Nuclear plant is polluting our drinking water The Mercury, DR. LEWIS CUTHBERT http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20140917/op-ed-nuclear-plant-is-polluting-our-drinking-water 09/16/14, Clean safe water is not a luxury. It’s essential for survival, including personal hygiene, food preparation and cooking. Allowing the intentional destruction of a vital water resource supplying almost 2 million people, for the profit of a multi-billion dollar corporation, is a moral, ethical disgrace. Why should one business, Limerick Nuclear Plant, be permitted to run the Schuylkill River dry and poison it to such a degree that it can become unusable for other businesses and residents?
It is infuriating and unacceptable that our politicians, agency officials, other leaders, and water companies would allow such injustice to continue. Deafening silence continues, while almost two million people from Pottstown to Philadelphia, face a water and public health crisis.
NRC and DEP might as well be working for Exelon.
• Instead of stopping Limerick’s unprecedented threats and harms to the Schuylkill River, NRC plans to relicense Limerick.
• DEP plans to issue an NPDES water pollution permit with dangerous exemptions and loopholes for Limerick’s radiation and cooling tower toxic discharges, and overheating the river.
PA DEP is allowing Limerick to violate federal protective water law and standards. DEP has the power to deny Limerick an NPDES pollution permit renewal. Instead, DEP plans to approve a permit with shocking exemptions. Instead of exemptions from compliance, Exelon, Limerick’s owner, should be required to filter Limerick’s dangerous discharges to meet Safe Drinking Water standards. Exelon is profiting and should be accountable to minimize damage.
Clean water is the law of the land since 1972. Why would PA DEP ignore protective federal clean water laws? Because it saves Exelon the cost of filtration. Governor Corbett appointed Michael Krancer, a former Exelon attorney, to head DEP. Krancer stayed long enough to assure Limerick’s exemption from federal water laws. DEP’s unethical negligence has health and financial consequences.
• Suffering and health care costs will increase. DEP plans to allow unlimited amounts of Limerick’s broad range of radionuclides and toxic cooling tower chemicals to be discharged into the river every day with up to 14.2 million gallons of wastewater.
• It’s cost prohibitive for water companies to monitor or filter Schuylkill River water intake for all Limerick’s cancer causing radionuclides and other toxics.
• Increasing costs to water companies for Limerick’s massive Total Dissolved Solids discharges will ultimately be passed on to their customers. Example: Norristown shut down water distribution for four days recently, resulting in costly plant upgrades. Limerick uses two chemicals that can cause brown water (NPDES Permit).
• Rather than requiring Exelon to slow operations when Limerick discharges overheat the river, DEP plans to eliminate river temperature restrictions that protect aquatic life, public health, and safety.
How can NRC relicense Limerick? There isn’t enough water in the Schuylkill River to sustain daily operations, much less for meltdowns.
• Limerick withdraws over two and a half times more water than the combined withdrawal for Pottstown and Norristown water customers, returning just one quarter to the river. The rest goes into the air as steam from the cooling towers.
• Limerick’s cooling towers depleted the river since the late 1980s. By 1999, DEP reported that it reached record low flows. It’s getting worse. Where you once needed a boat to cross, you can now walk across. Tributaries are even drying up.
If your water is coming from the Schuylkill River through PA American Water, Aqua PA, or your municipality, know your risks. Visitwww.acereport.org. Section #6 “Schuylkill River – Limerick’s Operations Threaten A Drinking Water Disaster” and Video Blogs Updates.
Safe drinking water must be the legacy we leave our children. To save the Schuylkill River and restore an ample, safe water supply for almost two million people and other businesses, Limerick must close. Otherwise, unprecedented threats and harms will increase, expediting a drinking water disaster.
Groups appeal decision in Utah nuclear power plant case By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News 17 Sept 14 A consortium of environmental groups are challenging a district court judge’s ruling upholding Utah’s decision to allow more than 53,000 acre-feet of water to be diverted for use in a planned nuclear power plant. SALT LAKE CITY — Environmental groups led by anti-nuclear activists HEAL Utah are challenging a judicial ruling that upheld Utah’s decision to allow Green River water to be used in a proposed nuclear power plant.
The groups contend Utah 7th District Judge George Harmond erred last fall when he upheld a decision by Utah State Engineer Kent Jones granting more than 50,000-acre feet of water for the Blue Castle Holdings plant.
Jones approved the transfer of 50,300 acre-feet of water from the Kane and San Juan County conservancy districts — water that will be ultimately diverted from the Green River in a withdrawal the groups say is not sustainable.
“The Colorado River basin is already over-allocated,” said John Weisheit, conservation director of Living Rivers, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit. “Shortages will likely begin next year for lower basin states and there is a strong chance that hydropower stops at Glen Canyon Dam before this decade is even over.”…..
Opponents to the plant — which is still undergoing the federal licensing process through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — also challenged the decision on economic grounds.
“They’ve raised less than 0.1 percent of the total cost of these projects,” said Park City attorney John Flitton of Flitton Babalis, representing the groups.
“What they’re trying to do is get a permit to sell to someone else, and while they wait, they’re tying up water which is increasingly important.”……
Blue Castle Holdings’ president and CEO is Aaron Tilton, a former Utah lawmaker from Utah County who has said his project will withstand judicial scrutiny, meet stringent licensing and safety requirements imposed by federal regulators and provide an alternative, clean source of power for Utah consumers.
The appeal, filed before the Utah State Court of Appeals Wednesday, seeks to unravel those arguments.
“It’s past time for Tilton to admit what we all know — his nuclear scheme is all smoke and no fire,” says Christopher Thomas, HEAL Utah’s executive director. “This project costs too much, uses too much water, and produces expensive power the state doesn’t even want to buy. We hope the Court of Appeals will see that under Utah law, it should not proceed.”
Uranium mining company must release survey data Argus Leader, KEVIN BURBACH, August 20, 2014 RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A mining company must release the results of a geological survey that opponents of its proposed uranium mine in western South Dakota say is necessary to ensure that local aquifers are protected, a federal licensing board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday.
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board continued its hearings Wednesday morning in Rapid City, where three federal judges are hearing challenges to a license granted to Powertech Uranium Corp. for its proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine.
The intervenors to the proposed mine — members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other concerned parties — had been pushing for data Powertech collected by drilling throughout the region to find concentrations of uranium ore, among other things. They’ve said enough data haven’t been studied to know if the region’s aquifers would be contaminated or depleted if the company were to mine.
Powertech plans to use a method known as in-situ uranium recovery, which would pump groundwater fortified with oxygen and carbon dioxide into the underground ore deposits to dissolve the uranium. The water would be pumped back to the surface, where the uranium would be extracted and sold to nuclear power plants.
Dr. Robert Moran, who testified at the request of the intervenors, said making the data available would allow the geologists to better understand how the region’s groundwater could be affected if the company starts mining in the area……..http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/08/20/uranium-mining-company-must-release-survey-data/14355969/
With uranium poisoning wells, Navajos must drive miles to get drinking water
BUT MANY WHO ARE CONSTRICTED BY CIRCUMSTANCE STILL USE CONTAMINATED SUPPLIES
Brandon Loomis, The Republic | azcentral.com Uranium’s deadly flow 11 Aug 14
THE NAVAJO NATION ESTIMATES THAT 54,000 NAVAJOS HAUL WATER FROM UNREGULATED WELLS AND STOCK PONDS NUMBERING IN THE LOW THOUSANDS. “……….Twice a week, the Yazzies, 57-year-old Milton and 83-year-old Della, come down off their lonely hill on the Navajo Reservation’s western side and point themselves toward the city for the clean water they need to keep living. For ages, they drank from a well less than a mile from their home. Then they learned that poison lurked there.Uranium is gurgling up all over Navajo country.
At least three Yazzies have died of kidney ailments, a common result of chronic exposure to uranium. Federal environmental officials warned against drinking more. Milton learned to conserve, using an outhouse across their driveway and leaving the tank-supplied indoor plumbing to Della, because of her failing eyesight.
He begged the tribe, the feds, anyone who would listen, to build a pipeline through the sparsely populated Black Falls area, southeast of Cameron.
“I’ve been working so hard all these years to get good drinking water,” he said, “and it never came.”
Though they live out of anyone’s sight, the Yazzies are far from alone in their hardship……….http://www.azcentral.com/longform/news/arizona/investigations/2014/08/05/uranium-mining-poison-wells-safe-drinking-water/13635345/
Uranium 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.
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.
|Ongoing 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
Nukes 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
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/
Radiation 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
“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
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.
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/
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.
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
Uranium 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. ,,,,,,
As 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
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 Press, http://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)
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