IAEA demands Russian exit from Zaporizhzhia

September 16, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to a report from Reuters, the 35-member board voted 26–2 yesterday in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions. The two “no” votes were cast, unsurprisingly, by Russia and China, while abstentions came from Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.

NRC issues new report for Convention on Nuclear Safety

September 12, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last Friday announced the publication of its ninth report to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, describing the federal government’s actions under the convention to achieve and maintain safety for the nation’s nuclear power reactor fleet.

An International Atomic Energy Agency treaty, the Convention on Nuclear Safety was adopted in 1994 and entered into force in 1996. In 1999, it was ratified by the U.S. Senate.

The aim of the convention, according to the IAEA, is to “commit contracting parties operating land-based civil nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by establishing fundamental safety principles to which states would subscribe.” Signatories are required to submit reports for peer review at meetings held every three years.

Zaporizhzhia update

September 9, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi (at right) inspects damage at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant on September 1. (Photo: Fredrik Dahl/IAEA)

At this writing, the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is as fraught with tension as ever, despite an International Atomic Energy Agency support and assistance mission to the site last week led by director general Rafael Mariano Grossi.

IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia finally launched

August 30, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi (center) with his team of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards experts at the Vienna International Airport on August 29, prior to their departure for Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

After months of urgent entreaties to both the Ukrainian and Russian governments to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi yesterday set off for the facility, accompanied by a team of nuclear security, safety, and safeguards experts.

NNSA reallocates $10 million toward peaceful uses of nuclear technology

August 30, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The NNSA’s Savannah Blalock announces that the agency has reallocated $10 million to support peaceful uses. (Photo: NNSA)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has redirected about $10 million from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s low-enriched uranium fuel bank to efforts supporting the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and to fight cancer.

Quick action in Mexico leads to eradication of pest with a taste for fresh fruit

August 9, 2022, 12:27PMNuclear News
A release box containing about 15 million sterile male fruit flies is loaded into a Cessna aircraft for release over Colima, Mexico, earlier this year. (Photo: DGSV SENASICA)

Mexican authorities announced last week that the Mediterranean fruit fly, more commonly known as the medfly, had been successfully eradicated in the state of Colima using a nuclear technique described by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as “birth control for pests.” Mexico used the sterile insect technique (SIT) in cooperation with the IAEA and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to protect fruit and vegetable crops, farmers’ livelihoods, and the country’s economy.

New IAEA database to collect data on NORM exposure for industrial workers

June 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A shot from a coal mine in Poland. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has launched a new database of the Information System on Occupational Exposure in Medicine, Industry, and Research (ISEMIR) for workers in industrial processes involving naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The new database, ISEMIR-N, joins two existing databases in the ISEMIR system: ISEMIR-IC, for workers in interventional cardiology, and ISEMIR-IR, for workers in industrial radiography.

Zoonotic disease experts agree to use nuclear science against monkeypox, Lassa fever

June 13, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi addresses workshop attendees. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency convened a workshop last week to explore how nuclear techniques backed by the IAEA’s Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative could be used to avoid outbreaks of monkeypox and Lassa fever. The meeting, held in Vienna, Austria, on the sidelines of the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, was organized to assist countries in using nuclear and related techniques to detect, mitigate, and understand the behavior of the viruses.

“It is important that we are reacting quickly, as things happen. I am happy that concrete work is being carried out on something before it becomes a very difficult problem,” said IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi as he opened the one-day summit.

IAEA team recommends improvements to Denmark’s radwaste program

May 13, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Denmark’s Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy. The two cylindrical buildings outermost on the peninsula contained the two nuclear reactors DR-2 and DR-3. (Photo: DTU)

An independent review of Denmark’s radioactive waste management program by an International Atomic Energy Agency team found that the country has developed a robust and well-functioning system, but that the national program needs further refinement if it is to be effectively implemented.

The government of Denmark requested the review of its waste management program to fulfil its European Union obligations requiring an independent review of EU member states’ national radioactive waste management programs. The Danish parliament adopted a resolution outlining the policy goals and activities of its national program for safely managing radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in 2018.

Update on Ukraine

April 29, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, thanks IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi for the agency’s support, including its April 26 mission to Chernobyl. (Photo: IAEA)

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, led a mission to Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant this week to address ongoing radiological safety concerns at the shuttered site following five weeks (February 24–March 31) of Russian military occupation.

Update on Ukraine

April 1, 2022, 3:20PMNuclear News
The New Safe Confinement structure over the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Photo from 2018.

Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom, announced yesterday that the Russian military has withdrawn from the Chernobyl plant and surrounding area. “According to the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, there are now no outsiders on-site,” Energoatom stated in an online post. Russian forces took control of Chernobyl on February 24, day one of the invasion.

In a separate post, the company said that the Russians had formally agreed to return the responsibility for Chernobyl to Ukraine. It shared a scan of a document, with the heading “Act of acceptance and transfer of protection of the Chernobyl nuclear plant,” purportedly signed by a representative of Russia’s National Guard, a representative of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, and a Chernobyl plant shift manager.

Plutonium transported from IAEA laboratory to Oak Ridge

March 30, 2022, 9:46AMNuclear News

Truck loaded with nuclear cargo before departing the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory. (Photo: NNSA).

Plutonium from an International Atomic Energy Agency laboratory in Austria has been removed to the United States, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced on March 29.

The plutonium was shipped from the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where it will be used in sealed sources for nonproliferation research and development.

Safeguards: The plutonium included in the shipment represents approximately 15 years of accumulated residue from inspection samples collected in support of the IAEA’s safeguards mission, according to the NNSA. Technical experts from ORNL and Savannah River National Laboratory worked with a team from the IAEA for several years to complete all activities required for the safe and secure transportation of the material to Oak Ridge.

Update on Ukraine

March 25, 2022, 7:10AMNuclear News

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Wednesday that he remains “gravely concerned” about Ukraine’s nuclear sites amid the ongoing Russian invasion and stressed the urgency of reaching an agreement on a framework that would enable his agency to provide technical assistance to ensure the safe and secure operation of those facilities.

Update on Ukraine

March 18, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) informed the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday that all safety systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine were fully functional, one day after the site lost connection to a third external power line linking it to the national electricity grid.

Off-site power restored at Chernobyl — before power lines damaged again

March 14, 2022, 8:37AMPress Releases
Energoatom, photo of Rovno (Rivne) NPP. Rivne NPP | Energoatom

External power supplies were restored to the decommissioning Chernobyl facility following repairs of damaged power lines — before being reportedly damaged again, according to Ukraine's transmission system operator Ukrenergo.

Grossi returns from talks with Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers in Turkey

March 11, 2022, 9:13AMNuclear News
At the press conference, Grossi explained that the IAEA has stopped receiving safeguards information from certain monitoring systems installed at Ukrainian nuclear facilities, as indicated by the red dots.

IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled to Antalya, Turkey, on March 10 to meet with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the safety and security of Ukraine's nuclear facilities. After returning to Vienna, Grossi held a press conference at which he said that a “common denominator” had emerged from the discussions and that both sides agree that something needs to be done. “They are both ready to work and to engage with the IAEA,” he said. “So this is a very important building block.”

Russian invasion taking its toll on Ukrainian nuclear workers

March 8, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The events of the past 12 days are unprecedented and nerve-wracking for the nuclear community. Never before has a nuclear power plant been in a full-scale war zone until the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. The world watched nervously as Russian troops and heavy equipment rolled through the Chernobyl site and then a week later attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russian forces are now less than 50 kilometers from the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.

Update on Ukraine

March 4, 2022, 9:28AMNuclear News
Energoatom’s Zaporizhzhia plant, in southeastern Ukraine. (Photo: Energoatom)

Latest on Zaporizhzhia: As of this morning, Russian military forces have taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The Russian military began shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine, resulting in a fire at the site on Thursday.

Zaporizhzhia remains in Ukrainian control, Energoatom says

February 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Energoatom issued this graphic dismissing Russian claims of control of Zaporizhzhia as “fake” on February 28. (Image: Energoatom)

Denying a Russian claim of control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom earlier today declared that “Russian propaganda media reports that the invaders allegedly took control of the Zaporizhzhia NPP are a cynical fake.” According to Energoatom, all four of its nuclear power plants are under the control of Ukraine and are operating normally with enhanced defenses.