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North Korea Now in Standoff With U.S.A. on nuclear negotiations

Once ‘No Longer a Nuclear Threat,’ North Korea Now in Standoff With U.S. NYT, By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, Aug. 10, 2018   WASHINGTON — North Korea is insisting that the United States declare that the Korean War is over before providing a detailed, written disclosure of all its atomic weapons stockpiles, its nuclear production facilities and its missiles as a first major step toward denuclearization.

Two months after President Trump declared his summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un a complete success, North Korea has not yet even agreed to provide that list during private exchanges with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to American and South Korean officials familiar with the talks.

Mr. Pompeo maintains progress is being made, although he has provided no details. But John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, this week said, “North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize.”

On Thursday, North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called the declaration of the end of the war “the demand of our time” and that would be the “first process” in moving toward a fulfillment of the June 12 deal struck between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. Pyonygang also wants peace treaty talks to begin before detailing its arsenal.

If the standoff over the parallel declarations remains, it is hard to see how the two countries can move forward with an agreement.

“The North Koreans have lied to us consistently for nearly 30 years,” Joseph Nye, who wrote one of the National Intelligence Council’s first assessments of the North’s weapons programs in 1993, said at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday.

“Trump is in a long tradition of American presidents who have been taken to the cleaners,” Mr. Nye said.

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pompeo has acknowledged the impasse. But officials said South Korea has quietly backed the North Korean position, betting that once Mr. Trump has issued a “peace declaration” it would be harder for him to later threaten military action if the North fails to disarm or discard its nuclear arsenal.

Against North Korea’s continuing nuclear buildup — and its threats to strike the United States — Washington has long refused to formally declare the end of the war, which was halted with a 1953 armistice but never officially brought to a close.

And fears remain that making concessions to Pyongyang — especially after Mr. Trump shelved annual American military exercises with South Korea that he called “war games,’’ the phrase used by the North — would outrage Republicans in Congress and open Mr. Trump to charges that he has been outmaneuvered by the North Korean leader.

The White House has never reconciled Mr. Trump’s post on Twitter after meeting Mr. Kim that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” with Mr. Bolton’s assessment that the Singapore agreement has so far yielded almost no progress in the nuclear arena. That view is shared by many in Congress and the American intelligence agencies.

For Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo, much rides on how this standoff is resolved — or whether it results in the collapse of what the president called his determination to “solve” the nuclear crisis.

Mr. Pompeo has told associates that he believes his tenure as secretary of state will be judged largely on how he handles the negotiations. In recent weeks he has softened some of his statements toward North Korea, saying the United States is open to a step-by-step approach that most officials had previously rejected.

“The ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by Chairman Kim,”Mr. Pompeo said last week — a stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s statements last year that North Korea should give up its weapons rapidly, or face tremendous, if unspecified, consequences.

Challenged about the lack of progress so far, officials at the White House and State Department pointed to three developments as signs that the strategy with North Korea is advancing.

They noted that North Korea has not conducted a missile or nuclear test since November. Since the Singapore summit, Pyongyang has returned the remains of about 55 Americans killed in the Korean War, which appear genuine, a good-will gesture though one unrelated to the nuclear program. And satellite evidence suggests North Korea has begun dismantling a test site where it has developed missile technologies and launched space satellite missions. Experts cautioned, however, that all the steps taken so far are easily reversible……..https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/us/politics/north-korea-denuclearize-peace-treaty.html

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August 13, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Holtec plan for transporting its own nuclear waste casks – conflict of interest?

opposition in New Mexico to siting the facility there, and opposition along any potential transportation routes, would doom the idea

“It’s extremely troubling because they are going to be handling a decommissioning fund of almost a billion dollars,” Tauro said. “This really points to the need absolutely for the independent oversight board. To lend this whole deal transparency and independence, and having people on that board who have absolutely nothing to gain.”

Once a privately held company is in charge of decommissioning, she said, transparency will be lost.

Will Oyster Creek’s nuclear waste be cash cow for buyer Holtec? https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/business/will-oyster-creek-s-nuclear-waste-be-cash-cow-for/article_1e07daca-586c-50a2-b29a-8eec0227a7ff.html   MICHELLE BRUNETTI POST Staff Writer, 10 Aug 18

    • A high-level nuclear waste storage facility doesn’t exist yet, since the federal government stopped its attempts in 2011 to develop the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada in the face of local and regional opposition.

So, for the foreseeable future, nuclear plants’ spent fuel must be stored on site of both operating and closed plants.

But Holtec International, which is trying to buy the Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township for decommissioning, has an application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to open a short-term facility in New Mexico. It proposes to store high-level nuclear waste there, such as spent fuel rods from nuclear plants.  A Holtec spokesperson did not respond to requests for information.

Holtec would likely try to transport Oyster Creek’s waste to the New Mexico facility. That and the fact that Holtec manufactures casks for storage of nuclear waste bring up conflicts of interest, said Clean Water Action Board Chairwoman Janet Tauro, of Brick Township. She has been fighting to get the Oyster Creek plant closed for years.

Tauro said whoever does the decommissioning should have to choose the best and safest cask and storage options, not the ones that will make the most money for them.

“How do you do that if it’s all your stuff, if Holtec is managing the decommissioning and buying their own casks and choosing to store at a Holtec-owned site in New Mexico?” asked Tauro.

Tauro is especially concerned about Holtec casks, since some of them malfunctioned at the decommissioned San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County, California, she said

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the problem was discovered Feb. 20 “during a mandatory pre-loading inspection of multipurpose canisters, the stainless-steel casks that hold the spent fuel.”

He said it involved a broken shim standoff bolt inside the cask. The loose bolt — about 4 inches long and 7/16th of an inch in diameter — was found in the bottom of one of the casks.

It was shipped back to Holtec, Sheehan said. Holtec inspected other canisters at its facility in Camden and found another with a broken standoff bolt.

On March 6, Southern California Edison, which owns San Onofre, halted its dry cask loading activities. The site subsequently resumed that work, using casks with a different approved shim design, Sheehan said.

Other plants that have casks with the same design are Vermont Yankee, Dresden, Grand Gulf, Hatch, Columbia, Watts Bar and Callaway.

The New Mexico storage facility is unlikely to become a reality, said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel, since it would require moving high-level radioactive waste across the country.Sheehan said Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vermont, and Oyster Creek are the only nuclear plants ever proposed to be sold for decommissioning.

However, in 2010, Exelon transferred the license for Zion Nuclear Power Station in Zion, Illinois, to EnergySolutions of Salt Lake City to do the decommissioning, and will take the license back after the work is done. In that case, Exelon continues to be responsible for the spent fuel.

“Years ago we called them ‘mobile Chernobyls,’” said Tittel of the idea of moving such waste by truck or train. His organization has also fought to close the plant for decades. Tittel predicted opposition in New Mexico to siting the facility there, and opposition along any potential transportation routes, would doom the idea
Tauro is also concerned about Holtec’s plans to subcontract the decommissioning work to Comprehensive Decommissioning International LLC, of Camden. CDI was formed earlier this year as a joint venture company of Holtec and SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin has been charged with corruption, fraud and bribery in Canada, according to Canadian media reports.

“It’s extremely troubling because they are going to be handling a decommissioning fund of almost a billion dollars,” Tauro said. “This really points to the need absolutely for the independent oversight board. To lend this whole deal transparency and independence, and having people on that board who have absolutely nothing to gain.”

Once a privately held company is in charge of decommissioning, she said, transparency will be lost.

“NRC staff, both in our regional offices and headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, closely monitored the actions being taken by plant owners and Holtec, the cask vendor, in response to the issue,” Sheehan said. “Holtec and the plant owners performed root-cause and extent-of-condition analyses. Those assessments determined that the heat flow inside the casks would not be adversely impacted by the problem. We are still reviewing the issue.”

 

August 13, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fire at Hanford radiation-testing laboratory

Fire at Hanford radioactive lab sends workers to hospital  https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article216417500.html, BY ANNETTE CARY acary@tricityherald.com, August 09, 2018  RICHLAND, WA 

August 13, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Potential for a catastrophic nuclear tunnel collapse at Hanford, warn tri-City mayors

Tri-City mayors worry about ‘catastrophic’ Hanford tunnel collapse , BY ANNETTE CARY, acary@tricityherald.com,  August 10, 2018  RICHLAND, WA 

Tri-City-area mayors say the public is at risk of a “potentially catastrophic tunnel collapse” if work doesn’t start soon to stabilize a Hanford tunnel storing radioactive waste.

The Department of Energy recently asked the Washington State Department of Ecologyto allow Hanford nuclear reservation workers to fill the longer of the two tunnels with concrete-like grout.

Federal officials requested an answer by July 23 to begin work in August.  Ecology, a regulator at the Hanford nuclear reservation, is legally required to give an answer as soon as it practically can.

Starting work in August would allow most work to be done before the worst of the winter weather makes roads icy, according to federal officials. The project will require 5,000 truckloads of grout.

“What DOE is asking is to take irreversible action — put grout in that tunnel — before the the public process really has a chance to get off the ground,” said Alex Smith, Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program manager.

But many worry about the decaying tunnel and upcoming winter weather.

A video inspection of the inside of the second tunnel shows corrosion of bolts and weld plates.

“It could go another 50 years. It could go another 50 days,” said Doug Shoop, manager of the DOE Richland Operations Office told the Hanford Advisory Board on Tuesday. “I wish I could tell you.”

An unusually wet and snowy winter may have contributed to the partial collapse of the first tunnel. Precipitation-soaked soil on top of the tunnel would have increased the weight on the tunnel’s flat roof made of timbers.

The coming winter also could be unusually wet, Al Farabee, a DOE Hanford project director, told the advisory board this week.

The state is legally required to hold a 45-day public comment period, which it plans to start on Aug. 13, according to the Department of Ecology. Public hearings are planned 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Richland library and Sept. 5 in Seattle.

The mayors of Kennewick, Richland, Pasco and West Richland sent a letter July 31 to Smith, saying they were frustrated by how long the state was taking to make a decision………

The issue stems from the partial collapse in May 2017 of the older of two PUREX plant waste storage tunnels.

Questions have been raised about how rail cars filled with waste could be removed eventually from a tunnel filled with grout, although DOE says cutting up the grouted waste and removing it should be possible.

The partial collapse of the first tunnel triggered a structural analysis of the second and longer waste storage tunnel, which was built in 1964, eight years after the first.
The analysis found the 1,700-foot tunnel also was at serious risk of collapse……..  Annette Cary; 509-582-1533; @HanfordNews  https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article216352450.html

August 13, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Senators deplore Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s plan to weaken protections on decommissioning reactors, and on wastes

A group of senators recently sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) expressing concern over a draft proposed rule on nuclear
power plant decommissioning that has been presented to the commissioners
for review.

The rule includes proposed changes to emergency preparedness,
physical security, cyber security, funding assurance, financial protection
requirements and environmental considerations, among other issues.

Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),
and Kamala Harris (D-CA) said in their letter to NRC Chair Kristine L.
Svinicki that the rule would limit the general public’s opportunity to
participate in the decommissioning process.

They also wrote that the rule does not adequately address concerns about the long-term storage of spent
nuclear fuel and reduces financial protections, especially in case of an
accident, which increases financial risk for taxpayers and communities.
“By failing to propose a comprehensive set of decommissioning and cleanup
regulations, by automatically approving facilities’ exemptions from
safety, security and emergency planning regulations, and by continuing to
rubber-stamp the industry’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities
report, as currently drafted, this proposed regulation would abdicate the
NRC’s responsibility to ensure the safety of these plants,” the
senators wrote.

“This is more an absence of rulemaking than a rule that
will affirmatively guide plants and communities through the decommissioning
process.”

Daily Energy Insider 9th Aug 2018

https://dailyenergyinsider.com/news/14123-senators-express-concern-over-draft-nuclear-decommissioning-rule/

August 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

$2.2 billion jump – costs soar at Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear power project

Bond Buyer 9th Aug 2018 , A $2.2 billion jump over eight months in the estimated cost to complete two
nuclear reactors in Georgia could spell doom for the project. The actual
increase won’t be final until the project’s budget is revised, and it
will require that the private and public utility owners vote on whether to
continue the work at Plant Vogtle. The project is about 67% complete,
according to the latest estimate.
https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/costs-rise-for-unfinished-georgias-nuclear-reactors

August 13, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

New Mexico State can’t stop Federal nuclear waste dump, but can oppose waste transport

Transportation Eyed for State Role   Nuclear watchdogs concur that the federal government doesn’t need New Mexico’s approval to award a license. But the state could do more to stop the project’s progress if leaders want to.

The cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces, as well as Bernalillo County, have voted to formally oppose Holtec’s project. 

A proposed nuclear storage project in Utah, for example, received a license but never accepted waste after opponents there raised questions about transportation, as well as other concerns.

Holtec Nuclear Waste Project’s Opponents Seek Role for New Mexico Bloomberg, By Brenna Goth, August 8, 2018

New Mexico’s attorney general thinks the state can do little to stop Holtec International’s application to temporarily store high-level waste from commercial nuclear reactors, but that doesn’t deter critics of the project.

A state lawmaker and an environmentalist, who oppose the project to store the toxic trash in New Mexico before it is buried forever at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain or another site, said they believe the state—and not just the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission—can exert some influence over the Holtec project’s future.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) recently assessed the state’s role in regulating Holtec’s plan to store the radioactive materials in rural southeast New Mexico near the the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). An Energy Department facility that stores a different type of nuclear waste generated from weapons production, WIPP was subject to some state reviews before opening in 1999.

Holtec has an application before the NRC for a temporary place to keep nuclear waste from commercial power plants throughout the U.S. while the federal government develops permanent storage deep underground. There’s no timeline for permanent storage, as work on Yucca Mountain has long been stalled and has been met with

Intense opposition from Nevada lawmakers.

The plan to consolidate used fuel in New Mexico has drawn support for its potential economic impact and criticism for a range of health of safety concerns. Candidates running in November to replace Gov. Susana Martinez (R) have had conflicting views on the project.

But of all the factors that the NRC considers when awarding a license for temporary storage, “state approval is not among them,” said the attorney general’s July 19 letter, released to Bloomberg Environment under New Mexico’s public-records law.

Federal Law Governs Project

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D), who requested the attorney general’s opinion, told Bloomberg Environment the answers are “troubling.” Steinborn chairs a legislative committee on radioactive materials that has held hearings on Camden, N.J.-based Holtec’s proposal.

Steinborn said he’s “basically opposed” to the project given unanswered questions on the impacts to the state. He wants New Mexico to take an active role in the license review process and said the state can’t “put its head in the sand.”

Prior litigation shows the NRC can license the temporary storage facilities, said the attorney general’s letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General John Kreienkamp. Federal law pre-empts state laws when it came to nuclear waste regulation, he wrote.

The NRC, though, does provide protection against Holtec abandoning the site by requiring licensees to plan for and financially back eventual decommissioning. State tort law may help if people were injured or sickened by Holtec’s operations, the opinion said. ………

Transportation Eyed for State Role

Nuclear watchdogs concur that the federal government doesn’t need New Mexico’s approval to award a license. But the state could do more to stop the project’s progress if leaders want to, Don Hancock, director of the nuclear waste safety program and administrator at the Albuquerque environmental group Southwest Research and Information Center, told Bloomberg Environment.

Hancock, who opposes the proposal, said Holtec would need New Mexico’s cooperation elsewhere, such as help with moving nuclear waste through the state. A proposed nuclear storage project in Utah, for example, received a license but never accepted waste after opponents there raised questions about transportation, as well as other concerns.

“They do have mechanisms to do it outside the licensing process,” Hancock said of New Mexico officials.

The cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces, as well as Bernalillo County, have voted to formally oppose Holtec’s project. Gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has spoken against it, while challenger Steve Pearce (R) said it could boost the state economically……..

states have limited authority to regulate projects such as what Holtec is proposing compared to other kinds of hazardous waste, Geoffrey Fettus, senior attorney at the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, told Bloomberg Environment. Fettus was an assistant attorney general in New Mexico in the 1990s and works on nuclear waste issues.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has recommended giving states more power.

The NRC is starting to review the environmental impacts of the Holtec proposal. The public can request a separate hearing on the plan through Sept. 14, which would put Holtec’s application in front of judges from the commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel.https://www.bna.com/holtec-nuclear-waste-n73014481533/

August 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

San Onofre nuclear plant: Incident involving transfer of waste canister

Incident involving transfer of waste canister at San Onofre nuclear plant prompts additional training measures, LA Times, By ROB NIKOLEWSKI, AUG 12, 2018 

A contractor responsible for transferring canisters of spent nuclear fuel at the site of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been cited for “performance errors” and was directed to “take corrective actions, including additional training” for its workers, Southern California Edison officials said.

The contractor, Holtec International, was cited for the incident that occurred earlier this month when a canister got caught on an inner ring as it was being lowered into a Cavity Enclosure Container at a newly constructed “dry storage” facility on the site of the plant that is in the process of being decommissioned, Edison said in a statement last week. The transfers have been placed on hold.

Since February, operators of the San Diego County plant have been transferring 73 canisters of spent fuel from what is called “wet storage” to the new dry storage installation. Used up fuel is thermally hot and to cool it, nuclear operators place the fuel in a metal rack and submerge it in a deep wet storage pool.

So far, 29 of the 73 canisters have been transferred to the new storage facility. Edison expects to complete the transfer by the middle of next year.

Edison’s announcement came one day after a man identifying himself as an industrial safety worker associated with the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration startled those attending a public meeting in Oceanside hosted by the SONGS Community Engagement Panel by describing a litany of safety shortcomings associated with the transfer process.

David Fritch said on Aug. 3 one of the canisters being lowered into the cavity enclosure “could have fallen 18 feet.”

In remarks during the Community Engagement Panel’s public comments period, Fritch said similar problems have occurred before “but it wasn’t shared with the crew that was working. We’re under-manned. We don’t have the proper personnel to get things done safely.”

Fritch, who said he’s been on the site for about three months, said some workers are “under-trained” and that many experienced supervisors “are often sent away” and replaced by new supervisors who “don’t understand it as well.”

Fritch’s remarks were captured on video from the livestream of the panel’s quarterly meeting.

……….Critics of Edison pounced on the disclosure, saying it points to larger issues surrounding the plant near San Clemente that is home to 3.55 million pounds of spent fuel at a site hugging the Pacific Ocean and near the busy 5 Freeway. The area also has a history of seismic activity and 8.4 million people living within a 50-mile radius.

The incident “confirms every fear we’ve had about what’s going on at San Onofre and what measures they’re taking to ensure the public’s safety,” said Charles Langley, executive director of the San Diego advocacy group Public Watchdogs, who has worried the walls of the canisters are not thick enough and could crack.

……..The utility also ran into a problem in March during the transfer of spent fuel at the site. Work was delayed 10 days after workers discovered a piece of shim — essentially, a pin 4 inches by a half-inch — came loose while a canister was being loaded.

Edison received assurance from Holtec and an independent engineering firm that the canister’s integrity was sound.

San Onofre was shut down for good in 2013 as a result of faulty equipment that led to a small release of radioactive steam and a heated regulatory battle over the plant’s license. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-onofre-plant-20180812-story.html#

August 13, 2018 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

“Woefully inadequate” nuclear rod shipment planned from Illinois to Michigan 

Nuclear rod shipment planned from Illinois to Michigan    http://www.whig.com/article/20180811/AP/308119945#// The Associated Press  Aug. 11, 2018  PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — The owner of a northern Illinois nuclear plant wants to ship about 45 pounds of highly radioactive nuclear fuel rods through Michigan on their way to a Canadian testing facility.

Excelon Generation tells the Detroit Free Press that the rods will be packed inside a 24-ton, heavily shielded shipping cask for shipment from the LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station near Marseilles, Illinois.

The company has asked the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for highway route approval to Port Huron, Michigan. Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng says the shipment’s route and timing are kept secret for security reasons.

Kevin Kamps of the environmental group Beyond Nuclear calls the transport casks “woefully inadequate for real-world accidents or attacks.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says it hasn’t received an application for allowing the shipment.

Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

August 13, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Federal judge rejects environmentalists’ case for halting opening Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Daily Mail 10th Aug 2018 , A federal judge on Thursday rejected a request to bar the public from a
Colorado wildlife refuge that was once part of a nuclear weapons plant.
Environmentalists and community activists had asked the judge to issue a
preliminary injunction that would prohibit opening Rocky Flats National
Wildlife Refuge northwest of Denver while the courts hear their lawsuit
claiming the government did not study public safety closely enough.

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer said the activists had not shown that
radioactive exposure at the site was bad enough to cause them irreparable
harm, so they had not met the judicial standard for an injunction.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6044945/Judge-wont-bar-public-refuge-nuke-site.html

August 11, 2018 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Arrests of USA activists protesting against nuclear weapons

Arrests at nuclear sites mark 73rd anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki http://www.nukeresister.org/2018/08/07/arrests-at-nuclear-sites-mark-73rd-anniversary-of-atomic-bombings-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/  from the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Activists honor Catholic archbishop, who was a prophetic voice for peace, on anniversary of atomic bombingby Leonard Eiger Silverdale, Washington: Activists blockaded the West Coast nuclear submarine base that would likely carry out a nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should President Donald Trump give the order.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate beginning on the evening of August 5th and continuing into the morning of August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Approximately sixty activists were present at the morning vigil, and twelve participated in a nonviolent direct action in which participants blockaded the base at the peak of the morning shift change by carrying a banner onto the roadway of the main entrance gate.

The banner read, “Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound – Raymond Hunthausen.”

The activists stopped traffic entering the base for ten minutes before being removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol Officers, cited for being in the roadway illegally, and released on the scene.

The twelve activists cited are Phil Davis, Bremerton, WA; Susan Delaney, Bothell, WA; Lisa Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; James Knight, Altadena, CA; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; George Rodkey, Tacoma, WA; Ryan Scott Rosenboom, Bothell, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; and Jade Takushi.

Raymond Hunthausen, retired archbishop of Seattle, died on July 22nd at age 96. Frank Fromherz, author of the the soon to be released book, “A Disarming Spirit: The Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen,” said of Hunthausen:

“It was in the early 1980s that Archbishop Hunthausen denounced the Trident nuclear submarine fleet harbored in his archdiocese, famously calling it ‘the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.’ His opposition inspired Catholics worldwide, but gained him powerful opponents in the U.S. government during the era of President Reagan’s military buildup. Catholic peace activist Jim Douglass, a native of British Columbia, introduced Archbishop Hunthausen to the practice of contemplative nonviolent direct action.”

Douglass once described his longtime friend as ‘a holy prophet of nonviolence in the nuclear age.’ In what would become a truly historic address on June 12, 1981 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Hunthausen spoke these prophetic words: ‘Our security as people of faith lies not in demonic weapons, which threaten all life on earth. Our security is in a loving, caring God. We must dismantle our weapons of terror and place our reliance on God.’”

Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based at the Bangor Trident base, which is just 20 miles west of Seattle. It is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force (the bomb dropped on Hirosima was between 13 and 18 kilotons). The Trident bases at Bangor and Kings Bay, Georgia, when combined, represent just over half of all warheads deployed by the United States.

While the US has been calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, it continues to modernize and upgrade its nuclear weapons and delivery systems, among them the Trident system. It has declared, along with some other nuclear weapon states, that it will never sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the Ban Treaty.

Monday morning’s action was the culmination of a weekend commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Activities included keynote presentations by former CIA officer and peace activist Ray McGovern, and Backbone Campaign executive director Bill Moyer. Activists at Ground Zero Center also welcomed participants of the Interfaith Peace Walk and held a waterborne protest, “Boats by Bangor,” on Hood Canal by the Bangor base waterfront where Trident submarines are prepared for their patrols.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. We offer the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

August 11, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA | 2 Comments

USA nuclear bailouts: Led by Secretary Perry, the administration continues to make false and misleading arguments 

Rick Perry Rejects Facts in Favor of Coal and Nuclear Bailouts, Union of Concerned Scientists, JEREMY RICHARDSON, SENIOR ENERGY ANALYST | AUGUST 9, 2018 

Much has been written on coal and coal miners since the president began campaigning in earnest in 2016. Since taking office, he has continued that dishonest and dangerous rhetoric—and has directed his agencies to do somethingAnything. Except, of course, anything that represents real solutions for coal miners and their communities, instead proposing (initially at least) to cut federal programs that invest in those communities.

The president continues to push for a misguided federal bailout of the coal industry—a blatant political payoff to campaign donors using taxpayer money with no long-term solutions for coal workers. The latest shiny object masquerading as reasoning? National security. But as we know, bailing out uneconomic coal plants only exacerbates the real national security issues brought on by climate change, while continuing to saddle our country with the public health impacts of coal-fired electricity—which hurt real people in real communities.

As is typical with this administration, substance and science and evidence are inconsequential compared to ideology, and their attempts to bail out money-losing coal and nuclear plants are no exception. Here’s a quick take on how we got here and what to expect next…….

LET’S SEE WHAT STICKS…

THE ADMINISTRATION DIDN’T EXACTLY HIT THE GROUND RUNNING AFTER THE 2016 ELECTION—NO ONE BOTHERED TO SHOW UP AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING OF 2016, EVEN THOUGH CAREER STAFF WERE READILY AVAILABLE AND PREPARED TO BRIEF THE INCOMING ADMINISTRATION ON THE IMPORTANT WORK OF THE AGENCY. BUT BY THE SPRING, IT HAD BECOME CLEAR THAT ENERGY SECRETARY RICK PERRY WOULD BE THE FRONT-MAN IN LEADING THE CHARGE FOR A FEDERAL BAILOUT OF COAL AND NUCLEAR PLANTS. HIS SHIFTING RHETORIC AND POOR JUSTIFICATIONS FOR USING CONSUMERS’ MONEY TO PROP UP UNECONOMIC COAL PLANTS SUGGESTS THAT HE AND HIS INNER CIRCLE ARE DESPERATE TO FIND AN ARGUMENT THAT STICKS AND SURVIVES LEGAL CHALLENGES.

BRIEFLY:

SO, THE GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE CONTINUES.

FALSE ARGUMENTS

IN SHORT, THE ADMINISTRATION IS PROPOSING TO USE EMERGENCY AUTHORITIES TO FORCE GRID OPERATORS AND CONSUMERS TO BUY ELECTRICITY FROM UNECONOMIC COAL AND NUCLEAR PLANTS. LET’S BREAK DOWN THE ARGUMENTS ONE BY ONE. …….
Led by Secretary Perry, the administration continues to make false and misleading arguments about the purported need for keeping uneconomic plants from retiring early—and this issue will be with us as long as the current president is in office.  ……

At UCS, we’re going to continue the fight to hold the administration accountable and stop this misguided and disastrous proposal from being implemented. The facts are on our side—there is no grid reliability crisis and no grid resiliency crisis, but there is a climate crisis, and bailing out coal plants will only add to the climate crisis with real adverse consequences to the economy and public health. Stand with us.   https://blog.ucsusa.org/jeremy-richardson/rick-perry-rejects-facts-in-favor-of-coal-and-nuclear-bailouts

August 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for Canada – would create a host of new problems

Telegraph-Journal 9th Aug 2018 Several experts blinked a few weeks ago when the province announced its
intention to begin research into new types of nuclear reactors, smaller and
producing less electricity. It would not be the first time the New
Brunswick government has turned to nuclear power for its energy supply.
Should the province proceed more cautiously this time?

The New Brunswick government recently pledged $10 million to create a nuclear research group.
The province also announced on July 9 a partnership with the American
company Advanced Reactor Concepts, which will try to build a new type of
more compact nuclear reactor designed to produce 100 MW of electricity,
nearly six times less than the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Then a week later, the province announced another partnership with the English
company Moltex. The latter is even promising a reactor capable of producing
energy by reusing nuclear wastes (from uranium fuel). This perspective is
tempting at first. Among the advantages of Moltex’s reactors are (1) the
ability to produce clean energy at low cost and (2) the ability to reduce
environmental impacts by burning irradiated uranium fuel. William Cook,
professor of chemical engineering at the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research
at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, believes that small
modular reactors could be quite efficient in terms of energy production,
and that they could overcome many of the problems created by conventional
CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactors such as Point Lepreau.

On the one hand, Mr. Cook says that the small reactors under development are small
enough to be built in a factory and then transported to a destination by
train or ship, which would significantly reduce their cost of installation.
He also mentioned the possibility of reusing the uranium fuel from the
Point Lepreau reactor. “Not all compact reactor models can use irradiated
nuclear fuel, but [Moltex] is advertising that they can process the old
fuel on site to prepare it for reuse. There is still an enormous amount of
energy remaining in the spent fuel when it comes out of a CANDU reactor,”
says the chemical engineering professor.

But this concept of a small reactor that reuses nuclear fuel is only a dream for now. In fact, the
project is still in its infancy. “Certainly [small modular reactors are]
very far from commercialization, or even feasibility,” says Gordon
Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a
non-profit organization based in Montreal.

According to Edwards, the deployment of these reactors would create a host of new problems. He
disputes the benefits promised by Moltex. “The benefits of small modular
reactors are zero,” he says. “For used fuel from Point Lepreau to be
recycled, it would first have to be reprocessed after it is removed from
the reactor.”

He explained that this would result in the creation of
liquid and volatile [gaseous] radioactive waste. He also noted that [the
Moltex] small modular reactor would use plutonium, unlike Point Lepreau,
which uses uranium. The use of uranium creates plutonium as a byproduct. So
part of the [Moltex] plutonium fuel could come from Point Lepreau, but the
province could also import it from the United States.
https://www.telegraphjournal.com/letoile/story/100669270/point-lepreau-nucleaire-petits-reacteurs-dechets-environnement

August 11, 2018 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Local residents unhappy at “unavoidable impacts” of planned demolition of shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Courthouse News 8th Aug 2018 , Southern California residents packed a California State Lands Commission
meeting Tuesday night to protest the plan to demolish the shuttered San
Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The SONGS nuclear power plant closed in
2012 after reactor coolant leaked from an 11-month-old steam generator,
leaking 82 gallons of radioactive coolant a day. Edison alerted the public
to a “possible leak” on Jan. 31, 2012, and on Feb. 17, 2012, responded
to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report about the leak with confirmation
a “barely measurable” amount of radioactivity was released into the
atmosphere.

The California Coastal Commission issued a permit to SONGS
operator Southern California Edison to store spent nuclear waste in
canisters buried under the beach next to the shuttered power plant. This
year, Edison began burying the spent nuclear waste on the beach and is a
third of the way through burying the 70-plus canisters.

But to complete the entire decommissioning process – including tearing down the twin
buildings which used to house energy operations – the California Coastal
Commission needs to approve a final permit. That permit will not be taken
up by the Coastal Commission until a recently released 706-page
environmental impact report by the California State Lands Commission –
which assesses the environmental impacts of tearing down SONGS – gets
approved.

It outlines the components and structures proposed to be taken
down in a way to reduce radioactivity and impacts on the environment. Among
significant “unavoidable impacts” outlined in the EIR, however, are
potential release of radiological materials and impacts on air quality. The
majority of speakers from a group of more than 100 people at Tuesday’s
meeting said those “unavoidable impacts” are unacceptable.
https://www.courthousenews.com/southern-california-residents-protest-nuclear-plant-demolition-plans/

August 11, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Wildfires in USA increased due to climate change

Factcheck: How global warming has increased US wildfires  , Carbon Brief , 9 Aug 18 

In the midst of record or near-record heatwaves across the northern hemisphere this summer, deadly wildfires have swept through many regions, such as the western USEurope and Siberia. This has focused a great deal of public attention on the role that climate change plays in wildfires.

Recently, some commentators have tried to dismiss recent increases in the areas burnt by fires in the US, claiming that fires were much worse in the early part of the century. To do this, they are ignoring clear guidance by scientists that the data should not be used to make comparisons with earlier periods.

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which maintains the database in question, tells Carbon Brief that people should not “put any stock” in numbers prior to 1960 and that comparing the modern fire area to earlier estimates is “not accurate or appropriate”.

Here, Carbon Brief takes a look at the links between climate change and wildfires, both in the US and across the globe. As with any environmental issue, there are many different contributing factors, but it is clear that in the western US climate change has made – and will continue to make – fires larger and more destructive.

As one scientist tells Carbon Brief: “There is no question whatsoever that climate plays a role in the increase in fires.”

More area burned………

US wildfires and climate change

The recent period of large wildfires in forested areas of the western US has coincided with near-record warm temperatures……… https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-global-warming-has-increased-us-wildfires

 

August 11, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment