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I Visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with an Infrared Camera

Jan 30, 2018

Vladimir Migutin

A few years ago, I visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with an infrared camera. We always hear praises of the might of Mother Nature, how it renders useless mans’ creations and bears life above the ruins. Well, it’s something that is always felt, but never on such a huge scale. This place IS the place for these contrasts.

It’s pretty hard to describe the overall atmosphere I experienced during this trip. Despite the events of 1986, the ruins, and the rust, I didn’t have grim feelings while traveling there. On the contrary, it felt like I was in a “kind of” paradise on a different planet.

Thirty years after the fallout, while men still stay away, the forests, the animals, the plants, everything is thriving, revived by nature.

These photos were shot during a 2-day trip in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone with a full spectrum camera and a 590nm infrared filter from Kolari Vision.

Pripyat Sports hall, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.


Butterflies and flowers in the forest, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.


Simon – a human-friendly fox, whom often approaches groups in the exclusion zone, asking for food.


The monumental trail with the evacuated villages’ names on either side.


About the author: Vladimir Migutin is a photographer who explores the world with an infrared camera. This article was also published at Kolari Vision

Original source for this article which has many more great pictures of landscapes etc, worth a click! Arclight2011 ;

Note from Arclight2011 – It might be worth balancing the issue of a “thriving” ecology etc with these 4 quotes and links;

1/   Chernobyl London meeting (27 April 2013) Speech by Tamara Krasitskava from Zemlyaki

Tamara Krasitskava is a chairperson of Zemlyaki, Ukraine NGO in Kiev to represent those who had to collectively evacuate from Pripyat
* Speech was done by Russian, and interpreted into English.
* Chernobyl Day London Public Meeting was organized by “JAN UK” on Sat 27 April 2013.

“….On Sunday the 27 April 2013 in a little room somewhere off Grays Inn road London, a meeting took place. In this meeting was Ms Tamara Krasitskava of the Ukrainian NGO “Zemlyaki”.

In this meeting she quoted that only 40 percent of the evacuees that moved to Kiev after the disaster are alive today! And lets leave the statistics out of it for a moment and we find out of 44,000 evacuated to Kiev only 19,000 are left alive. None made it much passed 40 years old

“…..3.2 million with health effects and this includes 1 million children…”

T .Kraisitskava

“….I was told to not talk of the results from Belarus as the UK public were not allowed to know the results we were finding!….”

A.Cameron (Belarus health worker from UK)…..”

2/   Fukushima Consequences of Radiation on Wildlife

“….The birds

The feathers of birds take radioactive dust released into the atmosphere continuously by the wind. They therefore suffer permanent external irradiation.

We can see this dust by placing a contaminated bird on a radio-sensitive paper for a month. Here is an example with a bird picked in Iitate in December 2011.

Autoradiography also allows to highlight that the birds also undergo internal contamination…..”

3/   Genetic radiation risks: a neglected topic in the low dose debate.

“…..Taken together with other evidence from sex-ratio (discussed below) these studies indicate that hereditary effects exist in the children of exposed mothers…..”

4/   Life after Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear disasters with Prof. T. Mousseau

“….Chernobyl, new mice study
Last week Tim said he produced a study showing heightened prevalence of cataracts in the eyes of mice.
and that this was corroborated with an earlier study on birds…..”



February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Happened In Japan After The Tsunami? Miyagi Prefecture report.

Screenshot from 2018-02-02 16:51:47
Published on 1 Feb 2018
Abroad in Japan

In March 2011 a devastating tsunami destroyed the coastline of north Japan. These are the stories of five people living in the shadow of the recovery and how they’re breathing new life into the Miyagi Prefecture on the Tohuku coastline (North of the Fukushima Prefecture).



February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear poker: Trump’s dangerous game

The crater-scarred landscape of the Nevada Test Site. Most subsidences leave saucer-shaped craters are varying in diameter. 1995. This is the north end of Yucca Flat. Most tests have been conducted in this valley. From 1951 until 1958 119 atmospheric tests were conducted and from 1962 until 1992 more than 1,000 underground tests. Nye County, Nevada, USA. (PHoto by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Is Playing a Dangerous Game of Nuclear Poker , TIME, By W.J. HENNIGAN , 2 Feb 18    At a vast tract of uninhabited desert in southern Nevada, hundreds of moonlike craters dimple the wasteland, remnants of Cold War nuclear explosions that melted the bedrock and fused the sand to ensure that America could take part in the unthinkable: global thermonuclear war. The crowds of scientists and generals are long gone–the U.S. hasn’t tested a nuke since 1992, when then President George H.W. Bush declared a self-imposed testing moratorium. But the Nevada National Security test site is not completely abandoned. A skeleton crew of custodians oversees the long dormant facility, less than 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, standing by to turn the lights back on if the day ever comes.

It may come sooner than many thought.

Since 1993, the Department of Energy has had to be ready to conduct a nuclear test within two to three years if ordered by the President. Late last year, the Trump Administration ordered the department to be ready, for the first time, to conduct a short-notice nuclear test in as little as six months.

That is not enough time to install the warhead in shafts as deep as 4,000 ft. and affix all the proper technical instrumentation and diagnostics equipment. But the purpose of such a detonation, which the Administration labels “a simple test, with waivers and simplified processes,” would not be to ensure that the nation’s most powerful weapons were in operational order, or to check whether a new type of warhead worked, a TIME review of nuclear-policy documents has found. Rather, a National Nuclear Security Administration official tells TIME, such a test would be “conducted for political purposes.”

The point, this and other sources say, would be to show Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Iran’s Ayatullah Ali Khamenei and other adversaries what they are up against.

President Trump has not ordered such a test, but even the consideration of a show of force–by the nation that announced the atomic age by dropping nuclear weapons on Japanese cities in August 1945–marks a provocative shift from the sober, almost mournful restraint that has characterized the U.S. posture toward the weapons for decades. To prevent nuclear war and the spread of weapons to non-nuclear states, the strategy of Republican and Democratic Commanders in Chief alike has been to reduce nuclear arsenals and forge new arms-control agreements.

The Trump Administration, by contrast, is convinced that the best way to limit the spreading nuclear danger is to expand and advertise its ability to annihilate its enemies.  In addition to putting the Nevada testing ground on notice, he has signed off on a $1.2 trillion plan to overhaul the entire nuclear-weapons complex. Trump has authorized a new nuclear warhead, the first in 34 years. He is funding research and development on a mobile medium-range missile. The new weapon, if tested or deployed, would be prohibited by a 30-year-old Cold War nuclear-forces agreement with Russia (which has already violated the agreement). And for the first time, the U.S. is expanding the scenarios under which the President would consider going nuclear to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” including major cyberattacks………….

Rather than dissuading such efforts, arms-control experts from both political parties say, Trump’s moves will accelerate them. A new nuclear-arms race would not be limited to two superpowers seeking strategic balance in a Cold War but would include many nations, including foes in regions where hot wars are a regular occurrence. ………

Trump’s new plan also expands the President’s “first use” of nuclear weapons to circumstances that include “non-nuclear strategic attacks” against the U.S. or its allies. That could mean cyberattacks on nuclear command and control systems or civilian infrastructure, like the electricity grid or air-traffic-control system, arms-control experts have concluded. Previous Administrations limited the threat of a nuclear response to mass-casualty events, like chemical- and biological-weapon attacks. Stephen Schwartz, a nuclear weapons policy expert, said the key concern is the expansion of the nuclear umbrella to “include these new and not extreme possibilities, thus dramatically lowering the threshold for nuclear use.”

The Trump plan also takes a new, skeptical approach to nuclear arms-control agreements.

………. If Trump undoes the nuclear deal with Iran, analysts fear that Tehran will sprint for a weapon. Its regional rival Saudi Arabia could then develop its own atomic weapon, or import one from close ally Pakistan, which has its own fast-growing nuclear arsenal to counter arch-rival India’s. (Pakistan is building up its stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons.) China now has a nuclear-powered submarine, known as the Jin-class, that gives its military the ability to launch ICBMs from the sea………..

February 2, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power in crisis: we are entering the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning

 Energy Post,  by Jim Green    Nuclear power is in crisis ‒ as even the most strident nuclear enthusiasts acknowledge ‒ and it is likely that a new era is fast emerging, writes Jim Green, editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter. After a growth spurt from the 1960s to the ’90s, then 20 years of stagnation, the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning is upon us. Article courtesy Nuclear Monitor.

Last year was supposed to be a good year for nuclear power ‒ the peak of a mini-renaissance resulting from a large number of reactor construction starts in the three years before the Fukushima disaster. The World Nuclear Association (WNA) anticipated 19 reactor grid connections (start-ups) in 2017 but in fact there were only four start-ups (Chasnupp-4 in Pakistan; Fuqing-4, Yangjiang-4 and Tianwan-3 in China).

The four start-ups were outnumbered by five permanent shut-downs (Kori-1 in South Korea; Oskashamn-1 in Sweden; Gundremmingen-B in Germany; Ohi 1 and 2 in Japan).

The WNA’s estimate for reactor start-ups in 2017 was hopelessly wrong but, for what it’s worth, here are the Association’s projections for start-ups in the coming years:

2018‒19: 30
2020‒21: 12
2022‒23: 9
2024‒25: 2

Thus ‒ notwithstanding the low number of start-ups in 2017 ‒ the mini-renaissance that gathered steam in the three years before the Fukushima disaster probably has two or three years to run. Beyond that, it’s near-impossible to see start-ups outpacing closures.

New nuclear capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 was outweighed by lost capacity of 4.6 GW. Over the past 20 years, there has been modest growth (12.6%, 44 GW) in global nuclear power capacity if reactors currently in long-term outage are included. However, including those reactors ‒ in particular idle reactors in Japan, many of which will never restart ‒ in the count of ‘operable’ or ‘operational’ or ‘operating’ reactors is, as former WNA executive Steve Kidd states, “misleading” and “clearly ridiculous”.

There would need to be an average of 10 reactor start-ups (10 GW) per year just to maintain current capacity. The industry will have to run hard just to stand still

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) excludes reactors in long-term outage ‒ defined as reactors that produced zero power in the previous calendar year and in the first half of the current calendar year ‒ from its count of operating reactors. Thirty-six reactors are currently in long-term outage, 31 of them in Japan.

Excluding reactors in long-term outage, the number of reactors has declined by 29 over the past 20 years, while capacity has grown by a negligible 1.4% (5 GW). Over the past decade, the reactor count is down by 34 and capacity is down by 9.5% (19 GW).

The industry faces severe problems, not least the ageing of the global reactor fleet. The average age of the reactor fleet continues to rise, and by mid-2017 stood at 29.3 years; over half have operated for 31 years or more.

The International Energy Agency expects a “wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors” and an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning” ‒ almost 200 reactor shut-downs between 2014 and 2040. The International Atomic Energy Agency anticipates 320 GW of retirements by 2050 ‒ in other words, there would need to be an average of 10 reactor start-ups (10 GW) per year just to maintain current capacity. The industry will have to run hard just to stand still.

………Renewables (24.5% of global generation) generate more than twice as much electricity as nuclear power (<10.5%) and the gap is growing rapidly. The International Energy Agency  predicts renewable energy capacity growth of 43% (920 GW) from 2017 to 2022. Overall, the share of renewables in power generation will reach 30% in 2022 according to the IEA. By then, nuclear’s share will be around 10% and renewables will be out-generating nuclear by a factor of three.

A disastrous year for the nuclear industry

Last year was “all in all a disastrous year” for the nuclear power industry according to Energy Post Weekly editor Karel Beckman. Nuclear lobbyists issued any number of warnings about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, “the crisis that the nuclear industry is presently facing in developed countries“, the “ashes of today’s dying industry”, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

Lobbyists engaged each other in heated arguments over possible solutions to nuclear power’s crisis ‒ in a nutshell, some favour industry consolidation while others think innovation is essential, all of them think that taxpayer subsidies need to be massively increased, and none of them are interested in the tedious work of building public support by strengthening nuclear safety and regulatory standards, strengthening the safeguards system, etc.

One indication of the industry’s desperation has been the recent willingness of industry bodies (such as the US Nuclear Energy Institute) and supporters (such as former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz) to openly acknowledge the connections between nuclear power and weapons, and using those connections as an argument for increased taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power and the broader ‘civil’ nuclear fuel cycle. The power/weapons connections are also evident with Saudi Arabia’s plan to introduce nuclear power and the regime’s pursuit of a weapons capability……….

The only nuclear industry that is booming is decommissioning ‒ the World Nuclear Association anticipates US$111 billion worth of decommissioning projects to 2035…………


February 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Why should you care about ‘specks’ of plutonium? Hanford health challenge


Figure 4

Translocation of inhaled ultrafine particles. Time-activity curve over liver and bladder expressed as percent of initial lung radioactivity. Insert, Whole body gamma camera image of 1 representative volunteer recorded at 60 minutes. The radioactivity over the organs is expressed as counts per minute (CPM) per pixel within each region of interest (ROI). The values recorded over the stomach were not included because this radioactivity may also come partly from swallowing of particles deposited in the mouth. Reproduced with permission from Nemmar et al, “Passage of inhaled particles into the blood circulation in humans”, Circulation 2002;105(4):411-41.


Hanford Challenge

Why should you care about ‘specks’ of plutonium?

Even Hanford’s internal reports challenge DOE’s assumption that specks stay in the body for one year. According to one report, high-fired oxide plutonium that PFP handled stays in the body for 10,000 days (i.e. over 27 years).

Why does 10,000 days matter?

Well, the longer the ‘speck’ stays in the human body, the more time it has to cause harm. If a worker was exposed to the high-fired plutonium oxides, the doses to these workers could be 27 times higher than DOE has assumed. (i.e. not good).

So, we must ask: Has DOE measured these particles from PFP and determined whether they are high-fired oxides? Or are they simply assuming? If assuming, what justifies this assumption?

Report excerpt: “retention half-lives for the transport from the lung to the blood have been adjusted from 500 days to 10,000 days [ 27.4 years], representing the highly insoluble (i.e., very slow dissolution rate) of the super class Y material. The precise nature of super class Y material is not known, although it appears to have been associated with processes involving high-fired plutonium oxides … Super class Y is not routinely used as a default program design form.”


More here;

Nanoparticles for drug delivery to the brain is a method for transporting drug molecules across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) using nanoparticles. … Other biological factors influence how drugs are transported throughout the body and how they target specific locations for action.


This diagram shows several ways in which transport across the BBB works. For nanoparticle delivery across the BBB, the most common mechanisms are receptor-mediated transcytosis and adsorptive transcytosis

And this;

These fibres are often described as being in the “interstitial” where they may lie between or within the cells making up the alveolar walls. Bio-persistent solid materials, certainly those particles containing mutagenic substances or asbestos fibres or silica, which remain for years in the lungs, increase the risk of developing cancer.

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US nuclear waste POURING into Pacific Ocean as radioactive remains LEAK from giant dome

A CONCRETE dome holding the radioactive waste of 43 nuclear explosions is leaking into the ocean, veterans have warned. The Enewetak Atoll was used by the US government to test 30 megatons of weapons – equivalent to 2,000 Hiroshima blasts – between 1948 and 1958.

More than 8,000 people would later work to clean up these Pacific islands, shifting 110,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris into a blast crater.

Screenshot from 2018-02-02 00:53:11

This 30-feet-deep crater on Runit Island would then be entombed in a concrete dome, 350 feet across and 16 inches thick.

But now, with the dome weathered by decades of exposure, it’s feared that rising seas and storms could see radiation leaking into the ocean.

Screenshot from 2018-02-02 00:54:11.png

Paul Griego, who took part in the cleanup and blames the radiation for a host of health problems, said the dome was never fit for purpose.

He said: “We were given an impossible task – cleaning up the radioactive fallout from 43 nuclear bombs.

“When I first arrived, the dome’s blast crater was open to the ocean – it continued to be full of sea water even after it was sealed off from the ocean.

“During my 10-hour work day I witnessed the water level in the crater rise and lower as the tide came in and out.”

He continued: “No attempt was made to drain the crater or line it before the radioactive waste was dumped into it.

“The coral that created the island is porous and the shock from numerous nuclear weapon tests had also fractured the coral.

“From the first day forward, the water has flowed out of the lagoon with the tide, creating a gigantic radioactive toilet that is flushed about twice each day into the Pacific Ocean.”

The storms were only making matters worse, he said.

“I experienced the power of a typhoon while I was on Enewetak,” he added.

“I believe the dome could be just one typhoon away from a breach.”

From the first day forward, the water has flowed out of the lagoon with the tide, creating a gigantic radioactive toilet that is flushed about twice each day into the Pacific Ocean.

Paul Griego


Rama Schneider, who drove radioactive waste from island to island in an amphibious vehicle during the cleanup, said it was no surprise that the dome was failing.

He said: “Standing on any island at that atoll is akin to standing inches above sea level – and that was in 1979.

“The sea level and ground level are becoming more and more to be the same, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking sea level rise, land subsidence or both.

“Water will always win out over man-made objects.”

Girard Frank Bolton III, who worked as a draughtsman during his 14 months on the atoll and drew the construction documents for the dome, insisted the damage to the structure was minimal.

Yet he agreed that radiation was nonetheless being washed out of the crater, into the lagoon and ultimately, into the ocean.

“The dome was designed to slow the migration of radiation not to completely stop it,” he said.

“Also, since concrete is porous, the wave action and tides are continuously pumping radioactive water in and out of the structure.”

Now the veterans are pushing the US government to help with their radiation-related health woes.

It’s clear that workers were given inadequate protection from photos of the cleanup, which show them labouring shirtless and with basic tools.

Mr Griego, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, says chronic intestinal disease, beryllium poisoning, weak bones and fertility issues are among the legacies of his service.

“The entire time I was there I never saw anyone wearing a hazmat suit,” he said.

“We were not provided any radiation safety gear – not even a pair of ordinary garden gloves – and we collected the toxic soil samples mostly with our bare hands.”

He continued: “With reasonable certainty we believe the failed mission has already taken the lives of thousands of the atomic cleanup workers.

“Within our survivor group we lose six to eight men each year to cancer and other radiation-related illnesses.”

Mr Bolton, from Mobile, Alabama, blames the radiation for his arthritis, calcium bone loss, Barrett’s oesophagus, diverticular disease, high blood pressure, and neuropathy.

He added: “Of our 8,033 mission participants, only 600 have been accounted for.

“35 of those are deceased, 11 died after our group was founded and about half of our group believe we have health challenges from our mission at Enewetak Atoll.”

Experts agree that the degree of danger posed by the Enewetak radiation is dependent on how much escapes and is ingested.

Professor Francis Livens of the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute said that a number of factors, such as the radiation being dispersed, could mean the hazard is low.

“But if radioactivity is efficiently released and transported into food or water, or gives rise to exposure by some other means, then the hazard is relatively high,” he continued.

Professor Patrick Regan, a radiation expert with the University of Surrey, said the main health risk was likely to be stochastic – meaning an increase in one’s lifetime risk of developing a cancer.

Screenshot from 2018-02-02 01:15:39.png

“The units we used for radiation exposure are called sieverts,” he said.

“One sievert across the whole body won’t kill you but it will give you radiation syndrome.

It’s supposed to increase your biological risk of getting cancer by about 5 per cent.”

However, he added, it would be impossible to tell whose cancer developed because of their exposure and whose would have developed anyway.

“The problem is that you cannot differentiate those people from the rest of the population,” he said.

“You cannot say that there are this many people, that many of them would get cancer anyway and one additional one would get cancer because of their exposure – because you couldn’t tell which one it was.”


Videos and more pictures on link;

Note; Prof. Patrick (Paddy) Reagan quoted in this article is used by the BBC and recommended by the corporate biased Science Media Centre UK that all UK media has to use post Leveson Inquiry. He is an nuclear industry supporter and doesnt take into account internal doses from Particulates and gases from nuclear waste etc. Here is a critique of his BBC interview where he tries to explain the Fukushima nuclear disaster and completely ignores the risk to Fukushima residents from the plumes from the Daichi nuclear disaster site. – Arclight2011


February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

North Korea accuses US of undermining inter-Korean reconciliation process


Ri Yong Ho, Foreign Minister of North Korea, has accused the US of undermining the inter-Korean reconciliation process and aggravating the situation in the Korean Peninsula.

In a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, Ri said “good results are borne in the inter-Korean dialogue” and the easing of tension on the Korean peninsula was welcomed by the international society, Xinhua reported citing Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The US authorities, however, are “seeking to intentionally aggravate the situation by introducing the strategic assets including nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike groups into the vicinity of the Korean peninsula at a time when north and south of Korea are charting a course of peace together,” Ri said.

“In view of its nature and contents, scope of troop and war equipment being introduced, the US current moves of military reinforcements are designed to make preemptive strike against North Korea,” Ri said.

The US is also openly stating that it will conduct a large-scale aggressive joint military exercise against North Korea immediately after the Winter Olympic Games, he added.

Ri called on the UN not to “keep silent as to the US dangerous game of aggravating situation in and around the Korean peninsula and driving the whole world into a possible disaster of nuclear war.

Ri requested Guterres to take up at the UN Security Council “the issue of welcoming the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging the neighbouring countries from disturbing the process.”


February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Daniel Ellsberg says that Trump is leading us into nuclear war

Trump is leading us into nuclear war, says Daniel Ellsberg (and he should know, he used to plan them)  The Current CBC Radio 1 Feb 18 A “Doomsday Machine” has loomed over humanity for decades, according to the man who once helped U.S. presidents plan for nuclear war.

In his new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Daniel Ellsberg details how a nuclear strike during the Cold War would have clouded the earth’s atmosphere and killed hundreds of millions.

Far more people still have access to launch codes than the public realize, he said, and it is only through luck that we avoided nuclear winter.

Not only does that threat still exist, but for the first time since the Cuban missile crisis, “an American president is threatening imminent attack on a nuclear-weapons state,” he said. “On a state that can retaliate with nuclear weapons.”

“I think there’s a very significant chance — I would say better than even — that this president does mean to launch some kind of an attack on North Korea,” he said, “that will lead to a response that will then cause a two-sided nuclear war.”

“It would kill millions of people in the first day or week, which would be more violence than the human species has ever seen in a day or week.”

“I think nothing at this moment is of higher importance than there not be a war with North Korea.”

The whistleblower’s dilemma

Ellsberg, 86, was the whistleblower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, the secret history of the Vietnam War that eventually led to the Watergate scandal and the fall of President Richard Nixon.

What is lesser known is that he had a second batch of top-secret documents — about nuclear weapons and nuclear war  ………

February 2, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

EPA orders partial excavation of St Louis’ Westlake radioactive site. What about America’s 1343 other toxic superfund sites?

EPA orders cleanup at St. Louis nuclear waste site. What does it mean for the nation’s other toxic messes? WP,  February 1 18,   The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered a long-awaited cleanup of a Superfund site northwest of St. Louis, saying residents living near the landfill contaminated with World War II-era nuclear waste deserve action after waiting 27 years for federal regulators to issue a decision.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to partially excavate tons of radioactive material from the West Lake Landfill over the next five years — at an expected cost of $236 million to the liable companies — goes beyond a 2008 solution proposed by the George W. Bush administration to cover and monitor the waste…….

Thursday’s announcement also was intended to be Exhibit A in demonstrating Pruitt’s commitment to revitalizing the agency’s Superfund program, which includes the nation’s most polluted sites, by streamlining and accelerating cleanups. But it underscored how few Superfund sites have simple answers, though nearly all of them generate intense emotions.

“We were hoping for full, 100 percent excavation. But we know that would be difficult to accomplish,” said Dawn Chapman, a founder of Just Moms STL, an activist group that has long pushed for an extensive excavation with relocation of families near the landfill.

Chapman said her group views the outcome as a hard-fought victory but one that is far from guaranteed, given the public comment and cleanup process likely to unfold over years. “We have to stay here and watch it and see it through,” she said. “I look ahead, and I see these other big battles coming. We’re not going to blink, because you can’t. … We will continue to fight to get even more [radioactive waste] removed.”

……..While the $236 million price tag of the EPA plan is significantly higher than what the firms hoped to spend, it is well below the cost, projected at nearly $700 million, of a full excavation.In a statement, Republic Services said it was “pleased that the EPA has finally ended decades of study and again is issuing a proposed plan for the site.” But the company cautioned that a final decision could take years.

What remains to be seen is whether the decision on West Lake represents how Pruitt is likely to approach other Superfund sites.  In recent months, Pruitt has promised aggressive Superfund cleanups and made a public show of butting heads with corporate interests — something he has rarely done on other issues during his first year at the EPA. Yet aside from creating a list of 21 targets needing “immediate and intense” attention, as well as forming a special task force to recommend ways to expedite cleanups and “reduce the burden” on companies involved, Pruitt has explained very little about how he intends to deal with the hundreds of other toxic waste sites around the country……….

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has proposed cutting the Superfund program’s budget by 30 percent, or about $330 million annually. And while there are responsible companies that the EPA can legally force to pay for cleanups at many of the locations Pruitt has mentioned, many others are “orphan” sites where the polluters have gone bankrupt or are no longer legally liable for remedying the problem. At those, the federal government still shoulders most of the tab — and the pot of available dollars keeps shrinking. ………

Pruitt’s plan will now be open for a period of public comment before it is finalized.

February 2, 2018 Posted by | environment, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Removes nuclear premium rates and repeals BLRA


Columbia, SC – Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) issued the following statement after the House passed H.4375, the Ratepayer Protection Bill, by a vote of 119-1. This legislation drops the over 18% nuclear surcharge on SCE&G customers’ bills to 0% while giving direction to the Public Service Commission to keep rates as low as possible while the SCANA merger is evaluated. It also repeals the Base Load Review Act and guarantees that no future projects can recover costs under the law abused by SCE&G.

“Since last August, the House has worked diligently to develop a responsible plan forward that protects ratepayers and prevents them from paying for a failed nuclear project. Today, our members followed through with our commitment to halt SCE&G from recouping more of its customers’ hard-earned dollars for the failed VC Summer nuclear project. 

 “Once today’s bill is signed into law, consumers can rest assured that utility companies will never take advantage of ratepayers’ trust under the Base Load Review Act again. Setting the nuclear premium rate to zero percent provides South Carolina ratepayers with immediate relief while private sector business negotiations continue before the Public Service Commission. As this innovative approach works its way through the legislative process, I am hopeful the Senate will act quickly in an effort to protect ratepayers from corporate greed.”

Provisions Included in the Ratepayer Protection Bill:

  • Repeals the Base Load Review Act
  • Defines the terms “prudent” and “imprudent”
  • Removes the nuclear premium and drops the rate from over 18% to 0%
  • Authorizes the PSC to set an interim rate
  • Suspends automatic stay
January 31, 2018
For immediate release

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India-Clinton nuclear deal writer’s new book set to rock India-U.S. relation again

The Clinton Cash writer Peter Schweizer is out to rock the U.S.-Indian relationship with yet another controversial book which is taunted to be his next blockbuster.

The book, titled Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends is said to be Washington forthcoming investigative blockbuster to be published not later than March 20.

It is already capturing a lot of attention owing to the book’s explosive contents and the reputation of the writer who sparked off an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation with his first book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

Breitbart, far-right American news, opinion and commentary website, said the forthcoming investigative Washington blockbuster Secret Empires soared to #60 on the Amazon bestsellers list less than 24-hours after publishing giant HarperCollins announced the book’s publication on Monday.

It is currently listed as #1 Best Seller in United States Local Government on Amazon. The hardcover edition is priced at US$22.86 and the kindle version at US$14.99.

Peter Schweizer is also Government Accountability Institute President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large.

“According to Axios’s Mike Allen, the book is already capturing the attention of members of Congress. Indeed, Schweizer is reportedly heading to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers about the book’s explosive contents,” said Breitbart.

Schweizer’s last New York Times bestseller, Clinton Cash, sparked an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation after it revealed that Hillary Clinton’s State Department, along with other agencies, approved the transfer of 20 percent of U.S. uranium to Russia and that nine foreign investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Little is known about the contents of Schweizer’s next book. A cover image released by the publisher on Monday features five images of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

According to publishing sources, “The book will expose vast corruption by top Washington figures who leverage their political power to enrich their family members and friends, often by helping grease deals with foreign entities.”

Clinton Cash had a chapter titled  “Indian Nukes: How to Win a Medal by Changing Hillary’s Mind,” detailing a series of donations and overtures from Indians who supported the nuclear deal to the Clintons.

It pointed to one case of an Indian-American Clinton donor — who in April 2014 pleaded guilty in an illegal contribution scheme for Clinton’s 2008 run — receiving an award from the Indian government for his work in securing the agreement.

The book also revealed a donation of $5 million by an Indian politician to Clinton Foundation that “changed her position on the 2008 nuclear agreement between the United States and India.”

“In 1998 after the Indian government conducted nuclear tests, Bill Clinton imposed restrictions on the export of U.S. nuclear technology, because this violated the nonproliferation treaty — Hillary Clinton supported that position.

“In 2005, the Indian government wanted those restrictions lifted. Hillary Clinton at that time supported a killer amendment to stop that from happening,” wrote GGInews India.

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report: Trump Nuclear Posture Review Overstates China’s Nuclear Arsenal Modernization Plans

February 1, 2018
Chinese Arsenal Significantly Smaller, Less Capable Than U.S. Arsenal

WASHINGTON (February 1, 2018)—A leaked draft of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) misrepresents the status of China’s nuclear forces, according to a white paper released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“China has made slow but steady incremental improvements to its nuclear arsenal,” says paper author Gregory Kulacki, China Project manager at the UCS Global Security Program. “But the gap between China and the United States is too wide to argue that the United States is lagging behind in any meaningful way. In fact, the exact opposite is true. By any measure, the U.S. arsenal is far superior.”

Regardless, the leaked NPR draft erroneously states that the United States needs new nuclear weapons because “China is expanding and modernizing its considerable nuclear forces” and is pursuing “entirely new nuclear capabilities.”

Among other things, the paper points out that:

  • the U.S. arsenal of 4,480 active and reserve nuclear warheads is more than 10 times the size of the Chinese arsenal;
  • the United States has 400 ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, at least four times more than China’s 75 to 100 ICBMs; and
  •  12 U.S. nuclear-capable submarines currently carry 900 warheads while China’s four ballistic missile submarines carry none.

“There is no evidence that nuclear weapons are becoming more prominent in China’s military strategy or that China has changed its longstanding no-first-use policy,” says Kulacki. “Chinese military sources emphatically state that China’s only security objective with its relatively small nuclear force is to retain the ability to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.

“If the Trump administration were truly concerned about limiting the size and capability of China’s nuclear forces,” he added, “it would ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which China signed in 1996, and negotiate a fissile material control treaty, which China supports. Doing so would cap the size of China’s nuclear arsenal.”

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear power should end -five reasons

Five facts that prove South Africa’s nuclear power plan should die  Anton Eberhard 

Under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, South Africa has been trying to implement a massive new nuclear programme. The initiative stood against a growing body of evidence pointing to the fact that nuclear isn’t needed, is too costly and is hard to finance. There is also the fact that the case for renewables looks increasingly favourable than nuclear. And last year, civil society groups secured a court order that halted the nuclear build programme temporarily on grounds that government had not followed due consultative process.

But Zuma has insisted on the nuclear programme, going so far as to appoint a minister to the energy portfolio who continues to argue that the country needs nuclear energy. But the facts are still against him, as they were against the previous four ministers who failed to deliver Zuma’s nuclear project.

The argument against nuclear energy can be broken down into five key themes.

1. Large chunks of new power aren’t needed

South Africa has surplus energy capacity. Along with new capacity that is coming online, the country does not need nuclear power to meet electricity demand for many years, despite the scheduled closure of some old coal plants. In fact, demand has fallen in South Africa and is lower than it was a decade ago.

This is not simply a result of slow economic growth. Steep hikes in electricity prices have accelerated investments in energy efficiency and electricity savings.

The structure of South Africa’s economy is also changing with the energy-intensive primary sector declining and the tertiary and services sector accounting for a larger share of the economy.

2. Good news on renewables

At the same time, renewable energy prices have plummeted globally and rival or even undercut the operating costs of many existing nuclear or fossil-fuelled power stations. Within just one year (2016), world costs for new onshore windpower fell by 18%, for offshore wind by 28%, and for utility-scale photovoltaics (PV) by 17%, while low bids fell 37% for Mexican PV and 43% for EU offshore wind. In South Africa, transparent auctions have already cut solar PV electricity prices by close to 80% and wind energy by nearly 50%.

Government’s nuclear policy consistently cites as its analytic basis the Integrated Resource Plan(IRP) for Electricity 2010 to 2030, formally published in May 2011 and updated several times since then. But over this time, the economic rationale for nuclear, never particularly strong, has weakened considerably. So much so that nuclear energy is not picked in any South African modelling scenarios, other than one where artificial constraints are placed on how much solar and wind energy can be built and where additional carbon budget limits are imposed. Even in this extreme scenario, nuclear energy might only be required after 2039.

Instead, the models favour solar and wind plus gas as the cheapest option for sustainable electricity supply. Renewables also perform well on the question of reliability. A recent engineering studyconfirms that the South African power system will be sufficiently flexible to handle very large amounts of wind and solar power generation to cope with increased flexibility requirements.

3. Nuclear power is dying globally

Global nuclear enterprise is slowly dying from an incurable attack of market forces. Financial distress stalks vendors, with cascading insolvencies spreading in the past two years. Construction cost and delays keep rising worldwide.

The global nuclear industry continues to suffer major risks of project failure or abandonment. For example, of 259 US nuclear units ordered between 1955-2016, 128 (49%) were abandoned before start-up and 34 (13%) prematurely closed later. Of the 97 units (37%) operating in mid-2017, 49 were deemed uneconomic to run; 35 suffered 45 year-plus safety-related outages. And only 28 units (11%) remain economically viable.

