nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Climate Change: coastal properties already threatened by sea level rise

nuke-&-seaLRising tides threaten communities on the beach — and far from it, too USA Today, Matt Alderton, Green Living  April 19, 2014  The mud in Folsom Lake, near Sacramento, Calif., is dry and chapped, like cracked heels. The bottom of the reservoir, once under water, now is largely barren, save for its shallow center and a smattering of stray puddles.

That’s because California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history. Conditions are so bad that
Gov. Jerry Browndeclared a state emergency in January. He urged state residents to voluntarily reduce personal water consumption by 20 percent.

In the context of having so little water, it might seem strange to worry about having too much. And yet, that’s exactly the dilemma facing California today. Even as it reels from drought, it must begin planning for floods. And make no mistake: Floods are coming. Not only to California, but to coastal cities across the country and around the world, which face a certain influx of water as oceans rise under the specter of climate change.

“We analyzed 55 different water level stations throughout the United States and found that for about two-thirds of them, sea level rise from climate change has already more than doubled the risk of extreme flooding,” says Dr. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, a nonprofit organization dedicated to communicating the science and effects of climate change.

Based on the analysis, Climate Central developed Surging Seas, an interactive website (sealevel.climatecentral.org) that maps the flood threats from sea level rise and storm surges. The map shows how more than 3,000 coastal communities in the contiguous United States would be affected if sea levels were to rise from 1 to 10 feet.

“Sea level rise is already happening, and its continuation is inevitable,” Strauss says. “At some point it will be obvious to every family living in a coastal area, and every community will be looking to protect itself.”

A scary proposition

Multiple forces are colluding to make the oceans swell.

One is warming oceans. “Because of that, you have an expansion of ocean waters, and the only place they can go is up,” says Rachel Cleetus, a senior economist in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an alliance of citizens and scientists who collaborate on solutions to global problems.

Another is melting land-based ice forms such as glaciers and ice sheets. “You’re adding volume to the world’s oceans, and that’s causing them to rise,” Cleetus says.

Because the rate of ice loss is accelerating, oceans are rising faster than ever before. Cleetus says sea level could rise anywhere from 8 inches to 6.5 feet by the end of the century. Some scientists put estimates as high as 10 or 15 feet. That’s on top of approximately 8 inches of sea level rise already logged in the last century.

“Those 8 inches of sea level rise from climate change are already making every single coastal flood bigger, deeper and more damaging,” Strauss says.

Although scientists typically project sea level rise through the year 2100, communities likely will be impacted much sooner than that. The culprit? Incremental storm surges……….

Ultimately, then, the best solution might be the hardest to swallow: retreat.

“We need to pull back, in essence, from the shore,” says environmental and land-use planning consultant Barry Chalofsky. “If you live (in a coastal floodplain) and you’re counting on your house to be your nest egg when you retire, or you want to pass it on to your children, I would strongly think about elevating your property, then selling it over the next five to 10 years.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2014/04/19/green-living-coastal-communities/7871349/

April 21, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The dangerous myth of “Chernobyl wild paradise”

highly-recommendedDecay takes a holiday: the wickedness beneath the “Chernobyl wild paradise” myth and the rotten implications for ecosystems and radiation science http://www.beyondnuclear.org/russia-ussr/2014/4/18/decay-takes-a-holiday-the-wickedness-beneath-the-chernobyl-w.html 21 April 14 

Zombie forest?

April 26, 2014 will mark 28 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded causing an unprecedented nuclear catastrophe. In a creepy revelation, the forests around Chernobyl are having difficulty decomposing. A recently published study indicates that forest matter in the contaminated areas around Chernobyl is taking years or even decades longer to decay than it should. In the areas with low radiation, 70 to 90 percent of the leaves were gone after a year. Where radiation levels were higher, “leaves retained around 60 percent of their original weight…”(Smithsonian.comThis indicates a fundamental disruption to the natural cycle of death feeding life, and calls into question the forest’s longer-term viability. Creatures responsible for decay such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects, are essential components of any ecosystem because they recycle organic material back into the soil. Unfortunately, they do not function properly in the areas around Chernobyl, leaving a forest full of “petrified-looking pine trees that no longer seem capable of rotting.” GIZMODO

Map-Chernobyl_FALLOUT

 

Radiation’s effect on decay processes should be expected, considering how it impacts microbes in food; or considering the results of a bizarre, cavalier and extremely ill-advised series of experiments performed using a “naked reactor” in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. These experiments intentionally irradiated a number of varying materials and forest land 40 miles north of Atlanta, GA. Wood subjected to this radiation was produced in small-scale and called “Lockwood”, for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation who operated the Georgia Nuclear Laboratory. The building and land is still contaminated with radionuclides.

The lack of decomposer activity has researchers worried that nutrients which trees require for grow are not being recycled, causing trees in the area to grow more slowly.  Improper plant decay has potential implications for animal decay as well, although there do not appear to be any Chernobyl studies investigating this yet.

Actual in-the-field examinations of regions contaminated by radioactivity from Chernobyl also reveal evidence for increased mutation rates, abnormal sperm with reduced swimming ability, developmental abnormalities, cataractstumors, smaller brains in both birds and mammals, and decreased tree growth rates, a finding of fundamental importance for ecosystem functioning that likely relates to effects on the microbial community. Fewer spiders and insects including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Animals and plants show other impacts of radiation after the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the US and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who collaborated on many of these studies, contends that, fundamentally, this evidence indicates  low-dose rate exposures cause significant measurable impacts for the biota inhabiting contaminated regions of Chernobyl. Further, this evidence supports a hypothesis that suggests effects down to very low levels.  Further implications for Fukushima should not be ignored.

Humans and animals alike: healthy looking on the outside, disintegrating on the inside

Referencing studies summarized in his book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexey Yablokov states:

“Wildlife in the heavily contaminated Chernobyl zone sometimes appears to flourish, but the appearance is deceptive,” says Yablokov. “Levels of incorporated radionuclides remain dangerously high for mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. Long-term observations of both wild and experimental animal populations in the heavily contaminated areas show significant increases in morbidity and mortality that bear a striking resemblance to changes in the health of humans – increased occurrence of tumours and immuno­deficiencies, decreased life expectancy, early aging, changes in blood and the circulatory system, malformations, and other factors that compromise health.

“All of the populations of plants, fishes, amphibians and mammals studied there are in poor condition,” he continues. “This zone is analogous to a ‘black hole’, in which there is accelerated genetic degeneration of large animals – some species may only persist there via immigration from uncontaminated areas. The Chernobyl zone is a micro-evolutionary ‘boiler’, where gene pools of living creatures are actively transforming, with unpredictable consequences. We ignore these findings at our peril.”

Dr. Yablokov’s statement deftly presents the dichotomy between what is observed by a dilettante’s eye – such as lots of members in a wild animal population — versus what is actually happening to these members over time. What is happening to this wildlife has parallel implications for human health.

So where did this “paradise for wildlife” and “biodiversity sanctuary” myth come from? In 2006 the International Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear power promoter and a member body of the United Nations, released a report entitled Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience. This report references the creation of a nature preserve within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and remarks Without a permanent residence of humans for 20 years, the ecosystems around the Chernobyl site are now flourishing. The CEZ has become a wildlife sanctuary…, and it looks like the nature park it has become.” From another report: “Indeed, the Exclusion Zone has paradoxically become a unique sanctuary for biodiversity.”

The Chernobyl Forum coalition makes this statement in support of “unique biodiversity” in spite of their recognition that “Genetic effects of radiation, in both somatic and germ cells, have been observed in plants and animals of the Exclusion Zone during the first few years after the Chernobyl accident. Both in the Exclusion Zone, and beyond, different cytogenetic anomalies attributable to radiation continue to be reported from experimental studies performed on plants and animals.” They conclude, however, “[w]hether the observed cytogenetic anomalies in somatic cells have any detrimental biological significance is not known.” In order to know this, one has to actually look.

The study summaries compiled by Alexey Yablokov, et al. (studies which had been mostly unavailable in the west until 2009) and the published examinations of researchers Mousseau, et al., indicate rather strongly that there is significant biological detriment to wildlife in the contaminated areas surrounding Chernobyl. And unlike these studies, the Chernobyl Forum documents provide very few references (under ten total) for any claims they make regarding the flourishing of wildlife.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Belarus, environment, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Concern over radiation level in foodstuffs from Japan

plate-radiationConcerned officials now considering ban on Japan food items — Nuclear scientists previously told gov’t to halt all imports after finding high radiation levels — Never implemented due to fear of hurting bilateral relationship http://enenews.com/concerned-officials-now-consideingr-ban-on-japan-food-items-nuclear-scientists-previously-told-govt-to-halt-all-imports-after-finding-high-radiation-levels-never-implemented-due-to-fear-of-hur?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+

The Nation,Apr. 18, 2014: Pakistan may ban Japan edible items [...] in case if traces of radioactive material are found on them. Federal Minister of Commerce Khurum Dastgeer Khan told the Senate on Thursday, currently the Ministry of National Food Security and Research is tasked to conduct thorough research to determine either the edible items from Japan were infected by radioactive rays or not. [...] Senator Suriya Amiruddin who was interested to know whether there is any proposal under consideration of the Government to impose ban on import of edible items from Japan to avoid negative effect of radiation in those items. [...] in April 2011, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority had directed authorities dealing with Cargo arriving directly or indirectly from Japan to screen all types of consignments including edible/non-edible, for radiation. [...] The directives were issued from the country’s well-reputed institution Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority [...] The PNRA made clearance mandatory for every consignment being imported from Japan. It is worthy of mentioning here that country’s nuclear scientists had advised the federal government three years back to halt all types of goods from Japan to minimize the threat of radiation following the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis in Japan. The scientists had advised the government after they detected high level of Iodine from the consignments imported from Japan. [...] in view that the move to ban imports from Japan may hurt bilateral relationship between the two friendly countries, the Pakistani government never imposed ban on import of goods from Japan.

Khurum Dastgeer Khan, Federal Minister of Commerce: “Concerned officials have been advised to investigate the matter relating to import of edible items from Japan following the incident of radioactivity in Japan. It is up to Ministry of Food Security and Research to advise Ministry of Commerce to continue import of edible items from Japan or impose ban on it.”See also: Award-winning project finds seafood sold in Canada with high radiation levels — Many samples well over contamination limit — “Incredible discovery; Something unexpected may be lurking in Canadian waters” — Believes dangerous Fukushima pollution carried across ocean — “I hope people will open their eyes”

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Japan, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran reduces capacity at Arak nuclear recator

flag-IranArak nuclear reactor resolved says Iran http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=969168 April 20, 2014 Iran and six world powers have resolved their differences over the country’s plutonium-producing Arak reactor, Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi says.

The reactor, which has yet to be completed, has been a main point of contention at the ongoing talks aimed at ending the stand-off over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The governments of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany – the so-called P5+1 – have expressed concern that Iran could use the plutonium produced at the facility in the western city of Arak to build nuclear weapons.

‘We have suggested that we will produce only one-fifth of the originally planned plutonium, and this was welcomed by the P5+1,’ said Salehi.

The world powers have called for Arak’s closure or for technical changes so that it no longer turns out plutonium.

Salehi said Arak would not be shuttered because Iran needs it to produce medical isotopes for civilian use, but that reducing its plutonium production capacity alleviates negotiators’ concerns.

The heavy water reactor uses natural uranium as its fuel and will generate plutonium as a by-product.

Iran and the sextet agreed in an interim deal in November on a limited suspension of sanctions in return for some nuclear concessions from Tehran, including suspending construction of the Arak reactor and scaling back uranium enrichment.

Under the broader agreement that both sides are aiming to conclude by July, Iran is expected to accept additional nuclear curbs while the world powers have promised to permanently lift all sanctions and to help Iran build new reactors.

Tehran insists that it has no plans to build nuclear weapons.

Iran and the P5+1 will hold expert-level nuclear talks May 5-9 in New York, said Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, according to Press TV.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | - plutonium, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Greater earthquake risks recognised now for New England nuclear reactors

nuke-earthquakeQuake risks at New England nuclear plants cited http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/18/markey-and-warren-urge-improved-earthquake-safety-measures-pilgrim-seabrook-nuclear-plants/1EgTQZCDmgeT2wRmxwDnkJ/story.html Warren, Markey urge upgrades at Pilgrim, Seabrook By Jennifer Smith GLOBE CORRESPONDENT   APRIL 18, 2014 US Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren are calling for increased safety measures at two area nuclear power plants after a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report found potential vulnerabilities to earthquakes.

In a letter to NRC chairwoman Allison Macfarlane on Friday, Markey and Warren asked the commission to require that Pilgrim Power Station in Plymouth and Seabrook Station in Seabrook, N.H., “implement mitigation measures against seismic risks that were previously unknown.”

 Following the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami, the NRC established a task force to evaluate possible vulnerabilities at US nuclear facilities and the need for enhanced regulatory oversight, according to the NRC report released Thursday.

Markey and Warren were “alarmed” by the newly evaluated seismic risks at the two area facilities, which are greater than they were originally licensed to withstand, the senators said in the letter.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

North Wales doesn’t mind nuclear power – just don’t want the wastes

Oscar-wastesNorth Wales nuclear waste burial plan North Wales News
Anglesey 
Apr 16, 2014
By Gareth Wyn-Williams Nuclear waste from across the British Isles could potentially be shipped  and stored on Anglesey as part of new  plans unveiled by the Government.

But the resulting fallout from the proposals has already generated a storm of  objections on the island, with one politician  saying that residents should make every  effort to stop it turning into a “nuclear  waste depository”.

The UK Government’s Energy and Climate Change department is looking for  communities to come forward and “volunteer themselves” in order to establish a  new site from scratch, that would store  nuclear waste from all over Britain.

And it is understood that Anglesey is one  of the sites under consideration by the UK  Government, with a public meeting set to  take place to discuss the matter later this  year.

Any communities that agree to the deal,  have been promised “substantial” economical benefits.

But Anglesey’s Assembly Member, Rhun  ap Iorwerth, says that residents across the  island, must strongly reject any proposals  to establish any such sites here.

He said: “This is  quite separate from arguments for and  against nuclear power generation at  Wylfa newydd.

“This is about the threat of using  Anglesey as a nuclear waste depository……http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/north-wales-nuclear-waste-burial-6995133

April 21, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

An economic hazard to United Arab Emirates – nuclear power?

Nuclear Power: Boon Or Bane For The GCC?, Gulf Business,  
As the UAE and Saudi race to build nuclear reactors to meet mounting energy needs, the inevitable question arises – is nuclear a viable option?, Gulf business By Aarti Nagra 18 April 14

Fuelled by rising energy demand and depleting oil and gas resources, nuclear energy has gained strong momentum in the GCC, particularly in countries like the UAE. The country has lofty ambitions to generate up to 25 per cent of its electricity needs – or 5.6GW – through nuclear means by 2020.
Abu Dhabi began construction of its first nuclear reactor, Barakah 1, in July 2012, and it is in the process of building three more plants.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the body responsible for the project, announced in February that the first two plants are on schedule and are up to 35 per cent complete……..However, nuclear energy may not necessarily be the best option for the GCC region, states Mohammed Atif, area manager, Energy Advisory, Middle East at DNV GL – Energy.

“A reasonable diversification of fuels is always beneficial for a region in order to reduce risks and price volatility,” he says.

“The right composition of a generation portfolio is always a difficult question and has to take political, economic, technical and environmental aspects into consideration.

“We would suggest entering into a roadmap to achieve security of supply at a good price level even without nuclear energy.”……….An Oxford report on nuclear power production in the GCC published in December 2012 also pointed out that nuclear power generation could prove an expensive option for GCC states.

“The substantial initial investment costs, coupled with the high expected level of long run variable costs, is unlikely to render nuclear power cost effective vis-à-vis conventional oil and gas fired power plants in the region,” it says.

“The existing absence of cost-recovering power tariffs throughout the GCC already renders effective cost recovery for nuclear power unlikely, implying a substantial bill in the form of nuclear power subsidies to be picked up by GCC governments.”

There are also other hidden costs, such as national and regional security concerns and the future disposal of nuclear waste.

“And the acquisition of nuclear technology by GCC states, albeit for civilian purposes, provides fuel to those critics of nuclear power in the region who fear a nuclear arms race in the Gulf should Iran pursue a nuclear weapons programme in the future.

“All these concerns make nuclear power a potentially costly option for the GCC,” the report cautions………….http://gulfbusiness.com/2014/04/nuclear-power-boon-bane-gcc/#.U1WPalVdWik

April 21, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, MIDDLE EAST, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Koch brothers and fossil fuel lobbies out to kill renewable energy

Koch-climate-changeKoch Brothers, Conservatives & Oil Companies Lobby States Using Renewable Energy Sources: Alternative, Solar Power And Environmentalism Gaining Popularity Latin Post,   By Shawn Raymundo (staff@latinpost.com) 20 April 14,  As more and more states are beginning to utilize solar energy and adapt other clean green energy solutions, conservative lobby groups and oil tycoons have aggressively started pushing back against alternative energy.

The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and a number of powerful companies in the nation have started running campaign ads in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina that paint renewable energy as a greedy bad guy, according to the Los Angeles Times.

With the help of solar power companies, environmentalists are battling back against big oil companies and their lobbyists over states that have implemented two types of energy policies: net metering and renewable energy requirements.

Net metering allows homeowners or businesses that have solar panels installed on roofs to sell back extra electricity to the power grid at attractive rates. The other policy requires utility companies to generate at least 10 percent of renewable energy, the Times reported. The majority of states in the U.S. have begun operating under at least one of the two policies if not both. The only states to not use net metering or generate power from renewable energy are Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Tennessee.

South Dakota and Texas are the only two states without metering programs but generate a percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the Times………

The power industry fears that as more people install solar panels, less money is being paid to maintain transmission lines, substations and computer systems that many people rely on……

Edison Electric Institute, an advocacy group for the power industry, warned power companies that renewable energy policies could irrevocably damage the industry. The institute issued a report that stated, “it may be too late to repair the utility business model” if electric companies do not take action.

Christine Harbin Hanson, a spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, told the Times in an email that “state governments are starting to wake up” and challenge renewable energy polices.

“These green energy mandates are bad policy,” Hanson said. http://www.latinpost.com/articles/10814/20140420/koch-brothers-conservatives-oil-companies-lobby-states-using-renewable-energy-sources-alternative-solar-power-and-environmentalism-gaining-popularity.htm

 

April 21, 2014 Posted by | politics, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Latest Nuclear PR Gimmick – reactors floating on the ocean

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

What really fascinates me about this proposal is this bit -”the ocean serves as an “infinite heat sink,” which allows for the core to be cooled passively.”Now one current big argument FOR nuclear power, is that it would fight global warming. . Yet anyone who knows anything about global warming would know that heating up of the ocean is one of the major factors in global warming. This floating nuclear proposal is the clearest example yet, of how the nuclear industry CONTRIBUTES to global warming.


reactors-floatingMIT Wants to Mass Produce These Floating Nuclear Reactors JORDAN PEARSON 18 April 14
MIT RESEARCHERS WANT TO GO SURFING WITH NUCLEAR POWER. THEY’VE DESIGNED A FLOATING REACTOR THAT PROMISES INCREASED SAFETY—AND THE COST-EFFECTIVENESS AND MASS REPRODUCIBILITY OF FORD’S MODEL-T. 

The reactor is essentially built like a floating oil rig, and its designers, MIT professors Jacopo Buongiorno, Michael Golay, and Neil Todreas, promise that it will be able ride out tsunamis, earthquakes, and that meltdowns will be essentially impossible. According to Buongiorno, the ocean serves as an “infinite heat sink,” which allows for the core to be cooled passively……….

If this scheme catches hold, in the future we could see mass-produced nuclear power plants, ranging in size, powering many of America’s coastal cities. For now, however, the design team has their eyes set on Asia, specifically Japan, as an area which has a growing need for power sources that can withstand tsunamis.

Yet floating reactors have an unmistakably ominous quality to them, not unlike the Titanic. Although meltdowns may be “virtually impossible,” they are certainly not impossible, and the big question is what happens if one of these cores goes, well, nuclear.,….The 1970s plan for nuclear energy at sea got about this far, as well, before it was shot down by a slew of environmental, economic, and social concerns. At the time, there was an outcry over the potential environmental impact of a core meltdown at sea. John O’Leary, a Department of Energy secretary, delivered what a staffer called a “grim—even alarming report.” After the Three Mile Island disaster, the curtains had closed on the plan to build reactors at sea. Until now, that is……http://motherboard.vice.com/read/mit-wants-to-mass-produce-these-floating-nuclear-reactors

 What really fascinates me about this proposal is this bit -”the ocean serves as an “infinite heat sink,” which allows for the core to be cooled passively.”Now one current big argument FOR nuclear power, is that it would fight global warming. . Yet anyone who knows anything about global warming would know that heating up of the ocean is one of the major factors in global warming. This floating nuclear proposal is the clearest example yet, of how the nuclear industry CONTRIBUTES to global warming.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Desperate publicity manipulations by the nuclear industry

text-nuclear-uranium-liesYou know the nuclear industry is desperate when…  Michael Mariotte April 1, 2014 You know the nuclear power industry is getting desperate when it solicits its CEOs to start piling on ghost-written op-eds in publications chosen for their reach to key audiences. And you know the industry is really desperate when it brings out big guns like a couple of paid-for former U.S. Senators to support nuclear power in The Hill newspaper, which, as its name implies, is aimed at current legislators. And you know the industry is super desperate when it pulls out none other than Rudy Giuliani, who continues stuffing his wallet with nuclear-powered green.

Giuliani-Indian-Point

And when it rolls out all three on the same day? That’s when you know that the nuclear industry knows what not enough clean energy activists have yet understood: the nuclear power industry is in real trouble; it’s sensing its near-imminent demise; and like the dinosaur snarling and wagging its tail on its way to extinction, it’s in a dire, and ultimately likely to be unsuccessful, scramble for its very existence.

Yesterday, March 31, the nuclear industry’s march to oblivion was on full display. Two of the op-eds it placed were remarkably similar, so much so that they probably came from the same pen. And their points are so easy to knock down that one wonders if the Nuclear Energy Institute’s public relations A-Team already has jumped ship. Seriously, if these are the best arguments the industry can offer, they’re in bigger trouble than even I thought.

First up is Mike Renchek, the CEO of Areva, who is trying to convince Providence Journal readers that “nuclear energy is crucial to New England.”The crux of his argument seems to be that nuclear reactors kept providing power during the “polar vortex” this winter. Well, so did solar and wind plants, and energy efficiency worked pretty well too we hear. What didn’t work so well was natural gas, which went up in price and down in supply. But gas, although it is typically much cheaper than nuclear and in New England especially has been undercutting the region’s reactors in price, isn’t exactly an ideal provider of electricity, especially in the nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system we’re working to build. Gas is, at this exact moment in time, a genuine competitor to nuclear, but nuclear’s real future problem isn’t gas, it’s renewables and efficiency. And Renchek’s reactors can’t compete with those anymore either and will be even less able to do so as this decade rolls on.

 Former Senators Evan Bayh of Indiana and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire are the figureheads of a new industry-sponsored group called Nuclear Matters, which was created to try to prevent the shutdown of more existing reactors. Creation of such a group is itself a sign of the industry’s desperation–who knew a technology that is so self-evidently advantageous (at least in the minds of the industry itself, if for no one else) would need a new organization not to promote industry growth but to try to postpone its inevitable stumble into oblivion?…….

The nuclear industry’s sense of desperation is palpable. Activists need to understand what the industry obviously knows: it’s in serious trouble. This is our time to really join together, ramp  up our efforts, and kick more of these reactors over the edge; they’re already teetering. They’re dangerous, they can’t provide cost-effective electricity, they don’t have a solution to their radioactive waste and they exist now only because they were built decades ago and the utilities want to milk them for everything they can before they surrender to the inevitable and have to begin spending huge sums of money again–but this time it won’t be to build new reactors, it will be to decommission their dinosaurs. http://tinyurl.com/n3b9myt

 

April 19, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant so radioactive that crews had to retreat

exclamation-AP: Crews retreat after nuclear material found at WIPP — Officials: Correct to turn back, contamination was increasing — Robots brought to site for radiation levels too high for humans — ‘Significant amount of information’ will be revealed to public in next few days (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/ap-crews-retreat-after-nuclear-material-found-at-wipp-officials-correct-to-turn-back-contamination-increased-the-further-they-went-robots-brought-to-site-in-case-radiation-levels-too-high-for?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

AP, Apr. 17, 2014: Crews on their fourth trip into the mine on Wednesday made it into the only active waste storage area and found contamination, [Tammy Reynolds, U.S. Dept. of Energy’s deputy recovery manager] said. The deeper they went into the area, the more widespread the contamination, she said. But the crews had to retreat before identifying the possible source because they had been underground for five hours in protective gear that retains heat and the batteries on their respiratory equipment were running low. [...] The next step is for crews, and possibly robots, to go back down to see if they can identify what caused the leak.

Tammy Reynolds, deputy WIPP recovery manager: “The more they went into panel seven, the more (the contamination) became more widespread [...] They made the correct decision to turn back [...] Everyone was safely returned to the surface.”

John Heaton, former state representative and chairman of the Carlsbad Mayor’s Nuclear TaskforceWIPP Town Hall, Apr. 17, 2014 (at 7:00 in): I think that next week might a very busy week in that I think that there will be progress to report in terms as to what might have been the cause and also Phase 1 of the accident investigation report. […] I believe — I hate to speculate on this — but there will be a significant amount of information that will come out next week. So I think it will be a very important meeting and I think we need to have adequate time for people to be able to ask questions.

ReynoldsWIPP Town Hall, Apr. 17, 2014 (at 23:00 in): One of the other things we’ve been working on is the contingency plan […] They’ve been working to have robots prepared that in the event that the conditions in the underground don’t allow us to be able to get to the waste space or other parts of the mine later on in recovery activities because of the level of contamination, as a contingency we’re looking at the use of robots. And so there’s a couple of robot operators, they’ve already been to the WIPP site, they’ve received all of the training they would need to go into the underground […] they’ve completed that. And today they brought the robots out to the site and they did a demonstration for us […] so that if we can’t go and visibly put our eyes on certain pieces of the mine, the robot can do that for us and feed us back that information.

Watch the KRQE broadcast here

April 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Washington State and DOE squabble over disatrous radioactive waste problem at Hanford

Hanford 2011State, feds reject each other’s Hanford proposals http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/18/4968158/ap-newsbreak-state-rejects-hanford.html April 18 BY NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS SPOKANE, Wash. — The state of Washington and the U.S. Department of Energy on Friday each rejected the other’s proposal to amend a federal court agreement governing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site. The state sent a letter to federal lawyers saying the Energy Department’s March 31 proposal that would have eliminated many deadlines for Hanford cleanup “is not acceptable to Washington.”

The Department of Energy, meanwhile, said a state proposal also issued March 31 that would have left many deadlines in place was unrealistic.

The state proposal does not “adequately account for the realities of technical issues resolution, project management requirements and budget constraints,” the Energy Department said in a news release.

While the state warned that it might consider legal action, the Energy Department said it wanted to keep negotiating the issues. Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in cleaning up the nation’s largest volume of radioactive wastes. The site is near Richland. Continue reading

April 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto’s AGM faced with facts on radiological impact of Rossing uranium mine

uranium-oreRadiological Impact of Rössing Uranium Mine – Namibia http://www.facing-finance.org/en/2014/04/radiological-impact-of-rossing-uranium-mine-namibia/ April 17th, 2014 by 

At the Annual General Meeting of Rio Tinto in London, 15 May text-radiation2014, two recent reports about the impact of the uranium mine Rössing near Arandis, Namibia, on the environment and health were presented to the shareholders.

In cooperation with Earthlife Namibia, the French organizationCRIIRAD (Commission de Recherhe et d’Information Independantes sur la Radioactivite) analyzed the radiation of soil, water and sediments samples taken near Rössing´s mine caused by the tailing dams and waste rock dumps. Results show elevated levels of heavy metals and uranium in the samples up to more than 2000 times higher than WHO recommendations.

In their study, Earthlife Namibia surveyed the health status of current and former workers of the mine. Many of them complained of health problems, among them respiratory problems and illnesses due to the constant exposure to radon gas and dust.

CRIIRAD and Earthlife Namibia demand more independent research on radiation at the Rössing mine, a broad independent examination of the health status of workers and access to monitoring data for experts, as well as workers´ unrestricted access to their own medical reports.

Read CRIIRAD´s report here

Read Earthlife Namibia´s report here

April 19, 2014 Posted by | environment, Namibia, Uranium | 1 Comment

Vital to carry through with diplomacy between Iran and the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranWhy we must give Iran nuclear deal a chance, Global Public SquareBy Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, Special to CNN 18 April 14 Editor’s note: Tyler Cullis is a policy associate at the National Iranian American Council. Jamal Abdi is policy director at NIAC. The views expressed are the authors’ own.

The United States could be on the verge of securing a historic agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, one that verifiably limits it and opens the door to further cooperation between the two countries. Yet with a diplomatic victory on the horizon, the rhetoric of those who have long opposed any diplomatic resolution is reaching dizzying heights of disingenuousness.

During a recent Senate hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) hit out at reports that negotiations with Iran may produce a deal that “only” extends Iran’s nuclear breakout timeline to 6 to 12 months.

“I don’t think we did everything that we’ve done to only get a six to twelve month lead time,” Menendez lamented as he grilled Secretary of State John Kerry over the progress of the talks………

The Israeli government appears to believe that threatening possible military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities is the solution. But here’s the kicker: some estimates suggest that an Israeli strike on Iran would delay Iran’s breakout timeline by…six to twelve months – the same as the negotiated approach. The problem, of course, is that unlike a diplomatic solution, which would trade sanctions relief for verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program, an Israeli (or U.S.) military strike would have the opposite effect, and could prompt Iran to kick out inspectors and make a dash for a nuclear deterrent.

All this suggests an understanding of the potential timelines under these scenarios points to one conclusion – the White House is taking the best approach, one that extends the breakout timeline and has the best potential for securing an intrusive inspections regime to ensure Iranian compliance.

Opponents of diplomacy would do well to reflect on the reality that as the United States has tried to leverage sanctions against Iran, Tehran has responded by ramping up the production of centrifuges. As a result, the U.S. has long been in need of a new direction in its policy toward Iran.

Tentatively, but unmistakably, the Obama Administration has pursued a new approach – one that has brought us the first freeze on Iran’s nuclear program in a decade and which reports suggests have led to significant concessions on Iran’s Arak reactor.

If such a deal is not good enough for some in Congress or Israel’s government, then they must be prepared to speak up and offer viable alternatives. In the meantime, they should avoid undermining one of the most promising prospects for limiting Iran’s nuclear program in years. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/18/why-we-must-give-iran-nuclear-deal-a-chance/

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Time to reveal the truth on Israel’s theft of nuclear weapons fuel from USA

secret-agent-SmNearly 50 years have passed since the events in question. It is time to level with the public. At this point it is up to the president himself to decide whether to declassify completely the NUMEC documents, all of which are over 30 years old. He should do so. We know that is asking a lot given the president’s sensitivity about anything involving Israel, and especially anything relating to Israeli nuclear weapons. But none of his political concerns outweigh his responsibility to tell the US public the historical truth it deserves to know.

flag-IsraelDid Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States? Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Victor GilinskyRoger J. Mattson 17 April 14 Last month the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the nation’s highest classification authority, released a number of top-level government memoranda that shed additional light on the so-called NUMEC affair, “the story that won’t go away—the possibility that in the 1960s, Israel stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.”

The evidence available for our 2010 Bulletin article persuaded us that Israel did steal uranium from the Apollo, Pennsylvania, plant of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). We urged the US government to declassify CIA and FBI documents to settle the matter. In releasing the current batch—the release being largely due to the persistent appeals of researcher Grant Smith—the government has been careful to excise from all the released documents the CIA’s reasons for fingering Israel.

Despite this, the documents are significantly revealing. Continue reading

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 695 other followers