US Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, says that there is no scientific basis for such claims:even within the DOE complex the current lack of information regarding the long-term durability of the grout and its ability to immobilize radionuclides over hundreds to thousands of years is widely recognized adding that once the tanks are grouted they will be virtually impossible to further remediate.
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Esra Star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 03:02 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. There are companies that have been eyeing off areas in
the Northern Territory of Australia. The previous government was becoming
quite enthusiastic about it. No doubt because of the big money on offer.
I am not sure what the new government thinks, but I know that the
population is against it.
One sign that things were happening was when Halliburton built a
railway right through the centre of N.T.
We are all keeping a close eye on it. These people are shifty.
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. S.C. nuclear waste landfill to close; 36 states left in lurch -big problems for nuclear power
S.C. nuke landfill to close; 36 states left in lurch
Radioactive waste will have to be stored across U.S., prompting concerns

Thurs., Nov. 1, 2007 Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Starting next summer, many power plants, hospitals, universities and companies in 36 states will be forced to store low-level radioactive waste on their own property because a South Carolina landfill is closing its doors to them.

At issue is the Barnwell County dump site, a 235-acre expanse that opened in 1971 close to the Georgia line. The equivalent of more than 40 tractor-trailers full of radioactive trash from 39 states was buried there each year before South Carolina lawmakers in 2000 ordered the place to scale back because they no longer wanted the state to be the nations dumping ground.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21585255/


Starting next summer, many power plants, hospitals, universities and companies in 36 states will be forced to store low-level radioactive waste on their own property because a South Carolina landfill is closing its doors to them.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,307600,00.html
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. More problems at Hanford nuclear waste site (Washington)
Energy Department Fined $500,000 for Hanford Radioactive Spill

RICHLAND, Washington, December 6, 2007 (ENS) - The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued a $500,000 penalty against the U.S. Department of Energy, DOE, for a release of radioactive hazardous tank waste to the soil at the Hanford Nuclear Site on the Columbia River in central Washington.
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-06-096.asp

Hanford, most of us know, is the most contaminated site in North America. Since 1989 the government has been trying to cleanup the radioactive and chemical waste at Hanford. If Hanford is not cleaned up in a timely manner the waste will permanently contaminate the life- blood of the NW: our Columbia River.

The cleanup at Hanford is considered so important that we have already spent $25 billion on it since 1989. We spend $2 billion each year in an effort to protect the aquifer underneath the site and the Columbia River, into which Hanford's groundwater flows. But there have been many delays and frequent excuses as to why the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) can't get the job done in a timely manner.

http://www.hanfordwatch.org/


The search for permanent solutions heats up as tons of highly radioactive sludge, spent fuel, and contaminated soil pile up around the nation.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0207/feature1/index.html
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