[ RadSafe ] G.E. and Hitachi Will Merge Their Nuclear Power Units

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 14 13:50:38 CST 2006


G.E. and Hitachi Will Merge Their Nuclear Power Units 
Progress asks feds to renew license for Wake nuclear plant
Vattenfall Shuts Ringhals Nuclear Unit After Fire 
Japanese government says it can hold nuclear arms for self-defense 
Iran: Nuclear program will be operating by February
Al-Qaeda Groups Seek Nuclear Material for U.K. Attack
IAEA Finds Traces Of Plutonium In Iran's Nuclear Waste Facility 
Travel Tips for Nuclear Medicine Patients
Astronauts may not survive radiation blast future space elevators
South Korean fined for importing device that uses radiation

G.E. and Hitachi Will Merge Their Nuclear Power Units 

NISKAYUNA, N.Y., Nov. 13 - General Electric and Hitachi will merge 
their nuclear power businesses, the companies said on Monday, to 
provide services to owners of old reactors and to build new ones. 

The announcement is another sign of global retrenchment in the field.

G.E. is competing to sell new reactors in the United States against 
Westinghouse, which is owned by Toshiba, and Areva, a French-German 
consortium. But with a 30-year gap in nuclear orders in this country, 
all three companies have limited experience in construction of the 
models they want to sell here. 

John Krenicki, the president and chief executive of GE Energy, who 
spoke at the GE Research Center here, said of his new partner, 
Hitachi: "They´re currently building many new plants, and we see that 
as a major asset, being able to tap into that experience base."

Akira Maru, chief executive of Hitachi Power Systems, said the 
company had one plant under construction in Japan and two in 
licensing. It has been in the nuclear business for more than 50 
years, he said.

There are 95 reactors around the world that use the boiling-water 
design, the kind that G.E. builds, and Hitachi has been involved in 
63 of them, Hitachi said.

The G.E. design boils water directly in the reactor vessel and uses 
it to spin a turbine, creating mechanical energy that is used to make 
electricity. Models marketed by other companies heat water in the 
reactor but keep it under pressure so it does not boil; that water is 
run through a heat exchanger to make steam. Advocates of the boiling 
water design say it gets more work out of the uranium fuel, and 
requires less steel and concrete.

Hitachi will take a 40 percent share of G.E.´s existing nuclear 
business, and G.E. will take about 20 percent of Hitachi´s existing 
nuclear business, the companies said. The deal is supposed to close 
in the first half of next year. G.E.´s fuel business is not part of 
the arrangement. 

General Electric´s main design, the "economic simplified boiling 
water reactor," has no orders yet but three companies are seriously 
considering ordering it. They are Dominion, for its North Anna site 
in Virginia; Entergy, for River Bend in Louisiana; and NuStart, a 
consortium established to build reactors, for Grand Gulf in 

Two companies are considering building another G.E. model, the 
advanced boiling water reactor.

Progress asks feds to renew license for Wake nuclear plant

Nov 14 - Raleigh utility giant Progress Energy has asked the 
government agency that regulates nuclear power plants to renew the 
operating license for its Wake County plant through 2046.
Progress officials submitted the license-renewal application for its 
Harris Nuclear Plant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 
Progress says Harris is a critical component of its ability to 
provide electricity for 1.4 million customers in North and South 

The NRC, which oversees nuclear plant operations and safety, granted 
the Harris Nuclear Plant a 40-year license in 1986. The original 
operating license is still applicable for 20 more years, or through 
2026, says Harris spokeswoman Julie Hans.

If approved, the latest license-renewal application would grant 
Progress the right to operate at the Harris plant through 2046, Hans 

"NRC allows nuclear plants in the U.S. to file for renewals 20 years 
in advance," Hans says. "If we have the opportunity to lock up this 
resource for our customers in advance, we're going to do that."

The license renewal process involves an assessment by the NRC of the 
plant's operating equipment, maintenance programs and equipment 
testing and replacement programs. The plant will also undergo an 
environmental review to determine what potential impact the plant 
could have on the surrounding environment if operation is maintained.

The NRC's review is expected to last between 22 and 30 months, 
Progress officials said in a written statement Tuesday.

