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Niger uranium mine struck by suicide bombers

exclamation-Suicide bombers strike African uranium mine 24 May, 2013 Alex Heber Suicide bombers have killed at least 20 people in a French-run uranium mine in northern Niger.

About 50 people were injured at the mine when a suicide bomber drove into the front of the plant and blew up his vehicle, ABC reports.

The mine, located in the remote town of Arlit, has also reported key infrastructure has been badly damaged.

Islamist militants MUJWA are claiming responsibility for the attack.

The group which is also known as Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa is an offshoot of terrorist group Al Qaeda. MUJWA says the attack was at act of revenge for Niger’s involvement in the French-led intervention in Mali.

Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou, has also confirmed French Special Forces have now moved in to protect the plant.


May 25, 2013 Posted by | incidents, Niger | Leave a comment

Kentucky’s dangerous, toxic, nuclear brew and the failure of USEC Inc

eyes-surprisedThe Paducah plant cannot legally stay open, and it can’t safely be shut down—a lovely metaphor for the end of the Atomic Age and a perfect nightmare for the people of Kentucky.

highly-recommendedCountdown to Nuclear Ruin at Paducah  EcoWatch May 22, 2013 by Geoffrey Sea Disaster is about to strike in western Kentucky, a full-blown nuclear catastrophe involving hundreds of tons of enriched uranium tainted with plutonium, technetium, arsenic, beryllium and a toxic chemical brew. But this nuke calamity will be no fluke. It’s been foreseen, planned, even programmed, the result of an atomic extortion game played out between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the most failed American experiment in privatization, the company that has run the Paducah plant into the poisoned ground, USEC Inc.

As now scheduled, main power to the gargantuan gaseous diffusion uranium plant at Paducah, Kentucky, will be cut at midnight on May 31, just nine days from now—cut because USEC has terminated its power contract with TVA as of that time [“USEC Ceases Buying Power,” Paducah Sun, April 19, page 1] and because DOE can’t pick up the bill.

DOE is five months away from the start of 2014 spending authority, needed to fund clean power-down at Paducah. Meanwhile, USEC’s total market capitalization has declined to about $45 million, not enough to meet minimum listing requirements for the New York Stock Exchange, pay off the company’s staggering debts or retain its operating licenses under financial capacity requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Reference, Uranium, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

USA State Attorneys General want more options in nuclear waste management



eventually, someone in America would think of the idea of shutting down nuclear plants, at least till there’s a way to permanently solve the wastes problem


Flaws in the NRC’s review to date, the attorneys general said, include that it has not given adequate consideration to two alternatives:

— A rule saying that after five years cooling in specially constructed pools, the waste would have to be moved to hardened concrete and steel casks on plant grounds. That would leave much less radioactive material in spent fuel pools that have been described as more vulnerable to earthquakes or terrorist attacks.

exclamation-“The alternative of not allowing further production of spent fuel until the NRC determines that there is a safe and environmentally acceptable permanent waste repository to receive the additional spent fuel.” Not allowing further production of spent fuel would mean shutting down the entire U.S. nuclear industry.

Flag-USAFederal Nuclear Waste Rules Need To Be Improved, Attorneys General Petition NRC AP   By By DAVE GRAM : 05/23/2013  MONTPELIER, Vt.   — Attorneys general in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut announced Thursday they are petitioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a more thorough environmental review of storage of highly radioactive nuclear waste at plant sites. Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive contamination spreads in marine life

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiJapan Radiation Widely Contaminates Pacific Marine Life  24 May 13Traces of radioactive cesium from Japan’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been found in water and plankton collected
from all 10 points monitored across a vast stretch of the western Pacific.

The isotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 were found in the tiny plantlike creatures from the coast of Japan’s Hokkaido Island to Guam.

The samples were taken early last year, less than a year after the tsunami that overwhelmed the plant, but the findings were just
announced at a meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union.

Cesium-134 has a half-life of two years while it takes 30 years for cesium-137 to decay by half. Scientists say the isotopes were being dispersed across the Pacific in plankton, and were accumulating up the food chain as the tiny creatures were eaten by larger marine life.
Further studies are being conducted to see how much cesium was building up in fish and possibly marine mammals.

Radiation was flushed into the Pacific after three meltdowns occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant. More than two years after the March 2011 disaster, plant operators are struggling to contain the 400 tons of radioactive water poured over the melted cores of reactors 1, 2 and 3 to prevent the fuel from melting and burning again.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | oceans, radiation | 1 Comment

USA, Finland, Australia, Canada – global spread of Fukushima radiation

text ionisingFukushima Radiation Spreads Worldwide 25 May 13  Earth Changes —  California, Finland, Canada, Australia Hit By Radiation 

The University of California at Berkeleydetected cesium levels in San Francisco area milk above over EPA limits … and even higher than they were 6 months ago. 

Finnish public television says that cesium from Fukushima has been detected in lichens, fungi and elk and reindeer meat in Finland.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency confirmed a radiation cloud over the East Coast of Australia. 

The West Coast of Canada is getting hit by debris from Japan … and at least some of it is likely radioactive.

The authors of the controversial study claiming 14,000 deaths in the U.S. so far from Fukushima are now upping their figure to 20,000. I spoke with nuclear health expert Chris Busby about their study, and he said that mortality figures fluctuate pretty substantially in the normal course, and so it is hard to know at this point one way or the other whether their figures are accurate.

And while there is no evidence linking them to Fukushima, Bed Bath and Beyond has recalled radioactive tissue holders after they set off police radiation monitors aboard a delivery truck This may just be an example of the incredibly lax handling of radioactive materials.

And thyroid cancers are – mysteriously – on the rise in the U.S.

But don’t worry: The owner of the Fukushima plant has the plant in cold shutdown, so everything is “under control” … Although temperatures have apparently jumped inside Fukushima’s number 2 reactor, and the Japanese have no idea where the nuclear fuel has gone, so they are drilling a hole into the containment vessel to try to find it.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

PODCAST: the danger of Hanford’s old, leaking, radioactive waste tanks

Hear-This-wayGreat Haste Made Great Waste at Hanford
Hanford-waste-tanks Expert: “Incipient collapse” of radioactive waste tanks possible at U.S. nuclear site (AUDIO)

Title: Great Haste Made Great Waste at Hanford
Source: Fairewinds Energy Education
Date: May 22, 2013
Nuclear policy expert Robert Alvarez: Not much attention is paid to the fact that these tanks [at Hanford] that are holding these wastes, they’re decades old.

Most of them were constructed from the 40s-60s, over a third of them have leaked, and their structural integrity really leaves much to be desired.

By the time we get around to removing the contents of these wastes and ultimately stabilizing them, these tanks could go in to a state of incipient collapse.
Full report here

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | 2 Comments

As costs keep falling, solar energy at same price as grid, in 102 countries

Graph of the Day: Solar grid parity in 102 countries   By  on 24 May 2013 Here’s an interesting graph used by Suntech’s Stuart Wenham (sourced from Applied Materials) during a presentation at the Solar 2013 conference in Melbourne on Thursday. It highlights the extent of “grid parity” for solar PV across the world – it is now in 102 countries.


This definition of “grid parity” is the cost of rooftop solar versus the cost of electricity sourced from the grid – this is sometimes known as “socket parity”. Most of the countries – though not all – are those with good solar resources and relatively high electricity pricesAustralia reached “socket parity” several years ago.

Wenham says that solar PV will fall a further 50 per cent in costs up to 2020 – see our story today. He says that solar PV at a utility level will also challenge fossil fuels – as it already does in those with high gas and diesel costs, and will offer the cheapest avenue to countries which have little electricity infrastructure.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Hanford officials lied to authorities about radioactive leak

see-this.wayVIDEO Hanford officials hid leak evidence from advisory panel

secret-agent-Sm‘Amazing’: Plutonium leak at U.S. nuclear site hidden from public — Official: “A very deliberate cover up… I will use the word that we were lied to” (VIDEO)

Title: Hanford officials hid leak evidence from advisory panel
Source: KING 5
Date: May 21, 2013

A government-chartered advisory panel was told last September that materials spotted outside the inner wall of a tank holding radioactive waste at the Hanford Site were possibly the result of a “carbonate buildup,” “cross-contamination” or “rainwater leakage.” […]

On Aug. 13, the results were sent to multiple [Washington River Protection Solutions] officials showing measurable amounts of Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, two highly radioactive elements that are a byproduct of nuclear fission. Trace amounts of Plutonium 239/240 and Americium-241 were also detected.

A reference to the results in a Leak Assessment Report made public on Nov. 7 says the materials were registering 800,000 dpm (disintegrations per minute), a high level of radioactivity that had never been found in that portion of the tank before. […]

“This was a very deliberate cover up and I will use the word that we were lied to. There’s no two ways about it, we were lied to,” said state Rep. [Gerry] Pollet. […]

Anchor: “Susannah, amazing stuff, thank you.”

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, USA | Leave a comment

VIDEO: Award for solar wheelchair design

see-this.wayVIDEO Solar Powered Wheelchair Wins Award  25 May 13 A team from University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science recently won first place in a 2012 World Cerebral Palsy Day competition for their solar powered wheelchair design.

We first reported on solar wheelchairs back in 2010, when Haidar Taleb had just begun a journey to take him across the United Arab Emirates.

Inspired by roofs on convertible cars, the lightweight solar panels on the U.Va. team’s wheelchair are retractable and don’t significantly add to its length, width, height or weight when stored. A system of hinges on both sides of the chair controls the deployment of the solar panels. The three panels have a conversion efficiency of 15% and a capacity of 160 watts. When fully deployed, the custom solar panels cover an area of over one square meter. The wheelchair can operate for more than 4.5 hours at a speed of 8 kilometres per hour on a fully charged lead acid deep cycle battery, a range increase of more than 40 percent over batteries alone. At a speed of 1.6 km/h and suitable light exposure, the wheelchair and can run “indefinitely”; without needing to utilise battery power.

Built with lightweight materials, while the system may look fragile, it has been designed to operate under conditions more extreme than would be experienced in normal use. The panels and retractable mechanisms account for less than 15% of the completed wheelchair’s unoccupied weight.

Anyone with enough physical dexterity to use a joystick can operate the chair; including retracting and deploying the solar panels. In addition to standard features common to this type of wheelchair, USB power outlets are provided that can power a wide range of small devices.

In a wonderful display of generosity, the team will use their prize money to perform some final tweaks to the chair give it the individual in Turkey who submitted the initial suggestion for a solar-powered wheelchair.
The remaining prize money will be returned to United Cerebral Palsy in support of future World CP Day competitions.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Over 4000 villagers at hearing on Chutka nuclear power project: but hearing cancelled!

india-antinukePublic hearing on MP’s Chukta nuclear power project cancelled 
 Led by Ramon Magsaysay award winner Dr Sandeep Pandey and others prominent activists of the state, locals of as many as 38 villages restricted Mandla district administration to organise a public hearing on controversial Chutka nuclear power project.

According to activists, more than 4,000 villagers reached the hearing site at Chutka and stalled the process before it could take place. “The public hearing meeting has been cancelled today,” said a government spokesperson but refused to give details on next schedule.

According to the protesters, agitation against the 1,400 MW Chutka nuclear power project (450 km east from Bhopal) was boiling up. They are likely to intensify agitation against land acquisition process launched by state government. Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

The heavy footprint of uranium company AREVA, in impoverished Niger

areva-medusa1Areva, world’s 2nd uranium company heavily present in Niger, Expatica.comm 23 May 13  French nuclear group Areva, the world’s second-largest uranium producer whose mine in northern Niger was hit by a car bomb on Thursday, extracts more than a third of its mineral in the impoverished west African country.

Areva has been present in Niger for more than 40 years, operating two big mines near the northern town of Arlit through two affiliated companies — Somair and Cominak — which represent 37 percent of its total uranium production. Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Niger, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Exploitation in Malawi: Paladin’s Kayelekera Uranium Project

THE CASE OF PALADIN’S KAYELEKERA URANIUM MINE: REPORT RELEASED ON THE REVENUE COSTS AND BENEFITS TO MALAWI, Mining in Malawi, 23 May 13 The Australian mining company Paladin Energy and its subsidiaries along with the Malawi-based Kayelekera Uranium Project, in which it has an 85% stake, were the subject of much discussion this evening in Lilongwe at the launch of the report The Revenue Costs and Benefits of Foreign Direct Investment in the Extractive Industry in Malawi: The Case of Kayelekera Uranium Mine. The report explores what it describes as Malawi’s largest Foreign Direct Investment* and the extent to which Malawi is benefiting. It concludes that ”Malawi is getting a raw deal from the mining and exploitation of uranium by Kayelekera Mine”…….


At the launch of the report, Dalitso Kubalasa and Collins Magalasi, the executive directors of MEJN and AFRODAD respectively, spoke briefly before AFRODAD’s Tafadzwa Chikumbu presented the research findings. This paved the way for a lively question and answer session with questions raised about whether or not parliament is ready to renegotiate the terms of the agreement with Paladin, what has happened to the man who lost his sight due to “kayelekera radiation” and if mining revenue in Malawi therefore “dirty money”.

This discussion was followed by the official launch of the report by the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Juliana Mphande who exclaimed that she was “appalled to note that incentives offered to Paladin have severe implication to Government revenue and require attention of parliament”. She outlined the areas requiring parliamentary investigation and debate…..

Below is a summary of the main findings: Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES, Malawi, politics international, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

More options for USA’s nuclear waste are needed

AGs Tell Feds To Look At More Options For Spent Nuclear Fuel By BRIAN DOWLING, The Hartford Courant, May 24, 2013 Attorneys general from four New England states, including Connecticut, are asking federal regulators to consider other ways to handle spent nuclear fuel in their review of environmental impacts of the waste’s storage on-site at the plants.

In a filing with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission made Wednesday, the states brought up two options that were missing from a study of possible storage plans that was released in March. One option is shut down the plants until a permanent storage site is found. The other is have plants put spent fuel into dry casks rather than keep them in the plants’ cooling pools.

“State residents, particularly those living near active or retired nuclear power plants, need to know the potential environmental impact of long-term storage of nuclear waste,” Attorney General George Jepsen said in a written statement. Vermont, Massachusetts and New York were also on the filing.“Public confidence in the NRC’s study will only result if all viable options, such as alternatives that can substantially mitigate potentially adverse impacts, are considered…..,0,292186.story

May 25, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

New Book: A Short History of Nuclear Folly

Book-nuclear-follyA Short History of Nuclear Folly [Hardcover]  Release date: April 30, 2013

In the spirit of Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café, a blackly sardonic people’s history of atomic blunders and near-misses revealing the hushed-up and forgotten episodes in which the great powers gambled with catastrophe Rudolph Herzog, the acclaimed author of Dead Funny, presents a devastating account of history’s most irresponsible uses of nuclear technology. From the rarely-discussed nightmare of “Broken Arrows” (40 nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War) to “Operation Plowshare” (a proposal to use nuclear bombs for large engineering projects, such as a the construction of a second Panama Canal using 300 H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear projects that nearly led to disaster.

In an unprecedented people’s history, Herzog digs deep into archives, interviews nuclear scientists, and collects dozens of rare photos. He explores the “accidental” drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a train conductor’s home, the implanting of plutonium into patients’ hearts, and the invention of wild tactical nukes, including weapons designed to kill enemy astronauts.

Told in a riveting narrative voice, Herzog—the son of filmmaker Werner Herzog—also draws on childhood memories of the final period of the Cold War in Germany, the country once seen as the nuclear battleground for NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries, and discusses evidence that Nazi scientists knew how to make atomic weaponry . . . and chose not to.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | resources - print, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Uranium enrichment – how crooked deals on USEC enrich the private sector

uranium-enrichmentTo keep a large campaign contributor out of bankruptcy court for a few more months, the Paducah plant was permitted to reach the current crisis state. And the people of Kentucky were sent straight to nuclear hell. 

highly-recommendedCountdown to Nuclear Ruin at Paducah  EcoWatch May 22, 2013 by Geoffrey Sea “……….Murphie’s Law    So how did it come to this? Since the plant was originally scheduled to cease operations on May 31, 2012, why didn’t USEC and DOE have plenty of time to plan for orderly and funded clean power-down, which was precisely what the sleazy one-year extension deal was supposed to give time to accomplish.

The answer is that the entire uranium enrichment enterprise of the U.S. has become a sham operation, a sham designed to funnel U.S. Treasury funds to private companies including USEC and its partners, a sham designed to convert any problem or scandal into additional contractor award fees, a sham designed to keep the fig-leaf of a privatized USEC Inc. from blowing away and exposing all the naughty bits.

Those became the goals of the operation, not enriching uranium, developing new technology or achieving safe operations or cleanup of the sites. Murphie’s Law is that if anything can go wrong, it will boost contractor award fees, for a select group of companies hand-picked by Murphie himself. Thus, the principal “cleanup” contractors at Piketon are Fluor and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), both of which are suppliers to USEC’s fake “American Centrifuge Project,” and B&W is a strategic partner of USEC with a large share of USEC preferred stock, poised to take over USEC’s operations if the latter goes under. Continue reading

May 25, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment