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Zaporizhzhia’s ‘last working’ nuclear reactor loses power after Russian shelling

SBS News6 Sept 22, The vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest nuclear power plant in Europe – was captured by Moscow in March, but is still run by Ukrainian staff……….

The imperilled six-reactor facility in southern Ukraine, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was captured by Moscow in March, but is still run by Ukrainian staff.

“Today, as a result of a fire caused by shelling, the (last working) transmission line was disconnected,” Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram on Monday.

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“As a result, (reactor) unit No. 6, which currently supplies the (plant’s) own needs, was unloaded and disconnected from the grid,” it said.

Ukraine was unable to repair the power lines now because of fighting raging around the station, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko wrote on Facebook.

“Any repairs of the power lines are currently impossible- fighting is ongoing around the station,” he said……

Two reactors at the plant, number five and six, remain in use but are currently disconnected from the grid.

They have suffered repeated disconnections due to shelling over the last fortnight.

 https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/zaporizhzhias-last-working-nuclear-reactor-loses-power-after-russian-shelling/7qmhrx807

September 6, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Satellite images show damage to buildings right next to Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactors

Satellite images show damage to Ukraine nuclear plant buildings right next
to reactor. Satellite images show armoured personnel carriers stationed
near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s reactors.

Independent 30th Aug 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/world/russian-ukraine-war-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-b2155901.html

Shelling ‘leaves HOLES in roof of Russian-occupied nuclear power plant’:
Images reveal damage at Zaporizhzhia site – with Putin’s forces blaming
Ukrainian artillery for potential disaster.

Daily Mail 30th Aug 2022

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11159707/Shelling-leaves-HOLES-roof-nuclear-power-plant-Putins-forces-blame-Ukraine.html

August 31, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Fears of a radiation leak mount near Ukrainian nuclear plant

WHSV3 By PAUL BYRNE, Aug. 26, 2022 ,

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities began distributing iodine tablets to residents near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Friday in case of a radiation leak, amid mounting fears that the fighting around the complex could trigger a catastrophe.

The move came a day after the plant was temporarily knocked offline because of what officials said was fire damage to a transmission line. The incident heightened dread of a nuclear disaster in a country still haunted by the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl.

Continued shelling was reported in the area overnight, and satellite images from Planet Labs showed fires burning around the complex — Europe’s biggest nuclear plant — over the last several days.

Iodine tablets, which help block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland in a nuclear accident, were issued in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, about 45 kilometers (27 miles) from the plant. A woman and her small daughter were among those receiving the pills……………..

In Thursday’s incident, Ukraine and Russia blamed one another for the transmission-line damage that knocked the plant off the power grid………

The plant requires power to run the reactors’ vital cooling systems. A loss of cooling could lead to a nuclear meltdown.

Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s transmission system operator, reported Friday that two damaged main lines supplying the plant with electricity had resumed operation, ensuring a stable power supply.

 https://www.whsv.com/2022/08/26/atomic-energy-agency-seeks-visit-ukraine-nuclear-power-plant-amid-concerns/

August 26, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The Watchdog: Nuclear Regulatory Commission flunks this public records test

The Unit 2 reactor at Comanche Peak nuclear power plant outside Glen Rose, shown in a 2011 photo, was the site of a fire in 2021. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ignored a records request from The Dallas Morning News.

By Dave Lieber The Dallas Morning News, 16 Aug 22,

I am a Three Mile Island baby.

What I mean is I was in college in 1979 when America’s first major nuclear plant accident occurred. I was 100 miles away. Had things gotten bad, and the wind changed …

Since then I’ve studied nuclear evacuation zones and how they are supposed to work.

That’s why I filed a federal Freedom of Information request one year ago seeking records of a June 7, 2021, fire inside the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant. The reactor is outside the city limits of Glen Rose, 60 miles southwest of downtown Dallas.

I wanted to test the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s response to an open records request. How forthcoming would this important but often overlooked federal agency be?

The answer is in. The NRC failed The Watchdog’s test. They ignored my request for a full year. It wasn’t until I contacted them last week and reminded that I had a year-old request that was unfilled that they reacted. Otherwise, I’m fairly certain that my request would have gone unanswered forever.

Grade? I give the NRC an “F” for this.

Original request

When I made the request on Aug. 23, 2021, some of the facts about the fire were already publicly known. There was a fire in the plant’s main transformer that was put out by the plant’s fire department. External fire departments were not called in.

After that, the plant’s Unit 2 was shut down for two weeks for repairs, and then it went back online.

Dallas Morning News reporter Marin Wolf did an excellent job covering the event in two stories.

What I didn’t know a year ago was that there would be a war between Russia and Ukraine, and that nuclear power plants would be used as strategic points of combat………………………………

Evacuation plans

The last study I made of the Comanche Peak evacuation plans was in 2011. I studied hundreds of pages of evacuation plans I received from the NRC through the Freedom of Information Act. Little details were somewhat alarming.

In the event of an evacuation, records stated that pets were not allowed in the “reception centers” outside the evacuation zones.

“Where possible, shelter livestock,” the plan stated. “Leave them with food and water.”

More advice: “Keep your car’s vents and windows closed while driving within 10 miles of the power plant. If you use your car air conditioning, set it on ‘inside’ or ‘maximum’ so it does not pull in outside air.”

“Residents are also advised to communicate with neighbors personally, rather than clogging phone lines.”

How would that happen if you’re in your car, with the vents closed, driving away?

It’s clear to me that chaos would ensue.

A bad battery

Four months after my initial FOIA request, I sent the NRC a note with the subject line “Missing in Action.”

“Hello, I’m wondering what happened to my August 2021 FOIA request — NRC-2021-000233.”

I received an acknowledgement of my letter — but no records.

Obviously, this could have gone on forever. Did the NRC forget me?

Finally, last week, I revealed my experiment to the NRC in a note: “It wasn’t so much that I was interested in the information as I was testing your obedience to the FOIA law. Well, the test is over.”

Only then did I receive 45 pages of records from the NRC’s regional office in Arlington.

Flipping through, I see the August 2021 fire is barely mentioned. The package does not contain any incident reports, which I had requested. The records sent to The Watchdog are about post-fire inspections.

One “non-cited violation” found that operators of the plant, which is owned by Vistra Energy, “failed to maintain batteries associated with the steam generator fill pumps.” Those pumps are part of the process used to create steam, which is converted into energy that ultimately yields electric power.

One battery was found to be dead, and the battery charger was missing, the inspection report stated.

That single violation was described in the report as being “of very low safety significance.”

Note that I requested any incident reports on the 2021 fire, but in the 45 pages, the word “fire” only appears 20 times……………….

This is yet another example of a federal agency failing to follow the tenets of the Freedom of Information Act. But how many federal agencies have their own evacuation plans designed to save lives in the event of a nuclear accident?

I’m a Three Mile Island baby, and this is serious stuff. In a world where nuclear plants become weapons of war, this is no time for secrets.  https://dentonrc.com/news/the_watchdog/the-watchdog-nuclear-regulatory-commission-flunks-this-public-records-test/article_2bd07602-4a09-588a-9670-d323d752f350.html

August 14, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Parts of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant damaged when struck by shelling

 Ukraine’s state nuclear agency, Enerhoatom, said parts of the captured
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant were “seriously damaged” after a station
containing oxygen and nitrogen and an “auxiliary building” were struck by
shelling. There is now an increased risk of fire and radiation.

On Telegram, the agency said Saturday: “The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
is operating at risk of violating the norms of radiation and fire
protection.” “There remains a risk of hydrogen leaking and radioactive
particles dispersing, and the risk of fire is also high,” Enerhoatom added.

 Deutsche Welle 6th Aug 2022

https://www.dw.com/en/russia-ukraine-updates-parts-of-nuclear-plant-seriously-damaged/a-62729710

August 6, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

IAEA alarmed at danger to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as shelling continues in Ukraine war

The UN nuclear watchdog has called for an immediate end to all military
action near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it was hit by
shelling, causing one of the reactors to shut down and creating a “very
real risk of a nuclear disaster”. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was “extremely
concerned” by reports of damage at the plant and called for IAEA experts
to be allowed to inspect the damage.

“I’m extremely concerned by the
shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which
underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten
public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” he said. The
Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said the attack had damaged a
power cable and forced one of the reactors to stop working, and that
“there are still risks of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances,
and the risk of fire is also high”. The shelling “has caused a serious
risk for the safe operation of the plant”, Grossi said.

 Observer 6th Aug 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/06/strikes-at-ukrainian-nuclear-plant-alarming-says-un-watchdog-chief

 Reuters 6th Aug 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/uns-nuclear-watchdog-chief-condemns-shelling-zaporizhzhia-plant-2022-08-06/

August 6, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Beatty Nevada Nuclear waste explosions, in the desert.

Terry Southard 2 Aug 22,

Explosions of nuclear waste from pieces of decommissioned San onofre reactor, by San diego.The pieces of the reactor and the other waste from the San Diego, San Onofre reactor decommissioning, started blowing up in the desert outside beatty Nevada. Later the San onofre nuclear waste was dug up and transfered, to a nuclear waste facility outside salt lake city Utah. The explosions, were caused by the decay heat and pyrophoricty of the radionuclides, in the waste and that had accumulated on the reactor pieces.

We simply, don’t get to learn from the mainstream media, about these radioactive hazards.

New Mexico was on fire this summer. 800 thousand acres burned. So much nuclear waste and fallout, in New Mexico, from bomb building and testing. I would not be surprised, if there is a major uptick in lung cancers, and other cancers, in New Mexico in the next 5 years . Nuke bombs exploded under rivers in New Mexico, project gas buggy. Uranium waste catastrophes. Nuclear waste dumps in many places. Largest plutonium core operation in the world at Los Alamos, by Santa fe. Wipp plutonium dump, by Clovis.

These explosions were caused by parts of the decommisioned, highly radioactive pieces of the San onofre reactor, buried in Nevada for a few years. They had to dqqig them up, after the explosions and, moved them to utah. You would have thought, peopke in Utah, would have known better.

Steppenwolf just stick yur head into the sand, pretend that all is grand and everything will be ok

This will happen at other shoddy nuclear waste operations in the usa. Typically under-regulated, and under supervised by cheap and mismanaged, foreign owned nuclear waste management companies. Give them an inch and, they take a mile. They bribe state legislators and start taking in nuclear waste, from other countries. Countries like Japan and Estonia. That happened at the white mesa nuke waste operation, by blanding, utah. I think there is greater risk of wildfires, in the white mesa area, from the pryophoric effects of radionuclide dust from white mesa, blowing into surrounding areas.. There was a truck full of nuke waste owned by energy fuels, by Salt Lake City, that caught fire in 2018. The white mesa, energy fuel operation is trucking in nuke waste, from all over the world.

Radionuclides generate their own heat and can start fires on their own even in small amounts, like the plutonium did at rocky flats. That is why the US Armed forces, uses depleted uranium in bombs, bullets and, other munitions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Flats_Plant

https://www.osti.gov/biblio/515622

Wildfires and cancer

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(22)00067-5/fulltext

More wildfires and cancer
https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2022/05/17/wildfires-cancer-risk-study/5531652723109/

Wildfires are increasing cancer rates in the World.

https://thescotfree.com/opinion/incident-at-santa-susana-a-meltdown-a-fire-and-a-cover-up/

August 1, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel Fabrication plant – a detailed history of troubles.

Dead fish near SC nuclear fuel site were an early warning. Then came the spills and accidents, The State, BY SAMMY FRETWELL, JULY 30, 2022 

“……………………………………………………. 1980: State regulators learn of a fish kill near the Westinghouse wastewater plant. They found elevated levels of fluoride and ammonia-nitrogen in groundwater and surface water. It was later determined that the pollution came from the plant wastewater area. 1980: Twenty plant workers evacuated from Westinghouse after a small leak of uranium hexafluoride gas.

1982: Westinghouse unable to find 9.5 pounds of slightly enriched uranium, according to an NRC report. 1983: State regulators fine Westinghouse $6,000 for illegally shipping flammable material that caused a fire at Barnwell County’s low-level nuclear waste dump. 1988: Radioactivity found in monitoring wells is thought to have come from prior leaks of industrial wastewater. Low concentrations of Uranium 235, 234 and 238 found.

1989: EPA investigators find an array of pollutants in groundwater at the Westinghouse site, some higher than safe drinking water levels. Vinyl Chloride and TCE, both of which can cause cancer, were found to exceed the drinking water standard. 1989: Twenty five dead deer discovered at the Westinghouse property, some of them in an area where wastewater was being discharged near the Congaree River. The deer reportedly died from nitrate poisoning, but public records reviewed by The State do not show an exact cause. 1992: Trichloroethene (TCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (CIS 1,2 DCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), are detected at amounts above the federal maximum contaminant level for safe drinking water. The high levels were found near the plant’s oil house.

1993: NRC fines Westinghouse $18,750 after alleging that the company failed to perform a criticality safety analysis and failed to conduct safety tests. 1994: Radioactive leak exposes 55 workers to uranium hexafluoride and shuts down the Westinghouse plant. 1997: The plant loses two low-enriched fuel rods. The NRC says five violations of NRC requirements occurred. Safety was not compromised, but problems “are indicative of inadequate management attention.’’

1998: Company fined $13,750 after NRC notes the “loss of criticality control,’’ a problem that could have led to an accident. The agency says a problem had gone uncorrected. 2000: NRC hits Westinghouse with a violation notice because an operator “willfully violated criticality safety procedures when preparing to mix a batch of powder.’’ 2000: Uranyl nitrate spills at the Westinghouse plant, causing a cleanup. When the cleanup began, workers found the spill was worse than originally thought.

2001: NRC hits Westinghouse with a violation for transporting 3 cylinders of licensed material with elevated radiation levels. 2001: Westinghouse fails to follow criticality safety rules at a uranium recovery area dissolver elevator, violation notice says. Containers were not stacked far enough apart, reducing safety. Westinghouse didn’t do enough to fix the problem. 2001: NRC issues a violation notice to Westinghouse after raising concerns about criticality safety, including failing to keep uranium powder mixing hoods properly separated.

2001: NRC hits Westinghouse with violation after criticality safety controls failed to work on the ammonium diurnate process lines. 2002: NRC letter tells Westinghouse that its criticality safety control efforts need improvement. NRC Regional Administrator Luis Reyes says the last two safety reviews have urged improvement for criticality safety. Letter notes concern about nuclear transportation program. 2002: NRC notice of investigation says a contractor for Westinghouse falsified records about the receipt and processing of materials. That resulted in a small amount of nuclear material being improperly shipped to nuclear site in Tennessee. 2004: NRC again raises concerns about criticality safety, the practice of making sure a nuclear chain reaction does not occur. Efforts to improve compliance with procedures and “implement criticality safety controls were not fully effective,’’ letter from regional administrator Luis Reyes says.

2004: NRC letter hits Westinghouse with a $24,000 fine. The company failed to maintain criticality controls as required. Ash in the company’s incinerator exceeded concentration limits for uranium. The Level 2 violation is, at the time, the most serious ever noted at the plant. 2008: Broken pipe spills radioactive material into the soil in the same area as a later 2011 leak, but Westinghouse doesn’t tell state or federal regulators for years. 2008: The NRC sanctions Westinghouse for losing sixteen sample vials of uranium hexafluoride. The company didn’t properly document and control the transfer of the vials and failed to secure them from “unauthorized removal.’’ 2008: Westinghouse hit with a violation notice after a worker disabled an alarm and bypassed a safety significant interlock.

2009: Westinghouse fires a contract foreman after federal regulators found that he had falsified records. Westinghouse also was cited by the NRC. The foreman certified that employees were trained in safety procedures, when they had not completed training.

2009: Westinghouse loses 25 pounds of pellets that were to be used in making nuclear fuel rods. NRC downplays danger but says Westinghouse should have kept better track of the nuclear material.

2010: NRC levies $17,500 fine against Westinghouse after uranium-bearing wastewater spilled inside the plant.

2011: Uranium leaks into ground beneath the Westinghouse plant, but federal inspectors weren’t told about it for years. NRC officials said they only learned about the spill in 2017.

2012: Worker exposed to uranium-containing acid and whisked to a hospital by emergency medical crews. The worker was treated for pain and released.

2012: Westinghouse fails to follow through on a report to improve the facility so it could better withstand an earthquake, NRC says. Recommendations had been made nine years previously.

