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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Nuclear reactors, radioactive waste dumps always sited near the poor and under-privileged

miningawareness
miningawareness.wordpress.comx  3 May 14 I think most people don’t see the reactors, whatever the country, and so don’t really know they are there.

Do you see reactors in Paris? No, but in the countryside you do. Do you see reactors in Zurich, Switzerland? No, but there is a lot of nuclear stuff to the NW of Zurich and they want to put a nuclear dump 40 minutes due north of Zurich. I checked and that area of South Carolina is around 48% black which for a country (USA) which is 13% black is high. Very sad that they were so proud of their black president, who is now dumping German waste on them!

wastes-1Ditto for Shelby county (48% black) around Memphis, Tennessee where they are dumping low level rad waste in poor conditions – possibly the low level German rad waste burned at Oak Ridge Tennessee. I think they are dismantling reactor cores in an island in the Mississippi River near Memphis, if I recall correctly. Claiborne county where the Mississippi reactors are is probably a higher percentage African American. It is in the top poorest counties in the USA. This is most likely where they would put a Mississippi dump.
It’s where the waste sits anyway, while the Las Vegas casino operators block Yucca mountain. These areas of SC, Miss, and Tenn are very poor. Also, the South Dakota uranium mines are in very poor areas with large American Indian-Lakota Sioux populations. I guess that it’s because the US really doesn’t have much or any standards on these things, and Germany may.

But, Germany exporting its waste to Italy, Tennessee and South Carolina certainly looks racist in the broader sense of non-German, because there is plenty of space in the poor, rural parts of Germany and a lot of it is contaminated by Chernobyl fallout and probably from its power plants. Germany is earthquake prone, but oddly enough so is South Carolina. Germany is wet, but not as wet as South Carolina and certainly not as hot, and there would be some suitable geology someplace in Germany I would think – of the hard-rock variety. I saw part of a documentary which said that Germany exported its bad loans to Irish banks and maybe Scottish ones, such that Ireland had to bail the banks out and Germany’s banks did fine. You should inquire about it sometime.

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May 3, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Germany, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

After many generations of radiation-caused deaths and deformities, some Chernobyl birds have adapted

text ionisingSome birds adapt to Chernobyl’s radiationSarah Zielinski, 2 May 14,  https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/some-birds-adapt-chernobyl%E2%80%99s-radiation On April 26, 1986, the world saw the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history when Unit 4 of the nuclear power station in Chernobyl, Ukraine, was destroyed. The explosion and subsequent fire released radioactive material into the environment that lingers today. The Soviet government closed off a 30-kilometer area around the plant, and hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated, never to return home. Workers are still trying to cap the site with a giant arch that would entomb the remains of the nuclear reactor.

The effects on local plants and wildlife have been varied. Pine trees close to the disaster died in the days soon after. Other plants thrived in the spaces abandoned by humans. Wildlife, too, seemed to be doing well. Rare birds were spotted. A herd of Przewalski’s horses, escaped from captivity, grew. Wolves and boar were seen on the streets of one town.But all was not good. Radiation, after all, is not healthy for living things. And so studies have documented negative effects of Chernobyl’s radiation on the region’s plants and animals, including changes in abundance, distribution, life history and mutation rates. Scientists have found that birds living in the area have eye cataractsor smaller brains. And insects, microbes and other decomposers aren’t behaving normally.

A new study, however, finds that some birds may be adapting to the low levels of radiation that persist around Chernobyl. Thestudy was published April 24 in Functional Ecology.

Ismael Galván of Paris-Sud University and colleagues captured 152 birds representing 16 species from sites within and near the Chernobyl exclusion zone. They took blood samples and analyzed the birds’ levels of antioxidants, how much their DNA had been damaged and their body condition. They also measured the levels of the pigment pheomelanin in the birds’ feathers.

When the researchers compared birds captured in higher radiation areas with those in lower radiation spots, they found something surprising: The birds from the higher radiation zones were generally in better condition, and they had higher levels of antioxidants. These molecules can help cells by stopping the reaction through which ionizing radiation damages DNA.

“To our knowledge, this represents the first evidence of adaptation to ionizing radiation in wild populations of animals,” the researchers write.

Two species, great tits (Parus major) and barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) didn’t follow the pattern and were doing worse in the high radiation locations. These birds had higher levels of pheomelanin in their feathers. Antioxidants are consumed in the production of pheomelanin, so to produce higher levels, the birds would have used up more antioxidants. Perhaps, the researchers write, these birds aren’t left with enough antioxidants to effectively deal with the DNA damage caused by radiation.

However, anyone thinking that this is good news for Chernobyl’s wildlife should think again. “The effects of radiation at Chernobyl on populations of organisms, and for birds in particular,” the researchers write, “have been negative overall.”

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Belarus, environment | 2 Comments

Exiting the nuclear energy business – Exelon following Dominion Resources, Ameren and Duke Energy

thumbs-downWhy Exelon will unload its nuclear plants Crains Chicago Business, Joe Cahill, 2 May 14, “…..a nuclear engineer just set the stage for Exelon Corp. to exit the nuclear power business.   CEO Christopher Crane’s agreement this week to acquire Washington’s Pepco Holdings Inc. for $6.8 billion would shift Exelon’s center of gravity decisively toward regulated utility operations and away from the fleet of nuclear power plants that has been the centerpiece of company strategy for the better part of two decades under Mr. Crane and predecessor John Rowe. If the Pepco acquisition proceeds as planned, Exelon would get well over half its profit from utility ratepayers in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia. A far smaller share will come from nuclear operations that once generated as much as two-thirds of corporate earnings.

nuclear-costs3

The deal speaks volumes about Mr. Crane’s view of the nuclear business he oversaw before succeeding Mr. Rowe in 2012. Since taking over, he has largely stuck to the nuclear-focused script penned by his predecessor, assuring Wall Street that depressed electricity prices squeezing profits in the nuclear unit will rise in the not-too-distant future. But prices remain stubbornly low, as expanding natural gas supplies reduce costs at gas-fueled electric power plants.

Mr. Crane told investors the deal was an opportunistic move and insists he still expects power prices to rise…………

in the end, it really doesn’t matter if Mr. Crane still believes power prices will recover. His deal for Pepco all but ensures Exelon eventually will sell or spin off its nuclear unit.

 Acquiring utility-focused Pepco will reduce power generation to a sideshow at Exelon. Investors sizing up the company will consider nuclear operations an unpredictable outlier and a drag on earnings from the utility business……..

Mr. Crane wouldn’t be the first CEO to give up on power generation. Dominion Resources, Ameren and Duke Energy have sold or are in the process of selling their generating units. And Mr. Crane himself has talked about closing some of Exelon’s most profit-challenged plants. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140502/BLOGS10/140509964/exelons-next-deal-the-spinoff-of-its-nuclear-fleet

May 3, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Lin Yi-hsiung will continue his fight against nuclear power in Taiwan

Lin-Yi-hsiung-TaiwanHunger Striker Ends Fast, but Not Fight, Against Nuclear Power in Taiwan NYT, By AUSTIN RAMZY MAY 1, 2014, A former head of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party has announced that he is ending his hunger strike, but not his campaign, against nuclear power on the island.

The former leader, Lin Yi-hsiung, 72, began his protest on April 22, and it drew attention from Taiwan’s leaders and from protesters, who converged on central Taipei in recent days to say they were inspired by Mr. Lin’s sacrifice.

In announcing the end of his fast on Wednesday, Mr. Lin thanked protesters for their recent campaign against nuclear power.

“Over the past half month, the people of Taiwan’s outstanding display has been unprecedented, which leaves one feeling moved, full of admiration and deeply appreciative,” he wrote in a blog post.

On Monday, the government announced that it was halting work on the Lungmen nuclear power plant in northeast Taiwan, about 20 miles outside Taipei, pending a referendum on its future. The project, known as No. 4, was started more than a decade ago and has cost more than $9 billion………

The 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan has raised concerns among many people in Taiwan about the safety of nuclear power, particularly with a plant that is near the ocean and the island’s largest urban area.

After Sunday’s demonstration, which the police estimated drew 28,500 people and organizers say had as many as 50,000, a smaller number of protesters converged on a main street near Taipei’s main train station. They were forcibly removed by the police using water cannons.

With the halt to construction on the plant and the end of Mr. Lin’s hunger strike, the momentum for antinuclear demonstrations has ebbed somewhat. But smaller protests have continued outside the legislature building this week, and Mr. Lin has called on his supporters to continue pushing for the shutdown of Taiwan’s three other nuclear power plants.

“If work on No. 4 doesn’t resume, it’s no longer an issue,” he wrote. “Nuclear opponents should take a step forward to ensuring the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 nuclear power plants are closed on schedule.” http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/hunger-striker-ends-fast-but-not-fight-against-nuclear-power-in-taiwan/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

May 3, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Mixed Oxide Nuclear Fuel (MOX) program is a dud

MOXMOX project of little value http://beta.mirror.augusta.com/opinion/letters/2014-05-01/mox-Flag-USAproject-little-value By Victor J. ReillyAiken, S.C. Thursday, May 1, 2014 MOX is a mix of oxides of uranium and plutonium that can be used as fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. It removes some plutonium from the sticky fingers of terrorists. Sound good? Yes, until the cost of doing this soared.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has recently said that if MOX is shelved, she wants the plutonium out of South Carolina. That is silly, but it reflects a 2002 federal law that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham had demanded.

Apparently, idiocy is endemic.

First, our plutonium problem. With welcome reductions in our nuclear arsenal, we now have about a hundred tons of plutonium in storage. In the wrong hands, less than 20 pounds of it could make a nuclear bomb. That would be a catastrophe. We must store it securely for decades. Savannah River Site would be logical for this job, with its huge area and a staff experienced in handling plutonium. This would provide good jobs that the governor should have jumped at.

MOX’s design capacity is to disable one ton of plutonium per year, so if MOX were the way to work it off, it would take more than a hundred years. A stock of one ton requires as much protection as for 100 tons.

Savannah-River-MOX-plant1

With the huge increase in fixed costs from construction, would it be profitable? If we plan to cancel the program, we would end up writing off the sunk costs, so why not do it anyway? Would it then be profitable? If MOX fuel can’t be sold at a profit, why continue with it?

In summary, MOX has no value in ridding us of our stored plutonium.

Alternatives must be sought for that. The United States will need to have one or several plutonium storage sites, indefinitely. South Carolina should accept the job for one of them.

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Reference, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Britain’s Sellafield – a nuclear security nightmare

elephant-terror-in-roomNuclear power undermines nuclear security, The Ecologist, Dr David Lowry 2nd May 2014 “…… In Britain, the biggest nuclear security problem is the huge nuclear facility at Sellafield, originally built in the early 1950 on England’s northwest coast, in Cumbria, which is also home of the wonderful Lake District National Park.

Sellafield however is also the home of hundreds of decaying and decrepit building, many stores of liquid and solid radioactive waste, and, from a security perspective, most importantly, 111 tonnes of weapons – useable plutonium.

Let me give you that figure in another way. 111 tonnes is 111,000 kilogrammes. A nuclear bomb can be made with as little as 5 kilograms of plutonium – a lump about the size of a large orange.

Note: the ‘Fat Man’ nuclear bomb detonated above Nagasaki in August 1945, with a blast equivalent to 21,000 tons of TNT, contained jut 6.2 kg of plutonium

The Sellafield deer

And how well prepared are Sellafield’s managers for the unexpected? Not very, as we can see from the story of the Sellafield deer.

As a result of a recent security review, the Sellafield management decided to strengthen the perimeter fence around the site. Unfortunately in doing so they unintentionally captured a small herd of wild deer.

But rather than releasing the corralled deer, they shot them, as the local newspaper, the Whitehaven News revealed early on 3rd April. Their headline ran: “Three deer shot dead as Sellafield carries out cull”.

Now – if the deer could find themselves, un-noticed, on the wrong side of the security fence, what about people? The insecurity of the storage buildings for the waste products arising from operating nuclear power reactor is a a huge and as yet unsolved problem.

We are often told these stores are robust against terrorist attack. …….

sellafield-2011

UK score on nuclear security: 11%

NTI publishes a table in its new report (see below) that ought to set the alarm bells ringing in DECC and across Whitehall. The NTI assessed the nuclear security of 25 countries identified as having the nuclear materials capable of making nuclear nuclear WMDs. The UK ranked bottom with a score of just 11/100.

But the problem is clearly systemic. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who also happen to be the ‘Big Five’ nuclear weapons states – the US, Russia, China, UK and France – all ranked 18th or worse out of 25, with scores of 34/100 or worse.

Intriguingly Iran – condemned by the US and other countries as representing a major nuclear proliferation hazard and punished by the Security Council with severe sanctions as a consequence – ranked 4th with a score of 89/100, putting the UNSC permanent members to shame……. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2381924/nuclear_power_undermines_nuclear_security.html

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Reference, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Justice for Britain’s nuclear test veterans and their children!

flag-UKJohn Baron MP: It’s time to recognise our nuclear test veterans http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2014/05/john-baron-mp-its-time-to-recognise-our-nuclear-test-veterans.html By  , 2 May 14, John Baron MP is a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. When compared with how other countries treat their nuclear test veterans, Britain has a shameful record. Ministry of Defence (MoD) references to war pensions do not wash. The very high rate of serious ill health amongst veterans’ offspring reinforces the fact that, although no side can lay hold to firm scientific evidence, there is a case to be answered. The Government needs to build on its good track record of acknowledging past wrongs, and finally recognise the debt of gratitude we owe to these veterans and their families.

During the 1950s and 1960s, over 20,000 British and Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom were on national service, took part in British nuclear tests in the South Pacific and Australia. They played an essential part in developing Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, and their contribution to winning the Cold War can not be overstated.

The tests were carried out at the very beginning of the nuclear age, and the science was imperfectly understood. Precautions for the servicemen were primitive and inadequate. The only people wearing protective suits were the scientists. Many veterans believe their health, and that of their descendants, has been adversely affected by their presence during the nuclear tests.

The veterans feel forgotten, and some years ago came together to form the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA), the principal charity which campaigns on their behalf. I am honoured to be their Patron, and since 2011 we have been running a cross-party campaign in Parliament. The campaign has involved two stages. The first was to secure a Health Needs Audit from the MoD, to ease the path of our veterans through the NHS, which we have now secured. The second has been to secure official recognition of their service from the Government. This has not been forthcoming, and is very important not only to the diminishing number of veterans – only around 3,000 are still alive – but also to the descendents of those no longer with us. An acknowledgement from the Prime Minister, either orally or in writing, would make a huge difference.

A further aspect of our recognition campaign is to secure an ex gratia payment of £25 million from the Government to help establish a Benevolent Fund to distribute grants to veterans and their descendents to help with their care. Access to the Fund would be on the basis of need, not entitlement – thus reinforcing the fact our campaign is one of recognition, not compensation. For the record, the BNTVA has never taken part in any of the legal proceedings against the MoD.

Our recognition campaign was launched in Parliament last June, and over 80 MPs have expressed support for its aims. In October, I led a Parliamentary debate on the issue, during which I highlighted that Britain lies towards the bottom of the ‘international table of decency’ when it comes to how we treat our test veterans.

Canada and the US, for example, both offer payments to nuclear servicemen of £47,000 and £15,000 respectively. Crucially, no causal link between presence at a test and illness is required – this is in contrast to our war pensions scheme, which inevitably finds against veterans. The Isle of Man, our near neighbour, makes an £8,000 payment to any resident nuclear veteran. In all three cases, nuclear veterans receive free health care. Even the Russians ply their test veterans with medals and pensions, in recognition of their contribution.

Underlining the veterans’ case is the fact that their descendants suffer a much higher rate of congenital illness at birth. Against a national rate of around 2.5 per cent, over a third of veterans’ offspring have a serious medical condition. Figures obtained from French nuclear test veterans are broadly similar. Though this may not be scientific, it is nevertheless strong circumstantial evidence that the veterans’ service has cast a long shadow, and explains why the Benevolent Fund must be extended to veterans’ descendants.

Faced with the prevalence of ill health amongst descendants, a significant number of veterans opted to take the life-changing step not to have any children, and still more have terminated pregnancies rather than take the risk. These, together with the sad toll of multiple miscarriages and stillbirths, make up a ‘hidden story’ of anguish and uncertainty precipitated by service at nuclear tests.

The MoD’s defence of the indefensible is the existence of its war pensions scheme. But 90 per cent of nuclear test veterans have failed to get a war pension, in part because they find it difficult to establish a casual link between their presence at the tests and their ill health. This is despite the fact some of these veterans have received money through American schemes. Derek Spackman was a British navigator in an RAF Canberra aircraft. Flying out of Darwin, in 1954 he was tasked with sampling radiation levels following the American tests on the Marshall Islands. His widow was repeatedly denied a war pension by the MoD; however the US Government awarded her $75,000 for his service.

No doubt further information will come to light, as veterans respond to the BNTVA’s ‘call for evidence’. What comes through strongly is that the veterans have a compelling case, and that the goals of the campaign – official recognition and a £25m Benevolent Fund – are in truth very modest.

The BNTVA and I are hosting a Parliamentary film reception for veterans, their families and supporters on June 25. Having met the Prime Minister just before Easter, he is now going to ask further questions within government. Our hope is that he will recognise that our campaign is fair and just. After 60 years of waiting, the nuclear test veterans and their descendants deserve no less.

May 3, 2014 Posted by | children, health, UK | Leave a comment

Dead nuclear reactors are still very dangerous: US Senators call to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

safety-symbol1SENATORS TO NRC: DO NOT EXEMPT DECOMMISSIONING NUCLEAR REACTORS FROM EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND SECURITY MEASURES NEWS RELEASE — SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, SEN. BERNIE SANDERS

Flag-USAMay 2, 2014

Contact:
Mike Briggs (Sanders) 202-224-5141
David Carle (Leahy) 224-3693

Washington (May 2, 2014) – In a letter sent today to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Senators Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called on the agency to stop the “unwise policy” of issuing exemptions for emergency response regulations to decommissioning nuclear reactors which house decades-worth of spent nuclear fuel.

Exemptions for compliance with the emergency response regulations – such as those that require evacuation zones and siren systems to warn of problems – have been granted to all of the ten reactor licensees that have requested them in the past. Moreover, the licensees of reactors that are or will soon begin the decommissioning process (including San Onofre in California and Vermont Yankee) have already submitted a wide range of exemption requests from emergency response, security and other regulations to the NRC.

The NRC is currently in the process of finalizing its finding that spent nuclear fuel can be stored safely for at least 60 years beyond the licensed life of a nuclear power plant, and based this determination in part on the assertion that emergency preparedness and security regulations remain in place during decommissioning. Accidents or attacks on spent fuel pools would put neighboring communities at great risk of experiencing radioactive releases, fires, and widespread contamination.
Full text of the letter is attached with appendices and below.

May 2, 2014

The Honorable Allison M. Macfarlane
Chairman
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Rockville, MD 20852

Dear Chairman Macfarlane:

We write to request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) cease exempting licensees of decommissioning nuclear reactors from its emergency response and security regulations. NRC repeatedly cites these regulations to demonstrate the long-term safety and security of spent nuclear fuel. Yet it has granted each and every one of the ten requests for exemptions from emergency response requirements that it has received from reactors that have permanently shut down, generally within 2 years of the reactors’ closure and without regard to how much spent fuel is still stored in spent fuel pools. ……….

NRC is currently in the process of finalizing its Waste Confidence decision that spent nuclear fuel can be stored safely for at least 60 years beyond the licensed life of a nuclear power plant, and based this determination in part on the assertion that emergency preparedness and security regulations remain in place during decommissioning.The Commission is also voting on whether there is a benefit to accelerating the transfer of spent nuclear fuel to dry casks, and the document being voted on assumes the continued application of emergency response and security requirements.

What the NRC failed to state in its court and other filings was that licensees of decommissioning reactors are almost always exempted from the regulatory requirements NRC based its findings on within two years of the reactors’ shut-down. This is unacceptable. We urge you to announce your intent to reverse this unwise policy. http://vtdigger.org/2014/05/02/senators-nrc-exempt-decommissioning-nuclear-reactors-emergency-response-security-measures/

May 3, 2014 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear utilities call for tax-payer support as they post losses

text-my-money-2Japanese utilities post losses, seek state support  Star Online 2 May 14 TOKYO: Japan’s nuclear-reliant utilities reported losses for the third straight year and warned of further electricity rate hikes to pay for surging fuel imports as they face an uncertain outlook for restarting idled reactors.

Six of Japan’s nine big regional power companies, all of which own reactors, reported a combined net loss of US$3.3bil as they face the rising fuel costs and also spend billions of US dollars to flag-japanupgrade nuclear facilities to meet new regulatory standards. “We can no longer deny the possibility that we will not be able to restart a nuclear plant for some time,” Kansai Electric Power president Makoto Yagi told an earnings briefing, adding that another electricity rate hike might become inevitable. It raised rates by 9.75% last May.

Kansai Electric, Japan’s second-largest utility by revenue which supplies nearly one-fifth of the nation’s electricity, reported a 97.4 billion yen (US$950mil) net loss for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, its third consecutive year of losses.

Kyushu Electric Power and Hokkaido Electric Power said on Wednesday they would request financial support from the government-affiliated Development Bank of Japan, asking it to buy 150 billion yen in preferred shares in the two utilities.

Kyushu Electric serves Japan’s southern main island which is home to several auto and chip plants, while Hokkaido Electric serves the northern-most island.

The three consecutive years of net losses for utilities will make it difficult for them to secure further private-sector loans under standard Japanese banking practices, pushing firms like Kyushu and Hokkaido to seek public support……..Even in the most optimistic scenario, analysts and industry watchers say Japan may only be able to restart one-third of its reactors, while 17 are unlikely ever to come back online due to their age, location or proximity to suspected active fault lines. — Reuters http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2014/05/02/Japanese-utilities-post-losses-seek-state-support/

May 3, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Nuclear safety from terrorism is far more important than nuclear sales

elephant-terror-in-roomNuclear power undermines nuclear security, The Ecologist, Dr David Lowry 2nd May 2014 Opponents of nuclear power rightly focus on issues of cost, operational danger and waste disposal, writes David Lowry. But they should not forget the towering ‘elephant in the room’ – nuclear security and the risk of proliferation and terrorist attacks. This week over 150 countries began a two week meeting at the United Nations in New York, preparing for the latest five-yearly review conference of the 190-member state Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The conference will no doubt split between the vast majority of non-nuclear weapons states and the ‘Permanent-Five’ nuclear WMD possessor states – UK, US, France, China and Russia.

At issue will be the continual, chronic  lack of progress in nuclear disarmament by the nuclear WMD states – indeed, in the case of the USA in particular, its colossal program to modernise its nuclear arsenal.

However there is scope for common cause in one area: combatting nuclear terrorism. There’s only one problem here – the nuclear WMD states are themselves among the least secure in their custody of nuclear materials.

Nuclear power and nuclear security

This discussion will put the focus squarely on the 25 states that possess nuclear materials, most of them for civil nuclear programs for the generation of electricity.

Despite reassurances that these nuclear materials present little or no proliferation hazard, the reverse is the case. Nuclear security is the ‘elephant in the room’ of the nuclear power debate

The final communiqué of the Global Nuclear Security Conference that was held last month in The Hague insisted that “measures to strengthen nuclear security will not hamper the rights of States to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

Dr Victor Gilinsky, a former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, noted in 2009 in his paper ‘A call to resist the nuclear revival’ (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 January 2009) that

“even so-called arms controllers fall over themselves trying to establish their bona fides by supporting nuclear energy development and devising painless proposals … “

That mentality was in evidence at the NSS, just as it was at the IAEA nuclear security conference in Austria last July.

But sensibly Gilinsky advocates a reversal of priorities: “Security should come first – not as an afterthought. We should support as much nuclear power as is consistent with international security; not as much security as the spread of nuclear power will allow.”

And if we adopt that approach, it can mean only one thing: zero nuclear power………

‘A grave sovereign responsibility’

“There is no question that securing nuclear materials is a grave, sovereign responsibility. At the same time, the threat is global, and all countries must work to reduce that threat.”

That was the conclusion of the authoritative Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2014 Report, published in Washington DC, on 8 January this year.

Unfortunately far too many nuclear authorities and governments, notably the UK, are putting far too much effort into nuclear cheer-leading – and nowhere near enough into nuclear security.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2381924/nuclear_power_undermines_nuclear_security.html

 

May 3, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment