The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

No more delays can be tolerated, to clean up Hanford’s radioactive pollution

Hanford-waste-tanksNo more ‘wait and see’ at Hanford nuclear site By Brett VandenHeuvel Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson took a stand against the Department of Energy’s “wait and see” approach toward the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site. Looking out for the best interest of the Northwest, they unveiled a plan to improve accountability of the cleanup of Hanford.  Gov. Inslee created a deadline for Energy that requires waste is removed from leaky single-shell tanks by 2040 (26 years might seem like a long time, but beats not having a deadline at all) and presented a schedule to complete the waste treatment plant.

At the same time, Energy released a counterplan, full of empty promises, that doesn’t protect northwest communities or the Columbia River from the dangers of Hanford’s nuclear waste.  Hanford is the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere, where the federal government produced plutonium to fuel our nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal. Energy wants to develop milestones for cleanup on a rolling basis as technical issues are resolved.

We don’t have time to waste on Energy’s “wait and see” approach.  Residents of the Tri-Cities depend on the Columbia River, just downstream from the Hanford nuclear site, for their drinking water.  This area of the Columbia River, known as the Hanford reach, is the most productive spawning ground for endangered Chinook salmon on the Columbia River, producing 52 million juveniles every year. Public lands bordering the reach are home to 48 rare, threatened or endangered species. Leaving pollution in the leaking tanks, to slowly seep into the Columbia River, puts the water supply and salmon at risk.

And Energy doesn’t have a good track record when it comes dealing with the public’s concern in a timely fashion.  For example, more than a year ago, Energy revealed that a double shell tank, AY-102, was leaking nuclear waste.  They don’t plan to begin removing waste for two more years.  That’s three years while we wait to see whether the tank can withstand the heat and corrosion of the waste inside.
Their plan fails to protect public health and was so inconsistent with public sentiment that Washington issued an administrative order requiring pumping of nuclear waste from AY-102 by September 2014.

Just days later, noxious gases at the tank farm sent workers to the hospital.  The Hanford Advisory Board and watchdog groups like Columbia Riverkeeper and Hanford Challenge have brought concerns about worker safety at the tank farms to Energy’s attention.  But it is obvious Energy is not taking the necessary steps to watch over their contractors and protect employees.

It seems like common sense: Energy needs to take more aggressive action to immobilize Hanford’s nuclear waste and to protect workers, tribes, citizens of the Northwest, and the environment.  Later this month, we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to give the Energy our two cents about Hanford cleanup and to encourage Washington state to hold the Energy accountable for keeping nuclear waste out of the Columbia River.  The Hanford State of the Site meetings are scheduled for 6pm April 16 at the Portland Doubletree and April 17 at the Hood River Best Western. See you there.

Brett VandenHeuvel is executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

#IHeartRenewables Week Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22)

#IHeartRenewables Week — Celebrate Earth Day & Renewable Energy By David Ward

It is the week before Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22) and we are asking American wind power supporters to share why they love wind energy on Twitter and Facebook.

Similar to our #iheartwind week a couple months back, we are asking supporters to use the#iheartrenewables hashtag to tell your followers, your friends, everyone why you love wind power in the spirit of celebrating Earth Day and all the successes wind power has achieved so far.

You can participate in many ways, including:

  1. Simply telling everyone why you love wind power and other renewables. For ex: #iheartrenewables b/c U.S. #windpower avoids enough carbon dioxide emissions a year to take the equivalent of 17 million cars off the road!
  2. Taking a picture of yourself at a wind farm
  3. Taking a picture of yourself at work, at home, or anywhere and holding up a sign for why you “heart” renewables.
  4. You can even tell us why you support federal policy, like the Production Tax Credit or PTC, that encourages American wind power’s growth.
  5. There are a number of ways you can creatively show your support!

Some of our friends over at @SEIA, @ACORE, and elsewhere will be joining in on the fun as well.

Iberdrola Renewables already kicked things off with their tweet below of a wind farm using the #iheartrenewables hashtag. You can post @AWEA on Twitter by using our handle @AWEA. You can find our Twitter page here:

You can post on AWEA’s Facebook page here:

Interested in telling your elected officials why love wind power year-round?  Sign up to receive updates from AWEA’s Power of Wind advocacy network.

Also, don’t forget that WINDPOWER 2014 is happening May 5–8 this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s not too late to sign-up!

