Archive for the ‘incidents’ Category

Nuclear incidents and meltdowns – far more than we realised

April 30, 2022
THe diagram above is quite inadequate. Read on.

Incidents AND MELTDOWNS AND THERE ARE FAR MORE THAN WE REALISED
FUKUSHIMA
CHERNOBYL SELLAFIELD THE INLAND SANTA SUSANA FIRES SANTA SUSANNA MELTDOWNS. INCIDENTS ANS WILDFIRES AT LOS ALAMOS
WILD FIRES AT HANFORD
THE GREEN RUN
THE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN IN 1969 IN SWITZERLAND
The recent chinese reactor nuclear incident.

INCIDENTS 1957 to 2011

with multiple fatalitIies

September 29, 1957 Mayak, Kyshtym, Soviet Union The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination accident (after a chemical explosion that occurred within a storage tank) at Mayak, a Nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union.

October 10, 1957 Sellafield, Cumberland, United Kingdom Windscale fire was a fire at the British atomic bomb project (in a plutonium-production-reactor) damaged the core and released an estimated 740 terabecquerels of iodine-131 into the environment. A rudimentary smoke filter constructed over the main outlet chimney successfully prevented a far worse radiation leak.

MarchJuly 1959 ,  Santa Susana Field Lab ,  Western San Fernando Valley, USA. At least four of the ten nuclear reactors suffered accidents incl Partial meltdown, 1964, 1969 further accidents

January 3, 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States Explosion at SL-1 prototype at the National Reactor Testing Station. All 3 operators were killed when a control rod was removed too far.

October 5, 1966 Frenchtown Charter Township, Michigan, United States Meltdown of some fuel elements in the Fermi 1 Reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. Little radiation leakage into the environment

January 21, 1969 Lucens reactor, Vaud, Switzerland On January 21, 1969, it suffered a loss-of-coolant accident, leading to meltdown of one fuel element and radioactive contamination of the cavern, which before was sealed.
December 7, 1975 Greifswald, East Germany Electrical error in Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps

January 5, 1976 Jaslovské Bohunice, Czechoslovakia Malfunction during fuel replacement. Fuel rod ejected from reactor into the reactor hall by coolant

March 28, 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, United States Loss of coolant and partial core meltdown due to operator errors and technical flaws. There is a small release of radioactive gases.

September 15, 1984 Athens, Alabama, United States Safety violations, operator error and design problems force a six-year outage at Browns Ferry Unit 2

March 9, 1985 Athens, Alabama, United States Instrumentation systems malfunction during startup, which led to suspension of operations at all three Browns Ferry

April 11, 1986 Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Recurring equipment problems force emergency shutdown of Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power

April 26, 1986 Chernobyl, Chernobyl Raion (Now Ivankiv Raion), Kiev Oblast, Ukraininan SSR, Soviet Union A flawed reactor design and inadequate safety procedures led to a power surge that damaged the fuel rods of reactor no. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant. This caused an explosion and meltdown, necessitating the evacuation of 300,000 people and dispersing radioactive material across Europe (see Effects of the Chernobyl disaster).
Around 5% (5200 PBq) of the core was released into the atmosphere and downwind.

May 4, 1986 Hamm-Uentrop, West Germany Experimental THTR-300 reactor releases small amounts of fission products (0.1 GBq Co-60, Cs-137, Pa-233) to surrounding area 0 267
December 9, 1986 Surry, Virginia, United States Feedwater pipe break at Surry Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers 4
March 31, 1987 Delta, Pennsylvania, United States Peach Bottom units 2 and 3 shutdown due to cooling malfunctions and unexplained equipment problems 0 400

December 19, 1987 Lycoming, New York, United States Malfunctions force Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to shut down Nine Mile Point Unit 1 0 150
March 17, 1989 Lusby, Maryland, United States Inspections at Calvert Cliff Units 1 and 2 reveal cracks at pressurized heater sleeves

October 19, 1989 Vandellòs, Spain A fire damaged the cooling system in unit 1 of the Vandellòs nuclear power plant, getting the core close to meltdown. The cooling system was restored before the meltdown but the unit had to be shut down due to the elevated cost of the repair

March 1992 Sosnovyi Bor, Leningrad Oblast, Russia An accident at the Sosnovy Bor nuclear plant leaked radioactive iodine into the air through a ruptured fuel channel.

February 20, 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, United States Leaking valve forces shutdown Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2, multiple equipment failures found 0 254
September 2, 1996 Crystal River, Florida, United States Balance-of-plant equipment malfunction forces shutdown and extensive repairs at Crystal River

September 30, 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan Tokaimura nuclear accident killed two workers, and exposed one more to radiation levels above permissible limits.

February 16, 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, United States Severe corrosion of reactor vessel head forces 24-month outage of Davis-Besse reactor

April 10, 2003 Paks, Hungary Collapse of fuel rods at Paks Nuclear Power Plant unit 2 during its corrosion cleaning led to leakage of radioactive gases. It remained inactive for 18 months.

August 9, 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan Steam explosion at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers and injures 7

July 25, 2006 Forsmark, Sweden An electrical fault at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant caused multiple failures in safety systems that had the reactor to cool down

March 11, 2011 3 meltdowns Fukushima, Japan A tsunami flooded and damaged the plant’s 3 active reactors, drowning two workers. Loss of backup electrical power led to overheating, meltdowns, and evacuations.] One man died suddenly while carrying equipment during the clean-up. The plant’s reactors Nr. 4, 5 and 6 were inactive at the time.

September 12, 2011 Marcoule, France One person was killed and four injured, one seriously, in a blast at the Marcoule Nuclear Site. The explosion took place in a furnace used to melt metallic waste.

And this is the tip of the iceberg

Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro  

April 30, 2022

Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro   https://www.goldsborodailynews.com/2022/01/24/anniversary-of-the-night-nuclear-bombs-fell-near-goldsboro/January 24, 2022 Ken Conners

It’s the 61st anniversary of the big bang that, fortunately, never happened.

Around midnight on January 24th, 1961, a B-52G aircraft based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base experienced a fuel leak and broke up in midair over Wayne County.

Five crewmen were able to successfully eject or bail out of the aircraft, but three did not survive the crash.

Two Mark 39 nuclear bombs being carried on the bomber plummeted to the earth, landing with the wreckage in the farmlands of Faro, about 12 miles north of Goldsboro.

Declassified information eventually showed one of the bombs came very close to detonating with 3 of 4 arming mechanisms being tripped in the crash.    One of the bombs was recovered while portions of the second sank into a muddy field never to be seen again.

1961 the thermonuclear bomb that they dropped in North Carolina

October 23, 2021

A thermonuclear bomb slammed into a US farm in 1961 — and part of it is still missing https://www.businessinsider.com.au/nuclear-bomb-accident-goldsboro-nc-swamp-2017-5?r=US&IR=T,DAVE MOSHER MAY 8, 2017,

  • In 1961, a US nuclear bomber broke up over North Carolina farmland, killing three of eight crew members.
  • The accident dropped two powerful hydrogen bombs over the area, but they did not detonate.
  • The military fully recovered one of the bombs.
  • While the second bomb was mostly recovered, one of its nuclear cores is likely still buried in up to 200 feet of mud and dirt.

Disaster struck early in the morning of January 24, 1961, as eight servicemen in a nuclear bomber were patrolling the skies near Goldsboro, North Carolina. They were an insurance policy against a surprise nuclear attack by Russia on the United States — a sobering threat at the time. The on-alert crew might survive the initial attack, the thinking went, to respond with two large nuclear weapons tucked into the belly of their B-52G Stratofortress jet.

Each Mark 39 thermonuclear bomb was about 12 feet long, weighed more than 6,200 pounds, and could detonate with the energy of 3.8 million tons of TNT. Such a blast could kill everyone and everything within a diameter of about 17 miles — roughly the area inside the Washington, DC, beltway.

But the jet aeroplane and three of its crew members never returned to base, and neither nor did a nuclear core from one of the bombs.

The plane broke up about 2,000 above the ground, nearly detonating one of the bombs in the process. Had the weapon exploded, the blast would have packed about 250 times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

A major accident involving a nuclear weapon is called a “broken arrow,” and the US military has officially recognised 32 of them since 1950. A mysterious fuel leak, which the crew found out as a refuelling plane approached, led to the broken arrow incident over North Carolina in 1961. The leak quickly worsened, and the jet bomber “lost its tail, spun out of control, and, perhaps most important, lost control of its bomb bay doors before it lost two megaton nuclear bombs,” according to a twopart series about the accident by The Orange County Register newspaper.

“The plane crashed nose-first into a tobacco field a few paces away from Big Daddy Road just outside Goldsboro, N.C., about 60 miles east of Raleigh.” One bomb safely parachuted toward the ground and snagged on a tree. Crews quickly found it, inspected it, and moved it onto a truck. However, the parachute of the other bomb failed, causing it to slam into a swampy, muddy field and break into pieces.

It took crews about a week of digging to find the crumpled bomb and most of its parts. The military studied the bombs and learned that six out of seven steps to blow up one of them had engaged, according to the Register. Only one trigger stopped a blast — and that switch was set to “ARM,” yet somehow failed to detonate the bomb.

It was only “by the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted,” said Robert McNamara, the US secretary of defence at the time, according to a declassified 1963 memo. “Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York City — putting millions of lives at risk,” according to a 2013 story by Ed Pilkington in the Guardian. Here’s a Nukemap simulation of what might have been the blast radius and fallout zone of the Goldsboro incident: [on original]

The thermonuclear core no one recovered

Both bombs were a thermonuclear design. So instead of just one nuclear core, these weapons — the most powerful type on Earth — had two nuclear cores. In the fleeting moments after the first core (called a primary) explodes, it releases a torrent of X-ray and other radiation. This radiation reflects off the inside of the bomb casing, which acts like a mirror to focus it on and set off the secondary core

The one-two punch compounds the efficiency and explosive power of a nuclear blast.

While the US military recovered the entire Goldsboro bomb that hung from a tree, the second bomb wasn’t fully recovered: Its secondary core was lost in the muck and the mire. Reports suggest the secondary core burrowed more than 100 feet into the ground at the crash site — possibly up to 200 feet down.

The missing secondary is thought to be made mostly of uranium-238, which is common and not weapons-grade material (but can still be deadly inside a thermonuclear weapon), plus some highly enriched uranium-235 (HEU), which is a weapons-grade material and a key ingredient in traditional atomic bombs.

Business Insider contacted the Department of Defence (DoD) to learn about the current status of the site and the missing secondary, and a representative said neither the DoD, Department of Energy, or USAF has “any ongoing projects or activities with this site.”

The DoD representative would not say whether or not the secondary was still there. However, the representative forwarded some responses by Joel Dobson, a local author who penned the book “The Goldsboro Broken Arrow“. “Nothing has changed [since 1961],” Dobson said, according to the DoD email. (Dobson did not return calls or emails from Business Insider.)

“The area is not marked or fenced. It is being farmed. The DOD has been granted a 400 foot in diameter easement which, doesn’t allow building of any kind but farming is OK.”

When asked about the still-missing secondary, Michael O’Hanlon, a US defence strategy specialist with the Brookings Institution, said there should be little to worry about. “Clearly, having a large part of a nuclear weapon on private land … is a bit unsettling. That said, I’m not suggesting anyone lose sleep over this,” O’Hanlon told Business Insider in an email. “It would take a serious operation to get at it, requiring tunnelling equipment and a fairly obvious and visible approach to the site by some kind of road convoy, presumably,” O’Hanlon added.

“Moreover, a secondary does NOT have a lot of HEU or plutonium … which makes it less dangerous because you can’t make a nuclear weapon out of it from scratch.”

But O’Hanlon at least hopes the DoD and others have thought through “the possibility of someone trying to steal it.” “After all, digging and tunnelling equipment has continued to improve over the years — and there is apparently no secret about where this weapon is located,” O’Hanlon said. “On balance, I’d rather it not be there — but don’t consider it a major national security risk, either.”

The Cold War near disasters at RAF Lakenheath could have left Suffolk as a nuclear wasteland

September 14, 2021
Boeing B-47B rocket-assisted take off on April 15, 1954. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Cold War near disasters at RAF Lakenheath could have left Suffolk as a nuclear wasteland https://www.suffolknews.co.uk/mildenhall/go-anywhere-just-get-away-from-here-how-suffolk-almost-9215663/ By Dan Barker – dan.barker@iliffepublishing.co.uk , 13 September 2021  During the height of the Cold War nuclear bombs were dotted across the country, ready to wipe the USSR off the face of the map at a moment’s notice: but, on two separate occasions, Suffolk almost became victim to the very weapons which were meant to protect it.

July 27, 1956 was like any other summer’s day. Across the country attention was glued to the Ashes fourth test at Old Trafford, and four American airmen were in a B-47 bomber, on a routine training mission from RAF Lakenheath.  But, as they were practising touch-and-go landings, their bomber careered out of control and went off the runway.

it ploughed into an igloo containing three Mark-6 nuclear weapons, tearing the building apart.

The plane then

exploded, killing all four men on board, and showered the world-ending weapons with burning aviation fuel.

Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo. “Preliminary exam by bomb disposal officers says a miracle that one Mark Six with exposed detonators sheared didn’t go. Firefighters extinguished fire around Mark Sixes fast.” – Telegram from RAF Lakenheath to Washington DC

Fortunately the atomic power of the bomb was missing that day, with the cores un-installed in all three for storage, but the explosives needed to trigger the deadly nuclear reaction were still in place.

With 8,000 pounds of high explosives combined with depleted uranium-238, they were a nuclear ticking time bomb as firefighters fought to put out the blaze.

Had they exploded the radioactive uranium would have been scattered over a wide area, and, depending on the wind, tens of thousands of people would have been at risk from the toxic dust across Suffolk.

Knowing the enormity of the situation base fire chief Master Sgt L. H. Dunn ordered his crew to ignore the burning wreckage of the bomber, and the airman inside, and douse the flames engulfing the nuclear storage building.

At the time it had been shrouded in secrecy, but decades later one senior US officer made it very clear how lucky Suffolk was to have narrowly missed out on a nuclear disaster.  “It is possible that part of Eastern England would have become a desert,” the then former officer told Omaha World Herald in Nebraska, who revealed the potentially catastrophic incident in November 1979.

Another said that “disaster was averted by tremendous heroism, good fortune and the will of God”.

A top secret telegram sent to Washington DC from the base, which has since been revealed, told of the near miss. “Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo.

Another said that “disaster was averted by tremendous heroism, good fortune and the will of God”.

A top secret telegram sent to Washington DC from the base, which has since been revealed, told of the near miss. “Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo.

Suffolk was lucky this time, but the incident caused great alarm in the British government, and it was decided it would try and block US authorities from ordering base evacuations because of the concern of causing mass panic in the country.

But what would happen if word got out that its most important ally had, almost, accidentally, made a huge part of the United Kingdom a nuclear wasteland?

Simple: Its policy for decades, if the press ever caught wind of the near miss, was to just deny it. After the news was broken in the American press in 1979, only then was it acknowledged something happened.

On November 5 that year the US Air Force and the Ministry of Defence would only admit the B-47 did crash.

In fact it took until 1996, some four decades after the near disaster, for the British state to accept the true scale of the accident in public.

But that near miss wasn’t the only one.

For on January 16, 1961, an F-100 Super Sabre, loaded with a Mark 28 hydrogen bomb caught on fire after the pilot jettisoned his fuel tanks when he switched his engines on.

As they hit the concrete runway the fuel ignited and engulfed the nuclear weapon – a 70 kilotons – and left it “scorched and blistered”.

Suffolk was saved again by the brave work of base firefighters who brought the blaze under control before the bomb’s high explosive detonated or its arming components activated.

T

errifyingly it was later discovered by American engineers that a flaw in the wiring of Mark 28 hydrogen bombs could allow prolonged heat to circumvent the safety mechanisms and trigger a nuclear explosion.

Had it gone, thousands of people would be dead within seconds, and thousands more would have been injured. As with the first incident, as well as the immediate blast, radioactive debris could have fallen in towns as far away as Ipswich and Lowestoft, given the right wind direction, spreading the toxic dust across Suffolk.

Since Clement Attlee ordered the scientists to investigate the creation of a nuclear bomb in August 1945, the British state has known that being a nuclear power comes with risk as well as reward.

It also knew it paid to be part of a nuclear alliance,

NATO, and with it came American nuclear bombs and the risk they brought.


Beyond the maths of working out how large the explosion would have been, it is impossible to know the true implications.

RAF Lakenheath was listed as a probable target for Soviet attack according to now released Cold War era documents, and intelligence agencies and war planners expected two 500 kiloton missiles to hit the site if the West was under attack.

Disaster creates uncertainty. Nobody would have known it was an accident within the minutes and hours after a blast, they would have just been dragged into a nuclear bunker and told of a large explosion at an airbase in Suffolk.

Where would that have left a British prime minister, an American president, and the rest of NATO, thinking they have come under attack?

In July 1956, and again in January 1961, those firefighters didn’t just save Suffolk … they might have saved the world.

Nuclear ballistic missile submarine meltdown, 1961

September 14, 2021
Ki19 Russianballistic missile submarine

August 24, https://www.quora.com/Has a nuclear submarine ever had a meltdown? Laurence Schmidt, Worked at Air Liquide America (1975–2010,

In the early Cold War Era, many Russian nuclear submarines had catastrophic engineering plant failures. These failures were caused by the soviet’s rush to equal the USN in its nuclear submarine ballistic missile program; they were poorly design and constructed, lack safety system redundancy and had haphazardly trained crews. But the crews of these boats were heroic in risking their lives to save their boats in stark life and death emergencies at sea.

One example is the case of the K-19, the first Russian nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine, nicknamed the “Hiroshima” boat, because of her numerous incidences.

On July 4, 1961, while at sea, one of its two nuclear reactors SCRAMMED. The primary cooling system had failed, flooding the reactor spare with radioactive water, and there was no backup system to cool the reactor core. As the reactor rods overheated, the engineering staff try a desperate plan to improvise a cooling system; to tie into the sub’s drinking water system. But it would require several men entering the highly radioactive reactor compartment to weld new piping to pumps and valves. The first jury-rigged attempt failed with 8 crewmen being horribly burnt by the high temperatures and exposed to lethal doses of radiation. They all soon died. After other attempts, the jury-rigged system finally worked, but other crew members too close to the reactor compartment would also soon die. The crew was evacuated to a nearby submarine, and the K-19 was towed back to base for repair. In total, 22 of the crew of 139 died of radiation sickness.

A section of the radiation contaminated hull was replaced, and a new power reactor unit was installed. The two original reactors, including their fuel rods, were dumped in the Kara Sea in 1965. A favorite dumping ground for Russian navy nuclear waste, including damaged nuclear reactors to whole ships.

Did the K-19 reactor meltdown? I would say yes.

Accidents in both USA’s and Russia’s use of nuclear power in space

February 18, 2021

Nuclear Rockets to Mars?, BY KARL GROSSMAN– CounterPunch, 16 Feb 21”…………There have been accidents in the history of the U.S.—and also the former Soviet Union and now Russia—using nuclear power in space.

And the NAS report, deep into it, does acknowledge how accidents can happen with its new scheme of using nuclear power on rockets for missions to Mars.

It says: “Safety assurance for nuclear systems is essential to protect operating personnel as well as the general public and Earth’s environment.” Thus under the report’s plan, the rockets with the nuclear reactors onboard would be launched “with fresh [uranium] fuel before they have operated at power to ensure that the amount of radioactivity on board remains as low as practicable.” The plans include “restricting reactor startup and operations in space until spacecraft are in nuclear safe orbits or trajectories that ensure safety of Earth’s population and environment” But, “Additional policies and practices need to be established to prevent unintended system reentry during return to Earth after reactors have been operated for extended periods of time.”

The worst U.S. accident involving the use of nuclear power in space came in 1964 when the U.S. satellite Transit 5BN-3, powered by a SNAP-9A plutonium-fueled radioisotope thermoelectric generator, failed to achieve orbit and fell from the sky, disintegrating as it burned up in the atmosphere, globally spreading plutonium—considering the deadliest of all radioactive substances. That accident was long linked to a spike in global lung cancer rates where the plutonium was spread, by Dr. John Gofman, an M.D. and Ph. D., a professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley. He also had been involved in developing some of the first methods for isolating plutonium for the Manhattan Project.

NASA, after the SNAP-9A (SNAP for Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power) accident became a pioneer in developing solar photovoltaic power. All U.S. satellites now are energized by solar power, as is the International Space Station.

The worst accident involving nuclear power in space in the Soviet/Russian space program occurred in 1978 when the Cosmos 954 satellite with a nuclear reactor aboard fell from orbit and spread radioactive debris over a 373-mile swath from Great Slave Lake to Baker Lake in Canada. There were 110 pounds of highly-enriched (nearly 90 percent) of uranium fuel on Cosmos 954.

Highly-enriched uranium—90 percent is atomic bomb-grade—would be used in one reactor design proposed in the NAS report. And thus there is a passage about it under “Proliferation and security.” It states that “HEU [highly enriched uranium] fuel, by virtue of the ease with which it could be diverted to the production of nuclear weapons, is a higher value target than HALEU [high assay low enriched uranium], especially during launch and reentry accidents away from the launch site. As a result, HEU is viewed by nonproliferation experts as requiring more security considerations. In addition, if the United States uses HEU for space reactors, it could become more difficult to convince other countries to reduce their use of HEU in civilian applications.”

As for rocket propulsion in the vacuum of space, it doesn’t take much conventional chemical propulsion to move a spacecraft—and fast……..more https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/02/16/nuclear-rockets-to-mars/

A history of nuclear weapons accidents

November 28, 2020
THE NUCLEAR  TREATY dividing the World, Byline Times, Stephen Colegrave, 21 October 2020  “……… A History Of Near Accidents  It is easy to be sympathetic with their position when the number of near nuclear weapons accidents are considered.
In early 2009, two nuclear submarines, the French Le Triomphant and British Vanguard, both carrying nuclear weapons, crashed into each other deep in the Atlantic. Fortunately, they were not going fast enough to cause much damage.Two years earlier, the American Air Force lost six nuclear armed cruise missiles for 36 hours when, unknown to anyone, they were fitted to a B-52 bomber and flown completely unauthorised to a base in Louisiana, left unguarded on the runway until anyone worked out what had happened.

In 2000, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that classified documents obtained by a group of former workers at the Thule airbase suggest that one of four hydrogen bombs on a B-52 bomber that crashed there in 1968 was never found.

There are many instances of false alarms and nuclear bombs nearly being launched. One of the most dangerous of these was stopped by little-known hero Lieutenant Colonel Petrov who, in 1983, probably really did save the world. When he was alerted by an early warning system that five nuclear missiles by America were coming towards the Soviet Union, instead of immediately raising the alarm to his superiors who would have ordered retaliation, he instinctively decided that, if there was an attack, more than five missiles would have been launched and rightly decided that the system was faulty.

These incidents seem to have done nothing to dent the UK and America’s insistence that nuclear weapons safeguard and guarantee peace. The old Cold War politics of nuclear deterrents can seemingly do nothing to deter democratic interference on social media or the global impact of COVID-19. Like scary but lumbering dinosaurs, our trident submarines roam the ocean’s depths with enormous fire power – just one missile can kill more than 10 million people – while Russian President Vladimir Putin interferes with democratic elections in the West for less than the price of a non-nuclear fighter jet.https://bylinetimes.com/2020/10/21/the-nuclear-treaty-dividing-the-world/

Arctic tragedy: the loss of Russian sailors in nuclear submarine accidents

November 28, 2020
Russia’s ‘slow-motion Chernobyl’ at sea, FUTURE PLANET | OCEANS By Alec Luhn, 2nd September 2020    By tradition, Russians always bring an odd number of flowers to a living person and an even number to a grave or memorial. But every other day, 83-year-old Raisa Lappa places three roses or gladiolas by the plaque to her son Sergei in their hometown Rubtsovsk, as if he hadn’t gone down with his submarine during an ill-fated towing operation in the Arctic Ocean in 2003.“I have episodes where I’m not normal, I go crazy, and it seems that he’s alive, so I bring an odd number,” she says. “They should raise the boat, so we mothers could put our sons’ remains in the ground, and I could maybe have a little more peace.”After 17 years of unfulfilled promises, she may finally get her wish, though not out of any concern for the bones of Captain Sergei Lappa and six of his crew. With a draft decree published in March, President Vladimir Putin set in motion an initiative to lift two Soviet nuclear submarines and four reactor compartments from the silty bottom, reducing the amount of radioactive material in the Arctic Ocean by 90%. First on the list is Lappa’s K-159. ……………..

‘Cursed August’

Sergei Lappa was born in 1962 in Rubtsovsk, a small city in the Altai Mountains near the border with Kazakhstan. Though it was thousands of miles to the nearest ocean, he cultivated an interest in seafaring at a local model shipbuilding club, and after school he was accepted into the higher naval engineering academy in Sevastopol, Crimea. Tall, athletic and a good student, he was assigned to the navy’s most prestigious service: the Northern Submarine Fleet.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, however, the military went into a decline that was revealed to the world when the top-of-the-line attack submarine Kursk sank with 118 crew on board in August 2000. By this time, Lappa was in charge of the K-159, which had been rusting since 1989 at a pier in the isolated navy town of Gremikha, nicknamed the “island of flying dogs” for its strong winds. On the morning of 29 August 2003, the long-delayed order came to tow the decrepit K-159, which had been attached to four 11-tonne pontoons with cables to keep it afloat during the operation, to a base near Murmansk for dismantling, despite a forecast of windy weather.

With the reactors off, Lappa and his skeleton crew of nine engineers operated the boat by flashlight. As the submarine was towed near Kildin Island at half past midnight, the cables to the bow pontoons broke in heavy seas, and a half-hour later water was discovered trickling into the eighth compartment. But as headquarters struggled with the decision to launch an expensive rescue helicopter, the crew kept trying to keep the submarine afloat. At 02:45am Mikhail Gurov sent one last radio transmission: “We’re flooding, do something!” By the time rescue boats from the tug arrived, the K-159 was on the bottom near Kildin Island. Of the three sailors who made it out, the only survivor was senior lieutenant Maxim Tsibulsky, whose leather jacket had filled with air and kept him afloat.

Yet another nuclear submarine had sunk during the “cursed” month of August, Russian newspapers wrote, but the incident caused little furore compared to the Kursk. The navy promised relatives it would raise the K-159 the next year, then repeatedly delayed the project.

Even after 17 years of scavenging and corrosion, at least the bones of the crew likely remain in the submarine, according to Lynne Bell, a forensic anthropologist at Simon Fraser University. But the families have long since lost hope of recovering them.

“For all the relatives it would bring some relief if their fathers and husbands were buried, not just lying on the bottom in a steel hulk,” Gurov’s son Dmitry says. “It’s just that no one believes this will happen.”

The situation has now changed, however, as Russia’s interest revives in the Arctic and its crumbling Soviet ports and military towns. Since 2013, seven Arctic military bases and two tanker terminals have been built as part of the Northern Sea Route, a shorter route to China that Putin has promised will see 80 million tonnes of traffic by 2025. The K-159 is lying underneath the eastern end of the route………….https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200901-the-radioactive-risk-of-sunken-nuclear-soviet-submarines

The Fukushima Diiachi Accident Chain, Part 6

November 28, 2020

The Fukushima Diiachi Accident Chain, Part 6, Nuclear Exhaust, 22 July 20

A Discussion of Official Reports Describing the Fukushma Diiachi  Nuclear Disaster

 The references used for this discussion are:

The Official report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Executive Summary”, The National Diet of Japan, 2012.

“FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI: ANS Committee Report”, A Report by The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima, March 2012.

“The Fukushima Daiichi Accident, Technical Volume 1/5 Description and Context of the Accident, IAEA, Vienna, 2015.

 FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT”, Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

Other sources, such as press reports, industry and authority regulations and technical bulletins will also be used.

The very great complexity of the disaster and of the human and systems responses to the challenges which confronted, and confront, the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear plant and the people operating and tending to the plant is obvious. The aim of this discussion is to attempt to produce, in review, a coherent picture of the events as reported by the authorities given above.

While the nuclear industry and permanent nuclear authorities – the IAEA – tend to agree closely in their reports of the events, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, appointed by the Japanese national Parliament (Diet) reports various aspects of the disaster with pointedly local questioning of events based upon witness accounts and the Committee’s own findings. And these perceptions, based on local knowledge of both the plant and witness statements actually challenge, in aspects, the findings of the other authorities.

As a preamble to the discussion of the disaster, a central consideration to all nuclear power plants in use today has to be included.   The long term, intermediate term and short term safety of nuclear power plants depends upon the availability of electrical grid connection and power to the reactors and the entire plant. This is not an opinion, it is a technical fact which nuclear authorities have repeatedly reported upon.

The surprising fact is, that although nuclear reactors can supply electrical power to the world’s largest cities and nations, when the grid goes down, there is no ability for any nuclear reactor to power itself and its systems on any long term basis. There is nothing integral to the reactors which allows the energy resident in the reactors’ cores and pressure vessels to be controlled and managed so as to manage the cooling of the reactors.

While the nuclear industry and nuclear authorities have touted the virtues of nuclear power plant emergency cooling systems for over 50 years.   However:

 “The emergency cooling systems started. However, they did not work for so long time, and the fuels became to heat up and melt down, resulting the severe accident. “ Source: English translation of “FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT , Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

As we shall see later, the workers at the Fukushima Diiachi site during the early stages kept the emergency cooling systems going for many hours longer than the systems were designed to last. And these systems are designed to work for 8 hours only. (See the ANS report)..………. 

It is beyond me why the nuclear industry, for more then 50 years, has been so wilfully dumb, ignorant and arrogant in the design of its emergency systems. And everything else.  It seems to me the main aim of the industry is to sell reactors by any means.  Whereas the industry should have the main aim of assuring safety in the context of the modern world and the modern world energy market.   The problem is, though solar panels mounted on the Fukushima Shima Diiachi reactor building roofs could have save the day by keeping cooling pumps going, the obvious thought is this: why not just replace the Fukushima Diiachi with a solar and wind farm?  

No danger of meltdown at all.  As soon the 2009 scientific assessment came in demonstrating that an earthquake and tsunami was due “within the next 30 years”. that is precisely what should have been down.  Perhaps Barry Brook and Pam Sykes, two academic non nuclear experts in Australia, were right. No human skill could have saved Fukushima Diiachi. So why leave it there? Pity the authorities in the nuclear industry hid and suppressed the scientific warnings of 2009, including TEPCOs own confirmation of the growing threat.  This is standard procedure for the nuclear industry. It is not a particularly Japanese culture.  It is nuclear norm.

The IAEA requirements for electricity grids which supply Nuclear Power Plants.

The following text is a straight quote from : ” “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, ….

Quote: ““The safe and economic operation of a nuclear power plant (NPP) requires the plant to be connected to an electrical grid system that has adequate capacity for exporting the power from the NPP, and for providing a reliable electrical supply to the NPP for safe startup, operation and normal or emergency shutdown of the plant.

“Connection of any large new power plant to the electrical grid system in a country may require significant modification and strengthening of the grid system, but for NPPs there may be added requirements to the structure of the grid system and the way it is controlled and maintained to ensure adequate reliability.

“The organization responsible for the NPP and the organization responsible for the grid system will need to establish and agree the necessary characteristics of the grid and of the NPP, well before the NPP is built, so that they are compatible with each other. They will also need to agree the necessary modifications to the grid system, and how they are to be financed.

“For a Member State that does not yet use nuclear power, the introduction and development of nuclear power is a major undertaking. It requires the country to build physical infrastructure and develop human resources so it can
construct and operate a nuclear power plant (NPP) in a safe, secure and technically sound manner. ” end quote. Source: “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA,

Hmm. very interesting. NPPs require a specifically designed and modified baseload capable grid network before they can be expected to safely start up, operation and shut down. Further the grid is needed, according to the world nuclear authority, for SAFE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN.

The Earthquake and the Grid in Japan on the day of the disaster

One would have thought the following information would have been clearly discussed by the nuclear authorities from the day of the disaster. It’s nearly 10 years and still no word from them:

““Vibrations from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered an immediate shut down of 15 of Japan’s nuclear power stations. Seismic sensors picked up the earthquake and control rods were automatically inserted into the reactors, halting the fission reaction that is used to produce electricity. This sudden loss of power across Japan’s national power grid caused widespread power failures, cutting vital electricity supplies to Fukushima Daiichi. There were three reactors, one, two and three, operating at the time when the earthquake hit while reactors four, five and six had already been shutdown as part of routine maintenance work.” “Japan earthquake: how the nuclear crisis unfolded”. Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, 20 March 2011. end quote.

The first thing the earthquake did was to cause the shutdown of nuclear power feed into the grid. 15 Nuclear Power Plants threw in the towel because they cannot safely operate during an earthquake. Apparently. Nuclear power guarantees black out in an earthquake.

Finally, they might investigate America’s most fatal nuclear submarine disaster

June 20, 2020
Fifty-Seven Years Later: America’s Worst Nuclear Submarine Disaster  https://www.lawfareblog.com/fifty-seven-years-later-americas-worst-nuclear-submarine-disaster, By Robert Eatinger,  Friday, April 10, 2020, Fifty-seven years ago today, America suffered its first, and in terms of fatalities its worst, loss of a nuclear-powered submarine. Yet, much of the information about that disaster and the Navy’s subsequent investigation has remained outside of public view. That may change this year.
On April 10, 1963, the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593), the first of a new class of submarine, was lost at sea when it sank while conducting a deep dive test some 220 miles east of Cape Cod. All 129 crew members and civilians on the Thresher perished with her. Later that day, the commander in chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet ordered a court of inquiry to investigate Thresher’s sinking. The court of inquiry issued its report in June 1963 but was unable to determine what caused Thresher to sink. The court of inquiry did opine, however, that a flooding casualty in the Thresher’s engine room was the most probable cause of Thresher’s sinking. The court of inquiry encouraged further study.
Over a half-century later, very little of the record of the court of inquiry has been publicly released even though the Navy undertook a declassification review of the records in April 1998 with a stated purpose to declassify and release information from these records to the public “whenever possible.” That review came to naught when in February 2012, after up to 75 percent of the records had been declassified, the Navy changed course, deciding it would not make a public release of the records. Instead, the Navy said the records were “available for public release through” a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Last year, retired Navy Captain James Bryant, who had commanded a Thresher-class submarine in the 1980s, learned that Arlington National Cemetery planned a September 2019 dedication ceremony for a memorial to the 129 lives lost with the Thresher. As a result, Bryant, who now investigates, lectures and writes about the loss of the Thresher and the accuracy of the investigating court of inquiry, submitted a FOIA request in April 2019 to the Navy for records about the loss of the Thresher, specifically including the record of the court of inquiry. He requested expedited processing, hoping the Navy might release the records before the Thresher memorial’s dedication ceremony. In July 2019, after exhausting his administrative appeals, Bryant filed a FOIA lawsuit.

In February this year, Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Navy to review 300 pages of documents a month starting April 30 and by the end of every month thereafter, and to begin rolling productions of documents starting on or before May 15 and every month thereafter.

Therefore, during this 57th anniversary year of the Thresher’s sinking, the American public, including the families of the 129 men who lost their lives, may finally begin to see the Navy’s documents on the loss of the Thresher and the record of the court of inquiry that investigated that loss. How much of the information in these documents the Navy will choose to release is a separate matter. The Navy may continue to keep as much information as possible from the public as allowed by law, may use its discretionary authority to release as much information as possible to the public, or may take an approach somewhere in between. What one can say with some degree of confidence, however, is that some amount of these records will be released in full or with redactions before the 58th anniversary of the loss of the USS Thresher.