Top Nuclear Stories (June 30th – July 3rd)

Lots of interesting stories over the last week, many of them outside of the U.S., not to mention the shift in Iran’s offer to stop enriching uranium.

I hope to make it possible for an index as well as putting a few images to make this a bit more interesting.

Nuclear Reactor News

The Press Association: France to build nuclear reactor
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said France will build a second new-generation nuclear reactor. France has been constructing its first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) on the Normandy coast.

Call for public ownership of nuclear reactor based on mistaken beliefs
Recently, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix carried an op-ed (SaskPower Must Own Nuclear Reactor) that made the case for the province to invest in a major facility like a nuclear reactor.

Global Warming Examiner – Three Mile Island Proves Nuclear Power is Safe –
Nuclear power has a major advantage over fossil fuel power sources when it comes to global warming. Generating power from nuclear fuel does not produce any carbon dioxide. Shouldn’t we be retiring our coal-fired power plants and replacing them with nuclear plants?

Duke VP sought firing of worker | Cincinnati Enquirer
A vice president at Duke Energy recommended firing an employee who in 2006 questioned the legality of payments that the utility made to big corporate customers. Advertisement “My opinion is that he should definitely go, one way or the other,” the vice president, James Ganier, said in a March 2006 e-mail.

TVA wants big power boost from reactors | The Tennessean
TVA wants to increase the power output of each of the three nuclear reactors at its Browns Ferry plant by 15 percent, a move that could raise questions about safety. Getting 15 percent more electricity is a big increase compared with most other such undertakings at nuclear plants around the country. Some plants have been damaged by increased vibrations, but no radioactive materials escaped, officials have said.

Four Spanish nuclear plants suffer faults in 72 hours
The Vandelòs II plant saw its fire-detection systems activated. Asco II had a problem in the refrigeration system. Asco I had a problem in valve in a heat extractor. The Confrentes plant in Valencia saw an unplanned power surge.

AfricaNews – Nigeria nuclear plans worry G-8 – Murtala
The world most powerful nations, the G8, have expressed concerns over Nigeria’s ability to acquire nuclear technology. They are said to be uncomfortable with that nuclear move despite Nigeria’s position that the nuclear power generation is purely meant for electricity supply. Speaking to ‘This Day’ at the end of a week long safety nuclear energy training programme, Shamsedeen Elegba, Director-General of the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) confirmed that the G8 had expressed wories over Nigeria’s readiness to acquire nuclear energy.

Evaluate Bataan nuke plant thoroughly, IAEA cautions RP –
MANILA, Philippines — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has cautioned the Philippines and other countries considering the revival of nuclear energy options not to let “commercial interests take precedence over safety issues.”

Malaysia’s nuclear plans delayed –
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, July 1 (UPI) — Malaysia’s nuclear plans could take more than 15 years to implement. Analysts say the government needs to be more assertive if it wants to put nuclear power plants in place, the New Straits Times reported.

Europe Insight Europe’s Nuclear Energy Woes – BusinessWeek
Rising energy costs and concerns over carbon dioxide emissions have focused minds in Europe’s utility sector. The response? A push to build more nuclear power plants that would reduce the amount of fuel (such as natural gas and coal) that’s imported and cut CO2 just as governments start to take a hard-line stance towards greenhouse gases.

China wants 100 Westinghouse reactors – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
China wants to have 100 of Westinghouse Electric Co.’s nuclear reactors in operation or under construction by 2020 — more than double what was anticipated, according to the company’s incoming CEO. Aris Candris, who will lead the Monroeville-based firm beginning Tuesday, said Chinese officials shared those plans with Westinghouse during a mid-May meeting.

The Case For and Against Nuclear Power –
Is nuclear power the answer for a warming planet? Or is it too expensive and dangerous to satisfy future energy needs? Interest in nuclear power is heating up, as the hunt intensifies for “green” alternatives to fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Even some environmentalists have come on board, citing the severity of the global-warming threat to explain their embrace of the once-maligned power source.

AFP: Spanish PM firm on phasing out nuclear power
MADRID (AFP) — Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Saturday he would not extend the life of Spain’s ageing nuclear plants as he repeated his government’s commitment to phasing out nuclear power. “We are committed to respecting the normal life-span of the plants unless there are urgent energy needs, and to not building new nuclear plants,” he said in an interview with top-selling daily El Pais.

My Turn: True face of the nuclear endeavor – The Burlington Free Press
Vermont Yankee’s affable radio jingle is nothing more than malignant propaganda, shrink-wrapped in jovial soliloquy and mellifluous melody. It seems the purveyors of nuclear monoliths seek to trick the public into appreciating actinides (that are responsible for long-term radiation in spent fuel) as they mutate and decay the fabric of life — if not for thousands of years, billions of years.

Retired professor warns against pursuing nuclear power
Nuclear energy is not the magic bullet to solve global warming and the costs of building reactors far outweigh the benefits, warns a retired University of Regina professor. Jim Harding visited Saskatoon and Prince Albert Wednesday and Thursday to speak against uranium mining and nuclear energy, a hot topic in Saskatchewan since last week’s announcement by Bruce Power LP that it is studying the feasibility of a reactor for the province. In his presentation, Harding said now is the time for public debate on whether the province should pursue nuclear power — and his long-held argument is that we shouldn’t.

Nuclear Health and Safety News

Leeds atomic test campaign veteran dies at 70 – Yorkshire Evening Post
AN EX-SERVICEMAN from Leeds who was fighting for compensation over Cold War atomic bomb testing, has died.

Birth defects spike with U.S. use of ‘special weaponry’
Babies born in Fallujah are showing deformities and falling ill on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say. The spike in deformities and deaths among children resulted after “special weaponry” was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.

SKAPP: SKAPP Authors Expose Brush Wellman’s Role in Stalling Stricter Beryllium Limit
In the latest issue of the journal Public Health Reports, there is debate about the role that beryllium giant Brush Wellman played in stalling OSHA action on beryllium, and whether Brush waged a public relations campaign to minimize the hazards of the toxic metal.

French official dismisses nuclear test veterans complaints
The French government’s nuclear safety expert, Marcel Jurien de la Graviere, says the fallout from the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia has not been, as it has been claimed, the cause of illnesses.

The Associated Press: Auditors: Nuclear plants not following fire rules
WASHINGTON (AP) — Operators of nuclear power plants have yet to comply with some of the government’s fire safety rules three decades after they were issued, a congressional report said Monday.

Wild Clearing – “Contaminated Forever” – a documentary film about the terrible impact of depleted uranium weapons
Filmmaker Wes Rehberg and artist and social policy analyst Eileen Rehberg have produced and filmed “Contaminated Forever,” a 1-hour and 45-minute documentary film to help in the effort to expose the terrible consequences of the use of depleted uranium weapons (DU) for test purposes and in the battlefield. | Train carrying radioactive material derailed in Atchison
ATCHISON, Kan. | A train with cars containing radioactive material derailed in northwest Kansas on Friday evening, but authorities say no one was in danger. Atchison Fire Chief Michael McDermed says about 25 to 30 cars were involved in the incident in Atchison, but no one was injured. The train had three cars with radioactive material, but they did not appear to be damaged.

Nuclear Security News

Global nuclear stockpiles ‘must be reduced to prevent terrorist attacks’ – Telegraph
Nuclear stockpiles around the world must be reduced to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, a coalition of senior British politicians has warned. The four former British defence and foreign secretaries warn that the more nuclear material in circulation, the more countries who have not had such weapons to date are likely to want to acquire their own.

Vanguard Online: How safety fears delays Nigeria’s nuclear plant installation, by NNRA boss
DIRECTOR general ofthe Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Babatunde Shamshideen Elegba, has disclosed that the only obstacle hindering the installation of nuclear plant in Nigeria is fear of its security and safety.

AFP: Bush exit may pave way for new nuclear security strategy
WASHINGTON (AFP) — President George W. Bush’s impending departure has rekindled hopes that new US leadership can prop up the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which marks its 40th year Tuesday. Both the presidential candidates, senators Barack Obama and John McCain, recognize that renewed US leadership on disarmament is critical to strengthen the global accord aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating dangers posed by nuclear weapons.

Cost of border radiation monitors climbs –
WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) — The cost to put new radiation monitors in place at U.S. borders and ports would be far more than the Department of Homeland Security (OTCBB:HSCC) said, budget papers show.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Uranium spot price jumps near $60/pound; is poised to go higher
The spot price of uranium jumped $2 to $59/pound, according to TradeTech and Ux Consulting reports released Monday, but that price “may already be in the rearview mirror” of buyers and sellers, said one analyst.

Arms Control Associationn: Bush’s Nuclear Reprocessing Plan Under Fire
The Bush administration’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program, already under siege, has been further imperiled after recent action by several congressional panels and an April report from the congressional watchdog agency. Administration officials have claimed that GNEP, which seeks to develop new nuclear technologies and new international nuclear fuel arrangements, will cut nuclear waste and decrease the risk that an anticipated growth in the use of nuclear energy worldwide could spur nuclear proliferation.

NM hires company to help with uranium cleanup – Las Cruces Sun-News
SANTA FE—An international company has been contracted to help the state Mining and Minerals Division with the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines around New Mexico. The agency says Golder Associates will conduct field assessments of more than a dozen abandoned mines northwest of Grants to measure the extent of contamination so cleanup plans can be developed for the sites.

Tailings tab could top $1 billion – Salt Lake Tribune
The cost of hauling away the Moab tailings by 2019 could exceed $1 billion, according to the latest estimate by the U.S. Energy Department, the agency managing the cleanup.

Deseret News | Cleaning up Moab tailings could cost up to $1 billion
WASHINGTON — The Energy Department estimates it could cost up to $1 billion to clean up the uranium mill tailings in Moab by 2019, based on an anticipated report issued to Congress late Tuesday. The 2019 deadline gets the project done faster than the 2028 deadline the department submitted to Congress last year but is still way beyond the 2012 deadline initially proposed when the department took over the project.

The Associated Press: Plutonium pit plan for N.M. lab faces opposition
DIXON, N.M. (AP) — The market at the heart of this little village is stuffed with locally grown produce. Fat, red radishes practically fly out of the display basket next to the cash register hours after leaving the field. Nourished by a small river that empties into the Rio Grande, the narrow valley is dotted with farms, orchards and vineyards.

Radioactive cocktail: Blending waste won’t lessen the danger – Salt Lake Tribune
Officials from our nation’s nuclear power industry have devised a magical mathematical formula that miraculously transforms dangerous Class B and Class C nuclear waste into less-ominous Class A waste. Anxious to dispose of their radioactive garbage, they pitched the proposal to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week.

The Watch Newspapers – Facing Uranium Mill, Effort to Show Paradox Beauty Underway
PARADOX VALLEY – While Energy Fuels Inc. continues toward its application process to build the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley, an effort to save the valley from the mill is already underway.

The time has come for nuclear power with recycling | The Tennessean
Energy experts largely agree that nuclear power is the most environmentally benign and cost-effective method available for generating large amounts of base-load electricity. Nuclear power can help alleviate global climate change due to greenhouse-gas emissions and also help reduce our dependence on imported oil.

STLtoday – Swords to plowshares: nuclear bombs to electricity
Nuclear power’s resurgence in the United States is tied to a surprisingly effective program that is helping to make the world a safer place from nuclear weapons. Known as the “megatons to megawatts” program, it has led to the elimination of huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons materials, thus making it much more difficult for rogue countries and terrorist groups to obtain them.

How Washington lost the $2 billion Areva plant and at least 400 jobs to Idaho – | Tri-City Herald
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire was repeatedly pressed to support Areva’s $2 billion uranium enrichment plant and told her help was critical to luring its 400 high-paying jobs to the Tri-Cities, according to e-mail and other communications obtained by the Herald.

Oak Ridge processing waste for disposal | |
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Radioactive waste resulting from decades of research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is being prepared for shipment to Utah for long-term storage. Advertisement Heavily shielded rooms with robotic arms called ‘‘hot cells’’ are now at work sorting and packing the material into 55-gallon drums. Some waste dates to the World War II Manhattan Project.

Victoria Advocate – Public comment period on uranium permit open
GOLIAD – Residents can still comment on the ongoing uranium mining project in Goliad County. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality prepared the draft permit which is now available for public comment until July 25. Uranium Energy Corp. has not yet submitted its affidavit that it has printed a public notice, TCEQ spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said.

RIA Novosti – Somalia invites Russian firms to develop uranium deposits
MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Somalia hopes Russian companies will take part in the development of uranium deposits, and oil and natural gas production, the Somali ambassador to Russia said Friday. “Today we say: let’s cooperate. Somalia is a very rich country, this is the main basin of oil and gas on the territory of the Horn of Africa,” Mohamed Handule told a RIA Novosti press conference.

The Watch Newspapers: Facing Uranium Mill, Effort to Show Paradox Beauty UnderwayPARADOX VALLEY – While Energy Fuels Inc. continues toward its application process to build the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley, an effort to save the valley from the mill is already underway.

Hanford News : Utah industrial park gets uranium mill

GREEN RIVER, Utah (AP) – A Canadian company plans to build a uranium-processing mill near this town in eastern Utah. Mancos Resources Inc. of British Columbia says producers can’t make enough yellowcake for the world’s growing number of nuclear-fueled plants.

Hanford News : Uranium Resources ends plans to buy Rio Algom in NM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A Texas mining company – blaming sliding uranium prices and the difficulty of getting financing – on Thursday backed out of a deal that could have led to the first uranium mill in the Grants area in two decades. Uranium Resources Inc. agreed last Oct. 12 to buy Rio Algom Mining LLC, based in Oklahoma City, from Australian mining company BHP Billiton Ltd.

Atlantic Free Press – Tomgram: Chip Ward, Uranium Frenzy in the West

This has been energy crisis week at Tomdispatch (with a brief pit stop at America’s mega-bases in Iraq, built with control of the oil heartlands of the planet in mind). First, Michael Klare asked why the Pentagon’s garrisoning of the global gas station had anything to do with American security. Then John Feffer wondered whether, when it came to that lethal combo of soaring energy prices, soaring food prices, and extreme weather, we were all now North Koreans. Today, Chip Ward takes up the energy crisis in America’s increasingly arid western backyard.

Nuclear Waste News

Sydney Morning Herald: Sydney’s radioactive neighbourhood cover-up claim
The son of a Sydney couple who died from cancers says the NSW Health Department tried to cover up the results of radioactivity tests on their neighbourhood.

ABC Sydney – Govt ‘withheld results from radioactive site’
A man whose parents died while living near a former uranium smelter site in Sydney’s north says he is angry the Government withheld information from the public. A New South Wales parliamentary committee is holding an inquiry into the site on Nelson Parade at Hunter’s Hill. Members of the inquiry visited the site earlier this week and found unacceptable levels of radioactivity. Recent independent testing of soil samples found 350 times more radioactive than what is considered safe.

Monticello nuclear plant ready to move spent fuel
Months of planning at the Monticello nuclear plant will be put into practice soon when spent nuclear fuel is moved to a new storage facility. Radioactive fuel rods will be moved in a process designed for safety and security from inside the plant to the above-ground storage.

Charleston, SC: Limiting S.C. nuclear-waste role
Tuesday marked the end of South Carolina’s role as the low-level radioactive waste disposal site for much of the nation. Henceforth, the Barnwell waste site will operate at a sharply reduced level, accepting waste only from three states, including South Carolina.

Alexander seeks ban on foreign nuclear waste – Oak Ridge, TN – The Oak Ridger
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander wants to ban processing and disposal of some foreign nuclear waste. The Tennessee Republican and Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., said Tuesday they will introduce legislation barring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from allowing Utah-based EnergySolutions Inc. from importing 20,000 tons of nuclear waste from Italy for processing in Oak Ridge and disposal in Clive, Utah.

Senators join effort to block EnergySolutions’ nuke waste imports plan – Salt Lake Tribune
America’s landfills for low-level nuclear waste should be conserved for America’s waste, according to a new, bipartisan bill to be introduced next week in the U.S. Senate. The bill targets efforts by Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions to use its Tooele County landfill for contaminated cleanup waste from Italy’s defunct nuclear reactors and maybe other foreign waste in the future. And it echoes a bill proposed in the House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and two colleagues.

Manx Radio: Radioactive contamination – no concerns
It’s being claimed levels of radioactive contamination in the Irish Sea pose no danger to human health. Senior Government Scientist Dr Paul McKenna has been responding to concerns over the latest official data from radioactivity monitoring. The Celtic League has highlighted that levels of Technetium 99 in Manx lobsters are higher than those found in seaweed in Ireland.

So Much Radioactive Waste, So Little Time | 80beats | Discover Magazine
It’s been a big news week for nuclear waste, with most of the attention going to the Department of Energy’s announcement that it has at long last submitted an application to open a nuclear waste repository in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

ReviewJournal – Reid says McCain echoes Bush in talk of Yucca Mountain
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain is saying the same things about Yucca Mountain that President Bush once did, and Nevadans should not be fooled. “That’s what George Bush said, remember, and he’d been president for a couple of weeks when he decided science wasn’t so important and jammed it down our throat,” the Senate majority leader said in an interview.

AFP: Toxic legacy: Scientists ponder task of labelling nuclear waste
PARIS (AFP) — How will “DANGER!” be written 5,000 years from now? How will it be written in 50,000 years? Finding an answer to these questions may not seem like a Code Red emergency to most people.

Barnwell nuclear waste to close to most states
SNELLING, S.C. — The low-level nuclear waste disposal site in Barnwell County is to close to most out-of-state shipments. Starting Tuesday, the facility near Snelling will take waste only from South Carolina, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Oak Ridge processing waste for disposal – Oak Ridge, TN – The Oak Ridger
Radioactive waste resulting from decades of research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is being prepared for shipment to Utah for long-term storage. Heavily shielded rooms with robotic arms called “hot cells” are now at work sorting and packing the material into 55-gallon drums. Some waste dates to the World War II Manhattan Project.

KNDO/KNDU | More Fallout from Tank Farm Spill
RICHLAND, Wash.- The U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor are being hit again for a radioactive spill in Hanford’s S-Farm in July 2007. DOE and contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group have agreed on a proposed $30,000 settlement with the EPA.

“Glow train” goes national – Las Vegas Sun
Risks inherent in transporting nuclear waste are documented on The History Channel A documentary that aired on The History Channel last week gave a national audience a glimpse into the concerns that Nevadans have had for years about the potential dangers of shipping high-level nuclear waste across the country on trains that would roll through hundreds of cities and towns.

What happened next to Cumbria’s nuclear dump ‘bribe’? -The Independent
Cumbria last week took the first steps towards volunteering to be the site of Britain’s first underground nuclear dump, in return for a hefty government “bribe”. | Galvano proposes mediation for Tallevast
TALLEVAST — Rep. Bill Galvano wants all parties involved in the Tallevast contamination dispute to talk, unencumbered by legal actions. “This matter has lingered for far too long despite everyone’s efforts to bring it to some sort of resolution,” Galvano wrote in a letter mailed Friday to attorneys representing Tallevast residents and Lockheed Martin Corp., responsible for cleaning up a toxic spill beneath the community.

Rialto’s perchlorate cleanup tab: $26M –
RIALTO – Since perchlorate was discovered in the local water supply in 1997, Rialto has spent $26 million on its effort to get the contamination cleaned up. Perchlorate and other chemicals are flowing through the water from industrial sites used to manufacture rockets and fireworks in the decades following World War II. The military moved munitions to the area after the attack on Pearl Harbor stoked fear about the consequences of leaving weaponry on the coast.

Industry recipe: Diluted N-waste – Salt Lake Tribune
The nation’s nuclear industry has a problem. And it sees a partial fix in Utah, at the mile-square patch of Tooele County that is operated as a radioactive waste landfill by EnergySolutions Inc. Beginning Tuesday, commercial nuclear facilities in 36 states won’t have a disposal for their hottest low-level radioactive waste, known as Class B&C waste. After years of talking about it, South Carolina, starting July 1, will reserve the remaining capacity in its Barnwell County landfill for just three states.

Nation looking to Utah to store radioactive waste – Salt Lake Tribune
The nation’s nuclear industry has a problem. And it sees a partial fix in Utah, at the mile-square patch of Tooele County that is operated as a radioactive waste landfill by EnergySolutions Inc. Beginning Tuesday, commercial nuclear facilities in 36 states won’t have disposal for their hottest low-level radioactive waste, known as Class B&C waste. After years of talking about it, South Carolina will reserve the remaining capacity in its Barnwell County landfill for just three states starting July 1. – Senator offers alternative for Yucca project
WASHINGTON — A new nuclear waste strategy that would partner the government with industry to develop privately owned storage sites and recycling factories was announced on Friday. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., unveiled a bill as an alternative to storing 77,000 tons of used nuclear fuel in a long-delayed Yucca Mountain repository. The bill would not end the Yucca project, but could alter its purpose.

Debate rages on radioactive waste dump (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)Radiation safety experts say a centralised national dump is needed for Australia’s growing stockpiles of radioactive waste, but some critics argue it is not the safest option.

Radioactive waste could travel through Tenn. on way to N.M. | The TennesseanSpecial radioactive waste is proposed to be trucked from Oak Ridge across the country by way of interstates 75 and 24 through Chattanooga, and then through Birmingham, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The shipments could begin by the end of this year, if the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permit them.

Nuclear Policy News

VPR Regional News: New appointees to nuclear panel draw complaints
(Host) Legislative leaders have picked a nuclear engineer and a veteran utility regulator for a panel that will oversee the inspection of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. But the Douglas Administration immediately criticized the appointments. The administration complains that the two are critics of nuclear power.

Unionist Paul Howes’s nuclear proposal slammed | The Australian
THE leader of Australia’s biggest blue-collar union has been left out on a limb over his push for the development of a nuclear power industry, as senior colleagues yesterday debunked his proposal as fanciful and unnecessary. Paul Howes, national secretary of the right-wing Australian Workers Union, was reported in The Australian yesterday as saying that nuclear power was the only option if the nation was to reduce carbon output and pursue renewable energy.

Nuclear Weapons NewsRIA Novosti – World – U.S. says Lithuania has agreed to consider hosting missile shieldUnited States Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that Lithuania has agreed to consider hosting a missile interceptor base if the U.S. deal with Poland falls through.

Report: Security lax at U.S. nuclear sites –

A U.S. Air Force study found lax plant security and inadequate personnel experience at most overseas storage facilities for U.S. nuclear weapons.

Report: Iran will halt enrichment if West removes sanctions | Jerusalem Post

Iran expressed readiness to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for lifting the international sanctions imposed on it, Israel’s Channel 2 senior analyst Ehud Ya’ari revealed Thursday evening.

AFP: Former ministers call for nuclear weapon-free world
LONDON (AFP) — Four former foreign and defence secretaries called Monday for nuclear powers around the world to increase diplomatic efforts to eventually rid the world of nuclear weapons. Writing in The Times, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Douglas Hurd, Lord David Owen and Lord George Robertson said there “is a powerful case for a dramatic reduction in the stockpile of nuclear weapons.”

Gulfnews: Nuclear double standards
The demolition by North Korea of the 60-foot cooling tower of its main reactor complex in Yongbyon on Friday represents an important breakthrough in dismantling its nuclear programme.

The Associated Press: Nuclear weapons programs around the world
A look at nuclear weapons programs around the world: CONFIRMED NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITIES: United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, Pakistan, India, North Korea

Preparing for the unthinkable – nuclear attack
It is a grim, almost unthinkable scenario: a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon, smuggled into the United States, is detonated in a major U.S. city, perhaps even the Bay Area. Top federal officials and medical experts gathered in Washington on Thursday to consider this nightmare vision. Their conclusion: Cities and states are frightfully ill-prepared for dealing with an attack using a small nuclear bomb.

Department of Energy News

New contractor takes over Hanford tank farms | Tri-City Herald
The transition to the new contractor for Hanford’s tank farms starts today. However, the transition to a new contractor for cleanup of central Hanford has yet to begin. The Department of Energy had announced that today was the soonest the transition might start, but has not issued a notice to proceed to the new contractor. At the tank farms, Washington River Protection Solutions begins work today to take over operations from outgoing DOE contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group. The transition is expected to be completed Oct. 1.

GAO: More information needed on viability of Hanford tanks | Tri-City HeraldThe Department of Energy needs more information to make sure its leak-prone underground tanks will last as long as they are needed to store radioactive waste, according to a report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office. “DOE and its contractors lack comprehensive information about the condition, contents and long-term viability of Hanford’s aging underground waste tanks,” the report said.

aiken standard – Engineer details SRS deactivation projects
Since 2002, a total of 263 buildings at the Savannah River Site have been torn down, said John Gilmour, chief engineer for deactivation and decommission.\nOnly four of those buildings met the criteria as nuclear facilities and needed extensive coordination with federal and state regulators, Gilmour told Rotary Club of Aiken members Monday.

Bomb parts dropped at Y-12; contractor says no threat of nuclear explosion: Knoxville News SentinelOAK RIDGE — In separate incidents barely a week apart in April, nuclear warhead parts were dropped at the Y-12 National Security Complex, but a plant spokesman said today there was no threat of a nuclear explosion.

A tour of the Hanford reveals the dangers of the birthplace of the bomb – Oregonlive.comThe nuclear reservation’s beauty masks a deadly desert of radioactive waste, decrepit structures and fouled earth

Other Energy News

Administration Blocking EPA from Addressing Global Warming Pollution
The White House is currently blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from complying with a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the agency to develop global warming pollution regulations under the Clean Air Act. Below is a statement by Brendan Bell, a Washington representative with the Union of Concerned Scientists:

A Backlog Of Cases Alleging Fraud –
More than 900 cases alleging that government contractors and drugmakers have defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars are languishing in a backlog that has built up over the past decade because the Justice Department cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers, according to lawyers involved in the disputes.

Alberta’s mission: convert oil sands skeptics
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, the Alberta government parked a huge dump truck on the National Mall in Washington, announcing to U.S. lawmakers Canada was about to become the next big thing in global energy. It was an ostentatious display — the yellow behemoth used in oilsands extraction stood five metres tall, with four-metre-high tires — that helped put Alberta’s oilsands on the map for a Congress deeply worried after 9/11 about the security of the U.S. energy supply. : Peak Oil: IEA Inches Toward the Pessimists’ Camp
What’s up with oil prices? Well, it’s not speculators, and there’s no relief in sight, meaning at least five more years of high prices with no easy fixes. The ugly truth? Peak oil isn’t fringe anymore—it’s going mainstream. That’s the reading from the latest oil market report from the International Energy Agency, the rich-country energy watchdog. The IEA’s latest x-ray of the oil market includes plenty of disturbing nuggets.

Rubber ‘snake’ could help wave power get a bite of the energy market
Innovative concept could make wave energy more affordable A device consisting of a giant rubber tube may hold the key to producing affordable electricity from the energy in sea waves. Invented in the UK, the ‘Anaconda’ is a totally innovative wave energy concept. Its ultra-simple design means it would be cheap to manufacture and maintain, enabling it to produce clean electricity at lower cost than other types of wave energy converter. Cost has been a key barrier to deployment of such converters to date.

Giant solar tower could power the future – LiveScience-
A new energy concept called a solar tower could generate enough electricity for 200,000 homes. Looking like a giant smokestack, it would release no noxious fumes — just sun-heated air.

Drilling Wilderness Won’t Bring Cheap Gas
As Americans struggle with high prices at the pump, one thing is certain: a rush to drill in Alaska or on Western public lands will not bring down the price of gas. Unfortunately, it will needlessly sacrifice wilderness and wildlife.

How a Shady Citigroup Subsidiary Secretly Makes Billions in the Oil Market | AlterNetOn June 3 of this year, Dr. Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, correctly outlined the problem to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation:

U.S. federal oil and gas royalties – Congresspedia
U.S. federal oil and gas royalties are payments made by firms to the federal government in exchange for the opportunity to explore for oil and gas on government-owned land or water. Traditionally, most of the funds generated by these royalties have gone directly into the general U.S. Treasury. Some of the funds have been directed to the Historical Preservation Trust Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. During most of the twentieth century, oil and gas companies generally paid between 12.5 and 16.7 percent in royalties for a lease to drill on public land or water. Over time, these royalty payments generated over $100 billion in revenues.

U.S. Department of the Interior – News Release -Oil and Gas Report Offers Roadmap for Energy Relief U.S. public lands estimated to hold 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
U.S. public lands estimated to hold 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas WASHINGTON, D.C. — With average national gas prices hovering around $4 per gallon, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management today released a study that shows vast untapped oil and natural gas resources exist on public lands in the United States. “America has abundant energy resources,” said Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management C. Stephen Allred. “However, for a variety of reasons, many of these resources are not available for development. At a time when energy prices have reached record levels and Americans are feeling the impact, we must find ways to develop those key energy resources that are available to us right here at home, on our public lands.”

U.S. energy policy is huge in election BESCHLOSS: Ample natural gas | The Desert SunIt’s becoming crystal clear that the resolution of America’s energy crisis is now the centerpiece of the current election campaign; it could conceivably be the decisive issue that decides the future occupant of the White House. Advertisement This is increasingly motivated by public opinion, which heavily favors a “drill now” commitment.

Judge: Reduce CO2 Or Don’t Build Coal Plant –
In a ruling believed to be unprecedented, a Georgia judge halted the construction of Dynegy’s Longleaf coal-fired power plant because it had not made provisions for reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most widely implicated in man-made global warming.

U.N. report: Clean energy booming globally – CNET
Global investment in sustainable energy amounted to $148 billion in 2007, a 60 percent gain over 2006, according to a United Nations report (PDF) Tuesday. That will grow to $600 billion past 2020, reported New Energy Finance, a consultant to the U.N. Environment Programme.

$200 Oil and the Hole That Could Swallow Mexico
For 16 days, they blockaded the halls of congress. For 16 days, they chanted in the streets. Until finally, victory was theirs… the bill was struck down, the enemy bested. They sang the national anthem and raised their fists in victory. Senator Carlos Navarrete, leftist leader of the Mexican senate, was especially joyful. “We triumphed! We triumphed!”he said.

Environmental sleight of hand in the Arctic? |
Environmentalists have hailed recent announcements by the US Interior Department that purport to protect wildlife, but both of these announcements carry with them asterisks that should give greens pause. On Friday, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management announced that some 340 square miles of ecologically sensitive land in the northeast section of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve will be off limits to drilling.

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

The dangers of nuclear storage: Rutland Herald Online
After a recent opinion piece, facts need to once again be clarified. To this date only a minor fraction of separated uranium has actually been recovered by reprocessing from spent nuclear fuel. And apparently, there are no expectations that this may change in the near future.

RMI: Amory Lovins: Forget Nuclear
Nuclear power, we’re told, is a vibrant industry that’s dramatically reviving because it’s proven, necessary, competitive, reliable, safe, secure, widely used, increasingly popular, and carbon-free” a perfect replacement for carbon-spewing coal power. New nuclear plants thus sound vital for climate protection, energy security, and powering a growing economy.

My Turn: Yankee: Accident waiting to happen | The Burlington Free Press
Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) is scheduled to close for good on the first day of spring 2012 after 40 years of troubled operation. However, in 2006, Entergy Corp., the Louisiana company that owns the plant, applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year license extension. Also in 2006, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 160, which says ENVY cannot operate after 2012 “unless the general assembly approves and determines that the operation will promote the general welfare.”

There’s downsides to nuclear power: Times Argus Online
The letter from Bill Day highlights the misunderstandings around post-Vermont Yankee electricity costs and the matter of France. The price of electricity in Vermont is likely to rise significantly no matter what. The current contract with Vermont Yankee will end in 2012.

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