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Dangerous Diablo Nuclear Power Plant must be closed

Shut California’s Fukushima: Diablo Must Go, ECoWatch   | September 6, 2014 The catastrophe at Fukushima was not an accident. It’s unfolding again in California.

The next west coast quake could easily shake the two reactors at Diablo Canyon to rubble.

They are riddled with defects, can’t withstand potential seismic shocks from five major nearby fault lines, violate state water quality laws and are vulnerable to tsunamis and fire.

Diablo’s owner, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), is in deep legal and financial crisis. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has just proposed that PG&E be fined $1.4 billion for a 2010 gas explosion and fire that killed eight people and obliterated a neighborhood in San Bruno. The federal government has announced 28 indictments, meaning the CPUC fine may just be the tip of a very expensive iceberg for PG&E. The San Bruno disaster was caused by pipeline defects about which PG&E had been warned for years, but failed to correct. The fines cover 3,798 separate violations of laws and regulations, both state and federal. PG&E was previously fined $38 million for a 2008 pipeline explosion in Rancho Cordova.

Similar defects remain uncorrected at Diablo Canyon, whose radioactive cloud could span the continental U.S. in four days. Mass citizen action recently shut two coastal reactors at San Onofre. It must do the same at Diablo before the next quake hits……

Diablo Canyon’s twin reactors sit eight miles west of San Luis Obispo, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, surrounded by earthquake faults.

Diablo nuclear power plant

The Hosgri, three miles offshore, was found as the reactors were being built. Design specifications were never fully altered to account for it. Nor have they been upgraded for the newly-found Los Osos, San Luis Bay and Shoreline faults.  The Shoreline lies just 650 yard from Diablo’s cores.

The massive San Andreas fault is just 45 miles away, about half as far as was the March 11, 2011, Richter-9.0 epicenter from Fukushima.

A shock that size from any of the fault lines near Diablo could reduce it to a seething pile of radioactive hell, far deadlier than Fukushima. Prevailing winds could blanket virtually all of North America with its deadly fallout.

The nuclear industry would immediately deny all health impacts. It would blame “unpredictable” God and nature.

But a 42-page report from NRC inspector Dr. Michael Peck says new fault line discoveries challenge Diablo’s “presumption of nuclear safety.”

Buried by the NRC for at least a year, it was released by Friends of the Earth and reported on by the Associated Press and the great enviro-journalist Karl Grossman, as well as by theNuclear Information & Resource Service and Beyond Nuclear.

Peck has a doctorate in nuclear engineering and was Diablo’s chief on-site inspector for five years. He’s now a senior instructor at the NRC’s Technical Training Center in Tennessee. His status as a current NRC employee makes such a critical report highly unusual—and alarming.

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has warned about sea-level intake pipes like those at Diablo. When the tsunami struck Fukushima, he writes, “The cooling equipment along the shoreline was turned into a scrap yard of twisted metal.”

Then there is fire.

Diablo Canyon, writes David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “has never, ever complied with fire safety regulations, not even for a second by mistake.”…….

September 8, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Ralph Nader remnds us of nuclear power’s insanities

Nader,-RalphNuclear Power’s Insanities – Taxpayer-Guaranteed, Dissident Voice by Ralph Nader / September 5th, 2014 The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) – the corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C. for the disintegrating atomic power industry – doesn’t have to worry about repercussions from the negative impacts of nuclear power. For nuclear power is a government/taxpayer-guaranteed boondoggle whose staggering costs, incurred and deferred, are absorbed by American taxpayers via a supine government regulatory and subsidy apparatus.

So if you go to work at the NEI and you read about the absence of any permanent radioactive waste storage site, no problem, the government/taxpayers are responsible for transporting and safeguarding that lethal garbage for centuries.

If your reactors experience ever larger cost over-runs and delays, as is now happening with two new reactors in South Carolina, no problem, the supine state regulatory commissions will just pass the bill on to consumers, despite the fact that consumers receive no electricity from these unfinished plants.

text-my-money-2If these plants, and two others in Georgia under construction, experience financial squeezes from Wall Street, no problem, a supine Congress has already passed ample taxpayer loan guarantees that make Uncle Sam (you the taxpayer) bear the cost of the risk.

If there were to be an accident such as the one that happened in Fukushima, Japan, no problem, under the Price-Anderson Act, the government/taxpayers bear the cost of the vast amount of damage from any nuclear power plant meltdown. To put this cost into perspective, a report by the Atomic Energy Commission about fifty years ago estimated that a class nine meltdown could make an area “the size of Pennsylvania” uninhabitable.

Why do we stand for such a doomsday technology all over America that is uneconomic, uninsurable, unsafe, unnecessary (it can’t compete with energy conservation and renewable energies), unevacuable (try evacuating the greater New York City area from a disaster at the two Indian Point plants 30 miles from Manhattan) and unprotectable (either from sabotage or earthquake)?

David Freeman, the famous energy engineer and lawyer, who has run four giant utilities (the Tennessee Valley Authority, the SMUD complex – where he closed the Rancho Seco Nuclear Plant – the New York Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) sums up the history of nuclear power this way: “Nuclear power, promoted as too cheap to meter, turned out to be too expensive to use, the road to nuclear proliferation, and the creator of radioactive trash that has no place to go.” Right wing conservative/libertarians call it extreme “crony capitalism.”

Nuclear power plants are shutting down. ……..

September 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission takes another gamble on nuclear wastes

NRC-jpgPunting again on nuclear waste  MyCentralJersey September 6, 2014 Talk about dropping a hot potato in a way that provides absolutely no incentive for anyone to pick it up — ever. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in casks indefinitely. The vote to approve it was 4-0.

Given that spent fuel stored at nuclear power plants will remain dangerous to humans for at least 10,000 years and harmful to the environment for 1 million years more, the mere suggestion that the waste will be properly stored, maintained and protected is ludicrous. And the problem, now exacerbated by the NRC finding, is not a distant one.

Jersey Shore residents are living cheek by jowl with more than 750 metric tons of radioactive waste stored in Lacey in the spent fuel rod pool at the Exelon-owned Oyster Creek plant.

The pool sits 70 feet in the air, and is covered by a box-store type metal roof. Used fuel assemblies containing a cocktail of radioactive isotopes are jam-packed into the pool, holding about eight times more than its original design capacity. An NRC report on the Peach Bottom plant in Pennsylvania indicated that even a small nuclear reactor fuel pool fire could leave 9,400 square miles uninhabitable and indefinitely displace 4.1 million people. Just imagine what such a report would reveal about a similar reactor fire at Oyster Creek. And try to imagine thousands of Jersey Shore residents fleeing the area given its limited evacuation routes.

Still, the Oyster Creek plant is not scheduled to close until 2019 and the spent fuel rods will be able to sit there until half-past “Who knows when?”


And then what? A whole lot of nothing, given this NRC finding.

At the very least, the state should insist that work begin on moving the rods into state-of-the-art dry casks — sealed metal cylinders containing the spent fuel enclosed within a metal or concrete outer shell — as soon as Oyster Creek ceases operation. That would be better than the current state of affairs, but real progress is a long way off.

The Energy Department is now saying that a burial site for the nation’s nuclear waste will be established by 2048, but the agency has no plan for finding one.

And we certainly can’t depend on Congress to get the ball rolling. The NRC ruling last week pretty much guarantees that.

Even Allison M. Macfarlane, chairwoman of the NRC, admitted as much: “If you make the assumption that there will be some kind of institution that will exist, like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that will assure material stays safe for hundreds or thousands of years, there’s not much impetus for Congress to want to deal with this issue.”

The unanimous vote essentially gave Congress the green light to do what it does best: Ignore the problem and continue to do absolutely nothing to find a solution.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Suspected nuclear plant saboteur arested in Iran

sabotage-reactorflag-IranIran Arrests Suspected Nuclear Plant Saboteur  abc news, TEHRAN, Iran — Sep 7, 2014,  Iranian authorities have arrested a Ukrainian national suspected of sabotage at the country’s sole nuclear power plant, an Iranian newspaper reported on Sunday.

The report in the Hamshahri daily said the “Ukrainian expert” was affiliated with a Russian contractor that works in Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which went online in 2011 with Russian aid.

The report did not elaborate on the timing or nature of the alleged sabotage. Iran has long accused the United States, Israel and European countries of working to sabotage its nuclear program.

International sanctions force Iran to buy Western-made parts for its nuclear program from third parties. Hamshahri suggested such parties are involved in sabotaging parts before they arrive in Iran, without elaborating.

Hamshari also quoted Asghar Zarean, deputy head of Iran’s nuclear department in charge of security, as saying that Sandia National Laboratories, a New Mexico-based subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, has been involved in manipulating parts that Iran needs for its nuclear facilities.

In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of centrifuges, key components in nuclear fuel production, at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Iran says it and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the U.S. and their allies to undermine its nuclear program through covert operations…….

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Iran, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan’s nuclear past shown in photography, in London

Photographs by Nadav Kander reveal Kazakhstan’s nuclear past FT Magazine,  By Jack Farchy, 5 Sept 14 
The devastating consequences of the Soviet Union’s nuclear past are slowly being uncovered – particularly in Kazakhstan

The name Kurchatov is not immediately recognisable in the way that Hiroshima or Chernobyl are. The small town on the steppes of northeastern Kazakhstan didn’t appear on maps until the 1990s. Before that, it was marked only as “Final Stop” at the end of the railway line. Yet here, from the 1940s to the 1980s, Soviet scientists carried out 456 nuclear tests with a combined power 2,500 times that of the Hiroshima bomb.

Kurchatov was one of several dozen “closed cities” located throughout the Soviet Union where crucial military and strategic industries were sited. Nicknamed “post boxes” because they were known only for their postcodes (Kurchatov’s was Semipalatinsk-21), movement in and out of the cities was restricted, and entry was forbidden to foreigners. Officially, Russians only learnt of their existence in 1986.

It was Lavrenti Beria, the ruthless head of Stalin’s secret police, who chose the location in the depths of Siberia for the Soviet Union’s nuclear testing programme and ordered the town of Kurchatov to be built – using gulag labour – to house its scientists. The first Soviet nuclear bomb, nicknamed “Joe-1” by the Americans, was tested just 40 miles from Kurchatov in 1949, under Beria’s supervision.

But while Beria casually described the area as “uninhabited”, in fact there were more than a million people living within 100 miles of the site. Over the next four decades, Soviet researchers used Kurchatov as a base to hone the science of nuclear weapons and from the innocuously named “Dispensary No. 4” studied their effects on the population.

During a test of one particularly powerful bomb, in 1953, the authorities evacuated villagers and livestock, according to a recent academic study based on interviews with local citizens. When the villagers returned, they found their dogs and cats had lost their fur and their chickens had died. But not everyone was evacuated: the Soviet scientists left a group of 40 men behind as human guinea pigs.

The results of their research – like everything else about Kurchatov – were a closely guarded secret during Soviet times. But since then, a grim stream of reports has emerged: in the years of most intensive testing, infant mortality increased to four times the level of the rest of the Soviet Union and for decades afterwards rates of cancer in the region were several times higher than in the rest of Kazakhstan. Today, residents still have a life expectancy that is several years lower than in the rest of the country.

The story of Tuleutai Suleimenov, who was born in 1941 in Semipalatinsk, the nearest major city to the test site, is not an uncommon one. His father and one of his sisters died of cancer, while two other sisters were both scarred by the effects of the blasts. Unlike his neighbours, however, Suleimenov went on to become Kazakhstan’s first foreign minister, giving him a central role in dismantling the newly born country’s nuclear weapons.

……..Kander, who says he sneaked into Priozersk with the help of local contacts, was fascinated by the “combination of beauty and destruction” he found in the former secret cities in Kazakhstan. “The cold war and the relentless quest for nuclear armaments created many of the ruins that we see here,” he says. “They now stand as monuments to the near ruin of mankind.”

Slideshow photographs: Nadav Kander/Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Nadav Kander, ‘Dust’, is at Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP, from September 10 to October 11. ‘Dust’ is published by Hatje Cantz, RRP£60. Jack Farchy is the FT’s Moscow and central Asia correspondent

September 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Censorship of scientists about USA’s Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterTop Official: “Really concerned” over radiation release at US nuclear site; Feds “have put a noose around scientific personnel”… they refuse to reveal crucial information about WIPP disaster — Investigators becoming suspicious — Nuclear Expert: “It sure seems like there’s a cover-up” (AUDIO)

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn, Sept 6, 2014: “The problem is that Department of Energy headquarters back in Washington, D.C., is looking at this situation through a political or (public relations) lens, so they’ve put a noose around the scientific personnel who can answer our questions… there’s a willingness (by LANL personnel) to provide information [but] someone back at headquarters decides that no, they’re not going to provide that information to the state… it happens repeatedly, that’s when you start to get really concerned… they don’t provide certain information [or] make staff available… The more we investigate, the more we’re discovering at Los Alamos… the Department of Energy headquarters refuses to provide certain information.”The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 6, 2014: Flynn accuses feds of blocking WIPP probe — New Mexico’s top environmental regulator lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy this week, accusing it of impeding the state’s investigation into [the WIPP] radiation leak… Secretary Ryan Flynn warned [about] Energy Department roadblocks that have protracted the probe… Increasingly in recent weeks, the federal Energy Department has thwarted attempts by the state… Flynn accused the Energy Department of muzzling scientists with crucial information about the waste…. [They] asked for documentation supporting the scientists’ observations [but] the Energy Department has repeatedly refused… his frustration with the Energy Department grew as its denials… became more frequent… The Energy Department’s refusal to provide information raised suspicions among Flynn’s investigators…

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group, Sept 6, 2014: “[Not sharing this information] could be a danger signal for workers and the public. Mislabeling drums and withholding information can be criminal.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 3, 2014: Review, relabeling of LANL waste raises questions about scope of problem… [Los Alamos National Laboratory’s] review of the incident has led to uncertainty over the volatility of hundreds of other drums… The lab notified state environment officials late last month that it was re-evaluating and relabeling as “ignitable” or “corrosive” the contents of 86 drums at LANL… The Department of Energy also is reviewing and relabeling more than 300… stored in WIPP’s underground… [This] raises questions about the scope of the problem that led to the leak at WIPP.

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator & engineer, Aug 28, 2014 (at 22:15 in): “It sure seems like that there’s a combination of a cover-up, and a combination of slip-shot record keeping. Now there’s talk of whether they ditched those records after the fact or before the fact, but those records are nonexistent. One would expect really good records as to what is being stored, where it’s being stored, when it was put away, when it was stored, all that – every bit of information that one would expect to have in a nuclear storage facility and these are missing, there’s a lot of information.

Full interview with Harris here

September 8, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) stalled for years

wastesFlag-USANew Mexico nuclear waste site may be hobbled for years WP, By Laura Zuckerman September 7 It may be years before an underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico shuttered by a radiation leak is fully operational, and costs for decontamination and other activities to restore the facility are not yet clear, Energy Department officials said.

A recovery plan is being crafted for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, but details are not expected to be finalized for weeks, Dana Bryson, the deputy manager of the Energy Department field office that oversees the dump, said during a public meeting last week.

He said the primary issue tied to a Feb. 14 radiation incident at the plant, managed by contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership, was that requirements for disposal were not met in materials shipped to the facility……..

The head of the New Mexico Environment Department warned of “significant penalties” for the waste dump and Los Alamos for violations of state hazardous-waste permits.

The state was gathering information about the radiation release, the handling of radiological debris and other practices at Los Alamos to determine the extent of violations, a New Mexico Environment Department official said.

“Based on increasing information reported to the state from both sites, the state has already identified violations that could lead to penalties,” agency spokesman Jim Winchester said.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New York nuclear bomb threat – a cruel hoax

Heartless prank caller threatens 1 World Trade Center with nuclear bomb The caller phoned in the threat to the city’s 911 system around 7 p.m. Friday, claiming a device was placed next to the building near Vesey St. in lower Manhattan. BY   NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Saturday, September 6, 2014, 

A callous prank caller threatened to destroy 1 World Trade Center with a nuclear bomb Friday night — six days before the 13th anniversary of 9/11.

The caller phoned in the threat to the city’s 911 system at about 7 p.m., claiming the device was placed next to the building near Vesey St. in lower Manhattan.

Port Authority police and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force raced over, but found nothing, law enforcement sources said.

The call was traced to Brooklyn, but no arrests had been made Friday evening, sources said.

Thousands will be flocking to 1 World Trade Center, as well as the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, on Thursday as the city marks the 13th anniversary of the terror attack on the World Trade Center and remembers the nearly 3,000 people who died there.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Weapons manufacturers profit as the world becomes more dangerous



King Solomon’s Horse Tanks, Rudy Martinka, 7 Sept 14   “…….ISIS is using the weapons and dollars captured in Northern Iraq that were supplied by the US to be used to defend Iraq.

The US supplied armaments to Afghanistan rebels to combat the Russian invasion. Osama Bin Laden learned how to use these weapons.

The European and USA manufacturers of weapons have been selling armaments to the Middle East in exchange for oil.

The nuclear bomb technology stolen from the US after WWII is now a threat to the entire world especially if it is ever obtained by extreme terrorists or nations with ideologies to destroy perceived enemies even if they purposely kill themselves in the act…….King Solomon profited in the short term by trading arms same as many countries are doing today…….As for King Solomon, I wonder what he would have to say about the wisdom of US foreign aid in regards to our present policy to supply men and arms in the Middle East supposedly as a defense for the US. While at the same time having absolutely no control of US borders and visas in spite of a potential threat of a nuclear dirty bomb…….

September 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

3 Persistent Big Lies from the nuclear industry

liar-nuclear1Nuclear industry still engages in Big Lies Ferris  September 6, 2014  The article by Duane W. Gang in Sunday’s DNJ, “TVA makes $4.5 billion bet on nuclear future,” states only a few arguments of environmentalists against more nuclear reactions, yet it repeats the Big Lie that nuclear energy is clean because power plants don’t emit greenhouse gases.

Let’s examine that statement. How much fossil fuel energy do you suppose was required to transport tons of material for the construction of Watts Bar 2 since the 1970s? How much fossil fuel energy to build the reactor? How much more to mine and transport the uranium for fuel? How much to operate the plant for the many years it will function? (We know from Fukushima what happens if the power goes out.) And finally, how much energy will be needed to decommission the plant and to haul the waste to Tennessee landfills?

Another Big Lie told by the officials of the nuclear industry is that nuclear energy is safe. In fact, reactors must routinely emit radiation in order to operate “safely”. Studies have shown that cancer and childhood leukemia increase in areas where nuclear power is produced and decrease when plants close down. How safe is that? Not to mention the high-level radioactive waste, deadly stuff with nowhere to go.

Have we learned nothing from the disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima? Huge swaths of land in Russia and Japan will be uninhabitable for thousands of years. The results are death and horrendous genetic damage. Chernobyl happened because the aged plant was operated long after it should have been shut down. In this country, we have over a hundred old reactors operating on licenses that were extended decades beyond their expected life-span. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has never turned down an application for license renewal, only required that some retrofitting be done first. How safe is that?

In Japan, the rate of thyroid cancer in children has skyrocketed and food supplies have been contaminated. Fukushima continues to spew millions of gallons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, poisoning our seafood.

If you believe it can’t happen here, consider this: the reactor at Diablo Canyon in California sits on a major earthquake fault. Given the eastward flow of winds, a disaster there could contaminate the continent. Closer to home, Browns Ferry plant near Huntsville has three old reactors, same design as Fukushima, located in a tornado alley. The F5 tornado that destroyed much of Tuscaloosa in 2011 narrowly missed Browns Ferry, which lost power for several days. A direct hit could have wiped out Middle and East Tennessee.

You think the new reactors will be safer? Actually, the new Watts Bar 2 is built on an antiquated containment design from the 1960s. It relies on 3 million pounds of chipped ice hanging in baskets surrounding the reactor to allow a thinner (“egg shell”) containment vessel. This design is especially vulnerable to releasing massive amounts of radiation if coolant is lost.

The third Big Lie of the nuclear industry, suggested in the DNJ article, is that nuclear power is good for the economy because it provides jobs. Think about it. Right now 3,100 workers are constructing the new reactor at Watts Bar 2. If the project really is finished by 2015, those jobs will be terminated. Only a few more people will be needed to operate the plant.

If TVA had employed the same number of people to construct solar panels, the jobs would be on-going and the environment would have been free of radiation. Instead, what the Gannett reporter failed to tell, is that the board of directors voted at the last TVA meeting to reduce funding for energy efficiency (including renewable energy) by 25 percent and to raise rates on electricity for TVA customers. How much sense does that make?

September 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment