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Japan Atomic Energy Agency approved to operate research reactor under post-Fukushima rules

Jan 31, 2018

A Japan Atomic Energy Agency research reactor cleared a regulatory safety review on Wednesday, becoming the first facility run by the government-affiliated research institute to pass post-Fukushima regulations.

The reactor, which is located in Ibaraki Prefecture and called the Static Experiment Critical Facility, gained approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority to resume operations and will be used to conduct research on the extraction of melted fuel from nuclear plants.

The facility still needs to go through several final checks under new rules introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The approval came after the JAEA responded to a request made in November by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, a government nuclear panel, to clarify the purposes of storing plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, known as MOX fuel, at the reactor.

Japan, while upholding a policy of reprocessing spent fuel from nuclear reactors and reusing extracted plutonium and uranium as reactor fuel, adopts a policy of not possessing plutonium — a material that can be used to make nuclear weapons — without a specified purpose.

In a document, the agency said it will not use MOX fuel “other than for peaceful purposes,” winning approval from the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.

According to the JAEA, the reactor will be used to conduct research on the removal of melted nuclear fuel in an effort to support the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex, which experienced core meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The JAEA previously came under heavy criticism for lax safety management following revelations of a number of equipment inspection failures at its Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor. The prototype had been envisioned to play a key role in the country’s nuclear fuel recycling policy but is now set to be scrapped.

In June of last year, a nuclear exposure accident occurred at the institution’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Ibaraki, causing internal radiation exposure in five workers, although no harmful consequences were detected in the surrounding environment.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/31/national/japan-atomic-energy-agency-approved-operate-research-reactor-post-fukushima-rules/#.WnJUnPZpHb0

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January 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Delays could impact Finnish reactor lifespan -watchdog

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Installation of a dome-shaped rooftop cover near completion at Unit 3 reactor

31 jan 2018 reactor 3.jpg
Japan Fukushima Cleanup
In this Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 photo, an installation of a dome-shaped rooftop cover housing key equipment is near completion at Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant ahead of a fuel removal from its storage pool in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan, during an exclusive visit by The Associated Press. The hardest-hit reactor at the Fukushima plant in the March 2011 disaster is moving ahead of the other two melted reactors seven years later in what will be a decades-long cleanup. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)

 

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Government to test safety of burying radioactive soil

Government to test safety of burying radioactive soil this spring
31 jan2018.jpg
Bags of debris contaminated with radiation are seen stored in a field in the town of Okuma, near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in this August 2015 photo.
 
The government plans to conduct a demonstration project sometime this spring to test the safety of burying waste generated by decontamination work following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Environment Ministry said Wednesday.
In the project, soil waste from eastern and northeastern areas of the country other than Fukushima Prefecture will be covered with uncontaminated soil at sites in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, with radioactivity levels around the locations being measured.
The government plans to determine its disposal policy for contaminated soil in the fall or later depending on the outcome of the experiment, according to the ministry.
A total of 56 municipalities in seven prefectures — Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba — have completed cleanup work with financial support from the central government.
But some 330,000 cubic meters of soil waste has been temporarily kept at around 28,000 locations — including public spaces such as schools and parks — in 53 municipalities, prompting local residents to call for disposal of the waste at the earliest opportunity.
The project will be carried out on the premises of the Tokai Research and Development Center’s Nuclear Science Research Institute in Tokai and at a public space in Nasu.
Some 2,500 cubic meters of soil waste temporarily kept at two locations in Tokai and about 350 cubic meters of soil waste kept at the public space in Nasu will be used in the project.
After the waste is buried, workers’ exposure levels to radiation will also be measured.
“Households in storage locations continue shouldering the burden. I hope (the project) will prove the safety of burying it (soil waste) and lead to the disposal (of contaminated soil),” a Nasu town official said.
“It took time to conduct (the project) but it’s good,” said an official in Tokai, adding that more and more local residents have been asking for the removal of soil waste from a park.
After being asked by municipalities to demonstrate a way to dispose of soil waste, the ministry had been searching for proper locations to carry out the demonstration project.
 
Radioactive soil disposal method to be tested
Japan’s Environment Ministry will carry out tests at 2 sites where soil generated in decontamination work following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident is buried.
Outside Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is located, some 330,000 cubic meters of soil are stored in 53 cities, towns and villages in 7 prefectures in eastern Japan.
The soil is currently kept at some 28,000 locations, including schoolyards and parks.
Local residents have called on the government to safely dispose of the soil as quickly as possible. The environment ministry will start testing soil disposal methods in the spring.
The sites chosen are a nuclear research institute in Ibaraki Prefecture and a sports ground in Tochigi Prefecture.
Ministry officials say the stored soil will be buried in the ground and then covered over again with clean new earth. They will then measure radiation levels at areas surrounding the sites and the amount of radiation that workers were exposed to.
The ministry will start negotiating with local governments regarding a full-scale disposal after verifying the test method’s safety and drawing up an appropriate disposal plan.
 
Landfilling of Radiation-Tainted Soil to Start outside Fukushima
Tokyo, Jan. 31 (Jiji Press)–The Environment Ministry said Wednesday that landfill work for soil tainted with radioactive materials released from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station will start outside Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
The work will be carried out in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, on a trial basis from this spring. Both prefectures are south of and adjacent to Fukushima.
In Fukushima, work has already started to store such soil at interim facilities for up to 30 years before its final disposal.
The work in Tokai and Nasu will involve about 2,500 and 350 cubic meters, respectively, of soil removed from ground during decontamination work following the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> plant, which was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The soil will be buried underground, with the land surface to be covered with a layer of clean soil more than 30 centimeters thick.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Worst-hit reactor at Fukushima may be easiest to clean up

By MARI YAMAGUCHI
jan 25 2018 reactor 3 dome.jpg
In this Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, photo, an installation of a dome-shaped rooftop cover housing key equipment is near completion at Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plant ahead of a fuel removal from… (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)
OKUMA, Japan (AP) — High atop Fukushima’s most damaged nuclear reactor, the final pieces of a jelly-roll shaped cover are being put in place to seal in highly radioactive dust.
Blown apart by a hydrogen explosion in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reactor Unit 3 is undergoing painstaking construction ahead of a milestone that is the first step toward dismantling the plant.
 
The operating floor — from where new fuel rods used to be lowered into the core — has been rebuilt and if all goes as planned, huge cranes will begin removing 566 sets of still-radioactive fuel rods from a storage pool just below it later this year.
 
It has taken seven years just to get this far, but now the real work of cleaning up the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant can begin.
“If you compare it with mountain climbing, we’ve only been preparing to climb. Now, we finally get to actually start climbing,” said Daisuke Hirose, an official at the plant’s decommissioning and decontamination unit.
Cleaning up the plant’s three reactors that had at least partial meltdowns after the earthquake and tsunami is a monumental task expected to take three to four decades. Taking out the stored fuel rods is only a preliminary step and just removing the ones in Unit 3 is expected to take a year.
Still ahead is the uncharted challenge of removing an estimated 800 tons of melted fuel and debris inside the cracked containment chambers — six times that of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.
The area in and outside of Unit 3 is part construction site and part disaster zone still requiring protection from radiation. A makeshift elevator, then a wind-swept outdoor staircase, takes visitors to the operating floor, more than 30 meters (100 feet) above ground.
Daylight streams in through the unfinished section of the new cover, a tunnel-like structure sealed at both ends to contain radiation. An overhead crane that moves on rails stands at the side of the storage pool, the maker’s name, “Toshiba,” emblazoned in large red letters.
The explosion left major chunks of debris that have been removed from the storage pool, a painstaking operation done using remote-controlled machinery and with utmost care to avoid damaging the fuel rods. Smaller rubble lines the pool’s edge. The water’s surface is obscured by a blue netting to prevent more debris from accidentally tumbling in.
The severe damage to Unit 3 has, in the end, made it easier to clean up than the other two reactors.
Under the latest government roadmap approved last September, removal of the fuel rods from units 1 and 2 was delayed by three years until 2023, a second postponement from the original 2015, because further decontamination and additional safety measures are needed.
Unit 1 fell behind because of a delay in removing debris and repairing key components on the operating floor. The Unit 2 building remained intact, keeping high radiation and humidity inside, which makes it more difficult for workers to approach and decontaminate.
Radioactivity on the Unit 3 operating floor has fallen to a level that allows workers in hazmat suits and filter-masks to stay up to two hours at a time, though most work still needs to be done remotely.
The segments of the new cover were pre-assembled and are being installed one by one by remote-controlled cranes. With two pieces left, the plant operator says the cover will be completed in February.
Removing the fuel rods in Unit 3 will be done with a fuel-handling crane. It will move the rods out of their storage racks and pack them in a protective canister underwater. A second Toshiba crane, a 10-meter (33-foot) -high yellow structure across the operating floor, will lift the canister out of the pool and load it onto a vehicle for transport to another storage pool at the plant.
Crane operators and others assigned to the project, which requires caution and skill, have been rehearsing the procedures.
The 1,573 sets of fuel rods stored in spent fuel pools at the three reactors are considered among the highest risks in the event of another major earthquake. Loss of water from sloshing, structural damage or a power outage could cause meltdowns and massive radiation leaks because the pools are uncovered.
Hirose said that starting fuel removal at Unit 3 would be “a major turning point.”
Still, after the intact fuel rods are gone comes by far the most difficult part of decommissioning the plant: removing the melted fuel and debris from inside the reactors. Obtaining exact locations and other details of the melted fuel are crucial to determining the retrieval methods and developing the right kind of technology and robots. With most melted fuel believed to have fallen to the bottom, experts are proposing that it be accessed from the side of the containment vessel, not from the top as originally had been planned, based on the cleanup after an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in the United States.
Computer simulations and limited internal probes have shown that the melted fuel presumably poured out of the core, falling to the bottom of the primary containment vessels. Robotic probes at the Unit 3 and 2 reactors have captured images of large amounts of melted fuel, but attempts so far at Unit 1 have been unsuccessful.
Despite scarce data from inside the reactors, the roadmap says the methods for melted fuel removal are to be finalized in 2019, with actual retrieval at one of the three reactors in 2021. Hirose says it is premature to say whether Unit 3 will be the first.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima’s Canadian Implications – Prof. J Cullen report Jan. 2018

Screenshot from 2018-01-31 15:41:08

The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Published on 30 Jan 2018

Seven years ago, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a massive tsunami led to three nuclear reactor meltdowns and a series of explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. More than 90 per cent of the resulting radiation went into the Pacific Ocean. Years later, that radiation slowly made its way to Canadian shores. Steve Paikin welcomes the chemical oceanographer tracking the disaster’s ocean contamination to learn the effects of the radiation in Canada and his take on the more serious issues off the coast of Japan.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Lingering effects of 2011 disaster take toll in fallout-hit Fukushima, experts warn

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A Buddhist priest prays on a beach in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, in March 2017. The area was hit hard by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
 
There are fewer and fewer headlines these days about the catastrophe resulting from the triple core meltdown in March 2011 at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. But participants at a recent symposium stressed that the disaster’s lingering effects continue to weigh heavily on people and municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.
“In the post-disaster reconstruction, Miyagi Prefecture had to start from zero,” said former Fukushima University President Toshio Konno, who is from Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, and lost five relatives in the town when it was hit by tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. “But Fukushima Prefecture had to start from a negative point because of the additional impact of the nuclear calamity. It is really hard for Fukushima to reach the zero point.”
During the symposium at Tokyo’s Waseda University on Saturday, Konno — who served on a Fukushima Prefectural Government committee tasked with judging whether deaths in the years following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami were disaster-related — said that as of Sept. 30 last year, there were 3,647 such cases in Japan, of which Fukushima Prefecture accounted for 60 percent.
What’s more, Fukushima is the only prefecture among the three disaster-hit Tohoku prefectures that still sees people die from related causes. Since March 2016, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, which were also hit by the quake and tsunami, have suffered no disaster-related deaths, while Fukushima has seen 50, Konno said.
He also said that the number of disaster-related suicides in Fukushima has grown over time compared with Iwate and Miyagi. Fukushima saw 10 such suicides in 2011, 13 in 2012, 23 in 2013, 15 in 2014 and 19 in 2015. Corresponding figures in Iwate and Miyagi, respectively, are 17 and 22 in 2011, eight and three in 2012, four and 10 in 2013, three and four in 2014 and three and one in 2015.
Takao Suami, a Waseda professor heading the university’s efforts to provide legal support for the reconstruction, said the government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation was fairly helpful in addressing compensation issues until around the spring of 2014. But Suami said cases have emerged recently in which the utility, now known as Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., refuses to accept reconciliation proposals put forward by the committee.
Yuichi Kaido, a lawyer working with some 3,000 residents of the village of Iitate on the compensation dispute resolution process, said that even though residents suffered exceedingly high levels of external radiation exposure immediately after the meltdowns — measuring 7 millisieverts on average — due to a delayed evacuation order, the committee proposed in December that only people whose exposure was 9 millisieverts or higher should be entitled to compensation, a threshold which covers just 200 people. (Nuclear power stations are legally required to limit the yearly radiation exposure for residents living nearby to 1 millisievert or less.)
Michitaro Urakawa, a professor emeritus of law at Waseda who says he supports the restart of nuclear plants, said the compensation system for victims of the nuclear disaster has a fundamental flaw. Tepco, he said, is benefitting from the injection of funds for compensation from the central government, while consumers — including low-income people in Fukushima Prefecture who did not have assets worth compensation — are helping the utility return the injected money to the government in the form of increased electricity bills.
Kaido and other lawyers called for reconstruction policies that truly meet the needs of Fukushima people, because compensation cannot cover damage that does not have a monetary value, such as the loss of communities, friendship, business ties and fears about the future, including the threat of health problems due to radiation exposure.
Another problem highlighted at the symposium was the unhealthy financial state of disaster-hit municipalities in Fukushima. Waseda professor Yoshihiro Katayama, a former Tottori governor who was internal affairs minister for the Democratic Party of Japan administration at the time of the meltdowns, said the municipalities will end up with excess personnel, creating a financial burden over the long term.
Disaster-hit municipalities in the prefecture are already facing financial strain. The town of Namie — roughly half of whose area lies within 20 km of the nuclear plant — saw its revenue grow from ¥9.48 billion in 2010 to ¥20 billion in 2016. But the portion of the funds from the central and prefectural governments increased to 87.2 percent from 68.6 percent, reducing the percentage of internal revenue to 12.8 percent from 31.4 percent.
Further, if the municipalities decide to end contracts commissioning administrative services to private firms, the local economy will suffer, Katayama said. He also expressed fear that the municipalities may have lost the know-how to assess the value of real estate, the basis of real estate taxes, an important revenue source.
Katayama also said the aging population will lead to a deep and serious problem in disaster-hit areas because many young people who evacuated will not return, causing such problems as difficulty maintaining the public health insurance system as well as city water and sewage systems. There will also be a shortage of nursing care workers and schools will be forced to close, he warned.
“Although the revenue of disaster-hit municipalities enormously expanded, the time will come when their administrative services have to shrink,” Katayama said. “Currently, the central government is taking special measures. But both the central government and the municipalities concerned must think about how to achieve a soft landing.”

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Long trek towards eliminating nuclear weapons, after States ratify Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Fear, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nuclear-fear_uk_5a687541e4b0778013de4e23  After states ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons it will not necessarily be a smooth road to eliminate them,   Carine Bambara, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy enthusiast with general musings about life THE BLOG, 30/01/2018  

On 17 December 2017 Mexico became the fourth country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 This comes at a time where the World Economic Forum has recently disclosed that fear of a nuclear attack is one of the top things people all over the world fear most at the beginning of 2018.

This is a legitimate fear. With North Korea and the USA using threatening rhetoric about the size of their nuclear arsenals and stating that the nuclear option is on the table, who would have thought that the world would return to nuclear attack being a primary concern for so many people.

 Now, more than ever, is the time to rally governments to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
This treaty makes the production, transfer and selling of nuclear weapons illegal and if we had created and ratified this early, North Korea would not have been able to develop their nuclear weapons. But it is still not too late, over 50 states have already signed the treaty, the next step is for each state to ratify it, making it part of their national law. Once 50 states send the official letter saying they have ratified the treaty (known as an instrument of ratification) to the UN headquarters in New York, the treaty becomes law and every country in the world has to respect it, including North Korea.
North Korea is already facing crippling sanctions from the USA which will hinder it from its economic growth plans. Banning these weapons means that it will not be able to continue developing its nuclear weapons programme. Of course the other side of the coin is that USA, UK, India, Israel and Russia will also have to freeze their production and focus on creating a plan to denuclearize their arsenals. That would mean all states would essentially be getting rid of their nuclear capabilities together.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Like USA’s, Russia’s etc – China’s macho men need more nuclear warheads

China needs more nuclear warheads to deter US threat, military says, Commentary says the existing stockpile is big enough to prevent ‘bullying’ but should be expanded as Washington changes strategy,  SCMP, Minnie Chan, 30 January, 2018  China must expand its nuclear stockpile so it can better deter and hit back at an enemy strike as geopolitical uncertainties mount and the US appears bent on a nuclear build-up, according to the Chinese military’s mouthpiece.

In the PLA Daily on Tuesday, a commentary said China had enough nuclear weapons to prevent “bullying” by other nuclear powers but still needed to respond to changes in US strategy.

“To enhance China’s strategic counterbalance in the region and maintain China’s status as a great power, and protect national security, China has to beef up and develop a reliable nuclear deterrence capability,” it said.

It also said China would still stick to the “no first use” doctrine, meaning there were no circumstances in which it would be the first to use nuclear weapons.

The commentary comes as the administration of US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil its new military weapons policy later this week.

A leaked draft of the document says Washington will ramp up new nuclear projects and deploy more “low yield” nuclear bombs, according to the Huffington Post.

Military analysts said China was poised to increase its own arsenal of nuclear warheads but there were no plans to rival the United States.

Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said China only needed to add about 100 warheads to its stockpile to counter threats from the US and India.

“Nuclear weapons are hugely expensive to maintain and China is very pragmatic. Beijing will not spend too much money on an arms race,” Zhou said.

China has never declared the scale of its nuclear stockpile but the Washington-based Arms Control Association puts the country’s total at 270 warheads, the fourth-biggest of the five main nuclear states. Russia has 7,000, the US 6,800, France 300 and Britain 215, the association estimates. ……http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2131261/china-needs-more-nuclear-warheads-deter-us-threat

January 31, 2018 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Carolina legislature preoccupied with the problem of failed nuclear power project

Failed nuclear project still shapes agenda for S.C. lawmakers. Here’s what’s happening this week, By Andrew Brown abrown@postandcourier.com, 

    Jan 29, 2018

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House is set to take up legislation this week that could replace the state’s seven utility regulators while the Senate slowly begins to respond to the state’s nuclear fiasco.

Four weeks after returning to Columbia, the legislative agenda continues to revolve around the cancellation of the V.C. Summer project in Fairfield County, which saddled the state with a $9 billion tab for two useless nuclear reactors.

As debate continues, lawmakers have yet to cast a vote on the most controversial topic: the repeal of the Base Load Review Act — the 2007 law that allowed Cayce-based SCANA to charge customers for the reactors before the power plants were finished. ……..https://www.postandcourier.com/news/failed-nuclear-project-still-shapes-agenda-for-s-c-lawmakers/article_b40aea7e-0516-11e8-b2ce-c7a558f7f83b.html

January 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dept of Energy changes managers at Hanford, as radioactive contamination continues

More radioactive contamination triggers management change at Hanford, January 29, 2018 

The Department of Energy is replacing the managers of a critical radioactive clean-up project after the continued spread of contamination on the Hanford site.

The move is intended to rebuild confidence with workers and the public and show the project is being safely managed.

The announcement Monday comes after radioactive contamination was again found on a worker’s personnel vehicle. DOE wants other employee cars retested, including a rental car its contractor had to track down………http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article197326659.html

January 31, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

EPA chief’s only true option is to remove West Lake’s radioactive hazard

http://www.stltoday.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-epa-chief-s-only-true-option-is-to-remove/article_929d4e36-9dc3-519b-af15-a9e5a8b582ce.html, By the Editorial Board

E

      nvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is

hours away from a decision

     on the future of the West Lake Landfill — a decision that could free the St. Louis area of the seven-decade environmental burden it has borne in America’s quest for nuclear superiority.

For Pruitt, the right decision would be costly and complicated. The wrong decision, though far cheaper and most expedient, would leave in place a radioactive nightmare that would haunt the region for generations to come. The right decision is the only decision.

At issue are thousands of tons of radioactive waste left over from secret uranium refinement carried out in St. Louis during the Manhattan Project, the 1940s effort to produce America’s first nuclear bomb. Although officials at the time were well aware of the radioactive dangers, they paid little heed to where they dumped the wastes from years of uranium processing. An uncovered, unlined pit at the West Lake landfill became the dumpsite of choice, two miles northwest of St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The landfill, uphill and less than two miles from the Missouri River, was never designed for radioactive waste and never would have met today’s federal safety guidelines. Various radioactive hot zones have been discovered in downstream watersheds, as have large cancer clusters among residents. For years, a slow-moving underground fire at an adjacent landfill is believed to be advancing toward the buried nuclear waste.

 In tests conducted from 2012 to 2014, groundwater at West Lake contained unsafe levels of radioactive uranium, radium and thorium-230, along with arsenic, manganese, barium and benzene.

An exhaustive, 814-page EPA study, updated on Jan. 10, outlines the dangers and costs associated with six options Pruitt can choose from for West Lake. One option, doing nothing, is laughable. Three cheaper proposals call for partial excavation of the site at varying depths and capping the site but leaving many toxins behind. The two best options involve full excavation — one would store the waste on-site in a modern, secure containment cell, and the other would transport it offsite to a remote, federally approved storage facility.

 Full excavation and removal would keep the region safest over the long term. But it’s also the most expensive option at $695 million. Capping the site would cost about $75 million but also would pose the greatest future cancer risks to farmers and residents downstream.

Pruitt has the comfort of making this decision from Washington, D.C., far from the exposure zone. We urge him to consider all who have suffered so far because of the irresponsible, lazy solutions imposed on St. Louis decades ago. If Pruitt would regard it as unacceptable for his own family to be exposed to such risks, then he must conclude that St. Louisans deserve the same consideration. This radioactive time bomb must go.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Massachusetts gets a great power deal from Quebec. What is Ontario waiting for?

-Angela Bischoff,, 31 Jan 18, On the heels of signing an agreement to supply Massachusetts with enough power to meet the needs of one million homes at the barn burner price of 3 to 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), Hydro Quebec says it is still ready to make similar deals with Ontario and New York.

Meanwhile, Ontario muddles forward with plans to rebuild aging nuclear reactors at tremendous expense and is about to hold hearings on the safety of keeping the 47-year-old Pickering Nuclear Station (surrounded by 2.2 million people) running for up to another 10 years. As a result, Ontario Power Generation has told the Ontario Energy Board that it will need to raise its price of nuclear power to 16.5 cents per kWh.

Hydro Quebec has already offered Ontario power at a great price (5 cents kWh) only to have this province respond with the bizarre claim that the offer wasn’t competitive enough — despite it being less than one third the cost of rebuilding and extending our aging nuclear fleet.

Now Quebec is making it clear it won’t wait forever for Ontario to come to its senses and will prioritize deals with those jurisdictions that are ready to reap the benefits of its low-cost, renewable power right now.

With five months until the next provincial election, could this be the moment when our opposition parties finally get serious about offering real solutions to dealing with rising electricity costs and begin to champion making a deal with Quebec? Are there any candidates for the PC leadership ready to offer real help to Ontario power users by promising to quickly ink a deal with Quebec? Will the NDP make a money-saving Quebec deal part of its “pocketbook” promises to help average Ontarians? The next few months should be very interesting.

Please contact Interim PC Leader Vic Fedeli [vic.fedeli@pc.ola.org], potential PC Leadership candidate Caroline Mulroney [caroline@carolinemulroney.ca] and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath [ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca] and ask them to champion a long-term deal with Hydro Quebec to lower our electricity bills.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Canada, politics, renewable | 1 Comment

Data faked at Hunters Point Shipyard Radiation Cleanup ?

Nearly Half of Hunters Point Shipyard Radiation Cleanup in Question; Contractor Possibly Faked Data, NBC Bay Area, Navy review finds “inconsistencies” in cleanup contractor’s radiation data and says a good portion of it is likely fraudulent. By Liz Wagner, 31 Jan 18, 

The Navy has decided to retest all of the Hunters Point Shipyard for radiation after losing confidence in Tetra Tech, the contractor it hired to clean up contamination.

A yearlong review of Tetra Tech’s radiation data by Navy consultants found that nearly half of it may have been faked. The consultants found inconsistencies in Tetra Tech’s test results and the Navy said that a good portion of it is likely fraudulent.

The revelations are the latest setback for the shipyard, the superfund site along San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront that’s slated for major redevelopment, including homes, parks and shops.

The Navy awarded Tetra Tech at least $300 million in taxpayer dollars to rid the shipyard of radiological contamination left over from Cold War era-radiation experiments. Tetra Tech spent 12 years on the project, but half of the cleanup is now in question.

“That data that’s been collected over 12 years we lost confidence in,” said Derek Robinson, the Navy’s cleanup coordinator for Hunters Point. “It’s a big deal.”

Tetra Tech declined to comment, referring all questions to the Navy.

At the onset of the cleanup more than a decade ago, Navy officials divided the 900 acre shipyard into separate parcels. On several parcels, up to 67 percent of the cleanup data may have been falsified. That means some of Hunters Point could still be contaminated with radiation.

At this point the Navy doesn’t know if the land is safe. Officials said the Navy must now redo all of Tetra Tech’s work, which may include excavating and sampling the soil, and scanning the land for radiological contamination……… https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Nearly-Half-of-Hunters-Point-Shipyard-Radiation-Cleanup-in-Question-Contractor-Possibly-Faked-Data-471799074.html

January 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Potential of yeast to stop leakage of radioactive material

Hardcore yeast’ could be the solution to nuclear waste http://theweek.com/speedreads/751709/hardcore-yeast-could-solution-nuclear-waste, January 29, 2018   As we inch ever-closer to nuclear apocalypse, there may be good news for the inevitable radioactive waste: Scientists have discovered that to stop contamination from spreading, the solution could be as simple as yeast.

In a study published earlier this month, researchers discovered that yeasts are surprisingly capable of withstanding radioactive and acidic conditions, like those that would follow a nuclear detonation. A species of yeast called Rhodotorula taiwanensis can even form a type of shield, called a biofilm, to stop radioactivity from spreading. The reddish fungus — which Popular Science dubs “hardcore yeast” — was originally found in an abandoned acid mine in Maryland, and it has even proved more effective in halting radioactive spread than a microbe that researchers nicknamed “Conan the Bacterium” for its resistance to radiation.

“The potential for yeast is enormous,” said the study’s co-author Michael Daly. He and other researchers are hoping to use their newfound fungal ally to stop the leakage of Cold War-era nuclear waste, which is stored at 120 sites around the country. The largest of these, the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington, houses more than 50 million gallons of nuclear byproduct — and has contaminated 10,000 football fields’ worth of soil since it was used to assemble the first atomic bombs during the Manhattan Project.

But with the mighty yeast on their side, these scientists are hopeful that they can contain the dangerous waste. Read more at Popular ScienceShivani Ishwar

January 31, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, safety | Leave a comment