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Events – Enformable http://enformable.com Tue, 02 May 2017 22:21:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 https://i2.wp.com/enformable.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/enfoicon-11-e1430233969135.png?fit=32%2C32 Events – Enformable http://enformable.com 32 32 29887482 Movement of New Confinement Structure at Chernobyl signals new stage in decommissioning process http://enformable.com/2016/12/movement-of-new-confinement-structure-at-chernobyl-signals-new-stage-in-decommissioning-process/ http://enformable.com/2016/12/movement-of-new-confinement-structure-at-chernobyl-signals-new-stage-in-decommissioning-process/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:12:03 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41527

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine is entering a new period in the decommissioning and mitigation stage of the response to the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Unit 4 reactor.

During the last week of November, 2016, just before a fresh blanket of snow covered the plant, workers moved the new confinement structure in place over the sarcophagus that was erected in 1986 to stem the release of radioactive materials into the environment.

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The author at Chernobyl after exiting the control room of the Unit 4 reactor in November 2016.

I spent the majority of the last month in Ukraine, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as a member of the last international delegation allowed on-site before the arch was moved.  I am currently working on reviewing my notes and data and will write a new series of editorials soon.  It was incredible to witness how much progress had been made on-site in just the last year.  The experience showed me that the workers at Chernobyl are willing, and able, to do the work – they just need the resources and assistance.

The majority of the time we were at the Chernobyl plant, the entire facility was closed down to international delegations in preparation for the movement of the New Confinement Structure.  We were very fortunate to have official status which allowed us to remain on-site even after it was restricted.  In the worker town of Slavutych I ran into Simon Evans – Hans Blix’s right hand man and Associate Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the international financier of the new confinement structure).  Evans first response to my salutation was “What are you doing here?”.

Those last days at the plant before the New Confinement Structure was moved in place were full of activity and anticipation, everyone was on edge, would everything go as planned?  It was incredible to witness the resolve and efforts of the Chernobyl workers, despite the pressures that were being placed upon them.

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The New Confinement Structure in place over the Sarcophagus. The building to the left of the ventilation stack is the Unit 3 reactor, which was constructed as a mirror image of the Unit 4 reactor.

The new confinement structure, or “The Arch” as it is called, is the biggest movable object ever constructed, and there were many problems along the way that had to be dealt with.  Even up until the last week before the arch was moved, there were serious concerns about the ventilation system and the overall weight of the new confinement structure.  But now the arch has moved, and the workers can begin to focus on the next stages of the decommissioning plan – as soon as they locate the funds to acquire the necessary equipment and to perform the work.

A view of the New Confinement Structure from the west. The western end of the turbine building can be seen on the lower right half of the New Confinement Structure.
A view of the New Confinement Structure from the west. The western end of the turbine building can be seen on the lower right half of the New Confinement Structure.

It will still take a few years of close monitoring before experts are able to determine how stable the new confinement structure is, and whether any additional works will have to be completed to increase the integrity of the structure and improve its fit over the original sarcophagus.

There is still a great deal of concern at Chernobyl these days, now that the new confinement structure is in place, the international community will be content to walk away and forget about Chernobyl – little does the world realize that now is when the REAL work begins.  Now is when the workers of Chernobyl need us and our support the most!

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Talen Energy abandons proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant http://enformable.com/2016/09/talen-energy-abandons-proposed-bell-bend-nuclear-power-plant/ http://enformable.com/2016/09/talen-energy-abandons-proposed-bell-bend-nuclear-power-plant/#respond Thu, 01 Sep 2016 14:31:21 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41319 AREVA European Pressurized Reactor EPR

Talen Energy, the company that owns the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Pennsylvania, has informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it sees no “viable path” forward and is abandoning its application to construct a new nuclear power plant next to the Susquehanna facility.

On October 10th, 2008, the NRC received an application that proposed to construct a new facility called the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant.  The application was submitted in time to qualify for $8 billion in federal loan guarantees and special production tax credits under the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The planned reactor was an AREVA design called the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR).  In 2008, when the application was submitted, the EPR reactor at Bell Bend was expected to cost at least $10 billion to develop and come online in 2016 or 2017.  By 2011, the estimated costs had ballooned to $13 to $15 billion and the date of operation had been bumped back to between 2018 and 2020.

