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The long-lasting unsolved problem of Three Mile Island’s radioactive trash

Where will the nuclear waste go after Three Mile Island shuts down? The Inquirer, by Andrew Maykuth, April 14, 2019  After the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear accident 40 years ago, most of the reactor’s partially melted uranium fuel was hauled away to the Idaho National Lab, where the radioactive waste now slowly decays in steel and concrete containers, awaiting long-term disposal.

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April 18, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA Congressmen concerned at slow clean-up of dangerous San Onofre nuclear site

April 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump’s administration speeds up the revolving door between Pentagon and nuclear weapons companies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Holtec’s nuclear decommissioning and wastes empire to grab Indian Point

Holtec to snap up Indian Point nuclear units for decommissioning, Utility Dive,Iulia Gheorghiu@IMGheorghiu    17 Apr 19

Dive Brief:

  • Holtec International announced an agreement on Tuesday to acquire Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant units for expedited decommissioning.
  • Entergy will sell Units 1, 2 and 3 to a Holtec subsidiary, transferring licenses, spent fuel, decommissioning liabilities and nuclear decommissioning trusts for the units. Unit 1 was retired in 1974 while Unit 2 and Unit 3, totaling about 2 GW, are scheduled to retire in April, 2020 and April, 2021, respectively, according to Entergy’s agreement with New York state.
  • Holtec announced its intentions in August to buy Entergy’s Pilgrim power plant in Massachusetts and the Michigan-based Palisades nuclear plant, as well as Exelon’s Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey, shut down last September. In each case, the deals will will require approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), along with state agencies.

Dive Insight:

The sale of Indian Point to a decommissioning firm marks the beginning of the end for the nuclear plant — the only one in New York not to receive subsidies under the state’s Zero Emission Credit program.

“The sale of Indian Point to Holtec is expected to result in the completion of decommissioning decades sooner than if the site were to remain under Entergy’s ownership,” Leo Denault, Entergy CEO and chairman, said in a statement.

The NRC is still reviewing the license transfer applications for Pilgrim and Exelon’s Oyster Creek. The regulators had not yet received any formal application regarding Indian Point and Palisades, the latter of which is set to be retired in 2022.

Entergy has not announced the value of the nominal cash considerations it would receive for Indian Point or any of its other nuclear decommissioning transfers.

However, another spent nuclear fuel specialist, NorthStar Group Services, took over Entergy’s closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in October. In that case, the NRC required “some additional financial guarantees” beyond the plant’s nearly half a billion dollars in its decommissioning trust fund, according to NRC spokesperson Neil Sheehan

…… The decision for Entergy to shut down its merchant nuclear generation early comes amid several other recent nuclear plant closures.

“The plant owners have found it difficult to deal with the financial realities of low costs of natural gas, subsidies to other forms of power and other factors,” Sheehan told Utility Dive.

Situated near the Hudson River in Buchanan, New York, Indian Point’s two operating units power New York City and the surrounding county.

The Department of Energy is otherwise obligated to remove the waste to a permanent storage site, though selecting one has proved to be a drawn out process in Congress.

Until the DOE acts or the waste can be sent to Holtec, the company plans to transfer the spent nuclear fuel to dry cask onsite storage, which will be under guard, monitored during the shutdown and decommissioning activities.

…….. Two interim storage facilities for nuclear waste are currently seeking regulator approval to begin their intake of used fuel. One of them is Holtec’s proposed facility in New Mexico, HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS). …… https://www.utilitydive.com/news/holtec-to-snap-up-indian-point-nuclear-units-for-decommissioning/552894/

April 18, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Lawsuit against Santee Cooper, claims that investors were deceived over nuclear project risks

Lawsuit: Santee Cooper misled investors about failed SC nuclear project, Post and Courier,   By John McDermott jmcdermott@postandcourier.comm Apr 17, 2019  

A Santee Cooper investor is suing the state-owned power company and its former chief executive, alleging they violated securities laws by not adequately disclosing the financial risks associated with the V.C. Summer nuclear project while selling debt several years ago.

Murray C. Turka is seeking class-action status to include others who purchased as much as $118 million of the utility’s “Mini-Bonds” from 2014 to 2016.

Lonnie Carter, who was Santee Cooper’s CEO at the time, is named a co-defendant in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston this week.

The lawsuit alleges Carter and other key decision-makers knew by mid-2015 that the expansion of the V.C. Summer power plant “was hopelessly behind schedule” based on a largely unfavorable assessment of the troubled project by the engineering firm Bechtel Corp.

Auditors found that the reactors’ designs were sometimes impossible to build, that construction wouldn’t be finished in time to qualify for critical federal tax breaks and that South Carolina’s utilities were either too “inexperienced or reluctant to act” as problems mounted.

“Still, executives disclosed nothing of this to Mini-Bond investors,” according to the complaint…….. https://www.postandcourier.com/business/lawsuit-santee-cooper-misled-investors-about-failed-sc-nuclear-project/article_2dc4cd10-612a-11e9-a41c-8f4e572cf265.html

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration stops govt practice of disclosing numbers of nuclear weapons

US halts recent practice of disclosing nuclear weapon total,  https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/US-halts-recent-practice-of-disclosing-nuclear-13775654.php Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer, April 17, 2019  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has halted, without explanation, the recent U.S. government practice of disclosing the current size of the nuclear weapons stockpile.
The decision was revealed in a recent Department of Energy letter to the Federation of American Scientists, a private group that studies nuclear weapons issues and advocates for government openness on national security issues.
The Obama administration, in May 2010, had declassified for the first time the full history of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile from its beginning in 1945. It revealed that the warhead total stood at 5,113 as of Sept. 30, 2009, approximately the number that private experts had estimated and about 84 percent below the official peak number of 31,255 warheads in 1967.

As recently as last year, the Trump administration had disclosed that the stockpile consisted of 3,822 nuclear warheads as of Sept. 30, 2017, down 196 warheads from the year before. The 2017 figure was made public in response to a request by the scientists group, which asked for a 2018 update last October.

“After careful consideration … it was determined that the requested information cannot be declassified at this time,” the Energy Department wrote in an April 5 letter responding to the federation’s request. The department provided no explanation for the decision, which it said was made by the Formerly Restricted Data Declassification Working Group, consisting of officials from the departments of Defense and Energy.

“Formerly Restricted Data” is a category of classification that pertains to information such as nuclear stockpile quantities, warhead yields and locations.

The Russian government does not disclose its nuclear stockpile total. The Federation of American Scientists estimates Russia has about 4,350.

Nuclear warheads are attached to bombs and missiles, such as those carried by strategic bomber aircraft, ballistic missile submarines and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, which form the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Hans M. Kristensen, director of the federation’s Nuclear Information Project, wrote in an analysis Wednesday that the decision against disclosing the 2018 nuclear stockpile number was “unnecessary and counterproductive.” In his view there is no national security rationale for keeping the number secret.

“The decision walks back nearly a decade of U.S. nuclear weapons transparency policy — in fact, longer if including stockpile transparency initiatives in the late-1990s,” Kristensen wrote.

“With this decision,” he added, “the Trump administration surrenders any pressure on other nuclear-armed states to be more transparent about the size of their nuclear weapon stockpiles. This is curious since the Trump administration had repeatedly complained about secrecy in the Russian and Chinese arsenals. Instead, it now appears to endorse their secrecy.”

The Pentagon did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Conflicts of interest in the Trump group’s push to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

April 18, 2019 Posted by | marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

AARP Ohio, on behalf of its 1.5 million members and families, strongly Ohio nuclear subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, opposition to nuclear, politics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear lobby spending up big to get $millions in State subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to nuclear subsidy

Supreme court denies challenge to NY nuclear subsidy, Houston Chronicle, April 15, 2019 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a power industry trade group’s petition to challenge New York state’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the subsidization of nuclear power plants.

The Electric Power Supply Association claimed in a lawsuit that the New York Public Service Commission had violated federal law requiring power rates be “just and reasonable” when they elected to award $7 billion in rate increases through their zero emissions credit program.

After that argument was rejected by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the group applied to the Supreme Court for relief in January. As is customary, the Supreme Court’s justices offered no explanation on their decision not to hear the case. …….https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Supreme-court-denies-challenge-to-NY-nuclear-13768307.php

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

North Dakota prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state

Bill prohibits, sets guidelines for nuclear waste disposal

April 17, 2019  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Legislature has passed a bill that prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state. The bill passed by the House Wednesday and the Senate a day earlier also sets the regulatory framework for disposal and storage of the radioactive waste if the state is forced to accept it by the federal government…… (subscribers only) https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Bill-prohibits-sets-guidelines-for-nuclear-waste-13775275.php

April 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S.nuclear bailouts – Exelon and the death of competitive energy markets

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Extradition of Julian Assange must be opposed. USA govt wants to silence all reports of govt atrocities

I’ve been told that Julian Assange is in favour of nuclear power – with the suggestion that we should not support him. Also that his revelations about Hilary Clinton helped to get the abominable Trump elected.

But does this matter? Assange revealed the truth. And what will happen to the next whistlebower, perhaps one that reveals the corruption in the nuclear industry?

Whatever you think of Julian Assange, his extradition to the US must be opposed, Owen Jones, Guardian, 12 Apr 19, States that commit crimes in foreign lands depend on at least passive acquiescence. This is achieved in a number of ways. One is the “othering” of the victims: the stripping away of their humanity, because if you imagined them to be people like your own children or your neighbours, their suffering and deaths would be intolerable. Another approach is to portray opponents of foreign aggression as traitors, or in league with hostile powers. And another strategy is to cover up the consequences of foreign wars, to ensure that the populace is kept intentionally unaware of the acts committed in their name.

It is Manning who is the true hero of this story: last month, she was arrested for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, placed in solitary confinement for four weeks, and now remains imprisoned. We must demand her freedom.

These leaks revealed some of the horrors of the post-9/11 wars. One showed a US aircrew laughing after slaughtering a dozen innocent people, including two Iraqi employees of Reuters, after dishonestly alleging to have encountered a firefight. Other files revealed how US-led forces killedhundreds of civilians in Afghanistan, their deaths otherwise airbrushed out of existence. Another cable, which exposed corruption and scandals in the court of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the western-backed then-dictator of Tunisia, helped fuel protests, which toppled him……..

Assange must answer the  allegations of sexual assault   in Sweden without the threat of extradition to the US………. That Swedish case must be entirely disentangled from the US extradition attempt. And while opposing Assange’s rightwing libertarian politics is perfectly reasonable, it is utterly irrelevant to the basic issue here of justice……….

Assange’s extradition to the US must be passionately opposed. It is notable that Obama’s administration itself concluded that to prosecute Assange for publishing documents would gravely imperil press freedom. Yes, this is a defence of journalism and media freedom. But it is also about the attempt to intimidate those who expose crimes committed by the world’s last remaining superpower. The US wishes to hide its crimes so it can continue to commit them with impunity: that’s why, last month, Trump signed an executive order to cover up civilian deaths from drones, the use of which has hugely escalated in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

Silence kills, because a public that is uninformed about the slaughter of innocent people by their own government will not exert pressure to stop the killing. For the sake of stopping crimes yet to be committed, this extradition – and the intentionally chilling precedent it sets – must be defeated. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/12/julian-assange-extradition-wikileaks-america-crimes

April 13, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, media, USA | Leave a comment

Trump and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in meet, as USA-North Korea stalemate continues

Trump, South Korea’s Moon look for way to curb North Korea nuclear weapons, Syracuse.co,  By The Associated Press,12 Apr 19,  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in comes amid uncertainty over whether the leader of North Korea is considering backing out of nuclear negotiations or restarting nuclear and missile tests.

Trump, in his first meeting with Moon since the unsuccessful U.S. summit with Kim in Hanoi, said the U.S. wants to keep economic sanctions in place to pressure Kim to denuclearize. But Trump said he retains good relations with Kim and didn’t rule out a third summit or taking steps to ease food or other shortages in the repressive nation.

“We want sanctions to remain in place,” Trump said Thursday at the White House. “I think that sanctions right now are at a level that’s a fair level.”

Moon, for his part, has called for an easing of sanctions, including those holding back joint economic projects between North and South Korea. But he didn’t speak to the sanctions issue as he and Trump spoke with reporters at the start of their talks.

……… Negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear program appear to be stalled, and there is uncertainty over whether Kim is considering backing out of talks or restarting nuclear and missile tests. The Korean Central News Agency on Thursday said that at a party meeting on Wednesday, Kim stressed “self-reliance” in his country to “deal a telling blow to the hostile forces” that “go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring” North Korea “to its knees.”

Moon said it’s important to maintain the “momentum of dialogue” and express a positive outlook to the international community that a “third U.S.-North Korea summit” will be held.

…….. Trump walked away from making a deal with Kim at their meeting in late February. Trump said Kim was asking for sanctions relief without wanting to fully dismantle all his nuclear weapons programs. There is ongoing debate over whether harsh sanctions can pressure Kim to denuclearize or will keep him away from the negotiating table.

……… North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said last month that Kim would soon make clear his post-Hanoi position. She said her country might pull out of the nuclear negotiations with the United States, citing a lack of corresponding steps to some disarmament measures North Korea took last year. She also hinted that Kim was considering whether to continue the talks and his moratorium on nuclear and missile tests. https://www.syracuse.com/politics/2019/04/trump-south-koreas-moon-look-for-way-to-curb-north-korea-nuclear-weapons.html

April 13, 2019 Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Labor’s program changes delay health care for Cold War nuclear workers (hoping they die first?)

Department of Labor adds dozens of steps that may delay healthcare for Cold War nuclear workers https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/health/2019/04/12/cold-war-nuclear-workers-say-red-tape-delaying-critical-medical-care/3399814002/

Brittany Crocker, Knoxville News Sentine  April 12, 2019 Sick and injured Cold War nuclear workers are likely to see delays in their health care claims because the Department of Labor has added dozens of steps to the process, according to a home care provider that helps the workers.

The program provides medical care to former nuclear and uranium mine workers who were exposed to radiation and other toxic substances without their knowledge was established by Congress in 2000.

 New rule changes to the program — called the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program — will increase the nine-step home health care preauthorization process to 36 steps, said Emily Baker, a spokeswoman for Professional Case Management, a home care provider for nuclear and uranium workers. Those additional steps could add two months to the process, she said.

Baker said the changes also prevent health care providers from helping patients submit the paperwork.

The Department of Labor has not responded to requests made Thursday and Friday for information regarding the purpose of the changes.

Professional Case Management sued the Department of Labor last month to try to stop the changes from going into effect, and more than 2,000 wrote and called the Department to protest the changes, according to the provider.

“These sick people can’t navigate all this red tape,” said Harry Williams, a 73-year-old former Oak Ridge nuclear security officer who helped lobby for the program’s creation.

“We’re old and dying and sick and they expect us to accurately fill out and navigate all these forms and send them to the right places by ourselves. It’s wrong to put these workers through that after all we sacrificed.”

Williams, a military veteran, went to work in 1976 at the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Oak Ridge because it offered good pay and benefits.

He stayed there until 1994, when he moved to the Y-12 National Security Complex. Two years later he had to go on disability.

“I never realized I was being poisoned all the time I was working in Oak Ridge,” he said. “If someone had told me how hazardous it was I never would have worked there.

Harris has chronic beryllium disease, an incurable illness common among nuclear workers who inhaled dust or fumes of beryllium, a material that was commonly used at Y-12 and less often at K-25.

Harris said he developed heart disease, asthma, sinusitis and hypothyroidism because of the disease.

He has diabetes, has had six heart attacks, and has brain lesions he believes are also related to his work at the Oak Ridge nuclear sites. “I’m fortunate because I’ve never smoked or drank and have stayed fairly active with this illness, but I’ve been sick for a long time,” Harris said.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment