The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Harry Reid led the charge to prevent another nuclear pollution of Nevada

Reid,-HarryThere will be a lot written about Harry’s advocacy on behalf of Nevada, and for those efforts he deserves a standing ovation. His actions will resonate for generations. Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will have been kept protected from the threats of nuclear waste. They won’t know who to thank, so on their behalf: Thank you, Harry.

 Thank you, Harry Sunday, March 29, 2015 We knew the day would come. We just weren’t certain when. Seventy-five-year-old Harry Reid has announced that just after 5 terms of representing Nevada’s finest interests in the U.S. Senate — the longest run of any senator from our state — he will retire into the waiting arms of his loving wife, Landra.

They have considerably to celebrate, and we — and our youngsters and grandchildren — have considerably to be thankful for, including a legacy that will attain far into future generations of Nevadans.

The senator’s list of accomplishments, from preserving the environment to assisting bring overall health care to millionsYucca-Mt
with his championing of the Reasonably priced Care Act, will absolutely frame his legacy. But his everlasting accomplishment story will surely be his good results in staring down the nuclear power business and maintaining Nevada totally free of the highly radioactive nuclear waste that outsiders wanted to ship from distant states and bury inside Yucca Mountain. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

It’s getting serious when nuclear pollution threatens the wine industry

A 2012 report prepared for the Washington State Wine Commission indicates that the state is the “second largest wine producer in the U.S., after California.” Internationally, Washington State is the third-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, according to state officials, with leading products including fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and seafood.

What is not on the Tri-Cities website, however, is a copy of the DOE report released last year that indicated trace amounts of the radioisotope tritium were found in wine samples collected near Hanford in 2013 “that could have potentially originated from the Hanford Site.” Tritium is considered one of the least-threatening radioisotopes because it generally passes from the body quickly, but it still can increase cancer risk because it releases radiation

wine threat

antnuke-relevantATOMIC WINE Wine Country’s Nuclear Threat, The Daily Beast , Bill Conroy. 03.28.15 A nuclear facility in Washington state’s prime wine country is leaching radioactive groundwater and is one natural disaster away from Fukushima 2.0. The Hanford Site, a former nuclear-weapons production facility located in southeastern Washington State near the Oregon border, is one natural disaster away from a Fukushima-like catastrophe, according to environmental groups who also claim the site—which sits near some of the state’s best vineyards—is leaking radioactive groundwater into the nearby Columbia River. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Texas city staunchly right wing, just saving money with 100% renewable energy

Flag-USATexas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet, Guardian,  in Georgetown, 29 Mar 15 Georgetown, Texas decision not about going green: ‘I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,’ says city official News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

“I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin.

Briggs, who was a key player in Georgetown’s decision to become the first city in the Lone Star State to be powered by 100% renewable energy, has worked for the city for 30 years. He wears a belt with shiny silver decorations and a gold ring with a lone star motif, and is keen to point out that he is not some kind of California-style eco-warrior with a liberal agenda. In fact, he is a staunchly Texan pragmatist.

“I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,” he says. “We didn’t do this to save the world – we did this to get a competitive rate and reduce the risk for our consumers.”


In many Texas cities the electricity market is deregulated, meaning that customers choose from a dizzying variety of providers and plans. In Houston, for example, there are more than 70 plans that offer energy from entirely renewable sources.

That makes it easy to switch, so in a dynamic marketplace, providers tend to focus on the immediate future. This discourages the creation of renewable energy facilities, which require long-term investment to be viable. But in Georgetown, the city utility company has a monopoly.

When its staff examined their options last year, they discovered something that seemed remarkable, especially in Texas: renewable energy was cheaper than non-renewable. And so last month city officials finalised a deal with SunEdison, a giant multinational solar energy company. It means that by January 2017, all electricity within the city’s service area will come from wind and solar power.

In 2014, the city signed a 20-year agreement with EDF for wind power from a forthcoming project near Amarillo. Taking the renewable elements up to 100%, SunEdison will build plants in west Texas that will provide Georgetown with 150 megawatts of solar power in a deal running from 2016 or 2017 to 2041. With consistent and reliable production the goal, the combination takes into account that wind farms generate most of their energy in the evenings, after the sun has set…….

while west Texas is an oil driller’s paradise, it is also sunny and gusty, making it a perfect corridor for renewable energy.

The region bordering New Mexico is one of the prime solar resource sites in the USand the wind whistles across the plains to such an extent that, as Scientific American pointed out last year, the state is America’s largest wind power producer – as well as leading the nation in the production of crude oil and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Renewable energy also uses much less water than traditional power generation – a bonus in a state where half the land and more than nine million people are affected by drought conditions, though Briggs said that for Georgetown, water conservation was only a “side benefit”………

Outside, Jon Klopf, a barber, sat on a bench enjoying a splendidly sunny Thursday afternoon.

“They were just looking out for the cheapest deal. That’s just business,” the 50-year-old said. “I don’t really think we should be relying too much on oil, even though they have to right now. That don’t last forever.

“Sun will, though. Long as the sun comes up, the wind will blow.”

March 30, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby claims to be clean and green , wants government money

nuke-greenwashNation’s biggest nuclear firm makes a play for green money, Herald News By RAY HENRY -Saturday, March 28, 2015 1   The Associated Press The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity.

 Exelon Corp., operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company’s pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases.

Chicago-based Exelon essentially wants to change the rules of the state’s power market as the nuclear industry competes with historically low prices for natural gas. Dominion Resources Inc. recently closed the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin for financial reasons, and Entergy Corp. likewise shuttered its Vermont Yankee plant.

Plans for a new wave of U.S. nuclear plants have been delayed or canceled, aside from three projects deep into construction at Plant Vogtle south of Augusta, Georgia; V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia, South Carolina; and Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in eastern Tennessee. Electric utilities in those states do not face competition…….

Though it wants financial assistance, Exelon will not release detailed information about the cost of running the three Illinois plants in Quad Cities, Byron and Clinton that company officials say are most at-risk. An analysis by state agencies estimated the cost of producing power at those plants may exceed the payments they get, though they could not be certain.

Exelon and other around-the-clock plants sometimes take losses when wind turbines produce too much electricity for the system.

Exelon remained profitable overall, making $1.6 billion last year.

“If the question is, ‘Are they under economic threat?’ I don’t think there’s any question they are,” said Paul Patterson, a utility analyst for Glenrock Associates LLC, who referred to nuclear plant closures elsewhere as evidence. “Will they shut down? I think it depends at what plant you’re looking at.”

The Illinois proposal would reward nuclear plants. Under the system, electric suppliers would have to buy credits from carbon-free energy producers. Exelon says the plan would benefit nuclear plants, hydroelectric dams, and other solar and wind projects.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Don’t buy the hype for new nuclear plants: energy alternatives are better

Plant Closure Opportunity: Hitting Those Clean Energy Notes The Energy Collective By Larissa Koehler, 28 Mar 15  When the door to one power plant closes, a window to more clean energy solutions opens.

It may seem logical that once a power plant closes, another one needs to be built to replace it – after all, we need to make up for its potential energy generation with more natural gas or nuclear-powered energy, right? San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is certainly trying to convince Californians this is true. Trouble is, EDF and other environmental groups, along with theCalifornia Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), aren’t buying it. And you shouldn’t either……..

a plethora of clean, efficient resources exist that can help us manage energy demand more effectively without turning to fossil fuels. For example:

  • California can make much greater use of demand response programs. Demand response sends a signal to customers to voluntarily and temporarily reduce their energy use at times when the grid is most burdened – thereby preventing the need to ramp up fossil fuel resources to meet demand and reducing system costs and emissions.
  • Incorporate time-of-use (TOU) electricity pricing. By charging lower energy prices to encourage use during off-peak times, or when renewables are available, California can integrate more clean energy resources and relieve strain on the power grid during peak times. In fact, EDF has demonstrated that if half of Southern California Edison’s residential customers adopted a voluntary TOU electricity price, they could replace two-thirds of SONGS’ lost capacity, saving $357 million per year – and the same trend would likely follow in SDG&E’s service territory.
  • Bolster energy efficiency programs. Emphasizing the use of energy-efficient technology will lower demand, offset the need for expensive and dirty fossil fuels, and reduce system costs by avoiding additional power plant, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. For example, in 2010 and 2011, CPUC energy efficiency programs produced enough energy savings to power more than 600,000 households and offset 1,069 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity.
  • Utilize increasing viable storage technologies. By storing energy at times when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and drawing on that energy when these resources are not available, storage provides a powerful mechanism to integrate more clean energy and greatly reduces the need for fossil fuels. As demonstrated by the CPUC’s storage mandate for utilities – as well as the fact that Southern California Edison already went above and beyond this directive– storage is a reliable and growing part of the solution.

EDF applauds the CPUC for issuing a clear statement on how the SONGS capacity should be replaced – making it apparent that SDG&E should commit to more than the minimum required procurement of energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage, demand response, and other clean energy resources. And with SDG&E’s history of forward-thinking energy policy, they should embrace this opportunity for continued leadership. The key to California’s energy needs lies in a suite of solutions that are good for the grid, the environment, and the health of California’s citizens. The CPUC’s statement highlights an important priority for the state in the coming decades to address these needs. This should be the beginning, not the end, of Southern California’s push to adopt preferred resources. Diversifying the region’s energy mix opens the door to a clean, sustainable, and healthy future.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Damage to concrete is a threat to nuclear reactors

Part II: Nuclear Power Stations Need Testing for Concrete Damage – Comment Deadline Monday, March 30th,  2015   by  Deadline is on Monday, March 30th, 11.59 Eastern Time (DC) – one minute to midnight- for whether the US NRC should use proper methods to detect concrete degradation at Nuclear Power Stations: “The petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations to improve identification techniques against ASR concrete degradation at U.S. nuclear power plants. The petitioner suggests that the reliance on a visual inspection does not ‘adequately identify Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR), does not confirm ASR, or provide the current state of ASR damage (if present) without petrographic analysis under current existing code.!docketDetail;D=NRC-2014-0257 (Comment at link; can be anonymous.) It is critically important to also ask for ultrasonic testing for damage to the nuclear reactor pressure vessel, even though it is not on the docket. See:

The average age of US commercial nuclear reactors is 34 years with the oldest being over 45 years old (EIA, 2015). Even in the best of circumstances, concrete suffers age related damage. But, nuclear power stations suffer from extreme conditions. According to William et. al., for the NRC (2013): Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Two junior congressmen willing to pollute Nevada with nuclear waste

let’s look at how many states back in the 1980s had been willing to take the highly radioactive fuel rods off the hands of nuclear energy plant operators: zero. Not a one particular. In particular not Nevada, which currently had paid a human toll as the website of atmospheric atomic bomb detonations. No one gave much believed to the radioactivity in our sky — “don’t worry” — and, boy, had been we snookered.

The truth that two junior congressmen from Nevada would be open to filling a nearby mountain with radiation — placing not only Las Vegas’ economy, but the lives of our youngsters, grandchildren and generations of future Nevadans at threat — is beautiful.

Our delegation in Washington can definitely bicker more than other difficulties, but on Yucca Mountain, Nevadans anticipate solidarity, not betrayal, due to the fact absolutely nothing can be allowed to jeopardize our safe future.

Congressmen’s willingness to money in on Yucca Mountain endangers Nevadans, Herald Recorder 
, Yucca-MtMarch 29, 2015   Two of our congressmen, who are the least skilled in our Capitol Hill delegation, have much to learn when it comes to watching out for the security, welfare and financial safety of Nevadans.

Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei, a pair of Republicans, say they’d want Nevada to money in on the opening of Yucca Mountain as the final resting place for highly radioactive nuclear
waste if professionals are convinced it would be safe. If the feds and the nuclear power market genuinely want handle of Yucca Mountain, at least they can throw some money our way — perhaps to help fund education or enhance our public infrastructure.

In other words, they’re prepared to place Nevadans in harm’s way if the income is correct. In harm’s way, mainly because no one can be sure that the web site will remain safely benign when filled with this nuclear material. Hardy and Amodei definitely have signaled to Washington and the out-of-state nuclear energy industry that they’re open to bringing lethal nuclear waste to within 90 miles of Las Vegas.

We do not even know where to commence in showing how outrageous their position is…….. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New York endangered by High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Near a Nuclear Plant

Why on Earth Did the Feds Approve a High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Near a Nuke Plant?  Nuclear safety expert: “We’re talking tens of millions of people who could be endangered.” By Alison Rose Levy / AlterNet March 27, 2015 A gas explosion leveled two buildings in New York’s East Village this past week, with two neighboring structures damaged, one still at risk for collapse, and 22 people injured, four of them severely. The fire raged from early afternoon into the next morning with more than 250 firefighters responding. Just over a year ago, a gas explosion leveled two buildings in Harlem, killing eight people. The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released its conclusions as to what caused the Harlem fire.

While fires, explosions, plane crashes and others disasters are considered newsworthy, drawing people and the media to the scene, the quiet dramas of government policy, approval and planning that set the stage for—or can prevent—disastrous events are every bit as riveting……..

Since March 3, 2015, three high-risk conditions have begun converging north of the New York metro area: the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant; a high pressure, high-volume gas pipeline; and an authorization by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a new segment of the pipeline in close proximity to the nuclear plant. In the few weeks since the authorization, apart from some felled trees in Yorktown Heights, there have been few visible signs that millions of New Yorkers may soon be living with the increased risk of a fiery, pipeline-triggered nuclear accident, 37 miles north of the City………

March 30, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Ohio’s Senate Bill 310 props up Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, restricts renewables

reactor-Davis-Besse-near-Lake-ErieThe case against the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant: Connie Kline  By Other Voices  March 29, 2015 Aggressively lobbied by FirstEnergy Corp. and passed by the General Assembly in May 2014, Senate Bill 310, along with wind-turbine restrictions, decimated Ohio’s 2008 renewable-energy and energy-efficiency standards in order to force reliance on coal and nuclear power.

fossil-fuel-fightback-1Not coincidentally, in August 2014, FirstEnergy filed a rate case which, according to the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, could cost ratepayers up to $3 billion over 15 years to “bail out” FirstEnergy’s old, failing, noncompetitive Sammis coal plant and Davis-Besse nuclear reactor. The utility is threatening to close both plants if the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio denies its application.

According to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts’ report, in 2012, Ohio was number 13 in the country for new wind capacity and private investment in wind; this has virtually ceased due to SB 310.

August and September 2014 polls showed that Ohioans overwhelmingly favor efficiency and renewable energy over coal and nuclear.

According to NOPEC, construction of the Perry and Davis-Besse reactors caused “electric rates in northern Ohio to soar, becoming the highest in the state and among the highest in the nation and cost ratepayers “approximately $9 billion.”

Forty-year-old Davis-Besse has been plagued by near-catastrophes since its inception.

● Because it was built in a flood plain, a 1972 Lake Erie storm caused massive flooding of the entire construction site including the pre-operational reactor.
● In October 1977, a relief valve stuck.
● Uranium fuel must be submerged in water (coolant) at all times to prevent a meltdown. In June 1985, Davis Besse had a loss-of-feedwater accident. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission closed the plant for a year.
● A June 1998 tornado caused loss of external electric power.
● In March 2002, neglected, leaking boric acid in the coolant water had eaten through more than seven inches of the steel reactor lid, leaving only a 3/16″ liner to prevent radiation release. The plant closed for two years, costing ratepayers $600 million. Davis-Besse was fined $33.5 million, the largest in NRC history.
● The corroded lid was replaced before restart in 2004, but in 2010, cracks were found in this new lid, forcing its replacement in 2011.
● To replace aging, deteriorating, damaged parts, an unprecedented four large cuts have been made through the Davis-Besse concrete shield building which prevents release of radiation. Starting in 2011, cracks and voids were discovered in the building’s concrete.
●  Davis-Besse’s steam generators were replaced in 2011 and 2014. A new tubing alloy was used.

Unprotected exposure to used reactor fuel can kill a person in minutes, yet no disposal solution exists for this waste which must be isolated from humans and the environment virtually forever. Funding for the permanent, deep-geological radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada was canceled in 2011, making every reactor a de facto radioactive waste dump at the least environmentally suitable sites for potable water, in flood, erosion, and earthquake zones.

The industry claims that nuclear power does not contribute to climate change. In fact, the nuclear fuel cycle from mining and fabricating uranium to decommissioning reactors requires a significant amount of fossil fuel.

In January 2015, FirstEnergy commissioned a self-serving “study” by an industry group with a vested interest in the conclusion that Davis-Besse is economically beneficial. The study failed to consider energy efficiency or replacing Davis-Besse with renewable energy that typically provides more jobs per megawatt/hour than nuclear power. If Davis-Besse were truly a valuable asset, FirstEnergy wouldn’t be seeking up to $225 million a year in ratepayer subsidies to keep it operating.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nuclear power provides only 5 percent of Ohio’s generation. According to the World Nuclear Association, Davis-Besse’s lifetime capacity factor through 2012 was only 67.6 percent, one of the lowest in the country.

It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad and transition to safe, clean renewable energy. Davis-Besse should meet the fate of other U.S. reactors than have been permanently closed for safety and economic reasons.

Connie Kline, of Willoughby Hills, is former chairperson of the Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear Committee.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

No transparency in USA’s massive modernisation of nuclear weapons

nuclear-missile-readyUS wants nuclear transparency, but not for its own bombs, The National  March 29, 2015 Amid all of last week’s headlines parsing Iran’s nuclear infrastructure as the deadline for a potential deal with world powers drew near, it was easy to miss the item in the Science section of The New York Times. It was about the US hydrogen bomb programme.

The H-bomb, the paper reminded readers, is a thermonuclear device. Its destructive power is 1,000 times that of the bomb that instantly killed 80,000 people in Hiroshima in 1945. And it has long been a feature in the ­arsenals of nuclear-armed states.

The news peg was a memoir by one of the founders of the US H-bomb programme, Kenneth W Ford. But even though he cited publicly available material, US Department of Energy censors blocked the book.

Transparency, of course, has never been deemed a virtue in any nuclear weapons programme anywhere in the world. That said, Iran’s leaders might see the irony in being held to stringent transparency requirements while states with well-established nuclear-weapons capability are absolved of the equivalent accountability.

But the basic hypocrisy of the major world powers’ application of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is well-established. Five of the countries currently negotiating with Iran, which is an NPT signatory, are acknowledged to have nuclear weapons. The NPT requires signatories to submit their nuclear facilities to constant inspections to verify their commitment to refrain from building weapons. Meanwhile, the established nuclear weapons states are meant to negotiate their way to disarmament. But 45 years after they adopted the NPT, the established nuclear powers have not ended their addiction to nuclear weapons.

In that period, four non-signatories – India, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa – developed nuclear weapons, although post-apartheid South Africa signed the NPT and allowed the dismantling of its nukes. Meanwhile, a fifth country, North Korea, developed nuclear weapons after withdrawing from the NPT . So the negotiations with Iran are not aimed at keeping the Middle East free of nuclear weapons as much as to maintain America and Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region.

But the censoring of Ford’s book reveals a deeper peril in America’s national conversation about nuclear weapons – or, more accurately, the absence of a national conversation about nuclear weapons………

In April 2009, president Obama made a historic speech in Prague committing to pursue a “a world without nuclear weapons”and to reduce the number of warheads in the US arsenal. But he also pledged, in light of continued nuclear capability by rival powers, to ensure that the US maintains an “effective arsenal”.

That commitment has now translated, according to the budget he submitted to Congress last month, into a massive modernisation scheme, which would cost $348 billion (Dh 1.28 trillion) over the next 10 years and as much as $1 trillion over a 30-year period.

Still, don’t expect to see much public debate over just what the US is building, and the circumstances in which it might conceivably decide – once again – to destroy a civilian population centre in a matter of minutes.

The world would be a much safer place if, as the NPT intended, efforts to stop new countries acquiring nuclear weapons were matched by the attempt to hold accountable those that already have them.

Tony Karon teaches in the graduate programme at the New School in New York

March 30, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dow Chemical’s purchase of wind energy shows the big shift to renewables

What Dow Chemical’s Huge Wind Deal Says About Our Energy Landscape, Clean Technica March 27th, 2015 By Mira Inbar Recently, The Dow Chemical Company signed an agreement to purchase 200 MW of wind output from a wind farm under development by a subsidiary of Bordas Wind Energy in South Texas. The wind power will power the company’s Freeport, Texas manufacturing site.

Everything about this announcement is huge: Freeport is the largest integrated chemical manufacturing complex in the Western Hemisphere. The wind farm will encompass nearly 35,000 acres of land, and annually supply an amount of electricity that could power more than 55,000 Texas homes.

Dow is the first chemical company in the US to power a manufacturing site with renewable energy at this scale. Their decision to do so is a clear sign that the energy landscape in the United States continues to evolve and that companies today have far more choice when it comes to accessing sustainable sources of power than they did just a few years ago.

So, what does Dow’s huge wind deal say about our energy landscape and the future of power generation? Three things:

1. Accelerating technological innovation and deployment at scale is driving down the cost of renewable energy.,……..

2. Wind energy is a perfect hedge against fossil fuel cost volatility……..

3. Deals like this represent an efficient use of electricity markets……..

Earlier this year, Texas completed a ten-year, $6.8 billion effort to build a huge network of new high-voltage power lines to connect all corners of the state to a robust electricity market that has become one of the most efficient and transparent in the world. These new transmission lines create better access to the market for all forms of electricity generation and allow for more efficient real-time operations and trading. This visionary investment has fostered competition and innovation, giving manufacturing companies more choice in their electricity supply so that they can better manage their costs.

Access to a reliable supply of cost-effective energy is a key ingredient to revitalizing manufacturing in America. Powering manufacturing with renewable energy is just one smart move to secure a future of sustainability, growth, and huge long-term competitive advantage.

Mira Inbar is an independent consultant who works with energy and clean technology companies. She can be reached @mirainbar or

March 30, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

36 years since Three Mile Island accident- 36 unpalatable nuclear industry facts

NUCLEAR-LIES136 Years of TMI’s Lethal Lies….& Counting  | March 27, 2015/EcoWatch

The lies that killed people at Three Mile Island 36 years ago this weekend are still being told at Chernobyl, Fukushima, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse … and at TMI itself.

As the first major reactor accident that was made known to the public is sadly commemorated, and as the global nuclear industry collapses, let’s count just 36 tip-of-the iceberg ways the nuclear industry’s radioactive legacy continues to fester:

1. When about half of TMI’s fuel melted on March 28, 1979, the owners, industry and regulators all denied it, and continued to deny it until robotic cameras showed otherwise.

2. Early signs that such an accident could happen had already surfaced at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio, which was also manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. TMI’s owners later sued Davis-Besse’s owners for not warning them about what had happened.

3. When TMI’s radiation poured into the atmosphere the industry had (and still has) no idea how much escaped, but denied it was of any significance even though stack monitors failed and dosimeters in the field indicated high releases (plant owners claimed they were “defective”). Only due to the work of the great Dr. Ernest Sternglass, recently departed, was public attention turned to the potential harm this radiation could do.

4. When animals nearby suffered mass mutations and death, the industry denied it. When the plague was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Baltimore News-American, the industry denied the damagecould be related to radiation.

5. Industry “experts” assured the public radiation doses to downwinders were similar to a single x-ray, but ignored well-established findings from Dr. Alice Stewart and others that a single x-ray to a pregnant woman could double the chances of childhood leukemia among her offspring.

6. Industry “experts” ignored the reality that radioactive fallout can come down in clumps rather than spread evenly, and scoffed at findings from neighborhood surveys done by Jane Lee, Mary Osbourne and others showing major outbreaks of cancer in certain downwind neighborhoods.

7. When humans nearby were born with Down’s Syndrome and other mutations, and then adults began dying, the industry denied it, then denied any connection to TMI, but then did pay at least $15 million in out-of-court settlements to affected families on condition they not speak about it in public.

8. When Chernobyl exploded in 1986, Soviet officials said nothing as massive clouds of radiation poured across Europe and into the jet stream that would carry it to the U.S. within 10 days.

9. The U.S. government did nothing of sufficient scale to monitor Chernobyl’s radiation as it came here, and did nothing to warn the public to avoid milk and other foods that might concentrate that radiation, and has repeated that behavior in the wake of Fukushima.

10. A massive bird die-off at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore came with the arrival of the Chernobyl cloud and was documented by resident ornithologist Dr. Dave DeSante, whose findings were ignored by the government; soon thereafter, DeSante lost his job.

11. Chernobyl’s radiation was tracked all across Europe where it continues to irradiate plants, animals and humans. The most credible study of Chernobyl’s human death toll put it at 985,000 in 2010.

12. Chernobyl still seethes with radiation, but the massive, hugely expensive movable sarcophagus meant to cover it is not yet in place.

13. When fire runs through the wooded areas around Chernobyl, massive quantities of radiation are re-released into the atmosphere.

14. Fifteen Soviet-era reactors remain operable in Ukraine, much of which is now a de facto war zone, raising serious doubts about what will happen to them and the rest of the downwind human race.

15. The Japanese government was repeatedly and passionately warned by thousands of citizens for more than 40 years that putting reactors in a tsunami zone surrounded by earthquake faults was not a good idea. They were dismissed as “alarmists” and repeatedly assured that the reactors at Fukushima and elsewhere around Japan could come to no harm.

16. Despite repeated public protests, when Fukushima Dai’ichi was built an 85-foot-high bluff was taken down so units 1 through 4 could operate more cheaply at sea level; as widely predicted, they were massively flooded on March 11, 2011.

17. Critical backup batteries meant to keep the reactor cores cool in case of melt-downs were placed in basements which were thoroughly flooded when the tsunami hit Fukushima. Workers later frantically took batteries from nearby parked cars to try to power up the stricken cooling systems and other critical components.

18. The exact whereabouts of the melted cores from Fukushima Units 1, 2 and 3 remain unknown.

19. After a half-century of industry assurances that American reactors could not explode, four General Electric reactors blew up at Fukushima.

20. By estimate of Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, some 30 times as much Cesium 137 has been released at Fukushima as was released during the bombing of Hiroshima.

21. Some 300 tons of radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every day.

22. Thousands of highly radioactive spent fuel rods remain scattered around the Fukushima site; thousands are also still suspended in damaged spent fuel pools 100 feet in the air atop weakened buildings above shattered, melted reactors.

23. A petition signed by more than 150,000 people demanding that Fukushima be taken over by the world community was submitted to the United Nations on November 7, 2013, but has yet to receive a response of any kind.

24. Fukushima is still owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power, which built it despite massive public opposition and continues to mismanage it while turning the “clean up” into a profit center, with a labor force thoroughly infiltrated by organized crime.

25. Like Fukushima, California’s Diablo Canyon reactors were built despite huge public protests, and sit in a tsunami zone surrounded by earthquake faults whose potential seismic power exceeds Diablo’s structural capacities, according numerous experts, including NRC official Dr. Michael Peck, who worked at Diablo for the commission.

26. A continual stream of revelations indicate illegal collusion on safety and other issues at Diablo between its owners, Pacific Gas & Electric, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission.

27. Diablo’s owners almost certainly violated regulatory requirements and the law in using components within the reactors that were not tested to meet seismic standards.

28. Earthquakes have already damaged at least two U.S. reactors, at Ohio’s Perry site and at North Anna, Virginia (that quake also damaged the Washington Monument in our nation’s capital).

29. Public money designated for use by PG&E to upgrade piping systems was diverted to executive bonuses, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2010 unrepaired gas lines, which were known to have been deteriorating for a decade, blew up in San Bruno, killing eight people and doing millions of dollars in damage. Such a disaster at Diablo Canyon could kill countless thousands and do untold damage to the national economy and global ecology.

30. Diablo Canyon’s once-through cooling system violates state and federal water quality regulations by dumping huge quantities of hot, radioactive liquid into the Pacific, killing billions of marine creatures while unbalancing the ocean ecology and contributing to climate chaos.

31. Like most other old U.S. reactors, Ohio’s Davis-Besse is literally crumbling, with the concrete in its safety shield being pulverized by continual freezing, yielding ever-growing holes in the structure.

32. Like most other old U.S. reactors, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse, five reactors in Illinois and many more cannot compete in electricity markets against wind power, solar panels, other renewable sources or increased efficiency, and would shut down were it not for massive public subsidies.

33. Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission is being asked by FirstEnergy, Davis-Besse’s owner, for subsidies amounting to more than $3 billion to keep open that decrepit reactor, which opened in 1978, and the Sammis coal burner, which is even older.

34. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee reactor has shut for purely economic reasons despite being fully amortized and having no apparent outstanding maintenance or engineering crises.

35. California’s San Onofre reactors were shut in part due to violations of licensing requirements that are mirrored at both Diablo Canyon and Davis-Besse, where shut-downs could be required by law. Let’s hope …

36. As we commemorate this tragic anniversary, we must note that this list of reactor nightmares could go very very far past 36. But let’s hope it doesn’t take that many more years to realize the folly of this failed technology.

In honor of the many many victims of Three Mile Island, and of the great Dr. Sternglass and so many dedicated experts and activists, we must turn this sad litany into the action needed to shut down ALL the world’s reactors so we don’t have to experience this nightmare yet again.

The lives we save will be our own … and those of our children … and theirs …

Harvey Wasserman reported directly on TMI’s death toll from central Pennsylvania. He co-wrote KILLING OUR OWN:  THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

St George city decides against getting electricity from NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

text-SMRsCity opts to withdraw from nuclear power project, keep options open, St George News by  March 27, 2015 ST. GEORGE – City officials discussed the city’s future power generations needs during a City Council meeting Thursday. The city wants to keep its options open as far as those needs are concerned, and for the time being, is backing away from an experimental nuclear power option.

City staff recommended that the City Council hold off on committing to a project by NuScale Power. Based out of Oregon, NuScale proposes to build compact nuclear reactors that would be housed in a power plant built near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The compact reactors are designed to produce 40-50 megawatts of power.

A permit application for the proposed project is slated to be sent into the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review, and could take until 2018 or longer to be approved. If approved, the power plant could be built and operational by 2024…….

Though St. George is one of UAMPS biggest utilities, city staff have recommended against committing to any binding agreements, saying they want the city to maintain flexibility over where it gets its power. The cost of being involved could run into the millions of dollars, said Laurie Mangum, the city’s energy services director……

Other sources of potential energy the city could tap into in the future include solar power or hydroelectric power generated along the Lake Powell Pipeline. Also, through its existing contracts and city-owned power-generation facilities, the city has 70 percent of its base load power needs covered up to around 2024-25, Esplin said.

“We’re in pretty good shape for the next eight-nine years,” Esplin said…….

March 28, 2015 Posted by | politics, technology, USA | Leave a comment

New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) accident caused by wrong type of kitty litter

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear leak caused by ‘wrong type of kitty litter,’ confirms government report   Some — but not all — kitty litter can be used to stabilize nuclear waste The Verge, By James Vincent  March 27, 2015  A yearlong investigation by the US Department of Energy has confirmed that a major accident at a nuclear waste storage facility was caused by the wrong type of kitty litter. Last year, a single 55-gallon drum of waste material was found to have burst its seams at the New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), dispersing radioactive material throughout the underground facility. The drum had been packed with organic rather than inorganic kitty litter, which led to “a series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions” that breached the drum.

Although this scenario sounds far-fetched, kitty litter has been used to stabilize certain types of nuclear waste for decades. However, only inorganic litter contains the mineral silicates needed for the job. The substance itself is not used to “dry out” the waste, but actually stabilizes it before it dries out. As WIPP geologist Jim Conca explained last year: “‘Green’ cat litter [is] made with materials like wheat or corn. These organic litters do not have the silicate properties needed to chemically stabilize nitrate the correct way.”

A yearlong investigation by the US Department of Energy has confirmed that a major accident at a nuclear waste storage facility was caused by the wrong type of kitty litter. Last year, a single 55-gallon drum of waste material was found to have burst its seams at the New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), dispersing radioactive material throughout the underground facility. The drum had been packed with organic rather than inorganic kitty litter, which led to “a series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions” that breached the drum.

Although this scenario sounds far-fetched, kitty litter has been used to stabilize certain types of nuclear waste for decades. However, only inorganic litter contains the mineral silicates needed for the job. The substance itself is not used to “dry out” the waste, but actually stabilizes it before it dries out. As WIPP geologist Jim Conca explained last year: “‘Green’ cat litter [is] made with materials like wheat or corn. These organic litters do not have the silicate properties needed to chemically stabilize nitrate the correct way.”

THE INCORRECT USE OF “SWHEAT SCOOP” KITTY LITTER HAS LED TO $243 MILLION IN DAMAGESAccording to the report, the “Swheat Scoop” brand of organic kitty litter was used to package drum 68660. As a result of the ensuing breach, 21 workers were contaminated with low-level doses of radiation and WIPP itself was completely shut down. The White House has requested $243 million in its 2016 budget to bring the plant back into operation, …….

March 28, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | 1 Comment

Tea Party leader joins environmentalists to form GREEN TEA COALITION

Dooley, Debbie T PartyDuring the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy. 

to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget. 

Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad

Why This Tea Party Leader Is  Seeing Green on Solar Energy As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar. 26 MAR 2015: INTERVIEW Environment 360 by diane toomey

Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in  Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.

In this interview with Yale e360, Dooley explains her motivations behind the solar energy campaign and why she’s willing to go up against conservative organizations when it comes to this issue. …

Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment


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