• Glaciers 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 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.

  • The 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.

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

    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.

  • Panic: 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.

  • Stockpiles 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.

  • A New Way to Remove Contaminants from Nuclear Wastewater

    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.

  • Lessons 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.

  • Newly 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.

  • Lessons 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.

  • Operations 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.

  • New 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.

  • Containing 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.

  • A Meltdown in Nuclear Security

    A commando raid on a nuclear power plant seems the stuff of Hollywood. So why are nuclear security experts so worried? It ranks among the worst-case scenarios for a nuclear power plant: an all-out assault or stealth infiltration by well-trained, heavily armed attackers bent on triggering a nuclear blast, sparking a nuclear meltdown or stealing radioactive material. Under pressure from a cash-strapped nuclear energy industry increasingly eager to slash costs, the commission in a little-noticed vote in October 2018 halved the number of force-on-force exercises conducted at each plant every cycle. Four months later, it announced it would overhaul how the exercises are evaluated to ensure that no plant would ever receive more than the mildest rebuke from regulators – even when the commandos set off a simulated nuclear disaster that, if real, would render vast swaths of the U.S. uninhabitable. Nuclear security experts, consultants, law enforcement veterans and former NRC commissioners are nothing short of alarmed. “You can’t afford to be wrong once,” says one expert.

  • Can Going Nuclear Combat Climate Change?

    To mitigate climate change, the proportion of low-carbon electricity generation must increase from today’s 36 percent to 85 percent by 2040, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. IEA and other advocates argue that nuclear power could help fill this gap. However, barriers to a nuclear energy renaissance include safety concerns, aging reactors and high costs for new ones.