Radiation Bulletin: May 31st - June 6th 2010
The weekly Radiation Bulletin has been published since 1985 by the Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse (SF California USA). It is produced using a combination of social bookmarking and programming. You can search the thousands of stories by going here.

Every week there are at least 700 to 1,000 articles covering nuclear issues around the world. The Rad Bull distills this into a digestible stew.
Newsletter Instructions
The Radiation Bulletin opens and closes by clicking on the Green or Blue Highlighted bars. To access the full news story click on the Story's Title
Newsletter Summary

Here's the latest version of the all new Radiation Bulletin. If you haven't gotten a chance to take a look at it please do! The new design allows readers to get a quick view of all the news stories, but with a click on the green/blue bars, summaries quickly open up if a story needs a closer look. The full story can still be seen by clicking on the title/URL as well that will open that story. The New design is faster to edit and cleanup as well.

I'm going to let the index speak for itself in terms of being able to summarize the latest news. I'm considering shifting to focussing on a couple of issues like this last week's U.S. Supreme Court nuclear waste decision in North Carolina or the major policy dispute in the UK that has emerged over the new Tory government's nuclear policy, or a story on how US citizen's have been getting rather dramatic increases of radioactive exposure in the last few years! Or, better yet, how about the idea of having a guest opinion from folks? I hope you like the new version! Any comments are welcome!

Make sure to check out Greenpeace's new Energy (R)evolution report located here.

I will do a bit of coverage next week on this weekend's US national rad-waste conference in Chicago.

Subject Index

Reactors Safety NRC Fuel Cycle N-Waste
Policy Weapons DOE Energy News OpEd

Nuclear Reactor News

NJDEP - DEP Issues Action Plan on Oyster Creek Tritium Leak to Ensure Public Safety
DEP Commissioner Bob Martin today issued an action plan requiring the owner of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant to take a series of steps to further investigate the 2009 leak of radioactive tritium into aquifers below the plant and ensure the radioactive substance does not endanger public health and safety.

Under a directive of the state's Spill Act, the Exelon Corporation must drill new test wells, increase sampling of existing wells, review accuracy of existing data regarding water flow in and around the nuclear power plant, and expand the search area for a potentially contaminating tritium flow.

We have given Exelon very specific directions and they have agreed to cooperate and move quickly to comply,'' said Commissioner Martin, who will tour the Oyster Creek plant on Friday and meet with Exelon officials. We need prompt action to prevent the continuing spread of the radioactive substance and to ensure it never gets near the region's potable water supplies. This requires immediate attention and Exelon has committed to move as fast as safely possible.''"
The Blade ~ FirstEnergy offers plan for cooling Davis-Besse
Three degrees might not sound like much. But according to FirstEnergy Corp., a three-degree reduction in Davis-Besse's operating temperature will provide enough safety over the next two years to ensure there is no additional cracking of the steel nozzles that penetrate the reactor's interim head.

Now it's up to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide whether it agrees with the utility's analysis of what caused 24 of the massive steel device's 69 nozzles to either develop flaws or full-blown cracks.

One had been leaking reactor acid on top of the lid when the flaws were found in mid-March, though - unlike eight years ago - the problem was caught long before any noticeable amount of steel had melted, according to Vito Kaminskas, Davis-Besse's director of plant engineering."
New safety concerns at Prairie Island nuclear plant - KTTC Rochester
There are some serious new safety concerns surrounding the Prarie Island nuclear power plant.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified the plant last week that if nearby water pipes broke and flooded the plant, important safety equipment could fail.

Those pipes carry non-radioactive cooling water out of the plant to the Mississippi.

Experts for Xcel Energy say they have already fixed the problem.

But city officials say this should be a warning to the state that Red Wing is underfunded to deal with the possibility of a major catastrophe."
pressofAtlanticCity: DEP orders Oyster Creek Generating Station to drill more wells to monitor spread of tritium in aquifer
The state ordered Exelon Corp. to dig new, deeper wells Friday in response to a spill of radioactive material last year that seeped into groundwater beneath the Oyster Creek Generating Station.

The Department of Environmental Protection told the company to drill eight new monitoring wells in the Cohansey Aquifer, where the radioactive isotope tritium was detected in levels 50 times higher than what is considered safe for drinking water.

About 180,000 gallons of tritium-contaminated water spilled from a leaky pipe at the nuclear plant April 9, 2009. The state invoked the Spill Act last month, giving it discretion over the cleanup.

The state also directed Exelon to drill a monitoring well into the deeper Kirkwood Aquifer below the Cohansey to determine whether the contamination has seeped into that underground reservoir as well."
South Africa: New Koeberg site 'unsafe'
Eskom's proposed nuclear power station to be built next to Koeberg could pose a serious threat to residents as the power utility had failed to address a number of concerns such as health risks and an emergency evacuation plan.

This was said at a meeting yesterday of the city council's planning and environment portfolio committee (Pepco), which raised a number of concerns about the proposed nuclear station during a discussion on the draft environmental impact report by Eskom.

The committee said the report had failed to address issues such as an emergency plan, health risks, nuclear waste, security and economic growth."
Pak's new nuclear reactors will increase weapon production 7-fold: - The Times of India
"Pakistan has 60 nuclear warheads and with two new plutonium reactors nearing completion in Khusab, its weapons grade plutonium production will jump seven-fold, according to latest figures released by Swedish institute SIPRI.

"Our conservative estimates are that Pakistan has sixty warheads and could produce 100 nuclear weapons at short notice," the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its latest annual report.

SIPRI also said that Islamabad was developing an air launched cruise missile Ra'ad and had also carried out four tests of its land launched sub-sonic cruise missile Babur. But said it was not clear whether these missiles would be developed to carry nuclear warheads.

The Swedish think-tank said that Pakistan's Khusab I reactor was giving the country 10 to 12 kgs of weapons grade plutonium. "
Monju fired up after four-day halt | The Japan Times Online
"The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor was relaunched Tuesday after being suspended for four days for a scheduled checkup of data collected from the initial stage of operations following its restart nearly a month ago, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said.

The 280,000-kw reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, restarted at 10:10 a.m. after staff pulled out control rods that had prevented nuclear reaction. The reactor resumed test operations May 6 following more than 14 years of suspension.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency will soon conduct two days of checks required for full operation of the reactor planned for 2013."
Heavy water spills at Bruce Power - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA
"Bruce Power is investigating what caused a "small spill" of radioactive heavy water, which forced workers to evacuate Unit 6 about 3 a.m. Monday.

Workers were conducting maintenance at that Bruce B reactor, which has been down for planned service and inspections since May 14, when a spill occurred, Bruce Power reported in a news release Monday.

An alarm sounded after the equivalent of a "barrel" of the reactor moderator water spilled, Bruce Power spokesman John Peevers said in an interview Tuesday.

The spill occurred "as part of" maintenance activities according to a news release posted to Bruce Power's website.

"The spill was immediately isolated and routed to a collection tank," the release said. All workers were allowed to return a few hours later, Peevers added. "
Obama may back Vogtle expansion | The Augusta Chronicle
Loan guarantee to be announced next week

President Obama next week will announce a loan guarantee to build the first nuclear power plant in the U.S. in almost three decades at Burke County's Plant Vogtle, an administration official said Friday.

The two new Southern Co. reactors are part of the White House's energy plan that administration officials hope will draw Republican support. Obama's direct involvement in announcing the award underscores the political weight the White House is putting behind its effort to use nuclear power and alternative energy sources to lessen American dependence on foreign oil and reduce the use of other fossil fuels blamed for global warming.
USGS' Julius Schlocker dies: axed nuclear plant
"A memorial service will be held Thursday for Julius Schlocker, a retired geologist whose investigation of earthquake risks helped thwart construction of a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay more than 40 years ago.

Mr. Schlocker died May 25 at Kaiser Medical Center in Redwood City. He was 92."
Japan Steel to Sell Parts for 26 Nuclear Reactors - Bloomberg.com
Japan Steel Works Ltd., maker of nuclear reactor parts for customers including Areva SA and Toshiba Corp., plans to sell components for 26 reactors in the next three years as demand expands from China and the U.S.

Component sales will almost double to 11 units annually for the year ending March 2013, from an expected 6 for this fiscal year with an expansion, President Ikuo Sato said in an interview in Tokyo. Japan Steel Works is spending 80 billion yen ($879 million) on its Muroran factory, Sato said May 21.

Japan Steel Works is seeking to benefit from demand for nuclear energy as a carbon-free source amid a global push to combat climate changes. Interest in nuclear power is growing at the fastest rate since the Three Mile Island accident in the U.S. in 1979 and the Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine in 1986, International Atomic Energy Agency statistics showed. "
Study Begins On Fault Line Near Nuclear Reactor in Chile
Experts to assess potential danger posed to one of Chile's two nuclear facilities

Responding to concerns of local residents, Chile´s Commission on Nuclear Energy is beginning to investigate the risks posed by the Center for Nuclear Studies in the Santiago borough of La Reina. The San Ramón geological fault runs through the eastern part of Santiago where the Center is located.

While the reactor was not damaged during February's earthquake, residents of La Reina have voiced concerns about the possibility of a future disaster.

The Director of the Commission, Fernando López, explained that there was a 1969 study on the San Ramón fault, but that those results had not been updated. While the current status of the fault is unknown, it did cause an earthquake in 1647 that affected Santiago severely. "
FPL outage refund: FPL customers to get $14 million refund for 2008 outage - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
The Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to require Florida Power & Light Co. to refund $13.9 million, including interest, to customers for costs related to a 2008 outage that left as many as 3 million Floridians without electricity.

That will offset fuel costs for customers next year by about 14 cents a month for those who use about 1,000 kilowatt hours.

About 950,000 Florida homes and businesses, including 596,000 FPL customers, lost power Feb. 26, 2008. The outage lasted several hours and was blamed on an FPL engineer, whose actions accidentally triggered the blackout. The incident tripped off two nuclear units at the Turkey Point plant near Miami, as they are designed to do for safety reasons."
Chief vindicates Lucas Heights whistleblower - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
"Vindication does not happen often, but yesterday the head of Australia's Lucas Heights nuclear facility said a whistleblower was "absolutely correct" to raise serious safety concerns at the site.

The comments from ANSTO chief Dr Adrian Paterson contrast with the treatment that 55-year-old reactor operator David Reid has received at the hands of management over the past 12 months.

Mr Reid has been employed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at the south Sydney facility for the past 28 years. "
New nuclear plants vastly more dangerous: report
"The latest generation of proposed multibillion-dollar Canadian nuclear plants could be up to 158 times more hazardous than their predecessors, opening the door to massive cost overruns and possibly forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab, warns a report released today.

The report, The Hazards of Generation III Reactor Fuel Wastes, says the risk is primarily due to uncertainty about what will happen to radioactive uranium fuel after it is used.

"Canada's present generation of nuclear plants was built with no prior plan as to how to manage the radioactive wastes it would produce," said the report, prepared by independent consulting firm Radioactive Waste Management Associates. "Canada is arguably on the cusp of repeating this mistake.""
Experts Consider Radioactive Contamination At Vt. Yankee - WPTZ Plattsburgh
Soil excavated from an area outside the nuclear reactor building at the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon over the last month likely contain much of the radioactive material that has leaked from underground pipes in recent years, but the state Health Department said independent testing is expected to continue indefinitely to be sure no more remains.

Officials said they have removed 180 cubic feet of dirt from the site this month, material now bagged and awaiting shipment to a nuclear waste facility."
Progress Energy applies to build new cooling tower at nuclear plant - St. Petersburg Times
"Progress Energy wants approval to construct a new "cooling tower" at the Crystal River nuclear plant to help lower temperatures of discharge from the facility. The company needs the tower to help it comply with regulations about thermal output, as it works to upgrade the plant.

The construction of the cooling tower and its operations would affect more than 1.3 acres of wetlands and 3.1 acres of surface waters. The impact on the wetlands "may affect" the West Indian manatee. It is unlikely that other wildlife will be affected, according to the utility's application.

The company powered down the nuclear plant in September for a major maintenance project that was expected to be done by the end of December. But shortly after the job began, workers discovered that part of the containment wall had separated into two layers. "


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Workers' Compensation Law Community Powered by Larson's | LexisNexis
"The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that a new class of nuclear weapons workers from plants located in California and New Jersey have been added to the Special Exposure Cohort of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), which provides compensation and medical benefits to workers who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Survivors of qualified workers may also be entitled to benefits.

All former Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees who worked at the Berkeley, Calif., site between Aug. 13, 1942, and Dec. 31, 1961, as well as former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employees who worked at the Livermore, Calif., site between Jan. 1, 1950, and Dec. 31, 1973, have been added to the Special Exposure Cohort. In addition, former Westinghouse Electric Corp. employees who worked at the Bloomfield, N.J., site between Aug. 13, 1942, and Dec. 31, 1949, are included. "
Americans are exposed to increased levels of radiation - Brattleboro Reformer
The average American receives 620 millirems of background radiation every year, as opposed to the 360 millirems as is often stated in the press.

The number has crept up in the last two decades, from 180 millirems to 300 millirems, then to 360 millirems and most recently, in 2006, to 620 millirems.

Two of the major reasons why the average dose has been adjusted is the recognition that radon poses a substantial threat to health, especially in areas where granite is in abundance, and an increase in the number of medical procedures involving radiation.

Many people never reach the average, which includes exposure rates to people who undergo medical treatments with high levels of radiation.

Ionizing radiation, the formation of ions by separating atoms or molecules or radicals or by adding or subtracting electrons from atoms by strong electric fields in a gas, can cause cancer. "
Biography of a disaster: Chernobyl film in production - RT Top Stories
"The worst man-made disaster in history took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine almost 25 years ago. It has inspired one of Russia's top screenwriter-directors to make a film based on the story.

On Saturday, Aleksandr Mindadze's tragic exploration of the nuclear disaster, will go back to the events of 1986, when the notorious Number Four reactor suffered an unstoppable chain reaction."
OWCP News Release: US Labor Department notifies former Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees of inclusion in new EEOICPA Special Exposure Cohort designation [06/02/2010]
"The U.S. Department of Labor is notifying all former Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees who worked at the Berkeley, Calif., site between Aug. 13, 1942, and Dec. 31, 1961, about a new class of employees added to the Special Exposure Cohort of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The act provides compensation and medical benefits to workers who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Survivors of qualified workers may also be entitled to benefits.

A worker who is included in a designated SEC class of employees, and who is diagnosed with one of 22 specified cancers, may receive a presumption of causation under the EEOICPA. On April 5, 2010, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated the following class of employees as an addition to the SEC: all employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors who worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., from Aug. 13, 1942, through Dec. 31, 1961, for at least 250 workdays occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with workdays within other classes of employees in the SEC. This designation became effective on May 5, 2010. The Labor Department's role is to adjudicate these claims based on the new SEC class definitions as determined and introduced by HHS. "
Nuclear agency holds meeting on SC plant fire - TheState.com
"Federal nuclear regulators are meeting to discuss a special inspection of a South Carolina plant that shut down earlier this year.

Staff from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission are in Hartsville on Wednesday to talk about safety at Progress Energy's nearby Robinson plant.

Two fires happened March 28 in the plant's electrical system. The commission says the plant and public were never in danger but decided that issues raised in an initial inspection warranted further study.

The plant entered a refueling outage originally planned for mid-April and remains shut down. Last month, the commission sent in a special inspection team to review the events that led to shutdown.

The agency will issue a report after the public hearing."
Report: Hanford beryllium program has weaknesses | Seattle Times Newspaper
"An Energy Department review has concluded that a program for protecting workers from a toxic metal at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site has a number of weaknesses and could have been implemented more quickly.

An Energy Department review has concluded that a program for protecting workers from a toxic metal at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site has a number of weaknesses and could have been implemented more quickly.

However, the review released Wednesday also found the beryllium program is an improvement over past practices.

Beryllium was used in the production of reactor fuel at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation, and dust remains in some buildings.

Worker safety groups have raised concerns that workers have not been adequately protected from exposure to beryllium, which can cause a lung disease."
Russia at risk of reviving old SNF import saga, making Murmansk possible port of entry - Bellona
As US President Barack Obama seeks congressional ratification for the US-Russia Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation agreement – also known as 123 Agreement – this development may yet again open the route for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) transports into Russia for storage and reprocessing.

The series of bilateral deals the United States has been signing with Russia and other states – or 123 agreements, dubbed so for the relevant section of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act – outline US prospects for nuclear-related cooperation with nations, groups of nations, or regional security organisations as possible only on the condition that proper agreements are in place with such entities and that these agreements are approved by the President of the United States and ratified by Congress. "
HSE acts over lax safety standards at Sellafield nuclear plant | Business | The Guardian
Report highlights widespread failings at Europe's biggest atomic site
*Safety watchdog closes one plant and takes legal action against site's operators

The government's safety watchdog is cracking down on Britain's biggest and oldest nuclear complex after a series of radioactive leaks and safety blunders, despite private sector managers receiving multimillion-pound "performance-related" payments from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has closed down a vital nuclear waste plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, and is taking legal action to force the site's operators to improve their flawed safety procedures.

The HSE has also rejected a 40bn plan for cleaning up Sellafield because of proposed delays in dismantling ageing and potentially hazardous facilities."
Inquiries reveals problems at Australia's nuclear facility
"A safety breach at Australia's Lucas Heights nuclear facility on Monday has exposed management and training flaws at Australia's nuclear science agency.

The breach occurred at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization's (ANSTO) radio pharmaceutical production house in August 2008, when a worker dropped a vial containing a radioactive substance within a containment cell.

ANSTO chief executive Adrian Paterson told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra that two major investigations had looked into the incident.

The organization's own safety team completed their inquiries in September 2009, and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency finished its report last January"
'Uranium is the new asbestos': union ban on nuclear work
"The Electrical Trades Union has banned its members from working in uranium mines, nuclear power stations or any other part of the nuclear fuel cycle.

The union says uranium is the new asbestos in the workplace.

The ban will apply to ETU members in Queensland and the Northern Territory and breaching it could lead to expulsion, said ETU state secretary Peter Simpson.

"We are sending a clear message to the industry and the wider community that vested interests in the uranium and nuclear industries are trying to hoodwink us about this dangerous product and industry," Mr Simpson said in a statement."
Video: Former workers of the Rocky Flats Nuclear plant are dying at an alarming rate.

This video is about this coverup and scandal.
Radiation-contaminated French workers under clinical examination: ASN
"Clinical examination for six French workers exposed to radiation during a mission was underway, so was the inquiry into the accident, the French Nuclear Security Authority (ASN) confirmed to Xinhua on Friday.

The incident occurred Wednesday when the six workers were repairing a machine containing radioactive cobalt but unfortunately encountered a radiation leak during their operation at Feursmetal, a forge at the western French town of Feurs.

Clinical examination is currently conducted in order to record and evaluate the threats to their health. Furthermore, the ‘Procureur de la Republique' (public prosecutor) is conducting an inquiry into this incident that will provide further information, ASN told Xinhua in an email statement."
15 residents sue former Parks-Apollo nuclear plant operators - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Fifteen area residents filed federal lawsuits on Friday on their behalf or an estate, claiming that the operations of two former nuclear fuel plants in the Parks Township-Apollo area caused illness and death.

The defendants, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Atlantic Richfield, operated a uranium fuel-processing plant in Apollo and a plutonium plant in Parks from 1957-86.

The lawsuits add to similar suits first filed Jan. 26 in the same federal court. They were filed by the same attorneys from the Providence, R.I., law firm Motley Rice, specialists in environmental law cases, and a Pittsburgh law firm, Goldberg, Persky and White. "
BBC News - Probe after fire at Dounreay
"An investigation has been launched following a fire at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness.

Fire alarms alerted the site's firefighters to the blaze at the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) at about 0040 BST on Friday.

The fire involved sodium which had earlier been removed from pipe work and stored in a small tented enclosure.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) said the fire was extinguished.

The company, which is l"
Official: Entergy ignores sinkholes at Yankee site: Rutland Herald Online
"Entergy Nuclear officials failed to investigate five sinkholes that developed outside the reactor building for the past two years that were near the site of what turned out to be the radioactive leak at Vermont Yankee, according to a state report.

And a state official said he believes the radioactive leak at Yankee had been going on for two years before it was discovered by Entergy Nuclear in early January, based on hydrology studies of the site.

William Irwin, radiological health chief for the Department of Health, said Wednesday that during the first meeting he attended at Vermont Yankee after the tritium leak was discovered, he heard a top-level engineer say he had seen a sinkhole near the advanced off-gas building, which is where Entergy finally found the leak.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission News

New Times SLO | Diablo safety concerns raised at NRC hearing
"Judges from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, the independent trial-level adjudicatory body of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, heard arguments from attorneys of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) regarding the pros and cons of license renewal for Diablo Canyon power plant on May 26.

SLOMFP attorney Diane Curran opened the hearing with a summary of the positions of the watchdog group, arguing that recent inspection reports show a pattern of inefficiency related to safe operation and aging of the plant. PG&E argued that many issues raised by Curran weren't relevant to relicensing issues.

The current operating licenses for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon are set to expire in 2024 and 2025, respectively. PG&E has applied to continue operating the two reactors through 2045.

It doesn't take 11 years to do a license application, SLO Mothers for Peace spokeswoman Jane Swanson told New Times. "
NRC panel to begin Vegas hearings on nuclear dump - Las Vegas Sun
"A Nuclear Regulatory Commission legal panel is hearing arguments in Las Vegas about whether the federal Energy Department can withdraw its application to build a national nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

Local officials say a decision by the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board and Construction Authorization Board will be pivotal to the fate of the Yucca Mountain project.

A public hearing was expected to take all day Thursday at an NRC hearing facility near McCarran International Airport.

The panel of administrative judges are also considering which petitioners can be admitted as parties in licensing proceedings, and how millions of documents generated during more than 25 years of study could be archived, maintained and preserved."
FR: NRC SRP licensing nureg for fuel cycle facilities

"NRC is announcing the completion and availability of NUREG- 1520, Revision 1, ``Standard Review Plan for the Review of a License Application for a Fuel Cycle Facility,'' dated May 2010. ADDRESSES: NRC's Public Document Room (PDR):

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The SRP for the review of a license application for a fuel cycle facility (NUREG-1520), Revision 1, provides NRC staff guidance for reviewing and evaluating the safety, health, and environmental protection aspects of applications for licenses to possess and use of Special Nuclear Materials to produce nuclear reactor fuel. The licensing guidance revision is also intended to provide information needed to better risk-inform the preoperational readiness reviews. Specifically, items, features, or aspects of the design identified during the licensing review as important, will be highlighted to verify compliance with specific commitments...

NRC takes up groundwater contamination issues - The York Daily Record
Both TMI and Peach Bottom have faced tritium-related problems in the past.

Tritium leaks discovered at two nuclear-powered plants across the nation have contributed to a review by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on how the federal agency may improve its approach in dealing with groundwater contamination.

A weak radioactive isotope that occurs both naturally and during the operation of nuclear power plants, tritium is most commonly found in water, and it leaves the body quickly when ingested."
Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Elected to Pinnacle West Board of Directors on Environmental Expert
"The Board of Directors of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE: PNW) announced today that Dr. Dale E. Klein has been elected to the Pinnacle West Board of Directors. He also has joined the Board of Pinnacle West's principal subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company.

Dr. Klein, 62, served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from July 2006 to May 2009, and thereafter as a Commissioner until March 30, 2010. Prior to his service on the NRC, Dr. Klein was Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs from November 2001 to July 2006. Before embarking on his government service, Dr. Klein held a variety of teaching and leadership positions at the College of Engineering of the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on the University's nuclear program. Since leaving the NRC, he has returned to the University as Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Associate Vice President for Research, and Associate Director of the University's Energy Institute. "
NRC: - NRC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule on Security of Radioactive Materials
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comment on proposed new regulations that would codify and expand upon recent security measures the agency has imposed for certain sensitive radioactive materials.

A proposed rule, to be published soon in the Federal Register, would add a new Part 37 to NRC's regulations in Title 10 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), and make conforming changes to other parts of NRC regulations regarding radioactive materials.

The proposed rule will establish security requirements for the most risk-significant radioactive materials (those in Category 1 and Category 2 of the International Atomic Energy Agency's rankings of radiation sources), as well as for shipments of small amounts of irradiated reactor fuel."
Gov't audits NRC, Yankee - Brattleboro Reformer
"Following the discovery of a radioactive leak coming from an underground pipe at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Jan. 6, both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Yankee are being audited.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is planning a review of the NRC's requirements for and oversight of buried pipes at nuclear power plants.

Yankee is being audited by the NRC to determine if its license renewal application completely and accurately represents the nature and extent of buried piping at the plant in Vernon.

While the GAO's review has not yet begun, the NRC was in Vernon the week of May 24 to conduct its audit. The NRC has 90 days to issue its report.

The NRC's visit to Yankee was scheduled, "In light of the recent developments related to tritium leaks found on the site and potential misinformation given to the state of Vermont by Entergy ..." "
NRC wants input on water source for Lee nuclear plant near Gaffney | The Greenville News
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding the public meeting to get comments regarding any environmental issues the agency should consider as the addition to Duke Energy's site plan is reviewed.

The public will have a chance on June 17 to express concerns over plans to build a pond and dam to provide a back-up water source in case of prolonged drought at the proposed Lee nuclear facility near Gaffney.

Duke applied in late 2007 to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site and updated the application last September with plans to create an additional water source called Make-Up Pond C, to support the proposed reactors. The NRC is seeking comments specifically regarding the environmental issues associated with creating the pond, said Roger Hannah, an NRC spokesman."
NRC: Nuclear plant failed to evaluate flood risk | The Republican Eagle | Red Wing, Minnesota
"Prairie Island Nuclear plant operators knew of the potential for flooding in the plant's Unit 1 and Unit 2 turbine buildings, but failed to understand the implications on important safety-related equipment, according to a preliminary finding submitted to the plant Thursday by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The failure to identify and correct the potential safety issues in a timely manner is a significant human performance issue and cause for further review by the agency, according to NRC inspectors. Plant officials have 10 days to respond to the findings before the NRC decides whether to take enforcement action.

"We're waiting now for their response," said NRC spokesperson Viktoria Mitlyng."


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

No room for error in uranium mining | coloradoan.com | The Coloradoan
"The more one hears about BP's ruinous catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the more one has to worry about the risks inherent in the proposed in situ uranium mining in nearby Weld County. Both BP's extraction of oil and Powertech's extraction of uranium depend on piping systems to bring the desired substance to the surface.

The piping system Powertech proposes to use involves many injection wells to push chemically treated water down through the Laramie Fox-Hills aquifer, which thousands of people depend on for water, and into the uranium ore body. Many more extraction wells will be used to pull the dissolved uranium and other dangerous heavy metals to the surface."
Roxby's radioactive risk - The Independent Weekly
Mining giant BHP Billiton is risking the lives of its staff and employees at Olympic Dam in South Australia by exposing them to unsafe levels of radiation, according to a company whistleblower.

Documents received by The Independent Weekly say BHP Billiton has been warned about the risks, and has chosen to take no action.

The documents show BHP Billiton uses manipulated averages and distorted sampling to ensure its official figures slip under the maximum exposure levels set by government.

But experts have warned exposure levels currently regarded as the international limit should be lowered, following the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London four years ago."
Moab tailings removal continues | Deseret News
"A June update by the U.S. Department of Energy said that 1.5 million tons of uranium mill tailings have been removed from near the banks of the Colorado River and buried in a disposal site 30 miles away.

Federal stimulus funding of $108 million has accelerated the cleanup, which will tackle an additional 1.2 million tons of tailings between now and September 2011."
Investigations - Think nuclear is clean energy? Ask the Nigeriens - The Ecologist
"As the new nuclear renaissance grows, so too does uranium extraction. In Niger, which boasts some of the world's richest deposits, NGOs say that the poor are being exploited for the West's 'clean energy'

In the heart of the Sahara lie some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Until recently, the region had held little interest to the world's trading partners, save France. Desert tribes, predominantly Tuareg nomads, had been mostly free to roam its vast, barren expanse; living off what little bounty it had to offer. Then a few years ago, rising fuel prices and climate change revived interest in the atom."
Namibia mines concerned about power, water & taxes | Reuters
"Namibia's Chamber of Mines, which represents the mining industry in the southern African country, is concerned that power and water supply shortages and royalty tax legislation could hamper investment.

Mike Leech, president of the industry body in one of the world's top uranium producers, said a royalty tax passed at the end of 2008 would "increase rather than reduce investor risk".

"(The tax) is likely ... to make it harder for exploration companies to get projects past the credit committees of the banking institutions they will have to raise the money from," he said in an annual review the chamber published last week."
Nuclear giants stockpile fuel while price is cheap - Times Online
"Some of the world's biggest energy companies are stockpiling the nuclear fuel used to power reactors as they try to capitalise on rock-bottom uranium prices.

An oversupply of nuclear fuel on international commodity markets has followed five successive years of rapid growth in uranium ore production in Kazakhstan, which has nearly quadrupled its output since 2004.

Raw uranium prices have tumbled to around $40 per pound — almost one quarter of the levels of $140 in 2007."
Projects - Kyrgyz Republic : Disaster Hazard Mitigation Project
"The Disaster Hazard Mitigation Project for the Kyrgyz Republic aims to: (a) minimize the exposure of humans, livestock, and riverine flora and fauna to radionuclides associated with abandoned uranium mine tailings and waste rock dumps in the Mailuu-Suu area; (b) improve the effectiveness of emergency management and response by national and sub-national authorities and local communities to disaster situations; and (c) reduce the loss of life and property in key landslide areas of the country. There are three project components. Component 1, Uranium Mining Wastes Isolation and Protection, finances interventions in the Mailuu-Suu area to increase the condition of abandoned uranium tailings and waste dumps, and decrease the instability of large landslide areas. Component 2, Disaster Preparedness and Monitoring, (1) carries out a program of capacity building to improve the national system for disaster management, preparedness and response that can be administered effectively by national and sub-national authorities, as well as local communities; (2) establishes real-time monitoring and warning systems at about major landslides areas to detect and warn against active landslide movements and establish seismic stations and sensors to detect and warn against seismic events in key hazard areas; and establish a comprehensive monitoring system in Mailuu-Suu. Component 3 supports project management."
Conejos County Citizen: Radioactive Shipments halted
"Nearly universal local opposition to the resumption of shipment of radioactive waste from Los Alamos plus howling winds from the southwest put a stop on transloading operations Monday morning.

About 15 demonstrators with signs in opposition taped to their cars and a few signs secured to wooden posts and held on the south side of the highway by the operation's site were backed mid-morning by another document.

A temporary injunction against the loading of railcars signed by 41 area citizens


Nuclear Waste News

Some good news about nuclear waste | knoxnews.com
"Enormous quantities of radioactive waste and other hazardous materials are being transported from cleanup sites on the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge reservation. Much of the waste is moved to disposal sites elsewhere on the federal reservation, and the good news is that most of it never traverses public roads.

More than $20 million was spent a few years ago to construct a special haul road to allow daily truck convoys to move waste from demolition projects at K-25 to the DOE CERCLA landfill several miles away. It's expected to take about 40,000 truckloads to move the K-25 contaminated debris to the landfill."
Pumping of Hanford tank waste halted - Tri-City Herald
Work has halted to empty the only Hanford tank on which work has been under way to retrieve radioactive waste, but the Department of Energy and its contractor have ambitious plans for the remainder of the year.

"Washington River Protection Solutions is going to be working very hard this summer to pull this off," said Steve Pfaff, DOE project director for tank waste retrieval.

Work started in January to remove 260,000 gallons of solids from Tank C-104, one of 142 leak-prone single-shell tanks at Hanford that still hold radioactive waste from the production of plutonium during World War II and the Cold War.

But this spring the pump lowered into the tank to help remove waste hit an obstruction hidden in the sludge. It was a broken piece of an old pump that Washington River Protection Solutions had removed from the tank to make way for the pump used for waste retrieval."
EDF ran secret lobbying campaign to reduce size of nuclear waste disposal levy | The Guardian
"The nuclear industry is being offered what campaigners claim is a taxpayer subsidy on the disposal costs of waste from new reactors following a secret lobbying campaign, the Guardian has learned.

The revelation will put further scrutiny on the new government's promise that there will be no subsidy for nuclear power. Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, the new energy and climate change secretary of state, admitted to the Guardian this week that the government already faces a £4bn funding black hole over existing radioactive waste."
Aboriginal group challenges planned nuclear dump in court
"ABORIGINAL traditional owners have initiated a Federal Court legal challenge to plans by the federal government to build Australia's first national radioactive waste dump near Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory.

Mark Lane Jangala, a senior elder of the Ngapa clan, says he and many other senior elders were not consulted about the nomination of their land.

They say the proposed dump, on the disused Muckaty cattle station, would threaten a sacred male initiation site."
Nuke dump funding vote appealed to TX high court - Houston Chronicle
"Two West Texas sisters opposed to a new radioactive dump site are asking the state's highest court to reverse the results of an election that narrowly approved $75 million in bonds for the project.

Peggy and Melodye Pryor filed their appeal Wednesday to the Texas Supreme Court.

The bond referendum, held in May 2009, allows Andrews County to borrow to build the nuclear waste disposal site for Waste Control Specialists.

The bond issue was approved by a three-vote margin, and a recount verified the 642-639 vote. The Pryors unsuccessfully challenged the balloting, and an El Paso appeals court upheld that outcome last month.

Andrews County attorney John L. Pool said he believes the high court will deny the Pryors' appeal."
Supreme Court sides with N.C. in decades-old nuclear waste disposal suit | McClatchy
"The U.S. Supreme Court handed North Carolina a victory Tuesday in an epic, decades-long legal battle with other states over plans for a low-level nuclear disposal site that would have been in Wake County.

Seven Southeastern states joined in 1986 to share the burden of disposing of irradiated material produced by nuclear reactors, factories, hospitals and laboratories. North Carolina was picked to host a landfill for the material, and the other states in the compact agreed to help with the costs. But safety concerns and out-of-control expenses delayed the project. Money from the other states dried up. Eventually, North Carolina decided to cancel the project and withdraw from the interstate compact. Other states sought to assess $80 million in penalties.

North Carolina has maintained since 1999 that it didn't owe anything. The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday."
Should radioactive waste be trucked through Texas? | McClatchy
"Thirty-six states could start shipping loads of radioactive waste through Texas for more than a decade _ likely crisscrossing the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex on major highways and train tracks _ if they get approval this summer to send their contaminated materials to a West Texas disposal site.

The proposal to allow the states to send low-level waste to a site in Andrews County has prompted concern from some state lawmakers, who worry about the safety of communities along travel routes _ including the Interstate 20 corridor through North Texas _ and from environmentalists, who worry about radioactive leakage and contamination at the site.

An eight-member commission is expected to take up the issue in coming weeks, considering rules that would govern what materials are accepted and whether dozens of states should be allowed to send radioactive waste to the Waste Control Specialists' Texas site owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons. "
Defense bill seeks studies on Yucca Mountain - News - ReviewJournal.com
"Two S.C. congressmen insert directives into House defense bill

WASHINGTON -- The House passed a defense bill on Friday that calls for studies on what it would take to restart the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and what the impact would be if the project is closed for good.

The studies were inserted into a 600-page bill report by two congressmen from South Carolina who have been protesting the Obama administration's decision to terminate the Yucca project.

There was little discussion of the issue during the two days the House debated its annual defense authorization bill.

While the administration's moves to shut down the project have been criticized in Congress, it still might be too soon to tell whether efforts to revive the program are isolated to a few dozen angry lawmakers or whether a broader uprising is brewing.

Aides to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader and the chief shot blocker against Yucca Mountain bills, said the studies will be dropped when the defense bill is debated in the Senate."
Swiss association aids search for nuclear waste repository - swissinfo
"An association based in Switzerland is helping its European neighbours in their search for a good place to dump nuclear waste.

Ten nations have enlisted the aid of Baden-based Arius, or Association for Regional and International Underground Storage. They hope to consolidate their radioactive waste within a single location.

The countries in question include Austria, Ireland, Italy and seven others – but not Switzerland. In 2006, the federal government enacted a ten-year moratorium on the export of nuclear waste – the storage of which is the producers' responsibility."
Areva says it will halt depleted uranium shipments to Russia < French news | Expatica France
"The French nuclear group Areva said Friday it would halt shipments of depleted uranium to Russia in July in response to a commercial dispute.

Areva each year sends several tonnes of depleted uranium to Russia to be re-enriched in facilities operated by the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom.

A contract between Areva and its Russian partner Tenex, a Rosatom subsidiary, was to run until 2014, with a possibility that conditions could be re-negotiated for the period 2011-2014.

"We have agreed on ending the contract in 2010 because of a disagreement over commercial conditions," an Areva spokeswoman told AFP, adding that shipments would stop in July."


Nuclear Policy News

Dubious prospects for nuclear plants The Republican-American
The use of nuclear energy to provide electricity is well-established. At least that is the case in France, which has been a leader in developing nuclear technology. Thus 75 percent of the nation's electricity is generated by nuclear power plants. Production is so high, France has been contracting out an 18 percent surplus to its neighboring countries.

It has accomplished this with just 59 nuclear power plants in operation. However, it is expanding this number by building a more advanced reactor, called Generation III.

Contrast France's application of nuclear reactors to a nation's need for energy with the absence of any progress in that direction in the United States. It's been 30 years since construction of any new nuclear power plants was undertaken. Some reasons suggested for the lack of new construction include opposition by some with interests in fossil fuels."
Merkel's Nuclear Power Extension in Danger, FT Deutschland Says - Bloomberg.com
"Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to extend the running time of German nuclear power plants faces legal and legislative obstacles, the Financial Times Deutschland said, citing an internal report by her government.

Only a moderate extension is possible without the consent of Germany's upper house of parliament, where Merkel lacks a majority, the newspaper reported today. That means her plan for a law to extend nuclear power by between 12 and 20 years can't succeed, FTD said. "
UK loan for nuclear parts plant no longer certain | Reuters
A loan granted by Britain's last government to a steelworks company to help it build a manufacturing facility for the nuclear industry is under review, the new business minister said on Thursday.

Vince Cable said the 80-million-pound ($118 million) loan to Sheffield Forgemasters agreed under the Labour government that lost power after a May 6 election was being re-examined, like all other projects agreed after Jan. 1, 2010.

"We inherited a very large number of projects which were agreed in a hurry in the run-up to the last general election," Cable told parliament during a question and answer session."
Chris Huhne warns of 4bn black hole in nuclear power budget | The Guardian
Energy secretary blames predecessors for avoiding tough decisions in 'classic example of short-termism'

Britain is facing a 4bn black hole in unavoidable nuclear decommissioning and waste costs, Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary disclosed tonight.

The decommissioning costs over the next four years revealed by officials to Huhne are so serious that he has already flagged the crisis up to the cabinet.

The revelation places an unexpected burden on his department's 3bn annual budget ahead of difficult spending negotiations this summer."
The Associated Press: EU probes Siemens, Areva nuclear deal
"European Union regulators said Wednesday that they are investigating nuclear power non-compete deals between France's Areva SA and Germany's Siemens AG after Areva took over their joint venture.

This adds another twist to a row between the two companies after Siemens pulled out of the Areva NP unit, the world's largest builder of atomic power plants, and struck a deal with Russia's Rosatom to develop nuclear reactors.

Areva complained last year that Siemens' new deal broke the terms of a 2001 non-competition clause."
The Associated Press: High-level US-India talks begin
"Beginning high-level U.S.-India talks, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday the United States has a deep strategic interest in forging strong ties with India and nurturing its emergence as a global power.

The comments by Undersecretary of State William Burns are an attempt to deal with fears in India that relations with the United States have slipped as the Obama administration pursues cooperation with India's neighboring rivals, China and Pakistan.

Burns, in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, repeatedly sought to show how important India is to U.S. interests, including the war in Afghanistan and dealing with global climate change, education, poverty, counterterrorism and trade initiatives. Similar reassurance will be among the chief aims of U.S. officials during the inaugural U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue that wraps up Friday."
Hitachi reviews nuclear power partnership with GE | Reuters
* Hitachi looks at ways to boost global sales
* May recast nuclear power JV ownership structure
* Foreign sales not going as hoped -Nikkei
* Europe woes delay some contracts -FT quoting president
* GE says have been no discussions on changing venture

Hitachi Ltd, Japan's largest electronics maker, said on Tuesday that it is reviewing the structure of its nuclear power partnership with General Electric Co, as it seeks to win more deals globally.

A Hitachi spokesman did not rule out the possibility of Hitachi and GE changing their investments in their joint ventures as part of an overhaul of Hitachi's global sales network, but said nothing concrete had been discussed or decided."
Court dismisses demand for shutting nuclear reactors in Shimane - The Mainichi Daily News
"The Matsue District Court dismissed on Monday plaintiffs' demand that Chugoku Electric Power Co. shut down reactors at its nuclear power plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, over the risk of accidents posed by major earthquakes.

"Chugoku Electric Power has taken measures based on state quake-resistance guidelines reflecting the newest scientific and specialist knowledge," Presiding Judge Kenichi Katayama said in the ruling. "Therefore, there is no problem with (the state's) appraisal of (the reactors') quake-resistance safety.""
Congressman Sestak's Amendments in National Defense Authorization Act Pass House
"Congressman Sestak submitted language directing a study on the use of thorium-liquid fueled nuclear reactors for naval power, an important assessment of an energy source that has shown great potential to be more efficient for our military. As a result, the House Armed Services Committee included funding in the bill for research and development of a nuclear-powered destroyer reactor utilizing thorium energy.

While our nuclear Navy has thrived with a continuing record of zero reactor accidents, thorium may be more efficient than uranium as a fuel source. Massive fuel rods would not have to be utilized, and it produces only 1/2000th the waste of uranium. In domestic applications, waste can even be stored on-site, eliminating the necessity of facilities such as Yucca Mountain. Large deposits of thorium can be mined domestically in States such as Idaho, and we already have 160,000 tons in reserve."
BankTrack.org - New website exposes nuclear secrets of commercial banks
BankTrack, in cooperation with a number of working partners, today launches www.nuclearbanks.org, a new website mapping the involvement of 45 leading commercial banks in funding nuclear power projects and companies active in the nuclear sector. [1]

BankTrack considers nuclear energy a grave danger for people and planet. The renewed interest in nuclear energy also poses a severe obstacle to achieving a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.[2]

The website provides information on 867 transactions, involving a total of 124 banks providing finance to over 70 nuclear companies. Between 2000 and 2009, these banks…read more"
SC utility seeks nuclear plant related rate hike - BusinessWeek
"South Carolina's largest investor-owned utility plans to increase electric rates 2.73 percent to help pay financing costs for two nuclear reactors it plans to build.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., a subsidiary of Scana Corp., said in a news release Friday that the rate increase, set to take effect in October, will add about $3.33 to the monthly bill of a customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month.

The increase must be approved by state utility regulators."
Comment sought on plans for 2 SC nuclear reactors - BusinessWeek
"Federal nuclear power regulators want the public to weigh in on a preliminary report they say shows there are no environmental concerns that would keep two new nuclear reactors from being built in South Carolina.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are at White Hall AME Church in Jenkinsville on Thursday to discuss a draft environmental impact statement on the proposed reactors.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., a subsidiary of Scana Corp., wants to build two, 1,100-megawatt reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia."


Nuclear Weapons News

Indian nuclear assets not under extreme left-wing Naxal rebel threat: official
"India has claimed that its nuclear assets are not under the threat of extreme left-wing Naxal rebels who have staged a series of high-profile attacks against government forces and were suspected to have sabotaged a passenger train recently, according to local daily The Hindu on Sunday.

Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon told participants at an international conference in Singapore on Saturday that they "don't need to worry about" the rebels affecting the security of India's nuclear assets, according to the daily."
N-proliferation has affected India's security: Menon
"n a clear reference to Pakistan, India today said clandestine proliferation network in the region had adversely affected its security and pitched for a new global paradigm to meet the challenge, factoring in the "real" risks of terrorists gaining access to nuclear material.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon also highlighted the dangers India faces by being in the vicinity of "epicentre" of global terrorism and pressed for increased global collaborative efforts to defeat the menace particularly when terror groups are "networked to an unprecedented extent"."
The Associated Press: Report: Myanmar seeking nuclear weapons
"Documents smuggled out of Myanmar by an army defector indicate its military regime is trying to develop nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, and North Korea is probably assisting the program, an expatriate media group said Friday.

The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma said the defector had been involved in the nuclear program and smuggled out extensive files and photographs describing experiments with uranium and specialized equipment needed to build a nuclear reactor and develop enrichment capabilities.

But the group concluded in a report that Myanmar is still far from producing a nuclear weapon."
The Black Art Of ‘Master Illusions'
"How do wars begin? With a master illusion, according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA's pioneers in black propaganda, known today as news management. In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an incident that became the conclusive proof of North Vietnam's aggression. This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked an American warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.

The CIA, he said, loaded up a junk, a North Vietnamese junk, with communist weapons—the Agency maintains communist arsenals in the United States and around the world. They floated this junk off the coast of central Vietnam. Then they shot it up and made it look like a fire fight had taken place, and they brought in the American press. Based on this evidence, two Marine landing teams went into Danang and a week after that the American air force began regular bombing of North Vietnam. An invasion that took three million lives was under way."
Senator scraps Myanmar trip over nuclear claim | Reuters
"U.S. Senator Jim Webb abruptly canceled a planned visit to military-ruled Myanmar on Thursday because of concern about the country's alleged nuclear cooperation with North Korea.

Webb, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific, said his visit would be "unwise" having learned of a report containing new allegations that Myanmar was seeking North Korea's help in developing a nuclear program.

It was not immediately known what report Webb was referring to and a U.S. embassy spokesman could not confirm the origin of the report, or where it was published."
U.S. plan for covert ops causes jitters - UPI.com
"The recent disclosure that the U.S. military is expanding its covert operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa is widely seen as a dangerous precedent, with Iran as one of the main targets.

The Americans and their allies have long been waging a war of the shadows against the Islamic Republic, with Tehran often giving as good as it gets.

On May 24, Abdolhamid Rigi, a senior commander of the largest insurgent group in Iran, Jundallah, was hanged for masterminding bombings and the murder of government officials."
The Hindu : Lonely battle of an Israeli whistle-blower
Mordechai Vanunu's case is as much about suppressing dissent by a supposedly democratic state as it is a demonstration of western double standards.

Had Mordechai Vanunu been, say, an Iranian or a Russian whistle-blower and facing persecution at home, he would have been assured of a prominent place in the western pantheon of heroes. But he is an Israeli dissident and Israel's friends in the West have no time for him.

The Morocco-born Mr. Vanunu first hit the headlines more than two decades ago when he revealed details of Israel's secret nuclear programme to a British newspaper — an offence for which he served a long jail term. Since then, he has been fighting an almost lone battle against harassment by successive Israeli administrations even though since his release in 2004 he has not said or done anything to harm the country's security."
At nuclear conference, U.S. expects little, gains little
"It didn't end in failure.

That was perhaps the best the U.S. government could boast about a month-long conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which ended Friday in New York.

President Obama has made a priority of strengthening the treaty, which is in danger of unraveling after decades of curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons. Much of his ambitious nuclear agenda has been undertaken with an eye toward demonstrating U.S. compliance with the pact.

The United States got few of the specific goals it sought at the conference, such as penalties for nations that secretly develop nuclear weapons, then quit the pact (think North Korea). Language calling on countries to allow tougher nuclear inspections was greatly watered down. "
NPT Newsletter: Reaching Critical Will
"The NPT News in Review is a daily publication produced by Reaching Critical Will during nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty preparatory committees and review conferences. It is designed to circulate civil society perspectives to governmental delegates and to provide daily updates to those unable to attend the conferences."
India says no to NPT again, terms it discriminatory-Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
"Against the backdrop of the UN asking it to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India on Sunday made it clear that it can't be a party to an agreement that it regards as "discriminatory".

"Our position on NPT has been clearly articulated before. India's credentials in non-proliferation are well-known," said a government source here.

"We have made it clear that we want complete, verifiable and universal disarmament," the source added.

India will not be party to any agreement that it regards as discriminatory, government sources stressed, while reiterating India's oft-repeated position.

At the end of the nearly month-long NPT review conference Friday, the UN has asked India, Pakistan and Israel to join the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without further delay and pre-conditions.
Japanese A-bomb survivors disappointed by NPT talks' document - The Mainichi Daily News
"People in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities attacked with atomic bombs by the United States during World War II, expressed disappointment Saturday at the content of a final document adopted at the latest nuclear nonproliferation conference, saying the text has been watered down due to nuclear powers' resistance to taking significant disarmament steps.

Sakue Shimohira, 75, who survived the bombing of Nagasaki, said, "I regret that the discussions lost (initial) momentum, but I won't allow myself to be discouraged by this.""
Israel Won't Join in ‘Flawed' Mideast Nuclear Talks - Bloomberg.com
"Israel called deeply flawed and hypocritical a United Nations resolution ratified by 181 countries that calls for a 2012 conference on a nuclear-free Mideast, and said it would not take part in the talks.

Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office distributed to press travelling with him in Toronto said.

It singles out Israel, the Middle East's only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation, the statement said. It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world. "
U.N. Nuke Meet Ends with Good Intentions and Empty Promises - IPS ipsnews.net
"The road to a nuclear weapons-free world is apparently paved with good intentions - but littered with plenty of platitudes and empty promises.

A month-long nuclear non-proliferation review conference concluded late Friday "with more of a whimper than a bang", said John Burroughs, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy.

"The result was disappointing without being surprising," he said.

However, said Burroughs, one concrete achievement was on a make-or-break issue: a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The final document, he pointed out, calls for a conference on this controversial subject in 2012, and the appointment of a facilitator to make it happen. The next nuclear review conference is due three years later, in 2015. "The road ahead is not easy," said Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), "but it's the only way forward."

He singled out the reaffirmation by the conference of the importance of Israel's accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. "
The Associated Press: Nuclear treaty conference backs steps to disarm
"The 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Friday adopted a detailed plan of small steps down a long road toward nuclear disarmament, including a sharply debated proposal to move toward banning doomsday arms from the Middle East.

The 28-page final declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the monthlong conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.

Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014."
The Hindu : News / International : U.S. offered $5 billion for refraining from nuclear tests: Nawaz Sharif
"Then U.S. president Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan a $5 billion package to refrain from conducting tit—for—tat nuclear tests in response to India's in 1998 but the offer was rejected at the cost of sanctions, Nawaz Sharif, who was the prime minister at the time, said on Friday.

I told him (Clinton) that we are not among those people who are sold for a few dollars, not now and in future too. Thus we successfully carried out our nuclear tests, Online news agency quoted Mr. Sharif as telling party activists on the 12th anniversary of the May 28, 1998 nuclear tests. "
BBC News - UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East
"Nearly 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states - including Iran - to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT. "
The Associated Press: Nuke session approves early steps to disarm
"The 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Friday adopted a detailed plan of small steps down a long road toward nuclear disarmament, including a sharply debated proposal to move toward banning the doomsday arms from the Middle East.

The 28-page Final Declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the monthlong conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.

Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014."
Clinton pitches national security strategy - UPI.com
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the United States must take an integrated approach to its national security.

Clinton, in a speech at The Brookings Institute in Washington, said the United States needs to exercise "smart power" to deal with "new and complicated threats" -- terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, cyber-security and energy security to name a few."


Department of Energy News

Feds give BNL $28M for nuclear reactor cleanup
"Stimulus funds wills ease environmental concerns

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) met with representatives of the Department Energy Tuesday at Brookhaven National Laboratory to announce that the lab will receive an additional $28 million in Recovery Act funding to complete the dismantling of the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor by this fall.

The remaining steps include the removal of a 300-foot stack at the site and a concrete shield that once surrounded the reactor's core, already removed. Also to be dismantled are concrete air ducts, equipment from an associated ventilation building and exhaust filters, and other contaminated pipes and structures."
PR-USA.net - EnergySolutions Hails Milestone on DOE Start-Up of Conversion Plant at Piketon
"EnergySolutions Inc., as the managing partner for Uranium Disposition Services (UDS), marked the commencement of the initial operation of the DUF6 Conversion Facility at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

EnergySolutions, working closely with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), took control of the project in 2007 to manage the operational reviews and construction, completing the project within budget and ahead of schedule. Working closely with AREVA NP Inc. and Burns and Roe Enterprises, the work involved managing the operational reviews and construction. The facilities will be used to convert DOE inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) into a stable form for beneficial use, re-use and/or disposal."
Oasis Near Death Valley Fed By Ancient Aquifer Under Nevada Test Site - Science News - redOrbit
"Every minute, 10,000 gallons of water mysteriously gush out of the desert floor at a place called Ash Meadows, an oasis that is home to 24 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world.

A new Brigham Young University study indicates that the water arriving at Ash Meadows is completing a 15,000-year journey, flowing slowly underground from what is now the Nevada Test Site.

The U.S. government tested nuclear bombs there for four decades, and a crack in the Earth's crust known as the Gravity Fault connects its aquifer with Ash Meadows."
PDF: DOE: ORNL awarded $122 Million for new reactor designs
The U.S. Department of Energy's first energy innovation hub— Modeling
and Simulation for Nuclear Reactors—to the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of
Light Water Reactors (CASL). The consortium will be headquartered at Oak Ridge
National Laboratory.
*Amount: $122 million over five years
*Members: The CASL core consortium includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, North Carolina State University, the Electric Power Research Institute, Tennessee Valley Authority,
and the Westinghouse Electric Company. Additional CASL partners include the City University of New York, University of Florida, Florida State University, Imperial
College London, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, ASCOMP
GmbH, CD-adapco, Inc., and the Southern States Energy Board. *Director: Dr. Douglas B. Kothe, a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Purdue University.
Kothe is currently the Director of Science at the National Center for Computational Sciences, a part of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Leadership Computing
*Task 1: Develop computer models that simulate nuclear power plant operations, forming a virtual reactor for the predictive simulation of light water reactors.
DOE ready to close 2 Hanford landfills - | Tri-City Herald
"The Department of Energy is proposing that it close and cover two landfills at Hanford using federal economic stimulus money to start the project.

Both landfills lie east of the Rattlesnake Barrier on Army Loop Road in the 600 Area about nine miles from the Columbia River. Although neither was used for waste with radioactive contamination, containers of hazardous chemicals were disposed of in one, the Nonradioactive Dangerous Waste Landfill.

DOE considered digging up portions or all of the waste in the landfills but concluded that closing and covering them with a barrier would comply with state regulations. "


Other Energy News

German companies to build world's biggest wind park - The Local
"German companies Siemens, RWE and SWE are teaming up to build the world's largest wind park off the coast of Wales in the Irish Sea, they announced together on Friday.

The German engineering conglomerate and energy companies have agreed to invest in 160 wind turbines for the Welsh-named "Gwynt y Mô project, expected to power 400,000 British homes.

Located 13 kilometres from the shore of North Wales, the 124-square-kilometre wind park will be completed in 2014, though it will begin providing electricity in 2013. "
Ezra Klein - Wonkbook: Reid wants cap-and-trade by July; BP caps well (again); Kagan the boss
"Democrats are trying to take control of public anger over the BP spill, and that means moving the debate to energy legislation. Harry Reid is now urging chairmen to pass cap and trade out of committee by July, and to include a strong section regulation offshore drilling and associated liabilities. Remember when the compromise to get the bill passed was going to be moreoffshore drilling? "
AFP: Medvedev urges global eco-disaster fund
"Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday called for a global fund to fight ecological catastrophes like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as he sought to burnish his credentials as a green leader.

Admitting that Russia itself was lagging behind other countries in its standards of environmental protection, he also said Russians should feel free to protest against the authorities on environmental issues.

Medvedev said that the oil spill from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico -- the worst in US history -- had showed that the world had been unable to imagine the scale of such catastrophes."
BBC News - Nuclear staff 'could' dismantle North Sea oil rigs
"Skills gained from decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear plant could be turned to the dismantling of defunct oil and gas platforms, an expert has said.

Simon Coles, a member of industry forum Decom North Sea, said 80% of the skills at the Caithness site "overlapped" with those needed in the oil sector.

Two years ago, it was estimated that work breaking up redundant rigs could be worth 30bn by 2040.

Most of the 470 offshore structures in UK waters will need to be scrapped. "


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Nuclear energy won't replace oil
"In the article ["Cardin criticizes Obama for offshore drilling, says oil spills could hurt Bay," April 28] it states that Sen. Ben Cardin supports nuclear energy and that Cardin said that nuclear power plants would help protect the environment. The article then states, "It also would end the reliance on oil from countries unfriendly to the U.S.,' he said." This is incorrect. Nuclear power plants generate electricity. Less than 3 percent of U.S. electricity is oil- based. Therefore, additional nuclear power plants would essentially do nothing to replace the need for foreign oil or any oil for that matter."
Nuclear power should be key to ramping up oilsands - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA
"Canadians have watched in horror as BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill has mushroomed week by week into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The damage to the Gulf's ecosystem is unknown. Oceanographers report seeing massive columns of oil well below the surface. This is a phenomenon not seen before. Likewise, the chemical dispersants used so far may prove to be a "cure" that rivals the oil itself for toxicity.

Economically, the costs are already staggering. BP has spent nearly $1 billion on cleanup and appears to have barely made a dent. Fishing and oceanside tourism anywhere in the Gulf states are crippled. Huge areas of precious wetland may have to be burnt.

Here in Canada we can draw some conclusions already about the consequences of this spill, which is now at least twice as serious as theExxon Valdezdisaster in 1989. "