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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

In Hanford’s radioactively polluted area, rise in babies born without brains

“It’s Terrifying”: Rapid rise in babies with missing brains and spinal cords sticking out in area surrounding most contaminated nuclear site in US — Mother: Actual number is WAY higher than officials are reporting (VIDEO)http://enenews.com/its-terrifying-rapid-rise-in-babies-with-missing-brains-and-spinal-cords-sticking-out-in-area-surrounding-us-nuclear-site-mother-actual-number-is-way-higher-than-officials-are-reporting-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Tweet by JoNel Aleccia
, former NBC News reporter
, Sept 2, 2014: Five pregnancies with anencephaly in Central WA state with due dates this year. State, CDC plan interviews w/ moms

anencephaly

After writing reports on the extremely high rate of babies missing part of their brain (anencephaly) in the 3 counties surrounding the Hanford nuclear site, Aleccia left NBC News. She is now a staff writer at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson1 Cancer Research Center and authored this Sept. 2, 2014 article: Outreach workers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are drawing on years of community connections in [the counties of Yakima, Benton, and Franklin] to raise awareness about a devastating cluster of severe birth defects that no one can explain… babies are born without parts of the skull and brain… 32 babies since 2010… there were five women in the region who reported they were pregnant with babies with anencephaly, all due later this year… “A lot of what we do is around cancer prevention, but when we hear of other things that also affect health disparities, we take it on.” State and federal officials are urging groups like the Fred Hutch team to help…

It is interesting that a cancer center is getting involved with this Hanford-area birth defect cluster, especially when that cancer center played a key role in the controversial ‘Hanford Thyroid Disease Study’.

According to a review of the study by the National Academy of Sciences: “Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle enjoyed greater public trust than the federal agencies while carrying out the HTDS… [The study's] public summary… was misleading… the results of the HTDS were presented with unqualified certainty… Statements attributed to the HTDS investigators appear to have overstated the certainty of the results [such as claiming:] ‘These results provide rather strong evidence that exposures at these levels to 131I do not increase the risk [and] consequently provide a substantial degree of reassurance to the population exposed to Hanford radiation that the exposures are not likely to have affected their thyroid.’”

NBC Right Now, Aug 1, 2014: Local Birth Defect Moms Asking Why They’re Excluded From Cluster — “It’s terrifying”… said Nikki Shelton. Her son Corbin was born just months ago with Spina Bifida… When we asked Shelton and Alicia Jones, whose son Noah has the same defect, if they were under the assumption the Department of Health was including them under their research they both said, “Yes”. “To come to find out that they’re heading onwards with anencephaly and not looking into Spina Bifida is disheartening,” explained Shelton… In Spina Bifida the baby is born with part of their spinal cord sticking out.

On the ‘Washington Neural Tube Defects Cluster’ Facebook page, Nikki Shelton recently wrote: “I wanted you all to have a few numbers to reference to see just how rapidly the Neural Tube Defects are rising in our area. The Department of Health says we are 4 times the national average but we have to be WAY higher than that!… Physicians in Washington are NOT required to report birth defects!! The hospitals also code any termination/miscarriage as a “Complication of Pregnancy”. There are many families that choose to abort once they find out their unborn child has a defect, these are NOT counted in the national average. Not to mention all the defects that are not being reported by the physicians!!!”

Perhaps state officials will see this report that was removed from their website: “Studies… reported an association between neural tube defects [anencephaly/spina bifida] and theradiation dose fathers received… This effect was observed in children whose parents received low doses while working at Hanford… Other research suggests there is reason to believe that radiation exposure before pregnancy can increase the frequency of birth defects… a study of birth defects in Washington’s Benton and Franklin counties near Hanford…. examined the number of cases of certain birth defects between 1968 and 1980.There were more neural tube defects than expected… Conclusion — As with other health effects from radiation, it is assumed that any exposure to radiation carries some risk of genetic effects and birth defects.”

Watch the broadcast on NBC Right Now here

September 18, 2014 Posted by | children, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive Strontium at record high levels near Fukushima nuclear reactors

diagram-Strontium-90Ocean hits record high for radioactive Strontium at all 6 locations near Fukushima reactors — Levels up to 20 times higher than reported last week — Officials: Contamination from highly radioactive ‘debris’ is seeping into ground and flowing out to sea http://enenews.com/record-high-strontium-90-ocean-water-every-location-destroyed-fukushima-reactors-levels-20-times-higher-reported-last-week-officials-contamination-highly-radioactive-debris-seeping-ground-flowin?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

TEPCO Prompt Report of Result of Analysis
, Sept. 10, 2014:

Port of Fukushima Daiichi, around Discharge Channel and Bank Protection — Seawater

This newly published data shows record levels of Strontium-90 have been detected at all 6 seawater monitoring locations in front of the destroyed reactors. At 3 of 6 locations levels are around triple the previous record set last year.

Yet a report released by TEPCO days later on Sept. 12, 2014 claims: “Results indicate efforts to protect water are succeeding… inside the port area, concentrations of radioactivity have been steadily decreasing… Strontium… nearest the reactors… show levels of 70-100 Bq/L … Strontium 90 has been reduced to approximately a third of earlier levels [and] are projected to further reduce… Strontium 90 outflows to one-fortieth of the current estimated amount of outflow.”

According to a TEPCO document from last month: “Groundwater around reactor buildings (Unit 1 to 4) is confirmed to contain radioactive materials which have mixed with rainwater having been contacted with contaminated debris left on the ground surface due to the accident… contaminated water in the buildings theoretically does not mix with the groundwater flowing around the buildings.”

See also: Strontium-90 from Fukushima found along west coast of N. America

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Japan’s growing stockpile of plutonium trash

Japan’s plutonium stockpile jumped to 47 tons in 2013 KYODOHTTP://WWW.JAPANTIMES.CO.JP/NEWS/2014/09/17/NATIONAL/JAPANS-PLUTONIUM-STOCKPILE-ROSE-47-TONS-2013/#.VBTITPRDUNL SEP 17, 2014  Japan had about 47.1 tons of plutonium in and outside the country at the end of 2013, about 2.9 tons more than the year before, the Cabinet Office said on Tuesday. Newly added were 2.3 tons generated through spent fuel reprocessing outsourced to Britain and 640 kg not reported to the global watchdog in 2012 and 2013. The 640 kg is part of mixed plutonium-uranium oxide (MOX) fuel stored in a reactor that was offline during that time.

waste-storage,-Rokkasho-Jap

Revelations of the unreported 640 kg stoked controversy in June, though the Japan Atomic Energy Commission had said it was exempt from International Atomic Energy Agency reporting requirements, insisting at that time that fuel inside reactors is considered “being used.”

Under Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy, plutonium extracted by reprocessing conventional uranium fuel is consumed by existing reactors in the form of MOX fuel. But this policy is jeopardized by public concerns about nuclear power amid the Fukushima crisis.

A further increase in plutonium could raise concerns in the international community about its possible diversion to nuclear weapons.

The earlier unreported 640 kg of plutonium was contained in MOX fuel loaded in March 2011 into reactor 3 of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture during its regular checkup, but has been left there unused as the reactor could not restart in light of the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 complex.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

Amazon to guzzle fossil fuelled electricity in new “server farm”

text-cat-questionMaybe we should all be concerned at the absurdity of this idea of all our data “in the cloud”.  It’s not up    in the clouds – it’s in dirty great computers taking up acres of space, and using up ever more electricity.  In this sense, we are all complicit in pollutting the planet.  Why on Earth can’t the IT ndustry grow up, and learn to chuck out unwanted stuff – instead of this mindless, endles storage of DIGITAL STUFF!

fossil-fuel-industryAmazon’s cloud is about to get dirtier http://grist.org/news/amazons-cloud-is-about-to-get-dirtier/By 17 Sep 2014 In the latest effort to satisfy our desire to save every photo, thought, and fragment of information in cyberspace, Amazon plans to build a fat new server farm that will offer “cloud” storage for such companies as Yelp, Netflix, Pinterest, Dropbox, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tumblr, and Vine, to name more than a few.

According to the Seattle Times, the $1.1 billion server farm will be located in Dublin, Ohio. The city is served by an electric utility that gets two-thirds of its juice from coal-fired power plants, and has a history of lobbying for the coal industry.

As a Greenpeace report from earlier this year shows, not all energy-hogging data centers warm the climate equally, and Amazon’s are among the worst of the worst. Fossil fuel burning provides over half the energy used by Amazon’s colossal digital network — and nuclear power supplies another quarter. Here’s the breakdown: (diagram)

By contrast, the Greenpeace report raves that Apple powers the iCloud with 100 percent renewables; Facebook put a data center in Iowa to spark the world’s largest purchase of wind turbines; and Google is signing long-term contracts to buy cleaner power for some of its centers. What’s more, these three web giants teamed up in North Carolina to pressure Duke Energy, the largest U.S. utility and one of the country’s biggest emitters, to offer customers — including their data warehouses — the choice to buy greener electricity.

(Before heaping too much praise on all that progress, recall that these companiesand their founders don’t have perfect track records when it comes to caring for the climate.)

To avoid adding to Amazon’s dirty energy use (and supporting its labor-abusing,writer-exploitingbookstore-bullying, and publisher-extorting ways) we can host our websites and store our digital stuff elsewhere until the company cleans up its act — and maybe even shop in a real store like back in the old days.

Yet given Amazon’s’s dominion over many of the apps and sites we use for fun, entertainment, information, and procrastination, we’d basically have to give up our computers and all other devices to steer clear of its sovereign realm.

If all the less desirable impacts of the internet were as palpable as the gratification we get from instantly streaming the last five Parks and Recreation episodes (made possible by Amazon’s web infrastructure), it would be a lot easier to make an informed decision about how much digital property we really want.

Maybe we need an app that’ll kick a could of smoke out of the back of our laptops every time we order a bag of groceries from Amazon Fresh.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Questioning the nuclear weapons centre’s sponsorship of Northern New Mexico College

Northern New Mexico College: A Relationship with LANL at What Cost? BY  ⋅ SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 Last week (September 10) La Jicarita ran an article about the controversy at Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) in Española over the direction in which the college is headed, moving from a “career tech” curriculum that serves the local community to an “academic” one that serves a more regional base. Many of the faculty have voted no confidence in the administration, headed by Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, that is spearheading this transition they believe is more beholden to corporate interests than community ones. Twenty-five percent of the full-time faculty has been fired or has resigned.

In that article we also ran an open letter from Dr. Patricia Perea, one of the fired faculty, which laid out her concerns about these changes at NNMC and also about the college’s connections with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Perea also raised this issue in relationship to the MALCS 2014 Summer Institute at Northern New Mexico College. MALCS is the acronym for Mujeras Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, a Chicana/Native feminist organization that works for social and environmental justice. In another open letter to the community Perea talks about how she was removed from the MALCS site committee because of her questioning of the sponsorship of the MALCS Summer Institute by corporations connected to LANL and the nuclear industrial complex. While the MALCS Summer Institute has come and gone for 2014, it’s not too late to “pay attention” to the the vast network of military and nuclear relationships of LANL contractor and MALCS sponsor Day and Zimmermann, and its relationship to NNMC.

nuclear-panel

This is her letter:

17 July 2014

Dear Colleagues, Community Members, Family and Friends:

Once again, I write this letter with care, love, respect, and not a little fear. Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) is an organization I hold very close to my heart. ……. I find it imperative that I let our diverse communities know one thing. I have expressed the following concern in both public and private communication via email, conversation, written correspondence. Please take a moment to allow me to address it here.

Sponsorship for the MALCS 2014 Institute.

There are numerous in-kind contributors to the MALCS 2014 Summer Institute at Northern New Mexico College. All of these are local and that is wonderful. However, I ask you to pay attention to one of the major “2014 MALCS Summer Institute Sponsors:” Day and Zimmermann S.O.C. Los Alamos. I have stated before that I voiced concerns regarding sponsorship from Los Alamos National Labs. I have also stated that I was reprimanded by Dr. Barceló for voicing these concerns. President Barceló’s blind spot has now become the MALCS Executive Committee’s informed decision to endorse taking sponsorship, funding and association from Day and Zimmerman S.O.C. Los Alamos.

I did not grow up in northern New Mexico. I did; however, grow up in Canyon, Texas. Therefore, I know I have the experience to speak to a large part of the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) issue. For over thirty years, my mother worked at Pantex (a nuclear weapons facility). We had great benefits, job security, excellent union representation. Pantex has been a significant employer for much of the populations of color in the Texas Panhandle. It does come at great cost. There are widespread health issues – thyroid cancers, thyroid imbalances, lymphoma, blood cancers, various tumors, etc. When I taught at Brown University, we discussed national areas of sacrifice. Many students were not familiar with this term. I named the effects of living in these areas. To emphasize these effects, I listed every member of my family who has been diagnosed with cancer. To me, this was significant, but nor particularly exceptional (at least not exceptional in the Panhandle). The students were stunned. How could that much cancer happen to one family across generations?

There is no small amount of evidence that links cancer to the radiation produced by nuclear energy and its accouterments. We all know the cancer rates around the Trinity Site in Alamogordo, New Mexico are astounding. We know the effects of the major crises like Chernobyl or Fukushima. Organizations such as Honor Our Pueblo Existence (H.O.P.E.) led by Santa Clara Pueblo elder Marian Naranjo address these issues and struggle to make LANL accountable on a daily basis. I voice concern over the sponsorship of the MALCS 2014 Institute by Day and Zimmerman S.O.C. Los Alamos knowing that it is a double-edged sword. Los Alamos National Labs supports both the community and NNMC in innumerable ways. In just as many ways, it harms.

This we know. But I ask you to consider thinking about Day and Zimmermann, the corporation that provides Los Alamos National Labs with both management and security services. For over 100 years, this corporation (based out of Pennsylvania) has worked in the fields of energy production (oil, nuclear), weapons production, weapons disposal and security management.

They have established, acquired or contracted with the following military suppliers and  partners during the past 70 years: ……….

For me and for the members of our communities who live in national areas of sacrifice; live near or cross the U.S.-México border, serve in the military, it is imperative we inform ourselves of MALCS’ sponsors. It is imperative we know this. As working class women, many of us have family who served in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us suffer the health consequence of exposure to herbicides and radiation. I mentioned cancer above, but there are incredibly high amounts of immunodeficiency diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in our communities of color, particularly among women………

nuclear-teacher I encourage the audience of this letter to demand that a conversation be held at the 2014 Institute regarding the politics of this major sponsorship………..As the MALCS Site Committee, we chose to embracethe connection between our bodies and our environment. We chose to embrace environmental science and environmental justice. How can we, in good conscience, have this conversation when we do not hold ourselves or the partnerships we cultivate accountable? We have worked so hard to form a model of women of color feminism and social change in MALCS, how can we let this go unaddressed? How do we call for a more just world, how do we honor our antepasados, our elders, the seven generations to come when we eat from the poisoned table of Day and Zimmerman?………

In the spirit of the women of color feminists/activists who have come before me, I ask that a discussion of all of the issues raised in this letter be held widely across diverse groups and forums as it concerns all of us. And I ask in particular that a discussion regarding these issues be held at the 2014 MALCS Institute at Northern New Mexico College.

Sincerely, Dr. Patricia Marie Perea

RELEVANT LINKS:…….http://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/northern-new-mexico-college-a-relationship-with-lanl-at-what-cost/

September 18, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Ukraine could make a nuclear bomb, or a “dirty” bomb

flag-UkraineUkraine may create nuclear bomb in 10 years — experts   Russian experts say Ukrainian Defence Minister’s provocative statement on creation of weapons of mass destruction should be taken seriously MOSCOW, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine which has large uranium deposits, nuclear power plants and the ability to enrich nuclear fuel as well as enterprises which produced ballistic missiles in the Soviet times may create a nuclear bomb in ten years, Izvestia daily reported on Wednesday with reference to the opinion of Russian experts.

“Ukrainian Defence Minister Valery Geletei’s statement that Ukraine may regain the status of a nuclear power and create weapons of mass destruction is a provocation, but this should be taken seriously,” the daily quoted deputy chairman of Russia’s lower house State Duma defence committee Frants Klintsevich as saying, noting that “This cannot be forgotten that science in Ukraine has always been developed and there won’t be any problems creating a nuclear bomb.”

Klintsevich recalled that the neighbouring country had 17 nuclear power units not designed for enrichment.

“If they assign several nuclear power units for the purpose and will get down to resolve this task the process will take quite a long period of time. But they will cope with it for ten years,” the lawmaker believed, noting that “It is very strange if Europe will not give any response to such statements. Double standards became normal for them and this may end deplorably for all.”………

Meanwhile, Ukraine has Tochka U, a tactical missile system which uses conventional ballistic missiles with a fire range of 120 kilometres and more that can carry nuclear warheads, the daily recalled. Meanwhile, according to international classification the so-called ‘dirty bomb’, the simplest variant of weapons of mass destruction that contaminates the territory with radioactive materials, belongs to nuclear weapons.

“If the Ukrainian president decides to create nuclear weapons, ‘the dirty bomb’ with conventional explosives and radioactive element which can be generated at Chernobyl nuclear power plant can be produced literally in a few days,” Klenov said with confidence.

On September 14, Ukrainian Defence Minister Valery Geletei stated the possibility to develop nuclear weapons, if the West refuses to help Ukraine: “If we cannot protect [Ukraine] today, if the world does not help us, we will have to return to creation of these weapons to protect ourselves from Russia.”

This is quite illustrative that “officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the US ambassador in Ukraine refused to comment on possible after-effects of Ukraine’s turning in a nuclear power. http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749875

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear bondoggle for Britain, as EU considers power plan?

EU regulators set to clear Britain’s 19 billion euro nuclear project – sources, Reuters,  By By Foo Yun Chee and Barbara Lewis , 17 Sept 14 “……….The EDF-led consortium plans to build two Areva-designed 1,650 megawatt European Pressurised Water Reactors that will produce about seven percent of British electricity needs and will operate for 60 years.

EDF’s long-time Chinese partners, China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), will take a combined 30-40 percent stake in the consortium, while Areva will take 10 percent.

Areva declined to comment, while the Chinese companies were not immediately available to comment

fighters-marketing-1

Green politicians and environmental campaigners have said the British financing plan for Hinkley Point cannot be justified either in terms of EU law or value to consumers because of the huge financial cost of nuclear power.

“The proposed deal pays no attention to either European law or the interests of the consumer,” said Andrea Carta, EU legal adviser to campaign group Greenpeace. “Furthermore, the government has failed to run a transparent tender procedure, which should lead the Commission to reject the plan.” https://uk.news.yahoo.com/eu-regulators-set-clear-britains-19-billion-euro-172902698–sector.html#UaQrvxr

September 18, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

In Japan solar floating panels are taking over from nuclear power

Japan: ‘solar islands’ replace nuclear power http://www.enn.com/business/article/47833 15 Sept 14 As Japan seeks to end reliance on nuclear power, one of the answers is floating ‘solar islands’, writes Jon Major. A 70MW solar island opened last year, and two additional plants have just been announced. Two companies in Japan recently announced they are to begin building two large solar power islands that will float on reservoirs.

solar-floating-panels-Japan

This follows smartphone maker Kyocera’s Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar power plant, the country’s largest at 70 megawatts, which opened in late 2013 and is found floating in the sea just off the coast of southern Japan.

The two new solar islands, to be built by Kyocera and commercial partners, will form a network of thirty 2MW stations – adding another 60MW of solar capacity.

The move comes as Japan looks to move on from the Fukushima disaster of 2011 and meet the energy needs of its 127m people without relying on nuclear power.Shattered confidence in nuclear power

Before the incident around 30% of the country’s power was generated from nuclear, with plans to push this to 40%. But Fukushima destroyed public confidence in nuclear power, and with earthquakes in regions containing reactors highly likely, Japan is now looking for alternatives.

Solar power is an obvious solution for relatively resource-poor nations. It is clean, cost-competitive, has no restrictions on where it can be used and has the capability to make up for the energy shortfall.

A small fact that solar researchers love to trot out is that enough sunlight falls on the earth’s landmass around every 40 minutes to power the planet for a year. To put this another way, if we covered a fraction of the Sahara desert in solar panels we could power the world many times over.

The technology already exists, so producing enough solar power comes primarily down to one thing: space. For countries such as the USA with lots of sparsely populated land this is not an issue, and there have already been a large number of solar farms installed around the country.

For Japan, the answer is offshore

But Japan where space is limited, more inventive solutions are required. This is the principle reason behind the decision to move their solar power generation offshore.

While the land is highly congested, and therefore expensive, the sea is largely unused. It therefore makes a good degree of sense to use this space for floating power plants.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate The Ecologist.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Vermont’s largest city gets 100% of its electricity from renewables

Largest City in Vermont Now Gets All Its Power From Renewables, Reader Supported News,  By Ari Phillips, ThinkProgress 15 September 14 he 42,000 people living in Burlington, Vermont can now feel confident that when they turn on their TVs or power up their computers they are using renewable energy. With the purchase of the 7.4 megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project earlier this month, the Burlington Electric Department now owns or contracts renewable sources — including wind, hydro, and biomass — equivalent to the city’s needs.

“We’re now in a position where we’re supplying Burlington residents with sources that are renewable,” said Ken Nolan, manager of power resources for Burlington Electric Department, earlier this month. “The prices are not tied to fossil fuels — they’re stable prices — and they provide us with the flexibility, from an environmental standpoint, to really react to any regulation or changes to environmental standards that come in the future.”…….

Vermont has a statewide goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, including electricity, heating, and transportation. Christopher Recchia, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, told the Associated Press that Burlington’s achievement shows that they’re able to make this transition cost-effectively and “in a way that makes Vermonters really positioned well for the future.”

The Washington Electric Co-operative, which has about 11,000 customers across central and northern Vermont, also reached the 100 percent renewable milestone earlier this year. Both utilities acknowledge that when renewable sources aren’t readily available — if the wind isn’t blowing or water levels are low — they will purchase traditional fossil fuel-generated electricity. However, when the wind is strong and water levels are high more than enough electricity is generated and the surplus can be sold to other utilities. On average, they will be selling more than they buy……..http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/25892-largest-city-in-vermont-now-gets-all-its-power-from-renewables

September 18, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Belgium to close all nuclear reactors by 2025, but extend 2 old ones until then

Belgium May Extend Lifespan Of Old Nuclear Reactors: Sources REUTERS SEP. 17, 2014  BRUSSELS Belgium could keep two of the country’s oldest nuclear reactors running for up to 10 years longer than planned if other plants remain offline because of safety shutdowns, two sources close to government coalition talks said. The 433 megawatt (MW) Doel 1 and 2 reactors operated by GDF Suez unit Electrabel, built in 1975 and scheduled to for shutdown in 2015, may now be kept operational until 2025, by which time Belgium plans to decommission all its nuclear plants…….

the new government will not change the target agreed in 2011 for the the closure of all Belgium’s reactors by 2025, one of the sources said.  http://www.businessinsider.com/r-belgium-may-extend-lifespan-of-old-nuclear-reactors-sources-2014-9#ixzz3DhXWh77N

September 18, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Consortium makes legal challenge against water diversion for nuclear power

nuke-tapFlag-USAGroups appeal decision in Utah nuclear power plant case By 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.”

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865611130/Groups-appeal-decision-in-Utah-nuclear-power-plant-case.html

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA, water | Leave a comment

An insight onto the nuclear industry’s manipulations to shift their cost burdens

scrutiny-on-costsVendors adapt to financing role World Nuclear News,  5 September 2014 Nuclear power reactor vendors have been forced to adapt to the fact that governments are no longer willing to assume the financial risks associated with nuclear new build projects, Jerry Hopwood, vice president of product development at Candu Energy, said on 12 September….
 Many jurisdictions have re-evaluated the state-owned model to project cost overruns and schedule delays, high government debt loads, other funding priorities leading to privatization of non-core assets, and technological maturity, he said.
Private sector models are difficult to execute for nuclear projects due to first-of-a-kind issues, their large capital requirement, long construction timescales and investor return expectations. But they can work within a positive framework of incentives – for example the UK’s contract for difference model, he said..

Several emerging markets are still developing state-owned models, but are incorporating mechanisms where risks are placed with the appropriate parties, such as nuclear initial public offerings and build-own-operate-transfer.

“Public-private partnership seems to be where the sector is going,” he said.

Public-private partnerships
This combination means a project is financed by both the government and a private investor, with the public share able to attract export credit. Such a model requires a power purchase agreement matched to debt obligations and the project risks are allocated between government agencies and private companies.

Regulatory and technology risks are “two separate sides to the same coin,” he said. Other risks include engineering, supply and project management; technical services; skilled labour and availability and rates; training and commissioning, and lifetime operational support.

Government sponsored financial incentives encourage private sector companies to take increased financial responsibility for nuclear new build projects.

These include contracts for difference and power purchase agreements, loan guarantees, export credits, carbon credits, and cost and schedule overruns.

“Vendors play a critical role in the success of the public-private partnership model by focusing on key areas, which are project risk reduction and regulatory feedback. No matter how the risks are allocated, if they are too high, you won’t get the financing,” he said…….

Collaboration
“Working closely with regulators, vendors can ensure that reactor designs meet safety and environmental standards before project deployment,” he said. “A vendor pre-project design review of a new nuclear power plant allows the regulatory body an opportunity to assess a design prior to any licensing activities and to identify potential issues that would require resolution.”

Further co-ordination between regulators, either bilaterally or through multi-lateral forums, such as MDEP [Multinational Design Evaluation Program], can help to harmonize views and mitigate risks. In that way a design qualified in the home country can be used elsewhere. We need regulatory cooperation across the world,” he said.

The success of future new build projects is “imperative” to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the industry, he said. “Failure is not an option.“……

Vendor-led financing is not sustainable in the long term, Hopwood said.

“I think it’s a sort of kick starting mechanism, a way to get projects going so that we start to have a track record,” he told World Nuclear News. “Whether it be in a big way or a small way, it’s showing vendor commitment and it’s getting some projects on the books and going and creating a track record and that’s the value of it and necessarily it must lead to more.”

“If we picture a world with many nuclear projects going ahead – there are 71 nuclear units under construction at the moment – the financing requirement is far more than any vendor or even any individual utility can finance, so financing has to come from aggregating from many sectors in order to have a flourishing nuclear industry. The demand for money is going to be so great that it will necessarily require us to seek out all sorts of funding, all kinds of capital formations,” he said. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Vendors-adapt-to-financing-role-1509201401.html

September 17, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, marketing, Reference | Leave a comment

At last – thorough research into cancers caused by world’s first atomic-bomb test

a sadness that still hangs over Tularosa.

“Whole families have died here,”

cancer_cellsFlag-USADecades After Nuclear Test, U.S. Studies Cancer Fallout http://online.wsj.com/articles/decades-after-nuclear-test-u-s-studies-cancer-fallout-1410802085
Examination Will Probe Radiation Exposure Near 1945 Trinity Blast in New 
MexicoBy
DAN FROSCH Write to Dan Frosch at dan.frosch@wsj.com  Sept. 15, 2014 TULAROSA, N.M.—Nearly 70 years after the U.S. conducted the world’s first atomic-bomb test here in the New Mexico desert, federal researchers are slated to visit the state this month to begin studying whether some residents developed cancer due to the blast.

As part of the long anticipated project, scheduled to start Sept. 25, investigators with the National Cancer Institute will interview people who lived in the state around the time of the 1945 Trinity test and assess the effects of consuming food, milk and water that may have been contaminated by the explosion.

For years, residents of the rural, heavily Hispanic villages near the test site have claimed that a mysterious wave of cancer has swept through this dusty stretch of south-central New Mexico, decimating families and prompting calls for the government to determine whether radiation exposure played a role. Continue reading

September 17, 2014 Posted by | health, history, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

India’s uranium legacy of birth defects

flag-indiaIndia’s nuclear nightmare: The village of birth defects The Star.com By:  on Mon Sep 15 2014 Indian court trying to unravel mystery of sick and disabled children, miscarriages and fatal cancers around the country’s first uranium mine……..Now, an Indian court wants to unravel the mystery of what is happening in Jadugora, the hub of India’s uranium mining industry since the late 1960s……..