2015: Three workers are injured when steam erupted from a wash tank. The workers are taken to a Columbia area hospital for treatment and later sent to the burn center in Augusta, which specializes in treating severe burns.

2016: A buildup of uranium that could have led to a small burst of radiation forces Westinghouse to shut down part of the fuel plant and temporarily lay off 170 workers, about one-tenth of its work force at the plant. The uranium found in the scrubber area is nearly three times the legal limit.

2017: Westinghouse worker exposed to a solution toxic enough to cause chemical burns when the solution sprayed him. 2018: Uranium leaks into the ground through a hole in the Westinghouse plant floor. An acid solution had eaten into the floor. Soil was contaminated.

2018. The NRC says Westinghouse allowed workers to walk across a protecting liner for years, which likely weakened the liner and contributed to a hole in the floor that allowed uranium solution to leak out.

2019: Fire breaks out in a drum laden with mop heads, rags and other cleaning equipment.

2019: State and federal authorities report that water had leaked through a rusty shipping container and onto barrels of uranium-tainted trash. Contaminants then leaked into the soil below the shipping container floor.

2019: Westinghouse sends three workers to the hospital after they complained of an unusual taste in their mouths while doing maintenance on equipment that contains hydrofluoric acid.

2019: Two contaminated barrels are shipped from the Westinghouse plant to Washington State after workers in South Carolina failed to properly examine the containers for signs of radioactive contamination.

2020. The NRC issues violation against Westinghouse, this time after questions arose about nuclear safety. The issue centered on improper security of tamper seals, used to keep nuclear material from being stolen.

2020. NRC reports finding 13 pinhole leaks in a protective liner.

2020: South Carolina officials raise concerns about earthquakes at Westinghouse.

Sources: NRC records and news reports from The State. https://www.thestate.com/news/local/environment/article263945551.html

July 31, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

‘Israeli cell planted explosives at nuclear facility,’ Iran media says

Report says cell arrested with ‘powerful explosives’, planned to blow up a ‘sensitive center’ in central Isfahan province — home to nuclear sites and missile bases

 https://www.ynetnews.com/article/hkb1uwohq Ynet| 07.24.22

ranian news website Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, reported that the cell planned to blow up a “sensitive center” in Isfahan province in the center of the country. Isfahan is home to several major nuclear sites, as well as missile bases.

According to other reports, the cell crossed into Iran from Iraq’s Kurdistan region after “months of training” in Africa.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry did not specify, however, how many cell members were arrested and did not publish details about their nationality.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

Test rocket carrying component for future nuclear armed ICBM explodes after takeoff

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent, July 8, 2022, (CNN)A test rocket carrying a component for a future US nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile blew up 11 seconds after takeoff Wednesday night from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, according to a statement from the base…………

This was the first test of the Mk21A Reentry Vehicle (RV) the part of the weapon that would hold a nuclear warhead if the system was operational. There was no nuclear element or armed component to this test

The Mk21A is planned to be the reentry vehicle for the future LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missiles, a new ground-based nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile planned to replace the current Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as a key element of the US nuclear deterrent capability.

The explosion comes a week after the latest test of a US hypersonic weapon failed after an “anomaly” occurred during the first test of the full system.

The test, carried out June 30 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, was supposed to launch the Common Hypersonic Glide Body atop a two-stage missile booster. The booster is designed to launch the system and accelerate it to hypersonic speeds in excess of Mach 5, at which point the glide body detaches and uses its speed to reach the target. It was the first time the entire system was tested, called an All Up Round test…….  https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/08/politics/test-rocket-explodes/index.html

July 7, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

What happened at Santa Susana? — Beyond Nuclear International

A meltdown contaminated a community. A fire made it worse

What happened at Santa Susana? — Beyond Nuclear International A 1959 meltdown and a 2018 fire compounded a tragedy
By Carmi Orenstein
When the United Nations Human Rights Council officially recognized access to “a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” as a basic human right earlier last October, it was an acknowledgement fifty years in the making. It was backed by an international grassroots effort, with the journey to the final vote including the voices of more than 100,000 children around the world and multiple generations of allies pushing against powerful corporate opposition. 
Just about the time that this half-century-long campaign to enshrine the right to a safe environment kicked off, a story about the horrific violation of this same human right and its cover-up emerged in a community near my own childhood home in Southern California.

 In 1979, a UCLA student named Michael Rose uncovered evidence of a partial nuclear meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) in the Simi Hills outside of Los Angeles. The SSFL, formerly known as Rocketdyne, played key government roles throughout the Cold War, developing and testing rocket engines and conducting experiments with nuclear reactors. Today, as the result of a recently published peer-reviewed study that represents the dogged efforts of both professional researchers and a team of specially trained citizens, we have solid evidence of the spread of dangerous contamination from that site.

Santa Susan Field Laboratory 1958

Working with nuclear safety expert and then-UCLA professor Daniel Hirsch, Rose discovered documentation that the partial nuclear meltdown had occurred at SSFL twenty years earlier in 1959, releasing up to 459 times more radiation into the environment than the infamous meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. Unlike the Three Mile Island facility, the SSFL reactors lacked containment structures—those tell-tale concrete domes that surround commercial nuclear power plants to prevent radiation spread in case of a nuclear accident. 

In addition to the 1959 meltdown, at least three of the site’s other nuclear reactors experienced accidents (in 1957, 1964 and 1969), and radioactive and chemical wastes burned in open-air pits as a matter of practice. A “hot lab,” which may have been the nation’s largest, was also located at SSFL, and, in 1957, it burned and was known to have spread radioactivity throughout the site. A progress report from the period states, “Because such massive contamination was not anticipated, the planned logistics of cleanup were not adequate for the situation.”

The rest of this story is an object lesson in what happens when the right to a safe environment is not universally acknowledged and when secretive, long-forgotten toxic legacies of the Cold War meet the unpredictable chaos of the current climate crisis. Real people are harmed in ways that are not easily remediable—including, perhaps, members of my family.

The radioactive contamination of the surrounding environment caused by the partial nuclear meltdown at the 2,849-acre SSFL site was not cleaned up by the time of Rose’s revelation. Nor was the extensive toxic chemical contamination on site. It is still not cleaned up. Thus, when the climate chaos-fueled Woolsey Fire erupted at, and burned through, the SSFL in 2018, the flames served to spread the contamination even further. The fire quickly burned 80 percent of the SSFL property, and onward, all the way to the ocean. Pushed by high winds and uncontained for nearly two weeks, the Woolsey Fire killed three people outright and destroyed over 1,600 structures.

Today, public knowledge of the original disaster and its continued radioactive and toxic legacy is still patchy. The silence that surrounded the catastrophe in 1959 gave way to intermittent waves of focused media attention, celebrity involvement, and inquiry and outcry on the part of elected officials in the years since the 1979 expose. These have been followed by whistleblower accounts from former workers, and various forms of citizen activism. While occasional news of confidential legal settlements addressing illness and contamination breaks through, the Santa Susana disaster is hardly a household name—including among those of us who grew up in its shadow. 

The suburbs on either side of the SSFL, in Ventura County and a western edge of Los Angeles County, are still expanding. More than 500,000 people currently live within about ten miles of the site. Parents vs. SSFL is the dynamic, parent-led group currently at the helm of public monitoring of, and demand for, a comprehensive cleanup. On their social media sites, one often sees public comments from nearby residents along the lines of why were we not told?

To be sure, the history of site ownership and responsibility is complex and makes redress of grievance vexing. Although Rocketdyne owned the facility at the time of the meltdown, most of the site is now owned by Boeing. However, some of the property is owned by NASA, who in turn leases parts of its property as SSFL to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the lead regulatory agency for remediation, entered into a Consent Order with these “responsible parties,” in 2007. In 2010, stricter agreements were signed with DOE and NASA to clean up the properties for which they are responsible to “background levels.” 

In 2017 a legally binding agreement deadline for completion of cleanup was blown by, with no meaningful cleanup begun. In 2018 the Woolsey Fire came roaring through. That fire is now documented to have redistributed radioactive materials and toxic chemicals in surrounding areas. Non-binding, confidential negotiations with Boeing were just announced early this year. It is a confounding and maddening journey to anyone attempting to follow.

As Melissa Bumstead, co-founder of Parents vs SSFL, said in a Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles press release about the new study: “The bottom line is, if SSFL had been cleaned up by 2017 as required by the cleanup agreements, the community wouldn’t have had to worry about contamination released by the Woolsey Fire.” …………………………………….

UCLA professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Suzanne E. Paulson also weighed in. Speaking to a reporter the next year, Paulson explained

Assuming that radioactive material was in the soil [and] vegetation burned, it is reasonable that it traveled 30 miles downwind, and some of it got deposited in downwind areas… When soil and vegetation burn, the material in them, including metals [and] soil minerals, end up in the aerosol particles that make smoke look dark and hazy. They are small enough that they can remain in the atmosphere for up to a week and as a result can be widely dispersed.

At the end of 2018, just weeks after the Woolsey Fire was finally extinguished, work commenced on the independent study that was ultimately published online in early October and would appear in the December 2021 issue of the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. This paper represents the work of community-volunteer citizen scientists who were trained to collect dust and ash samples in a 9-mile radius throughout the rural, urban, suburban, and undeveloped mountainous area around the SSFL. Their data collection was followed by the slow and careful work of scientific analysis. In a society whose governmental structures and policies decidedly are not guided by the Precautionary Principle today, and where there are no efficient mechanisms by which to correct past regulatory errors—no matter how grave—these volunteers and their three research leaders have provided powerful, incriminating evidence with which the community and its allies will push forward for the cleanup. 

…………………………. “Woolsey Fire ash did, in fact, spread SSFL-related radioactive microparticles.” The authors also wrote, “Excessive alpha radiation in small particles is of particular interest because of the relatively high risk of inhalation-related long-term biological damage from internal alpha emitters compared to external radiation.”……………………………………………..

How did the entities with knowledge and power continue to delay and obstruct while the population boomed and crept up the hillsides near the SSFL, knowing full well that powerful human health hazards were there to meet the communities, new and old? The statement by DTSC proclaiming that no contaminants were carried, while the Woolsey Fire was still burning, smacks of the most brazen regulatory capture. …………………………….. Carmi Orenstein is Program Director at Concerned Heath Professionals of New York.    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/4098311628

June 27, 2022 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New film shows the anguish and destruction of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

 A new documentary contains “lost tapes” of the Chornobyl disaster that
have never been seen before, showing the horrific destruction and anguish
that occurred during and after the worst nuclear incident in history. In a
new trailer for the Sky Original documentary, Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes,
HBO released small snippets of footage of the heroic workers that fought to
contain the fallout and of the thousands of residents evacuating the area,
including the voices of locals that the documentary claims were
“silenced” following the disaster. IFL 6th June 2022https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/lost-tapes-of-chernobyl-reveal-the-devastating-impact-of-the-worst-nuclear-disaster/

June 9, 2022 Posted by | incidents, media, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Book Review: A Timely History of Nuclear Catastrophes

In “Atoms and Ashes,” Serhii Plokhy offers a harrowing account of the world’s six major accidents and their aftershocks.

Top: Three Mile Island photographed in 1999, 20 years after the Unit 2 reactor failed. 

RUSSIA’S INVASION OF Ukraine not only reminded the world of all the usual horrors of modern warfare, but also stirred the long-slumbering spectre of nuclear catastrophe, both in the form of nuclear war à la “Dr. Strangelove” and of civilian disaster à la Chernobyl. When Russian forces occupied the Chernobyl nuclear plant and held its workers hostage, some worried about a new nuclear disaster in the making if the plant was damaged or if decommissioning operations were severely disrupted. Other nuclear plants in Ukraine, including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station — the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, with six reactors — were threatened by invading forces. The dangers were severe enough that the International Atomic Energy Agency sent safety staff and continues to monitor the unfolding situation to ensure that things don’t get out of control.

At the moment, Ukraine’s nuclear plants seem to be safe, but fear and anxiety persist. As Serhii Plokhy details in “Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters,” the memories of past catastrophes continue to haunt the idea of nuclear power, including any plans or hopes for a nuclear power renaissance in a world of worsening climate change.

Each of the book’s six chapters focuses on an individual nuclear accident, some famous, others more obscure, including relevant background information and historical context. ………………………………  https://undark.org/2022/05/27/book-review-a-timely-history-of-nuclear-catastrophes/

May 28, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, incidents | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear fears as forest near Exclusion Zone in FLAMES – emergency triggered 

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1612039/Chernobyl-nuclear-warning-forest-fire-Exclusion-Zone-emergency-Ukraine-latest

CHERNOBYL nuclear fears have surged after a forest near the Exclusion Zone erupted in flames as emergency services battled to extinguish the huge blaze.

By PAUL WITHERS, May 18, 2022  The State Emergency Service of Ukraine reported that litter in the forest near the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had caught fire. More than a dozen firefighters and four units of equipment were involved in battling to put out the massive fire. At 2.10am local time, the fire had been localised to an area of 45 hectares. 

Video footage shared on Twitter shows the forest next to the Exclusion Zone engulfed in flames that are several metres high.

Rescue workers wearing protective face masks are also seen leading a local resident to safety.

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine shared footage of the fire on its Telegram channel.

The service also wrote alongside this: “May 17 near the village.   “In the forest of Vyshhorod district, forest litter caught fire.

“During the fire, our firefighters rescued a local resident.

“At 02:10 on May 18, the fire was localized on an area of 45 hectares.

“As of 09:00 there is decay of dry grass and stumps.

“Sixteen rescuers and four units were involved in the firefighting techniques.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is an officially designated 1,000 square mile area in Ukraine around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster.

It covers an area where radioactive contamination is highest and public access and habitation are restricted.

The Exclusion Zone aims to restrict access to hazardous areas, reduce the spread of radiological contamination, and conduct radiological and ecological monitoring activities.

It remains one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world, attracting widespread interest over the high levels of radiation exposure in the environment.

The Exclusion Zone had been established by the Soviet Armed Forces soon after the nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.  This initially existed as an area with a radius of 30 miles from the structure, designated for evacuation and placed under military control.

Over the years, its borders have been widened to cover a much larger area of Ukraine.  

May 19, 2022 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Meltdown at Three Mile Island- USA’s closest nuclear close shave

Shortly after 4am on 28 March 1979, a pressure valve failed to close in
the Unit 2 reactor at Three Mile Island, a nuclear power plant on a strip
of land in central Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. The technical
malfunction, compounded by human error – control room workers misread
confusing signals and halted the emergency water cooling system – heated
the nuclear core to dangerously high levels.

The film The China Syndrome
was still in theaters, starring Jane Fonda as a television reporter
investigating cover-ups at a nuclear power plant whose meltdown could
release radioactive material deep into the earth, “all the way to
China”. Three Mile Island – still the worst commercial nuclear accident
in US history – was no China Syndrome, but it got terrifyingly close to
catastrophic, Chernobyl-level damage.

As the Netflix docuseries Meltdown:
Three Mile Island recounts, Unit 2 came less than half an hour from fully
melting down – a disaster scenario that would have sickened hundreds of
thousands in the surrounding area. Two days after the accident, an
explosive bubble of hydrogen gas was found in the reactor. The plant’s
operator, Metropolitan Edison, tried to downplay the risk of radioactive
releases, but panic ensued; more than 100,000 people fled the surrounding
area. Plant technicians were eventually able to slowly bleed the gas from
the cooling reactor, avoiding a deadly explosion.

Though workers inside theplant were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, it remains unknown how
much contamination escaped the facility into the surrounding community. In
its second half, Meltdown, directed by Kief Davidson, homes in on the story
of Rick Parks, a cleanup supervisor turned whistleblower on the Bechtel
Corp, the company hired to conduct the billion-dollar cleanup by
Metropolitan Edison and supervised by the government’s Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC).

“While a lot of people know about the disaster, they
don’t know about what happened in the cleanup phase and how close we were
to another disaster,” Davidson told the Guardian. “We dodged a bullet a
second time, and it was entirely due to the fact that Rick Parks and
[fellow whistleblower] Larry King stood up. “We should know about these
stories,” he added. “We should be able to look at the people who risk
everything in order to save communities from a potential disaster.”

 Guardian 5th May 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/may/05/meltdown-three-mile-island-netflix-us-nuclear-accident

May 7, 2022 Posted by | incidents, media, USA | Leave a comment