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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s touching religious faith in future arrival of a solution to wastes of


any-fool-would-know

 

the only sane action is to stop making radioactive trash

waste-parks-site-usaFlag-USANuclear Waste Is Allowed Above Ground Indefinitely NYT, By AUG. 29, 2014 As the country struggles to find a place to bury spent nuclear fuel, theNuclear Regulatory Commission has decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in containers that can be maintained and guarded indefinitely.

The decision, in a unanimous vote of the commission on Tuesday, means that new nuclear plants can be built and old ones can expand their operations despite the lack of a long-term plan for disposing of the waste.

Waste Confidence 1

The chairwoman of the commission, who voted with the majority but dissented on certain aspects, said Friday that the vote risked allowing Congress to ignore the long-term problem.

“If you make the assumption that there will be some kind of institution that will exist, like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that will assure material stays safe for hundreds or thousands of years, there’s not much impetus for Congress to want to deal with this issue,” the chairwoman, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Friday. “Personally, I think that we can’t say with any certainty what the future will look like. We’re pretty damned poor at predicting the future.”………

The commission approved a generic environmental impact statement, under which nuclear activities can continue, but did not address the impact to the environment if the stored nuclear waste were abandoned, which would leave it vulnerable to attack or allow the containers to break down.

Ms. Macfarlane said it was wrong to predict institutional control indefinitely. “Best not to say anything about something so uncertain,” she said, “and just to work with what we can know for sure.”

For decades the commission has allowed nuclear plants to operate under what it called its waste confidence rule, which said that although there was no repository, there would most likely be one by the time it was needed, and in the interim, the storage of the highly radioactive waste in spent fuel pools or in dry casks would suffice. But in June 2012, a court ruled that the commission had not done its homework in studying whether the waste could be stored on an interim basis. As a result, the commission froze much of its licensing activity two years ago.

On Tuesday, however, the commission approved a finding by its staff that waste could be stored — as opposed to disposed of — indefinitely. The vote was 4-0.

Some nuclear opponents say the issue is certain to wind up back in court. At the Natural Resources Defense Council, Geoffrey H. Fettus, the lead lawyer in the original case, said in a statement: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to analyze the long-term environmental consequences of indefinite storage of highly toxic and radioactive nuclear waste; the risks of which are apparent to any observer of history over the past 50 years. The commission failed to follow the express directions of the court.”……http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/us/spent-nuclear-fuel-is-allowed-to-be-stored-above-ground.html?_r=0

September 1, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Dubious future for nuclear plants like Palisades, as renewabl energy becomes ever cheaper

With renewable energy growing and coal shrinking, what’s the future of nuclear plants like Palisades? Michigan Live, By Julie Mack | jmack1@mlive.com  on August 28, 2014 KALAMAZOO, MI “…..The jury is still very much out on how nuclear power fits into the picture, which leaves the long-term viability of Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven in question……. very possible the supply glut of natural gas and the increasing focus on renewables means those sectors will edge out nuclear as the go-to options for new power production.

Mark Cooper, an analyst for the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, maintains the proposed federal clean-energy standards won’t help the financial viability of the U.S. nuclear industry, which last opened a plant in 1989……

“Old nuclear reactors suffer from the fact that they’re not particularly efficient,” he said.  “The day after the (clean-energy) announcement, those old plants were just as inefficient as the day before.

“In the dynamic state of the energy markets, if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Cooper said. “And nuclear is not growing. … It’s going extinct.”…..

Meanwhile, renewable energy in Michigan is getting a boost from a 2008 state law that requires Michigan-based utilities to have renewables as 10 percent of their power production by the end of 2015.

“The cost of renewables will drop like a rock once they reach economies of scale,” Cooper said. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy is projecting that wind-generated power will be more cost-efficient than coal and nuclear and even some types of natural gas plants by 2019……..

wind-nuclear- While solar power remains on the high end, wind is more economical than coal and nuclear, and some types of natural-gas plants.

Wind provided 2.4 percent of Michigan’s electricity in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That’s up from 1 percent in 2012, and is enough electricity to power 300,000 Michigan households, the AWEA says.

The AWEA estimates Michigan has the potential to produce about 59,000 megawatt hours of electricity through wind power. That’s more than half of the state’s current consumption of electricity.

Shift at Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy, the dominant provider of electrical power in Southwest Michigan, seems to be casting its lot with natural gas and renewables…….. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/08/pros_and_cons_of_electrical_po.html

August 29, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Petition lodged with NRC to shut down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

sign-thisFlag-USAPetition seeks closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant David R. Baker  David R. Baker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:dbaker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @DavidBakerSF , August 27, 2014 The environmental group that helped shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant last year is now using the same tactic in a bid to close California’s last nuclear power plant, PG&E’s Diablo Canyon.

The plant, near San Luis Obispo, risks catastrophic failure during an earthquake and should be shuttered pending a public review of its safety, according to a petition that Friends of the Earth filed with federal regulators Tuesday.

nuke-earthquakeThe group filed the petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, arguing that Diablo’s design may not be strong enough to withstand earthquakes from fault lines that nearly surround the plant. As proof, the environmentalists cite a recently disclosed report from a former federal inspector at the plant who reached the same conclusion.

Earthquake fears have long shadowed the plant, which opened in 1985 after years of protests. Several fault lines were found only after work on the plant began, with the latest discovery coming in 2008.

Diablo’s operating license requires that it be able to shut down safely following a major quake. But the petition argues that nearby faults are capable of much stronger shaking than Diablo’s design anticipated, rendering the license invalid.

“PG&E cannot run this reactor without a valid license, and they don’t have one,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic adviser for Friends of the Earth. “There is nobody in this country, PG&E included, who would want to build a reactor today at Diablo Canyon. It would never pass muster.”

It mirrors the strategy the environmental group used to help force the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County…….Friends of Earth now wants PG&E to seek a license amendment to continue running Diablo.

“They now know that the ground motion of these faults is greater than is contained in their license,” Moglen said. “I think the argument here is extremely straightforward.”

The move follows the disclosure of a 2013 document written by a former NRC inspector stationed at the plant. The inspector, Michael Peck, recommended shutting down Diablo until the commission determined whether the plant’s equipment could survive higher seismic stress levels.

“Continued reactor operation outside the bounds of the NRC approved safety analyses challenges the presumption of nuclear safety,” Peck wrote.

Peck’s opinion was revealed by the Associated Press on Monday, touching off a fresh round of criticism of the plant. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, promised a public hearing into the matter………http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Petition-seeks-closure-of-Diablo-Canyon-nuclear-5714455.php

August 29, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

USA Congressman Dan Kildee fighting proposal for nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron

any-fool-would-know

 

 

they must also stop making this radioactive trash

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee to fight proposed Canadian nuclear waste facility on shores of Lake Huron M Live, By Sam Easter | seaster@mlive.com on August 28, 2014 BAY CITY, MI — Standing at the helm of the tall ship Appledore IV, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee said the schooner based in downtown Bay City was the “perfect” place to make a few points about protecting the Great Lakes from nuclear waste.

Kildee spoke during the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 28, addressing plans by Ontario Power Generation to build a storage facility for low- to intermediate-level nuclear waste at a proposed underground facility near Kincardine, Ontario.

“Canada is a friend, but it is a country with vast land mass, and I’m sure that the best place for a nuclear storage facility cannot be less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron,” he said, regardless of whether officials say it’s scientifically sound. A point of contention among Michigan’s state and federal legislators for at least a year, the proposed facililty has also met strong opposition from local governments — officials from Bay County and Essexville both passed resolutions opposing the facility this month.

Kildee on Thursday announced he plant to introduce a Congressional resolution when legislators return from recess on Monday, Sept. 8, that — while lacking regulatory power — would voice the opinion of Congress on the matter. The resolution states that 40 million people in both countries depend on the Great Lakes’ drinking water, and that a nuclear spill “could have lasting and severely adverse environmental, health and economic impacts on the Great Lakes.”

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-O

If adopted, the resolution would discourage the Canadian government from building a nuclear storage site in the Great Lakes Basin and urge both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to work with their Canadian counterparts to find an alternate location……..

Multiple officials were present for Kildee’s announcement, including Laura Ogar, Bay County director of environmental affairs and community development, as well as Terry Miller, chairman of the local environmental group Lone Tree Council.

Shirley Roberts is the executive director of BaySail, which owns and operates the Appledore. She said that the Appledore was an appropriate place for the presentation, and that she support’s Kildee’s fight against the facility.

“I have grave concerns about the concept,” she said. http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2014/08/us_rep_dan_kildee_announces_pl.html

August 29, 2014 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Georgia’s new nuclear power plant getting stymied by costs and delays?

nukes-hungryFlag-USAConstruction time uncertain for Ga. nuclear plant Star Telegram, Aug. 28, 2014 BY RAY HENRY Associated Press ATLANTA — Georgia Power said its $6.7 billion budget to build a new nuclear plant is holding steady, but it reported Thursday that builders face “challenges” sticking to the construction schedule and costs could change in the future…….Georgia Power has so far spent $2.8 billion on the project, according to company filings. The other owners, Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, do not report their spending to the Public Service Commission.

The latest cost estimates are uncertain. Utility officials and regulators have previously said Georgia Power does not have a schedule from the companies designing and building the plant, Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., that detail construction activities past the end of 2015.

“The Company expects the Contractor to employ all possible means to meet the current schedule targets; however, schedule pressures continue to challenge the project,” the report said.

Project schedules have slid since the plant was first approved. The first new reactor was supposed to start producing power in April 2016, with the second following a year later. Georgia Power has since pushed that schedule back to late 2017 and late 2018. Delays are bad for the nuclear industry and electric customers. The longer it takes to build a nuclear plant, the more Georgia Power and its co-owners must pay to finance construction and pay for other charges.

Ultimately, customers pay those expenses unless regulators intervene………

Analysts have been watching Georgia Power’s filings for any signs of additional delays or costs. The current budget does not earmark any money for resolving an ongoing lawsuit between the new plant’s owners and the firms who are designing and building it…….http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/28/6075221/construction-time-uncertain-for.html

August 29, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby steps up the propaganda to improve its image

Stop worrying, and love nuclear power: Officials—  CNBC  @TeflonGeek  28 Aug 14, Domestic energy policy has largely been co-opted by the shale revolution. Meanwhile, renewable alternatives are finding their sea legs in consumer power. Despite modest attempts to garner broader acceptance, however, atomic power continues to languish because of safety and environmental concerns.

On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan that allows nuclear waste to be stored on-site at active reactors—a decision mired in controversy, and one that underscores the influence of anti-nuclear arguments.

That sort of opposition has prompted the nuclear industry to go on the offensive, and roll out the big guns in an effort to rehabilitate its image. In recent months, the Nuclear Energy Institute has enlisted organized labor, as well as an array of former elected officials from both sides of the aisle, to tout the virtues of nuclear power……..

Emp-nuke-clothes

“Unfortunately we’re confronting a situation where 20-30 plants are at risk of being shut down prematurely,” out of the existing total of about 100, the New Hampshire Republican said, who sat on the Senate’s Energy Committee during his tenure……

Fuel diversity, a catchphrase among those who argue that U.S. energy supply shouldn’t be dominated solely by oil and gas, is a central theme for nuclear backers………

In spite of centrist think tanks like the Third Way who believe nuclear must be part of the energy story, the environmental lobby is steadfastly opposed to expanding existing capacity.

“We continue to believe nuclear power is not safe, and is an incredibly expensive source of electricity,” said John Coequyt, director of the international climate campaign at the Sierra Club. In an interview, he argued that efforts to expand the U.S’ nuclear footprint “will take way too long to be a solution to climate change.”

Lingering memories of Japan’s harrowing disaster in Fukushima, as well as what Coequyt called a few “near misses” here in the U.S., “pretty much killed the willingness of the core of the environmental movement to consider [nuclear expansion] as a solid political strategy.”

Many nuclear plant opponents cite cost constraints as a real barrier to expansion. They may have a point: Xcel Energy is facing the ire of regulators after a five-year rebuilding project of a Minnesota plant saw its price tag balloon to $665 million, double its initial estimate.

“Nuclear reactors become incredibly unprofitable and have to shut down when they have problems they need to address,” said Coequyt. “Even leaving aside the cost, you don’t have the ability to scale like wind and solar, and both are moving incredibly quickly,” he added.  http://www.cnbc.com/id/101954991#.

August 29, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

USA Nuclear permits to resume , as NRC renews its religious faith in a future solution to radioactive trash problem

U.S. to Resume Nuclear Permits, Relicensing on Waste Rule http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-26/u-s-to-resume-nuclear-permits-relicensing-on-waste-rule.html

By Mark Chediak  Aug 26, 2014  he U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will resume issuing licenses for new atomic reactors and allowing existing plants to extend operations after addressing flaws in its waste rules.

The commission approved a final rule addressing the environmental effects of storing spent nuclear fuel at a plant site, satisfying a court order that it needed to consider the possibility a permanent underground waste repository may never be built in the U.S., according to a statement today.

Waste Confidence 1

The Court of Appeals struck down the agency’s “waste confidence” rule in June 2012, saying the regulator also needed to do further studies on spent fuel pool leaks and fires. The agency suspended final licensing decisions on new reactors as well as license renewals for plants and storage facilities while it formulated its response. That suspension will be lifted once the final storage rule becomes effective, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

“The completion of this rulemaking is an important step that will facilitate final decisions on industry licensing actions pending,” Ellen Ginsberg, general counsel for the Washington-based industry group the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in a statement.

There are currently eight applications to build reactors awaiting agency action, according to its website. About 74 percent of the 100 operating U.S. reactors have been relicensed, allowing them to operate 20 years beyond their original 40-year lifespan.

Among the plants awaiting relicensing are Entergy Corp. (ETR)’s Indian Point reactors in New York and PG&E Corp.’s Diablo Canyon units in California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.netTina Davis, Robin Saponar

August 27, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Danger to nuclear reactors, of California’s earthquakes

nuke-earthquakeCalifornia earthquakes may pose threat to nuclear plant, expert says http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0826/California-earthquakes-may-pose-threat-to-nuclear-plant-expert-says

 California earthquakes may pose a safety risk to the state’s last operating nuclear plant, a senior federal nuclear expert says in a report obtained by the Associated Press. The report says no one knows whether the facility’s equipment can withstand California earthquakes.

By Michael R. Blood, Associated Press AUGUST 26, 2014 LOS ANGELES — A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California‘s last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility’s twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults.

Michael Peck, who for five years was Diablo Canyon‘s lead inspector, says in a confidential report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not applying safety rules it set out for the plant’s operation.

The document, which was obtained and verified by The Associated Press, does not say the plant is unsafe. Instead, according to Peck’s analysis, no one knows whether the facility’s equipment can withstand strong shaking from those faults — the potential for which was realized decades after the facility was built. Continuing to run the reactors, Peck writes, “challenges the presumption of nuclear safety.”

Earthquake faults and nuclear power plants have long been uneasy neighbors in the state. The Humboldt Bay plant in Northern California, which was relatively near three faults, was shut down in 1976 to refuel and reinforce its ability to withstand earthquakes.

Peck’s 2013 filing is part of an agency review in which employees can appeal a supervisor’s or agency ruling. The NRC, however, has not yet ruled. Spokeswoman Lara Uselding said in emails that the agency would have no comment.

The NRC, which oversees the nation’s commercial nuclear power industry, and Diablo Canyon owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co., say the nearly three-decade-old reactors are safe and that the facility complies with its operating license, including earthquake safety standards.

August 27, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Corporate espionage against Non Profit Groups

secret-agentDow Chemical vs. Greenpeace  Corporations Spy on Nonprofits with Impunity, CounterPunch,
by RALPH NADER, 25 April 14  Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: corporations conduct espionage against US nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

The evidence abounds.

For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists……..

This is hardly the only case of corporate espionage against nonprofits. Last year, my colleagues produced a report titled Spooky Business, which documented 27 sets of stories involving corporate espionage against nonprofits, activists and whistleblowers. Most of the stories occurred in the US, but some occurred in the UK, France and Ecuador. None of the US-based cases has resulted in a verdict or settlement or even any meaningful public accountability. In contrast, in France there was a judgment against Electricite de France for spying on Greenpeace, and in the UK there is an ongoing effort regarding News Corp/News of the World and phone hacking.

Spooky Business found that “Many of the world’s largest corporations and their trade associations – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BAE, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E.ON – have been linked to espionage or planned espionage against nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers.”

Three examples:……..

While there is a congressional effort to hold the NSA accountable for its privacy invasions, there is no such effort to hold powerful corporations accountable for theirs……..Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate Statehttp://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/25/corporations-spy-on-nonprofits-with-impunity/

August 27, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) moves the US towards nuclear war with Russia

atomic-bomb-lFlag-USA

Nuclear war is suicide for humans, but our leaders still have their fingers on the nuclear triggers. There seems to be absolutely no awareness, either in our Federal government or in the American public, of the existential danger posed by nuclear war. Such ignorance is embodied by The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which if enacted will put us on a direct course for nuclear war with Russia

 

highly-recommended“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research,  BySteven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014

Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely uponCounterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.

RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.

Germans rightly fear placing US/NATO troops and US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in Ukraine, given the profound and long-standing Russian objections against the expansion of NATO (especially to Ukraine and Georgia) along with deployment of European US/NATO BMD.  Germany is acutely aware of the distinct possibility that the civil war raging in Ukraine could evolve into a Ukrainian-Russian war. Under such circumstances, deployment of US/NATO forces in Ukraine would make it virtually inevitable they would come into fight with Ukraine against Russia.  Continue reading

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cause of radiation accident at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) still unknown

safety-symbol-SmquestionCause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery , LA Times, By RALPH VARTABEDIAN contact the reporter 24 Aug 14  A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam.

The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered low-level radiation doses to 21 workers.

The accident contaminated the nation’s only dump for nuclear weapons waste — previously a focus of pride for the Energy Department — and gave the nation’s elite ranks of nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot unravel.

Six months after the accident, the exact chemical reaction that caused the drum to burst is still not understood. Continue reading

August 25, 2014 Posted by | incidents, safety, USA | Leave a comment

The presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia

“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research,  By Steven Starr Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014

exclamation-flag-Ukraine“……………RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.

On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.

What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.

Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).

After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.

The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalistneo-Nazi political parties; theAzov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia……….http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171

 

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics international, Reference, Ukraine, USA | 1 Comment

Solar power increase at California’s State owned facilities

sunFlag-USAMore State-Owned Facilities In California Going Solar http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4458 25 Aug 14 Two solar power installations totaling 3.22 megawatts have recently been completed at a state prison and state hospital in California.

The Department of General Services (DGS) managed systems are installed at Pleasant Valley State Prison (1.22MW) and Coalinga State Hospital (2MW).

“State agencies manage approximately 1,700 facilities that use about $200 million worth of electricity and natural gas every year,” said DGS Director Fred Klass. “Efficient operation of state facilities, including on-site renewable energy generation, is critical to achieving Governor Brown’s climate goals.”

In 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a sweeping executive order directing state agencies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline.

The order calls upon state government to slash mains-grid energy purchases for state-owned buildings by at least 20 percent by 2018.

The order also directs new State buildings and major renovations beginning design after 2025 be constructed as Zero Net Energy facilities; with an interim target for 50% of new facilities beginning design after 2020 to be Zero Net Energy.

Pleasant Valley State Prison is one of a dozen jails in California now using solar power. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says its use of solar will avoid an estimated 61,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions this year and will save taxpayers approximately $78 million in electricity costs over the next two decades.

The DSH-Coalinga array is expected to generate 24 percent of the hospital’s electricity requirements during its first year.

Both projects have been executed under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under a PPA, a solar provider installs the system via third party financing and the electricity generated by the array is sold to the host facility at a competitive rate. The host facility is not required to pay any up-front costs.

DSG says state agencies will have around 38MW of installed solar capacity by the end of this year.

August 25, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Bill in USA Congress supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea

exclamation-Flag-USA“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research,  By Steven Starr Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014

“………..RAPA supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act demands that Russia “withdraw from the eastern border of Ukraine,” which is by definition, the Russian border.  In other words, RAPA provocatively demands that Russia remove its own military forces away from its own borders, while Ukrainian military forces are meanwhile massed on the other side, attacking predominantly Russian cities.

RAPA also demands that “Russian forces must have withdrawn from Crimea within seven days of the enactment of the Act.” Not likely to happen, given that

(1) Crimea was part of the Russian empire from 1783 until 1954,

(2) withdrawal from Crimea would require Russia to abandon its only warm water port at Sevastopol, where Russian forces have been based, by internationally recognized treaty, since 1997, and

(3) more than three-quarters of all Crimeans voted “yes” to reunify with Russia, a vote which Russia accepted by its subsequent annexation of Crimea.

Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to “withdraw from Crimea” amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea.

RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea.

This goal was recently echoed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who was applauded by the Ukrainian Parliament when he told them that the Ukrainian army will “have a victory parade in Sevastopol“. These statements are taken seriously in Moscow, where they are viewed as a promise to attack Russia. Thus, Putin’s advisers are telling him he must fight today in Eastern Ukraine, or tomorrow in Crimea.

Any Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine would certainly be described in the West as Russian aggression in pursuit of empire, which would trigger deafening demands that US/NATO forces act to support Ukraine. Should NATO intervene, subsequent Russian military action against any NATO member would trigger the alliance’s Chapter 5 mutual defense clause, committing it to war with Russia.

Any major Ukrainian attack upon Crimea would make war with Russia inevitable. Ukraine appears to be preparing for such an assault by drafting all men of ages 18 to 60 years, in a forced mobilizationof its armed forces, which also includes calling up its active reserves of one million men, and bringing more than 1000 battle tanksout of storage.  Putin is being told by his close advisers thatUkraine will have an army of half a million men in 2015.

RAPA would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to train and arm the rapidly expanding Ukrainian armed forces, and position US/NATO forces for rapid intervention on the side of Ukraine in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian war. Thus, the many political and military provisions of RAPA would certainly act to fully encourage Ukraine to carry out its stated policy to retake Crimea. The Republic of Georgia attacked Russian forces in 2008 with far fewer US promises of aid. Of course, RAPA would also arm Georgia, too………..http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171

 

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Catastrophic Risk if Nuclear Regulatory Commission relaxes waste safety rules

any-fool-would-know

 

 

that they should just stop making the stuff!

 

Ruling on Nuclear Waste Storage Could Create a “Catastrophic Risk” Regulators may let companies store radioactive rods in on-site pools for up to 120 years. Mother Jones, —By  Fri Aug. 22, 2014 Strict safety controls sought by environmental groups for the storage of radioactive waste at dozens of nuclear power plants may fall to the wayside under a rule that’s expected be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next week. According to a congressional source who does not wish to be identified, the NRC is rushing to vote on the rule before the September retirement of Commissioner William Magwood, an ally of the nuclear power industry.

Waste-Confidence-Rule

nuclear-cooling-pondThe rule would establish that the environmental risks of storing spent fuel in pools of water at reactor sites for extended periods are negligible and for the most part don’t need to be studied as part of the licensing requirements for nuclear power plants.

But critics of the rule say that the NRC is blatantly ignoring its own research, which shows that the practice could lead to serious disasters: “You will have all the waste sitting, basically, in a giant swimming pool,” the source says, “and the potential of the swimming pool draining or being breached by an accident or an attack or a power loss that causes the water to boil off—all of those things would have impacts that the NRC’s own analysis says would equal that of a meltdown of the reactor core.”

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Existing nuclear plants are designed to store spent fuel for no more than a few years but have accumulated large stockpiles of it due to repeated delays in plans to build a permanent repository  in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. In 2010, the Obama administration canceled the $15 billion Yucca project, raising the distinct possibility that a single geologic waste storage site may never be built. In 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council successfully sued to force the NRC to stop licensing nuclear reactors until the commission conducted an environmental impact study on the long-term risks posed by on-site waste—including the possibility that those temporary storage sites will become permanent. The completed study, along with the new rule, is expected to be approved by the NRC on Tuesday, over the strong objections of environmental groups.

The NRC rule would pave the way for nuclear waste to be stored in open cooling pools at reactor sites for up to 120 years—and up to 60 years after a reactor is decommissioned. Environmental groups say that’s way too long. “The pools are a catastrophic risk,” says Kevin Kamps, the radioactive-waste watchdog for a group called Beyond Nuclear. Many pools are holding up to four times as many spent rods as intended. Packing so many rods into the pools dramatically increases the risk of a fire should a leak cause the cooling water to drain. A 2013 NRC study found that a pool fire could contaminate 9,400 square miles and displace 4 million Americans from their homes for years.

The NRC’s assumption that operators will guard and maintain their waste for decades after their plants are decommissioned is laughable to many enviros. In comments submitted to the NRC last December, the NRDC pointed to “the sad history” of managing hazardous waste in America, which often involves commercial operations going bankrupt and saddling taxpayers with the cleanup.

Even at operable nuclear plants, about a dozen waste storage pools are known to be leaking, including one at New York’s Indian Point reactor, which is discharging radioactive water into the Hudson River. To minimize the risk of disaster, environmental groups want the industry to immediately move its waste into thick concrete-and-steel dry casks at a cost of roughly $7 billion. But in a 4-1 vote earlier this year, the NRC ruled that this wouldn’t be cost-effective…….

Environmental groups hope the new commission will break with its industry-friendly past. “The industry crawls all over that place in terms of lobbying,” Kamps told me. “They own that place.” http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/08/nuclear-regulatory-commission-radioactive-waste-magwood

 

August 22, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

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