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California fights NASA over toxic Santa Susana nuclear site

California, NASA Clash Over Cleanup at Nuclear, Rocket Site,   https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/environment-and-energy/california-nasa-clash-over-cleanup-at-nuclear-rocket-site

  • California says the space agency is not adhering to past agreements
  • NASA needs to redraft a cleanup plan, toxics agency says

California’s toxics agency is opposing a revised NASA cleanup plan to remove contamination at a former rocket and energy research site where a partial meltdown happened decades ago, calling the federal agency’s proposal irregular, infeasible, and legally deficient.

It’s the latest fight in a long tussle over the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a 2,850-acre site in Simi Valley near Los Angeles, where an estimated 17,000 rockets engine tests occurred. The lab, which operated from 1948 to 2006, was also home to 10 nuclear reactors where the Energy Department and what is now the Boeing Co. did energy research.

The site experienced a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959, but evidence wasn’t revealed until 20 years later. Cleanup work has been ongoing since the 1960s.

Cesium-137

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration agreed to a consent order in 2010 with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control requiring soil remediation of the site, which was contaminated with 16 radiologicals like cesium-137, and 116 chemicals.

A final environmental review was completed in 2014, but the space agency issued a separate draft cleanup plan in October based on new data showing more contamination.

The draft plan provides options for how much soil would be excavated. One option, the one that reflects the agreement in original administrative order on consent with the state, calls for excavating 870,000 cubic yards, an increase from the 500,000 cubic yards estimated in the 2014 plan to meet the standard agreed upon with the state. The other options call for removing lesser amounts, down to 176,500 cubic yards. The plan also considers a no-action alternative.

NASA said in the draft supplemental environmental impact statement that it hasn’t chosen a preferred option yet.

In a letter sent to NASA Jan. 8, the Department of Toxic Substances Control asked the space agency to revise its cleanup plans to reflect the original administrative order on consent, known as an AOC.

State Agency Rejects Other Options

“NASA must also be aware that DTSC is not open to considering NASA cleanup alternatives which are non-compliant with the AOC,” the letter said. “DTSC also will not renegotiate the binding AOC soil cleanup commitments to accommodate challenges NASA claims will be posed by the [Santa Susana Field Laboratory] cleanup implementation.”

The letter criticized some of NASA’s options as irregular because they called for decreased cleanup when contamination had ncreased. It called excavating less contaminated soil than called for in the 2010 agreement infeasible.

“NASA has failed to provide a rational explanation or data to support the [DSEIS] irregularities and unexplained reversal,” DTSC wrote, calling the plan “legally deficient.”

In its draft cleanup plan, NASA said it would be hard to find adequate backfill to support vegetation in areas that were excavated.

A NASA spokeswoman said Jan. 14 that the agency was reviewing comments made about the draft plan and valued input from all stakeholders.

“NASA is eager to work with DTSC and the community to implement a cleanup that is based in science, technically achievable, and is protective of the surrounding community and the natural environment,” Jennifer Stanfield wrote in an email.

NASA didn’t immediately respond to a question about other cleanup sites where revisions to agreements were being sought. DTSC couldn’t immediately say if the space agency had sought changes at other state cleanup sites.

Groups Back Cleanup Agreement

Community, environmental, and justice groups say the 2010 plan reached with the state is adequate and that NASA has no authority to decide how much contamination it must remove.

New estimates pointing to more contamination than previously thought also mean NASA should redouble cleanup efforts, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Committee to Bridge the Gap said in a comment letter to NASA about its draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS).

“The decision by the Trump Administration NASA to issue this DSEIS sets the stage for abandoning huge amounts of chemically hazardous material and would consign this important land in Southern California, set in the midst of millions of California residents, to never be cleaned up,” the groups wrote.

The new plan wasn’t a surprise. A NASA inspector general report issued in March said the cleanup would take too long and would be too costly and stringent. The Department of Energy is also seeking to reduce its cleanup obligations.

For its part, the toxics agency plans to issue a final environmental impact report this summer that “fully complies with and implements” the 2010 agreement, DTSC spokesman Russ Edmondson said in an email.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily C. Dooley at edooley@bloombergenvironment.com, To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Sylvia Carignan at scarignan@bloombergenvironment.com; Renee Schoof at rschoof@bloombergenvironment.com

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January 18, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Legal action against Orano’s lying advertising about nuclear power solving climate change

 

Reporterre 16th Jan 2020  The Sortir du nuclear network is filing a complaint against an Orano advertising campaign, which presents nuclear energy as a solution against climate change. A false statement intended to boost investments in a declining sector, denounces the association.

https://reporterre.net/Le-nucleaire-bon-pour-le-climat-Orano-poursuivi-pour-publicite-mensongere

January 18, 2020 Posted by | France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

No chance of re-using spent mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel, its storage highly dangerous

 

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics, safety, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons are an existential threat and intertwined with the climate threat

Guardian 16th Jan 2020

January 18, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japanese High Court rules against nuclear reactor restart

Japan court halts nuclear reactor restart citing volcano, earthquake risks, Channel News Asia. 17 Jan 2020

TOKYO: A Japanese nuclear reactor near a fault line must remain shut because of the risk of its being struck by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, a high court ordered on Friday (Jan 17).

All nuclear power stations were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident following a catastrophic tsunami, and many remain closed.

The Japanese public has turned against atomic power, despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisting the nation needs nuclear plants to power the world’s third-largest economy, and the court decision was a boost for the country’s anti-nuclear movement.

The move by the Hiroshima High Court reversed a lower court decision in March that would have allowed the reactor at the Ikata nuclear plant in western Japan to resume operations.

The plant’s operator, Shikoku Electric Power, wanted to resume work at the reactor, which had been halted for routine inspections, and said it will appeal the high court’s ruling.

The case was originally lodged by residents of a neighbouring region who complained the utility failed to properly evaluate the risks posed by a local volcano and seismic faultlines……… https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/japan-court-halts-ikata-nuclear-reactor-restart-volcano-quake-12274482

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

Japanese Only Operational Nuclear Reactor Shut

Japanese Only Operational Nuclear Reactor Shut, Increasing Fuel Costs,  By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com  A Japanese high court has ordered local utility Shikoku Electric Power Company to continue idling its only operational nuclear reactor until the company provides a satisfactory proof that the reactor is safe.The extended shutdown of the nuclear reactor would lead to higher fuel costs for the Japanese utility.

Shikoku Electric Power’s only operational reactor at the Ikata nuclear plant in western Japan was taken offline at the end of December for regular maintenance. The utility planned to restart the reactor within two months, but the Hiroshima High Court has just ruled that the utility had not provided sufficient guarantees that the reactor would be safe in case of earthquakes or volcano eruptions……..

Public opposition to nuclear energy is creating uncertainty about how much nuclear generation capacity Japan will restore.

Japan spent an additional annual average of around US$30 billion for fossil fuel imports in the three years after the Fukushima accident, according to EIA estimates.

The country is also looking at alternative energy sources, including hydrogen, in order to reduce its fossil fuels import bill as the future of many of its nuclear reactors is still uncertain.  https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Japanese-Only-Operational-Nuclear-Reactor-Shut-Increasing-Fuel-Costs.html

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors for the gulf region could be an even worse threat than global heating

January 18, 2020 Posted by | safety, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL BONHOEFFER SOCIETY CALLS FOR ‘ENDING DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY’ IN ‘STATEMENT OF CONCERN’ — limitless life

INTERNATIONAL BONHOEFFER SOCIETY CALLS FOR ‘ENDING DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY’ IN ‘STATEMENT OF CONCERN’ BY JIM WALLIS JAN 16, 2020 SHARE Two years ago, Sojourners magazine released our February 2018 cover story, asking the question, “Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?” This week, the board of directors of the International Bonhoeffer Society — an organization dedicated to research and […]

via INTERNATIONAL BONHOEFFER SOCIETY CALLS FOR ‘ENDING DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY’ IN ‘STATEMENT OF CONCERN’ — limitless life

January 18, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Europe’s Just Transition Mechanism excludes nuclear from the European Green Deal

January 16, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

The highly controversial question of how to fund UK’s nuclear build

January 16, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The injustice of the prosecution of Julian Assange

The international witch-hunt of Julian Assange, World Socialist Website,  Eric London and Thomas Scripps, 14 January 2020  The prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court is a travesty of justice that will forever stain the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Ecuador, as well as all the individuals involved.Appearing alongside Assange in court Monday morning, Assange’s attorneys revealed that they had been given only two hours to meet with their client at Belmarsh prison to review what lawyer Gareth Peirce called “volumes” worth of evidence.

Expressing the practiced cynicism of British class justice, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said this was “not an unreasonable position,” citing a lack of space in the prison interview room. With the bang of her gavel, Baraitser sent Assange back to his dungeon at Belmarsh, where he awaits his February extradition hearing under conditions UN Rapporteur Nils Meltzer has called “torture.”

At this stage in the near decade-long international witch-hunt of Assange, nobody should be surprised by such shameless lawlessness on the part of the world’s most powerful governments. Ever since Swedish, British and American prosecutors conspired in 2010 to issue a warrant for Assange’s arrest in connection with an investigation into bogus sexual misconduct allegations, these “advanced democracies” have trampled on their own laws and traditions, subjecting the journalist to a pseudo-legal process that would have been deemed unfair even by the standards of the Middle Ages.

Monday’s mockery of justice is an escalation of the attack on Assange’s right to counsel. It takes place after the Spanish newspaper El País published a detailed account of how a security firm, UC Global, secretly spied on Assange’s privileged discussions with his lawyers and fed the illegally obtained surveillance to the CIA. UC Global also shared footage from cameras it installed throughout the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange was forced to seek refuge from 2012 to 2019 to avoid US extradition. El País’ reporting showed that UC Global recorded every word Assange spoke and live-streamed these conversations to the CIA.

o 2019 to avoid US extradition. El País’ reporting showed that UC Global recorded every word Assange spoke and live-streamed these conversations to the CIA.

Despite the support of a criminally compliant media, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the US and British governments to downplay the profoundly anti-democratic precedents they intend to set through the Assange prosecution.

In an opinion article published Monday in the Hill, titled “Will alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free?” American attorney James Goodale wrote a scathing attack on the CIA’s spying on Assange’s privileged attorney-client communications.

Goodale is among the most prominent and well respected attorneys in the US, best known for representing the New York Times when the newspaper was sued by the Nixon administration for publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Pentagon Papers were leaked by RAND Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who has also called for the release of Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

The Pentagon Papers revealed how the US government for years lied to the public in expanding the Vietnam War, which led to the deaths of 55,000 US soldiers and 3 million Vietnamese people. Their publication triggered an explosion of public anger and fueled anti-war protests.

Goodale wrote: “Can anything be more offensive to a ‘sense of justice’ than an unlimited surveillance, particularly of lawyer-client conversations, livestreamed to the opposing party in a criminal case? The alleged streaming unmasked the strategy of Assange’s lawyers, giving the government an advantage that is impossible to remove. Short of dismissing Assange’s indictment with prejudice, the government will always have an advantage that can never be matched by the defense.”

Goodale explained that “the Daniel Ellsberg case may be instructive.”

Ellsberg, like Assange, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaking documents to the Times and the Washington Post. During the trial, Nixon’s “plumbers” broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist and wiretapped his phone. In that case, Judge William Matthew Byrne ruled that the surveillance had “incurably infected the prosecution” and dismissed the charges, setting Ellsberg free.

Goodale wrote that “for similar reasons, the case against Assange should be dismissed.”……https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/14/pers-j14.html

January 16, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal | Leave a comment

Climate change increases the risk of wildfires confirms new review

Climate change increases the risk of wildfires confirms new review https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200114074046.htm, January 14, 2020, Source: University of East Anglia

Summary:
Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, increasing their likelihood — according to a review of research on global climate change and wildfire risk.

In light of the Australian fires, scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Met Office Hadley Centre, University of Exeter and Imperial College London have conducted a Rapid Response Review of 57 peer-reviewed papers published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in 2013.

All the studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather — periods with a high fire risk due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds — though some note anomalies in a few regions.

Rising global temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and associated droughts in some regions increase the likelihood of wildfires by stimulating hot and dry conditions, promoting fire weather, which can be used as an overall measure of the impact of climate change on the risk of fires occurring Observational data shows that fire weather seasons have lengthened across approximately 25 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20 per cent increase in global mean length of the fire weather season.

The literature review was carried out using the new ScienceBrief.org online platform, set up by UEA and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. ScienceBrief is written by scientists and aims to share scientific insights with the world and keep up with science, by making sense of peer-reviewed publications in a rapid and transparent way.

Dr Matthew Jones, Senior Research Associate at UEA’s Tyndall Centre and lead author of the review, said: “Overall, the 57 papers reviewed clearly show human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire.

“This has been seen in many regions, including the western US and Canada, southern Europe, Scandinavia and Amazonia. Human-induced warming is also increasing fire risks in other regions, including Siberia and Australia.

“However, there is also evidence that humans have significant potential to control how this fire risk translates into fire activity, in particular through land management decisions and ignition sources.”

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression. In contrast, burned area has increased in closed-canopy forests, likely in response to the dual pressures of climate change and forest degradation.

Co-author Professor Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter, said: “Fire weather does occur naturally but is becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change. Limiting global warming to well below 2?C would help avoid further increases in the risk of extreme fire weather.”

Professor Iain Colin Prentice, Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, Imperial College London, added: “Wildfires can’t be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people. Land planning should take the increasing risk in fire weather into account.”

Further information: https://sciencebrief.org/topics/climate-change-science/wildfires

January 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Over 32,000 potassium iodide pills ordered in 2 days after Pickering nuclear power plant alert error  

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Canada, incidents | Leave a comment

The world is planning next step for renewables, while Australia looks backwards — RenewEconomy

It is an avoidable tragedy that the only presence Australia had at the world congress on renewables was as a harbinger of the planet’s worst case scenarios. The post The world is planning next step for renewables, while Australia looks backwards appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via The world is planning next step for renewables, while Australia looks backwards — RenewEconomy

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

European Parliament endorses $1.6 trillion investment plan for Green New Deal — RenewEconomy

EU parliament endorses €1 trillion investment plan to accelerate efforts to decarbonise economy and support a just transition to a zero carbon economy. The post European Parliament endorses $1.6 trillion investment plan for Green New Deal appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via European Parliament endorses $1.6 trillion investment plan for Green New Deal — RenewEconomy

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment