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More than 1,500 arrested at Extinction Rebellion protest in The Hague

 More than 1,500 climate protesters have been arrested by police in the
Netherlands after blocking a major motorway in The Hague. During the
protest, organised by Extinction Rebellion, activists walked onto the A12
highway demanding an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Police fired water
cannon to try to disperse the crowds – but many came prepared in raincoats
and swimsuits. Most arrested protesters were released, but police said 40
would be prosecuted. Among those at Saturday’s protest were several Dutch
celebrities, including actress Carice van Houten, known for playing
Melisandre in TV series Game of Thrones. She was arrested but later allowed
to return home, Dutch news agency ANP said. Extinction Rebellion accused
police of using water cannon just 15 minutes after the start of the
blockade – but police said they had asked the activists to leave and gave
them a chance to do so before using the water cannon.

 BBC 27th May 2023

 Guardian 27th May 2023


May 29, 2023 Posted by | climate change, Legal | Leave a comment

Court rejects case opposing restart of Miyagi Prefecture nuclear plant

Japan Times. 24 May 23

SENDAI – A district court on Wednesday rejected local residents’ calls to halt the restart of a nuclear reactor in Miyagi Prefecture, ruling their concerns about flaws in emergency evacuation plans are not relevant as it cannot be assumed a serious accident is likely.

The Sendai District Court ruling came as Tohoku Electric Power aims to resume operations at the No. 2 unit of the Onagawa plant in February next year, becoming the first in the area hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami to restart.

“It cannot be assumed that a specific danger of an accident exists that leads to the abnormal release of radioactive materials,” said presiding Judge Mitsuhiro Saito……………………………………..more

May 26, 2023 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

New Mexico State law and multiple federal court challenges may yet block the Holtec nuclear waste project.

State Laws Could Block CISF Projects

Multiple lawsuits in federal appeals courts and state laws opposing storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel in both New Mexico and Texas could upend both nuclear waste CISF schemes.

Beyond Nuclear , LEA COUNTY, NEW MEXICO and WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2023

Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it approved licensing for Holtec International’s controversial consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in southeastern New Mexico’s Lea County, not far from the Texas border.  The facility is designed to store high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants across the U.S. But NRC approval notwithstanding, a recently enacted New Mexico State law and multiple federal court challenges may yet block the project

…………….. Holtec now seeks to branch out into consolidated storage and its associated high-level radioactive waste transportation. On the New Mexico CISF scheme it partnered with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), a quasi-governmental entity comprised of Eddy and Lea Counties (which border one another), as well as their county seats of Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico.  ELEA owns the targeted nuclear waste CISF site’s land surface, and would take a large cut of the proceeds.

Giant Capacity May Signal Storing Foreign and Military Nuclear Waste

The Holtec-ELEA nuclear waste CISF would store up to 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated fuel (often euphemistically called “spent” nuclear fuel or SNF, despite the fact it is highly radioactive and lethal), as well as Greater-Than-Class-C (GTCC) radioactive waste from commercial nuclear reactors. The facility would hold up to 10,000 canisters of nuclear waste, inserted into pits in a platform which sits on the surface.  Part of the canisters would stay above the natural land surface.

“If opened, the site could become home to the biggest concentration of radioactive waste in the world,” reported Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

The Holtec-ELEA CISF’s nuclear waste storage capacity would be in addition to another planned CISF some 40 miles to the east in Andrews County, Texas.  If built, it would be able to store 40,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel and GTCC in above-ground dry casks. The Texas facility, proposed by Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP), was granted construction and operation license approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on September 13, 2021.

Since the entire SNF inventory at U.S. commercial reactors is just over 90,000 metric tons, experts have questioned why the Texas and New Mexico facilities would need a combined capacity of 213,600 metric tons, and whether the projects may be aiming to store nuclear waste from abroad and/or from the military.

There is precedent for shipping irradiated fuel from other countries to the U.S. for storage at Idaho National Labs. And in 2018, a test shipment of a mock SNF cask was transported from Europe to Colorado. Lead ISP partner Orano (formerly Areva) of France services the largest nuclear power reactor fleet of any single company in the western world. It lacks facilities in France to permanently dispose of the country’s own waste. 

The consortium backing the ISP facility includes Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS), a national dump for so-called “low-level” radioactive waste, located immediately adjacent to (and upstream of) the New Mexico border.  WCS loudly proclaims its ties to the U.S. military, which needs to dispose of its own highly radioactive wastes.

Nuclear Waste Transport Dangers 

Opening a CISF in the U.S. would trigger many thousands of shipments of domestic irradiated fuel across many of the Lower 48 states, through a large percentage of U.S. congressional districts. SNF canisters and transport casks are subject to so-called “routine” radiation emissions, as well as leakage and other failures, which would pose threats to thousands of communities along the transportation routes.

“Transporting highly radioactive waste is inherently high-risk,” said Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist with Beyond Nuclear. “Fully loaded irradiated nuclear fuel containers would be among the very heaviest loads on the roads, rails, and waterways. They would test the structural integrity of badly degraded rails, for example, risking derailments. Even if our nation’s infrastructure gets renovated someday, the shipping containers themselves will remain vulnerable to severe accidents and terrorist attacks.

They could release catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity, possibly in densely populated urban areas.”

“Even so-called ‘incident-free’ shipments are like mobile X-ray machines that can’t be turned off, in terms of the hazardous emissions of gamma and neutron radiation, dosing innocent passersby, as well as transport workers,” Kamps added.

Kamps’ February 24 letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, cc’d to governors and state Attorneys General across the U.S., warned of the dangers of transporting high-level radioactive waste. “The recent train wreck at East Palestine, Ohio demonstrates the urgency of the problem and the potential for a serious radiological accident from nuclear waste transport,” he wrote. “Environmental toxicologists have expressed deep concern that detection and response to release of hazardous chemicals in East Palestine were ineffective and untransparent and failed to protect public health and safety. But if the train that derailed had been carrying SNF or other highly radioactive wastes, the consequences would have been much worse.”

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board has recommended spending a minimum of a decade to develop better irradiated nuclear fuel cask and canister designs before attempting to transport highly radioactive wastes. Yet Holtec and ISP expect their nuclear waste CISFs to open and start accepting shipments in just the next few years.

 State Laws Could Block CISF Projects

Multiple lawsuits in federal appeals courts and state laws opposing storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel in both New Mexico and Texas could upend both nuclear waste CISF schemes.

Siting nuclear facilities is supposed to be consent-based, but both Texas and New Mexico have made it abundantly clear they do not consent.  In advance of the NRC licensing the ISP facility in September 2021, the Texas legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill banning storage or disposal of high-level radioactive waste including SNF in the state, and directing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to deny state permits the ISP project needs. The measure passed the Texas Senate unanimously, and passed the Texas House 119-3. Texas Governor Greg Abbott then signed the bill into law.

“This kind of bipartisan vote is very rare”, said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition based in Austin, TX. “The message should be loud and clear: Texas doesn’t want the nation’s deadliest nuclear waste and does not consent to being a dumping ground.” 

In the runup to the Legislature passing the law, opposition to the ISP project in Texas was widespread and vocal. Abbott and a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressional Representatives from Texas wrote strong letters to the NRC opposing the project. Andrews County, five other counties and three cities, representing a total of 5.4 million

Texans, passed resolutions opposing importing nuclear waste from other states to Texas. School districts, the Midland Chamber of Commerce and oil and gas companies joined environmental and faith-based groups in opposing the ISP project. The City of Fort Worth, Texas submitted a Friend of the Court brief supporting appeals against ISP in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Strenuous opposition to nuclear waste CISFs is also widespread in New Mexico. The state recently enacted Senate Bill 53 (SB53) barring storage and disposal of highly radioactive wastes in New Mexico without its explicit consent. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB53 into law on March 17, 2023,  immediately after it had passed both houses of the State Legislature.  Grisham has strongly objected to both nuclear waste CISFs on either side of New Mexico’s southeastern border since before she became governor in 2019.

“I am thankful that the New Mexico Legislature voted to stop this dangerous nuclear waste from coming to our state, and for Governor Grisham for signing it into law,” said Rose Gardner of Eunice, New Mexico, co-founder of the environmental justice watchdog group Alliance for Environmental Strategies. Gardner’s hometown is very close to the ISP project site in Texas, as well as to the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) national dump for hazardous and so-called “low-level” radioactive waste. Every single one of thousands of rail shipments of highly radioactive waste bound for the ISP CISF would pass through Eunice. 

These lawsuits argue that nuclear waste CISFs violate federal law. Consolidated interim storage facilities are predicated on the assumption that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will enable SNF transportation by taking title to commercial reactor waste as it leaves the reactor sites, thus relieving the licensees of their liability for it. But transferring responsibility for highly radioactive nuclear waste from private businesses to the federal government is specifically prohibited by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as Amended (NWPA) — unless and until a geologic repository is open and operating.  By DOE’s own admission, an operating geologic repository remains at least 25 years away. 

The prohibition against DOE taking title to commercial reactor waste was included in the NWPA precisely to guard against “interim” storage sites becoming de facto permanent surface dumps for nuclear waste. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s CISF licensing process was pushed ahead anyway in defiance of the law, on the theory the law will be changed by Congress and the President. 

Participants in the legal challenge to the Holtec CISF include the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Beyond Nuclear, Sierra Club, and Don’t Waste Michigan, et al., a national grassroots coalition of watchdog groups, including the New Mexico-based anti-nuclear collective formerly called Nuclear Issues Study Group (recently renamed DNA, short for Demand Nuclear Abolition). Additional coalition members include: Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI); Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY); Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL); and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA). Federal appeals before the D.C. circuit court have also been filed by

Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd., and Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, which advocate for ranching and mineral rights.

“The grand illusion that the nuclear power industry will figure out what to do with the lethal nuclear waste later, is now revealed,” said Michael J. Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan, one of the lead intervenors in the lawsuits. “There is nowhere to put the waste. No community consents to accept nuclear waste — not Texas, not New Mexico, not Michigan, or anywhere on this planet.  We have to stop making it. No more weapons of mass deception!”

May 11, 2023 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

EU faces legal action after including gas and nuclear in ‘green’ investments guide

European Commission accused of acting unlawfully in two separate cases bought by environment groups

Jennifer Rankin in BrusselsTue 18 Apr 2023

The European Commission is being sued by environmental campaigners over a decision to include gas and nuclear in an EU guide to “green” investments.

Two separate legal challenges are being lodged on Tuesday at the European Union’s general court in Luxembourg – one by Greenpeace and another by a coalition including Client Earth and WWF – after the classification of fuels in the so-called taxonomy, a guide for investors intended to channel billions into green technologies.

The EU executive, argues Greenpeace, acted unlawfully when it designated gas and nuclear as bridge technologies in the taxonomy, which is intended to help meet the bloc’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Client Earth, along with three other NGOs, is challenging the inclusion of gas, which it says breaks the EU climate law that sets a legally binding target of reaching net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

The cases are the latest legal action against the EU’s “taxonomy for environmentally sustainable economic activities”. Last year a lawsuit was launched by Austria and supported by Luxembourg.

Eight national and regional Greenpeace organisations including France, Germany and EU office in Brussels are asking the court to rule the inclusion of gas and nuclear invalid.

Nina Treu, the executive director of Greenpeace Germany, said: “The taxonomy was meant to be a tool to meet the 1.5C target [on global heating] and make the European Union climate neutral, fostering social and economic restructuring for the European economy by shifting funds. Instead of hindering greenwashing, it has become a tool for greenwashing.”

Gas and nuclear had been included because of “politically motivated lobbying”, Treu said. Greenpeace will tell the court that gas cannot be considered a “transition fuel” because any gas-powered plant that comes online today will still be running beyond 2050.

The environment group will also say the construction of new nuclear plants – which usually take one to two decades to build in Europe – will delay the move away from coal power, hinder development of renewables, risk accidents and create pollution. “Nuclear is dangerous, expensive, vulnerable to climate change and too slow to stop the climate breakdown,” Treu said.

Greenpeace has hired the lawyer Roda Verheyen, who acted for the group in a landmark case that resulted in Germany’s climate protection laws being ruled inadequate by the country’s constitutional court in 2021.

Verheyen said the inclusion of gas and nuclear was not in line with the EU’s original taxonomy law. “The European Commission has violated the very idea of the taxonomy regulation. This is especially obvious as including nuclear activities does pose significant harm to the environment, which is expressly prohibited by the regulation.”

The lawsuit was “essentially an enforcement claim”, she said. “Observe your own law. Actually carry through with the European green deal,” she said, referring to the EU’s flagship climate plan.

The EU taxonomy became law in July 2020, but legislators left important details to be resolved through so-called delegated acts – secondary legislation meant for technical issues that is not subject to the same degree of ministerial and parliamentary oversight.

The campaign groups are challenging one of the delegated acts.

The separate legal challenge by the coalition including Client Earth and WWF covers the inclusion of gas but not nuclear. Anaïs Berthier at Client Earth said the European Commission had violated a requirement to make science-based policy and broken the EU climate law that required policymakers to carry out checks to ensure all actions by the bloc were consistent with the goal of achieving net zero by 2050.

“Labelling fossil gas as ‘sustainable’ is as absurd as it is unlawful,” said the coalition, which also includes the NGOs Transport & Environment and Bund. “It goes against the EU’s own scientific advice and fundamentally undermines the credibility of the EU’s climate action. Fossil gas is not clean, not cheap and not a secure source of energy.”

A judgment is expected in 2025, although participants expressed the hope the court would act faster. “There is confusion in the market, because the current law infringes European law,” Verheyen said.

April 19, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

Lawsuit seeks to uphold closing California’s last nuke plant

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, April 11, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An environmental group on Tuesday sued to block Pacific Gas & Electric from seeking to extend the federal operating licenses for California’s last nuclear power plant.

A complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court by Friends of the Earth asks the court to prohibit the utility from sidestepping its 2016 agreement with environmentalists and plant workers to close the twin-domed Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by 2025.

The possibility of a longer operating run emerged last year after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature opened the way for PG&E to seek an extended lifespan for the twin reactors. The company intends to apply to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the end of the year to extend operations by as much as two decades.

The operating license for the Unit 1 reactor expires next year and the Unit 2 license expires in 2025.

Hallie Templeton, legal director for Friends of the Earth, said in a statement that “PG&E has been acting as if our contract has disappeared.”……………..

Newsom’s decision last year to support a longer operating run for Diablo Canyon shocked environmentalists and anti-nuclear advocates because he had once been a leading voice for closing the plant…………….

At issue in the lawsuit is how a complex 2016 agreement figures in the Legislature’s decision reverse itself and to try and keep the reactors running. At the time the agreement to wind down Diablo Canyon was made, California utility regulators, the Legislature and then-Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the closure………..

“PG&E acts as if it has no remaining contractual obligations,” the complaint said, while asserting that the utility still has a responsibility to retire the nuclear power plant on schedule.

It’s not clear if the reactors will continue operating beyond the expiration of their 2024 and 2025 licenses — and if so, for how long — since many regulatory milestones and unanswered questions remain. Last year, PG&E CEO Patricia “Patti” Poppe warned that the “permitting and relicensing of the facility is complex and so there’s a lot of hurdles to be overcome.”……

Newsom’s decision last year to support a longer operating run for Diablo Canyon shocked environmentalists and anti-nuclear advocates because he had once been a leading voice for closing the plant…………..

At issue in the lawsuit is how a complex 2016 agreement figures in the Legislature’s decision reverse itself and to try and keep the reactors running. At the time the agreement to wind down Diablo Canyon was made, California utility regulators, the Legislature and then-Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the closure.

The complaint describes the 2016 agreement as a “contract,” and asks the court to find it binding. It also asks for an order prohibiting PG&E from violating the contract.

“PG&E acts as if it has no remaining contractual obligations,” the complaint said, while asserting that the utility still has a responsibility to retire the nuclear power plant on schedule.

It’s not clear if the reactors will continue operating beyond the expiration of their 2024 and 2025 licenses — and if so, for how long — since many regulatory milestones and unanswered questions remain. Last year, PG&E CEO Patricia “Patti” Poppe warned that the “permitting and relicensing of the facility is complex and so there’s a lot of hurdles to be overcome.”

For example, it’s not yet publicly known what it will cost to update the plant for a longer run given that the company was preparing to close it for years. The state could consider backing out if capital costs climb over $1.4 billion and a string of state agencies also has to review extending the plant’s lifespan…………………

The lawsuit also named labor groups from the plant that were involved in the 2016 agreement as defendants, including the Coalition Of California Utility Employees.

April 19, 2023 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Ciaron says he was arrested for trying to give ‘the key to Julian Assange’s cell’ to Joe Biden

Ciaron O’Reilly says he was attempting to deliver “the key to Julian Assange’s cell” to US President Joe Biden, who is facing calls to drop extradition proceedings against the Wikileaks co-founder.

15 April 2023 By David Aidone, SBS News

  • An Australian activist says he was arrested for protesting outside Dublin Castle during US President Joe Biden’s visit.
  • Ciaron O’Reilly held a key-shaped placard demanding freedom for Julian Assange.
  • Mr Assange, co-founder of WikiLeaks, is fighting extradition to the US.

An Australian anti-war activist and former bodyguard to Julian Assange claims he was arrested after staging a protest outside Dublin Castle in Ireland where United States President Joe Biden was attending an event this week.

Ciaron O’Reilly posted pictures of himself on social media holding a novelty-sized key-shaped placard emblazoned with the words “President Biden, Free Julian Assange“.

Mr O’Reilly said he was attempting to deliver the key to Mr Biden, who was  on a four-day trip to Northern Ireland and Ireland honouring the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

He said he was arrested by officers of Garda Siochana, the national police service of Ireland, after protesting outside Dublin Castle while a banquet was being held for Mr Biden.

“Joe seemed to have dropped his key to #JulianAssange’s cell, I was merely returning it!,” Mr O’Reilly wrote on Twitter.

“We need to #FreeAssangeNOW! O’Reilly was wrestled to the ground by members of the GardaiSiochana outside #Dublin Castle where a banquet was underway during the #Biden visit,” the post read…………………………………… more

April 17, 2023 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Second U.S. Citizen Headed to German Prison for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Actions


While dread of nuclear war between Russia and NATO states over Ukraine have reached new heights, especially in Europe, a second U.S. citizen has been ordered to serve prison time in Germany for protest actions demanding that U.S. nuclear bombs stationed at Germany’s Büchel NATO base, southeast of Cologne, be withdrawn.

Dennis DuVall, 81, member of Veterans for Peace, U.S. Air Force veteran of the war in Vietnam, and veteran anti-nuclear activist, is to report to the federal prison in Bautzen, Germany, 32 miles east of Dresden (JVA Bautzen, Breitscheid Str. 4, 02625 Bautzen, Germany), on Thursday March 23 to begin a 60-day sentence.

On July 15, 2018, DuVall was one of 18 people who clipped through the chain link fence and enter the base in order to — as the group said in a statement — “bring an end to the ongoing criminal conspiracy to unleash uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast, and radiation with every B61 nuclear bomb deployed at Büchel NATO base.”

Charged with trespass and damage to property, DuVall explained to German trial and appeals courts that he has a legal obligation under the Nuremberg Principles to join in nonviolent protests to prevent or halt the planning and preparation for nuclear attacks which is taking place at Büchel. Well-reported exercises like the annual “Steadfast Noon” are often described as nuclear attack rehearsals.

Today, with NATO materially at war in Ukraine, the needless forward-basing of U.S. H-bombs at six European NATO base’s facing Russia has never been more provocative or destabilizing. NATO’s latest “Strategic Concept” (June 2022) reaffirmed its ever-present threat to launch nuclear first-use attacks using U.S., French and British weapons.

In Cochem District Court on May 11, 2020, DuVall was the first U.S. citizen to be convicted in Germany for civil resistance against the ongoing threat to attack Russia with the U.S. nuclear weapons stationed at Büchel, 170-kiloton B61-3, and 50-kiloton B61-4 free-fall hydrogen bombs.

For years, Büchel protest defendants have warned of the base’s threat of nuclear annihilation, and have urged court authorities “to send a message to the German government to remove B61 H-bombs from Büchel NATO base, and return them to the United States for dismantling and disposal.” In trial testimony on May 11, 2020, DuVall reminded the District Court Judge that “the threat of nuclear weapons is a clear and present danger to the European community, and nuclear war is an existential threat to the web of life on our planet.”

In refusing to pay a court-imposed fine, DuVall explained to the public prosecutor in the case that “it is a matter of conscience I share with many other U.S., Dutch, and German Büchel defendants not to pay money to those who willingly protect weapons of mass murder deployed at Büchel NATO base.”

The first U.S. citizen to be jailed in similar protests, yours truly (writer John LaForge), was released February 28 from Glasmoor prison near Hamburg after serving 50 days.

“It is my right and my duty,” says DuVall, “to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, and it is the responsibility of the German government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and to ensure the prompt removal of U.S. B61 thermonuclear weapons from Büchel NATO base.”

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

March 26, 2023 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

“Together Against Sizewell” argue in UK’s High Court against this nuclear development’s impact on environment

 The government’s decision to back a new Sizewell C nuclear power plant
failed to assess the environmental impact of the project and should be
overturned, campaigners have argued at the High Court.

Protest group Together Against Sizewell C has launched a bid to challenge development
consent granted by the then Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last July. At
a hearing in London, lawyers for the Suffolk residents argued that the
government failed to assess the impact of providing an “essential” water
supply to the project and did not consider “alternative solutions” to
meeting its energy and climate change objectives.

They also argue that the
government concluded the power station site would be clear of nuclear
material by 2140, when rising sea levels and storm surges could flood the
site before it has been decontaminated. The government, supporting the
project with a £700m stake, argues that it made “legitimate planning
judgments” and that the campaigners’ “unarguable” challenge should be

 ITV 23rd March 2023

What is Sizewell C and how will it be paid for? Campaigners challenge new
plant. Campaigners have told the High Court that the Government’s decision
to support the Sizewell C nuclear power plant plan was “unlawful” and
should be overturned.

 Evening Standard 23rd March 2023

 Lawyers representing campaigners argued in London’s High Court that the
government did not evaluate the environmental impact of the nuclear power

 Energy Live News 23rd March 2023

March 25, 2023 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Lawsuit over internal records of 2018 ‘near miss’ at San Onofre nuclear plant moves forward

Case dates back to ‘serious near-miss’ incident involving a canister filled with nuclear waste.

San Diego Union-Tribune BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI, MARCH 7, 2023

A lawsuit seeking the release of internal communications surrounding an incident nearly five years ago at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will continue after a ruling Monday by a federal judge in San Diego.

U.S. District Judge John A. Houston turned down a motion by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to toss out the case brought by San Diego attorney Michael Aguirre.

The judge also determined that while the NRC was within its rights to redact some documents it had previously released, the federal regulator “has not provided sufficient evidence” to show that it made a reasonable effort to search for documents requested by Aguirre under the Freedom of Information Act.

The case is “still alive,” Aguirre said of the judge’s decision. “We’re going to keep digging hard to find the documents that will hopefully inform the public about what happened.”

A spokesman for the NRC said the commission is reviewing the judge’s order and had no comment to make on it.

The case dates to Aug. 3, 2018, when workers at the plant operated by Southern California Edison were transferring canisters filled with highly radioactive spent fuel from storage pools to a newly constructed dry storage facility at the north end of the plant. During the transfers, each canister is lowered into a protected vertical cavity.

Operators thought they had successfully lowered one particular canister but discovered it instead got stuck on the inner ring of the cavity, left unsupported by support rigging, about 18 feet from the floor of the enclosure. Eventually, the canister was safely deposited…………………………………………………………………………………………

Some 3.55 million pounds of radioactive spent fuel is kept at the storage facilities at the plant because — as is the case at nuclear plants across the country — the federal government has not found a permanent repository to store the roughly 86,000 metric tons of spent fuel that has built up over the decades at the nation’s commercial nuclear facilities.

March 24, 2023 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Legal case begins against Sizewell C nuclear project.

 High Court hearing for Sizewell C legal challenge campaigners. Campaigners
who have issued a legal challenge against the building of nuclear power
plant Sizewell C have a High Court hearing starting on Wednesday 22 March.

Together Against Sizewell C will argue that the environmental impacts of
securing a permanent water supply of two million litres per day at the
proposed site in Suffolk were never assessed.

As a result, the government
cannot guarantee the date the nuclear power plant will open, which means it
has no way of knowing for sure that the plant’s contribution to climate
change is enough to override the environmental harm it will cause.

Together Against Sizewell C will also make the case that no alternatives to nuclear
power, including renewables, were considered when the Secretary of State
for Energy, then Kwasi Kwarteng, gave the go ahead for the building of
Sizewell C on 20 July 2022. He rejected the recommendation of the Examining
Authority which ruled in February 2022 that unless the outstanding water
supply strategy could be resolved and sufficient information provided to
enable the Secretary of State carry out his obligations under the Habitats
Regulations, there was no case for a development consent order.

 Leigh Day 20th March 2023

March 23, 2023 Posted by | legal, UK | Leave a comment

National remembrance day , and huge civil case penalty for Tepco executives, but memory of Fukushima now fading in Japan

Japanese offered tearful prayers Saturday on the anniversary of the deadly
tsunami that triggered the Fukushima disaster, but public support for
nuclear power is growing as memories of the 2011 meltdown fade. A minute’s
silence was observed nationwide at 2:46 pm (0546 GMT), the precise moment
when a 9.0-magnitude quake – the fourth strongest in Earth’s recorded
history – devastated northeastern Japan 12 years ago.

In January, Tokyo’s,High Court upheld the acquittal of three former TEPCO executives, again
clearing them of professional negligence over the disaster. But in a
separate civil verdict last year, the trio – plus one other ex-official –
were ordered to pay a whopping 13.3 trillion yen ($97 billion) for failing
to prevent the accident. The enormous compensation sum is believed to be
the largest ever for a Japanese civil case, although lawyers acknowledge it
is well beyond the defendants’ capacity to pay.

The government also plans
to start releasing more than a million tonnes of treated water from the
stricken Fukushima plant into the sea this year. A combination of
groundwater, rainwater that seeps into the area, and water used for
cooling, it has been filtered to remove various radionuclides and kept in
storage tanks on site, but space is running out. The water release plan has
been endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency but faces staunch
resistance from local fishing communities and neighbouring countries.

France24 11th March 2023

March 12, 2023 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, legal | Leave a comment

Another executive goes to prison for lying about doomed nuclear project

Is 15 months long enough?

By JEFFREY COLLINS, March 9, 2023,

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former executive utility who gave rosy projections on the progress of two nuclear power plants in South Carolina while they were hopelessly behind will spend 15 months in prison for the doomed project that cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

Ex-SCANA Corp. Executive Vice President Stephen Byrne apologized in court Wednesday, saying he thinks about how he let down customers, shareholders, employees, taxpayers and his family almost every day.

The two nuclear plants, which never generated a watt of power despite $9 billion of investment, were supposed to be “the crowning achievement of my life,” Byrne said. “But I failed.”

Byrne is the second SCANA executive to head to prison for the nuclear debacle. Former CEO Kevin Marsh was sentenced to two years in prison in October 2021 and released earlier in March after serving about 17 months.

Two executives at Westinghouse, which was contracted to build the reactors, are also charged. Carl Churchman, who was the company’s top official at the Fairfield County construction site at V.C. Summer, pleaded guilty to perjury and is awaiting sentencing. Former Westinghouse senior vice president Jeff Benjamin faces 16 charges. His trial is scheduled for October.

March 12, 2023 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

‘David and Goliath’ – legal case, as indigenous group fights the Australian government to stop a nuclear waste dump on their traditional land

Stephanie Richards, 6 March 23,

Barngarla Traditional Owners’ fight to stop a nuclear waste facility being built near Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula has reached the Federal Court, with the first substantive case hearing in Adelaide today.

They were supporting the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, which has applied for judicial review in an attempt to thwart construction of the federal government’s planned radioactive waste storage facility at Napandee near Kimba.

“We’re fighting against injustices that have been happening to the Barngarla people regarding this waste dump in Kimba,” Barngarla Traditional Owner Harry Dare told InDaily outside court.

“We’re actually fighting for a seven sisters and women’s dreaming site and we’re fighting for a vote in our local governance.

“The Australian Government has given back our Native Title, but they haven’t given us a voice in those Native Title areas, so we’re fighting for equality and for all of Australia to be nuclear free.”

The Napandee site was selected by the former Morrison Government, with then Resources Minister Keith Pitt saying the government had secured “majority support” from the local community after more than “six years of consultation”.

But Barngarla Traditional Owners opposed the project and argued they were not included in the consultation.

During today’s hearing,  the Federal Court was told of how the decision to locate the dump at Napandee, near Kimba, played out.

After beginning the process to select the site through its administrative powers, the then Coalition Government changed tack and decided to legislate, partly to avoid delays through legal challenges.

However, when the legislation failed in the Senate, the government restarted the administrative process.

Counsel for the Barngarla told Justice Natalie Charlesworth that raised questions over whether Pitt, who ultimately named the Napandee location and who strongly supported the legislative approach, could properly carry out his administrative role.

“That, of itself, would excite a reasonable apprehension that the minister might be unable or unwilling to approach the matter with an open mind,” he said.

“Because, effectively, the decision had already been made.”

The court was also told that the Barngarla disagreed with the former government’s view that the dump had wide community support in Kimba and would also argue the decision on the dump was unreasonable given the lack of proper consultation with the Indigenous owners.

Given Pitt’s correspondence with the Barngarla people and his other statements, the impression that might arise was that consultation would largely amount to “matters around the edges”.

“In terms of identifying culture and the like in the implementation of the site, which had already been selected and to which the minister was committed,” counsel said.

With the case listed for several days, the federal government is expected to argue that much of the material to be relied on by the applicants is subject to parliamentary privilege.

The Barngarla launched their action in 2021 after being denied the right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the Napandee site because many did not live in the Kimba council area.

The community ballot returned about 61 per cent in favour of the dump.

But when the Barngala conducted their own ballot among their community members, 83 voted no and none voted yes.

They argue they were denied the right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site, because many did not live in the Kimber council area.

Traditional Owner Linda Dare told protestors ahead of this morning’s hearing that the proposed location for the nuclear waste facility was near an important women’s site for the Barngarla people.

“It just seems to be that every time the government wants to put something it’s always around a women’s site,” she said.

“We need to fight as women around Australia to protect our sites.

“We need to say ‘no’ because it’s going to affect the waterways, not just in South Australia but everywhere.”

InDaily reported in September that the federal government was spending three times more than Barngarla Traditional Owners fighting the project in the Federal Court.

Information released to SA Greens Senator Barbara Pocock showed that between December and July, the government had spent $343,457.44 on legal fees.

That compares to the approximate $124,000 spent by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation over the same period.

The Native Title group estimates that the total cost incurred by the federal government would run into the millions.

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Jason Bilney told InDaily the judicial review was a “David and Goliath battle”.

“But, we’re dedicated. It took us 21 years to win our Native Title, come out of Native Title six months later and we’re fighting a nuclear waste dump on our country,” he said.

“What does that tell you about truth telling, the Statement From The Heart or the Voice?

“Our Voice isn’t being heard, truth telling isn’t being told and they’re going to break the First Nations’ heart – Barngarla – and put it (the nuclear waste dump) on our country.”

Bilney said Traditional Owners expected the Federal Court would take months to reach a decision, with hearings scheduled each day this week.

“It could take a year, but we would like it to have it sooner than later,” he said.

It comes after the Barngarla Native Title group last month won a separate Supreme Court bid to overturn former Premier Steven Marshall’s decision to allow a mineral exploration company to drill at Lake Torrens in the state’s outback.

At the time, Bilney said the group was buoyed by the win as they continued their legal fight to stop the Napandee nuclear waste facility from going ahead.

South Australian Labor has long called for Barngarla people to have the right to veto the project, with Premier Peter Malinauskas previously saying that the state government had expressed its views to the federal government.

March 6, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, Legal, wastes | Leave a comment

Greenpeace will sue the European Commission over its decision to include gas and nuclear as “clean”

Greenpeace will take the European Commission to court over its decision to
include gas and nuclear energy in the EU’s list of investments that can be
labelled as “green”, the campaign group said on Thursday.

Greenpeace requested a formal review in September of the Commission’s decision,
arguing the European Union had violated its own climate laws by labelling
some gas and nuclear energy investments as green.

Reuters 9th Feb 2023

February 11, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

U.S. Court of Appeals rejects New Mexico’s challenge to Nuclear Waste License

10th Cir. Tosses New Mexico’s Challenge to Nuclear Waste License

Bloomberg Law, Feb. 11, 2023

  • NRC granted license to store spent nuclear fuel near border
  • New Mexico lacks jurisdiction to bring challenge, court found

New Mexico lost its challenge to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to grant a license to store nuclear waste in the state, after the Tenth Circuit dismissed the state’s petition for review on Friday.

A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed with the federal government that the petition should be dismissed, finding that New Mexico lacked jurisdiction to bring the action under the Hobbs Act and Atomic Energy Act.

New Mexico didn’t participate in the licensing proceeding or qualify as an aggrieved party, Judge Robert E. Bacharach wrote for the three-judge panel. The …………………. [Subscribers only]

February 11, 2023 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment