The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Judge rules against companies wanting to store plutonium on New Mexico-Texas border

Judge Rules Against WCS – EnergySolutions Merger, by Chris Clark  June 24, 2017 , CCNS News: Federal District Judge Sue L. Robinson entered her sealed opinion Wednesday in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice and prohibited Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and EnergySolutions from moving forward with the proposed $367 million merger of the two-nuclear waste storage and disposal companies.

 The judge’s decision was based on anti-trust law.
In a written statement, Andrew Finch, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, said, “Substantial evidence showed that head-to-head competition between EnergySolutions and Waste Control Specialists led to better disposal services at lower prices.”
He continued, “Today’s decision protects competition in an industry that is incredibly difficult to enter. While EnergySolutions’ preference was to buy its main rival rather than continue to compete to win business, today’s decision ensures that customers will benefit from the competitive process.”
In anticipation of the antitrust trial and the growing expenses involved in expanding WCS’s business to include the storage of plutonium fuel from U.S. nuclear power plants, in April, WCS asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to temporarily suspend review of its application.
WCS applied for a 40-year license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for 44,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste. WCS planned to build the de facto parking lot dump on its 14,900 acres on the New Mexico-Texas border, five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA Appeals Court rules that sailors affected by Fukushima radiation can sue Japanese govt and Tokyo Electric Power Co

US sailors who ‘fell sick from Fukushima radiation’ allowed to sue Japan, nuclear plant operator in Tokyo 23 JUNE 2017 
A US appeals court has ruled that hundreds of American navy personnel can pursue a compensation suit against the government of Japan and Tokyo Electric Power Co. for illnesses allegedly caused by exposure to radioactivity in the aftermath of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Thursday that the 318 sailors who have so far joined the $1 billion (£787 million) class action lawsuit do not need to file their case in Japan.

Most of the plaintiffs were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier that was dispatched to waters off north-east Japan after the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant. Three reactors suffered catastrophic meltdowns and released large amounts of radiation into the atmosphere after their cooling units were destroyed by a magnitude-9 earthquake and a series of tsunami.

The plaintiffs claim that they were healthy and physically fit before they were exposed to the radiation plume, with some personnel reporting the air on the flight deck tasting “metallic”.

The California-based law firm representing the plaintiffs say they have been affected by a range of complaints, ranging from leukaemia to ulcers, brain cancer, brain tumours, testicular cancer, thyroid illnesses and stomach complaints.

 The suit claims that TEPCO is financially responsible for the sailors’ medial treatment because it failed to accurately inform the Japanese government of the scale of the problem.

The Japanese government, the suit alleges, also failed to inform the US that radiation leaking from the plant posed a threat to the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan and other US assets dispatched to assist in “Operation Tomodachi”, meaning “friend” in Japanese.

The case was originally filed in San Diego in 2012, but has been delayed over the question of where it should be heard. The US government has also vehemently denied that any personnel were exposed to levels of radiation that would have had an impact on their health during the Fukushima recovery mission.

Interviewed for the San Diego City Beat newspaper in February, William Zeller said: “Right now, I know I have problems but I’m afraid of actually finding out how bad they really are.”

Formerly a martial arts instructor, he now uses a breathing machine when he goes to sleep due to respiratory problems he blames on his exposure aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in 2011.
“I literally just go to work and go home now”, he said. “I don’t have the energy or pain threshold to deal with anything else”.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Thousands of American veterans made ill by Fukushima radiation represented in court by former Senator John Edwards

Former Senator John Edwards Representing Thousands of United States Veterans Injured in Nuclear Disaster   Ninth Circuit Rules Sailors Will Get Their Day in U.S. Court, June 22, 2017  RALEIGH, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the U.S. sailors who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation assisting in humanitarian relief efforts to Japan following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Based on the ruling, the sailors are able to continue their suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) allowing the sailors to pursue their case in the District Court in San Diego. It is possible that the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant affected up to 75,000 U.S. citizens, even after TEPCO deemed the conditions safe.

After meeting with attorneys from both sides last December, the United States Government submitted an amicus curiae brief expressing its belief that nothing should prevent the sailors from litigating their case here in America. Today’s Court of Appeals ruling reinforces the government’s desire that the sailors’ fight for justice will take place in the United States and not Japan as TEPCO and the Government of Japan had previously requested.

“These members of the United States Navy deserve their day in court, and they will get it,” said former Senator Edwards. “These American heroes served the United States and were innocent victims in a nuclear disaster that never should have happened. This case has broad U.S. interests, both because of our nation’s long-standing relationship with Japan, and because plaintiffs in this case are members of the U.S. military harmed while on a humanitarian mission.”

As recently as this week, three former executives from TEPCO were charged criminally in Japan with contributing to deaths and injuries stemming from the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In addition, the Japanese government investigated the nuclear disaster and found that TEPCO was grossly negligent.

In 2011, U.S. sailors aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan were poisoned by radiation during Operation Tomodachi (“friend”). The humanitarian mission was in response to a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which triggered a tsunami in Japan that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Relief efforts included delivering food, supplies and clothing to the people ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

The plaintiffs, led by Lindsay R. Cooper and other members of the U.S. Navy and their dependents, have suffered and continue to be diagnosed with extensive injuries including blindness, thyroid cancer, leukemia and brain tumors. The lawsuit is not only against TEPCO, but several other co-defendants, including General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi.

Former Senator Edwards, his daughter Cate Edwards and California-based attorneys Charles Bonner, Cabral Bonner and Paul Garner are continuing to expand their suit against TEPCO. If you are a U.S. Sailor affected by this, you can reach attorneys working on this litigation at 844.283.9434 or

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Legal battle against subsidy for nuclear industry along Lake Ontario

Opponents fight nuclear subsidy in court This story by Rick Karlin originally appeared in Tuesday’s edition of the Times Union. 20 June 17 

Representatives of the state Public Service Commission were in court Monday defending their decision last August to award a multibillion dollar, 12-year subsidy to a group of upstate nuclear power plants along Lake Ontario. Opponents say it is a corporate giveaway, but state officials contend it will cut down on greenhouse gases.

The commission has “broad authority” to regulate power production in the state, said PSC lawyer John Graham, who was moving to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a coalition of activists who oppose the deal.

“This isn’t a small change. It’s a dramatic change,” said John Parker, a lawyer representing the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater ,which has opposed the deal with the New York Public Interest Research Group and other groups.

The arguments unfolded before acting Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough in Albany. The plaintiffs maintain the PSC overstepped last August when it approved the subsidies for the Ginna, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point plants in Wayne and Oswego counties.

While the PSC views the subsidies as a way to control carbon emissions as the state moves toward more renewable energy sources, critics believe the Cuomo administration, which supported the plan, was intent on avoiding the job losses that would have come with plant closures in the hard-pressed region where the plants operate.

“You really have the executive branch extending its authority to this agency,” said David Barrett, a lawyer with the Coalition for Competitive Electricity.   To read the full version of this story, click here.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

Nevada files lawsuit against Texas over moves toward licensing Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste dump

Nevada sues Texas for trying to kick-start Yucca Mountain funding, by Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) —  Nevada wants a federal appeals court to dismiss a bid by the state of Texas to kick-start government funding and licensing for a long-fought plan to entomb the nation’s most radioactive waste in the desert outside Las Vegas.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday called his state’s filing against a Texas lawsuit pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals an important step in Nevada’s effort to prevent burial of 77,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain.

Congress approved Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste storage in 2002, over Nevada’s objection.

It then cut off funding after former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid became Democratic majority leader in 2007.

Nevada notes the Trump Administration is already seeking $120 million from Congress to restart the licensing process.

It accuses Texas of trying to usurp the budget process.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

European Commission approves Germany’s plan for funding radioactive waste management

Reuters 16th June 2017, The European Commission said on Friday it had approved Germany’s plan to
create a public fund to deal with radioactive waste. Germany intends to
take over the liabilities relating to management of radioactive waste and
spent fuel from nuclear power plant operators.

They would have to pay in about 24.1 billion euros ($26.9 billion). This is made up of a basic amount
equivalent to the provisions already set aside by the operators for this
purpose and a risk premium aimed at covering the risk of cost increases in
the future.

The Commission concluded that the move did involve state aid
because of uncertainties over the cost of a repository for waste and the
possibility of cost overruns. Germany regards the measure as necessary as
it seeks to phase out nuclear energy production by 2022.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Court rejects citizen group submission, allows restart of Genkai nuclear plant

Court rejects citizens’ plea to delay restart of Genkai plant, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN June 13, 2017 SAGA–The Saga District Court on June 13 rejected a class action request for an injunction to delay the restart of the Genkai nuclear power plant.

A citizens group had submitted the request for the temporary injunction on the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Genkai plant, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., in Saga Prefecture. The group will appeal the decision to the Fukuoka High Court.

Concerns about the safety of the plant led a total of 202 plaintiffs living in 17 prefectures, including Saga and Fukuoka, to join the court action.

With the Saga prefectural governor and Genkai mayor already giving the green light to resume operations, the plant could be restarted as early as this autumn.

June 14, 2017 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Lawsuit over beryllium exposure

Lawsuit filed against General Dynamics for beryllium exposure   Tiffeny Owens  Jun 10, 2017A local man has filed suit against General Dynamics, alleging the company fired him after he filed a worker’s compensation claim for an incurable disease he alleges he contracted from working there.

Gary Miller is suing his former employer for worker’s compensation benefits and retaliatory discharge after he was terminated from the defense contractor in April, according to a lawsuit filed in Cullman County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Miller alleges he was diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease (CBD) by a Denver, Colorado medical facility General Dynamics sent him to see after blood tests showed he had abnormal levels of the Category 1 carcinogen in his system. After working at the manufacturing facility since June 2012, Miller was terminated April 17, according to the law suit.

 Miller is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Circuit Judge Martha Williams is presiding over the case. The company’s corporate office didn’t immediately return calls for comment Friday afternoon.

General Dynamics, located on Alabama 157, machines and processes beryllium and its alloys for optics and optical assemblies. Beryllium is one-third the weight of aluminum but six times stronger than steel with high thermal stability. It’s used in various industries, such as electronics, aerospace, dental, atomic energy and defense.

In his lawsuit, Miller alleges he developed chronic beryllium disease from working at the plant where he “inhaled beryllium dust and powder over a period of time.” Miller reported his symptoms to the company, and according to his complaint, General Dynamics “acknowledged” he had the disease and paid for some of his medical and pharmacy expenses.

CBD is a slowly progressive respiratory disease characterized by the formation of lung lesions called granulomas, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These granulomas and accompanying fibrosis cause impairment of the lung’s ability to expand fully and to oxygenate the blood.

There is no cure, although symptoms can be treated. It has been estimated that as many as 134,000 current U.S. workers in private industry and government may be exposed to beryllium. The rate of progression from less severe to severe disease can vary widely. An estimated 100 people die from the disease annually.

A new rule under the Obama administration was set to lower workplace exposure to beryllium but could be sidelined by the current administration’s call to roll back occupational regulations, potentially exempting major industries.

OSHA estimated the proposed rule would prevent 96 premature deaths each year and prevent 50 new cases of CBD per year, once the full effects of the rule are realized.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached at or at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

German Chancellor Merkel says budget not affected by court ruling to refund nuclear taxes

Budget targets not affected by German nuclear tax ruling – Merkel,, 8 June 17  Germany’s broad budgetary goals are not endangered by a court’s finding that a tax on nuclear fuel rods is illegal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

The Constitutional Court had earlier found that the 145 euro/gram tax on reactor refueling was illegal, obliging the government to pay a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) refund to the utilities EON, RWE and EnBW.

“The finance minister will assess the ruling and implement it, but first we should wait for that assessment and then Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will make his proposals,” Merkel said. “I don’t think our main targets will be at risk.”    (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal, politics | Leave a comment

German court ruling rejects Germany’s nuclear fuel tax – very disappointing to Environment Minister

German minister says court’s nuclear tax ruling is very irritating,, 8  June 17

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Wednesday that a court ruling that declared Germany’s nuclear fuel tax illegal was a “colossal irritation”.

The ruling from the Constitutional Court raised the prospect of a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) refund to utilities at a time of strained balance sheets.

Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) – the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition – said the 2009-2013 government, which was made up of Merkel’s conservatives and the Free Democrats (FDP), had caused “chaos” in nuclear policy.

“The fact that this bodge (of the previous government) is paying out for the nuclear power companies years later makes the Constitutional Court’s ruling a colossal irritation,” Hendricks said.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Legal appeal against extension of time for Flamanville nuclear construction

La Manche Libre 26th May 2017, two associations filed an appeal to the Council of State for excess of power in the file of the EPR Flamanville (Manche). On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the State had authorized the construction site of the Flamanville EPR for three years more than the initial period of 10 years.

A decision today challenged by two associations, the Crilan (Committee for Reflection, Information and Anti-Nuclear Struggle) and Our Affair to All. On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, they appealed to the Conseil d’Etat for an abuse of power. The application relies on two points of the law of 13 June 2006 on transparency and security in nuclear matters: The fact that the law imposes a time limit for such a project and that it has not been respected. “There are no regulations that allow the state to change the duration of a decree,” advocates the lawyer of Caen Gervais Doutressoulle.

According to him, a new decree should have been taken, but this would have led to a new public consultation. The law also states that, in the event of a “significant” or”substantial” change, the authorization decree then lapses. A new text is needed. The recourse lists nine sets of modifications in relation to the project presented initially. He cites, for example, the composition of the tank, whose fate is expected to be known this summer, the cost spent from 2.8 billion euros to more than 10 billion euros, or the choice of fuel.

The Council of State must now determine when it will consider this appeal. “If he has an important file, it is this one”, judge Gervais Doutressoulle who considers the reasonable time between three and six months. In early 2016, a similar appeal was filed. It has not yet been examined.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Legal action against governments, over climate change

Governments sued over climate change, with banks and firms next  By Alice Klein

If you can’t beat them, sue them. Citizens are increasingly taking governments to court over climate change inaction, with financial lenders – and possibly big firms – next in the firing line.

Some 894 climate change cases have now been filed in 24 countries, according to a report published last week by the United Nations Environment Programme and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in New York.

By some distance, most – 654 – have been in the US. Australia sits in second place, with 80 cases, and the UK third, with 49. The number of countries with climate cases has tripled since 2014.

Citizens have filed the vast majority of these cases against governments, with a handful lodged against fossil fuel companies.

Separately, campaign group ClientEarth has written to energy giants BP and Glencore warning them of the risk of investor lawsuits based on over-optimistic statements about future fossil fuel demand in their reporting.

Wins and losses

Recent years have seen significant wins for climate change cases. Environmental group Urgenda, for example, won a landmark case in 2015 that forced the Dutch government to commit to bigger emissions cuts. And in 2015, a Pakistani farmer successfully sued his government for failing to implement adequate climate change action.

Others have not had the same success. Last year, the Australian Conservation Foundation lost a legal battle over the Australian government’s approval of the Adani Carmichael coal megamine. And in the UK, fracking activists recently lost a case against a shale gas operation.

However, the success rate of climate cases is likely to grow following the Paris agreement, says the report. Under the accord, which was ratified late last year, each country is committed to specific emissions targets.

Although these commitments are not legally binding, they make it “possible for constituents to articulate more precisely and forcefully concerns about the gaps between current policy and the policy needed to achieve mitigation and adaptation objectives”, say the authors.

This is already starting to take effect. In March, EarthLife Africa successfully challenged the South African government’s approval of a new coal-fired power station. The high court decision was based partly on the country’s commitment to the Paris agreement.

Getting creative

Legal teams are also finding innovative ways to hold governments to account over climate change, says Brendan Sydes at Environmental Justice Australia. “There’s a whole international effort – a lot of energy and intellect is being poured into developing new legal remedies,” he says.

One example is in the US, where 21 youths have filed a case against the government for failing to safeguard their futures from dangerous climate change. Instead of appealing to environmental laws, the youths have invoked the “public trust doctrine” – an ancient principle holding that certain natural resources belong to everyone and must be protected by the state.

Banks and other financial institutions that lend money to fossil fuel projects may also find themselves the subject of legal action, Sydes says. There is an increasing recognition that directors who fail to consider climate risks could be liable for breaching their duty of due care and diligence, he says.

This is already causing some businesses to distance themselves from carbon-heavy investments, he adds. For example, Australia’s four major banks have all recently ruled out providing loans for construction of the Adani Carmichael mine. And worldwide, almost 700 institutions in 76 countries have committed to ending their investment in fossil fuel companies.

The growth of such litigation worldwide shows that many citizens hope courts can force governments and corporations to act on climate change, says Sydes. “People are increasingly turning to the courts to find duties and obligations of governments and corporations who are currently not acting sufficiently on climate change,” he says. “This trend is likely to continue.”

May 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Legal | Leave a comment

Costly consequences for UK nuclear industry, following Brexit

UK nuclear industry faces Brexit fall-out, Climate News Network, May 17, 2017, by Paul Brown,  Leaving the EU treaty that prevents radioactive materials falling into the wrong hands could prove costly for the UK nuclear industry.

LONDON,  – The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has put the country’s nuclear industry at risk because its trade in radioactive materials will be forbidden under international law.

In the worst case scenario, legal experts say, the lights could go out in the UK, but they think the more probable outcome is simply that the government will find itself with an expensive industrial problem and an embarrassing diplomatic mess.

The unintended consequence for the British nuclear industry of last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU is that the decision will also take the UK out of the Euratom treaty that protects the EU’s nuclear industry against radioactive material falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups.

Nuclear power stations already provide about one-fifth of the UK’s electricity, and the government has ambitious plans to build at least 10 more reactors as part of its strategy to cut carbon emissions.

It has withdrawn subsidies from onshore wind and solar power, and underwritten new nuclear stations instead.

However, the industry relies on foreign companies − based both in the EU and outside − that provide parts, fuel and raw materials. When the UK leaves Euratom, this trade will be contrary to international law.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industries Association, which represents 260 companies, says: “There is scope for real and considerable disruption.”

Nuclear materials

The Euratom safeguards are applied by the European Commission to provide confidence that nuclear materials in the EU are not diverted from their declared end use, which is producing electricity from uranium and plutonium, and dealing with the waste that results.

This enables countries inside the EU to trade with other member states in construction and providing parts and staff for nuclear power stations. It also allows trade in such dangerous materials as plutonium, uranium and spent fuel, provided it is both safe and for peaceful purposes.

There is no precedent for a member state leaving the EU. But, in theory, when the UK does so − and therefore leaves Euratom − possibly as soon as two years from now, this trade must cease, otherwise member states will be breaking the terms of the treaty.

This would effectively paralyse not only the UK industry, which relies on international trade to survive, but also many of its trading partners in the EU, and also Japan, China and the US, all of which the UK has nuclear deals with that would need a new safeguard regime in place in order to continue…….

Dame Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, which was established by the UK government in 2013, said a whole lot of new international agreements would have to be in place before anything in the nuclear sector could be transferred between countries.

“We would be crippled without other agreements in place,” she said. – Climate News Network

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Sweden cancels arrest warrant for Julian Assange, closes investigation

Sweden shuts down Julian Assange rape investigation, TT/The Local 19 May 2017, Swedish prosecutors have decided to end the rape investigation into Julian Assange and lift the Europe-wide arrest warrant against him, but UK police say they will still arrest him.In a statement on its website, the Swedish prosecution authority said that the “Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange”.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, politics international, Sweden | Leave a comment

Greenpeace’s lawsuit against French state aid for Hinkley Nuclear plant – upsetting for UK and French govts

Times 18th May 2017, Britain’s new £18 billion nuclear power plant is being funded by illegal French state aid, according to a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace. The environmental group is urging the European Commission to order EDF, the French state-owned energy giant that is building the plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, to repay the 6.8 billion euros it received from the French

The lawsuit is also a shot across the bows of Theresa May, who approved plans for Hinkley Point C last autumn, and President Macron of France, who organised the bailout of EDF when he was economy minister. At the time, EDF was struggling with debts of more than 37 billion and a requirement to find more than 50 billion to renovate its French reactors.

Critics, including the group’s own financial director, said that it could not afford its two-thirds share of the investment in Hinkley Point.

Greenpeace claims that the deal amounts to unfair state aid. “Instead of acting like a smart investor, the state is providing unconditional support to EDF and its nuclear projects that threaten the health of the company, notably Hinkley Point.

“There is no economic logic,”Laura Monnier, of Greenpeace France, said. “Greenpeace’s lawsuit aims to show that EDF’scapital increase is incompatible with European competition law.” The environmental organisation said that EDF had been wrong to invest in Hinkley Point “when it does not have the funds to invest in the maintenance and safety of its French nuclear fleet”.

Greenpeace’s lawsuit is unlikely to halt the Hinkley Point project, but it adds to the controversy over the scheme on both sides of the Channel.Shares in EDF slumped yesterday after the appointment of Nicolas Hulot, 62, France’s best known environmental campaigner, as minister of ecology and solidarity in Mr Macron’s government. Investors fear that Mr Hulot will press EDF to reduce its dependence on nuclear power and to pump funds into the development of renewable energy.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment