Skip to content

A year after fiery accident at radioactive waste dump in Nevada, the meter is running on a fix via Las Vegas Review Journal

When Nevada inherited the closed Beatty low-level nuclear waste dump in 1997, it accepted $9 million from the company that had operated it for decades to ensure that the waste — some of it tainted with deadly plutonium — would remain safely buried for a century.

A portion of the money went for its intended purpose — “staff inspection time, the contractor, maintenance and repair of the site,” said Joe Pollock, deputy administrator for the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. But most was diverted to the state’s general fund over several legislative sessions and spent on other programs, he acknowledged in emails this week.

Now, a year after an underground fire at the dump triggered a series of violent eruptions that spewed hazardous debris 60 feet into the air, that “loan” is coming due.

And the bill to ensure there is no repeat of that frightening accident is expected to be much higher than $9 million.


“It was then that the largest explosion happened (and) we took cover,” Stoddard recalled in a statement included in a 305-page Nevada Department of Public Safety incident report.

Marchand used his cellphone from about 80 yards away to videotape the resulting spectacular-but-scary fireworks.

A bright orange-red fire erupted from a crater left behind by the big blast, emitting a plume of white smoke and “violently expelling” waste from the trench. A series of blasts hurled 11 radioactive waste drums from their graves, depositing two outside the fence that surrounds the dump 11 miles south of Beatty.

Authorities feared that pouring water onto the fire might cause more violent explosions, so they allowed it to burn into the night.

Concerns that the accident could have spread radioactive particles into the air prompted them to close a 140-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 95 — the state’s main north-south artery — for nearly 24 hours as they waited for the chemical fire to burn itself out. School was canceled in Beatty the next day.


State officials made no mention of the presence of an estimated 47 pounds of highly radioactive plutonium and uranium isotopes amid the 7 million cubic feet of waste dumped at the landfill from 1962 through 1992.

Plutonium is believed to have arrived in small amounts at the dump. It was legally disposed of as low-level radioactive waste, which typically consists of low-risk items such as medical waste, contaminated clothing and laboratory equipment but can include very highly radioactive items in certain cases, such as parts from inside the reactor vessel in a nuclear power plant, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

It’s unclear whether any of this special radioactive material was buried within Trench 14.

Nevada’s Radiation Control Program, which took custody of the dump’s license from US Ecology along with 88 boxes of records about what was dumped and where, and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, which runs the program, declined to comment.


Most of the drums — 92 — came from a General Electric nuclear facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Twenty-two were from the Gulf-United nuclear facility in Elmsford, New York; and two were from the U.S. Bureau of Mines Research Center in Boulder City.

It’s not clear when the cracks in the cap occurred. State regulators had inspected the site April 13, 2015, just over six months before the accident. They noted that “previously reported cracks due to erosion and settling” had been repaired.

A report by the NRC’s Mandeville after his team’s visit in November speculates that “numerous smaller earthquakes with a magnitude range between 2 and 5” might have caused new cracks or widened ones that were already there.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s website bolsters that theory, showing that 21 earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater and centered within a 35-mile radius of the Beatty dump occurred between the inspection and the accident.

The strongest, one of magnitude 3.4, occurred June 11, 2015. The second-strongest, of magnitude 2.4, occurred the day before the incident and was centered only 17 miles from the dump.

Read more at A year after fiery accident at radioactive waste dump in Nevada, the meter is running on a fix 

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , , .

シン・ゴジラ 原発事故考える催し 県立福島高生徒ら企画 via 毎日新聞




続きはシン・ゴジラ 原発事故考える催し 県立福島高生徒ら企画

Posted in *日本語.

Tagged with , , .

Study: Possible water problem at storage sites in Fukushima via The Asahi Shimbun

Bags of radiation-contaminated soil could be sinking into the ground at temporary storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture, allowing water to accumulate within instead of flowing to outside tanks for testing, the Board of Audit said.

No confirmation has been made that the ground at the sites is actually sinking or if contaminated water has pooled inside. But Board of Audit officials are asking the Environment Ministry to consider additional safety measures if signs indicate that this is actually occurring.

The board’s study focused on 34 of the 106 temporary storage sites that the Environment Ministry set up for soil removed through decontamination work after the disaster in March 2011 unfolded at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The Board of Audit studied 34 temporary storage sites where the bags are not waterproof. These bags were piled five deep or higher at those sites.

The study showed that at 31 of the sites, the weight of the bags may have not only flattened the mound in the center, but it also could have created an indent in the ground where the leaking water could accumulate.

If the water does not flow to the tanks, it will be difficult to determine the radiation levels.

The study also noted that the foundations at the sites were soft to begin with and may be unable to support the bags of soil. The sinking phenomenon could worsen as time passes.

The Environment Ministry played down the risk of the water contaminating areas around the storage facilities.


A total of 4.16 billion yen ($40 million) was spent to construct the 31 temporary storage sites.

The Environment Ministry designed the temporary storage sites under the precondition they would be used for only three years and then removed. For that reason, measures were not taken to strengthen the foundations to prevent the ground from sinking, even if soft farmland was chosen for a site.

The plan is to eventually return the land where the temporary storage sites have been built to its original state and return it to the landowners

However, the Board of Audit’s study adds another concern for residents, many of whom had opposed construction of the temporary storage sites in their neighborhoods.

Read more at Study: Possible water problem at storage sites in Fukushima

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

Gov’t to end nuclear power in 2025: MOEA via The China Post

Economics Minister Lee Shih-guang Wednesday stressed that Taiwan will definitely abandon nuclear power in 2025, amid renewed speculation about the fate of the nearly completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Lee said there has been a national consensus on turning Taiwan into a “nuclear-power free home,” a goal that many hope will be achieved by 2025.

The policy is against extending the service lives of the three currently operational nuclear power plants, he said.

“There is no room for discussion. When 2025 comes, nuclear power will be abandoned,” Lee said at his first press conference since taking office on May 20, reiterating President Tsai Ing-wen’s promise of giving up nuclear power.

Addressing concerns that Taiwan cannot do without nuclear power, the economics minister expressed optimistically that there are still nine years to work out alternatives before 2025.


The minister pointed out that Taiwan’s IT industry already has sufficient know-how related to solar-power generation. It also has the capital and its supply only lacks facilities for producing photovoltaic (PV) modules.

He said the Council of Agriculture (COA) owns 10,000 hectares of land that could be turned into solar farms. But the minister said his ministry still needs to discuss the matter with the COA.

Taiwan is a major world supplier of solar cells. The panels usually seen in solar farms are modules made up of solar cells.

Read more at Gov’t to end nuclear power in 2025: MOEA

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

台湾が原発全廃へ 福島第一事故受け、25年までに停止 via 朝日新聞






全文は台湾が原発全廃へ 福島第一事故受け、25年までに停止

Posted in *日本語.

Tagged with , .

「原発争点なら自民敗北」 新潟、鹿児島知事選で「うねり」via 東京新聞

◆小泉元首相インタビュー詳報 原発は金食い虫だ 推進論者の「安全」うそ  


Posted in *日本語.

Tagged with , , , .

LDP may lose next election if nuclear exit becomes main issue: ex-PM via The Japan Times

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the pro-nuclear ruling party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could lose the next Lower House election if nuclear power becomes the main election issue.

Citing recent gubernatorial election wins for candidates concerned about restarting nuclear power plants in Niigata and Kagoshima prefectures, Koizumi said during a recent interview with Kyodo News, “(Anti-nuclear) opinions are beginning to grow . . . that could influence the (next) House of Representatives election.”

If opposition parties unite in fielding anti-nuclear candidates and make complete phase-out of the country’s nuclear plants one of the top election issues, they can defeat the ruling Liberal Democratic Party by tapping into voter fears following the 20111 Fukushima meltdowns, Koizumi said.

