Norway environmentalists urge nuclear waste removal / News / The Foreigner

Norway environmentalists urge nuclear waste removal. The situation regarding nuclear waste at eastern Norway’s Kjeller nuclear facility may be more serious than first thought. Authorities are concerned. Some 3.2 tonnes of spent fuel from the 1950s and ‘60s is stored at Kjeller. This comes from both the JEEP I and NORA reactors. JEEP I was Norway’s first research reactor and operated from 1951 until 1967. This reactor, which was used as feed material for an experimental reprocessing plant there, has been fully decommissioned. NORA operated from 1961 until 1968.

nuclear, radiation, contamination, paywall



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Norway environmentalists urge nuclear waste removal

Published on Thursday, 17th March, 2016 at 21:08 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last Updated on 17th March 2016 at 21:25.

The situation regarding nuclear waste at eastern Norway’s Kjeller nuclear facility may be more serious than first thought. Authorities are concerned.

The JEEP 1 nuclear reactor
The reactor was inaugurated on 28th November 1951 as one of the first nuclear-reactors in the world. It was an international event, and both Nobel Laurates Nils Bohr (Denmark) and Sir John Cockroft (UK) were at the official opening.The JEEP 1 nuclear reactor
Photo: Institute for Energy Technology


Some 3.2 tonnes of spent fuel from the 1950s and ‘60s is stored at Kjeller. This comes from both the JEEP I and NORA reactors.

JEEP I was Norway’s first research reactor and operated from 1951 until 1967. This reactor, which was used as feed material for an experimental reprocessing plant there, has been fully decommissioned. NORA operated from 1961 until 1968.

Spent fuel from the JEEP II reactor, which started up in 1966, is also stored on site at Kjeller. This amounts to approximately 1.5 tonnes.

Publication Teknisk Ukeblad has reported that Norway’s Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) is concerned about the situation regarding JEEP I’s stored spent nuclear fuel.

Corrosion risk            

The reactor was inaugurated on 28th November 1951. It was one of the first nuclear-reactors in the world.

Officials fear that moisture and rust found inside containers holding HAL uranium pellets could, at worst, mean that radioactive material has leaked into the groundwater due to corrosion.

Kjeller was granted a new nine-year licence for continued operation in 1999 by the government. A permit for this was also issued to Østfold County’s Halden – the site at which Norway’s other research reactor is located.

But no decision regarding long-term storage and disposal of Kjeller’s waste was made. The government subsequently appointed an independent expert group to discuss strategies and options for the future storage and disposal of the spent nuclear fuel.

In 2001, the committee submitted its findings to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Experts concluded that an interim storage solution was needed for at least 50 years.

No specific siting for the facility was discussed, and no decision regarding long-term storage has been taken to this day.

Nils Bøhmer, general manager of environmental foundation Bellona comments that storage conditions regarding JEEP I’s waste are no longer suitable.

“We’ve been warning about the dangers for years. These moisture problems show that the situation is precarious and that speeding up plans for a new storage facility is now more urgent than ever,” he told NRK.

Good response

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has told the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), which operates Norway’s nuclear research reactors, to determine whether there are any leaks.

“It’s clearly worrying,” said the NRPA’s Solveig Dysvik to Teknisk Ukeblad.

The IFE has also requested state funding to enable them to remove the old radioactive waste from Kjeller.

Head of Security Ole Reistad commented, Monday, that preliminary tests have not shown there is reason to believe that any leakage has occurred.

“This is because we’ve now examined the [aluminium alloy] cladding [around the spent fuel] and found it to be intact. But we have to start checking whether there’s a chance of this [a leak] as soon as water is present,” he explained.

Bellona’s Nils Bøhmer informs The Foreigner that corrosion can also be potentially lethal for other reasons.

“The aluminium cladding and the metallic uranium in the fuel is unstable, and could produce hydrogen and uranium hydride, which is pyrophoric. This could lead to a fire in the spent fuel, and further stresses the urgency regarding the Kjeller storage matter.”

Viktor A. Wikstrøm jr., Communications Director at the IFE, underlines that being open about the JEEP 1 issue is important for them.

“We have had several meetings with the local community the past two years about the work that we have to do to cope with the storage of our old fuel. We held a meeting with the public in our series called “IFE-Akademiet” on 10th February this year,” says Mr Wikstrøm.

Staff addressed the topic in depth and took time to answer questions, according to him.

“I think the response from the local community the last few days is an indication that our openness “soothes” the Public. This matter is unpleasant, but does not pose any threat to either our staff or to the Public,” he concludes.



Published on Thursday, 17th March, 2016 at 21:08 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last updated on 17th March 2016 at 21:25.

This post has the following tags: nuclear, radiation, contamination, paywall.





  
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