Belgian nuclear reactors riddled with 16,000 unexplained cracks

From the Ecologist
by Oliver Tickell
18th February 2015

The discovery of over 16,000 cracks in two Belgian reactor vessels may have global implications for nuclear safety, says the country’s nuclear safety chief. He and independent experts are calling for the immediate checks of nuclear reactor vessels worldwide.

The safety of every nuclear reactor on the planet could be significantly compromised … What we are seeing in Belgium is potentially devastating for nuclear reactors globally due to the increased risk of a catastrophic failure.

Thousands of cracks have been found in the steel reactor pressure vessels in nuclear reactors Doel 3 and Tihange 2 in Belgium – vessels contain highly radioactive nuclear fuel cores.

The failure of these components can cause catastrophic nuclear accidents with massive release of radiation.

The pervasive – and entirely unexpected – cracking could be related to corrosion from normal operation, according to leading material scientists Professor Walter Bogaerts and Professor Digby MacDonald.

Speaking on Belgian TV, Professor MacDonald said:

“The consequences could be very severe … like fracturing the pressure vessel, loss of coolant accident. This would be a leak before break scenario, in which case before a fracture of a pipe occurred … you would see a jet of steam coming out through the insulation.

“My advice is that all reactor operators, under the guidance of the regulatory commissions should be required to do an ultrasonic survey of the pressure vessels. All of them.”

Professor Bogaerts added:

“If I had to estimate, I would really be surprised if it … had occurred nowhere else … I am afraid that the corrosion aspects have been underestimated.”

Jan Bens, Director-General of the Belgian nuclear regulator the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC),  has said that this could be a problem for the entire nuclear industry globally – and that the solution is to begin the careful inspection of 430 nuclear power plants worldwide.

An unexplained embrittlement

The problem was discovered in the summer of 2012. Both the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors have been shut down since March 24th, 2014 after additional tests revealed an unexplained advanced embrittlement of the steel of the test sample.

At the time the reactors’ operator, Electrabel, dismissed the cracks as being the result of manufacturing problems during construction in the late 1970’s in the Netherlands – but provided no supporting evidence.

FANC also stated that the most likely cause was manufacturing – but added that it could be due to other causes. Following the further tests FANC has now issued a statement confirming that the additional 2014 tests revealed 13,047 cracks in Doel 3 and 3,149 in Tihange 2.

“In carrying out tests related to theme 2 during the spring of 2014, a fracture toughness test revealed unexpected results, which suggested that the mechanical properties of the material were more strongly influenced by radiation than experts had expected. As a precaution both reactors were immediately shut down again.”

As nuclear reactors age, radiation causes pressure vessel damage, or embrittlement, of the steel mostly as a result of the constant irradiation by neutrons which gradually destroys the metal atom by atom – inducing radioactivity and transmutation into other elements.

Another problem is that hydrogen from cooling water can migrate into reactor vessel cracks. “The phenomenon is like a road in winter where water trickles into tiny cracks, freezes, and expands, breaking up the road”, says Greenpeace Belgium energy campaigner Eloi Glorieux.

“It appears that hydrogen from the water within the vessel that cools the reactor core is getting inside the steel, reacting, and destroying the pressure vessel from within.”

He adds that the findings mean that “the safety of every nuclear reactor on the planet could be significantly compromised … What we are seeing in Belgium is potentially devastating for nuclear reactors globally due to the increased risk of a catastrophic failure.”

Immediate action needed to prevent another catastrophe

On February 15th the nuclear reactor operator, Electrabel (GDF / Suez parent company) announced that it would be prepared to “sacrifice” one of its reactors to conduct further destructive tests of the reactor pressure vessel in order to study this poorly understood and extremely concerning damage phenomenon.

Electrabel’s findings will be submitted to FANC which will organize a new meeting of the international panel of experts to obtain their advice on the results of the new material tests and on the new data.

According to Electrabel, the findings constitute a “Level 1 occurrence on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES)” but the company emphasises that the event “has no impact whatsoever on the wellbeing or health of the employees, the local residents, or the surrounding area.”

