Reverse Renaissance? Experts Point to 6 Reactors on the Chopping Block and Passage of Anti-Industry Florida Law; Beleaguered Industry’s Woes Start With Bad Economics … and Go Downhill From There. WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Call it the “renaissance in reverse.” Not only is…
Miles Benson, linktv.org Link TV →
Going without insurance is described as “going naked” in insurance industry lingo. Going without insurance for the worst hazards in the nuclear power industry is business as usual.
One need not look back very far to see the problem. In March 2011, the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, triggered by an earthquake followed by a tsunami that overwhelmed all of Japan’s safeguards, melted down three reactors, displaced 160,000 people and caused an estimated $250 billion in damages and other still-unfolding economic consequences.
Today, in the United States, we have 104 operating nuclear plants producing electricity. The owners, operators, and government regulators who oversee them say an event like Fukushima will not happen here. And even if it did, they insist, there is enough liability insurance in place to cover the damages. The actual amount of that insurance coverage: just $12.6 billion.
You don’t need an advanced degree in calculus or risk analysis to see that something doesn’t add up, and to start feeling a bit…naked. But when it comes to nuclear insurance, naked is the fashion designed for the American public. Read more of this →
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station reports third ‘event’ in the last week, eighth in 2013
Frank Mand, OCM Source (Wicked Local) →
PLYMOUTH — Pilgrim station experienced its third notable ‘event’ in the last ten days and, eighth in 2013, when on Sunday, April 14, at 10:16 p.m. “the PNPS Containment Personnel Air Lock failed integrated air lock testing.”
NRC regulations require that primary reactor containment meets certain leakage rate testing requirements to ensure that “leakage through the containment or systems and components penetrating the containment do not exceed allowable leakage rates specified in Technical Specifications and the integrity of the containment structure is maintained during its service life.”
On April 10th staff discovered indications of a separation in the “Neutralizing Sump Discharge Line.” On April 15 a manual scram took place during a planned shut down when reactor pressure went “beyond established control bands.” And now, plant officials have reported that, during that shut down primary air lock failed a leak rate test as well.
Look to the weekend edition of the Old Colony Memorial for the full story.
Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket Following Radiological Incidents
Helen Caldicott Source (www.nuclearfreeplanet.org) →
The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:
In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;
In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
BULLET_ITEMDespite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”
“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”
Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.
Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency.
Jeff Donn, AP National Writer Full article (www.chron.com) →
Regulators and congressional investigators clashed Wednesday over a new report warning that in the event of an accident at a nuclear plant, panicking residents from outside the official evacuation zone might jam the roads and prevent others from escaping.
The report by the Government Accountability Office, which acts as the investigative arm of Congress, challenges a three-decade-old fundamental of emergency planning around American nuclear power plants: that preparations for evacuation should focus on people who live within 10 miles of the site…
Article passes by a vote of 197 to 2
Cape Downwinders Source →
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS – Provincetown town meeting members voted 197-2 on Wednesday April 3, 2013 to call on Governor Deval Patrick to request the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) close Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS).
Cape Downwinders initiated a Cape-wide petition to give citizens a voice for public health and safety with twelve Cape Cod towns having the public advisory question on a ballot or warrant. Two additional town boards, Yarmouth and Falmouth, will vote next week to include the petition on their town ballot.
The public advisory question reveals the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Entergy’s radiological emergency plans to keep residents on the Cape in the event of a severe accident even if a radioactive plume is moving over the area. The Sagamore and Bourne bridges will be closed to facilitate Plymouth evacuation efforts, and the state would later determine hot spots and “relocate” residents.
PNPS is a GE Mark l Boiling Water Reactor with the same design as Fukushima Daiichi where safety systems failed after loss of offsite power causing 3 meltdowns. In Japan, the US government called for a 50 mile evacuation of American citizens for their protection. With a no-go zone around the destroyed reactors expanding out to 20 miles, over 160,000 people were removed from their home indefinitely. Recently, the NRC held an open house in Plymouth where an NRC official Tom Setzer agreed that ‘Fukushima can happen here”.
A year ago, Governor Patrick, Attorney General Coakley, Congressmen Keating and Markey, State Senate President Murray, Senator Wolf, and Representative Peake all requested that the NRC withhold relicensing of PNPS until lessons learned from Fukushima were addressed. The NRC ignored those pleas and relicensed PNPS for another 20 years. Entergy will continue to operate the reactor even though there are imminent dangers involving 3,400 spent fuel assemblies in a pool designed for 880, a poorly designed containment structure known to have a 90% chance of failure, and serious problems with the emergency plans.
Cape Downwinders spokesperson Diane Turco said, “What is being protected here-people or profits? Telling the public to stay put, take the radiation hit, and relocate later will not be tolerated. The people are calling for the NRC to uphold their mandate to shut a nuclear power reactor if the public safety cannot be assured. Provincetown has spoken and the rest of the Cape will follow”.
After 10 months of hearings 2012 trespassing case is dismissed by Judge Kathryn Hand at Plymouth District Court
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Source →
PLYMOUTH — They wanted the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant shut down but, instead, they got arrested. They wanted their day in court but, instead, they got to make a statement and then charges were dismissed. They wanted to get arrested again and, no surprise, it happened.
The Pilgrim 14, who were first arrested for trespassing when they tried to deliver a letter addressed to the head of Entergy last May, celebrated the dismissal of the charges at Plymouth District Court Wednesday by immediately driving back to the plant and, when their chants and protests at the gates went apparently unnoticed, walked down almost to the doors of the plant itself where several members of the original 14 were arrested again.
At this time which of the original 14 was arrested again is not clear, though Cotuit resident Paul Rifkin, a member of the group Cape Downwinders, was definitely one of those detained by Plymouth Police.
The Plymouth Police responded with four or five units within ten minutes of the protesters security breach, followed a few minutes later by a prisoner transport van.
Rifkin made it clear before the court dismissed the earlier charges that he intended to be arrested that day, again.
Many of the 14 and their lawyers were angered by the Commonwealth’s last minute decision to deny them their day in court by issuing a motion to dismiss the previous charges, and in that motion citing the defendant’s “intention to use the Honorable Court as an instrument to further a specific political agenda.”
When the pre-trial hearing got underway however, Judge Kathryn E. Hand allowed any defendant who wished, to make a personal statement.
Many did, including a brief emotional statement by Rifkin.
“Abigail, Jack, Laney and Hayden,” Rifkin said, holding up a photograph of his grandchildren, “these are the reasons why we need to shut Pilgrim down.”
Judge Hand then dismissed the charges, with prejudice, and the defendants and their supporters filed out of the courtroom. But less than 30 minutes later they were parking on the access road that connects Route 3A with the plant’s main gate and, judging by the signs and banners that came out of the cars, their gathering was planned well in advance.
The group took up position on the plant side of Rocky Hill Road, adjacent to the main gate and, a few minutes later, moved past the entrance and toward the plant.
They were surprised that they were not immediately impeded by plant security, which was not seen until the group had moved several hundred yards down the entrance road.
At that point security appeared, and made it clear that anyone who did not leave would be arrested.
Rifkin also made his intentions clear at that time, walking up to a security vehicle and then turning and facing back, holding a protest sign.
Saturday, March 9, 2013 | 1–2pm Falmouth Town Green, Cape Cod MA details @ Cape Downwinders
Remember Fukushima: March 11, 2011. Please join us at the Falmouth Town Green on Main Street in Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA. Bring banners, flags, signs, smiles and good cheer. Potluck to follow at the Moonakis Cafe in Falmouth. Bring noshes and nibbles of your choice.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org, (508) 737-9545
Frank Mand, OCM Source →
Is this a sign of an aging plant past its prime?
The second “event” at Pilgrim in as many weeks – the failure of a “scram discharge valve” – is also the second time this particular valve has failed in the last two months.
The scram discharge volume valve – referred to in the event releases as CV-302-22B – failed Feb. 18, a week after the blizzard knocked out power to the plant. (In another case of twos, Pilgrim also lost power twice during the storm.). The valve failed again last Friday, March 1.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the CV-302-22B is one of the valves on the drain line from the scram discharge volume, a metal tank that is supposed to contain all of the water vented during a scram (a sudden, rapid, shut down of the reactor).
“When a scram signal occurs,” the UCS reported, “this valve automatically closes, or is designed to do so. Whether it does so is another matter.”
For critics of the plant, including EcoLaw.org Founder Meg Sheehan, this is a sure sign that the plant is past its prime.
“Pilgrim is old and worn out,” Sheehan wrote on her blog this week. “It presents an unacceptable risk to our region, and this is just one more example of that.”
A 1975 report on reactor safety, widely known as the Rassmussen Report, argues against that conclusion.
That report specifically stated that the valves in question have only a “one in a million” chance of interfering with a reactor shut down.
But the UCS said the Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama must have hit the lottery, because in 1980 a plugged scram discharge valve prevented plant operators from successfully removing all of its control rods, three times, before the reactor staff was able to complete a planned shut down of their reactor.
That event at Brown’s Ferry did not occur during an emergency, however, and the 15 minutes it took to withdraw all of the reactor’s control rods did not, therefore, result in a disaster.
This week’s failure of Pilgrim’s scram valve, the official event notice released by Pilgrim concluded, “has no impact on the health and safety of the public.”
Plant staff had actually been monitoring the valve since it first failed in mid-February.
“A similar event report was generated for the same valve on Feb. 18, 2013,” the event-notification report states. “Compensatory measures applicable to the original event report included a revised lubrication application and additional surveillance testing.”
In other words, Pilgrim has been testing this valve since it first failed.
According to the NRC, the valve was lubricated, retested and restored to operability soon after the issue was discovered.
But tests conducted March 1, Pilgrim stated, “did not meet opening stroke time operability requirements for the valve.”
According to the NRC, during the power outages that shut down the plant twice during the February blizzard, the valve worked properly to support the scram.
“That is, it closed within the timeframe necessary to support the scram,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan told the Old Colony.
“The problem resulting in the report on Feb. 18 was discovered,” Neil added, “during routine surveillance testing conducted on these valves in the ‘open’ direction and was unrelated to any of the shutdowns.”
The NRC spokesman acknowledged that this valve plays an important role in supporting the scram function.
“That said, nuclear power plants have numerous systems and components that are important to safety,” Neil said. “The ‘defense-in-depth’ approach for nuclear power plants is based on multiple layers of safety through redundant systems and equipment.”
Neil wouldn’t comment directly on the assertion that the problems with this valve were related to the plants overall age.
“The company (Entergy) is continuing to evaluate the exact cause of the slowness of the valve to operate in the open direction,” Neil concluded. “Our inspectors will review the results of that review.”
For the second time in two weeks, Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear reactor experienced an “event” requiring notification to the NRC. The scram discharge volume valve (valve CV-302-22B) failed on March 1, 2013 and February 18, 2013. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “The scram discharge volume is a large metal tank that collects the water vented from the control rod’s hydraulic pistons during a scram. It is sized to contain all the water vented during a scram. CV-302-22B is one of the valves on the drain line from the scram discharge volume. When a scram signal occurs, this valve automatically closes (or is designed to do so, whether it does so is another matter).”
The NRC requires Entergy to make sure this valve is operating as designed because it is a mechanical system that is critical to Pilgrim’s safe operation. The valve is part of the reactor shutdown system, and must be able to operate during a “scram”. A scram means for some reason Entergy has to stop the nuclear reaction (the fission that splits the atoms) from happening.
During the February, 2013 blizzard (Nemo) Pilgrim had to shut down twice – that is, Entergy had to stop splitting the atoms. What if the valve had failed then-instead of a mere 9 days later, on Feb. 18?
Pilgrim exceeds industry averages for automatic shutdowns and unplanned power outages. http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130227/NEWS/302270347
The U.S. NRC says that the valves (called “scram discharge volume piping”) have only a one in a million chances of interfering with reactor shut down. But, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in June, 1980, that is exactly what happened at the Brown’s Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama: that one in a million chance happened and almost caused a nuclear disaster. http://allthingsnuclear.org/fission-stories-107-mystery-plug
If Entergy’s valve had failed to operate during one of Pilgrim’s many shutdowns during the last year, there could have been a serious nuclear emergency.
Pilgrim is old and worn out. It presents an unacceptable risk to our region-and this is just one more example of that.
Entergy seeks zoning permit for dry cask storage project
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
“Once again, the total lack of transparency and oversight by the NRC and other regulators responsible for the safe and proper operation of Pilgrim is alarming,” she said. “All we want is straight answers and public accountability. It’s not a lot to ask, given what is at stake.”
Here is a simple thing you can do to help prevent harm from outdated nuclear power plants.
The NRC Commissioners are in the thick of a debate about whether or not to install filters on US nuclear reactors to prevent radiation leaks in case of a disaster. They are planning to vote soon on this topic. Industry is pressuring them not to require filters because it will cost them money, but we citizens deserve this safety precaution! The risk is too high and, at the very least, we can at learn a lesson from Fukushima. Word is there are two commissioners who are swing votes and we need to convince them to vote for filters! Here are their email addresses. Below is an example letter for you to use to create a letter of your own.
“Just do it!”
— Anna Baker
Commissioner Ostendorff: CMROSTENDORFF@nrc.gov
Commissioner Magwood: CMRMAGWOOD@nrc.gov
I understand that the NRC Commissioners are scheduled to vote soon on whether to follow your staff’s recommendation to order filters on vents in Mark 1 and Mark II reactors. I am writing to urge you to vote in favor of these vents. As a mother of two young children who lives near the Pilgrim reactor I would like to know that, in a severe accident, radiation will not be released directly from the reactor core into our neighborhoods. Considering the potential consequences, filters should be a no-brainer.
Part of a 50-day walk from Leverett, MA to Washington, D.C.
Details: New England Peace Pagoda
CAPE COD: Saturday, Feb 23, 2013
10:00am — Walkers gather at Bourne Bridge
6:00pm — Community Potluck at West Falmouth Friends Meetinghouse (Quakers), 572 West Falmouth Hwy (Rte 28A)
Contacts for Potluck: Ami Scheltema (508) 548-8543 / Liz Rogers (347) 860-1307
Contact for Walk: Tim Bullock (413) 485-8469, email@example.com
PLYMOUTH: Sunday, Feb 24, 2013
2:00pm — Walkers gather at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to chant and drum, sending a “change of spirit” toward the plant. An 8-mile walk to the First Parish Church in downtown Plymouth (19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA) will start around 2:30pm.
5:30–8:00pm — Potluck and Program at First Parish Church, Plymouth. Charmaine White Face, an Ogalala Sioux (founder and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills) will speak about the impact of uranium mining on native lands, “America’s Chernobyl,” and a nuclear-free future.
Organizers are concerned about the forecast for bad weather, and have stated that in case of poor conditions the walk will be cancelled, but the events at the First Parish Church will go on. Those who do walk are expected use their own judgement about safety if the weather is inclement.
Local residents are invited to attend all events. There is no parking on Rocky Hill Road, and those who wish to walk are advised to park at “Bert’s” or The Lobster Pound and arrange to be shuttled to the origin of the walk.
ENENews / Shannon Dininny and Mike Baker, Associated Press Article source →
“You couldn’t find a more perfect radioactive storm … I am alarmed about this on many levels. This raises concerns, not only about the existing leak … but also concerning the integrity of the other single shell tanks of this age.”Gov. Jay Inslee
The long-delayed cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site became the subject of more bad news Friday, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a radioactive waste tank there is leaking.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said liquid levels are decreasing in one of 177 underground tanks at the site.
[...] Inslee said the tank is the first to have been documented to be losing liquids since all Hanford tanks were stabilized in 2005. His staff said the federal government is working to assess other tanks. [...]
“We’re out of time, obviously. These tanks are starting to fail now,” said Tom Carpenter of the Hanford watchdog group Hanford Challenge. “We’ve got a problem. This is big.” [...]
Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent Source →
Eleven anti-nuclear protesters will defend themselves against charges of trespassing at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in a trial next month expected to feature a roster of nuclear experts and political thinkers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Christopher Hedges and renowned physician and scholar Dr. Helen Caldicott.
Judge Kathryn Hand set a trial date of March 18 in Plymouth District Court at last Wednesday’s pretrial hearing at which the defense strategy was disclosed.
The defendants are among 14 protesters arrested at a demonstration at the Plymouth plant last May. According to the defendants, they were with a group of 60 protesters picketing at Pilgrim to show their opposition to the renewal of the plant’s license in view of its age and similarities to the nuclear reactors that failed in Japan.
Pilgrim’s operating license was renewed by federal regulators last year for 20 years.
When the 14 protesters left an area where picketing was permitted to attempt to deliver a letter to Pilgrim officials, they were warned they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. The protesters did not leave the restricted area and were charged with criminal trespass, a charge that carries a potential penalty of a $100 fine and 30 days’ imprisonment.
According to defendant Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders, the letter to Entergy raised “the clear and present dangers at its 40-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The Pilgrim reactor is the same make and model as those which failed at Fukushima.”
In addition to the Cape Downwinders, the demonstration was sponsored by the South Shore-based Pilgrim Coalition, Duxbury-based Pilgrim Watch, and Cape Cod Bay Watch.
Three of the original defendants, including Duxbury resident Pat Garrity, have since pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and were fined $50.
Entergy officials declined to comment Wednesday on the trespass case.
“Our policy is we do not comment on matters that are pending before the court,” spokeswoman Carol Wightman said, adding, “Pilgrim station takes its security responsibility very seriously.”
Both Entergy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff have pointed to the high marks given to Pilgrim on annual safety inspections. In response to the Fukushima comparison, Entergy officials said Pilgrim has backup on-site generators and batteries in the event of the extended power loss that doomed Japan’s reactors.
Aside from setting a trial date, Wednesday’s pretrial hearing included a preliminary discussion of defense assertions and possible witnesses.
Turco said the protesters are seeking to offer a “necessity defense” to the charge against them, arguing that the seriousness of the danger the plant presents to public safety compelled them to take the actions they did. In support of this assertion, the defense intends to call such figures as Hedges, Caldicott, and nuclear expert Gordon Thompson.
A journalist whose coverage of global terrorism for The New York Times received a Pulitzer, Hedges will defend the need for “citizen activism for the greater good,” the defendants said in a statement. His book, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle nonfiction award.
Caldicott became prominent after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania when she left her medical career to call attention to the dangers of nuclear arms and nuclear power. She will testify to “the health dangers of [the Pilgrim] nuclear facility,” the defendants said.
Thompson, a longtime critic of the danger storing spent nuclear fuel within a plant presents as a target for terrorism and an accident risk, helped Attorney General Martha Coakley prepare the state’s argument in a lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to renew Pilgrim’s license.
Filed last April, the state’s suit argued that the NRC should have completed a study of “the lessons learned” from the accident at the Fukushima plants and their relevance for the Pilgrim plant before relicensing.
In response, the NRC said it “has already considered and rejected the notion that our Fukushima lessons-learned review needs to be completed prior to a decision on any pending license renewal application.”
Nuclear safety advocate Lee Roscoe, a member of Cape Downwinders, said the trial of the nuclear protesters will accelerate growing public concern over reactor safety. She said a new resolution calling for Pilgrim’s closure won backing from Brewster officials after a similar resolution ran into opposition and “squeaked through” Town Meeting last year.
The resolution “calls for the town to ask the government to shut it down because we can’t be assured of our safety in event of an emergency,” Roscoe said. Similar resolutions were passed by town meetings in Marshfield and other communities south of Boston last spring.
The defendants said the prosecution disputed their right to call on the necessity defense at the pretrial hearing. The judge then required both the prosecution and the defense to submit written arguments and supporting papers to her by Feb. 25. If the judge decides that another pretrial hearing will be needed before she rules on the necessity defense, it would take place on March 13.
Robert Knox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENENews / Russia Today News Source →
Transcript at 3:30 in:
Host: What else do they say regarding mobile phone communications and radiation levels at the moment? [...]
Reporter: This is the zinc plant I was talking about. You will see in just a second that there’s a humungous hole in the middle of that building.
This is another thing we should keep in mind is that Chelyabinsk has been a closed region for a very long time. During the soviet era, it was essentially the center of the nuclear research. Top secret facilities are all over the place there. There is one nuclear storage facility called Mayak*.
A lot of people are saying this is really in the best graces that none of the asteroids, and there were at least 5 fragments of the asteroid, that it’s really fortunate that none of the asteroid had landed into that facility. Because that obviously, we would be talking about nuclear disaster there.
Again the minister of emergencies is saying all nuclear facilities in the region are working top notch, nothing out of the extraordinary happening there.
*Wikipedia: The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination incident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak [Chelyabinsk-40], a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale, making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded (after the Chernobyl disaster, and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, both Level 7 on the INES).
AFP: The Chelyabinsk region is Russia’s industrial heartland, filled with smoke-chugging factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the massive Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.[...] “All Rosatom enterprises located in the Urals region — including the Mayak complex — are working as normal,” an unnamed Rosatom spokesman told Interfax.
Update from RT: “Officials did do preliminary testing of radiation levels in the area. They say that that is ok. But of course tests are going to continue throughout the day. [...] Radiation levels are ok at the moment but of course we’ll have to bring you up to date as the developments come in.”