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‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl via Science

By Richard Stone

Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall. “It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit,” says Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield. Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident.

Sensors are tracking a rising number of neutrons, a signal of fission, streaming from one inaccessible room, Anatolii Doroshenko of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, reported last week during discussions about dismantling the reactor. “There are many uncertainties,” says ISPNPP’s Maxim Saveliev. “But we can’t rule out the possibility of [an] accident.” The neutron counts are rising slowly, Saveliev says, suggesting managers still have a few years to figure out how to stifle the threat. Any remedy he and his colleagues come up with will be of keen interest to Japan, which is coping with the aftermath of its own nuclear disaster 10 years ago at Fukushima, Hyatt notes. “It’s a similar magnitude of hazard.”


The concrete-and-steel sarcophagus called the Shelter, erected 1 year after the accident to house Unit Four’s remains, allowed rainwater to seep in. Because water slows, or moderates, neutrons and thus enhances their odds of striking and splitting uranium nuclei, heavy rains would sometimes send neutron counts soaring. After a downpour in June 1990, a “stalker”—a scientist at Chernobyl who risks radiation exposure to venture into the damaged reactor hall—dashed in and sprayed gadolinium nitrate solution, which absorbs neutrons, on an FCM that he and his colleagues feared might go critical. Several years later, the plant installed gadolinium nitrate sprinklers in the Shelter’s roof. But the spray can’t effectively penetrate some basement rooms.


The threat can’t be ignored. As water continues to recede, the fear is that “the fission reaction accelerates exponentially,” Hyatt says, leading to “an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy.” There’s no chance of a repeat of 1986, when the explosion and fire sent a radioactive cloud over Europe. A runaway fission reaction in an FCM could sputter out after heat from fission boils off the remaining water. Still, Saveliev notes, although any explosive reaction would be contained, it could threaten to bring down unstable parts of the rickety Shelter, filling the NSC with radioactive dust.


The resurgent fission reactions are not the only challenge facing Chernobyl’s keepers. Besieged by intense radiation and high humidity, the FCMs are disintegrating—spawning even more radioactive dust that complicates plans to dismantle the Shelter. Early on, an FCM formation called the Elephant’s Foot was so hard scientists had to use a Kalashnikov rifle to shear off a chunk for analysis. “Now it more or less has the consistency of sand,” Saveliev says.

Ukraine has long intended to remove the FCMs and store them in a geological repository. By September, with help from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it aims to have a comprehensive plan for doing so. But with life still flickering within the Shelter, it may be harder than ever to bury the reactor’s restless remains.

Read more at ‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl

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写真家の森下一徹氏死去 via Reuters

 森下 一徹氏(もりした・いってつ=写真家)4日午後11時28分、肺炎のため東京都の病院で死去、81歳。




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‘Ongoing threat.’ Groups demand action on leaking Hanford nuclear waste tank via Tri-City Herald

By Annette Cary


The newly discovered leak in another of Hanford’s aging tanks storing radioactive waste does not appear to threaten the health of Washington people in the near term, said Gov. Jay Inslee.


But groups from Seattle to the Tri-Cities that follow Hanford closely spoke out after the public was told Thursday about the leak.

Demands ranged from immediately emptying the tank to building better storage tanks for waste to a pilot project that could get more waste treated soon.

DOE notified the state Thursday that the tank was leaking, after investigating that possibility since March 2019.

Estimates of the amount of waste that have leaked vary, but the Department of Ecology puts it at a rate of nearly 1,300 gallons per year with an estimated 1,700 gallons leaked into the soil since March 2019.


Tank B-109 has been in use since World War II and currently holds about 123,000 gallons of waste, including about 15,000 gallons of liquid waste.

Hanford is left with 56 million gallons of mixed radioactive and other hazardous chemical waste from the past production of two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium for its nuclear weapons program during World War II and the Cold War.

Work is underway to empty waste from leak-prone single-shell tanks into 27 newer double-shell tanks until it can be treated for permanent disposal.

As DOE works to start turning some of the tank waste into a stable glass form for disposal at the Hanford site’s $17 billion vitrification plant by the end of 2023, space is running short in the double-shell tanks.

“We should not wait any longer to build more tanks because it takes about 6 years to design and build a new tank,” Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based advocate for Hanford workers, said in a statement. “How many more tanks will leak in that timeframe?”

This new leak of B-109 puts a spotlight on the need for Congress and DOE to act immediately to increase funding for cleanup and design and build new tanks, it said.

DOE has resisted building more double-shell tanks, saying Hanford’s cleanup budget is better spent on work to dispose of the waste.

The Tri-City Development council agrees.

“The permanent solution is to get the waste out of the tanks and treat it — that needs to be the priority,” said David Reeploeg, TRIDEC vice president for federal programs. “Constructing new tanks at this point would only kick the can down the road and divert limited funds away from actual cleanup.”


“There’s no such thing as a small leak from a high-level nuclear waste tank,” said Gerry Pollet, Heart of America Northwest director. “Contamination will reach groundwater which flows to the Columbia River.”

DOE said that waste leaking into the soil from Tank B-109 would take 25 years to reach groundwater. It is in an area already contaminated from the disposal, spills and previous leaks of waste and contaminated liquids of about 52 million gallons.

About 57 of Hanford’s single-shell tanks are suspected of leaking or spilling radioactive waste into the ground in the center of the site in the past and disposing of contaminated liquids into the soil was an excepted past practice.


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Leçons de Fukushima Entretien Bruno Chareyron 日本語字幕付via Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11

Vidéo éditée et sous-titré en japonais de l’interview de Bruno Chareyron de la CRIIRAD

Arriver dans des zones aussi contaminées et voir qu’on y laisse vivre les enfants


Deux associations françaises sont profondément impliquées dans les mesures de la contamination de l’environnement par la radioactivité et de l’exposition de la population suite à l’accident nucléaire de TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi : l’ACRO en Normandie et la CRIIRAD dans le sud de la France.


La CRIIRAD (Commission de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur la RADioactivité) est située à Valence dans une région au bord du Rhône, extrêmement nucléarisée. Elle a été créée suite à l’accident de Tchernobyl par des citoyens qui se sont rendu compte du manque de capacité et moyens des autorités françaises pour informer correctement et protéger les habitants. « Indépendantes » signifie indépendance vis-à-vis des autorités, des partis politiques et des industries. La CRIIRAD a effectué des mesures en Europe mais aussi en Outre-mer  (Polynésie française), en ex URSS (Biélorussie, Ukraine, Russie), en Afrique (Algérie, Gabon, Malawi, Mali, Namibie, Niger), et en Amérique (USA, Brésil).


Nos voisins lointains

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<東海第二原発 再考再稼働>(27)周辺開発 村は見直しを 茨城大名誉教授・乾康代さん(67) via東京新聞

三月十八日、水戸地裁の建物から原告団の弁護士らが飛び出して「勝訴」の旗を広げたのを見て、胸が震えた。日本原子力発電東海第二原発(東海村)で事故があれば、周辺に住む九十四万人が避難することはそもそも無理だろう、だから再稼働してはいけない−という判断は至極まっとうだ。 東海村は、村民が再稼働問題などを話し合う「自分ごと化会議」を開催しているが、山田修村長自身がこの判決を「自分ごと化」しなければならない。原発周辺の開発規制を緩め、住宅地をどんどん作ってきた責任が村にはある。


原子力委員会が一九六四年に制定した「原子炉立地審査指針」は、原発を建設する前提として、周辺は「非居住区域」、その外側は「低密度人口区域」であることを求めている。東海第二と同じ敷地にある東海原発(六〇年着工、廃炉中)は、指針制定前に見切り発車で立地が認められたが、東海第二の立地は指針に基づいたものだ。 だが、原発からどれくらい離れたところまでが「非居住区域」「低密度人口区域」なのかは定義されず、一度審査を通れば、その後にどんなに周辺人口が増えても放置されてきた。指針は原発推進機関である原子力委の「内規」にすぎず、一度も改訂されることなく形骸化していった。 東海・東海第二原発周辺の人口増加を食い止めるには、村(六八年の新都市計画法施行前は県)が「非居住区域」「低密度人口区域」を維持するような都市計画を立てるべきだった。だが、村では急速に集積が進んだ原子力関連施設や日立製作所関係の住宅需要が拡大。強い開発推進圧力の中、まともな規制は一切してこなかった。 その結果が現在の「三十キロ圏内の人口九十四万人」だ。都市計画規制なき原発立地は「東海モデル」として全国に広まった。 東京電力福島第一原発事故後に施行された新規制基準も、既存原発を立地審査の対象とはしなかった。あらためて審査すれば、国内の全ての原発が廃炉に追い込まれたからだろう。 水戸地裁判決は立地審査指針にも言及しているが、原子力規制委員会が立地審査を採用していないことに関しては「疑問がある」と述べるにとどめた。有名無実化している指針について、もっと厳しく指摘しても良かったのではないか。 もちろん、東海第二周辺の家を今すぐ壊して村民に引っ越してもらうことなどできない。だが東海村には、開発規制を怠った結果、原発周辺の村民を事故のリスクにさらしている責任がある。今後は、空き家や空き地が出たらそこにはもう住めないようにして、少しずつでも原発敷地から住宅地をセットバック(後退)させていくことを考えるべきだ。 山田村長はまずひとこと、「開発のあり方を見直す」と言ってほしい。それが水戸地裁判決を「自分ごと化」する第一歩になる。 (聞き手・宮尾幹成)<いぬい・やすよ> 1953年、奈良県生駒市生まれ。大阪市立大大学院で博士取得。2001〜19年に茨城大教育学部助教授、准教授、教授を務めた。専門は住居計画、都市計画。新建築家技術者集団代表幹事。単著に「原発都市 歪(ゆが)められた都市開発の未来」、共著に「原発『廃炉』地域ハンドブック」など。水戸市在住。

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Radiation Leak at FedEx Facility After Damaged Package Discovered via Newsweek


Firefighters raced to a German FedEx facility after radioactive material leaked from a damaged package.

Crews arrived at the FedEx depot after they were alerted that a radioactive package had been discovered at the site on Tuesday morning.

According to German media, the 15ins by 23ins package with a hazardous substances warning was found by an employee who quickly told senior bosses.


Christoph Hartmann, the press spokesperson for the Würzburg Fire Brigade, told the outlet the employees were given medical care and checked for any injuries.

He added there was no trace of increased radiation exposure and that they were referred to a doctor for further examination before they will be able to return to work.

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フランス電力がインドで原発計画を推進 世界最大規模 via 産経新聞



続きはフランス電力がインドで原発計画を推進 世界最大規模

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Flint residents affected by water crisis may be getting exposed to harmful radiation via Detroit Free Press

Paul Egan

First, Flint residents were exposed to toxic lead.

Now, there are concerns many could be exposed to harmful radiation through bone scans as they seek to document their exposure to lead and secure their shares of a $641.25 million settlement of civil lawsuits arising from the Flint water catastrophe.


But Hanna-Attisha, a professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in Flint whose analysis of Flint blood testing helped to expose the Flint water crisis, does not recommend bone scans for children. She says the risk, even if low, comes without benefits. And she described as “maddening” news that the scanner was used over the weekend on a pregnant woman.


Amber Stebbins, a Flint-area woman who is 28 weeks pregnant, told the Free Press she was given a bone scan Sunday at the Flint clinic run by the Napoli Shkolnik law firm and was never asked whether she was pregnant or given a lead shield or other form of protection.

“I’m not in the medical field,” said Stebbins. “I don’t know if it’s going to affect my child.”

Bone scans are not routinely performed on or recommended for pregnant women, because of concerns about exposing the fetus to radiation.


Two medical experts cited by the attorneys, Dr. Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatrics and environmental science at New York University, and  Aaron Specht, a research associate at Harvard with a doctorate in medical physics, did not respond to emails from the Free Press on Tuesday.

But Paul Napoli, a New York attorney whose law firm owns the portable scanner, said in a Tuesday email the fetus would receive no radiation because the dose is restricted to a 1-centimeter area of the lower leg.


The other two lead attorneys involved in the case, who are designated the co-class counsel, Michael Pitt of Royal Oak and Theodore Leopold of Florida, filed a motion March 1 asking Levy to temporarily halt the bone scans.

Pitt and Leopold cited concerns about lack of access to the bone scan equipment by clients represented by other attorneys and a lack of transparency about what approvals the portable equipment had received. The portable scanner did not appear to have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a medical device, and the court should ensure its use is “legally permissible based on findings of safety and efficacy made by a regulatory agency with the requisite authority,” the court filing said.

But Pitt and Leopold withdrew the motion later that day after a hearing with Levy, to which Cuker was not invited, and which includes a 26-minute time span that was “off the record” and not included in the transcript.

Read more at Flint residents affected by water crisis may be getting exposed to harmful radiation

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元裁判長が示した「原発の耐震性」衝撃のデータとは via 毎日新聞













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【検証・廃炉】汚染水対策、道半ば 実態伴わぬ「コントロール」 via 福島民友
















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