Today's big stories from the nuclear industry:

Manila nuclear plant is slowly dying
‘MANILA // On a windswept bluff overlooking the South China Sea, the Bataan nuclear power station stands as a reminder to the UAE and other nations of the Middle East as they pursue similar solutions to their own energy needs. The plant, which was completed in 1984 at a cost of US$2.3 billion (Dh8.44bn), has never produced a kilowatt of electricity. As goats graze around the site 100km north west of Manila, the grey concrete reactor is seen as a testament to greed, corruption and the short-sightedness of successive Philippine governments. This in a country where people have learned to live with unexpected power cuts due to the chronic shortage of generating capacity. There is talk of reviving the Bataan plant, but officials express concern about having the trained personnel to run it. There also have been suggestions it could be turned into a tourist attraction. Bataan has since become a symbol of corruption for dozens of groups who are vehemently opposed to nuclear power. Bataan and two smaller non-nuclear generating plants are all that the government still owns, and all three are up for sale.’

Finland risks digging itself into a nuclear grave as it moves ahead with plans for more reactors, new deep underground repository for nuclear waste
‘The Baltic Sea Infotour has raised as an idea - according to the event's description available across various ecological sites on the Internet – for various groups, organisations, and individuals who share a common concern for the well-being of the Baltic Sea and problems related to its radioactive pollution to travel across the Baltic nations of Finland, Russia, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden in order to "come in contact with local initiatives, carry out actions, take part in information events and organise some of those events., have network meetings with local activists, spread information about nuclear issues, and maybe other topics, too." The new construction projects only recently launched on the Baltic Sea include at this point three additional nuclear reactors - at Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Western Finland, at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant near St. Petersburg in Russia, and Baltic (Kaliningrad) Nuclear Power Plant in Russia's westernmost enclave of Kaliningrad Region, close to the Lithuanian border. More NPP construction plans are also currently on the agenda in Finland, Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. In Germany and Sweden, where nuclear energy is officially outlawed as a result of public protests, plans are being considered to expand radioactive waste storage facilities.’

Centre ignores' state govt request on Rajauli plant
‘PATNA: Inadequate water is one of the major obstacles faced by the proposed nuclear power project at Rajauli in Nawada district of the state. Despite the state government's repeated request for installation of a reduced capacity of 2x700 MW nuclear power plant, the Centre is yet to respond to it. Earlier, the state government had requested the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for installation of a 4x700 MW nuclear power project at Rajauli for which a team of NPCIL experts had visited the area for site selection in 2007. In view of the reduced availability of water of about 12,785 cubic meters per hour (127 cusec), state water resources development (WRD) department had asked the Centre to reduce the capacity from the proposed 4x700 MW to 2x700 MW nuclear power station. Accordingly, director (projects), NPCIL, Mumbai had been requested to reduce the proposed capacity to either 4x450 MW or 2x700 MW. The NPCIL has reportedly expressed its reluctance to set up nuclear power plant because of the reduced availability of water. Approximately 3,150 acre land has been identified at Rajauli for setting up 4x700 MW nuclear power station.’

Cuts cast doubt on Yorkshire £25m nuclear research unit
‘FRESH doubt has been cast on Yorkshire's ambition to grab a central role in British nuclear manufacturing after it emerged that a planned £25m research centre could fall victim to a new round of Government cuts. Earlier this year Lord Mandelson, then Business Secretary, visited South Yorkshire to announce massive investment in the region as part of Labour aspirations to lead the world in low-carbon energy production. One of two measures unveiled by the peer in March was an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters for a massive new press to make components for the world's "next generation" of nuclear power stations. Second was the announcement of a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham. Now just weeks after the Forgemasters loan was scrapped by the new coalition Government, the Yorkshire Post has learnt that funding for the research centre is also under threat. Plans for the facility, at Catcliffe, near the M1, have just been passed by Rotherham Council, but regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, which has committed £7m to the project, will not now guarantee funding.’

The Real Deal With Cesium
‘The month of July has been a big one for the chemical element Cesium. Produced naturally through the nuclear fuel cycle and used in a variety of applications from agriculture to cancer treatment, it is highly radioactive in isotopic form Cs-137. The idea has been floated for a long time of using cesium in a radioactive "dirty bomb," which wouldn't have the same explosive power as a uranium or plutonium nuclear bomb but would contaminate land, water supplies and living organisms, including people. In March 2002, Henry Kelly, President of the Federation of American Scientists, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the possibility of constructing dirty bombs using three different radioactive elements -- cesium, cobalt and americium. He demonstrated that if a cesium-137 bomb were exploded using 10 pounds of TNT at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the resulting contamination might look something like this…’

Korea, U.S. to Discuss Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing This Fall
‘Korea and the United States have agreed to start talks about the revision of a bilateral atomic energy agreement this fall, it emerged on Monday. Seoul is keen to reprocess its own spent fuel rods, which it is barred from doing under the agreement, but Washington has so far been reluctant to permit it since the process results in the production of weapons-grade plutonium. But in a meeting Monday with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Seoul, Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department's special advisor for non-proliferation and arms control, apparently signaled willingness to consider Seoul's proposal to use a process known as pyroprocessing, which does not produce plutonium that is pure enough for nuclear weapons. A diplomatic source said, "The U.S. has shown some confidence in Korea's pledge to reuse the spent nuclear fuel peacefully. Concrete technical matters will be reviewed by scientists and engineers of the two countries in negotiations."’

Former Joliet chemical workers still waiting to be paid after exposure to high levels of radiation
‘Four years ago, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama called them "veterans of the Cold War" and pledged to help them receive compensation. But today, many former workers at Blockson Chemical Co. in Joliet and their survivors still have not been paid from a fund created in 2000 to make amends for exposing the workers to high levels of radiation without telling them or providing adequate protection. Among them is Phyllis Keca, 84, whose husband, John, thought he was manufacturing laundry detergents during his 23 years working at Blockson. He wore only a paper mask while handling tanks that, unknown to him, were filled with uranium and radium to be used in the production of nuclear weapons. He was "always sick," his wife said, and would come home covered in dust that she now believes was toxic and contributed to his death in 1996 from colon cancer at age 80. "It's deceitful and it's deceiving because my husband went through so much," said Keca, who lives in Joliet just a few miles from where her husband once worked. "They made us feel like they were promising us something and then reneged."’