Monthly Archives: December 2015

Verarmd uranium en het Golfoorlogsyndroom

Henk van der Keur | stichting Laka | 20 december 2015

Dat in oorlogstijd de waarheid als eerste sneuvelt weten we sinds mensenheugenis. Wat telt is de versie van de oorlogsplanners die ons door embedded oorlogscorrespondenten wordt ingeprent. Nieuw bij de Golfoorlog van 1991 was dat voor het eerst een oorlog live in de huiskamer werd gebracht. Ik herinner me de televisiebeelden van de Amerikaanse nieuwszender CNN op de kabel, een hype bij het thuisfront.

We werden permanent bestookt met ‘precisiebombardementen’ die de kijkers moesten overtuigen dat dit een ‘schone oorlog’ was. Alsof er helemaal geen burgers in Irak bestonden en er alleen militaire doelen waren. De kijkers hadden geen flauw benul van de werkelijke situatie in Irak. Toen op 17 januari het luchtoffensief tegen Irak begon, hadden de Irakezen al bijna een half jaar zwaar te lijden onder het zeer strikte VN-embargo dat begin augustus 1990 van kracht werd toen het Iraakse leger Koeweit binnenviel. Officieel waren voedsel en medicijnen uitgesloten van de economische sancties, maar in de praktijk was er vrijwel geen aanvoer meer van deze basale behoeften.

Stervende kinderen

Een jaar na de Golfoorlog kon ik met eigen ogen aanschouwen wat deze oorlog had aangericht en wat de gevolgen waren van de aanhoudende economische boycot. Op een bijeenkomst van vredesorganisaties in De Balie in Amsterdam werd besloten een delegatie naar Irak te sturen in aanwezigheid van een arts en een aantal ingenieurs. Redenen voor dat besluit was het grote zwijgen van de media over het hoge aantal burgerdoden en een rapport van het medisch team van Harvard dat een onthutsend beeld schetste van de situatie in Irak, kort na de oorlog. Een groot deel van de civiele infrastructuur was vernietigd, waaronder levensmiddelenfabrieken en voorzieningen voor drinkwater. Het team trof tienduizenden stervende kinderen aan als gevolg van epidemieën die waren ontstaan door een groot gebrek aan schoon water. Onder normale omstandigheden waren deze infectieziekten eenvoudig te behandelen, maar door gebrek aan elementaire voorzieningen, waaronder medicijnen, konden die niet worden genezen. Een jaar later, vlak voor de lente van 1992, wilde onze fact-finding missie poolshoogte nemen van de toestand in Irak. Mijn opdracht was om te pogen grondmonsters te nemen nabij de restanten van het gebombardeerde kerncomplex Al Tuwaitha, circa 30 kilometer van Bagdad. Daarvoor kreeg ik echter geen toestemming van de Iraakse autoriteiten.

Mijn bezoek aan Irak was een harde confrontatie met de werkelijkheid. De ziekenhuizen waren nog altijd overvol en er was nog steeds een groot gebrek aan basale levensbehoeften. Het sterftecijfer bij kinderen onder de vijf jaar bleef onverminderd hoog. De aanvoer van bijvoorbeeld bouwmaterialen of onderdelen voor reparatie van waterzuiveringsinstallaties lag nog altijd stil, waardoor wederopbouw uitbleef. Feitelijk werd de oorlog tegen de burgerbevolking voortgezet met sancties. Wat ook opviel was dat het aantal gevallen van kanker snel toenam.

Radioactieve munitie

Dat er veel meer aan de hand was in Irak bleek al direct bij aankomst waarbij onze delegatie in de lobby van het hotel de Duitse arts Dr. Siegwart-Horst Günther tegen het lijf liep. Hij had restanten van munitie gevonden die radioactief bleken te zijn. Niet veel later leerde ik dat ze afkomstig zijn van 30 mm antitankgranaten van het A-10 grondaanvalstoestel. Die schieten met een mix van ‘high explosive’ patronen en ‘DU penetrators’. Dat laatste type antitankgranaat bestaat uit een kern van massief uraniummetaal. Het betreft een afvalproduct van de uraniumverrijkingsindustrie, ‘depleted uranium (DU)’ ofwel verarmd uranium. Voor zover bekend werden ze tijdens Operatie Desert Storm voor het eerst gebruikt. Het zware metaal heeft een opmerkelijk lage verbrandingstemperatuur. Na inslag op een hard doel verbrandt en verpulvert de munitiekern tot zeer fijne stofdeeltjes die zich tot ver in de omgeving kunnen verspreiden. Via de longen, slokdarm of open wonden kunnen de stofdeeltjes het lichaam binnendringen. Iraakse artsen leggen een verband tussen de uraniumbesmettingen en de opkomst van doorgaans zeldzame vormen van kanker na de Golfoorlog. Aanvankelijk trof het vooral jonge kinderen. Later – medio jaren negentig – spraken Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, hoofd van het Oncologisch Centrum in Basra, en andere oncologen van een kankerepidemie in Irak. Met daaronder veel gevallen die aan twee of drie soorten kankers tegelijk leden. Een verschijnsel dat onder normale omstandigheden zelden voorkomt. De kankerclusters waren ontstaan in gebieden waar veel gebruik is gemaakt van uraniumhoudende antitankgranaten.

Siegwart-Horst Günther

De arts Dr. Siegwart-Horst Günther overlegt ons foto’s van gevonden restanten DU-munitie en aantekeningen van waargenomen aandoeningen bij kinderen die er mee speelden Bagdad, 26 februari 1991 / foto Henk van der Keur

Gevaren bekend

Juist voor de Iraakse invasie van Koeweit verscheen een rapport van het Amerikaanse leger over het strategische belang van de uraniumhoudende antitankgranaten. In een bijlage wordt door adviseurs gewezen op de potentiële gezondheidsrisico’s van het militair gebruik van verarmd uranium. De auteurs wezen vooral op de gevaren bij de verwijdering van de restanten en besmet legermaterieel in post-conflictgebieden.

Al direct na de Golfoorlog werden ook bij Golfoorlogveteranen ziekten vastgesteld, zowel acuut als chronisch, met zeer uiteenlopende symptomen, die gebundeld werden onder noemer Golfoorlogziekten of het Golfoorlogsyndroom. Het Pentagon weet die ziekten aan vaccinaties, slagveldstress, en aan de gevolgen van bombardementen: sarin en rook van oliebranden. Later voegden de Balkanveteranen zich daarbij met Balkansyndroom (Bosnië ‘94/’95 en Kosovo ’99) met vergelijkbare symptomen. Zij hebben echter niet blootgestaan aan rook, experimentele vaccins en sarin, maar wel aan verarmd uranium en andere chemische stoffen. Ondanks de snel groeiende hoeveelheid wetenschappelijk bewijsmateriaal over de schadelijke effecten van DU, blijven maatregelen uit. Dat komt doordat er nog steeds grote strategische waarde wordt toegekend aan deze wapensystemen. Alle kernmachten beschikken over DU arsenalen. Zelfs in Duitsland – één van de weinige grote landen die ze niet bezitten – gaan binnen het leger stemmen op om ze aan te schaffen. In de Koude Oorlog waren de DU-antitankgranaten bestemd voor een mogelijke tankoorlog tussen de NAVO en het Warschaupact. Nu zouden ze gebruikt kunnen worden als het conflict in Oost-Oekraïne weer oplaait in een tankoorlog tussen de NAVO en Rusland of bij de oorlog in Syrië door de A-10.

Vier jaar na de Golfoorlog verbood de Amerikaanse regering het testen van de uraniumgranaten in de open lucht. De testgebieden zijn zwaar vervuild. Op de Jefferson Proving Ground is een gebied dat bezaaid ligt met restanten van verarmd uranium, maar er liggen ook blindgangers. De Amerikaanse atoomwaakhond NRC is vorig jaar akkoord gegaan met het voorstel van het leger om het terrein niet te saneren omdat het veel te gevaarlijk en heel erg duur is. Omwonenden maken zich ernstig zorgen over uitbreiding van de besmetting via het grondwater.

Dit artikel verscheen in een dossier van VD Amok in het VredesMagazine (december 2015)

 

Nuclear disaster drill held near Japan’s only rebooted plant

Japan Today | Kyodo | December 20, 2015

KAGOSHIMA — A nuclear disaster drill was held Sunday around the country’s sole running nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan, following its reactivation earlier this year.

About 3,600 officials and residents took part in the event to prepare for the possibility of a serious accident within 30 kilometers of Kyushu Electric Power Co.‘s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. The last time a major drill was held around the plant was in October 2013.

The drill assumed that a strong earthquake of intensity upper 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 had caused the plant to lose power sources and become unable to cool its reactors. About 1,200 residents within 5 km from the plant were evacuated by bus and other vehicles.

People farther than 5 km but within 30 km were instructed to move in accordance with a prefectural-run system to determine how the wind was blowing to avoid areas with radioactive fallout.

At the two-reactor Sendai plant, located in the city of Satsumasendai, the No. 1 reactor resumed operation in August and the No. 2 unit in October. All other nuclear reactors in Japan remain offline in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Nuclear workers show America’s darker side

The Island Packet | Editorial | December 19. 2015

The numbers are sobering. The problem is immense.

In a special report presented over the past week, our fellow McClatchy journalists put faces on the heavy and often hidden cost of America’s atomic weaponry.

A total of 107,394 workers have been diagnosed with cancers and other diseases after building the nation’s nuclear stockpile over the last seven decades. At least 33,480 former nuclear workers are dead after helping the U.S. win World War II and the Cold War before getting sick enough to qualify for government compensation.

Taxpayers have spent $12 billion so far treating and compensating more than 53,000 sick nuclear workers.

But fewer than half the workers who sought help had their claims approved. More than 54,000 workers have been denied government help. Some say the government’s tactic is to “Delay, deny, until you die.”

South Carolina, home to the Savannah River Site outside Aiken, has certainly paid a toll to the silent killer. The site that turned 65 this year was established by President Truman to produce the basic materials used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons.

Nearly 40 million gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste remains at SRS — 90 miles up the Savannah River from where much of Beaufort County’s drinking water is withdrawn. The waste is stored in aging tanks.

And the federal government’s poor record for helping its workers is matched or exceeded by its miserable record of dealing with the nuclear waste that will threaten workers and communities ad infinitum.

Earlier, McClatchy reported that the United States already has generated more than 80,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste, and the toxic materials are stored at some 80 sites in 35 states.

The answer is a central repository, and in 1987, after immense study, Congress decreed that site would be under Yucca Mountain in Nevada. There, nuclear waste would not be a human threat for at least 10,000 years. The government spent more than $15 billion preparing to accept the waste by Congress’ 1998 deadline. Utility customers also have paid billions into this solution. But President Barack Obama egregiously mothballed Yucca Mountain as soon as he became president.

What we see is a nation in denial. We see a nation willing to consider workers in its hodgepodge of nuclear sites to be collateral damage. We see a nation that has grossly underestimated the cost to the workers.

And we see a nation that for pure politics will endanger entire communities and states by failing to confront its sick legacy of the atomic age.

We see a nation that should do much better by its own people.

Is nuclear war risk rising? Experts say yes

Reuters | Peter Apps | December 20, 2015

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A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is launched from the Wheeler Island off the eastern Indian state of Odisha April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation/Handout

On Sunday, November 28, Californians watched with bemusement and in some cases alarm as a bright light moved across the sky. It wasn’t a UFO. It was a U.S. Navy Trident ballistic missile.

It was, of course, just a test — the first of two in three days. They coincided with tough talk from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who earlier that month had criticized Russia for engaging in “challenging activities” at sea and air, in space and cyberspace. Days earlier, he had been in the South China Sea aboard an aircraft carrier, sending a similarly robust message to China about its actions in the disputed region.

I was eight years old when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. No sooner had I become even barely aware of the threat of nuclear war than it was gone, apparently forever.

Now, however, it has quietly returned.

The Project for Study of the 21st Century recently published its survey of major conflict risk. Over six months, we polled 50 national security experts on the risk of a variety of potential wars.

The results make interesting reading. The most striking thing, though, is not the numbers themselves — it is the fact that there now seem to be multiple potential routes to a variety of potentially devastating state-on-state wars.

Our poll showed the experts — who ranged from current and former military officials to international relations professors and insurance and risk specialists — putting a 6.8 percent chance on a major nuclear war in the next 20 years killing more people than World War Two. That conflict killed roughly 80,000,000 at upper estimates.

To be sure, it’s impossible to put an exact number on the risk of a nuclear war. But the risk is clearly more than zero. Sixty percent of our respondents felt it had risen over the last decade — and 52 percent expected it to rise further in the decade to come.

The increasing confrontations with China and Russia have, of course, become increasingly obvious. Of our respondents, 80 percent said they expected a further rise in the kind of “ambiguous” or “asymmetric” conflict between major states.

Much of the point of that kind of activity, of course, is to avoid the kind of devastating direct conflict that no one can afford. The macho posturing of warships in the South China Sea, jets in the Baltic and hackers in cyberspace is usually designed to be bloodless.

Should things go wrong, however, the world could see bloodshed on a previously unimaginable level.

The most likely major states to fight, the PS21 survey panel concluded, were India and Pakistan. The likelihood of their military forces coming into direct conflict with each other over the next 20 years was estimated at 40 percent.

That’s hardly surprising — the two countries have fought several border wars in recent decades, mainly along the line of control in Kashmir, without escalating to nuclear force. On average, our analysts saw the risk of a nuclear exchange at 9 percent — considerably lower than the likelihood of direct conflict, but still alarmingly high.

Neither country, of course, has anything to gain from such an outcome. The risk, though, is of events spiraling out of control — a militant attack in India, for example, sparking a military response that provokes an ever-escalating response.

Despite this year’s nuclear deal, our experts saw a 27 percent chance Iran would end up in a shooting war with its enemies, be that the United States, Israel, the Gulf States or all. On average, they saw a 6 percent chance of such a war including at least one nuclear detonation.

They put the risk of a nuclear war involving North Korea at 6 percent, with a 17 percent chance of broader conflict.

The real shift of the last decade, though, has been the emergence of a much more assertive China and Russia. The former had been long expected — but the latter has taken defense experts largely by surprise.

Overall, our panel estimated the risk of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighting Russia in at least a limited military confrontation at 22 percent. That compared to only a 17 percent chance of U.S. and Chinese forces fighting (as well as a slightly higher 19 percent chance of Japan and China doing the same).

The risk of nuclear release involving Russia was seen at 4 percent, twice that of a U.S.-China exchange.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. The United States and China, after all, are not just military powers, but major economic powers that ultimately both benefit from a globalized, successful world. Russia, on the other hand, really only has its military strength — and particularly its nuclear capability — to flex when it wishes to demonstrate superpower status.

After a generation in which major European war was simply never thought possible, it’s worth remembering the continent is still home to more than half the world’s nuclear weapons.

And yet, amid such apocalyptic talk,  our survey shows that all of these conflicts remain on balance unlikely, often very unlikely.

At one of our events earlier this year, Harvard geopolitics expert Professor Joseph Nye pointed out that nuclear weapons have so far acted to avert war by functioning as a brutally effective “crystal ball.” What their existence meant, he said, was that national leaders knew what the consequences of going over the edge would be — complete and utter destruction and a war which everyone would lose.

Had the leaders of Europe experienced such clarity before World War One, he suggested, they could well have stepped back from the brink. And sure enough, it’s true that we have avoided such conflicts in the era of “mutually assured destruction.”

The modern great power confrontations, though, lack some of the certainties of that era. In Cold War Europe, for example, it was always assumed that the outbreak of conventional war would inevitably and quickly go nuclear. That was one of the reasons it never started.

Our results show a growing belief that some limited conventional conflict could be sustained without crossing the threshold. Our respondents may be right — but any period in which nuclear powers are fighting, even conventionally, would be terrifying.

The truth is, of course, that the heightened geopolitical temperature is already costing lives — contributing to the 28 percent year-on-year in death tolls in the world’s bloodiest wars.

In September, the United Nations reported that almost 8,000 people had died in Ukraine since fighting started just over a year earlier. They include the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, blasted from the sky as it made its way between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.

Russia and the West are now effectively on different sides in Syria — albeit theoretically allied against Islamic State as they back government and opposition forces, respectively. It’s hard not to conclude that their involvement will end up lengthening the five-year conflict — another possible reason so many Syrians want to leave.

As in the Cold War, the worst-case scenarios might be averted. Even if they are, though, some people are going to die. They already have.

 

This piece is published courtesy of the Project for Study of the 21st Century. For more information and commentaries, please visit www.projects21.com.

Government U-turn on renewables shows gas, oil and nuclear are still favourites

The Guardian | Alasdair Cameron | 20 December 2015

Now is not the time to pull the plug on supporting renewable energy. A few years of vital subsidies cannot make up for a century of support for fossil fuels.

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The sun sets at Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
The UK government has admitted it is subsidising nuclear as it continues to cut subsidies for renewables. Photograph: iVistaphotography /Barcroft

The entire global energy system is undergoing a clean revolution. The old certainties of centralised power and fossil fuels are falling apart before our eyes. In Paris last week world leaders set legally binding targets to decarbonise their economies in order to keep temperature rises at a maximum of 2C. The future is almost here.

It’s a future that is necessary and one that presents the economic opportunity of the century. Bloomberg NEFs New Energy Outlook for 2015 estimates that renewables alone will see more than $8tn of investment in the coming years with $3.7tn in solar alone.

Until recently the UK seemed to understand this, however imperfectly. In the second quarter of this year, the UK got 25% of its electricity from renewables and is aiming for 30% by 2020. The last two governments deserve credit for that.

Costs have fallen, with the latest ground-mounted solar and onshore wind now cheaper than new nuclear , and offshore wind – where the UK is a world leader – is not far behind.

But with the industry on the cusp of the mainstream, the last six months have seen a radical, dangerous U-turn from the government. Onshore wind and large solar have seen support removed and applications blocked through planning; the climate change levy exemption was removed from renewable electricity scheme; the zero carbon homes target and energy efficiency schemes have been scrapped; the Green Investment Bank is threatened with privatisation, tax relief has been removed from community schemes. And on, and on, and on.

The government’s line is that it’s time to pull the plug on supporting renewable energy – as if a few years of vital subsidies can make up for a century of economic and infrastructural support for fossil fuels. Renewable energy, like most industries, needs some government support to get going, and to realise the best results. Think of the tax breaks and research grants still given to oil and gas, the direct subsidies for nuclear, the publicly-funded roads that facilitate cars, or the national space programmes that eventually brought us the mobile phone.

The argument that this U-turn is about protecting consumers’ bills simply does not hold. Cuts to rooftop solar announced on Thursday will save just 0.9% off a yearly bill, by 2020.

Many of the alternatives the government is turning to are actually more expensive than renewables – Hinkley Point C would cost consumers twice the current wholesale price of electricity. And the single best thing that would cut bills – insulating homes – has seen just about all public support scrapped.

Contrast the rhetoric on renewables with the huge support for fracking and nuclear and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the government has its favourites.

All this is hurting people, investment and business. About 20,000 people could lose their jobs as a result of the latest changes to rooftop solar. Entrepreneurs and investors may walk away from the sector , and who could blame them? A vast amount of human capital in skills, training and motivation will be wasted. EY has repeatedly warned of the devastation that ministers are causing, deliberately or not, to inward investment.

In response to criticism that it has been cutting support for renewables the government is now talking up innovation, highlighting a plan to double investment in clean energy research and development (although much of this seems to be for nuclear).

But innovation isn’t what you do instead of supporting investment today. It’s not either/or. It is no accident that those countries with the largest renewable manufacturing industries also have thriving local markets. Innovation comes, in part, from getting on with it.

The cost of solar has fallen by 80% in just the last few years – driven in large part by rapid learning and scale deployment thanks to the support of governments worldwide. In the UK researchers across the country are always looking at new ways to make renewables even cheaper and more effective – from super-efficient perovskite solar cells in Bath, to graphene materials in Manchester. In other technologies, from tidal energy in Orkney and new forms of offshore turbine foundations in Glasgow and Blyth – progress is continuing on hundreds of fronts.

And the opportunities provided by renewables are much bigger than turbines and panels. These are disruptive technologies that open huge new avenues. The industry that has been born by the smart phone is not just chips and handsets, but in software, services and dating apps. So too with renewables.

Businesses that can get the most from the large amount of renewables already in the system could do well. Energy storage and smarter grid management are two of the hottest areas for businesses looking to take advantage of the recent surge in renewables, since they can improve the economics, and store power for those times the sun isn’t shining or the wind doesn’t blow. Schemes are being developed in which people are paid an annual fee for access to a home battery, which when aggregated into their thousands can be used to help balance the grid.

Yet these opportunities are only available thanks to the rapid growth we have seen in recent years, and to continue the sector needs stability and political support. If the government really wants innovation continue, it needs to provide both.

In the long run? We’ll be green. Solar and its friends will triumph, and one day will undoubtedly to be some of the biggest industries in the world, including in the UK. In meantime businesses will need to be resilient.

Plutonium exposure prompts investigation into inactive nuclear arms plant

Los Angeles Times | Ralph Vartabedian | December 18, 2015

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The Plutonium Reclamation Facility building at right with blue doors, on the Hanford nuclear reservation in Richland, Wash., where an explosion occurred in May 1997 is shown in this undated file photo. The building is part of the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

(Associated Press / Department of Energy)

A worker at a shuttered nuclear weapons plant in Washington state was contaminated with plutonium earlier this month, triggering a federal investigation into the transportation of potentially contaminated ventilation devices through three states, the Times has learned.

The incident occurred during cleanup operations at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, a highly contaminated facility that has been inactive for 25 years at the Hanford Site in central Washington, along the Columbia River.

Department of Energy officials say they do not believe any individuals, apart from the single contaminated worker, were exposed to plutonium, though it is continuing its investigation into the incident.

“We are looking into this entire event,” said Erik Olds, chief of staff at the Hanford cleanup operation.

The worker, an employee of CH2M Hill, was exposed when he removed his hazmat suit, but a subsequent investigation found contamination on the ventilation unit’s hose.

The suspect ventilation devices had been previously transported to a fire department station, a personal residence and two factories in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, triggering state and federal response teams to inspect the plants and monitor individuals. Energy Department officials found that two of the three units transported to a salesman’s home had minor contamination, but it fell below federal safety standards, Olds said.

But Tom Carpenter, executive director of the watchdog group Hanford Challenge, said Energy officials were trying to minimize the seriousness of the incident.

“They are trying to quibble about the amount of plutonium, but no amount should have ever left the facility,” he said.

Meanwhile, high-risk cleanup work at the plutonium finishing plant, which is slated for demolition next year, has been suspended.

The inspections were conducted with health officials from Washington, Ohio and Pittsburgh.

“The Ohio Department of Health received notification from the U.S. Department of Energy that there was a possibility that some contaminated personal protective equipment parts had been shipped to a manufacturer in the Cincinnati area,” said Melanie Amato, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health. “A State Health Department team was sent to the location and conducted extensive testing but all results were negative. Subsequently, a U.S. Department of Energy team arrived at the location and tested with the same results.”

Any plutonium exposure or release is considered a serious breach of safety and security rules in the Energy Department. The incident is part of a series of mishaps that include a major radiological accident at a nuclear dump in New Mexico last year that resulted in a two-year shutdown. The accident caused low-level radioactive exposure to 21 workers after the contaminated exhaust from the underground dump was blown to the surface.

The plutonium finishing plant is among the most badly contaminated buildings in the nation. It was the site of a notorious accident during the Cold War when a worker was exposed to a massive dose of radiation after an explosion and became known as the “Atomic Man.” He was so radioactive that his family could not approach him for weeks. The room where the accident had occurred remained sealed for decades until this year when workers entered it for the first time.

The ventilation units that caused the latest exposure are about the size of a shoe box and worn on a belt inside the isolation suit, so it is unclear why the exhaust hose had any contamination. They provide cooling air to the workers, while other devices filter breathing air.

The worker exposed to the plutonium had particles on his elbow, but apparently did not inhale the material. Inhalation of plutonium is among the most serious radiological exposures, because the substance can become embedded in lung tissue and deliver a long-term dose of radiation.

The Hanford site operated a series of reactors that produced plutonium, which was then chemically refined and packaged at the finishing plant, before being transported for fabrication into weapons parts in Colorado or New Mexico.

Areva Sees Heavy Losses For 2015 As Negotiations Begin On Sale of Areva TA

Nucnet | 18 December 2015

French nuclear group Areva’s net income for 2015 will show “a heavy loss”, but discussions have begun on the sale of propulsion and research reactors business Areva TA, with the most likely outcome being that the state will become the direct majority shareholder. This proposal is in “the preliminary stage”, Areva said, and will necessitate dialogue with unions and approval by Areva’s governing bodies. In a progress report on its 2015 financial outlook, Areva said net cash flow from operating activities is expected to be about minus €1.2bn ($1.3bn) compared to an initial forecast of minus €1.7bn to minus €1.3bn. Including net savings already generated by a competitiveness plan announced earlier this year, negative net cash flow would be €0.9bn, Areva said. The progress report said negotiations with French nuclear operator EDF about the sale of a majority share of reactor business subsidiary Areva NP are making progress and could be concluded early next year. EDF said in July 2015 it had agreed to buy “at least 51 percent” of Areva NP. The Areva group’s restructuring and a related financing plan will be specified during the publication of 2015 results at the latest, the company said. Areva also said firm offers will be submitted before the end of the year for a planned sale in 2016 of its UK-based subsidiary Canberra, which supplies instrumentation for the nuclear industry.