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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

A sign of the collapse of the entire nuclear industry – the Hanford waste tunnel collapse

Tunnel Collapse at Hanford Nuclear Dump—Harbinger of the Collapse of the Entire Industry?, The Progressive by Harvey WassermanMay 10, 2017 The collapse of a tunnel at the massive nuclear waste dump at Hanford,Washington, 200 miles east of Seattle, has sent shock waves through a nuclear power industry already in the process of a global collapse…….

Robert Alvarez, a former DOE official, told the Post in an email that “the tunnels now store contaminated train cars and a considerable amount of highly radioactive, ignitable wastes including possible organic vapors.” Inspection of the tunnels has not been possible, he said, because radiation levels are too high.

We may never know the full extent of the damage from this latest incident at Hanford, which has been plagued by serious problems for years. Many critical nuclear industry oversight positions remain unfilled by the Trump Administration.

The 580-square-mile Hanford facility dates back to the 1940s production of the first atomic bombs, and is the nation’s major repository for high-level radioactive wastes from seven decades of nuclear weapons production. Since 1989, the Department of Energy has spent billions cleaning up nine reactors and other radioactive facilities there. One commercial reactor, the Columbia Generating Station, still operates at Hanford.

The tunnel collapse happens at a time when the nuclear power industry appears to be in an accelerating death spiral……..

Some atomic devotees are pushing small-scale “modular” reactors as a possible future energy source. But they’re untested, underfinanced, uncompetitive and unlikely to come to fruition…….

Throughout the United States, reactor owners are now flooding state legislatures with bailout scams. In Ohio, FirstEnergy’s pleadings for $4.5 billion for Davis-Besse near Toledo and Perry near Cleveland are meeting stiff resistance. How long the nation’s operable reactors stay open will depend entirely on how much money their owners can gouge out of the public.

Meanwhile the Hanford tunnel collapse further challenges the industry’s credibility on dealing with radioactive waste. Three years ago America’s only major operable waste storage facility, at Carlsbad, New Mexico, exploded due to the use of inappropriate kitty litter (truly!). Some twenty-one workers were exposed and the facility was shut for three years. Fierce debate has erupted over the disposal of wastes left behind by the shutdown of California’s San Onofre reactors, between Los Angeles and San Diego, with billions of dollars at stake. Other such fights are sure to escalate as more reactors close…..

Nuclear energy faces a seriously clouded future……http://progressive.org/dispatches/tunnel-collapse-at-hanford-nuclear-dump-accelerates-the-

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May 12, 2017 - Posted by | general

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