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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

V. C. Summer former nuclear workers filing lawsuits against nuclear plant employers

Attorneys filing lawsuits against nuclear plant employers, http://wach.com/news/local/attorneys-filing-lawsuits-against-nuclear-plant-employersby Michelle Zhu, 18 Aug 17, 

It’s called the WARN Act, which stands for Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification. It requires employers of more than 100 workers to provide 60 day advance notice of mass layoffs. In response, Attorney Jack Raisner and his partners filed lawsuits against both Westinghouse and SCANA at the beginning of August.

At this point, complaints have been filed and the Outten and Golden firm is waiting for an answer. Attorney Raisner says they can’t guarantee an outcome but they feel confident something will come out of the case. If the plaintiffs win, all employees will receive up to eight weeks of lost pay, plus benefits. The process could take as little as a few months or up to several years.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Escalating dispute at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria

18 Aug 17, The dispute at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria has
escalated amid claims workplace meetings to discuss a 1.5% have been banned
by bosses. The union Unite, which is preparing to ballot its 2,000 members
for industrial over the offer which it says is “completely
unacceptable”, has hit out at the management move.
http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/northwest/news/2008261-union-hits-sellafield-workplace-meetings-%E2%80%98ban%E2%80%99

August 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Hundreds of workers laid off, thousands of contractors lost jobs: lawsuit against Westinghouse over VC Summer nuclear failure

Pittsburgh Gazette 11th Aug 2017, Following the filing of a lawsuit alleging that Westinghouse Electric Co. violated labor laws by laying off hundreds of workers without proper notice, the bankrupt nuclear company confirmed Friday that it has furloughed 870 employees across the company.

The number represents all full-time Westinghouse employees who had been working on the VC Summer
nuclear power plant in South Carolina and includes 125 workers at
Westinghouse’s Cranberry headquarters. The majority of the furloughs took
place at the site of the VC Summer nuclear power plant construction
project.

The project was canceled last week by two South Carolina utilities. Years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, theproject was expected to cost another $8 billion to complete.

In addition to the Westinghouse layoffs, thousands of contractors working on the South Carolina site also lost their jobs.

The lawsuit, filed in bankruptcy court on Thursday by Andrew Fleetwood, a field engineering manager at VC Summer,
claims Westinghouse employees like him were furloughed “without being given any indication that his employment or that of his co-workers would ever recommence.”  http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/companies/2017/08/11/Westinghouse-furloughed-870-employees-in-fallout-from-the-cancelled-South-Carolina-nuclear-project/stories/201708110130

August 14, 2017 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Workers’ health at risk at Idaho nuclear lab

Unheeded warnings, repeated mistakes put workers’ health at risk at Idaho nuclear lab, Idaho Statesman, BY PATRICK MALONE AND PETER CARY, The Center for Public Integrity AUGUST 10, 2017 

August 11, 2017 Posted by | employment, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Workers in Southern USA States now facing climate change health hazards

In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Now a Workplace Hazard  Workers laboring outdoors in southern states are wrestling with the personal and political consequences of a worsening environment, NYT, By YAMICHE ALCINDORAUG. 3, 2017, GALVESTON, Tex. — Adolfo Guerra, a landscaper in this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, remembers panicking as his co-worker vomited and convulsed after hours of mowing lawns in stifling heat. Other workers rushed to cover him with ice, and the man recovered.

But for Mr. Guerra, 24, who spends nine hours a day six days a week doing yard work, the episode was a reminder of the dangers that exist for outdoor workers as the planet warms.

“I think about the climate every day,” Mr. Guerra said, “because every day we work, and every day it feels like it’s getting hotter.”……

 to Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who some call the “father of environmental justice,” the industrial revival that Mr. Trump has promised could come with some serious downsides for an already warming planet. Professor Bullard is trying to bring that message to working-class Americans like Mr. Guerra, and to environmental organizations that have, in his mind, been more focused on struggling animals than poor humans, who have been disproportionately harmed by increasing temperatures, worsening storms and rising sea levels.

“For too long, a lot of the climate change and global warming arguments have been looking at melting ice and polar bears and not at the human suffering side of it,” Professor Bullard said. “They are still pushing out the polar bear as the icon for climate change. The icon should be a kid who is suffering from the negative impacts of climate change and increased air pollution, or a family where rising water is endangering their lives.”

The “environmental justice movement” has, in fact, caught on with major environmental groups, but it has far to go before it begins moving the dial in the nation’s politics. Professor Bullard envisions the recruits for his movement coming not only from the liberal college towns of the Northeast and Midwest, but also from the sweltering working-class communities in the Sun Belt, which he sees as the front line of the nation’s environmental wars.

Residents of working-class communities in the Sun Belt often cannot afford to move or evacuate during weather disasters. They may work outside, and they may struggle to cover their air-conditioning bills. Pollution in their communities leads to health problems that are compounded by the refusal of most Sun Belt state governments to expand Medicaid access under the Affordable Care Act…….. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/climate-change-trump-working-poor-activists.html

August 4, 2017 Posted by | climate change, employment, USA | Leave a comment

Hanford workers inhaled radioactive plutonium – new tests show

Tests show Hanford workers inhaled radioactive plutonium, Susannah Frame, KING 5   August 03, 2017 On June 8 approximately 350 Hanford workers were ordered to “take cover” after alarms designed to detect elevated levels of airborne radioactive contamination went off.  It was quickly determined that radioactive  particles had been swept out of a containment zone at the plutonium finishing plant (PFP) demolition site. The work is considered the most hazardous demolition project on the entire nuclear reservation.

At the time Hanford officials called the safety measure “precautionary.” Officials from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, which owns Hanford, and the contractor in charge of the demolition, CH2M Hill, downplayed the seriousness of the event with statements including, it appeared “workers were not at risk”, “(the alarm went off) in an area where contamination is expected” and there was “no evidence radioactive particles had been inhaled” by anyone.

The KING 5 Investigators have discovered those statements are incorrect. An internal CH2M Hill email sent to their employees on July 21 was obtained by KING. It states that 301 (test kits) have been issued to employees and of the first 65 workers tested, a “small number of employees” showed positive results for “internal exposures” (by radioactive plutonium).

Sources tell KING the “small number of employees” is twelve. Twelve people out of 65 is 20 percent. Still outstanding are 236 tests. A communication specialist with CH2M Hill sent a statement that more positive results are expected. “We expect additional positive results because analytical tests like a bioassay can detect radiological contamination at levels far lower than what field monitoring can detect,” said Destry Henderson of CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company.

Several veteran Hanford workers were surprised by the number of people with internal contamination from a single event.

“I’ve worked there for 27 years and I’ve never seen this many people contaminated internally,” said one employee with radiation expertise who did not want to be identified………

Hanford workers said they are not concerned about the small dose of radiation detected, but about the contamination inside the body from plutonium. All radiation is not created equal.Radiation from an x-ray, air flight or a microwave are different and far less dangerous types than the kind emitted by plutonium inside the body. Unlike x-rays, air travel or microwaves, plutonium emits alpha radiation, which is the most destructive type to inhale or ingest.

“Alpha particles damage or destroy DNA and can cause cancer,” said Kaltofen.

“If I get a chest x-ray or CT scan, that’s a different type of radiation,” said Dr. Erica Liebelt, Medical and Executive Director of the Washington Poison Center. “These people’s risk could be quite low because that number was very very small. (But) you have concerns about (alpha) radiation disrupting the cells and causing genetic disruption in the cells and cellular damage. And that’s what causes the increased risk for cancers in three organs: lungs, liver, and bone,” said Liebelt, who is also a board certified toxicologist……http://www.king5.com/news/local/hanford/tests-show-hanford-workers-inhaled-radioactive-plutonium/461574180

August 4, 2017 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment

USA Labor Department tactic: delay compensation as long as possible – nuclear workers die

Longtime critics of the program’s administration point to numerous examples not only of claimants dying after years of waiting for their compensation but of spouses who refiled for survivorship claims dying while waiting for their compensation awards.

Labor Department Whistleblower: Agency Officials Intentionally Denied or Delayed Pay-Outs to Nuclear Workers in Hopes They Would Die Government attorney who raised red flags said Perez, other Obama officials ignored his complaints about hostility toward nuclear-worker claims, Washington Free Beacon  Susan Crabtree, 21 July 17,

A senior attorney at the Labor Department is accusing agency officials of writing and manipulating regulations to intentionally delay and deny congressionally mandated compensation to nuclear-weapons workers who suffered from sicknesses—and in some cases died—as a result of their work building the nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal.

The attorney, Stephen Silbiger, says Labor Department leadership under former Labor Secretary Tom Perez ignored years of his complaints about the “open hostility” he said some officials exhibited toward claimants, many of whom are too poor and sick to fight the agency’s denials and red tape in federal court.

When Congress passed the law creating the compensation program in 2000, a bipartisan group of lawmakers promised these nuclear workers a claimant-friendly path to compensating them or their families for illnesses related to the country’s nuclear build-up and their exposure to toxins at bombing-making facilities.

Under the law, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), qualified workers or their survivors who were diagnosed with certain types of cancer or other diseases from exposure to toxic substances at covered facilities are entitled to between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to help pay medical bills and loss of wages due to their illnesses, with a cap of $400,000.

However, Silbiger and other critics say government officials often purposely thwarted workers’ attempts to seek the compensation by writing regulations that made qualification much more stringent than Congress intended, failing to disclose all the application rules, changing eligibility rules midstream, and delaying compensation for years until the sick workers died.

“There’s explicit hostility toward claimants, and this has become a game for bureaucrats to see how clever they can be in manipulating the statute and the regs to deny benefits to indigent claimants,” Silbiger told the Washington Free Beacon in his first public complaint about the program’s administrators.

Silbiger says the problems with the compensation program parallel some of those at the heart of decades of Veterans Affairs Department corruption and abuse.

“The problem in the VA is that nobody would confront these people [poorly administrating the VA medical service]—it’s very similar,” he said. “Nobody really cares about the program—these people have no real constituency. They’re rural, they’re elderly, they have no political clout, so they’re ignored.”

Silbiger, an attorney in the Labor Department’s Solicitor’s Office, which is charged with meeting the agency’s legal service demands, says that President Donald Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta now have a chance to fix the problems.

Two Labor Department spokesman did not respond to repeated emails seeking answers to a list of Free Beacon questions about the program, including whether there is a current claimant backlog, exactly how many claimants have received compensation versus how many have filed for it, and why top officials never took action in response to Silbiger’s complaints.

The Democratic National Committee, which Perez now chairs, also did not respond to a request for comment after acknowledging receipt of the questions……….

Longtime critics of the program’s administration point to numerous examples not only of claimants dying after years of waiting for their compensation but of spouses who refiled for survivorship claims dying while waiting for their compensation awards.

Some of Silbiger’s complaints echo recent allegations from the Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Groups (ANWAG), although the two parties said they do not know each other and have not conferred on the topic or anything else.

In a letter to the Labor Department Inspector General Scott Dahl dated July 12, ANWAG called for an immediate and full investigation into the administrators’ handling of the claims “to determine if unethical or illegal regulatory procedures occurred which may have resulted in unjustified denial of claims.”………

ANWAG, however, remains deeply concerned about other recent eligibility rules changes, they say make it more difficult to qualify for compensation. In its July 12 letter to the Labor Department’s inspector general, ANWAG argued that that changes to the rules EEOIC program administrators made earlier this year are illegal because they were never formally adopted through the rulemaking process and were used to deny claims months and even years before officially proposed.

“We do not take this step lightly,” ANWAG stated in its letter, noting that it represents more than 100 advocates across the country helping sick nuclear workers and their survivors receive compensation Congress promised them.

“We believe government employees responsible for implementing EEOICPA have abused their power, ignored the laws of the land [and] failed to comply with executive orders requiring that agencies operate in a transparent manner,” ANWAG wrote, noting that the Labor Department received nearly 500 comments during the rulemaking promise with many commenters voicing their objection to the proposed changes, including those dealing with changes to eligibility for wage-loss compensation.

The new rules require that a worker must identify the “trigger month” in which he first became disabled and that the worker must be employed during that “trigger month” to receive any wage-loss compensation.

ANWAG argued that the new rule did not take into account that the symptoms of the illness could have begun long before a worker left their position and long before reaching a definitive doctor diagnosis of their illness.

“Since DOL regulations accepts [sic] that a worker was injured the last day he or she worked at a facility, it seems logical that DOL would only need to review the medical records they relied upon to accept a disease and compare those records (such as date of diagnosis or documentation of symptoms consistent with the disease before a formal diagnosis was rendered) to the Social Security Administration’s quarterly wages to determine when the worker first lost wages due to [a] covered disease,” the organization wrote.

To make matters worse, the Labor Department revised the rule for wage-loss claims to reflect this more stringent standard in July 2015, four months before they issued proposed rules to do so, the group said. It cited a case in which EEOICP administrators used the same language about the new “trigger month” requirement.