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK’s defence heavies are bullying Scotland

Defenders of union come under fire over tactics,, 15 April 14 By George Parker, Political Editor Philip Hammond, defence secretary, on Tuesday concluded two weeks of heavy pounding by the British military on Alex Salmond, the Scots first minister, in the latest attempt to halt his advance ahead ofSeptember’s independence referendum.

If recent experience is repeated, Mr Salmond will emerge unscathed, leaving his opponents to dwell on the effectiveness, co-ordination and tone of the campaign to save the United Kingdom………

Meanwhile Mr Hammond has orchestrated a campaign in recent days, featuring former armed forces chiefs and the First Sea Lord Sir George Zambellas, warning that independence would jeopardise the security of Scotland and the rest of Britain…….

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

The world’s terminal illnesses – climate change and nuclear weapons

Lawrence Wittner: Nuclear arms a terminal illness, Battle Creek EnquirerApr. 15, 2014 Your doctors are worried about your health — in fact, about your very survival.

No, they’re not necessarily your own personal physicians, but, rather, medical doctors around the world, represented by groups like International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

As you might recall, that organization, composed of many thousands of medical professionals from all across the globe, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for exposing the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons.

Well, what seems to be the problem today? The problem, as a new IPPNW report indicates, is that the world is showing growing symptoms of a terminal illness. Continue reading

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Just off Fukushima coast – earthquake magnitude 4.9

Quake hits just off Fukushima plant, felt along 500 kilometer stretch of Japan coast — Seismic intensity of 4 on scale up to 7 — Camera shakes for about 1 minute (VIDEO)

Japan Meteorological Agency, Apr. 13, 2014:

Time: 18:16 JST
Date: Apr. 13, 2014
Depth: 60 km
Location: Fukushima-ken Oki
Coordinates: 37.3N 141.2E
Magnitude: 4.9
Seismic Intensity: 4 out of 7
[Centered 30 km east of Fukushima Daiichi]Watch video of the quake here (at 8:00 in, 2x speed)

April 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fukushima considered world’s worst nuclear accident

National Geographic: Fukushima considered world’s worst nuclear accident — Physician: Fukushima remains a “global health concern” — Kaku: “It’s so bad, they don’t even have a picture of melted core… the agony is unending” (VIDEO)

Asian Perspective Vol. 37, No. 4Tilman A. Ruff, physician and Associate Professor in the Nossal Institute for Global Health at University of Melbourne, Oct.-Dec. 2013: A Public Health Perspective on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster — The Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over and remains a global health concern. While evacuations, sheltering, reducing intake of contaminated food, and other measures reduced radiation exposures, both the immediate and longer-term public health responses to the disaster leave major room for improvement. Commercially and institutionally, vested interests have undermined public health and safety. [...]

National GeographicApr. 14, 2014: The meltdown at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 made front-page news and, until Japan’s Fukushima disaster of 2011, was considered the world’s worst nuclear accident. [...] Early estimates by the Associated Press (Dec. 16, 2000) were that the health of 3.4 million of Ukraine’s 50 million people was negatively affected, including 1.26 million children [...]

Michio Kaku,Mar. 18, 2014 (at 1:18:00 in): The agony of 3 simultaneous meltdowns in Northern Japan […] The accident is not over at all. A small earthquake will send the accident starting all over again. You will realize that the reactor is so radioactive workers cannot even get in for more than just a few minutes at a time. […] The next thing they want to do is insert cameras into the water to see where the melting is. It’s so bad, they don’t even have a picture of the melted core. We know it’s 100 percent melted. […] The agony is unending. […] Japan said we will go nuclear because we have no oil or coal, but there is a price you have to pay — that is, you sell your soul to the devil.

Watch the discussion here

April 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK urged to triple or quadruple renewable energy, after IPCC

flag-UKUN urges huge increase in green energy to avert climate disaster

‘Triple or quadruple renewables’, say experts, as pressure grows for UK to deliver on eco priorities
David Cameron‘s commitment to the green agenda will come under the fiercest scrutiny yet this week when top climate-change experts will warn that only greater use of renewable energy – including windfarms – can prevent a global catastrophe.

A report by the world’s leading authorities will expose a growing gulf between a Tory party intent on halting construction of more onshore windfarms and the world’s leading scientists, who see them as one of the cheapest ways to provide energy while at the same time saving the environment.

Mitigation of Climate Change, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of 200 scientists, will make it clear that by far the most realistic option for the future is to triple or even quadruple the use of renewable power plants. Only through such decisive action will carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere be kept below the critical level of 480 parts per million (ppm), before the middle of the century. If levels go beyond this figure, the chances of curtailing global mayhem are poor, they will say.

The report – the third in a series by the IPCC designed to highlight the climate crisis now facing the planet – is intended as an urgent wake-up call to nations to commit around 1-2% of GDP in order to replace power plants that burn fossil fuels, the major cause of global warming, with renewable sources.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK defence chiefs angry over Scotland’s ‘no nuclear’ policy

Defence chiefs go on attack over Nats’ ‘no nuclear’ policyALEX Salmond’s plan to scrap Trident after Scottish independence would put the UK’s nuclear deterrent in jeopardy, senior defence figures have warned.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Non nuclear States represented in Hiroshima, aim to eliminate nuclear weapons

Foreign ministers at nuclear summit urge world leaders to learn lessons from Japan atomic bombings Australia Network news,  13 Apr 2014,

Foreign ministers from a coalition of non-nuclear weapons states have urged world leaders to visit the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to learn about the “catastrophic” effects of atomic bombing.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop represented Australia at a 12-nation summit in Hiroshima to discuss global efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons…..

April 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive leak was much worse than first stated by TEPCO

text ionising TEPCO says Aug. water leak from tank was far more contaminated  Kyodo News International April 11, 2014   Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that toxic water found to have leaked last August at one of the huge tanks at the accident-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was far more contaminated than initially announced.

After recalculating the radiation level, TEPCO said the water contained 280 million becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive materials such as strontium-90, instead of 80 million becquerels.

A total of 300 tons of toxic water was found to have leaked at that time, part of which is believed to have flowed into the adjacent Pacific Ocean. The Nuclear Regulation Authority assessed the severity of the incident to be level 3 on an eight-point international scale.

TEPCO decided to review data on 173 water samples it took until last October, as it found readings may be lower than actual figures due to improper measurement.

As for 104 samples, TEPCO analyzed them again as it had kept them. But the utility did not have the remaining 69 samples, including the water that leaked, so it calculated the radiation level by using a theoretical formula.

April 12, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

TV broadcast on sickness among nuclear waste workers

see-this.wayTV: “Far more serious than Feds letting on” at US nuclear site — Many workers in much worse shape than reported — Week-long nosebleeds, intense headaches, shaking, burning lungs, vomiting — Worker: Now I’m worrying… after two weeks I feel worse, not better (VIDEO) #Hanford

KING5 News Seattle,Apr. 8, 2014: An unprecedented string of unknown chemical vapor exposures has sent more than 2 dozen workers to the hospital of doctor since mid-March. […] We found the situation is far more serious than the Feds and the contractors are letting on. All of the employees were not and still are not back to work. And many have symptoms far worse than irritation. […] Right before coming to the interview, a doctor cauterized Becky’s nose to stop a week’s worth of nosebleeds. And Steve spent all of the day before throwing up. […] Her symptoms [have been] nosebleeds, intense headaches, sweats and shaking […] Steve deals with burning lungs and non-stop coughing — using inhalers and narcotics to cope. […] He’s still struggling to breathe [...] Becky still has a really bad headache, but her biggest concern, this is a scary one, she’s not thinking clearly. She says she’s forgetting a lot of things and that’s really frightening to her. [...] They aren’t the only ones. I’ve talked to others who say their lungs are burning, they don’t feel right, but they’ve been cleared to work, so they’re out on the job.

Becky Holland, health physics technician and 28-year veteran of the Hanford Site“I felt kind of dizzy like I couldn’t walk. […] It was hard for me to get my nose to stop bleeding”

Steve Ellingson, health physics technician at Hanford“Now I’m getting worried because this is two weeks and it’s not better. Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had. I’m getting worried that this may be the way that I am the rest of my life.”

Watch the broadcast here

April 11, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA’s Republicans’ hawkish bluster endangers the world

we should be alarmed to discover that nuclear safety has become a bargaining chip in the ongoing US-Russia-Ukraine situation. Amidst hawkish bluster from House Republicans, some of our lawmakers seem hellbent on ensuring that suspicion and instability—along with unintentional mistakes and accidents—remain an integral part of the nuclear age.
Engendering nuclear instability by using safety as a stick is an incredibly reckless way to approach global security, and the difference between congressional GOP chest-thumping and the precious-bodily-fluids paranoia of Dr. Strangelove’s Gen. Jack D. Ripper is one of degree, not kind. 
Thanks to Republicans, the World Just Got a Little More Dangerous  

 Katrina vanden Heuvel on April 10, 2014 

Thankfully, US-Russia cooperation on nuclear security will continue—for now. Since 1993, the United States has spent $1.6 billion on Cooperative Threat Reduction (known as the Nunn-Lugar pact), a program designed to increase safety and security at nuclear and chemical-weapons facilities of former Cold War antagonists. But last June, the pact expired after twenty years, and despite pledges from the Obama administration that work would continue “unfettered,” recent events in Ukraine have introduced enough friction into the relationship to cause alarm.

Continue reading

April 11, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

No point in bombing Iran, even if they get a nuclear weapon

diplomacy not bombs 1flag-IranJimmy Carter: U.S. Shouldn’t Bomb Iran Even If They Get a Nuclear Weapon MediaIte, by Matt Wilstein , April 9th Former President Jimmy Carter joined MSNBC’sChris Matthews for an interview on Hardball Wednesday and made some news by saying he does not think the United States should bomb Iran even if they were to succeed in building an operational nuclear weapon. This statement differs not only from recent comments made by former Vice President Dick Cheney but also from the stated position of President Barack Obama.

“I never have felt that Israel had a capability militarily to go 1,200 miles or more and bomb Iran effectively and then return back to Israel,” said of Cheney’s suggestion that Israel could attack Iran unilaterally. “The only country on earth that has that capability would be the United States, and i don’t believe it’s appropriate for the United States to bomb Iran over this issue.”

When Matthews asked him if that position would apply even if Iran was in possession of a nuclear weapon, Carter replied, “Well, you know, if they got one nuclear weapon, Israel has, what, 300 or more, nobody knows exactly how many. And I know that every Iranian realizes that if they should try to use a nuclear weapon, Iran would be wiped off the face of the earth, which I think is so ridiculous, a self-destructive decision that they would not do it.”…….

April 10, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Sickness and mortality due to ionising radiation

text ionising When life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014“…….Sickness and mortality

Sickness and even death are the results of exposure to radiation that people expect. It is important to know that there are many different ways that people can become ill after exposure to radiation.

When people are exposed to high levels of gamma radiation they can suffer from acute radiation sickness and death can come in a matter of days, weeks or months. Tens of thousands of people died of acute radiation sickness in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after they survived the nuclear attacks.

A nuclear weapon gives off a very large burst of gamma radiation that only lasts a very short time, but if the whole body is exposed to high levels it can cause illness and death relatively quickly.

For those who were not close to the detonation of a nuclear weapon, or within a short distance of a disaster like the Chernobyl or Fukushima disasters, illness is often the result of internalized alpha emitting particles. With nuclear detonations this comes down as ‘fallout’.

In the case of Chernobyl and Fukushima  these came down over large areas as the plumes of the explosions there settled back to Earth. Alpha emitting particles cannot penetrate the skin like gamma radiation can, but rather are internalized through inhalation or swallowing or through cuts in the skin.

These particles don’t give off a large amount of radiation, but if they lodge in the body they continue to expose a small number of cells 24 hours a day often for the rest of a person’s life. This can result in cancers and immune disorders that develop later in life, sometimes a few years, sometimes after one or several decades.

Since the plumes of the three explosions at Fukushima deposited large amounts of alpha emitters across a large area, this is the primary danger to those living in the contaminated areas………

April 9, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

American energy chief finds Japan’s nuclear safeguards inadequate

FirstEnergy nuclear chief finds Japan’s nuclear safeguards lacking after visiting Fukushima  Reporter-Pittsburgh Business Times, 8 April 14, “………Sena was one of a number of U.S.-based chief nuclear officers who visited Fukishima last September. He found the plant’s location was an issue……He told the audience the regulatory requirements are much stricter for nuclear power plants in the United States. That starts with the location requirements and the higher margin for safety U.S. plants must achieve for all types of environmental disasters…….Describing the industry here as under major cost pressures, Sena said the impact Fukushima has had on the American industry is a heightened awareness of just how big an environmental damage to prepare against…….

He also saw major cultural reasons for Japan’s nuclear nightmare at Fukushima, seeing a conformist culture and a technological arrogance that helped lead to a lack of training, licensing and emergency training in place for the country’s 50 nuclear plants.

None of those plants are in use now in Japan, which has few natural resources of its own. Japan is considering new energy options, including buying natural gas from Russia, he added.


April 9, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment


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