But Glorieux dismisses such complacency:

“As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima-daiichi nuclear disaster, evidence has emerged that demands immediate action to prevent another catastrophe. Thousands of previously unknown cracks in critical components of two reactors point to a potentially endemic and significant safety problem for reactors globally.

“Nuclear regulators worldwide must require reactor inspections as soon as possible, and no later than the next scheduled maintenance shutdown. If damage is discovered, the reactors must remain shut down until and unless safety and pressure vessel integrity can be guaranteed. Anything less would be insane given the risk of a severe nuclear accident”

There are 435 commercial nuclear reactors worldwide, with an average age of 28.5 years in mid 2014. Of these, 170 reactors (44 percent of the total) have been operating for 30 years or more and 39 reactors have operated for over 40 years. As of 2015, Doel 3 has been operating for 33 years; Tihange 2 for 32 years.

Oliver Tickell edits The Ecologist.


Nuclear power safety issue at Belgian border draws big Dutch interest

From Netherland Times
by January 20, 2016

Doel Nuclear Power Plant (Source: Wikimedia/Ad Meskens)

At least 200 people attended a meeting in Bergen op Zoom on Tuesday to find out what is going on with the Belgian nuclear power plants. Dutch residents are concerned about their safety due to the growing number of incidents and stations such as Doel, just across the border from Bergen op Zoom, Omroep Brabant reports.

The meeting was organized by various environmental organizations from the Netherlands and Belgium. Attendees included people from Zeeland, Bergen op Zoom, Woensdrecht and Steenbergen.

The attendees were particularly concerned about the safety of the nuclear power plants. Incidents over the past year at the Doel plants included a sudden shutdown, an explosion and sabotage. The Doel plants started operating in 1975 and were intended to close last year, after 40 years of service. But the Belgian government decided to extend the operation until 2025.

“They should stop with the nuclear power as soon as possible. The Belgians must be able to see that they’re playing with fire”, one of the meeting attendees said to the broadcaster.

“We see that the incidents continue to pile up, there is a problem with the sabotage of Doel 4, which to this day has not been resolved and we also have a nuclear reactor with cracks”, Sara van Dyck of the Belgian Fund Better Environment. I think the concerns are certainly justified.”

Nuclear power safety issues at Belgian border draws big Dutch interest

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

German region protests, fears Fukushima-style disaster after Belgium restarts aging reactor

From Japan Times

December 16, 2015

Belgian power utility Electrabel restarted an aging nuclear reactor Tuesday after a near two-year shutdown, angering neighboring Germany, which fears the danger of a Fukushima-style meltdown.

Electrabel said it put the Tihange 2 reactor back on line “in complete safety,” despite opposition from officials in adjacent North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

Belgium has been hit by a series of nuclear mishaps in recent years, with three of the country’s seven reactors at one point closed, due in two of the cases to the discovery of micro-cracks in the reactor casings.

The Belgian nuclear authority gave the greenlight to relaunch Tihange 2, as well as another reactor near Antwerp, in November, giving Electrabel permission to operate the plant until its legislated final closure date in 2023.

Garrelt Duin, North Rhine-Westphalia’s economy minister, had warned strongly against the relaunch of Tihange, calling it outright “irresponsible.

Four of Germany’s 10 biggest cities — Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen—- are located within the state.

The city of Aachen, only 60 km (40 miles) from Tihange, said it had explored legal options to stop the reopening but without success.

Germany, unlike Belgium and France, decided to phase out what was a substantial nuclear energy program after the 2011 disaster in Fukushima.

At the time, Belgium also committed to a withdrawal from nuclear power but has since scaled back its ambitions due to a lack of reliable alternatives.

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

– Comparisons with X-rays and CT scans are “meaningless” — Inhaling particles increases radiation exposure by “a factor of a trillion” says expert

From ENE News
March 22, 2011

Hirose Takashi: The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident and the State of the Media, Asahi NewStar, March 17, 2011:

Translation by Douglas Lummis

… [Interviewer] Yo: Every day the local government is measuring the radioactivity.  All the television stations are saying that while radiation is rising, it is still not high enough to be a danger to health. They compare it to a stomach x-ray, or if it goes up, to a CT scan.  What is the truth of the matter?

Hirose: For example, yesterday.  Around Fukushima Daiichi Station they measured 400 millisieverts – that’s per hour.  With this measurement (Chief Cabinet Secretary) Edano admitted for the first time that there was a danger to health, but he didn’t explain what this means.  All of the information media are at fault here I think.  They are saying stupid things like, why, we are exposed to radiation all the time in our daily life, we get radiation from outer space.  But that’s one millisievert per year.  A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760.  Multiply the 400 millisieverts by that, you get 3,500,000 the normal dose.  You call that safe?  And what media have reported this?  None.  They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it.  The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping.  What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside.  These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say?  They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance.  I want to say the reverse.  Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body.  What happens?  Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter.  That’s a thousand times a thousand squared.  That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.”  Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion.  Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.

Yo:  So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning.  Because you can breathe in radioactive material.

Hirose:  That’s right.  When it enters your body, there’s no telling where it will go.  The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children.  Now they’re talking about iodine and cesium, but that’s only part of it, they’re not using the proper detection instruments.  What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air.  Their instruments don’t eat.  What they measure has no connection with the amount of radioactive material. . . .


Waveforms, sonifications, and the 3-11-11 earthquake that hit Japan

The Great Honshu earthquake and the Tohoku earthquake are two names for the 3-11-11 earthquake that hit Japan.

From Majia’s Blog
January 6, 2016

The Mainichi has a very interesting article on North Korea’s probable nuclear explosion. The article explains how Japanese scientists used the explosion’s waveform to distinguish it from a naturally occurring earthquake:

Natural earthquake vs. nuclear test: waveform graphs tell the story.
The Mainichi, January 6, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)

North Korea claimed on Jan. 6 that it had tested a hydrogen bomb. Before the official announcement, however, news agencies were already reporting a possible nuclear test after an “artificial” earthquake was detected with its epicenter around North Korea’s nuclear testing site in the northeast of the country…

How can earthquake monitoring agencies tell the difference between a natural quake and one caused by a nuclear blast? The answer is in the incident’s waveform. The undulations in the ground produced by a natural quake build to a sudden crescendo, while those produced by an underground nuclear test spike at the very beginning and then trail off….

I recommend reading the original article because it includes sample waveforms.

Just out of curiosity I searched for a seismograph of the 3/11 earthquake in Japan, the Great Honshu quake of 2011.

Here are a couple of findings:

VUME Virtual Upper Mantle of the Earth
Sonification of Tohoku Earthquake

I particularly recommend the second link, sonification of Tohoku Earthquake.


UCLA study finds advanced thyroid cancer rate in some California counties is well above national average

[Dr. Avital] Harari said it is not clear why the incidence of advanced-stage thyroid cancer is that much higher in California than the national average, but her research suggests there might be an environmental component.

…However, the only known environmental risk factor for thyroid cancer is radiation exposure, and that alone is unlikely to fully explain the phenomenon.

This was prior to Fukushima. What happens when this population, which already has a higher incidence of advanced thyroid cancer, is then impacted by heavy and ongoing fall-out from Fukushima? And what are the sources of this problem?

From University of California, Los Angeles

by Reggie Kumar | December 09, 2015

A team of UCLA researchers found that there are several parts of California where, in a high percentage of people with thyroid cancer, the disease is already at an advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed.

The research was led by Dr. Avital Harari, a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and assistant professor of surgery.

Approximately 63,000 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer nationwide last year, and according to the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased across racial, ethnic and gender lines over the past several decades. When detected early, thyroid cancer is treatable and even curable. However, survival rates are much lower for people who are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease.

The UCLA scientists examined county-by-county data from the California Cancer Registry for 27,000 people who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer from 1999 to 2008. To ensure that they were comparing similar population sizes, the researchers grouped together some smaller counties for the analysis.

Nationally, about 29 percent of people with thyroid cancer have advanced-stage disease by the time it is diagnosed, according to data from the NCI’s surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program, also known as SEER. Of the 47 geographical areas the UCLA researchers analyzed, 20 had significantly higher percentages than that, ranging from 33 percent (Orange County) to 51 percent (for the combination of Alpine, Amador and Calaveras counties).

Overall, in 35 percent of Californians with thyroid cancer — 6 percentage points higher than the national average — the disease has reached the regional and/or distant metastatic stage, meaning that it has spread beyond the thyroid to other tissues in the neck, regional lymph nodes or other parts of the body, by the time it is diagnosed.

According to the UCLA findings, the California counties (or combined county groups) where people were most likely to have advanced thyroid cancer at the time of diagnosis were:

  1. Alpine, Amador and Calaveras (combined): Disease was advanced in 51 percent of those with thyroid cancer
  2. Imperial: 48 percent
  3. Sutter: 45 percent
  4. San Francisco: 41 percent
  5. Santa Barbara: 40 percent

Southern California counties outside of the top five were San Bernardino, which ranked 12th (37 percent of people with thyroid cancer had advanced-stage disease), San Diego (13th, 36 percent), Los Angeles (14th, 35 percent), Fresno (17th, 34 percent), Ventura (18th, 34 percent) and Orange (20th, 33 percent).

The counties with the highest percentages of people with advanced cancer were not grouped together in any obvious geographic pattern, meaning that none of the larger regions within the state seem to have a higher risk for the disease than any other.

Harari said it is not clear why the incidence of advanced-stage thyroid cancer is that much higher in California than the national average, but her research suggests there might be an environmental component.

“California has the largest amount of farmland in the country, so this type of exposure could very well contribute to our thyroid cancer rates,” she said.

However, the only known environmental risk factor for thyroid cancer is radiation exposure, and that alone is unlikely to fully explain the phenomenon.

The next stage of Harari’s research will evaluate possible links between thyroid cancer and exposure to pesticides and radon.

The study was published online by the Journal of Surgical Research.

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February 22, 2016 — Global meditation experiment

I participated in one of these experiments. Radioactivity was reduced.

From Dr. Buryl Payne, PhD —

FEBRUARY 22, 2016


In three small pilot studies and one experiment on two people outside of the U.S. RADIOACTIVITY WAS DECREASED. MORE PEOPLE PROBABLY CAN LOWER THE RADIOACTIVITY. This is an unrecognized power of humans. Join and tell your friends to join also.

On February 22, 2016, use your thought power to lower radioactivity background level of the Earth. Please do it for 15 minutes at any convenient time during that day.

People have the power to talk to trees and ants, cats and dogs, and other life forms, but they are not taught how to do that in schools. We are planning to teach kids how to do that.
Click Here for more Info.

The Fukushima Disaster’s Radioactive WASTE CONTINUES TO ACCUMULATE on the West Coast AND ALL OVER THE WORLD!  Ocean currents are carrying radioactive particles from the Japanese flooded reactor to the West Coast of North America.

Measurement of the accumulated radioactive materials is difficult to make because:

1.  There are different sizes and types of Geiger counters.

2.  Ocean currents vary with tides, shoreline and undersea topography

3.  Ocean currents also vary with surface winds.

Radioactive particles of different elements differ in density and travel differently in the ocean. The important thing is that radioactivity is there and will continue to increase since radioactive waste from Fukushima continues to flow into the ocean.  Plus radioactive contamination from nuclear bomb tests, nuclear power plants and their waste. Coal burning power plants continue to pollute the environment.

No matter what are the difficulties of making meaningful measurements, one study showed elevated rates of low thyroid in babies especially after the initial tidal wave from Fukushima.


April 2015, we held a third study that DEMONSTRATED human intention reduced the radioactivity of a sample from 148 to 121 counts per minute. Two previous pilot studies also showed that radioactive counts were reduced when people made a mental effort for 5 – 10 minutes to reduce them.

This indicates that the older idea in physics of a fixed decay rate for radioactivity is incorrect. This may be a way to reduce the ever accumulating radioactive waste from the Fukushima mishap to a safer level.

So far, three pilot studies have shown over a 10% decrease in radiation when people mentally focused on it decreasing.

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As a practiced meditator, your help is desperately needed to focus your minds on decreasing radioactivity.  Please invite all your friends and colleagues to focus their minds on the radioactivity decreasing.


­Thank you!