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Nuclear Fuel – 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 Nuclear Fuel – Enformable http://enformable.com 32 32 29887482 Oklahoma judge issues ruling against plan to bury radioactive waste http://enformable.com/2017/02/oklahoma-judge-issues-ruling-against-plan-to-bury-radioactive-waste/ http://enformable.com/2017/02/oklahoma-judge-issues-ruling-against-plan-to-bury-radioactive-waste/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:20:20 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=41579

A judge in Oklahoma has issued a temporary restraining order halts Sequoyah Fuels plans to bury radioactive waste at its plant in Gore, Oklahoma.  The ruling is a victory for the Cherokee Nation and the State of Oklahoma who have argued that the waste should be removed off-site.

The Sequoyah Fuels processing facility was one of two privately-owned factories that converted yellowcake into nuclear fuel rods which were used in commercial nuclear power plants but shut down operations in 1993.  The facility was constructed by Kerr-McGee in 1968 and started operations in 1970.  The facility was repeatedly cited for violations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission while it was operating, including an accident that killed a worker and contaminated the Arkansas River and groundwater in 1986.

In 2004 Sequoyah Fuels agreed to spend up to $3.5 million dollars to remove the wastes and dispose of them elsewhere, but Sequoyah Fuels notified the Cherokee Nation in January that instead it was planning to bury the uranium-contaminated waste that had collected in various basins, lagoons and ditches on-site instead of transporting them off-site as had previously been agreed upon.  According to Sara Hill, the Cherokee Nation Secretary for Natural Resources, the 11,000 tons of material that Sequoyah Fuels wanted to bury on-site was “the most heavily contaminated material on the site.”

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TEPCO says Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 meltdown worse than estimated http://enformable.com/2014/08/tepco-says-fukushima-daiichi-unit-3-meltdown-worse-estimated/ http://enformable.com/2014/08/tepco-says-fukushima-daiichi-unit-3-meltdown-worse-estimated/#respond Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:57:43 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40513 Fukushima Daiichi - Smoke coming out of Unit 3 Reactor Building - March 21st, 2011 - 1728 - Enformable

For the last three and a half years, TEPCO engineers have been working to better characterize the state of the melted nuclear fuel in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

Now those officials believe that most of the melted nuclear fuel in the Unit 3 reactor melted through the reactor pressure vessel and collected at the bottom of the containment.

Before, engineers believed that some volume of fuel was still inside of the reactor, but now that understanding has changed.

TEPCO also updated its estimate of the time of fuel damage and exit from the pressure vessel.  According to TEPCO officials, now they believe that the meltdown at the Unit 3 reactor began around 05:30 AM on the morning of March 13th – 5 hours earlier than TEPCO previously assumed, and that most of the fuel melted and escaped from the reactor pressure vessel into the containment vessel by the morning of March 14th.

These updates will force TEPCO to adjust its decommissioning schedule and plans, as the increased volume of melted nuclear fuel outside of the reactor pressure vessel will make decommissioning efforts much more difficult and costly.

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US nuclear fuel supplier files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy http://enformable.com/2014/03/us-nuclear-fuel-supplier-files-chapter-11-bankruptcy/ http://enformable.com/2014/03/us-nuclear-fuel-supplier-files-chapter-11-bankruptcy/#respond Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:21:01 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=40199 American Centrifuge Process Building

The United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the executive agent in the Megatons to Megawatts program – the highly enriched uranium purchase agreement between the United States and Russia, filed for bankruptcy, as its shares plummeted by another 46% in premarket trading on Wednesday.  The company, based in Bethesda, Maryland, has 505 employees, but will be unable to repay debts due by October, 2014.

Since the March 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, uranium prices have fallen more than 30 percent, and with the closure of over 50 reactors in Japan and Germany – combined with the shutdown of multiple facilities in the United States, demand for nuclear fuel is low causing fuel prices to dramatically drop in price.

One of USEC’s largest customers before 2011 was Tokyo Electric, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility.  The company also provides services for Exelon and Entergy.

After halting enrichment operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant leased by the Department of Energy, the company planned to make up the lost profits from production at the planned American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio, but USEC had problems securing funding for the project.

According to the USEC bankruptcy filing, over $2.5 billion has been spent developing the American Centrifuge Project so far, but more than $4 billion is still required to complete it.

USEC had sought a $2 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, but the DOE said that the proposed plant was not ready for commercial production, prohibiting it from becoming eligible for loan guarantees.  Instead the government counter-offered a cost-sharing program until the capability of the technology was adequately demonstrated.

USEC was created by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which privatized uranium enrichment for civilian use, but in more recent years has been hailed as one of the greatest failures of privatization in world history.

Babcock & Wilcox is a strategic partner of USEC, holding a large share of preferred stock, and could potentially benefit by taking over USEC’s operations if the company goes under.

Since 2007, USEC stock has lost 99% of its value.

As of December 31st, USEC listed $70 million in assets and $1.07 billion of liabilities.  USEC plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection in 90 to 120 days, but the proposed reorganization plan still requires court approval.

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Kazakhstan to work towards launch of international fuel bank in 2013 at Ulba Metallurgic plant http://enformable.com/2012/05/kazakhstan-to-work-towards-launch-of-international-fuel-bank-in-2013-at-ulba-metallurgic-plant/ http://enformable.com/2012/05/kazakhstan-to-work-towards-launch-of-international-fuel-bank-in-2013-at-ulba-metallurgic-plant/#respond Wed, 30 May 2012 15:07:23 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=33442
Uranium pellets, a nuclear fuel product for atomic power plants, are seen on a production line at Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan's eastern town of Ust-Kamenogorsk in this August 11, 2006 file photo.

An international bank of nuclear fuel capable of storing up to 60 tons is to be launched in Kazakhstan in 2013, according to Timur Zhantikin, Head of the State Agency for Nuclear Power Industry.  The Kazakh-based international nuclear fuel bank containing up to 60 tons of low-enriched uranium in gaseous form will be located on the territory of the Ulba Metallurgic plant in Oskemen, the capital of East Kazakhstan region.

Part of the storage at the Ulba plant will be used to store 60 tons of nuclear materials owned by the IAEA”, he said, emphasizing that for Kazakhstan it’s more of a political project to contribute to the global non-proliferation efforts.    “We plan to launch the bank in summer or autumn of 2013”, he said on May 30th.

The plant has been producing dry fuel for nuclear power stations for 50 years.

The Kazakh foreign minister noted that the enrichment of uranium will take place in Russia before being shipped to Kazakhstan for storage. The facility will be under IAEA safeguards and only countries that are compliant with the agency’s guidelines will be able to purchase the nuclear fuel.

The IAEA and donors have already pledged $150 million for the project.  An official at the Vienna-based agency said consultations with Kazakhstan were progressing but the target date for the fuel bank’s inauguration wasn’t yet “set in stone.”

U.S. and European officials hope the Kazakh facility will convince developing countries to purchase their fuel for nuclear-power reactors from the global market, rather than seeking to produce it domestically.  Any country that needs low-enriched uranium to fuel  their power plants can get access to this bank.

In 2009 Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer of uranium ore, suggested hosting an international nuclear fuel bank in the Kazakh territory. The idea was approved of by the IAEA in 2011.  According to reports, the timeline will depend on respective agreements between Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but prep works are already under way at the Ulba metallurgical plant [engaged in production of hi-tech uranium, beryllium and tantalum products for the needs of the nuclear power industry] to host the bank.

Continued on Page 2…


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Japan Atomic Energy Commission confirms nuclear fuel reprocessing more expensive than direct disposal http://enformable.com/2012/05/japan-atomic-energy-commission-confirms-nuclear-fuel-reprocessing-more-expensive-than-direct-disposal/ http://enformable.com/2012/05/japan-atomic-energy-commission-confirms-nuclear-fuel-reprocessing-more-expensive-than-direct-disposal/#respond Wed, 16 May 2012 12:52:21 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=33141

If Japan’s future energy policy has a goal of zero reliance on nuclear power, a working group of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission says that fuel recycling should be discontinued and the spent fuel disposed of.

However, it notes that there may be no way of disposing of the spent fuel and that nuclear reactors will eventually become unusable.

The group says that making the most effective use of the uranium is to reprocess it, but that this option could be more costly than disposal.

Therefore the group concluded that from a cost perspective alone, the most viable option is to stop recycling and dispose of the spent fuel, regardless of a decision on how much nuclear energy will contribute to the power supply.

Source: NHK

Related Articles on Page 2…


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China and Japan to review nuclear safety – Kazakhstan and Japan form nuclear fuel agreement http://enformable.com/2012/05/china-and-japan-to-review-nuclear-safety-kazakhstan-and-japan-form-nuclear-fuel-agreement/ http://enformable.com/2012/05/china-and-japan-to-review-nuclear-safety-kazakhstan-and-japan-form-nuclear-fuel-agreement/#respond Fri, 04 May 2012 20:38:50 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=32805 Japanese Minister Goshi Hosono and China’s minister of environmental protection, agreedto create a dialogue mechanism between Japan’s “future” nuclear plant regulatory body, and its counterpart within the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry.

“It is very important to exchange information with China, where the number of nuclear power plants is expected to increase,” he said.

During his stay in China, Hosono plans to visit nuclear power plants to view their safety measures.

Kazakhstan and Japan also signed agreements this week, involving “not only extraction, but also manufacturing of high-tech fuel pellets at Kazakhstan-based facilities”, en.tengrinews.kz quoted Sergei Yashin, Vice Head of KazAtomProm as saying.

KazAtomProm, Kazakhstan’s national nuclear company is determined to begin exporting nuclear fuel components to Japan by as early as 2013.

“Our only plant will be manufacturing high-tech products such as uranium powders and tablets,” Yashin said.

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March 30th, 2011 – IAEA requests NRC to provide bounding assessments for Fukushima Units 1-3 – Assumptions on if fuel has left RPV http://enformable.com/2012/04/march-30th-2011-iaea-requests-nrc-to-provide-bounding-assessments-for-fukushima-units-1-3-assumptions-on-if-fuel-has-left-rpv/ Sat, 07 Apr 2012 16:37:08 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=31828 From: Astwood, Heather
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:31 PM
To: Astwood, Heather; Regan, Christopher; LIA07 Hoc; LIA08 Hoc; Brown, Michael;
McDermott, Brian; Hoc, PMT12; Blount, Tom
Subject: Requests for IAEA support on


I understand that IAEA asked you to have someone work with them to do Fukushima accident analysis and questions such as “bounding assessments for Units 1-3,” and “NRC assumptions on whether fuel has left the vessel.”

These type requests should be routed through the Ops Center to ensure that the proper coordination goes on.

Fred Brown
RST on-shift Director

IAEA Requests for NRC Analysis on Fukushima Daiichi Pages From C141933-02BX-3

Related Articles on Page 2…


NRC Fukushima Transcripts – Evidence of fuel or very highly radioactive material outside of Reactor 4 after explosion http://enformable.com/2012/03/nrc-transcripts-evidence-of-fuel-or-very-highly-radioactive-material-outside-of-reactor-4-after-explosion/ http://enformable.com/2012/03/nrc-transcripts-evidence-of-fuel-or-very-highly-radioactive-material-outside-of-reactor-4-after-explosion/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 03:32:04 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=30539 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

JACK: Yes, Mike, I don’t know that we’ve had anybody say that the fuel is covered with water.

What I can tell you is there’s clear evidence of a very significant hydrogen explosion. The only source of hydrogen that could feed that explosion is the spent fuel pool, so there must have been very, very high temperature zirconium interacting with water.

There is no visible vapors emanating from Unit 4 spent fuel pool area, which would be indicative of no water. It could also be indicative of a fully cooled core. That does not there is no source of cooling water going into the spent fuel pool, so to have a very significant hydrogen explosion, and then to think about the fuel being covered, those are kind of non sequitur concepts.

We do know that there were parts of debris, that the areas of debris around Unit 4 after the explosion which were contributing to very significantly high dose rates, and I understand that bulldozers were used to bulldoze that debris under some soil shielding, and the dose rates went down dramatically. That would be an indication that were

fragments of fuel since there’s no other source of substantial radioactive material which would have been involved in that explosion.

So, there’s indication of a very significant hydrogen explosion. I want to make sure that it’s clear that we don’t know this. We are just interpreting this from the visual evidence that we have, as well as the radiological measurements.

There’s evidence of a very significant hydrogen explosion. There’s evidence of fuel or some very highly radioactive material outside of the building after that explosion. And there’s no evidence of water vapor, which would tell us that the spent fuel pool is dry.

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NRC Transcripts – On-site radiation levels imply nuclear fuel in the environment http://enformable.com/2012/03/nrc-transcripts-on-site-radiation-levels-imply-nuclear-fuel-in-the-environment/ http://enformable.com/2012/03/nrc-transcripts-on-site-radiation-levels-imply-nuclear-fuel-in-the-environment/#respond Mon, 05 Mar 2012 02:05:13 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=30406 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


JOHN MONAGER: One thing that was interesting, they talk about the rad fields in the vicinity and being able to do work. You know, some of these measurements are very high, and they have bulldozers going through and cleaning up pathways, et cetera.

They talked about the dose rates once the bulldozers go through decreasing significantly, by maybe 70 percent or so. And given the rad field, you have to think, what is causing that?

You know, of course, if you rip apart your reactor building, you’ve got residual contamination, et cetera. But it really would lead me to believe that what you have out there is fuel in the environment.

And there you had the spent-fuel pool that boiled down. You had a zirc/water reaction. You built up this steam. You know, a certain percentage of the upper part of the spent-fuel pool is bare.

They had this explosion, and who knows what got blown out in the yard?


MALE PARTICIPANT: They reported the rad field was 20 to 30 rems.


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Alarms at Japanese nuclear power plant and processing facility after magnitude 5 earthquake http://enformable.com/2012/02/alarms-at-japanese-nuclear-power-plant-and-processing-facility-after-magnitude-5-earthquake/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/alarms-at-japanese-nuclear-power-plant-and-processing-facility-after-magnitude-5-earthquake/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2012 03:54:58 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=30200

At 7:30 am local time March 1st, a magnitude 5 earthquake hit 68 miles from TOKYO, Japan.  After the earthquake, alarms sounded from the nuclear fuel processing plants and Tokai 2 nuclear power plant in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety announced that so far, the damage has not been confirmed in any of the facilities.  The alarm in the reprocessing facility was located within the building housing nuclear waste.

The alarms at the plant were reported to have stemmed from sensors in the reactor pool that measure the movement of water from earthquakes.


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NRC says 11 nuclear plants need to provide information on effects of irradiation on nuclear fuel http://enformable.com/2012/02/nrc-says-11-nuclear-plants-need-to-provide-information-on-effects-of-irradiation-on-nuclear-fuel/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/nrc-says-11-nuclear-plants-need-to-provide-information-on-effects-of-irradiation-on-nuclear-fuel/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:48:45 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=29125 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requested information from 11 nuclear power plants, mainly concerning analyses of the effects of irradiation on nuclear fuel’s physical properties under certain postulated accident conditions.

The agency is requesting the licensees evaluate a phenomenon known as “thermal conductivity degradation” – the fact that older fuel has a reduced capacity to transfer heat, potentially changing its performance during various accident scenarios, including loss-of-coolant accidents. The NRC is concerned that this phenomenon may not have been accounted for in realistic performance models for nuclear fuel developed by Westinghouse Electric Co.

“The NRC alerted the industry to this problem in 2009, and Westinghouse needs to do more to account for thermal conductivity degradation in its fuel performance codes,” said Eric Leeds, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “We need information from a few nuclear power plant licensees to maintain assurance that they can continue to operate safely with sufficient margin.”

In December, Westinghouse notified the NRC that an analysis it had conducted for a power plant indicated that thermal conductivity degradation could cause peak cladding
temperature to increase by more than 100 degrees F during a worst-case loss-of-coolant accident at a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor.

The 11 plants named in the RFI are those Westinghouse clients with currently reported peak cladding temperatures above 2,000 degrees F. Accounting for thermal conductivity degradation in their analyses could result in peak temperatures approaching or exceeding the 2,200 degree limit. These plants are Beaver Valley 1 and 2, Braidwood 2, Byron 2, Catawba 1 and 2, Donald C. Cook 1 and 2, Kewaunee, and McGuire 1 and 2. An additional 23 plants that use the Westinghouse performance models also received informational copies of the RFI, to ensure that they are aware of their obligations to address this error.

The plants have until March 19thto provide the requested information to the NRC staff. If the information received does not demonstrate that NRC regulations are met, the staff will recommend imposing restrictions on reactor operating limits until acceptable action has been taken.

Source: NRC


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San Onofre Reactor 2 operated for several months with degraded nuclear fuel cladding http://enformable.com/2012/02/san-onofre-reactor-2-operated-for-several-months-with-degraded-nuclear-fuel-cladding/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/san-onofre-reactor-2-operated-for-several-months-with-degraded-nuclear-fuel-cladding/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:31:18 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=29115 Three weeks after shutting down, problems continue to surface at San Onofre Unit 2.  Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, said the root cause of the faster-than-expected wear on tubes in replacement generators is yet to be determined.

One of the less-reported stories involves an accident the occurred during the outage, where a worker fell into the San Onofre Reactor 2 reactor pool on January 27th. David Lochbaum, who worked in nuclear plants for 17 years before joining the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, said he believes small particles of uranium fuel —- sometimes called “fuel fleas” or “hot particles” —- could have been in the San Onofre Reactor 2 reactor pool when the worker fell in.

After looking at a set of reactor operation statistics published on the NRC’s website, Lochbaum said the radiation levels in the plant’s cooling system doubled from January to February 2011 and continued to climb through the end of the year.  He shared his findings that increasing levels of radiation in the water that cools the reactor probably indicates that the metal tubes — called cladding — that contain its fuel pellets are cracking.

Those cracks, he said, could have released particles into the reactor pool when uranium fuel was removed from the reactor core during refueling, well before the worker’s fall.


“The chart shows that San Onofre Unit 2 had operated for several months with degrading fuel cladding,” Lochbaum said. “The opening in the fuel cladding that allowed radioactivity to escape into the water at ever-increasing rates could have also been a pathway for fuel fleas —- small particles of fuel pellets —- to escape.”


When a nuclear reactor is in operation, the fuel expands on heating, the core of the pellet expands more than the rim.  In an water-cooled reactor the action of radiation on the water (radiolysis) forms hydrogen peroxide and oxygen. These can cause stress corrosion cracking of metal parts which include fuel cladding and other pipework.

The heating of pellets can result in some of the fission products being lost from the core of the pellet. If the xenon can rapidly leave the pellet then the amount of 134Cs and 137Cs which is present in the gap between the cladding and the fuel will increase.

Rochelle Becker, executive director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said she was referred to Edison when she asked the NRC for more details about the radiation dose that the San Onofre worker received.

“When you’re telling the public to go back to the utility for any more questions, I think that’s an indication that there is too much trust,” Becker said.

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100 people in nursing home 40 km from Fukushima Daiichi left behind http://enformable.com/2012/02/100-people-in-nursing-home-40-km-from-fukushima-daiichi-left-behind/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/100-people-in-nursing-home-40-km-from-fukushima-daiichi-left-behind/#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2012 17:12:41 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=28952 IN the radioactive ghost town of Iitate, about 100 people have been left behind amid the nuclear fallout from last March’s earthquake and tsunami. Most are suffering Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. While they are just 40km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and their nursing home was showered with fallout after the disaster, most are probably blissfully unaware of their predicament.

Source: Australian
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Czech Republic to move away from nuclear energy goals – 18 proposed builds cancelled http://enformable.com/2012/02/czech-republic-to-move-away-from-nuclear-energy-goals-18-proposed-builds-cancelled/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/czech-republic-to-move-away-from-nuclear-energy-goals-18-proposed-builds-cancelled/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:45:28 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=28472 Czech nuclear expansion should be much more moderate than originally thought, including only an enlargement of one of the two existing nuclear plants and extending the life of the other, recently installed Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Martin Kuba said last Wednesday.

Kuba said in an interview carried in Wednesday’s edition of the business dailyHospodářské noviny (HN) that proposals under predecessor Martin Kocourek (ODS) for up to 18 new nuclear reactors sited across the country by 2060 were unrealistic.

“To produce in the Czech Republic up to 80 percent of electricity from nuclear is not realistic from an economic perspective. We would not even know where to put the new plants,” Kuba told the paper. He added that a more realistic plan would be to construct just the two planned extra new reactors at the Temelín site in southern Bohemia and extend the lifetime of the existing Dukovany nuclear reactor until 2035.

Source: Bloomberg

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New ‘life’ in Fukushima Reactor 2 might be due to melted fuel movement http://enformable.com/2012/02/new-life-in-fukushima-reactor-2-might-be-due-to-melted-fuel-movement/ http://enformable.com/2012/02/new-life-in-fukushima-reactor-2-might-be-due-to-melted-fuel-movement/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2012 14:40:34 +0000 http://enformable.com/?p=27438 The Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 2 core spray system had been interrupted for 6 hours on 26 January in order to change a pump. Tepco says the way the water is flowing might have changed at that time, and might no longer reach the areas close to the fuel as well as before.

Institute of Applied Energy department head Masanori Naito said some fuel might have fallen into the RPV bottom and formed a small heap.

Source: Tokyo Web News

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