The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Savannah nuclear plant to draw massive amounts of water from the Savannah River.

nuke-tapNuclear expansion gets OK to drink deep from Savannah River By Mary Landers, 13 Dec 14  A massive water withdrawal permit issued for nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle will allow the nuclear power plant to pull an additional 74 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River.

When the reactors come on line later this decade, the nuclear plant will use more river water than the cities of Savannah and Augusta combined.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued the approval after the agency received more than 250 comments about the draft permit. By the agency’s own count 243 of those letters requested the permit be denied or delayed.

Despite the public outcry, EPD changed almost nothing in the final version of the permit, which was signed Dec. 5 and made public Tuesday on the EPD website.

“It seems to me they are just going to do what they wanted to do anyway,” said Kurt Ebersbach, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “While they’re happy to observe the process, it was not meaningful to the decision.”………….

Environmentalists have argued that water usage is an additional hidden cost of nuclear. A massive volume of water is needed for cooling, with a loss of up to 88 percent to evaporation in the process………………

December 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Warming of oceans brings hottest year on record

climate-changeWarm oceans keep world on course for hottest year  December 16, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Ongoing record warmth in the world’s oceans has increased the likelihood that 2014 will be declared the hottest year since reliable data began more than a century ago, US and Japanese agencies say.

The warmth comes as conditions in the Pacific remain conducive to an El Nino event forming in coming months, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

Surface temperatures have exceeded El Nino threshold levels for several weeks, and the bureau estimates there is a greater than 70 per cent chance of such an event soon.

The first 11 months of the year were the warmest on record, with combined global land and sea-surface temperatures running 1.22 degrees above the 20th-century average, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

This year will be the hottest on record – eclipsing 2005 and 2010 – provided December is at least 0.76 degrees above average, NOAA said…………

December 19, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Heating of Arctic oceans may cause dangerous solar radiation feedback loop

Rapid warming of Arctic may trigger dangerous solar radiation feedback loop Delila James | Science Recorder | December 18, 2014 NASA scientists at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco presented what is just the latest dire prediction about the runaway effects of climate change.


The researchers discussed a map created by satellites’ heat-sensing instruments showing the rate of solar radiation change in the Arctic, where the rate of heat absorption per square meter since 2000 has increased by more than 10 Watts of energy, according to a report by Wired. In some regions, such as the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska, the rate has increased as much as 45 Watts of energy per square meter.

For the past decade-and-a-half, NASA has been using satellite sensors called CERES to calculate how much solar energy is being absorbed by planet Earth as opposed to being reflected back into space. Every year the Arctic ice cap shrinks in the summer and grows in the winter. But because of the record loss of sun-reflecting sea ice in the Arctic seen in recent years, much of the winter ice cover now is thin—less than 6 feet thick, according to Wired.

So, when warm weather returns to the Arctic, the thin ice cover melts rapidly, causing the oceans to heat up. This then causes more ice to melt in a solar radiation feedback loop, in which the thinner the ice cover, the earlier in the summer it melts, which warms the ocean, which melts the ice, and so on.

Compared to 30 years ago, the annual summer melt in the Arctic comes seven days earlier, the Wired report said.

Atmospheric scientist Jennifer Kay of the University of Colorado, who collaborated in the research, said in a statement that CERES, which has only been collecting Arctic solar energy data since 2000, cannot be used to predict any long-term trends.

“Climate is usually considered to be a 30-year average,” Kay said.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Massive release of Fukushima radioactive water into Pacific Ocean

Pacific-Ocean-drainNRA head signals massive release of tainted water to help decommission Fukushima site 
The head of Japan’s nuclear watchdog said contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant should be released into the ocean to ensure safe decommissioning of the reactors.  Shunichi Tanaka, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, made the comment Dec. 12 after visiting the facility to observe progress in dismantling the six reactors. The site was severely damaged in the tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake.
“I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tanks (holding water tainted with radioactive substances),” Tanaka told reporters, indicating they pose a danger to decommissioning work. “We have to dispose of the water.”  
With regard to expected protests by local fishermen over the discharge, Tanaka said, “We also have to obtain the consent of local residents in carrying out the work, so we can somehow mitigate (the increase in tainted water).”

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | Leave a comment

As USA government ignores the issue, USA citizen scientists find Fukushima radiation in Pacific Ocean

Pacific-Ocean-drainFukushima radiation found 400 miles west of Newport Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal On the last Sunday in November, Terry Waldron waded into the surf at Nye Beach in Newport and filled a plastic bucket from the frigid Pacific Ocean.

The salty water now sits in a laboratory across the country, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, awaiting testing on highly sensitive equipment.

Waldron is part of a corps of West Coast citizen scientists sampling ocean water near their homes for traces of radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on the other side of the Pacific.

New data from Woods Hole shows very low levels of Fukushima radiation about 400 miles due west of Newport, as well as at other offshore sites along the West Coast.

At current levels, the radiation is not expected to harm humans or the environment.

But in the absence of federal monitoring, citizens such as Waldron have taken it upon themselves to test for its arrival on beaches. Continue reading

December 13, 2014 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Highly radioactive mushrooms found in Tochigi Prefecture

flag-japan4158 bq/kg Mushrooms Found In Tochigi Prefecture , Simply Info, Dec 7 2014, Mushrooms from Tochigi prefecture tested and found to have 4158 bq/kg of cesium. The test was recently completed and shows that the problems of radioactive foods it not “over” and not isolated to Fukushima prefecture………..

December 10, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean is still the sewer for the nuclear industry’s wastes

TV: Plutonium being pumped into ocean through miles of underwater pipes — Nuclear waste left lying on beach — Kids playing on sand where machines scoop up plutonium each day — Alarming test results 1,000% legal limit (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

SWR (German public television broadcaster), 2013 (emphasis added):

  • 25:00 in — The dumping of nuclear waste in the sea was banned worldwide in 1993, yet the nuclear industry has come up with other ways. They no longer dump the barrels at sea; they build kilometers of underwater pipes through which the radioactive effluent now flows freely into the sea. One of these pipes is situated in Normandy [near] the French reprocessing plant in La Hague… The advantage for the nuclear industry? No more bad press… disposal via waste pipes remains hidden from the public eye, quite literally.
  • 28:30 in — 400 km from La Hague [as well as] Holland [and] Germany… we find iodine… 5-fold higher tritium value than [reported] by the operator Areva. It’s now obvious why citizens take their own measurements.
  • 30:15 in — Molecular Biologist: “The radioactive toxins accumulate in the food chain. This little worm can contain 2,000-3,000 times more radioactivity than its environment. It is then eaten by the next biggest creature and so on, at the end of the food chain we discovered damage to the reproductive cells of crabs… These genetic defects are inherited from one generation to the next… Cells in humans and animals are the same.”
  • 32:00 in — The 2nd disposal pipe for Europe’s nuclear waste is located in the north of England… Radioactive pollution comes in from the sea. Their houses are full of plutonium dust… The pipe from Sellafield is clearly visible only from the air… nuclear waste is still being dumped into the sea. Operators argue this is land-based disposal… It has been approved by the authorities.
  • 35:45 in — Plutonium can be found here on a daily basis, the toxic waste returns from the sea… it leaches out, it dries, and is left lying on the beach. The people here have long since guessed that the danger is greater than those responsible care to admit… Every day a smallexcavator removes plutonium from the beach… In recent decadesthe operator at Sellafield has tossed more than 500 kg of plutonium into the sea.
  • 42:00 in — We take a soil sample… The result turns out to be alarming. The amount of plutonium is up to 10 times higher than the permissible limit.

Yahoo News, Dec 5, 2014: All this radiation from the [Fukushima] disaster has definitely not been isolated to just Japan. Researchers monitoring the Pacific Ocean, in which much of the radiation spilled into, have detected radioactive isotopes this past November just 160 km [100 miles] off the coast of California. So this story will continue to unfold for many years to come.

Watch SWR’s investigative report here

December 8, 2014 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Radioactive water from Fukushima to Pacific Ocean increasing by 400 tons daily

TV: Attempt to stop flow of highly radioactive liquid at Fukushima “in doubt” — AP: Much of it is pouring in trenches going out into Pacific — Experts: Amount entering ocean “increasing by 400 tons daily” — Problem “so severe” it’s consuming nearly all workers at site — Top Plant Official: “Little cause for optimism” (VIDEO)
NHK, Nov. 13, 2014 (emphasis added):


Radioactive water may still be entering tunnels — [TEPCO] faces another challenge in its effort to address radioactive water at the complex. It says highly contaminated water may still be flowing from reactor buildings into adjacent underground tunnels even after a work to stem the flow ended. The water in the tunnels is believed to be leaking into the sea… the firm began work in April to stem the flow of radioactive water between the reactor buildings and the tunnels… TEPCO finished the work on November 6th. But workers found that water levels in the reactor buildings and the tunnels are still linked

ITAR-TASS, Nov 14, 2014: Radioactive water discharge from Fukushima Daiichi NPP into ocean continues; According to specialists, the volume of contaminated liquid that is leaking into the ocean is increasing by 400 tons daily— The repair operations… aimed at preventing radioactive water discharges into the ocean have yielded no result, the NPP operator [TEPCO] reported on Friday. The water… is still leaking into the NPP drainage system even after last week’s operations to stop the leak… [D]ue to the major damage of the plant’s infrastructure most of the water that is poured in… leaks into the drainage system and gets into the ground waters and then into the Pacific Ocean… The radioactive contamination level in the ground waters, according to TEPCO, is very high…

AP, Nov 12, 2014: Japan’s nuclear cleanup stymied by water woes… nearly all the workers are devoted to a single, enormously distracting problem: coping with the vast amount of water that becomes contaminated after it is pumped into the reactors to keep the melted radioactive fuel inside from overheating… The water becomes contaminated upon exposure to the radioactive fuel, and much of it pours into the reactor basements and maintenance trenches that extend to the Pacific Ocean.

The Guardian, Nov. 13, 2014: The man in charge of cleaning up the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has admitted there is little cause for optimism… The water problem is so severe that [Tepco has] enlisted almost all of their 6,000 workers… to bring it under control… “ I have no intention of being optimistic” [Fukushima Daiichi’s manager Akira Ono] told the Guardian… large quantities [of contaminated water] find their way to other parts of the site, including maintenance trenches connected to the sea… “The contaminated water is the most pressing issue – there is no doubt about that,” Ono said… “I cannot say exactly when, I hope things start getting better when the measures start taking effect.”

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | 2 Comments

Russia’s underwater nuclear graveyard- the danger in the Arctic

Sunken Soviet Submarines Threaten Nuclear Catastrophe in Russia’s Arctic, Moscow Times. by Matthew Bodner Nov. 13 2014 While Russia’s nuclear bombers have recently set the West abuzz by probing NATO’s air defenses, a far more certain danger currently lurks beneath the frigid Arctic waters off Russia’s northern coast — a toxic boneyard for Soviet nuclear ships and reactors whose containment systems are gradually wearing out.

Left to decay at the bottom of the ocean, the world is facing a worst case scenario described as “an Arctic underwater Chernobyl, played out in slow motion,” according to Thomas Nilsen, an editor at the Barents Observer newspaper and a member of a Norwegian watchdog group that monitors the situation.


According to a joint Russian-Norwegian report issued in 2012, there are 17,000 containers of nuclear waste, 19 rusting Soviet nuclear ships and 14 nuclear reactors cut out of atomic vessels at the bottom of the Kara Sea.

For extra historical details see: Soviet Nuclear Submarine Wrecks at Bottom of Arctic Ocean (Video) Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | oceans, Russia, safety, wastes | Leave a comment

Why Australia should be selling renewable technologies to India, not dirty coal and uranium

Australia, India’s dirty energy friend Instead of being India’s dirty fuel friend, Australia can build a sustainable energy relationship with India by helping boost India’s growing renewables industry. By  Ruchira Talukdar 10 NOV 2014  As heads of state prepare to arrive in Brisbane next week for the G20 summit where climate change will be conspicuous by its serious absence on the agenda, the Australian government is finalising paperwork to start exporting uranium – a highly risky fuel – and approving giant mines like Carmichael in central Queensland to ship coal – a climate change culprit – to India.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also preparing for a four day Australia tour alongside attending G20, including addressing a joint sitting of federal Parliament. It will be the first official visit by an Indian head of state in nearly three decades, marking the beginning of a strong phase in Australia-India relations. This new cooperation might sound like good news to the Indian diaspora in Australia and make regional cooperation experts enthusiastic, but its basis in extracting and exporting dirty and dangerous forms of energy to India needs to be questioned.India is a densely populated country with many living in poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of government planning to deal with complex weather systems. This makes it ill-prepared to deal with the scale of impacts from unchecked climate change on humans and ecosystems as highlighted in the latest IPCC report – decreased river flows, increased food insecurity from fall in food production, increased tropical diseases, sea level rise and mass human displacement. Neither are its 22 running nuclear power plants managed to avoid future disasters of the scale of Fukushima or Chernobyl, as a scathing 2013 report by the Indian national auditor general on the lack of nuclear safety in India showed. Continue reading

November 12, 2014 Posted by | environment, India | Leave a comment

Extremely high level of Cesium 134/137 in agricultural products near Minamisoma city

Author-Fukushima-diaryStill 102,900 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 measured from Matsutake mushroom in Minamisoma city  Fukushima Diary, 9 Nov 14, According to Minamisoma city government, still extremely high level of Cs-134/137 is detected from agricultural products.

From their latest report of September, 102,900 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 was measured from Matsutake mushroom. The city government reports it was collected for self-consumption, but the ratio of Cs-134 and Cs-137 was not announced.

Also 28,240 Bq/Kg and 17,058 Bq/Kg were measured from other Matsutake mushroom samples.

2,094 ~ 14,140 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 were detected from “Inohana” mushroom as well.

Still high level of radioactive material is accumulated in mushroom in Minamisoma city.,1672,c,html/1672/h26.09.pdf


November 10, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Armenian Communities Concerned over Radiation near Uranium Mines

Communities Concerned over Radiation near Uranium Mines BY KARINA MANUKYAN 6 Nov 14  YEREVAN (—The development of uranium ore-containing mines in Armenia is fraught with big environmental problems, Inga Zarafyan, Head of EcoLur, an environmental advocacy group, has told ArmInfo. Zarafyan says some legislative amendments in the country have enabled mining companies to gain profits even from deposits that were regarded as unprofitable before.

Uranium extraction operations may have a potential health impact on the local communities, the environmentalist says. Zarafyan warns about the high level of radon at the areas near the deposits that have been operated for a long period of time already. Operation of all these deposits is accompanied by dangerous emissions of radioactive waste, she explains.

Earlier in October, environmentalists warned about the exploration of the Azatek deposit located in Vayots Dzor region, which, as they claimed, contains uranium. According to EcoLur, expeditions in the 1960s and 1970s also indicated the presence uranium ore in the area.

Meanwhile, Zarafyan complained about the lack of official data on the risks of operation on radioactive deposits. “No one cares for the issue, unfortunately. Mining companies are silent, as it is not within their interests to speak of the risks. As for the Government, its silence is in favor of some officials who back those companies,” Zarafyan said.

Meanwhile, the situation has been exacerbated. A few years ago an Armenian-Russian Mining Company conducted uranium exploration in Armenia. Rosatom provided 3 million euros to that end. ……..

November 8, 2014 Posted by | environment, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Worrying outlok for USA, as Climate Change Denier likely to head senate environment committee

Prominent climate change denier likely to head US senate environment committee, SMH, Tom Hamburger,November 6, 2014If approved, Inhofe would replace Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., an avowed environmentalist, producing one of the most stark post-election changes in the Capitol. Committee assignments will not be made until Senate party caucuses meet in Washington after the election recess………

Read more:



November 8, 2014 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Risk of tsunami – a threat to at least 8 countries with nuclear power plants

nuke-&-seaL8 Countries With Nuclear Power Plants Most At Risk Of Tsunamis. Oil Price, By Andrew Topf | Tue, 04 November 2014 The tsunami that destroyed a nuclear reactor at Fukushima, Japan, caused a major re-think of nuclear power, which up to the accident in 2011, had been considered a relatively safe, clean form of electricity generation…….. took a look at the countries whose nuclear power plants would be most vulnerable to a tsunami. We based our list – which is in no particular order – on a report by the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), part of the European Commission, which mapped out the world’s geographic zones that would be at most risk of large tsunamis. We then cross-referenced those countries with information from the World Nuclear Association, on each country’s nuclear program. According to the CORDIS report, 23 nuclear power plants with 74 reactors were identified in high-risk areas. The riskiest country was China, which has 27 reactors currently under construction, the largest number in the world. Of those 27, 17 are being built in areas considered dangerous for tsunamis.
South Korea…..
United States….
India ….


November 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, safety | Leave a comment

UK’s Windscale nuclear disaster spread radiation much further than previously thought

map-radiation-from-Windscalflag-UKWindscale fallout underestimated Rebecca Morelle  Science reporter, BBC News 6 Oct 2007 The radioactive fallout from a nuclear accident that rocked Britain 50 years ago was underestimated, scientists say.

In 1957, a fire at the Windscale nuclear reactor in Cumbria led to a release of radioactive material that spread across the UK and Europe.

But new research claims the incident generated twice as much radioactive material and could have caused more cancers than was previously thought.

The research was published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. Risky act 

The Windscale site was home to Britain’s first two nuclear reactors – the Windscale Piles – which were constructed to produce plutonium and other materials for the UK’s nuclear weapons programme.

But the rush to build them when little was known about nuclear reactors led to what was at the time the world’s biggest nuclear disaster, although it was later dwarfed by Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

On 10 October 1957, a failure to properly control the temperature of the graphite moderator within the Windscale No 1 pile sparked a devastating fire, which caused radioactive contamination to spew into the atmosphere.

The fire was eventually put out by restricting the air flow, and with water – a risky act which could have caused an explosion – but a radioactive cloud was already spreading far and wide.

At the time of the accident the levels and spread of the radioactive materials was estimated, and measures were put in place to limit radioactive contamination. But a new study carried out by John Garland, formerly of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Richard Wakeford, a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, suggests the contamination of the environment may have been much higher………

November 6, 2014 Posted by | environment, history, UK | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 898 other followers