Washington state to sue federal government over nuclear site vapors, Yahoo News, By Victoria CavaliereNovember 19, 2014 SEATTLE (Reuters) - Washington state’s attorney general said on Wednesday he intends to sue the U.S. government for not adequately protecting workers involved in the decades-long cleanup of a decommissioned nuclear site, saying dozens have been sickened by toxic vapors.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday the Department of Energy was not doing enough to protect tank workers with dozens reporting illnesses over the past two decades, including 44 over the past 12 months.
“Hanford workers face a very real and immediate health risk,” Ferguson said during a conference call Wednesday. “I want these protections now and I want them for the duration,” he said.
A study released last month by a panel of independent experts found strong evidence of a causal link between chemical vapors and adverse health effects in tank farm workers and also that the system for measuring such vapors was inadequate.
These health effects have ranged from nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness, nausea, burning skin and increased heart rate to reported long-term disabilities, including permanent loss of lung capacity, the report found.
“Despite the 20 years of study and multiple reports, there is no lasting solution and workers continue to get sick,” Ferguson said.
In announcing the intent to file a lawsuit, the Department of Energy has 90 days to respond with a plan of action, he said……..http://news.yahoo.com/washington-state-sue-federal-government-over-nuclear-vapors-224320870.html
PG&E May Have Secretly Altered Earthquake Standards for California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant, AlterNet The aging plant is located on an intricate network of earthquake fault lines. October 29, 2014 |
This week a group of environmental activists brought a lawsuit against PG&E and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because, as it turns out, federal regulators secretly revised Diablo’s license “to mask the aging plant’s vulnerability to earthquakes,” as the San Francisco Chronicle put it.
“The suit claims that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and [PG&E] last year changed a key element of the plant’s license related to seismic safety without allowing public input as required by law — or even notifying the public at all. The changes concern the strength of earthquakes that the plant … can withstand,” reports the Chronicle.
The public PG&E failed to notify consists of my parents, cousins, teachers, childhood friends, and their children. It’s heartbreaking to read about a nuclear disaster an ocean away, but it’s terrifying to realize that the same thing could happen here in California because of a greedy, negligent corporate coverup.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which is specifically set up to review the decisions of federal agencies. The group behind the suit wants the court to shut down the plant until the necessary changes are in place. They want public hearings to take place to amend Diablo Canyon’s license. So far PG&E denies all of the allegations………
“Environmentalists have long argued that the plant wasn’t designed to survive the shaking that some of the newly discovered faults could produce,” states the Chronicle. “And last year, Michael Peck, one of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s inspectors at Diablo, recommended shutting down the plant until the commission determined that its equipment could withstand a strong quake from those faults. The commission rejected the idea.”……http://www.alternet.org/environment/pge-may-have-secretly-altered-earthquake-standards-californias-last-nuclear-power-plant
NYTimes: Doctors want ban on thyroid cancer screenings — “A tsunami of thyroid cancer… Stop the diagnosis… We need to actively discourage early detection” — WSJ:Judge rules nuclear reactors causing thyroid cancers — Study: Fukushima-related tumors can spread very fast, must be closely monitoredhttp://enenews.com/nytimes-doctors-call-banning-thyroid-cancer-screening-tsunami-thyroid-cancer-stop-diagnosis-decrease-screening-need-actively-discourage-early-detection
New York Times, Nov. 5, 2014 (emphasis added): To the shock of many cancer experts, the most common cancer in South Korea… is now thyroid cancer, whose incidence has increased fifteenfold in the past two decades. “A tsunami of thyroid cancer,” as one researcher puts it… Cancer experts agree that the reason for the situation in South Korea and elsewhere is not a real increase in the disease. Instead, it is down to screening… “It’s a warning to us in the U.S. that we need to be very careful in our advocacy of screening,” said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society… some doctors, including Dr. Hyeong Sik Ahn of the College of Medicine at Korea University in Seoul, the first author of the new paper, have called for thyroid cancer screening to be banned… Thyroid experts in the United States are calling for restraint in diagnosing and treating tiny tumors… Dr. R. Michael Tuttle… said the best way… was to “stop the diagnosis… decrease screening”
New York Times Op-ed by H. Gilbert Welch, Nov. 5, 2014: An Epidemic of Thyroid Cancer [in South Korea]?… Nowhere in the world is the rate of any cancer growing faster… Where did all those new thyroid cancers come from? They were always there. As early as 1947 [See:August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both ~150 miles from S. Korea] … thyroid cancer was a frequent finding during autopsies. Studies have since shown that over a third of adults have thyroid cancer… Even without a concerted effort to promote screening, thyroid cancer incidence in the United States is up threefold since 1975. To reverse this trend,we need to actively discourage early thyroid cancer detection… having doctors not look too hard for early cancer is in your interest… Too many epidemiologists concern themselves.. with hoping to find small health effects of environmental exposures — orworse, uncertain effects of minor genetic alterations.
Wall St. Journal, Oct 21, 2014: A South Korean court for the first time has ruled in favor of a plaintiff claiming… thyroid cancer was caused by radiation from six nuclear power plants located [5 miles] from her house… “She has lived within 10 km of the plants for over 20 years and has thus been exposed to radiation for a long time. Other than the radiation from the nuclear reactors, there’s no clear reason for her cancer,” the court said… [A] government-commissioned study in 2011… showed women living within 5 km of nuclear plants had 2.5 times higher incidences of thyroid cancer… [In a study of the plaintiff's county by a] nuclear-power research institute… between July 2010 and December 2013, about 1.4%… were found to have thyroid cancer… in 2011 [women had] 114 cases out of 100,000 [0.11%].
UC San Francisco, Oct. 27, 2014: For the first time, researchers have found that exposure to radioactive iodine is associated with more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer… Lydia Zablotska, MD [said] “Our group has previously shown that exposures to [Chernobyl's] radioactive iodine significantly increase the risk of thyroid cancer… The new study shows that radiation exposures are also associated with distinct clinical features that are more aggressive”… Zablotska said the findings have implications for those exposed to [Fukushima's] radioactive iodine fallout... “children or adolescents to the fallout are at highest risk and should probably be screened for thyroid cancer regularly, because these cancers are aggressive, and they can spread really fast… Clinicians should be aware of the aggressiveness of radiation-associated tumors and closely monitor those at high risk.”… radioactive iodine [exposures] are associated with a whole spectrum of thyroid diseases… Thyroid cancer is ordinarily rare among children, with less than one new case per million diagnosed each year… [In the study] researchers diagnosed 158 thyroid cancers among 11,664 [13,546 per million] subjects…
AUDIO: Judge adds General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi as defendants in nuclear radiation case
Attorneys for the USS Reagan sailors hit by Fukushima radiation won big in court last week: Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that the $1 billion lawsuit against TEPCO for health damages and medical treatment CAN not only move forward, it adds as defendants General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi – the companies that designed and built the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. Nuclear Hotseat talks with attorneys Paul Garner and Charles Bonner………http://www.nuclearhotseat.com/2188/
Friends of the Earth petitions U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review licensing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor
Group Asks Court For Review Of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor License Over Earthquake Fears http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/10/28/environmental-group-asks-court-for-review-of-pge-diablo-canyon-nuclear-reactor-license-over-earthquake-fears/ October 28, 2014 AVILA BEACH, San Luis Obispo County (CBS SF) — An environmental group asked a federal court Tuesday to review its claim that California’s last operating nuclear power plant is violating federal law and should be shut down at least temporarily.
In a petition filed in Washington with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Friends of the Earth said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated its own rules when it altered the operating license for the Diablo Canyon reactors.
The petition marked the latest development in the dispute over potential danger posed by earthquake faults near the reactors.In a statement, the group said the change, involving how risks from earthquakes are assessed, should have triggered a license amendment proceeding that would have involved public hearings. Instead, the change was made internally.
The petition asked that the change be overturned and the court order a license amendment proceeding. It also asks that the power plant be shut down until those proceedings are completed.
“The NRC acted arbitrarily, abused its discretion and violated” federal laws by approving the change without seeking the required license amendment, the petition said. The NRC and plant owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co. have long said the plant located near San Luis Obispo, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is safe and in compliance with regulations.
NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said in an email the agency will review the filing.
The environmental group said the NRC and the company are trying to conceal that the reactors are vulnerable to strong shaking from possible earthquakes. “It is now clear that these outdated 1960s-era reactors are not built to withstand the earthquake risks that surround the plant,” spokesman Damon Moglen said in a statement. “Instead of making them address these safety issues, the NRC worked with PG&E to change the rules.”
Pakistan court stops construction work on nuclear plants http://www.firstpost.com/india/pakistan-court-stops-construction-work-nuclear-plants-1761153.html 19 Oct 14, Islamabad: A court in Pakistan has restrained the government from initiating construction work on two proposed nuclear power plants unless environmental safeguards are adhered to, media reports here said. The two-judge bench at the Sindh High Court restrained the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) yesterday to carry out work at the proposed sites in the southern port city of Karachi without adhering to environmental laws.
The court directive was issued on a petition challenging the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency which approved the two plants.
The counsel of petitioner said that the reactors would be built by the China National Nuclear Corporation on a design known as ACP-1000 that has not been operational even in China.
“The ACP-1000 reactor so far exists only on paper and in computer programmes and any real life experience, tests and trials … on the ACP-1000 design will be from operating the reactors in Karachi,” the counsel added.
Karachi, one of the world’s most densely populated cities with an estimated population of about 21 million, lacked the infrastructure for mass evacuation of its inhabitants in the wake of a possible nuclear accident, he added.
Pakistan government had finalised plans for starting work on two nuclear power plants of 11,00 MW each – adjacent to the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant – with support from China. Besides, subsequent plans for two more plants – K-4 and K-5 – were also under consideration.
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
“I don’t like to break the law and don’t encourage others to do so, either. But this industry has to be stopped.”
Ace Hoffman October 19, 2014
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
Four grandmothers attempted to plant flowers to bring attention to the dangers at Pilgrim nuclear power plant. But Judge Sullivan refused to allow world-renowned pediatrician and nuclear expert Helen Caldicott to testify in their defense, because she (the judge) sees a huge difference – when pushed to see it by the District Attorney — between “potential theoretical harm” and actual imminent harm.
The defendants — four women 60 to 80 years old — are using the “necessity” defense. Is there an immediate danger? Is the illegal act (trespassing) effective in addressing and abating the danger? The judge refused to learn how quickly a nuclear power plant can explode. She refused to hear that the plans for evacuation require immediate action for millions of people around the plant. She refused to consider that the warning that it’s time to evacuate must be sent out by people who, if they fail to do their duty, will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and end up in Judge Sullivan’s court (if she survives the holocaust) to be sentenced for negligent homicide.
How imminent can you get?
And sticks and stones may break my bones but planting flowers never hurt anybody.
The judge would like to turn the issue of nuclear safety away. Not her concern. Not in her courtroom. That’s for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide. They say it’s safe. And for the judge, that’s the end of the “imminent threat” defense. Continue reading
there are currently 13 candidates up for election in November who want to sell or seize public lands for drilling, mining, or logging and seven senators not up for reelection, including four Arizonans: Sen. McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake, U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, and State Rep. Andy Tobin.
Federal Court: One Million Acres Near Grand Canyon Protected From Mining, Think Progress, BY ARI PHILLIPS OCTOBER 10, 2014 In early October, an Arizona federal judge upheld the Obama Administration’s 2012 withdrawal of over one million acres of federal lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining. Originally imposed by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the mining industry challenged the ban arguing that the 700-page Environmental Impact Statement was inadequate, failed to address “scientific controversies”, and was unconstitutional.
and several sacred Native American sites. According to the government’s study, removing the ban would mean that 26 new uranium mines and 700 uranium exploration projects could be developed.
According Roger Clark, air quality and clean energy director at the Grand Canyon Trust, the ruling affirms conclusions by five federal agencies, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey — that uranium mining poses unacceptable risks to Grand Canyon’s water, wildlife, and people.
“Uranium mines threaten hundreds of the Grand Canyon seeps and springs that provide precious water to thousands of desert-dwelling species,” wroteClark. “Every new mine sacrifices cultural sites and fragments wildlife habitat, polluting the park with dirt roads, dust, heavy machinery, noise, off-road drilling rigs, power lines, and relentless truck traffic.”………
When Salazar first banned this block of 633,547 acres of public lands and 360,002 acres of National Forest land from mining in 2012, a number of politicians objected, including U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Mike Lee (R-UT). Sen. Hatch said mining the land “poses no environmental threat” and that the announcement was another sign that the Obama Administration “is one of the most anti-American energy presidencies in history.”
Fast-forward two years later and there are currently 13 candidates up for election in November who want to sell or seize public lands for drilling, mining, or logging and seven senators not up for reelection, including four Arizonans: Sen. McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake, U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, and State Rep. Andy Tobin.
The uranium mining companies have 60 days to appeal Judge Campbell’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and are likely to do so, according to the Center For Biological Diversity. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/10/3577414/arizona-grand-canyon-uranium-mining-withdrawal/
The Grand Canyon Will Not Be Mined for Uranium http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/grand-canyon-will-not-be-mined-uranium-180952950/?no-ist Uranium mining will be banned for the next 20 years on nearly 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon By Rachel Nuwer smithsonian.com October 6, 2014 For the next two decades, at least, lands near the Grand Canyon will not be dug up in search of uranium. U.S. District Judge David Campbell just upheld a 20 year ban on uranium mining for an area of nearly 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.
The mining ban was originally set by the Department of the Interior in 2012 but was recently challenged by a group of mining companies led by Gregory Yount, manager of the Northern Arizona Uranium Project. Yount claimed that the 2012 decision was based on faulty science and “improperly favored Native American claims that the land was sacred,” the Daily Sun writes. “It is pretty clear that the decision was not based on the specific sites but on Native Americans’ feelings about the sacred land,” Yount said. He also added that the predicted environmental degradation of water, land and wildlife around the Grand Canyon had been “significantly exaggerated” in 2012.
Judge Campbell, however, didn’t buy into those arguments. The decision not to mine around the Grand Canyon is important for “protecting a national treasure,” he told the Daily Sun. Moreover, he agreed with evidence that mining would disrupt the lives of members of the Havasupai tribe, who live in the region and consider the land there of cultural and religious importance.
Yount—who will be 74 when the ban is lifted—says he does not plan to appeal the decision this time around. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/grand-canyon-will-not-be-mined-uranium-180952950/#xI8meVsDAueyseTC.99
Austria says will sue if EU regulator clears UK nuclear plant plan http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/05/uk-austria-eu-edf-nuclear-idUKKCN0HU0EY20141005 VIENNA Sun Oct 5, 2014 (Reuters) – Austria will take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if it approves Britain’s plans for a 16 billion-pound nuclear power plant, a spokesman for the chancellor said on Sunday.
The deal to pay a guaranteed price for the power produced in the plant faces opposition from a quarter of EU policymakers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator. A vote is expected on Wednesday. The project, to be built by French utility EDF (EDF.PA) at Hinkley Point in southwest England, is crucial for Britain’s plan to replace a fifth of its ageing nuclear power and coalplants over the coming decade while reducing carbon emissions. France sees it as a major export contract that will boost its nuclear industry.
But Austria’s chancellor Werner Faymann and vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner sent a letter to the European Commission’s president Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday saying Austria would “reserve” the right to take legal steps should the project gain a stamp of approval in Brussels.
“Should the EU Commission undertake this step, then it must expect a lawsuit at the highest court,” said Faymann, whose country prides itself in supporting green energy.
“Alternative forms of energy are worthy of subsidies, not nuclear energy,” he was quoted as saying by his spokesman. European Union state aid regulators are set to clear the plans for Hinkley Point, a European Commission official said last month.
Under the plan, Britain would be allowed to offer EDF a guaranteed power price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate.
“Hinkley Point … would set a negative precedence to open this type of subsidy for nuclear energy. The EU-Commission must prevent this, if not it must expect a lawsuit from Austria at the European Court of Justice,” Mitterlehner said.
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
In January 2012, then-US interior secretary Ken Salazar issued the ban that prohibits new mining claims and mine development on existing claims without valid permits. A subsequent mining industry lawsuit asserted that the interior department’s 700-page study of environmental impacts was inadequate and the ban was unconstitutional.
A coalition of groups including native American tribes and the Sierra Club intervened in that lawsuit, and on Tuesday the court ruled in their favour.
Judge David G Campbell of the US district court for Arizona summarised his ruling dismissing all uranium mining industry claims by stating that the secretary of the interior had the authority to “err on the side of caution in protecting a national treasure – Grand Canyon national park.”
Critics of uranium mining say that it would threaten the aquifers and streams that feed the Colorado river and Grand Canyon by releasing toxic waste.
Martha Hahn, chief of science and resource management for the Grand Canyon, says that mines would leach contaminants into watersheds, seeps and springs in the canyon, mar the landscape and impact wildlife. The seeps that make rocks slick might not look life-sustaining, but one might “feed a critter that feeds another critter, so you see the effect pretty exponentially,” said Hahn.
- According to the government’s study, removing the ban would mean that 26 new uranium mines and 700 uranium exploration projects could be developed.The Grand Canyon attracts about 4m tourists a year. Uranium mining companies have 60 days to appeal the decision
Rolls-Royce Fined as Workers Exposed to Radiation 32 Times Limit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/rolls-royce-fined-as-workers-exposed-to-radiation-32-times-limit.html By Jeremy Hodges Sep 29, 2014 A Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (RR/) unit must pay more than 375,000 pounds ($607,000) in fines and costs after a screw-sized radioactive capsule exposed workers to radiation 32 times legal levels.
Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations, which manufactures components for submarines, was fined yesterday for breaching safety regulations at a court in Leicester, England, the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive said. The capsule containing Ytterbium-169 used to test welding was lost for about five hours at a Rolls-Royce plant in Derby, the HSE said.
“Gamma radiation emitted by this type of radioactive source is harmful to human health,” David Orr, the HSE’s specialist inspector of radiation, said in an e-mailed statement. “The company failed its duty of care on this occasion, losing control of the source without realizing it.”
The company was investigated by the HSE and the U.K. Environment Agency after the radioactive material was lost for about five hours, exposing workers to radiation levels well above the annual permitted dose of 500 millisieverts, the HSE said.
Workers were exposed to gamma radiation when the capsule became detached from a holder and ended up inside the component being tested, the court was told in the HSE and Environment Agency joint prosecution. Welders working on the component later spotted the capsule and passed it among themselves.
The company pleaded guilty to the charges and said that it has reviewed its procedures to ensure that a similar incident can’t happen again.
“The health and safety of our workforce and the protection of the environment are our highest priorities and a matter which we take very seriously,” Andy Gordon, assurance and improvement director at London-based Rolls-Royce, said in a statement.
The company was ordered to pay a 200,000-pound fine and costs of 176,500 pounds at a hearing yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.comChristopher Jasper
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.”
Exelon and Entergy see sustainable energy solutions—renewable energy, efficiency, conservation, etc.—as a long-term threat to
their profits. This is not because of excessive regulations or safety requirements on nuclear power: the industry has not had to implement a single safety upgrade due to the Fukushima meltdowns and faces less regulatory enforcement than it did twenty years ago. The closure of a record number of reactors since 2013 has exposed fundamental economic problems facing the industry, and a growing number of nuclear plants simply cannot compete with modern, efficient, cost-effective
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