The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear contamination case against TEPCO is sent by police to prosecutors

justiceflag-japanFukushima police sends nuclear contamination case against TEPCO execs to prosecutors,  3 Oct, 2015 Fukushima police have finally reacted to a criminal complaint filed against TEPCO and 32 of its top officials two years ago over the contamination caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster. They have referred the case to prosecutors.

The Fukushima District Prosecutors’ Office will now determine whether to pursue criminal charges against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and its top management over the leaks of highly radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

The criminal complaint alleges that the company and its executives failed to manage storage tanks of contaminated water or build underground walls to block the flow of radioactive material into the sea at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Notable people on the list include TEPCO’s President Naomi Hirose, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former President Masataka Shimizu.

Police have reviewed claims filed by local residents after 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from TEPCO tanks……..

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Former Idaho governor sues U.S. Department of Energy over Freedom of Information

Andrus files suit over nuclear fuel, 2 Oct 15 
Former governor cites Freedom of Information Act Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy to force it to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and publicly share information relating to proposed shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory.

The suit was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Idaho on Andrus’ behalf by the Boise-based environmental law firm Advocates for the West.

Gov. Butch Otter announced in January that he would grant a one-time waiver to the 1995 Batt agreement to allow the proposed shipments if the DOE can restart a problem-plagued liquid-waste processing plant at INL, east of Arco. He said permission to ship the fuel for research at INL can be used as an incentive to get the liquid waste out of the state faster.

But nuclear activists contend the two proposed shipments of 25 fuel rods, weighing about 100 pounds per shipment, are part of a plan to open the door to ship about 20 metric tons of spent commercial nuclear fuel into the state.

In a news release, Advocates for the West said the lawsuit comes after months of effort by Andrus to require DOE to provide information to Idaho citizens about its request for the waiver.    “Without DOE leveling with Idaho about both near-term and longer-range plans, we simply have no ability to assess the wisdom of what they are planning for the state,” Andrus said. “I suspect they know what they are planning will be very controversial, and for that reason they want to keep it secret. That is simply unacceptable.”

Andrus requested information about the waiver and proposed shipments in January. Advocates for the West said DOE provided documents containing dozens of redacted pages. In a letter dated July 10, the agency justified its refusal to provide other documents by saying they fell under exemptions contained in the Freedom of Information Act, including those related to proprietary information of private companies and attorney-client privilege.

Advocates for the West said virtually all the information DOE supplied was already in the public record, including newspaper accounts of the agency’s request for a waiver from state officials.

Andrus appealed the decision to withhold the information, and that appeal was also denied.

“The DOE has left us little choice but to ask the federal courts to enforce the law,” Andrus said. “A fundamental tenet of the American system of government is openness and transparency. The people have both a right and an obligation to know what their government is doing. That is why we feel it is so important to bring this information to light.”

Andrus said that without a permanent national repository for the highly radioactive material, Idaho will for the foreseeable future become that repository. Email the writer:

October 2, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Alternative Nobel Prize goes to Marshall Island’s nuclear challenger

Alternative Nobel PrizeMarshall Islands official who challenged China and other nuclear powers wins ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ 1 October 2015 17:50 Karen Cheung 

A Pacific island state foreign minister who challenged the world’s nuclear powers through unprecedented legal action has won the 2015 Right Livelihood Award. The winner was announced in Stockholm at the Swedish Foreign Office International Press Centre on Thursday.

The award, which is also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, was given to Tony de Brum and the people of the Marshall Islands.

Mr de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, sought to hold all nine nuclear states responsible for their failure to abide by the provisions of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law by filing lawsuits in the International Court of Justice in 2014. Under the NPT, the weapon states pledged to disarm while non-weapon states promised to not acquire nuclear weapons.

The small island nation, which – for 12 years – was a testing ground for US nuclear bombs, argued that it was “justified in taking the action because of the harm it suffered as a result of the nuclear arms race”, according to the Guardian.

As a result of the “Nuclear Zero lawsuits”, India, Pakistan and the UK have accepted the courts’ jurisdiction to hear the matter and are in the midst of court proceedings that may last two to three years. In the cases, the Marshall Islands have asked the Court to hold the states in breach of their obligations related to nuclear disarmament and to force them to comply, thus putting the weapons under strict and effective international control.

“Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons, and we vow to fight so that no one else on earth will ever again experience these atrocities,” de Brum said. “The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the terrible risk they pose to the world threaten us all.”

In addition to his efforts regarding nuclear disarmament, de Brum has led the drafting of the Marshall Islands’ constitution and advocated for its full independence before the UN Security Council, eventually resulting in the signing of the Compact of Free Association between Marshall Islands and the US in 1986. He has also sought to fight climate change by advocating for binding measures to be adopted in the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

The Awards were founded in 1980 and “honour courageous and effective solutions to secure human rights and respond to global crises”.

The award was given to ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2014 “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights.”

Other award laureates this year include Canada’s Sheila Watt-Cloutier for work in the Arctic, Uganda’s Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera for her advocacy on LGBTI rights, and Italy’s Gino Strada for his medical services to war victims.

October 2, 2015 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

European court upholds Sweden’s right to tax nuclear power stations

judge-1flag-EUCourt leaves Swedish nuclear tax unchanged, World Nuclear News, 1 Oct 15  Sweden can continue to tax nuclear power production following a ruling in the government’s favour by Europe’s highest court. The European Court of Justice’s seventh chamber decided that the tax does not fall within the scope of two European Council Directives and is therefore a national, rather than European Commission, matter.

OKG AB first contested the levy in 2009 in the Swedish courts, which in October 2013 sought the EU’s preliminary ruling. The company, which turns 50 this year, owns and operates three nuclear power units – Oskarshamn 1, 2 and 3 – which together account for 10% of total electricity generation in Sweden.

The company announced yesterday that it will hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on 14 October to reach a decision on closing units 1 and 2. German EOn and Finnish Fortum own, respectively, 54.5% and 45.5% of the shares in OKG.

According to lobby group Swedenergy, a ruling in the company’s favour could have removed an annual cost of about 4.6 billion kronor ($540 million) for the country’s nuclear industry since the Swedish government increased the tax by 17% from 1 August.

The court document, published today on its website, says that levying a tax on the thermal power of nuclear reactors is not within the scope of Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 that restructures the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity. Nor is the tax an excise duty for the purposes of Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on general arrangements for, and the holding and movement of, products subject to excise duty……

October 2, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal, Sweden | Leave a comment

New CEO for CANDU Nuclear Reactor Marketer Lavalin – Amid corruption scandal

text-cat-questionIs this crooked Canadian nuclear company the one that is advising South Australia’s
Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission?
SNC-Lavalin replaces CEO amid more allegations,  Company says departure “completely unrelated” to flag-canadacorruptioncivil lawsuit allegations by ex-VP Riadh Ben Aissa
CBC News, By John Nicol, Dave Seglins, CBC News Posted: Sep 14, 2015
 SNC-Lavalin Inc. announced this morning it has replaced president and CEO Bob Card with Neil Bruce, and told CBC News the move is “completely unrelated” to new allegations, published today, in a civil suit that claims giving bribes to win contracts was part of the past practices of the company.The Montreal-based engineering firm, which Card took over in the spring of 2012 to clean up past issues, faced new allegations Monday from a former executive who claims the company has made him a “scapegoat,” and alleges other top executives for years endorsed bribes and lavish gifts — including a yacht and even prostitutes — to win contracts from Libya’s Gadhafi regime.The serious allegations by Riadh Ben Aïssa, SNC’s former executive vice-president of construction, are contained in a newly filed court pleading as he defends himself against one of a number of civil lawsuits by the company, which itself is facing criminal charges of foreign corruption.

“SNC is only trying to use Ben Aïssa as a scapegoat by presenting him as solely responsible for acts that SNC was fully aware of, accepted and encouraged,” the court pleading states, naming a list of former CEOs, executive vice-presidents and the former chief financial officer.

“After having behaved as such for many years, SNC now tries to escape unscathed by blaming all its acts on Ben Aïssa.”……..

Bribes won billions in workBen Aïssa is back in Canada after serving 2½ years in a Swiss jail, having admitted to corruption and money laundering tied to SNC projects in Libya. He’s awaiting trial alongside former CEO PierreDuhaime on charges of fraud for $22.5 million in alleged bribes paid to win SNC the contract to build a Montreal superhospital……….

Ben Aïssa sets out a long list of SNC contracts in Libya, worth billions, that arose from the partnership and that he alleges were won through kickbacks paid to side agents.

“Most of SNC’s senior executives knew that the so-called agency contracts were in reality bribes paid to Libyan foreign officials in exchange for the award of the sole-source contract,” the former construction executive alleges.

What’s more, Ben Aïssa declares the money was “fraudulently charged back” to the Libyan government by embedding the costs in the project before SNC submitted its offers.

Gifts: yacht, prostitutes, Spice Girls………

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Continuing legal battle over SNC-Lavalin, marketers of CANDU nuclear reactors

World Bank’s appeal over SNC-Lavalin to be heard by Supreme Court JEFF GRAY – LAW REPORTER The Globe and Mail Jul. 02, 2015 A battle over whether the World Bank can be forced to produce its files on the bribery probe in Bangladesh that later resulted in Canadian criminal charges against three former SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. employees is going to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Washington, D.C.-based World Bank is challenging an Ontario Superior Court decision that ordered it to produce documents related to its investigation of bribery allegations around a multibillion-dollar project to build a bridge in Bangladesh.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced on Thursday that it would hear the case. A date has not been set.

It’s the latest twist in the corruption allegations that for years have swirled around Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm, which also faces separate RCMP charges related to allegations that $47.7-million in bribes were paid to win contracts in Libya under the regime of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Starting in 2010, the World Bank conducted its own investigation into allegations around a bid by SNC-Lavalin for a $10-million contract to manage the construction of Bangladesh’s multibillion-dollar Padma Bridge project, which was being financed by the World Bank.

In 2011, the World Bank brought those allegations, including information from four unnamed “tipsters,” to the RCMP. Based solely on this information, the Mounties obtained permission to wiretap conversations. The RCMP then raided SNC-Lavalin’s Oakville, Ont., offices in September, 2011.

In 2012, the RCMP laid bribery charges against two now former SNC-Lavalin employees: Mohammad Ismail, the company’s former director of international projects, and his boss Ramesh Shah, a former vice-president of SNC’s international division.

In 2013, it added charges against Kevin Wallace, who was SNC’s vice-president of energy and infrastructure, and Zulfiquar Bhuiyan, a businessman with dual Canadian-Bangladeshi citizenship who was not an SNC employee but who is alleged to have been a representative of a senior Bangladeshi official, Abdul Chowdhury……

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

$457 million legal dispute over Kewaunee nuclear plant

Judge to sort out $457 million dispute over Kewaunee nuclear plant; company sued last month, Star Tribune, Associated Press SEPTEMBER 6, 2015 MILWAUKEE — The courts may have to resolve a tax dispute over the Kewaunee Power Station, which hasn’t generated a kilowatt of power in two years and is now being dismantled.

To Dominion Resources Inc., its plant is all but worthless. But to Carlton, the Lake Michigan town where the plant pumped out electricity for four decades, it’s still worth $457 million. Those views put the two sides nearly half a billion dollars apart in valuing the facility for tax purposes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this weekend ( ).

 Dominion sued the town last month, seeking a refund of taxes it expects to pay later this year. A victory for the company eventually could lead to higher local property taxes. Absent a settlement, a Kewaunee County circuit judge will have to sort it all out.
 Amie Trupke, the town’s lawyer, acknowledged that the property is difficult to value. But she said the town made a valid effort to determine the value of both the land and the structures on it………

Town officials have expressed frustration that the site can’t be redeveloped until it changes hands. Dominion has up to 60 years to restore the site under federal nuclear regulations. Adding to the frustration is that the used nuclear fuel that powered the reactor remains on the site in concrete casks. Since there is no national disposal site for spent nuclear fuel, the lakefront property will continue to store the fuel indefinitely.

 Similar situations are playing out at shuttered nuclear plants elsewhere. For instance, in Zion, Illinois, property tax payments dropped 55 percent when an Exelon Corp. reactor closed in the late 1990s. Earlier this year, legislation was proposed in Illinois to assess an “impact fee” for communities required to store nuclear waste.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment


justiceFORMER TEPCO EXECUTIVES FACE MANDATORY INDICTMENT FOR FUKUSHIMA DISASTER The Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution announced last July that former Tokyo Electric Power Co. Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, as well as two other former company executives, should be indicted for his role in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

The will of the people trumped the prosecutor’s decision not to indict the men. Despite public support, convicting the three men for “culpable negligence in an accident associated with a natural disaster” will be difficult, as The Japan News reported.

The decision clearly states that [TEPCO] should’ve been able to foresee the onslaught of the tsunami,” said Hiroyuki Kawai, lawyer for the Complainants for the Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, at a press conference. “The prospects for the trial are bright.”(1)

The prosecution hinges upon whether the three men knew that a tsunami would likely strike the power plant, and whether the gentlemen made adequate preparations in light of that knowledge.

A 2008 TEPCO  report suggest that the three men were aware of the threat that a potential tsunami posed to the nuclear plant. The report predicted a maximum credible tsunami of 15.7 meters. Nevertheless, TEPCO claims that, since the report was preliminary, it lacked scholarly credibility. The company argues that it didn’t have sufficient reason to believe a tsunami would strike the plant, and that more evidence was needed before stirring a panic.

The inquest committee was made up of 11 members of the public. In response to these remarks, the committee stated, “it is sufficient that there must be foreseeability given the fact that a tsunami occurred and some sort of response was required.”(1)

The committee went on to note that the men held high positions of power and responsibility, and that the 2008 report should not have been taken with a grain of salt.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Washington State sues US Energy Dept over Hanford workers made sick by toxic fumes

Washington state sues U.S. over toxic vapors at nuclear waste site, Reuters 2 Sept 15 SEATTLE | BY ERIC M. JOHNSON The U.S. government has failed to adequately safeguard crews involved in the decades-long cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, leaving workers sickened by exposure to toxic vapors, the state said in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The 18-page complaint, filed in federal court in Spokane, cited more than 50 instances since January 2014 of workers being exposed to hazardous fumes at the sprawling World War Two-era site along the Columbia River.

One worker was treated last year for chemical pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs caused by chemical exposure, the complaint said.

Hanford, occupying 586 square miles (1,517 sq km) in southeastern Washington, produced plutonium for the U.S. nuclear weapons program from 1943 to 1987 and now ranks as one of the most contaminated sites in North America.

The main activity there now is removal of 56 million gallons (212 million liters) of hazardous waste, much of it radioactive, kept in 177 underground storage tanks, a number of them with known leaks.

The U.S. Energy Department is responsible for cleanup at the site, including the hiring of contractors and workers to extract the waste from tanks for safe disposal.

As a result of lax safety practices amid leaks and releases of toxic vapors in the vicinity of the storage tanks, workers have been continually put at risk and left ill from chemical exposure, the lawsuit said.

“Enough is enough. The health risks are real, and the state is taking action today to ensure the federal government protects these workers now and in the future,” state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Watchdog group Hanford Challenge said it believes several hundred workers have received medical treatment or evaluation due to exposures over the last 10 years.

The state is seeking a legally enforceable agreement requiring all tank-area workers to wear respiratory protection, among other safety improvements.

Ferguson announced last November that he intended to sue the federal government……….(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Beech)

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Virginia Uranium suing South Carolina over moratorium in uranium mining

Virginia company sues state over uranium, Yahoo 7 FinanceAAP – Fri, Aug 7, 2015 11:01 AM AEST A mining company that wants to tap one of the world’s largest uranium deposits is suing Virginia to end a decades-long state moratorium on mining the radioactive ore.

Virginia Uranium Inc, which puts a market value of $US6 billion ($A8.16 billion) on the deposit, filed the lawsuit in US District Court to have the 1982 ban lifted so it can begin mining the 119 million-pound (53.98 million kg) deposit near the North Carolina line.

The Chatham company argues that the state meddled in a matter that should be decided by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Virginia officials, the lawsuit contends, came to the wrong conclusion when it said uranium posed unacceptable health and safety risks.

“But more importantly, it had no business asking that question to begin with,” the lawsuit said. “For the radiological safety concerns that are at the heart of Virginia’s ban are squarely within the field of exclusive federal regulatory concern.”

Virginia Uranium’s quest to mine the so-called Coles Hill deposit in Pittsylvania County was the most heated environmental issue in the state for years until December 2013, when incoming Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe made it clear he wanted the ban kept in place.

The company’s decision to abandon its efforts to lift the moratorium also followed an unsuccessful legislative bid to achieve that end.

A spokeswoman for McAuliffe said he would have no comment. The lawsuit also names state mining and environmental officials.

Virginia Uranium invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions, lobbying and to fly delegations of Virginia lawmakers to France and Canada to tour uranium mining and processing facilities.

But it couldn’t overcome opponents who said mining and the storage of radioactive waste – called tailings – would threaten nearby rivers and streams that feed public water supplies.

Full-scale uranium mining has never been conducted on the US’ East Coast and opponents said Virginia would be a poor place to start. They cited the state’s wet climate and the fierce weather that often rakes the state. Most uranium mining is done in dry parts of the globe.

The mining would also include a milling operation to separate the radioactive ore from the rock.

Critics said that posed one of the biggest threats to the environment because of radioactive waste that would have to be stored for generations……..

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Legal | Leave a comment

Boeing wanted to quietly dispose of radioactive trash, without accountability

judge-1Judge rejects Boeing’s bid to demolish and dispose of radioactive waste without accountability Eturbo News, SANTA MONICA, CA, Jan 2015  – Sacramento Superior Court has denied Boeing’s motion for summary judgment in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit over the demolition and disposal of radioactively contaminated structures from the site of a partial nuclear meltdown near Los Angeles, Consumer Watchdog said today.

“This is an important step on the way to ensuring that state regulators must consider the demolition and disposal of any radioactively contaminated structures at the Santa Susana Field Lab in their environmental assessment of the cleanup of this site,” said Consumer Watchdog Litigation Director Pam Pressley.

text-SMRsBoeing had claimed that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has no regulatory
authority over the demolition and disposal of radioactively contaminated structures in the nuclear portion of the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) in Simi Hills. The lab had tested small-scale nuclear reactors, rocket engines, and fuels and suffered a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959 that has never been fully cleaned up……

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Another mysterious death, of sailor exposed to Fukushima radiation

Third US Navy sailor dies after being exposed to Fukushima radiation
Monday, August 24, 2015 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer (NaturalNews) At least three of the U.S. Navy sailors exposed to radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have now died from mysterious illnesses, according to Charles Bonner, an attorney representing approximately 250 of the sailors in a class action lawsuit against companies involved in running the Fukushima plant.

Bonner said in a July 21 update on the case that more than 250 sailors have come down with illnesses and three have died. “We had one of the sailors who came home and impregnated his wife. They gave birth to a little baby born with brain cancer and cancer down the spine, lived for two years, and just died in March of this year.”…….

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Guilty plea from Russian official in USA graft case

Russian official to plead guilty in US court over graft in cooperative nuclear weapons destruction program,
Bellona, August 20, 2015 by

Vadim Mikerin, a former executive with the Russian state nuclear fuel conglomerate Tenex has agreed to plead guilty in the US to money laundering and bribery charges in connection to a cooperative disarmament deal between Washington and Moscow, The Wall Street Journal reported………

Mikerin is the second major Russian nuclear official in a decade to be felled for defrauding a cooperative US-Russian nuclear program. The first was Yevgeny Adamov, former chief of Minatom, Rosatom’s predecessor.

Three US nationals, Daren and Carol Condrey, and Boris Rubizhevsky, were also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the case, various public documents from the US Attorney General’s office in Maryland show.

Mikerin was initially arrested on October 29, 2014 on charges of accepting kickbacks from uranium deals between Russia and the United States under the expired Megatons to Megawatts cooperative disarmament program.

He was denied bail and has remained in jail in Washington, D.C. since his arrest, the Russian Legal Information Agency Rapsi reported.

The disarmament program

Between 1993 and 2013, Russia down blended 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium for sale to and use in US commercial reactors under the HEU-LEU, or Megatons to Megawatts program……….

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

South Carolina court blasts state’s environmental protection agency over poor oversight of leaking nuclear waste dump

 Court blasts DHEC for failures at nuclear waste dump  BY SAMMY FRETWELL, 17 Aug 15  COLUMBIA, SC 

For the second year in a row, the S.C. Court of Appeals has ripped the state’s environmental protection agency for failing to properly oversee a leak-prone nuclear waste dump in Barnwell County.

But this time, the appeals court isn’t telling regulators when to resolve problems at the 44-year-old site.

In an Aug. 12 ruling that disappointed landfill critics, the court backed away from requiring a specific timetable to improve conditions at Chem-Nuclear’s dump near the Savannah River.

Last year, the appeals court ordered the Department of Health and Environmental Control and site operator Chem-Nuclear to develop a written plan for correcting problems within 90 days. Both then appealed for a rehearing, which delayed the 90-day requirement and ultimately resulted in last week’s decision.

Sierra Club lawyer Bob Guild said this year’s decision leaves DHEC — the agency that has failed to properly manage the site — the discretion to react to the court ruling at its own leisure.

“We have an agency that has been lawless for years in not enforcing its own regulations, and now, the court is giving it another open-ended opportunity to review itself,’’ Guild said. “That is unfortunate. We are going to monitor this very carefully.’

Guild’s group filed suit 10 years ago in an attempt to force tougher disposal practices at the unlined landfill, where radioactive tritium leaks first were detected in the 1970s. A plume of tritium extends downhill from the site and has for years trickled into a creek that flows toward the nearby Savannah River.

Sierra Club officials say DHEC has been lax in making Chem-Nuclear follow rules at the disposal site through the years.

The appeals court acknowledged problems, saying that DHEC “failed to enforce the law of South Carolina’’ in monitoring the 235-acre landfill outside the town of Snelling.

The court said DHEC, as the agency overseeing Chem-Nuclear’s activities, did not enforce a handful of specific regulations established to protect the environment. It also said Chem-Nuclear had failed to follow some of the rules on nuclear waste disposal. Except for the timetable, the court’s decision last week was similar to last year’s ruling that took DHEC and Chem-Nuclear to task.

“It is important that DHEC enforce its own regulations and require Chem-Nuclear to take action to comply with the technical requirements,’’ the ruling said in sending the matter back to DHEC for consideration……….

An array of critics, however, say tritium is still toxic and often is a forerunner of other, more dangerous pollutants that will one day wash into groundwater. Leaks were discovered within a decade of the Barnwell County site’s opening in 1971, despite initial assurances from state regulators.

The disposal site once took low-level nuclear waste from atomic power plants, hospitals and other places from across the country. Today, the landfill is open only to South Carolina, Connecticut and New Jersey, and waste volumes have dropped sharply. But the Sierra Club has pressed ahead with its 2005 lawsuit, saying better disposal practices will prevent tritium leaks from getting any worse.

One of the major concerns centers on rain that falls into open burial trenches. Environmentalists for years have pushed the state to require the placement of tents or roofs atop the burial trenches. That would cut down on the amount of rain that pours in, picks up radioactive pollutants from the waste and leaks through the bottom of the landfill and into groundwater, they say.

The court said Chem-Nuclear had done nothing to keep rain out of the burial pits, even though a state regulation says it is supposed to minimize movement of water in the pits. And the court said DHEC had not forced the company to comply with the rule intended to keep rain out of the pits — or acted to prevent rain from leaking through the bottom and into groundwater………

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Swutzerland’s Beznau plants to be focus of legal action against nuclear inspectorate

Nuclear critics threaten legal action over Beznau plant, SWI 20 Aug 15  A group of Swiss residents and environmental organisations are threatening to file a legal complaint against the federal nuclear inspectorate, urging it to close the aging Beznau nuclear power station. They say the plant cannot resist a powerful earthquake.On Thursday a dozen residents, Greenpeace, the Tri-national Association of Nuclear Protection (ATPN) and the Swiss Energy Foundation (SES) said they had uncovered this serious safety flaw at the two Beznau plants (commissioned in 1969 and 1972).

After the disaster at Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011, the government demanded Axpo, the Beznau plant operator, and other nuclear companies to step up their safety margins to make sure they were adequately flood and earthquake-proof. ………

Four of the country’s five reactors are temporarily offline for different reasons. Since August 14 block 2 at the nuclear power plant Beznau in canton Aargau has been offline. It will be out of service for four months while maintenance is carried out. Among the planned tasks is the replacement of the reactor pressure vessel cover. Block 1 at the plant has been out of service since March due to irregularities in the pressure vessel. Weak spots were found in the 15cm steel covering of the vessel.

Nuclear power plants in Leibstadt and Mühleberg are also currently not producing any energy due to annual maintenance service.

After the Fukushima disaster, the Swiss government decided to decommission all five of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants, starting in 2019 and ending by 2034. However, no exact dates were given for the individual reactors to be shut down.

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Legal, Switzerland | Leave a comment


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