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Sendai nuclear plant operator set to plug leaks in 5 cooling system pipes

SATSUMA-SENDAI, Kagoshima Prefecture–The operator of the recently reactivated Sendai nuclear power plant here said it had pinpointed the sites of leaks that forced a postponement of full reactor operations.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it detected tiny cracks in five narrow pipes that carry seawater used to cool steam. The pipes are part of the steam condenser at the No. 1 reactor, which resumed operation on Aug. 11.

Output will be maintained at 75 percent of capacity, while the utility carries out checks for further holes.

Kyushu Electric was expected to release a final report on the glitch on Aug. 25. At the same time, it said fully restored reactor operations will be postponed from the scheduled date of Aug. 25.

The regional utility detected a tiny amount of seawater leaked into one of three condensers in the secondary cooling system of the reactor, which has an output of 890 megawatts, on Aug. 20.

The seawater was flowing in the condenser, a device that converts steam used in power generation to water by cooling it, and became mixed with the secondary cooling water that does not contain radioactive materials.

Kyushu Electric suspended operations of one of the two water circulation channels through the condenser at issue and inspected narrow pipes forming the system by passing an electric current through it.

Technicians found miniscule holes in five of 13,000 pipes they had inspected as of 10 a.m. on Aug. 24. After inspecting all the pipes, the workers will repair the faulty bits.

Kyushu Electric said the seawater was removed with a desalination device and operations at the No. 1 reactor were not hindered.

The reactor was restarted earlier this month for the first time since it was shut down for a periodic inspection in May 2011. Opponents of the plant have voiced safety concerns

Source: Asahi Shimbun


August 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Agreement reached on decontaminated water disposal

Fishers in Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Fukushima have formally allowed the release of decontaminated groundwater from around buildings of nuclear reactors into the sea.

The release is aimed at reducing production of heavily contaminated water in the basements of the buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Groundwater flowing into the buildings is producing 300 tons of highly radioactive water daily, resulting in a huge number of storage tanks at the plant.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, and the government have been asking the fishers to allow the release to keep the water from flowing into the buildings and becoming heavily tainted.

TEPCO plans to use 41 wells already dug around the buildings to pump up the water and lower the levels of radioactive substances to between one-one-thousandth and one-ten-thousandth of their original amounts before releasing it.

The operator, the government and an independent institution plan to check so that only water below allowed levels is discharged.

On Tuesday, the local federation of fisheries cooperatives approved the plan on condition that the release rules are strictly followed and that compensation is paid for any damage due to harmful rumors.

Federation chairman Tetsu Nozaki said the approval was decided unanimously, but that some members were dissatisfied. He added that the plan is needed for steadily decommissioning the plant, and that he wants TEPCO and the government to keep their word.

The firm’s Fukushima headquarters chief Yoshiyuki Ishizaki said the plan is a big step forward in the decommissioning process as well as tackling the problem of contaminated water. He said fishermen told him that the plan could lead to rebuilding of Fukushima’s fishing industry, and that he will keep their remarks in mind.

TEPCO plans to start releasing the water soon.

Source: NHK


Fishermen OK TEPCO’s plan to dump Fukushima plant water into sea

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture approved on Tuesday a plan by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pump up contaminated groundwater continuously flowing into the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station and dump it into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.

The plan is one of TEPCO’s key measures aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Local fishermen had long opposed the plan amid concern over pollution of the ocean and marine products.

“I don’t know if it’s acceptable for all fishery operators, but stable work of decommissioning (of the Fukushima plant) is necessary for the revival of Fukushima’s fishery industry,” Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, told reporters after a board meeting.

He also called on TEPCO to make sure it will only discharge water which does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowable limit.

The amount of toxic water is piling up every day, as untainted groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

By pumping up water through drainage wells and dumping it into the ocean after treatment, TEPCO said it will be able to halve some 300 tons of contaminated water being generated each day.

In exchange for approving the plan, the Fukushima fisherman’s association demanded on Aug. 11 that the government and TEPCO continue paying compensation for the fishermen as long as the nuclear plant causes damage to their business, among other requirements.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations also gave the green light for the release of treated water into the sea.

TEPCO has been struggling to resolve the problem of toxic water buildup at the plant for more than four years after the nuclear crisis, with radiation leakages into the environment still occurring regularly at the complex.

The company is also behind schedule on a project to build a huge underground ice wall, another key measure to prevent radioactive water from further increasing at the site.

Source: Mainichi

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Forest fires out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia

wildfire-nuketext-relevantMassive wildfires transform Siberian paradise into disaster area Mashable, Andrew Freeman 25 Aug 15 Dozens of large wildfires are burning out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume and the deepest lake, at more than 5,300 feet deep. The Lake Baikal area is a popular recreational area during the summer, with campgrounds and cottages surrounding the shoreline.

Because of the composition of the soil in this part of the world, these fires are spewing unusually high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming.

The region has seen drier and milder than average weather this year, and a combination of natural and manmade fires have led to a cataclysmic scene, with thick smoke seen from space and orange-tinted skies on the ground.

In July, the Lake Baikal area was one of the most unusually mild areas on Earth, according to NASA data as well as information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Fires have been burning off and on in this area since April, when farmers traditionally burn dried grass to help fertilize the soil. However, this year, many agricultural fires in this region got out of control, killing at least two dozen people and destroying several villages.

The smoke even made it across the Pacific Ocean, making for red sunsets in the Pacific Northwest, which is now suffering through it’s own wildfire calamity………

August 26, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Russia | Leave a comment

UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is now officially mothballed

Hinkley C Mothballed – Is it in its Death Throes? Two very recent articles in Click Green and Professional Engineer indicate that Hinkley Point C is now officially mothballed. Indeed the project seems to be in its death throes.

text Hinkley cancelled
We already knew that site preparation work at Hinkley Point C was stopped in April 2015, up to 400 construction workers were laid off, and the Final Investment Decision was delayed until the autumn. (1) What wasn’t clear at the time was that NNB Genco – the consortium planning to build the reactors which consists of EDF Energy, China General Nuclear Corp and other investors – put a cap on future spending on the project. (2)

On 1st July the site entered Care and Maintenance which means that activity at the site is limited to the management of material stockpiles and water management zones, remediation of asbestos contaminated land and archaeological surveys. (3)

The budget cap seems to have been greater than the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was expecting. ONR, of course, charges NNB Genco for all the work it carries out to regulate its activities.

ONR says it has taken the decision to suspend the production of future inspection reports until a Final Investment Decision is made. It has also suspended attendance at the local liaison committee – the Cannington Forum. These suspensions are most likely because NNB Genco no longer has the budget to pay for them, so the consortium will have asked ONR to stop visiting the site to do inspections and stop attending the forum because it can’t afford to pay. In retaliation ONR says it is “monitoring the impact of the budget constraint upon NNB Genco’s competency and capability”. In other words NNB Genco had better watch out or it will lose its status as an organisation competent and capable of holding a nuclear license.

ONR says its inspectors “continue to engage with the programme of design and safety case activities” related to the start of nuclear safety related construction. Its August newsletter said that further submissions are expected in September this year and the Pre Construction Safety Case related to nuclear island construction was ready for ONR to begin initial engagement at the end of July this year. (4)

So while some desk work appears to be continuing all major work on-site appears to have stopped and NNB Genco is so uncertain that the final investment decision will be positive it has asked ONR to stop as much work as possible to save money – even to the point of threatening its own status as a nuclear capable organisation. The Click Green website says:

“Despite recently publishing a list of preferred suppliers for the £24 billion project, the French firm were in behind-the-scenes talks with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), during which they informed them of their decision to mothball the site.”

It looks as though it may be all over for Hinkley Point C bar the shouting.

(1) Gloucestershire Echo 2nd April 2015

(2) Click Green 20th Aug 2015

(3) Professional Engineering 20th Aug 2015

(4)   See page 7 ONR Regulation Matters August 2015

August 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

Lockheed Martin used government nuclear money to lobby for more government nuclear money

money-lobbyingLockheed Martin fined for using government money to lobby for more government money, The Week,  Bonnie Kristian, 25 Aug 15, 

Defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay a fine to settle charges that the company illegally lobbied for a major government contract using federal funds. Lockheed targeted members of Congress and the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014, using money that had been allocated for research in a previous federal contract.

This is not the first time the contractor has used tax dollars to lobby for additional income. The Energy Department investigation that exposed these lobbying habits suggested Lockheed “felt empowered [to lobby this way] because it had improperly directed federal funds to similar activities in the past.”

The contract Lockheed unethically sought was worth $2.4 billion annually, and the company’s 2014 revenues totaled $45.6 billion — but the settlement payment was just $4.7 million. It’s a “slap on the wrist for the world’s biggest defense contractor to pay,” according to Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, who argues that Lockheed “engaged in deep and systemic corruption” which should result in criminal prosecution.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

St Louis suburb contaminated by radioactive thorium

ThoriumNuclear Waste Taints St. Louis Suburb,   Radioactive thorium found at residential properties is linked to nuclear-weapons work done decades ago ,WSJ, By  JOHN R. EMSHWILLER Aug. 23, 2015

Radioactive contamination has been discovered at three residential properties in the St. Louis area, adding fuel to a long-running controversy about how much damage was done to the environment and possibly people’s health by nuclear-weapons work performed there decades ago.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which disclosed the finding last week, said it was the first time it found such contamination on residential properties while cleaning up waste related to weapons programs in the St. Louis area……….

For years, the Corps has been cleaning up largely industrial and commercial sections in the St. Louis area that were contaminated as part of the weapons-program work that began during World War II. The national legacy of radioactive and chemical contamination from the atomic-weapons program, including its impact on St. Louis, was examined in a 2013 Wall Street Journal series.

The contaminated residential properties are near Coldwater Creek, which, which has been at the center of ongoing tensions over the past few years runs through suburban areas northwest of downtown St. Louis and passes an area formerly used to store weapons-program waste.

Federal officials have long acknowledged contamination got into the creek, which feeds into the Missouri River, and included it in their cleanup work. How far the taint was carried has remained a question.

Current and former residents of nearby areas have argued that contamination from the creek had spread into their neighborhoods during periods of flooding and they have pushed for extensive sampling of houses and yards. They also contend residents have suffered from an unusually large number of cancer cases and other maladies possibly linked to radioactive contamination………

Last September, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services wrote a letter to federal authorities saying it had found a significantly higher incidence of leukemia in areas around Coldwater Creek though it hadn’t determined whether there was a link to weapons-program contaminants. It asked them to join in a health study.

Last week, a spokesman for the state health department said it is still in discussions about what steps to take next. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is putting together its own health-study effort, said its director, Faisal Khan.

“The community around Coldwater Creek continues to have severe concerns about their own health and how much their health problems might be related to where they lived,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which was invited to participate in the study, didn’t have an immediate comment. In the past, the agency has said it was working with state officials and referred questions to them.

Write to John R. Emshwiller at

August 26, 2015 Posted by | environment, thorium, USA | Leave a comment

“Trojan horse’ – anti nuclear protest in Pretoria, South Africa

Green Peace activists protest against SA’s nuclear power plans Valeska Abreu , 25 Aug 15,

Green Peace activists have tied themselves to a four meter high Trojan horse which has been changed to a pillar at the entrance of the Department of Energy in Pretoria.

protest S Africa 15

They are silently protesting against South Africa’s plans for nuclear power. Four activists are sitting on the cold cemented floor wearing white safety overalls and masks, holding up placards that read “no future in nuclear” and “solar is the solution”.

The activist group is calling for the department to focus its plans on renewable energy rather than nuclear. Melita Steele, senior climate and energy campaign manager, says nuclear energy is a trap and could bankrupt the country.

The lobby group wrote a letter of demands to the department seven days ago but say they have not received any response. “It’s indicative of how the department is engaging on the issue of nuclear,” said Steele.

She said they would remain outside the department until they received feedback.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

Under pressure from banks, Japan pursuing unfeasible Fukushima nuclear cleanup

This Former Nuclear Industry Executive Claims the Fukushima Cleanup Plan Is Infeasible, VICE, August 12, 2015 by Thomas Marsh “………….Arnie Gundersen: I can’t reveal my sources, but they are very significant diplomats who have told me that the pressure on the Diet (Japanese parliament) from the electric companies is astronomical. The companies that own the plants want to get their money back, but these plants have been shut down for five years and the staff of approximately seven hundred people have been retained; and the taxes have been paid, and the towns that they are in haven’t seen any decline in their economy… even though these plants aren’t generating revenue. So where does the money come from?

The answer is that two or so billion dollars has been lent by banks to keep the utilities afloat, because utilities don’t have two billion dollars in cash sitting around. Now, it’s payback time for the bankers, and between the banks who want their two or three billion back, and the utilities that want their investment—which is probably in the order of $10 or $20 billion—back, then the pressure on the Diet is astronomical. Big money is pushing very hard to get these reactors started back up.

So you say they’ve proposed a 30-year cleanup, and you don’t think this is possible, correct?
No, I’m sure it’s not. A normal, clean power plant takes about ten years to decommission, and by “clean” I mean where literally the workers are working in street clothes most of the time. There are very few places in the plant where they’d have to put on what we call PCs—protective clothing. The white uniforms you see all over Fukushima… I’ve worked in nuclear power plants and only once or twice have had to wear those.

You can literally walk through most power plants in your street clothes, and the reason they have to wear them outside at Fukushima is because the radiation fields are so high. What’s happening now is that the ground is highly radioactive. In some areas where the radiation level is so high they’ve even put steel plates on top of the ground so that people could walk there. That’s not a normal decommissioning………

It’s a show. This is all about showing the Japanese that it’s not too bad, and we can run our other 40 or so plants fine, trust us. It’s definitely symbolic for the Japanese, but the real reason is the banks want their money back…….

August 26, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Persistence of radioactive caesium in ocean floor near Fukushima Daiichi

Cesium-137Nuclear Accident: Cesium contamination persists in ocean floor near Fukushima Daiichi site  Journal of Environmental Radioactivity   Volume 148, October 2015, Pages 92–110


• The majority of radiocesium is transported in the particulate fraction.
• The contribution of the dissolved fraction is only relevant in base flows.
• Significant transfer of particulate-bound radiocesium occurs during heavy rainfall.
• Radiocesium deposited in floodplains may be remobilized, inducing contamination.
• Transdisciplinary approach is required to quantify radiocesium transfers.
Abstract The devastating tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 inundated the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) resulting in a loss of cooling and a series of explosions releasing the largest quantity of radioactive material into the atmosphere since the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Although 80% of the radionuclides from this accidental release were transported over the Pacific Ocean, 20% were deposited over Japanese coastal catchments that are subject to frequent typhoons. Among the radioisotopes released during the FDNPP accident, radiocesium (134Cs and137Cs) is considered the most serious current and future health risk for the local population.

The goal of this review is to synthesize research relevant to the transfer of FDNPP derived radiocesium from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean. After radiocesium fallout deposition on vegetation and soils, the contamination may remain stored in forest canopies, in vegetative litter on the ground, or in the soil. Once radiocesium contacts soil, it is quickly and almost irreversibly bound to fine soil particles. The kinetic energy of raindrops instigates the displacement of soil particles, and their bound radiocesium, which may be mobilized and transported with overland flow. Soil erosion is one of the main processes transferring particle-bound radiocesium from hillslopes through rivers and streams, and ultimately to the Pacific Ocean. Accordingly this review will summarize results regarding the fundamental processes and dynamics that govern radiocesium transfer from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean published in the literature within the first four years after the FDNPP accident.The majority of radiocesium is reported to be transported in the particulate fraction, attached to fine particles. The contribution of the dissolved fraction to radiocesium migration is only relevant in base flows and is hypothesized to decline over time. Owing to the hydro-meteorological context of the Fukushima region, the most significant transfer of particulate-bound radiocesium occurs during major rainfall and runoff events (e.g. typhoons and spring snowmelt). There may be radiocesium storage within catchments in forests, floodplains and even within hillslopes that may be remobilized and contaminate downstream areas, even areas that did not receive fallout or may have been decontaminated.

Overall this review demonstrates that characterizing the different mechanisms and factors driving radiocesium transfer is important. In particular, the review determined that quantifying the remaining catchment radiocesium inventory allows for a relative comparison of radiocesium transfer research from hillslope to catchment scales. Further, owing to the variety of mechanisms and factors, a transdisciplinary approach is required involving geomorphologists, hydrologists, soil and forestry scientists, and mathematical modellers to comprehensively quantify radiocesium transfers and dynamics. Characterizing radiocesium transfers from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean is necessary for ongoing decontamination and management interventions with the objective of reducing the gamma radiation exposure to the local population.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty backs Iran nuclear agreement

Esty supports Iran nuclear agreement, August 25, 2015  Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-5, announced Tuesday her support of the Iran nuclear agreement.

Esty said she thoroughly reviewed the deal negotiated between the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany that aims to curb Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief before making her decision.

“I have attended classified briefings, examined classified materials, and sought answers,” Esty said. “I have met to discuss the agreement with my constituents, Jewish leaders throughout Connecticut, national security and nuclear energy experts, and Israeli leaders during my recent trip to Israel…After careful consideration, I believe implementing this agreement — which is far from perfect — gives us the best chance to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

Esty said the deal limits Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, and also contains provisions that allow sanctions to return if the agreement is violated.

“This agreement is not ideal, but is the best available option,” Esty said. “I have listened to critics and constituents raise legitimate concerns — concerns that I believe will help guide the United States in our duty to enforce Iran’s compliance with the agreement and ensure that they meet not just the letter of the agreement but also its spirit.”

August 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Tepco bid to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant stymied by governor

 Japan Times, 25 Aug 15 
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s road back to becoming a nuclear power utility remains uncertain amid staunch local opposition to restarting the facility at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture.  …. (subscribers only)

August 26, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Another mysterious death, of sailor exposed to Fukushima radiation

Third US Navy sailor dies after being exposed to Fukushima radiation
Monday, August 24, 2015 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer (NaturalNews) At least three of the U.S. Navy sailors exposed to radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have now died from mysterious illnesses, according to Charles Bonner, an attorney representing approximately 250 of the sailors in a class action lawsuit against companies involved in running the Fukushima plant.

Bonner said in a July 21 update on the case that more than 250 sailors have come down with illnesses and three have died. “We had one of the sailors who came home and impregnated his wife. They gave birth to a little baby born with brain cancer and cancer down the spine, lived for two years, and just died in March of this year.”…….

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

In lead-up to its license review, Indian Point nuclear company targets its propaganda to women

buyer-beware-1Reisman: Indian Point’s information war to counter nuke plant mishaps–mailers-license-renewal/32130213/ Phil Reisman, preisman@lohud.com10:48 a.m. EDT August 22, 2015

Columnist Phil Reisman looks into the information campaign by Entergy Corp. to counter bad Indian Point publicity. The corporate owners of the Indian Point nuclear power plant are trying to win the hearts and minds of the citizenry.

Not long ago, two slickly produced fliers from Entergy Corp. came to my house — and I assume also to thousands upon thousands of other homeowners who live within a 50-mile radius of the controversial plant.

The cover of one flier shows a smiling woman lifting her head to a blue sky, taking in the air. Her eyes are closed. She appears to be blissfully lost in an intoxicated swoon.

“Breathe Easy,” it says. “Clean Energy Means A Cleaner Environment.”

Inside the flier, the environmental theme is carried further. Nuclear power reduces greenhouse gases, it says, citing research that 1.8 million lives have been saved because nuclear power doesn’t pollute the air like fossil fuels do.

The other flier features a woman in a business suit holding a red pen. “New Yorkers need affordable energy sources to create jobs,” reads the copy. Claims are made as to the economic benefits of Indian Point — among them an annual infusion of $1.6 billion to the regional economy, 1,000 local jobs and $75 million in property taxes.

Both pieces of mail seemed to be aimed at women, and perhaps chiefly suburban soccer moms who may not be totally convinced that Indian Point is “safe, secure, vital.”  Some polls show a gender gap on the issue of nuclear energy.

That the fliers were also addressed to my wife adds credence to the supposition.

Targeting a specific demographic audience is hardly unusual. Earlier this summer, it was reported by Time Warner Cable’s News NY 1 that Entergy had mailed fliers to a section of Brooklyn with a large African-American population.

The content of that mailing included a statistic that 4.5 million African-Americans suffer from asthma and that 71 percent of blacks live in places with high air pollution — the idea, of course, being that, without Indian Point, the air would be dirtier and more people would suffer from respiratory illness.

This has been an especially bad year for the creaky nuke complex, which had several unplanned shutdowns, raising serious concerns about the plant’s age, safety and maintenance standards. It experienced its third transformer explosion and fire in eight years in May, a mishap that caused thousands of gallons of oil to spill into the Hudson River

Against that backdrop the public relations campaign seems obvious. But none of the technical woes at Indian Point are mentioned in the slick Entergy fliers.

Nor is it stated anywhere that the federal license for the perpetually troubled Unit 3 reactor expires in December. In its report, NY 1 interviewed Assemblyman Nick Perry of Brooklyn, who observed, “Every once in a while, the nuclear folks in Westchester get concerned about their license, and they try to pump up some support for their operation there.”

Well, Perry hit the nail on the head.

After the transformer fire, there were renewed calls for the permanent shutdown of Indian Point.

In his blog, Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay pounded the energy facility when he wrote: “We must face facts regarding the Indian Point nuclear plant. Its infrastructure is aging, its safety is dubious, and most everyone knows it.”

Gallay cited the usual concerns about radioactive waste and Indian Point’s proximity to an earthquake fault. But he seemed to be directly answering one of the Entergy fliers, which pulled a quote from Mike Bloomberg, who said that, when he was New York City mayor in 2011, “There is no alternative to the energy that we get from Indian Point.”

In contradiction, Gallay said new technologies are being developed that will allow the nuclear plant to be replaced “at little cost to taxpayers.”

License review and renewal is within the purview of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But that doesn’t leave state and local politics  completely out of the equation. Entergy officials know that public opinion matters, which is why they spent what must have been a small fortune on the fliers, which resemble campaign material for political candidates.

They are telling everyone to “breathe easy,” while holding their breath all the way to December.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Sandia Corporation has to pay back tax-payer money used for nuclear lobbying

Lockheed Martin Nuclear Subsidiary Fined for Paying Lobbyists with Federal Funds, TIME, Patrick Malone  Center for Public Integrity Aug. 24, 2015

The Sandia Corporation has agreed to reimburse the Energy Department after allegedly spending federal funds on lobbying instead of national security’

A private corporation that operates a U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory agreed on Aug. 21 to pay the federal government $4.79 million to settle Justice Department allegations that it illegally used taxpayer money to lobby for an extension of its management contract.

The payment by the Sandia Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin that operates Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, resolved claims that the corporation violated two laws that bar such a use of federal funds.

It followed by nine months a restricted-access report by the Energy Department’s inspector general that accused Sandia of improperly trying to win a new contract without competition by lobbying senior Obama administration officials and key lawmakers with funds taken from its existing federal contract.

In his report, Inspector General Gregory Friedman described the company’s tactics as “highly problematic,” “inexplicable and unjustified,” and recommended that the Energy Department pursue reimbursement of the funds. A heavily-redacted copy of the report wasobtained by The Center for Public Integrity in June under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The money allocated by Congress for the Sandia National Laboratories is designed to fund the important mission carried out by our national laboratories, not to lobby Congress for more funding,” Benjamin C. Mizer, chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a six-paragraph news release late Friday announcing the settlement……..

The settlement leaves open the door for the Justice Department to file criminal charges associated with the investigation, according to the eight-page formal agreement signed by representatives of Sandia and the Justice Department, which was obtained by the Center.

Sandia and Lockheed documents cited by Friedman described an extensive lobbying plan that targeted then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, his family, friends and former colleagues at another nuclear lab, as well as key members of Congress. The effort, which occurred between 2008 and 2012 according to the Justice Department, was meant to block other companies from competing for a $2.4 billion a year contract to manage and operate Sandia National Laboratories. Its contract was set to expire in 2012.

The Justice Department barred Sandia Corporation from paying its multi-million dollar settlement and associated legal costs from its direct federal contract revenues. But Clark said the corporation planned to pay the fine from award fees – essentially bonuses for good performance – that it has previously received from the federal government. The amount represents 8 percent of the bonus payments Sandia Corporation received while the lobbying effort was under way, according to federal contract records………

August 26, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

IAEA needs more funds to monitor Iran’s nuclear installations

Nuclear watchdog requests funding boost for Iran inspections

By CHARLES HOSKINSON • 8/25/15 The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said Tuesday his agency will need an additional $10.5 million a year to meet new requirements to verify Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful under a deal worked out between Tehran and major world powers.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano spoke at a news conference after the agency’s board voted to formally implement the deal, along with the confidential side agreements that detail how Iran will resolve questions about past nuclear work widely believed to have been focused on developing a weapon.

He said the additional money would go to hire more inspectors to work in Iran, along with additional equipment necessary to meet what he called “the most robust safeguard regime in the current world.”

“We will need more inspectors,” but “it will not be a dramatic increase,” he said. “Verification is not done only by inspectors. We have the cameras, we have the seals and we have advanced technology.”

August 26, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment