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What are the Prospects For Peace: an Interview with Noam Chomsky — Rise Up Times

“According to the Constitution, Article I, Congress has the sole right to declare war. But that provision has long been dispatched to the ashcan, along with other inconvenient provisions of the document that we are taught to revere.”

What are the Prospects For Peace: an Interview with Noam Chomsky — Rise Up Times


August 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Westinghouse Electric Co has paid $21bn and will co-operate with federal investigators over South Carolina nuclear fraud.

Failed nuclear contractor signs $21M deal, working with feds,

The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco
, By MEG KINNARD Associated Press31 August 2021  COLUMBIA, S.C.

The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco.

Under an agreement announced Monday by Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart, Westinghouse Electric Co. will contribute $5 million to a program intended to assist low-income ratepayers affected by the project’s failure. Another payment of $16.25 million will be due before July 1, 2022.

The company will also be required to cooperate with federal investigators still probing the company’s role in the 2017 debacle, which cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless.

Westinghouse was the lead contractor on the construction of two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Columbia. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. parent company SCANA Corp. and state-owned utility company Santee Cooper spent nearly $10 billion on the project before halting construction in 2017 following Westinghouse’s bankruptcy.

The collapse of the V.C. Summer project spawned multiple lawsuits, some by ratepayers who said company executives knew the project was doomed and misled consumers and regulators as they petitioned for a series of rate hikes. Three top-level executives have already pleaded guilty in the multi-year federal fraud investigation. A fourth has been charged and is expected in federal court Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a federal judge signed off on a plan to disperse $192 million among former SCANA shareholders, a settlement that attorneys for the investors said was the largest securities class action recovery obtained in South Carolina when a judge approved it last year.

On Monday, DeHart said Westinghouse has given federal investigators more than three million pages of documents, data and correspondences and made employee witnesses available for interviews. Through its former parent company Toshiba, Westinghouse has also made more than $2 billion in settlement payments related to the project.

Since the failure, Westinghouse has removed, reassigned or retrained its senior management, elected a new board and implemented new financial controls, according to DeHart.

“Our office continues to seek justice for the victims of the V.C. Summer Project failure,” DeHart said in a news release. “Westinghouse’s cooperation is vital to our ongoing efforts to hold accountable the individuals most responsible for this debacle.” 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. says North Korea nuclear report shows “urgent need for dialogue” -official

U.S. says North Korea nuclear report shows “urgent need for dialogue” -official WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Nick Macfie, 31 Aug 21, – A U.N. watchdog report that North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor reflects an urgent need for dialogue and the United States is seeking to address the issue with Pyongyang, a senior administration official said on Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report dated Friday that the signs of operation at the 5-megawatt (MW) reactor, which is seen as capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, were the first to be spotted since late 2018. 

“This report underscores the urgent need for dialogue and diplomacy so we can achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the senior administration official said on customary condition of anonymity.

“We continue to seek dialogue with the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) so we can address this reported activity and the full range of issues related to denuclearization.”……….

Biden’s administration has said it will explore diplomacy to achieve North Korean denuclearization, but shown no willingness to ease sanctions.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 1 Comment

As South Africa restarts nuclear plan, critics and advocates clash over its clean energy credentials

As SA restarts nuclear plan, critics and advocates clash over its clean energy credentials, Fin 24, Jan Cronje 30 August 21,  As South Africa’s revived nuclear power plan moves forward, questions over the green credentials of atomic power have added another dimension to an already fraught debate between critics and proponents of nuclear energy.

The debate mirrors one taking place internationally about where, if at all, nuclear power should fit into the battle against climate change…… (Subscribers only)

August 31, 2021 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Solar keeps on getting better: Cheaper, more efficient and bigger returns on energy

Solar keeps on getting better: Cheaper, more efficient and bigger returns on energy

Fereidoon SioshansiThe energy payback time for solar PV can be less than a year, meaning it will produce 20 times the energy needed to produce it over a 20 year lifespan.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 30 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How To Save $40,000 Over Next 10 Years By Selling Your Car Now!” • I want to say that this won’t work for everyone, but I hope thousands of you will be able to take the ideas in this article and sell a car or truck now, while the used car market is […]

August 30 Energy News — geoharvey

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hurricane shuts down Louisiana nuclear power station

Ida shuts Entergy’s Waterford-3 nuclear plant because of off-site power loss,  S and P Global 31Aug 21,
Andrea Jennetta

1.2-GW Waterford-3 shut

992-MW River Bend-1 at 35%

Entergy shut its 1.2-GW Waterford-3 nuclear plant in Killona, Louisiana, at 6:12 pm CT Aug. 29 after off-site electrical power was lost because of Hurricane Ida, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Facebook Aug. 30.

Entergy spokesperson Mike Bowling said Aug. 30 that Waterford-3 was disconnected from the grid Aug. 29 at 10:29 am CT “per procedure as storm winds escalated.”

The company’s 992-MW River Bend-1 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, was operating at 35% of capacity early Aug. 30, NRC said.

The unit reduced power at the request of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Bowling said.

The action was taken “to preserve grid integrity” in the wake of Hurricane Ida, he said.

“The situation is fluid, and power levels could change in coordination with grid operators,” Bowling added………

August 31, 2021 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear news for the last week in August

The tragic situation in Afghanistan dominated the news.

In the USA, Hurricane Ida reminds of the effects of global heating – increasing the intensity of extreme weather.

The mainstream media carefully avoids discussion of the dangers to Louisiana’s nuclear power stations.

Coronavirus. For most of the world, the pandemic is not over – devastation in countries such as Uganda, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Peru and Brazil.

Climate.   Even 1.5C warming will still leave world’s coasts exposed to extremes. Radio Ecoshock re-examines the facts on the new megafires. 

Hard to find good news – mostly very individualistic stories, like these ones about bees:  A friend bumblebee.  Saving the bees. A bit of good news (sort of University of Michigan reports that CO2 can be stored away in concrete,

29 August 2021 International Day Against Nuclear Tests  Reaffirm commitment to ban nuclear tests, UN chief says in message for International Day.

How to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Sign the nuclear weapons treaty.   Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons. Shadow World reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade – the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives

Weaponising space -the high road to World War 3, but profitable for weapons and space companies. Exposure to radiation can affect DNA: Astronauts on long-duration missions in space at risk .   Rocket launches may be damaging the ozone layer

Military Contractor CACI Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Hurting Its Profits. It’s Funding a Pro-War Think Tank.

Nuclear energy is anything but clean, despite the media hype.

‘ Every euro invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse‘  Don’t Expect Real Climate Solutions From COP26. It Functions for Corporations.

JAPAN. International Atomic Energy Agency doubts the ability of Japan to clean up Fukushima nuclear wreck by intended date 2051. UN urges Japan to investigate damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors for clean-up.

EUROPE, European Leadership Network aims to build a new nuclear network.



IRELAND. Nuclear power “just doesn’t make sense” for Ireland, a leading energy expert says.

GERMANY. German utility aims to expand renewables, rejects keeping nuclear reactors open.

CANADA, Nuclear Safety Commission Directs Bruce Power To Assess Fitness For Service Of Reactors.

FINLAND. Ho hum … the umpteenth delay for Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor.

RUSSIA. Russia begins constructing nuclear submarines amid increasing friction with West.

ISRAEL. Israel accelerates plans for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.

BELGIUM. Engie nuclear subsidiary Endel in bad shape about to be sold.

SWEDEN. Swedish government decides to increase interim storage capacity for nuclear waste.

AFGHANISTAN. U.S. Lawmakers anxious that Taliban may try to get nuclear weapons.

AUSTRALIA. Federal nuclear waste dump plan.  Australia’s nuclear waste is best managed in interim storage at Lucas Heights, with an independent review on permanent disposal.  The status of two current federal processes related to radioactive waste and the Kimba plan.  Farmer Jeff Baldock is excited at prospect of nuclear waste dump on his land. Other nearby farmers not impressed, (Stock Journal).

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

Every euro invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse’ 

Every euro invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse’ 29 Aug 21

Can nuclear energy help us meet climate goals? The editor of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, Mycle Schneider, says no. He explains his stance to DW.

And if we’re talking about the construction of new power plants, then nuclear power is simply excluded. Not just because it is the most expensive form of electricity generation today, but, above all, because it takes a long time to build reactors. In other words, every euro invested in new nuclear power plants makes the climate crisis worse because now this money cannot be used to invest in efficient climate protection options.

As Japan marks the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the global conversation around the merits of using nuclear power to tackle the climate crisis remains hot. Many environmentalists are opposed, pointing to the risk of nuclear meltdowns and the difficulty of properly disposing of nuclear waste.

However, it has been championed by others for its ability to produce huge amounts of carbon-free energy. DW spoke to Mycle Schneider, editor of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), which assesses the status and trends of the global nuclear power industry. 

DW: The goal is to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). What role can nuclear power play?

Mycle Schneider: Today we need to put the question of urgency first. It’s about how much we can reduce greenhouse gases and how quickly for every euro ($1.21) spent. So, it’s a combination between cost and feasibility, while doing it in the fastest possible way.

