• Nuclear clean-upNew Materials Could Help Clean-Up Chernobyl and Fukushima

    Engineers have developed materials that could be used to help decommission the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations. The materials, created in collaboration with colleagues in Ukraine, simulate Lava-like Fuel Containing Materials (LFCMs) – hazardous substances left behind by a nuclear meltdown. The development paves the way for the safe analysis of hazardous materials left behind at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

  • Nuclear wasteMaterials Currently Used to Store Nuclear Waste Accelerate Corrosion

    The materials the United States and other countries plan to use to store high-level nuclear waste will likely degrade faster than anyone previously knew because of the way those materials interact, new research shows. The findings show that corrosion of nuclear waste storage materials accelerates because of changes in the chemistry of the nuclear waste solution, and because of the way the materials interact with one another.

  • Nuclear wasteGlaciers May Offer Safe Sites for Nuclear Waste Storage

    New insights into rates of bedrock erosion by glaciers around the world will help to identify better sites for the safe storage of nuclear waste. The findings of a new research overturn earlier research, showing that erosion rates do not increase with the speed of glacier flow as quickly as previously anticipated.

  • Nuclear wasteNuclear Waste Recycled for Diamond Battery Power

    A team of physicists and chemists hope to recycle radioactive material directly from a former nuclear power plant in Gloucestershire, U.K., to generate ultra-long-lasting power sources.

  • Nuclear powerThe Costs of Closing Germany’s Nuclear Power Plants

    Many countries have phased out production of nuclear energy because of concerns related to nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear accidents. A new study explores Germany’s decision, after the 2011 Fukushima accident, to replace nuclear power with fossil-fuel power generation, finding that the switch to fossil fuel-fired power resulted in considerable increases in pollution at an estimated annual social cost of about $12 billion.

  • Nuclear powerLithuania: New Belarusian Nuclear Plant Hasn't “Learned Lessons of Chernobyl”

    By Matthew Luxmoore

    Belarus is launching its first nuclear reactor without completing all stages of a “stress test” — an EU risk-and-safety assessment of a plant’s ability to withstand damage from hazards. Because of its location downwind from Chernobyl, Belarus bore the brunt of that fallout. Its own plans for a nuclear power plant, announced in the 1980s, were shelved as the Soviet leadership and society at large grappled with the consequences of the tragedy. Now, critics say Belarus’s decision to forge ahead with the plant near Astravets is a testament to the country’s failure to draw conclusions from its past.

  • Nuclear safetyPanic: Ontario Residents Sent False Alarm about Nuclear Plant “Incident”

    Ontario, Canada is home to Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, one of the world’s largest nuclear power stations. On Sunday morning the fourteen million residents of the province were awaken by emergency messages sent to their phones, alerting them to an “incident” at Pickering. An hour later, the province’s government sent another message, telling residents that the it was a false alarm – the result of a poorly executed training drill.

  • Nuclear wasteStockpiles of Nuclear Waste Could Be More Useful than We Might Think

    Chemists have found a new use for the waste product of nuclear power - transforming an unused stockpile into a versatile compound which could be used to create valuable commodity chemicals as well as new energy sources.

  • Nuclear safetyA New Way to Remove Contaminants from Nuclear Wastewater

    By David L. Chandler

    Nuclear power continues to expand globally, propelled, in part, by the fact that it produces few greenhouse gas emissions while providing steady power output. But along with that expansion comes an increased need for dealing with the large volumes of water used for cooling these plants, which becomes contaminated with radioactive isotopes that require special long-term disposal. New method concentrates radionuclides in a small portion of a nuclear plant’s wastewater, allowing the rest to be recycled.

  • Nuclear decontaminationLessons Learnt from Fukushima Soil Decontamination

    Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2. The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has published a collection of studies providing an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness.

  • Nuclear safetyNewly Proposed Barrier Could Have Limited Radiation Release at Chernobyl, Fukushima

    Following the most serious nuclear accidents in the history — at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011), in which release of radiation occurred as a result of core meltdown — many countries around the world have committed to phase out nuclear power. Afuture powered by nuclear energy, however, may be neither a lost cause nor a game of “Russian roulette,” according to researchers.

  • Perspective: Hacking nukesLessons from the Cyberattack on India’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant

    In early September, a cyberattack occurred at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India. The Indian nuclear monitoring agency finally admitted that the nuclear plant was hacked, and on 30 October Indian government officials acknowledged the intrusion. “As the digitalization of nuclear reactor instrumentation and control systems increases, so does the potential for malicious and accidental cyber incidents alike to cause harm,” Alexander Campbell and Vickram Singh write.

  • Nuclear powerOperations in French Nuclear Power Plant Suspended after Monday Tremor

    Following a strong earthquake Monday in the Drôme and Ardèche regions in south-east France, EDF (Électricité de France) has ordered the suspension of power production at the Cruas-Meysse power station. The magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook the area at 11:52 a.m. Monday. Of France’s nineteen active nuclear power plants, five plants are located in seismically active zones.

  • Nuclear powerNew Reactor Designs Will Degrade Waste More Rapidly

    Renewed interest in nuclear power as a viable option for generating electricity has been accompanied by steady progress in reactor design. Advanced reactors offer the promise of greater fuel efficiency and less radioactive waste generation compared with the water-cooled models that have dominated the nuclear power landscape for decades. Newer designs, however, will operate at higher temperatures and use highly corrosive coolants — like liquid metal, molten salt, or high-temperature gas — all of which would rapidly degrade many of the materials used in conventional nuclear reactors.

  • Nuclear accidentsContaining a Nuclear Accident with Ground-up Minerals

    Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a promising new way to prevent the spread of radioactive contamination and contain the hot molten mass that develops within a nuclear reactor during a catastrophic accident. A team of scientists discovered and patented a process for injecting sand-like minerals into the core of a nuclear reactor during an accident to contain and slow down the progression of a meltdown.