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Having heard on the news how much Merkel has always loved ball – we suggest that she keep her millions of high level nuclear waste balls, in their pristine golden storage containers, to go with the World Cup Golden Ball, instead of dumping on the USA (or other countries).

Germany lifts the 2014 FIFA World Cup, CC-BY-3.0-br, Agência Brasil
Germany lifts the 2014 FIFA World Cup, CC-BY-3.0-br, Agência Brasil

Germany can’t keep the good ball and dump their commercial radioactive waste balls from their failed Pebble Bed Nuclear Technology on others! It’s so wrong!

World Cup Golden Ball in “Containment”
Photo by Warrenski, but cropped:  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en cropped
Photo by Warrenski via Flickr, but cropped: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

German Nuclear Balls in Golden Containment
German Storage Canisters

German High Level Nuclear Waste Balls from Failed Pebble Bed Commercial Reactors
Germany Nuclear Balls

The German and the US governments can continue to lie until they are blue in the face (If only they would!), and say that these were research reactors, but these were commercial reactors, hooked to the electrical grid. The AVR reactor was connected to the grid from 1967 to 1988. The THTR (Thorium High Temperature Reactor) was connected to the grid in 1986 and only worked for about 423 days, so fraught was it with problems. Both suffered accidents, emitting radiation into the environment, and disease clusters have been found in the environs. Both are failed technologies, which Germany is apparently pawning off upon the US, and the US nuclear lobby will, in turn, surely pawn off on an unsuspecting public, as great new “German technological innovation”, along with the high level nuclear waste. [1] Anyone who has ever dealt with German washing machines – prone to stinky washer syndrome and clothing destruction – or with certain German car brands, knows that German technology is not always all that it is cracked up to be! Failed nuclear technology and high level nuclear waste is certainly more serious than these other technological failures, however.

Germany currently still has the same number of nuclear reactors operating as the UK does, which means it continues to make nuclear waste and continues to contribute to world-wide risk of another nuclear accident. “Planning” to shut is not yet shut. Being stupid enough to plan new nuclear build is not building it yet; building is not operating – some nuclear power plants have been built and not gone online due to shoddy construction or public opposition.

German companies (E.ON, RWE) are responsible for about 11% of the uranium enrichment in the world, and about 1/3rd of the uranium enrichment in the USA [2]. Most world nuclear power plants require enrichment, meaning that German E.ON. and RWE are very responsible in the perpetuation of the nuclear power industry.

Even if Germany were nuclear free and they certainly are NOT yet, it doesn’t give them the right to dump their 37 commercial reactors (9 open; 28 closed) and 45 research reactors on other people and countries [3]. It doesn’t give Germany the right to dump the fuel of these two, exotic, failed commercial reactors on South Carolina, or anywhere else in the USA.

Everyone must take responsibility for their past actions, including for their former nuclear reactors. This is probably why there is no decommissioning in most countries – there is no place to decommission to. The US has no place to put its OWN commercial nuclear waste, shall it take Germany’s commercial waste? With the failure of the WIPP facility it has no place for its own non-commercial nuclear waste. Some of the waste from the Savannah River site was actually sent to WIPP in New Mexico, as part of its clean-up.
WIPP 22 May 2014
Waste WIPP Facility in May. Did Obama and Moniz miss this or what?

Was waste moved from Savannah River to WIPP to make room for Germany’s commercial nuclear waste? The US commercial waste still awaits a final home at nuclear power plants, all over the country, some precariously perched. With Yucca mountain canceled there is no home in sight.

Please remember to protest the sending of German High Level Nuclear Waste to the USA, if you have not yet done so. Please contact: Mr. Andrew Grainger, drew.grainger@srs.gov, NEPA Compliance Officer, U.S.Department of Energy by 21 July 2014.

Germany being non-nuclear is a fallacy notion being perpetuated in the English speaking world, along with a strange illogic that if they are leaving nuclear, they can dump their waste on whoever and however. Only because of the strength and hard-work of German environmentalists, many of the oldest nuclear reactors were shut post-Fukushima. However Germany still has 9 commercial nuclear reactors operating and generating risk and nuclear waste. The German government and German corporations have apparently tried to scuttle the renewable energy policy, by forcing the German people to carry an unfair part of the renewable tax burden. RWE has sued the German government over the shut-down of its decrepit reactors, as has Swedish government owned Vatenfall.[4]

Germany still has as many operating nuclear reactors as the UK, even though it announced the shutting of its nuclear industry and shut many older reactors. Switzerland has also announced a nuclear phase out, but continues to operate the oldest nuclear reactor in the world, and has discussed changing its mind. As in ball, no one can sit on their laurels or make assumptions on this. The sole possible exception being Austria who decided early on that they did not want the nuclear waste and hence would not open an already constructed nuclear power plant. Interesting that it never dawned on Austria that they might cast their nuclear waste on other people! Austria knew and foresaw the big picture and took responsibility, and did not act the baby as Germany is doing and has done. Refusing to take responsibility, Germany sent its radioactive sludge to dump on Italian farmland, Germany sent some nuclear waste to Russia (Some was called back due to efforts by environmentalists and the German Green Party). In 2013, Germany burned its radioactive waste in Tennessee, and now, like a whiney baby, Germany is trying to sends its nuclear waste ball “toys”, which failed, to Mother America (Columbia), who has been babying Germany almost 70 years now.

Columbia reaching out to viewer. Original design for the "Be Patriotic" poster by Paul Stahr, ca. 1917-18
Columbia reaching out, “Be Patriotic”, ca. 1917-18 (WWI)
The capital of South Carolina, target of German nuclear waste, is Columbia.

No more molly-coddling of Germany and its radioactive waste! Does Germany REALLY look like it needs molly-coddling by America? Can’t it solve its own nuclear waste problem?
Friedrich August von Kaulbach (1850–1920)
Germania by Kaulbach, 1914 (WWI)

German companies, E.ON and RWE are currently responsible for around 11% of uranium enrichment in the world and 1/3rd of that which occurs in the US. URENCO – owned in equal thirds by the UK and Dutch governments and the German E.On.-RWE consortium is responsible for about 1/3rd of the uranium enrichment worldwide. Since, the recent closure of the last US-owned enrichment facility, URENCO seems to be the only enricher in the USA. Without them, most likely, the majority of US nuclear power plants would be forced to shut for lack of fuel. Think of that!

One reason that Germany wants to dump its nuclear waste is apparently because the Jülich Research Institute has a new “Master Plan”, which might be “ruined” by the presence of a failed nuclear reactor, but this does not explain why more nuclear waste is being pulled from storage in Ahaus, Germany! Still, how much you wanna bet that Moniz, and possibly Obama, have been promised jobs at Jülich Research Institute? Moniz’ MIT and other nuclear buddies will almost surely take the failed Pebble-Bed technology and try to foist it back upon an unsuspecting public, as the nuclear industry has already been doing with old, failed, US nuclear technology.

Notes, References, Further Reading

[1] Although the THTR-300 was supposed to be safer because it couldn’t “meltdown”, in 1984 it was shown by the Institute of Nuclear Safety Research of Forschungszentrum Jülich, that a loss of coolant in the THTR-300 leads to very high temperatures (2300 ° C), which resulted in a massive radioactive release, even without a “meltdown”. A major disadvantage was that the pre-stressed concrete used for containment decomposes on heating water vapor release and the water vapor reacts chemically with the hot graphite. A report from 1988 for the NRW state government (Germany), long kept confidential, states that the THTR-300 in flooding incidents through steam generator pipe breaks could lead to similar scenarios to the Chernobyl accident. This similarity to the Chernobyl reactor is caused by the use of graphite as a moderator in both types of reactor. Proponents of the pebble bed technology, have failed to disprove this report. This reactor also had problems with reliability. Among other things were the absorber rods that are pressed from above into the pebble, causing significantly more often than predicted fracture damage to the fuel assemblies. A total of 25,000 damaged fuel elements were found, which were a thousand times more than expected in a 40-year operation. THTR-300 was only in full service for 423 days due to constant problems. Just 6 months after it was connected to the power grid, on May 4, 1986, fuel pebble became lodged in a fuel feed pipe to the core and some radioactive dust from ball breakage and erosion was released to the environment. This was just a couple of days after Chernobyl. The operators played down the incident, which caused a loss of trust in the controlling authority. The Westphalia ministry of commerce created a fact finding committee. After a couple of weeks the power plant was switched on again. The fuel elements broke more often than calculated. The fuel factory in Hanau was decommissioned for security reasons. The fuel supply was difficult before and at risk through this decision. It was decided to shut down THTR-300. 120 known incidents were logged in its short lifetime. In 1988 the reactor had to be shut down cold, after six weeks of operation for at least a week to remove defective fuel elements from the collection. The high fracture rate was probably a consequence of the unfavorable helium friction properties, for the THTR-300. Although the friction of the control rods could be reduced, this would cause an unacceptably high corrosion rate of the metallic components. The resulting ball break threatened to worsen the reactor cooling through blockage of coolant gas holes in the bottom reflector. In 2013 it was announced by an official inquiry that in the vicinity of the THTR-300 is an increased risk of thyroid cancer (64%) for women. According to the study the causes are not related to the THTR. This is disputed by parts of the environmental movement. The study on the incidence of cancer was originally requested by environmentalists, because of the uncertainties regarding the amount of radiation emitted during the incident on May 4, 1986. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernkraftwerk_THTR-300 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THTR-300

The AVR reactor (German: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor) was a prototype pebble bed reactor at Jülich Research Centre in West Germany. Construction began in 1960; the first grid connection was in 1967 and operation ceased in 1988. A 1988 report for the NRW state government, only made available in 2011, discusses the serious safety deficiencies of pebble reactors – especially the AVR. Since its accident there is radioactively contaminated soil and groundwater, under the reactor. According to a FZJ (Jülich Research Center) report by Moormann, published in 2008, excessively strong radioactive contamination of the reactor was due to inadequate monitoring of the reactor core, as well as due to long-lasting operation at excessive high temperatures [which apparently characterizes this reactor type], meaning that fission products could emerge from the graphite balls. Moormann emphasized that these are inherent problems of pebble bed reactors (ie not just an AVR problem) and the question arises whether the pebble bed concept is even feasible or justifiable. “In April 2014 a report of independent experts on the AVR operation was published. This report lists hidden or downplayed events and accidents, discusses an illegal manipulation of the reactor safety system during an accident and criticizes a far too optimistic interpretation of the AVR operation with respect to potential future pebble bed reactors. As a consequence of the report Juelich Research Center regretted failures and scientific misbehavior with respect to the AVR“. There was also a leukemia case cluster in children in the region of the Jülich Research Facility-Reactor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVR_reactor. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVR_(Jülich)

[2] GERMAN URANIUM ENRICHMENT: in the US and Internationally

URENCO, which is equally owned by the German E.ON – RWE (1/3rd), the UK gov, and the Dutch gov, enriches between 30 and 33% of uranium worldwide. Urenco appears to enrich ALL uranium now enriched within the USA, since the recent closure of the only US owned facility, and pending the opening of a French gov owned AREVA facility. Even prior to the closure of the US owned facility – which apparently left only URENCO (aka LES) – about 45% was imported to the USA from URENCO (so 15% German). URENCO also had a share of the 31% enriched within the USA. URENCO was deceptively known as Louisiana Enrichment Services (LES), but is increasingly calling itself by its real name of URENCO: “In 2013, COOs delivered 47 million pounds U3O8e of natural uranium feed to U.S. and foreign enrichers. Fifty-nine percent of the feed was delivered to U.S. enrichment suppliers and the remaining 41% was delivered to foreign enrichment suppliers. / Twelve million separative work units (SWU)2 were purchased under enrichment services contracts from 10 sellers in 2013, one less than in 2012. The average price paid by the COOs for the 12 million SWU was $142.22 per SWU in 2013, compared with the 2012 average price of $141.36 per SWU./ In 2013, the U.S.-origin SWU share was 31% and foreign-origin SWU accounted for the remaining 69%. Russian-origin SWU was 20% of the total. Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom had an aggregate share of 45%“. http://www.eia.gov/uranium/marketing/

More information about URENCO: http://www.wise-uranium.org/eples.html
It includes, for instance that “NRC finds loss of criticality controls at Urenco USA enrichment plant, During an inspection conducted from November 18-21, 2013, NRC identified a loss of criticality controls due to inadequate implementation of items relied on for safety (IROFS) in the small component decontamination train (SCDT).http://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML14028A073
(You may have trouble accessing this as the NRC appears to be locking people out of their web site – apparently they don’t want the public to have access to what’s going on).

[3] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Kernreaktoren_in_Deutschland

[4] Articles related to German RWE and Swedish government owned Vattenfall’s suits against the German government regarding their nuclear policies:

UPDATE 2-RWE to sue after German nuclear plant shutdown ruled illegal” Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:04am EST (Reuters) http://nuclear-news.net/2014/01/15/lawsuit-coming-in-germany-after-court-rules-on-a-nuclear-shutdown-as-illegal/

http://www.dw.de/german-power-company-sues-over-government-nuclear-freeze/a-14959544

RWE tries persuasion before lawsuit“, 15 March 2007 http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=13062

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/vattenfall-vs-germany-nuclear-phase-out-faces-billion-euro-lawsuit-a-795466.html

Shutdown showdown: Utilities prepare lawsuit on German nuclear law“, Jun 20, 2011 http://www.dw.de/shutdown-showdown-utilities-prepare-lawsuit-on-german-nuclear-law/a-15174111

Regarding the German Energy Transition:
The German energy transition is driven by citizens and communities
http://energytransition.de/2012/10/key-findings/

[5] The origin of this fallacy appears a combination of wishful thinking and a mind-set, which forgets that the English and American Empires are not the only historical empires, nor are they the only countries with imperial designs. Beating on their own countries and blaming them for all that is bad is the arrogant flip side of the arrogant notion that they are all that is good. Well-travelled English and Americans know better. Non-English and non-Americans know better. What does Reich mean? It means Empire. The Third Reich was the Third Empire. Russia is still an empire. That the French Empire is alive and well and creating havoc in Africa, should go without saying. One can easily make the argument – and many have – that Spain, France, and Germany are also occupying empires within their own “countries”, as they are comprised of regions which were historically self-ruling and with little in common, at least historically. Most of Russia was formed by fairly recent imperialist expansion on the continent, which is why they have the largest land area on earth. When Hitler expanded across the continent, he called it Lebensraum. The US called it conquering the west, when they stole it from the American Indians. In stark contrast, Austria – one of the biggest and best and longest lasting Empires ever, appears to have gracefully left the imperial notion behind. Nuclear is part and parcel of Empire building, and Austria is nuclear free.