Top 100 Energy Stories (June 15th – 21st)

radbullAfter a large volume of email to me (thanks) several people were worried that taking the newsletter private would mean the loss of any kind of comprehensive overview for the public on the full scope of the nuclear industrial state.  Most membership groups in deference to the growing problem of information overload usually only promote a few stories to their readers, which masks the industry’s massive campaign taking place. With new reactor plans released on a whole new front called Energy Parks (WA & OH) not to mention last years announcement by the Air Force of its plans to put mini-nukes on all of its bases, there’s a serious rumble going on out there.

On the 26th of June another decisive vote will likely decide the high stakes game that could open up massive funding.  It’s not over yet, but as the recently released bombshell from the Huntington post shows, the industry smells money and has a lot of allies.

My dispute and fears that led me to password protect the newsletter appear to be reducing.  So for now, I will continue to keep this service public.

There’s a lot of news this past week and it rubs both ways. The Energy Park game plan has officially come out of the dark with the  push in Washington state and Ohio that would use federal money coming from a proposed energy bank to construct new reactors.  The good news is mostly international as the UK government told EDF that it would not be using government funds to subsidize new reactors in the UK.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

Nuke plant revival slammed –, Philippine News for Filipinos

Philippines: As antinuclear plant activists started marching on Saturday to mark the 24th anniversary of the Welgang Bayan against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), Balanga (Bataan) Bishop Socrates Villegas expressed disgust at President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for considering nuclear power as an energy source.

The bishop was reacting to a speech of Ms Arroyo at a meeting of the International Friendship Exchange Council of Japan in Tokyo on Friday where the President said the Philippines was in the process of renewing its energy options, including the use of nuclear power.

Saskatchewan leader wants isotope reactor- paper | Reuters

Wants to build research reactor within three years

* Final decision could come as soon as August

TORONTO, June 20 (Reuters) – The leader of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is seeking to build a nuclear reactor and transform his province into a producer of medical isotopes and atomic research hub, the Globe and Mail reported on Saturday.

Medical isotopes have become political issue in Canada after the country’s Chalk River reactor in Ontario, which normally produces about one-third of world supply, was shut down in May for at least three months because it was leaking a small amount of heavy water.

Premier wants isotope reactor in Prairies – The Globe and Mail

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is moving to build a nuclear reactor and transform his province into a producer of medical isotopes and a player in atomic research to step into the gap left by the failure of the Chalk River reactor.

Mr. Wall ran on a platform that included a pledge to build up a full-fledged nuclear industry in Saskatchewan, which already produces nearly a quarter of the world’s uranium, but does little beyond extract the ore.

Planned nuke reactor might not be built | Wilkes-Barre News | The Times Leader

PPL Corp. might sell the Bell Bend nuclear reactor it’s hoping to build in Salem Township if it can’t secure enough federal nuclear loan guarantees, company chief Jim Miller told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday,

Joe Scopelliti, the spokesman for the two-reactor Susquehanna nuclear plant that PPL operates in the township, confirmed Miller made the comments. But the spokesman said the comments might have been taken out of context “a bit” in The Energy Daily newsletter.

The publication reported that “the license would be good for 40 years and that if PPL decided not to proceed with a new reactor, the license (according to Miller) “could be sold to someone who might want to use it.'”

Daily Journal: Duke plans for eventual reactor shutdowns

The companies that own almost half the nation’s nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle them, and many may sit idle for decades an Associated Press (AP) investigation has found.

However, Duke Energy, which operates Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS) on Lake Keowee, is not among those companies.

Local Duke officials said this week that the firm has bankrolled $1.4 billion in a “decommissioning fund” and collects approximately $48 million annually under its current rate structure for this purpose. Duke began collecting the money in 1979, 15 years after it began operation at ONS.

Initially, ONS was granted a 40-year license. A 20-year extension has been obtained that will keep the unit 1 and unit 2 reactors on line until 2033, while the unit 3 reactor is scheduled for shutdown in 2034. Just this week, site manager Dave Baxter told community leaders that thought is being given to seeking another 20-year extension.

However, for now, Duke spokesperson Sandra Magee said ONS is operating from the premise that the reactors will go off-line in 2033 and 2034.

Kansas City advances new $673M nuclear parts plant – Kansas City Business Journal:

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority on Friday adopted four resolutions advancing a proposed new 1.5 million-square-foot plant for the National Nuclear Security Administration at Missouri Highway 150 and Botts Road.

The motion to adopt the resolutions cut short public comments, which nuclear-disarmament advocates had dominated. The motion was made after security was asked to remove Maurice Copeland, a retiree who worked at the NNSA’s aging plant in the Bannister Federal Complex, which the new plant is designed to replace.

“People are sick and dying” from exposure to beryllium and other substances at the plant, Copeland said. Copeland, who thinks his wife developed cancer as a result of contaminants he brought home on his clothing, also charged that polluted pools were paved over with parking lots at the current plant and that employees received the equivalent of hazardous-duty pay for working in certain parts of the building.

Ecologist: Finland’s safety fears over next-generation nuclear reactor – The Ecologist

Safety concerns may halt construction of a new nuclear facility in Finland, posing questions about the viability of the next generation of European Pressurised Reactors destined
for the UK

Finland’s nuclear regulatory body may halt construction of the country’s new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) amid “great concern’ over key safety systems. The concerns will be echoed in the UK, where the Government hopes to have the first of four new EPRs built by 2017.

A major selling point of the new generation nuclear reactors had been their safety systems, a vital consideration as they will produce more radiation than current reactors.

Doubts over the safety of Olkiluoto 3, being built on an island off western Finland, were raised by the director general of STUK, Finland’s radiation and nuclear safety authority.

Power Engineering – Areva to replace six steam generators on South Korean nuclear plants

Areva, working in consortium with Korean engineering contractor Daelim Industrial, has secured a contract from Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, South Korean nuclear power plants operator, to replace the six steam generators on the Ulchin 1 and 2 nuclear power plants during outages planned for 2011 and 2012.

Areva as original equipment manufacturer will lead the consortium and perform the primary system and licensing operations in co-operation with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Korea Power Engineering (KOPEC).

Daelim will implement all the secondary and local activities associated with the project. Areva said that its resources, practices and technologies in France, Germany and the US will also be rolled out for the project.

‘Beginning’ of long process for possible Piketon nuke plant begins (video) | Chillicothe Gazette

Calling it the “beginning of the beginning,” Duke Energy chairman, president
and CEO James Rogers Thursday officially kicked off the effort to bring 400 to
700 new permanent jobs to Piketon within roughly the next decade.

The process will be pursued by a newly created partnership whose aim is to construct a new nuclear power facility in Piketon. And while it will take a considerable amount of time to complete, officials are hopeful it will lead the way to new life in a county that is presently facing 15.1 percent unemployment and routinely ranks among the highest jobless rates in the state.

“It will, I think, help revitalize the economy of this part of the state,” Gov. Ted Strickland said, adding that the project would make Ohio the only state including next-generation nuclear power production in its energy portfolio.

WorleyParsons signs Egypt atomic consultancy deal | Reuters

Australia’s WorleyParsons signed on Thursday a nuclear power plant consultancy contract with Egypt worth 896 million Egyptian pounds, Egyptian Electricity Minister Hassan Younes said.

WorleyParsons won the contract after talks with initial favourite U.S.-based Bechtel Power Corp stalled.

The company had come in second after Bechtel in the tender held by Egypt to pick a consultant for its first nuclear power plant.

Russia to build nuclear power installations for interplanetary travel – Pravda.Ru

Russia’s Kurchatov Scientific Institute resumes its work to create nuclear power installations
for distant interplanetary flights.

It was Russia that made a breakthrough in the field of space nuclear power at the beginning of the 1980s when Russian scientists created a small-sized space installation known as Topaz.

“It was much more effective than foreign analogues in terms of technical and operational characteristics. We used enriched uranium as fuel,” says Mikhail Kovalchuk, the director of the Kurchatov Institute.

“We are not simply competitive in the field of power installations. We are actually pioneers. Very few organizations have such technologies. Americans were really surprised to see our Topaz installations. They haven’t seen anything like that before.”

AFP: Japan to help other countries develop nuclear power

Japan launched an organisation Thursday to help other countries promote nuclear power generation which is increasingly in demand in the age of global warming, officials said.

The new body, the International Nuclear Energy Cooperation Council, comprises representatives from government branches, power utilities, nuclear power plant makers and research organisations, they said.

It will help the makers’ overseas expansion while there are requests from Asian and Middle East countries for Japan’s help in the field, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

“Nuclear power plants have been revalued from the viewpoints of ensuring energy sources and dealing with global warming,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai told an inaugural meeting of the council.

“Japan has a long track record in safe operation of nuclear power plants and it has become a model for peaceful use of nuclear power,” he said.

Report: 100 New Reactors Would Result in Up to $4 Trillion in Excess Costs for U.S. Taxpayers and Ratepayers – MarketWatch

–Combination of Efficiency and Renewables Much More Economical Than New Nuclear Reactors With Skyrocketing Construction Costs; ‘Low Balling’ of Cost Estimates Imperils ‘Nuclear Renaissance,’ Just as Runaway Costs Sank the ‘Great Bandwagon Market’ of 1970s

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — The likely cost of electricity for a new generation of nuclear reactors would be 12-20 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh), considerably more expensive than the average cost of increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energies at 6 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a major new study by economist Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. The report finds that it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.

Plans unveiled for Ohio’s first nuclear reactor in 2 decades

In one of Ohio’s poorest regions, a jazz combo played “Pennies From Heaven.” Executives from bitterly competitive companies embraced. Politicians of the two parties declared esteem for one another. A Republican senator gave a shout-out to a union leader.

Americans even applauded the French.

The world didn’t come to an end, but there were many stars in alignment Thursday, June 18, as dignitaries announced plans to turn a contaminated Cold War-era atomic plant into America’s first “clean energy park,” home to Ohio’s first nuclear reactor in two decades.

The new Southern Ohio Clean Energy Park Alliance will prepare plans and licensing documents to locate at least one reactor on a 3,700-acre federal complex 100 miles southeast of Dayton.

Duke Energy, Areva teaming up on nuke project – MarketWatch
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Duke Energy, Areva, USEC Inc. and UniStar Nuclear Energy said Thursday they formed an alliance to build a nuclear power plant at a U.S. Department of Energy site in Piketon, Ohio. Dubbed as the Southern Ohio Clean Energy Park Alliance, the partnership will evaluate the site as a potential location for a new nuclear power plant, including preparing a plant siting study and licensing documents for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. UniStar is a joint alliance between France’s EDF and Constellation Energy. The clean energy park comes after a DOE effort to convert former weapons sites for energy production. Duke will manage the project, provide project oversight and serve as the applicant for any NRC licensing applications.

Southern files to build 2 reactors |

Southern Co., the biggest U.S. power producer, is seeking permission from the federal government to build two additional nuclear reactors and almost double output at its Vogtle site in Georgia.

The company is proposing to add two 1,150-megawatt reactors to the two-unit site about 20 miles south of Augusta. Atlanta-based Southern’s application was the first of two submitted Monday to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. South Carolina-based SCANA Corp. said it also filed an application.

“We expect demand for electricity in the Southeast, specifically in Georgia, to increase significantly by 2015 and beyond,” Barnie Beasley, president of Southern’s nuclear unit, said in a statement. “Nuclear power is a safe, reliable, cost-effective power source that has a low impact on the environment.”

Big traffic from large load — nuclear reactor heads | |

What’s big and blue and tying up traffic? Three nuclear reactor heads being transported through the Inland area.

A truck carrying the equipment left Long Beach last week and will slowly make its way to Wintersburg, Ariz., via Highway 91 and Interstate 10.

Wednesday, the reactor heads were parked on the side of the 91 in Corona, near Serfas Club Drive.

“It is creating quite a traffic nightmare,” said John Standiford, deputy director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, who was stuck in traffic because of the reactors. “Everyone is stopping to see what is this thing.”

The reactor heads, the main housing for the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant’s three reactors, were made in Korea and shipped to the U.S.

Nuclear companies in cash crisis? | Greenpeace UK

A new report out today casts doubt on the ability of the nuclear industry to deliver its promised new reactors.

French companies EDF and Areva, who are at the forefront of the new worldwide reactor design and building programme, have been making serious investments in foreign markets where they hope to build new reactors, including here in the UK. As a consequence they are heavily in debt.

Today, EDF announced the issue of new bonds in an effort to raise fresh cash. With the outlook for new build looking increasingly uncertain, the future of both EDF and Areva is now also coming under scrutiny.

China builds railway to nuke site

CHINA has started building a railway to a remote desert region known as ‘the sea of death”, state media said Wednesday, a place once used as a test site for nuclear bombs.

The 360-kilometre railroad from the China-Mongolian border to the Lop Nur area in the northwestern region of Xinjiang will help the nation in its quest for resources, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It will improve access to potassium salt, an ingredient in some fertiliser products, and will also make it easier to reach important coal reserves in the region, according to the agency.

But apart from that, the railroad, expected to be completed in two years, will also help open up one of China’s most mysterious areas.

Columbus Dispatch : Nuclear plant planned for state

A multibillion-dollar nuclear power plant proposed for southern Ohio would be the first started in the U.S. since before the Three Mile Island accident.

“I’m a big cheerleader for nuclear power, and I always have been,” Gov. Ted Strickland told The Dispatch. “I’m excited about it.”

Strickland and representatives from an alliance of energy companies will be in Piketon Thursday morning for the formal announcement by Duke Energy and the French nuclear energy company Areva. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, also will be on hand.

Former worker says AmerenUE, NRC dropped inquiry –

A former AmerenUE engineer is accusing the utility and the federal agency that regulates nuclear power of failing to adequately investigate a 2003 incident that led to a two-hour unplanned shutdown at the Callaway reactor.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation found that control room operators delayed a move to insert control rods ” equipment required to keep the reactor shut down ” since the error occurred just before a scheduled shutdown for maintenance. The NRC called the delay “not prudent,” but noted it did not threaten human safety.

After discovering the problem four years after it occurred during a routine review and alerting plant managers, nuclear engineer Lawrence Criscione claimed retaliation by his supervisors, including a negative performance review and the loss of his operators’ license.

Criscione was paid more than $500,000 in a confidential settlement in exchange for his resignation in 2008 and an agreement to not pursue any future legal claims against the St. Louis-based utility, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

Helsingin Sanomat – Olkiluoto III hasn’t quite gone according to plan

Had everything gone the way it was supposed to, then the suits, scissors, and silk
ribbons should be being made ready for the inauguration of the third reactor at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant on Finland’s west coast.

But the schedules did not hold up, and according to the current estimates the Olkiluoto III nuclear facility – Finland’s fifth reactor – will be completed no earlier than the summer of 2012.

In other words, the supposedly four-year stint looks to be lasting a minimum of seven years.

FACTBOX: European nuclear plant life extensions | Reuters

Most nuclear power plants have a nominal design lifetime of up to 40 years but many have been approved to operate for longer.

The possibility of component replacement and extending the lifetimes of existing plants are very attractive to utilities, especially given lingering public opposition to constructing new nuclear plants, while some governments see them as a way of limiting carbon emissions and power price rises.

But economic, regulatory and political considerations have led to the premature closure of some power reactors.

Below are details of those plants that have been granted life extensions in Europe:

Sources: Duke plans Ohio nuclear plant | Cincinnati.Com
An announcement by Duke Energy and state and federal officials about plans for Ohio’s first nuclear power plant in more than 20 years is expected Thursday morning at the federal government’s uranium enrichment facility in Piketon in Pike County, according to reports.

Gov. Ted Strickland, Senator George Voinovich and Rep. Jean Schmidt along with executives from several energy companies are expected to participate in an announcement about a “new clean energy partnership at the Piketon facility, according to an advisory from USEC Inc., which operates the Piketon facility and is building a uranium enrichment facility there.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing unnamed sources, reported Duke Energy , which operates three nuclear plants in its North and South Carolina service areas, will announce plans to build the nuclear facility.

Duke spokeswoman Johnna Reeder said Tuesday she couldn’t confirm details of the announcement.

Proposed Elmore County nuclear power plant back to square one | Local News | Idaho Statesman
Elmore County Commissioner Connie Cruser recalls her days at Boise High School to explain how she feels about a proposed nuclear power plant near Hammett.

In high school debate class, Cruser said, she argued in favor of building Idaho Power Co.’s Hells Canyon dams in the 1950s.

And because of the decisions made then, “we’ve had years of low electricity prices,” Cruser said.

So she is hesitant to declare that the Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. nuclear plant – proposed in the middle of farmland along the Snake River – is in conflict with the county’s comprehensive plan. The plan is supposed to encourage economic development and job creation, she said.

Associated Press: AP IMPACT: Funds to shut nuclear plants fall short
The companies that own almost half the nation’s nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle them, and many may sit idle for decades and pose safety and security risks as a result, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The shortfalls are caused not by fluctuating appetites for nuclear power but by the stock market and other investments, which have suffered huge losses over the past year and damaged the plants’ savings, and by the soaring costs of decommissioning.

At 19 nuclear plants, owners have won approval to idle reactors for as long as 60 years, presumably enough time to allow investments to recover and eventually pay for dismantling the plants and removing radioactive material.

Entergy seeks to redraw safety borders: Times Argus Online
Entergy Nuclear has asked state regulators to approve a plan that would change the regulatory boundary surrounding Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which would move the spot where radiation doses are measured further away from the reactor.

Entergy, which has been buying properties bordering the Vernon reactor for the past couple of years, demolishing the homes and in some cases, donating them or the materials to the local Habitat for Humanity, said it wants the “fence-line boundary” and the “site boundary” to be the same for regulatory clarity.

The nuclear company has asked the Vermont Public Service Board for permission to make the change, which would affect the location of the air monitors the Department of Health has installed surrounding the plant for public protection.

Nuclear plant seeks OK to move uranium  | The Journal News
Indian Point officials want to shuffle some of their used uranium fuels rods between nuclear reactors to create storage space, but federal regulators say they’ll need to see a lot more details before they’ll approve such a plan.

“This has not been done with any frequency in the United States,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said. “So a lot of questions need to be answered. It is unusual and that’s why it is going to take a great deal of study.”

A meeting is set at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Maryland headquarters today to go over details of the proposal, which hasn’t officially been submitted, Sheehan said.

Indian Point technically would be seeking a license amendment, which can take two years to complete and could involve public hearings, but the plant’s owner, Entergy Nuclear, wants a fast-track version that would allow the move to be completed before a refueling outage in early 2011.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Evidence is revealed (DU Rods and Sabots survived the inferno at Camp Doha)

Doug Rokke earned his B.S. in Physics at Western Illinois University followed by his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics and technology education at the University of Illinois. His military career has spanned 4 decades to include combat duty during the Vietnam War and Gulf War 1.

Dr. Doug Rokke is a Depleted Uranium expert.

Doug served as a member of the 3rd U.S. Army Medical Command’s Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) teaching, medical response, and special operations team, the 3rd U.S. Army captured equipment project team, and with the 3rd U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Assessment team during Gulf War 1(Operation Desert Storm).

Marshall Islands’ Birth Defects and Radiation Exposure Connection “Unlikely”, States LLNL ::

The feature article of a new journal, published by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, contends that there are misconceptions about the links between radiation
exposure and genetic (birth) defects. During the period between 1946 and 1958, a total of 67 nuclear tests were conducted on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls and adjacent regions within the Republic of the Marshall Islands. In recent years, there have been Marshallese children born to parents living in the northern
atolls, diagnosed with Waardenburg’s syndrome.

“Based on current medical and scientific data, a connection between Waardenburg’s syndrome and radiation exposure in the Marshall Islands is very unlikely,” concludes the study.

Tallevast toxic plume still haunts: Residents wait for Lockheed’s clean-up plan –

That’s how much time has passed since Lockheed Martin Corp. discovered an underground plume of toxic waste beneath an old beryllium plant it owned in Tallevast.

And nearly a year has passed since Lockheed submitted its revised clean-up plan to state environmentalists, claiming it would take more than a half-century to clean up the spill.
Tallevast Road through the small community greatly affected by the dangerous chemicals released from the old beryllium plant.

While limited clean-up of the beryllium plant campus is under way, the final clean-up plan still awaits state approval. The Department of Environmental Protection has sent Lockheed back to the drawing boards three times in the past nine months
with requests for more information and modification.

Tainted goods: Local company keeps closer eye after incident : Knoxville News Sentinel

After a Knoxville metal recycler melted nuclear material that had inadvertently infiltrated its mill, the company learned its lesson: The combination of radiation detectors and a watchful eye can prevent massive, costly messes.

The Knoxville company, Gerdau Ameristeel, has since weeded out radioactive isotopes
sent to it with scrap metal at least 50 times, according to reports from a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission database.

Gerdau Ameristeel has developed an elaborate firewall to keep out castoff nuclear material, according to Jim Turner, corporate environmental director of the Toronto-based company, which has an executive office in Tampa, Fla.

Thousands of consumer products found to contain low levels of radiation : Knoxville News

Thousands of everyday products and materials containing radioactive metals are surfacing across the United States and around the world.

Common kitchen cheese graters, reclining chairs, women’s handbags and tableware manufactured with contaminated metals have been identified, some after having been in circulation for as long as a decade. So have fencing wire and fence posts, shovel blades, elevator buttons, airline parts and steel used in construction.

Veteran exposed to nuclear radiation for tests | Springfield News-Leader

On the Fourth of July weekend of 1957, Darrell Robertson was on a train from Fort
Lewis, Wash., to southern Nevada. He was one of hundreds of young men with orders in hand to take part in a training exercise that they were told was crucial
to the fight against communism.
The native of Lamar was headed deep into the burnt landscape of the Mojave Desert, to a place called Camp Desert Rock. There, between 1945 and 1958, the U.S. military conducted 106 atmospheric nuclear tests.

At the time, Robertson said, military brass believed a nuclear confrontation with the Soviets was likely. They were intent on developing a group of troops hardened by repeated exposure to radiation. They thought exposure to radiation was like sunning on the beach: First you burn, then you tan.

Veterans slam MoD for ‘delaying tactic’ to prevent payouts

NUCLEAR test veterans in Derbyshire fear they could die before getting compensation after a court ruled that the Ministry of Defence could appeal against their claims.

At a High Court hearing earlier this month a judge ruled that more than 1,000 servicemen, who blame their ill health on being exposed to radiation during the nuclear tests in the 1950s, could sue the MoD.

But now the MoD has been given the right to appeal against that ruling and veterans in the county say they don’t think they will be alive to see a pay out.

Gremikha radiation monitoring – BarentsObserver

A new system for monitoring the storage for the highly problematic liquid metal cooled reactors is taken into use.

The old cores of the liquid metal cooled Alfa-class submarine reactors have
been stored in Gremikha for decades and posed a radiation threat both to the
environment and local residents.

The new monitoring system is financed by the European Union’s Northern Dimension Environ Environmental Program (NDEP) and administrated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The new computer-based monitoring system will be incorporated in the Murmansk regional system for radiation monitoring.

Scoop: Depleted uranium ban welcomed

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Aotearoa Section welcomes the entry into force this weekend of Belgian legislation that prohibits government investments in firms that manufacture, use or possess armour and munitions that contain depleted uranium (DU).

“This legislation complements the ban on the manufacture, testing, use, sale and stockpiling of uranium weapons which was passed unanimously by the Belgian parliament in 2007 and which also takes effect this weekend”, said Christine Greenwood. “Although Belgium is not itself a user of DU munitions or armour, NATO Headquarters and military command are based there, and United States’ uranium shipments regularly travel through the port of Antwerp”, she continued.

Reuters – Kazakhstan remembers horror of Soviet A-bomb tests

More than 20,000 people gathered in a small Kazakh town on Thursday to mark 20 years since the closure of a site where the Soviet Union conducted lethal nuclear tests for much of the Cold War.

Moscow used the vast open steppes of now-independent Kazakhstan to test some 500 nuclear bombs between 1949 and 1989, poisoning swathes of land and entire generations of people, and feelings among the population still run high.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, despite being a close ally of Russia, used some of his strongest words yet to describe the grave legacy of the Soviet nuclear past.

“Millions of Kazakh citizens fell victim to this nuclear madness,”
he told the crowd gathered at the town’s memorial site. “The scar inflicted on our environment is so serious that it will not disappear for at least 300 years.”

FR: NIOSH Cohort petition for Lake Ontario Ordnance Works

Decision To Evaluate a Petition To Designate a Class of Employees for the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works, Niagara Falls, New York, To Be Included in the Special Exposure Cohort AGENCY: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: HHS gives notice as required by 42 CFR 83.12(e) of a decision to evaluate a petition to designate a class of employees for the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works, Niagara Falls, New York, to be included in the Special Exposure Cohort under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000.
The initial proposed definition for the class being evaluated, subject to revision as warranted by the evaluation, is as follows: Facility: Lake Ontario Ordnance Works. Location: Niagara Falls, New York.

Second leak in two weeks found at VY – Brattleboro Reformer

Technicians at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon are trying to fix another pipe after a “several-gallon-per-minute leak” in service water piping was discovered, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Last week, technicians discovered a leak in the plant’s condenser tubes, miles of piping used to cool down radioactive steam produced by the reactor to power the plant’s turbine.

The service water leak is located near the plant’s intake structure on the Connecticut River, according to the NRC. The section of piping of concern channels water that is sprayed on screens used to minimize the buildup of debris on those screens.
The screens themselves keep debris from the river from entering the plant’s condenser tubes.

A Yankee spokesman said the valve to the service water pipe has been shut off, meaning it is not actively leaking at this point. It will only be turned on when enough debris — such as sticks, stones and mud — has accumulated on the screens to justify a backwash to flush them clean, said Larry Smith, Yankee’s
director of communications.

The pipe is an eight-inch line and was found to be leaking in the past two days by technicians conducting their normal inspection rounds, he said.

Exelon: Pipe was leaking tritium – Chicago Breaking News
Officials with Exelon Corp’s Dresden nuclear plant near Morris, Ill., have identified an aluminum pipe as the likely source of a tritium leak reported this month.

Officials said the leak posed no health threat. Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen.
Testing at the plant, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, found tritium levels of 3.2 million picocuries per liter of water in a monitoring well, storm drains and concrete vault. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter.

Repairs are in progress, said Tim Hanley, the plant’s vice president. The 24-inch pipe carries water between storage tanks.

Records show Exelon took steps to hide tritium spills at its Braidwood Generation Station in Will County between 1996 and 2003. It agreed to pay $11.5 million toward a new water supply for the nearby village of Godley and is now required to inform state and federal officials of tritium spills as soon as they are discovered.

Sick worker advocates ‘appalled’ at DOL’s self-lauding | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |
The Alliance of Nuclear Worker Advocacy Groups has sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis objecting to the Department of Labor’s recent performance evaluation of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

In a statement distributed to the news media, Terrie Barrie of ANWAG said, “I find it incredible that DOL would offer that they must be doing a great job because so few claimants filed complaints in federal court. Their logic escapes me . . . The fact that few complaints have been filed in federal court is no evidence that DOL is obeying the law.”

In review of performance highlights, the Labor Department said, “First, DOL has paid over $4 billion for over 43,000 claims, and the pace of those payments is accelerating, not slowing. As shown in Chart 1, total payouts under this eight-year old program have exceeded $4 billion, about $1 billion of which was issued in the last 12 months. These totals far exceed Congress’ expectations at the time of enactment.”

New firm to handle workers’ comp claims at Hanford – Business | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news
The Department of Energy has picked a new contractor to administer its workers’ compensation program for employees of Hanford nuclear reservation contractors.

Penser North America Inc., a small business in Lacey, has been awarded a two-year contract worth about $1.5 million. Three one-year extensions could increase the value to about $3.4 million over five years.

Penser will replace Contract Claims Services Inc., or CCSI, which has a contract that expires Sept. 30. The transition is expected to begin in August or September, with Penser taking over as third-party administrator on Oct. 1.

Penser will be paid per claim processed plus an award fee to provide an incentive for good customer service, innovation and overall excellence.

The truth behind Depleted Uranium (DU) Contamination and its usage
There has been significant publicity about the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, its ability to travel very long distances and the consequences to our health.

So where does DU come from, why is it used in munitions, what do such weapons look like, and what is their application in today’s warfare?

Although it was widely believed that DU munitions were used extensively during the Balkans War (1991-2001) it didn’t show its true face until the occurrence of an accident at a military camp in Kuwait. in 1991. Events prior to this accident had started intense US military activity in the region as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on the 2nd of August 1990. Iraq forces had occupied Kuwait for seven months and in February the following year saw Operation Desert Storm liberate Kuwait. At the request of the Kuwaiti Government the United States sent re enforcements to the region in order to stabilise Kuwait and secure its borders. It was obvious at the time that this build up was showing clear signs of some other hidden agenda in the build up to an attack on Iraq.

It was reported in the NY Times on the 19th of May 1991 that Dick Cheney had emphasized that the move was temporary and said: “It is our objective to get them out as quickly as possible. And the president’s made it clear we don’t want a permanent long – lasting ground presence in the gulf.It is ironic that 18 years later US Forces are still deeply emended in Iraq with clear intentions of permanent bases within Iraq.

Improbable research: London, for all your plutonium needs | Education | The Guardian
Where in London can one purchase plutonium? In Covent Garden, at the Helios Homeopathy shop.

Dr Fiona Barclay, a chemist at RGB Research in west London, made this discovery. Her company specialises in selling collections of the periodic table elements (with the exception of those elements that are illegal or are so very short-lived – a few seconds or less – that they invite frustration). Some elements are easy to purchase: carbon, sulphur, iron. For others, one can turn to eBay, where arsenic, uranium (in the form of uranium-tipped missiles), and other elements of ill repute are commonly on offer.

Italy recalls ‘radioactive’ wood pellets: report – Yahoo! News
An Italian court has ordered the recall of 10,000 tonnes of wood fuel pellets imported from Lithuania over fears that they could have dangerous levels of radioactivity, newspapers reported on Sunday.

The alarm was raised after someone in the northern Aosta Valley region, who had bought the pellets, sent them for analysis because they did not burn well.

The results showed that they contained caesium 137, a highly toxic radioactive substance normally produced by a nuclear explosion or from the combustion of a nuclear reactor.

The contaminated pellets themselves are not dangerous to humans, said Salvatore Aprile of the Aosta Valley court: the dangers comes from the ashes and the smoke produced when they are burned. The court ordered their recall on Saturday.

The pellets at the centre of the alert were imported from Lithuania last autumn and were sold in 11 regions in the north and south of Italy.


NRC News

New Times SLO | Seeking fusion NRC investigations, disgruntled employees, and protests plague Diablo Canyon


Last December, PG&E employees at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant were asked to fill out a survey. It was of the “are you happy with your job?” variety. The results overall: many aren’t. And the survey is just a hint at a growing rift between employees and management.

A copy obtained by New Times shows Diablo Canyon employees were less content than the rest of the PG&E family. The questions were weighted based on the number of favorable responses against the number of unfavorable ones and given a percentage. Companywide, the survey results were 67 percent in the positive on average. At Diablo Canyon it was 57 percent.

Of the questions, the one that scored the best with 96 percent favorable was “I am committed to the success of PG&E.” Similar questions scored much the same, generally around 70 to 80 percent.

NRC – NRC to Discuss Decommissioning Plan for Fermi Nuclear Plant Unit 1 at Public Meeting June 30 in Monroe, Mich.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold a public meeting June 30 in Monroe, Mich., to discuss the proposed license termination plan for the Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant, Unit 1.

The meeting will be held from 7 10 p.m. at the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, 125 E. Second St., in Monroe.

DTE Energy, the licensee, submitted its proposed license termination plan and an application for license amendment on March 25. The proposed plan is to demonstrate compliance with NRC criteria for unrestricted release of the property, although the facility will remain DTE property. There is no Fermi 1 spent nuclear fuel remaining onsite.

Fermi 1 was a sodium-cooled fast-breeder reactor that operated from 1963 until it was permanently shut down in 1972. Much of the decommissioning for Fermi 1 was completed in 1975. Fermi 2, a boiling-water reactor, is still in operation at the same location in Newport, in Monroe County, on the shore of Lake Erie about 25 miles northeast of Toledo, Ohio.

At the June 30 meeting, members of the NRC staff will discuss the proposed license termination plan and NRC’s technical review of the plan.

Information about Fermi 1 is available on the NRC Web site at this address:

NRC – NRC Requests Plans from 18 Nuclear Power Plants to Address Apparent Decommissioning Funding Assurance Shortfalls

The NRC has contacted 18 nuclear power plants to clarify how the companies will address the recent economic downturn’s effects on funds to decommission reactors in the future.

Nuclear power plant operators are required to set aside funds during a reactor’s operating life to ensure the reactor site will be properly cleaned up once the reactor is permanently shut down. The NRC’s review of the latest reports on decommissioning funding assurance suggests several plants must adjust their funding plans.

“We’ll discuss this with the plants over the next few weeks so they can explain to us how they’ll get the funds back on track to account for their decommissioning cost estimates,” said Tim McGinty, director of Policy and Rulemaking in the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “This is not a current safety issue, but the plants do have to prove to us they’re setting aside money appropriately.”

The letters for the affected plants will be available in the NRC’s electronic documents database, ADAMS, by entering each letter’s accession number (indicated below) here:

NRC – NRC Names New Resident Inspector at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials in King of Prussia, Pa., have selected Heather Jones as the new resident inspector at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt. She joins NRC Acting Senior Resident Inspector Dave Spindler at the plant, which is operated by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.

Jones joined the agency’s Region I office in 2005 after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of the NRC’s Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program, a two-year training program that provides specialized training in nuclear safety and a broad perspective of NRC regulatory activities. Jones also completed a rigorous NRC inspector qualification program. Most recently, she was assigned as a reactor inspector in the Region I Division of Reactor Safety, performing engineering inspections.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission makes odd stop in Estero to get public comment : Lee : Naples Daily News

The nearest cooling towers rest in Homestead, more than 100 miles away.

So why did this small, unincorporated part of Lee County host a meeting about new safety rules for the nation’s 63 nuclear power plants, one of only 11 such meetings being held across the nation?

Call it the Nuclear Regulatory Commission roadshow. In its effort to cement a slate of new guidelines for preventing and responding to terrorist attacks on power plants, the federal nuclear watchdog recently hit the road to take comments on the proposed changes.

Estero made the list of stops when an industry lobbying group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, scheduled its emergency preparation conference at the nearby Hyatt Regency. With scores of emergency experts from plants across the nation gathered in the area, and with a tight deadline to solicit public comment on the changes, the commission headed down to Florida. alleges 2 violations at Peach Bottom
A former reactor operator at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant deliberately failed to report a drunk-driving arrest, according to an investigation by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In a second apparent violation of nuclear requirements, the NRC said a former maintenance supervisor at the plant who was given unescorted access privileges failed to report that he had been dishonorably discharged from the military.

A letter noting the apparent violations was sent to Peach Bottom owner Exelon on June 5. Both alleged violations followed probes by the NRC’s Office of Investigations.

In the investigation of the reactor operator, the NRC said it was determined the operator deliberately failed to promptly report his drunk-driving arrest and criminal charges as required.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Columbus Dispatch : Older nuke project at risk

Even as an announcement of a plan for a nuclear-power plant was celebrated last week in Piketon, Ohio, a uranium-enrichment plant project on the same site that is to begin operating by 2011 teetered on financial collapse.

Announced 5 1/2 years ago with almost as much hoopla as the proposed nuclear project got last week, plans for the $3.5 billion enrichment plant could be dashed unless the Obama administration soon approves a $2 billion federal loan guarantee, says USEC, the suburban-Washington company slated to build the facility.

USEC applied for the loan guarantee 10 months ago under a $38.5 billion Department of Energy program launched by the Bush administration to encourage various renewable-energy and nuclear-power ventures. An enrichment plant makes material that fuels nuclear-power plants.

Casper Star-Tribune: Permit delay worries uranium hopefuls

Several proposed uranium mining projects in Wyoming and across the West will be delayed due the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent decision requiring a more thorough site-specific analysis for each project.

The NRC will require a supplemental environmental impact statement for each mining project rather than a more simplified environmental assessment, which the agency had considered.

Some officials in the uranium industry claim the NRC overreacted to a groundswell of public concern that they say comes from either ignorance of the in-situ leach mining process or a desire to block uranium mining.

Industry officials have also told the Star-Tribune they worry that investors are losing patience.

However, those who scrutinize the emerging next generation of uranium mining say both the industry and government regulators have a history that deserves skepticism. Shannon Anderson, community organizer for the Powder River Basin Resource Council, said she has researched dozens upon dozens of spills and excursions documented by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

The Star-Tribune has also reviewed DEQ documentation describing dozens of violations related to in-situ recovery of uranium in the state.

Navajo homes razed – uranium contamination

The federal government plans to spend as much as $3 million a year to demolish and rebuild uranium-contaminated structures across the Navajo Nation, where Cold War-era mining of the radioactive substance left a legacy of disease and death.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Navajo counterpart are focusing on homes, sheds and other buildings within a half-mile to a mile from a significant mine or waste pile. They plan to assess 500 structures over five years and rebuild those that are too badly contaminated.

Uranium Mine Could Use Three Billion Gallons Of Water Per Year | The Gazette-Virginian

The proposed uranium mining and milling project planned for the Chatham area could take more than three billion gallons of water per year from the Roanoke River Basin.
Speaking before the Roanoke River Bi-State Commission at its meeting in Henderson, N.C., last week, Anne Cockrell of Danville reported the figures to the group. (See related letter to the editor on today’s opinion page)
According to Cockrell’s figures, if the mine and mill are opened and operated 365 days a year, 3,181,952,360 gallons of water will be used each year.
She pointed out Virginia Uranium has projected a 30 to 40-year lifespan for the proposed mining operation. Water sources close to the site, she said, include the Banister and Roanoke Rivers.

News : Energy fuels: take it slow (Montrose, CO)

Last November, the Daily Press published a special enterprise reporting project on the Energy Fuels Pinon Ridge mill, uranium mining and human health. It led us to the conclusion that there is much to be mulled over when considering the permitting of a uranium mill. We suggested two appropriate moves by Montrose County. One, declare a moratorium of a year; and two, at least wait until the State of Colorado defines through a state permit what type of beast the mill would be before issuing a special use permit.

The Press’ report, “Uranium & Health, the Pinon Ridge Mill,” adopted the methodology of an environmental impact statement, at least in regard to human health. We treated the mill as a part of mining processing, or development as the county defines it. We then examined what the impacts of the mill would be on the health of miners, transporters, mill workers and neighbors. The mining occupational health analysis indicated definite risks beyond normal occupations. The milling occupational health was a bit of a mystery. One revelation from the special section: according to Phil Egidi of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s (CDPHE), the state leaves room for creativity in permits based on community and regional requests. (The entire report is on our Web site: under the link “special sections.’)

FR: Executive Order: Proliferation danger from Russian HEU

Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Risk of Nuclear Proliferation Created by the Accumulation of Weapons-Useable Fissile Material in the Territory of the Russian Federation Presidential Title 3– The President

[[Page 29391]] Notice of June 18, 2009 Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Risk of Nuclear Proliferation Created by the Accumulation of Weapons-Useable Fissile Material in the Territory of the Russian Federation

Energy Fuels wants less restrictions in processing waste at the proposed Pinon Ridge uranium mill

Energy Fuels is trying to alter its special use permit application. They want to open up the restriction, imposed by the Montrose Planning Commission, that states, “only raw uranium ore processed on-site may be stored in the tailings cells.”

The Montrose Daily Press reports that Energy Fuels CEO, George Glasier, brought up the proposed change for discussion late at the June 10 meeting, the second public hearing before the Planning Commission, after public comments were closed. By this time, many members of the public had already left.

In testimony at the May 19 meeting in Nucla, before a large crowd in the high school gymnasium, Energy Fuels had publicly stated they had “no plans to process any material other than uranium ore,” according to the Montrose Daily Press.

Whitehaven News | 50-year-old Sellafield nuclear leak is finally plugged
A LEAK of radioactivity at Sellafield which has lasted for half a century has finally been plugged.

The radioactive water is known to have seeped into the ground under the nuclear site for up to 50 years.

The public was first told about it in the 1970s, since which time it has been monitored regularly at safe levels.

But it is one of the radiation sources which has led to contamination on local beaches.

The liquid has seeped from a crack in one of four huge concrete waste tanks which, in the past, processed effluent before being discharged into the Irish Sea.

Nuclear nations rush to lock in uranium deals | Reuters

A global shift toward nuclear power is prompting countries to rush to lock in long-term access to tight supplies of uranium, and China and India look to be the next players to get in on the action.

A tie-up between Rosatom, the Russian state-owned producer, Rosatom and Canada-based miner Uranium One announced this week is just the latest in a series of moves on the part of Asian and European countries to lock in uranium supply to fuel construction of dozens of new reactors over the next decade.

House Science Committee looks at nuke reprocessing |

The House Science & Technology Committee, which is chaired by Congressman Bart Gordon of Tennessee, today held a hearing on nuclear reprocessing — looking at the state of capabilities and possible adoption of a national strategy. In a statement distributed after the hearing, Gordon said:

“I believe everything has to be on the table when it comes to meeting our growing need for energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I believe nuclear power is part of the solution to the daunting challenge of climate change, and I also recognize that our 104 operating reactors provide very reliable baseload power. To me, the best reason to consider reprocessing is that an expansion of nuclear power may make the once-through fuel cycle inadequate for maintaining our nuclear power supply as uranium resources eventually become scarce.”

News : Uranium mill would process more than rocks (Montrose, CO)

MONTROSE COUNTY ” Energy Fuels Inc. has told the Montrose County Planning Commission it wants to process waste and process streams beyond uranium ore at their proposed Paradox Valley Pinon Ridge uranium mill.

The announcement came after public testimony was concluded at a second hearing June 10 in Montrose for a special use permit. The proposed location of the new facility would be about 12 miles east of Paradox in the West End off of state Highway 90.

In public testimony at the first hearing May 19, Energy Fuels representatives said that they had “no plans to process any material other than uranium ore.” This appears to have been the sole public comment on the subject.

Montrose County Planning Director Steve White issued a memo to the planning commission prior to the June 10 hearing that proposed the specific condition that “only raw uranium ore processed on-site may be stored in the tailings cells.”

Video: Uranium Tailings May Threaten Moab River – KSTU

MOAB, Utah – Although millions of tons of Uranium tailings have been removed, some citizens of Moab are concerned that the remaining tailings may contaminate the nearby Colorado river. The river runs through town and a potential contaminatino could jeapordize drinking water. Energy Solutions were contracted to remove the mounds of tailings in 2007. “Were were moving it is to an environmentally stable location, 30 miles north of the town of Moab to a stable environment where that material can sit for thousands of years,” says Energy Solutions’ Project Manager, Larry Brede.

Cameco restarts Port Hope conversion plant early | Reuters

Resumes UF6 production at Ontario plant

* Had expected to resume output in third quarter

* No change to fuel services production outlook

TORONTO, June 17 (Reuters) – Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) said on Wednesday it has restarted production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at its Port Hope, Ontario, nuclear fuel conversion facility, slightly ahead of schedule.

The uranium producer suspended production of UF6 — used in the uranium enrichment process — last December after failing to come to terms with its main supplier of hydrofluoric acid, which is needed to produce UF6.

VA: Area residents visit uranium site

As a Pittsylvania native and one who spent 40 years in the chemical industry, I have found it embarrassing to admit to friends that I knew very little about uranium, the element, and nothing about its source and processing. When it was announced that the largest deposit of uranium in the United States was discovered in Pittsylvania County, I was excited, as anyone with scientific curiosity should be.

I had hoped factual details concerning this discovery, as well as some development plans, would be forthcoming in an understandable way. However, it seems that some newspapers rarely feel any obligation or responsibility to pass on scientific facts; residents seeking such information must find other venues.

That’s just what my family and I did, and a report of our experience may encourage others who are interested in such facts to do the same thing. The website for Virginia Uranium is, and it lists the company’s contact number, 434-432-1065. Upon calling this number, I was told they welcomed visits at any time, but preferred scheduling visitors in groups.

I telephoned six friends, who were free on short notice, and together we attended an informational presentation at VUI last week.

Uranium mining study is a fine beginning | |
As work begins on a study of uranium mining in Virginia, it’s becoming clearer what that study will do and what it won’t.

It will answer some questions about the effect similar mining operations have on health and safety. It will likely generate new questions that require additional research. But it will not be the definitive word on whether uranium can be mined safely in Pittsylvania County or any other corner of the state.

Supporters say there are billions of dollars of uranium ore in the ground near Chatham. Many nearby residents tried to block the study, fearing lawmakers will use it as political cover to approve a venture that would churn out new tax revenues.

Virginia Beach leaders pressed for a sophisticated, comprehensive and expensive analysis on the potential risks to Lake Gaston, which lies downstream from the proposed site and provides drinking water to nearly 900,000 residents of Hampton Roads.

Independent: Churchrock Mine cleanup plan available
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its proposed cleanup plan for the Northeast Churchrock Mine, kicking off a 30-day public comment period.

Two public meetings to discuss the cleanup alternatives will be held at Pinedale Chapter House on June 23 and July 7. Both are scheduled 6-8 p.m.

EPA’s preference for addressing potential exposure risks from radium- and uranium-contaminated soils is to move all the contaminated waste material from the mine to an existing disposal cell at the United Nuclear Corp. mill site or to a newly constructed cell at the UNC mill facility. Any cell would be lined and capped and would receive long-term monitoring.

Western lands uranium gopher for 6/14/09
The “green agenda” of the Obama administration is being felt almost immediately in the western states where ISR mining abounds. Newly appointed NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko announced on June 4 that the agency is making a significant change in the way it approaches environmental reviews for new ISR facilities.

The agency has decided that it will require a full environmental impact statement (EIS), with all of the costs, opportunities for intervention, and inevitable delays, for new ISR permit applications. Previously, the NRC conducted an environmental assessment (EA), which under the agency’s implementing regulations authorized by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a much more compact and faster process.


Nuclear Waste News

Sale of nuclear clean-up authority attracts 13 bidders – The Independent

The sale of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the Government-owned nuclear clean-up business, has attracted 13 bids.

A source close to the auction said that bids were submitted last month, with the shortlisted parties expected to be informed early next month. However, the bids are thought to be around the £30m-40m mark, when adviser Greenhill had hoped for closer to £50m.

The bidders include: Amec, the Ftse-100 engineer; VT Group, the defence and support services company; Serco, the aviation-to-local government services giant; Finmeccanica, the Italian conglomerate; and Babcock International, the quoted defence-to-rail services outfit.

Revealed: catalogue of atomic leaks| The Observer

In a secret health and safety report, the chief nuclear inspector admits Britain’s watchdog force is short of experienced staff

The scale of safety problems inside Britain’s nuclear power stations has been revealed for the first time in a secret report obtained by the Observer that shows more than 1,750 leaks, breakdowns or other “events” over the past seven years.

The damning document, written by the government’s chief nuclear inspector, Mike Weightman, and released under the Freedom of Information Act, raises serious questions about the dangers of expanding the industry with a new generation of atomic plants. And it came as the managers of the UK’s biggest plant, Sellafield, admitted they had finally halted a radioactive leak many believe has been going on for 50 years.

The report discloses that between 2001-08 there were 1,767 safety incidents across Britain’s nuclear plants. About half were subsequently judged by inspectors as serious enough “to have had the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system”. They were “across all areas of existing nuclear plant”, including Sellafield in Cumbria and Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, says Weightman, chief inspector of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII).

Field of secrets: The Santa Susana Field Lab cleanup saga hits 20 – LA Daily News

BEFORE the spring of 1989, all most people knew of the Santa Susana Field Lab were the occasional rocket tests that sent a thundering boom across the Valley and shook the homes in West Hills, Chatsworth and Simi Valley, near the hilltop facility.

The sprawling 2,859-acre lab built during the Cold War developed and tested rocket engines that powered missiles and, eventually, the Apollo and space shuttle missions.

But 20 years ago last month, the Daily News obtained and reported on an environmental survey that, for the first time, revealed extensive toxic and radioactive contamination from a 290-acre U.S. Atomic Energy Commission nuclear research facility located at lab.

The news shocked both neighbors and local environmental regulators, who never knew the site was once home to 10 nuclear reactors – one of which experienced a partial meltdown in 1959 – nor had any idea of the radioactive contamination.

Nuclear waste cargo sailing the Barents Sea – BarentsObserver

40 year old rusty spent nuclear fuel containers from Russia’s abounded submarine base Gremikha were shipped to Murmansk this week.

The voyage from Gremikha to Murmansk normally takes one day. This is the same route as the Russian retired submarine K-159 took when it sank northeast of the inlet to the Kola Bay in August 2003. The vessel which is sailing with the highly radioactive spent fuel this week is the 35 year old Serebryanka.

The rusty spent nuclear fuel containers have been stored outdoor at Gremikha for 40 years, posing a grave radiation threat. They contain uranium fuel from some of the Soviet Union’s first nuclear powered submarines, at that time were based at Gremikha. The submarines reloaded their deadly radioactive spent fuel to the onshore open-air storage site.

SA Current – Water, leaky nukes, and you

Ten billion or $22 billion? What does it matter how much it costs to build two new nuclear power plants in Matagorda County if a hijacked airliner comes crashing down into the equation?

Better yet, where do the billions go if South Texas Project’s best can’t pull enough water from the Guadalupe River to cool their reactors?

United Kingdom, Environmental & Energy, Consultation On The Disposal Of Low Level Radioactive Waste – CMS Cameron McKenna LLP

Article by Paul Sheridan, Tresna Tunbridge and Gemma Sainsbury

On 5 June, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (the “NDA”) published a consultation on its draft UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste (the “LLW Strategy”)….

Citizen group urges agency to order full cleanup of radioactive waste : The Buffalo News

The West Valley Citizen Task Force called for a full cleanup of radioactive waste at the West Valley Demonstration Project and the former Western New York nuclear fuel reprocessing center.

But at the same time, the group urged authorities to pursue additional environmental impact studies and continue public involvement if a phased decision-making approach is chosen instead.

The task force, made up of representatives from the surrounding community, has been meeting since 1997 to advise the federal and state governments on a preferred cleanup method of the 3,300-acre site. The task force sent the 12-page letter and attachments to the Department of Energy, which announced a three-month extension of the decision deadline, through Sept. 8.

quietly seeking zoning change for nuclear storage – MiamiHerald

After more than two million pounds of nuclear waste has piled up in South Dade over
35 years, Florida Power & Light is quietly seeking a zoning change to allow
six acres of its Turkey Point site to be used for new above-ground storage casks.

Environmentalists have known for a long time FPL planned to use casks but they knew little, if anything, about the need for a zoning change, which generally allows for public discussion that could lead to modifications of the utility’s plans.

”It’s news to me,” said Lloyd Miller of the South Florida National Parks Trust. ”Haven’t heard a thing,” said Mark Oncavage, who follows South Florida energy issues for the Sierra Club. “I definitely think we should have a say in this.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian: U.S. Navy dissolves Hunters Point Shipyard citizens’ comments just as toxic cleanup enters critical phase

For years, the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board has served as the Bayview-Hunters Point community’s main voice in the U.S. Navy’s environmental cleanup plans for the toxic former naval station. But the committee is suddenly being disbanded just as the cleanup enters a crucial phase.

Used for shipbuilding and submarine maintenance and repair, and the decontamination, storage, and disposal of radioactive and atomic weapons testing materials, the shipyard was added to the Superfund national toxic site cleanup list in 1989. But it is also at the heart of where Mayor Gavin Newsom has partnered with Lennar Corp. on the city’s biggest development proposal, involving 10,500 homes and a new stadium for the 49ers.

As the Navy prepares to release a series of important studies and reports concerning the cleanup of the dirtiest parcels on the former shipyard, community members were outraged by the Navy’s announcement in late May that it is preparing to dissolve the RAB in the next 30 days.

FR: EPA: Evaluation of WIPP compliance
Intent To Evaluate Whether the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Continues To Comply With the Disposal Regulations and Compliance Criteria AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of availability; official opening of public comment period.

SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to evaluate and recertify whether or not the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) continues to comply with EPA’s environmental radiation protection standards for the disposal of radioactive waste. Pursuant to the 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act (LWA), as amended, the U.S.

Spent fuel moving above ground at Diablo Canyon – San Jose Mercury News
Spent nuclear fuel is being moved from a storage pool at the twin-reactor Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to a new above-ground storage facility at the Central Coast facility.

Pacific Gas and Electric, operator of the coastal San Luis Obispo County plant, says loading of the used nuclear fuel began Monday night.

Eight containers of fuel in a storage pool will be moved during several months to the new interim facility, where they will be anchored to a 7 1/2-foot-thick concrete pad.

Governors seek to deter nuclear waste storage in Western US
Saying there are growing uncertainties about US nuclear waste policy, the governors of 19 states adopted a resolution Sunday that seeks to deter the Obama administration and private energy companies from building any interim storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel in the Western US. The resolution, adopted at a meeting of the Western Governors’ Association in Park City, Utah, says it appears “increasingly likely” that the administration of US President Barack Obama will propose establishing one or more centralized interim storage facilities for spent fuel from US nuclear power plants. But the 19 western governors, many of whom staunchly oppose having nuclear waste sent to their states, said in their resolution that no such interim storage facility shall be built in a western state without the written consent of the governor. “The creation of interim storage sites would be a direct result of the federal government’s failure to begin accepting spent fuel on schedule,” the resolution says. | Gorleben files could “paralyse” government
Nuclear files could paralyse German regional government

A German regional government says it could no longer function if it gives public access to cabinet files about the establishment of a nuclear waste dump in its area. The admission comes from the Christian Democrat (CDU, conservative) government of the northern state of Lower Saxony, where 32 years ago a previous CDU government licensed the dump near the village of Gorleben, which at the time was close to the border with former communist East Germany.
Asked to make the files available to the environment committee of the Lower Saxony parliament, the premier’s office refused, arguing that the government’s Handlungsfähigkeit would be endangered. The word translates variously as legal capacity, ability to act, capacity to act, capacity to contract.

The refusal was revealed by an opposition Social Democrat MP, Andrea Schrader-Ahlers, after the latest sitting of the committee.

She says she suspects that something is being hidden.

Concerns raised about Hanford landfill
A landfill for low-level radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site has room to expand, but an advisory board is concerned about the levels of radioactivity there.

The landfill at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation already contains 60 percent to 70 percent of the allowable amount of some key radionuclides.

As a result, the Hanford Advisory Board is recommending that the U.S. Department of Energy review those limits, which are based on an assessment that is about 15 years old.

“Cancelling the Yucca Mountain repository will throw the entire nuclear waste management program into doubt” – Scitizen
Following the Obama administration’s decision to end the planning for Yucca Mountain, Nev., as the final repository for high-level radioactive material from all of the nation’s nuclear power plants, a panel of nuclear power experts met in May at MIT to discuss how to address nuclear waste recycling or disposal, which many analysts consider the biggest obstacle to building a new generation of nuclear power plants across America. Dr. Matthew Bunn, who took part in the debate, answers Scitizen’s questions.

States, energy secretary agree to safe nuclear waste transport – Las Vegas Sun
The Western Governors’ Association and Energy Secretary Steven Chu agreed today to enhance safe and secure transportation of nuclear waste to a repository in New Mexico.

The agreement was signed during the Western Governors’ Association’s annual meeting by Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana and C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho, along with Chu.

It expands a 10-year-old agreement that has existed through the two previous administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, said Alex Schroeder, spokesman for the association.

The waste is mostly equipment, clothing and materials containing trace amounts of plutonium or other radioactive particles that can be traced back to Cold War nuclear weapons work in the West.


Nuclear Policy News

Calvert Official Urges O’Malley To Back Constellation Energy Group’s Merger With a French Energy Giant –

A Calvert County official urged Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Friday to continue his support of Constellation Energy Group’s merger with a French energy giant and its plans to build a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby.

Board of County Commissioners President Wilson H. Parran (D-Huntingtown) told O’Malley that Maryland is facing an energy shortage and that the third reactor would be a source of much-needed power. Constellation officials have said the reactor would nearly double the plant’s capacity. Parran said the project would bring hundreds of jobs to the county, plus tax revenue.

Congressman Sestak Includes Key Provisions in National Defense Authorization Act

To provide our service members and their families the benefits they deserve, and to ensure our military is equipped and in a proper state of readiness to deal with 21st century challenges, Congressman Joe Sestak (PA – 07) supported the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by the House Armed Services Committee. In total, HR 2647 authorizes $550.4 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

In the bill approved by the committee, the Congressman authored nine amendments to deal with specific areas in which the military must improve to keep our nation safe and offer the men and women who wear the cloth of this nation – and their families – the care they deserve.

AFP: German minister rules out new nuclear power stations

Germany’s economy minister on Friday ruled out building new nuclear power stations but said the life of some reactors might be extended and the development of alternative
technologies stepped up.

“We need limited extensions until we are able to work with sensible alternative technologies in an economical and environmentally friendly manner,” Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily in an interview.

“That includes the possibility of equipping existing nuclear power stations with state-of-the-art technology in order to make them even safer and more efficient,” the conservative minister said.

“But I see no need to build new nuclear reactors.”

Feds name expert panel to find stable isotope supply

Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt named four members of an expert panel Friday, whom the federal government has asked to find a way for Canada to secure a stable, long-term supply of medical isotopes, used to help diagnose and treat more than two million patients a year.

The government also invited formal “expressions of interest” from potential isotope suppliers. The operators of research reactors and particle accelerator facilities at McMaster University in Hamilton and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver are among a handful of Canadian organizations expected to signal their interest.

Most Chileans Oppose Nuclear Energy: Angus Reid Global Monitor

The majority of Chileans are not keen on developing nuclear energy but a significant proportion is, according to a poll by Ipsos. 52.5 per cent of respondents disagree with building
nuclear power plants on Chilean soil, while 40.4 per cent agree.

Michelle Bachelet”a former defence minister”was elected in a January 2006 run-off as the candidate for the centre-left Agreement of Parties for Democracy (CPD) with 53.49 per cent of all cast ballots. She officially took over as president in March 2006.

In April 2008, a group of 23 environmental organizations withdrew its unconditional support for Bachelet’s government, saying the president broke a pact signed in 2005 which included a pledge to never consider developing nuclear energy in Chile.

Bishops question nuclear ethics

Alberta’s six Catholic bishops say serious ethical questions must be answered before any decision can be made about whether or not to build nuclear reactors in the province.

In a pastoral letter issued Wednesday, the Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops called for more public input into the nuclear power question, citing concerns about stewardship of the environment, effects on water supplies, protection of human life, security threats and adequate consultation.

Calgary Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said expert opinions on nuclear energy are divided and the debate can easily become polarized.

Canada’s troubled nuclear industry: Ending a dream, or nightmare | The Economist

The government opts not to pour more money down the nuclear “sinkhole”

AP But not for much longer

NO ONE should have been surprised when Canada’s elderly nuclear research-reactor near Ottawa sprang a leak last month, prompting a prolonged shutdown that removes two-fifths of the world’s supply of a medical isotope widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After all, the government-owned reactor was fired up in 1957, the same year that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and Elvis Presley starred in “Jailhouse Rock”. But the reactor’s second unscheduled shutdown in as many years left health officials in Canada and the United States scrambling to find alternative sources of the isotope. Hospitals in both countries rescheduled thousands of tests and treatments.

More loan guarantees expected for nuclear plants – MarketWatch

A fresh round of federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants may help seed new power projects now that a Senate committee approved an energy measure on Wednesday, an industry spokesman said.

A measure passed in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 15 to 8 includes language for the creation of the Clean Energy Development Administration, a new federal agency to help funnel loan guarantees for nuclear, wind and solar projects.

The proposal will now move to the full Senate, along with a version from the House of Representatives.

While an initial $18.5 billion loan-guarantee program will help build four new nuclear plants, an additional $90 billion in loan guarantees already have been requested among the 17 companies proposing 26 new reactors, according to Mitch Singer of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Chicago-based Exelon told to sweeten bid for NRG – chicago tribune

The pressure is on Chicago’s Exelon Corp. to sweeten its bid for NRG Energy Inc.

The New Jersey-based NRG is among four companies said to be receiving loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy to support new nuclear-power plants. If anything, that will make Exelon want it all the more, analysts said.

Exelon launched an all-stock takeover bid in October that NRG has rejected as inadequate.

NRG’s proposed new nuclear plant in Texas “has been the prime reason Exelon is pursuing the company,” said Travis Miller, equity analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. “It’s a good growth opportunity.”

EDF Demands U.K. Government Help Nuclear Renaissance, an Industrial Info News Alert

Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) — The construction of the U.K.’s first nuclear power plant in more than 20 years could be delayed as Electricite de France (Paris) called on the government to dramatically increase its support for nuclear power. The French state-owned company wants the U.K. government to offer greater incentives for nuclear power, suggesting that a carbon tax would help.

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

Industrial Info Resources (IIR) is the leading provider of global market intelligence specializing in the industrial process, heavy manufacturing and energy related markets. For more than 26 years, Industrial Info has provided plant and project opportunity databases, market forecasts, high resolution maps, and daily industry news. For more information send inquiries to or visit us online at Industrial Info Europe (

Areva and EDF: Business prospects and risks in nuclear energy

Areva and Electricite de France (EDF) are French-based companies at the heart of worldwide attempts to re-launch nuclear ordering the so-called Nuclear Renaissance. Areva is an electricity industry equipment supplier offering transmission and distribution equipment as well as the full range of civil nuclear technologies. For its nuclear business, it operates as Areva NP, a joint venture with the German company Siemens in which Areva holds 66% and Siemens the balance, although in January 2009, Siemens announced it would be withdrawing from the joint venture (see below). EDF is an electric utility operating all the main generating technologies. The French state retains a majority holding in both companies although the priorities of their private shareholders, for EDF small shareholders and for Areva NP, Siemens, can no longer be ignored. In addition, the European Union law on unfair State Aids only allows governments to meet company losses or provide other assistance if such measures do not distort competition. For the markets Areva and EDF operate in, it would be hard to argue that any state aids did not distort competition.

The Associated Press: Energy bill advances in Senate
Legislation that would require greater use of renewable energy, make it easier to build power lines and allow oil and gas drilling near Florida’s coast advanced Wednesday in the Senate.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 15-8 to clear the measure, although both Democrats and Republicans ” for different reasons ” said they had concerns about the bill and hoped to make major changes on the Senate floor.

The legislation’s primary thrust is to expand the use of renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and geothermal sources as well as deal with the growing concerns about the inadequacies of the nation’s high-voltage power grid.

Nuclear Engineering International: UK government: no subsidies for new nuclear

The UK is unlikely to hand out subsidies for new nuclear development, according to the UK government’s new energy minister, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who was appointed in June.

When asked whether the UK would look to support new nuclear with subsidies, he replied, “Nuclear should be commercially viable. We don’t look to a subsidy to encourage development.

“I believe the government’s role is to get the conditions right in which people make investment – that means the planning system and the system of regulatory consent. It has a longer-term vision; that’s where government puts its emphasis.”
In Mortal Hands  A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age | Book Reviews |
In an era when the corporate media and the corporate politicians and the corporate military men gang up together and denounce and threaten other countries because of their nuclear related activities, they should spend much of that rhetorical energy by cross-examining themselves in a mirror. North Korea’s latest nuclear test received much more attention than its earlier possible test because of its greater power and the strategic message sent by its politically timed Taepodong II rocket launch. Iran has moved a little bit off the radar screen as its elections have proven more interesting than its nuclear threat but it is under increasing scrutiny as it reaches weapons potential. When placed in relation to this “cautionary history, North Korea and Iran are acting only as all other nuclear powers have acted in the past, for the main theme behind In Mortal Hands is that of lies, deceit, deception, cover-ups, and secrecy to cover up the real issues with the nuclear industry.

The real issue as reiterated constantly and perceptively by Stephanie Cooke is that of an industry whose central purpose is to create fissile material for weapons production regardless of and in spite of all other attempts to equate nuclear energy with peaceful purposes and with the greening of the energy industry.

Energy leaders push nuclear plants at National Summit | The Detroit News
Nuclear energy is one of the most effective ways to reach growing energy needs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create jobs, three energy leaders said today during a three-day summit to address the economic future of the nation.

“A nuclear renaissance is under way,” DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Anthony F. Earley Jr. told a group of energy leaders during the National Summit. “Nuclear energy has to play a crucial role in meeting our country’s growing energy needs while reducing carbon emissions.”

With the nation’s aging power facilities — most average 30 years old and retirement expected between 40-60 years — now is the time to reshape the energy mix of power facilities to include more nuclear plants, the energy leaders said.

“Every study that has been done says you can’t come anywhere near where what you want to be in reducing greenhouse gas emissions without a large nuclear growth not only in the U.S., but worldwide,” said Martin Fertel, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Virginia and the Nuclear Renaissance | Lynchburg News Advance
Perhaps, in retrospect, the day John Fees left Central Virginia and headed to Houston to take the reins of McDermott International will be one of the red-letter days in the region’s business history.

Fees, you may remember, was the long-time president of B&W, the nuclear services company owned by McDermott. He took with him to Texas an in-depth knowledge of the skills, work ethic and abilities of the 2,500 people B&W employs in the region, and that’s paying off in major ways for Lynchburg.

Last week at a news conference in Washington at the National Press Club, Fees and his top lieutenants announced the company was undertaking a brand-new nuclear initiative that would have a major presence in Lynchburg.

Gulf’s Push for Nuclear Experts May Delay U.K. Plans  – Bloomberg
U.K. utilities risk falling behind with plans to build nuclear power plants because Middle East nations may use higher salaries to lure skilled workers, reactor builder Westinghouse Electric Co. said.

“These nations have no legacy program to use as a source for nuclear expertise,” said Adrian Bull, U.K. stakeholder relations manager at Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp. “If you have literally nothing to go on, you have to be the Chelsea or Real Madrid and buy in the people from elsewhere.”

Oil-producing nations including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait plan nuclear plants to meet growing energy demand at home while exporting fuel abroad. The U.A.E. plans to select companies to develop an atomic power program by the end of this year and has a 2017 target date for completing its first reactor, the same year Electricite de France SA plans to start a new British nuclear plant.

Lowestoft Journal – Campaigners want N-plant plans halted
THE government should halt all plans to build more nuclear power stations with immediate effect after it was revealed that Suffolk was just hours away from a nuclear accident, campaigners claimed last night.

About 10,000 gallons of radioactively contaminated water was discharged into the North Sea in January 2007 after a pipe, carrying cooling water to an engineered pond containing highly radioactive spent fuel rods, burst at Sizewell A power station on the Suffolk coast.

Now an independent consultant’s report has said that the power station was about ten hours away from a serious accident which could have drained the cooling pond, uncovered the old fuel and started a fire which would have released highly radioactive products.

Louisiana’s two Fortune 500 firms have bet big on the nuclear business – Money
Louisiana’s two Fortune 500 companies have bet big on the future of nuclear power.

New Orleans’ Entergy Corp. has focused on attempting to get two licenses to build new plants in Louisiana and Mississippi for its utility business, while spinning off its existing fleet of wholesale power nuclear plants in the Northeast to generate better returns for shareholders.

Those efforts have not gotten off the ground, but Entergy Corp. Chairman and CEO Wayne Leonard remains optimistic.

“The things that we’re working on will ultimately happen,” Leonard said.

Baton Rouge’s Shaw Group, meanwhile, is building a $100 million, 600,000-square-foot factory in Lake Charles to build structural components, piping and equipment for Westinghouse Electric Co.-designed nuclear reactors. The plant is expected to open by the end of the year.

Elmore County doesn’t reject nuke plant, but commissioners didn’t outright approve it either | Idaho Statesman
The Elmore County Commission told its planning and zoning commission to consider amending the county’s comprehensive plant to allow heavy industry in more places than just along Simco Road.

With the decision, commissioners didn’t reject a nuclear plant proposed for an agricultural area of the county, but they likely extended the process it would take for its developers to get the nuke plant approved.

Most of all, they continued the uncertainty over whether the plant will be approved at all in Elmore County, the second Idaho county this company has tried so far.

Don Gillispie, CEO of Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. who proposed the 1,600 megawatt nuclear plant near Hammett, said he will wait to see what happens next. “For now, that will be our decision,” he said.

Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley called the decision a success “because we can start talking about the issue at hand, which is nuclear power.”

Dallas Morning News: Nuclear Power 101: What all those unintelligible letters and numbers mean
Nuclear, coal, natural gas – they’re all just different ways of heating water. But oh, those differences.

As Luminant and anti-nuclear activists duke it out during the next few years over Luminant’s proposed expansion of its Comanche Peak nuclear plant, the jargon of nuclear power isn’t likely to penetrate the public consciousness without help.

In the interest of general enlightenment, here’s the first of an occasional series we might call Nuclear Power 101.

Today’s topic: Catching up with nuclear reactor designs.

Baltimore Gas and Electric expending energy in quest for $200M in stimulus money – Baltimore Business Journal:
Editor’s Note: Hear Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. executive Mark Case talk more about the utility’s smart grid program in BBJcast, the Baltimore Business Journal’s weekly podcast devoted to the top business news in the region. Available on iTunes, search “BBJcast.”

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is seeking as much as $200 million in federal stimulus money to pay for nearly half of a smart grid program that will help customers reduce energy consumption during times of peak demand.


Nuclear Weapons News

Nine subs to be scrapped – BarentsObserver

When the planned nine submarines are cut up during the year, the total number of decommissioned
Russian nuclear powered submarines will reach 186, reports Izvestia with reference
to Russia’s state nuclear body Rosatom.

Last year, 15 nuclear powered submarines were decommissioned, and for next year it is planned to utilise another 10 submarines. Most of the nuclear powered submarines are decommissioned at the naval yard Zvezdotchka in Severodvinsk, but also Nerpa on the Kola Peninsula and other naval yards in Russia’s Pacific region are scrapping older submarines.

AFP: N.Korea accuses Obama of nuclear war plot

North Korea has accused US President Barack Obama of plotting a nuclear war on the communist nation by reaffirming a US assurance of security for South Korea, the North’s state media said.

In a first official response to last week’s US-South Korean summit, the state-run weekly Tongil Sinbo said in its Saturday edition Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak “are trying to ignite a nuclear war”.

“The US-touted provision of ‘extended deterrence, including a nuclear umbrella’ (for South Korea) is nothing but ‘a nuclear war plan,'” Tongil Sinbo said.

Monitor Online | Museveni takes on America over nuclear weapons

President Yoweri Museveni has thrust himself in the combative global debate on nuclear weapons by challenging western superpowers to dismantle their own stockpiles before pressing other countries to abandon nuclear ambitions.

“How can some countries seek to monopolise the wielding of weapons of mass destruction while discouraging others from doing likewise,” the President said on a visit to Germany, according to a press statement from State House.
Mr Museveni said the United States, now engaged in feverish hostile exchanges with North Korea and Iranian leaders over nuclear weapons development, after all used its atomic bombs to shell Japanese industrial city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Seaport in August, 1945 to shorten end of World War II.

Israel Accuses ElBaradei of “Bias’ by Gordon Prather —

At a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency last week, Israel’s apparently paranoid delegate reportedly called on Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei “to avoid political bias” and to refrain from “publicly lashing” Israel.

That’s right! Israel’s delegate not Iran’s made those charges.

Why apparently paranoid?

Well, scroll back to June of 1981.

The paranoid Israelis had somehow convinced themselves that the nuclear research reactor the French were building for the Iraqis at Tuwaitha which would be fueled with  ear-weapons-grade enriched Uranium, already subject to IAEA Safeguards would be misused by Saddam Hussein to produce nuclear weapons.

Russia ready for deep nuclear arms cuts: Medvedev | Reuters

Russia is ready to dramatically cut its nuclear stockpiles in a new arms pact with the United States if Washington meets Russia’s concerns over missile defense, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.

“We are ready to reduce by several times the number of nuclear delivery vehicles compared with the START-1 pact,” he told a news conference in Amsterdam.

“As far as warheads are concerned, their numbers should be lower than envisaged by the Moscow 2002 pact,” he added.

He was referring to an interim pact called the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) which commits the sides to further cuts in their arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012.

The Associated Press: Russia wants US assurances on missile defense

Russia is ready for deep cuts of strategic nuclear weapons in a new deal with the United States if the U.S. eases Moscow’s concerns about plans for a missile defense system, President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

Medvedev lifted hopes for progress when President Barack Obama visits Moscow July 6-9 for talks focusing on replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December.

Launching the talks was part of Obama’s efforts to improve ties with Russia, which plunged to a post-Cold War low under the previous U.S. administration.

UK urged to ban uranium in weapons – News

THE United Nations Association Edinburgh has called on the UK government to follow Belgium’s lead on banning depleted uranium weapons.
Belgium’s decision has been praised by European military unions who are concerned about the impact the weapons may have on their members.

Opposition to uranium weapons in Belgium has been spearheaded by a group of more than 20 NGOs, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Gari Donn, chair of UNA Edinburgh, said: “Today marks the passage into force of Belgium’s 2007 decision to ban the use of uranium in conventional weapons and armour after a series of unanimous parliamentary votes.

Global News Blog» Legacy-building IAEA chief goes public with closed-door remarks

Insiders say Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was rather reticent and stiff in public when he took the job in 1997. He’d spent decades below the radar in Egypt’s foreign service, U.S. academia and the U.N. nuclear watchdog as head of the legal and external relations divisions.

But Mohamed ElBaradei evolved into a politically outspoken tribune for international peace and fair play.

That reputation grew as he challenged George W. Bush’s neocons over bogus evidence of mass-destruction weaponry they used to invade Iraq, and their policy of threatening rather than negotiating with Iran, which seemed to backfire by encouraging, not dissuading, Tehran to build up nuclear capability.

BBC NEWS | Eleven charged over nuclear demo

Eleven people have been charged after a demonstration at the UK’s nuclear weapons production site.

The protest began early on Monday at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire.

One man and 10 women are accused of causing a wilful obstruction of the highway. They are due to appear before magistrates in June and July.

AWE provides and maintains warheads for Trident, the UK’s submarine-launched nuclear missile system.

AFP: Russia to give India nuke sub where 20 died: report

A Russian nuclear submarine in which 20 people died after a toxic gas accident will
be leased to India later this year, a Russian defence official was quoted as saying
on Wednesday.

“On June 20 the vessel should finish all its tests. We are planning to hand the nuclear submarine over to India by the end of this year,” Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin said, quoted by Interfax news agency.

Popovkin was referring to the the Nerpa, an Akula-class attack submarine that was the site of the one of the Russian navy’s worst tragedies in recent years, Interfax reported.

Japan parliament calls for a nuke-free world – The China Post

Japan’s parliament has unanimously adopted a call for a nuclear weapons-free world in a resolution passed by both chambers that cleared the upper house Wednesday.

The resolution, which refers to U.S. President Barack Obama’s call in April for a world without atomic weapons, and to North Korea’s May 25 underground nuclear test, was submitted by a bipartisan group of legislators.

“Japan, as the only nation to have been attacked with atomic bombs, has a responsibility to spearhead efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world,” the resolution says.

“The government needs to make efforts toward eliminating nuclear weapons, by trying to extend the regional efforts over the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program to the global level.”

Elements of 1960 Intelligence Estimate Still Relevant Today – washington post

“We do not believe that Israel will embark on the development of nuclear weapons with the aim of actually starting a nuclear war,” reads the declassified 48-year-old CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate.

The estimate, publicly released June 5 by George Washington University’s National Security Archives, continues, “Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence and assertiveness.”

The Associated Press: NKorea: US journalists plotted ‘smear campaign’

One video recorder set, six tapes, a digital camera and a stone. North Korea laid out its evidence Tuesday against two American journalists sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally.

The country’s official news agency reported that the journalists, Lisa Ling and Euna Lee, documented their journey into communist North Korea, even pocketing a stone to commemorate the illicit trip across the frozen Tumen River from China.

“We’ve just entered a North Korean courtyard without permission,” the Korean translation of their videotape narration said, according to Korean Central News Agency.

Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, who work for former Vice President Al Gore’s California-based Current TV media group, were sentenced last Monday to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison for illegal entry and “hostile acts.”
Tight-fisted donors bastardizing IAEA: ElBaradei  | Reuters
Countries balking at raising the International Atomic Energy Agency’s budget have “bastardized” the U.N. watchdog to the point where it is struggling to combat growing proliferation threats, the IAEA chief said on Tuesday.

“If you come to me and say in your wisdom to cut here and cut there, I and my colleagues will not assume responsibility if in a couple of years we see another Chernobyl (nuclear plant meltdown) or a nuclear terrorist or a clandestine nuclear (weapons) program,” Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told a closed-door meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors. The governing body has for months held up a request for an 11 percent budget hike, with some major donors insisting on further zero real growth at a time of financial crisis while danger mounts of atom bomb know-how reaching volatile regions.

Most Israelis could live with a nuclear Iran: poll | International | Reuters
Only one in five Israeli Jews believes a nuclear-armed Iran would try to destroy Israel and most see life continuing as normal should their arch-foe get the bomb, an opinion poll published on Sunday found.

The survey, commissioned by a Tel Aviv University think tank, appeared to challenge the argument of successive Israeli governments that Iran must be denied the means to make atomic weapons lest it threaten the existence of the Jewish state.

Daily Kos: The big (nuclear) lie on Iran gets even bigger
In his coverage today of the Iranian election, the New York Times’ Bill Keller writes (with emphasis added by me):

Outside Iran, the result was comforting to hawks in Israel and some Western capitals who had feared that a more congenial Iranian president would cause the world to let down its guard against a country galloping toward nuclear weapons capability.

Not just with a “nuclear weapons program,” which would be a sufficiently big lie. Not just “making steady progress towards a nuclear weapons capability.” No, “galloping” towards it. The truth, of course, is that not only is there no evidence whatsoever of an Iranian “nuclear weapons program,” but that Iran has actively disavowed any intention ever to have one, with Ayatollah Khamenei going so far as to issue a fatwa against nuclear weapons.


Department of Energy News

DeNuke gets cleanup support contract at ORNL |

DeNuke Services announced that it received a blanket ordering agreement for support of environmental compliance and waste management at ORNL. The BOA with UT-Battelle is for one year, with four one-year options, according to John Coffman, president of DeNuke.

“It’s primarily providing technical personnel to support their EM (environmental management) and their cleanup program — health and safety, waste management, project oversight,” Coffman said.

Gilmartin to speak on Nuclear Energy Coalition |
Gary Gilmartin, executive director of the Oak Ridge Energy Parks Initiative, is the speaker at the June 25 membership meeting of ETEBA (Energy, Technology and Environmental Business Association).

According to info distributed by ETEBA, Gilmartin will speak on the Tennessee Valley Nuclear Energy Coalition, a partnership of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, ORNL, Y-12 and TVA.

“The partners plan to make the Tennessee Valley Corridor a center of excellence for nuclear research, technology and power generation,” the ETEBA release said.

Gilmartin, in his role as executive director of the Energy Parks Initiative, is working with CROET to develop a pilot energy park in Oak Ridge.

DOE transfers WIPP water line to city – Carlsbad Current-Argus

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that the Carlsbad Field Office will transfer the DOE-owned Waste Isolation Pilot Plant water line to the city of Carlsbad.

The move will provide the city with an additional water supply while saving the Department of Energy thousands of dollars. DOE first installed the water line in 1984 to support the ongoing operations of the department’s disposal facility. It now transports water from the city-owned Double Eagle Water System wells to the plant.

Under the finalized bill of sale, the city will take over complete responsibility for maintaining and repairing the pipeline in exchange for the water line. The city of Carlsbad also agrees to maintain WIPP’s existing priority water use and will supply WIPP with up to 6.6 million gallons of water a year.

The Associated Press: SC job-seekers line up for gig cleaning nuke waste
Thousands of people from some of South Carolina’s most depressed counties are flocking to information sessions for new jobs cleaning up an old nuclear weapons complex.

Some of the 2,000 people at a job fair in Barnwell this week say they don’t mind that the job is cleaning up nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site. They say the economy is so bad that just about any job sounds good.

The Associated Press: Janitor gets 6 years in Tenn. nuclear parts theft

A former janitor was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for trying to sell scrap hardware he stole from a shuttered plant that enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

Roy Lynn Oakley, 67, of Harriman pleaded guilty in January to one count of disclosing restricted data in violation of the Atomic Energy Act. He entered the plea deal the day his trial was set to begin.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan sentenced Oakley to the six-year prison term outlined in the deal and three years of supervised release after Oakley gets out. He could have received up to 20 years if convicted of the original two charges in his indictment.

Y-12’s long-lost environmental impact statement |

It’s woefully behind schedule — about four years, in fact — and almost forgotten, but a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant may be published later this year.

The big environmental document, known as the SWEIS, was under preparation years ago and reportedly nearing completion, but it got shunted aside and all but disappeared when a bigger project — involving post-Cold War “transformation” of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex — came on the scene.

That, however, did not eliminate the legal obligations to do an environmental study of impacts at Y-12.

Steven Wyatt, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said the Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Y-12 is still alive, still in preparation and “projected to be be published around the end of September 2009.”

Department of Energy – Obama Officials Announce Steps to Promote the Clean Energy Potential of the West
Secretaries Chu, Salazar and Vilsack and Chairs Sutley and Wellinghoff announce energy and transmission policies at the Western Governors’ Association Annual Meeting

PARK CITY, UTAH – Senior Obama Administration officials today announced a number of steps that will help the West to tap its clean energy potential and create green jobs. The efforts announced during the annual meeting of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) reflect a comprehensive, broad-based strategy across the Administration to support western states in their efforts to grow their local economies and meet their energy needs.

The West has been at the forefront of the country’s development and implementation of clean energy technologies, leading the way in passing effective Renewable Portfolio Standards and harnessing the region’s significant renewable energy resources. The initiatives announced today a collaboration of federal and state efforts – will help these states continue to lead on energy and climate issues, while driving our economic recovery and protecting the environment.

Portsmouth Daily Times – Committees Discuss Cleanup
Members of a committee helping to oversee cleanup of nuclear waste at the site of the now-closed Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant here met with their counterparts who worked with the cleanup of the former Feed Material Production Center in Fernald, near Cincinnati.

The Fernald plant, built by the Atomic Energy Commission, produced more than 500 million pounds of uranium metal from 1952 to 1989, said Johnny Reising, site director for the Fernald closing project for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Cleanup of the radioactive waste byproducts, stored in metal cylinders above ground, began in the 1980s and, after nearly 25 years, is now completed. The cost was nearly $4.5 billion.


Other Energy News

Many hands draw maps showing renewable lodes – Las Vegas Sun
Power lines, such as those near Hoover Dam, cannot be built to reach remote areas for renewable energy development until the areas for energy production are agreed upon. Several entities have offered or are working on maps locating renewable energy resources.

Chris Morris
Related Document

* States, energy secretary agree to safe nuclear waste transport

On one map they look like bubbles. On another they’re more like hot dogs.

These shaded circles and oblongs in Nevada and across the West could one day be clusters of solar power plants, wind farms or geothermal energy projects.

UNEP & NEF Reveal Worldwide Renewable Energy Investment Trends – Renewable Energy World
New York City, United States []

Close to US $155 billion was invested in 2008 in renewable energy companies and projects worldwide, not including large hydro. Of this $13.5 billion of new private investment went into companies developing and scaling-up new technologies alongside $117 billion of investment in renewable energy projects from geothermal and wind to solar and biofuels.

The 2008 investment is more than a four-fold increase since 2004 according to Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009, prepared for the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative by global information provider New Energy Finance.

Of the $155 billion, $105 billion was spent directly developing 40 GW of power generating capacity from wind, solar, small-hydro, biomass and geothermal sources. A further $35 billion was spent on developing 25 GW of large hydropower, according to the report.

WindFarm Estinnes Takes Wind Power to a New Scale – Renewable Energy World
At the end of May, Renewable Energy World’s Eize de Vries was invited to Belgium to view the construction of a wind farm that may be providing a view of the future.

And a genuine wind industry innovation, Eize de Vries reports, is that the advanced E-126 built-in power electronics will actively contribute towards stabilizing the transmission grid voltage within the entire region.

WindFarm Estinnes S.A. is an onshore wind farm that will comprise eleven of the latest generation of Enercon’s E-126 direct drive wind turbines, a machine currently rated at 6 megawatts. Each E-126 has a 127-metre rotor diameter — combined with the 135-metre the turbine has a total 198.5 metre installation height. WindVision’s Estinnes is expected to generate at least 187,000 MWh per year. And a genuine wind industry innovation, Eize de Vries reports, is that the advanced E-126 built-in power electronics will actively contribute towards stabilizing the transmission grid voltage within the entire region.

The Cost of Energy» Document alert: BP’s Stats
Yes, my fellow energy and enviro geeks, it’s true: BP’s annual release of their Statistical Review of World Energy is out. I’ll pause for a moment while you run around your office or home, leaping and cheering like a maniac.

The Cost of Energy» Graph of the week: The US transportation gap
You can quote numbers all day about how much oil the US uses and for which purposes, but few things drive the point home like the graph below. This shows US oil consumption for just transportation (broken out by mode), with a line plot of domestic production, revealing a humongous gap and explaining why so many peak oil adherents are so freaked out.

Peak Energy: “New” Nuclear Reactors, Same Old Story
AMory Lovins has a look at various new forms of nuclear power being touted as the next big thing – “New” Nuclear Reactors, Same Old Story.

he dominant type of new nuclear power plant, light-water reactors (LWRs), proved unfinanceable in the robust 2005-08 capital market, despite new U.S. subsidies approaching or exceeding their total construction cost. New LWRs are now so costly and slow that they save 20x less carbon, 20-40x slower, than micropower and efficient end-use.1 As this becomes evident, other kinds of reactors are being proposed instead—novel designs claimed to solve LWR’s problems of economics, proliferation, and waste.2 Even climate-protection pioneer Jim Hansen says these Gen IV reactors merit rapid R&D.3 But on closer examination, the two kinds most often promoted Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) and thorium reactors reveal no economic, environmental, or security rationale, and the thesis is unsound for any nuclear reactor.

It’s Official — The Era of Cheap Oil Is Over
Every summer, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy issues its International Energy Outlook (IEO) — a jam-packed compendium of data and analysis on the evolving world energy equation. For those with the background to interpret its key statistical findings, the release of the IEO can provide a unique opportunity to gauge important shifts in global energy trends, much as reports of routine Communist Party functions in the party journal Pravda once provided America’s Kremlin watchers with insights into changes in the Soviet Union’s top leadership circle.

New UCS Analysis Finds Waxman-Markey RES Won’t Increase Clean Energy Deployment
According to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard (CERES — formerly RES) in the Waxman-Markey climate legislation will not increase renewable electricity generation and might actually reduce it.

UCS concludes:

“Bottom line: The Waxman-Markey RES does not ensure that any new renewable electricity will be developed beyond the renewables that are already projected to occur under the business as usual forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

Time to try renewable energy – News & Observer
The article “Renewable energy potential” (Work&Money, Editor’s Choice, June 7) provided interesting and useful information. Now it is time to begin to use more renewable energy in North Carolina.

One of our electric utility companies should develop a pilot project in one of the high-wind areas off the North Carolina coast. This energy could be used to provide some power to Elizabeth City, Manteo or any other city located on the northern part of our coast. Our electric utility companies have many intelligent engineers who could use new technology to build wind turbines that can withstand strong storms. If other states in the Northeast can build wind farms off their coasts, then North Carolina can surely do the same.

Taiwan: Taiwan green energy industry set to boom after new law enacted
Taiwan’s green energy industy is poised to boom after a statute aimed at promoting renewable energy development cleared the legislative floor last week, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official said Saturday.

Yeh Hui-ching, director of the MOEA Bureau of Energy, said passage of the Renewable Energy Development Act has formally ushered into Taiwan the era of alternative energy development and related applications.

Mass. looks to landfills, military for wind power – BostonHerald
Massachusetts is searching for every blustery nook and cranny it can find to boost wind energy production, from the tops of former dumps to a vast military reservation.

Gov. Deval Patrick has set a state goal of generating 2,000 megawatts of wind power by the year 2020  an effort that may require up to 3,000 wind turbines.

So far, the state boasts a mere 11 commercial-scale turbines and dozens of smaller ones.

Due to lack of time, I’ve not added other energy stories this week. yet.

There are a few!  This is just filler to space out the images for now until I get time to post them. rh


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

‘It’s Not Like We Have No Isotopes’
TORONTO – Lisa Raitt, the Minister of Natural Resources, tried yesterday to assuage public fears that Canada is in the throes of a grave medical crisis, saying world isotope experts are working on a solution to medical isotope shortage and getting the Chalk River, Ont., facility up and running again is a top priority.

“We do have a shortage of medical isotopes. The province, the government and the medical community have been working together to ensure those who really need the medical isotopes will get medical isotopes,” she said. “It’s not like we have no isotopes. This week we had 75% of our normal supply.”

The Free Press — Big Nuke’s desperate radioactive hoax in impoverished Ohio

Job-starved southern Ohioans are being promised a shiny new nuclear plant. But the announcement has come with a cruel reminder, and the scent of a desperate hoax.

Using the gargantuan corpse of the shuttered Portsmouth-Piketon uranium enrichment plant as his backdrop, U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) punctuated his enthusiastic endorsement the new nuke by proclaiming that, with his support, the US government has paid thousands of Ohio workers hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for the health damage they suffered from being irradiated while working there.

What was he thinking?

Opinion | Efficiency, renewable energy better bets than gambling anew on nuclear power | Seattle Times Newspaper
Energy Northwest’s proposal to research whether another nuclear reactor should be built in Washington state ignores better and less risky energy alternatives, writes guest columnist Sara Patton, executive director of the NW Energy Coalition.

By Sara Patton

NOTHING could do more to spotlight the need to draw tomorrow’s power from energy efficiency and new renewable resources than the recent news that Energy Northwest wants to build more nuclear-power plants in Washington.

Energy Northwest ” a consortium of 25 publicly owned Washington electric utilities ” is asking its members to pay for additional research for a proposed nuclear plant that it says could be under construction in 2014.

The fledgling project ignores the severe financial and radioactive waste-disposal risks still posed by nuclear power. And it disregards extensive documentation of the region’s substantial clean-energy potential.

A potential nuclear mess – Las Vegas Sun

The companies that own most of the nation’s aging nuclear reactors are not putting aside an adequate amount of money to properly close them when the time comes, an Associated Press review of financial records found.

Part of the problem is that the nuclear industry has been battered, along with everyone else, by the stock market and the sour economy. Critics, however, say that the industry has never put enough money aside to close plants.

Instead of planning for closure, plant owners are delaying the inevitable, with the help of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC has given 19 plants permission to mothball their reactors for as many as 60 years before closing them. The commission has also granted 20-year license extensions for 54 reactors, more than half of the nation’s plants, which could mean closure would come in 80 years. – There’s a lesson to learn from Chernobyl disaster – Breaking News, New Brunswick, Canada

Mayor Stephen Brunet notes a nuclear waste facility would bring “multi-billions spent in the economy of the area.” Maybe so. But it’s hard to spend your money once you’re dead.

Nuclear waste from reactors is incredibly toxic and it stays highly toxic for thousands of years. When the Chernobyl nuclear disaster struck in April 1986, it wound up spewing tons of radioactive waste into the atmosphere.

The result? Twenty years later, people are still dying from this horrific accident. The International Atomic Energy Agency itself has admitted the fallout from Chernobyl could eventually result in a total of 4,000 deaths from radiation exposure. Greenpeace claims this number is grossly under-estimated and pegs the total number of deaths at 100,000. | Opinion | Too many ifs cloud nuclear future
If only the political melodrama would end; if only the Chalk River reactor would stop springing leaks; if only the Ontario government would buy a couple of CANDU reactors, there might be a nuclear renaissance in Canada.

But that is a lot of ifs.

This should be an opportune moment for Canada’s once-proud nuclear industry. The world is hungry for low-carbon energy. Fossil fuel prices are rising and will stay high when governments impose caps on greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario is poised to buy two giant reactors. And dozens of countries are in the market for nuclear power.

But no one is ready to predict a rosy future for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

The C.D. Howe Institute, which just completed a study of the nuclear industry, concluded that a resurgence is possible, but only if the government gets out of the nuclear reactor business, untangles its confusing array of regulations and comes up with a long-term plan to manage nuclear waste.

National Journal Online — Energy/Enviro Experts — Is Nuclear The Green Solution?
Should America turn to nuclear power to cut greenhouse gases?

Senate Republicans want to build 100 new commercial nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. Over the last two years the industry has applied for licenses to build 30 new reactors, and Babcock & Wilcox Co. recently unveiled a new mini-nuke plant aimed at supplying power to small electricity users, such as municipal districts or individual industrial customers. But critics say nuclear power is too expensive and so risky that Wall Street won’t finance the new plants. Opponents are critical of proposals for a federal loan guarantee program for low-carbon energy projects that could help finance the new nuclear plants.

Should we embrace nuclear power as a solution to climate change? What role should the federal government play in building new nuclear plants?

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