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

Activists Want Details On Inquiry Into Ex- Nuclear Weapons Plant at Rocky Flats

Rocky Flats Controversy Continues: Activists Want Details On Inquiry Into Ex-Nuke Weapons Plant, 4 CBS Denver,  By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press  DENVER (AP) — Activists asked a U.S. judge Thursday to make documents public from a 27-year-old criminal investigation into former nuclear weapons plant Rocky Flats outside Denver with a history of fires, leaks and spills.The activists said the documents could show whether the federal government did enough to clean up the site before turning part of it into a wildlife refuge and opening it to the public.

The government built plutonium triggers at the Rocky Flats plant from 1952 to 1989. It was shut down after a two-year grand jury investigation into environmentalviolations.

After the investigation, Rockwell International, the contractor that operated the plant, pleaded guilty in 1992 to criminal charges that included mishandling chemical and radioactive material. The company was fined $18.5 million.

The documents from the grand jury investigation are still sealed. Seven groups representing environmentalists, former nuclear workers, nearby residents and public health advocates filed a motion in federal court Thursday asking for the information to be made public.

Officials from the U.S. attorney’s office and the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversaw the plant, didn’t immediately respond to emails and a phone call seeking comment. Many employees of the two agencies are furloughed because of the partial government shutdown.

Pat Mellen, an attorney representing the activist groups, said the documents could show whether the government tracked down and cleaned up all the contamination.

Mellen said the grand jury subpoenaed documents from the plant that would have shown where plutonium and other hazardous wastes were disposed of, spilled or buried.

Comparing those documents to the cleanup would show whether all the known contamination sites were remediated, she said………


January 12, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

USA electric-power producers call on Supreme Court to overturn state subsidies for nuclear power

No states’ nuke subsidies, power group tells Supreme Court, Barbara Grzincic, – 11 Jan 19

A trade group for electric-power producers has doubled down on its fight against state-mandated subsidies for nuclear power plants, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn two appellate courts that upheld Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) programs in New York and Illinois last fall.

The Electric Power Supply Association, represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr, argues that the 2016 state regulations infringe on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power to regulate wholesale electricity rates, which Congress gave to FERC in the Federal Power Act in 1935.

To read the full story on Westlaw Practitioner Insights, click here:


January 12, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Will the Rocky Flats Grand Jury Files Finally Be Opened?

January 12, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s legal battle over botched handling of the Magnox nuclear decommissioning contract.

Former chiefs of UK’s nuclear body launch legal action over Magnox fiasco, Jessica Clark, 5 Jan 19
Jess Clark is a City A.M. news reporter covering private equity and investment. The former bosses of the UK’s nuclear body are caught in a legal battle over an investigation into the botched handling of the Magnox nuclear decommissioning contract. The former chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Stephen Henwood and the organisation’s former chief executive John Clarke are trying to block the publication of a critical report into the contract, which cost the taxpayer £120m, Sky News reported.

Former National Grid chief executive Steve Holliday completed an independent inquiry into the handling of the contract several months ago, however Henwood and Clark have raised objections to Holliday’s process.

Sky News reported that the pair sought an injunction before Christmas to stop the report being submitted to government.

The £6.1bn Magnox contract, which was awarded to the Cavendish-Fluor Partnership in March 2014, related to the clean-up of 12 nuclear sites across the UK.

The procurement process was challenged in the High Court by another bidder alleging that the NDA had broken the rules, and two years later the court ruled that the NDA has “committed multiple, manifest errors in evaluating the (losing) RSS bid and the (winning) CFP bid”, according to Holliday’s interim report.

A National Audit Office report also found that the NDA’s “fundamental failures in the Magnox contract procurement raise serious questions about its understanding of procurement regulations and its ability to manage large, complex procurements.”

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Environmental groups to take legal action about South Carolina nuclear decision

Environmental groups challenge SC nuclear decision, setting stage for Supreme Court appeal By Thad Moore Dec 24, 2018
A pair of environmental groups will challenge state regulators’ decision to let Dominion Energy buy South Carolina Electric & Gas and charge ratepayers for its failed nuclear project.

The legal challenge means that regulators on the state’s Public Service Commission will have to formally reconsider their decision, which would leave SCE&G customers to pay $2.3 billion over the next two decades for a pair of abandoned nuclear reactors.

The process was set in motion Monday by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, a pair of environmental groups that faced off against SCE&G throughout the decade-long nuclear project. They filed their protest with the commission — the same regulators who made the decision.

The environmental groups say the PSC should have officially made a determination about whether SCE&G handled the nuclear project appropriately. Attorneys opposing the power company argued SCE&G failed to tell regulators about studies that questioned the project’s viability.

The PSC chided SCE&G this month, saying it had damaged the public’s trust. But regulators stopped short of formally saying they had been misled

The environmental groups went further. They argued Monday that “SCE&G fraudulently lied, misled and withheld material information” about the problems that sank its $9 billion plan to build a pair of reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, north of Columbia.

SCE&G and Dominion, a Virginia-based utility giant that has offered to buy it, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday.

December 28, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Top court orders TEPCO to pay compensation for voluntary evacuation from Fukushima

December 18, 2018 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO — The Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld the lower court ruling ordering Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay about 16 million yen in compensation to a man in his 40s and his family that voluntarily evacuated Fukushima Prefecture to western Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to prosecute Sellafield over worker’s exposure to radiation

BBC 11th Dec 2018 , Representatives from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant have
appeared in court after a worker was allegedly exposed to plutonium.

Sellafield Ltd was charged with a health and safety offence after an
incident at the West Cumbria site in February last year. The company
entered no plea at Carlisle Crown Court.

The prosecution relates to “risks arising from hand working within glove boxes”. The glove boxes are sealed
containers, with integral gloves, which allow someone to work on objects or
materials that need to be kept in a separate atmosphere. The company faces
one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) under the
Health and Safety at Work Act. A trial has been provisionally earmarked for
April next year with another hearing listed for February.

This is the first
prosecution brought by the ONR since it was established in 2014.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Washingtonhelping nuclear workers to get compensation State will defend its law

State will fight feds over Hanford worker compensation, Q13 FOX, , DECEMBER 11, 2018, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Officials for the state of Washington said Tuesday they will defend a new law that helps employees of a former nuclear weapons production site win worker compensation claims, after the federal government filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee criticized the lawsuit as outrageous and “depraved.”

“The people who fought communism shouldn’t have to fight their federal government to get the health care they deserve,” said Inslee, who is weighing a run for the White House in 2020.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed the lawsuit on Monday in federal court for the Eastern District of Washington.

The Washington Legislature last spring passed a law that says some cancers and other illnesses among Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers are assumed to have been caused by chemical or radiological exposures at work, unless that presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.

…….The legislation signed into law in March by Inslee was propelled through the Legislature by the concerns of sick Hanford workers frustrated by state denials of their compensation claims…..

Ferguson said he presumed the federal government was worried the new Washington law might spread to other states where federal employees were involved in dangerous work. He predicted the issue would likely be resolved at trial.

“Before this, workers had to prove that whatever illness they had was not caused by something else in their lives,” Ferguson said.

Inslee called it another attempt by the Trump administration to take health care away from people in the state.

“They want to tell workers at Hanford to go hang,” said Inslee, who used to represent the Hanford site in Congress.

Lynne Dodson of the Washington State Labor Council said the federal government should be working to improve worker safety, rather than pursuing this lawsuit.

“Donald Trump and (Energy Secretary) Rick Perry would kick these workers while they are down,” Dodson said.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | employment, Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

NCR’s Fox crosses the line, goes to trial to protest nuclear weapons, Dec 3, 2018 by Thomas C. Fox

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Legal, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Saskatchewan sues federal government over cost to clean up abandoned uranium mine 

Cleanup cost more than 10 times initial estimate, Adam Hunter – CBC News, November 28, 2018 The Saskatchewan government is suing Ottawa over costs associated with the cleanup of the Gunnar mine site, an abandoned uranium mine.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, calls on the federal government to honour a 2006 memorandum of agreement (MOA) that saw both sides committing to sharing the cost of cleaning up the northern Saskatchewan site.

When the MOA was signed, the estimated cost was $24.6 million over 17 years. The two sides agreed to split the cost.

The cost has now ballooned to an estimated $280 million. To date, the province has paid $125 million cleaning up the mine and its associated satellite sites. The province said the federal government has contributed $1.13 million.

“The federal government agreed to cost-share this project equally, but has since refused to uphold its end of the agreement,” said Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre.

She said after years of back and forth the province was left with “no choice” because it has an obligation to fully remediate the site.

In an emailed statement to CBC, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Natural Resources said, “as the owner of the site, the Government of Saskatchewan is responsible for the Gunnar Mine Remediation Project.”

It goes on to say the federal government has provided funding for the first phase of the project and it will commit to funding the remaining two phases “after Saskatchewan obtains all the necessary approvals required to proceed with remediation.”

Mine’s history…...

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

Appeal lodged to stop commissioning of Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor vessel.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Owner of failed nuclear plant might use golden parachute fund in settlement 

Agreement contingent on Dominion Energy purchasing the South Carolina energy company, Ars Technica , MEGAN GEUSS – 11/27/2018,
Today, South Carolina energy company SCANA and its potential purchaser Dominion Energy reached a settlement with class-action litigants to offer a significant energy bill rate cut in exchange for the litigants dropping a lawsuit over $2 billion in energy bill fees. Attorneys for the class-action members told The Post and Courier that they will accept the deal if it’s approA class-action lawsuit representing these customers argued that they should not have to pay for an unfinished nuclear plant. Interestingly, the deal calls for SCANA to partially pay the settlement with its $115 million “golden parachute” fund, usually reserved to give high-level executives generous severance payments on their way out.

The deal must be approved by a judge, and it’s also contingent on SCANA being purchased by Virginia company Dominion Energy. Dominion appears motivated to purchase SCANA, and as part of today’s proposed settlement, Dominion would offer SCG&E customers a 15-percent customer rate cut that Utility Dive says could cut bills by more than $22 per month. Dominion’s acquisition of SCANA has secured approval from six state and federal regulatory agencies, and now the company is only waiting on approval from South Carolina’s Public Services Commission. South Carolina PSC says it wants to see a 33-percent rate cut for customers.

Even if this settlement is approved, SCANA still faces a shareholder lawsuit saying it misled investors on the progress of Summer’s reactor construction. Additionally, the $2 billion settlement would still leave customers on the hook for an additional “$2.3 billion for two unfinished reactors over the next two decades,” according to The Post and Courier.

The Post and Courier also notes that the settlement and Dominion’s acquisition deal don’t help out customers of Santee Cooper, which was another major owner of the Summer reactor expansion. Additionally, the settlement does not relieve the costs borne by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives, which also shared ownership in the project.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Santee Cooper asks judge to weigh in on legal settlement of SC nuclear lawsuit

 By Andrew Brown,   Nov 28, 2018   COLUMBIA — Santee Cooper wants to weigh in before South Carolina Electric & Gas settles a lawsuit with its customers over the utilities’ shared nuclear project, arguing a rushed deal could harm the state-run power company and its ratepayers.

·         Attorneys for Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s only public electric utility, filed a motion in court Wednesday that could disrupt a proposed legal settlement between SCE&G and several law firms that represent the utility’s customers in ongoing class-action lawsuits.

·         That deal would allow SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA Corp., to do away with the risky litigation and help seal Dominion Energy’s proposed takeover of the Cacye-based company.

·         n return, the law firms that pushed the class-action lawsuit would pocket a portion of the settlement, which requires the utility to turn over $115 million that was previously set aside for the company’s executives and the proceeds from the sale of several properties including a plantation near Georgetown and an office in downtown Charleston.

·         Santee Cooper, which owns just under half of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project, said SCE&G and the law firms involved in the case “attempted to stage a hurried settlement.”

·         The state-run utility has an interest in the outcome of the lawsuit because it is still considering suing SCANA, its project partner, over the unfinished nuclear reactors located just north of Columbia. SCANA was responsible for overseeing the multibillion dollar reactors for both utilities and reigning in the nuclear contactors on the project.


December 1, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

USA Justice Dept now tries to prevent sick nuclear workers from getting compensation

 DOJ is wrong to fight state and sickened Hanford workers, The Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board , 29 Nov 18

Ill Hanford workers, of which there have been far too many dating back far too long to be considered a coincidence, have toiled for decades amid a radioactive bouillabaisse of chemicals related to the federal Energy Department’s cleanup of the nuclear site.

But until Washington state officials stepped up last year and did the right thing by ensuring that workers filing health claims would have an easier time winning compensation, these workers had to prove to the federal government that their variety of cancers and neurological and respiratory ailments were unequivocally caused by what, literally, was a toxic work environment.

It was a burden of proof too daunting for workers, often of little economic means to fight aggressive Energy Department lawyers setting down layers of bureaucratic hurdles. The state was right to champion the plight of sickened employees, even if some in the business and insurance lobby felt the state law was too sweeping in scope.

Under the new law, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year, workers’ medical conditions are assumed to be caused by radiological exposure at Hanford – unless convincing evidence can be made showing other causal factors. That, essentially, flipped the so-called burden of proof from the workers to the federal government.

Since then, 28 of the 34 claims reviewed by the state Department of Labor and Industries have been approved, the state agency reported. That’s a far cry from the near blanket denials — five times the rate of other worker comp claims to the state, according to the advocacy group Hanford Challenge — under the previous policy guidelines set forth by the DOE.

But this week, the Justice Department delivered a rebuke to the state — and, by proxy, its workers who spent their careers cleaning up the chemical mess left over from plutonium production for nuclear weapons. In a letter sent to Inslee, the DOJ asserts the state’s law aiding worker claims violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government, in short, does not believe a state has the right to “directly regulate” a federal agency. Washington’s new law, therefore, is said to “discriminate” against the federal government and its contractors.

Really? If there’s any discrimination at play here, it’s the Energy Department’s long-standing policy of making it burdensome for sickened workers to receive due compensation.

If the state does not settle with the federal government — presumably halting its practice of giving Hanford workers the benefit of the doubt in health claims — the DOJ will take legal action.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | employment, health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

$2 billion settlement for electricity customers who were charged for failed nuclear project

Daily Mail 25th Nov 2018 Troubled utility SCANA has reached a $2 billion settlement with the South Carolina customers who sued after they were charged high rates to pay for the company’s failed nuclear construction project. SCANA announced the agreement in a news release Saturday. As part of the settlement, South
Carolina Electric & Gas Co. customers will also receive $115 million that The State newspaper reports had been set aside for soon-to-be-ousted SCANA executives.
Before the settlement can be finalized, it must receive the approval of a judge and the S.C. Public Service Commission must also approve Virginia-based Dominion Energy’s proposed buyout of SCANA, SCE&G’s parent company. Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. abandoned the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion project near Columbia in 2017 following the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment