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THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

INDUSTRIAL WORLD SCRAMBLES FOR WAYS TO GET RID OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

2 Aug 2015

OUR WORLD HAS UNTOLD TONS OF “SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL” CREATED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS(NPPs) all over our globe; predominantly in highly developed countries Most such spent nuclear fuel has been accumulated in the “cooling tanks” kept underwater (for cooling) and adjacent to the NPPs, and with little, or no protection against the vagaries of nature or man. Now the NPP Industry wants the world’s governments to clean up their mess of many years to make room for the creation of more of the same perdition; Hence the urgency for each country to find a permanent storage solution (Nuclear Repositories if you will) for material that can remain radioactive/toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.

GREAT BRITAIN Like other countries keen to persuade their populations of the merits of nuclear power, such as their new “Hinkley Point C” NPP project, are likely to take encouragement if the Scandinavians are successful; However their hopes are of necessity, pinned on France’s approval of known fatally flawed steel pressure vessels (see our previous article) on four (4) reactors under construction. Spent nuclear fuel be damned!

SWEEDEN is working on a similar project at Oskarshamn. Their legal permissioning (My definition of permissioning is: The greasing of the palms of any and all public officials in authority) process lags that of Finland, with a recommendation to the government possible in 2017 which, if approved, would be followed by a 10-year construction period. Christopher Eckerberg, managing Director of SKB Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company said: “A realistic time for operating a facility is at the end of the 2020s… The critical part is public acceptance” He is certainly correct about that! Sweeden was among the first nations to build a relatively large number of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in the 1950s; hence has many now obsolete NPPs and now seriously beyond their expected life of 40 years. SKB is pioneering a technology known as KBS-3, which involves encasing the spent nuclear fuel rods in copper containers, then packed into absorbent bentonite clay which swells when wet, sealing off the package from corrosive elements. Question is: for how many years? No one will venture to say, or how to remediate “nuclear leaks” in deep underground caverns. Meanwhile…

MKG A SWEDISH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (NGO) concerned with nuclear waste, has serious apprehensions about SKB’s enthusiasm with unproven technologies. MKG Director Johan Swahn said: “Of greatest concern is if water molecules, and not only oxygen, react directly with the copper surface; if this is the case, it will be difficult to prove a safety case for 100,000 years”. He added: Spent nuclear fuel (most toxic type of nuclear waste) – is not safe to handle at all for 40 to 50 years until it cools, which begs the question: What shall we do with it it in the interim years? The public is now very weary regarding the lethality, and radioactive persistence of “spent nuclear fuel”, as well as as the connivance and lies propounded by the Nuclear Power Plant Industry which makes light of it.

FINLAND and Sweden hope to be the first countries in the world to store spent nuclear fuel rods in an underground repository during the next decade, using a new technology to encase fuel rods and protect them from erosion/corrosion. Finland stopped exporting spent fuel for reprocessing to the then Soviet Union in 1996, For years, and has been building a deep underground spent fuel repository, some 450 meters (492 yards) below the surface in the granite bedrock at Onkalo, (Shades of Yucca Mountain in NV USA), on its west coast. They are hoping that the technology known as KBS-3, developed by Sweden’s SKB, will be successful. The operator, Posiva, which is owned by utilities TVO and Fortum, hopes it can become operational about 2022. As in Sweeden, Authorities know that public acceptance is crucial, and sought local approval for the 3 billion euro ($3.38 billion) Onkalo repository, which can hold about 9,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods Last February 2015, Finland’s Nuclear Regulator STUK issued a safety assessment, which backed the project. According to STUK inspector Jussi Heionen said: “The population has a high trust in regulators and policymakers”.  Our experience shows that may be so because they lie like troopers to make their sale – They did so to the San Antonio, TX, USA public.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) acknowledges that nuclear waste held in surface level storage, poses great risks, exposing it to floods, terrorism, earthquakes, climate change and sea-level rise or human error. Stefan Mayer, team leader of the IAEA’s waste technology section said: Waste won’t go away after reactors are turned off…If we can provide socially and politically accepted approaches, we can implement solutions” During their annual conference in Vienna in mid July 2015, the 164-nation agency heard updates from Finland and Swedish authorities regarding their model solution. But JUST WHO IS THE IAEA? Guardians of the world ? No-way! They are Energy Barons – one and all. Just read our next post regarding this “Agency”.

GERMANY OPTED TO ABANDON NUCLEAR POWER several years ago, but still bears the burden of their active and inactive reactors, and their consequential spent fuel accumulation. Hell, for a while, they even accepted 10 or more rail shipments of “Hot cargo” from France. We believe they were taken supposedly for interim storage in salt formations in Lower Saxony’s Gorleben, until that repository was scrapped amid mass protests/indignation.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD’s) Nuclear Energy Agency says it is impossible to gauge the future costs of (permanent) storage sites, because each country’s geography is different and there are no previous projects to serve as examples. SO… don’t look to us for answers.

The European Union is trying to speed up thinking on the issue by demanding that member countries submit by August (2015?) individual plans on how to deal with nuclear waste.

FRANCE hopes for success with its “Cigeo” project at Bure in a sparsely populated part of the country’s east, which has thick layers of argilite clay rock. A final investment decision could be due around 2020 and an industrial pilot phase could then be ready to start in 2025. However we do not see France benefitting from the development/implementation of renewable energy; Meantime, Germany has come a long way toward achieving that precious resource.

SWITZERLAND has identified two areas, Zurich Northeast, and Jurassic East, to be studied as potential repositories for spent nuclear fuel (and other waste). They probably would like to “sweep it under the carpet”.

IN THE USA, and in many other countries, consideration is being granted to do just that. I use the phrase “sweeping it under the carpet” because in the USA we hear of radioactive waste being removed, “ and taken away”. Really? Making it disappear, as if by magic, but where did it go? nobody seems, or wants to know. The prevailing policy appears to be for every state in the Union to bury their nuclear bones wherever the can/wish. It is pathetic how our media, and even our Sub-Department of Energy Management just glosses over such vital concerns.

AIRBORNE AND NUCLEAR POLLUTION ARE ARE BECOMING A DEADLY KILLER OF THE OLD AND THE YOUNG in many places; Specially San Antonio, TX (sadly my city) On 23 July 2015, our SA-Express News headlined that we recently won the disgraceful honor of being the “most air polluted city in TX. Hell!, We even outdid Houston TX!-Damn! We are now getting “ozone”(it is really “smog) alerts daily. Translation: don’t breathe the air because it is harmful to your health. Meanwhile our City Council is still celebrating our First Afro-American woman Mayor. She appears too busy to care. Only one councilman voiced concern about our poor air quality, but got no traction.

EVERYONE IS BEING TOLD TO BLAME OUR TRAFFIC, but I don’t think our Dept of Transportation is to blame. To blame are two(2) 1,500MW coal burner Power Plants just So. of San Antonio,that burn a trainload of coal ea. every day, shipped in our City Public Service Energy owned trains more than 1,700 miles from Gillespie Co, Wy., then returns the rolling stock empty. This, when we have so much/abundant Nat gas being being flared (Burned in large chimney like pipes) for want of use; just 40 miles south of San Antonio in the Eagleford Play. It is unconscionable that we are creating coal air pollution, while we waste precious Nat gas that produces half as much pollution as coal burners that would be relatively fast and inexpensive to convert to burn Nat gas.

EVEN SO OUR LOCAL POLITICOS ARE CONTENT to accept their recently granted pay, and do not much more. To me that constitutes Corruption in high places that is killing people. Our San Antonio, TX City Council needs to prioritize their duties to our citizens, and quit being just “ceremonial”. When I write these lines I am painfully aware that many cities of our globe are undergoing the same pains, and preventable deaths attributable to deadly air pollution. You know where you are. Where corruption exists, let’s stamp it out! It is a societal cancer that is spread by impunity. Send all such corrupt leeches to work for a living!

Your Friend in Texas, USA who tells it like it is.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez

 


August 2, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments (0)