Top 100 Energy Stories (April 13th – 19th)


Wow! What a turn around in the news… Was it the compost tossed at a Vermont NRC hearing that caused it all?  🙂

Probably the biggest stories are all coming from outside the US, but then that doesn’t mean that it lessens any of the smaller stories that poured in this last week.

Let’s start with some good news.  After several months of fighting over a push to reopen the long closed Bataan reactor in the Philippines, the Arroyo government gave up and decided to sell the facility as scrap metal for just under $3 million!  The EDF spy scandal continues to heat up, but the big story comes out of the UK where the government covered up a 4-1 accident at Sellafield that some claim came very close to a meltdown.  Then we have Israel’s top new leadership threatening to attack Iran and the nasty turn to over North Korea, (this was caused by H. Clinton’s recent visit and vicious speech).The story we broke here about potential of hundred’s of thousands of fallout victims from China’s weapons testing program is getting more airplay. And Taiwan’s nuclear debate appears to be coming back onto the national scene there.  For the insulated, the nuclear industry and the rightwing attempted to remove the country’s president about a decade ago over his promise to shut down the country’s reactors. Japan’s earthquake damaged reactor complex is due to come online soon, but suffered a fire at the facility.

Here in the USA, the big story of the week is DOE’s abandonment of the GNEP agenda!  Finally!  Uranium prices continue to dive, putting the push for a new mining industry in jeopardy and court decision forced HRI to abide by Navajo tribal law over their push to open and ISL mine there.  A judge in Washington state is tired of the disgusting tactics of the government and private parties over contamination cases of former downwinders.

Battles rage across the country as legislative battles still rage in MN, MO, CA and probably other states.  The really bad stuff is there as well.  The new Texas dump just licensed is advertising to become the nations newest LLW dump, as the du regulatory scandal the NRC launched last week continues, as well as their claim that they have no authority to block imports of foreign n-waste into the country.

The nuke heads are already grabbing onto the climate change enforement decision as a strategy. Here’s the stories.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

China starts building 3rd-generation nuclear power reactors using Westinghouse technologies_English_Xinhua
China on Sunday started the construction of its first third-generation pressurized water reactors using AP 1000 technologies developed by U.S.-based Westinghouse.

Anti-nuclear groups aim to implicate EDF chairman in spy case
Greenpeace and France’s Sortir du Nucleaire are seeking to implicate Electricite de France Chairman Pierre Gadonneix in alleged spying by the utility on the anti-nuclear organizations. In a press statement, Greenpeace said it had asked the French government to suspend Gadonneix. It said it had learned through court documents that EDF contractors had been spying on its operations in France, the UK, Spain and Belgium since 2004. Greenpeace said that it asked French environment and energy minister Jean-Louis Borloo to name an “independent commission to evaluate the nuclear industry.” Separately, Sortir du Nucleaire said it and its spokesman Stephane Lhomme had simultaneously filed for intervener status in the county court in Nanterre, outside Paris, where an investigative judge is examining evidence in the alleged spying case. SdN said it wants the judge to file charges against Gadonneix and not just against lower-level managers and contractors. EDF said last week that it had suspended two security managers who were implicated in the ongoing investigation.

Manila Standard Today — Nuclear plant sold for scrap
THE Bataan nuclear power plant, which never produced a single watt of electricity but cost taxpayers $155,000 a day for more than 30 years, has been sold for scrap for $2.859 million.

A project of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the plant in Morong, Bataan, was completed in 1984 at a cost of $2.3 billion on a debt of $1.06 billion.

The plant which later was found to have been overpriced and unsafe was mothballed after Marcos was overthrown in 1986, but the debt payments on it continued until April 2007.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., which sells off state-owned power plants, said the Bataan facility was sold through a negotiated sale to Rubenori Inc., a local scrap dealer.

Compost flies at NRC meet – Brattleboro Reformer
It wasn’t just invectives that flew from mouths of the anti-nuclear activists at Thursday’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in Brattleboro.

One activist also threw compost at Vermont Yankee’s site vice president Michael Colomb.

“You folks have no idea what to do with spent fuel or radioactive waste,” said Sally Shaw, of Gill, Mass.

Carrying a bag to the front of the conference room, she threw a handful of “spent food” at Colomb and other Entergy executives before depositing handfuls of compost on a table where NRC officials sat.

“That’s really good quality compost,” she said.

Decommissioning costs, timescale increase at Italian reactors: EC
Decommissioning of experimental nuclear reactors dating from 1959 at Ispra in northern Italy is costing more and taking longer than expected according to a report by the European Commission that is to be presented to the European Parliament Thursday. The EC is reporting to the Parliament’s energy committee on the activities of the Joint Research Center on decommissioning of nuclear installations and management of radioactive waste under the Euratom treaty. The report covers the activities of the JRC between 2004 and 2008, when it was involved in decommissioning at sites in Belgium (Geel), Germany (Karlsruhe) and the Netherlands (Petten) as well as the Italian site. However, most of its work was focused on the Ispra site because decommissioning activities are currently relatively limited at the other sites as these continue to operate.

Cross-border row rages over SNP blocking new nuclear power stations – Telegraph
Despite energy matters being reserved to Westminster, SNP ministers have vowed to use their control over planning applications to block any proposals for new atomic plants in Scotland.

The Government yesterday published a shortlist of 11 potential sites for new nuclear stations, but were forced to include only England and Wales.
Fifty nations want nuclear plants | The Daily Telegraph
MORE than 50 nations are in talks with the UN atomic watchdog to build nuclear power plants, a twofold increase over the last four years, a top agency official said.

“The IAEA is talking with 50-60 countries about the construction of nuclear power plants,” Hans-Holger Rogner, head of planning and economic studies at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in the German newsletter VDI Nachrichten published overnight.

BBC NEWS | New nuclear site options unveiled

The government has released a list of 11 sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power stations could be built.

The locations were nominated by companies interested in building the stations, and the government has given its initial approval to the sites.

Nine of the locations have previously had nuclear reactors, and the

other two are close to Sellafield in Cumbria.

A month-long public consultation period now commences. The government wants the first reactors operational by 2018.

Residents express concerns over nuclear station  – The State
Federal regulators say SCE&G operates a safe nuclear plant, but that doesn’t stop Tange Jacobs from worrying about where she and her neighbors would go if there was an accident.

I know people who are in wheelchairs and bedridden, Jacobs said. What are you going to do about them?

Jacobs voiced her concerns about V.C. Summer Nuclear Station during an open house Monday night at McCrorey-Liston Elementary School.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and its state-operated partner, Santee Cooper, are seeking federal approval to add two reactor generating units costing $9.8 billion to the nuclear plant.

Taipei Times – Tokyo criticizes troubled nuclear plant
Japan’s government yesterday chastised the operator of the world’s largest nuclear plant for a string of fires that has hit the facility since it closed after an earthquake almost two years ago.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant is scheduled to restart as early as this month, but the nine blazes, the latest of which hit on Saturday, have stoked fears about the safety of the plants seven reactors.

Michigan Messenger» Feds, DTE urging nuclear licensing review board to disregard coalition’s Fermi 3 concerns

It looks like those who have concerns about the permitting process for the proposed Fermi 3 nuclear power station are facing an uphill battle to have their worries considered by federal regulatory officials.

A coalition that includes Monroe County residents and nuclear watchdog groups has put together 15 environmental and safety concerns they’d like to discuss as part of an upcoming Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearing on the plan to expand DTE Energy’s Fermi nuclear complex in Frenchtown Township.

But in order for these issues to be raised at the May 5 hearing, they must be approved by the ASLB. And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and DTE Energy are urging the board to disregard virtually all of the coalition’s concerns.

Diablo Canyon Deemed Safe From New Earthquake Fault
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant would withstand the effects of a potential new fault line off the California coast.

Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the plant 12 miles southwest of San Luis Obispo, California, notified the NRC in November 2008 about the potential Shoreline Fault, approximately 15 kilometers in length located one kilometer (.6 mile) offshore from the Diablo Canyon power plant.

PG&E provided the commission with data from the company’s collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey regarding the potential fault.
U.K.’s Wylfa Nuclear Power Plant Gets Decommissioning Green Light, an Industrial Info News Alert
Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) — The ageing Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales has moved closer to being decommissioned following consent from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. The agency’s permission is the first of two needed for the Wylfa plant to finally start decommissioning work.

For details, view the entire article by subscribing to Industrial Info’s Premium Industry News at, or browse other breaking industrial news stories at

Join Industrial Info Resources at POWER-Gen-Europe May 26-28, 2009 in Cologne, Germany and get a hands-on demonstration of our industrial market databases!

N-plant pipe data falsified  (The Daily Yomiuri)

Hitachi Ltd. and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. announced Monday that they had found falsified data in the inspection records of components they manufactured for use in nuclear power plants.

The falsified data related to the welding of pipes to moisture separator reheaters manufactured by the companies for use in the No. 5 reactor of Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and the No. 3 reactor of Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant, which is under construction, in Matsue.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Judge demands changes in Hanford downwinder lawsuit -  Tri-City Herald
SPOKANE A federal judge has indicated he’s not willing to continue trying 2,000 claims in individual trials and admonished attorneys as an 18-year-old lawsuit over radioactive emissions from Hanford prepares to resume.

About 2,000 downwinders have pending claims that their health was damaged, primarily as radioactive isotopes were released into the air and blown downwind at Hanford during World War II and the early years of the Cold War.

In the six years that Judge William Fremming Nielsen has had the case in Eastern Washington Federal District Court, he had hoped that by taking a few claims to trial attorneys could better evaluate claims and reach settlement agreements.

Just 10 claims have been settled in that bellwether process, with some jury decisions since reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The resolution of 10 claims in 18 years through the litigation process requires the court to conclude that the process is proceeding at a pace that is not expeditious and is far too slow to bring the litigation to resolution,” Nielsen wrote in a court order.

Fallout from the fire of 1957: radioactive plume led to 200 cancer cases | Environment | The Observer

Sellafield is the site of Britain’s worst nuclear accident. A blaze in 1957 in the reactor of Pile 1 released a massive plume of radioactive caesium, iodine and polonium that spread across Britain and northern Europe.

Up to 200 cases of cancer – including thyroid and breast cancer and also leukaemia – may have been triggered by the fire’s emissions, according to estimates which were published by epidemiologists led by Professor Richard Wakeford, of Manchester University, two years ago.

North West Evening Mail | Sellafield under fire for catastrophic safety error
SELLAFIELD has come under fire from an anti-nuclear group after four highly-radioactive waste stores malfunctioned.

Cooling water was lost when a faulty valve on the waste containers broke down.

The temperature of the waste was allowed to rise for eight hours before Sellafield workers were able to fix the problem. No-one was injured.

Cumbrian’s Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, based in Broughton, has hit out at the plant, following the incident on April 1.

Details of the malfunction were only released last week.

High level of tritium found at plant site | Asbury Park Press

Workers found an elevated level of radioactive tritium in water on the site of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey on Wednesday, according to plant officials.

The tritium level ” 102,000 picocuries per liter ” is five times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit for drinking water. A picocurie is a measure of radioactivity.

“There was no discharge . . . or release of tritium on the state’s soil or into the waters,” said David Benson, an Oyster Creek spokesman.

“Our experts . . . are working to determine how that tritium might have entered” a concrete vault at the plant, according to Benson and a plant statement.

La Jicarita News – Senators Mark Udall and Tom Udall Sponsor Bill to Reform EEOICPA
Charlie Wolf died on January 28, 2009, more than six years after he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and more than five and a half years after doctors said he would be dead. During that period, Wolf was not only fighting for his life, he was fighting the federal government for the compensation he was entitled to as a former worker in federal nuclear weapons facilities who contracted cancer as a result of exposure to radionuclides in the work place. Just as Wolf experienced the nightmare of radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplants, he also experienced the nightmare of trying to negotiate a claim for compensation through a government bureaucracy clearly intent upon limiting its liability. The entire story of Wolf’s battle with cancer and the government was graphically detailed in a July 22, 2008 Rocky Mountain News story by Laura Frank, and I urge readers to download the article and see for themselves the ordeal Wolf suffered through as a result of the government’s attempts to avoid culpability. Sadly, even after providing copious documentation and successfully challenging the government’s decision to deny his claim, Wolf died before receiving full compensation and benefits.

Whitehaven News | Sellafield admits hot tanks error but denies plant was hours from disaster

SELLAFIELD’S operators have denied the area was only hours away from a nuclear disaster due to failure in tanks containing highly radioactive liquid.

Staff worked against the clock to supply cooling water to four of the 21 tanks, said to hold around 1,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive liquid waste.

Details of the alert are given in the latest Sellafield site newsletter which says: Cooling water was reinstated to the high-heat highly active storage tanks within two hours of the initial loss and to the remainder of the plant within eight hours… this is within the bounds of the plant safety case.

But Cumbrian anti-nuclear group Core has made the startling claim that this is perilously close to the timescale of 10.5 hours catered for in the Sellafield site emergency plan.

A tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat – Telegraph
Weil says: The tour kicks off with our guide, Yuri, telling us about the zone, how polluted it still is (or isn’t, in some areas). This is the monument to the firemen who died after the explosion. The monument was erected by the firemen themselves. After the explosion, firemen raced to the plant within two minutes of hearing the alarm, unknowingly exposing themselves to lethal doses of radiation
Nuclear evacuation planner’s job is cost-free but faces ax: Times Argus Online
A program assistant who helps plan evacuation protocols near the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor is among the 320 state workers identified in the Douglas administration’s reduction-in-force plan.

Gov. James Douglas says the layoffs are needed to save $17 million in General Fund expenses. However, the radiological-preparedness position held by Jaclyn Harman one of two state workers identified for potential elimination at the Department of Public Safety’s 21-person Vermont Emergency Management division is paid for entirely from a special reserve funded by the owners of the nuclear plant.

Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Tremblay confirmed Wednesday that Harman’s position is on the department’s potential cut list, but he stressed that no final decisions have been made. The elimination of that position, if it happens, he said, would in no way threaten the safety of people living near the 500-megawatt power plant in Vernon.

WMICentral – Payments available to those exposed to radiation
Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act providing for compassionate payments to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases as a result of their exposure to radiation released during above-ground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their exposure to radiation during employment in underground uranium mines.

Northern Arizona RESEP (Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program) through North Country HealthCare is set up to provide education to the public concerning the effects of nuclear radiation due to nuclear fallout or nuclear materials such as uranium.

French Polynesia nuclear testing victims group says compensation law PR stunt
The head of a group representing the victims of nuclear testing in French Polynesia says a law to provide them compensation is a public relations exercise.

France’s Minister of Defence recently outlined the main points of a proposed Bill to compensate, for the first time, victims of nuclear testing it conducted both in Algeria and later in French Polynesia, between 1966 and 1996.

The compensation announcement precedes a court hearing in which the French government will answer to charges it failed to protect its French Polynesian workers from nuclear fallout during that time.

Brazzil Mag – Court of Audit Finds Chaos in Brazil’s Nuclear Installations
Published this weekend by Rio daily O Globo, a report by a Brazilian official organization criticized the lack of security at Brazil’s nuclear installations, which range from electricity-generating plants to hospital equipment.

“The deficiencies signaled out by the Brazilian Court of Audit (which ensures proper management of federal public resources) go from a state of chaos in radioactive installations to the lack of enough adequately trained technicians supervising the power stations at Angra dos Reis, a seaside resort where two nuclear plants for generating electricity are located, the newspaper said.


NRC News

NRC steps up assessments of Westinghouse fuel facility
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is increasing oversight of Westinghouse’s fuel fabrication plant in Columbia, South Carolina, after the plant’s latest performance assessment found problems with safety operations and facility support, the agency said on Wednesday. Normally the plant is evaluated once every two years. It will now be evaluated every 18 months until the agency sees improvement, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said. The agency’s last assessment, for the period February 13, 2007 to February 13, 2009, found two Severity Level III violations and six Severity Level IV violations.

NRC declares Yankee ‘green’: Rutland Herald Online
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected in Vermont this week to hold two public sessions on Thursday to discuss the past year at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The meetings are part of the federal agency’s annual assessment program. This year, the Vernon reactor received all “green” marks from the NRC, meaning the plant was operated safely and will not require any special inspections or increased inspections in the coming year.

The NRC uses four colors to grade nuclear reactors, with the best grade being green and the worst red. The other color grades are white and yellow. The plant has never received a “red,” but it did receive a “yellow” on the issue of security, only a few weeks before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It received a “white” finding in 2007 over the handling of radioactive materials.

NRC’s response on foreign waste questions |
AP’s Brock Vergakis filed a story this afternoon on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s response to Democratic congressmen, including Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., on questions surrounding the NRC ability (or lack thereof) to block imports of foreign nuclear waste.

Also, here is a link to the letters sent by NRC chairman Dale Klein.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it doesn’t have the authority to keep foreign radioactive waste from being imported into the United States just because the material is from another country.

FR: NRC: B Christie petition on reactor safety
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will consider the issues raised in a petition for rulemaking (PRM) submitted by Bob Christie (petitioner) in the NRC’s rulemaking process. The petition was dated May 2, 2002, and was docketed as PRM-50-77. The petitioner requested that the NRC amend its regulations at 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix A, to eliminate the requirement for assuming a loss-of-offsite power (LOOP) coincident with postulated accidents. The petitioner believes this requirement is detrimental to safety because it results in fast start time requirements for emergency diesel generators (EDG) and because it requires operator training to focus on unrealistic events.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Unfettered Letters: Kansas City nuclear plant
The Star’s story $500 million Honeywell project gets final OK (4/7, Business) neglected to mention a crucial detail regarding plans to close the existing government-owned Kansas City plant and construct a $600 million privately developed industrial park to produce parts for nuclear weapons.

The General Services and National Nuclear Security Administrations, the two federal agencies involved in the complex $1.2 billion, 20-year lease-back scheme, are being sued by a coalition of regional and national organizations and local citizens because they have pursued this project without first meeting their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In similar cases, courts have told government agencies they must start all over again because they decided upon a course of action before doing appropriate NEPA review.

Sellafield: the most hazardous place in Europe | The Observer
Last week the government announced plans for a new generation of nuclear plants. But Britain is still dealing with the legacy of its first atomic installation at Sellafield – a toxic waste dump in one of the most contaminated buildings in Europe. As a multi-billion-pound clean-up is planned, can we avoid making the same mistakes again?
McDermott Unit Settles Nuclear Plant Lawsuit for $52.5 Million –
McDermott International Inc.’s Babcock & Wilcox unit agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle a lawsuit over claims that two Pennsylvania nuclear processing plants caused personal injuries and property damage.

The settlement, pending court approval, would end a lawsuit that began in 1994 and had been delayed for years by Babcock & Wilcox’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000. A trial set for January was postponed while the parties pursued settlement negotiations, according to court papers filed yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, contended that Babcock & Wilcox plants in Apollo and Parks Township, Pennsylvania, exposed people to toxic levels of radiation. BP Plc’s Atlantic Richfield, which had also been sued, settled in 2008 for $27.5 million. The Babcock & Wilcox settlement was filed yesterday.

Chinese tourists in Kyrgyzstan buy nuclear waste as souvenir – by Netzapping
Three Chinese tourists have bought a 274-kg (604-lb) piece of depleted uranium and brought it home from Kyrgyzstan as a souvenir, the China Daily newspaper reported.

The three tourists from the city of Aksu in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region bought “the glittering treasure” for $2,000 at a flea market in Kyrgyzstan, hoping to make money by reselling it in China.

Not knowing what they had actually bought, the tourists sliced off a piece of the stone and took it to experts from Beijing’s Tsinghua University. After identifying the souvenir as a piece of depleted uranium, the scientists called the police.

Local prosecutors decided against filing charges of nuclear trafficking as the men obviously had no idea what they had bought.

The three men were taken to a local clinic for medical examination, but doctors found no signs of radiation poisoning.
Graphic: How does a gas centrifuge work – Posted
A Toronto man is under arrest after he allegedly tried to smuggle pressure transducers into Iran. Pressure transducers can be used in centrifuges to produce nuclear material. The National Post graphics team illustrates how they work.

U.S. court upholds EPA finding on NM uranium mine | Markets | Markets News | Reuters

*Court upholds EPA ruling that mine site is on Navajo land

*Mine would be subject to Clean Safe Drinking Water rules

LOS ANGELES, April 17 (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a 2007 finding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the site of a uranium mine that Hydro Resources Inc plans to operate is on Navajo Nation land and subject to Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.

Hydro Resources (HRI) plans to operate the underground injection mine on a 160-acre (65-hectare) site it owns in McKinley County, New Mexico, a few miles from Church Rock.

Denison to Sell 20% Stake, Uranium to Korea Electric  – Bloomberg
Denison Mines Corp., a Canadian uranium producer, agreed to sell a 19.9 percent stake in the company to Korea Electric Power Corp. for C$75.4 million ($62.1 million) and supply the utility with uranium until 2015.

Korea Electric will buy about 58 million Denison shares for C$1.30 each, equal to yesterday’s closing price, Denison said in a statement. The agreement requires the Toronto-based mining company to sell as much as 690,000 pounds of enriched uranium a year to the state-controlled utility starting in 2010.

Animal claims may be added to uranium lawsuit –
Conservation groups say they may add endangered species claims to a lawsuit seeking to stop uranium mining in western Colorado.

The groups are suing the U.S. Department of Energy over a leasing program for more uranium mining on 42 square miles near Dolores River Canyon in southwest Colorado.

The lawsuit has been pending since last summer in federal court in Denver.

The environmentalists said Wednesday that more uranium mining would release poisons that could hurt protected fish and waterfowl living on the Dolores and San Miguel rivers.

The Hindu: Kazakh groups oppose plan to host nuclear bank
A dozen activists who planned to protest the Kazakh president’s proposal to host an international nuclear fuel bank were detained hours before the demonstration was to start on Tuesday, a spokesman for one of their organizations said.

Supporters of an international nuclear repository, including the United States, say it would boost global security by dissuading countries from developing their own fuel-production facilities. Iran’s development of uranium-enrichment facilities is seen by critics as a precursor to developing nuclear weapons.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev this month offered Kazakhstan as the location for the fuel bank. Under the proposal, Kazakhstan would store and supply nuclear fuel to interested countries under the supervision of the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency.


Nuclear Waste News

Radioactive waste plan sparks protest – Sunday Sun
A US business consortium is applying for permission to turn a North landfill site into a dump for nuclear waste from all over the UK, the Sunday Sun has learned.

The Waste Recycling Group Ltd and EnergySolutions are preparing a submission to the Environment Agency to use the Lillyhall landfill site in Cumbria, and if the plans get the green light the site could start taking waste from October.

But Greenpeace said the proposal could blight the surrounding area, see house prices drop and open the door to further nuclear dumps at landfills.

A spokesman for the Waste Recycling Group said: Our partners are EnergySolutions, a US company with contracts at Sellafield and extensive experience in handling such waste.

Russia develops special tube to store nuclear wastes – Pravda.Ru

Tochmash, Russia’s defense enterprise from the city of Vladimir, conducted successful tests of a special ampoule that was designed to store spent nuclear fuel of Russian nuclear power plants. The ampoule guarantees that the storage of toxic fuel will be ecologically secure.

Engineers of the enterprise were working on Ampoule PT for eight years. It is made of stainless steel, is not heavy at all and is equipped with a unique spring lock that does not let the lid open

even under the impact of heavy pressure, a spokesperson for the enterprise said.

The ampoule looks like a cylinder with a lid. The cylinder will not let fuel particles penetrate into the environment for over 50 years.

Associated Press: Texas company: We want nation’s radioactive waste
A Texas company is signaling its intent to turn a rural county near New Mexico into the home of the only dump in the United States that disposes of all classes of low-level radioactive waste from around the country.

South Carolina shut its doors to nearly all the nation’s low-level radioactive waste in July, leaving 36 states with no place to dispose of certain waste from nuclear power plants, hospitals and universities.

Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists LLC received a license from state regulators earlier this year to begin accepting commercial waste from Texas and Vermont.

But the company wrote in an April 6 letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it wants to dispose of waste from other states too.

AllGov – Italian Nuclear Waste to be Dumped in Utah
A uranium isotope is a uranium isotope, regardless of its country of origin. But for two Democratic congressmen, there’s a problem with low-level nuclear waste from Italy being dumped in Utah, even though plenty of radioactive refuse has already been deposited there from U.S. sources. The controversy first arose when Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions sought a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to import up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy’s defunct nuclear power program. After processing in Tennessee, 1,600 tons would be left to be buried in Clive, Utah.

The NRC informed Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Bart Gordon (D-TN) on Monday that it doesn’t have the authority to prevent foreign radioactive waste from being imported into the United States. As long as the material can be imported safely and someone is willing to accept it, the commission’s hands are tied. Since the NRC won’t help, Matheson and Gordon have decided to sponsor a bill that would ban the importation of low-level radioactive waste unless the nuclear material originated in the U.S. or the waste was imported for a strategic national purpose. The two congressmen have been joined by Utah’s Republican governor,. Jon Huntsman, who is opposed to the waste coming to his state.
Nuclear-waste dumping site also poisonous –
A leaking nuclear-waste storage site in Germany is also contaminated with several toxic substances.

The problematic site in the Asse mountain range in northern Germany has been abused for several years by companies eager to get rid of toxic substances, including mercury, lead alloy and arsenic, German news magazine Stern reports.

There is nearly 1,100 pounds of the notoriously poisonous metalloid arsenic in the site threatening to contaminate the groundwater.

Hartford Advocate: News – Nuclear Clean-Up
On a 600-acre property in Windsor  formerly an isolated private hunting preserve a Connecticut company called Combustion Engineering triggered the first nuclear chain reaction to take place in the state in the late 1950s, according to Ron Kurtz, communications director for ABB, the Swiss conglomerate that owns the land today.

Now ABB, which bought CE in 1990, is spending tens of millions of dollars to clean the Windsor property of radioactive and chemical contamination in order to sell it for what it envisions as a mixed-use development of businesses, office buildings, some manufacturing, retail and residential.
Tooele landfill already accepting depleted uranium – Salt Lake Tribune
Significant quantities of depleted uranium are already buried in Utah, well in advance of new federal regulations aimed at determining how much of the unusual metal can be disposed of safely in one place.

The Utah Radiation Control Board heard Tuesday that 49 tons of “DU,” as it’s often called, has been taken to EnergySolutions Inc.’s specialized landfill in Tooele County since the site opened in 1988.

Radiation Control Division Director Dane Finerfrock told board members about the DU volumes as part of his report on recent decisions by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Gordon’s effort to block foreign radioactive waste takes blow  | The Tennessean
In a blow to Rep. Bart Gordon’s attempt to keep foreign radioactive waste from being imported to this country and moved across Tennessee, Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that it doesn’t have the authority to keep such waste out of the United States.

The NRC wrote in an April 9 letter to Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., that the Atomic Energy Act doesn’t distinguish between domestic and foreign waste. The NRC says that as long as the material can be imported safely and someone is willing to accept it, the commission can’t keep the waste out.

Matheson and Gordon are worried about Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions’ application to import up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy’s shuttered nuclear power program. After processing in Oak Ridge, about 1,600 tons would be disposed of in the western Utah desert.

Nuclear Waste Storage Available Beneath New Mexico Desert | Miller-McCune Online Magazine
In the Salado salt formation a half-mile below the New Mexico desert, WIPP has room to store all the radioactive waste an expanded nuclear power program could produce. Emphasis on the word could.

The “nice” elevator is right out of a luxury hotel with a smooth ride and room for 75 people. It has six degrees of safety redundancy, which means that if one cable were to snap, several others, plus an emergency brake or two, would prevent the six of us from hurtling to our deaths. But just as I’m adjusting the self-rescuer respirator on my utility belt, we get the news: There’s a problem with the “nice” elevator. We have to take the salt shaft.
Regulating radioactivity: Derision for uranium disposal decision – Salt Lake Tribune
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission assured Rep. Jim Matheson and other Congress members it will stay true to its commitment to see that depleted uranium can be disposed of safely in Utah and elsewhere.

But the agency doesn’t detail how it reached its decision to stick to its 1981 system, which treats depleted uranium as “Class A” waste, the standard category for the least hazardous low-level waste.

Matheson, of Utah, and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., hope to find at least some of those answers in the thousands of pages of documents that they have requested from NRC and that are due next Monday.

Nuclear waste opponents want Wollongong support – Illawarra Mercury
Opponents of the idea to use the Northern Territory for nuclear waste dumping will seek support for their campaign in Wollongong.

Following the high-profile transfer of spent nuclear fuel to Port Kembla last month, the organisers of a public forum at the Illawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre are hoping they might find sympathy for their cause in the Illawarra.

The public forum will be held on April 22 at 6pm and coincides with the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference, a major industry event being held in Sydney.

Traditional land owners from the Muckaty land trust in the Northern Territory will speak at the forum.

In 2011, the first shipment of Australia’s re-processed low and intermediate level waste is due back from Scotland and France and needs to be stored somewhere, based on an agreement signed in the 1990s.


Nuclear Policy News

Impact of EPA climate policy on nuclear energy
Some nuclear utilities, like Duke, also have major investments in coal-fired plants

uncorkedThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uncorked its long expected policy statement that formally declares carbon dioxide and five other green house gases to be pollutants that are a threat to public health and the environment. The action comes in response to an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling related to pollution from cars and trucks. Government scientists have long been unanimous that these gases caused harm, but the Bush administration bottled up their findings and took no action.

According to the New York Times, EPA said the science supporting the proposed endangerment finding was compelling and overwhelming.

Fulton group sues over nuclear early-pay bill |
Two months after it roared through the state Legislature, a bill requiring Georgia Power customers to pay early for new nuclear reactors is still awaiting Gov. Sonny Perdue’s signature.

The governor’s office has indicated that he intends to sign it.

Meanwhile, though, the bill has become the target of a lawsuit by the Fulton County Taxpayers’ Foundation, the same group that sued over the Beltline.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Newsnight Scotland highlights
Newsnight Scotland looks at a row between Westminster and Holyrood over nuclear energy on the day the UK cabinet met in Glasgow.

The Great Beyond: Japan’s nuclear woes
Advocates of nuclear power in Japan, having long struggled to convince a skeptical populace of the need for more and new forms of nuclear power, have certainly had their run of bad luck.

Or maybe it isn’t luck.

On Monday 13 April Hitachi admitted that data related to the heat-treatment process used for pipe welding on moisture-separator heaters, which increase thermal efficiency by removing moisture from steam, had been falsified.
Green Party leader condemns Sask. nuclear report
The leaders of the provincial and federal Green Party slammed the report compiled by the Uranium Development Partnership on Friday.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, called the report a sham. She said Green Party members from around the world oppose the development of nuclear power.

“The industry doesn’t make sense. It will never survive without tremendous government subsidies,” said May.

Role of nuclear power in state’s energy future debated – Capital News Service
William Martin, chair of the Nuclear Energy and Radiological Sciences department at the University of Michigan, said Michigan needs to rely more on nuclear power to reach Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s lofty fossil fuel-reduction goals.

Granholm has called for the state to reduce its use of fossil fuels 45 percent by 2020.

Granholm’s initiative pushes energy efficiency and renewable energy, but leaves out nuclear energy as a possible solution.

Groups clash on cost estimates for nuclear plant –
AmerenUE’s electric rates could rise by 23 percent over eight years if it’s allowed to pass through financing costs of a second nuclear plant during construction, according to a Public Service Commission staff assessment of the utility’s internal data.

That is more than twice the amount projected by AmerenUE on Feb. 25, according to a letter sent to PSC Chairman Robert M. Clayton III on Wednesday.

Which estimate is more accurate depends on underlying assumptions that no one can accurately predict, and illustrates the number-bending that has accompanied the debate over the proposed nuclear plant.

Irish environmental groups criticise British nuclear plant proposal – The Irish Times
PLANS BY the British government to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations, including two proposed sites near Sellafield, have been criticised by Irish environmental groups and anti-nuclear campaigners.

A list of 11 potential sites earmarked by companies interested in building the power plants was published yesterday. Nine have previously been home to nuclear reactors – including Dungeness in Kent and Sizewell in Suffolk – while two others are near Sellafield.

UK Government Obsession With Nuclear Power Costly for the Country
The problematic history of nuclear power in the United Kingdom (UK) suggests that a stronger focus on sustainable energy alternatives is a better and more cost-effective option. This is a conclusion of a report released today by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

The British Nuclear Industry: Status and Prospects provides a detailed analysis of the current state of the nuclear power industry in the UK, including its energy strategy and the government’s plans for possible new nuclear capacity. While the political momentum in support of nuclear options continues to grow, the study’s findings show that the government’s strategy is once again thwarting technologies that might prove cheaper and more reliable.

“The future of UK’s nuclear power is clearly tied to meeting two-long term challenges: Tackling climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions both in the UK and abroad, and secondly ensuring the security of UK’s energy supplies,” writes Ian Davis, the author of the report. “The government’s obsession with nuclear power is undermining and marginalizing more efficient and safer technologies – the real energy solutions.”

Taiwan needs no nuclear fantasies – Taiwan News Online
The right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government continued its campaign to pull Taiwan back into the past Wednesday with a concerted campaign to reverse a previous multi-partisan consensus on a “nuclear free” energy policy and gain endorsement from a high-profile National Energy Conference for a new wave of construction of nuclear power plants.

Although Premier Liu Chao-shiuan supervised the absurd listing of nuclear power as a “clean alternative energy” in a “sustainable energy action program” last June, both President Ma Ying-jeou and Liu shied away from direct mention of “nuclear power” in their addresses to Taiwan’s third public-private NEC.

HEAL Utah promotes green technology over nuclear power  | The Spectrum

With only a few regulatory hurdles remaining, a nuclear power plant in Utah may not be that far off in the state’s future.

The state does, however, have other options, besides nuclear, with renewable energy sources ranging from solar, wind and geothermal, said Eric Spreng, community outreach coordinator for HEAL Utah.

The Healthy Environment Alliance has scheduled a free presentation Thursday to cover the essential facts and discuss what it terms as “many of the myths” surrounding nuclear power as well as explore the vast untapped potential of renewable energy sources.

“There is so much potential with wind, solar and geothermal and we are starting to see projects come on line,” Spreng said. “I don’t think nuclear is necessary with the green renewable technology.”

Taiwan energy debate to pit President Ma against nuclear power opponents – Taiwan News Online
Taiwan will debate ending an eight- year ban on new nuclear reactors to help curb emissions from electricity generation, potentially pitting President Ma Ying- jeou against critics who say atomic power is too dangerous.

How we’re going to deal with nuclear energy is up for discussion, Yeh Huey-ching, head of Taiwan’s energy bureau, said on April 7 in Taipei. A two-day state conference on energy starting tomorrow will bring together 205 government officials, scholars, executives and environmentalists and resolutions will be adopted as government policy.
Another Nuclear White Elephant is coming – Brantford Expositor – Ontario, CA

This is in response to Christina Blizzard’s editorial article April 8.

Christina writes: “And please don’t say windmills and conservation will save us. Our nuclear stock is aging. We need new generation.”

That’s the kind of “reasoning” that’s going to cost Ontario taxpayers dearly. Don’t talk to me about DVD and BlueRay – my BetaMax is aging and I need a new one. Both were costly purchasing mistakes 20 years ago and neither have been built since.


Nuclear Weapons News

Revolt stirs among China’s nuclear ghosts – Times Online
The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China’s zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb.

They talk of picking up radioactive debris with their bare hands, of sluicing down bombers that had flown through mushroom clouds, of soldiers dying before their time of strange and rare diseases, and children born with mysterious cancers.
Scenario for 2009 Israeli Strike on Iran by Gordon Prather —
This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu both warned that if Hillary’s diplomacy failed to halt “Iran’s nuclear activities, Israel would be left with no option but to attack and destroy them.

Never mind that on 15 November, 2007, IAEA Director-General reported for the umpteenth time he had been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran  to a military purpose.

A few days after that 2007 IAEA report, Anthony Cordesman, widely acknowledged to be an expert on military affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, updated his war-game scenario entitled “Iran, Israel and Nuclear War; An Illustrative Scenario Analysis. [.pdf]

Book Reviews: ‘The Day We Lost the H-Bomb’ | ‘Atomic America’; by Barbara Moran | by Todd Tucker –
In a historic speech in Prague recently, President Obama proposed concrete steps to move toward “a world without nuclear weapons,” including a test ban, an end to the production of fissile materials and a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians. This effort to build a safer world is most welcome: The six-decade-long history of nuclear weapons and nuclear power includes a frightening number of fiascoes still shrouded in secrecy.

As two new books illustrate, there is much to mine in this atomic tale: stories as big and dramatic as mushroom clouds, events that lend themselves easily to superlatives. When mistakes are made with nuclear reactors and warheads, the consequences are often scary indeed.
Associated Press: Gorbachev: US military power blocks `no nukes’

President Barack Obama’s call for a nuclear weapons-free world is welcome, but the huge U.S. defense budget may prove an “insurmountable obstacle” to reaching that goal, former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said Thursday.

Talk of nuclear disarmament would be “just rhetorical” if other nations were asked to give up nukes while the United States maintains an overwhelming conventional military superiority, Gorbachev said. What’s needed, he said, are talks to “demilitarize” world politics.

Atomic: the First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb, 1939-49 by Jim Baggott: review – Telegraph
It was anything but a man’, that the 28-year-old Japanese medic Shuntaro Hida saw stumbling towards him on the road from Hiroshima on the morning of August 6 1945. The strange figure came up to me little by little, unsteady on its feet. It surely seemed like a man form but was wholly naked, bloody and covered with mud. The body was completely swollen. Many pieces of ragged cloth hung down from its bare breast and waist. The hands were held before the breasts with palms turned down. Water dripped from all the tips of the rags. Indeed, it was human skin which I thought was ragged cloth, and the water drops were human blood ¦ I stepped backwards in spite of myself.

AFP: UN nuclear inspectors quit NKorea
UN nuclear inspectors left North Korea Thursday after the hardline communist state ordered them out and announced plans to restart production of weapons-grade plutonium.

The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Beijing but declined to comment to reporters.

A separate four-member US team which had been monitoring the North’s disablement of its Yongbyon nuclear complex was also preparing to leave after being ordered out, the State Department said.

Nakasone seeks China nuke cuts | The Japan Times Online
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone may ask China to reduce its nuclear arsenal, government sources said.

Nakasone may make the request in an address on nuclear disarmament he will give on April 27 in Tokyo at the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

Israel, Iran nuclear warning: Gates cautions against Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities – Los Angeles Times
Amid increasing suggestions that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned this week that such a strike would have dangerous consequences, and asserted that Tehran’s acquisition of a bomb can be prevented only if “Iranians themselves decide it’s too costly.”

Using his strongest language on the subject to date, Gates told a group of Marine Corps students that a strike would probably delay Tehran’s nuclear program from one to three years. A strike, however, would unify Iran, “cement their determination to have a nuclear program, and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them,” he said.

Backgrounder: Major facts about six-party talks_English_Xinhua
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Tuesday that it will withdraw from the six-party talks in response to a U.N. Security Council presidential statement on its rocket launch.

The following are some key facts about the six-party talks.

The six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, was a multilateral dialogue mechanism brokered by the Chinese government in an effort to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

The first round of the six-party talks was held in Beijing in Aug. 2003, in which the principle of peacefully resolving the nuclear issue through negotiations had been established.

Now, the six-party talks have entered the sixth round.

The Associated Press: Chronology of NKorea’s missile, nuclear programs
Developments in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

_ 1994: Under agreement with U.S., North Korea pledges to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for help building two safer power-producing nuclear reactors.

_ Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires suspected missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, calling it a satellite.

_ Sept. 13, 1999: North pledges to freeze long-range missile tests.

_ Sept. 17, 1999: President Bill Clinton agrees to first major easing of economic sanctions against North Korea since Korean War’s end in 1953.

Where nuclear weapons go to die | The Argument
Obama wants a world without nuclear weapons. But what, exactly, do we do with all those warheads?

Speaking in Prague on April 5, U.S. President Barack Obama called the thousands of nuclear weapons sitting in world arsenals “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.” He proposed deep cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles. But when policymakers talk about nuclear reductions, what do they mean in practice? After all, you can’t just leave the warheads out on the curb on Tuesday morning for the garbage collector to pick up.

The first answer is, nothing much. Retiring a weapon is accomplished through paperwork. If the weapon is in storage, it continues to sit there. Eventually, small steps begin to indicate its fate on the nuclear weapons equivalent of death row. Workers come along to remove the batteries and other so-called “limited-life components” that have to be regularly changed in active nuclear weapons.


Department of Energy News

Department of Energy – Vice President Biden Outlines Funding for Smart Grid Initiatives
Announces plans for nearly $4 billion in technology deployment, monitoring and viability

Washington, DC – Vice President Joe Biden, on a visit to Jefferson City, Missouri, today with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, detailed plans by the Department of Energy to develop a smart, strong and secure electrical grid, which will create new jobs and help deliver reliable power more effectively with less impact on the environment to customers across the nation. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Vice President outlined plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in smart grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring and technology viability.

Department of Energy – Secretary Chu Announces $41.9 Million to Spur Growth of Fuel Cell Markets
To expand the use of clean and renewable energy sources and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $41.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for fuel cell technology.

These efforts will accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells and will create jobs in fuel cell manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services. The new funding will improve the potential of fuel cells to provide power in stationary, portable and specialty vehicle applications, while cutting carbon emissions and broadening our nation’s clean energy technology portfolio.

The investments we’re making today will help us build a robust fuel cell manufacturing industry in the United States, said Secretary Chu. Developing and deploying the next generation of fuel cells will not only create jobs it will help our businesses become more energy efficient and productive. We are laying the foundation for a green energy economy.

Nuclear Engineering International: DOE kills GNEP
A US Department of Energy spokeswoman has confirmed that the US domestic component of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership has been cancelled.

“The Department has already decided not to continue the domestic GNEP program of the last administration,” said DOE deputy press secretary Jen Stutsman in a statement on April 15. “The long-term fuel cycle research and development program will continue but not the near-term deployment of recycling facilities or fast reactors. The international component of GNEP is under interagency review.”

DOE to scrap SRS initiative – The Augusta Chronicle
The U.S. Energy Department will scrap a Bush administration initiative that could have brought billions of dollars in new spending—and a lot more nuclear materials— to South Carolina.

The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, unveiled in 2006, was a plan to reprocess spent commercial nuclear fuel to maximize its efficiency, reduce waste volume and prevent its exploitation for nuclear weapons. Two of the 11 sites proposed for such reprocessing centers are in South Carolina.

Munger: Y-12 may become central to nuclear weapons debate : Columnists : Knoxville News Sentinel
Y-12 may become a key battleground as the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is debated in coming months and beyond. In particular, the government’s decision on whether to proceed with the Uranium Processing Facility – a new production center at Oak Ridge – is likely to be a negotiable item as the Obama administration’s view of the world and strategy for nuclear defense begin to play out.

There doesn’t seem to be any question that the nation’s weapons stockpile will continue to be drawn down. How quickly and to what extent are still up for grabs.

Hanford’s “N” Reactor Stored Away | KEPR CBS 19
“The N Reactor is unique from all the other reactors here at Hanford. It’s because it not only produced plutonium for national defense, but it also produced electricity, enough to power a city like Seattle,” said Dept Of Energy Spokesman Cameron Hardy.

Now, the remains of the dual reactor are being stored away.

The reactor will remain in a steel cocoon for 75 years.

“Basically we put it inside a structure with a roof to protect those while radioactive sources decay away. So the rest of the structure will be demolished around it, and then we’ll cocoon it with a roof over it,” said Hanford D-4 Director Bobby Smith.

More Insecurity At Lawrence Livermore Lab – Government Inc.
The Government Accountability Office is taking aim at continuing problems with security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a significant proportion of which is provided by contractors.

The place has been bedeviled by questions about breaches in recent years, some of them really over the top.

UPF & the future of the nuclear weapons complex |
My Wednesday column is about the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and its place in the growing debate about what to do with the nuclear weapons complex of the future.

UPF’s actual price tag is still a bit of a mystery, with varying estimates in the range of $2 billion or thereabouts, and there are real questions about how the major project will fare as the Obama administration proceeds and develops its nuclear defense posture.

The proposed UPF would replace Y-12’s main production center, an antique known as 9212, and would become the biggest cog yet in the Oak Ridge plant’s modernization campaign.

The project is currently in a preliminary design phase known as Critical Decision-1. The spending level on UPF this year is $85 million, according to Steven Wyatt of the NNSA’s Oak Ridge office.

Poneman named deputy secretary at DOE |
Daniel B. Poneman, who has extensive background in federal service including a stint at the National Security Council, is to be nominated as deputy secretary of the Department of Energy, the White House announced today.

Here’s the background released by the Dept. of Energy:

Since 2001, Daniel B. Poneman has been a Principal of The Scowcroft Group, an international business advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. Prior to that he was a partner in the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. From 1993 through 1996, Poneman served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls at the National Security Council. He joined the NSC staff in 1990 as Director of Defense Policy and Arms Control, after serving as a White House Fellow in the Department of Energy. Poneman has served on several federal commissions and advisory panels, and has authored books on nuclear energy policy and on Argentina. He coauthored Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis, which received the 2005 Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy. Poneman received A.B. and J.D. degrees with honors from Harvard, and an M.Litt. in politics from Oxford University. He is an Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Aspen Strategy Group


Other Energy News

44 Anti-Coal Activists Arrested at North Carolina Power Plant Protest : TreeHugger
Police arrested 44 anti-coal activists engaged in acts of civil disobedience today to protest expansion of Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal-fired power plant. Those arrested will likely be charged with second degree trespassing. Event organizers Stop Cliffside have declared to protest a success:

Duke EnergyScryve Corporate Social Responsibility Rating CEO Jim Rogers has publicly said that all of Duke’s coal power plants will be shut down by 2050, but considering that many climate change scientists consider shutting down coal-fired power plants to be the single greatest thing that can be done to curb emissions, Rogers’ promises have been received with little fanfare.
REpower To Unveil 6.1-MW Wind Turbine – Renewable Energy World
In addition to the its 5M wind turbine series that is currently in production, REpower now has the most powerful wind turbine in the world in its portfolio. Development of the REpower 6M turbine series will be unveiled at the Hanover Trade Fair this week. REpower said that the rated electrical power of the units is 6.15 megawatts (MW).

NREL Releases Leading Renewable Utilities – Renewable Energy World
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual assessment of utility green power programs. According to the analysis, more than 850 utilities across the United States now offer green power programs. Green power sales in 2008 increased by about 20 percent over 2007, and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind is the primary source of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

Using information provided by utilities, NREL developed top ten ranking of utility programs for 2008 in the following categories:

* Total sales of renewable energy to program participants
* Total number of customer participants
* The percentage of customer participation
* Green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales
* Lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources

Are Somali Pirates Just Trying to Protect the Environment? : Red, Green, and Blue
The Huffington Post ran an interesting feature today, just one day after Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued from that hostage situation in Somalian waters. The feature is an essay written by a Somalian-Canadian singer/activist and explains why Somalians don’t condemn, and sometimes even encourage, their pirates. The argument has been tossed around the Internet a bit, but I haven’t seen it much in mainstream media, and especially not now that we’ve just recovered one of our very own from a dangerous situation.

The argument runs: Many Somali pirates are just trying to keep Somalia’s waters clean.
Court Blocks Drilling in Polar Bear Habitat : Red, Green, and Blue
A federal appeals court today rejected Bush administration plans to expand offshore drilling in Alaska. The three-judge panel agreed with environmentalists, saying the Bush-era Department of Interior’s plan to open drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas failed to consider impacts on marine life and the environment.

The court has ordered the Interior Department, now run by Ken Salazar, to conduct a proper analysis of environmental impacts and risks before moving ahead with any plans for offshore drilling in these sensitive areas. The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are home to approximately one-tenth of the world’s total polar bear population, along with walruses, seals, and whales.

EPA Ruling on Global Warming  Big Changes Are Comming in the Economy : Red, Green, and Blue
One of the nicer Friday News Dumps, this decision comes as a welcome and long overdue shift in government activity on carbon and other global warming gasses. The timing of the announcement, especially under the cover of Obama releasing torture memos from the Bush administration, is interesting it’s already becoming a regular thing for this administration to give it’s opponents a few things to chew on in a very short period, and I would bet that many people are more fired up about the torture thing then this EPA ruling.

On the other hand: this is a big deal for everyone, be you tree-hugger or capitalist overlord, because the new set of rules for how the country is going to respond to the climate crisis is coming into focus.
Environmental Protest Round-Up: 20 April 2009 : Red, Green, and

One of the biggest stories in the UK at present is the relationship between democracy and the police or as it has been expressed several times by Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission – the police needed to remember that they were servants, not masters of the public.

Beyond Fossil Fuels: Energy Leaders Weigh In: Scientific American
Climate change. Energy independence. Air pollution. There are countless arguments for moving beyond fossil fuels for our energy needs. Unfortunately, there are just as many hurdles that must be cleared before we can feasibly count on other sources to supplant oil, coal and natural gas, which currently provide the lion’s share of U.S. electricity generation and transportation fuels.
Mountaintop Removal Protest Targets Duke Energy
Concerned locals are taking a stand against mountaintop removal at an upcoming protest march called
Leveling Appalachia

Walk Past Coal for a Sustainable Future. Sponsored by Footprints for Peace, the walk will protest Duke Energy’s expansion of its coalburning Cliffside Power Plant in the Carolinas. The action corresponds with a simultaneous protest at Duke’s Charlotte headquarters.

The five-mile walk will begin on the campus of Xavier University, pass by the Duke Energy offices downtown and end at Fountain Square. A 15-minute video from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth of Mountaintop Removal will be featured at the end of the march, along with several speakers in opposition to the plant expansion.

CA to Secretary Salazar: No Offshore Drilling, More Renewable Energy: ENN
Last week, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, hosted the last of 4 public forums around the country to gather input on offshore drilling and offshore renewable energy development. Choosing to end in San Francisco means he is going back to Washington with a resounding “No” in his ears. “No” to offshore drilling and “Yes” to

investing in renewable energy, and any other new green technology San Francisco start-ups can figure out.

All the California elected officials on the dais (Boxer, Lee, Speire, Napolitano, Woolsey, Lt Governor Garamendi) and Oregon governor Kulongoski made very clear, and sometimes even passionate,

statements to the effect that CA needs and values its coastline the way it is, and the potential output of oil (estimated 1% of US daily consumption by 2030) comes no where near to justifying the risk posed to its economy and ecosystem.

Peak Energy: The US Natural Gas Price Slump
AP reports that falling natural gas prices in the US are making residential consumers happy for the time being, but notes that unconventional (shale) gas drilling has fallen off a cliff in recent months – Homes that use natural gas for heat could save big.

The 60 million American homes that rely on natural gas for heat can expect substantially lower bills next winter thanks to a glut in supply and the weak economy.

Just as distributors start to lock in contracts for the coming winter, natural gas prices have fallen almost 75 percent. Not all of that will show up as savings on the heating bill, but it should still mean noticeable savings. Utilities also generate about a fifth of the nation’s electricity with gas, and many of their customers should notice price breaks as well.

Peak Energy: Passive Solar Thermal Energy In Europe
Renewable Energy World has an article on a plan to greatly expand the use of passive solar thermal energy in Europe – Action Plan for 50%: How Solar Thermal Can Supply Europe’s Energy.

The research efforts and infrastructure needed to supply 50% of the energy for space and water heating and cooling across Europe using solar thermal energy has been set out under the aegis of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP). Published in late December 2008, more than 100 experts developed the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), which includes a deployment roadmap showing the non-technological framework conditions that will enable this ambitious goal to be reached by 2050.

A strategy for achieving a vision of widespread low-temperature solar thermal installations was first explored by ESTTP in 2006, but since then the SRA has identified key areas for rapid growth. These focus points include the development of active solar buildings, active solar renovation, solar heat for industrial processes and solar heat for district heating and cooling. Meanwhile, amongst the main research challenges is the development of compact long-term efficient heat storage technology. Once available, they would make it possible to store heat from the summer for use in winter in a cost-effective way.

Peak Energy: Algae Could ‘Supply Entire World with Aviation Fuel’

Der Spiegel has an interview with Boeing’s “chief environmental strategist”, Billy Glover, on prospects for biofuel use in air transport (he’s very optimistic, but short on detail) – Algae Could ‘Supply Entire World with Aviation Fuel’.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Glover, given the current low price of oil, why would airlines still even be interested in biofuels?

Glover: Indeed, the oil price has changed rapidly. But it has done that many times before and it will continue to do so. Even today, the highest operating expense for an airline is fuel. It remains a priority to find a way to mitigate that situation. That is why Boeing is trying to open up this avenue of alternative fuel. It can help that situation while having a better environmental performance at the same time.

The Great Debate » Renewables to spark U.S. grid revolution | The Great Debate |
Growing power consumption and the U.S. administration’s plan to rely more heavily on renewable generation sources will increase the demand on America’s already overloaded electricity grid and require major investment in transmission and distribution networks.

Upgrading power transmission and distribution systems is likely to cost as much as installing new generating capacity over the next 20 years.

While Congress provided an extra $4.5 billion of funding for grid improvements in the recent fiscal stimulus, federal loan guarantees and other support, far more investment will be needed if the administration’s targets for renewable generation are to be realized.

US chamber says ‘green tape’ stops ‘thousands’ of energy projects
The US Chamber of Commerce on Thursday launched a campaign to promote “green projects” it said could proceed if only environmental groups, local governments and others would stop opposing sponsors’ efforts to obtain sites and permits for the ventures. At a news conference at the chamber’s Washington headquarters, officials said permitting and siting disputes, activist opposition and other “green tape” has killed or delayed “thousands” of coal, ethanol, natural gas, nuclear, transmission and wind projects.

Science board’s draft report on sustainable energy ||
The National Science Board is seeking public comment on a draft report, “Building a Sustainable Energy Future,” released this week. Comments are being accepted through May 1, according to info released to the news media.

Comments made be made to The National Science Board is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation and advises the President and Congress on science and engineering issues.

The new report recommends a strategy to move from an energy economy dependent on fossil fuels to one that “thrives on sustainable and clean energy.”


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Columns | Aiken Standard |Pro-nuke puke

Ever since our organization had Gwyneth Cravens as our Edward Teller Dinner Lecturer I cannot separate the notion that saving the world and nuclear energy are inextricably linked. Ms. Cravens wrote a book called “The Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy.” I have been passionate about the proper role that nuclear should play in our energy mix for many decades, but now I have a rallying cry that conjures up all the rational bases for wanting to go full bore on nuclear energy as fast as we can.

Mountain Home News: Story: Don’t approve nuke plant
Who really benefits from the rezoning of Elmore County agricultural land to industrial in order to build a nuclear power plant?

AEHI, the company behind the proposed nuclear plant, would have Elmore County citizens believe they would be the beneficiaries with job production and economic wealth. But how would AEHI benefit and does it matter?

It matters if AEHI cannot finance a $30 billion nuclear power facility themselves and end up selling the land and permits to out-of-state or worse, out of country energy companies. Then this power plant is no longer an Idaho company and the land in Elmore County no longer belongs to the citizens of Idaho.

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