Top Nuclear Stories (Aug 11th – 15th)

radbullNew allegations of safety problems have come out from the #4 Finnish reactor being built.  Bush is trying to get a NPT waiver for his treaty with India, the UK is restarting their talks with EDF to sell British Energy to the French nuclear giant. Anybody watch C-Span-2’s emergency planning meeting with Fema, NRC and state agencies around the country? Ugh.. Too many stories to review for just one person… Anybody want to help write a regular review of stories?

Top Nuclear Stories Index

Reactors Security Safety Fuel Cycle N-Waste
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Nuclear Reactor News

Helsingin Sanomat – Greenpeace calls for suspension of construction on new nuclear reactor and safety review
The environmental organisation Greenpeace is accusing Boyygues, the company which is building the reactor building of the new nuclear facility in Olkiluoto, of serious security breaches in welding work. The reactor that is being built in the west coast community of Olkiluoto is the third to be built on the site, and the fifth in all of Finland.

Soaring cost of bringing N-plants back on line –
BRITISH Energy has admitted that the return to service of its Hartlepool and Heysham 1 reactors will cost much more than originally thought. The company said the timetable for bringing the reactors back online was unchanged, but added costs are now estimated to be around £115m in the 2008/09 financial year, compared with previous hopes for £50m.

11 nuclear power plants to be built by 2030 : SKorea
skorea The government has decided to build 11 more nuclear power plants by 2030, boosting the percentage of power generated by nuclear energy from the current 26 percent to 41 percent. It has also decided to boost the percentage generated by renewable energy sources from 2.24 percent to 11 percent.

Michigan nuclear plan likely faces heavy cost –
DTE Energy in the next dozen years aims to do something no American utility has managed in a generation: bring a new nuclear plant online. It’s the only one planned today for Michigan, yet DTE will jostle with utilities around the country to meet federal tax credit eligibility — starting with an application deadline this year — and to mobilize a supplier base to a large extent now gone or located overseas.

md Company, State at Odds Over Terms for Nuclear Reactor –
UniStar Nuclear Energy and state officials are in a dispute about new conditions the state wants to impose for building a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant.

Construction of Finnish nuclear site investigated –
Finland’s nuclear safety officials on Wednesday demanded that power utility TVO explain alleged irregularities during the construction of the country’s new 1,600-megawatt atomic power plant. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said it is concerned about reports that French company Bouygues (other-otc: BOUYF.PK – news – people ), in charge of construction of the Olkiluoto 3 plant – ordered employees not to report about onsite work methods to TVO.

‘Solar Rollers’ hit the road against Yankee – Bennington Banner
With the Vermont Legislature set to vote on Vermont Yankee’s future next year, groups opposing the nuclear power plant’s relicensing are more active than ever. On Monday, the “Solar Rollers” coasted down Route 9 into Bennington after a grueling ride from Brattleboro. Thirty years after their first bike ride to oppose nuclear power, Tom Wilson and David Detmold, both from Massachusetts, are riding through Vermont, along with others, in opposition of nuclear power, and additional years for Vermont’s lone plant, which is owned by Entergy. The duo founded the group in 1978 to oppose the construction of a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, Mass.

Nuclear plant designs share similarities – Columbia Missourian
The design for AmerenUE’s proposed second nuclear plant in Missouri isn’t that different from its existing plant, officials from the utility say. AmerenUE submitted an application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in late July for a license to build and operate the proposed plant, which would be built next to its existing plant in Callaway County.

Feds OK Millstone generation increase —
The Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford has won federal approval to increase the generating capacity at one of its reactors by 7 percent. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the plan Tuesday. Millstone’s owner, Virginia-based Dominion, plans to increase the Unit 3 reactor’s capacity from 1,150 megawatts to 1,230 megawatts in the fall.

The State | Business group wants delay on nuclear decision
A committee representing commercial and industrial customers wants state regulators to delay hearings on South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s request to build two new nuclear reactors. The South Carolina Energy Users Committee says it needs more time to prepare for the hearings. The Public Service Commission has scheduled hearings in October.

Confidential documents reveal Finnish nuclear reactor cannot be guaranteed safe
Finland, August 2008 — Confidential documents obtained by Greenpeace reveal that basic safety procedures have not been followed in the construction of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) Olkiluoto 3 (0L3) in Finland. Greenpeace is calling for an immediate end to construction work on the reactor. Independent nuclear safety expert Dr. Helmut Hirsh [1] has reviewed the documents and concluded that the safety violations are “a clear case of bad practice and an indicator of bad safety culture”, and give “reason for serious concern regarding the resistance of the reactor building of OL3”, increasing the risk associated with external events like earthquakes, blast waves from explosions or missile impact.

The Free Press — No nukes! Challenge Sen. Voinovich’s Pro-Nuclear Stance
Senator Voinovich brags that he introduced 2002 legislation that continued the Price Anderson indemnity for the nuclear power industry, thus allowing further nuclear power development. The Nuclear team of the Ohio Sierra Club is organizing a rally to challenge Senator George Voinovich’s support for the expansion of nuclear power in Ohio. At a time when Ohioans are already reeling from multiple economic blows and environmental devastation, a ramping up of nuclear power will only leave the state with more contamination, more sickness and more debt. Like others in the pro-nuclear lobby, Voinovich has tried pasting a happy face on nuclear power by claiming that nukes are “clean, green, safe and cheap” and that they offer a solution to the global climate crisis. But the truth lies in the opposite direction.

France’s Nuclear Conundrum: Atomic World Champ on the Ropes – SPIEGEL ONLINE
France is proud of having the world’s most developed nuclear energy infrastructure, but a series of incidents at the Tricastin nuclear power plant has shaken its self-confidence. Is public sentiment about nuclear power about to shift? The winegrowers have already made their move. No longer will they label their product Côteaux du Tricastin. Why? Because the name Tricastin is slowly beginning to stand for something far removed from fine wine.

NRC rejects state’s Pilgrim relicensing petition – The Patriot Ledger
A local anti-nuclear activist has criticized a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny a petition by state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office that could have affected the re-licensing of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. “We deserve an airing of the issues to ensure the environment of public health and safety to be protected,” said Duxbury resident May Lampert. “It doesn’t make the agency credible if people think these issues don’t have a fair hearing.”

EDF finalises deal to run two China nuclear plants  | Reuters
EDF the world’s biggest single producer of nuclear energy, signed a formal agreement on Sunday to invest in and operate two new-generation reactors in the southern province of Guangdong.

State’s nuclear oversight could be blocked –
When Vermont lawmakers debate whether the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant should be allowed to extend its license beyond 2012, they might want to avoid the S-word. Safety at nuclear plants is the sole province of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the fear that the federal agency could pre-empt the state’s say on the future of the Vernon reactor has been a concern at least since Mississippi-based Entergy Nuclear bought the plant in 2002.

NRC: Terrorist attack on VY plant unlikely – Brattleboro Reformer
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded that the likelihood of a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant could cause a severe accident is “remote and speculative.” The NRC made that determination in denying a request that it reevaluate the way it reviews the dangers of spent fuel storage at nuclear power plants. Spent fuel pools in power plants such as Vermont Yankee in Vernon are contained within the reactor building, which is designed to withstand “external events, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods,” wrote the three-member commission that oversees the NRC.

NRC sets meeting on new nuke | Wilkes-Barre | The Times Leader
Agency will explain how it will review PPL’s expected application for a third reactor. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting on Aug. 19 on PPL Corp.’s expected application for a new reactor in Salem Township. The purpose is to discuss how the NRC will review the application, which will include safety and environmental reviews and a mandatory hearing, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said in an e-mail. Because it’s been decades since the NRC reviewed new-reactor applications, Sheehan said it’s a good idea to explain to the public how the process works.

Times-News: Magicvalley: Firm behind nuke plant millions in debt
The company behind a $4.5 billion nuclear power plant proposed for southern Elmore County has lost so much money that it risks going out of business, according to a recently released audit. The report adds to the perceived financial woes of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. of Eagle, which recently moved its proposed site from Owyhee County, citing high development and infrastructure costs.

Future Of Connecticut Yankee Site Remains Unclear —
It may not be pristine wilderness, but most of the trademark characteristics that define a nuclear power plant are long gone from Haddam Neck — no dome-shaped nuclear reactor and no electricity coursing into the power grid. Now that the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant is no more, now that the only artifacts of the sixth nuclear power plant built in the U.S. are a nuclear waste storage area and a warehouse, what comes next? Can there be a second act for land that once housed a nuke plant? — Davis-Besse ‘deception’ trial to begin
A U.S. District Court jury in Toledo will effectively start pondering that question today. The jury will hear opening statements in the second of two criminal cases federal prosecutors have filed as a result of the near-catastrophic rupture of Davis-Besse’s reactor head in the spring of 2002. Mr. Siemaszko is charged with five counts of lying to the government.

Six nuclear protesters arrested at North Anna plant visitors area – News –
Six anti-nuclear power protesters were arrested at the North Anna power plant’s visitor center yesterday after refusing to leave at its closing time. Richard Zuercher, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, said about 25 protesters showed up at the visitor’s center near Mineral in Louisa County at about 2:30 p.m.

NEI: PDF: The Cost of New Generating Capacity in Perspective
Like all new generating capacity, there is considerable uncertainty about the capital cost of new nuclear generating capacity. Credible estimates of overnight capital costs range from $2,400/kWe to as much as $4,540/ kWe. This wide variation in costs can be attributed to several factors:


Nuclear Health and Safety News

icseftonandwestlancs – Crosby woman suing Government after claiming her father’s death was caused by exposure to radiation while in Merchant Navy
A CROSBY woman is suing the Government claiming her father died as a result of exposure to deadly radiation during his time in the Merchant Navy. Karen Brogan is hoping her case has been strengthened by the Ministry of Defence admitting last week that more than 150 servicemen were killed after taking part in atomic bomb tests.

Marshall Islanders in pursuit of more US compensation for Bikini tests
Bikini Islanders in the Marshall Islands say they have no option but to pursue the US government in court to get additional compensation for the US nuclear weapons tests of the 1940’s and 1950s. Their latest case has been heard in the US Court of Appeals which is expected to give its verdict within five months.

Voices – The Depleted Uranium Threat
The DoD, the nation’s biggest polluter, is now cleaning up 29,500 currently or formerly contaminated sites in every state and territory. California alone has 3,912 contaminated sites on 441 current and former DoD installations. Many of DoD’s facilities have already contaminated groundwater sources of drinking water…. The cost to clean up toxic munitions contamination and unexploded ordnance at active and former military installations around the country may reach $200 billion.” – The National Resources Defense Council, April 21, 2004.

nevada – Health claim roadblocks end
Agency gives OK to some Area 51 workers seeking compensation In 1998, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy were keeping mum about the secret work that went on at Area 51, a widely known Air Force installation near the northeast corner of the Nevada Test Site. That year, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away an appeal by former Area 51 workers who claimed that they were made sick and that co-workers had died from exposure to toxic fumes from stealth coatings burned in open trenches near the Groom Lake base, 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The site was used to test high-tech aircraft.

SKAPP :: Case Studies in Science Policy :: Beryllium – Science or Public Relations?
Beryllium is a remarkable metal. It is stiffer than steel, lighter than aluminum, and causes chronic beryllium disease at very low levels of exposure. It is also causes cancer in humans. There is no evidence of a safe exposure level. Beryllium has long been employed in nuclear and defense operations, and is now being used in bicycle frames and other consumer products. The current OSHA workplace exposure standard was developed in a 1948 discussion held in the back seat of a taxi by two Atomic Energy Commission scientists – for this reason it is known as the “taxicab standard”. This standard is widely acknowledged to be insufficiently protective, and workers exposed to levels below the standard have developed beryllium-related disease.

SKAPP: SKAPP Authors Expose Beryllium Industry Role in Stalling Stricter Worker Protection Rule
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. In an article in the January-February 2008 issue of Public Health Reports, David Michaels and Celeste Monforton of the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP) explored how the beryllium industry fought efforts to lower workplace beryllium exposure limits, first by the Department of Energy (DOE) and then by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In “Beryllium’s Public Relations Problem: Protecting Workers When There is No Safe Exposure Level,” Michaels and Monforton criticized Brush Wellman for its efforts to prevent these agencies from lowering exposure limits for beryllium.

Cancer Rife in Group Seeking Cash Settlements  – redOrbit
West Valley Demonstration Project employees and former employees have been comparing notes as they help each other obtain cash settlements under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990. What they have learned is unsettling. Most of the 15 members of the organization, dubbed the West Valley Nuclear Compensation Group, who met Friday in Concord Town Hall for only the second time, have either been treated for cancer, have recently been diagnosed with it or have lost a spouse to the disease.

Help for atomic veterans should be a priority | Chillicothe Gazette
Sir Isaac Newton often has been quoted as stating in paraphrase, “The scientific achievements credited to me are based on standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before me.” We can extend this thought to the many atomic veterans employed at the Piketon uranium enrichment plant from the 1950s to the present.

Helsingin Sanomat – Finnish wild mushrooms still exhibit elevated levels of caesium from Chernobyl nuclear accident
The wild mushrooms tested in various parts of Finland still exhibit elevated levels of the radioactive caesium-137 that originates from the Chernobyl accident in 1986, while the caesium content of berries and animals has already become almost zero. In addition to mushrooms, some hares and the predatory fish in small lakes still contain radioactive caesium.

FR:CDC: NIOSH Radiation and Worker Health meetings
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), and pursuant to the requirements of 42 CFR 83.15(a), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following meeting of the aforementioned committee: Board Meeting Times and Dates:

2 more exposed to low radiation dose after nuclear fuel plant spill – Mainichi Daily News
Two more workers have been exposed to a small amount of radiation after an accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant here, bringing the number of victims to four, the plant operator said Saturday. None of them suffered any illness as a result, and the radiation did not contaminate the environment around the facility in Yokosuka owned by Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co., according to the company.

Residents angered over slow report on leak of radiation from nuclear sub – Mainichi Daily News
Residents in Nagasaki and other areas have expressed anger over news that a U.S. nuclear submarine leaked small amounts of radioactive cooling water over a period of more than two years while calling at ports in Japan. Data showed no abnormalities when the USS Houston called in at ports, but residents remain angered over the recent news.

No leaks in crash with radioactive material —
Authorities say no radioactive material leaked when a container of Iridium 192 was thrown from a pickup truck in a crash at a busy intersection on U.S. 41 in Evansville. Police say the material was in concrete testing equipment carried in the truck’s camper bed. The force of the crash between the Team Industrial Services Inc. pickup and another vehicle Thursday morning sent the equipment into the roadway.

Tuffy Ruth, An Insider’s Story | The Spectrum
Tuffy Ruth is one of Mesquite’s originals. His dad’s family has been here since the beginning. He has ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. His mother was an original settler in St. George. She too was a downwinder who died of leukemia. Tuffy worked at the Nevada Test Site from 1961 to 1993 as a miner. The men that prepared the tunnels for the underground tests and worked on Yucca Mountain tunnels are all miners.

South Idaho Press:Nuclear power plants how things can go wrong Part III
This final opinion piece on nuclear power plants will consider natural disasters, terrorist events and how the cost of risk reduction determines how much safety is wan-anted.\n

Nuclear Security News

The Mercury – NRC: Nuclear plant guard hid arrests

Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Mill cited by state for uranium contamination:
The Cotter Corp. uranium mill has been cited by the state for radioactive contamination at the adjacent Shadow Hills Golf Club. Though the mill has long been connected to nearby groundwater contamination – the area has been a federal Superfund cleanup site since 1984 – this is the first time state officials have linked the mill to contamination at the golf course and the first time contamination has been traced to mill operations after 1979, when it was rebuilt.

NY pols seek end to uranium in U.S. labs —
Two New York elected officials urged the federal government Tuesday to bar the use of highly enriched uranium in U.S. civilian research centers. Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said such use by researchers _ mostly at universities _ could allow the material for nuclear bomb-making to fall into the wrong hands.

The Watch Newspapers – Peaceful Paradox Valley Torn Apart by Proposed Uranium Mill
For the 300 or so residents who reside in the sleepy farming/ranching community of the Paradox Valley, everyday concerns in the past have typically included irrigating crops, winter food storage and deciding where to go – Moab or Grand Junction – for major food shopping. Now, in the shadow of a proposal to build a uranium mill in the middle of the valley, there are new concerns for Paradox’s future, pitting neighbor against neighbor.

B&W to Acquire Nuclear Fuel Services
The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W), a subsidiary of McDermott International, Inc. (NYSE: MDR), announced today that an affiliate of B&W has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS) of Erwin, Tenn., a provider of specialty nuclear fuels and related services. The acquisition supports B&W’s strategic goal of being a leading provider of nuclear manufacturing and service businesses for government and commercial markets.

Morris Daily Herald: DOE study will solely address if, not where, for nuclear recycling
Morris could possibly still be in the running for a nuclear recycling facility – not now, but maybe in the future, a federal spokesman says. “The key word here is ‘maybe,’” noted Brian Quirke of the U.S. Department of Energy. “I know people likes yeses and nos, but we can’t say that at this point. It is premature to say whether Morris will ever be considered in the future siting processes for GNEP-type activities.”

Morris Daily Herald: GNEP to Morris: Not now
Morris could possibly still be in the running for a nuclear recycling facility – not now, but maybe in the future, a federal spokesman says. “The key word here is ‘maybe,’” noted Brian Quirke of the U.S. Department of Energy. “I know people likes yeses and nos, but we can’t say that at this point. It is premature to say whether Morris will ever be considered in the future siting processes for GNEP-type activities.”

Nuclear Waste News

FR NRC: PGE: Humboldt spent fuel storage
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 17, 2005, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) issued NRC Materials License No. SNM-2514 to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the Humboldt Bay Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), located in Humboldt County, California. The license authorizes PG&E to receive, possess, store, and transfer spent nuclear fuel and associated radioactive materials resulting from the operation of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant in an ISFSI at the power plant site for a term of 20 years. The NRC staff also issued an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact related to the issuance of the initial ISFSI license on November 16, 2005, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and in conformance with the applicable requirements of 10 CFR part 51.

Nanotechnology solution for radioactive waste cleanup
Radioactive material is toxic because it creates ions – by stripping away electrons from atoms – when it reacts with biological molecules. These ions can form free radicals, which damage proteins, membranes, and nucleic acids. Free radicals damage components of the cells’ membranes, proteins or genetic material by “oxidizing” them – the same chemical reaction that causes iron to rust. This is called “oxidative stress”. Many forms of cancer are thought to be the result of reactions between free radicals and DNA, resulting in mutations that can adversely affect the cell cycle and potentially lead to malignancy.

State official backs 2nd license for nuclear waste disposal firm – Houston Chronicle
Permit would allow higher level material at site in Andrews County AUSTIN — A Dallas-based company on Tuesday cleared another hurdle in its multimillion-dollar effort to operate a radioactive waste dump in West Texas. The executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recommended that the commission grant Waste Control Specialists a second license for disposal of low-level nuclear waste in Andrews County.

New Energy Focus – Nuclear authority “right” to withold report on radioactive waste
As the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority launched a fresh consultation last week on how best to communicate with the public on a new radioactive waste disposal site, it was been told it does not have to publish a draft report on possible locations. The NDA was asked for an earlier, draft version of the 2006 report “Potential Areas of Future Geosphere Research” , which identified geological factors requiring research regarding the possibility of locating an underground disposal facility for nuclear waste.

EnergySolutions profits double in second quarter – Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions saw profits double in the second quarter of 2008. Net income was $12.6 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ending June 30, 2008. Year-ago net income was $6 million. Thanks largely to the acquisition in June 2007 of the British Reactor Sites Management Co., revenues at the nuclear energy service company nearly tripled to $460 million for the quarter. Same-period revenues for last year were $162 million, the company reported Monday.

Waste not, want not | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released a new ad over the weekend in Nevada, targeting Republican rival John McCain’s support for dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. “Imagine trucks hauling the nation’s nuclear waste on our highways to Yucca Mountain,” the ad says. “John McCain supports opening Yucca. He’s not worried about nuclear waste in our state — only in Arizona.”

SunValleyOnline: Idaho slated for radioactive waste: Idaho Slated to be Navy Dumping Ground:
Still dealing with the fallout of being a repository for contaminated sand from Kuwait, Idaho is reportedly slated to be the dumping ground for literal fallout: radioactive remnants from a World War II-era Navy shipyard, according to a San Francisco alternative newsweekly. “Currently, the Navy is proposing to excavate soil from IR-07 and IR-18, including known mercury and methane spots, and ship it to dumps in Idaho and Utah,” said the San Francisco Bay Guardian, in a July 16 story.

Nuclear Policy News

Scoop: Brazil’s Nuclear Ambitions: Worrisome?
Brazilian authorities gave the final go ahead to the civilian nuclear power company, Electronuclear, to continue construction of the country’s third nuclear power plant. Though the decision to revitalize the 22-year-old nuclear reactor, Angra 3, came late last year, plans were finalized in July by the government’s environmental regulatory agency. Electronuclear, a subsidiary of the state-owned energy firm Electrobras, plans to begin construction in February.

The Hindu: Petition urges SC to declare nuke deal unconstitutional
A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Indo-US nuclear deal on the ground that it is “unconstitutional” as it affects the country’s sovereignty and threatens to take India the Iraq way. A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J M Panchal, however directed the petitioner advocate Manoharlal Sharma to file additional documents in support of his arguments.

The Punch: Nigeria seeks safe nuclear energy
Nigeria is committed to implementing international nuclear safeguards and safety regime in the process of generating electricity from nuclear power plants. This was disclosed by the Director-General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Prof. Shamsideen Elegba, at a training course for lawyers on nuclear safety and radiological protection in Lagos on Monday.

Canada backs nuclear firm despite newspaper report | Reuters
The Canadian government dismissed a newspaper report on Monday that it might abandon the publicly owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. if it fails to sell two new reactors to the province of Ontario. Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn is confident AECL would be successful in its bid supply Ontario with new reactors, spokeswoman Louise Girouard said. – AG suffers setback on Pilgrim nuclear plant
The state attorney general’s office suffered a major defeat yesterday in its fight to influence relicensing proceedings for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a petition submitted nearly two years ago that sought greater consideration of the environmental impact of spent fuel storage facilities in the event of an accident or terrorist attack. Attorney General Martha Coakley had argued the pools where used fuel rods are stored could be drained, leading to a zirconium fire and a significant amount of radioactive material being released into the environment.

Nuclear Weapons News

US proposes India nuclear waiver, approval in doubt | Reuters
The United States has proposed to waive a ban on nuclear trade with India without conditions such as compliance with a nuclear test ban or U.N. inspections, but diplomats said on Thursday the draft was unlikely to pass. The draft, circulated among members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and unveiled late on Wednesday by an arms control advocacy, will be discussed by the NSG next week in Vienna.

telegraphjournal – Canada falls off nuclear non-proliferation wagon
Just days before last week’s commemorations of the anniversary of the first use of atomic weapons – August 6 in Hiroshima and August 9 in Nagasaki, Japan – Canada took a giant step backwards in the world’s effort to make sure such weapons are never used again. The Harper government has agreed to support a bid by the United States to gain an exemption for India from provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which are meant to prevent the expansion of the global nuclear arsenal.

Remembering Hiroshima assessing nuclear dangers –
Sixty-three years ago this month, the United States was the first (and last, so far) nation to use nuclear weapons in war, detonating two warheads in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Tens of thousands were killed instantly, and by the end of 1945 another 200,000 had died from radiation-related ailments. This somber anniversary provides an opportunity to assess the range of nuclear threats bedeviling international relations and threatening the future, and a chance to recommit to the work of nuclear disarmament.

Hibakusha tells story of how atomic bombing led to life of suffering for unborn sister – Mainichi Daily News
Hiroko Ikeda’s fate was sealed before she was even born. Exposed to radiation while still in her mother’s womb after the bombing of Nagasaki, she suffered with frequent convulsions for many years until her death earlier this year, as her brother Teruo Deguchi, 72, explained to a local junior high school on Saturday.

The Associated Press: Nagasaki mayor urges nuclear weapons ban
Nagasaki’s mayor commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the world’s second atomic bomb attack on Saturday with a call for stricter measures against North Korea, Pakistan and Israel for their possession of nuclear weapons. A moment of silence was observed throughout Nagasaki in southern Japan at 11:02 a.m., the time in 1945 when a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing about 74,000 people. The attack came three days after an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, killing at least 140,000.


Department of Energy News

NRC: News Release – 2008-148 – NRC Releases Review of Doe’s Hanford Waste Treatment Plant
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has provided Congress and the Secretary of Energy its conclusion that the Department of Energy’s regulatory processes for its Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state, if properly implemented, are adequate to ensure public health and safety. The conclusion is contained in a review delivered Aug. 6 to Congress and the Secretary of Energy and made public today on the NRC’s ADAMS online document system at by entering access code ML081150883. Congress required NRC’s review in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008. The review was conducted with the full cooperation of DOE.

If Los Alamos is secure, I’m an A-bomb | Chris Ayres – Times Online
Chances are you didn’t pay much attention to a story in last week’s edition of the Albuquerque Journal regarding the Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the Manhattan Project in the Second World War. It revealed that after 20 years and $350 million, scientists at the vast 40 sq mile atom bomb factory in the New Mexico desert finally plugged in and switched on a brain-meltingly complex new X-ray machine known as the dual-axis radiographic hydrotest facility (DARHT, for short)

Faith was Flats protester’s arsenal – The Denver Post
Sister Pat Mahoney, who went to prison for battling Rocky Flats and spent her life fighting for the homeless and against war and nuclear arms, died July 30 at San Francisco General Hospital. She had collapsed on the street about 10 blocks from her home on July 29, said her brother, Jerry Mahoney, of Petaluma, Calif. She died about 24 hours later, he said, adding that he believes Mahoney, who was 72, had a stroke.

Other Energy News

TPM Election Centra| McCain Supports Tax Breaks For Oil Industry — But Not For Wind Power
Here’s something else that could create political complications for John McCain in key swing states as he continues to defend measures that would maintain tax breaks for the oil industry: He recently opposed extending tax breaks for the wind-power industry. Making this more difficult for McCain, the fledgling wind-power industry is popular in key upper Midwest and central plains states — and here you have McCain protecting such tax breaks for Big Oil, but opposing them for Big Wind, or, if you prefer, Little Wind.

The Island in the Wind: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker
wind Jørgen Tranberg is a farmer who lives on the Danish island of Samsø. He is a beefy man with a mop of brown hair and an unpredictable sense of humor. When I arrived at his house, one gray morning this spring, he was sitting in his kitchen, smoking a cigarette and watching grainy images on a black-and-white TV.

After slow start, wave energy approaches commercial scales  | Platts
After slow start, wave energy approaches commercial scales The burgeoning wave energy sector, which has endured ups and downs in recent years through initial testing of devices and uncertain government support, has recently set sail with new projects that have brought the industry to the brink of commercial development (Listen to podcast: Emergence of the wave energy industry).

The Associated Press: Russia’s vast energy supplies worry US
The Cold War competition between the United States and Russia — played out in Europe with the threat of mutual nuclear destruction — ended with the collapse of the Soviet empire nearly two decades ago. But the Russian bear has re-emerged from its cave with a new and powerful weapon — the West’s dependence on Moscow’s vast energy supplies. The Russians now supply about 25 percent of the European Union’s crude oil needs and half of its natural gas.

frontline: blackout: regulation: public vs. private power: from fdr to today | PBS
The accusations of “market manipulation” hurled at many of today’s power companies echo the criticisms made in the 1920s by FDR, who made reining in the power monopolies an integral part of his New Deal. Here’s an overview tracing the rise and fall of state and federal intervention in the U.S. electricity industry.

ENN: U.S. Renewable Energy Growth Accelerates
Renewable energy markets surged in the United States in the first half of this year despite uncertainty over federal tax credits and a sluggish national economy, according to mid-year figures. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are all on the rise. At least 17,000 megawatts (MW) of these three energy sources are now under construction. According to the Energy Information Administration, renewable energy will account for about one-third of new electricity generation added to the U.S. grid over the next three years.

Community Wind Power Ownership Schemes in Europe and their Relevance
This is a DOE report on Europe’s community based model for developing wind energy.

CounterPunch: From Off-Shore Drilling to the Georgian War
Many years ago, during the 1970s if memory serves, neoconservative Irving Kristol, echoing John Stuart Mill, called his conservative party, the Republican Party, “the stupid party.” Kristol was referring to the Republican’s inability to compete on the policy front. Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan led the Republicans out of the wilderness, but now Republicans have reverted to the stupid party, or more precisely the moronic party.

Gulfnews: Dipping oil prices shift focus from alterantive energy sources
Well finally we have some good news on the oil front. Rather than a one day drop, quickly followed by crude prices resuming their upward march, we saw, prior to Russia-Georgia’s saga, a steady downturn over the last week, coupled with a strengthening dollar.

Giant Retailers Look to Sun for Energy Savings –
Retailers are typically obsessed with what to put under their roofs, not on them. Yet the nation’s biggest store chains are coming to see their immense, flat roofs as an untapped resource.

Daily Kos: Georgia: oil, neocons, cold war and our credibility
As an additional preamble, when I say that the West has no more credibility than Russia on this conflict, it does not mean that Russia has any credibility, or that I love Putin, it means that the West has no credibility whatsoever; when I mock the West’s claims about human rights and democracy, it does not mean that I think Russia is a defender of human rights and democracy, just that we have no credibility either on the topic. All of that stated, here are a few facts worth noting about Georgia and the current behavior of its president, Russia, and decision makers in Washington:

How drilling brought out the worst in candidates
A key to understanding the language of politics in this country is credulity — the willingness to believe the damnedest nonsense with no supporting evidence, as long as it appeals to one’s abiding prejudice or unquenchable avarice.

Flexible Nanoantennas Put Us On The Road To Affordable Solar Power | Scientific Blogging
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory say they have devised an inexpensive way to produce plastic sheets containing billions of nanoantennas that collect heat energy generated by the sun and other sources. They say this technology is the first step toward a solar energy collector that could be mass-produced on flexible materials.

Op-Ed Columnist – Flush With Energy – Op-Ed –
The Arctic Hotel in Ilulissat, Greenland, is a charming little place on the West Coast, but no one would ever confuse it for a Four Seasons — maybe a One Seasons. But when my wife and I walked back to our room after dinner the other night and turned down our dim hallway, the hall light went on. It was triggered by an energy-saving motion detector. Our toilet even had two different flushing powers depending on — how do I say this delicately — what exactly you’re flushing. A two-gear toilet! I’ve never found any of this at an American hotel. Oh, if only we could be as energy efficient as Greenland!

Dutch paving stones clean air pollution | Green Tech – CNET

The University of Twente (UT) has devised a concrete capable of converting the nitrogen oxide from car exhaust–the source of smog and acid rain–into a nitrate, another chemical that will wash away in the rain.

BBC NEWS | Oil ‘could hit $200 within years’
A serious oil supply crisis is looming, which could push prices above $200 a barrel, a think tank has warned. A “supply crunch” will affect the world market within the next five to 10 years, the Chatham House report said. While there is plenty of oil in the ground, companies and governments were failing to invest enough to ensure production, it added. Only a collapse in demand can stave off the looming crisis, report author Professor Paul Stevens said.

First U.S. Solar Highway Installation Starts in Oregon
Construction on the nation’s first solar demonstration project in a highway right of way has begun. At the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 interchange in Tualatin, Oregon, 594 solar panels are being installed on a strip of land beside the highway roughly the length of two football fields. Governor Ted Kulongoski, with transportation and utilities officials, broke ground on Thursday on the all-Oregon project.

Solar Energy Plant Coming to Philadelphia
A company called Green Energy Capital Partners based in Philadelphia is planning to build what they term as the second largest solar energy plant in the nation, in the Carbon County. The $60 million, 100-megawatt solar energy plant will be built on 100 acres of land near the Green Acres Industrial Park in Nesquehoning. The solar energy plant is predicted to contain 40,000 solar panels on rotating mounts.

Junk Mail Produces as Much CO2 as 7 States Combined –
A report by the group ForestEthics estimates that destroying forests to make paper for junk mail releases as much greenhouse gas pollution as 9 million cars. Another way to look at it: Junk mail produces as much pollution as seven U.S. states combined, or as much as heating 13 million homes each winter. While the estimates may or may not be accurate, the point is indisputable: Junk mail is a waste. (To most people, it’s an annoying part of the trip to the mailbox, anyway.)

Kay Lucas, guest column: Environmentally friendly power: Bargain or Boone-doogle?
Wind power truly is a great resource. We should be using lot’s more of it. And solar, biomass and geothermal, etc. But, please ask yourself why taxpayers should foot the bill for oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, so he can connect his intended wind farm to government subsidized transmission line infrastructure? Heck, his financial statement is not bleeding red ink like the U.S. Treasury.

Not-so-bright ideas – Los Angeles Times
It’s all energy, all the time for Barack Obama and John McCain, who lately have talked about little else than their respective energy plans. Unfortunately, both blueprints could use some work. Obama is so eager to pander to voters angry about high gas prices that he has abandoned his own green principles by opening the door to more offshore drilling and calling for more oil production from domestic shale. Yet that’s nothing compared with McCain, whose plan to boost nuclear power is an insult to voters’ intelligence.

106 mpg ‘air car’ creates buzz, questions –
carYou’ve heard of hybrids, electric cars and vehicles that can run on vegetable oil. But of all the contenders in the quest to produce the ultimate fuel-efficient car, this could be the first one to let you say, “Fill it up with air.” The compressed air car planned for the U.S. market would be a six-seater, a New York company says. The compressed air car planned for the U.S. market would be a six-seater, a New York company says. That’s the idea behind the compressed air car, a vehicle its backers say could achieve a fuel economy of 106 miles per gallo

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

New Statesman – How nuclear power can save the planet
Increased use of nuclear (an outright competitor to coal as a deliverer of baseload power) is essential to combat climate change The location for this year’s Camp for Climate Action – outside the Kingsnorth power station in Kent – was well chosen: it is here that E.ON wants to build the first new coal-fired plant in the UK in nearly 30 years. With coal the most global-warming-intensive fuel on the market, and six more coal plants in the pipeline if Kingsnorth gets the go-ahead, there is a clear line to be drawn in the sand. – ‘Nothing unsafe’ about uranium mines
As one of the most controversial topics that the Province of New Brunswick has dealt with this year, even those who have been on the front lines of uranium mining have differing opinions on the potential dangers of the radioactive material. Wayne MacCallum, 58, is a Miramichi man who worked in a uranium mine in Elliot Lake, Ont., from 1979-90. He says as long as conditions and regulations were upheld, there weren’t any significant safety risks associated with his work.

Reactor will create tons of toxins —
I was disappointed that Tricia Bishop’s article “Nuclear plant hearing today” (Aug. 4) failed to discuss the costs or real alternatives to a new nuclear power plant. In fact, the costs to taxpayers in both government subsidies to the nuclear industry and safety are enormous when nuclear power is compared with investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Alec Baldwin: The Misconception of Nuclear Power
On a Connecticut public radio program I listened to recently, two guests discussed their views of the growing energy problem overwhelming the US economy. Both pundits, who are political columnists for national magazines, agreed that in addition to conservation measures and an increase in renewable sources, nuclear power is a card that the US must hold in its hand in order to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and our consumption of fossil fuels. Both speakers agreed that nuclear was a good investment, as it was “clean and had almost no carbon footprint.”

Friday faceoff: Tap energy sources that don’t produce toxic waste | | Democrat and Chronicle
It’s amazing that nuclear power is considered clean and safe when its by-products require burial deep under Earth’s crust for 10,000 to 100,000 years before it no longer poses a direct threat to life. Nuclear power is certainly more environmentally-friendly than fossil-fuel- driven power plants — humans have literally changed the environment using fossil fuels. But, it’s clearly not the winner of the “Go Green” award.

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