The announcement Tuesday comes about two weeks after an emergency 
siren system at the plant malfunctioned in tests on consecutive 
nights. The siren system, a network of 81 sirens that are supposed to 
be audible within a 10-mile radius of Harris, would be used in case 
of an emergency.

Progress (NYSE: PGN - News) announced Friday plans to spend $2.5 
million for new warning sirens to replace the current system. Plans 
call for four new sirens to be added to the existing network, 
according to Progress officials.

The company has already replaced the siren system at its Brunswick 
Nuclear Plant in eastern North Carolina. That project carried a price 
tag of about $1.2 million, less than the Harris project because of 
Brunswick's proximity to the ocean.

Vattenfall Shuts Ringhals Nuclear Unit After Fire 

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Vattenfall AB, the Nordic region's biggest 
utility, said it shut down one of the four reactors at the Ringhals 
nuclear plant in southwestern Sweden after a fire. 

The fire at a transformer for the 915-megawatt No. 3 unit started at 
about midnight and was put out about two hours later, said Gosta 
Larsen, manager of information and public relations for Vattenfall at 
Ringhals. The fire triggered an automatic shutdown and there is no 
danger to the reactor, he said. 

The Ringhals facility on the Swedish west coast is the Nordic 
region's biggest power plant, producing about one-sixth of the 
electricity used in Sweden. The No. 3 unit is a pressurized water 
reactor that started commercial operations in 1981, according to the 
Ringhals plant's Web site. 

``We are now shutting down the plant to a total hold,'' Larsen said 
in a telephone interview. ``We are cooling it down to resting. It 
will also take some time to restart it, some days at least.'' 

The transformer at Ringhals will probably have to be replaced, and 
Vattenfall doesn't have a spare one on site, Larsen said. 

Ringhals is 70 percent owned by Vattenfall and 30 percent by 
Germany's E.ON AG. One reactor at the Vattenfall-operated Forsmark 
nuclear plant stopped on July 25 because of a fault in the station 
that sends power from the plant to the high-voltage grid. Two of the 
reactor's four back-up diesel-generators failed to start 
automatically and had to be started manually. 

The largest power producers active in Sweden are Vattenfall, E.ON and 
Finnish utility Fortum Oyj, which together control the country's 10 
nuclear reactors and close to 90 percent of total generation 
capacity. Sweden, which is Scandinavia's largest economy, plans to 
eventually phase out nuclear energy. 

Japanese government says it can hold nuclear arms for self-defense 

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's new government said Tuesday the country's 
pacifist constitution allows it to own nuclear weapons for self-
defense, a news report said.

However, the government also stressed Japan would not stray from its 
policy of forbidding nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, Kyodo News 
agency reported, citing a Cabinet Office statement.

The statement comes amid friction within Japan's political 
establishment over whether the country should discuss acquiring 
nuclear arms as a deterrent against North Korea, which tested its 
first nuclear bomb last month.

Possession of nuclear weapons is a sensitive issue in Japan, which in 
World War II became the only country to suffer a nuclear attack.

In response to a question from a lawmaker, the government said that 
the country's war-renouncing constitution "does not necessarily ban 
the country from possessing any weapons, even nuclear ones, if they 
are the necessary minimum for self-defense," Kyodo News agency 
reported, citing a Cabinet Office statement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared that Japan would not consider 
developing its own nuclear weapons. But some high-ranking members of 
his party, including Foreign Minister Taro Aso, have called for 
debate on going nuclear following Pyongyang's test blast.

Opposition lawmakers demanded last week that Aso be dismissed over 
his comments. The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan and 
three other parties reiterated that demand Tuesday, saying in a 
statement that Aso's comments were grave and contradicted Japan's non-
nuclear principles.

Japan's U.S.-drafted postwar constitution bans the use of force in 
settling international disputes. However, it does not refer to 
specific weapons.

Iran: Nuclear program will be operating by February

TEHRAN, Iran Nov 14 (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 
said Tuesday his country expects its uranium enrichment program to be 
ready by February to meet Iran's nuclear fuel needs, the national 
news service IRNA reported.

"We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year end. We are 
determined to master fuel cycle, and commission some 60,000 
centrifuges to meet our demands," the president said at a news 
conference closed to foreign reporters.

"Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle and 
time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy."

Ahmadinejad said Iran hopes to celebrate its nuclear success during 
the "Ten-Day Dawn" festivities at the beginning of February, which 
mark the country's victory in the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic 
Republic News Agency reported.

"This year's Ten-Day Dawn period will mark the Iranian nation's 
success in mastering fuel cycle as well as its achievements in other 
fields," the president said.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released Tuesday 
said agency experts have found unexplained plutonium and enriched 
uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked 
Tehran for an explanation, according to wire service reports. (Full 

Ahmadinejad said he is willing to have a "dialogue" with the U.S. 
government, but only if the United States has a respectful attitude 
toward Iran.

"If they fix their behavior toward us, we will have a dialogue with 
them because that's a principle of our foreign policy. But you know, 
they have their own way of thinking. They really think they own the 
world, they always sort of look down upon you," the president said. 
(Watch Iranians welcome U.S. election results -- 2:21)

During his talk, Ahmadinejad said recent election results in the 
United States marked the failure of U.S. policies, based on 
imposition of its will on others, support for bullying, plunder, 
unilateralism and humiliating other governments.

Ahmadinejad said the peaceful use of nuclear energy has been the most 
important issue facing the country since he took office just over a 
year ago, noting that powerful nations, presumably including the 
United States, have stood against Iran to try and prevent it from 
attaining its rights.

He has repeatedly said uranium enrichment is his country's right and 
will not be abandoned, despite Western fears that Iran's goal is to 
build nuclear weapons. The president said the uranium is for civilian 

Tehran ignored an August 31 U.N. Security Council deadline demanding 
it halt its nuclear program.

By early October, Iran had resumed its uranium enrichment program by 
building a second cascade of centrifuges and injecting gas into the 
system, IRNA had said.

But Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said, "Iran is a country committed to 
nuclear regulations." He contended that Iran has been cooperative 
with relevant institutions.

After hearing media reports on Ahmadinejad's comments, U.S. National 
Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe responded, "Iran needs to 
live up to its obligations to the IAEA, the U.N. Security Council and 
the whole international community, which is united in its desire to 
see Iran stop all enrichment activities."

'A message to the American people'
Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran is ready for better relations with 
other countries -- with one exception.

"We are after positive interaction with the whole world, except a 
state which we consider its foundation as wrong and do not attach any 
value to its legitimacy," he said, referring to Israel.

Ahmadinejad also said Tuesday he has something to tell the American 

"I will soon send a message to the American people. The message is in 
the stage of preparation," he said. Without elaborating, he said his 
message would be in response to U.S. government statements.

Al-Qaeda Groups Seek Nuclear Material for U.K. Attack

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Al-Qaeda groups are trying to obtain nuclear, 
chemical and biological material to use in terrorist attacks in the 
U.K., the Foreign Office in London said. 

``Absolutely, we believe these organizations are trying to get hold 
of this material,'' the Foreign Office said in a statement read by a 
spokesman today. 

The announcement follows a warning from the head of the U.K.'s 
domestic intelligence service, MI5, that the country faces as many as 
30 terrorist plots. MI5 Director General Eliza Manningham-Buller, who 
rarely speaks in public, said her agency is investigating 200 
networks comprising 1,600 individuals. 

``Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices but 
I suggest tomorrow's threat will include the use of chemical, 
bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear 
technology,'' Manningham-Buller said in a Nov. 10 address to 
academics in London. 

Dhiren Barot, a 34-year-old convert to Islam, was sentenced on Nov. 7 
in London to 40 years in prison for plotting attacks in the U.S. and 
the U.K. Barot, the first British Muslim to be sentenced for 
attempting to commit mass murder through acts of terrorism, was 
accused of conspiring with al-Qaeda figures to detonate a radioactive 
``dirty bomb'' in the U.K. 

Other Suspects 

More than 60 other suspects are on trial or awaiting trial in the 
U.K. on terrorism charges that include allegations of plots to 
detonate a massive fertilizer bomb and to attack trans- Atlantic 

The Foreign Office said it will focus on the four ``Ps'' of its 
``Contest'' program to reduce the risk posed by international 
terrorism: prevent the radicalization of young Muslims; pursue 
terrorists; prepare to deal with the aftermath of any attack; and 
protect buildings and people at home and overseas. 

``We hope to use the first two to prevent the last two,'' the Foreign 
Office said in the statement. The program, which started last year, 
is led by the Cabinet Office. 

Many U.K. terrorism plots were linked to al-Qaeda in Pakistan, 
Manningham-Buller said. Four Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people 
in attacks on three subway trains and a bus in London on July 7, 
2005. Three of the bombers were British-born of Pakistani origin, the 
fourth a Muslim convert of Jamaican origin. 

The Foreign Office said it isn't blaming other countries for not 
doing enough to combat extremists. 

``We are not pointing the finger of blame at anyone, we're trying to 
extend the finger of help,'' the Foreign Office said.

IAEA Finds Traces Of Plutonium In Iran's Nuclear Waste Facility 

(RTTNews) Nov 14 - International Atomic Energy Agency have asked Iran 
for an explanation after finding traces of unexplained plutonium and 
enriched uranium in a nuclear waste facility in the country, said an 
IAEA report on Tuesday. The report also criticized Iran for not 
cooperating with the agency's investigation on suspicions regarding 
Iran's nuclear intensions, reported AP. The agency is investigating 
into several suspicious aspects of Iran's nuclear program that have 
lead to fears it might be interested in developing nuclear arms. The 
report also confirmed that Iran was proceeding with its uranium 
enrichment program despite the threat of UN sanctions.

The UN Security Council had set an Aug. 31 deadline for Iran to halt 
uranium enrichment or face economic and political sanctions. Iran had 
ignored the deadline of 31 August set by the UN Security Council and 
declared that it will continue with its uranium enrichment program 
despite the threat of UN sanctions.

The US along with France and Britain had called for harsh actions 
against Iran for continuing with its nuclear program in spite of the 
warnings of the UN Security Council. However, Russia and China, the 
other veto power holding members of the UN Security Council, opposes 
tough sanctions against Teheran and favors to resolve the issue by 

Travel Tips for Nuclear Medicine Patients
Medical News Today NOv 14 - Traveling during the holidays--especially 
for the nearly 60,000 individuals who daily undergo a nuclear 
medicine treatment or test in this country--will go smoother if 
medical professionals advise their patients to follow some simple 
tips from SNM, the leading international molecular imaging and 
nuclear medicine society. 

"Due to heightened concerns about terrorism, sensitive radiation 
detectors are used in some major cities and in public transportation 
facilities," explained SNM President Martin P. Sandler. 
"Occasionally, a patient who has had a nuclear medicine procedure may 
be stopped by security personnel because he or she may trigger the 
alarm on a radiation detector. On rare occasions, this could cause 
long delays, interrogation and body searches," added Sandler, who 
speaks for 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members of 
the international scientific and professional society. 

Nuclear medicine, which is broadening its scope to include molecular 
imaging, involves using tiny amounts of radioactive materials in 
patients to examine molecular processes in the body. These procedures 
can be used to detect and evaluate heart disease, cancer, brain 
disorders and stress fractures. Commonly performed procedures include 
positron emission tomography (PET) scans to diagnose and monitor 
treatment in cancer, cardiac stress tests to analyze heart function, 
bone scans to detect orthopedic injuries and lung scans blood clots.

Although the material used for these procedures is minute and soon 
loses its radioactivity, it may take time before a patient stops 
emitting detectable levels of radiation. The sensing devices used 
today at security screening points are extremely sensitive. "Residual 
radiation from medical treatments may cause travel delays due to 
increased security scanning at places such as airport boarding areas, 
rail stations, ports, international border crossings, bridges, 
tunnels and large public gatherings," noted Henry D. Royal, former 
SNM president and an expert in radiation safety. A patient's travel 
could be delayed while security officers evaluate the situation, he 

"The nuclear medicine community has been working for years with 
representatives from both the Department of Homeland Security and the 
Department of Transportation to help them understand how patients can 
set off the detectors after treatment and to make recommendations 
about how to deal with that situation," said Royal. When it comes to 
nuclear medicine and stress-free travel, SNM says the public should 
keep in mind the following advice.

# Preplan. 
To avoid any difficulties, patients should choose to schedule travel 
after nuclear medicine procedures, based on the specific radioisotope 
received and the length of time it remains detectable. 

# Know what radioisotope has been used in the treatment or study.
Commonly used radioisotopes that could set off radiation monitors, 
each with its own "half-life" or period of continuing radioactivity, 
include technetium-99m (Tc-99m), fluorine-18 (FDG) and thallium-201 
(Tl-201). Most recent problems with radiation monitors have been with 
the use of iodine-131 (I-131), which is used to treat 
hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer and lymphoma. 

Most nuclear medicine studies are performed with Tc-99m, which should 
not be detectable by sensitive radiation monitors three or four days 
after a test. 

FDG is the most common radioisotope used with PET imaging, and it 
should be undetectable one day after a test. 

Myocardial perfusion (blood flow) imaging can be performed with TC-
99m or Tl-201 or a combination of both. Be sure to confirm which 
radioisotope has been used in your study. Tl-201 may remain 
detectable for 30 days. 

A majority of security incidents with radiation monitors have 
involved treatment doses of I-131. This radioisotope may be 
detectable for as long as three months after treatment.

# Patients and health care providers should discuss how long patients 
may emit detectable radiation following treatment.

# Patients should obtain a letter from their doctors that contains 
the following information: the patient's name, contact information 
for the testing facility, the name of nuclear medicine procedure, the 
date of the treatment or test, the radionuclide that was used, its 
half-life, its administered activity and 24-hour contact information.

# Patients should let their doctors know if security personnel stop 
them after triggering radiation devices. SNM asks that doctors report 
such incidents so the society may be able to identify and help 
educate specific authorities. 

More Americans are receiving nuclear medicine treatments and tests. 
Every major hospital in this country has a nuclear medicine 
department, and last year, 19.7 million nuclear medicine procedures 
were performed on 17.2 million women, men and children in more than 
7,200 medical sites in the United States--a 15 percent increase from 
four years ago. For more information about nuclear medicine, please 
visit SNM's Web site at http://www.snm.org/.

Astronauts may not survive radiation blast future space elevators

New kerala.com Washington, Nov 14: Researchers have revealed that 
space elevators will face deadly doses of radiation in the Van Allen 
belts around Earth, making the dream of travelling into space by 
elevator-type carriers even more unlikely. 

The idea of transporting astronauts and cargo to space in elevator-
type carriers attached to tethers thousands of miles long and 
anchored to satellites in space, is considered too fanciful to be 
practical anytime soon.

But now it being revealed that humans might not survive, thanks to 
the whopping dose of ionising radiation they would receive travelling 
through the core of the Van Allen radiation belts around Earth. These 
are two concentric rings of charged particles trapped by Earth's 
magnetic fields.

The idea so far, has barely left the drawing board, but ultimately 
robots could climb a cable stretching 100,000 kilometres from Earth's 
surface into space.

"They would die on the way through the radiation belts if they were 
unshielded," New Scientist quoted Anders Jorgensen, author of a new 
study on the subject and a technical staff member at Los Alamos 
National Laboratory, New Mexico, US, as saying. 

These space elevators had been planned to be built on an ocean 
platform near the equator, with the other end tied to a counterweight 
in space. 

At the equator, the most dangerous part of the radiation belts 
extends from about 1000 to 20,000 kilometres in altitude. The region 
did not hurt the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s and 1970s because 
their rockets delivered them swiftly through it. 

For a space elevator travelling at the current proposed speed of 200 
kilometres per hour, however, passengers might spend half a week in 
the belts. That would hit them with 200 times the radiation 
experienced by the Apollo astronauts.

South Korean fined for importing device that uses radiation

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) - A Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk court has found the 
head of a South Korean company guilty of smuggling radiation sources 
into Russia and sentenced him to a fine of 500,000 rubles, the 
Russian Prosecutor General's Office said in a press release. 

"The preliminary investigation and court proceedings have established 
that Kim Zhong Ho, president of company All Nations Co. Ltd., decided 
to bring special purpose equipment that employs the emission of 
radionuclide elements, to the territory of the Russian Federation in 
the Sakhalin region from Tripoli Port, in building a liquefied 
natural gas production plant in the Sakhalin region as part of the 
Sakhalin-2 project," the release says. 

Sandy Perle

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World Travels Personal Journal: http://sandy-travels.com/

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