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

This week’s nuclear news

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Fukushima 4th anniversary events planned in London and elsewhere.

Japan: Nuclear restarts  could be years away, due to legal battles  Fukushima. Slow start to removing nuclear fuel rods from reactor No 3.  Two new big solar projects.

UK and 7 other EU countries want European Commission funding to prop up their nuclear industry Lawsuit over European Commission’s approval of Hinkley will expose full costs of nuclear. Germany says absolute NO to tax-payer funded nuclear power.

The ever more expensive Sellafield nuclear clean-up – £53bn cost now 

USA: Nuclear power companies feeling financial pain – their future is dubious. Former governors to take legal action to stop nuclear wastes coming to Idaho

Medical disability for radiation accepted for airman who attended UFO site 30 years ago. I thought this was an interesting one – perhaps relating to some secret radiation or nuclear weapons project?

Russia: not much news about Russia. Always a worry, as their nuclear industry, weapons industry, waste disposal, – all very secretive – almost certainly more dangerous and incompetent than USA’s or UK’s. Giant craters appearing in Siberia– result of permafrost thawing, due to global warming?

Iran:  Theatrics by Israel’s Netanyahu highlight the need for a nuclear agreement with Iran

Climate: Murky story of the funding of climate denialist Willie Soon

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment


text-Please-NoteREMEMBER FUKUSHIMA – NO to Nuclear Power


PUBLIC MEETING in the House of Commons

hosted by Michael Meacher, MP

please RSVP to let us know if you’d like to attend so we can have an idea of numbers: email

committee room tba 19:00 – 21:00

click here for more info

WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2015 – the actual anniversary of the Fukushima disaster:

VIGIL opposite the Japanese Embassy 101 Piccadilly London W1J 7JT

17:30 – 19:30

click here for more info



assemble Hyde Park Corner at 12:00 for start at 12:30

followed by:  RALLY  at old Palace Yard opposite the House of Commons from 14:30

click here for more info



The Granville Community Kitchen, Kilburn, London

please RSVP to let us know if you’d like to attend so we can have an idea of numbers: email

click here for more info

other 311 events in the UK

other 311 events around the world

films re 311

art exhibitions re 311

our friends in Australia

our friends in Belarus

our friends in Belgium

our friends in Brazil

our friends in Canada

our friends in Finland

our friends in France

our friends in Germany

our friends in India

our friends in Japan

our friends in Lithuania

our friends in Spain

our friends in Taiwan

our friends in the UK

our friends in the USA


organised by: CND, JAN UK, KICK NUCLEAR:

March 7, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | 2 Comments

America’s nuclear-weapons sites vulnerable to terrorism – pacifist activists demonstrate this

Break-In at Y-12 How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites .New Yorker, BY ERIC SCHLOSSER , 9 March 15
“…….The origins of the Plowshares movement can be traced to the work of Dorothy Day…
…..she devoted the rest of her life to the practice of a new kind of American Catholicism—one that was uncompromising in its service to the homeless, its opposition to state power, its resistance to all forms of violence and war….
By the late nineteen-forties, America’s growing anxiety about nuclear weapons revived interest in Day’s pacifism. She had condemned the use of atomic bombs against Japan, calling it a “colossal slaughter of the innocents.” The possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union gave new urgency to a movement seeking to make war obsolete. …….
The threat of nuclear terrorism has been a concern since the early days of the atomic era. During a closed Senate hearing in 1946, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, was asked whether three or four people could smuggle into New York City the parts necessary to build a nuclear weapon. “Of course it could be done,” he said, and it would be almost impossible to prevent. “The only instrument that would enable an inspector to find out if a packing crate contained an atomic bomb is a screwdriver.” For most of the Cold War, however, nuclear threats from outside the United States seemed more pressing than those which might emerge within it.

According to Matthew Bunn, a nuclear-security expert and a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, during the nineteen-fifties and sixties “the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) literally imposed no rules at all concerning how private companies with weapons-usable nuclear material had to secure such stocks.” The A.E.C. assumed that the financial value of the fissile material would encourage companies to safeguard it carefully. That wasn’t the case. For decades, plutonium was shipped across the United States without armed guards. In 1972, the terrorist attack on the Munich Olympics prompted much tougher federal oversight of fissile materials. The subsequent rise of international terrorism and the 9/11 attacks tightened the security even further. And yet, until the opening of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, in 2010, tons of weapons-grade uranium were still being stored at Y-12 in a wooden building constructed during the Manhattan Project.

The traditional reliance on “guns, gates, and guards” for nuclear security may overlook a serious vulnerability at nuclear sites: the insider threat…….

The Plowshares action at Y-12 attracted international attention. The fact that an eighty-two-year-old nun had broken into a high-security nuclear-weapons complex seemed unbelievable. But to some people familiar with the security arrangements at Y-12 the intrusion was the logical result of mismanagement that had plagued the facility for years..…..

Kirby had asked, “What do you think about what they do at Y-12?”

“I think with sadness that they are making a huge amount of money,” Sister Megan said.

Walli, Boertje-Obed, and Sister Megan were convicted by the jury on all counts. The three were now classified as violent offenders, because of the conviction for attacking government property. They were handcuffed, shackled, and led from the courtroom to jail…….


the walls of the penitentiary guarding this pacifist were taller and more impenetrable than any of the fences at Y-12. ♦

March 7, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Slow start to removing nuclear fuel rods from Fukushima reactor No 3

4 Years On: Fuel Removal from Fukushima Storage Pool Remains Tough  Fukushima, March 5 (Jiji Press)--Beginning in fiscal 2015, Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> plans to begin removal of fuel assemblies from one of the storage pools at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was left crippled four years ago in Japan’s worst nuclear accident.

nuclear-spent-fuel-pool   In the No. 3 reactor pool are 514 spent fuel assemblies and 52 unused assemblies. “Removing all fuel bundles from pools in the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors would substantially lower the level of risk at the plant,” says Toyoshi Fuketa, acting head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
Removal of fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor pool was completed in December.
However, work to begin emptying the No. 3 reactor pool of assemblies has been slow due to the extensive damage the reactor building suffered from a hydrogen explosion that occurred shortly after the nuclear power plant was hit by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent monster tsunami on March 11, 2011. A lot of debris remains in the storage pool alongside the assemblies.
Among the debris is a 35-ton piece of equipment used to exchange fuel assemblies. Its presence is a major obstacle to beginning the removal work.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Nuclear developments on hold, as Areva asks NRC to suspend nuclear reactor design review

areva-medusa1Areva asks NRC to suspend nuclear reactor design review 03/06/2015 Areva Inc. has asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend its design certification review of Areva’s European Pressurized Reactor (EPR).

 Areva’s request was made on Feb. 25, days before the France-based parent company announced losses of more than $5 billion for 2014, according to World Nuclear News. The company requested the NRC to suspend work on all submittals in active review and to not post any new charges to the EPR design certification docket after March 27.

The announcement also puts on hold plans for the Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear unit in Maryland, which was going to use the EPR reactor design. Unistar Nuclear Energy also asked the NRC to suspend review of its combined operating license application just days after Areva’s request.

The U.S. EPR is based on the EPR reactor currently under construction in France and Finland and planned for construction at Hinkley Point C in the UK, the article said.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, USA | Leave a comment

Medical disability for radiation awarded to airman who attended UFO site 30 years ago



Was this “UFO” in fact part of a secret nuclear military  program?

Airman Wins Full VA Benefits For UFO Radiation Exposure For 30 years, U.S. airman John Burroughs has been trying to convince the military that after investigating a UFO in Rendlesham Forest, he suffered from massive amounts of radiation and ultimately needed heart surgery.

Now, after a long legal battle, the VA is finally giving Burroughs full medical disability for the incident.

The incident took place in December of 1980. At the time, Burroughs, a policeman in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Suffolk, England, was investigating a mysterious craft in the forest, The Inquisitr reports. As Burroughs and his team ventured into the forest and closer to the source, the lights suddenly disappeared, leaving the team grasping for an explanation.

The next day, the lights reappeared, and the team again investigated. Burroughs stated that he came in direct contact with lights flying around the forest—in other words, UFOs. Out of nowhere, the lights beaming down blasted him with a wave of radiation. The UK government eventually confirmed the incredibly high levels of radiation in that exact location.

“I’m still trying to work out what I saw,” Burroughs told The Mirror. “I think this is a phenomenon the government is aware of, but are still trying to work out exactly what it is.

This exposure to radiation left him sick, and since then, he’s been battling the military for over 30 years to receive benefits. For him, it isn’t about proving the existence of UFOs, but rather convincing the military that because he suffered from serious radiation exposure, he should receive the health treatment he needs.

Republican Sen. John McCain eventually decided to advocate for his cause, but was ultimately unable to track down all of the necessary medical records to prove his case.

Finally, the legal team working with Burroughs found documents from the British Ministry of Defense which proved that significant levels of radiation were detected at exactly the location where Burroughs encountered the strange lights. After the documents surfaced, the U.S. government could no longer deny that Burroughs suffered from radiation exposure, and now the Department of Veterans Affairs is set to grant Burroughs full medical disability.

“In citing the [MoD radiation documents] and in granting John Burroughs full disability for his injuries in Rendlesham Forest, the US Government has by de facto acknowledged the existence of unidentified aerial phenomena which, in John Burroughs’ case, resulted in physical injury,” Pat Frascogna, a ‘UFO Lawyer’said in an email to The Mirror.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear scientists press for more tax-payer money for research into nuclear energy

nukes-hungryFlag-USAScientists Outline Research Wish List for Nuclear Energy, abc news, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mar 5, 2015, By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press “……Groups gathered at the University of New Mexico, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a few other sites around the country as part of an effort by the U.S. Department of Energy to narrow the list of critical research problems the nation needs to address when it comes to nuclear energy.

The findings outlined by the six groups are meant to guide decisions on what research to fund…….

Participants outlined numerous recommendations and areas where the U.S. could do better to boost innovation in nuclear energy. Everything from stable funding and safety to regulatory changes, new reactor designs, the availability of water and the public’s perception of nuclear power was discussed during the three-day workshops……

Environmental groups that have been pushing for more solar and wind power have raised concerns about the potential environmental effects of nuclear generation and the cleanup and decommissioning costs…..

TerraPower, a Washington-based company chaired by billionaire Bill Gates, hopes to build a next-generation, prototype reactor by 2025 and have commercial plants ready a decade later.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Increasing number of nuclear safety incidents at Britain’s top secret Trident nuclear submarine base,

safety-symbol-Smflag-UKMore than 450 nuclear safety incidents reported at Britain’s Royal Navy submarine base  Mirror,  2 March 2015 By  The incidents took place between 2008/09 and 2013/14 at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, where the country’s nuclear armed Trident subs are housed

More than 450 “shocking” nuclear safety incidents have been reported at Britain’s top secret Trident nuclear submarine base, new figures show.

Up to 451 safety incidents happened between 2008/ 9 and 2013/14, which involved at least 71 fires and major equipment failures at the Faslane base.

In the last year alone the number of accidents has almost doubled from 68 in 2012/13 to 107 in the following year 2013/14.

The incidents happened at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, where Britain’s shadowy nuclear armed Trident submarines are based…….

March 7, 2015 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

UK and 7 other EU countries want funding to prop up their nuclear industry

nukes-hungryflag-EUUK joins Romanian push for new EU nuclear aid package Guardian, , 5 Mar 15 UK and seven other EU countries call on commission for increased nuclear aid funding and support to help meet climate targets and energy security objectives. The UK and seven other countries last month called for a new package of nuclear aid funding and support, in a letter sent to the commission ahead of the EU’s energy union policy launch.

The letter, seen by the Guardian, calls for new EU financing mechanisms for nuclear as a low carbon technology, and research and innovation initiatives to deal with the costly and unresolved issues of nuclear waste and decommissioning.

New state aid guidelines are also needed, it says, and these should be based on past EU decisions, including the approval of the UK’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset……..

The letter to the commission’s vice president Sefkovic and climate commissioner Miguel Cañete was signed by the Romanian energy minister, Andrei Gerea, on behalf of ministers in seven other countries including the UK, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The ministers’ core argument is that many countries would not be able to cost-effectively meet EU climate targets and energy security objectives, without bloc support for new nuclear plant builds and the maintenance of existing reactors.

The cost-effectiveness argument is key, as minutes of a commissioner’s discussion seen by the Guardian indicate that the UK’s planned £17.6bn subsidy for Hinkley was cleared by Brussels partly on the basis that it would have been too expensive to organise a competitive tendering process.

The competition commissioner of the time, Joaquín Almunia, told other commissioners that “the specificities of nuclear technology made it impossible to achieve full competition between operators, at least at the time of the HPC project. For a project like the present one, the costs of preparing a project bid are so considerable that it would seem almost impossible to organise an open and transparent bidding process with several bidders.”

The minutes show that the EU decision largely rested on the imputed common interest in advancing nuclear power outlined in the Euratom treaty. But Hinkley’s approval was resisted by the commission’s environment and climate directorates who argued that it called into question the bloc’s ‘technology neutrality’ and would create market distortions.

“This is really about state aid which is supposed to be for new technologies that haven’t proved themselves viable yet. But nuclear energy has had 70 years and still has not been able to prove itself viable, even when the public pays for its waste disposal and decommissioning. It should not be eligible for subsidies,” said Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for South West England and Gibraltar………


March 7, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Every country’s nuclear weapons facilities are vulnerable to insider terrorism

safety-symbol1Break-In at Y-12 How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites .New Yorker, BY ERIC SCHLOSSER , 9 March 15 “…….The United States is far more open about its nuclear-weapons programs than any other nation. But that openness, and the many security problems it has revealed, should not imply that the greatest threat of nuclear terrorism comes from sites in the United States. On the contrary, America may have the best nuclear-security systems in the world. The management challenges that the United States has faced are now being encountered by every other country that possesses nuclear weapons.

Pakistan tops the list of nations that cause terrorism experts the greatest concern. It has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal. It has dispersed nuclear weapons to multiple locations, making them less vulnerable to attack by a foreign nation but more vulnerable to theft by terrorists. It has extremist groups seeking to infiltrate the military. And few people outside Pakistan know how its nuclear enterprise is really being run. One of the top-secret documents obtained by Edward Snowden in 2013 says that American intelligence agencies have little “knowledge of the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and associated material.” The question deeply concerns Russia as well. A classified State Department document released by WikiLeaks describes a meeting between Russian and American diplomats in Washington. “Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials,” an official at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Perhaps a hundred and twenty-five thousand people were directly involved in Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons and missile programs. The Russian official warned that “regardless of the clearance process for these people, there is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal.”

Remarkably little is known about the security arrangements at India’s nuclear facilities. Its weapons aren’t as widely dispersed as Pakistan’s. But in both countries terrorists and extremists are more likely to seek plutonium and weapons-grade uranium. Fissile materials are easier to steal than nuclear weapons and much lighter to carry. An improvised explosive device can be made with just a hundred and twenty pounds of uranium or twenty pounds of plutonium. And those amounts don’t have to be stolen all at once.

An insider at a nuclear facility might secretly remove a few ounces of fissile material every so often and accumulate a significant amount of it over time. That happened at a nuclear laboratory south of Moscow in 1992……
Russia has the most nuclear weapons and the largest amount of fissile material in the world. For more than twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia worked closely together to improve nuclear security and reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism. Thousands of nuclear weapons were safely transported from former Soviet republics and dismantled. New storage facilities were built in Russia; modern security systems were introduced; fissile materials were removed from unguarded sites and locked away. But in December, 2014, Congress voted against additional funding for the nuclear-threat-reduction program. And Russia announced that it would end most of its coöperative work with the United States, despite the need to upgrade security at more than two hundred buildings. Sam Nunn, the former U.S. senator who helped to create the program, has often called the effort to prevent nuclear terrorism “a race between coöperation and catastrophe.” The Russian decision, Nunn thinks, just made the latter more likely. Russia still has about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds of plutonium and about 1.4 million pounds of weapons-grade uranium……..


March 7, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Halliburton & Co used fracking to Inject Nuclear Waste Underground for Decades

Shock: Fracking Used to Inject Nuclear Waste Underground for DecadeBy Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton Global Research, March 06, 2015 Activist Post 5 March 2015 Unearthed articles from the 1960s detail how nuclear waste was buried beneath the Earth’s surface by Halliburton & Co. for decades as a means of disposing the by-products of post-World War II atomic energy production.

Fracking is already a controversial practice on its face; allowing U.S. industries to inject slurries of toxic, potentially carcinogenic compounds deep beneath the planet’s surface — as a means of “see no evil” waste disposal — already sounds ridiculous, dangerous, and stupid anyway without even going into further detail.Alleged fracking links to the contamination of the public water supply and critical aquifers, as well as ties to earthquake upticks near drilling locations that are otherwise not prone to seismic activity have created uproar in the years since the 2005 “Cheney loophole,” which allowed the industry to circumvent the Safe Drinking Water Act by exempting fracking fluids, thus fast tracking shale fracking as a source of cheap natural gas.

Now, it is apparent that the fracking industry is also privy to many secrets of the nuclear energy industry and, specifically, where the bodies are buried, err… dangerous nuclear waste is buried, rather — waste that atomic researchers have otherwise found so difficult to eliminate. Continue reading

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | 2 Comments

UK’s Hinkley nuclear plans have “chilling effect” on renewable energy investment in Somerset

UK joins Romanian push for new EU nuclear aid package Guardian, , 5 Mar 15 “……..New research to be published on Thursday by the Resilience Centre finds that the government’s plans for a new reactor at Hinkley Point C has had what Cato calls “a chilling effect” on investment in renewable energy in Somerset.

In 2010, Somerset set a relatively low target of 63MW for solar energy capacity by 2020, which it looks likely to exceed. By comparison, neighbouring Devon has a solar energy target of 440MW while Gloucestershire has a goal of 920MW.

But the centre, says that when the lower capacity factors of renewable energy are taken into account, renewables have the potential to generate more than three times the equivalent energy of Hinkley.

Two tidal lagoons off the Somerset coast would be likely to generate 640MW, or 10% of the equivalent energy generated by Hinkley.

The Resilience Centre, which comprises technical renewable energy experts and environmental engineers, pegs Somerset’s onshore and marine generating capacity from renewables at 5.4GW – around 60% of Hinkley’s output……

March 7, 2015 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

The nuclear terror motivations of extremists of Salafi jihadists and of White Supremacists

elephant-terror-in-roomBreak-In at Y-12 How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites .New Yorker, BY ERIC SCHLOSSER , 9 March 15 “…….After considering the threat of nuclear terrorism for many years, William C. Potter, the director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Gary Ackerman, the director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, at the University of Maryland, outlined some of the motives that could drive a terrorist group to obtain a nuclear weapon. The group might hope to create mass anxiety or mass casualties. It might want to deter attacks by a state with nuclear weapons. It might want to destroy a large area belonging to an adversary. It might want the prestige that nuclear weapons seem to confer, the status of being a world power. And it might seek to fulfill a religious goal. Groups that have an apocalyptic outlook—that believe “an irremediably corrupt world must be purged to make way for a utopian future,” that celebrate violence as a means of achieving those aims—could be especially drawn to nuclear weapons, Potter and Ackerman found. Today, the number of those groups seems to be multiplying.

“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it,” Osama bin Laden declared in 1998. Al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said that his mood won’t improve until America vanishes. And he quoted, with approval, a radical imam’s view that using a nuclear weapon against the United States would be sanctified by God: “If a bomb were dropped on them, destroying ten million of them and burning as much of their land as they have burned of Muslim land, that would be permissible without any need to mention any other proof.”

The Salafi jihadist world view promoted by Al Qaeda stresses the religious duty to purify corrupt states through violence, drive out infidels, and create a new caliphate—a perfect state in which religious and political leadership will be merged. Seth G. Jones, the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, estimates that there are about fifty Salafi jihadist groups worldwide. They focus primarily on local struggles, battling the “near enemy,” not the “far enemy”: the United States. The groups most likely to commit terrorist acts on American soil are Al Qaeda, its offshoot Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). None have thus far engaged in nuclear terrorism, preferring more conventional and reliable forms of violence.

Salafi jihadists aren’t the only millenarian group that might be drawn to nuclear weapons. During the early nineties, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) attempted to buy nuclear weapons in Russia, purchased land in Australia to mine for uranium, and sought technical assistance from scientists at Moscow’s leading institute for nuclear research…….
White supremacists in the United States have also fantasized about using nuclear weapons to purify society. Before Timothy McVeigh destroyed Oklahoma City’s federal building with a truck bomb, in 1995, he travelled the country selling copies of “The Turner Diaries,” a 1978 novel long considered the bible of the white-power movement. It features a protagonist who flies a plane carrying a nuclear weapon into the Pentagon, committing suicide in order to destroy Washington, D.C. In the book’s “happy” ending, white patriots use nuclear weapons stolen from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, to annihilate inferior races throughout the world. Although the threat of Islamic terrorism has received a great deal of media attention, since 9/11 more people have been killed in the United States by American extremists than by foreign jihadists……….


March 7, 2015 Posted by | psychology - mental health, safety, social effects | Leave a comment

The industry of “doubt” promoted against climate science

spin-corporate.Doubt over climate science is a product with an industry behind it With its roots in the tobacco industry, climate science denial talking points can be seen as manufactured doubt Guardian,   5 Mar 15 It’s a product that you can find in newspaper columns and TV talk shows and in conversations over drinks, at barbecues, in taxi rides and in political speeches.

You can find this product in bookstores, on sponsored speaking tours, in the letters pages of local newspapers and even at United Nations climate change talks.

This product is doubt – doubt about the causes and impacts of climate change, the impartiality of climate scientists, the world’s temperature records, the height of the oceans and basic atmospheric physics. Continue reading

March 7, 2015 Posted by | climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Link between earthquakes and fracking: scientists under pressure to deny this

see-no-evilFlag-USA Oklahoma scientists pressured to downplay link between earthquakes and fracking Grist By  on 4 Mar 2015 Oklahoma has been experiencing an earthquake boom in recent years. In 2014, the state had 585 quakes of at least magnitude 3. Up through 2008, it averaged only three quakes of that strength each year. Something odd is happening.

But scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey have downplayed a possible connection between increasing fracking in the state and the increasing number of tremors. Even as other states (Ohio, for example) quickly put two and two together and shut down some drilling operations that were to blame, OGS scientists said that more research was needed before their state took similar steps.

Now, though, emails obtained by EnergyWire reporter Mike Soraghan reveal that the University of Oklahoma and its oil industry funders were putting pressure on OGS scientists to downplay the connection between earthquakes and the injection of fracking wastewater underground.

n 2013, a preliminary OGS report noted possible correlation between the two, and OGS signed on to a statement by the U.S. Geological Survey that also noted such linkages. Soon after, OGS’s seismologist, Austin Holland, was summoned to meetings with the president of the university, where OGS is housed, and with executives of oil company Continental Resources. Continental CEO Harold Hamm was a major university funder, while the university president David Boren serves on Continental’s board, for which he earned $272,700 in cash and stock in 2013. From EnergyWire:……..

Other scientists at OGS weren’t happy to see the agency downplay the link between one oil and gas project, called the Hunton dewatering, and an earthquake swarm near Oklahoma City. One wrote to a family member, “I am dismayed at our seismic people about this issue and believe they couldn’t track a bunny through fresh snow!”

Even the USGS picked up on something fishy when Holland suggested alternative hypotheses to explain earthquakes instead of linking them to fracking processes. A science adviser with the federal agency wrote to Holland saying one alternative theory was “unlikely” and “could be very distracting from the larger issue of earthquake safety in Oklahoma … and the role that wastewater injection may be playing.”

In July 2014, Holland told Bloomberg that if a link between fracking and the quakes were to be discovered, he’d have to advise the state to shut some drilling operations down. “If my research takes me to the point where we determine the safest thing to do is to shut down injection — and consequently production — in large portions of the state, then that’s what we have to do,” he said. “That’s for the politicians and the regulators to work out.”

The research is there, even if UO President David Boren or Continental CEO Harold Hamm aren’t pleased about it. Let’s see what those politicians and regulators do next.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment