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Exposure to ionizing occupational radiation affects over 24 million workers globally

 https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_854878/lang–en/index.htm

3rd International Conference on Occupational Radiation Protection, 5 Sept 22

Over 500 experts from all over the world are to exchange information and experiences on strengthening the protection of workers from radiation. 05 September 2022

GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization is co-sponsoring the third international conference on Occupational Radiation Protection , organized with the International Atomic Energy Agency and hosted by the Government of Switzerland.

The conference, which takes place 5 – 9 September in Geneva, will review international standards and recommendations on occupational radiation protection, progress over the past twenty years, and will identify priority actions leading to an improved global occupational radiation protection system.

While radiation exposure is commonly associated with those working in the nuclear field or dealing with radioactive sources, workers in other professions, such as miners, aircrew, researchers, and healthcare professionals can also become seriously affected if adequate measures are not taken.

Moreover, accidents in nuclear power plants can have catastrophic effects not only for the workers but also for communities and the environment. Strict preventive and control measures therefore need to be in place.

“It has been a constitutional objective of the ILO since its establishment in 1919 to protect the health of workers,” said Vic Van Vuuren, Deputy-Director General for Policy Officer in Charge. “Today, we are still a long way away from this objective. Work-related deaths and injuries including those caused by exposure to radiation take a particularly heavy toll, especially in developing countries, where national systems for occupational safety and health are not well established.”

“This conference will serve as an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience and set the course for further concrete progress in enhancing the radiation protection of workers in all industries and countries and in making working environments safer and healthier, notably though building a global preventative culture.”

In June 1960, the International Labour Conference adopted the Radiation Protection Convention, 1960 (No. 115) , and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 114) . The Convention applies to all activities involving the exposure of workers to ionizing radiation in the course of their work and provides that each Member of the ILO which ratifies it shall give effect to its provisions by means of laws or regulations, codes of practice or other appropriate means.

It is the only international legal instrument that addresses the protection of workers against radiation. The Convention has been ratified by 50 countries .

September 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, radiation, Reference | 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.”……………………………. https://www.desmog.com/2022/08/31/worker-radioactive-waste-austin-master-services-ohio/

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

South Korean unionists protest US-South Korea war games

Saturday, 13 August 2022, Frank Smith, Press TV, Seoul

Thousands of South Korean unionists and their progressive supporters rallied in downtown Seoul to protest against joint US-South Korea war games planned for later this month.

The drills will be the largest in years, and follow the May election of President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised to take a hardline with North Korea. Union leaders worry about risks.

While many South Koreans, especially supporters of President Yoon on the right, favor close ties with the U.S., large numbers also argue the US military and the country’s alliance with Washington, prevent the improvement of ties with North Korea – and generate tension…………….. more https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/13/687322/South-Korean-unionists-protest-US-South-Korea-war-games

August 20, 2022 Posted by | employment, opposition to nuclear, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Employee shareholders to sue EDF over France nationising nuclear industry

 An association of EDF employee shareholders announced on Sunday their plan
to sue the French state regarding its nationalisation of the power giant.
“Today the state needs to explain itself for the management as
ultra-majority stakeholder of the company,” the association “Energie en
actions” said in a statement.

The association holds that the government’s
decision goes against the interest of the company and the minority
shareholders, the statement added. The government will announce details of
its plan to fully nationalise the EDF, which runs the nation’s nuclear
power plants, by July 19.

 Reuters 17th July 2022

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/edf-employee-shareholders-poised-sue-france-over-nationalisation-plan-statement-2022-07-17/

July 19, 2022 Posted by | employment, France, Legal | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C nuclear supply engineers go on strike

Plating engineers creating products to supply to the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station go on strike today [13 June] in a pay dispute. Dozens
of workers at Darchem Engineering, in Stockton-Upon-Tees, will walk out
today after welders working for same firm were given an additional pay
supplement, while the engineers weren’t. Further strikes are planned for
20,21,28 and 29 June. Industrial action could lead to big delays at Hinkley
Point C – the £25 billion nuclear reactor in Somerset. GMB 14th June 2022 https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/hinkley-point-supply-engineers-strike

June 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Energy saving and renewables to create many more jobs than nuclear could.

Dave Elliott: Renewable energy has the potential to create twice as many
jobs as nuclear, and three times as many jobs per million pounds invested
compared to gas or coal power, while investment in energy efficiency can
create five times as many.

So says a new UK Energy Research Centre study of
Green Job Creation, based on a new review of the literature. It’s an
update to their earlier 2014 low carbon energy & employment study. That was
a bit more cautious about making final pronouncements, since, it said, it
was difficult to assess net economy-wide impacts over time. For example,
though some sectors might benefit more than others, if there was full
employment, new investment was unlikely to create extra jobs net of any
losses. A bit sniffily it said ‘the proper domain for the debate about
the long-term role of renewable energy and energy efficiency is the wider
framework of energy and environmental policy, not a narrow analysis of
green job impacts.’

In reality, we can’t just chase for the optimal
number of green jobs. The choice of technology will be made mostly on the
basis of a range of other issues- although, as UKERC says, job quality is
also important if we want to move to a socially and environmentally
sustainable future, a point I have developed in a recent study. We need
good, sustainable jobs as part of a global ‘just transition’.

 Renew Extra 14th May 2022

https://renewextraweekly.blogspot.com/2022/05/renewables-energy-saving-create-most.html

May 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Scientist fired after raising questions about safety at nuclear waste plant

4 Investigates: Scientist fired after raising questions about safety at nuclear waste plant  https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/4-investigates-scientist-fired-after-raising-questions-about-safety-at-nuclear-waste-plant/6445723/

Brittany Costello, April 14, 2022 CARLSBAD, N.M— There are some things we just leave up to the experts – that includes the science and research that goes into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the only-of-its-kind facility that stores transuranic radioactive waste from around the country.

What if we told you there are questions about the science of its long-term safety? KOB 4 spoke with a former scientist who said he lost his job after raising the red flag.

There’s an expectation, a reputation that follows the name Sandia National Labs. Its advanced scientific work is something many of us take for granted. Not Dr. Charles Oakes, who is a geochemist who used to work for Sandia National Labs in Carlsbad at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, also known as WIPP.

Part of his job was to make sure WIPP, and all of the transuranic radioactive waste stored inside, is safe for years to come.

This is a case where they weren’t, not only were they not doing their job, they were claiming they were doing their job but falsifying all the evidence that went into the claims that they were doing the job,” Dr. Charles Oakes said.

From the outside, there’s not much to see at WIPP.  That’s because all the waste is stored more than 2,000 feet below ground.

“WIPP is the only facility of its kind in the world, deep geologic repository for nuclear waste,” said Don Hancock, Director of the Nuclear Waste Program a Southwest Research and Information Center.

Hancock has served as a WIPP watchdog even before the first disposal at the Department of Energy site in 1999.

“Essentially what’s in WIPP are elements that are contaminated from the manufacturing of components in nuclear weapons, particularly the plutonium core, the heart of it,” said Hancock. “That includes machinery that includes gloves, and booties, that includes sludges.”

It might sound complex, but the key to safe storage of radioactive material is simple: accurate, reliable science and research. Regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency demand it.

Sandia National Labs is contracted to do it, at a cost of $18-million a year.

It’s so important that, in order for WIIPP to continue accepting waste, every five years, it has to recertify that its projections show the facility will be safe after it’s filled up and closed down.

Safe from that point and 10,000 years beyond it.

“The most common feared way that the radiation will get to the surface is through the flow of water,” said Dr. Oakes.  “There are some aquifers in the rock of the repository. One of the fears is that a well will be drilled through the repository or near to this repository and water may flow through the repository and intersect with a well bore.”

Dr. Oakes said his job was to look at how much of that radioactive material would make it to the surface.

“If you do have radioactive material dissolved in the water, will it react with rocks, minerals along the way, and be removed from the water, in which you removed the threat, or will it carry on its merry way dissolved and get to the surface where it can potentially hurt people and the environment,” he said.

During his time at Sandia National Labs, Dr. Oakes said he discovered inaccuracies that called into question WIPP’s long-term safety, what he believed to data errors.

Oakes said he brought it up to his bosses, the Department of Energy and even the EPA.

After he spoke up, Oakes said Sandia labeled him a problem employee and showed him the door.

Oakes is being represented by attorney Timothy White – and Nick Davis of Davis Law. Their goal is to address much more than what they believe to be retaliatory discharge.

“We’re trying to achieve a certain safety standard here and the information that is being used to allegedly show that we’ve achieved that standard, that we should be recertified to manage the WIPP project, is built on bad science leading to fraud,” said White.

KOB 4 wanted to hear from Sandia National Labs. A spokesperson told us they cannot comment on these accusations because of the pending lawsuit.

There are a number of defendants named in the suit: Honeywell International, National Technology and engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, Carol Adkins, and Paul Shoemaker.

Attorneys representing the defendants have responded in court. Documents allege Oakes was fired after multiple “inappropriate interactions with colleagues” but they did not go into detail.

 Attorneys are also asking a federal judge to dismiss the case.

As far as all of that expansive data is concerned, officials at the Department of Energy, with the WIPP project, said there are quality assurance procedures in place including several independent reviews.

They said a recertification decision is expected later in April or early May.

April 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear worker gives the inside story on the dire situation for the staff as Russians took over.

Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Worker reveals risk of accident as Russians force staff to do 24-hour shifts i News, By Isabella Bengoechea, March 25, 2022   A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account after the power plant was seized by Russian forces i News

A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account of life at the nuclear plant since the Russian invasion and warned that exhausted staff are being forced to work 24-hour shifts, increasing the risk of an accident.

Mykola Pobiedin, foreman of the radioactive waste processing workshop at Chernobyl, who worked as a liquidator there after the 1986 disaster, described a dire safety situation where the plant was encircled by military trucks and tanks and troops patrolled with machine guns.

He compared allowing Chernobyl to be operated by exhausted staff to a bus driver who “has not slept for days” transporting passengers.

Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, was captured by Russia on the first day of invasion on 24 February.

More than 200 workers were forced to stay on site. On 20 March, about 100 were allowed to return to their homes, after nearly four weeks working under armed guard.

Personnel at Chernobyl usually work in 12-hour shifts before being replaced by the next shift.

However, because no rotation was permitted, they were forced to work for 24 hours straight with one half hour break.

Mr Pobiedin, who gave permission to be identified, spoke to i by phone from the city of Slavutych, which was built in 1986 to house workers evacuated from the plant after the disaster.

In a separate debrief, he spoke to Valeriy Korshunov, founder of the European Institute of Chernobyl, a Ukraine-based NGO which works to educate the public about the Chernobyl disaster through scientific and cultural projects, in order to prevent new nuclear disasters in future.

Mr Korshunov and his organisation hope to publicise the plight of the Chernobyl workers to draw attention to the dangerous situation Russia has inflicted on Ukraine’s nuclear sites.

He passed on his comments to i, with the permission of Mr Pobiedin and his family.

Mr Pobiedin suggested there was an increased risk of accidents as a result of the extreme fatigue of staff working at such a sensitive site.

“There may be some errors, some actions are not undertaken,” he said. “A tired person would do a mistake and it will cause issues.”

Though reluctant to cause alarm about a possible nuclear accident at Chernobyl, he added: “If you are riding a bus in which the driver has not slept for days. What could it lead to? If Europe agrees to drive with such a bus driver, then let it be…”

“There is a break for half an hour, for example to eat or for private needs, and the rest of the time people are concentrated on watching monitors. This is intellectual work; you cannot be distracted.”

Despite having managed to leave the power plant, his memories of Russia’s attack on the first day of the invasion are still stark.

“Everything started with the ‘Everyone to the bomb shelter’ alarm, which we followed,” he said.

“Then this whole situation got clear – it was a seizure.

“Then came the command ‘Everyone to the workplace!’ Well, then we started organising our life there somehow, adapting to the situation.

“The Russian military did not enter the territory of the power unit. They drove around the industrial site in their armored personnel carriers. In this way they controlled the whole situation.

“In other words, everything around us was encircled…………………………

the staff managed to keep up their spirits by attempting to carry on as normal and listening to the Ukrainian national anthem on the radio…………………………….

Since the release of the staff, only about 50 have opted to replace them – a perhaps understandable reluctance considering they would be going as hostages with no idea of when they could leave.

“I saw they arrived with backpacks,” said Mr Pobiedin. “They probably took something, but how long will it last?”

He called for the regular rotation of sufficient personnel to ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities: “The rotation is very important. We can’t let people just be there indefinitely.

“Some personnel change should be done. The Russians are not opposing to such shift changes. It should be scheduled: once a week, once every 10 days … So that people know and get prepared.

“And not so that people come and do not know how long they must stay. One does not know if it is one day, 20 days or for ever.”

While the freed workers may have breathed a sigh of relief at finally leaving, they may not have escaped the worst of their ordeals.

Many live in Slavuytsch, about 40km from Chernobyl. However the city is under intense shelling by the Russians.

Others who live in other nearby settlements are currently trapped in the city and cannot return home. When i was speaking to Mr Pobiedin, our interview was cut off halfway through after sirens went off and he had to go down into a bomb shelter.  https://inews.co.uk/news/inside-chernobyl-nuclear-power-plant-accident-risk-1540986

March 26, 2022 Posted by | employment, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear workers ”exhausted and desperate”

Chernobyl workers are reportedly “exhausted and desperate” and surviving
on one meal of bread and porridge a day, sparking fears over their ability
to look after the nuclear plant safely.

The plant, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster happened in 1986, was taken by Russian forces at the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of workers and guards have been
trapped for nearly two weeks, having not been able to leave since Feb 23.

The plant is not configured for workers living there, and they are sleeping
on floors, tables and camp beds. Communication with the Chernobyl workers
is currently limited to emails. Rafael Grossi, director general of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called on Russia to allow
Chernobyl staff to be relieved by colleagues. Mr Grossi has offered to
travel to the Chernobyl plant where 200-plus staff have been on-site for 12
days straight.

 Telegraph 8th March 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/08/fears-exhausted-desperate-workers-trapped-chernobyl-nuclear/

March 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl workers still stranded at the power station

 More than 210 workers remain trapped at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
as all its facilities continue to be controlled by the Russian military
troops. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it has been
informed by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator that the shift of around 210
technical staff and guards has still not been able to rotate as of Monday
7th February. That means that the same staff have been on the site for 12
days.

 Energy Live News 8th March 2022

March 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland call for clear commitment to employ LOCAL nuclear decommissioning workers.

 The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called
for a clear commitment to offer work to local people on decommissioning
work when nuclear plants close.

In its response to the consultation just
carried out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency
charged with making safe and clearing closed civil nuclear plants, on its
future Business Plan, the NFLA has called for support to be made available
to staff losing employment from a decommissioned plant to enable them to be
either reengaged in a role supporting the decommissioning process or find
alternate employment’. The NFLA also wants to see local contractors
continue to be hired to supply goods and services to the work.

 NFLA 1st Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, employment, UK | Leave a comment

Striking workers reduced France’s nuclear power generation by 2.2gigawatts (GW)

Striking workers reduced France’s nuclear power generation by 2.2
gigawatts (GW) and hydropower by a further 1.3 GW, data from power utility
EDF (EDF.PA) showed early on Wednesday. EDF workers began protests on
Sunday over a government plan to increase the amount of cheap energy EDF
must sell to rivals at under-market prices, and to call for higher pay and
pensions.

 Reuters 26th Jan 2022

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/french-power-output-reduced-by-ongoing-strike-2022-01-26/

January 27, 2022 Posted by | employment, France | Leave a comment

Legal case over compensation for workers in ”uniquely dangerous” nuclear sites

High Court Takes Up Nuclear Site Workers’ Compensation Case (1)  https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/high-court-takes-up-washington-workers-compensation-challenge
Jan. 11, 202  

  • 9th Cir. upheld change to state workers’ compensation law
  • U.S. government warns of costly consequences for contracts

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the federal government’s challenge to a Washington state workers’ compensation law in a case that could have costly consequences for U.S. government contracts involving hazardous work on federal property.

The justices agreed Monday to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision upholding a Washington law that presumes certain worker health conditions linked to cleanup work at the Hanford Site, a decommissioned federal nuclear production complex, are occupational diseases that can trigger workers’ compensation benefits.

The Department of Energy since 1989 has overseen cleanup at the Hanford Site, which produced weapons-grade plutonium for use in the U.S. nuclear program during World War II and the Cold War. The cleanup of the Hanford site is expected to continue over the next six decades and involve roughly 400 department employees and 10,000 contractors and subcontractors.

In 2018, Washington lawmakers passed legislation, HB 1723, that amended the state’s workers’ compensation law exclusive to the Hanford site, covering at least 100,000 current and former federal contract workers who performed services there over the past 80 years. The law states that presumed occupational diseases stemming from work at Hanford should trigger benefits eligibility, including cancers and other respiratory diseases.

The federal government argued the law exposes government contractors, and by extension the United States, to “massive new costs” that similarly situated state and private employers don’t incur

‘Uniquely Dangerous Workplace’

The Justice Department had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, arguing the 2018 law discriminated against the United States and that state law shouldn’t apply to federal contract workers at Hanford. The government warned that the logic applied by a panel of Ninth Circuit judges opened the door to other states passing legislation targeting work at federal facilities.

“Congress did not permit States to adopt laws that impose unique burdens on the United States and the firms that it engages to carry out federal functions,” Justice Department attorneys argued. “The practical consequences of the panel’s mistake are far-reaching. Even if the Hanford site is considered in isolation, the decision is likely to cost the United States tens of millions of dollars annually for the remainder of the 21st century.”

Attorneys for Washington state, however, responded that courts have allowed states to regulate workers’ compensation for injuries or illnesses suffered during work on federal land. They argued Washington state has “long tailored its workers’ compensation laws to the dangers faced by particular employees,” noting statutes that protect firefighters and other workers facing special hazards.


“Hanford is a uniquely dangerous workplace, filled with radioactive and toxic chemicals, and private contractors operating there have routinely failed to provide employees with protective equipment and to monitor their exposures to toxic substances,” they argued.

Justice Department attorneys also argued the Ninth Circuit ruling clashed with Supreme Court precedent in a 1988 decision, Goodyear Atomic Corp. v. Miller, which described a similar situation of a state workers’ compensation award for an employee injured at a federally owned facility.

The full Ninth Circuit previously declined to take up the case, and said the Washington law fell properly within a part of federal law that authorizes states to apply their workers’ compensation laws to federal projects.

In a dissent to the Ninth Circuit’s denial of a rehearing, Judge Daniel P. Collins wrote that the panel’s decision clashed with high court precedent, calling it an “egregious error” that would have sweeping consequences.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office represents the federal government. The Washington Attorney General’s office is defending the state law.

The case is U.S. v. Washington, U.S., No. 21-404, cert granted 1/10/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at emulvaney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

January 11, 2022 Posted by | employment, health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Hunterston nuclear power workers need a just transition to sustainable work. No more subsidies to the nuclear industry.

 Workers are key to a just transition at the Hunterston nuclear plant,
which retires today, according to the Scottish Greens.

The nuclear sectorbhas used the occasion to call for more subsidies, despite the UK Government
already subsidising the sector and proposing to charge bill payers upfront
to pay for nuclear power stations that haven’t even been built yet, like
at Hinkley Point.

Commenting, Scottish Greens energy spokesperson Mark
Ruskell said: “Respect and thanks must go to the workers at Hunterston
who have kept our lights on over the decades and those who will continue
the important work of de-commissioning. “These communities deserve a just
transition away from an energy source that is expensive and neither clean
nor sustainable. The vast subsidies involved would be better spent
investing in modern renewable energy solutions that provide a long-term
future for workers and our planet.”

 Scottish Greens 7th Jan 2021

https://greens.scot/news/greens-workers-key-to-hunterston-transition

January 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Dismantling of German nuclear reactor will be expensive, but provide jobs for several decades.

Asked about possible job losses, Gundremmingen mayor Tobias Buehler said
the plant’s employees would be busy with dismantling the reactor after the
shutdown. “And this period of dismantling will certainly take another one
or two decades,” Buehler said. Total costs for the dismantling are
estimated by E.ON at 1.1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) per plant. In 2020,
E.ON made provisions of 9.4 billion euros for the nuclear post-operational
phase, including dismantling the facility, packaging and cleaning up the
radioactive waste. The dismantling is expected to be completed by 2040.

 NBC 30th Dec 2021

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/germany-pull-plug-3-its-last-6-nuclear-power-plants-n1286771

January 1, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, employment, Germany | Leave a comment