The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Fukushima town prepares for return of residents

Jan. 4, 2022

Tuesday marked the first business day of 2022 in Japan. Officials in Fukushima Prefecture’s Futaba Town are planning to welcome residents back later this year.

The town’s residents have not returned since an accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant forced them to evacuate. Part of the plant is located in the town. The accident occurred in March 2011. Futaba is the only municipality that evacuees have not returned to. The town had a population of about 7,000 before the disaster.

After years of decontamination efforts, the residents are expected to be allowed to return to some areas, starting in June.

Futaba Town officials held a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the first day of the year. The event took place at a town office in Iwaki City. Iwaki is located about 60 kilometers south of the center of Futaba Town.

Futaba Town Mayor Izawa Shiro told about 40 officials that this is going to be a very busy year, as the residents are expected to return.

Izawa said he will be on the frontlines of the town’s reconstruction efforts. He also asked the officials to join him.

Beginning on January 20, residents will be permitted to stay overnight in the town, in order to start preparing for their return. The evacuation order is expected to be lifted in June.


January 6, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

The Australian government is complicit with USA and UK, imperilling the health of Julian Assange, may well cause his death.

AUKUS alliance driving Assange to his death,,15904, By John Jiggens | 6 January 2022,   The actions of the U.S., UK and Australia are imperiling the health of Julian Assange and could result in the tragic death of the publisher, writes John Jiggens.

THE NEWS THAT Julian Assange has suffered a stroke while detained in London’s Belmarsh Prison has strengthened the fears of Assange supporters that the AUKUS alliance is comfortable with the WikiLeaks’ founder’s death at their hands.

But would an Australian Government be complicit in a plot against one of its own citizens?

Consider these recent stories.

In September 2021, Yahoo! News revealed that Mike Pompeo, who was the CIA Director in 2017, became party to a scheme to kidnap Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy or to assassinate him.

The Yahoo! investigation was based on conversations with 30 former U.S. officials. Among those interviewed, eight provided details on plans to kidnap Assange.

Greg Barns SC, a barrister and advisor to Julian Assange, told Bay FM:

“It was like something out of a James Bond film, except sadly, it was very true. There was a clear plan to take Assange out. We now have the Australian Government on notice that one of its citizens was the subject of a conspiracy to murder plot by the CIA.”

Further, he remarked:

The conduct of the CIA was outrageous, unlawful and represents a complete breach of the so-called alliance or friendship between Australia and the United States.

The CIA acts essentially as a criminal enterprise. It is state-sanctioned criminality. To be overtly planning to murder someone in any circumstances would amount to a conspiracy to murder for anyone else and the persons would face very serious criminal charges.

The Yahoo! report prompted prominent Assange supporters to write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking if the Australian Government accepted the behaviour of an ally plotting to murder an Australian citizen and questioning whether Australian intelligence agencies participated in the plot or were notified about it.

Five weeks passed while Morrison’s office composed a 100-word reply.

It acceped no responsibility or accountability whatsoever. Indeed, Morrison’s reply did not deny Australian involvement or knowledge of the plot.

Instead it passed the buck, advising:

Concerns about the legality or propriety of the activities of Australian intelligence agency are best directed to the IGIS, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.’

During the UK High Court extradition appeal in October, the Courier Mail ran another story, titled ‘Assange snubbed Aussie help 29 times, says Payne’.

Why, in the middle of Assange’s High Court hearing, was Foreign Minister Marise Payne using her friends in the Murdoch media to portray Assange as un-Australian, snubbing her patriotic ‘’Aussie help’’?

Assange’s father John Shipton commented:

“I get no help from Marise Payne in any way whatsoever. Saying I have been snubbed 29 times by Julian is to defend her. It’s only to defend her. It’s nothing to do with Julian.”

The family have continually asked for Payne and Morrison to actively engage with Australia’s UK and U.S. allies. They see extradition as an outrageous surrender of Australian sovereignty and they expect that Morrison and Payne should tell UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden so.

Shipton, who has travelled to 50 countries to garner support for Julian, said:

“Everywhere I go, people ask where is the Australian Government in this? What is the substance of Australia in its relationship with the UK that it allows this show trial to go on without comment?”


January 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

The Insufferable Hypocrisy of Western Governments Hell-Bent on Destroying Julian Assange

By Eric Garris / Blog In his New Year’s message, South China Morning Post chief news editor Yonden Lhatoo demands Western governments free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before preaching press freedom to everyone else

January 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

What will happen if Russia and Ukraine go to war in the next year? Don Hank, MA Russian, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania 

The not-so-carefully crafted narrative in the West is that Ukraine is the victim of the cruel aggressive Russian regime that enjoys watching others suffer, like a sadistic boy pulling the legs off grasshoppers and watching them squirm.

The coming war would all be an amusing little computer game except for the fact that the psychopathic US manipulators who indulge in this Russophobic/Sinophobic passtime are gambling with the very future of planet earth. 

These reptilian predators inhabit the rarefied stratosphere of intrigue where reality and fantasy are blurred beyond usefulness. They are so far down the road of believing the product of their own overheated imagination that they have forgotten the simplest of realities, like the fact that millions of people would die instantly and half that many would watch their skin slowly peel off and their hair fall out in thick clumps after a nuclear attack. Major cities would become forests of twisted steel in a desert of glass. Military bases would be gone and aircraft carriers would sink to Davy Jones’ locker. 

The war — all 30 minutes of it — would engulf the entire earth, compromising most of human, animal, plant and even microbial life. At least COVID might be conquered. Should we put that fact on the asset side of the ledger in defense of US foreign policy? Maybe not. 

If the West happened to get the upper hand — killing a billion or so Eastern people (ie, Russians, Chinese, Iranians, for example), and the East killed only a half-billion Westerners, there would not be any certifiably non-radioactive champagne to uncork and sip in celebration of the “victory.” Nor would there be an intact country to host the festivities. 

The sociopathic politicians whose thoughtless words and deeds triggered the conflagration would hardly be congratulated by their peers, who would turn on them with an unquenchable visceral hate. 

People who understand the Kremlin and its designs don’t fall for this malarkey, but there is an army of gullible Westerners who enjoy this sort of fiction and they help perpetuate it. It is on display on these very boards. 

But mercifully, most Washington politicians would not survive because the White House and capitol building would be the first targets of the Russian or Chinese ICBMs. 

Of course, there are many other things that could happen if Ukraine and Russia go to war, but the main thing that the Westerner must know is that, should this happen, Russia will not be the aggressor. 

It never was. The Western aggressor is setting a trap for Russia. But will it like the ending of its narrative?

It’s all explained here: 

Don Hank, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present) 

January 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The world’s greatest garbage dump – space !

441,449 LOW EARTH ORBIT SATELLITES. Operating, Approved and Proposed …………………..

And not only do thousands of whole satellites threaten the heavens, but a phenomenal amount of debris orbits the earth as a result of satellites colliding, or exploding, or otherwise being destroyed while in space. During the 64 years that humans have been launching rockets, the protective blankets of the ionosphere and magnetosphere have become the Earth’s largest garbage pit.

According to the European Space Agency there are, in orbit around the Earth today, 7,790 intact satellites, of which 4,800 are functioning. Since 1957, there have been more than 630 breakups, explosions, collisions, and other satellite-destroying events. This has resulted in the creation of more than 9,700 tons of space debris. There are, in orbit today:

  • 30,430 debris objects presently being tracked
  • 36,500 objects larger than 10 cm in size
  • 1,000,000 objects from 1 cm to 10 cm in size
  • 330,000,000 objects from 1 mm to 1 cm in size

EFFECTS ON OZONE, EARTHQUAKES, AND THUNDERSTORMSOzone  In a 2020 paper titled “The environmental impact of emissions from space launches: A comprehensive review,” Jessica Dallas and her colleagues at the University of New South Wales wrote that “ozone depletion is one of the largest environmental concerns surrounding rocket launches from Earth.”
In 2021, there were 146 orbital rocket launches to put 1,800 satellites into space. At that rate, to maintain and continually replace 100,000 low-earth-orbit satellites, which have an average lifespan of five years, would require more than 1,600 rocket launches per year, or more than four every day, forever into the future.

2020 and 2021 witnessed two of the largest Antarctic ozone holes since measurements began in 1979. The 2020 hole was also the longest-lasting on record, and the 2021 hole was only a few days shorter; larger than the continent of Antarctica, it began in late July 2021 and ended on December 28, 2021. Everyone is still blaming chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were banned by the Montreal Protocol in 1978. Nobody is looking at rocket launches, of which there were more in 2020 and 2021 than in any previous year. In addition to the 146 orbital launches in 2021, there were 143 sub-orbital launches of rockets to over 80 kilometers in altitude, for a total of 289 high-altitude launches for the year, or almost one every day.
Earthquakes and Thunderstorms

Earthquakes and Thunderstorms
In 2012, Anatoly Guglielmi and Oleg Zotov reviewed evidence that the global use of electricity has an effect on both seismic activity and thunderstorms……………………………………………  Everyone is so focused on a virus, and on antennas on the ground, that no one is paying attention to the holocaust descending from space.

January 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology, wastes | Leave a comment

Hundreds of thousands of satellites brightening the night sky with negative effects on the ecosphere

Operating, Approved and Proposed 

While the attention of a terrified world has been riveted on a virus, and while concern about radiation has been focused on 5G on the ground, the assault on the heavens has reached astronomical proportions. During the past two years, the number of satellites circling the earth has increased from 2,000 to 4,800, and a flood of new projects has brought the number of operating, approved, and proposed satellites to at least 441,449. And that number only includes low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that will reside in the ionosphere.

The satellite projects include the ones listed below. The companies are based in the United States unless otherwise indicated. 

17,270 satellites already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission:

  • Amazon (Kuiper) – 3,236 satellites
  • Astro Digital – 30 satellites
  • Black Sky Global – 36 satellites
  • Boeing – 147 satellites
  • Capella Space Corp. – 7 satellites
  • Globalstar (operating since 2000) – 48 satellites
  • Hawkeye 360 – 80 satellites
  • ICEYE – 6 satellites (FINLAND)
  • Iridium (operating since 1998) – 66 satellites
  • Kepler Communications – 140 satellites (CANADA)
  • Loft Orbital – 11 satellites
  • OneWeb – 720 satellites (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • Planet Labs (operating) – 200 satellites
  • R2 Space, LLC – 8 satellites
  • Spire Global – 175 satellites
  • SpaceX – 11,943 satellites
  • Swarm – 150 satellites
  • Telesat – 117 satellites (CANADA)
  • Theia Holdings – 120 satellites
  • Umbra Lab – 6 satellites
  • Viasat – 24 satellites

Applications for 65,912 satellites pending before the FCC:

  • Amazon (Kuiper) – 4,538 additional satellites
  • AST & Science – 243 satellites
  • Astra Space – 13,620 satellites
  • Boeing – 5,789 additional satellites
  • Black Sky Global – 14 additional satellites
  • Fleet Space Technologies – 40 satellites (AUSTRALIA)
  • Hughes Network Systems – 1,440 satellites
  • Inmarsat – 198 satellites (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • Kepler Communications – two additional constellations of 360 satellites and 212 satellites (CANADA)
  • Lynk Global – 10 satellites (HONG KONG)
  • Maxar Technologies – 12 satellites
  • New Spectrum – 30 satellites (CANADA)
  • OneWeb – 6,368 additional satellites (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • Orbital Sidekick – 6 satellites
  • SN Space Systems – 1,190 satellites (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • SpaceX – 30,000 additional satellites
  • Telesat – 1,554 additional satellites (CANADA)
  • Terra Bella – 24 satellites (15 already operating)
  • Viasat – 264 additional satellites

Constellations totaling 14,872 satellites announced by governments:……………

Other LEO constellations planned by U.S. and foreign companies, totaling more than 16,055 satellites:……. 

Rwanda, which wants to catapult Africa into world leadership in space, filed an application with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on September 21, 2021 for 327,320 satellites. Its proposal includes 937 orbital planes, distributed in 27 orbital shells (layers of satellites at different altitudes), with 360 satellites in each plane. 

  • Rwanda Space Agency – 327,320 satellites (RWANDA)

TOTAL: 441,449 SATELLITES OPERATING, APPROVED AND PROPOSED (+18 constellations whose numbers are not yet known) Most of the above list of satellites would orbit at altitudes between about 325 km (200 miles) and 1,100 km (680 miles), except that some of Rwanda’s proposed orbits go as low as 280 km (174 miles). The above list does not include applications for satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), or for LEO constellations of fewer than 5 satellites, or constellations in medium earth orbit (MEO) such as:

  • Intelsat (at 8600 km) – 216 satellites (LUXEMBOURG)
  • Mangata Networks (at 6,400 km and 12,000 km) – 791 satellites
  • O3b (at 8,062 km) – 112 satellites (LUXEMBOURG)

BRIGHTENING THE NIGHT SKY Scientists have already begun to publish papers analyzing the effect all these satellites will have, not only on astronomy, but on the appearance of the night sky and the visibility of the stars to everyone on earth. An article published online on March 29, 2021 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society by scientists in Slovakia, Spain and the United States is titled “The proliferation of space objects is a rapidly increasing source of artificial night sky brightness.” The scattering of sunlight from all of the objects in space, wrote the authors, is causing a “new skyglow” during the beginning and end of each night that has already brightened the natural night sky by about 10 percent. The authors are concerned that “the additional contribution of the new satellite mega-constellations” would ruin the night sky to a much greater extent.

A group of Canadian astronomers have an article in the January 2022 issue of The Astronomical Journal. “Megaconstellations of thousands to tens of thousands of artificial satellites (satcons) are rapidly being developed and launched,” they write. “These satcons will have negative consequences for observational astronomy research, and are poised to drastically interfere with naked-eye stargazing worldwide.” They analyzed what the effect on astronomy will be if 65,000 new low-orbit satellites are launched. At 40 degrees latitude (mid-United States; Mediterranean; mid-China; Japan; Buenos Aires; New Zealand), say these authors, more than 1,000 of these satellites will be sunlit and visible in the sky in the summer even at midnight. At higher latitudes (northern U.S.; Canada; most of Europe; Russia), thousands of these satellites will be visible all night long. Another paper, titled Report on Mega-Constellations to the Government of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency, was commissioned by the Canadian Astronomical Society and submitted to the Canadian government on March 31, 2021. It is a moving document. ……………………………………

January 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine visiting Gibraltar puts people and the environment in danger

Gibraltar fury erupts as US submarine told to leave Rock over ‘nuclear risk’

A US submarine has been urged to leave Gibraltar in order to stop putting the Rock at “nuclear risk”. Express UK, By MICHAEL CURZON, Tue, Jan 4, 2022.  The USS Albany made a scheduled port visit in Gibraltar on December 30, 2021. Ecological campaigners criticised the visit as putting the Rock at a ”nuclear risk” over the New Year period and demanded the submarine to “leave”.

Spanish non-governmental organisation Verdemar Ecologistas en Acción said the presence of nuclear submarines at the rock puts thousands of people – along with the environment – at risk.

It said: “Campo de Gibraltar does not want to participate in any submarine war.

“We continue to insist that these submarines are floating bombs and put our families and our environment at risk.”

The organisation was equally critical in December following reports of a UK Astute-class vessel docking in Gibraltar. ………….

t also doubled down on its insistence that the submarine “leave and stop putting at nuclear risk” the Cadiz coast of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The USS Albany made a further stop in December off the coast of Limassol, Cyprus and engaged in coordinated operations with NATO.

Additional reporting Maria Ortega.

January 6, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Falkland Islands in a nuclear-free zone, yet Britain deployed 31nuclear weapons there.

UK Deployed 31 Nuclear Weapons During Falklands War, January 5, 2022  British warships in 1982 were armed with dozens of nuclear depth charges in a nuclear-free zone in Latin America, Richard Norton-Taylor reports. Consortium News, By Richard Norton-Taylor Declassified UK.

The revelation is contained in a new file released to the National Archives. Marked “Top Secret Atomic,” it shows that the presence of the nuclear weapons caused panic among officials in London when they realized the damage, both physical and political, they could have caused.

The military regime in Argentina claimed the Falkland islands and invaded on April 2, 1982. The U.K. government under Margaret Thatcher dispatched a naval task force to the South Atlantic to retake the islands.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) minute, dated April 6, 1982, referred to “huge concern” that some of the “nuclear depth bombs” could be “lost or damaged and the fact become public.” The minute added: “The international repercussions of such an incident could be very damaging.”

Nuclear depth bombs are deployed from navy ships to attack submerged submarines.

The unidentified official who wrote the minute continued:

“The secretary of state [John Nott] will wish to continue the long-established practice of refusing to comment on the presence or absence of UK nuclear weapons at any given location at any particular time.”

Heated Row

The existence of the weapons provoked a heated row between the MoD and the Foreign Office. The latter asked the MoD to “unship” the weapons. The Navy refused to do so……………………………….

Nuclear Free Zone

The Foreign Office was also anxious about the presence of the nuclear weapons because of the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco. This established a nuclear free zone in Latin America and surrounding waters, including the Falklands.

Although Britain had signed and ratified the treaty’s protocols other countries, including Argentina, had not done so. According to Freedman, Margaret Thatcher insisted that no ship carrying nuclear weapons would enter the three-mile territorial waters around the Falklands which would be a “potential breach” of the Tlatelolco treaty.

The MoD admitted in 2003 that British ships in the task force carried nuclear weapons and that a weapon container had been damaged. But the number of weapons had not been revealed before this document was transferred to the National Archives in Kew, south west London.

But a number of documents from the file have been weeded by the MoD or the Cabinet Office. They include an intriguing note, dated April 11, 1982, beginning “The Chiefs of Staff believe…” What they believed we are not allowed to know.

What About Gibraltar?

Many more documents are missing from a separate file, now declassified, entitled “Gibraltar: Impact of the Falklands Crisis”.

Gibraltarians, like the Falkland Islanders, inhabited a British “Overseas Territory” and were concerned because Spain supported Argentine claims of sovereignty over the islands just as it claimed Gibraltar, the large rock and British base on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula.

Whitehall weeders have withheld no fewer than 73 documents from the Gibraltar file. They have done so under exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act, and, specifically, sections 27(i), 40 (2), and 41.

These cover information whose disclosure might “prejudice” the interest of the U.K. abroad, “personal data” and “information provided in confidence.” Passages in other documents in the file have also been excised.

What has the British government to hide? Documents declassified previously may offer some clues. Thatcher repeatedly expressed concern about the implications of the Falklands crisis for Gibraltar.

Despite the public rhetoric, successive U.K. governments have been prepared to negotiate about sovereignty of the Falklands and sought a joint sovereignty agreement with Spain over Gibraltar in 2000 and again in 2002.  This article is from Declassified UK

January 6, 2022 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What we know about North Korea’s nuclear weapons and their military power

What we know about North Korea’s nuclear weapons and their military power. After talks between the US and North Korea failed in 2019, Kim Jong-un has steadily been growing his military arsenal, but does the nation have any nuclear weapons?
.   By Robbie Purves, Birmingham Live, 5 JAN 2022  Kicking off their new year with a bang, North Korea has reportedly launched a ballistic missile, landing it in the East Sea, or Sea of Japan.

Fired from the land, it is suspected to be smaller than previous launches as an attempt to show military might, while avoiding large economic sanctions……..

Not only this, but they have an estimated 40 nuclear warheads. These can be carried by missiles that could reach, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York with ease.

Some military experts have warned they could possess technology to make them manoeuvrable mid-flight and therefore harder to detect.

North Korea blatantly violates UN Security Council resolutions regularly, but has highlighted hypocrisy.

Their neighbours, South Korea, launched a ballistic missiles from a submarine in September 2021, making it the first nation to do so without nuclear weapons.

The South’s president, Moon Jae-in, said the test was “Not a response to North Korea” but noted “the reinforcement of our missile capabilities can be a clear deterrent to North Korea’s provocations.”

South Korea, a long time ally of the US, has the capability to make a nuclear warhead, but has chosen not to do so.

Worryingly for peace in the region, the top People Power Party 2022 presidential candidate Yoon Seok-youl, has stated he would demand the US redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South.

After talks between then President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un failed in 2019 despite much promise, tensions have steadily risen.

January 6, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ireland’s EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness insists that nuclear power is ”green”, amidst backlash over the EU ”taxonomy”

McGuinness insists EU move to label nuclear and gas ‘green’ based on science

Comments come amid backlash towards draft of so-called taxonomy

Naomi O’Leary Europe Correspondent, Irish Times, , Jan 4, 2022  Ireland’s EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness has insisted that a controversial plan to classify some nuclear and gas power energy as “green” for investment purposes is based on scientific advice.

It comes amid a backlash towards a draft of the so-called taxonomy, which is a labelling system for economic activities deemed to be “green” and is intended to drive investment towards achieving the European Union’s goals of carbon neutrality by 2050.

The draft was issued on New Year’s Eve, hours before a deadline to release it within 2021. The Commission has been forced to deny this was an attempt to slip the proposals out with little notice.

The deeply contentious file falls under Ms McGuinness’ brief as commissioner for financial stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, putting the Irish former Fine Gael MEP in the hot seat as EU member states and political groups tussle over the topic.

Setting standards

The taxonomy is intended to set standards for what kind of activities businesses can present as “green”. There are plans to make it apply also to EU funds, potentially driving a flood of money towards the sectors included.

Under the draft plans, nuclear power plant investments could be labelled as green if it is a “transitional” fuel and receives a permit before 2045. Any project must include funding, plans and a site for the safe disposal of radioactive waste………

The draft proposal has been sent to member states and the European Parliament and will now be subject to discussions. It could be blocked if a qualified majority of at least 20 member states, or half the MEPs in the European Parliament, vote to oppose it.

Austria’s climate minister responded to the draft by threatening to “sue” if the plan for nuclear went ahead as described. Meanwhile, some in the nuclear industry protested the proposed tightened standards were too strict. The issue also caused discord between the Green and Social Democrat parties in Germany’s new coalition.

Ms McGuinness said in a statement to The Irish Times that the Commission’s work in the area “is based on robust, science-based criteria” and that the taxonomy regulation “gives a prominent role to scientific advice and advice from experts across the economy and civil society”…………..

January 6, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Ireland | Leave a comment

Xcel in Minnesota wants to use different nuclear waste casks from the approved TN-40 type

Xcel seeks change in Prairie Island nuclear waste storage

The Minneapolis-based utility says it’s not seeking to store more spent nuclear fuel at the plant than the amount it was authorized in 2009. But Xcel wants flexibility to use a different type of storage cask as long as the design is approved by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. News Tribune,  By: Kirsti Marohn / MPR News, Jan. 4, 2022

BRAINERD, Minn. — Xcel Energy is asking state regulators for permission to change how it stores radioactive waste at its Prairie Island nuclear plant in Red Wing, Minnesota.

The Minneapolis-based utility says it’s not seeking to store more spent nuclear fuel at the plant than the amount it was authorized in 2009. But Xcel wants flexibility to use a different type of storage cask as long as the design is approved by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Changing the storage technology likely would cut costs and make it easier to transport the waste to a future storage site outside of Minnesota, said Pam Gorman Prochaska, Xcel’s director of nuclear regulatory policy.

“That’s really the motivating factor behind this change request,” she said. “It’s saving our customers money, and it’s the ability to move the fuel off site sooner.”

Xcel’s request comes amid ongoing debate over what to do with growing stockpiles of spent fuel at the nation’s nuclear reactors, which can remain radioactive for thousands of years.

The federal government’s past efforts to establish a permanent storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, stalled in the face of local opposition. The Biden administration recently announced plans to look for interim storage sites in communities that agree to accept it.

Meanwhile, a private company recently received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an interim storage site in Texas, but it’s facing opposition from political leaders. A second interim storage site in southeast New Mexico is also seeking NRC approval…….

Xcel plans to continue operating the Prairie Island nuclear reactors through the end of their current licenses, which expire in 2033 and 2034. The utility says it hasn’t yet decided whether to seek an extension.

Change of design

In 2009, the Public Utilities Commission authorized Xcel to more than double the amount of waste it stores at Prairie Island to 64 casks. Currently, 47 casks at the plant have been loaded with spent fuel, Prochaska said.

The casks used to store waste at Prairie Island are a bolted metal cask known as TN-40, chosen in 1989. Prairie Island is the last plant still using that design, Prochaska said.

Most plants in the U.S. — including Monticello — are using a system of welded steel canisters that slide into a concrete bunker, she said.

Xcel says switching to a different cask design could allow the spent fuel to be transported to an off-site storage facility sooner.

The two interim storage sites in Texas and New Mexico could accept the canisters, but are not authorized to accept TN-40 casks, Prochaska said.

Local impacts

The Minnesota Department of Commerce decided that Xcel’s request warranted a supplemental environmental review, because it represents new information and raises environmental justice concerns related to the nearby Prairie Island Indian Community.

Heather Westra, a consultant for Prairie Island’s tribal council, which has objected in the past to storing nuclear waste at the plant, said the tribe doesn’t have specific safety concerns about Xcel’s request to switch cask designs, but is hoping that the change will speed up the movement of waste off Prairie Island.

“Whether you put an additional 20 TN-40 casks or 20 type-to-be-determined, the material is still there,” she said. “And so the larger problem still exists that the material is there, and it’s not going anywhere.”

Like other host communities, the tribe receives very little benefit from having a nuclear plant right next door, just 700 yards from the nearest homes, Westra said.

“This situation was not one of the tribe’s creation, but it’s nevertheless something that the tribe is burdened with,” she said.

Prochaska said a draft environmental impact statement will be completed early next year, and will be followed by additional public hearings before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decides on the request.

“Whether you put an additional 20 TN-40 casks or 20 type-to-be-determined, the material is still there,” she said. “And so the larger problem still exists that the material is there, and it’s not going anywhere.”

Like other host communities, the tribe receives very little benefit from having a nuclear plant right next door, just 700 yards from the nearest homes, Westra said.

“This situation was not one of the tribe’s creation, but it’s nevertheless something that the tribe is burdened with,” she said.

Prochaska said a draft environmental impact statement will be completed early next year, and will be followed by additional public hearings before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decides on the request.

Xcel also is seeking to extend the Monticello plant’s license until 2040, and is requesting authorization from the Public Utilities Commission to increase the amount of spent fuel stored there. That process could take two years, Prochaska said.

January 6, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The time to act is now — IPPNW peace and health blog

[The following presentation was made by Jasmine Owens, Lead Organizer and Policy Coordinator at Physicians for Social Responsibility (IPPNW’s US affiliate) at an event sponsored by the Peace and Planet network on 4 January. IPPNW is a member of the network, which has called on the postponed NPT Review Conference to “fulfill the Nuclear Nonproliferation […]

The time to act is now — IPPNW peace and health blog

January 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment