Top 100 Energy Stories (Aug 3rd – 9th)

radbull The Top energy stories person is still on vacation. The news is here and being produced, but a week late.  You can click and see all the stories below!


Anyone interested in doing the commentary for the weekly bulletin?

It would help spice things up!

After doing this for many years,  I’m finding that I get more stimulation working locally.  Lots of motivation to move on these days and do something else. Kind of has me torn.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

TVA curtails plans for reactors at Alabama plant | | The Tennessean
TVA is scaling back plans for new reactors at its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeast Alabama as it moves forward with building a natural-gas-powered generator adjacent to a coal-fired steam plant near Rogersville, Tenn.

The Bellefonte plant, picked three years ago as a possible site for America’s next reactor and once eyed for up to four reactors, is now being studied for a single reactor to be built within the next decade.

TVA announced Friday that falling power sales and rising cleanup costs at the Kingston ash spill have changed plans for the nuclear plant in Hollywood, Ala.

“As the valley grows, TVA intends to meet the demand for power with a combination of conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and additional base load generation,” TVA Senior Vice President Ashok Bhatnagar said.

Anti-nuclear group launches
As CPS Energy continues to present its case to the public for spending billions of dollars on two nuclear reactors, community groups opposed to the plan are banding together to make their own case.

A new organization, calling itself Energia Mia, is holding a press conference today before one of CPS Energy’s neighborhood meetings that were set up for the utility to answer questions about its plan to partner in the expansion of the nuclear South Texas Project outside of Bay City.

“We have noticed that there are a lot of groups in San Antonio that have different reasons for opposing nuclear energy, but all have come to the conclusion that it is not in our best interest,” said Cindy Weehler of the Consumers’ Energy Coalition and one of Energia Mia’s organizers. “We decided that we are going to have a venue or a forum. CPS is going out and educating the community on their side of the issue. We would like to educate people to our side of the issue.” Japan keen to be the go-to guy on nuke power – English
With an eye on the vast, emerging Asian market for nuclear power generation, Japanese industry, academia and government groups are stepping up joint efforts to train personnel from the region in legal, technological and safety areas.

Amid concerns over global warming, more countries in Asia and elsewhere are moving to introduce nuclear power generation, giving rise to the need for a wide range of expertise.

Such countries are counting on Japan’s help in pushing their goal, while Japan– vying with such rivals as France and South Korea– hopes to gain business footholds in the Asian market through cooperation in human resources development.

“Japan is highly rated for its safety regulations, nuclear nonproliferation efforts and manufacturing expertise,” says industry ministry official Taizo Takahashi, director of the Nuclear Energy Policy Planning Division of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

Business Report – Cost of nuclear demo plant soars to R31bn
The cost of Pebble Bed Modular Reactor’s (PBMR’s) demonstration plant and pilot fuel plant had almost doubled to R31-billion as a result of inflation and higher materials costs, company chief executive Jaco Kriek said last week.

Kriek said the demonstration reactor, which would generate 200 megawatts of heat and 80MW of electricity, was now expected to be commissioned by 2018 – four years later than previously expected.

The plant has yet to receive environmental clearance.

Vermont Yankee failed to conduct monitoring: Times Argus Online
Vermont Yankee says it was more than a year behind in conducting additional radiation monitoring as required by the state.

The additional monitoring of the nuclear plant’s spent fuel storage was supposed to begin in the spring of 2008 and was required as part of a state license that allows Yankee to store spent fuel in steel and concrete casks. But a spokesman told Vermont Public Radio that officials recently discovered they had failed to set up the monitoring protocol.

Larry Smith says radiation measurements taken at the plant’s boundary show that public health and safety are protected, but officials need to formalize their process to make sure they’re in compliance. The new monitoring system is now in place.

Resurgence of nuclear power not likely to happen —
After the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, years passed before anyone took seriously the idea of a nuclear revival. Then our friend the atom started making a comeback.

Rising demand for energy provided a boost. And the outpouring of concern about climate change put fossil fuels and their carbon emissions at center stage as environmental enemy No. 1. Utilities across the country began laying the groundwork for new reactors, following the lead of Europe and Asia.

Yet talk of a “nuclear renaissance” has run into a financial meltdown.

TVA backs firm exploring small nuclear reactors » Knoxville News Sentinel
Small nuclear reactors — like a mini-car versus a Hummer — are on the drawing board of the nuclear industry, which has been hard-pressed to get financing for the standard-size models.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to help one nuclear power company, Babcock & Wilcox of Lynchburg, Va., gain certification for such a scaled-down version.

The reactors would be a tenth of the normal size and suitable for a community of 100,000 residents. The atom-splitting operations and radioactive waste would be stored underground, which advocates say offers more protection from airplane sabotage by terrorists.

SA Current – Moody’s taking dim view of nuclear option
This small alert from Moody’s Investor Service has been making the rounds these past two weeks. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t throw it out there with schmear o’ analysis.

The “special comment” issued last month is pretty plain. Moody’s analysts found that the construction of nuclear-power plants represents a huge financial gamble — a “bet the farm” proposition — that proceeds only at the whim of innumerable political factors over a lengthy time line.

Maryland Gets More Time to Review Constellation-EDF Deal –
The Maryland Public Service Commission has granted a request by state officials to extend hearings regarding the proposed $4.5 billion investment in Constellation Energy by EDF, a French energy company.

Constellation and EDF had been moving toward a Sept. 17 deadline to complete the deal. But the Maryland Energy Administration and other state agencies had asked for more time to review terms of the proposal.

Graphic: The state of nuclear power – Posted
In Saturday’s National Post Kathryn Blaze Carlson writes about the future of the nuclear industry. Below some crucial numbers on the industry.

Listen to Kathryn Carlson on nuclear power

Ontario ‘scratching its head’ over nuclear plan
The fate of nuclear energy in Ontario, once assured, appears more ambiguous than ever after one high-profile project was recently put on hold and another scrapped altogether.

On July 23, Ontario’s Bruce Power — a private generator company that produces a fifth of the province’s electricity — said that because of declining energy demand, it will focus on refurbishing its two remaining units rather than going ahead with an application to build new reactors. The decision came less than a month after the province announced it was suspending a reported $26-billion proposal to build two new reactors at its Darlington site, a project that would consume the province’s entire 20-year budget to ramp up its 40-year-old fleet.

Israel wants nuclear power plant – Ynetnews
Israel recently asked the United States to assist in the establishment of a nuclear power plant in the southern Negev desert, Yedioth Aharonoth reported Friday.

For the time being, no response was received from Washington.

The government needs America’s approval so it can build an internationally monitored civilian reactor while avoiding monitoring of Israel’s other nuclear capabilities.

GERMANY: Nuclear Power Fails, And Nobody Notices – IPS
Seven German nuclear plants have failed to generate any electricity this month due to technical breakdowns. They have about half the production capacity of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors, but Germany did not suffer any power shortages.

The plants have between them a 9,000 megawatt (MW) capacity, but Germany generates more electricity than it consumes, and has been exporting some of the surplus to France, which is heavily dependent on nuclear power.

Early this month, three plants shut down automatically due to failures in their transformers. The other four have been out of service for months, and are undergoing expensive repairs.

The breakdowns come at a time when the planned phasing out of nuclear power is under attack. In 2002, the coalition government of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens decided that all nuclear reactors would be phased out by 2021.

At the same time, the government launched a massive investment programme in renewable energy, making Germany the leading country in Europe in use of the sun and wind as energy sources.

According to official figures, Germany generates 15 percent of the electricity it consumes from renewable sources. A law passed in 2008 sets a target of generating at least 30 percent of electricity through renewables by 2020.

Additionally, on Jul. 13, a group of large German companies announced a joint investment of 400 billion euros (560 billion dollars) in setting up solar thermal plants in the Sahara, to generate at least 15 percent of all electricity needed in Europe by the year 2020.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Jul. 1 that she would reverse the phasing out of nuclear power if her Christian Democratic Party wins the general election in September, and can form a coalition with the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party. Merkel presently rules in coalition with the SPD.

“Nuclear power remains an indispensable component of the German energy mix,” Merkel told the annual meeting of Atomforum, a group representing the four major German electricity provider

Radioactive water leak stopped at Chalk River
Radioactive water has stopped leaking from the nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ont., ending two months of low-level radiation seeping into the atmosphere near Ottawa.

Workers with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. recently completed draining the reactor’s 65,000-litre vessel and are now preparing to dispatch a remote-controlled ultra-sonic probe deep into the disabled machine to inspect the site of a pinhole leak of tritium-laced heavy water that began on May 14.

What it reveals will help determine how to proceed with what is expected to be a delicate and potentially costly repair.

Ottawa asked to bring back mothballed nuclear reactors
As doctors and their patients struggle with a growing shortage of the medical isotopes used to treat cancer and other diseases, the federal government is coming under renewed pressure to fire up two nuclear reactors that were to be the backups to the rusting and leaky Chalk River, Ont., reactor where most of those isotopes are produced.

MDSNordion, the Ottawa company that takes the isotopes produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. at its 52-year-old National Research Universal reactor and wholesales them to pharmaceutical companies, urged the government on Monday to re-activate the NRU’s backup plan — a proposal that was mothballed last spring by AECL with the federal government’s approval.

Exelon wants info on Oyster Creek tritium leak withheld | | Asbury Park Press
The owners of Oyster Creek Generating Station have asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the full analysis regarding the cause of a recent tritium leak at the plant not be made public.

Earlier this month, state Sen. Christopher J. Connors and Assemblymen Brian E. Rumpf and Daniel M. Van Pelt, all R-Ocean, called for the immediate release of the root-cause analysis of the leak that occurred in April at the plant in the Forked River section of the township.

“We will discuss what our review of the root-cause analysis found in our upcoming inspection report on the groundwater contamination issues at Oyster Creek,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said Wednesday. He added that the report should be issued next month.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Looking for signs of contamination in Hanford-area fish (w/gallery) – Breaking News – Yahoo | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news
Employees of Environmental Assessment Services are living the good life this summer, getting paid to go fishing.

To make final plans for the environmental cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation, the Department of Energy and its regulators need to know more about the extent of contamination in the Columbia River.

That requires checking hundreds of fish, in part to assess their condition, but chiefly to test for any Hanford chemicals or radionuclides that could harm anyone eating those fish.

Someone has to catch the fish. And Environmental Assessment Services of Richland has been given that dirty job.

This past week, employees were fishing for sturgeon and walleye.

Depleted Uranium Ammunition in Afghan War: New Evidence
A military manual that was handed over to German campaigners has reignited allegations that the US used DU ammunition in Afghanistan. If true, it runs counter to repeated assurances given by the US military that no DU was used. The manual, a war-fighting guide for Bundeswehr contigents in Afghanistan is marked classified and for official NATO use only. It was written by the Bundeswehr’s Centre for Communication and published in late 2005.

Campaigners have long suspected that the US military has not been entirely candid over the issue and papers have emerged showing that DU munitions were transported to Afghanistan. The use of A10 Warthog aircraft — one of the main users of DU ammunition — remains widespread to this day, although the number of armoured targets is now much diminished. Estimates by Janes Defence in 2003 suggested that the Taliban had at least 100 main battle tanks and 250 armoured fighting vehicles at the beginning of the conflict. It would be unusual if the US Army had chosen not to engage these targets with DU munitions from the air.

The section on DU munitions begins with:

EPA re-evaluates rocket fuel chemical’s effect on children – Las Vegas Sun
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to re-evaluate the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate, once made near Lake Mead, because of its potential health impacts on infants and children.

Under the Bush administration, the EPA made a preliminary decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. In the 1990s scientists discovered perchlorate from two chemical plants in Henderson in Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead waters. Lake Mead supplies 90 percent of Las Vegas Valley’s drinking water.

Depleted uranium no risk to public, Army contends – Hawaii News –
A preliminary study has concluded the public is not at risk from depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, the military said.

The Army conducted the study as part of its licensing application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a site-specific environmental radiation monitoring plan.

According to the report, only three pieces of the radioactive material have been found at Pohakuloa, and the remainder, if any, likely fell into cracks in the lava. The July 8 report says, “If any significant quantity of DU was fired at PTA, it is expected to have quickly migrated through the pahoehoe and a’a basalt flows and is no longer detectable at the surface.”

Court recognizes 10 as ill from A-bombings; 19th loss for gov’t › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion
The Kumamoto District Court on Monday recognized 10 of 13 plaintiffs as suffering from radiation-related illnesses due to the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, dealing a 19th straight loss for the government in a series of similar suits filed across Japan. The remaining three plaintiffs have already been certified as suffering from atomic bomb-related diseases under the government’s new criteria in place since April last year for giving such sufferers 137,000 yen monthly in special medical allowances.

The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for compensation, but gave another boost to the hopes of aging and ailing atomic-bomb survivors for a settlement of the matter as soon as possible since a similar ruling in May by the Tokyo High Court caused the government to decide to come up with an answer before the Aug 6 and 9 anniversaries of the U.S. bombings of the two Japanese cities.

The Canadian Press: Truckers exposed to high dose of radiation during cross-country haul: report
Two truckers were exposed to excessive doses of radiation last year while hauling a radioactive device across the country, newly released documents show.

A preliminary investigation by Canada’s nuclear-safety watchdog found the drivers got more than their yearly limit of radiation on a six-day trip last December.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission learned of the problem when the shipment triggered a radiation alarm on arrival at an MDS Nordion office in Ottawa.

The commission traced the problem to a technician with Nomad Inspection Services of Olds, Alta., who didn’t fasten a safety lock to a radioactive device before it was packaged and shipped.

Charleston Daily Mail – Truck crash in WVa prompts evacuation
An accident that caused a fire in a truck carrying hazardous material briefly forced the evacuation of about 100 people in and around the Summers County community of Sandstone.

Emergency dispatchers say the truck was involved in a crash with another vehicle early Sunday morning.

State Police say the truck was carrying a container with about 32,000 pounds of the radioactive chemical compound called Uranium hexafluoride.

After crews found the material’s container to be undamaged, residents evacuated to Summers County Middle School were allowed to return to their homes.

Dispatchers say no one was seriously injured in the crash.

Plan to Pay Sick Nuclear Workers Unfairly Rejects Many, Doctor Says – ProPublica
Carla McCabe spent a decade building nuclear bombs at the sprawling Rocky Flats complex near Denver. When she developed a brain tumor and asked for help, federal officials told her that none of the toxic substances used at the top-secret bomb factory could have caused her cancer.

Now, on the eighth anniversary of the federal program created to help sick nuclear weapons workers, the man who until recently was the program’s top doctor says that McCabe, now 55, and many others like her are being improperly rejected.

Uranium travels nerves from nose to brain. — Environmental Health News
Radioactive uranium that is inhaled by soldiers on the battlefield and by workers in factories may bypass the brain’s protective barrier by following nerves from the nose directly to the brain.

Nerves can act as a unique conduit, carrying inhaled uranium from the nose directly to the brain, finds a study with rats. Once in the brain, the uranium may affect task and decision-related types of thinking.

This study provides yet another example of how some substances can use the olfactory system – bypassing the brain’s protective blood barrier – to go directly to the brain. Titanium nanoparticles and the metals manganese, nickel, and thallium have been shown to reach the brain using the same route.

Military personnel and people who work in uranium processing plants are exposed to the weak radioactive element via wounds or by breathing. Exposure may affect brain function; cognitive skills are lowered in soldiers who carry uranium-laced shrapnel.

Dodging the Evidence – Leukemias and Nuclear Power Plants | open Democracy News Analysis
The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) is a quango that is supposed to be a watchdog on the health issues arising from the activities of nuclear installations in the UK. COMARE’s terms of reference are “to assess and advise Government . on the health effects of natural and man-made radiation and to assess the adequacy of the available data and the need for further research”.

But how seriously does this body take its responsibilities? Not very, it seems.

A recent authoritative health study commissioned by the German government entitled KiKK (Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von KernKraftwerken, or Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants) found increased leukemias near all German nuclear facilities. The Environmental Health Sub-Committee of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group, a group that discusses nuclear issues mainly concerning Sellafield, raised the findings of this study with COMARE and asked for its views. A one-page COMARE briefing was sent by Professor Alex Elliott, the COMARE chairman, and was read out to the May 2009 meeting of the Environmental Health Sub Committee as COMARE’s official view. It is likely that other stakeholder groups near other UK nuclear sites were informed along similar lines. However the COMARE briefing was never published on its website.

Independent: Making them sick: Forgotten People seeks state of emergency over contaminated water
Some residents in the Black Falls/Box Springs area have been drinking uranium- and arsenic-contaminated water for nearly 40 years. Another month or two, while they wait on the Navajo Nation to declare a state of emergency, probably won’t kill them. Then again, maybe it will.

During a July 11 meeting at the Box Springs home of Rolanda and Larry Tohannie, more than 80 people — many of them cancer victims — traveled miles of washboard roads in the summer heat to meet with representatives of the Navajo Nation and voice concerns about their illnesses, their need for safe drinking water, and what they view as a lack of assistance by Window Rock.

Whitehaven News | Radiation link to death of campaigner
RADIATION is thought to have contributed to the death of the former Sellafield worker who was jailed in 2004 for a bomb hoax at the site’s visitors centre.

Duncan Ball, who worked in the Magnox plant for 20 years, died on July 17. He was 49.

In 2007 Mr Ball was diagnosed with a bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma) and The Whitehaven News understands he received an interim payment from the nuclear industry scheme to compensate workers or their dependents for diseases which may be radiation-linked.

The scheme was set up by BNFL and the unions at Sellafield in 1982 and compensation is paid on a balance of possibilities (20 per cent and over) that a cancer may have been induced by occupational exposure to radiation.

The safety inadequacies of India’s fast breeder reactor | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
* India’s Department of Atomic Energy plans to build a large fleet of fast breeder nuclear reactors in the coming years.
* However, many other countries that have experimented with fast reactors have shut down their programs due to technical and safety difficulties.
* The Indian prototype is similarly flawed, inadequately protected against the possibility of a severe accident.

India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is planning a large expansion of nuclear power, in which fast breeder reactors play an important role. Fast breeder reactors are attractive to the DAE because they produce (or “breed”) more fissile material than they use. The breeder reactor is especially attractive in India, which hopes to develop a large domestic nuclear energy program even though it has primarily poor quality uranium ore that is expensive to mine.

Soldiers’ Armor May Be Unhealthy – Phoenix News Story – KPHO Phoenix
Depleted Uranium Gives Off Small, Safe Doses Of Radiation, Army Says

PHOENIX — New research is raising questions about the safety of a type of material used to make weapons deadlier and armor stronger.

Depleted uranium, a byproduct of nuclear weapons, is widely used to coat tanks and shells, among other military equipment; however, some believe that the radiation it emits can harm people.

Jerry Wheat was in the army during the first Gulf War when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a shell from a U.S. tank.


NRC News

NRC says plant records falsified – The State
A contract foreman with Columbia’s Westinghouse nuclear fuel plant has been fired and the company cited by federal regulators after inspectors found that the foreman falsified safety records at the Bluff Road facility.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced a settlement Friday with Westinghouse in which the company said it will improve oversight of contractors hired to work the plant. It also agreed to an assessment of how well company employees are trained to investigate wrongdoing.

Company spokesman Jackie McCoy said the contract foreman had been relieved of his duties, but she declined to name the person. She said the contract foreman oversaw fewer than 10 employees at the plant, near the Congaree River south of Interstate 77.

Westinghouse Electric Co.’s 550,000-square-foot plant, one of the few of its kind in the United States, makes fuel rods for nuclear power stations across the country. The Bluff Road factory is one of the Columbia area’s largest employers, with more than 1,000 workers.

FR: NRC’s involvement in Navy’s cleanup of Hunterpoint
Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Involvement With the Navy’s Remediation of the Hunters Point Shipyard Site in San Francisco, CA AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Notice of jurisdiction and future involvement. ———————————————————————– SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has decided that it will take a limited involvement approach to stay informed about the Navy’s ongoing remediation of the Hunters Point Shipyard (HPS) site in San Francisco, California. NRC will rely on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 oversight. This notice discusses NRC’s jurisdiction and future limited involvement at the HPS site and how it plans on staying informed about the Navy’s remediation in the future.

NRC – NRC Proposes Stronger Oversight of Radioactive Materials
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing to strengthen oversight of radioactive materials by limiting the amount of radioactive material allowed in generally licensed devices.

“I believe this proposed rule is a positive step forward in increasing the accountability of these materials,” NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko said. “I look forward to receiving input from the public on the agency’s proposal.”

The proposed rule would require owners of approximately 1,800 devices, an estimated 1,400 general licensees nationwide, to apply for specific licenses for the devices. This change applies primarily to fixed industrial gauges.

Requiring specific licenses for such devices would improve the safety, security and control over the gauges by bringing them under increased regulation, making it harder to accumulate a risk-significant amount of radioactive material or to procure a device through subterfuge.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Durango Herald News, Coloradans grapple with promise, threat of uranium
The Durango Herald looks at plans to open a uranium mill between Durango and Grand Junction, outside Naturita. If approved, it would be one of only two uranium mills in the state. Given Durango’s history of uranium processing (uranium in the first atomic bomb was processed at the former Smelter plant, which later became a Superfund cleanup site), we look at the decisions to be made that will determine whether the promise of uranium is fulfilled.

NATURITA – The resurgence of uranium mining in Western Colorado rests on a few promises.

This time, it will be different.
This time, the boom won’t go bust.

This time, the government can be trusted to do its job.

Push is on for mine cleanup funds to go to uranium sites – Salt Lake Tribune
The name Poison Canyon offers a hint of what’s faced by those trying to clean up abandoned uranium mines in the West.

The area north of the village of Milan contains some of the 259 abandoned uranium sites in New Mexico that need cleanup. State officials are pressuring the federal government to direct more money to those areas because of their unique hazard of radioactivity.

“In this case, a pile of rocks is more than just a pile of rocks,” said New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division Director Bill Brancard.

There are hundreds of thousands of safety issues at abandoned hardrock mines in 13 western states, according to the Government Accountability Office. Thousands of sites, many dating to the 19th century, also are considered environmentally damaged.

USEC’s hope for loan guarantee gets new life | | Chillicothe Gazette
USEC Inc.’s hope for a loan guarantee to complete work on the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon was given new life Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced late Tuesday afternoon that it plans to delay a review of USEC’s application until several specific technical and financial issues have been addressed. Those issues had been cited in late July as reasons for DOE to request USEC withdraw its application for $2 billion in loan guarantees seen as critical to completion of the American Centrifuge Plant.

The unspecified amount of additional time is intended to allow USEC to fully address issues identified by DOE relating to the readiness of the company’s uranium enrichment technology. DOE indicated it sees promise in the centrifuge process, but that USEC’s application for the loan guarantee does not meet all statutory and regulatory standards that would allow it to be accepted.

BBC NEWS | UK | Sellafield must ‘improve systems’
Sellafield managers have been told to make improvements after a radioactive leak went undetected for more than a year.

In January condensation was found to have been dripping from a pipe at the nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria.

The Environment Agency has issued an enforcement notice requiring improved equipment and maintenance routines.

Sellafield Ltd said no-one was exposed to the “low-level radiation”, and that improvements were already being made.

Activists battle new uranium mine – Salt Lake Tribune
Two environmental groups are trying to block Utah’s first new uranium mine in three decades.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Uranium Watch want the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to rethink its approval of the Daneros Mine, located about 10 miles from Natural Bridges National Monument.

The groups also want the federal agency to stop Australia-based White Canyon Uranium from mining its Daneros claim until BLM’s Utah director, Selma Sierra, determines whether her agency studied the environmental consequences sufficiently.

“There are a lot of issues associated with uranium mining that were not adequately assessed before the permits were issued,” Liz Thomas, an attorney for SUWA, said Friday.

EPA to oversee contaminated Navajo soil cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with United Nuclear Corp. and its parent company, General Electric Co., to clean up soil near the most badly contaminated former uranium mine on the Navajo Nation.

Rain and flash floods carry the radium-contaminated soil from the abandoned Northeast Church Rock Mine near Gallup, N.M., down an arroyo where children play and livestock graze.

Long-term exposure to such soil can lead to cataracts, fractured teeth and cancer, according to the EPA.

Under the agreement announced this week, United Nuclear will remove 3 to 13 feet of soil from the arroyo and surrounding areas and bring in clean dirt. The company also will regrade a uranium waste pile so that it drains back to the mine instead of where people live. – Feds speeding up removal of Moab uranium tailings
Work to remove 16 million tons of radioactive waste away from the tourist town of Moab is about to go a little faster.

The U.S. Department of Energy says it plans to double the amount of uranium tailings removed each day from the shores of the Colorado River.

Right now, rail cars take about 2,800 tons of tailings a day to a dump site 30 miles away, where they’re placed in specially designed cells. The DOE says a second train will be added in mid-August.


Nuclear Waste News | Gorleben chosen in revenge against East
A West German provincial leader placed a nuclear waste dump near the border with communist East Germany out of revenge for the East Germans doing the same on their side of the border. So claims a retired geology professor involved in the 1970s search for a salt deposit to be made a nuclear dump.
Gerd Lüttig told the ddp news agency that’s how Gorleben came to be chosen in 1977 by the Conservative premier of Lower Saxony state, Ernst Albrecht. Out of 100 salt deposits investigated, all of them in northern Germany, Gorleben was in the final shortlist of eight.

Lüttig says Albrecht wanted a location near the border because the East Germans “got us into hot water with their final repository at Morsleben”.

Gorleben and Morsleben are about 95 kilometres apart as the crow flies, by road Morsleben is 120 kms south of Gorleben. Both villages were close to the border that separated the two Germanies at time when the communist regime still killed people trying to escape across what was regarded as the world’s deadliest border.

Crate with low-level radiation found on South L.A. street | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times
Authorities are trying to determine how a shipping crate labeled “radioactive” ended up today on a residential street in South L.A.

Firefighters found minimal to background-level radiation in the 3-feet-by-3-feet container after they arrived this afternoon at 109th Street between Spring and Main streets. The package was not damaged nor were the contents leaking, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles city Fire Department.

Before the radiation level had been determined, five people who had come in contact with the container were rinsed off and the area around it was cordoned off, he said.

Humphrey said markings on the container will help investigators determine where it came from and where it should have been sent.

EnergySolutions confident about foreign imports – Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. is in a quandary about its proposal to share profits from foreign-waste disposal with the state.

Company chairman and CEO Steve Creamer told investors, during a conference call Thursday, that EnergySolutions is optimistic about its legal fight with Utah and two radioactive-waste organizations, the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste and the Rocky Mountain Compact.

He said the threat of a shareholder lawsuit might force him to withdraw the offer to split up to $3 billion in profits from disposing of Italian cleanup waste.

“If you just out and out won it [the lawsuit],” he told investment analysts, “how do I turn to my shareholders and say, ‘I’m giving away a large portion of [the profits] to the state of Utah.’ I mean, it’s a hard thing to say.”

VPR News: State may fine Yankee for failure to monitor dry cask radiation
(Host) State regulators may levy fines against Vermont Yankee for its failure to monitor radiation that comes from its high-level nuclear waste.

The company was required to report the temperature and radiation from storage containers that hold spent nuclear fuel. State officials say they’re concerned about the apparent violation.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The monitoring was required as part of a state license that allows Yankee to store spent fuel in five steel and concrete casks near the reactor.

It was supposed to begin last year, but Yankee spokesman Larry Smith said the company didn’t discover until late June that it had never established the monitoring protocol.

(Smith) “And it’s an oversight by us. We did not catch that until an engineer who was assigned to the dry fuel storage project was going through a checklist.”

EnergySolutions’ Utah site due trainloads of depleted uranium – Salt Lake Tribune
More trains filled with depleted uranium are coming to Utah.

Even as state regulators consider a moratorium on new shipments of the radioactive material — which becomes more hazardous over time — the U.S. Department of Energy plans to ship another 14,800 barrels of it to the EnergySolutions Inc. disposal site in Tooele County.

Part of the $1.6 billion in federal stimulus money for the Savannah River cleanup site in South Carolina will pay for rail cars filled with depleted uranium to be buried in Utah during the next 13 months.

“This is exactly the situation we were hoping to prevent by asking the state Radiation Control Board to enact a moratorium on depleted uranium,” said Christopher Thomas of the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah.

EnergySolutions could boost Utah nuclear waste storage – Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s impending resignation could open the door for a nuclear waste disposal firm to increase the capacity of the country’s largest low-level radioactive waste dump by about 78 percent.

EnergySolutions Inc. was already on a path to pile up to 9.8 million cubic yards of waste on its mile-square facility in Utah in 2007 when Huntsman threatened to use a regional compact to block its application. Instead, Huntsman and company CEO Steve Creamer signed an agreement in which EnergySolutions withdrew its application and reaffirmed its commitment not to dispose of hotter radioactive waste in the state.

Utahns sound off about hot waste at Matheson meeting – Salt Lake Tribune
U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson commiserated Monday with Utahns who want tougher controls on low-level radioactive waste in the state, urging them to become advocates for his bill to ban shipments from abroad.

“I don’t stand before you with all of the ideas about how to get this done,” the Utah Democrat told a state Capitol meeting room filled with about 60 people “I’m looking for ideas and suggestions that can help me move this forward.”

Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. — which operates a disposal site for low-level radioactive waste in Tooele County that serves 36 states — won a federal court ruling last spring to import waste from Italy and other nations, a ruling that limits the state’s authority over the site on all but health and safety issues.

Radioactive waste dump expansion possible in Utah | AP Texas News | – Houston Chronicle
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s impending resignation could open the door for a nuclear waste disposal firm to increase the capacity of the country’s largest low-level radioactive waste dump by about 78 percent.

EnergySolutions Inc. was already on a path to pile up to 9.8 million cubic yards of waste on its mile-square facility in Utah in 2007 when Huntsman threatened to use a regional compact to block its application. Instead, Huntsman and company CEO Steve Creamer signed an agreement in which EnergySolutions withdrew its application and reaffirmed its commitment not to dispose of hotter radioactive waste in the state.

In exchange, Huntsman said the company could convert 3.6 million cubic yards of space reserved for uranium mill tailings so it could handle the type of debris that comes from decommissioned nuclear power plants. Huntsman also pledged not to tell the compact to reduce the 5.5 million cubic yards of waste already licensed to the company as long as it didn’t seek to expand.

Reid writes obit for Yucca, pointing to new Obama vow – Las Vegas Sun
The head of the Nevada agency fighting the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump likes to compare it to a horror-show zombie that will not die.

The Yucca Mountain project has seen its funding slashed, its science dismissed, its support dwindle. Still it lives on.

But on Thursday, the project 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas suffered its strongest blow yet.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the White House and its energy secretary have agreed to provide no funding in next year’s budget

EnergySolutions buying Oak Ridge railroad | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |
EnergySolutions is purchasing a short-line railroad that traverses the former K-25 uranium-enrichment site (now Heritage Center) and joins the main Norfolk Southern rail system at Blair Station a few miles north of the site.

The company and Heritage Railroad Corp., a subsidiary of the non-profit Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, confirmed the execution of an asset purchase agreement. Terms of the sale were not released.

Lawrence Young, the president of CROET, said the sale should be closed within 90 days following a number of actions, including a review by the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office (which looks at transactions from non-profit entities to for-profit companies).

Senate passes bill to close Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site – Los Angeles Times
The $34.3-billion energy measure would also allow water transfers to help California farmers suffering from severe drought conditions. Similar legislation has been approved by the House.
Associated Press
July 30, 2009

Washington — The Senate on Wednesday passed a $34.3-billion energy spending bill that backs up President Obama’s promise to close the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada.

The bill, passed by a 85-9 vote, also covers water transfers to help farmers in California and hundreds of water projects by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The House passed a similar bill two weeks ago. Once the measures are reconciled, the bill will go to the president for his signature.

European Dispatch Articles | German Salt Mine Nuclear Repository Leaks Radioactive Brine | Miller-McCune Online Magazine
Germany’s vaunted salt mine solution for low-level nuclear waste has proven to be full of holes.

Rock salt, at least while it’s underground, has two main properties: It can be soft and easy to mine, and it can form a watertight seal. This helps explain why the West German government started forklifting thousands of metal drums of “low-to-medium” radioactive waste into an abandoned salt mine called Asse II during the 1960s.

Asse II is named after its mountain range in the state of Lower Saxony. The mine plunges deep into the hills near Braunschweig (aka Brunswick), in the center of Germany, and politicians in Bonn regarded it during the Cold War as a test site for storage of nuclear waste. An overhead layer of rock salt would shield the mine from groundwater, and the shifting salt itself, over centuries, would seal up any fractures and finally pack the nuclear waste in a safe geological bed.

Denver Federal Center workers demand answers about radioactive waste – KDVR
Would you want to dig up dirt at a former nuclear waste site? That’s what construction crews at the Denver Federal Center site in Lakewood have been doing for the past year.

But what’s worse, some workers tell FOX 31 that they never knew about the radioactive history until they saw our story on the news.

“We were told there was asbestos and lead at the site,” says one worker who wants to remain anonymous.

He says when he and his co-workers learned that lead and asbestos were not the only danger, they became concerned for their health.


Nuclear Policy News

Question and answer with Jody Williams, anti-nuclear activists | | The Burlington Free Press
Jody Williams, 58, a native of Brattleboro and a graduate of the University of Vermont, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 2006, with five other peace-prize laureates, she co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative, in support of women’s organizations worldwide working for peace, justice and equality. She divides her time between homes in Fredericksburg, Va. and Westminster West, Vt. Williams was in Burlington last Thursday — the anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima — to speak at a Nuclear Disarmament Day rally sponsored by area peace groups. She sat down with the Free Press before her speech to discuss her views on nuclear energy. Her discourse was sprinkled with obscenities. “You can edit my lovely language,” she said at one point. “When I get worked up, I swear a lot.”

Tim Johnson: What are your thoughts on nuclear energy as a power source?

Burlington rally opposes all nukes | | The Burlington Free Press
On the 64th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, the focus of Burlington’s Nuclear Disarmament Day observance wasn’t limited to abolishing weapons. Doing away with nuclear power — as produced by the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which supplies about one-third of Vermont’s electrical power needs — was also on demonstrators’ wish list.

Jody Williams, Brattleboro native and 1997 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ban land mines, tied the two nuclear threads together in a brief speech at a lunch-hour rally in front of City Hall. She opened with a memory of her Aug. 6, 2006, visit to Hiroshima, praised President Barack Obama’s call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and then urged that Vermont Yankee — whose owners are seeking to continue its operation for two decades after its scheduled closure in 2012 — be shut down.

Continental nuclear power production feels the heat
The German and French nuclear industries face numerous challenges and criticisms.

Seven German nuclear plants failed to generate any electricity in July due to technical breakdowns. They have about half the production capacity of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors, but Germany didn’t suffer any power shortages.

The plants have between them a 9,000 megawatt (MW) capacity, but Germany generates more electricity than it consumes, and has been exporting some of the surplus to France, which is heavily dependent on nuclear power.

Early in July, three plants shut down automatically due to failures in their transformers. The other four have been out of service for months, and are undergoing expensive repairs.

AFP: China nuclear chief latest hit in graft crackdown
China’s nuclear chief is the latest in a string of high-level officials snared in a crackdown on graft which Friday saw the execution of the former head of the firm that owns Beijing airport.

Kang Rixin is being investigated for allegedly squandering public funds and accepting bribes valued at up to 1.8 billion yuan (260 million dollars), the Chongqing Times reported.

Authorities are probing the possibility that Kang took bribes from French nuclear power giant Areva to win a contract for a project in China’s southern Guangdong province, said the report, which was posted on numerous government websites.

Fine Print: Nuclear Program Issues Lead to Congressional Attention –
Concern over the U.S. strategic nuclear stockpile, illustrated by problems with a classified material called “Fogbank,” has triggered quiet maneuverings on Capitol Hill related to negotiations to extend the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

That treaty expires at year’s end.

“Fogbank” plays a key part in the W-76, the nuclear warhead on the Navy’s Trident II sub-launched intercontinental ballistic missile and the country’s most numerous and important strategic nuclear weapons. Initially deployed in 1978, about 3,000 were produced with a planned 30-year life. In 2000, planning began for refurbishing about 2,000 W-78 warheads under the ongoing life-extension program being used to upgrade existing U.S. nuclear systems.

Why go nuclear when better and cheaper options exist? – Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source
Eskom’s hikes in the electricity price by around a quarter and a third in two years and its need to repeat such price increases for the next three years bring one issue to a head.

Why are Eskom and the departments of energy and public enterprises so grimly determined to generate electricity by the most expensive and complicated of all options — atomic power stations and their high-level radioactive waste depositaries?

Eskom and other power companies have set up Westcor (Western Corridor Power Company), incorporated in Botswana. This has spent years conducting road shows for the World Bank and others, estimating the Inga3 hydro-electric power project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at around R70-billion.

ENVIRONMENT: Lavish US Lobbying Pushes Nuclear Energy – IPS
Climate change and the resulting need for low-carbon energy sources is driving the current interest in nuclear energy despite the industry’s near universal legacy of staggering cost-overruns, technical difficulties and dependence on enormous government subsidies.

Government interest in new nuclear energy plants seems far more political than practical or economic in light of the fact that Europe’s latest nuclear plant under construction in Finland is four years behind schedule and 50 to 70 percent over budget.

Any claims that nuclear is a viable low-carbon or clean energy source are negated by its extraordinary costs that have increased at least five-fold in the past decade.

Radioactive Recovery: The Stimulus Goes Nuclear | The Big Money
This place looked post-apocalyptic long before the nuclear reactors turned on. I am standing within 586 square miles of nuclear fallout. Not the kind of fallout that happens after a bomb gets dropped. The kind of fallout that happens after a bomb gets built.

I may be in Richland, but I am actually at Hanford, a former nuclear production site and a place all its own. To locals, Hanford is not necessarily a town, but it’s definitely a destination. This is not the Washington of your imagination, the one with pine trees, rain, and good coffee. Hanford is brown everywhere you look: brown mountains in the distance, brown tufts of grass, brown sand caking the earth. It is the perfect setting for Cormac McCarthy’s next novel. So hot that people arrange outdoor meetings at 7 a.m. to beat the heat. So dry that trucks drive around all day squirting water out of their butts, wetting the sand so it can’t blind workers when the winds start blowing. So bleak that even the mountains take on a dirty sheen.

ISS – Nuclear plans hurting power companies’ credit ratings
Moody’s Investors Service, a leading independent credit rating firm, recently released a report that says it’s considering taking a “more negative view” of debt obligations issued by companies seeking to build new nuclear plants.

Titled “New Nuclear Generation: Ratings Pressure Increasing,” the report raises concerns that investing in new nuclear plants involves significant risks and huge capital costs at a time when national energy policy is uncertain. Yet companies investing in new nuclear projects — cost estimates for which are hovering in the $6 billion range — haven’t adjusted their finances accordingly, according to Moody’s:

Profile – Helen Caldicott –
This anti-nuclear campaigner has spent a lifetime striving to create a better world.

The day after the Federal Government approved a new uranium mine in South Australia, veteran anti-nuclear campaigner Helen Caldicott was appalled. In her view, exporting uranium, to any country, is morally indefensible.

“I think it’s devastating,” she says, describing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and accusing Environment Minister Peter Garrett of moral turpitude.

“I’m so ashamed to be an Australian at the moment,” says Caldicott, 71, a Melbourne-born medical doctor.

Meet Joe Carson, Tennessee’s Biggest Whistleblower : Features : Metro Pulse
DOE engineer, inspector, and career troublemaker Joe Carson makes life difficult for functionaries… and for himself

Joe Carson is waiting to learn the outcome of a federal legal appeal in which he is named appellant. If he wins, there will be no large sums awarded or giants toppled. He will simply have the agreement of a federal court that the United States Office of Special Counsel, a government agency intended to protect the interests of government workers who provoke the ire of their co-workers or supervisors, has failed to be effective. If he loses, he intends to take his case to the Supreme Court. It’s difficult to say whether Carson has a preference.


Nuclear Weapons News

BBC NEWS | UK |Ceremony for atomic bomb victims
Victims killed by the atomic bombs which exploded in Japan more than 60 years ago have been remembered at a ceremony in Leeds.

More than 200,000 people died in the US attacks, which took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August, 1945.

A wreath was laid at the city’s Park Square followed a by a two-minute silence to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the bombings.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Judith Elliott, is leading the service.

BBC NEWS | UKe | Peace demo walk to nuclear site
About 30 anti-nuclear campaigners have walked from Reading to Berkshire’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

The 13-mile (21km) “peace pilgrimage” was organised by Reading Peace Group to mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Campaigners left the Civic Centre at 0900 BST and held a multi-faith service outside AWE in the afternoon.

Bubba Scores a Reversal by Gordon Prather —
About a year ago, according to reports by the fawning Mainstream Media, President Bush and Secretary Rice were “hanging their legacy hopes” on the expected to be “successful” outcome of the so-called Six-Party (China, Russia, Japan, United States and the two Koreas) talks, which began way back in 2003, shortly after Bush had forced North Korea to withdraw from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation and then launched his war of aggression against a virtually defenseless Iraq.

What would constitute a “successful” outcome?

Well, for Bush-Cheney-Bolton-Rice, it would mean getting everyone – especially the North Koreans – to miraculously reestablish the situation on the Korean peninsula as it existed on January of 2001, when President Clinton left office.

Henry A. Kissinger – The Policy Fallout From Bill Clinton’s Trip to North Korea –
Amid the widespread relief that American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have avoided the brutal fate meted out to them by a North Korean court, it may seem captious to consider the long-term implications of President Bill Clinton’s trip.

The impulse to save two young women from 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean gulag is powerful. Yet now that this goal has been achieved, we need to balance the emotions of the moment against the precedent for the future.

The Day After Hiroshima: How the Press Reported the News — And the ‘Half-Truths’ That Emerged
NEW YORK Yesterday, I explored the decades-long suppression of film footage of the the full effects of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago this week. But that censorship and cover-up of the full impact, and ramifications, of the new weapons began within hours of the first use.

On Aug. 6, 1945, President Harry S. Truman faced the task of telling the press, and the world, that America’s crusade against fascism had culminated in exploding a revolutionary new weapon of extraordinary destructive power over a Japanese city.

It was vital that this event be understood as a reflection of dominant military power and at the same time consistent with American decency and concern for human life.

Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years | World | AlterNet
Deceptions about our nuclear weapons have “threatened the survival of the human species.”

‘A direct threat to all life on the planet’ |
A number of peace groups are expected to join members of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance for Thursday’s ceremony on the anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

A Names and Remembrance Ceremony is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the entrance to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant which produced the enriched uranium that was used in the Little Boy bomb.

Among the groups planning to participate are Footprints for Peace, Michigan Stop the Bombs Campaign, Episcopal Peace Fellowship and Buddhists from the Nipponzan Myohoji.

Russian nuclear leftovers total 3,906 warheads – RT
The Defense Ministry has revealed that Russian armed forces have 3.906 nuclear warheads and 811 delivery systems at the moment.

The numbers were voiced by the deputy head of the National Center for Nuclear Threat Reduction, a structure in the Defense Ministry responsible for the reduction of strategic arms in accordance with international treaties.

Hibakusha summer series: A-bomb victims refuse to lapse into silence – The Mainichi Daily News
The Hibakusha keep telling their stories. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki prepare for the upcoming 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing, Hibakusha all over the country continue to talk about that day, and to press for a nuclear ban. It was good news when the leader of the one nation in the world that has used the atomic bomb spoke of America’s moral obligation and declared that he “seeks a world where there are no nuclear weapons.” But the Hibakusha are wary of lapsing into an easy optimism. After all, nuclear weapons continue to spread to all corners of the world.

JAPAN The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a moral failure – Asia News
August 6 and 9 mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombs launched on the two Japanese cities. It marked the beginning of the era of nuclear terror. The testimonies of Jesuit Fr Arrupe, in Hiroshima at the time, and a Catholic doctor from Nagasaki. In 1945 political designs prevailed over the scientists and humanists who refused the use of atomic power. And now?

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Every year in the early morning hours of 6 August in Hiroshima in Peace Memorial Park (Peace Memorial Park) thousands of Japanese citizens and a few hundreds of tourists sit in meditation in front of the cenotaph to remember the victims of the first atomic explosion. At 8:15 the rhythmic sound of a gong calls the assembly to silent prayer.

Struggling UN atom watchdog gets rare budget boost |  | Reuters
* IAEA to get first budget boost above inflation since 2003

* U.S. welcomes hike, citing spreading proliferation threats

* ElBaradei wanted much more to stop IAEA’s “bastardisation”

VIENNA, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Member nations approved the first budget rise above inflation for the U.N. atomic watchdog in six years on Monday after heavy U.S. lobbying for more resources to shore up the fight against stealthy nuclear proliferation.

Don’t Nuke the SCO! by Gordon Prather —
It is more than conceivable that the principal reason Harry Truman – who had unexpectedly ascended unto the Presidency barely four months, previously – dropped the only two “atomic” bombs then in our arsenal on absolutely defenseless Japanese civilians, was to scare-off Stalin and the all-victorious Red Army, to prevent their invading and occupying any more territory in Europe and in Asia, especially the rest of the Korean peninsula.

And who knows, maybe the scare tactics worked.

After all, Stalin didn’t invade and occupy any more territory, and, as far as we know, Stalin didn’t know we didn’t have any more nukes in our arsenal.

But that was way back then, when no other country had any nukes in their arsenals, either.

Archbishop calls for an end to nuclear stockpiles
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore, Maryland asked attendees at a nuclear deterrence conference to work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Speaking at the symposium, the archbishop said that the abolishment of nuclear weapons was an issue of “fundamental moral values that should unite people across national and ideological boundaries.”

The deterrence symposium was sponsored by the Strategic Command based at Offut Air Force Base, south of Omaha, Nebraska. Archbishop O’Brien spoke to an audience of 500, telling them that “Our world and its leaders must stay focused on the destination of a nuclear weapons-free world and on the concrete steps that lead there.” He said. “Especially in a world with weapons of mass destruction and at a time when some nations … are reportedly seeking to build such weapons, we must pursue a world in which fewer nuclear states have fewer nuclear weapons.”

The Costs of U.S. Nuclear Weapons-
Does it matter in military, political, or economic terms how much the United States has spent, and continues to spend, to develop and sustain its nuclear arsenal? Many observers would say no. The Cold War is long over, the United States won without having to use its nuclear weapons, they argue, so whatever the cost was, it was “worth it.” But for those interested in accountability and reexamining history in light of new evidence, what the United States spent on nuclear weapons along with the justifications for that spending can shed light on the pace and scale of the U.S. effort and offer important lessons for the United States and for other countries that have or seek to have nuclear weapons. This issue brief, based on the 1998 book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940, examines how and why key decisions were made, what factors influenced those decisions, and whether alternatives were considered.[1]

Rebutting the standard arguments against disarmament | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
# Those opposed to ridding the world of nuclear weapons have a tendency of setting up and knocking down the same old straw men.
# If disarmament advocates want to improve the debate, they must begin addressing these straw men with a new set of arguments.
# Specifically, they need to stress that the United States wouldn’t disarm unilaterally or leave its allies in a lurch.


Department of Energy News

3 Piketon citizens’ board members resign | | Chillicothe Gazette
Three members of the citizen board tasked with offering advice to the Department of Energy on its Piketon site submitted their resignations at a meeting Thursday night.

Lee Blackburn, Lorry Swain and Andrew Feight resigned at the start of a meeting of the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB) at The Ohio State University Endeavor Center in Piketon. In addition, Board member Terry Smith left the meeting in frustration, and two residents who had applied for an open position on the board withdrew their applications.

“Overshadowing all is our recognition that the SSAB mission has been obstructed by DOE’s failure to abide by federal regulations and guard against conflicts of interest,” said Swain, as she read from a letter the trio was submitting to Department of Energy Environmental Management Assistant Secretary Inés Triay.

SRS to ship waste to facility in Utah – The Augusta Chronicle
Nearly 15,000 drums of depleted uranium oxide will be shipped from South Carolina for disposal in Utah under a contract awarded by the Department of Energy.

The 14,800 drums of Savannah River Site waste will be disposed of at EnergySolutions Inc.’s facility about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City. The shipments will take place over 14 months, although it was unclear Wednesday when they would start.

The announcement, made by the Energy Department in mid-July, comes as EnergySolutions fights an effort to place a moratorium on the disposal of depleted uranium in Utah.

US DOE to delay review on USEC uranium plant loan | Markets | Markets News | Reuters
The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it has agreed to delay the final review of USEC Inc’s (USU.N) application for a loan guarantee to fund a new uranium enrichment processing plant.

“The additional time will allow USEC to make efforts to fully address issues DOE has identified relating to the readiness of the company’s uranium enrichment technology,” the department said.

Last month, the department asked USEC to pull its loan request for the planned American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Hanford News: Hanford waste study delayed over Yucca Mountain
A long-awaited study expected to lead to final decisions on environmental cleanup of much of the Hanford nuclear reservation’s waste has been delayed because of Yucca Mountain.

The draft Tank Closure & Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement most recently was expected to be released in May. Now the Department of Energy is saying the draft report, expected to be thousands of pages long, will be available by the end of the year.

The draft was originally planned to be ready in spring 2007.

“It’s a very large, complex document that requires a very thorough and focused effort to get it done and done right,” said Carrie Meyer, Department of Energy spokeswoman.

More space needed for Oak Ridge’s glut of nuclear waste | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |
$35 million project is underway that will expand the capacity of the Department of Energy’s nuclear landfill to 1.7 million cubic yards, but that won’t come close to meeting future disposal needs in Oak Ridge.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funding is being used to accelerate cleanup projects — including demolition of old nuclear facilities at Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory — and that’s generating massive amounts of low-level radioactive waste.

That’s prompting serious talk about expanding the current facility to its maximum limit, 2.2 million cubic yards, and the likely need for a new Oak Ridge landfill. Both of those actions will require the approval of the state of Tennessee and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SRS plans to decommission four reactors | Aiken Standard | Aiken, SC
Officials representing the Department of Energy, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the Savannah River Operations Office, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Environmental control came together to give the public opportunity to assess an Early Action Proposed Plan for the decommissioning End-State alternatives of four reactors at the site. The presentation was planned to show how the reactors, though they have differences, have many basic similarities and as such a broad plan to bring one – R reactor – to a final state will be tailored for the other three – reactors C, K and L. The four reactor decommissioning are scheduled to be completed by 2031.

Department of Energy – Obama Administration Announces Billions in Lending Authority for Renewable Energy Projects and to Modernize the Grid
Loan Guarantees Will Help Create New Jobs while Fostering Clean Energy Innovation

Washington, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy will provide up to $30 billion in loan guarantees, depending on the applications and market conditions, for renewable energy projects. Another $750 million will support several billion dollars more in loan guarantees for projects that increase the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation’s transmission system. The two new loan guarantee solicitations announced today are being funded partly through the Recovery Act and partly through 2009 appropriations.

Hanford News : $472 million paid in Hanford, PNNL claims
On the eighth anniversary of a program to compensate ill Hanford workers or their survivors, the federal government has paid out $472 million for Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory claims.

Nationwide the program has paid out $5 billion in compensation and medical claims for illnesses in World War II and Cold War workers in the nuclear weapons industry.

At Hanford $389 million has been paid in compensation plus $12 million for medical bills. At PNNL $68 million has been paid in compensation and $2 million for medical bills.

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act pays compensation of $150,000 for employees with cancer or beryllium disease believed to be caused by radiation exposure on the job. A second part of the program pays compensation up to $250,000 for a wider range of illnesses believed caused by exposure to radiation or hazardous chemicals.

For more information, call the Hanford Resource Center at 946-3333 or 888-654-0014.

Department of Energy – 800 to 1000 New Jobs Coming to Piketon
Department of Energy to Accelerate Cleanup Work While USEC Further Develops ACP Technology

(Washington, D.C.) The Department of Energy announced today that it will further expand and accelerate cleanup efforts of cold-war era contamination at the Portsmouth site in Piketon, Ohio – an investment worth about $150 to $200 million per year for the next four years that is expected to create 800 to 1000 new jobs. At the same time, the Department has encouraged USEC to withdraw its application for loan guarantee funding for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon. This would allow USEC to work over the next 12-18 months to continue research, development, and testing to resolve the technology issues facing ACP without hurting the chances of USEC to secure approval for a loan guarantee in the future.

“While we believe USEC needs time to develop its technology and demonstrate that it can be deployed at a commercial scale, we’re moving forward with other investments that will create good, high-paying jobs in the community,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “USEC will have another chance to resubmit their application if they can overcome the technical and financial hurdles, but in the meantime we’ll put more people to work in the environmental cleanup effort.”

US DOE to integrate nuclear power, waste programs: nominee
US President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Department of Energy’s nuclear power programs told a Senate panel Tuesday that he would more closely integrate the development of new nuclear power and solving the problem of nuclear waste. “It is critical to take an integrated approach that considers the entire nuclear fuel cycle,” Warren Miller told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation hearing. Miller has been nominated as both assistant secretary of nuclear energy and the director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. During the previous administration, DOE staffed the positions with separate officials. Combining the two offices under one official comes as the administration moves to kill the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which has long been planned for Nevada.

