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Turkey`s AKP government has ties with SOMA holdings – Plays down coal mine disaster and then sends in the troops

On Tuesday, May 13, at 15.00, Turkey witnessed one of the greatest workplace murders in its history. More than 700 mine workers were trapped in Soma Coal, a private lignite mine in Soma, in the western province of Manisa. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has tried to minimize the figures, while deploying hundreds of military troops and police forces to the town and the miners’ village of Eynes to head off possible unrest.

Ten hours after the explosion, Energy Minister Taner Yılmaz declared the death toll as 166, but the numbers are expected to rise. The Disaster and Emergency Directorate (AFAD) declared on Wednesday, at 2.30 that 265 bodies had been reached at the moment. Calls for immediate action are rising everywhere in the country

At “Soma Coal,” a private lignite mine company operating in Soma in the Aegean province of Manisa, one of the greatest workplace murders in Turkish history occurred on Tuesday, May 13 at 15.15. Mr. Çetin Uygur, a former chairperson of the Underground Mine Workers Trade Union, an affiliate of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), as well as a mining engineer, said in the early hours after the accident that this was the greatest workplace massacre in the history of the Turkish working class. Uygur stated that nearly 700 mine workers were trapped in the mine while adding that the AKP government was sending large numbers of military troops and police forces to the region with an eye to using force in order to suppress widespread reactions.

While hundreds of mine workers were trapped underground, the AKP government tried to minimize the death toll figures for a number of hours by declaring that only five were killed in the explosion. However, toward midnight, a widespread news blockage by the mainstream media broke down, and Mr. Uygur’s statement regrettably proved to be real.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, who initially said the “death toll figures are not important,” was forced to declare the number of killed mine workers first as 151, then as 166 following Manisa Mayor Cengiz Ergün’s statement that the death toll had already reached 157.

Minister Yıldız continued to dismiss the non-official statements, by saying: “Even though the previous information given by the unauthorized persons about the death roll correspond to our present data, this does not make them right.”

Minister Yıldız’s statement was not a coincidence. Soma Holding, the parent company of Soma Coal, has close ties with the AKP government. Melike Doğru, the wife of the general director of Soma Holding Mine Enterprises, is a councilor from the government party. Soma Coal also provided the infamous charity coal bags which were distributed by the AKP during the previous local elections. Charity distribution is one of the most important political tools of the government party in recruiting support from the country’s poor.

Soma Holding has profited greatly from its relations with the AKP government. The holding, which entered the underground mining sector during the privatization drive of the 1990s, was strengthened by the decision of the AKP government to legalize the “royalty” system which is based on renting in return for a coal share in 2005.

According to the previous statements of the president of Soma Holding, Alp Gürkan, thanks to the royalty system, the company has been able to reduce the cost of coal from 130-140 dollars per ton to 23.80 dollars per ton, including the royalty share. The subcontracting of unskilled mining labour was one of the main factors in reducing the costs, as the average monthly wage of nearly 5,000 mine workers is only 500 dollars.

The company also entered into the field of urban pillage in 2006 by buying the Tilage construction firm and beginning to transfer its profits obtained in the sub-contracted lignite mining sector to investments in the high-profit real estate/construction sector in İstanbul. The company has two important construction investments in İstanbul, one the Maslak Spine Tower in Sarıyer and the other a shopping mall in the Anatolian-side district of Kartal.

A parliamentary proposal of investigation about the working conditions into Soma mine workers and work accidents in the town proposed by opposition parties was refused just two weeks ago, on April 29, by the majority votes of AKP deputies.

Oxygen masks on dead miners’ faces

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May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Tamil Nadu Govt increases Police deployment at Koodankulam – crackdownon anti nuclear activists – 10 people, including Struggle Committee members have been arrested.

 If the KKNPP reactors are the best in the whole world, why doesn’t Russia want to give any liability to the people? Why do they sign a secretive IGA (Inter-Governmental Agreement) with the Government of India and hide behind such moves and avoid the whole issue of liability?

by S.P. Udayakumar

March 19, 2012 – Just in: Some 10 people, including Struggle Committee members have been arrested.

The Tamil Nadu State government is increasing the police strength in front of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). Heavy police force has been posted in a few major junctions around Koodankulam. The ADGP (Additional Director General of Police) three DIGs (Deputy Inspector Generals) and ten SPs (Superintendents of Police) are present at Koodankulam.

The Tirunelveli District Collector has been inviting us (specifically five people, S.P. Udayakumar, M. Pushparayan, M.P. Jesuraj, S. Sivasubramanian, and Fr. F. Jayakumar) since last evening to get some clarifications on the petition we had given to the Chief Minister on February 29, 2012.

We pointed out that only our experts could answer those questions. It is pertinent to note that no attempt has been made so far to talk to them by the central or state governments or the expert teams constituted by these governments. In the meantime, the State government’s cabinet is meeting at 12:30 PM and they are expected to announce their stand on the KKNPP issue.

There are rumors that we all could be arrested soon and they may decide to re-start the KKNPP. WE ARE READY! We have a few specific issues we want you to know about though:

[1] The Government of India, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), and the KKNPP have not conducted any emergency preparation drills or evacuation exercises to prepare the people within 30 km radius for any possible nuclear disasters.

If these authorities try to load nuclear fuel rods without doing these mandatory exercises, it would be deemed illegal by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) rules, IAEA’s and other international stipulations. These authorities should reveal to the world the complete and exhaustive details of these exercises if they had conducted them. The date, time, place, location, and the names of the participants of all these exercises should be revealed by these authorities in concurrence with the District Collector of Tirunelveli

[2] The Government of India and the State Government of Tamil Nadu should consult our experts and study their findings with the help of Indian and international experts if they care for the lives of Indian citizens and not for the profits of Russian corporations.

[3] If the KKNPP reactors are the best in the whole world, why doesn’t Russia want to give any liability to the people? Why do they sign a secretive IGA (Inter-Governmental Agreement) with the Government of India and hide behind such moves and avoid the whole issue of liability?

The tension is increasing; the government is acting in a high-handed manner. Please keep an eye on us.


See also;

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

URGENT ALERT: Accident at Koodankulam Nuclear Reactor; at least 6 people injured

Today’s accident comes less than a week after the Honourable Supreme Court ruled that it was satisfied with the safety features installed at the plant.

Nityanand Jayaraman

NEWS ALERT: Accident at Koodankulam Nuclear Reactor; At least 6 people injured
14 May, 2014. 2.00 p.m.

Koodankulam reactorsShopkeepers from Anjugramam, a village about 15 km from Koodankulam nuclear complex, reported seeing at least 6 ambulances rushing by at around 1.15 p.m. today (14 May). Anjugramam lies near a fork in the road, where one fork leads to Kanyakumari town and the other to Nagercoil. Another Idinthakarai resident, Mildred, who was at Myladi (25 km from Koodankulam) reported seeing 3 ambulances rush by at around1.45 p.m. Myladi is en route Nagercoil. Nagercoil and Kanyakumari are two major towns within 30 km of the nuclear plant, with large hospitals. Predictably, the nuclear establishment denied the occurrence of any accident first. Later they admitted to a minor incident and are reported to have said that the injured were taken to the hospital in the NPCIL township, where they were well enough to walk on their own. Sources from inside the plant report that at least three of the injured were contract workers and the other three were NPCIL staff. Reports also suggest that the accident happened in or around the boiler section of Unit 1, which reportedly attained criticality mid-year last year.

After initially flashing news about the incident, the media is now reportedly playing NPCIL’s statements denying and downplaying the incident. If NPCIL’s past record is anything to go by, truth will be a while in coming. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was unavailable for comment.

Today’s accident comes less than a week after the Honourable Supreme Court ruled that it was satisfied with the safety features installed at the plant.

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One small picture shows a whole big world of nuclear truth!

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why saying ‘No to Nukes’ is so important being a woman?

Women have played significance role around the world in the anti nuclear movements of 1980s where they have gone to the extent of creating a women’s forum which was aiming to get away from Nuclear Weapons where in women from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan have taken the lead, did base camps in army bases and have shown to the world the significance of feminist approach to fight nuclear establishments across the world. It is high time we realize it in this part of the world.

Bhargavi Dilipkumar

Gathering some thoughts around Women’s day (March 8th) – Fukushima Day (March 11th)

On the wake of the 3rd anniversary commemorating the world’s worst catastrophic failure at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and the rise of fear among the citizens of other Countries thereafter, we all have many lessons to learn yet, are we even trying hard to learn these is a big question.

Fukushima disaster triggered an ultimate fear in the minds of the people far away in the small coastal village called Idinthakarai in Tamilnadu State of India. Television footages of people wearing masks, dressed in white suits, running from one place to another, living in boxes in isolation, going through several radioactive tests and having to leave their homes created an intense impact in the minds of these villagers who share compound walls with a Nuclear Reactor on one side and the sea on the other. The Tsunami colony of this village which was built by the Tamilnadu Government for resettling the people, who were affected by Tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean in 2004, is a place where people wake up every day to face the big domes of the Nuclear Reactors of the Kudankulam Atomic Power Plant. This feeling of “between the devil and the deep sea” is the strong catalyst which is still driving the struggle in the ground at Idinthakarai after several instances of repression, Filing thousands of false cases, police firings, coast guard raids, implementing bombs in the village, dividing the struggling group by playing the ‘money games’, by arresting the important struggle committee members and the numerous inhuman tortures.

We have read enough about the struggles in the ground against the Nuclear Energy establishments several times and have criticized as well as supported a few. Yet, there is always a great divide and disconnect between other social movements and the anti nuclear movements.

Ms. Aruna Roy while talking at the Panel discussion on “Abolishing Nuclear Weapons” on the 8th of November 2013 organized by the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace and Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy at IIC, Delhi said “The anti nuclear movements need to re-strategize and there should be a change in language and idiom of this conversation. The issue needs to be publically debated and a common people’s perspective need to be developed this will in turn make the other social movements to realize ‘What nuclearisation means to them?’ or ‘why is it a non issue for the struggles which fight on the ground for land rights, right to Information and women’s rights?’ There should also be a gender discourse and debate around the nuclear issues”

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May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

68% of those suffering from nosebleeds in Japan are children; mothers are the biggest stakeholders

No. of ages Under 10 (10代未満) 

+ Teens (10代) accounted 48% of total

No. of Students  (学生) accounted 30% of total
No.of elementary students (小学生) 
under (幼稚園 and 保育園) accounted 68% of total

Click here for the original Japanese Version of this blog (日本語版はコチラ)

h/t ;

In the moments before and after the arrival of the powerful typhoon that killed 17 peope in eastern Japan, I sensed that they will be more and more people who will be nosebleeding. Following my senses, I did a simple count on tweets that continue to complain about nosebleeding during the three days from 12:00am 10/15 – 12:00am 10/18.

Impressively enough, there were 359 people complaining about nosebleeds on 10/15 (before and since the typhoon landed) while there were 215 people in 10/16 (after the tyhoon has left), a substantial decrease after the typhoon left. It appears the typhoon has ‘blown away’ some of the causes of the nosebleeds. The number marked on 10/15 was the second largest accounted since the initial observation conducted during the two week period of 9/20-10/3 (364 people in 9/29)On 10/17, there were 212 people, indicating the number was decreasing or maintaining its level after the typhoon left.

  1. FACT: 359 people tweeted “Can’t stop my nosebleed” on 10/15/2013
  2. FACT: 217 people tweeted “Can’t stop my nosebleed” on 10/16/2013
  3. FACT: 212 people tweeted “Can’t stop my nosebleed” on 10/16/2013





So my “senses” were right. Even if an observation starts from “sensing” something, you can prove yourself right easily by simply collecting the practical facts. No need of theory or scientifict proof. Of course, my “senses” were backed by my empirical thoughts–through training with my previous observation conducted earlier.


I believe MOTHERS have these senses too, in the name of ‘maternal instincts’.


Mothers have these instincts that can feel the danger for their children. These ‘senses’ cannot be outruled by simply saying that they are “Groundless, or without sufficient proof.”  We cannot, and we should not. What we need is something to supplement these ‘senses’.


A society that neglects and undermines the cries and pleas of mothers is not a healty society. Those mothers complaining about nosebleeds and other symptoms are genuinely concerned of their children’s health and well-being. So intuitively and instinctively, the mothers dig into their past memory with their children; on how and when they became sick and how they were treated and became well. This mother’s memory could sometimes be more accurate than any medical records. This is the power of a maternal instinct.


And it turns out their ‘senses’ are also right.






Athough the results are still very few (81 samples) , through my newly deployed survey (Survey I) I have found the following results. (The actual “Survey I” results)


Of 81 respondents nationwide:


  • FACT: 48% were mothers of children in teens or under 10 (10代未満) + (10代)
  • FACT: 30% were students (学生) 


  • FACT: 3% were infants (乳児)


Of 24 students that accounted for 30% nationwide:


  • FACT: 31% were elementary school students (小学生)
  • FACT: 15% were kindergarteners (園児)
Through these findings, however limited in number of total samples taken, we can safely say this: Mothers of these children are the biggest stakeholders of this ‘nosebleed epidemic.’
Until I started conducting the series of survey, no one could pinpoint as to who is the biggest stakeholder of the massive number of episodes of nosebleeds and other symptoms reported since the end of September 2013.  But through conducting this survey, we now know who they are, albeit short number of samples.
My hope is to gain momentum for this survey. To empower it, and empower THEM.



Survey I began under pitch darkness; without empirically knowing who the stakeholders are at all, it aimed towards helping EVERYONE who suffered from the episodes. Yet still, we have 359 people tweeting in the internet in just one day. We still don’t know the exact figures beyond the realm of all Twitter users in Japan (around 13 million nationwide).
Nevertheless, Survey I has produced a concrete result that “mothers of children of age under ten and over have finally voiced their silent outcries” They are the ones who are most victimized by the situation and are those who are crying out for most help. I believe the series of survey I’m conducting will serve to protect and arm these mothers. In particular, the newly released pilot version of “Survey II”.
The newly deployed “Survey II” supplements “Survey I” by accumulating past and present data of the episodes of nosebleeds and other symptoms and their diagnosis, treatment, and medication. What it will serve to do is to supplement mothers’ memories.
Under Japanese law, the maximum number of years a medical record can be kept is up to 5 years. So mothers can go back at least 5 years to request for these medical records. “Survey II” serves to work as a sort of a ‘memo pad’ where mothers can travel back 5 years into their memory and official records:  it advises mothers to go back to the medical records and certificates of their children.
By answering to the carefully navigated questions, their responses will be recorded onto an online spreadsheet that can be downloaded upon request for archiving. (10 responses received so far on the pilot version of Survey II in spreadsheet format )



The two surveys are not designed for mothers only from the onset. It aims to support all those suffer from the episodes by acting as a supplementary information to be used when inquired by medical institutions and doctors. It aims to give them the power of appeal by supplementing their memories that are often ambiguous that are prone to neglect by the doctors as irrelevant information, so that all those suffer from the various episodes will be able to exercise their right to receive better tests, better diagnosis, and better treatments.
But the fact remains that the surveys are powerless without having a critical mass. We need more people responding to these two surveys. No matter how secure I make these surveys to protect the anonymity of the respondents, they are still very few are willing to voice their situations. Unfortunately, our society is not open enough to allow them. But I want to help make them break out of this deadlock. I want to empower those people who are voicing these silent outcries.
To give these surveys the power they need, and to empower those people who are just beginning to voice their “silent outcries”, to help the Japanese children, the people, please spread the word of these surveys to your friends in Japan, ask them to post it on their blogs, Facebook, tweet about it, discuss it on listserves, or even personal websites. We desperately need your help.
Thank you.
Takahiro Katsumi (“Taka”)
Founder of this survey, activist and owner, Office BALÉS


May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Nuclear Hotseat #151: WIPP Done In by Kitty Litter?!? Maybe Not! Don Hancock, + Ray Lutz on CPUC/SCE $3.3 Billion San Onofre Bailout

WIPP Site Worker in Full Hazmat




  • Don Hancock, Director of Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque, NM, brings us up to date on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site, including his take on the “green kitty litter” now being blamed for the “explosion that was not an ‘explosion’” that caused a radiation leak at the government’s only site for nuclear waste disposal.

CONTACT INFO for DOE Media Spokesmodel Bradley Bugger at WIPP:


PHONE:  575-234-7545.

  • Ray Lutz of Citizen’s Oversight Project interprets the confusing shenanigans about the California Public Utility Commission’s “done deal” bailout of  defunct San Onofre nuclear power facility’s operators Southern California Edison, to the tune of $3.3 BILLION in taxpayer funds.  But it’s not over yet!


Kyushu Electric Power and Hokkaido Electric Power are complaining: “Mom, TEPCO got a bailout from the Japanese government and they made a profit of $4.3 BILLION last year, why can’t we get a multi-billion dollar bailout of our own, huh, huh???????”


  • NRC sets seismic analyses of 21 nuclear reactors as “a priority” – as long as it takes place by 2019 <!>.
  • Fukushima Prefecture goes bonkers over Manga comic with characters who tell the truth about nosebleeds, fatigue;
  • Worker sues TEPCO for radiation exposure, cites USS Reagan sailors;
  • N. America’s Fukushima fallout exposure estimated at 400 TRILLION bequerels of Cesium-137;
  • and TEPCO’s frozen sea wall – any bets?

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May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy Statement on Visit to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Screenshot from 2014-05-14 14:22:44

Earlier today, I visited the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. I am grateful to the Tokyo Electric Power Company and relevant Japanese government authorities for making this visit possible. I was struck that more than three years after the tragic events of March 11, 2011, the destructive force of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami are still visible. TEPCO and Japan face a daunting task in the cleanup and decommissioning of Fukushima Dai-ichi. Decommissioning will take years of careful
planning and arduous work, under difficult conditions. Today, I was able to see firsthand these challenges, and I gained new appreciation for the dedication and determination of the workers at the Fukushima site.

Immediately following the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the United States—through the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other agencies—began supporting the Government of Japan and TEPCO in response efforts, decommissioning, and cleanup activities. We are committed to providing support as long as it is necessary. At Fukushima Dai-ichi, I saw examples of the assistance we provided, as well as the continuing partnerships between TEPCO, U.S. Government agencies, U.S. national laboratories, and U.S.
companies. The United States Government will offer our experience and capabilities, in particular, toward the near term resolution of ongoing water contamination issues. We welcome Japan’s steps toward ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage which will make it easier for American and other international firms to add their expertise to Fukushima cleanup and decommissioning efforts.

Tomorrow, I will have an opportunity to visit a wind turbine and a power substation in the Fukushima Floating Wind Farm Demonstration Project. This project is one of the symbols of the Tohoku region’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is one of many examples of how the Japanese people have realized new opportunities, even in the midst of great tragedy. Such projects are creating new employment and industries, as well as potential trade opportunities. The United States looks forward to contin
uing a strong cooperative relationship with Japan in the energy security and clean energy arenas, in addition to our ongoing assistance in the Fukushima region.

The corporate spin article comes from here

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Glen Greenwald on Richard Bacon about Edward Snowden


Published on 13 May 2014

The artist taxi driver

“This is the only country I will not come to ” – Glen Greenwald talks about the UK on BBC Radio 5 live with commentary by Chunky Mark.

1.4 Million people in the USA with high security clearance with access to the PRISM hacking spy system.

“They are involved in corporate espionage”

“for one reason only, to make money” – Chunky Mark

Here is another video of Glen speaking about the UK security services and the effects on himself and his colleagues

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Rik, Kick Nuclear – Remember Fukushima – Houses of Parliament – With simple explanatory slides

    kick nuclear london

    Published on 12 May 2014

    Public Meeting in House of Commons, 3rd anniversary of Fukushima meltdowns, 7:00-9:00pm, Monday 10th March 2014, Committee Room 10. No To Nuclear Power!!

    Rik from Kick Nuclear in London breaks down the situation at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant disaster site. He explains the process that has led to the disastrous situation today.

    In 15 minutes you will understand the situation in a quick and easy fashion. This is a good video for people that have little knowledge of the disaster and wish to know more. Please share this video to your family and friends who are wondering what all the fuss is about!

    Kick Nuclear is a London-based grassroots group campaigning against the UK’s addiction to nuclear power – and supporting sustainable alternatives.

    We hold regular meetings and actions in the London area. If you would like to find out more about what we do, please contact us at the email address below or check out what’s going on via the ‘Boycott EDF’ Facebook page. You might also like to see what’s going on around the rest of the UK on the ‘Stop New Nuclear’ Facebook page

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    This week’s nuclear news

    Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

    Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

    USA New study shows dramatic rise in cancers, infant mortality, near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant.  Radiation -related cancers increase around Pilgrim Nuclear Plant  Lawmakers press for greater safety regulation for the nation’s collection of used nuclear fuel rods pools. NRC lists 21 reactors at risk from earthquakes  Citizens worry about the oversight of the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.  USA follows Russia in  a massive nuclear weapons drill.  New Mexico nuclear waste facility likely to remain closed for years following radioactive leak. They think it was caused by kitty litter!

     Japan. How  a single anti nuclear tweet could land  a single mother in gaol. The harassment of Mari Takenouchi.Manga art depicts  the health effects of Fukushima radiation. And Japan’s government is not happy about this.  Firstlawsuit brought by a TEPCO worker over his exposure to nuclear  radiation

    UK. It’s almost certain that the European Commission will find that the funding arrangements for Hinkley nuclear plant are illegal . Nuclear lobby launches a new public relations campaign – “Bringing Nuclear to Life”. 

    Sweden New poll shows that the public is turning against nuclear power.

     Renewable energy. Solar panels are back on the White House  Obama launches renewable energy actions, and gets support from several corporations.  Huge solar array in operation in Florida.

    Japan Assembly for Nuclear Free Renewable Energy is launched by two former Prime Ministers.

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

    Deformities in Semipalatinsk area due to radiation from nuclear bomb testing

    HBO: ‘Genetic passports’ for major population exposed to nuclear radiation? “It has deformed their genes, sorry it’s a bit of a bummer” — Twins attached by organs growing outside body, ’1-eyed cyclops’, babies with giant heads… “they respond to the people around them” (GRAPHIC PHOTOS & VIDEO)

    PVICEby Thomas Morton, May 4, 2014: “How Fucked Are Nukes? […] way worse than Hollywood has the special effects to depict. A lot of mainstream accounts […] soft-pedal the body horror that acute radiation poisoning causes […] eyewitness testimony from Robert Jay Lifton’s Hiroshima classic Death in Life: […] “at a glance you couldn’t tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back […] very young girls, not only with their clothes torn off but with their skin peeled off as well. My immediate thought was that this was like the hell I had always read about.” […] If you haven’t already gone to the bathroom to slit your wrists […] VICE on HBO covers the second major population intentionally exposed to atomic radiation—the Kazakhs living around the Semipalatinsk Testing Polygon, where the Soviet Union tested 456 nuclear bombs.

    While they weren’t close enough to the blasts to experience the sort of immediate deformities [suffered by the Japanese –] It deformed their genes. Sorry it’s a bit of a bummer.”

    Watch the part of the HBO broadcast here

    See also: Japan Professor: I believe airborne release of cesium-137 from Fukushima equals 400 to 500 Hiroshima nuclear bombs — Another 400 to 500 bombs worth has already flowed into Pacific Ocean (VIDEO)

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | children, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

    Lawmakers press for stronger safety regulations for spent nuclear fuel rods

    nuclear-cooling-pondBills would beef up safety regs for spent nuclear fuel  By Benjamin Goad – 05/13/14  Lawmakers are pressing to bolster regulations for spent nuclear fuel, contending that pools left to languish for decades at decommissioning plants could prove disastrous in the event of an accident or terrorist attack.

    Flag-USASens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced a trio of bills meant to tighten safety and security at plants winding down operations around the country.
    “Experts agree that a spent fuel pool accident could have consequences that are every bit as bad as an accident at an operating reactor,” Markey said.

    Spent fuel can produce heat and radiation threats long after it is removed from a nuclear reactor’s electricity generating operation. Too dangerous to ship away from the plant altogether for as long as seven years, the spent fuel is left in pools at the plants.

    A leak — whether due to accident or attack — could lead to fire and widespread contamination, the lawmakers said, citing various reports. Yet current Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules allow for spent fuel to remain in the pools until the reactor completes decommissioning, which can take as long as 60 years, they said.

    The Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2014 would bar the NRC from exempting reactor licensees from any safety or security requirements at decommissioning plants until all fuel stored at the site is transferred into safer dry casks.

    The lawmakers contend that the NRC has granted every exemption request it has ever received from decommissioning reactors, despite the agency’s own determination that an earthquake could result in a devastating breach.  The Dry Cask Storage Act of 2014 is designed to force nuclear reactor operators to adhere to an NRC-approved plan for the transfer of spent fuel to dry cask storage within 7 years of the time the plant’s decommissioning plan is submitted.

    Under the lawmakers’ Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2014, states and local communities would be guaranteed a meaningful role in the preparation of decommissioning plans for retired nuclear plants.

    The legislation would require the NRC to publicly approve or reject every proposed decommissioning plan.

    “Every state with a nuclear power plant has a strong interest in how that plant is decommissioned,” Sanders said. “This is about making sure that states and local communities can play a meaningful role in a decision.”

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | politics, safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

    Concern about oversight of San Onofre Nuclear Decommissioning

    san-onofre-deadfDel Mar Councilman To Testify At Senate Hearing On Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning, May 12, 2014 BAlison St John U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, will convene a hearing Wednesday morning in Washington D.C., to look at the challenges of decommissioning nuclear reactors nationwide.

    One of the five panelists called to testify is Del Mar City Councilman Don Mosier. Mosier, a biologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said he has concerns about continuing to store 4,000 tons of radioactive waste at San Onofre. The plant, 50 miles north of San Diego, was shut down in 2013 after a small radioactive leak was discovered in the steam generators in 2012.

    “When the reactors were closed, we hoped that some of the safety concerns about San Onofre would be diminished,” Mosier said, “but I actually think they’re increased because of the lack of planning for storing all this radioactivity.“

    Mosier said he has questions about the spent fuel pools and dry cask storage at San Onofre that were not designed for the kind of “high burn-up” fuel that will be stored there. High burn-up fuel (HBF ) is hotter and more radioactive than previously used fuel rods.

    Mosier said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that oversaw San Onofre when it was in operation, does not have the same level of regulatory authority over the decommissioning process.

    “I feel in the absence of federal oversight, one of the things I am going to argue for is more state and local control of the decommissioning process,” Mosier said.

    A Citizens’ Engagement Committee set up by Edison, the company that operates San Onofre, is not the independent oversight Mosier hopes to see.

    Other panel members at Wednesday’s Senate hearing include Michael Weber, NRC deputy director for waste compliance programs, and Geoffrey Fettus of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

    Waste Isolation Pilot Plant radioactive leak due to kitty litter?

    Nuclear expert says kitty litter contributed to radiation leak at WIPP Current Argus News, By Zack Ponce, 13 May 14 CARLSBAD >> A change in the type of “kitty litter” that’s mixed with transuranic waste may be to blame for February’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. A scientist who worked at WIPP until 2010 says he believes a change from non-organic kitty litter to organic litter caused a chemical reaction inside a waste drum, releasing the radioactive isotopes.

    WIPP announced Monday night that photos taken over the weekend showed evidence of melted plastic and rubber on 55-gallon drums, indicating that the production of heat likely occurred in the underground area where waste is stored, according to a news release.

    Jim Conca, who worked with WIPP from 2000 to 2010, said last week he believes a chemical reaction involving the kitty litter caused a small explosion inside a waste drum. New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn confirmed on Monday that he has heard Department of Energy officials discuss the possibility that kitty litter may have been to blame for the radiation leak. Flynn said it is just one of many theories the DOE is exploring and nothing is certain at this time.

    WIPP Recovery Manager Jim Blankenhorn said during last week’s town hall meeting that officials believe the radiation leak was likely caused by nuclear waste that contained nitrate salt which gave off some sort of chemical reaction. Blankenhorn said a switch from a non-organic substance to organic was what triggered the event. According to Conca, the unidentified substance containing elements mirroring nitrate salt is kitty litter.

    Under WIPP’s congressional mandate, the nuclear waste disposal facility located 26 miles east of Carlsbad cannot accept any liquid waste, and therefore kitty litter is used as a preventative measure to absorb any remnants of liquid before the drums are sealed and shipped to Southeastern New Mexico, Conca said………

    May 14, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment