Top Nuclear Stories (July 7th-10th)

Top Nuclear News The top story this week is the major push by the Bush administration to finalize a treaty with the Indian Government. The G8 is also doing a global nuclear energy public relations push . With Australia backing out of nuclear power, growing concerns in Japan, and the escalating decommissioning costs in the U.K. all is not rosy for nukes.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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

Nuclear Reactor News

NRC: Public Meeting Schedule
Meetings Presently Scheduled for the next 3 months (07/11/08 – 10/11/08) Additional information for each meeting available by selecting [more…]

Trail of Nuclear Tears-Exposing Nuclear’s Horrid Truth
Indian Point, Unlicensed Abortion Clinic? Living less than three miles from the antiquated, leaking twin reactors of Indian Point, I am not a big fan of Con Edison, Entergy or nuclear energy. On another blog that is currently inactive I have gone to great lenths to expose the risks of this fatally flawed industry, and American’s dangerous aging fleet of nuclear reactors which the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) has been wrongfully rubberstamping in a fixed (as in rigged) licensing renewal process. My claims that the pro-nuclear side have labeled as the rantings of a mad man are being given a great deal of legitimacy in light of the admissions in the news that Celsium 137 has been leaking into the environment at a long term storage facility in Germany.

New Progress Energy Nuclear Plant Goes To Vote Tuesday – Central Florida News 13

Florida Nuke
Florida is hungrier than ever for more energy, and nuclear energy could be where to get it. A new plant could generate enough power for more than 1 billion homes along the I-4 corridor, but getting the green light from regulators could be tough. “For me, I was raised by a scientist and an engineer, and it’s just a bad investment,” said Holly Binns, field director of Environment Florida.

The Prague Post Online: Business: Wasting energy
It was supposed to diffuse a potentially explosive political conflict over nuclear power, but an independent panel of experts commissioned to study the future energy needs of the Czech Republic almost led to a government meltdown last week. After months of preparation, the group failed to present viable results at a July 4 meeting with Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, shrouding the future of the country’s ailing energy policy in further uncertainty.

‘Catastrophe Is Nuclear Energy’s Standard Operating Procedure’ – SPIEGEL Online
Debates about climate change at the G-8 meetings in Japan and this week’s mishap at a French nuclear facility have Germans revisiting the benefits and dangers of nuclear energy. Deep national divisions on the issue are reflected on the editorial pages. The Tricastin nuclear plant in southern France, where a liquid containing traces of unenriched uranium leaked Monday. Zoom AP The Tricastin nuclear plant in southern France, where a liquid containing traces of unenriched uranium leaked Monday. Germans are conflicted about nuclear energy, and amazingly so. In fact, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Forsa polling agency, exactly 46 percent of Germans are for — and 46 percent of Germans are against — extending the operating life of the country’s nuclear reactors past the date 15 years from now when a nuclear phaseout is supposed to be completed.

Hundreds meet on second Callaway nuclear reactor | Springfield News-Leader
Fulton — Hundreds of supporters and opponents packed a Westminster College auditorium Wednesday night for the first public glimpse of a proposed second nuclear reactor at AmerenUE’s Callaway plant. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted the session, which the agency called a public outreach forum, not a formal hearing.

Wall Street Journal : In Japan, Resistance Rises To Nuclear-Power Plans
As global interest in nuclear power grows, Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s struggle with the world’s largest nuclear plant — shut down after an earthquake a year ago — illustrates how tricky and expensive operating such facilities can be.

The Canadian Press: MAPLE reactor cancellation goes toxic: MDS sues AECL and Ottawa for $1.6B
MDS Inc. (TSX:MDS) is suing Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and the federal government, seeking $1.6 billion over the cancellation of the MAPLE reactor project. The Toronto-based company, a major supplier of nuclear medicine isotopes, said Wednesday it has served AECL with notice that it is seeking arbitration, and at the same time has filed suit alleging negligence and breach of contract. The company’s parallel litigation against the government alleges inducement to break a contract and interference with economic relations.

The Canadian Press: Alberta nuclear plant would generate 2,700 jobs, $12B economic action: Bruce
The Bruce Power partnership predicts a nuclear plant in the Peace River region of Alberta would contribute $12 billion to the province’s economy during the construction period and would generate 2,700 long-term jobs. “While more detailed work needs to be done, this early report paints a good picture of the economic benefits our proposal could bring to the Peace Country,” Duncan Hawthorne, president of Bruce Power Alberta, said in releasing the partnership’s study Tuesday.

Nuclear power: how much? | The Eureka Reporter
France leads the world in using nuclear power for generating electricity. Eighty percent of its needs come from nuclear plants. As a result of an all-out attack on nuclear power-generation by a combination of environmentalists and nervous plant neighbors in the Seventies, the U.S. has had a nuclear aversion. We generate only 20 percent of our electricity needs from this no-emissions, non-polluting source.

Economy Minister pessimistic on Belene nuclear power plant funding

Even Bulgaria’s ever optimistic Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov has had to concede that the country’s plans to build a second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube River face an uphill struggle to secure financing for construction to begin.

New funding woes for Belene nuclear power plant –
Bulgaria’s plans to build a second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube River have hit a new snag, with BNP Paribas choosing not to commit any of its own money to fund the project, even though it has been picked to find financing for the power plant, Infrastructure Journal reported.

Meet the Nuclear Power Lobby | Center for Media and Democracy
The nuclear power industry is seeing its fortunes rise. “Seventeen entities developing license applications for up to thirty-one new [nuclear] reactors did not just happen,” boasted Frank “Skip” Bowman. “It has been carefully planned.”

Nuclear Health and Safety News

Radioactivity and gas wells
The rocks in the Marcellus Shale not only hold an abundance of natural gas, they also contain quite a bit of radioactivity. It comes in the form of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, which the drilling industry refers to by the acronym NORM. Is NORM harmful to human health?

The Press Association: Warning over nuclear power sites
The £73 billion cost of decommissioning nuclear power sites could be increased “significantly”, the head of an influential committee of MPs have warned. Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said the cost of work over the next five years had already risen “steeply.”

The Associated Press: Uranium spill at Japan plant, no injury
A small amount of uranium powder escaped from a machine at a Japanese nuclear fuel plant near Tokyo, slightly exposing a worker to radiation, the plant operator said Thursday. There was no health threat to the worker and the spill from Wednesday’s incident was contained inside the plant in Yokosuka, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, according to Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Warning over French uranium leak

French map
Waste containing unenriched uranium has leaked into two rivers from a nuclear plant in southern France. Officials banned people in three nearby towns from fishing, using water from wells, swimming in the rivers or using river water on their crops.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Lords deliver leukaemia judgment
A three-year struggle to release childhood leukaemia figures in Dumfries and Galloway has been referred back to Scotland’s information commissioner. The House of Lords has ruled he must decide whether the information can be “anonymised” sufficiently for it not to constitute personal data.

IAEA to Coordinate Major Exercise to Test Nuclear Accident Response
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will coordinate a major exercise to test the response to a simulated accident at Mexico´s Laguna Verde nuclear power plant starting tomorrow, 9 July 2008. 74 IAEA Member States and 10 international organizations will join the 48-hour drill to evaluate national and international preparedness for a possible nuclear or radiological emergency.

Navy’s Nose Grows Lonnnng On Depleted Uranium!
While abolishing the use of radioactive Uranium munitions might indeed be the heart-felt intent of this particular Rear Admiral, the facts are somewhat different. For example, the Department of the Navy’s budget appropriations from 2005 to 2008 included a whole lot of 25 mm Depleted Uranium ammo within its more than $773 Million budgeted expenses for procurement of the Marine Corps’ Light Armor Vehicles upgraded Lethality Program.

ENVIRONMENT: German Leaks Raise More Nuclear Fears
Confirmation that radioactive brine has been leaking for two decades from a German underground deposit for nuclear waste is yet another blow to the idea that nuclear power can safely increase electricity generation and simultaneously reduce emissions. Radioactive leaks from the nuclear waste deposit Asse II near Braunschweig in Lower Saxony, some 225 km southwest of Berlin, were first discovered in 1988. The state-owned Helmholtz Institute for Scientific Research, which operates the centre, officially admitted the leaks only Jun. 16, under pressure from the German press.

Radiation scare for ABC after cancer cluster | Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania
RADIATION levels have forced the ABC to abandon its planned Brisbane home, just 18 months after it evacuated another site due to a cancer cluster. ABC managing director Mark Scott broke the news to shocked staff. But the decision is expected to prompt a legal battle with the site’s current owners, Watpac, who say the national broadcaster cannot pull out of its $15.438 million contract for the Newstead property.

NRC to discuss Areva’s safety record at public meeting | Lynchburg News Advance
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting in Lynchburg on July 24 to discuss Areva NP’s safety record. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Areva’s headquarters at 3315 Old Forest Road. According to a letter posted on the commission’s Web site, the public meeting will focus on a performance review that occurred at Areva’s Mt. Athos Road plant in April.

The plutonium spill at NIST: What’s said and what’s not : Boulder Daily Camera
The June 9 spill of plutonium at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder has been widely covered by the news media. The tale mainly has been a buildup of damning detail, capped by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s July 2 suspension of NIST’s license to handle radioactive materials until NIST improves its procedures.

River use banned after French uranium leak | Environment | The Guardian

france nuke
Residents in the Vaucluse, a popular southern French tourist destination, were banned yesterday from drinking well-water or swimming or fishing in two rivers after a uranium leak from one of France’s nuclear power plants. Nuclear officials yesterday revised down the amount of untreated liquid uranium that spilled from the Tricastin nuclear power centre in Bollene, saying it was limited to 75kg and ranked grade one on the one-to-seven scale of nuclear accidents.

AU: The Age: NSW Health ‘knew home’s radiation risk’
NSW health authorities knew a Sydney home had unsafe levels of radiation but did not inform the residents – one of whom has since developed cancer, a NSW inquiry has been told.

Hawaii County passed Resolution against Army’s DU use on Pohakuloa : Indybay
The Hawaii County Council–after prolonged debate with testimonies from dozens of Peace activists & expert medical Dr. Lorrin Pang–passed a Resolution yesterday urging the immediate cessation of bombing and live fire exercises by the U. S. military on the island’s Pohakuloa Training Area. It was a small but significant symbolic victory by Peace citizens over the aggressive expansion plans by the Iron Fist of the American Empire.

Nuclear Security News

NRC questions Westinghouse about missing uranium – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today questioned Westinghouse officials about 4.5 ounces of uranium that went missing in February from its fuel-making plant in Columbia, S.C. The NRC held an enforcement hearing in Atlanta to discuss the loss of 16 sample vials of uranium hexafluoride, also known as UF6.

Ukraine Embassy Worker Arrested for Radioactive Smuggling | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.07.2008
A worker at Ukraine’s embassy in Germany has been arrested on charges of attempted smuggling of radioactive materials. The man and the security manager of a local bank were detained near the central Ukrainian city of Cherkassy with radioactive metals in their possession worth 3.1 million euros ($4.9 million), said police, as reported by the Interfax news agency on Monday, July 7.

Khan: Musharraf approved nuclear sale –
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 5 (UPI) — The Pakistani scientist accused of operating a nuclear proliferation ring says President Pervez Musharraf approved a sale of weapons to North Korea.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Sellafield ‘dirty for a century’

It will take over 100 years before the toxic nuclear site at Sellafield is safe, it has been revealed. A Westminster report claims that the UK’s largest atomic power-station, overlooking the Irish Sea, won’t be completely clean until 2120.

Dounreay costs pass £1bn mark – News
HE cost of maintaining the Dounreay nuclear plant since 2000 has climbed above £1 billion. Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, said the actual costs since then amounted to £1.145 billion and the bill last year was £137.5 million.

Canaries in the Uranium Mine — In These Times

Dineh mining
Teddy Nez, a Navajo rancher and Vietnam War veteran, lives practically in the shadow of a 40-foot-high pile of radioactive waste abutting his small home outside of Gallup, N.M. Nez has colon cancer, which he treats with herbs — but not with ones growing near his house, because those could be contaminated with uranium.

Heat is on uranium stalemate | Herald Sun
URANIUM miners are lifting pressure on the Queensland and Western Australian governments to drop a uranium mining ban – but both governments won’t budge. The world’s nuclear energy sector has snared a new lease of life and many countries are using or looking to use nuclear energy as a way to curb power-station emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases. – Canada- Canada takes Iraq’s uranium
Canada is the new home to a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium from Iraq, the last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program. The 550 tonnes of “yellowcake,” the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment, was sold to Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp. in a transaction the official described as worth “tens of millions of dollars.” | U.S. wanted secrecy in uranium deal: Cameco
A Canadian company that acquired a reported 550 tonnes of yellowcake uranium from Iraq says that the U.S. military wanted the deal to be kept quiet. “We were following the request of the U.S. government,” Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp. spokesperson Lyle Krahn told The Canadian Press of the clandestine route the material took to get out of Baghdad and to Canada.

AFP: Two million Nigerians at risk from radioactive waste
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — Radioactive materials in abandoned mining fields in central Nigeria’s Plateau state pose a serious health hazard to two million people, officials said Saturday. “Around two million people now live and farm close to the mines, which means they are all at risk from the harmful effects of the radioactive emissions from the mining fields,” Plateau environment commissioner Nankim Bagudu told AFP. – Government sets uranium exploration restrictions
SAINT JOHN – The provincial government signaled Friday it is no longer open for uranium business after announcing a series of exploration restrictions, industry firms say. The restrictions, banning uranium exploration in municipalities, watersheds, well fields and within 300 metres of private homes, have triggered concerns for investor confidence, with at least one firm reviewing its future in the province.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigeria wants mining reparations

Nigeria tailings
Nigeria’s Plateau State wants $100bn (£50bn) in compensation from the UK and Europe for environmental damage caused, it says, by mining in colonial times.

Cibola County Beacon – Clean up planned at old mine sites
Thursday, July 3, 2008 2:18 PM MDT The Mining and Minerals Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department has awarded a contract to Golder Associates to initiate cleanup work at abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico. This project will involve a field assessment of more than a dozen abandoned uranium mines northwest of Grants followed by the development and implementation of plans for the cleanup of these sites.

U.S. removes ‘yellowcake’ from Iraq – Conflict in Iraq-
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

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.

Nuclear Waste News

North West Evening Mail: Decomissioning costs threaten new power stations
Business secretary John Hutton and Prime Minister Gordon Brown were today warned the next generation of nuclear power stations could be in doubt because of the spiralling cost of decommissioning and a skills shortage to build new stations. This could have a dramatic effect on the industry in West Cumbria and Barrow and plans to build a new station on the Copeland coast.

French uranium leak prompts swimming ban – Telegraph
The consumption of well water in three towns in the Vaucluse region and the irrigation of crops using water from the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers are also prohibited. France’s nuclear safety agency said liquid containing traces of unenriched uranium leaked from the Tricastin nuclear site near Avignon and that uranium concentrations in the Gaffiere river were initially about 1,000 times the normal levels. The agency said the uranium is toxic but only slightly radioactive.

Nuclear waste storage funding best spent supporting research | | Reno Gazette-Journal
While the state’s congressional delegation is fighting the good fight, opposing the project at Yucca Mountain, where the federal government aims to bury 77,000 tons of highly reactive nuclear waste in the Nevada desert, officials should turn their sights to giving maximum support to research that aims to minimize nuclear waste and to developing safe storage of what is left.

Boise Weekly – Idaho’s Only Alternative: News: News: Waste not want not
When Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter stood with two former Idaho governors on July 1 to announce an agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of Energy on radioactive waste cleanup, the message was: Getting rid of nuclear waste is good for Idaho’s people and environment. “We enter into this agreement confident that it is in the best interest of the aquifer, the Idaho National Laboratory and all Idahoans,” Otter said.

EPA threatens to pull out of Field Lab study – LA Daily News
Frustrated with a lack of transparency in the cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Lab, the U.S. EPA has fired off a harsh letter to the Energy Department threatening to pull out of a long-awaited radiation study at the former nuclear research site. In a July 2 letter, EPA Site Cleanup Branch Chief Michael Montgomery warned that “recent events demonstrate a significant lack of transparency in DOE’s interactions with EPA and the public.”

Senate panel cuts Bush Yucca budget request – Las Vegas Sun
A Senate spending panel has cut President Bush’s 2009 budget request for Yucca Mountain by more than $100 million. Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota says that instead of the $494.7 million Bush proposed, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water agreed Tuesday to $386.5 million.

All of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard should be cleaned to Residential Standards – Prop P. : Indybay
All of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard should be cleaned to residential standards – mandated by Proposition P that passed in the year 2000 by the City and County of San Francisco. Eighty seven percent of the constituents of San Francisco voted for Proposition P. Unfortunately, we have had Mayors Gavin Newsom, Willie L.Brown, and Diane Feinstein – that think the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard should be capped. Well, we must speak out – and speak out now. Dubious forces are planning to handover the whole Shipyard to Lennar and forcing the U.S. Navy to cap the whole area.

Tooele Transcript Bulletin – Energysolutions
A bill scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week would forbid foreign-generated nuclear waste from being accepted by American disposal facilities. If passed, the bill would derail EnergySolutions’ bid to take Italian nuclear waste at its Clive facility.

Nuclear Policy News

Congress May Not Pass U.S.-India Nuclear Pact –
India’s civil nuclear agreement with the United States may have cleared a key hurdle in New Delhi this week, but it appears unlikely to win final approval in the U.S. Congress this year, raising the possibility that India could begin nuclear trade with other countries even without the Bush administration’s signature deal, according to administration officials and congressional aides.

President: Ukraine to accelerate nuclear power development
Ukraine will accelerate the development of nuclear power in a bid to reduce dependence on imported energy, visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said here Tuesday. More nuclear reactors will be brought into operation in Ukraine by 2013, said Yushchenko, who was on a one-day visit to Vienna.

AFP: Left-wing parties pull out of Indian coalition
A bloc of Indian left-wing and communist parties announced Tuesday they were pulling out of the country’s coalition government in protest against a nuclear energy deal with the United States. The decision, however, is not expected to cause the collapse of the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who last week managed to secure the support of a regional party.

RIA Novosti – Business – Russian nuclear power monopoly eyes projects in Chile, Ecuador
Russia’s nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly is looking at working in Chile and Ecuador, a high-ranking Atomstroyexport official said Tuesday. “We are planning to expand our range of works, including on the South American market, particularly in Chile and Ecuador,” said Alexander Glukhov, the first vice president of the monopoly.

French nuclear rivalry may hamper UK energy plans | Environment | The Guardian
France’s two biggest energy groups, EDF and GDF Suez, are vying to build the country’s latest nuclear power plant, casting fresh doubt on their participation in Britain’s planned nuclear renaissance. Last week President Nicolas Sarkozy gave the go-ahead for a second new-generation European pressurised reactor (EPR) on an existing site. It will be France’s 60th nuclear power plant.

PM – ABC drops new site after radioactivity fears
The ABC has abandoned plans to build its new Queensland headquarters at a site in Brisbane after discovering the possibility of radioactive contamination. A year and a half ago, the national broadcaster had to abandon its Queensland headquarters at Toowong, because of a breast cancer cluster among staff.

CHRONOLOGY – Twists and turns in the India-U.S. nuclear deal | Reuters

Reuters – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appears to be pressing ahead with a civilian nuclear deal with the United States despite threats from his communist allies that they could withdraw their crucial parliamentary support from the government

Nuclear Weapons News

Think Outside the Bomb
National Youth Conference on Nuclear Abolition Boston, MA, August 14-17, 2008

RIA Novosti – Russia – Russia may scrap missile deal over U.S. shield – military expert
Russia may respond to U.S. plans for missile defense bases in Central Europe with a host of measures, including the withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a senior military expert said on Thursday. President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia would respond to the U.S. missile shield program in Central Europe, adding that Moscow was “dismayed” by the signing of a U.S.-Czech missile deal. He did not specify what steps Russia would take.

U.S. and Czechs Sign Accord on Missile Shield –
The United States and the Czech Republic signed a landmark accord on Tuesday to allow the Pentagon to deploy part of its widely debated antiballistic missile shield on territory once occupied by Soviet troops.

Mairead Corrigan-Maguire: Let Mordechai Vanunu go | Comment is free |
In 1986, a young Israeli man called Mordechai Vanunu followed his conscience and told the world that Israel had a nuclear weapons programme. He was convicted of espionage and treason and sentenced to 18 years in prison. After serving this (12 years of which were in solitary confinement), Vanunu was released. In April 2004, about 80 people from around the world went to welcome him out of prison. Unbelievably, upon his release Vanunu was made subject to severe restrictions, which forbade him many basic civil liberties (including his right to leave Israel, to speak to foreigners and foreign media) and restricted his travel within Israel.

FACTBOX: Proposed U.S. missile shield in E.Europe | Reuters
The United States and the Czech Republic will sign a pact on Tuesday for the central European country to host a radar system, part of U.S. plans to create a missile defense shield in Europe.

Another Nail in the NPT Coffin – by Gordon Prather
Garold Larson has the misfortune to be the Bush-Cheney Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, and hence, was required to “celebrate” the 40th anniversary of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Department of Energy News

The Columbus Dispatch : Fernald’s uranium mess has high price
Radioactive waste left in the groundwater at the former Fernald uranium-processing plant in southwestern Ohio could linger for a century, state officials estimate. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy agreed yesterday to pay a record $13.75 million to settle a lawsuit that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency filed in 1986.

The Columbus Dispatch : Feds to pay Ohio $13.75 million for Fernald cleanup
Radioactive waste left in the groundwater at the former Fernald uranium-processing plant in southwestern Ohio could linger for a century, state officials estimate. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy agreed today to pay a record $13.75 million to settle a lawsuit that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency filed in 1986. The payment, the largest of its kind in state history, is considered one of the final acts of a years-long $4.4 billion cleanup at the plant, which refined raw uranium for nuclear weapons from 1951 to 1989.

Feds to investigate Livermore Lab’s handling of toxic metal beryllium –
A team of outside experts audited beryllium work at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory last month and federal regulators are set to follow up with their own review in September. Some of the incidents involved workers being unknowingly exposed to beryllium dust, which if inhaled can lead to beryllium sensitivity and chronic beryllium disease, an incurable and potentially fatal lung condition. In one of the incidents, the lab failed for five months to notify 178 contract workers

Other Energy News

The Associated Press: Cheney reportedly wanted cuts in climate testimony
Vice President Dick Cheney’s office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former EPA officials maintains. When six pages were cut from testimony on climate change and public health by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last October, the White House insisted the changes were made because of reservations raised by White House advisers about the accuracy of the science.

As Gas Prices Soar, Elderly Face Cuts in Aid –
Early last month, Jeanne Fair, 62, got her first hot meals delivered to her home in this lake town in the sparsely populated southwestern part of the state. Then after two deliveries the meals stopped because gas prices had made the delivery too expensive.

Experts Say China’s Wind Energy Could Grow 1667% by 2020 : EcoWorldly

China Windmills
At present, China produces just over 6 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy, making it 5th in the world for total wind energy. (Germany leads with 22.2 GW.) However, with China’s massive push for 21st Century renewable technologies, we shouldn’t be surprised if China achieves 100 GW by 2020 say energy experts.

Green: Danish Isle Runs Completely on Renewable Energy, Is Greenest Guinea Pig Ever

Danish Windmills
In this week’s New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote about the Danish isle of Samsø, which over the past 10 years, has gone from exclusively using fossil fuel energy sources, to living exclusively off renewable energy. Using a combination of onshore and offshore turbines, private mini-turbines, solar panels, straw-burning furnaces and biofuels, the 4,300-resident island has become a sort of a sandbox for green experimentation.

$100 for a Tank of Gas? Especially in an S.U.V., Its Hard to Say ËœFill It Up” NYTimes
Bryan Carisone, a heating and air-conditioning contractor in Raritan, N.J., “absolutely loves” his new GMC Denali XL, an extra-large sport utility vehicle with televisions built into the leather seats. But in June, one week after he bought it, he pulled into a station on a near-empty tank and watched the total climb higher and higher — to $109.

Apartment Therapy Unplugged | Philippe Starck’s Designer Wind Turbine
We know what’s really been holding you back from building a wind energy farm in your backyard is the fact that turbines clash with the rest of your décor. Well, Philippe Starck is here to rescue the renewable energy industry with his Democratic Ecology. The transparent mini-turbine, which comes out in September, can generate 20-60 percent of the energy needed to power a home for $633. Pramac, a company better known for oil and diesel generators, helped out with the technical details.

Fill up your car… at your home hydrogen fuel station | Mail Online
A fuel station producing enough hydrogen to run householders’ homes and cars has been unveiled today. The British invention, due to go on sale within two years, is roughly the size of a heating boiler and will cost under £2,000. Its creators say it will revolutionise commuting, help homeowners slash energy bills, and give easy access to a fuel that does not produce carbon dioxide emissions, helping to combat climate change.

Natural Gas Cars: CNG Fuel Almost Free in Some Parts of the Country : Gas 2.0
So far, CNG vehicles haven’t made a blip on my radar screen, even though the group Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) estimates there are 150,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 5 million worldwide. It took a phone call from sunny Southern Utah to clue me in to recent developments, which include a local refueling station overflowing with CNG-hungry vehicles. There are about 1500 CNG refueling stations in the US, which is about the same number of commercial stations offering E85 ethanol blends. Utah has a total of 91 CNG filling stations, most of which are reserved for commercial fleet use, but there are 20 open to the public. According to an article by the Associated Press, you could drive Utah from top to bottom and hit 22 different stations offering compressed natural gas.

The Oil Drum | Happiness, economic growth, and oil prices
US GDP per capita, and US median family income, in thousands of chained 2000 US dollars. (GDP from the BEA, median family income from Data 360, and population from the Census Bureau). Bottom: Percentage of persons who responded to the question “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days‐‐would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” with each of the three options. (General Social Survey).

Rare Microorganism That Produces Hydrogen May Be Key To Tomorrow’s Hydrogen Economy
An ancient organism from the pit of a collapsed volcano may hold the key to tomorrow’s hydrogen economy. Scientists from across the world have formed a team to unlock the process refined by a billions-year old archaea. The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute will expedite the research by sequencing the hydrogen-producing organism for comparative genomics.

Crooks and Liars: Pickens Plan: Billionaire Oil Man And Loyal Bushie Calls For Use Of Alternative Energy
T. Boone Pickens is a billionaire oil man and a career corporate raider who loves George Bush so much he donated $250,000 to his 2004 inaugural ball. He was, and still is, fully behind the invasion and occupation of Iraq and makes no bones about it. So why is he now pushing for the use of alternative energy sources like wind and solar in his Pickens Plan?

Pickens’ Plan: Use Wind for Gas, Gas for Oil –
Use the right energy for the right use. That concept lies at the core of a U.S. domestic energy plan unveiled Tuesday by legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens. The United States uses close to $700 billion in foreign energy supplies, primarily oil, Pickens pointed out on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” It will be impossible for one energy source to totally replace that supply, he noted.

White House in climate change “cover up”-Sen Boxer | Reuters
A leading U.S. Senate Democrat accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of a “cover-up” aimed at stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from tackling greenhouse emissions. “This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

American Energy Policy, Asleep at the Spigot –
JUST three years ago, with oil trading at a seemingly frothy $66 a barrel, David J. O’Reilly made what many experts considered a risky bet. Outmaneuvering Chinese bidders and ignoring critics who said he overpaid, Mr. O’Reilly, the chief executive of Chevron, forked over $18 billion to buy Unocal, a giant whose riches date back to oil fields made famous in the film “There Will Be Blood.”

Looking at Hydrogen to Replace Gasoline in Our Cars: Scientific American
The jury is still out on whether hydrogen will ultimately be our environmental savior, replacing the fossil fuels responsible for global warming and various nagging forms of pollution. Two main hurdles stand in the way of mass production and widespread consumer adoption of hydrogen “fuel cell” vehicles: the still high cost of producing fuel cells, and the lack of a hydrogen refueling network.

Inside the Solar-Hydrogen House: No More Power Bills–Ever: Scientific American
EAST AMWELL, N.J.—Mike Strizki has not paid an electric, oil or gas bill—nor has he spent a nickel to fill up his Mercury Sable—in nearly two years. Instead, the 51-year-old civil engineer makes all the fuel he needs using a system he built in the capacious garage of his home, which employs photovoltaic (PV) panels to turn sunlight into electricity that is harnessed in turn to extract hydrogen from tap water.

Canada’s Oil Reserves 2nd Only To Saudi Arabia
The U.S. government said Thursday Canada holds the world’s second-largest oil reserves, taking into account Alberta oil sands previously considered too expensive to develop.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Hydrogen refuel station unveiled
A hydrogen refuelling station which could be installed in the home as an alternative to visiting a petrol station has been unveiled. Users will need a hydrogen-powered car to go with it although the system can also be used for heating and cooking. Hydrogen has long been touted as an alternative energy source to carbon-hungry fossil fuels.

From oil to Armageddon
What if oil prices continue to rise with no end in sight? Even now with gas at $4.50 a gallon on the west coast, it’s becoming difficult for many people to fill up their gas tanks. What’s going to happen when it goes to $5.00, $6.00, $7.00 a gallon, or even higher? This will have an effect on all levels of society — from the poor, all the way to the White House. The entire economy of the country and the free world may be at stake. It could lead to war.

AFP: Germany wants to build 30 windfarms
BERLIN (AFP) — The German government wants to build up to 30 offshore windfarms in a bid to meet its renewable energy targets, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said in an interview published Sunday. Tiefensee told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the windfarms would be built in the Baltic and North seas and said some 2,000 windmills should soon be producing 11,000 megawatts of electricity.

G8 nations to push nuclear energy –
Group of Eight leaders meeting in Japan will push for more nuclear power generation as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions, sources said Sunday. The Yomiuri Shimbun quoted anonymous sources saying the G8 nations will pressure China and India to satisfy a greater percentage of their electricity needs from nuclear power

Tomgram: Mike Davis, Welcome to the Next Epoch
For those who didn’t happen to notice, perhaps because it wasn’t exactly front-page news in most of the country, NASA’s James Hansen, the man who first alerted Congress to the dangers of global warming 20 years ago, returned to testify before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming this week. This time around, he was essentially offering a final warning on the subject.

The floating cities that could one day house climate change refugees | Mail Online
At first glance, they look like a couple of giant inflatable garden chairs that have washed out to sea But they are, apparently, the ultimate solution to rapidly rising sea levels. This computer-generated image shows two floating cities, each with enough room for 50,000 inhabitants.

AFS Trinity Power: A revolution in Fast Energy Storage featuring the Extreme Hybrid
AFS Trinity Power has developed patent-pending technology that makes it possible for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to achieve 150 MPG, go 40 miles in all-electric mode, and use gasoline for additional unlimited miles in hybrid mode. In July 2007, in order to very quickly demonstrate all of the key attributes of this technology, the company mounted an effort to build two fully operational XH-150 SUV prototypes using off-the-shelf components. The two vehicles—modified Saturn Vue SUVs—were built in less than six months. They were unveiled on January 13, 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (Press Announcement) and ( test drive report).

To save fuel, a return to 55 mph — or a four-day workweek? -The Green Blog
As gas prices keep rising, more and more creative energy-saving ideas are coming out. Senator John Warner has asked the US Energy Department to investigate reimposing a national speed limit. And Utah is putting most of its state employees on a four-day workweek.

Oil prices are probably going up no matter what we do | Opinions | Star-Telegram
On Wednesday morning, while walking near my home, I yelled, “Hi” to a neighbor. “Got a new car?” I said, eyeing a sleek little black sedan in his driveway. “Yeah,” he said effusively. His new fuel-sipping four-cylinder was a night-and-day contrast with his prior vehicle, a hulking pickup costing him $100 a fill-up.

The energy panic — Times Union – Albany NY
The fundamental lessons for a country suddenly facing an energy crisis and an uncertain economy ought to be clear enough. Drive slower — when you have to drive at all, that is. Seek alternative forms of transportation. Turn off the lights you don’t need, and don’t be wasteful. Oh, and by all means, don’t go lunging for the panic button.

US oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar –
While the U.S. oil industry want access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries. A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007.

The Oil Drum | Performance Governing: Getting Lucky and Staying Lucky
Facing the facts and acting to resolve them can defeat peak Oil and Global Warming, both civilization killers. A primary fact is that our current infrastructure is the cause of these killers. We built the infrastructure. We can build better. The purpose of this essay is a call to action to defeat these civilization killers by changing the way we govern infrastructure from specifying HOW to build it, to stating WHAT is needed and allowing a free market to find the rare individuals with lucky breakthroughs that can build sustainable infrastructure. We must get lucky and discover the energy equivalents of lasers, personal computers, cell phones, the Internet, etc….

Massive Global Car Growth To Crash Into Peak Oil |

The end of the fossil fuel era may end with a whimper, not a bang — just with lines for gasoline that are too long. Consider these two pieces of unsettling data: (1) The number of cars on the road globally will hit 1 billion by 2011. (2) The world’s oil will peak by 2015, according to the CEO of Shell.

Laugh at High Gas Prices With a 282-MPG VW | Autopia from

new car
With gas prices going through the roof and regulators requiring cars to be ever more miserly, Volkswagen is bringing new meaning to the term “fuel efficiency” with a bullet-shaped microcar that gets a stunning 282 235 mpg. Volkswagen’s had its super-thrifty One-Liter Car concept vehicle — so named because that’s how much fuel it needs to go 100 kilometers — stashed away for six years. The body’s made of carbon fiber to minimize weight (the entire car weighs just 660 pounds) and company execs didn’t expect the material to become cheap enough to produce the car until 2012.

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

RIA Novosti – Opinion & analysis – Russia’s uranium breakthrough
Russia has overtaken Niger to become the world’s fourth largest uranium producer, after Canada, Australia, and Kazakhstan. Russia received its new rating in 2007, when it produced 3,527 tons of uranium. It has ambitious plans to mover even further up the league, based on promising deposits in Eastern Siberia and other regions, and opportunities for mutually advantageous cooperation with countries rich in uranium ore.

Daily Herald | Nuclear energy is the wrong choice
John McCain’s plan to build 45 new reactors by 2030 demonstrates more about his connections to nuclear industry lobbyists than to any real concern about addressing climate change. Nuclear power provides far less climate protection per dollar than any of its competitors. The mining, uranium production, transport, use and storage of nuclear fuel (and waste) create global warming.

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