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USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission stifled research into nuclear radiation’s effects on pregnancy

Does living near a nuclear plant give children cancer? beyondnuclearinternational

US cancer study that would have told us was killed by NRC, By Cindy Folkers

More than 60 studies have shown increases of childhood leukemia around nuclear facilities worldwide. Despite this finding, there has never been independent analysis in the US examining connections between childhood cancer and nuclear facilities. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had tasked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct such a study, but then withdrew funding, claiming publicly that it would be too expensive. 

n fact, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process reveal that NRC employees had already determined the study would show no impact. Internal emails indicate that staff was presupposing a conclusion for which they had no evidence, demonstrated by statements like “even if you found something that looked like a relationship [between cancer and radiation], you wouldn’t know what to attribute it to,” and “[m]ost people realize that all the evidence shows you’re not going to find anything.” The evidence, however, had not yet been fully collected and examined.

Not protective and unaccountable

While the NRC claims it protects public health, its radiation exposure standards fail to account fully for:

  • impacts on the placenta 
  • impacts on fetal blood forming cells 
  • impacts on fetal and embryonic organs 
  • estrogenic impacts 
  • disproportionate impacts on women 
  • genetic impacts past the second generation 
  • cumulative damage of repeated radiation exposure

NRC exposure data and modeling is designed to demonstrate compliance with the NRC’s regulations but not to assess health impacts. The NRC has already stated numerous times that it believes low doses of radiation, the kind NRC claims its licensees are allowed to release, pose risks so low that health impacts may not be discernible. We don’t know if NRC’s claims of no discernible or attributable public health impact from nuclear power are actually true since no one has ever looked properly. 

Studies in other countries show association between nuclear facilities and childhood cancer. However, given the demonstrable bias of the US NRC toward low doses having no health impact, it is essential that a US study go forward under the auspices of outside, independent experts, in order to examine what is happening in the US.

Ground-breaking study plans were threat to current health assumptions

Under the original and now canceled study, the NRC had tasked the NAS to use the most advanced methods in order to update the study the NRC currently uses to claim its reactors are safe. That study, published in 1990, had several shortcomings including the way the authors define and examine disease, assumptions about doses, location of cases, and who is examined.

The NAS was considering two study designs, one examining specifically children. This study type, dubbed by one expert as a case-control nested in a cohort, is very similar in basic design to studies conducted in France and Germany, which show increases in childhood leukemia around nuclear power facilities.

The NRC scuttled the NAS study in 2015, dubiously claiming it would have cost too much and taken too long. Upon examination, however, it is clear that the NAS study would have challenged the fundamentals of the NRC’s health assessment regime.

To date, most radiation studies have routinely suffered from a host of improper methodologies, making it impossible to discern health impacts. The NAS was considering using new ways of examining the issue by implementing a more detailed, more thorough, publicly shared research protocol. The protocol included:

  • Making the study process and underlying assumptions public while the study was being conducted
  • Allowing public comment during the study process 
  • Standardizing raw health data and making it available to researchers and the public 
  • Standardizing and verifying pollutant data
  • Integrating independently collected pollutant and meteorological data 
  • Examining and redoing the current health models 
  • Tailoring health studies to local conditions
  • Creating new health models, specifically for the radionuclide carbon
    • 14, which concentrates in fetal tissue more than maternal tissue.

    This detailed and accessible protocol could have opened the NRC’s regulatory regime to exhaustive scrutiny, revealing just how inadequate it is for examining health impacts in the first place, never mind protecting public health. Further, with such careful research, NRC could have feared that the NAS study would point to an association between environmental radiation and cancer, as other studies have, although FOIA documents consisting mostly of internal emails did not specifically demonstrate this fear.

    Moribund study could be revived, made better

  • While the NAS child study design and protocol had much to recommend it, it is unclear whether it would have been free of all of the flaws that have historically plagued radiation health assessments. At the point of study cancellation, independent experts still had concerns. 
  • Historically, industry and radiation regulators have insisted that a causal link must be absolutely established between radiation and disease. For protection of the public, however, experts claim the standard should be a lower bar of association with disease. If this study moves forward under the NAS, it needs to relinquish concepts and methods that favor causation. 

    To date, researchers have started radiation health studies by presuming that there will be no impact because doses are too low — a contention that, in reality, remains scientifically unproven. Many studies reveal the opposite. Any new such research needs to ensure that the basis for health assessments is a focus on health outcomes, not dose models that are fraught with uncertainties. 

    While NRC licensees attempt to monitor environmental contamination, the NRC has never incorporated biological monitoring, which might prove useful after spike releases from various facility outages. There are several techniques that have been used in other health studies, which a revived cancer study could weave into any child or adult health assessment.

    A truly independent and scientifically robust study would attempt to address these issues in addition to using the other enlightened protocols the NAS was considering. With the public process and protocol review suggested by the NAS for this now moribund study, perhaps these remaining shortcomings would finally have been addressed as well. The NRC made sure that did not happen. However, according to Ourania Kosti, NAS researcher coordinating the study, the NAS has left the door open to completing it. “I think it is important to update the findings of the 1990 study using better methodologies and information,” Kosti said. “This is the reason the Academies agreed to carry out the update. The Academies remain willing to do the study, if asked to.”

    Cindy Folkers is the radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.


July 25, 2018 Posted by | USA, women | Leave a comment

AS heatwave engulfs Japan, climate change adds to the nuclear danger

The 2020 Olympics will open in 2 years, and the heat is on,  By JIM ARMSTRONG, 24 July 18   Since being awarded the games, which will be the largest ever with 33 sports and 339 events, Tokyo organizers have had to deal with a series of problems ranging from stadium and construction delays , natural disasters and a scandal involving the official logo.

Most of the obstacles have been cleared up, but a deadly heatwave gripping Japan has focused organizerson ways to keep fans and athletes cool when the Olympics begin on July 24, 2020.

Potential for scorching summer conditions has always concerned organizers, with temperatures in central Tokyo often exceeding 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) in July and August, made more difficult because of high humidity.

This summer heatwave has resulted in more than 65 deaths and sent tens of thousands to hospitals. The temperature on Monday reached 41.1 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit), the highest ever recorded in Japan.

Experts have warned the risk of heatstroke in Tokyo has escalated in recent years, while noting the Olympics are expected to take place in conditions when sports activities should normally be halted.

“We are mindful that we do have to prepare for extreme heat,” John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Games, told a recent news conference.

The 1964 Games in Tokyo were held in October to avoid the harshest of the heat. That was before the Olympics schedule was influenced by rights-paying broadcasters and sponsors.

Local organizers are doing what they can to help athletes combat the conditions. The marathon and some other outside events will be held early in the morning to avoid extreme heat.

The federal and the Tokyo metropolitan governments are also planning to lay pavements that emit less surface heat and plant taller roadside trees for shade.

“The spectators as well as the athletes have to be taken care of,” Coates said. “The timing of the marathon and road walks will be as early as possible as they have been in previous games to beat the heat.”

Organizers want the games to help showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that took more than 18,000 lives and triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

While reconstruction from the disaster is making steady progress, and work on the new 68,000-seat main stadium in Tokyo is 40 percent complete, more than 70,000 people remain displaced from their communities.

The construction of the main stadium was more than a year behind schedule when it started in December 2016, as earlier plans were scrapped because of spiraling costs and a contentious design.

The Japanese government approved the new 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) stadium, which is expected to be completed in November of 2019. The previous construction timeline would have allowed the main stadium to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup final on Nov. 2 as a test event, but that idea was scrapped.

Meanwhile, organizers say the other newly-constructed venues are 20 to 40 percent complete.

The torch relay will start March 26, 2020, in Fukushima, an area hit hard by the disaster.

Coates said local organizers are on track with 24 months to go.

“Tokyo 2020 comes a significant step closer to delivering an Olympic Games that will bring Japan and the world together,” he said. “The organizing committee has presented considerable progress … especially as it related to venue and operational readiness.”

July 25, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Japan | Leave a comment

Australia’s beautiful Flinders Ranges to become bonanza nuclear waste site – or nuclear sacrifice zone?

Coalition’s Kimba nuclear dump exploits local area and puts nation at risk,11717 Noel Wauchope 23 July 2018,

How is a small rural town to cope with a proposition that may transform the community by providing an economic boon or be a long-term curse?

This is the dilemma facing the towns of Kimba and Hawker, both in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.

Individual landowners offered their land to the Turnbull Government for a radioactive waste storage site and the Government’s National RadioactiveWaste Management Facility (NRWMF) team swung into action.

There’s quite a hurry on, about this. Resources Minister Matt Canavan announced that, on 20 August, there will be a local ballot to gauge community support for a nuclear waste dump.

Following that, said Canavan:

“The decision will be made in the second half of this year … We do not want this overlapping with a Federal election.”

Much can be said about this plan, not least that it contravenes South Australian law. One might ask, too, why the inquiry stipulates South Australia when the waste to be stored would have to travel 1,700 km from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney? However, the most notable immediate ramifications concern its impact on Eyre Peninsula rural communities. 

As one local resident put it:

‘Stress levels are through the roof for a lot of people within our communities. People are getting sick, and some are just sick and tired of hearing about it, with many wanting the dump to just go away!’

And in the words of another resident:

‘Before a nuclear waste dump came into our lives, people enjoyed cultural activities together … Today it isn’t like that, a once close family ruined and torn apart all because of a proposed nuclear waste dump that could be put on Adnyamathanha traditional lands, which will destroy our culture and … cause cultural genocide.’

Community division is obvious when one reads the submissions that local and Eyre Peninsula residents have sent to a Senate Committee of Inquiry. The Inquiry called for submissions, stipulating fairly narrow Terms of Reference (TOR), about the ‘Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia’.

Among the 40 supporters of the plan, most are local residents, enthusiastic about hosting the waste dump.

Repeatedly, their submissions include phrases like ‘no negative impacts’ and ‘comfortable and satisfied with the prospect of hosting the proposed nuclear waste facility’ 

 Numbers below in brackets refer to the submission numbers listed on the Senate website.

John Hennessy( No 7), is   “bubbling with enthusiasm” for nuclear waste dump in Hawker. “Hawker has “ a once in a lifetime opportunity”

Jessica Morgan, (no.37) ” I have stood [at ANSTO] next to and touched the canister containing the intermediate level waste with my 9 month old baby in a carrier on my chest, feeling totally confident of my own safety and that of my child.”   

Annie Clements, (No 35) – happy to see nuclear waste dump “powering Kimba community into the future”.

And here we come to another aspect of their support for the waste dump plan. It’s not just that Kimba might be “powered into the future”. It’s the thought that Kimba might not have a future unless it hosts the dump.

Again and again this argument appears in the pro nuclear submissions:

This repository would ensure our towns survival   – Ian Carpenter.( No  3 )

Kimba is struggling, population is declining,… we are in need of a life line …. The possibilities this facility could provide a small failing community is endless  – Jodie Joyce (No 33)

this project  will ensure the long term viability of this small country town – Janice  McInnis, ( No 4 )

it will  save Kimba ” for many more generations to come– Melanie Orman (No 77)

A third, much repeated, theme in these submissions is that this matter concerns only the local community.

This is frequently expressed with the dismissal of the opinions of people outside the immediate area and also, at times, with downright hostility to those who oppose the dump:

‘People outside our area could be influenced by anti-nuclear scare campaigns and wild allegations that have no relevance to this facility.’ ~ Annie Clements (35)

‘Activists and politicians who have been using [this] project as a vehicle for their anti-nuclear stance should not be entitled to any say …’ ~ Heather Baldock (64)

Outsiders do not care if Hawker dies a slow death due to lack of employment etc – Chelsea Haywood (No. 2)

‘We disagree that we need “broader community views” and the need to stretch the boundaries outside of our District Council. What is happening in our Community is exactly that: our community.’  As residents of Kimba for the last 43 years, plus ++ We see no reason that the rest of SA has a right to tell us what we can and can’t have. It is our back yard, not theirs.  ….. . It’s a shame we have to have this inquiry. ~ Margaret and Charlie Milton (34)

These three themes – enthusiasm for the project, distrust of critics,  and resistance to the involvement of outsiders, merge into a kind of strong local patriotism allied to trusting loyalty to the federal government, which has run a huge informational campaign in the towns.

As to the 58 submissions opposing the plan, at least half come from residents of the Eyre Peninsula. As with the rest of the opponents, they do express a variety of arguments, but local submissions are most often concerned with the local area.

Above all, they are dissatisfied with the community consultation process, and the lack of clarity about what is meant by “broad community support”. They want the wider community, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, to be consulted, and, indeed they see the federal nuclear waste facility as a national issue.    They also do not believe that the project has Indigenous support.

Readers of all 98 submissions can’t fail to notice that, on the whole, these 55 opposing ones have more comprehensive, detailed, and referenced writing, as compared with the pro nuclear ones. And this is certainly true of the very thoughtful and measured arguments of the farmers from the local areas concerned.

These raise some issues which are rarely mentioned on the pro-nuclear side:

  • concern about co-location of low and intermediate level wastes, especially the prospect of stranded “temporary” wastes, with no plan for final disposal;
  • transport dangers; 
  • seismic and flood dangers; 
  • impacts on agricultural markets and tourism; and
  • the fear that this waste dump would lead to a full-scale commercial importation of nuclear waste.

 Kay Fels,  a Flinders Ranges farmer.(No 63) ‘s submission is representative of the concerns of many others:

our stock (sheep and cattle) may also be stigmatised by the proximity of the waste dump and our organic status compromised  Agriculture and tourist industries will  be jeopardised as the clean, green image of the Flinders Ranges is tarnished  .    The sites are located in an area where the underground water table is almost at surface level. This could lead to contamination of the underground water source, so vital to the region. The location is also on a piedmont plain and prone to flooding

Given that the proposal is to store low level waste in an above ground facility, and temporarily store intermediate waste in that same facility, it seems ludicrous that this is even considered given the geological and environmental features and risks involved.

The consultation phase was a tokenism with ANSTO telling us what will be happening, how safe it is and pushing the affirmative – not a true reflection of the community’s views and concerns. The consultative committee is a rubber stamp

Many are strongly sceptical of the consultations held by the Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS), and of the information campaign by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) . There is strong criticism of the nomination of Wallerberdina property by non-resident former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, with close links to the nuclear industry. They also claim hypocrisy of DIIS in biased and misleading information, and dismissal and indeed, exclusion of critics. 

  I am not against having a LLW facility in Australia. I am against the way in which DIIS have gone about finding a quick fix for something that will affect all South Australians for centuries to come.  It should not be up to a small council area to overrule our Prohibition Act 2000, if we are to vote for something of such national importance.”  My problem is a complete lack of trust with DIIS in the way in which they have treated ordinary people from Quorn, Hawker and Kimba – Leon Ashton (No 73)

there are far too many discrepancies in the information, consultation process and long term impacts to have such a facility based at Kimba (or Hawker).  the consultation process has been an insult to the intelligence of rural people.  –  Leanne Lienert (No. 50)

Sue Tulloch (no 32) makes a scathing criticism of the federal nuclear waste dump process and “shambolic “Barndioota Consultative Committee.  

Aboriginal voices are passionate, at the same time as providing factual information and references:

The Senate took a long time to publish this one – perhaps because they recognised it as the most important one? Regina McKenzie  (No 107) , a very well informed traditional indigenous owner of the selected are at Barndioota, focuses on the cultural heritage rights and interests of identified traditional owners and the State/Federal obligations  regarding those rights. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has ignored Australia’s commitment to United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. DIIS has poorly assessed Aboriginal cultural heritage, and engaged inappropriate consultants.  –

In this article, I have avoided the wider arguments expressed in the submissions, including the ones from organisations on both sides of the argument.  Through studying 98 submissions, I have tried to get to the feelings of the communities involved – to what it must be like, to be part of a community caught in this dilemma.

 Our biggest worry of this process is the detrimental effect it will have and is already having on the local community as a whole. Along with my family we have never seen an event in this area cause so much angst and division in a once very proud close knit community which was the envy of many other communities.  – Philip Fels (No 84)

The mental health and well-being of communities is completely ignored in this process and this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in future frameworks and guidelines. This process makes communities feel powerless – no support is given to those with opposing views, it is a process that is heavily favoured towards those pro-nuclear and when the rules keep changing to suit those in favour it really gives people a sense of hopelessness. Chloe Hannan,  Kimba :  (No. 61)

As an outsider, I can’t really gauge this social situation. But, whatever the outcome of the federal government’s plan, Kimba and Hawker communities will never be quite the same again

July 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Brutal heat wave brings wildfires across Arctic circle countries

Wildfires have ignited inside the Arctic Circle  In Sweden and Latvia, and further south in Greece, wildfires are spreading amid a brutal heat wave. By 

July 25, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear plans mean taxpayers take on unlimited costs for any accidents, and for longterm wastes

Politics Home 24th July 2018 , Alan Brown MP: Government mustn’t sign up to ‘crazy proposals’ leaving the
taxpayer facing unlimited risk over nuclear incidents. Shadow SNP
Spokesperson for Energy, Alan Brown MP, writes ahead of his Westminster
Hall debate on ‘Taxpayer liability for safety at the Wylfa Nuclear power
project’. The nuclear industry in the UK, whilst keeping the lights on for
decades has come at a price.

The legacy of contamination and clean-up is
estimated by the National Audit Office to come in at £121bn by completion
in 2020. The Magnox swarf storage silo contains waste sludge which is
corrosive and radioactive and deemed a hazard until 2050 and there are a
number of existing nuclear power stations still to be decommissioned.

Yet we are told by the UK Government that we need more nuclear as a low carbon
means of energy generation. While the process may indeed be low carbon, it
is anything but green given the toxic legacy.

Why do we want to commission more at exorbitant costs?

With regards the cliché “we need the baseload,” as far back as 2015, the chief executive of National Grid
argued that the baseload concept was outdated. The only other reasoning I
can see is the equally outdated concept of the UK being a world leader in a
particular sector.

I have my own bias of course, but I would suggest the UK
may be the world leader in bad nuclear deals. A 35 year agreement for
Hinkley Point C at £92.50/MWh, when offshore wind recently came in at
£57.50 for a 15 year tenure. The Hinkley deal so bad it was criticised by
the NAO as bad value for money.

Part of the problem with Hinkley was the
risk and the financial exposure to private investors. A risk allayed with
the fact the technology for the European Pressure Reactor (EPR) has still
to be proven, with all existing EPR projects under construction facing

As investment in nuclear around the world falls, the UK has ten
stations on the go in terms of planning. Yet, the National Infrastructure
Commission’s latest report states that they believe there should be a
maximum of just one new nuclear contract signed before 2025. This is
because of the reduced costs of renewables and the other emerging
technologies including the massive decrease in cost of batteries.

Their report also illustrates that over the years the cost of nuclear has not
decreased, debunking another UK Government aspiration. This backdrop brings
us directly to Wylfa. Direct information from the Government remains
difficult due to the claims of “commercial confidentiality”. However,
again it is clear that the private developer, Hitachi, has had difficulties
with the costs and risks associated with the project. This has led to the
suggestion of the Government taking a £5bn direct stake in the project. In
principle for key infrastructure projects, a direct Government stake makes
sense as it can borrow cheaper than the private sector.

However, this seems to be part of another wider blank cheque type agreement for a Government
desperate to get the project over the finishing line. When strike rate
figures of £77.50/MWh are quoted for Wyfla, then this stake is one reason
for the reduction. Under the Paris and Brussels conventions, a nuclear
operator has the liability for any nuclear incidents. Even so, there is a
cap ay £1.2bn euros, so way below the true cost of a catastrophic
incident. Hitachi has already had two serious safety breaches in other
nuclear developments, and for one was fined $2.7bn from the US Government.

Apparently learning from this, Hitachi are resisting taking on liability
for nuclear incidents. We do not know exactly what they are proposing, but
it marks a departure from current agreements and the “polluter pays”
principle. It is critical that the UK Government does not sign up to any
such crazy proposals. The cost legacy is bad enough; we still don’t have
a solution to long term disposal of nuclear waste and it is folly to sign a
deal for the taxpayer to take unlimited risk on a nuclear incident. This
could prove to be the worst deal yet unless the Government changes tact

July 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Small Modular Nuclear Reactor dream could be over for Rolls Royce

Nucnet 23rd July 2018 , Rolls-Royce is preparing to shut down its project to develop small modularnuclear reactors if the government does not make a long-term commitment to the technology, including financial support, in the coming months, the Financial Times reported. According to the UK-based newspaper, the UK aero-engine maker has scaled back investment significantly, from several millions to simply paying for “a handful of salaries”. Warren East, Rolls-Royce chief executive, told the Financial Times:

However, David Orr, executive vice-president of Rolls-Royce’s SMR programme, said that without comfort from the government on two fronts the project “will not fly. We are coming to crunch time.”

Rolls-Royce is one of several consortia to have bid in a government-sponsored competition launched in 2015 to find the most viable technology for a new generation of SMRs.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Russia’s new “doomsday” weapon works by dispersing killer nuclear radiation

Russia just showed off a potentially world-ending nuclear ‘doomsday’ torpedo, ALEX LOCKIE, JUL 24, 2018

July 25, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protestors break into US air base housing nuclear weapons

Intruders cut fence and storm US air base housing nuclear weapons

A US military base has been stormed by intruders who cut through a fence over allegations nuclear weapons are housed on the site.  

Peace activists infiltrated the Buechel Air Base in Germany by cutting through the fence before confronted by servicemen.

The group now face criminal charges for illegal entry, property damage and interference with air traffic.

Seven people managed to cut through the perimeter at the US air base in to protest against nuclear weapons.

Germany military police said the activists claimed nuclear weapons are stored at the site.

Activists were stopped by the servicemen patroling the base after entering the security zone and then handed over to the police.

Anti-nuclear protestors had earlier in the day staged an impromptu protest outside the base’s gates.

Police had to be called to break-up the demonstration.

Protest actions have been ramping up over the past weeks – with protestors inflitrating the site last wek and putting up posters.

Germany’s military has been criticised over the incursions and has pledged to ramp up security – including more cameras.

Germany is one of four countries in Europe to host American nukes on their soil under lock and key – just in case of a nuclear exchange.

It is understood to have 20 US nuclear weapons stored which can be bolted to Tornado jets.

Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy also house Washington’s nukes – with around 20, 22 and 90.

US forces have had a presence in Germany since the end of World War 2 as part of their ongoing commitment to NATO.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear reactors limiting production, affected by extreme heat

High temperatures to cut French nuclear production: EDF , Author  Anuradha Ramanathan , Editor Maurice Geller   London — France’s EDF expects nuclear-fired power production at its Bugey and Saint-Alban power stations to be curtailed “due to extreme temperature forecast,” the utility said Tuesday.

  • Output fall likely at Bugey, Saint-Alban plants
  • Production limitations to start from Saturday
  • No details on capacity impact provided

On grid operator RTE’s website, EDF said environmental issues are limiting “some” nuclear production availability in the country, starting Saturday.

EDF did not give details on the exact impact of the output restrictions. The two nuclear power stations have a combined capacity of over 6 GW.

Environmental issues have already resulted in weekend outages at EDF’s Bugey-3 reactor on the river Rhone. Hot weather conditions previously have led to cooling water restrictions due to raised river temperatures.

According to forecaster MeteoFrance, temperatures should remain above seasonal average, or around 2 degrees Celsius above norms over the weekend.

–Anuradha Ramanathan,

–Edited by Maurice Geller,

July 25, 2018 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Catholic action against nuclear weapons

Justice Action Bulletin: Catholic worker among protestors breaching nuclear weapons bunker, Jul 24, 2018, by Maria Benevento  POULSBO, Washington — The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action is planning nearly a week of activities to commemorate the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and call attention to and oppose nuclear weapons today.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Who Wants to Buy a Pair of Half-Built Nuclear Reactors? Nobody, By

Nobody seems keen to buy the partially built V.C. Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina, so now the state’s biggest power provider is trying to sell off the equipment.

“No other utilities have shown interest in purchasing part or all of the Summer construction project,” Jim Brogdon, interim chief executive officer of Santee Cooper, said in an emailed statement Monday. The board declared the equipment as “surplus property” and authorized the state-owned utility to pursue a sale.

Santee Cooper and its partner Scana Corp. pulled the plugon the project about a year ago after costs ballooned to more than $20 billion and put the two half-done reactors on the block.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Acidification could drastically change marine ecosystems

Ocean Acidification Could Amplify Climate Disruption  Dahr Jamail, Truthout, July 23, 2018 

July 25, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

It’s a worry that USA’s Dept of Energy aims for cheaper commercial treatment of Hanford nuclear waste

Feds push for low-cost commercial treatment of Hanford waste. State has concerns, BY ANNETTE CARY,, RICHLAND, WA

The Department of Energy is making plans to encase 2,000 gallons of waste now held in Hanford’s underground tanks in concrete-like grout, part of a continuing demonstration project.

DOE recently released a fact sheet that indicated its interest in continuing the demonstration project and listing what it sees as the benefits of the project, called the test bed initiative.

The project is a departure from plans to turn radioactive and hazardous chemical waste into a stable glass form at the $17 billion vitrification plant under construction at the nuclear reservation.

But DOE still needs to get other parties on board.

The Washington Department of Ecology, a Hanford regulator, has sent DOE a list of questions about the project. The state would need to issue permits and approvals for some aspects of the demonstration project.

“Current core work at the Hanford Site is already being deferred and delayed due to a lack of funds,” said Maia Bellon, Ecology director, in the letter to DOE. “We are concerned about (Department of) Energy pursuing a new initiative that could divert even more funding away from existing priorities that are tied to consent decree deadlines.”

The project also faces a congressional hurdle.

Language included in the Senate’s fiscal 2019 Hanford budget recommends no money be spent on the test bed initiative.

The Senate budget language must be reconciled with the House budget language for the same year, which was bullish on the project. It directed $15 million be spent on the next phase of the demonstration.

The first phase of the demonstration project, grouting three gallons of the 56 million gallons of waste held in Hanford’s underground tanks, was successfully completed in December.

………The state of Washington and the Hanford Advisory Board have advocated for more double-shell tanks to be built to provide more space for waste to be emptied from single-shell tanks. DOE has been opposed to building more storage tanks, saying it would rather spend money on treating waste………

July 25, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK government has not come clean on its plans for nuclear safeguards post Brexit

David Lowry’s Blog 23rd July 2018 ‘Mark-your-own-homework’ nuclear “safeguards” proposed by UK Government as
part of Brexit plans. A week ago the Government published a near 100-page
report titled ‘The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the
European Union’, which has provoked much public and political discussion.

But one important issue not examined in the media was the section on the
future of the UK commercial nuclear sector and any future relationship with
the EU nuclear agency, Euratom. (The section on Euratom is reproduced

July 25, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

USA Congress abandons plan to loosen Cabinet control over nuclear security

Congress drops bid to loosen supervision of nuclear agency  abc   By MATTHEW DALY, ASSOCIATED PRESS, WASHINGTON — Jul 23, 2018, 

Congress is abandoning an effort to loosen Cabinet control over an agency responsible for securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

A provision in a defense policy bill would have removed the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department, where it’s been housed since its creation in 2000.

The provision was dropped as House and Senate lawmakers negotiated a compromise defense bill, aides said Monday. The defense bill could come up for a vote in the House this week.

The Trump administration and senior lawmakers from both parties opposed the nuclear provision, but it was included in a defense bill passed by the Senate in June.

The measure would have empowered the NNSA to act nearly on its own, freed from what a report by the Senate Armed Services Committee calls a “flawed DOE organizational process” that has led to “weak accountability, … insufficient program and budget expertise and poor contract management.”

That report cites a series of delays and cost overruns at the agency, including a contentious project to reprocess weapons-grade plutonium and uranium into fuel for commercial reactors at a site in South Carolina.

The White House and Energy Secretary Rick Perry oppose the reorganization, saying it would usurp Perry’s authority to set policy in crucial areas. The bill also would make the nuclear agency’s general counsel independent of the Energy Department’s legal division……….

Criticism of the nuclear agency isn’t new.

A congressional commission led by a former Army undersecretary and retired Navy admiral concluded in 2014 that it had failed in its mission and relied too heavily on private contractors that had turned it into a massive jobs program with duplicative functions and a “dysfunctional management and operations relationship.”

The commission, however, did support the current oversight arrangement.

Perry told Congress this year that there have been “historically questionable expenditures of dollars” by the NNSA, including at the South Carolina nuclear project, but he said officials were working to ensure taxpayers “are getting a good return on our investment.”

Perry has moved to cancel the South Carolina project, known as the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, but it remains open — at a cost of $1.2 million a day — amid a legal challenge by the state. The project’s cost has ballooned from $1.4 billion in 2004 to more than $17 billion, and completion is decades away.


July 25, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment