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The Pentagon’s lies: it DID use depleted uranium weapons in Syria

The Pentagon said it wouldn’t use depleted uranium rounds against ISIS. Months later, it did — thousands of times. WP,  February 16, 2017 

Months after the Pentagon said it wouldn’t use a controversial type of armor-piercing ammunition that has been blamed for long-term health complications, U.S. aircraft fired thousands of the rounds during two high-profile air raids in Syria in November 2015, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday.

The use of the ammunition, a 30mm depleted-uranium bullet called PGU-14, was first reported by a joint Air Wars-Foreign Policy investigation on Tuesday. The roughly 5,265 rounds of the munition were fired from multiple A-10 ground attack aircraft on Nov 16, 2015, and Nov. 22, 2015, in airstrikes in Syria’s eastern desert that targeted the Islamic State’s oil supply during Operation Tidal Wave II, said Maj. Josh Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman.

When loaded with depleted-uranium bullets, the A-10s fired what is called a “combat-mix,” meaning the aircraft’s cannon fires five depleted-uranium rounds to one high explosive incendiary bullet.

The strikes, which involved 30mm cannon fire, rockets and guided bombs, destroyed more than 300 vehicles, mostly civilian tanker trucks, the Pentagon said at the time. The two incidents were championed by the Pentagon, and footage of trucks being destroyed was posted online. The Pentagon said that no civilians were present during the bombardment because fliers had been dropped before strafing runs warning those in their trucks to flee.

Before the November strikes, the Pentagon said it would not use depleted-uranium munitions in the campaign against the Islamic State. In response to a query from a reporter in February 2015, Capt. John Moore, a spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria said in an email that “U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” ….

February 14, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, Syria, USA | Leave a comment

The uneconomic Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility to be closed- Dept of Energy seeks funding for this

DOE budget seeks money to close MOX  February 12, 2018, By James Folker, Staff Writer

The Department of Energy’s budget request for fiscal 2019 asks for money to close the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and says the agency prefers the “dilute and dispose” method to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

“The Budget Request includes $220 million to continue the orderly and safe closure of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility and $59 million to pursue the proven dilute and dispose technology,” Lindsey Geisler, press secretary for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a statement. “The administration has proposed termination of the MOX construction project because it is simply unaffordable. We have a proven method called dilute and dispose that is less expensive, has far lower risks, and can be i “The Budget Request includes $220 million to continue the orderly and safe closure of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility and $59 million to pursue the proven dilute and dispose technology,” Lindsey Geisler, press secretary for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a statement. “The administration has proposed termination of the MOX construction project because it is simply unaffordable. We have a proven method called dilute and dispose that is less expensive, has far lower risks, and can be  implemented decades sooner than the MOX approach.”

The budget request seeks $1.7 billion — $287 million more than last year — to provide support at Savannah River Site for the Liquid Tank Waste Management Program, including “a significant increase” in the production at the Defense Waste Processing Facility and startup of the Salt Waste Processing Facility, according to a DOE fact sheet released Monday.

The MOX project was born from a 2000 non-proliferation agreement between the U.S. and Russia, which called for the removal of 34 metric tons of plutonium from each nation’s arsenal. The MOX project at SRS would convert the plutonium from retired nuclear weapons into a blend with uranium so it can be used in commercial nuclear reactors

February 14, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Blow to Russia’s nuclear marketing ambitions – other investors back out of Turkey nuclear build

Bellona 12th Feb 2018, In a major blow to one of Russia’s most ambitious international nuclear
deals, three investors backed out of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant,
leaving Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom adrift on how to finish
the $20 billion station.

Russian President Vladimir Putin touted progress
on the plant as recently as November during a state visit to the Turkish
capital, and the Kremlin propaganda news network RT pushed the narrative
that the plant’s first reactor would be finished ahead of its scheduled
2023 launch date.

That was all thrown into doubt last week when a Turkish
consortium, representing 49 percent of the funding for the Akkuyu plant’s
construction, backed out of the deal, citing a failure to agree on a number
of project’s “commercial conditions,” Russian and Turkish news
outlets said. Rosatom is now in talks to secure other investors, but the
corporation wont’ say by how long the loss of half the project’s
financing will delay the station’s launch, or by how much the project’s
price tag is likely to increase as a result of the back out.


February 14, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

“It was complete chaos” says Hanford worker who inhaled plutonium

The worker tested positive for inhalation of the potential lethal nuclear isotope of plutonium – a key ingredient to the production of nuclear bombs and warheads., KGW8 News: Susannah Frame, February 13, 2018  A Hanford worker directly impacted by safety failures at an extremely dangerous demolition project at the site has granted an interview to KING 5.

The worker tested positive for inhalation of the potential lethal nuclear isotope of plutonium – a key ingredient to the production of nuclear bombs and warheads.

“I’m pissed. I’m scared, like we all are, that sooner or later it’s going to bite me and I’m going to end up with cancer,” said the contaminated worker.

For fear of retaliation, the worker does not want to be identified. Eight months ago, on June 8, the person was one of hundreds working on the demolition of Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP). The workers were told to ‘take cover’ as a ‘precaution’ because monitors detected radioactive plutonium particles could be in the air.

But the event ended up not being precautionary whatsoever. The contractor in charge of the demolition, CH2M Hill, had an enormous problem on its hands.

“It was complete chaos. It was a mess,” said the worker.

Indeed, radioactive particles had escaped and spread outside the demolition zone. Hundreds of workers were eventually tested. Thirty-one of them got bad news: They had inhaled or ingested plutonium, which emits alpha radiation, the worst kind of radiation to get inside your body.

“Plutonium will go to the bones and sit there for a long, long time,” said Dr. Erica Liebelt, a toxicologist and executive director, as well as medical director, of the Washington Poison Center.

“Your risks are lung cancer, liver cancer, and bone cancer. That’s where plutonium heads in the body.”  “(After being told no one was hurt) I was angry. You carry that with you for the rest of your life. It’s a cancer causer,” said the worker interviewed by KING 5.

The PFP is where, for decades, the Hanford workforce produced plutonium buttons, a key component of building nuclear warheads throughout the Cold War. The buildings left behind were the most lethally radioactive structures on the entire 586-square-mile Hanford reservation.

After that event in June CH2M Hill increased safeguards and promised to do better. But six months later the job got out of control again. More plutonium began escaping outside the demolition control zone on December 15. Instead of getting to the bottom of it right away, CH2M Hill waited two days to halt the job.

Radioactive particles ended up on all kinds of items including worker’s boots, office trailers, jersey barriers, tumbleweeds.

And elevated airborne levels of plutonium were recorded at an employee exit right next to a public highway.

“The response was awful. To me (waiting was) unforgivable, inexcusable. That should never have happened and this contractor ought to be on the hot seat,” said Tom Carpenter, executive director of the advocacy group Hanford Challenge.

The plutonium spread also made it onto cars. The KING 5 Investigators have found 36 cars total. Seven of them were personal vehicles, driven off the site by unsuspecting employees. The vehicles, with contamination on them, were driven into town and to their homes. One of those cars belongs to the worker who was contaminated internally six months earlier. …..

Once you have contamination that gets on private party’s cars and then gets driven off the Hanford Site it’s a big concern for us,” said Alex Smith of the Washington state Department of Ecology. Smith is the state’s top-ranking regulator for the state over Hanford.

On January 9, the Department of Ecology and the EPA sent a joint letter to U.S Department of Energy officials to communicate their great concern. For the first time in Hanford’s history, the regulators enacted a provision allowing them to halt work on a project due to a “creation of danger” to people and the environment.

The two regulatory agencies said the project demonstrated so much risk that they were shutting it down until the federal government could prove they could proceed safely…….

February 14, 2018 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment

OP congressman says he’ll fight Trump’s call to cut funds for Hanford nuclear cleanup

Hal Bernton Seattle Times staff reporter

February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump budget contains $120M to restart licensing of Yucca Mountain

  By Gary Martin Review-Journal Washington Bureau, February 12, 2018, WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump renewed his commitment to restart licensing on the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Nevada on Monday with a funding request tucked into a $4.4 trillion budget blueprint.

Trump included $120 million to restart licensing on the geologic site north of Las Vegas, as well as to establish an interim storage program to address the growing stockpile of nuclear waste produced by power plants in states across the nation.

The funds are just part of the $30.6 billion budget request for the Department of Energy for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the $120 million would be used for the licensing application process. Application hearings must be held to hear challenges by Nevada and other stakeholders.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must determine whether Yucca Mountain is safe for long-term storage, and issue a license for Energy to build the repository…….

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the state’s two senators, Republican Dean Heller and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, and Democratic Reps Dina Titus, Jacky Rosen and Ruben Kihuen oppose the Yucca Mountain project.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and Nye County, where Yucca Mountain is located, and other rural Nevada counties, support continuing the licensing process.

Although the House has backed efforts to restart licensing on Yucca Mountain, the Senate did not approve funding last year.

“Despite Congress’ refusal to fund the Yucca Mountain project, the administration is once again prioritizing it,” Heller said. He claims the project poses a threat to the people of southern Nevada and could have a catastrophic impact on the tourism economy.

“I’ve made it clear why Nevada does not want to turn into the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” Heller said.

……..  congressional lawmakers from Southern Nevada said opposition to the project would continue……Titus said the $120 million would be “a tiny down payment on a project that will cost $100 billion and ship nuclear waste through hundreds of congressional districts across the country.” ……


February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

NextEra Energy leaves Nuclear Energy Institute, takes legal action against it

Utility Dive 5th Feb 2018, NextEra Energy declined to renew its membership in the Nuclear Energy
Institute and is now suing the trade group over access to a nuclear
industry personnel database, Personnel Access Data System (PADS). NEI has
blocked access to the resource unless NextEra pays close to $900,000.

NextEra operates eight nuclear reactors but decided to exit the group after
it advocated for a now-defunct Department of Energy proposal that would
have propped up struggling nuclear and coal generators. NextEra also has a
large portfolio of renewable and gas-fired assets that would have been hurt
by the proposal.

NextEra’s decision reflects uncertainty in the nuclear
industry, where plants face fierce competition from natural gas and
stagnant demand, while struggling to control rising operational costs.
Louisiana-based Entergy also decided to exit NEI membership.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons – always the goal of India’s “peaceful” nuclear power

The Nation 11th Feb 2018, Indian army chief calls our strategic and tactical nuclear capability `a bluff’. His view may be rooted in India’s own bitter enrichment experience (1980-1985).

Ramana points out during initial operations that India’s enrichment plant `had frequent breakdown as a result of corrosion  and failure of parts’. `Many leaders of Indian Department of Atomic  Energy held that uranium enrichment was very difficult and were skeptical of Pakistani claims that they had succeeded in enriching uranium to weapons grade levels’.

From day one, India’s nuclear programme has been dual-use oriented. Nehru never ruled out the nuclear option for India . He wrote to Homi Bhabha `Apart from building power stations and developing electricity there is always a built-in advantage of defence use [of nuclear enrichment] if the need should arise’. According to Srinivasan, former head of Indian Atomic Energy Commission, `Nuclear technology was developed by a country for its own benefit, whether for peaceful purposes or military applications’.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Yucca Mountain not safe for nuclear waste, not safe to transport wastes through Nevada

Las Vegas Sun 11th Feb 2018, “It’s not like we’re asking you to accept nuclear bomb testing
again.” This is a statement I have heard several times over the past 30
years, both from people working for the Department of Energy and the
commercial nuclear industry, as they tried to convince us that we should
approve of a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

My response was something like, “Well we know Yucca Mountain is not a safe place to contain waste,
and transporting it through the state to get there is risky and a killer
for our economy. And you are right; we would not accept nuclear bombs being
exploded here again.”

Welcome to 2018 and President Donald Trump’s
plans for Nevada. We know there is enthusiasm in Congress and the
administration for a restart of dormant Yucca Mountain licensing, and now
we read in the latest issue of Time magazine that a plan is afoot to begin
building and testing atomic bombs here.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Producing plutonium “pits” – too dangerous for New Mexico

Sante Fe New Mexican 10th Feb 2018, New Mexico’s senators and congressmen are making a bad choice for their
constituents by lobbying to retain the production of nuclear bomb triggers,
or “pits,” at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The production of
plutonium pits is one of the most toxic industrial processes on Earth.

It is hazardous for workers and pollutes our environment for centuries. Los
Alamos has a poor safety record, according to the Department of Energy.
Only Los Alamos, among 24 nuclear sites recently audited by the department,
did “not meet expectations” for criticality risks. This is the risk of
a nuclear chain reaction that can irradiate workers and cause an explosion
or catastrophic toxic fire.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Diagnostic Radiation and Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Risk

ASCO GU 2018: Diagnostic Radiation and Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Risk  Uro Today, 18,San Francisco, CA ( Dr. Kevin Nead and colleagues presented their work assessing diagnostic radiation and testicular germ cell tumor risk. Dr. Nead notes that both the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) and use of diagnostic radiation have increased in recent decades. In a quarter of diagnostic scans in children, direct and indirect radiation dose to the testes exceeds 20 mSv, which surpasses thresholds associated with malignancy risk (~5 mSv). The objective of this study was to examine the association between exposure to diagnostic radiation and TGCT risk in a case-control study.  ……. The authors concluded that exposure to diagnostic radiation below the waist, particularly among younger individuals, may increase TGCT risk. ...

February 14, 2018 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Research into low dose radiation – a very complex issue

A better direction for low-dose radiation research, BAS, Jan Beyea 12 Feb 18, 

With bipartisan support, the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee recently passed a bill to revitalize low-dose radiation research. The bill, which would authorize an estimated $96 million in funding, has also garnered support from researchers and groups with opposing views on the seriousness of effects of ionizing radiation in the low-dose region, defined as being below 100 millisieverts—roughly the amount of radiation from 10 CT scans.

Studies of excess cancers among survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have estimated a 1 percent increase in long-term cancer risk for adults receiving a dose of 100 millisieverts (the risk is higher for children), with the risk below that level declining in proportion to the dose. However, stakeholders and researchers with different hypotheses continue to debate whether or not downward extrapolation by dose magnitude—the “linear no-threshold” model deemed most reasonable by a National Research Council committee of experts—is the best way to estimate risk. ……

The hope of many supporters of the proposed legislation, voiced by Rep. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, is that it may assist “the development of nuclear energy opportunities,” in part by reducing the size of nuclear plant evacuation zones. The bill’s supporters presume that the finding of a threshold or hormesis region would demonstrate that the existing linear no-threshold model is an over-protection that, as Northwestern University radiation biologist Gayle E. Woloschak wrote in a letter of support for the bill, “may be wastefully expensive and deplete funds that could be used for other strategic goals for the nation.”

Past research by the Energy Department to upend the linear model has failed to fulfill that dream, finding health effects below 100 millisieverts from even protracted exposures.  There is so much existing epidemiological data from exposed workers, patients receiving medical diagnostics, and residents living around the Soviet nuclear complex—as well as the Japanese atomic bombing survivors—that new research, whatever it shows, will need to be interpreted in the light of all the evidence.

That will likely leave stakeholders and experts debating for a long time, and the public confused.

Inherent uncertainty. New radiation research is likely to carry uncertainties, which means government policy must be conservative in its choice of the best dose-response model to use. Why is it difficult to tease out risks at low doses? Individual risks from medical diagnostics and from the (fortunately) limited releases of radioactivity at Fukushima are generally low under the linear extrapolation model. They are small compared with background disease rates, challenging epidemiological methods. The difficulty of finding effects among background cancers is actually good news for exposed individuals. However, the social risk is sufficiently large to justify keeping doses as low as reasonably achievable and balancing risks against benefits.

My colleagues and I call radiological events “reverse lotteries”: The individual risk of drawing a cancer-causing “ticket” from an event such as the Fukushima meltdowns is small, but because so many people are part of the lottery, real people do get impacted when they draw losing tickets.

Prospective risks and retrospective risks are perceived differently. If I learned that my family and I had already been exposed to a 1-in-1,000 cancer risk, I would be angry, but I would realize that the odds were highly in our favor; none of us would likely be injured. However, if you asked me to relocate to contaminated land where my children would be exposed to a 1-in-1,000 chance of cancer, I would want to stay away unless there were major benefits associated with the move, or if I thought I couldn’t afford to do otherwise. Risk tradeoffs are personal, and families can be painfully split on the best decision, as happened at Fukushima………

February 14, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

France ‘s EDF plans for new central storage site for nuclear waste – no site chosen

 PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) – French EDF plans new central storage site for nuclear wast state-controlled utility EDF plans to build a new central storage pool for nuclear waste but has not yet decided on a site, the company said.

French environment news site Reporterre on Tuesday wrote that EDF plans to build a central spent-fuel pool on the grounds of its Belleville-sur-Loire nuclear plant, which could receive up to 8,000 tonnes of spent fuel, the equivalent of up to about 90 reactor cores.

Spent fuel from nuclear reactors remains highly radioactive for thousands of years and all countries using nuclear energy struggle with the question of where to store it safely…….

France has a project to store long-life nuclear waste 500 metres below ground in impermeable clay in Bure, eastern France, but the plan has not yet received government approval and is strongly opposed by local groups and environmentalists.

Meanwhile, the La Hague reprocessing site acts as a de facto nuclear waste storage site as France has no permanent solution for deep geological storage. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet; editing by Richard Lough)

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Greece, wastes | Leave a comment

West Somerset Council excluded from key Hinkley C nuclear meeting.

Bridgwater Mercury 12th Feb 2018, West Somerset Council not invited to key Hinkley C meeting. WSC was
‘unaware’ of a meeting in which the leader of Sedgemoor District
Council (SDC) travelled to Westminster to discuss uncertainty over Hinkley
C money with senior officials. Cllr Duncan McGinty met with MP Jake Berry,
parliamentary undersecretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government
to discuss the uncertainty surrounding ‘Community Benefit’ funding for
Sedgemoor and West Somerset from Hinkley C.

Councillor McGinty said: “It was a really positive meeting. Sedgemoor has taken the lead in raising this
issue at a national level. But while Hinkley C falls within West Somerset,
the district council was not invited to send a representative.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Lawsuit against Georgia Regulators Over Nuclear Decision

Vogtle Opponents Sue Georgia Regulators Over Nuclear Decision, WABE,  • Opponents of a nuclear power expansion in Georgia are suing over it. Environmental groups claim state regulators didn’t follow their own rules when they decided to let construction at Plant Vogtle continue.

In December, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimouslyto keep work on two new nuclear reactors going, even though they’re five years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

The groups Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and the Partnership for Southern Equity claim the commission rushed the decision and should have gathered more information.

“This was the wrong way to go about making a multi-billion dollar decision,” said Kurt Ebersbach, an attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center, who represents the groups.

The suit is being filed in Fulton County Superior Court…….

February 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment