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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Dakota’s community livelihood at risk from uranium polluted water

water-radiationUranium mine would affect more than West River http://www.argusleader.com/story/opinion/readers/2014/06/07/letter-uranium-mine-affect-west-river/10109709/ Kim C. Kraft  Are you aware of the potential problem of uranium mining in western South Dakota to the rest of the state? Presently, there are more than 200 abandoned uranium mines leaching radioactive debris into our rivers. Radioactive residue from these mines can be detected as far as Vermillion. So it is not just a West River problem.

Now we have Powertech/Azarga, a China-based investment company, wanting to take vast amounts of water from two major aquifers of the Southern Black Hills for in situ mine leaching of uranium. Not only will they take the water from our ranchers, who desperately need it during the drought, but contaminating it for any future use by the ranchers and surrounding communities. With the Western states becoming dryer from prolonged drought, we cannot afford to waste clean water for the benefit of foreign countries. Our state government is allowing this. Our governor and Legislature have removed oversight and control over water usage in the Southern Black Hills, thus allowing the mining companies to use up precious clean water, pollute it and then leave with no responsibility to clean the mess up. They are putting our livelihoods on the line. Remember this for the November elections.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Uranium, USA, water | 1 Comment

Uranium mining’s grave risk of polluting aquifer in Southern Black Hills, South Dakota

Risks too great to allow Hills uranium mining Jerry Wilson Argus leader 1 June 14, Chinese and Canadian-funded Powertech wants to mine uranium in the Southern Black Hills by the in situ method — dissolving uranium in the aquifer, pumping it to the surface for extraction, then dumping polluted water deep into the Earth.

Twice before, foreign corporations mined uranium in the Hills and left a radioactive mess. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources lists 263 abandoned uranium sites in the state. Radioactive material and toxic heavy metals have polluted tributaries of several South Dakota rivers.

We needn’t repeat the mistakes of neighboring states. The Crow Butte mine near Crawford, Neb., has a long history of spills and “excursions” of radioactive water into the aquifer. And the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality cited the Smith Ranch/Highland mine near Glenrock, Wyo., for “an inordinate number of spills, leaks and other releases … pond leaks, well casing failures and excursions.” The cleanup was projected to cost $150 million, four times the company’s bond.

Below the Inyan Kara aquifer that Powertech wants to mine lies the Minnelusa aquifer, then the Madison, all vital to future life in the region. A study of risks to the Madison aquifer by three South Dakota School of Mines and Technology researchers concluded that “Water supplies for Rapid City … and the surrounding suburban and rural areas are extremely vulnerable to contamination.” The DENR’s mission statement is clear — “protecting South Dakota’s environment and natural resources for today and tomorrow.” Unfortunately, our Legislature passed a law –– written by Powertech lobbyists –– that tied the hands of the DENR to do its job.

If in situ uranium mining pollutes the water vital to life, tourism and ranching in the Southern Hills, we might know in a year or two, or perhaps only after Powertech is gone. That is a chance we cannot afford to take. The Powertech mine must be stopped.

 

June 2, 2014 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Fukushima groundwater radioactive contamination getting worse, but not properly measured

water-radiationOngoing Impact of Wastewater from Fukushima Nuclear Power Station
Hydro International, By Shunji Murai Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo, Japan08/05/2014
Three years on from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011, air contamination is decreasing and is now concentrated in a limited area. Land contamination has also decreased through decontamination processes. However, despite all the efforts by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government, water contamination in surface and ground water is getting worse, simply because there are no effective countermeasures. …….
Even though the wastewater issue is taken seriously by Japanese people as well as people worldwide, the real status of the effect of the contamination is still unknown because neutral third-party organisations have no access to within a 20km radius of Fukushima NPS. The author has tried to make clear what the status of the wastewater issue is by using various sources including a Fishermen Union’s report, which appears to be more reliable than the government report or the report by TEPCO.  http://www.hydro-international.com/news/id6913-Ongoing_Impact_of_Wastewater_from_Fukushima_Nuclear_Power_Station.html

May 10, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, water | Leave a comment

Thirsty nuclear facilities steal precious fresh water

nuke-tapNukes thirst for Savannah River water, savannahnow, by Mary Landers on Wed, 2014-05-07 That sucking sound you hear? That’s Georgia Power and its partners preparing to pull 74 million gallons of water a day out of the Savannah River to cool the nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. That’s in addition to the 127 million gallons per day the existing reactors are permitted to draw.

“For downstream users like Savannah there’s going to be a bigger straw in their river and it’s Vogtle,” said Sara Barczak of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

The new nuclear reactors, for which you’re already paying if you live in Savannah and use electricity, aren’t expected to be in operation until 2017 or later. (It keeps getting later.) The state issued a draft water withdrawal permit in January that allows for the maximum daily pull of 74 million gallons per day or a monthly  average of 62 million gallons per day.

For comparison, the city of Savannah takes out a maximum of 55 million gallons a day from the river for drinking water. (EPD provides a link to a list of all withdrawals here.)  And if you think Vogtle will return most of the water to the river after using it for cooling, think again: the consumptive use is estimated at 71 percent on average. Worst case scenario is that the cooling process will send 88 percent of the water into the atmosphere through evaporation. ……http://savannahnow.com/share/blog-post/mary-landers/2014-05-07/nukes-are-thirsty#.U21McYFdWik

May 9, 2014 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Risks of uranium tailings to Las Vegas water in floods

A flood through Moab uranium tailings could poison Las Vegas drinking water An unseasonable flood through a 17 million ton uraniam tailing pile 500 miles upstream in Moab, Utah could spell the end of Las Vegas valley’s drinking water supply. Isn’t it about time mainstream science started paying attention to radiation remediation methods? by Sterling D. Allan Pure Energy Systems News , 13 April 14

Fukushima saw a situation in which the engineers who built the facility did not properly anticipate the magnitude of storm that ended up hitting the facility on March 11, 2011. Their having put the emergency pumps in the basement further shows their total denial about what mother nature could do.

Such a catastrophe actually hangs over Las Vegas as well, and the extend of mother nature’s unleashing wouldn’t be that high above normal. Ninety percent of Vegas valley’s drinking water comes from the Lake Mead reservoir, which is in the Colorado River drainage (source) — about 500 miles downstream from a 17 million ton uranium tailing pile in Moab, Utah. There is no containment berm protecting the pile from an unseasonably flooding Colorado River. Below is an email I received today from my New Energy Congress associate, Gary Vesperman, who lives in Boulder City, Nevada, neighboring Lake Mead. I share this for two reasons. One, to hopefully prevent such a thing from unfolding by spurring remedial measures; and second, to get you scientists among us thinking more about how we can remediate radiation in general.

It’s an email Gary wrote to John Hutchison, who has working on nuclear remediation for several years, and is coming up with some promising results……..http://pesn.com/2014/04/13/9602470_Flood-through-Moab-Uranium-tailings_could-poison-Vegas-drinking-water/

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Uranium, USA, water | Leave a comment

Radiation increase a thousand fold in Fukushima groundwater

water-radiationRadiation in Fukushima groundwater skyrockets 3,500+ times over weekend — Just 5 meters from Pacific Ocean — Nothing being done to stop it flowing into sea (PHOTO)  http://enenews.com/radiation-in-groundwater-skyrockets-3500-times-over-weekend-just-5-meters-from-pacific-no-steps-being-taken-to-stop-flow-into-ocean-photo[...]

Tepco, Dec. 17, 2013: As a result of the measurement, it was found that the gross-β density in the groundwater observation holeNo.0-3-2 obtained at the east of the Units 1-4 Turbine Buildings on December 16 [was] 63,000Bq/L

Jiji Press, Dec. 17, 2013: Highest Ever Radiation Detected in Fukushima Plant Well [...] Some 63,000 becquerels of radioactive materials that emit beta rays, such as strontium-90, per liter have been found in groundwater [...] the highest level at the well [Tepco] said Tuesday [...] sample [was] taken on Monday from the observation well 5 meters from the coast [...] Since the company is not takings steps to prevent tainted water in the well from flowing into the sea [...] the water is likely to be reaching the plant’s bay. [...] standards require strontium-90 levels to be less than 10 becquerels in water to be released into the sea. [...]
See also: Asahi: Radiation levels spike to record high in Fukushima groundwater well nearby ocean — Trench failures to blame, says Tepco — Million times more strontium/beta-ray source than cesium

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, water | Leave a comment

Utah nuclear power plant wins approval for diversion of water

State engineer’s water rights for nuclear plant upheld by judge KSL.com Utah, By Amy Joi O’Donoghue November 27th, 2013 SALT LAKE CITY State Engineer Kent Jones rightfully applied Utah law when he approved the diversion of water from the Green River for use in a proposed nuclear power plant, a judge ruled Wednesday.

“We expected this to be the case. The state engineer obviously spent two years looking at it,” said Aaron Tilton, whose company, Blue Castle Holdings, is proposing the twin-reactor plant in Emery County.

Tilton added that the judge rightfully weighed the merits of Jones’ decision within the context of what state law dictates.

“You got to look at the totality of everything that we have done and the way the law was applied. If we interpreted the law the way HEAL Utah wanted, nobody’s water rights would be approved,” he said.

The decision was blasted by HEAL Utah and other environmental groups that contended Jones’ decision was illegal because there was no demonstration by Blue Castle that the project is economically feasible or the water use is sustainable.

“It’s baffling that this project continues to stumble forward,” says HEAL Utah’s policy director, Matt Pacenza.

But 7th District Judge George Harmond said HEAL Utah and the other environmental groups failed to prove their case, and there was no lawful basis to deny the water use………http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=960&sid=27813730&fm=most_popular

November 29, 2013 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water problem does not go away

The Global Threat of Fukushima, counterpunch A Global Response is Needed WEEKEND EDITION OCTOBER 25-27, 2013  by KEVIN ZEESE AND MARGARET FLOWERS”………As bad as the ongoing leakage of radioactive water is into the Pacific, that is not the largest part of the water problem.  The Asia-Pacific Journal reported last month that TEPCO has 330,000 tons of water stored in 1,000 above-ground tanks and an undetermined amount in underground storage tanks.  Every day, 400 tons of water comes to the site from the mountains, 300 tons of that is the source for the contaminated water leaking into the Pacific daily. It is not clear where the rest of this water goes.

text-Fukushima-2013-1

Each day TEPCO injects 400 tons of water into the destroyed facilities to keep them cool; about half is recycled, and the rest goes into the above-ground tanks. They are constantly building new storage tanks for this radioactive water. The tanks being used for storage were put together rapidly and are already leaking. They expect to have 800,000 tons of radioactive water stored on the site by 2016.  Harvey Wasserman warns that these unstable tanks are at risk of rupture if there is another earthquake or storm that hits Fukushima. The Asia-Pacific Journal concludes: “So at present there is no real solution to the water problem.”

The most recent news on the water problem at Fukushima adds to the concerns. On October 11, 2013, TEPCO disclosed that the radioactivity level spiked 6,500 times at a Fukushima well.  “TEPCO said the findings show that radioactive substances like strontium have reached the groundwater. High levels of tritium, which transfers much easier in water than strontium, had already been detected………”http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/the-global-threat-of-fukushima/

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and onEconomic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Japan, water | Leave a comment

Water shortage affecting uranium mining industry in Namibia

Rio Tinto, Paladin Uranium Mines in Namibia Face Water Shortage, Bloomberg News By Felix Njini November 18, 2013 Uranium mines operated by companies including Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Paladin Energy Ltd. in Namibia face a water shortage as a drought in the southwest African nation curbs supply to the operations and three coastal towns.

Volumes from the Omaruru Delta acquifer, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the capital, Windhoek, have declined to 4 million cubic meters this year from 9 million cubic meters a year earlier, said Nehemia Abraham, under-secretary for water and forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The source is in the semi-arid Erongo region, which supplies the towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay and suffers from severe shortages. Water from a desalination plant owned by Areva SA (AREVA), the country’s first such facility, isn’t enough to meet needs of Paladin’s Langer Heinrich uranium mine, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co.’s Husab uranium project and Rio’s Rossing complex.

“The water-supply situation at the coastal area has become too critical,” Abraham said by phone yesterday. “Mining companies in the area will have to operate with less water. We are reviewing the situation now and from end of November we might be unable to get enough water from the aquifer to supply to mines.”

Langer Heinrich spokeswoman Ratonda Murangi didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions. Botha Ellis, a spokesman for Rossing, directed queries to Namibia Water Corp., the country’s state-owned utility known as Namwater.

Water Needs

Rossing’s total water requirement for 2012 was 7.48 million cubic meters, 41 percent of which was for fresh water, while the rest was recycled, according to its website.

The three towns use about 4.5 million cubic meters and there is currently no spare capacity from the aquifer, known as Omdel, Abraham said…… http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-11-18/rio-tinto-paladin-uranium-mines-in-namibia-face-water-shortage

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Namibia, water | Leave a comment

Unanswered questions about proposed uranium mine in South Dakota

questionUranium mine hearings reveal questions about proposed project Rapid City Journal 3 Nov 13 After two weeks of public testimony, one thing has become clear about the proposed uranium mine that would operate near Edgemont: many things about the project remain unclear.

The process paperwork and permit applications …..

“It consists of nearly 80,000 pages of documents, very complex documents,” said Hickey, who represents the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. ,,,,,,

uranium-oreAs a pair of governor-appointed state permit boards decide whether to allow uranium mining to South Dakota, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and yet the issue couldn’t be murkier. As he testified at last week’s hearings, John Mays, vice president of engineering for Powertech, didn’t ease the concerns of opponents who worry over potential groundwater contamination.

Under questioning, Mays refused to commit Powertech to cleaning water in the mining area to its pre-mining condition. Mays said it was a primary goal, but not a requirement.

Nor would Mays specify what other heavy metals might be extracted along with uranium and then injected back into the aquifers.

Mays testified that only uranium and vanadium — another metal the company hopes to mine — are certain to circulate in and out of the ground. As for arsenic, selenium, molybdenum, and other potentially harmful metals, Mays wouldn’t say.

“What you’re telling this board is that you don’t really know what’s in that ore yet?” Bruce Ellison asked Mays. Ellison is an attorney for Clean Water Alliance, a group of mining opponents. “You haven’t done enough testing?” Continue reading

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Uranium, USA, water | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear reactors leaking directly into sea?

exclamation-Alert: Top Japan nuclear official suggests Fukushima reactors “leaking directly into sea”… not mixing with groundwater and getting diluted — Expert: Contamination flowing from plant will be carried away to North America’s west coast

Jiji Presshttp://enenews.com/alert-top-level-japan-official-publicly-suggests-multiple-fukushima-reactors-are-leaking-directly-into-the-sea-its-not-mixing-with-groundwater-and-getting-diluted-expert-contamination-f Oct. 16, 2013: Tepco’s toxic water failures pitiful: NRA[...] Tepco is pumping up groundwater and has injected a water-stopping agent into the ground near the plant’s port in order to curb the flow of radioactive groundwater into the sea. Despite such efforts, the levels of cesium-137 in seawater samples collected between the water intakes for reactors 1 and 2 inside the port rose to around 100 becquerels per liter this month from around 10 becquerels between late June and early July. [...] Radioactive water from the damaged reactors “may be leaking directly into the sea instead of mixing with groundwater before making its way into the sea,” [Nuclear Regulation Authority Commissioner Toyoshi] Fuketa said. [...]
Vladimir Kovbasyuk, Russian Hydrometeorological Expert, Oct. . 16, 2013: “We analyzed the problems several years ago, when the 2011 earthquake and tornado hit the Fukushima nuclear plant. Radioactive waters will first be carried away to the west coast of North America and only then, on intermingling with other ocean waters, may they return to the Russian coast. Currently, we are measuring radiation levels, and we’ve registered no excess radiation thus far.” [...]

It appears Fuketa has provided the answer to the ‘mystery’ discussed on NHK’s ‘Nuclear Watch’ earlier thisyear: Fukushima Mystery? TV: Japan expert says radiation levels in ocean too high to be explained by groundwater flow alone — Must be coming from “other contamination routes” entering Pacific — “Devastating impact” to come? (VIDEO)

See also: Nuclear Expert: Fukushima melted fuel is drifting in ocean and onto land, lacking any containment — It ends up on coastline and blows into communities — People get an exceptional dose — Health harm will go on for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years (AUDIO)

October 18, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, oceans, water | Leave a comment

Huge spike in groundwater radiation under Fukushima nuclear reactor No 1

strontium 90Strontium readings spike 6,500-fold in one day  Water radiation soars at Fukushima No. 1 Japan Times JIJI, AFP-JIJI  18 Oct 13 FUKUSHIMA Radiation levels in groundwater under Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are soaring, Tepco said Friday after taking samples from an observation well.

Tepco said 400,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting substances such as strontium were detected in water sampled Thursday from the well located some 15 meters from a storage tank that leaked about 300 tons of highly radioactive water in August.

The level of becquerels, a record high for water in that well, was up 6,500-fold from the 61 becquerels found Wednesday.

Tepco was planning to pump groundwater up from different wells about 100 meters from the leaky tank for release into the Pacific before the water flows into the damaged reactor buildings and becomes heavily contaminated with radioactive materials.

But that plan appears in jeopardy because the sharp increase in the levels of radioactive materials in the observation well suggest the radioactive groundwater is spreading.

By law, water containing beta particle-emitting substances exceeding certain levels cannot be released into the sea. The upper limit is set at 30 becquerels per liter for strontium-90 and 60 becquerels for cesium-134.

Tepco also said water collected Thursday from a drainage ditch near the leaky tank contained 34,000 becquerels of beta particle-emitting substances per liter, compared with 2,300 becquerels the day before……Officials said Thursday they will solicit proposals from both domestic and overseas nuclear experts and firms on how best to scrap the ruined reactors at Fukushima No. 1…….http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/18/national/water-radiation-soars-at-fukushima-no-1/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ja

October 18, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, water | 1 Comment

Pennsylvania water has dangerous levels of radiation due to fracking

Dangerous levels of radiation from fracking found in PA water-radiationwater http://www.salon.com/2013/10/02/dangerous_levels_of_radiation_from_fracking_found_in_pa_water/singleton/  Researchers found 200 times the normal amount of radium downstream of a treatment plant BY  The wastewater released into a Pennsylvania river from a plant that processes fracking wastewater tested positive positive for dangerous contaminants — including radium levels elevated 200 times above normal — Duke University researchers found.

“The radioactivity levels we found in sediments near the outflow are above management regulations in the U.S. and would only be accepted at a licensed radioactive disposal facility,” Robert B. Jackson, one of the researchers, said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, compared water and sediment samples from downstream of the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility, located on western Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale formation, to samples from above the plant. In addition to the extreme levels of radium, it also found two to ten times the amoung of chlorides and bromides in the downstream samples. As Smithsonian Magazine notes, Pennsylvania hosts 74 facilities that treat the radioactive water driven to the surface by fracking. Ostensibly, they’re supposed to remove radium and other contaminants from the water before releasing it into rivers and streams. No national standards, however, exist to regulate the plants, many of which, according to the EPA, “are not properly equipped to treat this type of wastewater.” They’re also not required to test to radiation — so until the Duke researchers stepped in, it’s likely no one was aware of just how poorly this plant was performing.

“Each day, oil and gas producers generate 2 billion gallons of wastewater,” Jackson told Climate Central. “They produce more wastewater than hydrocarbons. That’s the broader implication of this study. We have to do something with this wastewater.”

October 4, 2013 Posted by | radiation, water | Leave a comment

Film: Uranium in situ mining, radiation in water, cancer

The mining companies know that if the leaching solution breaks into an aquifer, the water is contaminated and cannot be corrected. They cannot and will not guarantee it but will only promise to use the best available technology and make the best possible effort to correct the problem. Then as always, they will walk away with the ore and the profits and leave local residents and federal taxpayers to deal with the aftermath. 

Hot Water: The Uranium Industry’s Dirty Little Story The only thing green about nuclear power are the people who think it’s safe. Lizabeth Rogers Activist Post 2 Oct 13, 

HOT WATER Documentary Trailer 

When you were growing up, how many people did you know who had cancer?
How many do you know today?
I began this odyssey, innocently enough in July 2009 when I led a filmmaking crew to South Dakota to investigate what we had heard was an abandoned uranium mine which had contaminated local groundwater and made local ranchers, their children and even their livestock sick. Continue reading

October 4, 2013 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, Uranium, water | Leave a comment

Damning verdict on Japan’s ability to stop radioactive groundwater leak

Hear-This-wayFormer US nuclear chief’s damning Fukushima report http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/asia-pacific/former-us-nuclear-chiefs-damning-fukushima-report/1195596 25 September 2013,  

The former chief nuclear regulator in the United States has delivered a damning verdict on Japanese authorities’ ability to stop contaminated groundwater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant flowing into the sea. Gregory Jaczko was responding to comments by the Japanese Prime Minister that the situation at Fukushima was under control.

Mr Jaczko told foreign journalists in Tokyo that the surging groundwater “was beyond human control”, warning that a planned underground ice wall around the site would also fail to stop the sea becoming contaminated.

Reporter: Mark Willacy

Speakers: Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister; Gregory Jaczko, former United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman

WILLACY: It was a last ditch guarantee from a prime minister fighting to win the Olympics for his country. Continue reading

September 26, 2013 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2013, Japan, water | Leave a comment

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