And if we’re talking about the construction of new power plants, then nuclear power is simply excluded. Not just because it is the most expensive form of electricity generation today, but, above all, because it takes a long time to build reactors. In other words, every euro invested in new nuclear power plants makes the climate crisis worse because now this money cannot be used to invest in efficient climate protection options.

What about existing nuclear power plants?

The power plants exist, they provide electricity. However, many of the measures needed for energy efficiency are now cheaper than the basic operating costs of nuclear power plants. That is the first point, and unfortunately it is always forgotten.

The second point is that renewables today have become so cheap that in many cases they are below the basic operating costs of nuclear power plants.

Let me give you two examples: The world’s lowest price for solar power in currently in Portugal, at 1.1 cents per kilowatt hour. And we now have the first results from Spain with costs for wind and solar power at around 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour. These are below the basic operating costs of the vast majority of nuclear power plants around the world.

It would often even be affordordable to pay 1 – 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity storage in addition to the generation costs for wind and solar power and still be below the operating costs of nuclear power plants. And here we have to ask the same question: How many emissions can I avoid with one euro, one dollar or one yuan?

So why are construction projects being announced now?

n the case of nuclear power, I often have the feeling that Trumpism prevails. Facts no longer matter. There is talk of plans and projects all over the place, but in reality, little or nothing actually happens. We document this in detail every year in the more than 300 pages of our World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

What sort of interests are behind this?

These are very clear self-interests. If the industry doesn’t launch phantom projects, then it will die even faster.

Why do politicians go along with it?

There are different interests here. During a visit to the Le Creusot forge in December 2020, for example, French President [Emmanuel] Macron made it clear that there are also military strategic interests in maintaining the nuclear industry. And France has never made a secret of the links between military and civil interests when it comes to nuclear.

In other countries like China there are different interests. China is funding infrastructure in a large number of countries through its Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road. This is geopolitics on a grand scale.

The co-financing of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Great Britain, for example, puts this into context. In this case, the fact that it is an inefficient project is irrelevant. The scale of Chinese infrastructure investments is huge. There’s talk of $1,000 billion (€821 billion). That means: You have to look at each country, because each country has their own self-interests.

What other interests do energy companies have in continuing to operate unprofitable reactors?

The main reason is that an operating nuclear power plant generates income. As soon as a nuclear power plant is decommissioned, liabilities appear in the balance sheet and additional expenses appear.

You can see an example of this in Japan. If often took years to officially close nuclear power plants because companies could not afford to remove these plants from their assets. Some of these operators would have gone bankrupt overnight.

There’s no doubt that energy companies like EDF in France face a serious financial crisis. The question is, how will they survive this? Certainly not without the help of massive state subsidies in the long term. But as long as they can keep earning money, even if it’s no longer profitable, investing in demolition and waste management isn’t a consideration.

How much does demolition cost?

In the order of €1 billion per reactor. In France, only a third of [the required funds] have been put aside. This means the problem starts once the reactors go offline.

What about the costs of the storage of high-level radioactive waste?

No one knows how much this really costs, because there is no functioning permanent storage facility.

Is there any chance of a permanent storage facility being operational in the future?

There is currently no operational permanent storage facility. The most advanced projects are in Finland and Sweden. However, the concept there is based on a design from the early 1980s, with storage in copper containers. However, recent research has shown that the copper containers are significantly more susceptible to corrosion than first thought. That means the viability of commissioning one of these facilities in Sweden or Finland is still totally unclear. It’s the same situation for other countries. They are even further behind on development or they don’t even have storage models, let alone locations.

How far along in this process are countries in Asia?

In Japan there is still no storage location or model. The same goes for Korea. In China they’re discussing whether or not nuclear waste should be reprocessed. That’s even further away.

Basically, these countries behave just like countries in the West where the nuclear power plants were built two or three decades ago. That means there is no advanced planning in place and no coherent concept as to how their highly radioactive nuclear waste should be stored for eternity.

Mycle Schneider is the initiator and lead author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, an independent reference report on the development of the global nuclear power industry. Schneider is an independent consultant to governments and international organizations around the world. In 1997 he was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award).

This interview was conducted by Gero Rueter and adapted into English by Ineke Mules.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Hurricane Ida Shuts Down One Nuclear Plant in Louisiana.

Hurricane Ida Shuts Down One Nuclear Plant in Louisiana. Simply Info , August 29, 2021

Hurricane Ida prepares to make landfall mid day in Louisiana. The storm is predicted to be the strongest hurricane to hit the state in history as a strong cat 4. Hurricane Katrina had dropped to a category 3 by the time it made landfall yet caused extreme damage. Sustained winds reported this morning were 150 mph.

Entergy shut down Waterford nuclear plant around 10am Sunday due to the expected wind speeds. Ed Lyman at the Union of Concerned Scientists documented the flood risk at the plant when combining the predicted storm surge and rainfall. The plant may not flood in the reactor block area but it could end up surrounded by water. Entergy, the company that operates the plant mentioned they have sequestered enough staff on site to conduct needed operations and restart the plant whenever that might be possible. In Ed Lyman’s twitter posts about this issue he also cited dry cooling towers used at the site and that they require sump pumps to keep them operational. Depending on the water inundation that system could be offline until water recedes………….

August 30, 2021 Posted by | climate change, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Cover-up? Unreported event of Hanford nuclear workers’sickness

Unreported event at Hanford nuclear site that sickened workers ‘smells like a cover-up,’ advocates say,  Workers reported smelling odors, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness and shortness of breath. The contractor denied a chronic problem, toxic vapors, is to blame.  Susannah Frame August 27, 2021

RICHLAND, Wash. — On June 18 of this year, 10 workers at the Hanford nuclear site in eastern Washington digging in what are known as the “tank farms,” were overcome by strange odors. Nine of the workers sought medical treatment, including three who were transported to the hospital for an overnight stay and were given oxygen.

The KING 5 Investigators have found the event went unreported by the contractor involved – Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS).

According to WRPS documents obtained by KING 5, symptoms reported by workers included dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, nausea, a metallic taste in the mouth, stomach issues, light headedness and cough.

Smelling unusual odors, followed by adverse medical conditions are hallmark signs of a chronic problem at the nuclear reservation: exposure to toxic vapors that vent from underground nuclear waste holding tanks.  

WRPS is under a legal obligation to report vapor events on a publicly available website.

“I’m still amazed that not one piece of paper has been put out about this exposure, there’s been no announcement,” said Tom Carpenter, executive director of the advocacy group Hanford Challenge. “It’s getting to the point where this silence is very suspicious. It’s like: ‘What are you hiding?’”

The contractor said they did not post the event on their website because they’ve determined the worker’s symptoms were not caused by vapors, but “most likely” by a malfunctioning gas-powered wheelbarrow.

“WRPS collected air samples from the small pieces of fuel-powered equipment used in the soil work. One piece of equipment, a small gasoline-powered wheelbarrow that was difficult to start and used during the June 18 event, was smoking when it started and high levels of volatile organic compound emissions were noted,” a WRPS spokesperson said.

Toxic vapor exposures have been a significant problem at Hanford since the 1980s when the operational mission went from producing plutonium, to clean up only.

Several government reports have identified that poisonous vapors, without warning, will vent from underground tanks. Hanford has 177 underground holding tanks that store the deadliest waste at the site.

Tanks in the tank farm near where the workers got ill in June contain contents including plutonium, the radioactive isotopes of americium and strontium 90, mercury, nickel, lead and cyanide.

In 2014 the KING 5 Investigators revealed a record number of vapor exposures in the tank farms. Approximately 56 workers fell ill with symptoms in the rash of exposures. After each incident, WRPS said their testing didn’t show chemicals of concern over regulatory limits. WRPS officials denied chemical vapors were to blame for the events.

That pattern wasn’t new. Expert reports detailed the same cycle happened at Hanford in the 80s and in the 90s: a slew of exposures, followed by denials by the tank farm contractor, and workers left sick and unable to work.

Many workers said they felt betrayed by the contractors over the years for not being honest about the dangers of vapors.

“Until they are in the field and until they smell what we smell and until they feel like we feel and until they get injured like we get injured, they don’t care,” said Mike Cain, a 47-year current Hanford employee who spent 25 of those years in the tank farms. “Everything that we described 30 years ago, 40 years ago, is still there. Yet they keep doing the same thing over and over and over again.”

After the string of exposures in 2014, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Hanford Challenge and Local 598 all filed lawsuits against WRPS and Hanford’s owner, the U.S. Department of Energy. The complaint accused the contractor and federal government of failing to protect workers from vapor exposures, that can cause adverse health effects including lung disease, nervous system damage and cancers of the liver, lung, blood and other organs. The lawsuit also alleged the Department of Energy had been well aware of the dangers for 25 years, yet “Energy did not fix the problem.”

settlement agreement was reached in September 2018. Hanford officials agreed to improve health and safety conditions, install engineering to keep vapors out of the breathing space of workers. They also agreed to provide respiratory protections including supplied (fresh) air that is worn in tanks on the backs of workers, if needed.

In the June event, workers were not using supplied air. According to workers, the contractor had downgraded respiratory protection to respirators with cartridges. Respirators are lighter and more cost effective than supplied air.

“(That) never should have happened if they were wearing fresh air. Never should have happened,” Cain said.

“They’re not protecting workers. They have a long history of not doing so, of putting money and profits before workers health and safety which is ironic because they’re all about saying they want to protect health and safety. They’re not doing it,” Carpenter said.

A WRPS spokesperson said the company did not skimp on safety protocols in the June event.

“Respiratory controls at the TX Farm during the June 18, 2021 event complied with the tank farms vapors settlement agreement requirements… workers were wearing air-purifying respirators consistent with interim mandatory respiratory protections consistent with cartridge testing results,” the spokesperson said.

What is Hanford?

Hanford is the most contaminated worksite in America. Located near Richland in eastern, Wash., workers at the site produced plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons program for approximately four decades. Plutonium produced at Hanford fueled the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, that led to the end of WWII. Since the late 80s, Hanford has been a clean up site only.

The settlement agreement also makes it mandatory for WRPS to report events on its website that fall into the category of an “AOP-15.” On the WRPS website, an AOP 15 is described as an unidentified odor event: “When a worker reports an unexpected and unidentified odor in the tank farms, and reports medical symptoms potentially related to that smell.”

In the June event, WRPS did not characterize it as an AOP-15, therefore, company executives said they had no obligation to report it.

“Smells like a cover-up”

“This lack of information sharing and reporting smells like a cover-up. We do not want to see a return to downgraded worker protections that result in routine vapor exposures. The cycle of exposures must end at Hanford, and meaningful and long-lasting regulations should be enacted to assure that Hanford tank farm workers can conduct a cleanup without risking their own health and safety,” said Carpenter of Hanford Challenge in a press statement sent on Friday.

On Thursday, a WRPS executive told KING 5 that the company’s definition of an AOP-15 had changed in 2020. In an email to employees on Dec. 1, 2020, WRPS Executive Jeremy Hartley said that moving forward, an AOP-15 will occur when personal ammonia monitors worn by workers set off an alarm.

“Ammonia has been verified as a sentinel indicator of changing levels of other chemicals of potential concern. The procedure changes clarify and reinforce a disciplined conduct of operations by recognizing the administrative and engineering controls in place, relying on the ammonia monitors and verifying the conditions when an alarm set point is reached,” Hartley wrote.

Given this change, the WRPS spokesperson said they followed protocol by not reporting the event on the website.

As this event did not involve an ammonia alarm, it is not classified as an AOP-15,” the spokesperson said.

Government scientists have concluded that ammonia does not have to be present for other chemicals of concern to release in concentrations that could harm human health. In 2004 the Department of Energy released a Hanford report concluding the potentially harmful gas, nitrous oxide, can be present without the presence of ammonia.

“Based on…characterization data (the contractor) CH2M HILL has incorrectly assumed that nitrous oxides are present only when ammonia is present,” report authors wrote. “…nitrous oxide vapors in tank headspaces can be present in (dangerous) concentrations, even in the absence of ammonia.”

Stakeholders such as Hanford Challenge and union safety representatives said they were unaware that WRPS had changed its AOP-15 definition.

A WRPS communications specialist said they are committed to the safety of workers.

“The health and safety of the workforce is always paramount,” the company official said.8

August 30, 2021 Posted by | employment, health, legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Media avoid the truth about nuclear wastes

the hidden message:

scientists and engineers are still bewildered by a mountain of nuclear waste 80-years high.  Nobody wants it in their neighborhood.  There’s no place to put it

Limp logic of safe nuclear waste storage, 30 Aug 21Enriching uranium requires fossil fuels that leave coal ash and/or fracking waste, both of which degrade the quality of soil, water and air.  There are tons of containers, gloves, booties, and hazmat suits, etc. that must be discarded as radioactive waste in order to fabricate, use, transport and store the spent fuel generated in service to tens of thousands of electricty-users.

Author, Jan Boudart, Nuclear Energy Information Service1.

The August 19, 2021 Mirage News article “ORNL receives spent fuel canister to support long-term storage studies” has prompted us2 to question the superficiality of ORNL’s analogy to the volume of spent nuclear fuel.  

Characterizing spent fuel on less than half of 1000th part of its yearly volume is to ignore, not only the whole story of mining, transporting, milling, transporting, processing, transporting, refueling reactor vessels, storing spent fuel, then more transporting.  Spent fuel volume is but a trivial part of how the nuclear fuel cycle impacts humans, animals, plants and the geological earth.

And acres of concrete, whose manufacture is a strong producer of greenhouse gasses, are required for temporary entombment.  Fossil fuels are used in trucks and trains to haul radioactive fuel, both new and spent, on water and land.  And there are hospital gowns, syringes, and multiple wastes, along with the energy to light, heat and build sophisticated diagnostic and treatment systems to deal with the cancer-stricken victims of the whole fuel cycle of which spent fuel is a small, but important, part.

Relevant metrics easily expose the disconnect between reality and the unsubstantiated and spurious analogy in the article.  For example, (i) the hundreds of thousands of tons which will further degrade our fragile roads, rail and bridges in a nuclear-waste transport scheme3, (ii) the hundreds of billions which have been spent worldwide over 70 years trying to find the ever-vanishing ‘solution’ to nuclear waste, and (iii) the hundreds of thousands of years (a million according to the US National Academies) in which spent fuel will remain hazardous and toxic.

Also, a perennial chortle among anti-nuclear activists is the fact that no insurance company in its right mind would consider taking on the risk posed by a nuclear power plant or its waste.  In case of an accident, taxpayers will foot most of the bill, per The Price-Anderson Act of 19574.  If spent fuel is such a no-big-deal to manage, let the nuclear industry assume full responsibility for paying for and insuring it.

Another egregious statement from the ORNL spokesperson: “The used fuel… can be retrieved at any time for reprocessing and reuse.”  BUT, “Incredibly, not a single dry storage cask, once loaded, has ever been unloaded in the U.S.”5  And no one has volunteered to risk their life taking spent nuclear fuel out of a canister.  To do so in relative safety would require a “hot cell”6, where workers could be protected from “spent” fuel’s deadly radiation — much more fearsome than when it was “new”.

At present, in the U.S. 95 nuclear reactors are functioning, each producing about 2000 Tons of spent nuclear fuel per year.  The inventory of High-Level Nuclear Waste, “Spent” fuel, has exceeded 90,000 tons7.  Transporting this monstrous load would be dangerous and very expensive8.  

Further, the ORNL speaker implied that spent fuel can be “inertly stored”, saying, “The nuclear energy industry is unique among power generation options in that its used fuel is inertly stored in sealed canisters…”.  But it is well-known that the spent fuel, itself, is not inert.  It is, in fact, thousands of times more radioactive than the new fuel whose fission produced the heat to run the reactor.  It costs about 4 million USD for each cask9 and another half million USD to load each one with fuel.  “The concrete pad for casks to sit on costs another 1 million USD.  A rough estimated cost to move all of the fuel in the United States that has cooled in pools for at least five years could cost 7 billion USD.”10  You tell me why private power companies are required to spend $4,500,000+ per cask to “inertly store” this dangerous material.

Later the article discusses the foils against criticality that are being tried at ORNL.  No concern for “critically” would be necessary if the SNF were “inertly stored” as previously claimed.

The fact of the article in question appearing at this stage— when we are 8 decades (counting from 1942) into the Atomic Age — this immediate and present fact — emphasizes the hidden message: scientists and engineers are still bewildered by a mountain of nuclear waste 80-years high.  Nobody wants it in their neighborhood.  There’s no place to put it…………..

Continue reading

August 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, wastes | Leave a comment

Groups call for no US nuclear bailouts

Billions for nuclear squanders vital climate opportunity

240 organizations ask Congress to eliminate nuclear subsidies from the budget 29 Aug 21, Beyond Nuclear was among 240 organizations who have signed a letter sent to the House and Senate Majority and Minority leaders urging them to omit nuclear bailouts from the federal budget and instead direct funds toward investment in carbon-free, nuclear-free clean energy.

This moment is our opportunity to launch a wholesale transformation of our economy and our energy systems to save our country and the world from the rapidly advancing climate crisis. Yet, legislation now before Congress would provide billions of dollars in subsidies to aging and uneconomical nuclear power plants, an effort that will cause us to miss the narrow window of opportunity we have left to act effectively on climate.

If the events of the last year have taught us anything, it is that we must marshal our national resources to address structural inequities and injustices that undermine our safety, health, economic security, and sustainability. We can achieve the goals of racial, economic, environmental, and climate justice upon which the Biden administration and Congressional leaders have promised to deliver—but not if we continue to invest billions of dollars in nuclear power and other false solutions.

Both the energy legislation proposed for the larger reconciliation package (S.2291/H.R.4024) and the bipartisan infrastructure bill would grant up to $50 billion to prop up old, increasingly uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next decade. The electricity generated by these reactors will need to be replaced by renewable energy in the coming years anyway, so every dollar we spend to prolong their operation has an opportunity cost in terms of dollars, jobs, and environmental pollution.

As a July 2021 report by Dr. Mark Cooper finds, the best investments to phase out greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector are the same in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term: renewable energy, efficiency, storage, and grid modernization. Money slated for nuclear bailouts would be much better spent on these resources instead.

Nuclear power is part of the climate problem, not the solution

Nuclear power is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive, and too slow to solve the climate crisis, and the industry is rooted in environmental injustice and human rights violations. Bailing out nuclear power plants misdirects resources while perpetuating climate injustice. A whole suite of energy sources that will be the backbone of a 100% renewable, zero-emissions energy system–wind, solar, demand response, and energy efficiency–are already less expensive than currently operating nuclear reactors, and will only become more so over the next decade. Many more technologies that will enable the transition to a reliable and resilient, renewable energy economy–battery storage, smart- and micro-grids, offshore wind, and more–are on the same downward cost trajectory.

This is already happening in real time, even in conservative states. In 2020, Iowa’s only nuclear power plant closed, but the state brought more new wind generation online than the nuclear plant ever generated. Similarly, wind power plants in Texas already generate more than twice as much electricity as the state’s four large nuclear reactors; in each of the last four years, new wind generation has equaled the output of one of those reactors. 

Within three years after California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant unexpectedly retired in 2013, new solar power in the state exceeded what the nuclear plant produced. California has also shown that phasing out nuclear power is an integral part of the transition to a zero-emissions electricity system. The state’s largest utility is in the process of phasing out the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant by 2025, through a comprehensive community and energy transition that includes expanding energy efficiency and solar to exceed California’s targets for emissions reductions and renewable energy growth.

It is often said that states are the laboratory for national policy. If so, there is already abundant evidence at hand of the climate justice costs of subsidizing old nuclear reactors. Over the last five years, four states have granted up to $14 billion in subsidies to aging reactors–ratepayer dollars that could have been invested instead in renewable energy, efficiency, and other climate solutions.

In New York, consumers will pay up to $7.6 billion in subsidies to aging nuclear reactors by 2030, under a program instated in 2016. Yet, a study at the time showed that a state-of-the-art energy efficiency program could have effectively replaced those reactors with equivalent reductions in statewide electricity consumption by 2030, at a net savings to consumers of $3 billion. In effect, the state would have had more than $10 billion more to invest in climate solutions had it chosen efficiency over nuclear in 2016.

Further, New York has since upgraded its renewable targets and implemented energy efficiency standards that negate the original rationale for the bailout, yet consumers are locked into paying for it anyway. The federal government must learn from these experiments and not repeat the same mistakes.

Climate Justice 

We need to invest in a transition to efficient, renewable, clean energy technologies that can scale up as rapidly and affordably as possible to reduce emissions as aggressively as possible. Not only does nuclear energy fail to meet any of those criteria, investing billions of dollars in subsidies for old reactors directly funnels public investment away from environmentally just, equitable, and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. This is why the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council included programs that procure nuclear power on a list of measures that do not benefit environmental justice communities in its May 2021 report to the Biden administration.

Moreover, subsidizing aging nuclear reactors does nothing to make nuclear power safer from the environmental hazards of climate change. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) habit of relaxing safety requirements has only worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic. NRC has refused to take any actions to protect nuclear workers from the novel coronavirus, nor even to require its licensees to provide any reporting of infection, testing, and hospitalization rates among their workforces. On top of that, NRC has canceled hundreds of required, scheduled safety inspections, security drills, and emergency preparedness exercises, for up to two years. Nuclear power is becoming more dangerous, not less, in the face of climate and public health challenges that will grow in the years to come.

Environmental Justice

In addition to the climate costs of proposed nuclear energy subsidies, subsidizing nuclear reactors will result in the creation of more radioactive waste without mitigating any of the significant environmental justice, climate justice, economic justice, and nuclear weapons proliferation impacts. By the time a single pound of nuclear fuel goes into a reactor, uranium extraction, processing, and enrichment have already generated thousands of pounds of long-lasting radioactive wastes, which are either dumped in piles or ponds, or (in the case of depleted uranium) stored in cylinders or barrels in the open air, very often in Indigenous communities.

Both nuclear subsidy proposals seek to expand uranium mining in the U.S. through tying subsidies to domestically sourced fuel. Neither infrastructure package includes respecting restrictions on mining of uranium on Indigenous peoples’ lands, regulations to mitigate the environmental impacts of uranium mining, nor remediation of the more than 15,000 abandoned uranium mines in the U.S. Indigenous peoples disproportionately bear the burdens of uranium extraction, from widespread leakage of radioactive and toxic waste into groundwater and exposure to radioactive dust and gases.

Tribal governments and impacted communities require prompt and thorough reclamation and cleanup of mines, mills, and uranium processing facilities, through a federal program that is tribe-/community-driven, inclusive, transparent, and funded at the scale of the problem. This is a national crisis and must be treated as such. The restoration and protection of safe drinking water for all communities must be an infrastructure priority. Doing so would create thousands of jobs, improve community health, and enable communities to live sustainably and in harmony with the natural environment for generations to come.

Economic Justice

Subsidies for nuclear power would not only be unjust and counterproductive for climate and environmental justice, they would also be unjust and counterproductive for creating jobs and building a thriving, equitable economy. All of the proposed subsidies (up to $50 billion) would likely go to reactors owned by only eight corporations and located in only 19 counties across eight states. Despite the size of this extraordinarily inequitable investment of taxpayer dollars, these subsidies would not create a single new job. Worse, allocating $50 billion to old reactors instead of renewable energy, efficiency, and other clean electricity infrastructure would prevent the creation of more than 60,000 new jobs.

Under S.2291/H.R.4409, all merchant reactors would be eligible for the subsidy, regardless of whether they actually need them to continue operating. Because the bills only consider the profitability of individual nuclear power plants, they do not protect U.S. taxpayers from paying uneconomical subsidies when cheaper alternatives and more strategic investments are available. 

The bill does not require independent verification of nuclear corporations’ claims about the emissions impacts of potential reactor closures. It does not consider states’ renewable energy and energy efficiency targets and programs, with which these subsidies could interfere. It does not consider alternatives, such as whether renewable energy would be more affordable. Neither bill plans for how to phase out and replace uneconomical nuclear reactors with renewable energy sources by the time their respective programs expire.

According to Dr. Cooper’s report, investing in renewable energy, efficiency, and other real climate solutions will employ many times more people and reduce far more greenhouse gas emissions than subsidizing nuclear power. This is especially true because nuclear corporations have over $60 billion already set aside to fund decommissioning and cleanup of their power plants when they close. These nuclear decommissioning funds can and should be used to defray job losses when reactors shut down.

We cannot perpetuate false solutions that prolong our reliance on dirty energy industries and have any hope of ending the climate and environmental justice crises those industries create. Providing billions of dollars in subsidies to nuclear power will only put short-sighted economic interests ahead of human lives, racial justice, the health of our environment, safe drinking water, and a thriving, equitable economy. We hope we can count on you to reject all proposals to subsidize nuclear energy and to make investments that will create a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy.

Download the original letter and read the press release.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Why We Must Have a Unified Global Grassroots Progressive Movement

Why We Must Have a Unified Global Grassroots Progressive Movement, By Joel Segal and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News,   30 Aug 21

ne thing – and only one thing – can save our democracy and our Earth: a unified grassroots progressive movement.

It must be hugely diverse in terms of age, race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation and more.

It must draw our national and global activist community out of its silos and into the streets and suites.

So on Monday (August 30, 1-5 p.m. Eastern Time), we are co-convening the first zoomed National Justice Roundtable, opened by the great Dolores Huerta, a monumental networking moment meant to join together activists and campaigners on a wide range of vital issues, including DC Statehood, Election Protection/Voter Engagement, environmental protection/Solartopian conversion, and Social Justice/Ending Poverty & Homelessness. 

The Roundtable will host activists, campaigners, and organizers from everywhere explaining who they are, what they do, what victory will look like, and how we can get there together.

In other words, we will lay the groundwork for the progressive movement as a whole to join their campaigns in a unified march to real social change and political effectiveness….READ THE REST AT:

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Film: Shadow World reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade – the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives.   

Shadow World reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade – the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives.  Directed by Johan Grimonprez (“dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y”) and in part based on Corruption Watch UK founder Andrew Feinstein’s globally acclaimed book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, the film reveals how the international trade in weapons – with the complicity of governments and intelligence agencies, investigative and prosecutorial bodies, weapons manufacturers, dealers and agents – fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracy and creates widespread suffering.

The film unravels a number of the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. It illustrates why this trade accounts for almost 40% of all corruption in global trade, and how it operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often illegal actions. SHADOW WORLD posits alternatives through the experience of a peace activist and war correspondent, as well as through the voice of Eduardo Galeano who contributed selections from his stories for the film.

Ultimately SHADOW WORLD reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, how weapons of war are turned against citizens of liberal democracies and how the trade decreases rather than enhances security for us all. In shedding light on how our realities are being constructed, the film offers a way for audiences to see through this horror, in the hopes of creating a better future.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment