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THTR Circular No. 148, summer 2017:
What to do with the radiant rubbish from the THTR Hamm and Jülich and the combustion measuring reactor (AMR) Hamm?
I documented the discussion about the future whereabouts of the approx. 300.000 radioactive fuel element balls from the small THTR in Jülich in detail in the last issues of the newsletter (1). The question is whether to temporarily stay in an interim storage facility in Jülich that is as safe as possible, or to transport it to the BEZ Ahaus, or the costly and risky shipment to the USA, where the radioactive material originally came from. Furthermore, it is also unclear what should happen to the approx. 600.000 fuel element balls from the THTR Hamm, which have been stored in the BEZ Ahaus since the 90s.
As is well known, no agreement could be reached on the location of a "repository". Nuclear companies and parliamentary bodies have been trying for years to create a consensus that has broad social approval as its goal.
The parliamentary groups of the CDU, SPD and Greens (!) Have jointly presented an amendment to the Site Selection Act for the final storage of radioactive nuclear waste, on which a hearing in the Bundestag took place in March 2017. On March 1, 2017, the Westfälische Anzeiger headlined “THTR garbage in the USA? Atomic critics fear the weakening of the legal provisions ”. The hammer SPD member of the Bundestag Michael Tewes, so far not particularly noticed by speaking on nuclear issues, is sure after the hearing that an export ban will apply to the 600.000 THTR bullets in the future. On March 9, 2017, he emphasized in the WA: “I consider the risk of the theoretical possibility of an export to be close to zero”. However, the WA writes about this “sensitive issue”: “The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), which is responsible for nuclear supervision, gave an ambiguous answer. According to sentence 2 of the new regulation, there should be the possibility for nuclear fuels from research reactors to 'bring them to a facility abroad and process them there into containers suitable for final storage'. The aim of this regulation is to ensure the production of waste containers for final disposal in Germany - including return transport ".
Who has the power to define?
The question that arises here is therefore very clearly who has the power of definition to decide whether the THTR is classified as a research or a power reactor. The federal government, Michael Tewes, the opposition, the nuclear industry and its scientists or even the anti-nuclear movement?
A supraregional and broad-based alliance of anti-nuclear power initiatives, the "Alliance against Castor Exports", drew attention to loopholes in the THTR fuel elements from Jülich and Hamm in an open letter to all members of the Bundestag on March 22, 2017 and criticized them the decision-making process as opaque (2). In his opinion, the two pebble bed reactors represent a much bigger problem in terms of disposal than the waste from light water tractors, both in terms of quantity (455 castors) and its properties. The open letter further states: “On closer technical and physical examination of any conditioning processes of the Jülich / Hammer nuclear waste in the USA, it must be assumed that almost all of the radioactive carbon C-14 in the waste in the USA would be released into the atmosphere. The atomic spheres are supposed to be burned or gassed there in a risky process and C-14 cannot be filtered out in the process. The drastic reduction in the volume of waste returning to Germany is therefore bought at the cost of major environmental pollution in the USA. (...) The terms "facilities for the splitting of nuclear fuels for research purposes" and "facilities for the splitting of nuclear fuels for the commercial generation of electricity" are legally defined neither in the current nor in the new version of the Atomic Energy Act or the Site Selection Act. This is neither from a scientific nor a legal point of view "science-based" and certainly not "transparent". Especially not against the background that such ambiguous definitions raise the question of what is the purpose of them.
We suspect that this will preserve export options that are clearly to be excluded by the amendment. The fact that the BMUB announced in the discussion about the export loopholes that there is no clear positioning of the federal government as to whether the THTR Hamm is a research reactor or a power reactor gives every reason for this assumption. The same ambiguity has existed in the Federal Government and Bundestag for years about the AVR Jülich. In our opinion, research reactors are exclusively understood to mean neutron sources, and such a definition should be enshrined in the law.
According to various inquiries and applications from the Greens and the Left, funds are planned for the Jülich nuclear waste in the federal budget by 2018, which may also be used to ship the 152 Castors to the USA - this contradicts the assertions that exports are excluded. "
All of these concerns of the environmental movement have so far not been taken into account in the process. In addition, in the debates about the HTR garbage, a reactor was completely left out. It is the
Combustion measuring reactor (AMR) in Hamm-Uentrop
Never heard? - No wonder, only three miserable short mentions of the AMR Hamm-Uentrop can be found on the Internet. The AMR was a mini research reactor that was operated to obtain free neutrons (neutron source) in order to be able to measure and characterize the burn-up of the HTR fuel element balls. The operators did not want to experience a debacle like the one at AVR Jülich, where they did not know what radioactivity was actually in with 50 castors.
In April 1995 at the latest, the radioactive components of the AMR were brought from Hamm to Ahaus in two castors. The specialty: They contained 3,9 kg of highly enriched uranium, almost 93 percent. This would enable atomic bombs to be produced without any intermediate steps. On Wikipedia, the AMR is only mentioned in one sentence as "auxiliary reactor" (3).
In the storage permit dated November 7, 11 for the Ahaus transport cask storage facility, it is stated on page nine that the two casks contain a “maximum” 1997 irradiated AMR fuel elements with an average burnup of 767 MWd / Mg heavy metal. This highly enriched uranium is of course a real disposal problem and has not been discussed in the official deliberations so far.
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the keyword: THTR dismantling
Incident in the thorium reactor in Halden (Norway)!
Norway has the third largest thorium deposits in the world. In newsletter no.131 I wrote that in 2009 the Norwegian government, after taking note of a commissioned scientific study on the inadequate use of thorium reactors for energy policy, refrained from building this special variant as power reactors (1).
Nevertheless, the small thorium test reactor built in Halden in 1959 continued to be operated a few kilometers southeast of Oslo near the border to Sweden. Its name is Halden Boiling Water Reactor (HBWR) and is located 30 to 50 meters below a rocky hill (2).
In March 2017, Detlef zum Winkel drew attention to reports that a cloud with iodine 2017 caused increased radioactivity in northern Europe as early as January 131 (3). While the US military sent a special aircraft equipped with measuring instruments to get to the bottom of the matter, the European states remained inactive and the German media remained silent. Detlef zum Winkel continued to research and found out, among other things, the following:
“On March 3, 2017, the Norwegian NGO Bellona published a report on an incident in the Halden research reactor near the border with Sweden. It happened on October 24, 2016, was reported by a handful of English-speaking media and was soon forgotten. (...)
Bellona now explains that this incident was quite alarming. It happened while the staff were handling damaged fuel assemblies. Radioactivity was released through the ventilation system of this underground research reactor, which was built in a mountain chamber. The next day, the Norwegian nuclear regulator ordered to block the release into the outside air. This would have resulted in further serious problems in the reactor, namely an interruption in the cooling water circulation, temperature fluctuations and an increase in the neutron flux in the core with the risk of the formation of hydrogen bubbles. (...) fluctuation is a euphemistic (euphemistic, HB) term for temperature increases; increased neutron flux indicates increased reactivity.
In view of this 'very special situation', the nuclear supervisory authority agreed to switch the ventilation system back on, even if this continued to blow radioactivity into the environment. This should also have revealed the secret of the cloud of rays and found its origin.
Note No. 5: No public response to the Bellona report (only the Energy News website ensured its dissemination). Apparently everything stayed within the limits. Bellona criticizes that the incident indicates a poor safety culture. As the operator of dumps, the Institute for Energy Technology informed the Norwegian nuclear supervisory authority too late and insufficiently and only admitted the seriousness of the situation a week later - the standard procedure in the nuclear industry.
The inadequate safety culture is of course also evident in the disinterest of the major media, in their inability to recognize the relevance of an apparently everyday disruption in nuclear operations and in the inaction of the environmental authorities "(4).
The research reactor in Halden has been operated since 2011 by an international consortium under Norwegian management and with the participation of the Westinghouse Group, Finland, England, Korea and the EU Institute for Transuranium Elements. In Halden, fuel rods containing thorium are tested, which the US company Lightbridge intends to market (5).
The author zum Winkel classifies the testing of the fuel elements in a mixture of thorium and plutonium in Halden in Norway as part of the global nuclear endeavors of the nuclear industry:
“In Halden, experiments are being carried out on the use of thorium as a fissile material in reactors. Thorium is used in high-temperature reactors as well as in futuristic concepts of a molten salt reactor. The European pressurized water reactor - Evolutionary Power Reactor EPR - should later be able to be operated with thorium parts ".
(4) See (3)
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the keyword: Norway
HTR in China close to completion?
China deal with Saudi Arabia. HTR lobby active
We remember: At the end of 2012, the construction of two 1914 MW HTR reactors began in China on the Shandong peninsula in Shidaowan (called Tsingtao until 200 under German colonial rule). In the last newsletter I reported on the completion of the civil engineering work, the installation of the reactor pressure vessel and the completion of the simulation test stand for training the staff. And about the fact that the twin system only has a single turbine for cooling (1).
On April 5, 2017, the two reactors were loaded with the first non-radioactive moderator spheres. Each of the graphite spheres has a diameter of 6 cm and weighs 192 grams. Only later will the systems be equipped with fuel elements that have seven grams of uranium and an enrichment level of 8,5%. These bullets are produced in Baotou in Inner Mongolia under highly questionable circumstances (2). Ultimately, the eleven meter high reactor cavity will be filled with a total of 245.318 elements (3).
It remains to be seen whether the two twin reactors can actually go into operation as planned in December 2017. From our experience with the THTR in Hamm, we know that the problems only really start from then on.
In addition, China is planning two 600 MW HTRs with six reactor modules each for commercial use in Ruijin in Jiangxi Province. Construction is scheduled to begin next year. The grid connection is supposedly planned for 2021 - a very daring forecast.
Saudi Arabia wants HTR's from China
The first cooperation agreements between Saudi Arabia and China were concluded in January 2016. After intensive preparations in March 2017, the modalities of a joint feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature reactors were discussed and determined on May 15, 2017. About 40 experts from both countries, including the Tsinghua University Institute of Nuclear, worked out the next steps for three days. Areas such as intellectual property, component supply chain, financing, staff training and a nuclear rule system for Saudi Arabia were issues that were addressed (4).
In the next 20 years, Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear power plants - also for the operation of seawater desalination plants (5). How realistic that is remains to be seen at this point.
HTR lobby smells morning air
The official homepage of the Swiss nuclear friends headed their current article on the subject with "Fourth generation in China in the starting blocks" and tried to exploit the new HTR building for propaganda purposes. There will probably be a lot more to come in the future. On June 21, 2017, a lecture by Wentao Guo, a scientific assistant at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) on the subject of HTR in China took place in Zurich (6).
The FDP politician Klaus-Dieter Humpich wrote on April 29, 2017 about the new planned pebble bed reactors in all seriousness: “It is possible to build a reactor that is so safe that it can be set up in a residential area without hesitation. (...) For public acceptance, effective media demonstrations at demonstration power plants are necessary. (...) Only in this way can the fear industry and its propaganda be effectively countered "(7).
At the latest with the keyword "fear industry" it becomes obvious: This is a writer motivated by conspiracy theory at the "European Institute for Climate and Energy e. V. "(EIKE e.V.), which is characterized as follows on Wikipedia:" The association is not viewed by the professional world as a serious institute, but as a climate-skeptical lobby organization "(8).
Of course, this is a particularly bizarre case of an FDP politician. However, the FDP and CDU have been ruling in North Rhine-Westphalia since the new state elections in 2017. And if for decades it was possible to promote HTR research under red-green, sometimes in somewhat winding ways, something like this is certainly to be expected even more under black-and-yellow. That is why we should be vigilant.
(8) See (7)
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Review: Successful Resistance to the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)
THTR conference of the BUND-NRW in Hamm
On November 19, 2016, the BUND NRW and the Nature and Environmental Protection Academy NRW held the seminar “Pebble bed reactors, thorium and transmutation: the last straws of the atomic lobby”, which was well attended by 35 participants.
Lectures were given by: Jürgen Streich (review), Dr. Rainer Moormann (overview - technology - hazard potential), Uwe Hiksch (overview worldwide). In this context, Horst Blume gave a lecture on the resistance against the THTR in Germany and South Africa. The chapter on South Africa is documented here:
Resistance to the PBMR in South Africa
We initially paid little attention to developments in South Africa. We only reconstructed the preparations for the construction of the PBMR afterwards. During the apartheid period in 1987, Klaus Knizia from VEW visited South Africa to make the THTR palatable to the regime there. He was also supported by officials from Forschungszentrum Jülich. Critical reports of this outrageous cooperation with the apartheid regime increased in the media. It is very telling that after the decline of the THTR in Germany, the operators found their best friends here of all places. And it is even more astonishing that after the dissolution of the racist regime, the new ANC government after 1994 stuck to the intentions of its predecessors and also wanted to build a THTR.
The intensive contact with Stefan Cramer in South Africa was extremely important for us. He was the head of the green-related Heinrich Böll Foundation and was highly motivated to oppose a reactor that was also to be built in South Africa with the support of red-green governments. That was a very special situation! Stefan translated parts of our reactor bankruptcy homepage into English because the automatic translation functions on the Internet were not that good at that time. He worked with the environmental organization Earthlife Africa and passed on our information. Stefan and I often wrote in German about the dangers of the PBMR in the bimonthly magazine "afrika süd". This is the newspaper of the anti-apartheid movement and its successors. A large number of activities in South Africa followed in 2003 and 2004. The Böll Foundation managed to hold a dialogue hearing between parliament and citizens' initiatives in South Africa. At the same time, we contacted the South African Embassy in Berlin in Germany and expressed our concerns.
Citizen application in Hamm
At the same time, we and several other environmental groups in Hamm submitted a citizens' application to the complaints committee of the city of Hamm. Our aim was to organize an exchange of experiences about the THTR between Hamm and Cape Town. The administration of Hamm had to deal with the problems of the THTR by necessity and had also hired someone who had worked on this area for several years. - The application was rejected as expected, but the issue was considered and discussed in Hamm.
Preparations for the PBMR began in South Africa over the next two years. - And of course in Germany too, that shouldn't be forgotten !! - At least five German companies supplied key system components for the PBMR under construction in South Africa:
+ Meridium in Walldorf supplied software products
+ SGL Carbon from Wiesbaden and Meitingen supplied graphite
+ EHR from Essen supplied piping systems
+ RWE-Nukem from Hanau produces the spherical fuel elements
+ Uhde, daughter of KruppThyssen, from Dortmund was supposed to build the fuel element factory in the Pelindaba nuclear center
Since Uhde is in Dortmund near Hamm, it made sense to intervene here. In 2005 I wrote a lot about Uhde's role as a subsidiary of Rheinmetall with this company in the 100th anniversary edition of the THTR circular.
Friedrich Ostendorff, one of the blockade farmers from 1986 and now a Green member of the Bundestag, called on Foreign Minister Fischer to prohibit the export license for nuclear components. He also turned to the then Minister of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia.
We contacted the “critical shareholders”, who in turn gave a speech on this topic at the annual Kruppthyssen shareholders' meeting. In 2007 we held a small rally in front of Uhde in Dortmund with some groups and then drove on to Münster in a motorcade to demonstrate against the NRW nuclear facilities. In 2008 a WDR film team traveled to Hamm and South Africa and reported XNUMX minutes about our collaboration.
Basically, all of these activities were fairly manageable and only carried out by a few people. The majority of the environmental groups in the FRG were hardly interested in this "exotic" topic and each time had to be motivated to participate. But there were very concrete starting points and activities that were directed against nuclear actors in the FRG who did business with South Africa. They found an echo in many media that should not be underestimated.
In 2009 the construction of the PBMR was finally abandoned because it was too big and too expensive for South Africa. Over a billion dollars has been put into this pointless project.
Addendum: How did it go on?
Of course, since 2009 there have been repeated attempts by the nuclear lobby and the South African state to build new nuclear power plants. At the beginning of 2010, the PBMR company still had 800 employees who mourned their old job after being fired. As early as March 2011, the government was considering building a total of six nuclear power plants with 9.600 MW (1). She was motivated by the US research organization EPRI, which is financed by nuclear power plant operators. In September 2014 it became known that the South African government had signed a nuclear partnership agreement with the Russian state company Rosatom for these nuclear power plants. These were not HTRs, but power plants of Russian design (2).
A few weeks ago it became known that preliminary contracts for the construction of nuclear power plants and nuclear cooperations were concluded with the USA (2009), South Korea (2010) and with Russia (2014). At the end of April 2017, however, the South African Court of Justice declared the agreements to be “unlawful” because they would only benefit the corrupt and shamelessly enriching President Zuma and his business partners. The planned construction of eight nuclear power plants was halted and the president suffered a major defeat. Das Neue Deutschland (ND) wrote on May 2, 2017:
"The basis of the proceedings were lawsuits from the environmental organizations" Earthlife Africa "and" Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute "(Safcei), the legal dispute had been running since autumn 2015. But not only environmentalists triumph. In South Africa, the ruling is also seen as a blow to corrupt practices that could have led the country into a financial and constitutional crisis. Because the cost of the nuclear deal was estimated at one trillion rand (70 billion euros), there was no transparent participation process. The latter was also the main criticism of the court. Judge Bozalek criticized the fact that parliament - as provided for in the constitution - could not debate the government's plans. The Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was dismissed at the end of March, only informed the House of Representatives in June 2015 about the agreements that had long been made "(3).
It also became known that the Nersa energy regulator did not conduct any public consultation process, although it was obliged to do so. This shows the undemocratic means with which nuclear power plants are to be implemented here. They keep trying and that's why vigilance is the order of the day. In the meantime, South Korea, an important contractual partner and a very large player on the international nuclear market, is withdrawing from nuclear energy itself and initiating a spectacular energy transition towards more alternative energy (4). More and more states are turning away from nuclear power. These are the signs of the times and they give hope!
(4) Taz from June 20, 6: https://www.taz.de/Archiv-Suche/!5424050&s=in+jahren+ist/
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the keyword: South Africa
NRW elections, agony ...
Certainly a large part of the readers of the newsletter will be disappointed with the poor results of the left and the Greens in the NRW election in May.
- Although we as members or supporters of citizens' initiatives know that actual changes usually have to be prepared and fought for through extra-parliamentary movements and actions. Often enough we have had to experience that party politicians - despite assurances to the contrary - oppose the realization of our goals. That this has a long tradition is shown by the rebellious poems of the libertarian revolutionary poet Oskar Kanehls (1888 - 1929), which were published with new comments by Wolfgang Haug. It is even mentioned here that in the 20s the emerging energy company RWE secured monopolies and benefices in the municipalities with the help of right-wing politicians.
The often bad experiences many people have with party politicians are echoed in a ridiculous poem by Kanehl that has lost none of its topicality today:
"You just have to pay on time on your membership card.
And always be there for us during the elections. "
My review of the book "Nobody has the right to ensure peace and order"Can be viewed in the monthly newspaper" Graswurzelrevolution "(No. 417):
Poetry and protest against uranium mining and land grabbing in India
The struggle of the approximately 90 million Adivasis (indigenous people) and just as many Dalits (so-called untouchables) in India against land grabbing and the destruction of their livelihoods through uranium mining, dam construction and large-scale industry is not only conducted through political actions, but also has a cultural dimension. For decades, corporations and caste Hindus have specifically tried to destroy the social fabric and self-esteem of these marginalized people.
But resistance is also developing in the cultural field, as visitors were able to convince themselves at several events in Germany in 2016 with the young Adivasi poet Jacinta Kerketta and her publisher Ruby Hembrom.
In her poems she not only recalls the uprisings of the Adivasis against British and Hindu oppression since the 18th century, but also the struggle against a destructive industrial-capitalist economy that massively endangers the existence of several hundred million people in India. Her volume of poetry with the title “Embers” has been published in German by Draupadi Verlag as a symbol of burning hope and a symbolic image of a spirit of resistance to be awakened. In it she gives her voice to people and nature when misfortune falls on her:
"Innocent in sleep
the scent of flowers.
She is startled, indignant,
and the pores fill up
with the stink of machines
explosions boom in my ears. "
My review of the volume of poetry by Jacinta Kerketta is entitled “अंग Adivasis in India: Poetry and Protest"Read in the monthly newspaper" Graswurzelrevolution "(No. 413):
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the keyword: India
The drawing by Fritz Brümmer "Balls back, balls her" from page one of this little paper was already on the cover of THTR circular no. 23 49 years ago and thus clearly shows that the topic of THTR nuclear waste is still just as unsolved on the today The order of the day is as it was then.
So that younger people and / or interested parties who are not familiar with so much “specialist knowledge” can deal with the subject of THTR, I will try to write more easily in the future. In view of the sometimes complicated subject matter, this is certainly not always easy.
The "Map of the Nuclear World" on reaktorpleite.de, conceived by Werner Neubauer almost two years ago and continuously expanded, is developing into a hit. More than 50.000 people have visited them so far and obtained detailed information from the more than 600 entries about the details of the respective locations:
From uranium mining and processing, to nuclear research, the construction and operation of nuclear facilities, including accidents in nuclear power plants, to handling uranium ammunition, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste.
Exactly ten years ago our much-noticed campaign against uranium hexafluoride transports took place in the residential areas at the Hammer shunting yard. These UF 6 transports to the Gronau uranium enrichment plant (UAA) are still taking place today. Reason enough to remember and keep an eye on them (nice photos from the action back then included):
A few weeks ago, cyclists from Grohnde to Tihange stopped in Hamm to join the human chain. Together with Marcos and Hartmut, it was possible at short notice to set up a small program with a short THTR lecture, press appointment and successful local reporting as well as a flying visit to the Hindu temple. Interesting information about the individual stages of the trip can be found here:
The post wants to have money for the post office box of the citizens' initiative from now on. Since it is now rarely used, we will cancel it at the beginning of next year. That's why the new address is already in the imprint.
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