‘Too soon’ to know health effects from nuclear leak in New Mexico Aljazeera, February 27, 2014 13 workers at the nation’s first underground nuclear storage facility were exposed to radiation last week Federal officials and a private contractor held a joint press conference on Thursday to say it is too soon to speculate about the health effects a radiation leak at the nation’s first underground nuclear waste repository might have on the workers there.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in New Mexico confirmed Wednesday that 13 workers who were aboveground the night of one reported leak have tested positive for radiation exposure. And they say more workers are being tested.
DOE representatives said more tests are needed to determine the levels of exposure and emphasized that all readings at the site have been at what they said were “very low” levels.
The leak has raised questions about the facility’s safety and provided ammunition for anti-nuclear activists who say there is currently no safe way to store nuclear waste……..
… watchdog Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety program at the Southwest Research and Information Center, said the fact that the workers were exposed raises questions Continue reading
Reduce Our Nuclear Arsenal to Save Money and, Quite Possibly, Lives, Huffington Post, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), 28 Feb 14, On Tuesday, President Obama will introduce his budget for fiscal year 2015. His proposal aims to unwind some of the damage done by the indiscriminate sequester, but still shortchanges the types of investments in infrastructure, clean energy, job-retraining, and education that will generate long-term economic growth. Secretary of Defense Hagel shared an overview of the Pentagon’s massive budget request earlier this week. Like the president, Secretary Hagel outlined difficult choices to reduce and prioritize our defense dollars. But it is not enough.
That’s why I have introduced HR 4107, the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Infrastructure Now (REIN-IN) Act of 2014, which would save $100 billion over 10 years by reducing unnecessary nuclear weapons programs — savings we can direct to growing our economy and helping families. Continue reading
MUSK: Hard Times Must Come For Utilities, Business Insider, Australia, 28 Feb 14, ROB WILEEl on Musk is warning fossil fuel-dependent utilities to prepare for hard times. In comments made at a panel set up by the California Public Utilities Commission, Musk said addressing climate change depends on upending traditional power providers, and he called on regulators to help lower the cost for renewable providers to compete with them.
“There will be some amount of strife for existing utilities, particularly ones heavy into fossil rules,” Musk said. “There will be bit of a hardship for them. But we have no choice. We have to decide if we’re going to have clean, sustainable energy or not and if we decide want good future…and the only good future is one with [clean] energy.”
Musk argued for a carbon tax, expressing disbelief at the ongoing presence of hydrocarbons for fuel use. “It’s amazing that we burn oil — it has much higher value in plastics,” he said. “It’s like burning the furniture in your house instead of firewood.”
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive warned of the danger that regulators would allow the current monopolistic and fossil fuel-heavy power company model to persist even as renewable energy grows.
“What don’t we don’t want to have happen is the innovation, and then old biz model still continues,” he said. “We don’t want two energy infrastructures. At some point someone has to shut down, and if you fast forward 10 or 20 years, I don’t think we’ll be shutting down cleaner energy.”……..
The panel comes one day after Tesla announced details for its Gigafactory, which by 2020 will produce 50 gigawatt hours-worth of battery packs. Panasonic, the principal partner in the Gigafactory, currently makes a total of only about 6-7 gigawatt hours-worth of batteries. Tesla’s batteries will be used both in Tesla’s fleet and will help bring the cost of batteries for SolarCity power storage units down. The batteries currently comprise at least 50% of the cost of other solar storage units.
Musk emphasised that regulators will have to prove flexible to work around what amounts to monopoly control of power by most utilities…….http://www.businessinsider.com.au/musk-on-utilities-2014-2
Tokyo governor race turns into battle over nuclear power, Ft.com, 24 Jan 14, By Jonathan Soble in Tokyo Fighting to be heard over the video screens that pummel Tokyo’s Shibuya district with adverts for pop bands and mobile-phone services, Morihiro Hosokawa, the 76-year-old former Japanese prime minister and anti-nuclear campaigner, launched his bid this week to be Tokyo’s next governor.
Mr Hosokawa has returned to politics after two decades of quiet retirement, a period in which he rarely spoke in public and, when he did, talked mostly about pottery, his late-life passion. His motives are reflected in his election strategy: to transform the February 9 vote from a contest for an important but limited municipal governorship to a referendum on Japan’s post-Fukushima energy policy.
This is more than just a Tokyo election,” he told a crowd of supporters and curious onlookers in Shibuya on Thursday, the first day of the formal campaign. “It’s going to decide the fate of Japan.”…….
To assuage voter concerns about the economy, Mr Hosokawa has enlisted Junichiro Koizumi, another former prime minister who is a recent convert to the anti-nuclear cause. Appearing alongside Mr Hosokawa on Thursday, Mr Koizumi, a member of the pro-business LDP, promised that Japan could have economic growth without atomic power, and pointed to the huge costs of the Fukushima clean-up to counter the view that nuclear plants provide low-cost energy.
“Nuclear power isn’t safe, and it isn’t cheap,” he said.
Such statements drew the most applause in Shibuya. “This Tokyo election is a big moment,” said Muko Muto, 49, an office worker who described herself as an opponent of atomic energy. “Pro-nuclear groups are trying to scare people by saying we can’t afford to give up nuclear power.”
Mr Hosokawa has other obstacles to overcome, however. The anti-nuclear vote is likely to be split between him and the Communist candidate, Kenji Utsunomiya, a human rights lawyer and former head of the Japan Bar Association……..
Mr Hoshi, the Asahi columnist, says Mr Hosokawa’s greatest electoral strength may be a growing sense among voters that Mr Abe’s conservative government is overreaching. The national opposition is in tatters and Mr Abe is pushing what many see as an increasingly rightwing social and security agenda, exemplified by his visit in December to the Yasukuni war shrine and the passage of an unpopular official secrets law.
“Hosokawa really has two goals,” Mr Hoshi says. “To end nuclear power and to create some kind of competition for the Abe government and its policies.”http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1fab426c-84c7-11e3-8968-00144feab7de.html#slide0
Bryana Malloy: Young people must tackle today’s issues, like nuclear plant safetyhttp://www.gazettenet.com/home/10303496-95/bryana-malloy-young-people-must-tackle-todays-issues-like-nuclear-plant-safety January 24, 2014 As part of my internship with the American Friends Service Committee, I began to attend monthly meetings held by the Nuclear Free Future coalition. I learned a great deal about the issue of nuclear power and weapons, and after attending a December panel discussion in Northampton on decommissioning the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, Vt., the urgency of this issue became more apparent.
Some believe the energy produced at nuclear power plants is the cleanest and safest form available. But if you look into the steps taken to produce this energy, you will find it can be extremely dangerous. The possibility of large amounts of radioactive material leaking into the environment is a reality. The decommissioning process, if not done sensibly, will increase the likelihood that radioactive material will be released into the environment.
This integrity of this process is perhaps more important than nuclear power plant operation as a whole. The placement of spent fuel rods is a decision that must be made with long-term consequences in mind. Materials used in the nuclear power plant will be radioactive for years to come.
Terrorism, natural disasters, leaks and accidents can lead to disasters that affect our communities. The thought of what may happen is frightening, but is something that we should all be aware of. With the busy lives we all lead, it is easy to fall prey to ignorance. As a third-year college student, I admit there are many issues to which I should pay more attention. It is our civic duty to take action on these issues. I am working to become an active citizen and wish that more citizens, especially young people, would do the same.
If we do not take the time to get involved now, there is no guarantee that life will be the same in the future. These are issues relevant to our lives and the lives of generations to come. No matter the differences we see when we look at each other on the outside, we must remember that we are all humans —every person matters when it comes to the fight for life.
Mass. nuclear plant faulted on security issues Security Info Watch, BY CHRISTINE LEGERE CAPE COD TIMES, HYANNIS, MASS. JANUARY 24, 2014 NRC found five security-related violations during recent inspection Jan. 24–PLYMOUTH — Federal nuclear regulators found five security-related violations at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station during a routine inspection last month.
Two of those had been spotted by inspectors as long ago as 2012 but the shortcomings had yet to be addressed.
On Thursday, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan characterized the number of infractions found in this latest inspection as high.
It isn’t uncommon for plants to receive multiple “green” or “low security significance” inspection findings, “but five is above the normal average,” Sheehan said.
For two of the violations, the NRC issued written notices to Entergy Nuclear Operations, the plant’s owner and operator, for failing “to correct long-standing equipment deficiencies important to station security defense … within a reasonable amount of time,” according to the NRC letter.
The deficiencies dated back to November 2012……http://www.securityinfowatch.com/news/11299738/regulators-find-security-issues-at-pilgrim-nuclear-power-station
Residents Raise Questions About Legality Of Uranium Mining Billboard abc 13 Virginia: Jan 22, 2014 By Whitney Delbridge Pittsylvania Co., VA – A sign declaring Pittsylvania County “the future home of theworld’s safest uranium mine” has stood on Route 29 for months now, but local anti-uranium groups want to see it come down.
Electric malfunction shuts down Calvert Co. power plant By Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun, 22 Jan 14
Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant shut down on Tuesday evening following an electric malfunction.
The outage, which occurred at around 9:25 p.m., resulted from a breakdown on the non-nuclear side of the Calvert County facility, according to a news release. http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-power-plant-closure-20140122,0,4226643.story#ixzz2rEnyJIhc
Radiation Alert – Harmful Elements Detected at Ports In Shipments From Japan Livern Barrett, , Th Gleaner, 10 Jan 14 Jamaica Customs authorities have revealed that in the last 13 months, tests conducted at the nation’s ports have confirmed the presence of higher-than-normal levels of radiation in two shipments from Japan……..
The discovery of higher-than-normal levels of radiation in Jamaica comes days after Russian authorities barred 132 used Japanese vehicles from entering that country because of “radioactive pollution concerns“.
The cars were among a batch of 165 contaminated goods, including motor-vehicle spare parts, that were not allowed to enter Russia……http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140110/lead/lead1.html
Poll: Green power should replace nuclear,U-T San Diego By Morgan Lee9 A.M.JAN 8 A majority of utility customers in San Diego and Orange counties say climate change considerations should weigh in replacing power from the recently retired San Onofre nuclear plant, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Sierra Club.
The survey conducted by Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling found 51 percent of utility customers believe the “potential impact on climate disruption” should be a major consideration in replacing San Onofre. An additional 25 percent said climate issues should be a minor consideration, 19 percent said climate should not be a consideration at all and 5 percent were not sure. …..http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jan/08/survey-hightlights-green-energy/
Cold possible cause of Pa. nuke reactor shutdown, Seattle.Pi , January 7, 2014 PITTSBURGH (AP) — A frigid arctic air mass that brought record low temperatures to Pennsylvania, closing schools, courts and even some ski slopes is also being investigated as the possible cause of a nuclear reactor shutdown.
The dense mass of ultra-cold air began moving into the state on Monday afternoon, which is when one of two reactors shut down at FirstEnergy Corp.‘s Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh……http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Sub-zero-temps-close-schools-offices-in-W-Pa-5119683.php
Town of closing Vt nuclear plant signs agreement News Times, Tuesday, January 7, 2014 VERNON, Vt. (AP) — The select board in the Vermont town of Vernon has signed a contract with the owner of the closing Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that will stabilize the town’s tax base through March 2015.
The deal sets the value of the plant at $280 million for the fiscal year while the current assessment is $300 million, Vermont Public Radio reported (http://bit.ly/1ddx7sQ).
The agreement is good for the town because the plant will stop selling power in December, halfway through the contract, officials said. Entergy announced in August of 2013 that it would shut down Vermont Yankee at the end of 2014.
“We negotiated a fantastic one-year contract for the town that really gives us some breathing space…..The town is planning a public meeting on Jan. 20 to discuss budget cuts. The board will meet with Entergy again after town meeting to figure out a five- or ten-year tax agreement, O’Donnell said. http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Town-of-closing-Vt-nuclear-plant-signs-agreement-5121649.php
Indian Point workers authorize strike if pact not reached, Lohud.com 7 Jan 14, Members of Indian Point’s largest union have voted to authorize a strike against nuclear power plant owner Entergy if a new labor agreement can’t be reached by Jan. 17.
The contract between Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2, and Entergy expires at midnight that day. The union announced the strike-authorization vote Monday night…….
The union plans to hold a practice picket Thursday afternoon outside the plant. http://www.lohud.com/article/20140106/NEWS/301060063/Indian-Point-workers-authorize-strike-pact-not-reached?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews
Solar Popularity Regains Ground In The USA,Renewable Energy News, 7 Jan 14 Solar power has gained more ground in terms of positive perceptions in the US public according to a recent survey; whereas nuclear energy has lost a substantial amount of acceptance.
The Navigant Research survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found 79% of respondents favoured the concept of solar energy, followed by wind energy at 72%.
Solar’s result was a substantial improvement on 2012 – up from 69%. Wind also saw gains, up from 66%.
Nuclear energy scored poorly, with just 32% of respondents noting a favourable or very favourable impression of the technology, down from 41% in 2012. The number of people with an unfavourable or very unfavourable view of nuclear power climbed from 20% to 32%……
No to nuclear JACK BARNES O’Hara http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/01/05/No-to-nuclear/stories/201401050051 January 4, 2014 I must take exception to my former colleague at Westinghouse Electric Co. for his Dec. 29 Perspectives piece, “Atoms f0r Peace, 60 years later”, They are still trying to sell this pig to a public that needs to know the facts. The following are just a few items in response to their claims:
• It will never be known how many workers directly involved with nuclear materials died a premature death due to exposure to high-energy radiation.
• The Japanese were very fortunate that no workers were killed directly by radiation in the Fukushima incident. However, there were very courageous workers who exposed themselves to high radiation to perform emergency shutdowns. Their lives will probably be cut short.
• Millions of pounds of spent fuel from operating plants are still on site. A terrorist’s dream.
• The residue from this technology will be with mankind for thousands of years to come.
• A Chernobyl-type incident at one of the sites that is in a metropolitan area could cause a trillion dollars in damage and render the area unlivable.
There is no good answer to our energy problems and every technology has its down side, but nuclear power is not the solution.
I am sorry that I made it my life’s work.
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
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- 2 WORLD
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