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Fukushima Prefecture has over 9 million bags of nuclear waste

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

USA’s Patriot Act destroys civil liberties

“It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”– Thomas Paine

While Congress subjects the nation to its impeachment-flavored brand of bread-and-circus politics, our civil liberties continue to die a slow, painful death by a thousand cuts.

Case in point: while Americans have been fixated on the carefully orchestrated impeachment drama that continues to monopolize headlines, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law legislation extending three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which had been set to expire on December 15, 2019.

Once again, to no one’s surprise, the bureaucrats on both sides of the aisle—Democrats and Republicans alike—prioritized political grandstanding over principle and their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

As Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) predicted:

Today, while everyone is distracted by the impeachment drama, Congress will vote to extend warrantless data collection provisions of the #PatriotAct, by hiding this language on page 25 of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that temporarily funds the government. To sneak this through, Congress will first vote to suspend the rule which otherwise gives us (and the people) 72 hours to consider a bill. The scam here is that Democrats are alleging abuse of Presidential power, while simultaneously reauthorizing warrantless power to spy on citizens that no President should have… in a bill that continues to fund EVERYTHING the President does… and waiving their own rules to do it. I predict Democrats will vote on a party line to suspend the 72 hour rule. But after the rule is suspended, I suspect many Republicans will join most Democrats to pass the CR with the Patriot Act extension embedded in it.

Massie was right: Republicans and Democrats have no problem joining forces in order to maintain their joint stranglehold on power. Continue reading

December 12, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

UK Conservatives get big donations from fossil fuel and weapons companiess

Unearthed 11th Dec 2019, The Conservative election campaign has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from wealthy investors in the global fossil fuels industry, according to a new analysis by Unearthed. Some of the companies and projects benefiting from donors’ investments are opening up new fossil fuel reserves – even as the world battles climate change and the UK
prepares to host a crunch summit next year.

One of the Tory’s major donors also runs a hedge fund that holds significant investments in a major weapons manufacturer and a mining giant. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have taken a significant donation from a subsidiary of a hedge fund that has a major stake in the energy firm being blamed for California’s deadly wildfires and another stake in a French oil services firm.

The analysis looked at donations to political parties over £50,000 during the first three weeks of the election campaign and the financial holdings of
investment companies, as collected and presented by Bloomberg.

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/12/11/donations-election-campaign-investments-fossil-fuels/

December 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Letter of Thanks to Operators of Cracked Nuclear Reactors in Scotland —

Below is a letter just sent from a supporter of Radiation Free Lakeland to EDF the operators of Hunterston B. Many thanks to David Autumns for his scrutiny on this – the nuclear industry, the most dangerous industry humans have ever engaged in, needs holding to account more than ever. Dear EDF Thank you for […]

via Letter of Thanks to Operators of Cracked Nuclear Reactors in Scotland —

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 11 Energy News — geoharvey

COP25: ¶ “Major emitters accused of blocking progress at UN talks” • Delegates from developing countries have reacted angrily to what they see as attempts to block progress at the COP25 meeting in Madrid. One negotiator told the BBC that the talks had failed to find agreement on a range of issues because of the […]

via December 11 Energy News — geoharvey

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Los Alamos National Laboratory lost 250 barrels of nuke waste

State report: LANL lost track of 250 barrels of nuke waste, Santa Fe New Mexican, By Scott Wyland sfnewmexican.com, Dec 9, 2019 

The contractor that’s been in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s operations for the past year lost track of 250 barrels of waste, while the company heading the legacy cleanup mislabeled and improperly stored waste containers and took months to remedy some infractions, according to the state’s yearly report on hazardous waste permit violations.

Triad National Security LLC, a consortium of nonprofits that runs the lab’s daily operations, had 19 violations of its permit from the New Mexico Environment Department. Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos, also known as N3B, which is managing a 10-year cleanup of waste generated at the lab, was cited 29 times.

Triad’s most notable violation was shipping 250 barrels of mostly mixed waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad without tracking them. Mixed waste contains low-level radioactive waste and other hazardous materials. Inspectors found records still listed the waste at the national lab.  …..

A disastrous “kitty litter” incident happened under Los Alamos National Security, in which a waste barrel was packaged in error with a volatile blend of organic cat litter and nitrate salts, causing the container to burst and leak radiation at the Southern New Mexico storage site. WIPP closed for almost three years, and the cleanup cost about $2 billion.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy that oversees the lab, declined to renew LANS’ contract in 2015. Triad took over operations in November 2018. Among Triad’s duties is to dispose of waste at the lab generated from 1999 to the present.

N3B won a $1.4 billion contract in December 2017 to clean up waste produced at the lab before 1999.

The company was cited for a slew of mislabeled waste containers during the year. Inspectors also found some waste barrels, which are stored under tent-like domes, coated with snow or rainwater.

N3B also failed to remedy within 24 hours the flaws that inspectors found in equipment or structures that could present an environmental or human-health hazard, the report said. Inspectors discovered N3B took as long as 18 months to fix cracks in concrete and asphalt surfaces…….. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/state-report-lanl-lost-track-of-barrels-of-nuke-waste/article_e9de8348-17cc-11ea-bae3-c71a1aadd222.html

December 12, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Devastating array of craters on the ocean floor, from nuclear tests

 

Enormous Craters Blasted in Seafloor by Nuclear Bombs Mapped for the First Time, Live Science, By Mindy Weisberger – Senior Writer 11 Dec FRANCISCO — Today, all seems quiet in the remote Bikini Atoll, a chain of coral reef islands in the central Pacific. But more than 70 years ago, this region’s seafloor was rocked by powerful atomic bombs detonated by the U.S. Army.

For the first time, scientists have released remarkably detailed maps of this pockmarked seabed, revealing two truly massive craters. This new map shows that the seabed is still scarred by the 22 bombs detonated at Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958.

The map was presented yesterday (Dec. 9) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

During the 1946 nuclear weapons test known as “Operation Crossroads,” the U.S. wanted to test the impact of nuclear bombs on warships. To that end, the Army assembled more than 240 ships — some of which were German and Japanese — that held different amounts of fuel and munitions, then deployed two nuclear weapons to destroy them, researcher Arthur Trembanis, an associate professor with the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of Delaware, said in the presentation.

At the time of the tests, Trembanis said, comedian Bob Hope joked grimly:

“As soon as the war ended, we found the one spot on Earth that had been untouched by war and blew it to hell.”……….

But as powerful as the early atomic tests were, they were dwarfed by the later blasts caused by hydrogen and fusion bomb tests in the 1950s. The researchers investigated a crater that was 184 feet (56 m) deep and had an unusual oblong shape; they determined that it was a composite crater from multiple blasts: “Castle Bravo,” a 15-megaton bomb that was the largest ever detonated by the U.S., and “Castle Romeo,” the first deployed thermonuclear bomb.

These tests left behind a uniquely devastating array of shipwrecks and craters, and the first detailed map of their aftermath will help scientists to tell this untold story and connect to “a moment at the dawn of the nuclear age,” Trembanis said. “Our new findings provide insights into previously unknown conditions at Bikini and allow us to reflect on the lasting consequences from these and other tests.” https://www.livescience.com/mapping-reveals-bikini-atoll-nuclear-craters.html

December 12, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dangers of nuclear crises in the Arctic: countries prepare for emergencies.

Arctic Council creates new expert group on nuclear emergencies  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2019/12/arctic-council-creates-new-expert-group-nuclear-emergencies  

The Arctic countries take major steps to prepare strategies and share information to improve preparedness in case of radiological and nuclear incidents. By Thomas Nilsen, December 11, 2019  

Two fatal accidents during the summer of 2019 was a wake-up call for radiation emergency authorities monitoring northern waters.

On July 1st, the nuclear-powered special purpose submarine Losharik catches fire when on mission outside the Kola Peninsula. Six weeks later, a nuclear-powered cruise missile explodes while being recovered from the seabed outside Nenoksa naval weapons testing site in the White Sea.

While Russia has been very reluctant to share information about what happened at the two accidents, the country is a team-player when the Arctic Council now has agreed to establish a dedicated expert group on radiation and nuclear incidents.

The formal decision was taken at the meeting of the Arctic Council’s Working Group on Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) in Reykyavik on December 4th.

All eight Arctic states will appoint experts and observer states are encouraged to participate. To strengthen the group’s role, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is invited to join the meetings.

Inside the Arctic Circle, the number of nuclear-powered vessels has increased sharply over the last decade.

Tensions between Russia and NATO have led to more sailings with reactor-powered submarines, especially in the Norwegian, Barents- and White Seas, but also under the ice in the high Arctic. Northern Norway saw a record number of 12 visiting NATO nuclear-powered submarines in 2018. And while the Arctic Council members met in Reykjavik last week, Russia’s Northern Fleet still had a number of attack submarines sailing the Norwegian Sea. So did at least one American nuclear-powered submarine as reported by the Barents Observer.

Secondly, increased shipping and industrial activities along Russia’s Northern Sea Route are supported by more and larger nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Unfortunate, the history of operating reactors and deploying nuclear weapons to the Arctic has a bad record with radioactivity released to the environment and exposure to people; nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya, the crash of a U.S. bomber with plutonium warheads at Thule airbase on Greenland, sinking submarines like the Komsomolets, Kursk and K-259. Several other submarines have suffered serious reactor accidents and in the Kara Sea, thousands of containers wit radioactive waste is dumped together with 16 reactors.

The Arctic Council, though, can not engage in anything related to military activities.

The list of potential incidents with possible releases of radioactivity exposing people living or working in the Arctic is long. How to share knowledge and information about each countries’ preparedness capacities will certainly be on the agenda when the new expert group’s first formal meeting, likely to take place next spring on the Faroe Islands.

Chair of the expert group in the starting period, Øyvind Aas-Hansen with the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, tells the Barents Observer that one interesting topic that might be brought to table is defining the risk potential for emergencies due to nuclear and radiological material and activities that pose a threat in the Arctic.

«We aim at protecting Arctic inhabitants and their livelihoods and the Arctic environment,» Øyvind Aas-Hansen explains.

He said it is needed to «identify minimal preparedness and response arrangements and capabilities applicable to the Arctic region.»

Aas-Hansen said it could be special needs for coordinating emergency prevention and response that are «specific to the Arctic region.»

Both the United States and Russia have serious experiences from dealing with nuclear accidents in cold climate, like the US clean-up work after the Thule accident in 1968 and Soviet clean-up work after the leakages from Building No. 5 in Andreeva Bay in the early 1980s.

More reactors at sea

The Barents Observer has recently published an overview (pdf) listing the increasing number of reactors in the Russian Arctic. The paper is part of Barents Observer’s analytical popular science studies on developments in the Euro-Arctic Region.

According to the list there are 39 nuclear-powered vessels or installations in the Russian Arctic today with a total of 62 reactors. This includes 31 submarines, one surface warship, five icebreakers, two onshore and one floating nuclear power plants.

Looking 15 years ahead, the number of ships, including submarines, and installations powered by reactors is estimated to increase to 74 with a total of 94 reactors, maybe as many as 114. Additional to new icebreakers and submarines already under construction, Russia is brushing dust of older Soviet ideas of utilizing nuclear-power for different kind of Arctic shelf industrial developments, like oil- and gas exploration, mining and research. “By 2035, the Russian Arctic will be the most nuclearized waters on the planet,” the paper reads.

Also, existing icebreakers and submarines get life-time prolongation. The average age of the Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered submarines has never been older than today. Several of the submarines built in the 1980s will continue to sail the Barents Sea and under the Arctic ice-cap until the late 2020s.

In August, Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, “Akademik Lomonosov”, will be towed from Murmansk to Pevek, a port-town on the northeast coast of Siberia.

Other plans to use nuclear reactors in the Russian Arctic in the years to come include many first-of-a-kind technologies like sea-floor power reactors for gas exploration, civilian submarines for seismic surveys and cargo transportation, small-power reactors on ice-strengthen platforms.

In the military sphere, the Arctic could be used as testing sites for both Russia’s new nuclear-powered cruise-missile and nuclear-powered underwater weapons drone. Both weapons were displayed by President Vladimir Putin when he bragged about new nuclear weapons systems in his annual speech to the Federation Council last year.

An Arctic Council summary report, presented to the Ministerial Meeting in Rovaniemi in May as a deliverable by the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group highlight the risks: “The presence of radiological and nuclear material in the Arctic poses a risk for serious incidents or accidents that may affect Arctic inhabitants and their communities, the Arctic environment, and Arctic industries, including traditional livelihoods such as fisheries and local food sources.”

For Norway, Russia and Iceland, a nuclear accident in the Barents Sea could be disastrous for sales of seafood. The three countries export of cod and other spices is worth billions of Euros annually.

 

December 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, safety | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress members call on Trudeau to stop nuclear waste dumping near Great Lakes

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Canada, environment, opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | 4 Comments

2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture to be shut down

Nuclear watchdog OKs decommissioning plan for two reactors at Kepco’s Oi plant in Fukui   https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/11/national/nuclear-watchdog-oks-decommissioning-kepco-fukui/#.XfFJqegzbIUKYODO   The nation’s nuclear watchdog approved a plan Wednesday to decommission two reactors in Fukui Prefecture, a move their operator decided to take rather than shoulder the high cost of implementing safety upgrades.

Kansai Electric Power Co. will spend ¥118.7 billion to dismantle the Nos. 1 and 2 units at the Oi nuclear power plant, with work expected to wrap up in the fiscal year ending March 2049.

The units, which each have an output capacity of more than 1 million kilowatts, are the most powerful reactors to be approved for decommissioning by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

Following the disaster, the government placed a 40-year limit on the lifespan of reactors in the country, with a possible 20-year extension if strict safety standards are met.

As both units came online in 1979 and were approaching the 40-year limit, Kansai Electric had a choice of applying for the extension or scrapping them.

In December 2017, the utility announced it would scrap the aging reactors, citing the high cost of implementing additional safety measures. Kansai Electric submitted the decommissioning plan to the authority in November 2018.

The plant’s Nos. 3 and 4 units came online in 1991 and 1993, respectively, and are currently active.

Around 23,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste will be remain following the dismantling process, according to the plan, along with another 13,200 tons of nonradioactive waste.

The plan does not state where the waste will be stored.

December 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

DoD To Report on Nuclear Programs of US, Russia, China

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Flammable hazard stalls LANL’s plutonium operations, waste shipments

Flammable hazard stalls LANL’s plutonium operations, waste shipments, Sante Fe New Mexican , By Scott Wyland , swyland@sfnewmexican.com

    • Dec 9, 2019  Concerns that a calcium residue might be flammable prompted officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory to curtail plutonium operations and suspend waste shipments in early November, according to a federal report.

The lab suspended most waste generation and certification at its plutonium facility and halted all waste shipments after officials questioned the accuracy of documentation, particularly on how much calcium-and-salt residue remained in transuranic waste after processing, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent oversight panel, said in a Nov. 15 report that was publicly released Friday.

Calcium is used to help reduce oxidation in plutonium. Traces of the substance typically linger after processing, and if they are too high, they can ignite when exposed to open air, the report says…… https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/flammable-hazard-stalls-lanl-s-plutonium-operations-waste-shipments/article_dad5a96c-186c-11ea-ac96-a345865823f1.html

December 12, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment