Tag Archive for Nuclear Power

DHS Infrastructure Report: Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector Cyberdependencies

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (DHS OCIA) produces cyberdependency papers to address emerging risks to critical infrastructure and provide increased awareness of the threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences of those risks to the Homeland. This note informs infrastructure and cybersecurity analysts about the potential consequences of cyber-related incidents in the Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector and its resilience to such incidents. This note also clarifies how computer systems support infrastructure operations, how cybersecurity incidents compromise these operations, and the likely functional outcome of a compromise.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Official Report

The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly “manmade.” We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual.

IAEA Iran Making Nuclear Weapons Report November 2011

Previous reports by the Director General have identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme and actions required of Iran to resolve these. Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information.

GAO U.S. Agencies Are Not Able to Fully Account for U.S. Nuclear Material Located at Foreign Facilities

DOE, NRC, and State are not able to fully account for U.S. nuclear material overseas that is subject to nuclear cooperation agreement terms because the agreements do not stipulate systematic reporting of such information, and there is no U.S. policy to pursue or obtain such information. Section 123 of the AEA, as amended, does not require nuclear cooperation agreements to contain provisions stipulating that partners report information on the amount, status, or location (facility) of special nuclear material subject to the agreement terms. However, U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements generally require that partners report inventory information upon request, although DOE and NRC have not systematically sought such data. We requested from multiple offices at DOE and NRC a current and comprehensive inventory of U.S. nuclear material overseas, to include country, site, or facility, and whether the quantity of material was rated as Category I or Category II material. However, neither agency has provided such an inventory. NMMSS does not contain the data necessary to maintain an inventory of U.S. special nuclear material overseas. DOE, NRC, and State have not pursued annual inventory reconciliations of nuclear material subject to U.S. cooperation agreement terms with all foreign partners that would provide the U.S. government with better information about where such material is held. Furthermore, according to DOE, NRC, and State officials, no U.S. law or policy directs U.S. agencies to obtain information regarding the location and disposition of U.S. nuclear material at foreign facilities.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

Spent fuel, after it is removed from the reactor core, is safely stored in specially designed pools at individual reactor sites around the country. The spent fuel is first placed into a spent fuel pool (Figure 1), which is like a deep swimming pool with racks to hold the fuel assemblies. It allows the fuel to begin cooling. The spent fuel is moved into the water pools from the reactor along the bottom of water canals, so that the spent fuel is always shielded to protect workers. Fuel assemblies are covered by a minimum of 25 feet of water within the pool, which provides adequate shielding from the radiation for anyone near the pool. Spent fuel pools are very robust structures that are constructed to withstand earthquakes and other natural phenomena and accidents. They are typically rectangular structures 20 to 40 feet wide, 30 to 60 feet long, and at least 40 feet deep. The outside walls are typically constructed of more than 3 feet of reinforced concrete. Spent fuel pools at pressurized water reactors (PWRs) are commonly located within an auxiliary building near the containment. Many of the PWR pools are located in the building’s interior. At boiling water reactors (BWRs), spent fuel pools are typically located at an elevated position within the reactor building, outside the primary containment area.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Fuel Cycle Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Report

Nuclear power plants in the U.S. use fuel rods that have been enriched in the uranium-235 (235U) fissile isotope. At the time of their insertion to the reactor, typical commercial power plant fuel rods contain approximately 2% to 5% 235U; the exact value depends on the details of the reactor design. This fuel remains in the reactor for up to three years or more, at which time fission product buildup necessitates its removal even though it still contains significant quantities of 235U.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Power Plants Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Reports

A nuclear power plant is an arrangement of components used to generate electric power. Nuclear power plants used in the United States (U.S.) are either boiling water reactors (BWRs) or pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Boiling water reactors (Figure 1) use a direct cycle in which water boils in the reactor core to produce steam, which drives a steam turbine. This turbine spins a generator to produce electric power. Pressurized water reactors (Figure 2) use an indirect cycle in which water is heated under high pressure in the reactor core and passes through a secondary heat exchanger to convert water in another loop to steam, which in turn drives the turbine. In the PWR design, radioactive water/steam never contacts the turbine. Except for the reactor itself, there is very little difference between a nuclear power plant and a coal- or oil-fired power plant.

Potassium Iodide Use in Radiation Emergencies Guidance

The objective of this document is to provide guidance to other Federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and to state and local governments regarding the safe and effective use of potassium iodide (KI) as an adjunct to other public health protective measures in the event that radioactive iodine is released into the environment. The adoption and implementation of these recommendations are at the discretion of the state and local governments responsible for developing regional emergency response plans related to radiation emergencies.

Sandia National Laboratories Nuclear Reactor Containment Integrity Research Overview

Research into the integrity of containment structures or vessels for nuclear power plants has been conducted around the world in those countries where nuclear energy is produced and provides, or is expected to provide, a significant portion of the domestic energy supply. While the contributions of each of these efforts to the understanding of the role of containment in ensuring the safe operation on nuclear power plants is important, the most comprehensive experimental effort has been conducted at Sandia National Laboratories, primarily under the sponsorship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This report describes the background and context for the more than 25 years of NRC-sponsored Containment Integrity Research at Sandia National Laboratories and summarizes the major results of the experimental efforts and the observations and insights gained from the analytical efforts.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission BWR Reactor Shutdown and Spent Fuel Storage Safety Report

An evaluation of the nuclear power plant regulatory basis is performed, as it pertains to those plants that are permanently shutdown (PSD) and waiting or undergoing decommissioning. Four spent fuel storage configurations are examined. Recommendations are provided for those operationally based regulations that could be partially or totally removed for PSD plants without impacting public health and safety.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission General Electric BWR/4 Reactor Technical Specifications

This NUREG contains the improved Standard Technical Specifications (STS) for General Electric (GE) BWR/4 plants. Revision 3 incorporates the cumulative changes to Revision 1 and 2, which was published in April 1995 and April 2001, respectively. The changes reflected in Revision 3 resulted from the experience gained from license amendment applications to convert to these improved STS or to adopt partial improvements to existing technical specifications. This publication is the result of extensive public technical meetings and discussions among the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff and various nuclear power plant licensees, Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) Owners Groups, and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

OECD Analysis and Management of Nuclear Accidents Integrated Plan

The Working Group on the Analysis and Management of Accidents (WGAMA) shall be responsible for activities related to potential accidental situations in nuclear power plants, including the following technical areas: reactor coolant system thermal-hydraulics; design-basis accident including ECCS strainer clogging; pre-core melt conditions and progression of accident and in-vessel phenomena; coolability of over-heated cores; ex-vessel corium interaction with concrete and coolant; incontainment combustible gas control; physical-chemical behaviour of radioactive species in the containment; fire safety. The activities will mainly focus on existing reactors, but will also comprise applications for some advanced reactor designs.

Iran Nuclear Site: Natanz Uranium Enrichment Site

Natanz (نطنز) is a hardened Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) covering 100,000 square meters that is built 8 meters underground and protected by a concrete wall 2.5 meters thick, itself protected by another concrete wall. In 2004, the roof was hardened with reinforced concrete and covered with 22 meters of earth. The complex consists of two 25,000 square meter halls and a number of administrative buildings. This once secret site was one of the two exposed by Alireza Jafarzadeh in August, 2002. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei visited the site on 21 February 2003 and reported that 160 centrifuges were complete and ready for operation, with 1000 more under construction at the site. Under the terms of Iran’s safeguards agreement, Iran was under no obligation to report the existence of the site while it was still under construction. There are currently approximately 7,000 centrifuges installed at Natanz, of which 5,000 are producing low enriched uranium.

Iran Nuclear Sites: Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (Persian نیروگاه اتمی بوشهر) is a nuclear power plant in Iran which is under construction 17 kilometres (11 mi) south-east of the city of Bushehr, between the fishing villages of Halileh and Bandargeh along the Persian Gulf. The nuclear power plant was planned to go on network in 2009. As late as November 28, 2009, the construction of the facility was said to be on schedule for completion.