[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Nuclear Energy Fuels Lecture - Former NRC Chairman

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Sat Nov 24 18:01:31 CST 2007


Nuclear Energy Fuels Lecture - Former NRC Chairman
New accident at Bulgarian nuclear plant leads to reactor shutdown  
NRC tells Indian Point nuclear plant to fix pumps 
Pickering nuclear plant decision delayed
Top Scottish police officer warns that nuclear attack is inevitable
Truck trailer causes warehouse radiation alert

Nuclear Energy Fuels Lecture - Former NRC Chairman

NEW PORT RICHEY (The Tampa Tribune) Nov 24 - The former chairman of 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will discuss the future of nuclear 
energy on Tuesday.

Nils J. Diaz's free talk - part of the Energy and Environment 
community discussions - is at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center on 
the Pasco-Hernando Community College West Campus, 10230 Ridge Road.

A strong advocate of making sound regulatory decisions and of 
communicating them to the American people, Diaz has promoted nuclear 
safety and timelier decision-making in such matters as power reactor 
license renewals and new reactor licensing, according to a news 

"Our hope is that these discussions on energy and the environment 
will elevate the dialogue on the challenges we collectively face in 
meeting Florida's growing energy needs," Jeff Lyash said in a news 
release. He is president and chief executive officer of Progress 
Energy Florida, co-host, with USF St. Petersburg, of Diaz's 

"We are continually seeking newer, cleaner ways to produce energy and 
look forward to participating in this series," Lyash said.

Diaz became NRC chairman in April 2003 during his second five-year 
term on the panel, on which he served from 1996 to 2006. As chairman, 
he was the principal executive officer of and the official spokesman 
for the NRC.

He was responsible for administrative, organizational, long-range 
planning, budgetary and certain personnel functions. He had ultimate 
authority in all agency efforts in an emergency involving an NRC 

Diaz received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from the 
University of Florida in 1969 and was professor of nuclear 
engineering sciences. He also directed the Innovative Nuclear Space 
Power Institute, a national consortium of industries, universities 
and laboratories, and was president and principal engineer at Florida 
Nuclear Associates Inc. For more on Diaz, go online to 
eng.ufl.edu/alumni/stories and click on the last item on that page.

The Energy and Environment series lectures and presentations are 
followed by discussion groups to encourage conversations about public 
policy, scientific challenges and solutions to problems.

"The 21st century will be dominated by issues related to environment 
and energy, and this lecture series aims to foster well-informed 
discourse on these topics," Christopher Di'Elia, regional vice 
chancellor for academic affairs and a professor at the University of 
South Florida's St. Petersburg campus, said in the release.

"Our speakers bring us extensive experience and expertise and will 
provide our students and the community invaluable insight in 
understanding complex policy decisions that affect every citizen."

New accident at Bulgarian nuclear plant leads to reactor shutdown  
Sofia Nov 24 - A fresh incident at Bulgaria's Kosloduj nuclear power 
station on the river Danube led to a 1,000-megawatt reactor being 
shut down overnight, the power station reported Saturday. The reactor 
had to be shut down after steam escaped from a pipe in the 
conventional part of the power station. 

Elevated levels of radiation were not recorded during the incident. 

The second of two Soviet reactors at the plant was still operating. 

The defect was expected to be fixed within two days. 

As a condition for joining the European Union, Bulgaria had to shut 
down two older 440mW models at the end of 2006 in response to safety 
concerns from Brussels.  

NRC tells Indian Point nuclear plant to fix pumps 

BUCHANAN, N.Y. Nov 24 - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission believes 
that Indian Point doesn't need 14 months to fix a chronic sump pump 
problem that could prove critical in a nuclear reactor emergency, 
according to a published report.

The reactor's operators failed to make "a convincing case" to delay 
completion of the work on the Indian Point 3 reactor until a 
refueling shutdown in the spring of 2009, according to a Nov. 20 
letter from the NRC reported in The Journal News on Saturday.

The project was supposed to be finished by Dec. 31, the letter says; 
the operators expect to complete similar pump work at Indian Point 2 
during that reactor's refueling outage in the spring.

"The issue is they wanted additional time," NRC spokesman Neil 
Sheehan said. "The commission has been very concerned about the lack 
of progress on this. It's been going for years and the industry has 
been well-briefed."

Jim Steets, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns and 
operates Indian Point, said the company would complete the work as 
quickly as possible.

The sump pumps would collect water in the event of a major pipe break 
in the pressurized-water reactors at Indian Point and cycle it back 
through the system to keep the reactor from melting down and possibly 
releasing radiation.

Entergy officials, who asked for extensions for both plants in an 
Oct. 24 letter to the NRC, were granted three months for Indian Point 
2, but not for Indian Point 3.

The two reactors are each estimated to make as much as $1 million a 
day when working at full capacity.

Steets said a preliminary estimate of shutdown time to complete the 
work is "several days."

In 2003, the NRC ordered Indian Point and 68 other reactors to 
inspect the sump pump systems because agency studies found that the 
steam released at high temperatures could cause the pipe insulation 
to disintegrate and keep the pumps from recirculating water.

Pickering nuclear plant decision delayed

(CBC News) Nov 23 -  A decision about the future for one of Ontario's 
big nuclear projects has been hit with a delay.  

An Ontario Power Generation official says it will take longer than 
expected to decide whether to spend billions of dollars to upgrade or 
expand the nuclear plant in Pickering.

The board of OPG was supposed to decide early next year whether it 
made better economic sense to refurbish the four nuclear reactors at 
Pickering B, or build new ones instead.

Just last week Premier Dalton McGuinty gave the impression the 
decision was moving ahead.

"Gerry Phillips is my new minister of energy," said McGuinty, "and I 
have told him one of the first things we've got to get done is we've 
got to get on with nuclear technology in Ontario." 

According to OPG spokesman John Earl, the decision has been delayed, 
probably for a year.

"We still believe, in 2008 we will move a recommendation to the 
board," said Earl.

OPG staff are still working on the environmental assessment and 
looking at whether the life of the existing reactors can be extended, 
which could delay any refurbishment.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton sees more problems down the road.

"Nuclear power in Ontario continues to have problems. The proposed 
refurbishment of Pickering B, it's probably going to be very 
expensive and very complicated, if it goes ahead at all," he said

Top Scottish police officer warns that nuclear attack is inevitable

(Sunday Herald) Nov 24 - A NUCLEAR attack by terrorists causing 
widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon, 
a senior Scottish police officer has warned.

Ian Dickinson, who leads the police response to chemical, biological 
and nuclear threats in Scotland, has painted the bleakest picture yet 
of the dangers the world now faces.

Efforts to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining materials that 
could be made into radioactive dirty bombs - or even crude nuclear 
explosives - are bound to fail, he said. And the result will be 
horror on an unprecedented scale.

advertisement"These materials are undoubtedly out there, and 
undoubtedly will end up in terrorists' hands, and undoubtedly will be 
used by terrorists some time soon," he declared. "We must plan for 
failure and prepare for absolute terror."

Dickinson is assistant chief constable with Lothian and Borders 
Police, and has responsibility through the Association of Chief 
Police Officers in Scotland for protecting Scotland from chemical and 
nuclear attacks. He has been closely involved in co-ordinating the 
country's counter-terrorism response.

He said: "An incident will continue for days and all the public will 
see is people dying without reason. What will we do when our children 
come home from school with blisters on their skin and their parents 
don't know what to do?

"What happens if 10 deaths, 50 deaths, 100 deaths start occurring in 
an unconnected and random way all over the country? The public will 
be rightly and understandably terrified."

Casualties caused by radiation, which most people don't understand, 
would trigger widespread "panic and fear", said Dickinson. And the 
response of the emergency services "would be chaotic" because of a 
shortage of resources.

The police capability for dealing with the chemical, biological, 
radiological and nuclear threat - known as CBRN - needs to be 
increased, he argued. "I haven't got as many officers with protective 
equipment as I would like," he added. "We must prepare for the 

Dickinson delivered his dire warnings to an international conference 
in Edinburgh last week. More than 300 experts from 70 countries were 
taking part in a high-level meeting organised by the UN International 
Atomic Energy Agency on the risks of nuclear terrorism.

The police response to a CBRN incident when it happened would have a 
"profound effect on our communities which should not be 
underestimated", he said. The protective clothing that officers would 
have to wear would look "terrifying".

As Dickinson made the point in his speech on Wednesday, one of his 
fellow police officers appeared dramatically on the stage dressed 
head to toe in a regulation black protection suit. With his face 
completely obscured by a gas mask, the officer then walked slowly 
through the delegates seated in the Edinburgh International 
Conference Centre.

Decontamination after a radiation attack would be an "enormous cost", 
Dickinson contended. It would far exceed the multi-million pound bill 
for cleaning up the 50 premises contaminated with polonium-210 after 
the poisoning of the former KGB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, in 
London last year.

There would also be a huge drain on resources from having to reassure 
many people who were unharmed but worried. The additional monitoring 
and clean-up work would be "a major problem", he said.

Worldwide efforts to stem the spread of radioactive materials by the 
governments represented at the conference were vital, Dickinson 
concluded. "But the sad fact is that your work will fail."

Dickinson's nightmare analysis was backed up by Dr Frank Barnaby, a 
nuclear consultant who used to work at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons 
Establishment in Berkshire. "The amazing thing is that this hasn't 
happened already," he told the Sunday Herald.

"We should expect it any minute. It's an obvious thing for a 
terrorist to do. A primitive nuclear explosion would simply eliminate 
the centre of a city like Glasgow or Edinburgh."

The Edinburgh conference heard a series of other warnings about the 
risks of radioactive materials being stolen and used to cause 

"As the terrorists look for the next spectacular attack, we know that 
al-Qaeda in Iraq is calling on nuclear scientists to join in the 
jihad," said William Nye, director of counter-terrorism and 
intelligence at the Home Office in London.

Richard Hoskins, from the International Atomic Energy Agency's Office 
of Nuclear Security in Vienna, revealed that there had been 1266 
confirmed incidents in which radioactive materials had been stolen or 
lost around the world since 1993.

Most involved radiation sources that could be made into dirty bombs, 
although in 18 instances small amounts of bombs-grade uranium or 
plutonium had been seized.

Truck trailer causes warehouse radiation alert

INDIANAPOLIS Nov 24 - A hazardous material used in cancer treatment 
triggered a radiation scare Friday afternoon at a warehouse south of 
Indianapolis International Airport.

A U.S. customs inspector was checking paperwork on shipments at Towne 
Air Freight when his radiation detector sounded, said Capt. Troy L. 
Wymer, a spokesman for the Wayne Township Fire Department.

Several agencies _ including the Marion County Health Department, the 
FBI and a hazardous materials team from the Indiana National Guard _ 
were called to handle a possible radiation emergency.

Firefighters found equipment containing cesium-137, a radioactive 
isotope, in crates being carried in a truck trailer, Wymer said.

The equipment was stacked closely together, and the concentration of 
it caused the radiation detector to sound but ultimately posed no 
threat. Firefighters said it wasn't present in harmful quantities.

"It doesn't appear anyone did anything wrong," Wymer said. "It 
appears that it could have been packaged better."

Cesium-137 is used in such things as industrial gauges and cancer 
treatment, authorities said.

Firefighters who checked the building did not need to be 
decontaminated, Wymer said.

Sander C. Perle 
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc. 
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714 Extension 2306 
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at cox.net

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com
Mirion Technologies Website: http://www.mirion.com

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