Alarm at nuclear plant after radioactive leak — “Damaged fuel in reactor” — Workers immediately evacuated from site — Reactor in “a very special condition”… Dangerous neutron flux in core reported (VIDEO)

Nils Bøhmer, nuclear physicist formerly with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), Mar 3, 2017 (emphasis added): October 25th brought reports that there was a release of radioactive iodine from the Halden Reactor [in Norway]… The iodine emission began when the IFE [Institute for Energy Technology] should have dealt with damaged fuel in the reactor hall. This led to a release of radioactive substances via the ventilation system… The next day, the NRPA conducted an unannounced inspection of the IFE. The situation was still unresolved and radioactive released were still ongoing… The ventilation system was then shut off to limit further releases into the environment. This, in turn, created more serious problems…

Pressurize air kept the valves in the reactor’s cooling system open, which in turn stopped the circulation of cooling water. In the following days, the NRPA continued to monitor the reactor’s safety [and] received notice from the IFE that the reactor was in “a very special condition.” What that meant was that the IFE had discovered temperature fluctuations in the reactor vessel indicating an increased neutron flux in the core, and with that the danger of hydrogen formation. Bellona would like to note that it was hydrogen formation in the reactor core that led to a series of explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant… The IFE therefore had to ask the NRPA for permission to open the valves again, even if that meant releasing radiation to the public… It seems [the IFE] further didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation… [We at Bellona are] concerned that the reactor core may become unstable by just closing the vents. Hydrogen formation in the reactor core is very serious, as Fukushima showed…

Media reports after the initial leak:

  • NBC News: Norway Nuclear Reactor Leaks Radioactive Iodine: Officials… “Of course it’s an unfortunate situation but there is a low environmental risk,” said Per Strand, deputy director-general at the [NRPA]… “This is not the sort of leak we want.”
  • Voice of America: “Plant officials said a technical failure during the handling of fuel led to the release of radioactive Iodine-131 and -132 to the reactor hall. They said staff were immediately evacuated”…

Watch a broadcast on Halden’s radioactive release here

Full article: Alarm at nuclear plant after radioactive leak — “Damaged fuel in reactor” — Workers immediately evacuated from site — Reactor in “a very special condition”… Dangerous neutron flux in core reported (VIDEO) (ENENEWS)

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