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© Francois Lenoir / Reuters
The latest ultrasonic inspections have detected a substantial number of new micro cracks in nuclear reactors at the Tihange and Doel power plants in Belgium since the last study conducted three years ago, Belgian and German media report.
At least 70 additional cracks were uncovered at the Tihange 2 nuclear reactor during an ultrasonic inspection in April of this year, Belga news agency reports. Some 300 new flaws have also allegedly been discovered at the Doel 3 reactor tank during a check last November, according to tagesschau.de.
Belgian Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, confirmed the micro fissures at Tihange 2 following a parliamentary inquiry posed by Green Group leader Jean-Marc Nollet, DW reports. The reported new cracks at Doel 3 have not yet been confirmed.
The cracks do not pose any danger to operations at the nuclear plants, says operator Engie-Electrabel, which carried out the inspections under instructions from the Belgian Atomic Regulatory Authority (FANC).
The operator said the new flaws were discovered due to a “different positioning of the ultrasound device.” Engie-Electrabel maintains that as long as cracks do not expand, they do not pose a danger to the reactor’s operations.
Branding Engie-Electrabel “irresponsible,” environmentalist group, Nucléaire Stop, has criticized the operator for still running Tihange 2 reactor despite a 2.22 percent increase in faults.
In February 2015, FANC said 3,149 cracks had been found at Tihange, while 13,047 were discovered at Doel. The operator must now submit additional analyzes of the situation by September.
Tihange lies only 60 kilometers (about 37 miles) from the German border, while Doel is 150 kilometers away, near Antwerp. Germans living in the area close to this border have been exerting pressure on the government to force Belgium to shut down the aging reactors.
Both of the reactors have experienced leaks and cracks for some time now. Doel 3 has a capacity of 1,006 megawatts, while Tihange 2 a capacity of 1,008 megawatts. The reactors are almost 35-years-old but are still generating about 14 percent of the nation’s power capacity.
Courtesy of rt.com
Reactor at one of the country’s three operating nuclear plants was shut down after heavy rains caused an electricity pylon to topple over near the site.
A reactor at New Taipei’s Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant was shut down Friday after heavy rain toppled an electricity pylon near the site.
Taipower said the 345-kV tower fell at 10:31 a.m., resulting in the automatic shutdown of the plant’s second nuclear reactor — a safety mechanism activated whenever a reactor cannot transmit power.
Local media sources indicated that neither the reactor nor the generator was damaged during the incident.
However, for safety reasons, the restarted reactor will remain running at 75 percent capacity — the level at which it was running when the shutdown occurred — until it runs out of fuel, which is estimated to be June 10 or 11.
Taipower had originally scheduled a suspension of the power plant’s second reactor for annual maintenance on June 11. Even with Friday’s incident, it is unlikely that the company will rush to begin maintenance procedures given that the date is only about a week away, local media speculated.
There are currently three operational nuclear plants in Taiwan. Once the Jinshan plant’s second reactor is shut down for maintenance — and with four other reactors already undergoing such work — only one will be in operation nationwide, Taipower said.
Courtesy of annx.asianews.network
The US Department of Energy has declared an emergency at the Hanford, Washington nuclear waste storage site, after a cave-in of a tunnel used to store radioactive materials and equipment.
About 3,000 workers have taken cover at the 200 East Area of the sprawling complex, local media reported. By 10:30 am local time, the “take cover” orders have been expanded to the entire site, which is about half the size of Rhode Island.
A portion of a tunnel near the plutonium-uranium extraction plant (PUREX) collapsed early Tuesday morning local time, most likely from vibrations produced by nearby road work, KING-TV reported.
Initial reports spoke of a 4-foot (1.2 meter) hole, which was later expanded to 20 feet (6 meters) across, at the junction of two tunnels used in the 1960s to store highly radioactive materials and equipment, such as trains used to transport nuclear fuel rods.
The PURE facility was built in the 1950s and used until 1988 to extract plutonium from around 70,000 fuel rods in total. The building has been vacant for nearly twenty years and “remains highly contaminated,”according to the Hanford website. Rail cars used to transport the fuel rods from the nuclear reactors to the processing facility are buried inside the nearby tunnels.
No workers were injured in the collapse, and officials have detected no release of radiation, Washington state Department of Ecology spokesman Randy Bradbury told AP.
“In the ‘60s, spent fuel rods were put in railroad cars and, once filled, the railroad cars were wheeled into a tunnel dug into the side of a hill,” Bradbury said. “Twenty-eight rail cars in all fill this particular tunnel. A worker today noticed a collapse of dirt above the tunnel today, triggering the evacuation.”
Workers at the complex have been ordered to stay indoors and refrain from eating and drinking, according to text alerts seen by local media. Emergency crews are organizing the evacuation.
Emergency measures were put in place due to “concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels,” says a statement posted on the Hanford facility website.
Residents of the nearby Benton and Franklin counties do not need to take any action, the facility said.
Hanford is located on the Columbia River in eastern Washington, near the border with Oregon. Built during World War Two as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the nuclear bomb, it still contains roughly 53 million gallons – over 2,600 rail cars – worth of high-level nuclear waste, left from the production of plutonium for the US nuclear weapons program.
A number of current and former Hanford workers suffer from serious medical conditions as a result of exposure to toxic waste leaks and “burps” of radiation at the complex, RT America reported in April 2016.
Courtesy of rt.com
Intelligence experts are warning airports and nuclear power plants to tighten their defences against terror attacks. (Picture: Getty Images)
Britain’s airports and nuclear power stations have been placed on a terror alert following increased threats to electronic security systems.
Security services have issued a series of alerts in the past 24 hours, warning airports and nuclear power plants to tighten their defences against terror attacks.
Intelligence agencies fear ISIS and other terrorist groups could have developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones which can bypass airport security screening methods, the Telegraph reports.
ISIS and other terrorist groups may have developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones which can bypass airport security screening methods, experts fear (Picture: Getty Images)
Last month, Britain and the US banned travellers from a number of countries carrying laptops and large electronic devices on board.
They also fear terrorists, foreign spies and hackers could try to break into nuclear power station security systems.
Jesse Norman, the energy minister, said nuclear plants must ensure they ‘remain resilient to evolving cyber threats’.
Mr Norman told the paper: ‘The Government is fully committed to defending the UK against cyber threats, with a £1.9 billion investment designed to transform this country’s cyber security.’
Terrorists, foreign spies and hackers could also try to break into nuclear power station security systems. (Picture: Getty Images)
Terrorists are feared to have developed the technology after getting hold of airport screening equipment allowing them to experiment.
FBI experts have tested how explosives can be hidden inside laptop battery compartments so that it can still be turned on.
They are said to have concluded that the technique would be achievable using everyday equipment.
Terrorists are feared to have developed the technology after getting hold of airport screening equipment allowing them to experiment. (Picture: Getty Images)
In a statement, the US Department of Homeland Security said: ‘Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics.
‘The US government continually reassesses existing intelligence and collects new intelligence.
Courtesy of http://metro.co.uk
People walk on the Istiklal avenue during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Yasin Akgul / AFP
Bone-freezing cold, heavy snowstorms, and floods have been plaguing the European continent this week, causing power outages, traffic jams, cancelled flights, and even a stream of plastic eggs with toys washing up on a German island.
On Saturday, heavy precipitation paralyzed Istanbul, Turkey. Around 6,000 passengers found themselves stranded as hundreds of flights to and from the city’s main Ataturk Airport were cancelled due to the snowstorm.
The Bosphorus Strait was closed to ships due to poor visibility, cutting off the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea from the Mediterranean.
Many drivers abandoned their cars and walked rather than waiting for streets to be cleaned. Istanbul’s metro system operated throughout the night to deal with a sudden passenger spike.
People walk during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Ozan Kose / AFP
On Friday, blizzards and snowstorms wreaked havoc across Bulgaria, forcing the closure of major roadways and the airport in the coastal city of Varna, as well as delays at Bucharest International Airport.
Bulgaria also experienced power outages after a nuclear power plant reactor in neighboring Romania was shut down by operator Nuclearelectrica. The company said the snowstorm caused interference in the power grid.
A man walks in a suburb of Sofia after heavy snowfall on January 7, 2017. © Nikolay Doychinov / AFP
In Poland, local authorities said Friday was the deadliest day of the winter, with seven victims of the elements found throughout the day.
In Serbia, the weather caused a massive car collision involving 27 vehicles on a highway connecting the capital Belgrade and the city of Niš. Reports said 22 people were injured in the incident, including six children.
The entire southwestern part of the country, where 10,000 people live, was blocked off from the rest of Serbia by the storm.
In Ukraine, over 70 towns and villages throughout the country experienced power outages, the national emergency service reported. Ukraine boosted consumption of natural gas in response to the cold snap, with forecasts that in January it may burn twice more fuel from underground storage tanks than planned.
A man is seen here walking on Kozhukhovsky lake in Moscow as lows drop to minus 24 degrees Celsius. January 6, 2017. © Maksim Blinov / Sputnik
Moscow, where Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Friday, experienced its coldest Christmas night in 120 years. Temperatures dropped to almost -30C in the city and as low as -32.7C in Moscow Region, the Russian national meteorological service said. It was the coldest Christmas night in Moscow since 1891, when the temperature dropped to -32.7C.
A car covered with snow stands amidst the flood on January 4, 2017 in Wismar, northeastern Germany, as the German Baltic Sea coast was hit by storm “Axel”. © Jens Büttner / AFP
On Wednesday night, the storm Axel hit northern Germany, causing a flood with water levels rising by almost two meters in some areas. In Flensburg and Lübeck, the rising water lifted parked cars and sent them drifting down the street. In Bavaria, there was a spike in traffic accidents, with 160, or triple the usual level, reported in one day.
On a lighter note, residents of the German island Langeoog found an unexpected surprise on Thursday morning. Tens of thousands of plastic eggs with toys inside had been washed ashore. The eggs apparently came from a freighter ship which was transporting them for a Danish firm and lost them in the sea due to the storm
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Kirillov, Vologda Region. January 4, 2017.© Alexey Kudenko / Sputnik
Courtesy of rt.com
A general view of the cover installation for the spent fuel removed from the cooling pool is pictured at the No.4 reactor building (R) at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture. © Toshifumi Kitamura / Reuters
The cooling system of the third reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has stopped circulating water, NHK reported citing the Nuclear Regulatory Agency. Authorities said there is no imminent danger as long as there is enough water inside the system.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency the cooling system servicing the Unit 3 spent fuel pool is not able to circulate water to cool the nuclear fuel because of a broken pump.