U.S. Labor Department reaches $5 billion in benefits paid and 8th anniversary of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act – 7thSpace Interactive
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has paid more than $5 billion in compensation and medical benefits to more than 52,600 claimants nationwide under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). This milestone coincides with the eighth anniversary of the Labor Department’s administration of the EEOICPA, which provides compensation and medical benefits to employees who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry.

“I am proud to announce that the Labor Department has delivered more than $5 billion in compensation and medical benefits to deserving workers and their families during the eight years it has administered the EEOICPA,” said Shelby Hallmark, acting assistant secretary of labor for employment standards. “The department is dedicated to carrying out the vital mission of this program: getting compensation and medical benefits to eligible workers and their survivors as quickly and consistently as possible. We will continue to strengthen the adjudication process, our outreach efforts and claimant services in order to carry out the EEOICPA in a manner that is consistent with the law as enacted by Congress.”

DOE denies USEC’s loan guarantee; layoffs coming | Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground |
The Department of Energy has denied USEC Inc.’s application for a $2 billion loan guarantee, and the company has started “demobilizing” the American Centrifuge Project, which currently employs about 450 at its Oak Ridge manufacturing site.

“There will be layoffs,” USEC spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuckle said this morning. However, the number and the timing of those layoffs has not been determined, she said..


Other Energy News

Reid Hosts National Clean Energy Summit 2.0
Senator Reid is hosting the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0. on Monday, August 10 at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion. Reid will be joined by President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis,energy executive T. Boone Pickens and many more to discuss the jobs that can be created by building a clean energy economy. For more details, click here.

Please check back on Monday at 10am for a live video stream of the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0.

The Associated Press: Report: Early costs of climate bill will be modest
Climate change legislation before Congress would boost electricity prices by about 20 percent by 2030, although most of the increases wouldn’t begin until after 2020, a government analysis concluded Tuesday.

The Energy Information Administration said the ability to contain the cost to consumers depends largely on whether the country is successful in a “large scale” expansion of nuclear power and renewable energy sources that do not emit greenhouse gases and the deployment of carbon-capture technology at coal plants.

Legislation, already approved by the House and expected to be taken up in the Senate later this year, would require carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions be cut by 17 percent over the next 11 years and by 83 percent by mid-century. Opponents of the bill have said such a shift would lead to soaring energy costs, especially for electricity.

Putting the cost of going green in context | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
he following column was coauthored by Benjamin Urquhart, a research associate at Harvard University’s Center for the Environment, and Mark Winkler, a PhD student at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Over time, the global energy infrastructure must change because the continued combustion of fossil fuels is altering Earth’s climate in potentially dangerous ways and because the large wealth transfer from mostly democratic oil-importing countries to mostly autocratic oil-exporting countries is propping up repressive regimes worldwide. So, we know that the world’s energy infrastructure must change. But, the interesting questions are: how big an investment are we willing to make to bring about that change and how fast are we willing to make that investment?


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Editorial: An extra precaution on radioactive material | ScrippsNews
In a positive step, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is tightening its oversight of radioactive devices that contain potentially dangerous isotopes.

A proposed new rule would give federal and state officials more muscle to regulate almost 2,000 items, mostly industrial gauges containing radioactive material. Taken individually, these devices pose no great hazard, but there is the potential for a dedicated terrorist to assemble enough material to make a dirty bomb. Such a weapon uses conventional explosives to spread radioactive material, rendering the contaminated area unusable.

The NRC proposal, published Aug. 3, says, “A licensee’s loss of control of radioactive sources, whether it be inadvertent or through a deliberate act, could result in significant health impacts, which could constitute a threat to the public health and safety.”

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > Aquino and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
Through a massive outpouring of people in the streets, the Filipino people ousted the regime of the dictator Marcos in February 1986. The event, popularly known as the People Power Revolution, was the culmination of years of mobilizations, protests, strikes and welgang bayan (people’s strike) that preceeded the fortituous date.

Among these protests was the welgang bayan held in June 20, 1985 which was supported by workers, students, clergy and ordinary residents from Bataan in addition to multitudes of protesters from other provinces. For nearly three days, people from the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Manila marched toward Morong as part of the people’s protest against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Nuclear power is dangerous and too expensive to build | | The News Journal
A recent letter advocated more nuclear power plants.

There are too many problems with this technology. First, companies will not build nuclear power plants without the protection of the Price-Anderson Act which provides taxpayer compensation in case of an accident since no company in the world will insure them.

Price-Anderson, however, only provides $500 million when the latest government report, states that depending on the severity of the accident, damages could run in the billions. Second, after 50 years of operation there is still the waste problem. Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared before the House lawmakers on June 3 and declared the planned Yucca Mountain repository “dead.”

More than $9 billion have been invested developing this waste dump, which caused one lawmaker to say: “We got a mighty expensive dinosaur sitting there.” This waste, which is lethal for thousands of years, now stays on site in fuel pools and dry casts for future generations to worry about. Minimum morality would demand that we, at least, stop producing it. Estimates as to the cost of this “eventual cleanup” are incalculable.

Still the proponents declare nuclear as cheap energy.

Third, uranium, like oil, is a finite fuel. Reprocessing, the separation of plutonium which can then again be used as fuel, was discontinued by the United States nearly three decades ago on nonproliferation grounds.

Fourth, since 2005, cost estimates for building a new nuclear reactor have more then tripled. Nuclear energy, once declared to be “too cheap to meter,” is now too expensive to pursue.

Frieda Berryhill, Wilmington

Mountain Home News: Story: Nuclear energy isn’t answer
Nuclear energy sounds like the answer to this country’s energy problems, but it isn’t.

For decades, nuclear power has been peddled as being an efficient and inexpensive energy. In the ’50s, nuclear advocates loudly promised the world that atomic power would provide electricity “too cheap to meter.” That promise dissolved with the reality of reactor construction costs in the 1970s and 1980s.

But the price to consumers isn’t limited to just the cost of the power usage that is listed on your monthly electricity bill. It goes way beyond that. Nuclear power is not cheap. Since the very beginning the government has been heaping subsidies, which come from our tax dollars, into the building and running of nuclear plants. But these cash payments and tax breaks are not the most valuable subsidies that they receive. The most important subsidies that the investors and owners can receive come from shifting the risks onto the taxpayers or the surrounding area’s population.

California should revive nuclear energy option – Sacramento Opinion – Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee
Christine Todd Whitman is the former governor of New Jersey and Environmental Protection Agency administrator. She is now the co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

Given the fiscal challenges facing California, there will be great temptation to put on hold any major new projects. It’s important to remember, however, that postponing spending commitments doesn’t mean they disappear; rather, costs rise even higher later while the needs remain.

Startup costs high, safety low | tennessean
It is clear that we need to address our dependence on coal and foreign oil and all the ills — from lung disease to global warming — they cause. But the question begs, does nuclear power offer a safe, affordable domestic solution?

Unfortunately, the facts suggest otherwise. The industry is dependent on subsidies and is not economically viable. Nuclear waste is problematic at best. The technology is not safe despite billions of tax dollars spent on research to try to make it safe.

The claims from nuclear energy’s proponents have always been too good to be true. “Too cheap to meter” was the first. Inaccurate power projections led to TVA’s first nuclear plant construction program in the 1970s and ’80s, leaving more than $25 billion in debt, which Tennessee Valley residents are still paying. Current estimated cost for one new 1,200-megawatt reactor is $7.5 billion. From 1950 to 1999, federal subsidies totaled around $145 billion. Cleanups of radioactive federal Superfund’ sites are expensive, difficult and proceeding slowly. The fact is that they may never be cleaned up.

The Top Nuclear Stories is published twice weekly. It is a produced using a combination of social bookmarking and programming. You can view or join the public group and add your own stories by going here ->

Comments are closed.