The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Decision on radioactive trash dump near Great Lakes is delayed until March 2016

flag-canadaCanada puts off decision on proposed nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron  , 28 Nopv 15 The Canadian government has announced it needs more time to decide if it will OK permits for a nuclear waste storage facility near the shore of Lake Huron.  Ontario Power Generation wants to bury approximately 200,000 cubic meters of low to medium level nuclear waste 680 meters – just under a half mile – below ground. The utility insists the rock formation in the area, less than a mile from Lake Huron, is geologically stable.

The Trudeau government had faced a December 2nd deadline to decide if it would approve the permits for the facility. But the agency responsible for the review announced today it is delaying the decision until March 1st.

Beverly Fernandez is with the group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.  She welcomes today’s decision.

“We are hopeful that the minister will act to protect the Great Lakes and ultimately say ‘no’ to OPG’s plan,” says Fernandez, “This really is a matter that does affect all the people in Canada and the U.S. The Great Lakes are a shared natural resource.”

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake Huron

Fernandez hopes the decision to delay is a sign the Trudeau government may will willing to reject the project. The proposed nuclear waste storage facility has been controversial on both sides of the border. Dozens of local governments in Michigan have passed resolutions opposing it. Environmental groups have protested against it.

Michigan’s congressional delegation has raised serious concerns about the potential consequences to the Great Lakes if the facility fails to contain the radioactive waste.

The former Conservative Canadian government appeared friendly to the planned nuclear waste storage facility. But the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper was defeated by the Liberals in recent elections.

November 28, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

We don’t talk about the terrorism danger to nuclear facilities: it’s not polite

see-no-evilDon’t ask, don’t tell – terrorism and the nuclear threat By Robert Dodge, MD, 27 Nov 15  With recent tragic events in Paris the world is once again reminded that there is no safe haven from the threat of terrorism.

In a nuclear world one can only imagine what the outcome would be if the perpetrators had nuclear materials. In a world with over 15,000 nuclear weapons the potential for such a scenario is very real.

Yet with the threat posed by the existence of nuclear weapons and materials, there has been no questioning of or statements by our presidential contenders on how to address and eliminate this threat to all of humanity.  As though there was a conspiracy of silence and a fear that one would somehow appear weak if advocating for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Failing to address the existential threat posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons while failing to deal with the causation of terrorism is ultimately a recipe for disaster.

This is particularly true now after the Paris attacks, when like after 9/11, all the world has a sense of being Parisian.   As long as the ingredients for terrorism exist, no nation will be immune to the potential risk of terrorist attacks.  Now is the time for nations to come together.  The international leadership void that calls for a joining of efforts to address the causation allows the continued fermentation of the elements.

As per the question of nuclear weapons and their very real and growing threat to human existence, no one is speaking to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and nuclear war. Probability theorists place the threat of nuclear war by design or accident conservatively at 1 percent per year with some as high as 2-3 percent. A child born today has an unlikely chance of reaching his or her 30th birthday without a nuclear war in their world.

dirty bomb

Studies have now confirmed that a limited regional nuclear exchange using less than ½ of 1 percent of the global nuclear arsenals would have global implications ultimately killing up to 2 billion people on the planet from the resulting climate change and devastating effects on agricultural production in the years to follow. This scenario is a very real possibility with the ongoing tensions between the nuclear armed nations of India and Pakistan.

With growing tensions in Ukraine and Syria and with the U.S. and Russia on opposing sides, either side unleashing only their nuclear weapons on hair trigger WITHOUT RETALIATION would result in massive devastation beyond that of the limited regional scenario, possibly ending human life on this planet.

With such a threat we must demand a response from our future leader to tell us what their administration will do to achieve nuclear disarmament, or under what circumstances would they propose such a suicide mission?

Yet who among the candidates for commander-in-chief, who is sworn to protect and serve the United States, has the courage to speak about this greatest threat to our country and indeed to humanity itself? And who in the media is willing to pose the questions about this grave threat?  Until we address this issue we will face the possibility in the words of Albert Einstein of  “unparalleled catastrophe” continuing to rely on luck as a defense strategy.

Dodge is a family physician practicing full time in Ventura, California. He serves on the National and Los Angeles boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility (,,).  He also serves on the board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ( and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions ( He writes for PeaceVoice ( 

November 28, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Dead nuclear reactors still leave an intractable wastes problem

Security, storage concerns linger at closed nuclear sites US regulators still seek safe site for waste, Boston Globe,   By  GLOBE STAFF  NOVEMBER 26, 2015 VERNON, Vt. — Across from an elementary school, a short road leads to a gate topped by barbed wire and a stark sign that warns in large letters:

Security personnel are authorized to use deadly force.”

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped producing power last year, but rigorous security measures, including heavily armed guards in bulletproof towers, are still in place and will be for decades to protect hundreds of tons of radioactive waste that remain behind the gate. The spent fuel will stay here along a bend of the Connecticut River, just 10 miles from the Massachusetts border, until the federal government can resolve a decades-old political battle over where to store the waste from the nation’s nuclear plants.

Across the United States, there are 22 decommissioned plants that have become heavily guarded repositories of spent fuel, their owners waiting indefinitely for a federal decision on where to permanently store the radioactive waste. About 150 miles away in Plymouth, Mass., the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station will enter the same phase after it closes sometime in the next four years and moves its waste into massive casks.

waste casks Vermont

The issue of nuclear waste has long been a political quandary, one that has become increasingly urgent as more of the nation’s aging nuclear plants are shuttered…….

“We don’t think Yucca Mountain will be a viable approach,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz during a recent meeting with reporters and editors at the Globe.

Moniz said his staff is reviewing a proposal to build a temporary storage site in Andrews County, Texas, which already hosts two radioactive waste disposal facilities. The government will also have to overcome concerns and potential challenges over transporting the fuel through a variety of jurisdictions.

Until then, the waste will remain atop specially built concrete pads at the nation’s nuclear plants. That means the properties cannot be redeveloped for other uses, major security measures will remain in force at sites scattered across the country, and many of their neighbors will continue to live in fear.

“We’re talking about a colossal amount of dangerous waste,” said Deb Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network, who lives 18 miles from Vermont Yankee. “The radioactive plume from an accident could travel more than 100 miles within 24 hours, depending on which way the wind blows.”

Entergy Corp., a Louisiana-based conglomerate that owns the plants in Vernon and Plymouth, plans a decommissioning process at Pilgrim similar to the one it has started at Vermont Yankee.

On its compact campus in Vernon, Vermont Yankee’s remaining 285 employees — about 600 people worked at the plant until last December — have transferred all of the remaining fuel to a 37-foot-deep pool suspended seven stories above ground in a concrete containment building. There are 2,996 spent fuel assemblies cooling in the pool.

After they’re moved into safer, dry storage, the plant will have 58 of the 18-foot-tall, 300,000-pound casks on the outdoor pad along the Connecticut River.

Activists who live near Vermont Yankee have urged the plant to move the spent fuel more quickly from the pools, which they fear could catch fire if an earthquake or other natural disaster caused a leak or cut power to the plant. They have also raised concerns about storing the casks closely together out in the open, rather than below ground or in a hardened building.

“Should someone be interested in shooting them up, they’re sitting ducks,” said Nancy Braus of the Safe and Green Campaign in Brattleboro. “They’re easy targets, very visible.”………. David Abel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @davabel.

November 28, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert: time to take steps towards safety

Atomic-Bomb-SmFlag-USAflag_RussiaCould U.S.-Russia Tensions Go Nuclear? Politico Believe it or not, hair-trigger launch alerts are still with us—and perhaps even more dangerous than during the Cold War. By Bruce Blair November 27, 2015 The Russian warplane recently shot down inside Turkey’s border with Syria fits a pattern of brinkmanship and inadvertence that is raising tensions and distrust between Russia and U.S.-led NATO. Low-level military encounters between Moscow and Washington are fanning escalatory sparks not witnessed since the Cold War. And there exists a small but steadily growing risk that this escalation could morph by design or inadvertence into a nuclear threat.

The backdrop for these concerns is that both the United States and Russia maintain their nuclear command posts and many hundreds of strategic nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert. This is a long-standing practice, or habit, driven by the inertia of the Cold War. The two sides adopted the accident-prone tactic known as launch-on-warning in order to ensure that their strategic forces could be fired before incoming warheads arrived. President Barack Obama’s recent nuclear employment guidance reiterated the need to preserve this option. Our nuclear command system and forces practice it several times a week. So do the Russians.

And believe it or not, Russia has shortened the launch time from what it was during the Cold War. Today, top military command posts in the Moscow area can bypass the entire human chain of command and directly fire by remote control rockets in silos and on trucks as far away as Siberia in only 20 seconds.

Why should this concern us? History shows that crisis interactions, once triggered, take on a life of their own. Military encounters multiply; they become more decentralized, spontaneous and intense. Safeguards are loosened and unfamiliar operational environments cause accidents and unauthorized actions. Miscalculations, misinterpretations and loss of control create a fog of crisis out of which a fog of war may emerge. In short, the slope between the low-level military encounters, the outbreak of crisis and escalation to a nuclear dimension is a steep and slippery one.

Somewhere along this slope, a psychological construct known as “deterrence” is supposed to kick in to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. But deterrence can become an extreme sport during a confrontation, a game of taking and manipulating existential risk, morphing into games of chicken, bluff, coercion and blackmail. The basic idea is to instill fear in an adversary’s mind that events could spin out of control and result in a nuclear war.

That’s especially true since the public doesn’t realize just how little time exists for our leaders to make a decision to use nuclear weapons, even today—and if anything the atmosphere has become even more hair trigger with the threat of cyberwarfare. A launch order is the length of a tweet. Missile crews in turn transmit a short stream of computer signals that immediately ignite the rocket engines of many hundreds of land-based missiles. For the United States, this takes 1 minute. As a former nuclear-missile launch officer, I personally practiced it hundreds of times. We were called Minutemen. U.S. submarine crews take a little longer; they can fire their missiles in 12 minutes.

The last time the U.S. brandished nukes wholesale for the purpose of deterrence was in 1973………

Do U.S. leaders understand that the Russians may fear a decapitation threat is emerging, and that this threat may be the underlying driver raising the stakes for Russia to the level of an existential threat warranting preparations for the use of nuclear weapons? I doubt they do.

At some point one side or the other may blink and back off, or maybe not.

Tensions could continue to rise until the crisis escalates by intention or inadvertence to the threshold of nuclear use. In the case of Russia, this threshold is low. Russia’s strategy in Europe was devised by President Vladimir Putin himself in the year 2000 in response to NATO’s bombing of the Balkans. The strategy is called “de-escalatory escalation,’ which unleashes tens to hundreds of nuclear weapons in a first strike meant to shock an adversary into paralysis. And so it might, or it might just escalate into a nuclear exchange………

It is aggravated by a murky new threat—cyberwarfare. Given our poor comprehension of this cyberthreat, it seems imprudent in the extreme to keep U.S. and Russian command systems poised to launch on warning, and nuclear missiles poised to fly as soon as they receive a short stream of computer signals, whose origin may not be authorized.

Given all this risk-taking, which extends with even greater force to other nuclear weapons countries, and given that deterrence itself is nothing more or less than the manipulation of nuclear risk, we cannot reasonably expect nuclear weapons never to be used..

The obvious solution is to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely, but of course that will not happen overnight. Meanwhile, the following seven measures would help move the dial further away from nuclear midnight. They draw upon the recent report of the Global Zero Commission on Nuclear Risk Reduction……..

One. The United States and Russia could agree to eliminate launch-on-warning from their strategy………

Two. They could agree to begin taking their strategic missile forces off of hair trigger,……

Three. All the nuclear weapons countries could agree to refrain from putting any nuclear forces on high alert except under tightly controlled conditions…..

Four. The U.S. and Russia could work with other nuclear establishments to share knowledge, best practices and technologies in the area of safety and security..

Five. The U.S. and Russia, perhaps with China, could lead an effort to ban cyberwarfare…..

Six. Confidence-building measures agreed to through military-to-military dialogue ……


November 28, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sudden mass kill of fish in Mississippi River due to shutdown of Monticello nuclear power plant

Sudden shutdown of Monticello nuclear power plant causes fish kill, By  Star Tribune NOVEMBER 25, 2015 The sudden drop in temperature in the discharged cooling water resulted in a fish kill in the Mississippi River.

 The Monticello, Minn., nuclear power plant was shut down suddenly on Monday after an equipment problem, causing a fish kill in the Mississippi River from thermal shock.

In a report to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Xcel Energy said it shut down the plant while operating at 100 percent power after a problem arose with a reactor pump. The utility said shutdown happened safely, with no release of radiation and no risk to the public.

But the sudden drop in temperature in the discharged cooling water resulted in a fish kill. Xcel said it counted 59 dead fish. The fish were crappies, sunfish, bass, catfish and carp, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, which was notified of the incident.

During unexpected shutdowns, the water temperature near the plant can drop from about 65 degrees to 40 degrees in a few hours, said Harland Hiemstra, a DNR information officer. The fish can’t cope with the sudden change in temperature, he said. “It is thermal shock,” he added…….

November 28, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear operators want to extend reactor lives to 80 years!



If the nuclear reactor is 75 years old and faulty – will the company still be around to pay the costs? 

“Just like a car and plane, power reactors get old year by year,” Yoshiaki Himeno, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said by e-mail. While owners refurbish parts and renew the systems, “the question is how long they can continue those repairs and renewals from economical and safety points of view.

America Set to Decide Whether a Nuke Can Outlive a Human, Bloomberg,    , 26 Nov 15

  • Dominion Resources first to request extension to 80 years
  • Move to push reactor life beyond 78.8-year human average
 The U.S. is set to become the first nation to decide whether it’s safe to operate nuclear power plants for 80 years, twice as long as initially allowed.

The majority of the nation’s 99 reactors have already received 20-year extensions to their original 40-year operating licenses. Now, operators led by Dominion Resources Inc. want to expand the time frame further, potentially creating a precedent for an aging global fleet at a time when the economics of the industry are undergoing dramatic change.

Dominion said earlier this month it will request an extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the industry. The plan has already raised the ire of anti-nuclear campaigners who cite decades of wear and tear on the nation’s reactors, as well as the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. The NRC will release a draft report next month outlining safety measures needed to extend the time line.

 “The reality of life is the risks go up” as plants age, Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dump a danger to water, threat to Nevada’s farming community

Oscar-wastesNevada says national nuclear dump could harm farm community,Naples
Herald, By Nov 23, 2015 BY KEN RITTER  
water-radiationRadioactive well-water contamination could threaten some 1,400 people in a rural farming community if federal regulators allow the nation’s deadliest nuclear waste to be buried in the Nevada desert, state officials said in a report issued Friday.

A 53-page document submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission derides environmental assessments of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository as legally inadequate. It also characterizes the project itself as “an unworkable waste management plan at an unsafe repository site.”

 The state says groundwater studies don’t properly address the danger to people in nearby Amargosa Valley or the cultural and spiritual effect that construction of the repository would have on Native Americans.

“In the end, there are real people there,” said Robert Halstead, chief of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects and the top state official leading opposition to the project.

“That’s the thing about the way the NRC has approached the whole process,” Halstead said Friday. “Their maps imply there is no population there. They label it as the Amargosa desert.”

George Gholson, chairman of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, submitted additional comments Friday accusing commission officials of failing to evaluate effects that building the project would have on tribal members.

“Radioactive contamination of groundwater and springs … affronts the Timbisha’s way of life, is disrespectful to cultural beliefs, and constitutes an environmental justice infringement on the rights of a sovereign nation,” the letter said.

The documents amount to the state staking its legal ground to oppose the Yucca Mountain project. They came on the last day of an environmental study comment period ahead of yet-to-be-scheduled licensing hearings and amid calls from some in Congress to restart the long-mothballed project.

Commission officials didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

More than three decades of study yielded findings that water seeping through tunnels containing some 77,000 tons of spent nuclear reactor waste could become contaminated and slowly migrate into groundwater west along the normally dry course of the ancient Amargosa River, toward Death Valley in California……..

A federal appeals court breathed new life into the project in 2013 with an order that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission either approve or reject the Energy Department license application.

Officials say a full slate of licensing hearings could take at least three years.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes, water | Leave a comment

USA anxious about nuclear proliferation, but keen to market nuclear technology to South Korea

Buy-US-nukesUS, South Korea ratify deal on nuclear energy A pact between Seoul and Washington on nuclear energy has officially entered into effect. The deal, almost five years in the making, stops short of allowing South Korea to reprocess nuclear fuel from the US. The 20-year accord came into force on Wednesday, with South Korea’s foreign minister and the US ambassador exchanging documents in Seoul.

South Korea is among top five consumers of nuclear energy in the world, and home to 23 nuclear power plants.

However, all of the nuclear fuel in the country is provided by the US.

Seoul has repeatedly urged Washington to allow South Korea to develop uranium enrichment and reprocessing capabilities, citing energy concerns and environmental issues. The US is opposing the move, fearing that such technology could also be used for weapons-grade nuclear material.

The US government is concerned about sparking the nuclear rivalry between Seoul and North Korea,the country that already conducted three successful nuclear tests.

The latest accord denies South Korea the right to reprocess and enrich the US-origin fuel.

However, Seoul and Washington agreed to establish a high-level committee to discuss the issue, which South Korean officials described as a step towards securing a possible consent from Washington in the future.

South Korea is also seeking to become a key exporter of atomic power plants.fighters-marketing-1

The US ally could also research technologies such as “pyroprocessing” which are generally considered safe from the proliferation standpoint.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Call on President Obama to protect precious groundwater from uranium mining in Grand Canyon

Why the President Must Ban Grand Canyon Uranium Mining , 
Huffington Post, 24 Nov 15,  [Good maps]
 “…….The mining industry’s statement counts on readers to be ignorantgrand-canyon of the fact that federal and state agencies do not require wells to measure water pollution more than a thousand feet underground, where uranium mining threatens aquifers that feed springs deep within the Grand Canyon. No monitoring means contamination is undetected: out of sight, out of mind.

water-radiationBut that’s changing as the U.S. Geological Survey pieces together samples taken from existing wells and places where groundwater flows downward into the Grand Canyon. These show that mining has already polluted 15 springs and five wells within the Grand Canyon’s watershed with toxic levels of uranium.

The National Park Service reports that existing uranium mines, including some closed more than two decades ago, have fouled the regional aquifer in their vicinity with uranium levels considered unsafe to drink. Water from one sample has uranium concentrations 1,200 times the safe maximum.
Evidence is mounting to suggest that the Grand Canyon’s uranium spills have been ongoing — and undetected — for decades. We now know that contaminated water from the Orphan uranium mine on the canyon’s south rim is poisoning a spring-fed creek deep below the rim where the damage cannot be repaired. On the surface, the mining company walked away from their mess and left the taxpayers with the $15 million clean-up bill. On the canyon’s north rim, miners discovered more than two million gallons of highly contaminated groundwater filling the deep shaft of the Pinenut uranium mine when they re-opened it in 2009.

As I’ve said with regards to oil and gas development, one well contaminated or one person made sick is one too many. The same is true for uranium mining, making the situation around the Grand Canyon a disaster where we can least afford one.

In 2012, this sorry history led my friend and fellow Coloradan, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to impose a 20-year ban on new uranium mining in the watersheds that drain directly into the Grand Canyon. His action came in response to thousands of new mining claims filed in the preceding decade. Science and prudence also guided his decision, coupled with the knowledge that nearly $1 billion in annual economic activity is generated by this greatest of earth’s geological treasures.

An unprecedented coalition of interests wrote over 300,000 comments in support for his action, led by the Havasupai Tribe, “people of the blue-green water,” whose only source of water is threatened by a mine at the headwaters of Havasu Canyon……..

Need for Permanent Ban on Grand Canyon Uranium Mining

Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, recently introduced the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act aimed at making the 20-year ban permanent and protecting traditional cultural uses of lands around the canyon (summarized here). It was written in collaboration with Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi leaders. The Navajo Nation, which banned all uranium mining on its land in 2005, joined in support along with Zuni, Paiute and Yavapai leaders.

The bill aims to protect 1.7 million acres of historical tribal homeland, including water sources and sacred sites.

Unfortunately, there’s almost no chance that the legislation will gain approval in today’s gridlocked Congress. But the 1906 Antiquities Act gives the president unilateral authority to set aside federal lands as protected national monuments to stop the looting of archaeological sites and for reasons of “historic or scientific interest.”

I’ve long believed we will be judged by the nation we leave to future generations. After all, we don’t inherit the earth from our parents — we borrow it from our children. The president should act now to protect the Grand Canyon from irresponsible development around this national treasure.

The National Mining Association may not be willing to stop digging — literally or figuratively — but the president owes it to us all to help them.

Mark Udall, who represented Colorado as a Democrat in the Senate from 2009 to 2015 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 through 2009, is a member of the board of the Grand Canyon Trust. Posted: 24/11/2015

November 25, 2015 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

California Governor appeased utilities while SanOnofre nuclear station was under scrutiny?

Email Suggests Governor Appeased Utilities During Calls For San Onofre Investigation, KPBS, AMITA SHARMA, Investigative Reporter | Contact, November 24, 2015

San Onofre’s new steam generators were supposed to last 40 years.

But less than one year after they were installed, hundreds of tubes had shown wear, causing a radioactive leak in January 2012. The leak forced the plant’s closure and stuck San Diego and other Southern California ratepayers with a multibillion dollar bill.

By May 2013, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer had in her possession two key documents. They showed that Edison officials knew there was potential for premature tube wear before those steam generators were installed but didn’t allow for fixes. One reason, according to internal documents was that the company wanted to avoid a rigorous government review.

Boxer was incensed.

The California Democrat called on the U.S. Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Edison had lied to federal regulators about what it knew before the faulty equipment was turned on.

“At that point, it was clear that things had gone very seriously awry,” said John Geesman, an attorney for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility……….

Meanwhile, a series of bills intended to reform the PUC passed the Legislature this year. One would have compelled the commission to release the sought-after communications between regulators and Brown’s office on San Onofre.

The governor vetoed the reforms, calling them important but technical and conflicting.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Tennessee unhappy about new radioactive trash plans for Oakridge.

Tennessee raises concerns about proposed Oak Ridge nuclear landfill November 22nd, 2015by Associated Press OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Tennessee officials are raising concerns about the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans for a new nuclear landfill at Oak Ridge.

Oakridge, Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is pushing DOE to consider other Oak Ridge sites beyond the agency’s preferred one, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

The federal agency’s preferred site is adjacent to an existing landfill on the government reservation and only 650 yards from the city boundary.

“We are continuing to work with the DOE and EPA on this issue and taking the matter very seriously,” Kelly Brockman, communications chief for TDEC, said in an email response to questions.

The Department of Energy’s current landfill for cleanup wastes is approaching capacity. That’s largely due to the mountains of hazardous and radioactive debris generated by the demolition of K-25 and other former uranium-processing facilities in Oak Ridge. Continue reading

November 23, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

“The Third Way” – front group for new nuclear spinning hard for Paris climate Conference

logo Third Way
Third Way Tries to Revive Nuclear, Real Clear Energy By William Tucker , 20 Nov 15,  Third Way, the Flag-USAWashington think tank, has taken upon itself the unenviable task of trying to convince liberal Democrats that nuclear energy is an important part of the battle against global warming…….
 Third Way lists Democratic Senators Tom Carper, Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Chris Coons and Jean Shaheen among its supporters. Jim Webb, the former Democratic Senator from Virginia, also might have filled the bill but he only lasted one round of the debates……
where it is making a name for itself – and where it is likely to have the most impact – is in its support of nuclear power……
Third Way is celebrating the flowering of a new generation of nuclear engineers that is reviving forgotten technologies from the Golden Age of Nuclear that prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s. ………  So  Leslie Dewan and fellow MIT alumnus Mark Massie founded Transatomic Power, a start-up dedicated to reviving the molten salt reactor designed by Oak Ridge Director Alvin Weinberg …..
In all, Third Way says is has uncovered a nuclear renaissance among small companies in the United States and Canada. “In total, we have found over 45 projects in companies and organizations working on small modular reactors, advanced reactors using innovative fuels and alternative coolants like molten salt, high-temperature gas or liquid metal instead of high-pressure water,” says Freed. Third Way sees the small modular reactors as a “bridge technology” what will eventually pave the way for molten salt and other more extreme novelties. “The main advantage of SMRs is that they will be using the old light-water technology and will therefore have a let up in getting through the regulatory requirements at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” says Freed.
Third Way clearly identifies the NRC as the major roadblock to these new developments. ……
This was emphasized at the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy held on November 6. Although the all-day program featured representative from a dozen small companies working on new reactors and lots of self-congratulations on what a great job the Obama Administration is doing in supporting nuclear energy, there was a huge elephant in the room. Lee McIntyre of Bill Gates’ TerraPower was one of the featured speakers…..
Also upsetting Third Way is the closing of reactors around the country because they cannot compete with natural gas. The think tank worked with a pair of MIT-trained researchers to scope out what will happen if nuclear reactors continue to drop off the grid. “Regardless of the scenario we ran, the answers were dire,” says Freed…….
To keep the ball rolling, Third Way will be sponsoring another Advanced Nuclear Summit & Showcase in Washington on January 27th in conjunction with the Idaho, Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories……
Third Way is fighting an uphill battle. There isn’t too much enthusiasm for nuclear among liberal Democrats these days. Most of the energy goes toward promoting renewables and shutting down older reactors. But Third Way believes the world’s confrontation with global warming is at stake. “Without nuclear there is no chance that we’re going to win the battle,” says Freed. “It’s a choice we have to make.”

November 21, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

“NuclearMatters” lobby group revs up its spin ahead of Paris climate conference


text-Nuclear-MattersBloomberg BNA and Nuclear Matters Hosting December 3 Event in Austin on the Role of Nuclear Energy in the Region, PR Newswire

Complimentary Event Features Industry Leaders, Policy Experts and Members of Academia Discussing Challenges and Opportunities for Nuclear Energy in Texas  ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Bloomberg BNA today announced that it is hosting Nuclear Energy,Texas and the EPA Clean Power Plan, an afternoon conversation exploring the future role of nuclear energy in Texas.  The fourth in a series of nationwide events underwritten by Nuclear Matters, the discussion is being held in Austin on Thursday, December 3 from3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Driskill Hotel Austin. ……

Additional events will be held throughout 2015 and 2016 in major U.S. cities.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Price Anderson Act lets nuclear companies off the hook when big accidents occur

The Atomic Age and limited liability for nuclear accidents, The Hill, 20 Nov 15  By William F. Shughart II.……….Half a century ago, the United States was the only member of the global nuclear club. After detonating atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington’s attention turned to civilian uses of nuclear power. “Atoms for Peace” was a catchphrase of the day. The Cold War was well underway then and civilian reactors were seen as a key producer of nuclear materials destined for military use.

To jumpstart nuclear power in the United States, and to assuage fears that utilities would go bankrupt if radioactive materials were accidentally released into the atmosphere, Congress passed – and President Eisenhower signed – the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act in 1957.


-…………-the very large expected costs of a major nuclear event, unlikely as it may be, explain why private insurers are unwilling to underwrite fully any and all future accident claims.

Price-Anderson clearly is a form of corporate welfare that indemnifies the nuclear industry in a worst-case scenario. Although the law doesn’t allow the industry to get off scot-free for all injuries it may cause and it doesn’t prevent injured parties from seeking compensation, the industry’s support for its periodic reauthorization suggests that it highly values Price-Anderson protections.

From an economist’s perspective, the downside of Price-Anderson, as with insurance in general, is that it encourages behavior known as “moral hazard.” Because the nuclear industry itself will not bear the full costs of a devastating accident, such accidents are more likely to happen than otherwise.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, safety, USA | Leave a comment

17 year delay before USA govt even starts cleanup of Hanford radioactive waste

exclamation-Flag-USAU.S. government proposes 17-year delay in start of Hanford nuclear tank cleanup — until 2039  Ralph VartabedianContact Reporter, 19 Nov 15 

The Energy Department has proposed a 17-year delay in building a complex waste treatment plant at its radioactively contaminated Hanford site in Washington state, pushing back the full start-up for processing nuclear bomb waste to 2039.


The department submitted the 29-page plan in federal court as part of a suit to amend an agreement with the state that requires the plant to start operating in 2022.

A series of serious technical questions about the plant’s design have caused one delay after another. Two of the major facilities at the cleanup site, which resembles a small industrial city, are under a construction halt ordered in 2013 by then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The plant, located on a desert plateau above the Columbia River, is designed to transform 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge, currently stored in underground tanks, into solid glass that could theoretically be stored for thousands of years.

The waste was a byproduct of plutonium production, which started with the Manhattan Project during World War II.

The 586-square-mile Hanford site is widely considered the most contaminated place in the country, requiring 8,000 workers to remediate half a century of careless industrial practices that were done under strict federal secrecy. The Energy Department filing shows the extent of the problems. Continue reading

November 20, 2015 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment


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