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No chance of Czech nuclear plant meltdown - report


No chance of Czech nuclear plant meltdown - report

Czech Plant's Environmental Impact Rated Acceptable

New method to predict plutonium stability

All calm as German nuke train reaches French plant

Japan, U.S. discuss notification of nuclear-powered sub stops


No chance of Czech nuclear plant meltdown - report

PRAGUE, April 11 (Reuters) - A Czech-led independent commission on 

Wednesday said its study shows the controversial Soviet-designed 

Temelin nuclear power plant is safe and that there is no possibility 

of a Chernobyl-style meltdown. 

The study, which included observers from the EU, Austria and Germany, 

gave Temelin high marks in an environmental impact study ordered by 

the Czech government in January after demands from neighbouring 


"Overall, the commission unambiguously agreed that the impact of the 

Temelin nuclear plant on the environment is low, not significant and 

acceptable, both under normal operation and in the case of 

accidents," the report said. 

The study ruled out the possibility of a Chernobyl-style meltdown at 

the Czech plant, due to construction differences such as a graphite 

moderator in the Chernobyl plant and a water moderator at the Temelin 


"There are of course several other differences, but already from 

these it is apparent that what happened at Chernobyl could not be 

repeated in Temelin," the report said. 

Last year's launch of testing operations at the plant was fiercely 

opposed by Austria, which considers it unsafe despite being fitted 

with modern U.S. control systems. 

Since the launch Temelin, located less than 50 km (30 miles) from the 

Austrian border and around 200 km from the Czech capital Prague, has 

been shut several times during testing due to various problems which 

officials have called normal in the start up of a plant. 

None of the problems have involved any leaks of radioactive materials 

and plant operator CEZ(CEZPsp.PR) hopes to have the first of two 

blocs in full operation this summer. 

While Austria took part in observing the methods used to carry out 

the study, it still has complaints about the plant. 

The study, which will form the basis for further discussions between 

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang 

Schuessel in May, strictly adheres to European directives on the use 

of atomic power, said commission member Miroslav Martis. 

In addition to evaluating environmental impact arising under normal 

operation, the study carried out computer models of what would happen 

in the event of accidents. 

"Even though it was outside the scope of the study, we let the 

reactor melt down, we let the water container around it crack and we 

modelled what happens," Martis said. 

In the case of an extreme accident, areas within three to five km of 

the plant would be levelled and areas between 13 and 14 km could be 

affected by radiation, he said. 

"We stayed inside a 13-kilometre zone (for radiation contamination) 

and nothing got out," he said. 

The report chided officials for secrecy surrounding the plant and its 

operations, saying more openness would help both sides. 


Czech Plant's Environmental Impact Rated Acceptable


Prague, April 11 (Bloomberg) -- The new Czech nuclear plant in 

Temelin has a ``low, insignificant and acceptable'' environmental 

impact, though it impairs the character of the countryside, according 

to an international environmental-impact assessment. 

The plant scheduled to begin commercial operations this summer, will 

have little effect on the quality of air, water and climate in the 

region, though its structure hurts the character of the countryside, 

according to the report commissioned by the Czech and Austrian 

governments and released last night. 

The $2.5 billion Temelin nuclear power plant is located in the 

southern Czech Republic about 70 kilometers north of the Austrian 

border and is being completed by state-owned power utility CEZ AS. 

The start-up of the plant's first reactor in October sparked protests 

from Austria. 

``This is a purely expert commission and it won't be engaged in the 

political aspect of the power plant,'' said the committee member Jiri 

Hanzlicek. The report should serve as a working paper for further 

negotiations on the Temelin plant between Czech and Austrian prime 

ministers, he said. 

The plant poses little direct threat to local residences other than a 

negative psychological impact, according to the report prepared by 

representatives from the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and the 

European Union. The assessment was performed under international 

standards, the report said. 

After delays and budget overruns, the first block of the Temelin 

plant began trial operations in October, sparking protests from 

Austria that culminated in border-crossing blockades. 

Czech and English versions of the study are available on the official 

Internet sites of the Czech Foreign Ministry. 


New method to predict plutonium stability


LONDON (Reuters) - In a finding that could lead to safer handling and 

storage of nuclear weapons, scientists in the United States said 

Wednesday they have devised a new method to predict the physical 

properties of plutonium. 

Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey used analytical and 

computer calculations to predict changes in the structure of the 

solid states of plutonium from a dense, unstable phase to a safer 


"The potential decomposition into the unstable phase over time is a 

matter of concern in old, stored nuclear warheads, where this could 

ultimately result in changes in the mass that could lead to a chain 

reaction," said Gabriel Kotliar, a professor at the university. 

With stockpiles of plutonium-based weapons stored around the world, 

effectively predicting stability changes is of international 


In a report in the science journal Nature, Kotliar and his colleagues 

Sergej Savrasov and Elihu Abrahams describe their new technique, the 

first in 30 years, which is a potential landmark achievement in solid-

state physics. 

"While the search for answers about plutonium phases generally has 

been through experimental methods, we employed analytical and 

computer calculations to predict changes in the structure of the 

solid states of plutonium," Kotliar explained. 

The scientists used a U.S. Department of Energy supercomputer and a 

grid of 80 computer processors to predict the volume and stability 

changes between the different phases of the element. 

"We are dealing with an extremely delicate balance between the two 

phases, and which one wins and when this happens is information that 

is necessary to assure the safe storage of this important material," 

Kotliar added. 

Plutonium, an artificial element that was made for the first time in 

1940, is one of the most mysterious, toxic and dangerous substances 

known. It is dangerous to handle, difficult to store and impossible 

to dispose of. 

The silvery-white radioactive element occurs only rarely in nature 

and is produced synthetically from uranium. Plutonium has a half-life 

of 24,000 years, which means it loses only half its radioactivity 

over that period. 

Traces of plutonium in depleted uranium (DU) weapons used by NATO-led 

forces in the Balkans have aroused fears that the armour-piercing 

weapons could pose a health risk but defense experts have played down 

any potential dangers. 


All calm as German nuke train reaches French plant

ROUEN, France (Reuters) - A trainload of nuclear waste that unleashed 

several protests on its way from southern Germany to a reprocessing 

plant in northwestern France reached its destination Wednesday with 

no demonstrators in sight. 

The train arrived more than three hours late at Valognes, the 

railhead where five massive containers holding the waste will be 

switched to trucks to be brought to the plant at La Hague near 

Cherbourg, the state railway SNCF said. 

In contrast to the clashes between police and protesters as it 

crossed Germany Tuesday, the train met few protests as it rumbled 

across northern France on its way to the reprocessing plant in 

Normandy that was guarded by about 250 employees. 

The most dramatic protest took place in the Normandy town of Caen, 

where the train was delayed for half an hour while police cut free 

four demonstrators chained to the rails. 

"La Hague - the garbage can overflows," read a banner held up by 

their supporters protesting against the resumption of the French-

German waste shipments suspended in 1998 over fears of radiation 


France sent reprocessed nuclear waste back to Germany last month, 

sparking big protests by anti-nuclear groups and clashes with police 

along that train's route to Gorleben in northern Germany. 

"After the return of the treated waste 15 days ago and all the nice 

speeches about national responsibility (for nuclear waste), more 

waste has come back again," said Frederic Marillier from the French 

branch of the environmental group Greenpeace. 

"As a result, La Hague is even fuller than before." 


The environmentalist movement here fears that France could become a 

"nuclear garbage dump" for waste from other countries if it keeps 

accepting spent fuel for reprocessing in La Hague. 

The French and German governments agreed last January to resume the 

transports, including deliveries of fresh waste being held until now 

at the German nuclear plants that produced it. 

About 250 employees gathered outside the gates to the La Hague plant 

to ensure that anti-nuclear protesters could not block the entry of 

the nuclear waste containers, a spokesman for the Cogema nuclear 

processing agency said. 

But no protesters were near the plant or near the railway station, 

officials said, adding that Cogema might take several days to unload 

the five containers from the train at Valognes and move them by truck 

to nearby La Hague. 

Environment Minister Dominique Voynet told France Inter radio that 

Germany, which agreed in January to take back reprocessed waste after 

a three-year gap, was sending its waste to France to solve a 

political problem at home. 

"The reprocessing of waste is not the priority for the German nuclear 

industry, we have to be aware of that," she said. 


At several points along the French railway, local officials joined 

the handfuls of protesters and complained they had not been informed 

about the hazardous waste being shipped through their communities. 

Alain Rist, vice-president of the regional council in the greater 

Paris region, was with protesters who held up the train for 45 

minutes at Conflans-Sainte Honorine, not far from the affluent 

northwestern suburb of Saint Germain en Laye. 

"There was no information from public authorities to the 

municipalities in question," he told journalists. "This is a 

transport of very dangerous material. It's scandalous." 

Voynet, who plans to leave the cabinet this summer to work full-time 

as head of her Greens Party, said: "The absence of transparency 

remains the rule despite efforts that have been made in the past few 



Japan, U.S. discuss notification of nuclear-powered sub stops

TOKYO, April 11 (Kyodo) - Japan and the United States could not come 

up with specific measures Wednesday to improve the prior notification 

system for port calls to Japan by U.S. nuclear-powered submarines, 

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said. 

In expert-level talks of a bilateral committee concerning U.S. 

military forces in Japan, held at the ministry, the two sides decided 

to continue discussions at the next meeting, whose schedule has not 

yet been set, the officials said. 

The talks follow a decision last week by the committee to discuss 

ways to ensure the U.S. Navy gives proper advance notice in the wake 

of the nuclear sub Chicago's entering Sasebo port in Nagasaki 

Prefecture without notification April 2. 

The U.S. Navy has been giving advance notice of at least 24 hours for 

port calls by nuclear-powered vessels to Japan since the first such 

visit in November 1964 to facilitate preparations by local 

governments to measure radioactivity before and after the sub's stop.

Japan is hoping to formalize the arrangement by exchanging documents 

on the matter, ministry officials said earlier. 

The U.S. apologized for the Chicago's surprise entry to Sasebo port, 

explaining it was caused by an administrative error in which the U.S. 

Navy mistook the planned docking location of the sub as outside the 

harbor and relayed the wrong information to the Japanese government. 

Sasebo Mayor Akira Mitsutake, however, has expressed anger over the 

mishap, saying the city wants to ask the U.S. Navy not to make port 

calls by its nuclear-powered subs at Sasebo until an effective 

improvement measure is in place.


Sandy Perle					Tel:(714) 545-0100 / (800) 548-5100   				    	

Director, Technical				Extension 2306 				     	

ICN Worldwide Dosimetry Service		Fax:(714) 668-3149 	                   		    

ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc.			E-Mail: sandyfl@earthlink.net 				                           

ICN Plaza, 3300 Hyland Avenue  		E-Mail: sperle@icnpharm.com          	          

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Personal Website: http://sandyfl.nukeworker.net

ICN Worldwide Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com


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