Today, nuclear power provides less than 5 per cent of India’s electricity. The aim is to make it 25 per cent by 2050. This month, Australia signed an agreement giving India access to its vast supplies of uranium.

But activists say Jadugora is paying the price for India’s nuclear dreams……….

Until a decade ago, miners took their uniforms home to be washed by their wives or daughters, says Xavier Dias, a political activist who has worked for decades with the indigenous people who made up the majority of the mine’s workforce.

“They never wore masks then … or boots. Or even gloves.”

The workers were free to take building materials from the mine and even waste material, which they used to build their homes, he says.

When people began to notice that young women were having miscarriages, witches and spirits were blamed. Prayers were said to ward off the “evil eye.” But people had lesions, children were born with deformities, hair loss was common. Cows couldn’t give birth, hens laid fewer eggs, fish had skin diseases.

“If you ask the tribals (as the indigenous people are known) who have lived there for decades, long before uranium was discovered, they will tell you that they lived healthy lives, drank from the rivers, ate fruits and vegetables … and they never saw the inside of a hospital,” says Dias……

In Jadugora, tailing ponds take up more than 65 hectares — and they are all uncovered with easy access for people and animals. A few homes stand fewer than 50 metres from the pond’s edge. There are some no-trespassing signs, but children still play cricket or hopscotch nearby. Another tailing pond a few kilometres away sits beside a busy street with pipes constantly delivering more sludge.

The tailing ponds tend to overflow, especially during monsoon season, say villagers. If that happens, radioactivity can seep out and contaminate the groundwater and rivers. River water is used for washing and bathing, sowing and irrigation — and sometimes for drinking.

Trucks filled with yellow cake or mine waste trundle day and night along the highway. The cakes are covered with flimsy plastic covers; sometimes bits of rubble fall off………

The Jharkhand High Court is also looking for answers.

In March, it sent a notice to UCILasking for an explanation for the deformities, cancers and miscarriages around the Jadugora mine. It based the notice on local media reports, which included shocking pictures of children who were sick or deformed. (The demand was made by the court unilaterally, without a filing by officials or victims, in what is known as a suo moto action.)

According to local reports, UCIL told the court that the radiation emitted through its mining is under permissible limits and contained within a safe zone. The court refused to accept the submissions because they were old.

In August, the court also asked that the company disclose the radiation levels and the presence of any heavy metals in soil and water in the cluster of villages around Jadugora. It also asked UCIL to explain how it ensures the safety of those who live near radioactive waste.

The answers are due in November……….

While families of children with deformities will tell their stories to reporters, the families of women who have been unable to get pregnant or who have had unexplained miscarriages often don’t.

Since Jadugora’s health problems made the local newspapers, few families receive marriage offers for their daughters. In a country where not being able to bear children is such a stigma that women are either thrown out by their in-laws or banished to their parents’ homes, Jadugora women are now tainted and unwanted……….http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/09/15/indias_nuclear_nightmare_the_village_of_birth_defects.html

September 17, 2014 Posted by | children, India | Leave a comment

Kiev threatens to restart nuclear weapons program

flag-Ukraine‘Inmates running the asylum’: Kiev threatens to restart nuclear weapons program RT.com September 15, 2014 Kiev’s promise to restart its nuclear weapons program if it doesn’t get enough support from the West is completely insane, be it real or just an empty threat, political commentator Daniel Patrick Welch told RT.

“If we cannot protect Ukraine today, if the world doesn’t help us, we will have to go back to the development of nuclear weapons, which will protect us from Russia,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Geletey said in an interview with Ukrainian TV, also claiming that NATO members have already started supplying Kiev with conventional weapons.

NATO members start supplying weapons to Kiev – Ukrainian Defense Minister  ……http://rt.com/op-edge/187772-ukraine-nuclear-program-us/

September 17, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

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