By contrast, renewable energy is dominating new investment in power generation worldwide. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates renewable energy will capture 72% of global power generation investment by 2040 as costs drop by a further 66% for solar power, 47% for onshore wind, and 71% for inshore wind plants.

China has generated more wind power than nuclear electricity since 2012. India has quadrupled its renewables target and is planning 100 GW of solar power (now cheaper than coal power) by 2022. Over three billion people now get more non-hydro renewable than nuclear electricity, in three of the world’s four top economies (China, Germany, Japan) and in Brazil, India, Mexico, Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

4. Renewable energy is good for business

The International Renewable Energy Agency has found that worldwide, doubling renewables’ energy share by 2030 could raise global GDP up to 1.1%, improve welfare up to 3.7%, and support over 24 million renewable-energy jobs.

In South Africa, important economic benefits have already been seen due to renewable energy initiatives. These have created a total of 32 532 job years.

Renewable energy projects also aid development in previously marginalised and disadvantaged groups and communities. Thanks to novel economic development criteria built into South Africa’s world-recognised renewable energy independent power producer programme. Black South Africans own, on average, 31% of projects that have reached completion. Black local communities further own on average 11% of the equity of projects.

5. The Russians can’t be trusted

The above facts demonstrate that nuclear lacks a business case for South Africa, whichever country provides the technology. But there is special cause for concern about South Africa’s proposed nuclear deal with Russia. During a series of private presidential meetings over the past seven years, South Africa concluded an unusually strong and specific nuclear agreement with Russia, since struck down by the courts.

Concerns are several. Firstly, a deal which makes South Africa dependent on Russia for a large share of electricity supply – as well as for nuclear safety – must raise serious questions about South African national sovereignty and independence.

Additionally, Russia is facing economic challenges, sliding in terms of rated world economies to number 15, below Mexico. Sovereign debt is a real concern and low oil prices and Western sanctions in response to Russia’s aggression towards the Ukraine and other areas are making matters worse.

Russia wants to build nuclear power plants but needs huge amounts of capital to finance its nuclear commitments around the world. It hardly appears to be a stable financial partner.

A rational choice is needed

South Africans deserve reliable and affordable electrical services. At issue is how much money, time, and opportunity for national advancement will be lost before the country finally abandons the folly of procuring new nuclear power plants.

Amory Lovins, chief scientist at Rocky Mountain Institute, co-authored this article.

Anton Eberhard, Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


February 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning

Nuclear power in crisis: we are entering the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning, Energy Post,  by Jim Green  “…………The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning     The ageing of the global reactor fleet isn’t yet a crisis for the industry, but it is heading that way. In many countries with nuclear power, the prospects for new reactors are dim and rear-guard battles are being fought to extend the lifespans of ageing reactors that are approaching or past their design date.

Perhaps the best characterisation of the global nuclear industry is that a new era is approaching ‒ the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning ‒ following on from its growth spurt from the 1960s to the ’90s then 20 years of stagnation.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning will entail:

  • A slow decline in the number of operating reactors.
  • An increasingly unreliable and accident-prone reactor fleet as ageing sets in.
  • Countless battles over lifespan extensions for ageing reactors.
  • An internationalisation of anti-nuclear opposition as neighbouring countries object to the continued operation of ageing reactors (international opposition to Belgium’s ageing reactors is a case in point ‒ and there are numerous other examples).
  • Battles over and problems with decommissioning projects (e.g. the UK government’s £100+ million settlement over a botched decommissioning tendering process).
  • Battles over taxpayer bailout proposals for companies and utilities that haven’t set aside adequate funds for decommissioning and nuclear waste management and disposal. (According to Nuclear Energy Insider, European nuclear utilities face “significant and urgent challenges” with over a third of the continent’s nuclear plants to be shut down by 2025, and utilities facing a €118 billion shortfall in decommissioning and waste management funds.)
  • Battles over proposals to impose nuclear waste repositories and stores on unwilling or divided communities.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning will be characterised by escalating battles (and escalating sticker shock) over lifespan extensions, decommissioning and nuclear waste management. In those circumstances, it will become even more difficult than it currently is for the industry to pursue new reactor projects. A feedback loop could take hold and then the nuclear industry will be well and truly in crisis ‒ if it isn’t already.

Editor’s Note

Dr Jim Green is the editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a longer version of this article was originally published.


February 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor, Reference | Leave a comment

Russia’s pension funds for elderly – used to pay for building Finland’s nuclear power plant

“Finland’s Pyhäjoki nuclear plant takes our pension money”    While four million elderly Russians live below the poverty line, the country’s pension fund pays for Rosatom-backed nuclear plant in northern-Finland. «Deeply unfair,» says Oleg Bodrov from the closed town of Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg.   Barents Observer By  Thomas Nilsen, January 29, 2018

February 2, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, politics, Russia | Leave a comment