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

TODAY. Suicide of our species? Ignoring global heating is the way there.

Look – this site is dedicated to exposing the lies of the nuclear industry, and to hastening its closure. as it continues its terminal decline.

At the same time, a space alien, laughing at our nuclear folly, must be even more amazed that the elderly white men who run the world continue to promote and pour money into the fossil fuel industries that are over-heating our planet.

While black, brown and yellow people will cop the brunt of what the white nations have caused – heck, global heating is even hitting the white nations now.!

Bad enough that China and North Africa get prolonged droughts, that a third of Pakistan is under water, but Europe and USA have had record heat, and gosh – it’s getting harder to ski in Switzerland, as glaciers melt!

These events are reported as separate ‘national’ issues, – but they’re really just one big planetary event.

The only known planet that can support human life is being trashed as we all support the industries that are doing the trashing, including the ridiculous wasteful, and very polluting space industries that apparently are designed to rescue us from our damaged planet.


September 2, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

IAEA at Zaporizhia nuclear station: Dr Paul Dorfman assesses the risks

The “physical integrity” of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in
south-eastern Ukraine has been “violated”, the head of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said, as he voiced his fears
for the site.

Rafael Grossi led a team of inspectors to the
Russian-controlled plant that has been frequently shelled in recent weeks,
raising fears of a nuclear incident. “It is obvious that the plant and
physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times,” Grossi
told reporters after he returned with part of his team to the
Ukrainian-controlled area on Thursday.

“I worried, I worry and I will
continue to be worried about the plant,” he said, while adding that the
situation was “more predictable” now. Rafael Grossi speaks to the media
before setting off to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “We have
spent there four or five hours. I have seen a lot, and I have my people
there, we were able to tour the whole site,” Grossi said about the
long-anticipated inspection. He said that part of his 14-strong mission to
the plant would stay at the facility “until Sunday or Monday, continuing
with the assessment”.

Guardian 2nd Sept 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Gorbachev Ended Cold War, Eased Nuclear Tensions But Trusted US Too Much – Experts

News Ghana, By SPUTNIK, September 1, 2022,

Late Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was a good, well-meaning man who ended the Cold War and dramatically reduced superpower and global nuclear tensions, but he put too much trust into the unwritten assurances of American leaders, experts told Sputnik.

Gorbachev died on Tuesday at the age of 91 in Moscow after a long and serious illness, according to the Central Clinical Hospital. He will be laid to rest at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow after a public farewell ceremony on Saturday.

Former US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Chas Freeman paid tribute to Gorbachev’s monumental achievement in easing global tensions and ensuring superpower peace for decades.

“Until his death, he was the most consequential of all living persons,” Freeman said.

Global anti-nuclear campaigner Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Nobel Peace Prize winning Physicians said Gorbachev had far greater vision and determination to abolish nuclear weapons than his US counterparts.

Global anti-nuclear campaigner Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Nobel Peace Prize winning Physicians said Gorbachev had far greater vision and determination to abolish nuclear weapons than his US counterparts.

“A global hero died [on Tuesday]. A man who liaised with [then-US president Ronald] Reagan who brought the Cold War to an end and was one of the wisest men, if not the wisest, of this last century,” she said.

Unfortunately, when the two leaders met in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 1986 and almost agreed to abolish nuclear weapons, Reagan insisted on keeping Star Wars, the US-space-based weapons systems, Caldicott recalled.

“Gorbachev opposed this notion, so we still have our lives hanging by a thread, rapidly approaching global annihilation,” she said.

Gorbachev was also opposed to the eastward expansion of NATO in the 30 years following the end of the Soviet Union, Caldicott pointed out. A halt on NATO expansion east of the Oder River and the eastern-most border of Germany had been promised by then-Secretary of State James A. Baker III in the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, she noted.

However, this pledge was “subsequently violated by the great United States of America, hence the murderous mess in the Ukraine [today],” Caldicott commented.

American University in Moscow President Edward Lozansky agreed that Gorbachev was a good man who sought international global security and cooperation for all, especially for the Russian and American peoples, but that he was naive in trusting the assurances of successive US leaders.

“Gorbachev was a good man who clearly saw the mountains of problems in… the Soviet Union but naively expected America’s help in solving them,” he said.

In his vision which Gorbachev presented to Washington he saw this help not as a charity but an investment in the future, involving both mutually beneficial security and economic cooperation, Lozansky explained.

“Taking into account Russia’s enormous natural riches, its huge nuclear arsenal and human capital, that cooperation being performed in an honest way would definitely be good for everyone and prevent many problems that America faces today,” he pointed out.

However, the Washington establishment has chosen another way, Lozansky observed………

Gorbachev will rank high in the annals of the world, Lozansky concluded.

“Still. I believe that his historical legacy will place him in the ranks of the righteous,” he said.

California State University Political Science Professor Beau Grosscup agreed that Gorbachev had courageously approved enormous constructive changes even at the cost of his own standing and career…………..

September 2, 2022 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion condemns decision for massively costly Sizewell C nuclear station. “Sizewell C is massively costly, achingly slow, and carries huge unnecessary risks. Its approval marks Boris Johnson taking one final opportunity to kick the public in the teeth before his departure as Prime Minister.  

“This project is expected to cost up to £30 billion; and in following the Regulated Asset Base business model, it will pass that enormous upfront cost directly onto the consumer. As energy bills soar ever higher and this lame duck Government leaves people in the lurch, the last thing the public needs right now is a massively costly nuclear white elephant. Even cabinet ministers are already expressing reservations about its value for money. 

“When we need oven-ready solutions to delivering energy security and slashing bills, Sizewell C simply is not one of them. Hinkley Point C will have taken the best part of two decades to go from planning to production, and it’s still years behind schedule. This Sizewell plant could take anywhere between 10-17 years to build. 

“Meanwhile, there are hundreds of energy-saving options and clean, cheap and home-grown renewable projects ready to go – yet solar farms are being refused at their highest rate for five years, the Government has utterly failed to adopt a retrofit revolution to slash energy bills, and now Tory leadership candidates are vowing to block onshore wind power which could be operational within days. 

“Rubber stamping Sizewell C is simply Boris Johnson’s woeful final attempt at making his Prime Ministerial mark – it’s befitting of him that this vanity project is the wrong answer at the wrong time.” 

Julian Cusack, chair of Suffolk Coastal Green Party, said: “For Boris Johnson to claim Sizewell C as his legacy is just outrageous. It is the wrong and unproven technology in the wrong place and will deliver the most expensive electricity sometime in the next decade. It is totally irrelevant to today’s energy cost crisis and will do wanton damage to prized landscapes and fragile local communities.”

September 2, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Fighting goes on near Ukraine nuclear plant; IAEA on site

WSMV4 By YESICA FISCH, Sep. 2, 2022, ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Fighting raged Friday near Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in a Russian-held area of eastern Ukraine, as inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency expressed concern over the facility’s “physical integrity” but didn’t blame either warring side.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi said he expects to produce a report “early next week, as soon as we have the full picture of the situation by the end of the weekend, more or less.”

Speaking to reporters in Vienna after returning from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, he said he will brief the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

“We’ve seen what I requested to see — everything I requested to see,” Grossi said, adding that his big concerns were the plant’s “physical integrity,” the power supply to the facility and the situation of the staff………………..

Russian-backed officials in Enerhodar claimed Russian forces had shot down an armed Ukrainian drone near the plant Friday.

“Ukrainian militants, apparently, continue to try to attack the plant despite the fact that there are IAEA employees there,” the press service of the municipal administration said in a statement………………….

Ukraine alleges Russia is using the plant as a shield to launch attacks. On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rejected the Ukrainian allegations and said Russia has no heavy weapons either on the site or in nearby areas.

Shoigu said Ukrainian forces have fired 120 artillery shells and used 16 suicide drones to hit the plant, “raising a real threat of a nuclear catastrophe in Europe.” ………..

September 2, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Very real risks of nuclear catastrophe at Zaporizhia nuclear station, with the memory of Chernobyl ever present

War in Ukraine. What are the risks of a nuclear accident around the
Zaporijjia power plant? For weeks, the international community has had its
sights set on the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, which the Russians and
Ukrainians have accused each other of bombing. This Thursday, September 1,
IAEA experts arrived at the plant to assess the security situation there.

Its director general, Rafael Grossi, had earlier warned of the “real risk
of nuclear disaster”. What are the real risks of a nuclear accident around
this plant? In Zaporijjia, near the eponymous nuclear power plant, occupied
by Russian forces and the target of regular bombardments, the inhabitants
are now preparing for the worst, and some are already imagining seeing the
reactors explode.

Because the fighting around this power plant with its
imposing silhouette, the largest in Europe, has revived painful memories of
the Chernobyl disaster, which occurred in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. That
year, a reactor exploded, causing the largest civilian nuclear accident in
history and releasing a radioactive cloud that spread across Europe.

According to the UN, around thirty operators and firefighters lost their
lives there, killed by acute radiation, but the human toll of the disaster
is still debated today. According to different sources, the number of
deaths as a result of this nuclear accident varies from a few hundred to
several thousand. The NGO Greenpeace even estimates that it would have
caused 200,000 additional deaths between 1990 and 2004.

Thirty-six years later, this Chernobyl disaster is still present in people’s minds, and some
fear that the scenario will repeat itself in Zaporijjia. But are the fears
of the inhabitants of Zaporijjia, located barely fifty kilometers as the
crow flies from the plant, really justified? Is a serious nuclear accident
really possible?

“Yes, serious accidents are possible, nuclear power plants
being machines that are intrinsically very sensitive to external
aggressions and not being designed to operate in a context of armed
conflict” , explains Bernard Laponche, former nuclear engineer at the
Commissariat at the atomic energy (CEA), doctor in nuclear physics and
president of the Global Chance association. And this, especially since no
one knows today what the current state of this plant is.

Ouest France 1st Sept 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Zelensky aide says UN nuclear watchdog should be mistrusted ‘by default’, 2 Sept 22,

A top advisor to the Ukrainian president says he doesn’t expect a breakthrough from the IAEA mission to the Zaporozhye power plant.

International organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are “cowardly” and cannot be trusted, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said.

“I don’t like international institutions and mediation missions in general. They look extremely ineffective, extremely cowardly and extremely unprofessional,” Mikhail Podolyak said in an interview on Thursday evening.

This applies “not only to the IAEA”, but also to the UN, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ukrainian official claimed, adding: “By default, you should not trust them.”

Podolyak’s remarks came as he criticized the IAEA mission to the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which arrived earlier in the day. He expressed his low expectations from the mission, based on the positive remarks that Director General Rafael Grossi made after touring the facility in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian official said he was willing to give the IAEA inspectors the benefit of the doubt and wait for them make an official report that would “show the depth of their inner destruction”.

He explained his concerns, citing several aspects of Grossi’s visit. They include its relatively short duration, which Podolyak assessed was too short for a proper fact-finding mission. He also criticized the willingness of the IAEA chief to talk to a representative of the Russian atomic energy body Rosatom, who, Podolyak said, “delivered a strange long speech” to the UN official.

The IAEA experts arrived at the station from Kiev despite continued military action in its vicinity. Kiev and Moscow have accused each other of being behind the shelling and of trying to derail the inspection. Some members of the mission stayed behind to monitor the situation, while Grossi and others left.

Podolyak said the IAEA should blame Russia for attacks on the plant, and if their report fails to do so, only stating that inspectors witnessed evidence of strikes, his opinion about the organization will be vindicated.

President Vladimir Zelensky too has expressed skepticism about the IAEA visit to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant………….

September 2, 2022 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

High Court legal challenge to UK government against decision to build Sizewell C nuclear station

A campaign group has issued legal proceedings against the government challenging its decision to allow for the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station to go ahead against the advice of the planning Examining Authority.

Together Against Sizewell C Limited (TASC) has issued the judicial review proceedings in the High Court following an unsatisfactory response to their pre-action protocol letter sent to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng at the beginning of August.

The Examining Authority (ExA) recommended refusal of development consent, accepting in part TASC’s evidence that the 3.2 gigawatt power station to be built alongside the 27-year-old Sizewell B nuclear plant should not be built in that Suffolk location where the water supply cannot be guaranteed, and the coastline will not be resilient for the entire lifetime of the project. However, Mr Kwarteng rejected the ExA advice and granted consent on 20 July, 2022.

TASC argue in their legal case that the decision to give the go ahead for Sizewell C is unlawful on a number of grounds, including:

  •  Failure to give lawfully adequate reasons for departing from the advice of Natural England, who were of the view that the water supply element did form part of the Sizewell C project;
  • Failure to consider all alternative solutions to the project, including alternatives to nuclear power, given the purpose of the project was to generate electricity and that could potentially be done in a less harmful way;
  • Taking into account a legally irrelevant consideration, namely the contribution the project would make to reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, because the electricity grid is supposed to be carbon neutral by 2035 and without a permanent water supply solution there is no guarantee Sizewell C will contribute significantly to that target;
  • Acting irrationally by assuming the site would be clear of nuclear material by 2140 when evidence presented to the examination showed that it would be much later;
  • Wrongly concluding that the project’s operational emissions would not have a significant effect on the UK’s ability to meet its climate change obligations, because no such assessment was conducted.

TASC is supported in this action by two other opposition groups in the area, Suffolk Coastal Friends of the Earth and Stop Sizewell C……………………….

Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith said:

“Our client is incredibly concerned that the government has ignored the recommendation of the Examining Authority to give the go ahead to Sizewell C. For such a locally and nationally important issue, it was vital that the Secretary of State properly assesses the environmental impacts of the project. However, TASC believes that fundamental legal errors were made, particularly in respect of water, alternatives to nuclear power, local wildlife and climate change. We hope these arguments will now be fully scrutinised by the Court.”

TASC is fundraising towards the costs of the judicial review:

September 2, 2022 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

UN thanks Russia for keeping nuclear team safe 1 Sept 22, Russia “did what it needed to do” to get inspectors to front-line facility

The UN is appreciates Russia’s efforts to safeguard the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team that came to inspect the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, on Thursday.

That’s according to the secretary-general’s chief spokesman, who was speaking after the Russian Defense Ministry said it was “bewildered” at the lack of reaction to an alleged Ukrainian attempt to seize the facility by force.

“We are glad that the Russian Federation did what it needed to do to keep our inspectors safe,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters at a briefing in New York, when asked about Moscow’s comments. 

“As with any UN mission, it is the responsibility of those who control a certain area to keep the UN staff safe,” he added, also thanking the “security people” and “drivers” for the “tremendous job” of getting the IAEA team safely in and out of the Zaporozhye NPP.

The mission, led by IAEA director Rafael Grossi, was delayed at a Ukrainian checkpoint on Thursday morning. It eventually made its way to Russian-controlled Energodar and toured the facility for several hours, before heading back to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Right before their visit, however, Ukrainian artillery targeted the city of Energodar and the Zaporozhye NPP itself, while a group of commandos crossed the Kakhovka Reservoir by boat and attempted to storm the facility, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Both the initial assault group and the reinforcements that followed were wiped out by the National Guard and combat helicopters, the Russian military said. Their goal, according to Moscow, was to seize the Russian-held power plant and use the IAEA staff as “human shields” to maintain control over the facility.

Energodar and the Zaporozhye NPP have been under Russian control since early March. In August, the nuclear site was targeted by regular artillery and drone attacks, which Moscow and Kiev blamed on each other. Ukrainian officials also claimed that the Russian military was using the plant as a military base, stationing heavy weapons there. Moscow denied the accusations, saying that it only had lightly armed guards defending the facility.

Moscow has called for an IAEA visit to Zaporozhye, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, since June – but Ukraine’s insistence that the mission must travel through Kiev to uphold Ukrainian sovereignty contributed to delaying the mission until this week.

September 2, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear power: the accumulating problems

With the present British government intent on a fleet of new nuclear power stations, Dr Paul Dorfman, Sussex University, looks at the major obstacles
and argues for alternatives.

Although the current UK government plans some
sort of nuclear renaissance, in this article I’ll show that new nuclear
power can do nothing for our current energy crisis and may well endanger
our response to the climate crisis.

But the coming months will tell – and
it will be a very long time in politics. This winter – with millions
struggling under the cost-of-living crisis, plunged into unmanageable debt
through energy price ramps, and choosing between eating and heating –
putting huge sums of public money into the deep pockets of French
state-owned EDF via its long-term nuclear power construction programme may
look much less palatable to the public, press and policy-makers.

Especially when cheaper, faster, more efficient renewable power and storage
technologies are available here and now. Coupled with large-scale home
insulation programmes, these are what would really make a difference to

Responsible Science 31st Aug 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

GDF Community Partnership promotes “feel good” books to children, making nuclear waste dump ‘cute and safe’.

In 2003 The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that BNFL – now the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority could not “make an absolute claim”
about the future of nuclear waste at Sellafield and the advert showing a
butterfly flying away from a hand, with the headline “The future of the
environment is in safe hands” was ordered to be removed.

Now in 2022,
Nuclear Waste Services, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority has formed partnerships of Nuclear Waste Services and “the
local community” called GDF Community Partnerships (three in Cumbria and
one in Lincolnshire).

GDF Partnership literature has been produced to
promote support in communities for a Geological Disposal Facility for heat
generating nuclear wastes. All advertising literature published under the
tagline “Working in Partnership” states: “Doing the right thing for
future generations. Geological disposal is one of the UK’s largest ever
environmental protection projects, which will provide a safe and secure
long-term solution for the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.
This programme will create investment and jobs over many generations.”

This flies in the face of the 2003 ASA ruling that no absolute claims can
be made for the future safety of nuclear waste. “GDF’s Heroes”
Advertorial Literature Targeted at Children. While all the GDF Partnership
advertising aimed at adults makes absolute claims which as the ASA
previously ruled cannot be backed up (unless the GDF Partnership have a
fail safe crystal ball), our primary complaint is the literature aimed at

In particular a promotional colouring book aimed at children
called “GDF’s Heroes”. Colourful Nuclear Dump “feel good” books are
targeted at children to advertise Geological Disposal.

Radiation Free Lakeland 1st Sept 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s £3.3 million tax-payer boost for untried non-existent technology

UK government’s £3.3 million boost for next generation nuclear technology

Government backing for the next generation of nuclear reactors. From:Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP UK government news 2 September 2022

“……………….. This £3.3 million funding through the Advanced Modular Reactor Research, Development and Demonstration (AMR RD&D) programme, will support the development of cutting-edge nuclear technology in the UK…………………………

The winners announced today

  • U-Battery Developments Ltd in Slough is receiving £499,845 for a study to determine the optimum size, type, cost, and delivery method for an U­-Battery AMR suitable for demonstration in the UK
  • EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd in Gloucester and Hartlepool is receiving £499,737 focusing on end-user requirements to determine the reactor design characteristics most suitable for a HTGR demonstration in the 2030s. EDF proposes the Hartlepool Heat Hub as a host site for the UK’s first HTGR demonstration
  • Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation UK Ltd in St Helens, Merseyside is receiving £498,312 for a project that will build on USNC’s existing micro modular reactor (MMR) design as a foundation to develop and demonstrate a modified MMR+ design best suited to UK industry’s current and projected future process heat demands. This includes a demonstration of hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production
  • National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd in Cheshire is receiving £497,495 for a project that coordinates a UK-Japan team (NNL, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Jacobs) to leverage a proven HTGR baseline from Japan and adopt an innovative approach in its design, build, construction and operation
  • Springfields Fuels Ltd in Salwick, Lancashire is receiving £243,311 for a project, in collaboration with Urenco Limited, to support the range of potential HTGR technologies which may come forward in the UK
  • National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd in Cheshire is receiving £250,000 under the Lot 2 Phase A funding, for a project that aims to deliver a domestic commercial fuel supply starting with the first fuel load for the HTGR demonstration….

September 2, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine nuclear plant: what happens if it releases a radioactive plume?

An atmospheric scientist describes how researchers would track a toxic cloud in the case of an accident at the occupied Zaporizhzhia power station.

“…………………………………….. Nature spoke with Kusmierczyk-Michulec about how her work could help the world to cope with a possible accident at Zaporizhzhia.

What does the CTBTO’s nuclear-monitoring network do?…………………

How did the CTBTO help to track the plume from the Fukushima Daiichi accident?…………………….

How would we find out if there is a detection of radioactivity released from the Zaporizhzhia plant? Does your network have stations nearby?……………………………..

Are there prevailing weather patterns around southern Ukraine that would determine how the plume would probably move?

The answer is not so straightforward. Air masses can travel a long way, for a long time. After a few days, they may reach quite a far distance, depending on the weather conditions, wind directions and wind speeds. Prevailing weather patterns are not a sufficient indicator, especially in that region with quite variable wind direction……………………. more

September 2, 2022 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Radioactive Waste ‘Everywhere’ at Ohio Oilfield Facility, Says Former Worker

Community groups present health and environmental justice concerns to the EPA, alleging workers at Austin Master Services are coated in dangerous levels of radioactive waste.

DeSmog, By Justin Nobel, Aug 31, 2022 ,

As Bill Torbett and his colleagues went about their work, handling the sloppy radioactive detritus of oilfields in a cavernous building in eastern Ohio, their skin and clothing often became smothered in sludge. Waste was splattered on the floor and walls, even around the electrical panels. At the end of their shifts, they typically left their uniforms in the company washing machine, which didn’t always work, and left their sludge-caked boots and hard hats in the company locker room. But when the men arrived home after a long day, the job came with them too.

“We were literally ankle-deep in sludge and a lot of times knee-deep in different spots. All that shit is dripping down on you,” says Torbett, a 51-year-old former employee of Austin Master Services, a radioactive oilfield waste facility in Martins Ferry, Ohio. “You’re saturated in it, your hands are covered in it, the denim of your uniform would hold it, and the moisture would soak right through your under-clothes and into your skin.”

“How wet?” Torbett says. “Like if you got caught outside in the rain without an umbrella. Soaking wet.”

In fact, so alarming are the conditions at Austin Master and so lax is the oversight that workers have taken things into their own hands. In one case, a second former worker has covertly passed along their dirty boots, hard hat, and headlamp for independent radiological analysis. The levels of the radioactive element radium found in the sludge on this worker’s boots was about 15 times federal cleanup limits for the nation’s worst toxic waste sites.

And yet, Austin Master appeared to keep workers in the dark about what they were handling. “They really didn’t tell me the gist of the material, I just knew it came from frack sites,” according to Torbett, who worked at the facility from November 2021 to February 2022. “There was no discussion of the material and its radioactivity.”

In April, DeSmog revealed that Concerned Ohio River Residents, a local advocacy group, had documented elevated levels of radium outside the main entrance to the Austin Master facility, that state inspection reports showed a lengthy history of concerning operating practices, and that rail cars leaving the facility for a radioactive waste disposal site in the Utah desert had arrived leaking on five occasions.

The situation at the Ohio facility appears so severe that top officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5, which covers much of the Midwest, joined local organizers in a conference call in July and made an in-person visit to the area earlier this month.

The state of Ohio has authorized Austin Master Services to receive 120 million pounds of radioactive oilfield waste at its Martins Ferry location each year.

Austin Master has not replied to questions regarding the reported radioactivity levels on worker clothing. “There is nothing unusual or harmful about AMS’s process,” Chris Martin, a company spokesperson, told DeSmog in response to questions sent in March regarding work practices at the facility. “Austin Master Services takes a responsible approach to providing valuable waste remediation services and jobs in the Martins Ferry community.” Martin maintained that “there are no known complaints from AMS employees concerning work conditions.”

On July 1, American Energy Partners, a Pennsylvania-based energy and infrastructure services company, acquired Austin Master Services. In a press release, American Energy Partners describes Austin Master as “a full-service, comprehensive environmental services firm specializing in radiological waste management solutions” that provides “professional safety, industrial hygiene and health physics services.” The company has not replied to questions.

The conditions documented by state inspection reports and the contamination revealed by advocacy groups raise questions about the risks to first responders and the community should the Martins Ferry facility have an accident……………………………………

Welcome to the Messy World of Radioactive Oilfield Waste

The Austin Master facility is located in a former steel mill on the Ohio River, not far from the city of Martins Ferry’s drinking water wells and the football stadium of the local high school team, the Purple Riders. Austin Master receives truckloads of drill cuttings bored out of the Marcellus and Utica shale and of radioactive sludge that forms at the bottom of tanks and trucks that hold toxic liquids brought to the surface of fracked oil and gas wells. Right now, more than a third of America’s natural gas supply comes from wells in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Some of it is converted to liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and shipped overseas to customers in Europe and elsewhere.

Processing radioactive oilfield waste has proven enormously problematic for the oil and gas industry and its regulators, and given rise to a booming service sector of facilities like those run by Austin Master that collect, treat, and process the waste. Part of the problem is that a significant amount of oilfield waste is too radioactive to be shipped directly to traditional landfills. Instead, it must be “down-blended,” or mixed with material like lime or a corn cob base to lower the radioactive signature. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) does regulate the state’s roughly two dozen oilfield waste processing facilities, but in a limited way. In 2014, Austin Master received an ODNR order, known as a Chief’s Order, giving the company temporary approval to “process, recycle, and treat brine” and other oilfield waste.

At Austin Master’s Martins Ferry facility, Torbett says, trucks regularly dumped the more sludge-like or solid radioactive oilfield waste directly onto the floor of the former steel mill, and workers used common heavy construction equipment like Bobcats to maneuver it into various bins or pits. Waste that was more liquid-like was often dumped into metal containers called half-rounds, says Torbett. In one state inspection photo from August 2018, a worker with bare arms and no face protection or respirator holds a push broom……………………………….

It is work like this that has Massachusetts-based nuclear forensics scientist Dr. Marco Kaltofen deeply concerned about worker health risks. He said any time oilfield waste is moved around in piles at a processing facility such as Austin Master, dust is inevitably created and is likely to contain the radioactive element radium, which is commonly found in oilfield waste..

In addition to dust and wet spatter from the facility’s waste processing practices, Kaltofen voiced worries about the risk of radioactivity exposure to the people interacting with employees outside of work. “Workers’ skin can also become coated with this radioactive material, and either absorb it, or contaminate their families,” he added.

Earlier this year, a second former employee of Austin Master, who prefers to remain anonymous because they still work in the region, provided the boots, hard hat, and headlamp they used while working at the Martins Ferry facility to the organization Concerned Ohio River Residents, members of which have been previously instructed by Kaltofen in how to safely handle such items. The group then sent the worker items along to Kaltofen, who sent sludge from the boots to Eberline Analytical, a radiological analysis lab in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The lab returned the results in May, and they were startling, according to Kaltofen. They showed levels of radium-226 at 76.3 picocuries per gram, and levels of another form of radium common in oilfield waste, radium-228, at 8.66 picocuries per gram. This placed the radioactivity values at roughly 15 times EPA cleanup limits for topsoil at uranium mills and Superfund sites. ………………………………….

“Radium is commonly referred to as a bone seeker,” states a report of the National Research Council Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations. If accidentally inhaled or ingested, the radioactive element tends to accumulate in the bones, where it continues emitting radiation and can lead to cancer…………………………..

“These results are alarming and it signifies the need for appropriate radiation protection measures in the oil and gas workplace,” adds Bemnet Alemayehu, a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) staff scientist with a PhD in radiation health physics and co-author of a 2021 report on this issue. DeSmog provided NRDC with Eberline Analytical’s analysis of the worker’s clothing. “Based on the data provided,” says Alemayehu, “it appears the radioactivity levels are high enough to cause” exposure risks to the oil and gas workers…………………………….

Raising Red Flags

Concerned Ohio River Residents, which received the clothing items from the former worker and sampled the soil on the public road outside the facility, has long been worried about the risks the Austin Master facility posed to workers and the community at large and is in touch with a number of former workers. In mid-August, members of the group toured officials with EPA Region 5 around the area, including a drive-by of the Austin Master facility in Martins Ferry.

Despite the dangers this type of oil and gas waste poses, a 1980 provision enacted by Congress has deemed it non-hazardous and therefore exempt from federal rules that would otherwise apply to hazardous waste. ………………………………

Meanwhile Ohio regulatory agencies appear to be equally hamstrung in their ability to manage or even systematically assess the situation. ………………………………

Industry workers and residents across the Marcellus and Utica shale tell DeSmog it is this general tone of dismissal and inaction from regulators that has them feeling aggravated when it comes to oilfield radioactivity and its harms………………………

DeSmog presented the Health Physics Society with information and documents concerning the situation at Austin Master, but the group has not replied to questions.

…………………………………. fixing this issue in the United States goes beyond just personal protective equipment and straight to lawmakers, says Amy Mall, a senior advocate at NRDC. “We need Congress to act to end the dangerous oil and gas loopholes in our federal laws, including the gap for naturally occurring radioactive materials,” says Mall. “In addition, we urge the EPA to investigate this situation and other oil and gas waste sites around the country, and to revise its rules to reflect current knowledge about the risks to human health and the environment.”…………………………

While Waiting for Governments to Act, Citizens Are Stepping in

In July, Concerned Ohio River Residents and other Ohio advocacy groups sent a letter about Austin Master to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“We have identified environmental justice and human rights abuse under President Biden’s Executive Order 13985,” the letter stated. “Understanding your values and heavy emphasis on pushing for environmental justice, we call upon the United States Environmental Protection Agency to address disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts on low-income populations here in Appalachia…We call upon your Office to investigate these issues because no other governmental or regulatory agency is stepping up.”…………………………….

September 2, 2022 Posted by | employment, health, wastes | Leave a comment

Future threat to Europe’s water supplies as Switzerland’s glaciers are rapidly thawing

Switzerland’s glaciers have lost more than half their volume in less than a
hundred years, and the long hot summer this year has accelerated the thaw,
a new study shows. The glaciers support ski resorts and attract climbers
and hikers in summer, but are also essential to Europe’s water supply. Now,
communities across the Alps are worrying about their future.

BBC 1st Sept 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Switzerland | Leave a comment