Tag Archives: MOX plant

BOMB PLANT NEWS | Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report to Congress

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board has issued its “first periodic Report to Congress on Infrastructure Needs in the Department of Energy’s Aging Defense Nuclear Facilities.”  Below are the excerpts on aging issued related to the H-Canyon reprocessing plant and the tanks containing radioactive nuclear waste.  These are the main things at SRS we need to keep a close eye on for accidental release of radioactive material or accidents harming workers or the public (till the MOX plant stats operation…if it ever does…..hope not…).  Tom Clements   

http://www.hss.energy.gov/deprep/2010/FB10S10A.PDF  

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report to Congress  

September 10, 2010  

To the Congress of the United States:  

“The Department of Energy (DOE) continues to rely on aging facilities to carry out hazardous production missions. Examples of this persistent problem include the 9212 Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex (portions of which are more than 60 years old), the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) Facility at Los Alamos (55 years old), and the first high-level waste tanks built at the Hanford and Savannah River Sites (up to 56 years old). There are other examples of degrading and aging facilities that will require significant capital expenditures for replacement or for repair and upgrade of key systems.”  

MOST SIGNIFICANT SAFETY-RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES  

Savannah River Site, H-Canyon – Aging Systems and Structures  

“The board encouraged DOE to continue aging management evaluations of H-Canyon and adopt a strategy to address age-related degradation. Components showing localized degradation include canyon wall concrete, the sand filter cileing, electrical wiring, and the canyon roof liner.”

Savannah River Site, Concentration, Storage, and Transfer Facility (Tank Farms)Aging Tanks and Systems:  

“DOE continues to store liquid wastes in some of the old noncompliant tanks.  DOE expects these old tanks will contain waste through 2018.  Support systems require increased attention for monitoring and repair.  The Board issued a letter dated January 6, 2010, encouraging DOE to develop more efficient tank inspection techniques.

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The French Connection: plutonium problems in France linked to Duke’s Catawba reactor & the Savannah River Site MOX plant

Hello Savannah River Site watchers –   

SRSOctober 16, 2009 –

 
You may have seen some news about a serious problem at a plutonium facility in Cadarche, France, which is under the control of the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA, French Atomic Energy Commission).  This facility, the Atelier de Technologie du Plutonium (ATPu), produced plutonium fuel (MOX) and is being cleaned out and decommissioned.  Due to poor accounting methods of the plutonium in the facility, it was discovered that the build-up of plutonium had reached amounts of concern for a nuclear criticality incident, which has been big news in France.  

Without going into more details, I wanted to remind you that the ATPu facility manufactured US test MOX fuel pellets which were inserted into “lead test assemblies” (LTAs) from US weapons-grade plutonium from Los Alamos which had been shipped by sea via the Charleston(SC) Nuclear Weapons Station.  The French-made MOX LTAs were shipped back via Charleston in 2005 and tested in Duke Energy’s Catawba Unit 1 reactor near Rock Hill, SC.  That test failed when the LTAs performed poorly and were withdrawn after two 18-month fueling cycle instead of the three 18-month cycles which were needed.  

The ATPu facility could well have a bit of US plutonium involved in the current incident, but it more importantly reveals just how easy it is to “lose” a serious amount of plutonium in a MOX facility, enough to cause a dreaded unplanned nuclear reaction.  (Are you paying attention, SRS MOX plant backers?)  

Now, with an outage of the Catawba Unit 1 reactor set to start around November 20, has the US plutonium cabal modified the French-manufactured MOX LTAs for reinsertion for that third cycle they missed?  Or, is Duke over with dealing with the shite MOX and now DOE has to continue to scramble to sucker other utilities, like TVA, into using MOX?

Have a plutonium-free day! Tom  Clement,  SRS -Action

News release on the Pu problem from the L’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN)  – Nuclear Safety Authority:

http://www.asn.fr/incident-nuclear-facility-dealing-plutonium-technology-cea-cadarache-plant

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