Risk From Spent Nuclear Reactor Fuel Is Greater in U.S. Than in Japan, Study Says

From the New York Times:

The threat of a catastrophic release of radioactive materials from a spent fuel pool at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant is dwarfed by the risk posed by such pools in the United States, which are typically filled with far more radioactive material, according to a study released on Tuesday by a nonprofit institute.

The report, from the Institute for Policy Studies, recommends that the United States transfer most of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel from pools filled with cooling water to dry sealed steel casks to limit the risk of an accident resulting from an earthquake, terrorism or other event.

“The largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet will remain in storage at U.S. reactor sites for the indefinite future,” the report’s author, Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the institute, wrote. “In protecting America from nuclear catastrophe, safely securing the spent fuel by eliminating highly radioactive, crowded pools should be a public safety priority of the highest degree.”

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Swiss officials: Let's close all our nuclear plants


The Swiss Cabinet on Wednesday called for the decommissioning of the country's five nuclear power reactors and new energy sources to replace them.

The recommendation by the seven-member Federal Council will be debated in parliament, which is expected to make a final decision next month. If approved, the reactors would go offline between 2019 and 2034 after they reach their average lifespan of 50 years, unless their use could be safely extended for a few more years.

Switzerland has four nuclear power plants with a total of five reactors.

The country will keep the reactors running as long as they are safe, but gradually hopes to turn to entirely non-nuclear sources of power, Energy Minister Doris Leuthard and other Swiss energy officials said.

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Susquehanna: Rausch's request for additional information


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Susquehanna: Kammeier's request for additional information

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 – Request for Additional Information Re: 2011 Decommissioning Funding Status Report (TAC Nos. ME5542 and ME5543)

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TMI: Inspection Report


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Peach Bottom: Relief Request I4R

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 - Request for Additional Information Regarding Relief Request I4R-52 Concerning Alternatives to Reactor Vessel Weld Examinations
Adams Accession No. ML111390152

NRC Petition on Spent Fuel Pools

My group, the Foundation for Resilient Societies, has a proposal for safety enhancements to spent fuel pools at nuclear plants. Backup cooling power would be provided by solar panels and other unattended, high reliability electric generation. This could prevent spent fuel pool fires and radiation releases.
Our proposal has been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the form of a Petition for Rulemaking. PRM-50-96 is the only Petition for Rulemaking currently on the NRC docket for 2011. On May 6, the NRC published the petition in the Federal Register for comment:
A blog moderated by the NRC is covering the status of the petition. Already, there are some very interesting public comments on the blog:
A full copy of the petition can be downloaded from:
If people in your group would comment on the petition, either on the NRC blog or as a formal comment for NRC rulemaking, this would further the discussion about safety enhancements for spent fuel pools. The deadline for formal comments is July 20, 2011. Comments on the NRC blog before this date would be very helpful as well.
A notice on your website about the petition would be ideal, if you can do this and believe it would fit with your group’s goals.
Many thanks for considering this. If you have questions, please email thomasp@resilientsocieties.org or call at the number below.
Thomas Popik
Foundation for Resilient Societies

Fukushima News: May 16th - 22nd

In a quick review of the last week's Fukushima global coverage, there was a modest burst in  global coverage at the beginning of the week, but it quickly dropped off as only international wire services were doing any coverage, and even coverage in Japan dropped of on Sunday. There is clearly many stories still being investigated from the quake primer to on Friday where TEPCo acknowledged that it is on the brink of economic failure. 

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Monday May 16th, 2011

Japan's TEPCO posts record loss as president resigns

From Yahoo News:

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power on Friday posted a record $15 billion loss and its under-fire president resigned to take responsibility for the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

The beleaguered utility posted an annual net loss of 1.247 trillion yen ($15 billion), the biggest ever for a non-financial Japanese firm. The company did not give an earnings forecast for the current financial year.


Recent TEPCO updates have confirmed experts' fears that fuel rods inside reactor one had been fully exposed to the air and had melted, and that reactors two and three were likely in a similar condition.

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Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1

Third Committee Meeting: May 23-24, 2011 Atlanta, Georgia

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