ANWAG also cited a case of the EEOICP officials using this “unauthorized wording” to deny a wage-loss claim seven years ago, in February 12, 2009.

The group also referred to the Lucero decision to back up their argument that the Labor Department is narrowly and illegally interpreting the law Congress passed to compensate nuclear workers for their illnesses in a timely and even-handed way.

“It is ANWAG’s position that DEEOIC has, at least in the changes made for wage-loss claims, overstepped their authority by restricting the ability to claim loss of wages to a very narrow time period,” Barrie wrote.

“Congress understood that many workers suffered from occupational disease which went often not correctly diagnosed for months after the symptoms appeared,” she argued.

“The statute clearly lays out the manner for which DEEOIC is to figure out amount of wage loss. It does not give DEEOIC the authority to limit wage loss to only workers who were employed during the same month they were diagnosed with a covered condition.” http://freebeacon.com/issues/labor-department-whistleblower-agency-officials-intentionally-denied-or-delayed-pay-outs-to-nuclear-workers-in-hopes-they-would-die/

July 28, 2017 Posted by | employment, health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Problems at Los Alamos National Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4) – dangerous plutonium pits

Safety problems at a Los Alamos laboratory delay U.S. nuclear warhead testing and production A facility that handles the cores of U.S. nuclear weapons has been mostly closed since 2013 over its inability to control worker safety risks, Science,  By The Center for Public IntegrityR. Jeffrey SmithPatrick Malon Jun. 30, 2017 “……..A unique task, unfulfilled for the past four years

Before the work was halted in 2013, those overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal typically pulled six or seven warheads from bombers or missiles every year for dismantlement and invasive diagnostic testing. One reason is that the unstable metals that act as spark plugs for the bombs — plutonium and highly-enriched uranium — bathe themselves and nearby electrical components in radiation, with sometimes unpredictable consequences; another is that all the bombs’ metallic components are subject to normal, sometimes fitful corrosion.

Plutonium also slowly decays, with some of its isotopes becoming uranium. And the special high explosives fabricated by nuclear scientists to compress the plutonium cores in a deliberate detonation also have an unstable molecular structure.

Invasive testing provides details vital to the computer modeling and scientifically simulated plutonium behavior that has replaced nuclear testing, said DOE consultant David Overskei. He compared the pit — so named because it is spherical and positioned near the center of a warhead — to the heart of a human being, explaining that destructive testing is like taking a blood sample capable of exposing harmful maladies.

The aim, as Vice President Joe Biden said in a 2010 National Defense University speech, has been to “anticipate potential problems and reduce their impact on our arsenal.” Weapons designers say it’s what anyone would do if they were storing a car for years while still expecting the engine to start and the vehicle to speed down the road at the sudden turn of a key.

Typically, warheads selected for testing are first sent to the Energy Department’s Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. Technicians there gently separate their components — such as the detonators — at that site; they also send the pits — used in a primary nuclear explosion — to Los Alamos, and the highly-enriched uranium — used in a secondary explosion — to Oak Ridge, Tenn. The arming, fusing, and firing mechanisms are tested by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and other locations.

At Los Alamos, the pits are brought to Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4), a boxy, two-story, concrete building with a footprint the size of two city blocks.  Inside are hundreds of special “glove boxes” for working with plutonium, a series of individual laboratories, and a special vault, in which containers hold plutonium on racks meant to ensure that escaping neutrons don’t collide too often with other atoms, provoking them to fission uncontrollably. Only a small portion of the building is normally used for pit surveillance, while about a fifth is used for pit fabrication, and another seven percent for analytical chemistry and pit certification. Budget documents indicate that annual federal spending for the work centered there is nearly $200 million.

“The Los Alamos Plutonium Facility is a unique and essential national security capability,” McMillan, the lab’s director, said last September during a visit by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who watched as technicians — attempting to restart their work after the lengthy hiatus — used pressing machines and other equipment to fabricate a mock pit, rather than a usable one.

The building lies in the middle of a 40-acre campus in the mountains above Santa Fe hastily built during World War II to coordinate the construction of the two nuclear bombs used in Japan. Los Alamos is still considered the foremost U.S. nuclear weapons facility — where six of the nine warheads currently in the U.S. arsenal were designed, and where plutonium-based power supplies for most of the nation’s deep-space probes are fabricated. Hundreds of nuclear physicists work there.

Unfortunately, it also has an active seismic zone beneath the PF-4 building, producing persistent worries among the staff and members of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a congressionally-chartered oversight group, that if it experienced a rare, large earthquake, the roof could collapse and toss chunks of plutonium so closely together a chain reaction would ensue, spewing radioactive, cancer-causing plutonium particles throughout nearby residential communities.

Millions of dollars have already been spent to diminish this risk, which until recently exceeded federal guidelines, and the Trump administration last month proposed spending $14 million in 2018 alone to strengthen the building’s firewalls and sprinkler systems. The government has also sunk more than $450 million into preparations for construction of a modern and more seismically durable pit production facility at Los Alamos, projected to have a total price tag between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.

Making new pits involves melting, casting, and machining the plutonium, while assessing how well or poorly the pits are aging requires using various instruments to withdraw small pieces for detailed chemical and material analysis. These operations are typically done in the glove boxes, by specialists whose hands are inserted into gloves attached to the side of sealed containers meant to keep the plutonium particles from escaping. But the work is messy, requiring constant vigilance to be certain that too much of the metal doesn’t pile up in a compact space. The byproducts include “chunks, shards, and grains of plutonium metal,” all of it radioactive and unstable, according to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report.

Notably, a 2013 Los Alamos study depicted leaks of glove boxes at PF-4 as frequent — averaging nearly three a month — and said they were often caused by avoidable errors such as inattention, improper maintenance, collisions with rolling storage carts, complacency and degradation from the heat that plutonium constantly emits. It said that sometimes those operating or supervising the equipment “accepted risk” or took a chance, rushed to meet a deadline, or otherwise succumbed to workplace production pressures.

“Operations always wants it yesterday,” the lab’s current criticality safety chief and the lone NNSA expert assigned to that issue in the agency’s Los Alamos oversight office warned in a private briefing for their colleagues at Sandia labs last month. Managers “must shield analysts from demands” from production personnel, they said.

Besides posing a serious health risk to those in PF-4, glove box releases of radioactive material each cost the government $23,000 to clean up, on average, the Los Alamos study said.

An acute shortage of criticality experts

Calculating exactly “how much material can come together before there’s an explosion” — as the Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman once put it — is a complex task. While visiting the production site for highly-enriched uranium in

Oak Ridge, Tenn., during the 1940’s, for example, Feynman was surprised to see stocks of that fissionable material deliberately stored in separate rooms, but on an adjoining wall that posed no barrier to collisions involving atoms of uranium and escaping neutrons on both sides. “It was very dangerous and they had not paid any attention to the safety at all,” Feynman wrote years later.

Plutonium work is so fraught with risk that the total mass of that metal allowed to be present in PF-4 is strictly limited. A decade ago, the limit was increased without an appropriate understanding of the risks, according to an NNSA technical bulletin in February. But with pieces of it strewn and stored throughout the normally busy building, partly because the vault is typically full, its managers have labored for years to systematically track down and remove excess stocks. They had some success last year, when they got rid of nearly a quarter of the plutonium on the building’s “main floor,” according to recent budget documents.

Criticality specialists are employed not only to help set these overall mass limits but to guide technicians so they don’t inadvertently trigger chain reactions in their daily work; those specialists are also supposed to be the first-responders when too much dangerous material is found in one place.

“The weird thing about criticality safety is that it’s not intuitive,” Don Nichols, a former chief for defense nuclear safety at the NNSA, said in an interview. He cited an instance in which someone operating a stirring machine noticed that fissionable liquids were forming a “critical” mass, so the operator shut the stirrer off, not immediately realizing that doing so made the problem worse. In other instances, analysts had judged a plutonium operation was safe, but then more workers — whose bodies reflect and slow neutrons — wound up being present nearby, creating unanticipated risks.

Those doing the weapons disassemblies and invasive pit studies are typically under “a big level pressure” to complete a certain number every year, Nichols added. They are expected to do “so many of these in this amount of time,” to allow the labs to certify to the president that the stockpile is viable. Meanwhile, the calculations involved in avoiding criticality — which depend on the shape, size, form, quantity, and geometric configuration of material being used in more than a dozen different industrial operations — are so complex that it takes a year and a half of training for an engineer to become qualified and as many as five years to become proficient, experts say.

“It’s difficult to find people who want to do this job,” particularly at the remote Los Alamos site, said McConnell, the NNSA safety chief. With plutonium use mostly confined to creating the world’s most powerful explosives, “there are…very few public-sector opportunities for people to develop these skills,” he added. As a result, he said, many NNSA sites lack the desired number of experts, which slows down production.

At the time of the 2013 shutdown, after numerous internal warnings about the consequences of its mismanagement, Los Alamos had only “a single junior qualified criticality safety engineer” still in place, according to the February NNSA technical bulletin. Nichols, who was then the NNSA’s associate administrator for safety and health, said McMillan didn’t “realize how serious it was until we took notice and helped him take notice.”

Without having adequate staff on hand to guide their operations safely, technicians at PF-4 were unable to carry out a scheduled destructive surveillance in 2014 of a refurbished plutonium pit meant for a warhead to be fit atop American submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It’s been modernized at a cost of $946 million since 2014, with total expenses predicted to exceed $3.7 billion. Generally, up to 10 of the first pits produced for a new warhead type are set aside for surveillance to assure they’re safely constructed and potent before they’re deployed. But the planned disassembly was cancelled and the NNSA hasn’t scheduled another yet, because of the shutdown.

The lab also hasn’t been able to complete planned invasive studies of the aging of plutonium used in a warhead for an aircraft-delivered nuclear bomb, now being modernized at an estimated cost of $7.4 billion to $10 billion.

Former deputy NNSA director Madelyn Creedon told an industry conference in March that if new funds are given to the agency in President Trump’s new budget, she knows where she’d advise it be spent. “One of the things that doesn’t take a huge amount of money but it’s one that has been cut back over the last couple of years, is surveillance — enhanced surveillance” of existing warheads, Creedon said……..http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/safety-problems-los-alamos-laboratory-delay-us-nuclear-warhead-testing-and-production

July 1, 2017 Posted by | - plutonium, employment, Reference | Leave a comment

Low morale in India’s nuclear industry: exodus of scientists

Scientists’ exodus hits Bhabha Atomic Research Centre http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/jun/24/scientists-exodus-hits-bhabha-atomic-research-centre-1620535.html, By Richa Sharma  24th June 2017 NEW DELHI: The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which hogged the limelight for unnatural death of nuclear scientists in the past few years, is faced with a different challenge now: Attrition. As many as 85 scientists have left the country’s top nuclear research facility in the last five years, according to an RTI reply.

The reason ranges from lack of professional working environment to harassment. Early this year, a BARC scientific officer went missing after sending an email to her family in which she cited wok pressure and mental harassment by her senior. She, however, returned home a week later.
This was not the first time when such allegations were made. In 2015, a group of BARC scientists wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging harassment and victimisation by their seniors and sought his intervention.

Things seem to have not improved as the RTI query revealed that 85 scientists and technical officers— mostly in their early or mid level—have quit between 2012 and 2016. The centre did not give any reason for the same.
The number of deaths in the nuclear research facility presents a horrific story as 73 suicides, including by many scientists, were reported between 1995 and 2016. Many BARC scientists were also found dead in mysterious conditions and murdered.

According to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), adequate arrangements are in place at workplace and departmental residential township for security of scientists.
“Unnatural death of scientists/employees of DAE are always being accorded due importance and this office monitors sensitive cases of death from time to time in consultation with Units, Intelligence Bureau, local police,” said the DAE.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | employment, India | Leave a comment

Hinkley C nuclear station; a very poor bet for jobs

Morning Star 16th June 2017, Ian Fairlie: THE Labour Party’s recent election manifesto says a Labour
government would support nuclear power as part of a low-carbon energy mix and that it would continue to support Hinkley C. The reason is that Jeremy Corbyn needs trade union support and some major unions think that nuclear
power will furnish many jobs.

But this is a myth, a shibboleth. The real situation is that renewable energy already provides far more jobs than
nuclear does now, and will provide far more jobs more quickly than nuclear ever would — even if current government plans were to succeed. The problem is that promoting nuclear power diminishes the prospects of creating new jobs in renewable energy industries — eg in establishing a large offshore wind manufacturing base.

Let’s look at the Hinkley C site, for example. Although about 4,500 jobs would exist each year during the
main phase of construction, EDF has admitted most would be temporary and filled by overseas workers. And if it were ever completed, it would only employ 900 workers. In fact, Hinkley C would be a remarkably poor bet for Britain and British unions, as industry insiders expect 90 per cent of the work at Hinkley, and all high-tech work, would go to French firms. For example, in 2013, EDF Energy completed a very large gas-fired power station at West Burton in Nottinghamshire where 100 per cent of the engineering contracts — even the concrete — went to French firms.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b8c7-Does-nuclear-power-really-provide-jobs

June 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Workers at £18bn Hinkley C nuclear project hope for higher bonuses, in new pay deal

Construction News 8th June 2017, Workers building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset can look forward to higher bonuses after the Unite union and the plant’s employers agreed a fresh pay deal for staff on the £18bn project.

STRIKES by workers building the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant were“taken off the agenda” yesterday after an interim agreement over bonus pay. Unite had warned of strikes over bonuses, but the issue will now be considered by a panel made up of a union official and an EDF Energy executive.

As part of the agreement, interim bonuses will be paid until the end of August. Unite officer Jerry Swain said: “I am pleased that, following consultation with our stewards and members, we have been able to agree a clear path forward and that the prospect of industrial action, which is always a last resort, can be taken off the agenda in order to allow the panel to deliberate.   https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/10020594.article

June 10, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear jobs in decline – renewable energy jobs rising fast – 13 times more jobs than in nuclear power.

No2Nuclear  No 96 June 2017 According to the Office for National Statistics the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) direct jobs in the nuclear industry had declined to 12,400 by 2015, but about 9,400 of these workers do not produce electricity at all. They are engaged mostly in legacy nuclear waste management.

In 2015 ONS reported that the number of FTE direct jobs in the renewable forms of electricity generation had increased to 48,900 – about 16 times the number of jobs in nuclear electricity generation. (2) In 2015, 338 TWh of electricity was produced in the UK (DECC data). This comprised 70 TWh from nuclear, 85TWh from renewables and the rest from fossil fuels. (3) That amounts to about 43 jobs per TWh for nuclear and about 575 jobs per TWh for renewables. So not only are renewables cheaper than nuclear, but they also create around 13 times more jobs than nuclear power.

Offshore wind is becoming a double win for policymakers, according to Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. He says offshore wind is coming to represent a major challenge to competing technologies. The new Siemens blade manufacturing facility and project execution harbour in Hull which opened in December 2016 has already created 800 new jobs and the numbers on site will rise to over 1,000 when full production is reached. (4)

Renewable energy jobs could “offset” fossil-fuel job losses by 2030 according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017 presents the status of renewable energy employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year. In this fourth edition, IRENA finds that renewable energy employed 9.8 million people around the world in 2016 – a 1.1% increase over 2015. Jobs in renewables, excluding large hydropower, increased by 2.8% to reach 8.3 million in 2016. China, No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.96, June 2017 8 Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs. The shift to Asia continued, with 62% of the global total located in the continent. (5) Nuclear Power and Jobs

A policy which promotes nuclear power significantly diminishes the prospects of creating new jobs in renewable energy industries – in establishing an offshore wind manufacturing base for instance.

Nuclear power is a capital intensive industry, which means it requires a much higher injection of money to produce its final product – it is not a very efficient way of creating jobs. If there were an alternative way of providing or saving the same amount of electricity, but at the same time creating more jobs, clearly that would be a strategy worth pursuing.

One way of comparing the number of jobs created by different energy sources is to calculate the number of jobs for each Terawatt hour (TWh–1 billion kilowatt hours) generated annually. This, of course, will depend on the performance of the generating station. So a new 1.6GW reactor employing 500 people which operates an average of 80% of the time will be providing 45 jobs per TWh. Goldemberg has estimated the number of jobs created per TWh of power generated and found that nuclear produces around 75 jobs per terawatt hour (TWh), whereas wind power produces 918 – 2,400 per TWh. Solar photovoltaics provides 29,580 – 107,000 jobs/TWh. (1) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo96.pdf

June 7, 2017 Posted by | employment, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Free program to train coal miners as wind farm technicians

Ecowatch 30th May 2017. Despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring back U.S. coal jobs, hundreds of laid off miners in Wyoming—the nation’s largest coal-producing state—are still seeking work.

But these ex-miners might find hope with a most unlikely employer: a wind power company. The American arm of Goldwind, a Chinese wind turbine maker, has announced a free program to retrain miners to become wind farm technicians, The New York Times reported. https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-jobs-coal-miners-goldwind-2426715170.html

June 2, 2017 Posted by | employment, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Almost 10 million jobs already, in renewable energy

Renewable Energy Powers Jobs for Almost 10 Million People https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-23/renewable-energy-powers-jobs-for-almost-10-million-people [excellent graphs, diagrams)  by  Mahmoud Habboush May 24, 2017,

  • China employment at 3.6 million vs 777,000 in U.S.: Irena

The renewable energy industry employed 9.8 million people last year, up 1.1 percent from 2015, led by the solar photovoltaic business, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s annual report on the industry.

Growth has slowed in the past two years, while the solar photovoltaic category, with 3.09 million jobs, and wind business more than doubled their respective employee numbers since 2012, the first year assessed, Irena said in the report.

“The nature of jobs is changing a little bit, with more emphasis on the installation, operational and maintenance side,” Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general, said Wednesday in an interview in Abu Dhabi. “That doesn’t grow as fast as the growth in manufacturing, which was very quick because the technology cost was coming down and you had this huge explosion in equipment.”

Jobs will continue to grow in developing countries, especially in Asia, he said.

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

  • Global renewables employment has climbed every year since 2012, with solar photovoltaic becoming the largest segment by total jobs in 2016.
  • Solar photovoltaic employed 3.09 million people, followed by liquid biofuels at 1.7 million. The wind industry had 1.2 million employees, a 7 percent increase from 2015.
  • Employment in renewables, excluding large hydro power, increased 2.8 percent last year to 8.3 million people, with China, Brazil, the U.S., India, Japan and Germany the leading job markets. Asian countries accounted for 62 percent of total jobs in 2016 compared with 50 percent in 2013.

Renewables jobs could total 24 million in 2030, as more countries take steps to combat climate change, Irena said.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Wind power providing jobs and energy in America’s Heartland

Wind Is The New Power In America’s Heartland, Forbes, Chris Brown, 14 May 17, U.S. wind energy recently achieved a major milestone, which underscores a new reality that is generating power and jobs across America’s heartland. In February, low-cost clean electricity from wind turbines on the Great Plains supplied more than half (52.1%) of all power on the grid serving Americans in a 14-state swath of the central U.S., stretching from Texas to Montana.

This was the first time a North American grid operator supplied a majority of its electricity from wind, powering millions of households. “Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50%,” said Bruce Rew, vice president of operations, Southwest Power Pool (SPP). “It’s not even our ceiling.”

SPP understands the power of wind. They aren’t alone.

The CEO of Great River Energy Inc., which supplies 28 electric co-ops in Minnesota, recently said that “wind is quickly becoming the new base load, and to be viable going forward, all other sources must be flexible enough to be supplemental to the wind.”

ndeed, in 2016 wind topped hydroelectric as the #1 U.S. renewable energy in total capacity, enough to power 24 million homes. Wind capped a second straight year installing more than 8,000 megawatts and exceeded both natural gas and solar in new U.S. utility-scale capacity for 2015-2016 combined, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reported.

Wind is winning in energy markets because of its proven reliability and market-beating cost, which fell 66% since 2009. It’s now the cheapest source of new electric-generating capacity across much of the nation, attracting utilities such as Xcel Energy and MidAmerican Energy, and corporate buyers including Amazon, Google, Home Depot and GM.

Wind isn’t just becoming a major contributor to U.S. power – it’s a rapidly expanding base for U.S. jobs. Every year, the wind industry as a whole now supports more than 30 U.S. jobs for every new wind turbine, according to analysis of new economic impact data by Navigant Consulting. A modern wind turbine takes 18 full-time U.S. jobs to develop, manufacture, transport and construct, and creates 44 years of full-time employment, including long-term operations and maintenance, over its lifetime.

Nationwide, wind powers 102,500 jobs, driving economic development in the rural Midwest, Rust Belt and all 50 states. By 2020, projected wind-related jobs will rise to a quarter million, including jobs in communities surrounding wind farms and factories. Today, U.S. wind counts more than 1,000 utility-scale projects, 52,000 wind turbines and 500 factories.

That’s good news for America’s heartland, where wind power has arrived in a big way. Wind has bipartisan backing from large majorities because it’s delivering for Americans – in their wallets, workplace and homes:……https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/05/10/wind-is-the-new-power-in-americas-heartland/#29e27e2c31a5

May 15, 2017 Posted by | employment, renewable, USA | Leave a comment