AREVA asked the NRC to suspend its safety review of the reactor design on February 25th, 2015.

In June, 2016, Talen Energy was purchased by Riverstone Holdings.  Shortly after the private investment firm purchased the company, the announcement was made that the Bell Bend project would be shelved.

“Talen Energy sees no viable path to obtaining a license for Bell Bend,” spokesman Todd L. Martin wrote.

It is estimated that Talen Energy has invested more than $200 million in the project.

Source: World Nuclear News

Source: The Morning Call

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22 security guards at Palisades placed on leave for falsifying fire inspection records http://enformable.com/2016/07/22-security-guards-palisades-placed-leave-falsifying-fire-inspection-records/ http://enformable.com/2016/07/22-security-guards-palisades-placed-leave-falsifying-fire-inspection-records/#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:16:11 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41302 Palisades #4

Officials from the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan operated by Entergy have confirmed that 22 workers have been placed on paid leave after it was found that fire inspection records had been falsified.

One of the duties of security officers at some nuclear power plants is to conduct routine checks to ensure that there are no indications of fires.  These fire inspections are part of a commitment made by licensees instead of upgrading or modifying nuclear power plants to remove the threat of fires affecting the performance of critical safety systems.

Val Gent, spokeswoman for the nuclear power plant said, “we cannot tolerate employees stating they completed a task when they didn’t, and we are obligated to fully investigate any such instances.”

Several of the security officers placed on leave have told reporters that they are being treated as scapegoats by plant management, and claim they were never trained to perform the fire inspections.

“Now the company [Entergy] lawyer is asking us questions, saying the NRC will be speaking with us…and that we could be criminally liable,” a suspended security officer told a reporter from WWMT News Channel 3.

The falsification of fire reports was discovered in June when physical documents indicating fire inspections had been performed were found to not match the digital records from security key cards tracking employee movements in the plant.   Entergy began an internal investigation after finding the discrepancy.

In 2013 and 2014, employees at the Entergy-owned Waterford nuclear power plant in Louisiana were also found to have falsified nearly a year’s worth of fire watch logs.w

Source: Detroit Free Press

Source: WWMT

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The Animals at Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl http://enformable.com/2015/12/the-animals-at-fukushima-daiichi-and-chernobyl/ http://enformable.com/2015/12/the-animals-at-fukushima-daiichi-and-chernobyl/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2015 15:06:22 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41070 Animals of Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl - 2

TEPCO released images this week of what appeared to be a fox that had entered the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor.

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The animal pokes his head around and explores the contaminated structure.

The images demonstrate how hard it is to keep animals out of sites like Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl.

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Dogs sleeping together at the Sanitorium Building at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

In September, I was at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and saw hundreds of stray dogs that live on-site.  While the workers feed them and pet them, we chose not to.

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A small stray puppy in front of the new confinement structure at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

What we saw at Chernobyl was that the animals would have access to any area that was not fenced off.

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A dog walks underneath a gate at the ISF-2 facility at Chernobyl.

As can be seen in this image, just a gate is not enough to prevent access to our four-legged friends.

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A sign warning of wolves at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The dogs at Chernobyl are strays and they look like it, but they are a little safer from the wolves in the exclusion zone while on-site.

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I don’t know what the long-term solution is for animals like this, but when I showed pictures we had taken on our trip of the Dogs at Chernobyl to a veterinarian here in the United States, the first thing he did was offer to go over and spay and neuter them for free.

Animals of Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl - 9

Chernobyl Series

Part 1 – Experiencing the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Part 2 – Visiting the Chernobyl site and the Unit 2 control room

Part 3 – Inside the Chernobyl Unit 4 control room

Part 4 – Pripyat: City for the Future, City of the Past

Bonus Coverage – The Animals at Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl

All images courtesy of Carl Willis, Heidi Baumgartner, Lucas Hixson, and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

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More weapons-grade plutonium headed to Savannah River Site http://enformable.com/2015/12/more-weapons-grade-plutonium-headed-to-savannah-river-site-2/ http://enformable.com/2015/12/more-weapons-grade-plutonium-headed-to-savannah-river-site-2/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2015 14:35:26 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41064 Savannah River Site - Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility

Nearly an additional ton of weapons-grade plutonium will be shipped to the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina from Europe, the Pacific Rim (including from Japan), and North America.  The material would be stored at SRS until the federal government determines a final disposition for it.

US government officials say it is necessary to store the materials at SRS to ensure that they cannot be stolen by terrorists.

There are concerns, in part because the SRS site already holds over 12 metric tons of plutonium collected from commercial nuclear power plants across the United States.  The plutonium was expected to be used to manufacture mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for nuclear power plants but the construction of the controversial MOX fuel fabrication facility which was expected to process 34 metric tons of plutonium is only 70% completed, billions of dollars over budget, years behind its original schedule, and has been placed on a shut-down track by Congress.

Officials from South Carolina aren’t too pleased with the accumulating tons of weapons-grade material being stored in their state.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley opposes the permanent disposal of plutonium at the SRS.  Governor Haley has said that the federal government should either process the materials or remove them from the SRS site and is considering suing the government if no action is taken.  Chaney Adams, spokeswoman for the Governor told reporters “South Carolina will not be a dumping ground for weapons-grade plutonium and nuclear waste.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham pointed out some of the concerns related to the SRS site, “There has been a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the community about the program’s future, particularly after the (President Barack Obama) administration tried to cancel the program, which would have left South Carolina stuck with several tons of weapons-grade plutonium.”

Source: The Aiken Standard

Source: The State

Source: The Aiken Standard

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Weapons missing from LaSalle nuclear power plant armory http://enformable.com/2015/08/weapons-missing-from-lasalle-nuclear-power-plant-armory/ http://enformable.com/2015/08/weapons-missing-from-lasalle-nuclear-power-plant-armory/#respond Wed, 26 Aug 2015 00:45:46 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40781 LaSalle nuclear power plant - Illinois

Two Sig Sauer 9 millimeter weapons were stolen from the armory at the LaSalle nuclear power plant located 65 miles southwest of the City of Chicago.

Exelon, the licensee who operates the nuclear facility, claims that the security of the site was not breached during the theft, which may imply that the person who stole the weapons is a worker at the nuclear power plant.

Exelon has notified the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department and officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who will launch an investigation into the matter.  The NRC has dispatched a senior inspector to the plant to oversee the case.

Officials from the power plant told reporters that the weapons were primarily used for training purposes and could have been stolen nearly a month ago, on July 27th, and may reveal why the theft was not made public earlier.

Source: NBC 5 Chicago

Source: ABC 7 Chicago

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Licensed LaSalle reactor operator fails fitness for duty test http://enformable.com/2015/08/licensed-lasalle-reactor-operator-fails-fitness-for-duty-test/ http://enformable.com/2015/08/licensed-lasalle-reactor-operator-fails-fitness-for-duty-test/#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:33:33 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40770 During a random fitness for duty test last week, a reactor operator at the LaSalle nuclear power plant in Illinois tested positive for alcohol.  The licensee terminated the employees access to the facility.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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Pilgrim nuclear reactor operator violates fitness for duty policy http://enformable.com/2015/07/pilgrim-nuclear-reactor-operator-violates-fitness-for-duty-policy/ http://enformable.com/2015/07/pilgrim-nuclear-reactor-operator-violates-fitness-for-duty-policy/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:02:23 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40743 Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

Around 12:30 on Monday a licensed reactor operator at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant near Boston violated the Fitness-for-Duty policy.  The operator was denied access to the plant and the resident NRC inspector was informed.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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Reactor operator violates fitness for duty policy at McGuire http://enformable.com/2015/06/reactor-operator-violates-fitness-for-duty-policy-at-mcguire/ http://enformable.com/2015/06/reactor-operator-violates-fitness-for-duty-policy-at-mcguire/#respond Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:20:31 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40697 McGuire Nuclear Power Plant - Enformable

On Wednesday, a licensed reactor operator at the McGuire nuclear power station in North Carolina was found to be in violation of the site fitness-for-duty policy.

The licensee revoked the operator’s access to the facility and notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

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Licensed reactor supervisor tests positive for controlled substance http://enformable.com/2015/06/licensed-reactor-supervisor-tests-positive-for-controlled-substance/ http://enformable.com/2015/06/licensed-reactor-supervisor-tests-positive-for-controlled-substance/#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2015 11:29:02 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40694 Farley Nuclear Power Plant

A licensed supervisor at the Farley nuclear power plant in Alabama confirmed positive for a controlled substance during a random fitness for duty test last week.  Southern Company, who operates the nuclear power plant, restricted the employee’s site access by placing them on administrative hold.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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Canada to delay decision on nuclear waste facility on Great Lakes http://enformable.com/2015/06/canada-to-delay-decision-on-nuclear-waste-facility-on-great-lakes/ http://enformable.com/2015/06/canada-to-delay-decision-on-nuclear-waste-facility-on-great-lakes/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 13:27:57 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40690 Kincardine Nuclear

Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that a decision on whether or not to approve the $1 billion Kincardine nuclear waste storage facility on Lake Huron will be postponed until after elections in the fall.

Minister Aglukkaq was supposed to make a final decision in September, but decided ultimately to delay the decision until December 2nd, 2015, after the federal election in Canada.

The Canadian repository still faces opposition from local residents and legislators in the United States.

Illinois Senator Mark Kirk has called the repository a “serious threat” to the Great Lakes.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said that she “has been opposed to this plan from Day 1” and pledged to continue working to stop the Kincardine nuclear waste storage site from being built.

The 200,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste which is going to be stored at the proposed Kincardine site is now being stored above-ground on-site at nuclear power stations in Canada.

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Alcohol container found at Braidwood nuclear power plant http://enformable.com/2015/05/alcohol-container-found-at-braidwood-nuclear-power-plant/ http://enformable.com/2015/05/alcohol-container-found-at-braidwood-nuclear-power-plant/#respond Wed, 27 May 2015 13:01:11 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40686 Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant - Exelon

A maintenance worker at the Braidwood nuclear power plant in Illinois found an empty beer can in the protected area of the nuclear site on Tuesday.  According to the utility the can appears to be at over 20 years old.  No explanation was given as to why the object had not been found before.  The beer can was seized by site security and removed from the protected area.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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Watts Barr supervisor fails fitness for duty test http://enformable.com/2015/04/watts-barr-supervisor-fails-fitness-for-duty-test/ http://enformable.com/2015/04/watts-barr-supervisor-fails-fitness-for-duty-test/#respond Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:59:12 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40667 Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant

On Tuesday a supervisor at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant in Tennessee failed a random fitness for duty test after confirming positive for alcohol.

The licensee terminated the employee’s access to the site.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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V.C. Summer supervisor fails follow up fitness for duty test http://enformable.com/2015/04/v-c-summer-supervisor-fails-follow-up-fitness-for-duty-test/ http://enformable.com/2015/04/v-c-summer-supervisor-fails-follow-up-fitness-for-duty-test/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:10:48 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40661 On Thursday, April 23rd, around 3:32 pm an employee supervisor confirmed positive after a follow-up fitness for duty test.  The licensee denied the employees access to the facility.

Fitness for duty tests are administered either randomly, in a lottery-style system where “winners” get to report to the medical office for testing, or for-cause, which are administrated after supervisors note aberrant behaviors and order follow-up testing to ensure compliance.  Aberrant behaviors cover a wide range of actions from staggering, making simple mistakes (such as turning the wrong switch), acting belligerent or out of character, among a multitude of overall deviations from normal behavior for the individual.

The event on Thursday was the second reported fitness for duty violation by an employee supervisor at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in the last week.

A call to the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company Public Affairs Department to determine if there was any connection between the two recent fitness for duty violations was not returned by the licensee.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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VC Summer construction supervisor willfully avoids fitness for duty test http://enformable.com/2015/04/vc-summer-construction-supervisor-willfully-avoids-fitness-for-duty-test/ http://enformable.com/2015/04/vc-summer-construction-supervisor-willfully-avoids-fitness-for-duty-test/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:22:43 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40643 VC Summer nuclear power plant

An employee supervisor at the Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina has been found of willfully acting to avoid a fitness for duty test.

The employee was working on Wednesday when they were notified to report to the fitness for duty office to submit to a random fitness for duty test.  Instead of reporting to the fitness for duty office the supervisor left the construction site.

The licensee terminated the supervisor’s access to the facility.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

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