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Radioactive soil to be used to build roads set to spark uproar

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A public outcry is expected when radioactive earth from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is recycled and used to construct roads and in other building projects.

“Fierce resistance would likely arise if the contaminated earth were used in prefectures other than Fukushima Prefecture,” said an official at an Environment Ministry study meeting on June 7.

But Shinji Inoue, senior vice environment minister, said the ministry will proceed with recycling despite expected opposition.

“We are set to promote the reuse (of contaminated earth) by endeavoring to gain public understanding across the country, including Fukushima Prefecture,” he said after the meeting.

Polluted earth will be covered by either clean earth, concrete, asphalt or other material to minimize radiation exposure to construction workers and residents living near the facilities built using radioactive soil.

Twenty-two million cubic meters, the equivalent of 18 Tokyo Dome stadiums, is the amount of contaminated soil expected to be produced in total from the cleanup work in areas around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and elsewhere in the prefecture. It is unclear how much of the polluted soil will be used in building projects.

Ministry officials decided at the meeting that the soil to be recycled will be restricted to that in which radioactivity measures 8,000 becquerels or less per kilogram.

The recycling is aimed to cut the amount of radioactive soil to be shipped to other prefectures for final disposal.

If the soil has more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactivity per kilogram, the central government is obliged under law to safely dispose of it.

The ministry envisages the use of contaminated earth for raising the ground level in the construction of roads, seawalls, railways and other public works projects.

It can also be used to cover waste at disposal sites.

The 22 million cubic meters of soil is to be kept at the interim storage site to be built near the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture. After being kept there for about 30 years, it is scheduled under law to be dumped outside the prefecture.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201606080056.html

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima woman speaks out about her thyroid cancer

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KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture–She’s 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the 173 young people with confirmed or suspected cases since the 2011 nuclear meltdowns there, she is the first to speak out.

That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the “nail that sticks out,” and thus gets hammered.

The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

To be seen as challenging that view carries consequences in this rigidly harmony-oriented society. Even just having cancer that might be related to radiation carries a stigma in the only country to be hit with atomic bombs.

“There aren’t many people like me who will openly speak out,” said the young woman, who requested anonymity because of fears about harassment. “That’s why I’m speaking out so others can feel the same. I can speak out because I’m the kind of person who believes things will be OK.”

She has a quick disarming smile and silky black hair. She wears flip-flops. She speaks passionately about her new job as a nursery school teacher. But she also has deep fears: Will she be able to get married? Will her children be healthy?

She suffers from the only disease that the medical community, including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has acknowledged is clearly related to the radioactive iodine that spewed into the surrounding areas after the only nuclear disaster worse than Fukushima’s, the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Though international reviews of Fukushima have predicted that cancer rates will not rise as a result of the meltdowns there, some researchers believe the prefecture’s high thyroid-cancer rate is related to the accident.

The government has ordered medical testing of the 380,000 people who were 18 years or under and in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the March 2011 tsunami and quake that sank three reactors into meltdowns. About 38 percent have yet to be screened, and the number is a whopping 75 percent for those who are now between the ages of 18 and 21.

The young woman said she came forward because she wants to help other patients, especially children, who may be afraid and confused. She doesn’t know whether her sickness was caused by the nuclear accident, but plans to get checked for other possible sicknesses, such as uterine cancer, just to be safe.

“I want everyone, all the children, to go to the hospital and get screened. They think it’s too much trouble, and there are no risks, and they don’t go,” the woman said in a recent interview in Fukushima. “My cancer was detected early, and I learned that was important.”

Thyroid cancer is among the most curable cancers, though some patients need medication for the rest of their lives, and all need regular checkups.

The young woman had one cancerous thyroid removed, and does not need medication except for painkillers. But she has become prone to hormonal imbalance and gets tired more easily. She used to be a star athlete, and snowboarding remains a hobby.

A barely discernible tiny scar is on her neck, like a pale kiss mark or scratch. She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks, but she was itching to get out. It really hurt then, but there is no pain now, she said with a smile.

“My ability to bounce right back is my trademark,” she said. “I’m always able to keep going.”

She was mainly worried about her parents, especially her mother, who cried when she found out her daughter had cancer. Her two older siblings also were screened but were fine.

Many Japanese have deep fears about genetic abnormalities caused by radiation. Many, especially older people, assume all cancers are fatal, and even the young woman did herself until her doctors explained her sickness to her.

The young woman said her former boyfriend’s family had expressed reservations about their relationship because of her sickness. She has a new boyfriend now, a member of Japan’s military, and he understands about her sickness, she said happily.

A support group for thyroid cancer patients was set up earlier this year. The group, which includes lawyers and medical doctors, has refused all media requests for interviews with the handful of families that have joined, saying that kind of attention may be dangerous.

When the group held a news conference in Tokyo in March, it connected by live video feed with two fathers with children with thyroid cancer, but their faces were not shown, to disguise their identities. They criticized the treatment their children received and said they’re not certain the government is right in saying the cancer and the nuclear meltdowns are unrelated.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer who also advises the group, believes patients should file Japan’s equivalent of a class-action lawsuit, demanding compensation, but he acknowledged more time will be needed for any legal action.

“The patients are divided. They need to unite, and they need to talk with each other,” he said in a recent interview.

The committee of doctors and other experts carrying out the screening of youngsters in Fukushima for thyroid cancer periodically update the numbers of cases found, and they have been steadily climbing.

In a news conference this week, they stuck to the view the cases weren’t related to radiation. Most disturbing was a cancer found in a child who was just 5 years old in 2011, the youngest case found so far. But the experts brushed it off, saying one wasn’t a significant number.

“It is hard to think there is any relationship,” with radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, a medical doctor who heads the committee.

Shinsyuu Hida, a photographer from Fukushima and an adviser to the patients’ group, said fears are great not only about speaking out but also about cancer and radiation.

He said that when a little girl who lives in Fukushima once asked him if she would ever be able to get married, because of the stigma attached to radiation, he was lost for an answer and wept afterward.

“They feel alone. They can’t even tell their relatives,” Hida said of the patients. “They feel they can’t tell anyone. They felt they were not allowed to ask questions.”

The woman who spoke to AP also expressed her views on video for a film in the works by independent American filmmaker Ian Thomas Ash.

She counts herself lucky. About 18,000 people were killed in the tsunami, and many more lost their homes to the natural disaster and the subsequent nuclear accident, but her family’s home was unscathed.

When asked how she feels about nuclear power, she replied quietly that Japan doesn’t need nuclear plants. Without them, she added, maybe she would not have gotten sick.

Ash’s video interview: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpmdZYCRIZfvTtTE1sbY3ynaGsfDYmNWn

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Thirty children diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Fukushima nuclear crisis survey

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A survey begun in April 2014 to check the impacts of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis has found that 30 children have so far been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 27 are suspected of having the disease, a prefectural government panel said on Monday.

Most of them were thought to be problem free when their thyroid glands were checked during the first round of the survey conducted over a three-year period through March 2014.

The first survey covered about 300,000 children who were under the age of 18 and living in the northeastern Japan prefecture when the nuclear plant disaster was triggered by a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011.

The number of children diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the second round was up from 16 as reported at the previous panel meeting in February.

Hokuto Hoshi, head of the panel and a senior member of the Fukushima Medical Association, maintained his earlier view of the correlation between the cancer figures and radiation, saying based on expertise acquired so far, it is “unlikely” that the disease was caused by radiation exposure.

But Hoshi said: “Concerns have been growing among Fukushima residents with the increase in the number of cancer patients. We’d like to further conduct an in-depth study.”

When the results of the first and the ongoing second round of the heath survey are combined, the number of children diagnosed with thyroid cancer totals 131 and 41 are suspected of having it.

According to the Fukushima Medical University and other entities involved in the health checks, the 57 children in the second round of the survey either confirmed or suspected to have thyroid cancer were age 5 to 18 at the time of the triple reactor meltdown and the sizes of their tumours ranged from 5.3mm to 35.6mm.

The examiners were able to estimate how much external radiation exposure 31 of those children had over the four months immediately after the catastrophe, with the maximum being 2.1 millisieverts. Eleven children were exposed to less than 1 millisievert.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/1967509/thirty-children-diagnosed-thyroid-cancer-fukushima-nuclear

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June 8, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO expands ice wall operations at Fukushima

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Tokyo Electric Power Company has expanded operations to create an underground ice wall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to stop the volume of contaminated groundwater from increasing.

TEPCO on Monday began injecting a liquid refrigerant into more pipes that make up the 1,500-meter wall surrounding 4 damaged reactor buildings. The operation now covers 95 percent of the wall.

Groundwater flows into the buildings and becomes tainted with radioactive substances. Reducing its volume is a key to decommissioning the reactors.

The operation started in March on the downstream side of the wall because lowering the water levels too much could cause tainted water to leak from the buildings.

Workers began freezing the upstream side after making sure there were no leaks.

The ice wall project still faces challenges. Ground temperatures have not fallen in some places, and groundwater levels outside the wall have not gone down.

Also on Monday, workers began injecting cement into the ground where temperatures have not fallen.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160606_28/

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Contradictions in the nuclear marketing frenzy – theme for June 2016

One contradiction is the increasing recognition that nuclear power is uneconomic, and could even bankrupt the sellers. It’s doubtful that the sellers will really make money out of it, especially Russia, funding so many other countries’ nuclear set ups.  Still, we know why, really. It’s all part of the irrational battle to be Topp, to have that geopolitical presence and advantage in other countries.

Russia-USA marketing

An obvious contradiction is the way in which both Russia and the West agonise about nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation, while enthusiastically marketing nuclear technology to all and sundry. Never mind if it’s to an unstable Middle Eastern or East Asian regime, with a high  risk of both terrorism and nuclear weapons development.

Another contradiction is the pretense going on that Big nuclear reactors and Small nuclear reactors are being happily promoted at the same time.   The “conventional” big reactor companies. Toshiba Westinghouse, Rosatom, AREVA etc are determined to sell their stuff, and no way want to let the “new little” nuclear reactors take over the market. You can see this battle going on in Britain, with the “little nukes” lobbying away, and getting themselves set up as a “charity” for goodness’ sake!

How long will it be before the world recognises that the commercial nuclear empire is crumbling.  We don’t need their toxic expensive product. Meanwhile renewable energy gets ever cheaper, fast to set up, versatile, and attractive to the public.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Christina's themes, marketing | Leave a comment

EPA PROPOSES SHOCKING THOUSAND-FOLD INCREASE IN RADIOACTIVITY ALLOWED IN DRINKING WATER

water-radiationFlag-USAFrom Diane D’Arrigo at NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service)
Note that the public has 45 days from when it is published in the Federal Register to comment to the EPA on the PAG-Protective Action Guides. I’ll post an alert tomorrow. This is a media release below. Feel free to send it to interested reporters. Direct them to the press contacts listed at the top of the release. Thanks! – Kay C.  

 

 

Proposal Would Permit Radiation Exposures Equivalent to 250 Chest X-Rays a Year

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. EPA quietly issued proposals to allow radioactive contamination in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The new guidance would permit radiation exposures equivalent to 250 chest X-rays a year. Today, environmental groups called the proposal “shocking” and “egregious.”

The EPA proposed Protective Action Guides (PAGs) would allow the general population to drink water hundreds to thousands of times more radioactive than is now legal. For example, radioactive iodine-131 has a current limit of 3 pico-curies per liter (pCi/L), in water but the new guidance would allow 10,350 (pCi/L), 3,450 times higher. For strontium-90, which causes leukemia, the current limit is 8 pCi/L; the new proposed value is 7,400 pCi/L, a 925-fold increase.

“Clean Water is essential for health. Just like lead, radiation when ingested in small amounts is very hazardous to our health. It is inconceivable that EPA could now quietly propose allowing enormous increases in radioactive contamination with no action to protect the public, even if concentrations are a thousand times higher than under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said Dr. Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The Bush Administration in its last days unsuccessfully tried to put forward similar proposals, which the incoming Obama Administration pulled back. Now, in the waning months of the Obama Administration, EPA’s radiation office is trying again.

“These levels are even higher than those proposed by the Bush Administration—really unprecedented and shocking,” said Diane D’Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service. Continue reading

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, water | Leave a comment

India’s Prime Minister Modi lobbying the world, for India to join the nuclear salesmen

Modi-Buy-NukesModi’s global nuclear lobby tour, Nikkei Asian Review KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writer  NEW DELHI  7 June 16, — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is personally lobbying Switzerland, the U.S. and Mexico for his country’s admission into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group ahead of its next meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

India’s entry has been opposed by China, and Modi’s lobbying is the major component in a five-nation tour begun Saturday that also takes in Afghanistan and Qatar.

  Modi met Johann Schneider-Ammann, president of the Swiss confederation, in Geneva on Monday. “We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG,” the president told reporters. “Switzerland welcomes India’s contribution to nonproliferation of nuclear arms.”

The announcement in Geneva was a boost to India because Switzerland had earlier been dubious about backing entrance to the NSG by nonsignatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. India considers the NPT discriminatory, and has not signed up.

India applied for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership on May 12 after preparing for several years. The group was created in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974 to control the global supply of atomic material and technology.  ……..

China, India’s biggest neighbor, argues that any new Nuclear Suppliers Group member should have signed the NPT. The U.S. backs India, citing its clean nonproliferation record. The U.S. helped India secure a special waiver from the NSG in 2008 for a bilateral civil nuclear deal. ………

India says it seeks a nuclear industry compliant with international norms and practices, but views the NSG and the NPT as separate matters.

“The NSG is a regime,” said Jaishankar. “It is a sort of a flexible arrangement amongst states, which is quite different from the NPT — which is a treaty.” The Indian foreign secretary pointed out that the central words in the two titles were “supplier” and “proliferation.” “So, I think the objectives are different,” he said……..

After the NSG’s meeting this week in Vienna, the group will meet in Seoul on June 24 and will review India’s application…..http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Modi-s-global-nuclear-lobby-tour

June 8, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing | Leave a comment

World’s costliest nuclear tomb in Finland

flag-FinlandFinland to bury nuclear waste for 100,000 years in world’s costliest tomb ABC News 7 June 16 Deep underground on a lush green island, Finland is preparing to bury its highly-radioactive nuclear waste for 100,000 years — sealing it up and maybe even throwing away the key.

Tiny Olkiluoto island, off Finland’s west coast, will become home to the world’s costliest and longest-lasting burial ground, a network of tunnels called Onkalo — Finnish for “The Hollow”.

waste cavern Germany

Countries have been wrestling with what to do with nuclear power’s dangerous by-products since the first plants were built in the 1950s.

Most nations keep the waste above ground in temporary storage facilities, but Onkalo is the first attempt to bury it for good.

Starting in 2020, Finland plans to stow around 5,000 tonnes of nuclear waste in the tunnels, more than 420 metres below the Earth’s surface.

Already home to one of Finland’s two nuclear power plants, Olkiluoto is now the site of a tunnelling project set to cost up to 3.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) to build and operate until the 2120s, when the vaults will be sealed for good……

At present, Onkalo consists of a twisting five-kilometre tunnel with three shafts for staff and ventilation. Eventually the nuclear warren will stretch 42 kilometres….

Spent nuclear rods will be placed in iron casts, then sealed into thick copper canisters and lowered into the tunnels.

Each capsule will be surrounded with a buffer made of bentonite, a type of clay that will protect them from any shuddering in the surrounding rock and help stop water from seeping in.

Clay blocks and more bentonite will fill the tunnels before they are sealed up.

The method was developed in Sweden where a similar project is under way, and Posiva insists it is safe.

But opponents of nuclear power, such as Greenpeace, have raised concern about potential radioactive leaks.

“Nuclear waste has already been created and therefore something has to be done about it,” said the environmental group’s Finnish spokesman Juha Aromaa.

“But certain unsolved risk factors need to be investigated further.”

Looking 100,000 years into the future
Environmental groups are questioning the risks of the ambitious nuclear waste storage plan
Planning the nuclear graveyard involves asking the impossible — how can we know what this little island will be like in 100,000 years? And who will be living there?

To put the timeframe into perspective: 100,000 years ago Finland was partly covered by ice, Neanderthals were roaming Europe and Homo Sapiens were starting to move from Africa to the Middle East……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-08/finns-to-bury-nuclear-waste-in-world’s-costliest-tomb/7488588

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Finland, wastes | Leave a comment

Objections to the USA nuclear waste discussion process

Nuclear Activists Speak Out During Dept. of Energy Tour over Nuclear Waste http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/7/headlines/nuclear_activists_speak_out_during_dept_of_energy_tour_over_nuclear_waste

The Department of Energy is conducting an eight-city national tour aimed at gathering public feedback on the issue of where to store nuclear waste. The agency has launched a so-called consent-based siting model to determine where to store spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. At a hearing in Boston Thursday, Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear raised objections to the process.

Paul Gunter: “How does the public in the affected community build trust when the Department of Energy itself is a promotional agency doing the bidding of the nuclear industry by direct promotion, and that the whole process going forward to date has lacked consent? There’s never been consent with regard to generation of nuclear waste.”

June 8, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink’

Book Journey at Nuclear BrinkOn the Brink of Oblivion  William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,’ serves as a clarion global warning. US News,  By Mortimer B. Zuckerman | Chairman, Editor-in-Chief June 7, 2016  Our planet today faces two existential dangers: an impending climate catastrophe, and the very real possibility of a nuclear calamity. Both of these dangers arise from human activity and are thus within our capacity to address. And both challenges are interconnected and require a new attitude that recognizes our common interests and need to cooperate. Public awareness and political will must be raised to levels commensurate with the threat.

The warnings about climate change are now part of our public consciousness, resulting in actions being taken that if continued and built upon might possibly stave off this catastrophe or at least reduce its damage. However, the public seems to believe that the danger from nuclear weapons ended with the Cold War.

But former Defense Secretary William Perry’s authoritative memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a clear, sobering and, for many, surprising warning that the danger of a nuclear catastrophe today is actually greater than it was during that era of U.S.-Soviet competition…….

Perry describes four ways a nuclear catastrophe could occur: nuclear terrorism; an accidental nuclear war (resulting, for example, from a false alarm); a nuclear war out of miscalculation; and a nuclear regional war

His special concern about the possibility of nuclear terrorism can be seen in the book’s preface, with an unblinking and transfixing account of a most believable scenario in which a terror group detonates a bomb in one of our cities. A seminal expert in worrying about such chilling contingencies, Perry outlines in quite credible steps how a terror group builds and sneaks a bomb into Washington, D.C., a scenario he describes as “a nuclear nightmare” and “all too real.” It is important to experience his powerfully understated dramatization:…….

The point is this: Any of the four scenarios could bring about the worst catastrophe we have ever experienced. Taken together they represent a higher likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe than we faced during the Cold War. (That judgment has also been reached by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which this year noted that its “Doomsday Clock” is at three minutes to midnight, closer to doomsday than they had judged we were for most of the Cold War years.)……..http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-07/four-paths-to-nuclear-disaster

June 8, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

A hitch in India’s entry to the nuclear selling cartel

Indian Bid for Elite Nuclear Club May Stall on Bomb Concern,  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-07/indian-bid-for-elite-nuclear-access-seen-stalled-on-bomb-concern Bloomberg,    
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group still debating India’s application
  • Obama and Modi have pushed for membership in nuclear cartel

India will probably need to wait a while longer before it joins the elite club of nations that control trade in advanced nuclear technologies, according to three diplomats with knowledge of the process.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG, is unlikely to accept India’s application for membership when it meets June 20 in Seoul because officials in New Delhi haven’t yet met all the criteria for admission, said the diplomats, who represent governments inside the 48-nation group. They asked not to be named in line with diplomatic rules for discussing private deliberations.

nuclear-marketing-crapA delay could roil plans by U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who were meeting in Washington on Tuesday, to bring the world’s second-most-populous nation into the nuclear mainstream. It would push back a decision on Indian membership to later in the year, and risk bumping into the U.S. presidential election. Continue reading

June 8, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing | Leave a comment

America’s EPA lifting the level of radioactivity permitted in drinking water

water-radiationFlag-USAEPA Pushing Hike in Radioactive Contamination in Drinking Water http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/epa-pushing-hike-in-drinking-water-radioactivity/ By Editor  June 7th, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a plan allowing radioactive contamination in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than the levels permitted by the Safe Drinking Water Act for long periods following release of nuclear materials.

The new guidance would permit radiation exposures equivalent to 250 chest X-rays a year for the general population for an unlimited time period.

EPA’s “Protective Action Guides” (or PAGs) dramatically relax allowable doses of radioactive material in public drinking water following a Fukushima-type meltdown or “dirty bomb” attack.

They cover the “intermediate phase” after “releases have been brought under control” – an unspecified period that may last for weeks, months or even years.

The agency has declared that the strict limits for chemical exposure in the Safe Drinking Water Act “may not be appropriate…during a radiation incident.”

EPA states that it “expects that the responsible party…will take action to return to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant levels as soon as practicable” but during the indefinite meantime –

The general population may be exposed to radioactive iodine-131 at 10,350 pico-curies per liter of water.

By contrast, the current limit is 3, resulting in a 3,450-times increase; The current strontium-90 limit of 8 pico-curies per liter would be allowed a 925-fold increase; and

In an attempt to shield “sensitive populations,” the plan proposes 500 millirem per year for the general population but only 100 millirem for children under 15, pregnant or nursing mothers without explaining how these latter groups will get access to less contaminated water.

“Given this monstrous proposal, it unclear what lessons EPA learned from the contaminated water calamity of Flint, Michigan,” said. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) executive director Jeff Ruch. “It is unfathomable that a public health agency would prescribe subjecting people to radioactive concentrations a thousand times above Safe Drinking Water Act limits as a ‘protective’ measure.”

Internal EPA documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by PEER show that EPA itself concluded that proposed concentrations “would exceed MCLs [Maximum Contaminant Limits of the Safe Drinking Water Act] by a factor of 100, 1000, and in two instances, 7 million.”

The internal analysis estimated for one radionuclide that drinking only one small glass of water “would result in an exposure that corresponds to a lifetime of drinking liters of water per day at the MCL level.”

The Bush Administration in its last days unsuccessfully tried to put forward similar proposals, which the incoming Obama Administration pulled back.

Now, in the waning months of the Obama Administration, those plans are moving forward with new exposure limits higher than the Bush plan it had rejected.

“President Obama goes to Hiroshima to urge a nuclear-free world while his EPA facilitates a nuclear-ridden water supply,” added Ruch. “It speaks volumes that the current Obama drinking water plan is less protective than his predecessor’s.”

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA, water | Leave a comment

North Korea reopening plutonium facility?

North Korea Appears To Reopen Plutonium Plant, Nuclear Watchdog Says. Huffington Post,  08/06/2016 VIENNA (Reuters)  The IAEA says the move suggests the country is widening its arms effort.
 – North Korea appears to have reopened a plant to produce plutonium from spent fuel of a reactor central to its atomic weapons drive, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday, suggesting the country’s arms effort is widening.

Pyongyang vowed in 2013 to restart all nuclear facilities, including the main reactor at its Yongbyon site that had been shut down and has been at the heart of its weapons program.

It said in September that Yongbyon was operating and that it was working to improve the “quality and quantity” of its nuclear weapons. It has since carried out what is widely believed to have been a nuclear test.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has no access to NorthKorea and mainly monitors its activities by satellite, said last year it had seen signs of a resumption of activity at Yongbyon, including at the main reactor…….

Little is known about the quantities of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium that North Koreapossesses, or its ability to produce either, though plutonium from spent fuel at Yongbyon is widely believed to have been used in its nuclear bombs.

North Korea has come under tightening international pressure over its nuclear weapons program, including tougher U.N. sanctions adopted in March backed by its lone major ally China, following its most recent nuclear test in January…….http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/07/north-korea-appears-to-reopen-plutonium-plant-nuclear-watchdog/

June 8, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Lack of trust in USA govt’s plans for nuclear waste storage

You would probably need a referendum where citizens can actually vote to embrace a repository in their community,” Raab said. “The vote would have to be closer to 100 percent than a simple majority.”

Nuclear waste storage plan a matter of trust http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20160606/NEWS/160609636

Forum participants question regulators’ commitment to safety

BOSTON — Can federal energy officials be trusted to put together an interim storage plan for nuclear waste that provides adequate protection for the population and the environment?

That question was repeatedly asked by those who attended last week’s Boston forum organized by the Department of Energy to get public input on its plan for “consent-based siting” of facilities to temporarily store the 75,000 metric tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors until a permanent repository is built.

Continue reading

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Exelon wants license to operate nuclear plant for 80 years

Exelon Will Seek License to Run Nuclear Plant for 80 Years http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-06/exelon-said-to-seek-license-to-run-nuclear-plant-for-80-years    June 7, 2016

  • Exelon wants 20-year license extension for Peach Bottom site
  • Dominion said it will file similar request for Virginia plant
  • Exelon Corp. said it will seek to extend the operating life of a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania by another 20 years, joining Dominion Resources Inc. in requesting permission to run atomic generators for as long as 80 years.

    Exelon will ask federal regulators for approval to renew the licenses of the two reactors at its Peach Bottom facility, the Chicago-based power generator said Tuesday in a statement. An extension would help the state meet its carbon-reduction goals under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, Chief Executive Officer Chris Crane said.

    Should the commission approve Exelon’s request, the Peach Bottom nuclear station would be among the first U.S. reactors allowed to run beyond 60 years. Dominion said last year that it would seek approval to keep the Surry nuclear power plant in Virginia online until it’s 80 years old.

  • The requests come at a pivotal time for the U.S. nuclear power industry as some operators including Exelon have announced plans to retire plants early because of financial losses. Competition from generators using cheap natural gas and renewable resources such as solar and wind have squeezed the profits of reactor owners, particularly those who sell their supply into wholesale power markets.

    ‘Renewal Program’

    Exelon had issued a statement on Monday saying that Crane would join officials including Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown at the Peach Bottom station for an announcement on Tuesday “concerning the Station’s license renewal program.”

    The two operating reactors at the Peach Bottom plant are licensed to operate through 2033 and 2034, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data. Exelon will seek federal permission for licenses that extend to 2053 and 2054, the company said. Exelon’s reactors received their original operating licenses in 1973 and 1974, according to the commission.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment