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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Hanford nuclear waste region produces high rate of rare birth defects

Rare Birth Defects Still Spiking in Washington State http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/rare-birth-defects-still-spiking-washington-state-n86916 BY JONEL ALECCIA 22 April 14, Seven cases of a rare fatal birth defect were reported in a remote region of Washington state in 2013, making it the fourth consecutive year that rates have more than tripled the national average, health officials said Tuesday.

There’s still no clear reason for the spike in anencephaly, a severe defect in which babies are born missing parts of the brain or skull, according to Washington state health officials. NBC News investigated the issue in February.

But it brings to 30 the number of cases reported since 2010 in the area that includes Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties in central Washington state. The anencephaly rate jumped to 8.7 cases per 10,000 births in the region, far exceeding the national rate of 2.1 cases per 10,000 births.

anencephaly


“We’re really concerned about the fact that the anencephaly rates are still so high,” said Mandy Stahre, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in Washington state. “We were sort of hoping that this may have been a statistical anomaly or would go away.”

State and federal officials plan to convene an advisory committee of national experts to review options for investigation and prevention, Stahre said. Next month, they’ll hold “listening sessions” in the community to hear public concerns about the rise in birth defects in the region. “The community members, they live here,” Stahre said. “They may be seeing things that we don’t.”

But that hardly seems like enough, said one mother whose baby was born with spina bifida last year and was considered part of a cluster of cases of neural tube defects in the region.

“It’s good that they want to know everybody’s thoughts, but what are they doing about it?” said Andrea Jackman, 30, who lived in an orchard in Yakima, Wash., while she was pregnant but now lives in Ellensburg. Her daughter, Olivia, is 7 months old.

“Why are they going to put the time and money into chatting with people who don’t know? Do the research.”

Stahre said one of the goals of the advisory committee will be to decide what focus future investigations should take.

“Do we go back and look even further back? Or do we just focus on current conditions and looking foward,” Stahre said.

The new count follows a report last summer that found more than two dozen cases of babies born with anencephaly and other neural tube defects in the region between 2010 and 2013.Researchers found no geographic, seasonal or other type of pattern to the cases, Stahre said.

Medical records indicate low rates of folic acid vitamin supplementation in the region, which has been linked to anencephaly. Other studies have shown ties between the defect and exposure to molds and pesticides. Critics have said state and federal officials need to do detailed interviews and a thorough investigation of the central Washington cluster.

Many local residents are convinced that leaking tanks of nuclear waste from the region’s nearby Hanford nuclear plant must be to blame, but Dr. Edith Cheng, a University Washington Medicine expert on birth defects, said there has not been a good evaluation of the plant’s impact on anencephaly or other problems.

Experts emphasize the need for all women of childbearing age to take folic acid supplements.

April 23, 2014 Posted by | children, Reference, USA | 2 Comments

Warren Buffett dumped Small Modular Nuclear Reactor project, went for solar power instead

As nuclear power dies, solar rises  By Denis Hayes and Scott Denman  April 22, 2014 (CNN) “………Ironically, Buffett,WarrenWarren Buffett, arguably the world’s greatest capitalist, has emerged as the poster child for this dramatic shift. In June 2013, Buffett’s MidAmerican utility threw in the towel after a failed three-year legislative battle to require Iowa electric customers to foot the bill for the design and construction of a prototype small modular reactor. Mainstream groups like AARP vigorously opposed that fiscally imprudent investment. Earlier, MidAmerican canceled another proposed reactor in Idaho on the grounds it was not worth the money.

 What’s significant about this about-face on nuclear by the highly regarded “Oracle of Omaha” is that Buffett instead decided to install656 large wind turbines at a cost of $1.9 billion in Iowa, and has gone “all-in” with multibillion dollar bets on utility-scale wind and solar power and other renewable energy facilities throughout the West. Not just Wall Street wizards are shifting investment outlooks and strategies. Regulators and industry officials alike exude confidence that this is the era for solar, wind and other green energy technologies. In August 2013, John Wellinghoff, then chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, observed that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything … It could double every two years.”

 In his annual State of the Union address in January, President Obama highlighted this auspicious trend by praising solar’s rapid growth, announcing that, “every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. …”

 While nuclear has flat-lined in the marketplace, statistics demonstrating solar’s growth actually underestimate the total contribution to our country’s electrical supply from solar. This is because nonutility and small-scale — residential and commercial rooftop — photovoltaic systems don’t show up as electric generation in the industry’s statistics. The utilities that compile generation statistics view rooftop solar electricity, used on site, not as power generation but as a reduction in demand! If it’s not sold by a utility, it’s not “real” power.

 In fact, one of the authors built a six-story office building in Seattlethat produced more electricity on its roof last year than it used. If this can be done in Seattle, the cloudiest major city in the contiguous 48 states, it can be done anywhere.In 2013, America, and the world, crossed the threshold to a sustainable, ultimately nonnuclear, carbon-free energy future. While much remains to be done and there is a long way to go, this Earth Day is especially meaningful and inspiring for those of us who have spent our careers pursuing this essential goal. We can see the clear outline of a sustainable energy future that our children, our economy and our planet can live with. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/22/opinion/hayes-denman-solar-power/

April 23, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Defenders of the Black Hills want old uranium mines cleaned up

Protesters urge state to clean up old uranium mines Argus Leader 21 Apr 14 Nora Hertel, Associated Press PIERRE – A South Dakota group says old uranium mines across the state and U.S. are contaminating water and the air with radioactive chemicals. Defenders of the Black Hills is helping to lead an effort to educate people and clean up old uranium mines across the country with an Earth Day event today.

The event is part of a “Clean Up The Mines” project launched on Earth Day. Charmaine White Face, founder and coordinator for Defenders of the Black Hills, said the river, among others, contains runoff from abandoned uranium mines in South Dakota and Wyoming. Most of the 10,000 abandoned uranium mines are in the western U.S., including more than 250 in South Dakota.

White Face, a former science teacher, said the issue came to her attention more than 10 years ago, but she didn’t understand the extent of it.

“We’ve been hollering about this to the state and anybody that would listen,” White Face said. “The state could do quite a bit if they would.”

She said some of the mines in question are on private land and some on federal land, including a large percentage around Mount Rushmore.

“All those 2 million visitors (a year) to Mount Rushmore, they’re breathing in radioactive dust and they don’t even know it,” White Face said.

Mike Cepak, an engineering manager with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the state doesn’t have an abandoned mine program. He said the U.S. Forest Service has reclaimed some mines in the western part of the state, but the process is expensive. It involves rearranging drainage so water doesn’t pass through the mine, filling it in and returning vegetation to the area.

“It’s mainly a funding problem,” Cepak said……….

On the potential health risks of uranium exposure, but White Face attributes it to cases of cancer and brain tumors in the Northern Plains.

She’s concerned that people don’t realize the number of old mines in the state and their potential effects. White Face has given speeches on the East Coast to drum up support for federal legislation that her group is collaborating on.

Defenders of the Black Hills is working with a member of Congress to draft legislation mandating mine reclamation. White Face said they’re on the fourth draft. She hopes it will be complete in a few weeks and sent to Washington, D.C., to be reviewed then presented as a bill for consideration. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/04/22/protesters-urge-state-clean-old-uranium-mines/7995325/

April 23, 2014 Posted by | environment, Uranium, USA | 1 Comment

Mars Astronauts could be allowed more radiation: oh well, they won’t be coming back anyway

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

I think that it’s a terrific idea to weaken the radiation standards for people going to Mars. The beauty of this is that the middle-aged white men who plan this know that they themselves will be quite safe from any court action. When the poor sucker Mars -dwellers get their cancer – it’ll be just too hard to mount a legal case from Mars. And they can’t come back anyway, so we can all forget about them

Radiation exposure standards might be relaxed for Mars trip Asbury Park Press, 23 April 14, WASHINGTON — One of many factors complicating a trip to Mars is the space radiation that would bombard astronauts during the approximately two years they would spend getting to the planet, exploring it and returning home……….

NASA is aiming for a landing in the early 2030s. Even with two decades to prepare, such a journey to a planet millions of miles away requires hundreds of steps every day.

One such step involves calculating an acceptable level of radiation for astronauts, a question NASA took to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies.

“We’re pushing not only the technology that helps protect the (astronaut) but also looking at the requirements we have,” Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration told the Humans to Mars Summit. “Are they really realistic requirements? Or has today’s medical environment allowed us to do things differently?”

The institute’s answer, issued by a committee earlier this month, is that current medical standards for radiation exposure should remain in effect, though exceptions could be granted “in rare circumstances.” If an exception were permitted, NASA would be ethically bound to provide astronauts with health care beyond the end of their missions, the committee said…….http://www.app.com/article/20140422/NJNEWS17/304220086/Radiation-exposure-standards-might-relaxed-Mars-trip

April 23, 2014 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania nuclear reactors at higher risk of earthquakes

nuke-earthquakeNuclear reactor owners asked to reassess quake resistanceApril 21, 2014 By Don Hopey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Due to higher earthquake risk in the region, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requiring three Pennsylvania nuclear reactors to conduct in-depth reassessments of their ability to withstand larger earth tremors.

FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley Units 1 and 2, in Shippingport, Beaver County, and Exelon’s Three Mile Island Unit 1, south of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, are among nine commercial nuclear reactors in the eastern U.S. and two dozen nationwide that must conduct the re-evaluations and issue reports to the NRC by the end of the year.

“Based on the latest seismic data, the risk of earth movement is higher in the region, and more testing and analysis is warranted,” said Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman……..

Mark Petersen, USGS project chief of the 2008 National Seismic Hazard Maps in Golden, Co., said new ground motion records and additional geological studies of the New Madrid fault show higher recurrence rates than previously thought.

“Because of what happened with the New Madrid in 1811-1812,” he said, “we’re more worried about big earthquakes in those areas in the future.” http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/04/22/Nuclear-reactor-owners-asked-to-reassess-quake-resistance/stories/201404220095#ixzz2zkRw3KQj

 

April 23, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plants operating license fees to go up

Indian Point nuclear licenses to cost more lohud.com Michael Risinit April 22, 2014  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission collects most of the money in its budget from the nation’s nuclear plants, including Indian Point. our first driver’s license at 16 will cost you $80. A resident hunting license? $22. A license to operate a nuclear reactor? Millions.

While most of your tax dollars go toward the agencies and departments involved with healthcare, defense and the national debt, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gets most of its money from the industry it oversees. By law, the NRC must recover about 90 percent of its budget from license charges, spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

This year the fee is going up by $938,000. That means Entergy, the owner of Indian Point nuclear power plant, and the country’s other nuclear power companies must pony up $5,328,000 for each running reactor. That money will go back into the U.S. Treasury’s general fund………http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/indian-point/2014/04/22/nuclear-plant-licenses-costly-indian-point-owner/8004159/

April 23, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

The rise and rise of solar power: the fall and fall of nuclear

sun-championAs nuclear power dies, solar rises By Denis Hayes and Scott Denman  April 22, 2014 (CNN) – At long last, this Earth Day we celebrate the true dawn of the Solar Age. That sunrise is hastened, here and abroad, by the slow demise of the once-touted “too-cheap-to-meter” Atomic Age of nuclear power.

 As utilities find nuclear power less and less cost effective, new solar photovoltaic installations in the United States are springing up. New solar installations in 2013 reached a record 4.2 gigawatts, bringing the total to 10. On average, one gigawatt of solar photovoltaics powers 164,000 U.S. homes. That means power for 1.6 million homes.

Worldwide, in 2013, solar power installations grew by 38 gigawatts, from 96 to 134. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, in the preceding year, 45 gigawatts of wind and 32 gigawatts of solar power were installed worldwide, compared with a net addition of just 1.2 gigawatts of nuclear.

 Hastening this energy revolution is the nuclear industry’s Achilles heel: an aging, dangerous reactor fleet that is increasingly uncompetitive and new reactor designs that are too expensive to build.

 Last year, utilities permanently shuttered five more reactors, lowering the number of operating units in the United States to fewer than 100 for the first time in two decades. Utility owners canceled at least nine planned upgrades of existing reactors, deeming the investments no longer economically justifiable.

Additionally, nine planned new nuclear reactors were axed in 2013, an indication of how rapidly things have changed. Just five years ago, utilities applied for licenses to construct at least 27 new reactors. By the close of 2013, only four of those reactor projects were still alive……. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/22/opinion/hayes-denman-solar-power/

April 23, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

USA now abandoning the brave sailors who helped out in Fukushima nuclear emergency

Flag-USAIs America Abandoning its Bravest Heroes Yet Again?, WhoWhatWhy  By  on Apr 21, 2014 “…….U.S. sailors who went on an idealistic mission three years ago to help the Japanese cope -…….

text-radiationAt least 79 of those sailors now suffer serious health effects consistent with radiation exposure. Some of the sailors have filed a class action lawsuit  against the Japanese power company, accusing it of hiding what it knew about the escaping radiation and seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as $1 billion for a fund to cover their medical monitoring and treatment. Some of them also blame the U.S. Navy, which denies that its sailors were exposed to harmful levels of radiation.

They Came Out Cooked

Paul Garner, the lead attorney on the case, told WhoWhatWhy that a much larger group of military personnel were exposed to radiation, and he expects the number signing on to the lawsuit to rise as more people develop symptoms. He reeled off a long list of alarming health complaints among the nearly 100 former Operation Tomodachi participants he’s interviewed. So far, about half have developed cancer—of the brain, eye, testes, thyroid, or blood (leukemia). “These kids were first responders,” Garner says. “They went in happily doing a humanitarian mission, and they came out cooked.”

Radiation Déjà vu

The situation these sailors find themselves in is all too familiar in the annals of the nuclear age. Over the past 75 years, claims of harm by many people exposed to radiation through no fault of their own have been officially downplayed or denied. For example: Victims of fallout from atom bomb testing, workers routinely exposed at a nuclear weapons facilitypeople living near one, and those caught downwind of reactor meltdowns at nuclear power plants, as in the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania and the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion……..

Official Estimates Don’t Compute

A DOD report lays out how the Navy reached its conclusions about the doses that 17,000-plus sailors received. But according to nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, a former industry vice president who blew the whistle for radiation safety violations at his former employer, Nuclear Energy Services, as with the previous accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, nobody knows how much radiation has been released from Fukushima—because most of the radiation monitors did not survive the accidents. That means assumptions rather than real data were used to calculate the total amount of radiation released—resulting in estimates that Gundersen believes are much too low.

Another outside expert charges the Navy’s reconstructed doses are meaningless. Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and former deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, who has spent several years auditing radiation dose reconstructions on ailing U.S. nuclear weapons workers, says the only way to get an accurate internal and external dose on any individual is to take continual measurements throughout the time they are exposed. People must wear special monitoring equipment and undergo a regular regime of monitoring. This is especially important in trying to assess the health effects from a multiple meltdown situation with large explosions involving reactor cores, as occurred at Fukushima.

Alvarez says that based on the illnesses that Operation Tomodachi participants are reporting, the real radiation doses were likely very large. “We’re hearing the same kinds of complaints that I was hearing from the people exposed to fallout from the bomb testing program—the metallic taste in the mouth, loss of hair, and sudden and unexpected illnesses,” he says. Symptoms like that indicate “tissue-destructive doses.”

A February 2014 report by Kyle Cleveland, an American sociologist at Temple University in Japan, affirms Alvarez’s assessment. The report includes a transcribed telephone conversation Cleveland received from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which reveals that monitors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan picked up radiation levels 30 times higher than normal out at sea 100 miles from the reactors. The nuclear expert quoted in the transcript was surprised to detect anything at that distance and says radiation levels were high enough to damage people’s thyroids after ten hours of exposure.

If the Navy’s questionable dismissal of radiation exposure is troubling, the actions of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are even more so. The Japanese Diet (Japan’s parliament) tasked an independent commission, known officially as the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, with figuring out what caused the multiple meltdown.

The report, released in 2012, is damning in its conclusions. Unlike the U.S. Navy, the Commission characterizes Fukushima as a “severe accident that ultimately emitted an enormous amount of radioactive material into the environment.”…….http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/21/america-abandoning-bravest-heroes-yet/

April 22, 2014 Posted by | health, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Another new nuclear gimmick fails economic test

Small-modular-reactor-dudAnother one (or more) bites the dust …http://johnquiggin.com/2014/04/20/another-one-or-more-bites-the-dust/ April 20th, 2014  Coming back yet again to nuclear power, I’ve been arguing for a while that nuclear power can only work (if at all) on the basis of a single standardised design, and that the only plausible candidate for this is the Westinghouse AP1000. One response from nuclear enthusiasts has been to point to possible future advances beyond the Gen III+ approach embodied by the AP1000 (and less promising competitors like EPR). The two most popular have been Small Modular Reactors and Generation IV (fast) reactors. Recent news suggests that both of these options are now dead.

The news on the Small Modular Reactor is that Babcock and Wilcox, the first firm to be selected by the US Department of Energy to develop a prototype, has effectively mothballed the project, sacking the CEO of its SMR subsidiary and drastically scaling back staffWestinghouse already abandoned its efforts. There is still one firm left pursuing the idea, and trying (so far unsuccessfully) to attract investors, but there’s no reason to expect success any time soon.

reactor-types-spin

As regards Generation IV, the technology road map issued by the Gen IV International Forum in 2002 has just been updated. All the timelines have been pushed out, mostly by 10 years or more. That is, Gen IV is no closer now than it was when the GenIV initiative started. In particular, there’s no chance of work starting on even a prototype before about 2020, which puts commercial availability well past 2035. Allowing for construction time, there’s no prospect of electricity generation on a significant scale before 2050, by which time we will need to have completely decarbonized the economy.

April 22, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Only available remedy for irradiated sailors is to sue TEPCO

Is America Abandoning its Bravest Heroes Yet justiceAgain?, WhoWhatWhy  By  on Apr 21, 2014Legal Remedy Sought“………Meanwhile, the only remedy available to Cooper, Goodwin, Sebourn, Simmons, and the others is to sue the Japanese operator of the nuclear plant, TEPCO. Lead attorney for the class action suit, Paul Garner, believes he will be able to prove that TEPCO knew on the first day of the accident that the plant was spewing deadly radiation, but concealed that information from the world. He also expresses confidence he will be able to prove that if the military had been aware of the radiation levels, it would not have sent or kept U.S. troops in harm’s way.

But Judge Janis L. Sammartino, who is hearing the case in San Diego, has set a high bar, ruling in November 2013 that the plaintiffs must show:

…not only that TEPCO misrepresented the condition of the FNPP [Fukushima nuclear power plant] and the risk to soldiers operating near the damaged facility, but also that TEPCO’s allegedly wrongful conduct, as opposed to other factors, caused the commanding officers of the Reagan “(1) to move the strike force and associated personnel into an area of dangerous radiation exposure; (2) to do so without undertaking radiation testing and research; and (3) to fail to order the necessary precautions, such as locking down the Reagan and supplying radiation monitoring.…”

And further:

At a minimum, Plaintiffs must show that, but for TEPCO’s allegedly wrongful conduct, the military would not have deployed personnel near the FNPP or would have taken additional measures to protect service members from radiation exposure. Thus, Plaintiffs’ success inevitably hinges on the conclusion that the military’s precautions were inadequate or unreasonable and that had it not been for TEPCO’s misstatements, military commanders would have adopted a different course of action…….http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/21/america-abandoning-bravest-heroes-yet/

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Time for Washington to disclose information on alleged Israeli nuclear theft

secret-agent-SmFlag-USAFormer Officials Seek U.S. Disclosure on Alleged Israeli Nuclear Theft National Journal 21 Apr 14 Two former atomic officials say revealing U.S. findings on a decades-old alleged nuclear theft by Israel may bolster Washington’s present-day diplomacy.

flag-IsraelDeclassifying all investigative data on the 1960s-era disappearance of weapon-grade uranium from a Pennsylvania atomic plant could boost U.S. credibility in current nuclear negotiations, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials Victor Gilinsky and Roger Mattson argued in e-mail responses to questions from Global Security Newswire.

In an article published last week by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, they said public details have already cast suspicion on Israel, which also is widely believed to possess an unacknowledged atomic arsenal.

 By withholding data and publicly downplaying any Israeli link to the highly enriched uranium lost in Apollo, Penn., the United States appears to have acted in support of Israel’s atomic policies, the authors said in the comments provided to GSN. They said the stance has undermined Washington’s credibility as it presses other countries to curb their sensitive atomic activities.

“We’ve lost a great deal of respect around the world on the subject of nonproliferation,” Gilinsky told GSN. Citing one example, the former NRC commissioner said Washington’s reluctance to openly discuss Israel’s nuclear activities has hampered the U.S. ability to overtly press its Middle Eastern ally to participate in a plannedconference on eliminating weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East.

“The president doesn’t even acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, which means no one in the government can, either,” he told GSN. “Leveling on [this] affair, painful as it might be in the short run, would be a step toward what you might call a reality-based policy in this area.”

For disclosure to be likely, though, President Obama must “see it in his political benefit to do so,” Gilinsky wrote. “If he wanted to, he could do it at any time, but I am not holding my breath.”……http://www.nationaljournal.com/global-security-newswire/former-officials-seek-u-s-disclosure-on-alleged-israeli-nuclear-theft-20140421

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Questions on nuclear radiation, that the US Navy cannot answer

Is America Abandoning its Bravest Heroes Yet Again?, WhoWhatWhy  By  on Apr 21, 2014  “……….What Did the U.S. Navy Know?

Whether the plaintiffs succeed in holding the Japanese utility liable, the case raises important questions about the role and responsibility of the U.S. Navy:

   Why did the U.S. Navy insist from the beginning that it was safe for its troops to remain in the vicinity of three reactor meltdowns?
   After having gone to the trouble of setting up a medical registry to track radiation-related illnesses—the Operation Tomodachi Registry—why did the U.S. Department of Defense decide not to monitor the health of the nearly 75,000 DOD-affiliated citizens—military personnel and their family members—who were in or near Japan during and after the Fukushima meltdowns?
   Why is there no mention of radiation exposure in many of the sailors’ military medical files, even those people specifically assigned jobs involving radiation decontamination?
   Why, given the mounting evidence of illnesses known to be triggered by radiation exposure, is radiation dismissed as a possible cause?………http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/21/america-abandoning-bravest-heroes-yet/

April 22, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory relaxes rule for hot water discharge from nuclear plant

Connecticut’s nuclear plant can use warmer water WSJ, 21 Apr 14 HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s nuclear power plant won permission to use warmer water from Long Island Sound for cooling at one of its two units in Waterford, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday.

The Millstone 2 plant may use water as warm as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, up from 75 degrees, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is considering a similar request for Millstone 3.

Millstone 2 shut down for nearly two weeks in August 2012 because the water was warmer than the 75-degree limit. It was the first shutdown of a nuclear power plant on an open body of water. Water is used to cool key components of the plant and is discharged back into the Sound……http://online.wsj.com/article/AP66936a3af568444f9afefe577df90c23.html

April 22, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

!8 demolished US nuclear missile facilities inspected by Russians

Russians inspect demolished missile facilities http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/russians-inspect-demolished-missile-facilities/article_14343d6d-0f7d-587f-9125-51b77eac9abc.html HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Air Force officials say Russian inspectors visited Montana this month to verify that 18 nuclear missile launch facilities have been demolished as part of a 2011 arms-control treaty.

Malmstrom Air Force Base officials said Monday the inspectors spent 12 hours on April 9 viewing the facilities in central Montana to see the doors had been removed and the launcher tubes filled with earth and gravel.

Treaty compliance chief Richard Bialczak of the 341st Missile Wing says the inspection was the first of its kind at Malmstrom.

The demolished facilities were operated by the 564th Missile Squadron, which was deactivated in 2008. Three other missile squadrons are responsible for the 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles at Malmstrom.

Air Force officials say all 50 of the 546th squadron’s launch facilities will be demolished.

April 22, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s loyalty to the nuclear industry, rather than to sick, irradiated navymen

Is America Abandoning its Bravest Heroes Yet Again?, WhoWhatWhy  By  on Apr 21, 2014Reason for Navy Cover-up?“………..Because U.S. military personnel are prevented from suing the government, their only recourse is to go after TEPCO. But given the interests involved, the outcome for the Operation Tomodachi victims remains very much in doubt. Robert Alvarez, the nuclear investigator and former DOE deputy assistant secretary, points out that about a quarter of a million U.S. soldiers were subjected to open air nuclear weapons testing in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

“If you use the treatment of atomic veterans who were involved in atmospheric testing as a benchmark, the government did everything it could to downplay the hazards, because from the military perspective, the mission is all important,” he says.

“Right now, the United States government and Japan are closing ranks because of their nuclear-related relationships,” he says. Although Japan’s 54 power-generating nuclear reactors are currently offline, the country still has the third largest number of nuclear reactors in the world.

But more important, Alvarez says, is the “extraordinary co-dependence” with Japan on nuclear-energy-related matters. “Because the U.S. has lost much of its capability in designing and building reactors, we have to depend on the Japanese and the French if we’re going to build any reactors or fabricate fuel or do anything to service the existing reactor fleet,” he explained. “We’re dependent on companies that are now owned by Japan and France.”

The case of the ill Operation Tomodachi veterans shines a spotlight on the intersection of competing interests between victims of radiation exposure, the nuclear power industry, and the U.S. government and its unwavering commitment to nuclear technology for both military and civilian use. So far, by denying the harm from the radiation U.S. military personnel were exposed to as they helped Japan clean up after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011—a position that supports the Japanese government and nuclear industry—the U.S. government is doing what it has almost always done: protect nuclear interests rather than its victims.

As the number of ill Operation Tomodachi veterans climbs, it remains to be seen whether their sacrifice will be acknowledged or if they, like so many others, will be left to fend for themselves.  http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/21/america-abandoning-bravest-heroes-yet/#sthash.YiyEeRT1.dpuf

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Legal, politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

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