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News and Insight for the New Commercially Focused Nuclear Industry

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  1. 1. NOVEMbER 011 ISSUE 50IHS McCloskeyNuclear businessNews and Insight for the New Commercially Focused Nuclear Industry mccloskeycoal.combattle for Temelin Uranium Prices Spot 05-Sep 10-Oct 31-Oct $ 51.00 52.75 52.00contract gets underway € Source: Ux Consulting ( Future Nov-11 36.15 Dec-11 38.64 37.34 Jan-11 CME 52.50 52.50 52.75A CONTRACT TO build two new units at the The tender documentation, with 6,000 Source: CMECzech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power pages and weighing over 70kg in its printed wNA Nuclear Energy Index (total return)plant (NPP) could be the largest tender in form, was put together over three years by Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11Czech history and one of the biggest civil a 400-strong team. All bids and plans must In US $ 2,963 2,647 2,923engineering projects in the European Union comply with the relevant legislation of the In EURO € 1,832 1,756 1,866for the foreseeable future. Czech Republic as well as applicable EU re- index: 1000 = Dec 2001 Czech utility CEZ on 31 October formally quirements and safety requirements defined Regional nuclear power overviewissued an invitation to three candidates bid- by the International Atomic Energy Agency No. Units Under Con Plannedding to complete units 3 and 4 at Temelin. (IAEA) and the Western European Nuclear InstalledThe tender document calls for the supply of Regulators’ Association (WENRA). Further- Europe 187 14 41two complete nuclear power units on a full more, Benes said, the plans must also be N. america 123 4 10turn-key basis, including nuclear fuel supply licensed in the vendors’ home countries or S. America 4 2 2for nine years of operation. in one of the EU member states. “The plans Asia 109 41 93 The deadline for submitting bids is 2 July will only be licensed in the Czech Republic if M. East 1 - 82012 and the winning bidder is expected the aforementioned set of requirements has Africa 2 - -to be announced and the contract signed in been fulfilled,” he emphasised. Total 426 61 154late 2013. The three candidates are a consor-tium led by US-based Westinghouse Electric Transparency in bidder selection Capacity(Mw) UnderCon PlannedCorporation (now part of Japan’s Toshiba) AREVA is putting forward its EPR design, as Installedwith its AP1000 reactor unit; France’s licensed in Finland and France and eventu- Europe 163,104 13,260 47,120AREVA with its European Pressurised Water ally also to be licensed in the UK and US. N. America 115,077 3,408 11,940Reactor (EPR1600); and a consortium led by The ASE bid is based on the MIR-1200 third S. America 2,836 2,150 773Russia’s Atomstroyexport (ASE) with OKB generation VVER model under construction Asia 79,808 42,416 103,892Gidropress and Czech-based Skoda, offering in Russia at Leningrad Phase II and Novovo- M. East 915 - 9,600the MIR (Modernised International Reac- ronezh Phase II. Westinghouse’s AP1000 is Africa 1,800 - -tor) 1200 unit. undergoing design certification revisions Total 363,540 61,234 173,325 The Czech Republic currently has six op- soon to be complete in the US and is in the Generation Uraniumerating units – four Soviet-design VVER-440 licensing process in the UK. Twe(010) Needed 011(t)units at Dukovany NPP and two VVER-1000 Bidders will have the opportunity to Europe 1,142.2 27,049units at Temelin, which began operating in participate in joint meetings including N.America 898.2 20,5062000 and 2003. site visits and a pre-bid conference. CEZ S.America 20.6 526 Temelin was originally conceived as a four- has promised to proceed in an “absolutely Asia 516.3 12,331unit plant. In April 2009, local authorities in transparent manner” in selecting the sup- M.East - 168South Bohemia signed a contract with Czech plier. The first of the two new units should Africa 12.9 304state-owned power utility CEZ that cleared be launched in 2022 or 2023 and the second Total 2,590.2 60,884obstacles to the construction of Temelin-3 the following year. Source: Derived from WNAdataand -4, overturning a 2004 resolution block- Vaclav Bartuska, the Czech government’sing construction of the units. CEZ chairman envoy for energy matters, said the tender © IHS Global Limitedand CEO Daniel Benes said the invitations to has no predetermined winner and all three Licensee warrants and undertakes to IHS Global Limited that it recognises and will not infringe thebid were “an important step” towards ensur- bidders have a chance. “Criteria to evalu- copyright and any other intellectual property right of IHS Global Limited in the Publications; it shall not use,ing a reliable supply of electricity to Czech ate the bids is set in the optimum ratio in distribute, reproduce, copy, transmit or enter into any computer or computer network or procure or permit thecustomers in the coming decades, adding which 50% is centred on technical specifi- use, distribution, reproduction, copying, transmission or entering into any computer or computer network ofthat completion of the Temelin NPP is “a key cations including safety and licensing, and any or any part of the Publications, including, but not limited to, single prices, charts and altered Data, unlesspillar” of CEZ’s strategy. the remaining 50% on the economics of expressly permitted to do so under IHS Global Limited.1 | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  2. 2. Contents For further in-depth coverage go to mccloskeycoal.comLEADS NEw bUILD EU studies find geological disposal effective 44Battle for Temelin contract gets underway 1 Finland’s EPR may face more delays 9 Dounreay begins workon LLW store 45Renewed pressure on Iran 5 New projects move forward in China 30 AREVA signs Ukraine waste pact 45No showstoppers in UK Post-Fukushima Review 6 China signs Tianwan II contract 30 Westinghouse team gets Bulgarian waste deal 45Fission not criticality at Fukushima unit 2 8 US Watts Bar-2 revises management 31 Serbia builds storage facility 46 US Vogtle newbuild under budget 31 Continuing tension over Lithuanian storage 46FUKUSHIMA UPDATE Russia’s Baltic NPP still seeking investors 31 Waste briefs 46NPP released more radiation than reported 9 Progress continues at Russian NPPs 3Decontamination methods considered 10 CLEAN UPDealing with waste material 11 PLANT OPERATIONS Spent fuel imports fund Mayak clean-up 47Government no longer promotes nuclear 11 UK Oldbury NPP to close 3 Clean up briefs 47Bailing out Tepco 1 Plant operation briefs 3Fukushima update - briefs 1 DECOMMISSIONING SUPPLY CHAIN EQUIPMENT Russia to develop decommissioning concept 48bUSINESS Ansaldo joins UK module partnership 33 Decommissioning briefs 48EDF opposes Constellation-Exelon merger 1 Equipment briefsFluor takes majority stake in NuScale 13 NUCLEAR MATERIALSCost recovery approved for two US utilities 13 SAFETY SECURITY Activists sue to stop Los Alamos plutonium lab 48Energy Fuels and Titan seek merger 13 US NRC approves Fukushima recommendations 34 US support sisotope production 48US joint venture for tails management 14 Cracks found in US NPP containment 34Rio Tinto outbids Cameco for Hathor 14 Sweden increases earthquake protection 35 NEw TECHNOLOGIESAREVA sales down 15 Safety briefs 35 South Carolina to set up nuclear centre 49Russia to improve procurement transparency 15 New technology briefs 49Russia restructures nuclear fuel industry 16 URANIUMTVEL plans rapid growth 16 Olympic Dam hurdles 37 PEOPLECommissioning of Russia’s floating plant delayed 17 Mixed results for Paladin 37 On the move 49Business briefs 17 Bannerman takeover falters 37 Forsys gains 100%of Namibian project 38 THE MNb INTERVIEwGENERAL DEVELOPMENT Uranium mining controversial in Tanzania 38 Richard Myers, Nuclear Energy Institute 50Belgium shutdown agreement 19 AREVA puts Central African mine on hold 38E.ON and RWE get taxes reimbursed 19 Slovak resource estimate 39 COUNTRY PROFILEChina to scale back nuclear plans 0 Colorado uranium lease programme halted 39 US Nuclear Fuel Cycle 5Bangladesh signs NPP deal with Russia 0 US county backs mining moratorium 39 New Mexico licencere activated 40 NUCLEAR PLATFORMAustralia wavering on uranium sales to India 1 UrAmerica and Cameco look to Argentina 40 Mike Berriochoa, Washington River ProtectionIndian anti-nuclear protests continue 1 British Columbia compensates Boss Power 40 Solutions 57Taiwan puts limits on nuclear power Vietnam’s programme draws interest Uranium briefs 40 REGULARSJapan to continue nuclear plant exports 3 FUEL - ENRICHMENT TO STORAGE Uranium Market Round up 58UAE seeks approval for construction 3 USEC centrifuge plant still on hold 4 Outage Watch 59Russia prepares for reactor export 4 Russia to start reprocessing RBMK fuel 4 Carbon Market View 59Belarus and Russia sign NPP contract 4 Ukraine fuel plant gets local approval 4 SP’s Global Energy Indices 60Armenian NPP settles pay dispute 4 Fuel briefs 43 Competing fuels, power prices and carbon 60Belene financing still unresolved 5 Global Nuclear Capacity 61South Africa considers NPP tender 5 wASTE MANAGEMENT Nuclear Business Share Prices 6General briefs 6 US waste solutions considered 44 Events Calendar 64 Senior Vice President IHS US Correspondent Editorial Address Published once a month ® MIX Michael Dell Thecla Fabian IHS McCloskey Annual subscription £1,075* Paper from responsible sources Unit 6, Rotherbrook Court (hard copy and email) FSC® C020438 Publisher Managing Editor Marketing Petersfield, GU32 3QG, UK Annual subscription £920* (email only) John Howland Marketing Manager This publication was produced Alina Bucur Sales and Subscriptions * Plus VAT where applicable using FSC® certified paper Nicola Tame Editorial Managing Editor Production Published by IHS McCloskey Tel: +44 (0)1730 265 095 Scott Dendy Production Manager Emma Duncan Registered Office Editor Production Assistant IHS Global Limited Judith Perera Liam McEwan Willoughby Road Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8FB, UK | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  3. 3. Leadthe offers, namely the price, commercial terms such as guarantees, Another EPR under construction at Taishan in China is supposedpayment terms or conditions in the supply of nuclear fuel,” CEZ to come on line ast the end of 2013, as is Westinghouse’s firs AP1000said in a statement. unit at Sanmen in China. Unit 1 at Russia’s Leningrad II plant is also The tender includes an option for CEZ to order the contractor to due for start-up in up to three more reactors at other sites under the same termsand conditions, one of which could be build by a joint venture be- AREVA’s casetween the CEZ and Slovakia’s state nuclear company, JAVYS. Meanwhile the lobbying will continue. AREVA has criticised US support for Westinghouse, noting that Westinghouse, now ownedFrantic lobbying by Japan’s Toshiba, employs fewer Americans than AREVA. “We haveThe formal invitation to tender was preceded by some frantic lob- excellent relationships with the US energy industry as a whole,”bying by the bidders. Leaders have been shaking a lot of hands to AREVA’s Central and Eastern Europe Regional Director Thomas Epronpush for preferred bids, which is “completely normal,” Bartuska said, told The Prague Post. “AREVA is the largest company operating in thedenying the process has become overly politicised. nuclear field in the US, and the biggest employer in our sector.” Temelín was the main issue discussed by Czech Prime Minister Epron repeated in a recent interview with Czech Position. HePetr Necas when he visited Washington for talks with US President claimed that the EPR is the safest design, noting that it is the onlyBarack Obama on 27 October. A few days before, Rosatom CEO one of the three reactors on offer to have received licences in theSergei Kirienko had held talks with Necas during a trip to Prague, European Union. AREVA also claims that the EPR outstrips its rivalsand Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is due to visit Prague in De- in productive performance. “Two of our reactors will have a totalcember. Necas also visited French Industry Minister Eric Besson in output of 3,300MWe, but three of the competitors’ reactors wouldFebruary to discuss French participation in the tender, but generally be needed to reach that,” says Epron.the French have been less active in lobbying. He points out that Westinghouse’s AP 1000, has not received With the competition becoming more intense, speculation is licensing for construction in the US and alleges that the first fourmounting about which group has an advantage, especially as all implementations of this new reactor, currently being built at thethree bidders face challenges, such as delays in the construction Sanmen and Haiyang NPPs in China, are behind schedule. He alsoof their required reference reactors. AREVA’s EPRs being built in disputes that Russia’s Leningrad II NPP will be ready by 2013 sayingFinland and France are delayed and over budget; Westinghouse’s it will go online in 2014 at the very earliest, with 2015 or 2016 beingAP1000 has faced problems with regulatory approval in the US and a more realistic date.UK, although these are now more or less resolved; and construction AREVA says it would provide around 5,000 jobs locally if it wins theat Russia’s Leningrad NPP phase two, the reference model for MIR, contract, but is declining for the time being to put a figure to the valuewas briefly suspended because of an accident at the site, but has now of potential contracts for Czech subcontractors. “In order to be com-restarted. petitive, we have to harness local capacity to the maximum. And in this respect, we don’t believe the Russians have the edge,” Epson said.Intelligence leak favours Russia In January, AREVA announced an official partnership with theReports from the news site recently cited an unnamed Czech Technical University (CVUT)-Faculty of Nuclear Sciences andsource claiming to have seen documents from the Czech counter- Physical Engineering, and the University of West Bohemia in Plzenintelligence agency (BIS) saying the Russian-led bid was the most where it is funding RD projects and exchange programmes withattractive but was saddled by security concerns, and that AREVA French research institutes. Over the past year AREVA has also organ-was “out of the picture.” What is more, the French are probably not ised a number of visits to French nuclear facilities by Czech nuclearall that interested because they have “plenty of orders elsewhere,” engineers and scientists, and also state commented. One argument that could be used in favour of the French bid is the Security concerns about Russia have been a sensitive aspect of the fact that it is an EU member and French–Czech cooperation wouldtender since it was first introduced in 2009, when then-energy secu- enhance the union’s energy security. AREVA, however, claims it isrity envoy Bartuska asked the Russian bid not be included and later not playing this card. “We don’t do geopolitics,” Epron told Czechthat year two Russian diplomats were expelled for allegedly spying Position. When pressed, he said the Czech Republic needs to “care-to obtain sensitive energy information. fully consider its strategic energy options,” nevertheless, he says this “The Russians will get fair treatment like everyone else,” is political matter for the Czechs alone to decide.Bartuška said, adding the report was erroneous as Overall, however, AREVA is not making the same effort to winthere is no way for anyone to compare bids that have yet to be over the CEZ as either Westinghouse or Rosatom. Ruben Lazo,submitted. AREVA refused to comment on the alleged BIS report, AREVA Chief Commercial Officer recently noted that, while thecalling it “purely speculative.” Temelin tender was “very strategically important” for AREVA, it also None of the bidders have reference reactors up and running, which was focusing its resources in China and India, where it is buildingmakes comparative study difficult. Bartuska, recently said it would two and six EPR reactors respectively - and bidding for advantageous for the bidders, and for CEZ, to have at least one oftheir new reactors operating before a final decision is made on the American diplomacytender Indeed, this could delay a decision on the supplier beyond Westinghouse appears to be depending more on diplomatic2013. Currently AREVA’s EPR being built at Olkiluoto in Finland manoevring than technical arguments in the battle for Teme-is expected to be operating in 2014 following a series of delays and lin. The issue clearly topped the agenda during Prime Ministersafety issues. It was originally scheduled for start up in 2009. Necas’s two-day visit to Washington. Underlying the ©IHS Global Limited November 2011 McCloskey Nuclear Business | 3
  4. 4. Leadof the Temelín project to this visit, was the presence alongside wider Russian co-operationNecas of Daniel Benes, the new CEZ The project was discussed When asked by Czech Position about the Czech Ministry of Industrywith President Obama and US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “I and Trade government’s draft energy strategy for the next 50 yearshave clearly assured Obama the tender will be fair and transpar- leaked to the press in the summer, which proposes expanding ura-ent, that we expect three quality offers, and the best will win,” nium mining and establishing a full nuclear cycle including enrich-Necas said. US Ambassador to Prague Norman Eisen has lobbied ment and disposal in deep repositories, Kirienko said the strategyextensively on behalf of Westinghouse since taking up his post is “altogether reasonable”. He added that Rosatom had alreadyearly this year. proposed potential cooperation to CEZ and the Czech government in During his visit to Prague in October, Rosatom head Sergei Kirien- the areas of uranium enrichment and disposal.ko, said if the tender is decided primarily according to technologi- It would make economic sense for the Russian nuclear sector tocal and economic criteria then the consortium headed by Rosatom build an enrichment facility in the Central European region if andhas the best credentials to win, but if it is decided on geopolitical when there are 10 or more VVER-type reactors in operation in thegrounds, then it was a different matter. When asked at a press con- CEE region, he said.ference in Prague how Russia could match the high-level political A nuclear fuel fabrication plant may become an option within thelobbying being undertaken by Westinghouse, Kirienko said that if Russian package of offers on Temelin, according to Fuel Companystrategic allegiances were to be the deciding factor in selecting the TVEL Vice President Vasily Konstantinov. He said discussions on thetender winner Russia would lose. “There’s no doubt about that: the possibility of building a fuel fabrication plant in the Czech RepublicUS is a more important geopolitical partner for the Czech Republic.” was ongoing and a final decision was yet to be made by the company.However, he said that in negotiations with Czech representatives, “We are trying to cooperate and produce a good offer for the Czechincluding special envoy Bartuska, he had “no feeling of bias” or that market and Czech producers,” the executive explained.anything had already been agreed. The issue is global cooperation, participation of Czech companies Kirienko emphasised safety, technology and the jobs the Rus- and producers of equipment, in construction of nuclear reactors us-sian-led consortia could offer the Czechs. “However, we believe we ing Russian technology not only in the Czech Republic but in thirdcan win on a practical level,” he said listing key factors he believes countries as well. In this case, “fuel fabrication will become an inher-gives MIR 1200 the advantage. He claims the security credentials ent constituent of the cooperation,” Konstantinov said.of the reactor are superior to Westinghouse’s AP1000. Gidopressclaims the new VVER 1200 can withstand the impact of a plane Czech involvementweighing up to 400t and the reactor fully complies with the tight- Deals with Czech companies will have varying degrees of impor-ened safety recommendations drafted by the International Atomic tance, said Radek Skoda, a lecturer from the Energy Institute at theEnergy Association (IAEA) in response to the accident at the Fuku- Czech Technical University in Prague. The Czech nuclear industryshima plant in Japan. has not been running at full capacity for some time, he added, mak- ing some of the suppliers or services less available than others.Russia offers local participation “In the end, there are not so many suppliers in some areas...YouThe cost of contracts to be awarded to Czech suppliers if the Rosatom need big companies to build all the concrete and foundations, andbid wins could amount to €4-5bn (45.5-6.9bn), Kirienko told journal- they are likely to be involved in all three or at least two of the bids,”ists at the Russian-organised nuclear industry suppliers forum, Ato- Skoda said. He added companies have an interest in not limitingmex Europe that started in Prague on 25 October. Russia is also ready themselves to any one bidder, especially during a recession. Evento transfer technologies which can be mastered rapidly by Czech en- Skoda JS, which is part of the Russian-led consortium, has not ex-terprises “given similarity of the technological platforms”, he added. cluded the possibility of being involved in the other two bids.In future, after the Temelin project is completed, Czech enterprises Skoda JS is currently working with AREVA on other projects, andwould then able to manufacture equipment for other projects being was present at a meetings in Washington with Westinghouse offi-implemented by Rosatom in Russia and abroad, he noted. cials. “Some participants are trying to have eggs in many baskets,” Kirienko said he would sign agreements of cooperation with 12 Skoda said.Czech companies during his visit to the Czech Republic. The larg- As a concrete step toward increasing Czech-Russian co-operation,est would be with machine engineering firm Vítkovice Holding. a memorandum was signed by Czech and Russian enterprises atHe stressedhat there were opportunities for cooperation with the Atomex-Europe establishing Prague Atomic Alliance production andRussian nuclear sector for all of the 300 or so Czech companies at- trade association. Companies included IBC, Prahaspol, ZVUPoteza,tending Atomex. SigmaGroupa, Arako spol, ArmaturkaKrnova from the Czech Re- Rosatom believes that main advantage of the Russian is a unique public and AMT Group and Nizhniy Novgorod Nuclear Engineeringcombination of passive and active safety systems, reference reactors Business Centre from Russia.already built and the experience Czech specialists have in operat- Rusatom Overseas, an affiliate of Rosatom, signed cooperationing Russia-designed plants. A central, if not pivotal, argument the agreements with 15 Czech companies, including Arako, ModranyRussian-led consortium will present in their bid is a high degree of Power, Ckd Group, Mpower Engineering, Envinet, Sigma Group, Ex-localisation of the project. Up to 70% of the work on the Temelín proj- mont Energo, Skoda JS, Hochtief Cz, Vítkovice, Chemcomex Praha,ect would go to Czech firms, compared with a maximum of 30% which Zat, Chladící veze Praha, ZVVZ-Enven Engineering and Kralovopol-he said AREVA or Westinghouse could offer: “Why only 30%? It’s not ska Ria. The agreements involve specific cooperation projects on con-because they are greedy and wouldn’t want to outsource more. …It’s struction of Russia-designed NPPs both in Russia, Czech Republicbecause they simply can’t; there’s not the local know-how.” and third countries.4 | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  5. 5. Lead Skoda JS Director General Miroslav Fial said this provided an op- sources, the West’s documents have been relegated to the appendi-portunity forCzech producers to go beyond the Temelin project and ces of the report by Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, much“jointly build up cooperation both in the Russian nuclear marker and to the annoyance of the third countries’ markets” through the cooperation with Rosatom. According to Pierre Canesa, deputy research fellow at the Insti- Russia’s engineering holding Atomenergomash, which owns tute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS,) the report isCzech machine engineering companies ARAKO and Chladici being manipulated. “The Agency’s boss is cornered now,” he says.veze Praha, is ready to establish a machine engineering centre in “If his report is not tough enough on Tehran, he will be accusedthe Czech Republic. Atomenergomash Director General Vladimir of having concealed evidence under pressure from the RussiansKashchenko told Atomex-Europe. The company, is considering and the Chinese. If, however, it points an accusing finger at thesetting up a common production and engineering cluster in central Iranians, people will say that he has yielded to pressure from theEurope based on these and other assets. Americans and the French.” One of the centre’s objectives will be deployment, at Czech en- The IAEA report is expected to unveil detailed intelligence point-terprises, of technologies for manufacture of machine engineering ing to military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, whileequipment for NPPs being built in Russia and third countries, and stopping short of saying explicitly that Tehran is trying to build suchfor other power industry facilities. The Atomenergomash also does weapons. The report will expand on concerns voiced by the IAEAnot rule out acquisitions of new machine engineering assets in the for several years over allegations that Iran had a linked programmeCzech Republic. of projects to process uranium, test high explosives and modify a missile cone to take a nuclear payload. It is not believed to contain anRenewed pressure on Iran explicit assessment that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capa- bility. “The IAEA’s report will not likely contain any smoking guns,” said Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.LAST MONTH’S SIGNS of moves towards a settlement of the Iran issue The UN Security Council, with the reluctant backing of Iran’swere clearly a false dawn. In the run up to the November Interna- traditional supporters, Russia and China, has imposed four roundstional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting Iran has come of increasingly tough sanctions on Tehran since 2006. However,under immense pressure again from the US and its allies. these would have been much more severe without the moderating New Western intelligence reports and other dramas which were influence of Moscow and Beijing, say sources close to the IAEA. Nowso strangely absent before the September IAEA General Conference a concerted effort is being made by the West to create conditions forare predictably in the forefront of the news again in the run up to the greatly increased sanctions.November board. This time they are accompanied by media reportsof Israeli plans for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Threats of military action The deterioration began in early October with reports (which were Responding to a report in The Guardian that Britain was stepping upunsubstantiated) that Iran was implicated in a clumsy and absurd military contingency plans amid mounting concerns about Iran, aplot to murder the Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the US. While the spokesman for the British Foreign Office said that London was keep-press was full of details of the evidence to support Iranian involve- ing all options open - including the possibility of military action.ment in this, there were no reports explaining what Iran could “We want a negotiated solution, but all options should be kept on theconceivably have hoped to gain by this. table,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said. Officials in Tehran said they were ready to investigate allegations The Guardian report said the UK Ministry of Defence believedby the US that the Quds Force plotted to kill the Ambassador. “We the US may accelerate plans for missile strikes at some key Iranianare ready to patiently investigate any issue, even if it’s fabricated,” facilities and cited British officials as saying it would seek and receiveForeign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the state-run Islamic Republic military help from Britain for any mission. Other sources, however,News Agency. “We also asked America to give us the information say Israel would be more likely to use military force against Iranianrelated to this scenario.” Salehi and other Iranian officials, however, nuclear facilities than the US.continued to maintain that Iran had nothing to do with the alleged The French Liberation website quoted the representative of “a mi-plot, which they dismissed as a “bad Hollywood script.” nor country of the Community of Independent States” as saying, “So The best explanation the “experts” could offer for what they these are the real stakes that are still being concealed from us.” Heacknowledged was a “bizarre’ plot was that Iran was beginning to said the purpose of the sabre rattling by the US and France is “to sellcrack under the strain. In any event, this and the latest intelligence Moscow and Beijing the toughest economic sanctions ever adoptedreelations, have set the scene for more stringent sanctions on Iran. against Iran; they want to stifle the regime before contesting theUS administration officials briefed key lawmakers on the “plot”, and elections again, and since they know that they will never succeed ina number of senators and former officials publicly called for stronger having the Security Council adopt them, following NATO’s excessesaction against Iran beyond existing sanctions that critics say have in Libya, they are holding us to ransom: adopt our sanctions, or wefailed to have any real impact on Iran. can’t promise you that we will be able to restrain (Israeli Prime Min- ister) Netanyahu.”Another IAEA reportThe IAEA is due to produce another report on Iran shortly and the Programme setbacks allegedagency has been under severe pressure from the US and its allies Along with the sabre rattling, the Western press has also been carry-on one side and Russia and China on the other on how it should ing reports that Iran’s nuclear programme is suffering new setbacks,dela with the “new” intelligence information. According to several with suggestions that it has never fully recovered from the ©IHS Global Limited November 2011 McCloskey Nuclear Business | 5
  6. 6. Leadcyber attacks on its nuclear facilities and the assassination of several (NPPs), but identified more than 30 areas where the UK could learnleading nuclear scientists. The Washington Post quoted “Western from the Japanese crisis. These included reliance on off-site infra-diplomats and nuclear experts” as saying the programme “appears structure such as the electrical grid supply in extreme events, emer-beset by poorly performing equipment, shortages of parts and other gency response arrangements, plant layout, risks associated withwoes as global sanctions exert a mounting toll”, flooding, planning controls around nuclear facilities and prioritising The paper says output is falling at Iran’s Natanz enrichment safety reviews. Weightman report drew on national and interna-facility due to equipment failures. It adds that new centrifuges tional experts, and a June fact-finding mission to Japan including therecently introduced at Natanz contain parts made from an inferior Fukushima-Daiichi NPP.type of metal that is weaker and more prone to failure, according The report concluded that the direct causes of the Fukushimato a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, nuclear accident—a magnitude nine earthquake and the associateda Washington nonprofit group widely regarded for its analysis of 14-metre high tsunami—were far beyond the most extreme naturalnuclear programs. events that the UK would be expected to experience. However, The Institute says that Iranian scientists replaced more than 1,000 Fukushima demonstrated problems when the vulnerabilitiescrippled machines following the Stuxnet computer virus attacks. of older plants were not recognised and addressed, leading to aThe Natanz plant appeared to quickly recover, with production sur- conclusion that work to clean up legacy wastes in ponds and silos atpassing levels seen before the attack but the gains have not lasted. Sellafield must be pursued “with utmost vigour and determination.” “The decline could stem from the lingering effects of the cyberat- Weightman said ONR would continue to monitor detailed techni-tack, or it could indicate that Iran’s centrifuges are simply wearing cal information as it emerged from Japan. “We will ensure lessonsout. In any case, the decline is so significant that Natanz is incapable are learned from Fukushima. Action has already been taken in manyof fulfilling the needs of the country’s only nuclear power plant”, the cases, with work under way to further enhance safety at UK sites.”paper said, quoting the Institute. This is a strange assertion given ONR has asked the UK nuclear industry to deliver progress reportsthat fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant is being supplied by by June 2012 and will publish a report on this later that year.Russia. The Institute contends that Iran is using inferior carbon fibresteel in the new centrifuges now being installed in Nataanz and Huhne stresses safetyanother enrichment facility near Qom, compared with the Maraging Chris Huhne, head of the Department for Energy and Climatesteel used in the prototype machines. Change (DECC) presented the report to parliament. A government statement said additional information received since the interimProgress continues report “reinforced and further validated” its findings.However, regardless of the reported “setbacks” to its programme, He told a Royal Society meeting in London that, while nuclear hasIran in the past few months has begun producing 20% enriched fuel a role in UK electricity generation, government and industry mustintended for its Tehran research reactor which is used to produce learn from past mistakes, otherwise nuclear policy could becomemedical isotopes. Production of this fuel is being moved to the “the most expensive failure of post-war British policy-making”.Fordow facility near Qom which is an underground facility offering The UK has 6,900m2 of high-level nuclear waste and manages thebetter protection against military attacks. world’s largest plutonium stocks—more than 100t. Half of DECC’s To date Iran has produced 70 kg of 20% enriched uranium and will budget goes to “cleaning up this mess, and it will rise to two thirds”inaugurate a new facility to turn it into research reactor fuel plates in 2012, he said. The government is paying £2bn/year ($3.1bn/year)within the next three months. At the same time, the first batch of to clean up and manage £49bn in nuclear liabilities, and the UK washome-produced uranium oxide has been shipped to the Isfahan Ura- “continuing to pay for electricity that was consumed in the fifties,nium Conversion Facility, most probably from a uranium mine in the sixties and seventies on a false prospectus”, he added.province of Yazd and the nearby mill at Ardakan. Iran’s permanent However nuclear can be a vital and affordable means of providingrepresentative to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, has previously said low carbon electricity electricity and should play a part in the UK’sthat Iran needs 120 kg of 20% enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran energy future, provided new NPPs are built without public subsidy,research reactor. he said. He noted that nuclear planning consultant Arup has esti- MNB will analyse the latest IAEA report on mated costs at £66/MWh for nuclear, £95/MWh for gas with carbon Iran in detail in the next issue. capture and £130/MWh for offshore wind, including waste and decommissioning costs. Based on Weightman’s report, he said thereNo showstoppers in UK was no reason for the UK to curtain nuclear power use.Post-Fukushima Review EDF Energy and Centrica reaffirm plans EDF Energy (a subsidiary French power producer Electricite de France -EDF) and its partner Centrica, said they would review theIN A 300-PAGE post-Fukushima safety review, Dr Mike Weightman, Weightman findings and build them into their plans. EDF CEOhead of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and executive head Vincent de Rivaz said the report would provide a valuable input toof the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), found no fundamental the process of continuous improvement and welcomed reaffirmationsafety weaknesses in the UK nuclear industry, but concluded that that ‘UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses”.lessons from the accident could boost safety further. Since and earlier interim report from Weightman, EDF has car- The report found no reason to curtail operations of UK nuclear fa- ried out additional work to strengthen safety, he added, includingcilities or change siting strategies for newbuild nuclear power plants providing additional training in severe accident management for key6 | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  7. 7. Leadtechnical staff. EDF also is enhancing backup equipment, such as marine environmental services contract from Horizon to supportcooling system electrical supplies, fuel pool cooling, and emergency the Wylfa newbuild. Officials did not disclose the contract value.Thecommand and control facilities. EDF invests more than £300m/year work includes a baseline marine ecology survey programme cover-on its UK nuclear fleet, and will invest even more as a result of Fuku- ing fisheries, benthos, marine birds, plankton and water quality;shima, he noted. environmental impact assessments; option appraisals; and Habitat The Weightman report reconfirmed that, subject to implementing Regulations Assessments (HRA) for the new NPP and its associatedits recommendations, no safety issues that would prevent EDF/Cen- infrastructure.trica plans for newbuild NPPs. This is important, he said, “becauseBritain needs new nuclear to tackle the three challenges of keeping New UK NPPs by 00the lights on, keeping prices affordable and reducing emissions”. The first new UK NPP is likely to come online around 2020, two years In early November, EDF Energy submitted thousands of pages of later than the initial projected start date, according to French bankdocuments to ONR as required under the European Union’s (EU) Societe Generale (SG), which also noted a rise in construction risksstress testing programme. Following Fukushima, NPP operators in and costs. EDF Energy has admitted its scheduled start date in 2018all EU member countries were required to submit safety assessments for Hinkley Point has slipped, without giving a new date. SG analyststo their regulators, who would report to the EU in 2012. explained that one reason for the expected delays was the require- EDF’s response to the Weightman report and to ONR for the EU ment for increased security during construction and operation,stress tests, have been combined into a Comprehensive Safety As- which will translate to higher risks and costs and has “jeopardisedsessment. An expert team, with independent verification, is coordi- nuclear competitiveness”.nating the effort. EDF’s UK team is working closely with colleagues Before the next generation of NPPs come on line, the UK faces ain France to share experience appropriate to the European context. capacity shortage as old thermal plants are shut down. New low-car- De Rivaz said the comprehensive safety review confirmed the safe bon capacity plants, such as coal plants fitted with carbon capturedesign of EDF’s UK nuclear fleet. “The assessment has proved that and storage (CCS) technology, will be slow to come on line, SG said.we are very robust under the most extreme scenarios, even those far Analysts expect baseload power prices for delivery in 2014 to risebeyond what could ever be plausible in the UK—including combina- 13% above current year-ahead levels to £63.5/MWh ($102.2/MWh)tions of flooding, seismic events, fire and extreme weather—and as supply margins tighten. The UK may face more of a deficit afterconfirmed that the plants would operate safely as they are designed 2016 because of the long lead times to build new clean generationto do.” (nuclear and/or coal CCS) and the retirement of a sizeable part of the thermal fleet. However sluggish demand growth will help levelHinkley Point application out the impact a tighter supply as consumption is forecast to rise atEDF Energy delivered a development consent order to the Infrastruc- an average rate of only 0.7%/year until 2015 under normal weatherture Planning Commission (IPC) to build and operate a new two- conditions, SG said.unit, 3,260MWe NPP at Hinkley Point in Somerset with associated SG said the UK power market will be well supplied over the nextinfrastructure. IPC, an independent body that examines applications two years. This winter, it is expected to rely less on power importsfor nationally significant infrastructure projects, has until the end from neighbouring markets because Germany’s nuclear shutdownof November to decide whether to accept the submission. IPC only will draw higher imports from markets such as France and thewill publish the documents after the application has been formally Netherlands, which also export to the UK. However, there is suf-accepted. Individuals and organisations will then be able to view the ficient overcapacity and no major structural impact is expected indocumentation, register their interest and make representations. the near term. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will makethe final decision on whether to grant development consent based Interim approval for reactor designson IPC’s recommendation. However, the IPC process is still subject ONR and the UK Environment Agency (EA) expect to issue interimto the enactment of a new Localism Bill currently before parlia- approvals for the Westinghouse AP1000 and AREVA UK EPR reactorment. De Rivaz said that the development consent application would designs by the end of the year, according the latest quarterly progressinclude an indicative timetable, although no decision on a start date report on the UK’s Generic Design Assessment (GDA). In July, ONRis likely before a final investment decision is made. and EA completed their initial assessment of the safety cases and listed thbe issues that remained to be resolved .Horizon’s wylfa NPP plans proceed The GDA process allows the generic safety, security and environ-Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK consortium that plans to build a new mental aspects of new reactor designs to be assessed before applica-NPP on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, has completed the tions are made for permits to build on a particular site. The GDA onlyland purchase for the plant. Horizon secured rights to purchase the needs to be completed once for each design, speeding up subsequentland near the proposed Wylfa-B site at auction in 2009 subject to a site licencing and providing investors with more certainty.number of conditions that have now been met. The latest progress report for the period from June to September, Horizon, a joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE Npower, is said the only resolution plans still to be agreed address issues frombringing forward plans to build up to 3,300MWe new capacity at the Fukushima accident. ONR and EA said companies should be ableWylfa, with the first unit scheduled to come online around 2020. to use the Weightman report to develop those plans. If the agenciesIt plans to deliver 6,000MWe of new nuclear capacity in the UK by find the plans “credible”, they will consider providing an interim2025. The Wylfa site currently hosts two 490MWe Magnox reactors. Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and interim Statement of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc has received an extension to its Design Acceptability (SoDA) for each ©IHS Global Limited November 2011 McCloskey Nuclear Business | 7
  8. 8. Lead Fukushima Update ONR would issue the interim DAC and reference a full suite of continuously at a low level in all nuclear reactors and is one of severaltechnical assessment reports published at the same time. EA would possible forms of radioactive decay.issue the interim SoDA, which would reference a parallel set of final Temperatures and pressures at all the damaged reactors at Fuku-assessment reports. shima have been stable and declining for several months, and all are Westinghouse has requested a pause in the GDA process for the now well below the target temperature of 100ºC: units 1, 2 and 3 areAP1000 once the interim DAC and SoDA have been issued, and has at 59.4ºC, 76.3ºC and 71ºC respectively. Airborne radioactive emis-signalled that it will not proceed to address GDA issues until it can sions from the site have dropped to within normal operating funding for the work. However, AREVA and EDF plan to Tepco continues to focus on repairing and remediating the siteexecute their resolution plans “without delay” and have commit- to bring it to a proper level of safety and ultimately decommissionted to provide sufficient evidence to secure the full certificates, it. As part of this work, the company restarted a gas managementAfter the interim DAC and SoDA are issued, the agencies will focus system in unit 2’s containment vessel on 28 October. It was samplessolely on the close-out phase for the UK EPR. Both applicants had taken from system which contained the xenon. These isotopes havepaid about £24.5m ($39.3m) in regulatory charges for the GDA by a short half-life of less than six days wich meant the fission whichthe end of June. produced them had occurred fairly recently. However, sustained fis- sion would also result in other products such as isotopes of caesium,FUKUSHIMA UPDATE iodine and molybdenum, which were not found in the samples. Japan’s government now plans to study ways to confirm thatFission not criticality at sustained nuclear fission has not resumed at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, Goshi Hosono,Fukushima unit said he supported the view that xenon was produced through spon- taneous fission, not sustained fission, or criticality.Hosono said aTHE DISCOVERY IN early November of xenon in the containment of precondition for putting the plant’s reactors into a cold shutdown isFukushima Daiichi 2 raised fears about renewed criticality inside ensuring that the accident will no longer escalate, and an absence ofthe reactor, but further investigations suggested that it was probably criticality is one way to achieve such a state.due to spontaneous fission, a process of radioactive decay which doesnot involve any chain reaction. Fukushima closure could take 30 years Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) initially A Japanese government panel said in late October that it will take atsaid particles from melted fuel in unit 2 might have “temporarily least 30 years to safely close the the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Thetriggered a criticality incident”. This means the particles were of a estimate was contained in a draft of a report to be submitted to aconfiguration that could have led to a self-sustaining chain reaction. committee on medium- and long-term decommissioning measures In a statement the company said it had begun spraying boric acid and finalised later this year. The draft was posted on the Japan Atom-to prevent accidental chain reactions. Tepco said it found xenon, ic Energy Commission website. The panel noted that it took 10 yearswhich is associated with nuclear fission, while examining gases to remove nuclear fuel after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident intaken from the reactor. One hundred thousandth of a becquerel per the US, and suggested that the process at Fukushima would be muchcubic centimetre of xenon-133 and xenon-135 was detected in gas more complicated and would take longer. It is also expected to besamples, the company reported. more costly. A report in Yomiuri newspaper, said independent ex- Xenon-133 and xenon-135 are created through nuclear fission and perts believe the process will cost more than JPY1,500bn ($19.2bn).are not usually detected even when a reactor is in operation because The panel said removal of the fuel rods at Fukushima would notfuel rods are enclosed in gas-tight zirconium metal tubes. This sug- begin until 2021, after the repair of the plant’s containment vessels.gested that fission might have occurred in the melted fuel, or corium It noted that the biggest challenge in decommissioning the reactors, also called fuel containing material (FCM) or lava-like fuel contain- will be collecting nuclear fuel and safely managing the material onceing material (LFCM). It is a molten mixture of portions of nuclear it is gathered. In the draft plan, the panel also said work to removereactor core, formed during a nuclear meltdown. It comprises of fuel remaining in the spent nuclear fuel pools adjacent to the reac-uranium fuel, fuel clads, and other core-internal material. tors should start in 2015. The decommissioning process will begin Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), however, next year by installing cranes and building containers to store fuel.said there have been no drastic changes in the reactor’s temperatureand pressure level, and the reactor was stable overall. NISA spokes- Interim measuresman Yoshinori Moriyama, a, told NucNet there is a possibility fission As an interim measure, unit 1 now has an outer shell made of air-started from some small pieces of melted fuel. However, the fission tight polyester designed to contain radioactive particles inside thewas probably small and partial, he said, adding, “large-scale fission building. Similar covers are planned for other units. Tepco has beenwas unlikely”. building the casing for unit 1 since June. The cover was installed on Tepco said it considered the source of the xenon to be spontaneous 28 October. It is 54 metres high, 47 metres wide and 42 metres deep,fission on the grounds that it had injected boric acid to the reactor and has a ventilation system that filters out radioactive substances.vessel to reduce the likelihood of chain fission reactions but was still Tepco said that during pilot tests, the system removed more thanable to detect xenon. Temperature and pressure data from the unit 90% of radioactive caesium from the reactor.also showed no change around the time of the xenon’s discovery Tepco has also started building a water-shielding wall at unit 1 towhich also indicated that no that chain reactions were taking place. prevent polluted groundwater from leaking into the sea. It will in-While spontaneous fission is infrequent, it nevertheless occurs stall a total of 700 water-proof steel pipes to totally cover the exist-8 | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  9. 9. Fukushima Updateing seawalls of units 1 and 4. The wall will be 800 metres long. Eachpipe, weighing 10t, is 22 metres long and one metre in diameter. The NPP released morework is expected to take two years. At present, the seawalls of thefour reactors are covered with cement in order to prevent leaks of radiation than reportedcontaminated water into the sea. The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) in March released far more radiation than the Japanese govern-Cold shutdown this year ment reported, according to a study based on radioactivity data fromThe government and Tepco say they are still hoping to achieve a around the world. The study also suggests that, contrary to govern-stable condition – cold shutdown - by the end of this year. They also ment statements, spent fuel pools played a significant part in thesaid in the road map, which is updated every month, that they have release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137,succeeded in reducing the amount of highly radioactive water ac- which could have been prevented by prompt action. The analysis hascumulating at the plant. been posted online for open peer review by the journal Atmospheric Realising cold shutdown and reducing the contaminated water Chemistry and Physics.are key goals in the “step 2” phase of the road map, and the aim is Andreas Stohl, an atmospheric scientist with the Norwegianto achieve this step by January at the latest. The temperature of Institute for Air Research in Kjeller, who led the research, believesthe pressure vessels of unit 1 to 3 reactors is now well below the that the analysis is the most comprehensive effort yet to understandtarget of 100 degrees C and radioactive emissions are also much how much radiation was released from Fukushima Daiichi. “It’s areduced but NISA said it needs further assessment on the radioac- very valuable contribution,” says Lars-Erik De Geer, an atmospherictive emissions from the unit. 3 reactor and has to check whether modeler with the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm,the plant’s safety can be ensured in the medium-term before who was not involved with the study.declaring the end of step 2. The reconstruction relies on data from dozens of radiation moni- Tepco has drawn up a set of measures to ensure safety at the plant toring stations in Japan and around the world, many part of a globaland has submitted the programme to NISA. Earlier in October NISA network to watch for tests of nuclear weapons . The scientists addedinstructed Tepco to work out measures necessary to ensure the safe- data from independent stations in Canada, Japan and Europe, andty at the plant for a period of about three years between the planned combined those with large European and American caches of globalcompletion of Step 2 under its roadmap and the start of work to scrap meteorological data.reactors at the power station. Stohl warns that the resulting model is not perfect. Measurements Tepco aims to boost the reliability of the current water-circulation were scarce after the Fukushima accident, and some monitoring postscooling system for the reactors and fuel pools on the assumption were too contaminated to provide reliable data. More importantly,that the cooling method will be continued for the next three years. exactly what happened inside the reactors remains a mystery thatIt also plans to secure alternative ways of reactor cooling in case of may never be solved. “If you look at the estimates for Chernobyl, youemergencies. Tepco plans to replace hoses used for water injection still have a large uncertainty 25 years later,” says Stohl.with those made of polyethylene which is more durable, and installinsulation materials and heating devices to prevent the water injec- Challenging numberstion system from freezing up during the winter. Japanese investigators had already developed a detailed timeline of events following the 11 March earthquake that precipitated theInvestigating panel disaster. But accounting for the radiation from the plants has provedA panel set up by the Japanese government to investigate the much harder than reconstructing the chain of events. The latestcauses of the Fukushima disaster has chosen three experts from report from the Japanese government, published in June, says thatother countries to seek advice. The experts are Richard Meserve, the plant released 1.5x1,0016 bequerels of caesium-137, an isotopeformer chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and with a 30-year half-life that is responsible for most of the long-termPresident of the Carnegie Institution, Andre-Claude Lacoste, contamination from the plant. A far larger amount of xenon-133,Chairman of the French nuclear safety authority, and Lars-Erik 1.1x1019Bq, was released, according to official government estimates.Holm, head of Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare and On the basis of its reconstructions. thee new study challenges thoseformerly a Chairman of the International Commission on Radio- numbers. The team says the accident released around 1.7x1019Bqlogical Protection. of xenon-133, greater than the estimated total radioactive release of The panel members said that the opinions of the foreign experts 1.4x1019 Bq from Chernobyl. The fact that three reactors explodedwould not be reflected in their midterm report due out in December, in the Fukushima accident accounts for the huge xenon tally, says Debut they would invite the experts to Japan around February for a Geer. The new model shows that Fukushima released 3.5x1016Bqconference. Yotaro Hatamura, head of the panel, indicated the inves- caesium-137, roughly twice the official government figure, and halftigation was progressing, saying “quite a lot of things have become the release from Chernobyl. However, ongoing ground surveys are theclear,” but he did not give details. only way to truly establish the public-health risk. The panel has gathered information from around 340 people, Stohl believes that the discrepancy between the team’s resultsbut Hatamura said they did not include politicians involved in the and those of the Japanese government can be partly explained byhandling of the nuclear crisis. Hatamura also countered doubts that the larger data set used. Japanese estimates rely primarily on datathe panel may be “intimidated,” saying, “The relation between the from monitoring posts inside Japan, which never recorded the largeaccident and politics should be made clear at some point, but it’s not quantities of radioactivity that blew out over the Pacific Ocean, andthat you should just pose questions blindly (to politicians).” eventually reached North America and Europe. “Taking account ©IHS Global Limited November 2011 McCloskey Nuclear Business | 9
  10. 10. Fukushima Updatethe radiation that has drifted out to the Pacific is essential for getting contribution of artificial radionuclides to the marine environmenta real picture of the size and character of the accident,” says Tomoya ever observed”. The results showed the need for continued monitor-Yamauchi, a radiation physicist at Kobe University who has been ing of marine life species from the Fukushima region.measuring radioisotope contamination in soil around Fukushima. IRSN emphasised in its report that the location of the Fuku- The differences between the two studies may seem large, notes shima-Daiichi plant meant most contamination was dispersed andYukio Hayakawa, a volcanologist at Gunma University who has also is expected to be of such low concentrations that from the autumnmodeled the accident, but uncertainties in the models mean that the of 2011 it will be of little threat to pelagic species.However, surfaceestimates are actually quite similar. The new analysis also says spent waters from the Fukushima region might still carry radioactivefuel stored in the unit 4 pool emitted copious quantities of caesium- substances into the sea and this will also need continued monitoring.137 while Japanese officials have said that virtually no radioactivityleaked from the pool. However, Stohl’s model clearly shows that Radiation hotspotdousing the pool with water caused the plant’s caesium-137 emis- A radiation hotspot in Kashiwa had still not been decontaminatedsions to drop markedly. The finding implies that much of the fallout a week after radiation of 57.5 microsieverts (mSv) per hour wascould have been prevented by flooding the pool earlier. recorded on a city-owned plot of land. The city says the level of radia- The Japanese authorities continue to maintain that the spent fuel was tion is beyond anything a local government can handle on its own,not a significant source of contamination, because the pool itself did although it decided to conduct surveys to find other hotspots afternot seem to suffer major damage. “I think the release from unit 4 is not many residents expressed concern.important,” says Masamichi Chino, a scientist with the Japanese Atomic The Kashiwa municipal government said radiation of 57.5mSv/hrEnergy Authority in Ibaraki, who helped to develop the Japanese official had been detected about 30cm below the surface of the land. Subse-estimate. But De Geer says the new analysis “looks convincing”. quent examination of soil at the location detected radioactive cae- The analysis also presents evidence that xenon-133 began to vent sium of up to 276,000 becquerels per kilogram. Airborne radiation offrom Fukushima Daiichi immediately after the quake, and before 2mSv/he was recorded a metre above the ground.the tsunami swamped the area. This implies that the earthquake The land affected used to be the site of a city-run housing complexalone was sufficient to cause damage at the plant. now used for recreational activities. It comprises a field, a paved The model also shows that the accident could easily have had a pedestrian walkway and a street gutter that is 30cm wide and 30cmmuch more devastating impact on the people of Tokyo. In the first deep. The high level of radiation was detected in the soil near andays after the accident the wind was blowing out to sea, but on the L-shaped corner in the gutter, of which a nearby 50cm-long sectionafternoon of 14 March it turned inshore, bringing clouds of radioac- was found to be damaged.tive caesium-137 over a significant area. Where precipitation fell, Takao Nakaya, head of the ministry’s Office of Radiation Regu-along the central mountain ranges and to the northwest of the plant, lations, said it was highly possible the high level of radiation washigher levels of radioactivity were later recorded in the soil but luck- caused by water containing radioactive cesium seeping into the soilily Tokyo, and other densely populated areas had dry weather. “There over a long period. It will be no surprise if similar levels of radiationwas a period when quite a high concentration went over Tokyo, but it are detected in other places,” said Tsutomu Tohei, Professor Emeri-didn’t rain,” says Stohl. “It could have been much worse.” tus at Tohoku University. If radioactive cesium adheres to the surface of soil or a leaf, it tendsMarine contamination higher than assumed to remain there, Tohei said. However, rainwater may bring caesiumA reassessment of marine contamination caused by the Fukushima that was previously scattered over various places to a particular spot,points to a higher level of radioactive substances in the ocean than such as a gutter. If it accumulates for a long time, the radiation levelpreviously assumed, according to the French Institute of Radiologi- would Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). The main origin of the The Kashiwa municipal government has decided to examine allcontamination was the direct discharge of contaminated water from other plots of land owned by the city and will implement similarthe plant which lasted until around 8 April 2011, almost a month measures for private properties in November by examining premisesafter the accident. To a lesser extent, contamination of the ocean or lending residents measuring devices. The municipality has startedresulted from radionuclides released into the atmosphere from the discussions with the Environmental Ministry and Cabinet Office,plant between 12 March and 22 March, IRSN said. asking central government to take responsibility for determining In the immediate vicinity of the plant, the concentration in seawa- the cause of the hotspot and the exact amount of contaminated soil,ter at the end of March and the beginning of April was up to “several as well as for decontaminating the location. Japan’s Science Ministryten thousands” of becquerels per litre (Bq/l) for caesium-134 and has launched a telephone hotline to deal with public concerns about-137, and exceeded 100,000 Bq/l for iodine-131. Levels of Iodine- radiation exposure in areas outside Fukushima prefecture.131 have declined rapidly because of its short half-life of eight days. DecontaminationConcentrations of caesium-134 and -137 have been decreasing sincemid-July and have now fallen below the detection limit (five Bq/l) ofthe techniques used for monitoring. IRSN said has updated its estimate of the total amount of cae- methods consideredsium-137 released directly into the sea near Fukushima between21 March and mid-July to 27 petabecquerel (PBq or quadrillion Bq), JAPAN IS SETTING aside $14bn to clean up after the Fukushima ac-most of which (82%) was discharged before 8 April. The institute said cident. Fukushima prefecture has already received 143 preliminarythis radioactive discharge at sea represents the “largest one-time proposals, mostly to decontaminate radiated soil and water, from10 | McCloskey Nuclear Business November 2011 ©IHS Global Limited
  11. 11. Fukushima Updatecompanies, universities, non-profit organisations and individuals, The team’s report calls on the Japanese authorities to “maintainaccording to documents obtained by Bloomberg from the prefectural their focus on remediation activities that bring best results in reduc-government. ing the doses to the public.” The final report of the mission will be The Environment Ministry will budget more than JPY1,100bn submitted to the Japanese government by 15 November.($14bn) for decontamination by the end of the next fiscal year, says Dealing with wasteGoshi Hosono, minister in charge of the response to the nuclear crisis. Estimating costs is difficult and the government intends to usetest projects, according to Tadashi Inoue at the Central ResearchInstitute of Electric Power Industry who is advising the Fukushima materialgovernment. “The cost will be enormous.” CONTAMINATED MATERIAL FROM the Fukushima nuclear plant willIAEA offers advice be collected over 30 years and stored at a secure site at a cost ofA 12-member team was assembled by the International Atomic Energy JPY1,100bn ($14bn), according to the Environment Ministry’s roadAgency (IAEA) at the request of the Japanese government to help map on decontamination.develop remediation strategies. The mission has advised the govern- Officials will select a site in Fukushima prefecture to build con-ment to avoid “over-conservatism” in its efforts to remediate large crete-walled pits to contain contaminated soil and other waste byareas of contaminated land around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. the end of March 2013. The focus will be on maintaining a centrally The team reviewed remediation-related strategies, plans and managed storage facility that will be safe and secure,” the Ministryworks, including contamination mapping, currently undertaken by said in a document outlining the plan.Japanese authorities. It focused on the remediation of affected areas Certain areas around the plant, which continues to emit radiation,outside of the 20km restricted area. may be uninhabitable for at least two decades, according to a govern- The team said that it agrees with the prioritisation and the general ment estimate in August. The Ministry plans to begin decontamina-strategy being implemented, and suggests that further missions tion efforts once a recently passed cleanup law takes effect in January.could be sent to confirm the progress being made and to address the Ministry officials will begin working to acquire areas where con-remediation challenges actually within the zone. taminated waste can be held for a three-year period before it can be The expert team said that Japan’s approach of using demonstration transported to the storage sitesites to assess various remediation methods “is a very helpful way to Companies seeking to win decontamination contracts in Fukushi-support the decision-making process.” ma include, Sumitomo Corp, IHI Corp and Obayashi Corp, according to However, Japanese authorities were encouraged to “cautiously documents obtained by Bloomberg News from the prefectural govern-balance the different factors that influence the net benefit of the ment in October. The temporary sites and permanent storage site willremediation measures to ensure dose reduction.” They should “avoid be selected in consultation with residents of the affected areas.over-conservatism” which “could not effectively contribute to the Goshi Hosono, Japan’s nuclear crisis minister, says Japan does notreduction of exposure doses.” yet have a comprehensive plan for disposing of the massive quanti- ties of radioactive waste that have been accumulating.Classifying waste He said there is no “full picture” of how to deal with the wasteThe major strategy being considered by Japanese authorities for decon- from the disaster and subsequent clean up. Possibly years of researchtaminating affected areas is the removal of up to 5cm of top soil. How- and development on waste management may be needed.ever, the mission team notes that, although this would significantly He pointed to the need to compress the huge volume of waste,reduce radionuclide concentrations in the upper layer of soils, it would since the amount is too massive to move from the site. The Ministrygenerate “unnecessarily huge amounts of residual materials”. has estimated that waste volumes could total 45m m3 in Fukushima The preliminary estimate of the volume of contaminated material and neighbouring prefectures.that could come from clean-up is 5-29m m3. This is in addition to some Government no longer2.3mt of contaminated debris that has already been collected. Themission’s preliminary report noted that it is “important to avoid clas-sifying as ‘radioactive waste’ such waste materials that do not causeexposures that would warrant special radiation protection measures.” promotes nuclear The team suggests that authorities establish “realistic and crediblelimits” regarding associated exposures. Slightly contaminated mate- JAPAN’S GOVERNMENT HAS abandoned its policy of promotingrial, it says, could be used in various ways, such as the construction nuclear power, reducing dependence on the sector in its first annualof reclamations, banks and roads. review of energy since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The team also warned the Japanese government of the “potential An energy white paper, approved by the Cabinet in October, callsrisk of misunderstandings that could arise if the population is only for a reduction in the nation’s reliance on atomic power. It also omitsor mainly concerned with contamination concentrations rather than a section on nuclear power expansion that was in last year’s policydose levels.” review. The government delayed the publication of the white paper, It added: “The investment of time and effort in removing con- usually issued in May or June, because of Fukushima.tamination concentrations from everywhere, such as all forest areas Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is planning to reduce the depen-and areas where the additional exposure is relatively low, does not dence on nuclear energy while also seeking to restart idled nuclearautomatically lead to reduction of doses for the public.” reactors once their safety is secured and local governments ©IHS Global Limited November 2011 McCloskey Nuclear Business | 11