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USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission in crisis

Exit Jackzo: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Free Fall by Richard Brodsky, 25 May 12,  The resignation of NRC Chairman Gregory Jackzo puts the issue of nuclear safety smack on the middle of Obama’s desk, and then into the presidential race.

That’s a good thing.  The NRC is not doing the job that the law and common sense require it to do.  It is a captive of the nuclear industry, operates in secret and without due regard for the public health and safety. The NRC’s relationship to the nuclear industry today is just what the SEC’s relationship was to Wall Street four years ago.  We are skating on very thin ice. Continue reading


May 26, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Ruthless and crooked – the tobacco industry’s cover-up about radiation

 The story of polonium highlights the twists and turns made by an industry that puts profits above health, and continues to push a product that kills half of all its long-term users…….  

Tobacco Firms Have Failed to Act on Radioactivity in Cigarettes – Here’s Why HUFFINGTON POST UK, By Oliver Childs,  25/05/2012 It’s a plot worthy of Hollywood – a fatal radioactive poison, secret documents, suppressed information, and drugs.

But this isn’t fiction. This is the story of the tobacco industry’s knowledge, policy and inaction around radioactive material in cigarette smoke. And how it took a painstaking search through thousands of court-ordered documents to uncover exactly why tobacco firms are unwilling to remove this deadly radioactivity, despite knowing how for more than 30 years.
By their own admission, “creating doubt about the health charge without actually denying it” is a strategy the tobacco industry has used effectively for decades, using smoke and mirrors to deflect mounting evidence of the deadly harm caused by their products. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Youthful protestors lead anti nuclear push in Russia

On Murmansk Oblast’s Kola peninsula, however, nuclear backers face one of the strongest environmental organizations in Russia. For more than 10 years, Vitaly Servetnik and other activists at Priroda i molodezh (Nature and Youth) have battled attempts to build new reactors and extend the life of existing ones at the Kola nuclear plant, carrying out more than 100 protest campaigns

Servetnik accuses the authorities of using the Interior Ministry’s anti-terror police, known as Center E, to spy on his small group based in Murmansk.

ecologists persuaded authorities in Volgodonsk, southern Russia, to hold round table talks on the planned power increase of one reactor at the Rostov nuclear plant. In the Kaliningrad exclave, opposition is mounting to the planned 2016 launch of a new reactor at the Baltic plant. 

Nuclear-Strength Kola TOL Special Report: In Russia’s northwest, a scrappy bunch of young environmentalists faces off against a powerful nuclear lobby. By Alexander Tretyakov  reporter for SOTV, a publicly funded Internet television channel in Moscow. 24 May 2012 This is the fourth in a series of articles on the state of the environment in Russia.

MOSCOW | Murmansk Oblast in northern Russia has one of the highest
concentrations of nuclear energy on earth. Nuclear submarines and
icebreakers of the Russian Northern Fleet sail the White and Barents
seas, and the Kola nuclear power plant is still going strong nearly 40
years after its first reactor hummed into life.

Russia’s nuclear industry is due for a massive expansion under a
government plan to increase nuclear’s share in national power
production. Russia has shown no sign of wavering on nuclear power in
the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster, ….. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

Majority of Japanese firms want abandonment of nuclear power

Critics accuse utilities of exaggerating potential power shortages in order to win public support to restart off-line reactors

 70 percent of firms are prepared to cooperate on power saving to the same degree as last summer

Three-quarters of Japanese firms oppose nuclear power, Chicago Tribune, by Tetsushi Kajimoto, TOKYO (Reuters) 25 May 12- Nearly three-quarters of Japanese companies support abandoning nuclear power after last year’s Fukushima disaster, although a majority set the condition that alternative energy resources must be secured, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The poll offers fresh evidence of the deep public distrust of nuclear
power, Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

High level nuclear waste dump for shores of Great Lakes!

how did governments around the world, citizens like us around the world, science and the nuclear industry, turn a blind eye to the huge buildup of nuclear waste for more than 40 years as we enjoyed the fruits of nuclear power?

the nuclear waste dangers will remain for thousands of years, longer than civilization itself. And right next to the largest fresh-water lake system in the world.

Nuclear waste, tourism don’t mix By WAYNE MACDONALD,  May 26, 2012  A packed council chambers in Saugeen Shores, where I live, stood in stunned amazement as its local council- once again – took a huge step toward changing the face of this lakeside community with no discussion, no debate. Absolutely none. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Canada, environment, wastes | Leave a comment

Hard to get money for the prevention of nuclear accidents

the challenge the NRC has is, when something happens, it’s easy to convince people they need to spend money, prevent the next one. But when something hasn’t happened yet and it’s just a postulated event or a hypothetical disaster, it’s more  difficult to get people to pony up millions of dollars to fix the hypothetical problem….

Are U.S. Nuclear Plants Ready for a Fukushima-Like Meltdown?  PBS Newshour 25 May 12, When Chairman Gregory Jaczko resigned from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week, reports suggested it was linked to battles within the commission over safety requirements. Miles O’Brien reports on how government regulators in the U.S. set the safety bar for nuclear plants…… Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

It looks as if USA and Israel are murdering Iran’s nuclear scientists

The undeclared war on Iran’s nuclear program, PAUL KORING TEHRAN—  Globe and Mail  May. 25, 2012 Over the past 28 months, assassins have targeted at least five Iranians scientists or engineers, men linked by Western intelligence agencies to the country’s controversial nuclear program….

No group or nation has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks on Iranian scientists. The killings are clearly part of a deliberate campaign. Some in the West see them as justified in the broader effort to deny a nuclear arsenal to Iran’s bellicose leaders…… Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China’s campaign to cut greenhouse gases

China to spend $27bn on energy efficiency and renewables Country plans to promote solar and wind power and develop hybrid technologies to cut carbon emissions,   25 May 2012  China plans to spend $27 bn (£17bn) this year to promote energyconservation, emission reductions and renewable energy.

The country’s finance ministry said it wants to promote energy-saving products, solar and wind power and accelerate the development of renewable energy and hybrid cars…..

In the long term, China is targeting to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2003 levels and aims to boost its use of renewable energy to 15% of overall energy consumption.

Negotiators from over 180 nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany, until Friday to work towards getting a new global climate pact signed by 2015. The aim is to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made after the Kyoto protocol expires at the end of this year.

May 26, 2012 Posted by | China, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Without waiting for safety solutions, NRC approves relicense for Pilgrim nuclear plant

“When the regulator does not follow its own rules, don’t expect that
it will require the nuclear industry to do so either. Fukushima showed
what happen,” 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission OKs new 20-year license for Pilgrim nuke plant, Boston Herald, By Associated Press,  May 25, 2012 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the renewal of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s operating license for another 20 years, the agency announced Friday, despite objections from Gov. Deval Patrick and other Massachusetts officials. The commission voted 3-1 to
authorize staff to renew the license before June 8, when the original
40-year license of the Plymouth, Mass., facility was set to expire.

Patrick called the NRC’s decision “extremely troubling.” He and other
officials, including Attorney General Martha Coakley and U.S. Reps.
Edward Markey and William Keating, had called on the NRC hold off on
renewal until all safety and environmental contentions had been
resolved. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Iran: Cautious moves for compromise on uranium enrichment

U.S., allies may drop demand that Iran completely halt uranium enrichment By Sahar Issa — McClatchy Newspapers, May 23, 2012;  The United States and five other major powers exchanged extensive proposals with Iran on Wednesday over that country’s nuclear program amid signs that the U.S. and its negotiating partners were dropping demands that Iran completely halt the  enrichment of uranium.
Instead, the six powers formally asked Iran to halt enrichment of
uranium to 20 percent purity, a proposal that would allow it to
continue enriching uranium to the 5 percent level Iran says it needs
for electrical power generation.

…….The proposals also contained incentives for Iran, but it wasn’t
clear whether the six powers had offered to ease far-reaching
sanctions that have sharply hurt Iran’s economy or to suspend a cutoff
of purchases of Iranian oil that’s due to go into effect July 1.

Iran, which says that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful
purposes, cautiously welcomed the six-power proposal.

“The ideas fielded to us speak of the fact that the other side would
like to make Baghdad a success,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar
Salehi said in Tehran. “We hope that in a day or two we can bring good

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Radiation released right after Fukushima accident was much more than first estimated

Fukushima radiation higher than first estimated,  By Kevin Krolicki TOKYO    May 24 (Reuters) – The radiation released in the first days of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was almost 2-1/2 times the amount first estimated by Japanese safety regulators, the operator of the crippled plant said in a report released on Thursday. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Fukushima 2012, incidents | Leave a comment

USA losing a strong advocate for nuclear safety, Gregory Jaczcko

Nuclear Power After Fukushima, May 25, 2012  The resignation of Gregory Jaczko, the embattled chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, means the country is losing a strong advocate for public safety who was always willing to challenge the nuclear industry and its political backers in Congress.

The White House’s choice to replace him, Allison Macfarlane, has strong credentials as an expert on nuclear waste and weapons. She will need to be as independent and aggressive as Dr. Jaczko. Both industry and her fellow commissioners will have to be pushed to implement necessary improvements highlighted by the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan…..

When it comes to nuclear power, the cost of any mistake can be truly unthinkable. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Another radioactive spill at Point Lepreau nuclear power plant

N.B. nuclear plant reports second spill in 6 months  The Canadian Press 24, 2012 LEPREAU, N.B. — About 300 litres of radioactive heavy water spilled during a test at a New Brunswick nuclear power plant, making it the second spill at the site in less than six months.

NB Power said in a statement that the water spilled Monday at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear facility…… In December, four to six lit res of radioactive heavy water spilled because of a leak at the plant, which prompted an evacuation. ….

….Point Lepreau has been out of service since March 2008 for a major refurbishment that’s meant to extend the life of the reactor by 25 years.

The project is about three years behind schedule and $1 billion over
the original $1.4-billion budget.

May 26, 2012 Posted by | Canada, incidents | Leave a comment

Theft of uranium 235

Moldova: 3 Sentenced in Nuclear Case By REUTERS  May 24, 2012 A Moldovan court sentenced three people on Thursday for their part in illegal trafficking of uranium-235, which can be used in making nuclear weapons. The three were part of a five-member group seized by the police in June during what was said to be an exchange of a cylinder containing the radioactive material for cash. Intelligence services from several other countries, principally the United States, Germany and Ukraine, were involved in the case, the justice authorities in Moldova said.  According to the general prosecutor’s office, a Russian woman was sentenced to three years in prison, and her accomplice got five years. A third person was fined $1,200. The group had been trying to sell about two pounds of uranium-235 for $38 million, the prosecution said. It was not clear to what degree the uranium was enriched.

May 26, 2012 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

AS usual, NRC will renew nuclear reactor license

The NRC has never rejected a license renewal application of a nuclear
plant. It has previously renewed the licenses of 72 of the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors 

Official opposes Plymouth nuclear plant license, By David Abel |   Boston Globe       May 24, 2012    Six years after the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth sought to renew its license, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted Thursday to deny the plant the right to continue operating for another 20 years.
His vote will probably be in the minority, and opponents of renewing
Pilgrim’s license said they expect the full commission to outvote
Gregory B. Jaczko, the controversial chairman who announced his
resignation this week. Jakzo’s vote was widely seen as a protest of
the commission’s stance on the Pilgrim plant. Continue reading

May 26, 2012 Posted by | general | 1 Comment