; Fukushima and Nuclear News Roundup 3.7.2014

A radioactive bus from Japan is causing problems in Jamaica. The bus was found to be contaminated when it arrived at the Jamaican port in 2012. There have also been shipments of car parts found to be radioactive at the same port.

TEPCO is continuing to try to gain public approval for using the bypass wells near the reactor buildings. These wells have shown to be contaminated with cesium and tritium on earlier rounds of testing.

Residents all over eastern Japan struggle with the government over large stores of contaminated soil and sewage ash. Piled up in bags, the waste is being stored near homes. The radiation levels of much of the waste is over the 8000 bq/kg govt. classification for nuclear waste. A group of people in Chiba have filed suit to get one such pile removed from their neighborhood.

The public run-around is a universal problem. A radiation leak in a nuclear reactor at a naval facility in the UK was hidden from the public and other government officials for two years. Conflicting statements and random excuses for the secrecy just add to the public distrust.

The cracked dam in Washington state on the Columbia river upstream of the Hanford nuclear site has “healed itself” after water levels went down. A repair will still be planned to try to prevent further failure. With spring high runoffs coming soon dam damage is even more concerning. This isn’t the only dam risk to a nuclear facility.

The US Corps of Engineers has declared that the Missouri River may reach flood heights similar to the 2011 flood that surrounded Ft. Calhoun nuclear power plant. The Gavins point dam, the last dam before Ft. Calhoun is still under repair from the 2011 flood with work not planned for completion until 2015. Some of the work involved installing drains under the dam after erosion damage was found beneath the dam in 2011. The flood plan for Ft. Calhoun still consists of sandbags. The NRC has not made the utility improve their flood defenses from the 2011 flood where the plant had water leaking into critical buildings.

The US now claims it is not concerned with Japan’s plutonium stockpile. This was the cause for earlier US pressure on Japan to restart nuclear reactors and continue with a fuel reprocessing plan. The US and Japan have come to an agreement to return to the US a stockpile of plutonium used for research.

The US government backed USEC nuclear fuel company has filed for bankruptcy. Reuters reports that TEPCO was a major customer of USEC’s fuel. Japan Times reports that many of the other nuclear utilities in Japan were also major customers of USEC. Toshiba also has a financial stake in USEC.

The NRDC has released a report showing how the US NRC has been systematically ignoring the hydrogen explosion risks at nuclear power plants.

This article would not be possible without the extensive efforts of the SimplyInfo research team
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