“The slogans by promoters of nuclear power that (nuclear power) is safe, low-cost and clean, are all lies,” Koizumi said.

He noted that the government would be forced to pour more funds into Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled following the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster, to decontamination costs at the plant and compensation.

The government should give up its nuclear-fuel recycling policy, including the use of the Monju fast-breeder reactor, Koizumi said. The government has not decided on the fate of the trouble-prone reactor, which was intended to play a key role in the recycling policy.

On Abe’s drive to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, Koizumi said it will not be possible due to a lack of sufficient public support.

Koizumi said a breakthrough on the decades-old territorial dispute over a group of Russian-held islands off Hokkaido will also be difficult as Russia will not accept Japan’s ownership of the islands.

Read more.

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , .

Electric Stoves, Heaters Key for Japan’s Nuclear Utility via Bloomberg

The first Japanese utility to restart a nuclear reactor under post-Fukushima rules has restarted a campaign urging users to increase power consumption discontinued after the unprecedented triple meltdown in March 2011.
Kyushu Electric Power Co., which expects at least two nuclear reactors to be online next year, aims to start a television advertising campaign to promote the adoption of “all electric households,” according to spokesman Shinpei Ikeda. The company began a web campaign earlier this month, and is offering promotions for customers who purchase electric stoves and heaters. By using electricity instead of gas, the Fukuoka-based company is hoping that households boost stagnating demand and eat up some of its excess supply.
The push comes amid market reform introduced in April to increase competition and after power demand from the nation’s 10 regional utilities fell to an 18-year low. For the first time since Fukushima, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced on Tuesday that it won’t request companies and households to implement measures to cut power consumption, known as “setsuden,” this winter due in part to the boost in supplies following the restart of some nuclear reactors.

Read more.

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

楢葉の高線量破片…原発事故が原因と推定 セシウムなど検出 via 福島民友



続きは楢葉の高線量破片…原発事故が原因と推定 セシウムなど検出 

Posted in *日本語.

Tagged with , , , .

Opposition to nuclear energy grows in Japan via DW

 Opinion polls show the Japanese people oppose nuclear plants going back into operation. It underlines the scale of the problem facing the government in convincing everyone that it’s safe. Julian Ryall reports from Tokyo.

Before October 16, Ryuichi Yoneyama had contested four regional elections and been soundly beaten each time. Now, however, the 49-year-old qualified doctor and lawyer is to be sworn in as governor of Niigata Prefecture after defeating a candidate who had the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and was considered the firm favorite.

Yoneyama worked hard for his victory over Tamio Mori, a former bureaucrat with the construction ministry, but when the voters stepped into the voting booths there was a single issue that occupied their minds.

Mori and the LDP want to restart the world’s largest nuclear power station, the sprawling Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which lies on the prefecture’s coast. They insist that as Japan moves towards the sixth anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, triggering the second-worst nuclear crisis in history, new safety measures have been implemented that ensure the same thing could not happen in Niigata.

The voters did not agree, with 528,455 supporting Yoneyama’s pledge to not grant approval for Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant to be restarted. In comparison, 465,044 voted for Mori.

Nationwide opposition

Those figures are broadly replicated across Japan, with a poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper on October 15 and 16 determining that 57 percent of the public is against the nation’s nuclear power plants being restarted, and just 29 percent supporting the resumption of reactors that have nearly all been mothballed since 2011.


Japan’s energy needs

Critics of this approach – of which the government is one – say Japanese industry needs a secure supply of energy right now and that Japan is presently importing 84 percent of its energy needs, primarily in the form of coal, gas and oil. And that is both expensive and to blame for the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases climbing.

Still, the Japanese public is far from convinced that nuclear energy is the answer.

“It’s complicated and we keep hearing from the government how important it is to have the nuclear plants operating again, but after Fukushima, I think, a lot of people no longer trust the operators or the government,” said Kanako Hosomura, a housewife whose family home is north of Tokyo and only about 250 km from the Fukushima plant.

Read more at Opposition to nuclear energy grows in Japan

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , .