Top 100 Energy Stories (Aug 31 – Sept 6th)

radbull I’m in catchup mode.

I seem to have gotten the blog back into some kind of safe condition, free of attacks. Yes, over the last month I’ve had somebody attacking the blog deleting new posts, resulting in hours of additional work.  But hopefully that is over now.  Due to a rather major burnout and way too much to catch up on, I’m limiting any further comments.


Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

Edison sees 4 bln euros for Italy nuclear-report | Reuters
Italian power company Edison SpA is willing to spend up to 4 billion euros ($5.7 billion) on domestic nuclear plants, Chief Executive Umberto Quadrino said in an interview published on Saturday.

Nuclear power is a priority for Edison and when “the first stone for the first plant is laid, we will be there”, he told business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

“And, between 2015 and 2025, we are ready to commit up to 4 billion euros,” he said.

News & Star | Opinion | Letters | Where is the nuclear inquiry?
Body-snatching, poisoning and infanticide, the nuclear industry does it all.

Even if the mantra Nuclear is Carbon Free were true flying pigs are still flying pigs, not angels.

If nuclear power led to freedom from oil then why is France’s per capita consumption of oil higher than in non-nuclear Italy, nuclear phase-out Germany or the rest of the EU?

Even if nuclear was everything the Government and industry claimed regarding CO2 that would not justify new build.

Plan to shut oldest reactor in ’10 put on hold | The Japan Times Online
Japan Atomic Power Co. will continue operating Japan’s oldest commercial-basis light-water reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, through 2016, scrapping its initial plan to suspend its operation next year, its chief said Thursday.

Hiroshi Morimoto, president of Japan Atomic Power, conveyed the decision in a meeting with Fukui prefectural officials.

Japan Atomic Power had intended to cease operating the boiling-water No. 1 reactor in 2010 to coincide with planned start of operations of two new reactors  No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Tsuruga nuclear plant.

Duke Energy eyes delay for Lee nuclear project – Charlotte Business Journal:
Duke Energy Carolinas is likely to delay construction of its proposed Lee Nuclear Station for up to three years.

Duke’s latest long-term plan, filed this week with N.C. regulators, says the startup date for generating power at the Gaffney, S.C., plant could be put off to 2021.

The delay is particularly likely if Duke can’t find a construction partner for the $11 billion plant. The utility is moving its target date as concerns mount regarding the project’s cost. Also, demand for power appears to be growing more slowly than in recent years.

Duke’s updated plans also call for delays in building the utility’s proposed Buck Steam Station and Dan River combined-cycle gas plants.

Janice Hager, head of Duke’s resource planning, says it appears that demand for electricity — not adjusted for the weather — has been flat the last four years. Duke’s new projections call for demand growth to return to an average 1.5% per year in the long term. But the company isn’t projecting a spurt in demand once the recession ends.

New Plant Vogtle parts could require dredging – The Augusta Chronicle
Neither the Army Corps of Engineers nor Southern Nuclear wants to pay for dredging portions of the Savannah River to allow barges to move new reactor parts to Plant Vogtle.

“They had talked before about wanting the corps to maintain the channel with federal money, and we informed them we didn’t have any,” said Bill Bailey, the chief of the corps’ Savannah Planning Unit.

As part of the plan to add two new reactors to Plant Vogtle, located 110 river miles from the coast, the plant’s parent company is exploring the use of barges to haul large components upstream.

More Delays at Finnish Nuclear Plant – Green Inc. Blog –
Areva, a French nuclear construction company, said this week that its project to build the world’s most powerful reactor remained mired in delays and was over-budget by 2.3 billion euros, or about $3.3 billion.

The price tag of the plant in Olkiluoto, Finland the first of a fleet of so-called evolutionary power reactors that Areva foresees building in coming years was about $4.3 billion in 2003 and costs have steadily increased.

The reactor was meant to have gone online early this summer but Areva no longer is committing to any dates for its completion. Patrice Lambert de Diesbach, an energy analyst with CM-CIC Securities in Paris, said the latest developments were bad news for Areva and should be sanctioned by the market.

Getting There: SHA takes on another big nuclear move – From roads to rails to runways, Michael Dresser tracks transportation –
Fresh from its recent move of a giant transformer to the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant across Harford County last month, the State Highway Administration plans to take on another oversize move next week.

On Tuesday, the first of two million-pound steam generators will be taken off a barge at Port Deposit in Cecil County to begin an almost three-week journey to the Three Mile Island Nuclear Facility outside Harrisburg. The next day, a second 510-ton generator is expected to arrive.

For both humongous cargoes, the first legs of their journey will take them over the roads of Cecil County to the Pennsylvania state line. The equipment will first be transported along Route 222 to the former Bainbridge Naval Training Facility. From that staging area, they will be moved starting Sept. 13 along Route 276, through the roundabout at Route 273, then up U.S. 1 to Pennsylvania.

SAN ONOFRE: Weld defects found in second set of steam generators
Inspectors in Japan have detected “weld defects” inside two massive steam generators being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for installation at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Gil Alexander, a spokesman for plant owner Southern California Edison, said in a statement Wednesday that similar defects have not been found in two similar generators already delivered to San Onofre and scheduled for installation inside its Unit 2 containment dome this fall.

“The deficiency, which is being corrected, was caused by a manufacturing process that was not used on the Unit 2 steam generators,” Alexander said.

FACTBOX-Nuclear projects in CEE region | Reuters
A number of countries in central, eastern and southeastern Europe plan to build new nuclear power reactors or extend the life of existing ones to meet growing domestic demand and replace ageing power capacity.

Following are key facts on major projects:

Financial crisis hurts some Eastern Europe nuclear plans | Reuters
Domestic political squabbles, funding woes and other hurdles threaten a number of nuclear power plant projects in central and southeast Europe but they will not derail the future of atomic energy in the region.

Analysts say the global economic crisis has made banks reluctant to provide loans for nuclear plants, which cost around 3 billion euros ($4.30 billion) per 1,000 megawatt reactor, for a pay-off that takes decades.

South Asia Mail: Dummy fuel for Kudankulam nuclear power project received
With the receipt of dummy fuel from Russia, India has moved a step forward towards commissioning the first unit of 2×1,000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu.

IANS reliably learns that the dummy fuel landed in Tuticorin port Saturday and has reached Kudankulam where the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) is putting up the project with Russian equipment. Kudankulam is in Tirunelveli district, about 600 km from Chennai.

Dummy fuel is similar to real fuel in terms of weight and other features, but without uranium.

It will be inserted into the reactor core to test the functioning of all systems, a process technically called status of hot operation.

If the systems function as per norms, the real fuel will be loaded so that the reactor attains criticality.

SAN ONOFRE: Edison hires new maintenance contractor
Faced with a paper trail of minor maintenance problems and mounting pressure from regulators, Southern California Edison has changed maintenance contractors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Gil Alexander, a spokesman for Southern California Edison, the plant’s majority owner and operator, said Friday that the company has hired Louisiana-based Shaw Industries to conduct all maintenance operations at the seaside plant. Since 1994 that work had been done by multinational Bechtel Inc., which also helped build the plant’s atom splitters in the late 1980s.

Shaw also performs maintenance activities at 36 of the nation’s 104 operating nuclear power plants.

A division of Bechtel has been working for years on an $800 million project to replace steam generators inside both of San Onofre’s concrete containment domes. Alexander said the company will continue to work on that project.

Radio Bulgaria: NGOs discuss the future of nuclear power in Europe and Bulgaria
On 28 and 29 August the town of Svishtov is hosting the Pan-European Energy Conference. It is organized by the Coalition BeleNE, meaning No to Belene where Belene is the site for a new Bulgarian nuclear plant. The forum seeks to identify the problems of the sector and to suggest a few solutions to them. Central to the conference is the need of a new energy strategy of Bulgaria; energy efficiency; and the future of nuclear energy in Europe. Experts, scientists, environmentalists, journalists and NGO officials from more than 10 European countries will present their analyses of the energy market in the Balkans. They will discuss the opportunities for the development of renewable energy sources in Bulgaria. Another highlight of the meeting will be the Belene NPP and the arguments of environmentalists who have urged authorities to suspend the project. Participants will cast light on the impact that a future Belene NPP could have on the 100 km zone around the reactor in both Bulgaria and neighboring Romania.

Duke official says lake levels to decline : Anderson Independent-Mail
Managing lake levels is a delicate balancing act at best, a Duke official said Thursday, but the general outlook calls for levels of some lakes to decline.

Lake Jocassee can expect to take the biggest hit, said George Galleher of Duke Energy hydroelectric operations, because of the lake’s part in the whole balancing act.

Galleher spoke at a forum on the overall health of the Duke Energy lakes and their watershed. The forum was sponsored by the Friends of Lake Keowee Society and held at Duke Energy’s World of Energy center north of Seneca.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

The Associated Press: Fallout from nuclear tests leads to health crisis
Pius Henry fears his adopted government will kill him, that the United States won’t live up to a health care obligation to people from Pacific islands where it tested nuclear bombs.

Henry, a diabetic from the Marshall Islands, has received free dialysis treatments three times a week for years, but the cash-strapped state of Hawaii has threatened to cut off him and others to save money.

Like thousands of legal migrants to Hawaii from independent Pacific nations, Henry believes the United States has a responsibility to provide health care to compensate for the radioactive fallout of 67 nuclear weapons tests from 1946 to 1958.

“I don’t have any option. I’m asking the government to help us,” Henry said. “They say we’re like U.S. citizens, but then they don’t treat us the same. It’s really unfair.”

Poisoned worker wins round in lawsuit –
A former Raytheon Co. worker who says she suffered beryllium poisoning while working at the defense contractor’s Waltham lab has won another round in her lawsuit.

A federal appeals court in Boston has remanded Suzanne Genereux’s lawsuit to the district court, but it upheld an earlier ruling that removed Raytheon from the dispute.

Study: Cancer in workers elevated at SRS | Aiken Standard | Aiken, SC
Those who worked at the Savannah River Site and other parts of the nation’s weapons complex are at an elevated risk for developing cancer, according to a new study.

This finding came from a study of older construction workers at four U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex sites. It found an increased risk of developing cancer for Site workers, especially for construction workers who worked prior to the 1980s.

Conducted at institutions including Duke University and the University of Cincinnati, the study found that trade workers at SRS, Hanford in Washington, Oak Ridge in Tennessee and the Amchitka site in Alaska had significantly elevated asbestos-related cancers.

The study was funded by DOE and was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, a medical publication.

DOE established medical screening programs at the four sites starting in 1996. Workers participating in these programs have been followed to determine their vital status and mortality experience through Dec. 31, 2004.

According to the study, 8,976 former construction workers from Hanford, SRS, Oak Ridge and Amchitka were followed using the National Death Index to ascertain vital status and causes of death.

Vermont Yankee supervisor fails alcohol test | The Burlington Free Press
A supervisor on duty at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon tested positive for alcohol Monday and has had his access to the facility revoked, according to a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear, the plant’s operator.

The incident was made public in a posting on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Web site Tuesday morning.

Larry Smith, the Entergy spokesman, said the employee was a supervisor in the maintenance department for the facility. The 100-person department handles maintenance of the plant’s electrical and instrument-control equipment and other duties.

“He was not a licensed operator,” Smith said. A licensed operator is someone who works in the plant’s control room.

About Mesothelioma: Asbestos Exposure and Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma Lawyers & Attorneys Info
A new study of older construction workers at four U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons sites found the workers have a higher risk of having asbestos-related disease. The study, conducted by researchers at Duke University, the University of Cincinnati and other institutions, found that trades workers at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, Savannah River Site in South Carolina or the Amchitka site in Alaska had significantly elevated asbestos-related cancers.

The study was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, a medical publication. The research was funded by the Department of Energy.

The study tracked the mortality of 8,976 construction workers at nuclear weapons facilities who had participated in voluntary medical screening programs from 1998 through 2004. The workers were predominantly white and nearly all male. Researchers identified 674 deaths among the overall group —slightly less than expected—but noted a significantly higher death rate among those identified as asbestos workers and insulators. The incidence of cancer was elevated at all four sites with the highest rates at Savannah River.

Hanford News: Study: Hanford construction workers were at risk of certain cancers
Former Hanford construction workers have an increased risk of death from a blood cancer linked to radiation and another cancer linked to asbestos, according to a new study.

The study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine drew on data collected in the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program for Hanford and three other Department of Energy sites.

“While several studies have investigated mortality risks among (Department of Energy) production workers, little data exist concerning mortality among construction and trade workers …,” the study said.

It looked at 8,976 workers who had participated in the building trades screening program at the four sites and had an initial screening interview from 1998 through 2004. Those interviews were compared to the National Death Index, which had information only through 2004 when the study began.

Verdict to settle uni radiation deaths riddle – Health – News – Manchester Evening News
A REPORT into whether atomic experiments by a Nobel scientist led to the deaths of Manchester University staff will be published this month.

Ernest Rutherford carried out Nobel prize-winning nuclear research at the university between 1907 and 1919.

His laboratories were later used as offices for staff at the university’s psychology department.


Campaigners believe harmful materials used by Rutherford have contaminated the rooms and may have led to the deaths of six former members of staff.

Further study on irradiator ordered | The Honolulu Advertiser
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that more work needs to be done on an environmental assessment for a produce irradiator that’s proposed for a location near Honolulu International Airport.

The commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a ruling last week saying the NRC staff needs to consider alternate technology and sites in producing the assessment. The board’s decision said it expects the staff to give meaningful consideration to transportation accidents in preparing a final environmental assessment.

The ruling came after almost three years of discussion at the NRC, which has been considering Pa’ina Hawaii LLC’s request to build an irradiator that would use up to a million curries of cobalt-60 to treat local fruits such as papayas, vegetables and other items so they can be shipped to the Mainland insect-free.

MoD admits crane could pose Clyde nuclear disaster risk – Herald Scotland
A huge crane poses the biggest risk of a nuclear disaster at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, according to newly released safety assessments by the Ministry of Defence.

Plutonium from up to 48 nuclear warheads could escape and cause widespread contamination and cancers if there was an accident while a Trident submarine was being moved by the crane – known as a shiplift’ – the reports say.

But the MoD has been accused by experts and anti-nuclear campaigners of playing down the real dangers. The amounts and risks of the radioactivity that could be released have been underestimated, they say.

The shiplift at Faslane is a unique facility with a chequered history. Set up in 1993, it uses nearly 100 winches to hoist the 16,000-tonne Vanguard-class submarines into the air for maintenance while they remain loaded with up to 48 Trident nuclear warheads.

The shiplift had to be modified in 1997, and in 2003 a report by consultants suggested accident risks had been underestimated.

Regarded by some as Faslane’s most hazardous operation, there have been hints it may end up being replaced by the kind of dry dock used elsewhere.

What About the Atomic Vets – Don Rittner – – Albany NY
After I wrote my piece this past week about Dr. Herbert Clark from RPI passing away I realized that I had written a piece about this subject a bit more deeply 20 years ago. I had interviewed a man who was an Atomic Vet, one of the thousands of our brave soldiers who became guinea pigs during the flurry of atomic tests that began in the 1940’s. I am reproducing here again for those not associated with the subject and I will follow it up with an update on the issue in the near future. I published this piece in Hardcopy for the Common Good, a monthly social issues magazine I published in the 1980s. This article appeared in the December, 1989 issue 20 years ago.

What About the Atomic Vets?

When Saratoga’s John Delay was drafted into the army in 1956, at age 19, he thought his time would be spent like most post war GI’s perform his assigned duties and go back home. What he didn’t know was that he would become a human guinea pig in a series of radiation experiments conducted by the U.S. Government. Many people have compared these experiments to the human atrocities of Germany and Japan during the second war.

VIDEO: Depleted uranium on Hawaii focus of NRC hearing in Hilo – Big Island Video News
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission held the second of two scheduled public meetings on the U.S. Army’s application for a license to possess depleted uranium. The first meeting was held Wednesday in Kona. covered the second meeting at the Hilo High School Library on Thursday evening.

Residual amounts of DU have been found at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, as well as Schofield Barracks on Oahu.

Al Jazeera – Kazakhstan’s nuclear curse
Kazakhstan’s nuclear curse

Sixty years have passed since the former Soviet Union detonated its first experimental nuclear bomb in eastern Kazakhstan.

Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier Walker visits the highly contaminated test site, Polygon, and the surrounding area where effects of the experiments can still be seen.

Cancer rates in the area are 1.5 times higher than in the rest of the country, and the region has high levels of early mortality from a range of common diseases.

Doctors say more research is urgently needed to understand how the 40 years of nuclear tests could harm the children of tomorrow.

The report features an interview with Rebecca Johnson, the director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, who has conducted research in Kazakhstan’s Semei region.

Whitehaven News | 60,000 radioactive telephone dials buried at Drigg
QUARRELSOME NEIGHBOURS: Mary Verney charged Mary M’Greavy with assaulting her. Mr Paitson said both parties lived in the Bird-in-hand-passage, Market-place. On the 5th instant, there had been some disturbance and defendant ran into complainant’s house with a pair of tongs in her hand, tearing her dress and otherwise abusing her.

Complainant, cross-examined by Mr Paitson, stated that about half-past seven o’clock on Friday morning, she heard a noise in the passage and went to see what was to do when defendant came out, struck her and tore her dress.

Mr Halton said complainant had called defendant bad names and upon going past her door complainant said that for two pins she would split her head! Defendant was a respectable married woman and lived in fear and trembling of complainant. She laid hold of her by the dress, and that was all; she never struck her.

The bench, after a short deliberation, dismissed the case.


NRC News

NRC – NRC Announces Availability of License Renewal Applications for Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plants
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced today that applications for a 20-year renewal of the operating licenses for Salem Nuclear Generating Station Units 1 and 2, and Hope Creek Generating Station are available for public review.

Both plants are located in Hancock Bridge, N.J., about 18 miles south of Wilmington, Del. The current operating licenses for Salem Nuclear Generating Station Units 1 and 2 expire on Aug. 13, 2016 and April 18, 2020; and the Hope Creek license expires on April 11, 2026. The licensee, PSEG Nuclear LLC, submitted the renewal applications on August 18 for Salem and Hope Creek, respectively. The applications are available on the NRC Web site at:

The NRC staff is currently conducting an initial review of the applications to determine whether they contain enough information for the required formal review. If the applications have sufficient information, the NRC will formally docket, or file, the applications and will announce an opportunity to request a public hearing.

For further information, contact Donnie Ashley, project manager, in the Division of License Renewal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop O11-F1, Washington, D.C. 20555; telephone (301) 415-3191 or email at

Panel tosses NRC’s Indian Pt. waiver case | | The Journal News
A federal appeals court has dismissed an Indian Point case arguing that regulators improperly allowed the nuclear plant’s owners to loosen a fire safety equipment standard at the Buchanan site.

“This case tests the limits of our jurisdiction … to review orders of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Judge John Walker Jr. of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the 20-page decision.

“Petitioners challenge only that exemption in this appeal,” Walker wrote. “Because we lack jurisdiction … we must dismiss the petition.”

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh, brought the case and said yesterday that he would decide his next move soon.

FR: NRC ESP for Vogtle
Notice of Issuance of Early Site Permit and Limited Work Authorization for the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant ESP Site
AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Issuance of Early Site Permit and Limited Work Authorization.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [[Page 44880]] I. Introduction Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.106, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is providing notice of the issuance of Early Site Permit (ESP) ESP-004 to Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC), Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and the City of Dalton, Georgia, an incorporated municipality in the State of Georgia acting by and through its Board of Water, Light and Sinking Fund Commissioners, for approval of a site located in Burke County, Georgia, 26 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia for two nuclear power reactors; this action is separate from the filing of an application for a construction permit or combined license for such a facility. The NRC has found that the application for an early site permit (ESP), and accompanying limited work authorization (LWA), filed by Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC), on behalf of itself and the other four entities named above, complies with the applicable requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the applicable rules and regulations of the Commission. All required notifications to other agencies or bodies have been duly made. There is reasonable assurance that the permit holders will comply with the regulations in 10 CFR Chapter I and the health and safety of the public will not be endangered. There is reasonable assurance that the site is in conformity with the provisions of the Act and the Commission’s regulations. SNC is technically qualified to engage in the activities authorized. Issuance of the ESP will not be inimical to the common defense and security or to the health and safety of the public. Issuance of the LWA will provide reasonable assurance of adequate protection to public health and safety a

VIDEO: Jim Albertini testimony at NRC meeting – Big Island Video News
Jim Albertini, a Big Island resident who has stood in opposition to the military presence on the island, especially in regards to nuclear weaponry, testified at the NRC meeting in Hilo.

“Ongoing live-fire at PTA (millions of rounds annually) risks spreading the DU radiation already present,” Albertini wrote in a recent media release. “DU is particularly hazardous when small burned DU oxide particles are inhaled. The Hawaii County Council, more than a year ago, on July 2, 2008, called for a halt to all live-fire and other activities at PTA that create dust until there is an assessment and clean up of the DU already present. 7 additional needed actions have also been noted by the Council. The military has ignored the Council and continues live-fire and other dust creating activities at PTA, putting the residents of Hawaii Island at risk, since no comprehensive testing has been completed.”

NRC faced angry citizens on DU in Hawaii : Indybay
Last night the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a meeting in Hilo, Hawaii on the Army’s application for a license to deposit unknown amounts of Depleted Uranium(DU)at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Mauna Kea, considered by many native Hawaiians as a sacred temple. Over 50 concerned citizens confronted the NRC on its checkered past in safeguarding health & safety of citizens from the nuclear industry, as well as its rubber-stamping of the Military’s mishandling of DU. It was revealed that the NRC had never turned down an application from the U.S. Military.

But the bulk of the citizens’ anger was focused on the Army’s willful non-compliance of Hawaii County Council’s resolution to demand a stop to all live fire exercises at PTA until an assessment and cleanup of DU has been completed. Dozens of citizens from the environmental, kanaka maoli, Peace and scientific communities all testified on the U.S. Military’s sordid history of stonewalling, disinformation and illegal dumping of toxic wastes on the revered aina of Hawai’i.

Army’s depleted uranium application now before NRC |
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission began its review of the U.S. Army’s application to possess depleted uranium this week on the Big Island.

The procedure to grant a license – and establishing any conditions to that license is expected to last into next year.

The application covers nine sites across the country, including Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island and Schofield Barracks on Oahu.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

SA Current – U: Toxic legacy of South Texas uranium mining
Prepare to meet thy God, reads the small black-and-white sign in the yard at the end of this dusty county road in Karnes County. I’m looking for a string of open-pit uranium mines, now filled with water, where some locals fish, swim, and practice their water skiing.

A San Antonio mechanic and Karnes County resident lost his 30-some acre lake (and former uranium mine) last year when the Texas Railroad Commission pumped out more than 122 million gallons, transferred about 70 foot-long big mouth bass to a nearby stock tank, and left him with a dry graded pit.

N. Colo. town passes measure opposing uranium mine – Colorado Springs
The Nunn town board has passed a resolution opposing a planned uranium mine near the northern Colorado town.

The board voted 4-2 Thursday for the measure. One trustee abstained.

The resolution can’t prevent Powertech Uranium Corp. from building its mine. But the mine’s opponents hope it will affect state decisions on the project.

The Canadian company has proposed a $20 million uranium mine about 70 miles north of Denver. It has bought mineral rights and applied for permits.

Powertech plans to use a process called in-situ mining, which involves pumping treated water into uranium-laced deposits to dissolve the mineral so the uranium can be pumped to the surface.

Cameco fuel manufacturing workers to strike -union |  Reuters
* Workers vote 96 pct to reject latest contract offer

* Plan to strike at midnight, union says

* Company says no meetings with union have been scheduled (Adds details)

TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Unionized workers at Cameco Corp’s (CCO.TO) Port Hope, Ontario, fuel manufacturing division voted overwhelmingly on Friday to strike, and will officially walk out at midnight, a union official said.

Mohamed Baksh, a staff representative for the United Steelworkers, said the vote was 96 percent to reject Cameco’s most recent contract offer. He represents 137 workers at the operation, formerly known as Zircatec, which makes up a bit less than half of the total work force at the facility.

Board opposes uranium mine | The Coloradoan,
NUNN – Hailed by a standing ovation Thursday night from a gymnasium full of Weld County residents distrustful of uranium mining company Powertech, a divided board of trustees approved a resolution opposing the company’s proposed Centennial Project uranium mine.

Nunn joins the cities and towns of Fort Collins, Greeley, Ault, Wellington and Timnath in opposing the mine slated to be built on nearly 10,000 acres between Nunn and Interstate 25 about 15 miles northeast of Fort Collins.

The resolution urges the state, Weld County and the federal government to deny Powertech its mining permits. The fate of the mine depends on both the state and county issuing it permits and on the final form of in-situ uranium mining rules state officials are now writing.

Mayor Jeff Pigue warned town trustees that the resolution could expose the town to potential lawsuits from nearby landowners who may reap royalties from the mine. He invited the board to approve a resolution that takes no position on the mine as a way to avoid legal action.

Loan guarantee expected by USEC in August | Chillicothe Gazette
A decision by the U.S. Department of Energy on whether the United States Enrichment Corp. (USEC) should receive a federal loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge plant in Piketon should come next month, the company says.\nAdvertisement\n\n”Based on ongoing discussions with DOE, we expect a decision on a conditional commitment by early August,” said Philip G. Sewell, senior vice president of American Centrifuge and Russian HEU.\n\nThe company has repeatedly said the loan guarantee is essential to keeping the project – which is expected to keep and create thousands of jobs in an area with double-digit unemployment – alive.\n\nSewell said the company is working on a Plan B strategy in case the guarantee is not secured.

Whitehaven News | Sellafield discharge breached
RADIOACTIVE discharges into the air from Sellafield appear to have been breached.

Source of the discharges is the Magnox reprocessing plant which was shutdown earlier in the year because it was in danger of going over the legal limits.

But operators Sellafield Ltd told The Whitehaven News yesterday: It seems likely that we will have exceeded the limit up to the end of August. We won’t get confirmation for another six weeks after all the analysis has been done but we think we have gone through it and have written to the Environment Agency to that effect.

Management have decided not to close the Magnox plant for a second time because there is no hazard from the higher levels of discharge.

West Valley Cleanup: Deadline for public comment on West Valley cleanup approaches
This Tuesday, about 30 people collected on the sidewalk in front of the local office of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Representing a diverse cross-section of area organizations, the group stood shoulder to shoulder to demonstrate their solidarity, to exhort citizens to comment, and to urge policymakers to decide now to fully clean up the West Valley Nuclear Waste Site.

Speakers included: Todd Gates, Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Councilor; Bill Nowak, representing New York State Senator Antoine Thompson; Bob Ciesielski, Sierra Club; Sister Sharon Goodremote, Buffalo Diocese Care for Creation Committee; Brian Smith, Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Diane D’Arrigo, Nuclear Information & Resource Service; and Lenore Lee Lambert, League of Women Voters Western New York’s Citizens Task Force.

The group brought mops, buckets, and brooms and called themselves the Cleanup Crew.

Tennessee legislators push Chu for USEC loan guarantee  |
State Sen. Randy McNally, a Republican from Oak Ridge, was among seven Tennessee senators who signed a letter asking Energy Secretary Steven Chu to intervene on behalf of USEC in granting a loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Project.

McNally is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Others who signed the letter were Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville, and state Sens. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown; Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville; Mike Faulk, R- Church Hill; Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville; and Ken Yager, R-Harriman.

In a statement, McNally said, “The American Centrifuge Project is one of those key opportunities where we can promote innovative American technologie, while creating good-paying Tennessee jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

Uranium mining could resume north of Canyon
Uranium mining could resume within the year at a site north of the Grand Canyon after state officials signed off on the last permit needed to restart operations.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued an air-quality permit Tuesday to Denison Mines for the Arizona 1 mine, about 35 miles south of Fredonia. The permit clears the way for Denison to extract uranium from the region for the first time in almost two decades.

Denison officials have said they could restart Arizona 1 within a year after the final permit is issued.

The prospect of new uranium mines on public lands near the national park has stirred opposition among conservation groups and Indian tribes, who say extracting the ore could contaminate groundwater and the Colorado River, which serves millions of people downstream.

Namibia gives India access to ‘world’s best’ uranium- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
Even as Australia reiterated its inability to sell uranium, India on Monday signed an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with
Namibia. Among agreements that we signed today is the cooperation between us on uranium. I believe that we have the best uranium (in the world), said Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba after discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The pact is an umbrella agreement that includes sale of uranium to India.

An MEA press release issued after signing of the agreement noted the many opportunities for investment available in Namibia in the uranium, diamond, agriculture, energy, transportation, railways, mining, ICT and SME sectors and resolved to encourage Indian investments in these areas. Namibia’s Uranium resources are about 5% of the world’s known reserves.

Political influences suspect in some companies getting loan guarantees | Chillicothe Gazette
About three years ago, the U.S. Enrichment Corp. in Piketon contracted with Honeywell to set up a team of skilled professionals to assist with the American Centrifuge process. There is a large worldwide market for fuel grade uranium, and the demand is expected to increase as new nuclear plants come on line. It was anticipated that the Department of Energy would give USEC a $2 billion loan guarantee, so it could secure private financing to continue the program. Our politicians indicated they were in favor the loan guarantee.

Then, last month, DOE decided it would put off the loan guarantee for six months. This caused the skilled team of more than 100 people at Honeywell to lose their jobs.

All this was bad enough, but then the media indicated our government had given a $2 billion loan to General Electric (this was not a guarantee, but an actual loan). Then the media announced our government has encouraged a $2 billion loan guarantee to Brazil’s Petrobras oil company, so it can drill for oil off that coast.

Independent: Uranium’s legacy: Red Water Pond Road residents prepare for relocation
General Electric and its subsidiary United Nuclear Corp. are preparing to spend $5 million to remove about 97,000 cubic yards of radium-contaminated soil from around three households on Red Water Pond Road and an unnamed arroyo next to the former Northeast Churchrock Mine.

Seven Navajo families live in the three households, but for the next five months they are facing relocation to apartments in Gallup as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interim removal action.

Faragher urged to review uranium mine – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Several appeals have been lodged against the planned environmental review of the Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released its environmental review and management program for public comment, which closed on Monday.

The Greens joined the Conservation Council and seven others in seeking to change the way the environmental impact of the mine is assessed.

Greens MP Robin Chapple says the Environment Minister, Donna Faragher, should conduct a ministerial review of the project.

Reprocessing isn’t the answer | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Article Highlights

* With the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain seemingly dead, reprocessing again is being proffered as a way to deal with U.S. nuclear waste.
* But the reality is that reprocessing neither solves the waste problem nor reduces safety risks.
* Research should continue into next-generation reactors that can burn spent fuel, but until then, dry casks and repositories must be pursued.

There are 104 commercial nuclear power reactors in the United States, which supply about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. These are light water reactors (LWR) fueled with low-enriched uranium (LEU), containing initially about 5 percent of the fissile isotope uranium 235. Each nuclear plant receives about 25 tons of LEU fuel annually, in the form of long pencil-thin rods of uranium oxide ceramic enclosed in thin metal “cladding”, that are bundled together (in bunches of 300) to form fuel elements. Each year, nearly the same amount of spent fuel is removed from each reactor, but it’s now intensely hot, both thermally and radiologically. In fact, even after five years of cooling in the “swimming pool” associated with each reactor, a fuel element would soon glow red-hot in the atmosphere because of the continuing radioactive decay of the products of nuclear fission. At this point, spent-fuel elements can be loaded into dry casks and stored at reactor sites on outdoor concrete pads with two casks added each year per reactor.


Nuclear Waste News

Time for a nuke deal? – Salt Lake Tribune
Foreign waste» EnergySolutions could win suit, lawmaker says, so Utah should consider capturing some of the revenue.

A leading state senator, warning that Utah could lose its legal fight to keep out foreign radioactive waste, is urging the state to reconsider its options, including a hefty tax on the company that runs the disposal site.

Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse, said Friday that the state’s case is problematic — Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has told him as much — and it would be wise to revisit EnergySolutions’ offer to share its foreign-waste profits.

Earlier this year, the company proposed splitting with the state a decade’s worth of earnings — up to $3 billion — from foreign-waste disposal if Utah dropped its objections to such imports. Then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. rejected the offer but has since left office to be U.S. ambassador to China.

Survey detects contamination on proposed waste disposal site – News
Two small areas of radioactive contamination have been detected during a survey of grazing land adjacent to the former nuclear research site at Dounreay.

They were excavated and removed to the site for analysis. One was identified as a ‘minor’ particle of fast reactor fuel and the other as soil contaminated with radioactivity. The finds were 5-30cm below the surface and covered by vegetation, indicating they are most likely to be historic in origin.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd is carrying out an investigation. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has been informed.

The field where the contamination was detected forms part of a 44-hectare site zoned for the construction of a disposal facility for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.Previously, this area was earmarked for construction of the European Demonstration Reprocessing Plant.

The survey is to establish a baseline of radioactivity levels prior to the start of construction of the low level waste facility.

The survey is due for completion by the end of August.

Waste ruling drawing rivals – Salt Lake Tribune
Opposition mounted this week against a federal court ruling that limits the power of a regional waste compact to restrict radioactive waste going to disposal facilities like the one operated in Tooele County by EnergySolutions Inc.

Nothing short of states’ rights are at stake in a federal court ruling on the government authority over radioactive waste headed to EnergySolutions Inc.’s Utah disposal site.

In filing a friend-of-the-court brief Thursday in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, New Mexico joined a growing line of opponents to a May ruling by U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart. It basically said EnergySolutions no longer has to answer to the Northwest Interstate Compact on low-level radioactive waste.

Utah, the Northwest Compact and the Rocky Mountain Compact, which share a low-level waste disposal site in Hanford, Wash., are appealing Stewart’s ruling, and they filed papers in the case last week.

Six regional compacts, joined by New Mexico and the Council of State Governments, weighed in Thursday. And, with all the papers filed Thursday, eight of the nation’s ten congressionally established compacts have weighed in the effort to overturn Stewart’s ruling. Compacts represent all but six states. The two remaining compacts, which manage waste within eight states, have through Tuesday to join the fray.

Obama’s Plan B for nuke waste: Hanford | The News Tribune – Editorials
Washington doesn’t have the geology to store high-level nuclear wastes. Too much groundwater; too much risk of radioactivity spreading into aquifers and the Columbia River.\n\nSuch was the verdict of the scientists and policymakers who rejected Hanford as a nuclear waste dump more than 20 years ago. But President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are fast reversing that verdict.\n\nTheir goal is to kill a planned permanent nuclear waste repository in Nevada, not create one in Washington. But it’s the same difference.\n\nHanford , the nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington, is already saddled with thousands of tons of intensely radioactive reactor-core byproducts. All of it was supposed to be buried in bone-dry caves under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. Terminate the Yucca Mountain project, and you eliminate what was supposed to be the destination of Washington’s reactor wastes as well as wastes from more than 100 other reactor complexes across the United States.

Associated Press: Official: Utah not considering nuclear waste deal
The Utah attorney general’s office said Friday it is not in negotiations with EnergySolutions Inc. to drop the state’s objections to importing foreign nuclear waste for disposal here.

The company wants to import as much as 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy through the ports of Charleston, S.C., or New Orleans. After processing in Tennessee, about 1,600 tons would be disposed of in the desert about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City.

If approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it would be the largest amount of radioactive waste ever imported into the country.

The state is currently appealing a federal judge’s ruling that the state can’t use a regional compact to keep foreign nuclear waste out.

EnergySolutions said in a statement earlier in the day it was in settlement discussions with Utah.

Nuke waste storage is the snake in the room
When visitors traipse through the two nuclear power plants at Bay City, the spent fuel pool is as sure a stop as the Alamo is on the Gray Line Tour.

A ladder emerges, and visitors are encouraged to climb it. And so they ascend, one by one, and peer into a 26 x 52-foot pool.

The pool less than a third the dimensions of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, although it’s deeper contains used, radioactive uranium rods, stored beneath 20 feet of water. You can’t see much from the top of the ladder, but the message is clear enough:

See how small it is?

In doing so, however, visitors peer into one of the deepest issues surrounding nuclear expansion what to do with material that will stay extremely hazardous, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, for tens of thousands of years.

It’s a challenge the plant’s operators, and those who want to build two new nuclear plants there, say has been settled to their satisfaction.

We’re in a very good position down there to manage the waste at the site, David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, one of the partners in the proposed South Texas Project expansion, said this week.

NRG would continue to store spent fuel in the pool, then convert it to dry storage. That involves encasing it in concrete on-site. Adding two plants would increase the amount stored, but plant officials say they can do it safely. – CNSC Hearing Reveals Cracks In Radioactive Waste “Plan”
Question: When is a plan not a plan? Answer: When it is Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s “cleanup” proposal for the town of Port Hope, Ontario.

At a packed hearing last week, Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, listened to presentations on the proposal from its staff, AECL, private citizens, and volunteer organizations – roughly 100 presentations in all, spanning 17 hours of hearing time.

AECL is asking for a licence for a low level radioactive waste site. The site will house approximately 1.5 million cubic metres of nuclear and industrial waste, collected from the community over the course of the next decade.

The proposal was approved in 2007, following a six-year environmental assessment. The ensuing licensing process should have been fairly straight forward – hash out a few technical details and get shovels in the ground.

Lawmakers warn of de facto nuclear dumping | The News Tribune  | Seattle-Tacoma News
It is among the most toxic substances on earth: 28,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste left over from the building of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

And as the administration and the leader of the Senate move to close down a proposed repository for it in Nevada, the Idaho National Laboratory, along with the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, could become the de facto dump sites for years.

After spending $10 billion to $12 billion studying a dump site at Yucca Mountain outside of Las Vegas, President Barack Obama is fulfilling a campaign promise by killing it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also stands to benefit as he faces a difficult re-election fight next year.

Hanford News: Hanford’s nasty waste may stay put
It is among the nastiest substances on Earth: More than 14,000 tons of highly radioactive waste left over from the building of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

As the Obama administration and Senate leaders move to scuttle a proposed repository for the waste in Nevada, the Hanford nuclear reservation — along with facilities in Idaho and South Carolina — could become the de facto dump sites for years to come.

After spending $10 billion to $12 billion over the past 25 years studying a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, President Obama is fulfilling a campaign promise to kill it as a site for the repository.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also stands to benefit, as polls show he could be in a tough fight for re-election next year, and Nevada residents adamantly oppose a the waste site.

Local leaders and lawmakers from the sites where the waste is now stored, however, are increasingly concerned that the Energy Department will leave it in place, even though that might violate legally binding cleanup agreements.

More nuclear waste in disused depot than expected – The Local
An investigation team has found three times more highly radioactive plutonium in the disused nuclear waste depot in Asse than the inventory states, the German Environment Ministry announced Saturday.

The waste depot, near the town of Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony, was taken over by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) from the allegedly careless former proprietor Helmholtz Zentrum in January. The BfS is currently carrying out an investigation on the site and has begun medical tests on former workers.

A new investigation has revealed that 28 kilogrammes of radioactive plutonium are stored in the underground shaft depot, three times as much as the environment ministry of Lower Saxony previously understood to be there.

Nuclear waste now stored outside reactor – JSOnline
After decades of national debate over what to do with spent nuclear fuel, and with no resolution in sight, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant in northeastern Wisconsin finally ran out of storage space inside the plant.

So over the past week, Kewaunee workers have begun storing radioactive waste in casks on the grounds of the reactor, a short distance from the shores of Lake Michigan.

After a practice run a few weeks ago, workers moved spent fuel into the first of the 25-ton, 16-foot-long casks and then transferred the cask into a concrete vault outside the building Aug. 22, said Mark Kanz, spokesman for the Kewaunee Power Station. A second cask was transferred Thursday.

An expert on nuclear waste from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regional office in Chicago was on hand for the first procedure, said Viktoria Mitlyng, an agency spokeswoman. The process went smoothly, she said.

Nuclear sites fear they’re the alternative to Yucca Mountain | McClatchy
It is among the nastiest substances on earth: more than 14,000 tons of highly radioactive waste left over from the building of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

As the Obama administration and Senate leaders move to scuttle a proposed repository for the waste in Nevada, the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state — along with federal facilities in Idaho and South Carolina — could become the de facto dump sites for years to come.

After spending $10 billion to $12 billion over the past 25 years studying a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, President Barack Obama is fulfilling a campaign promise to kill it as a site for the repository. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also stands to benefit, as polls show he could be in a tough fight for re-election next year, and Nevada residents adamantly oppose a the waste site. | Port Hope gets say on waste clean up plans
The municipality and public are likely to have continued input on plans to remove historic low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) in Port Hope, after asking the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) that its involvement be a condition of the project moving forward.

“We’ve had an excellent cooperative consultation program and we look to that to continue, said Mayor Linda Thompson. “The comments of the CNSC staff reassured us.

The commission spent Wednesday, Aug. 26 and half of Thursday, Aug. 27 listening to local concerns about Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) application for a nuclear waste substance license to operate a long-term low-level waste management facility.

Northrop Grumman and others agree to $21 million cleanup of Superfund site –
The effort to clean contaminated groundwater in aquifers beneath the San Gabriel Valley got a multimillion-dollar boost Thursday thanks to a settlement reached by the federal government and several companies.

The settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency will fund a groundwater cleanup system to pump out water contaminated with volatile organic compounds, such as acetone, and make it drinkable.

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman and 43 other aerospace firms agreed to pay $21 million to help rid local groundwater of such chemicals in one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites, the EPA announced Thursday.

Ruling favors Santa Susana lab workers – LA Daily News
Dozens of workers diagnosed with cancer after their employment at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory may have more leverage in claiming federal compensation to help with their health care.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health first granted a special designation earlier this month for those assigned to the field lab’s 270-acre Area IV, where much of the nuclear work was conducted. The designation applies to those who were exposed to radiation for at least 250 days, between Jan. 1, 1955 and Dec, 31, 1958.

On Wednesday, the federal agency broadened the designation to include those who worked at the field lab in 1959, the year of a partial nuclear meltdown at the site.

The federal action is the result of a efforts by Bonnie Klea of West Hills, who worked as a secretary for Rocketdyne in the 1960s. A survivor of bladder cancer, she compiled letters, press releases, news articles and documentaries about radioactive and chemical contamination at the site.

She delivered the petition in 2007, after learning that the Department of Labor had denied most of the claims for compensation filed by cancer-stricken workers under the 2000 Energy Employees Occupational Illness Program Act.

Of the 993 claims filed by Thursday with the Department of Labor, 249 had been denied, 164 had been approved and the rest are pending.

Appeal begins in high-profile fight over hot waste – Salt Lake Tribune
Utah’s court fight over who controls the flow of radioactive waste is turning into a national test case, as the state and its allies formally launched their appeal on Thursday and waste agencies representing eight more states prepared to join the fray.

Attorneys for Utah, the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Wastes and the Rocky Mountain Compact filed their initial arguments Thursday at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Representing 11 states, the three want the Denver court to overturn U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart’s May ruling in favor of the Salt Lake City nuclear waste company EnergySolutions Inc.

Rocky Mountain Compact attorneys said Stewart’s decision puts the nation’s entire waste oversight system at risk.

“The District Court’s ruling unravels the long-standing solution to the problem of low-level radioactive waste disposal — which was crafted by the compact states and Congress over 20 years ago,” attorneys wrote.

Stewart ruled that EnergySolutions is not subject to the authority of the Northwest Compact because it was not created by the compact. The state’s appeal says that ruling is an error because it relied heavily on a law that Congress repealed in 1986 and because it undermines Congress’ intent in creating compacts to encourage new low-level waste disposal sites.

News & Star | Plans to put radioactive waste into Cumbrian landfill sites opposed
PROPOSALS to put low-level radioactive waste in ordinary landfill sites are being resisted by Cumbria County Council.

At present all low-level waste goes to a repository at Drigg in west Cumbria.

But the Environment Agency is considering applications to allow very-low-level waste from Sellafield to be buried at Lillyhall and Keekle Head.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is consulting on a national strategy that could see such waste sent to landfill sites almost anywhere.

Radioactive waste cleanup hinges on one-day hearing – Northumberland Today – Ontario, CA
Will they or won’t they? And if they do, for how long? The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will decide whether 1.2 million cubic metres of low-level radioactive and historic waste from around Port Hope will be excavated and contained in an encapsulated mound south of Highway 401. The commission is expected to decide whether to grant a licence to Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL) to proceed with the cleanup project within the next two months.

There was a lot of ground and a lot of history to cover at the one-day public hearing Wednesday. Everyone was on best behaviour as the televised and webcast proceedings, complete with English/French translators, transcript stenographers and large-screen monitors for better in-house viewing got underway at the Town Recreation Centre.

As the licence requester, Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL) outlined its plans for the estimated $150-million chore ahead. The CNSC, as safety overseer of the project, had its staff there, too, formal presentations and answering questions of panel members.

With 96 intervenors registered — 43 of them with oral presentations — it was a full day and evening for all concerned.


Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear not good, even in remote Quebec: environmentalists
A proposed nuclear reactor that would power mining operations in Quebec’s remote regions carries more risks than benefits, according to an environmental group.

Western Troy is a mining company that plans to open up a copper mine in Lake McLeod, about 200 kilometres north of Chibougamau.

The company has begun a feasibility study to investigate using a mini-nuclear reactor that could provide inexpensive power to the mine.

Western Troy will need to provide at least 10 megawatts of electricity to power the operation, said Rex Loesby, company president.

The nuclear reactor under study is a promising option, even though it poses certain problems, he told CBC News

50,000 join anti-nuclear power march in Berlin – The Local
Some 50,000 anti-nuclear protestors demonstrated in Berlin on Saturday against Germany possibly reversing a decision to abandon atomic energy and extending the life of its nuclear power plants.

The marchers, backed by 400 tractors, demanded that Germany stick to its commitment to close all nuclear plants by 2020 and also called for the closure of a radioactive dump at Gorleben in eastern Germany.

The police refused to give an estimate of the crowd but organisers – ranging from the Greens to members of the Protestant church – put the figure at 50,000 people, marching from the Berlin train station to the Brandenburg Gate.

FPL rate increase: FPL has been grilled the past two weeks about its proposed $1.3 billion base rate increase — South Florida
State regulators and consumer groups grilled Florida Power & Light officials in the past two weeks about the utility’s profits, costs it shares with its unregulated affiliates, executive bonuses and corporate jets, among other issues that could affect FPL ratepayers over the next few years.

And it’s not over. The Florida Public Service Commission extended hearings on FPL’s proposed $1.3 billion annual base rate increase, with meeetings scheduled for Saturday and Sept. 16. The commission plans to vote Oct. 28 and Nov. 13.

If the rate increase is approved, monthly electric bills could rise by as much as $12.40 per month for a typical household served by FPL.

But FPL officials project that a decrease in fuel costs will reduce the typical bill by $7 next year even if the base rate increase is approved.

PSC chairman says he’s no FPL puppet Capitol Comments – Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Sarasota, FL – Archive
The sideshow at the Public Service Commission is overtaking the historic consideration of a rate increase for Florida Power & Light. Today, PSC chairman Matthew Carter took the unusual step of offering a press release proclaiming his independence from utility lobbyists. It seems unusual for a commissioner who is considering a rate increase from a utility to specifically note his votes against that utility in the past.

Here is Carter’s statement, (and see below for FPL comment):

Assertions have been made that the Florida Public Service Commission is too cozy with regulated utilities, FPL in particular. To the extent that these criticisms are directed toward me, I take great offense because they are false.

An examination of the record, not some special interest’s characterizations, demonstrates my independence and freedom from external bias. In nearly every high-profile issue that FPL has brought before this Commission, I have voted to deny or severely limit the company’s request.

Poder 360° – FPL’s dark business
If all goes according to plan, Florida Power & Light later this year will begin building a storage facility for nuclear waste more than two stories above ground at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. Under the plan, the company would house in dry storage 16 cubic feet of radioactive waste the equivalent of some 2 million pounds accumulated since the first reactor fired up in 1972.

Plans for the dry cask storage facility have sparked controversy because the project has not been aired at public hearings. Instead, the project was moved along quickly and quietly, with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) granting certification on May 18, roughly six weeks after receiving FPL’s application and without an opportunity for public input. Without fanfare, the approval slipped the notice of interested parties such as the Sierra Club, the Tropical Audubon Society and Clean Water Action. Miami-Dade County officials and environmentalists maintain the utility company and the regulatory agency did an end run to avoid public scrutiny.

Anti-nuclear trek to Berlin | Germany | Deutsche Welle
Where to store Germany’s nuclear waste? The issue decades old and still unresolved has injected controversy into campaigning ahead of Germany’s federal election on 27 September.

Farm residents at Gorleben in northern Germany have long opposed a proposal that salt caverns under their feet be used as the nation’s long-term underground nuclear waste disposal site.

Driving tractors, they have begun a week-long road trek to Berlin to press their anti-nuclear case. Equipped with a rolling kitchen, they aim to spearhead a demonstration in the capital next Saturday. En route, the tractor trekkers plan stopovers at three other sites used variously as nuclear storages and all controversial – the former Konrad iron mine near Salzgitter; Asse, a mine with water leaks near Wolfenbüttel; and Morsleben, an old salt mine near the former East-West-German border. Nuclear industry proponents accuse detractors of exaggerating the risks.

McCain, Udall agree, but they’re still wrong | Colorado Statesman
he hearing Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. John McCain conducted in Estes Park concerning climate change, Rocky Mountain National Park, and our other national parks was reported by some as a proof for global warming.

Having attended the hearing myself, I found that to not be the case.

Throughout the hearing, it was obvious that both senators assumed anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the primary reason for any changes that occur to our local climate. That assumption, however, was never substantiated or allowed to be challenged. Sen. Udall stated at the beginning of the meeting that they were not going to discuss or debate any of the merits of the global warming argument.

The Wire – nixing nukes
Russian activists discuss nuclear plant decommissioning in Portsmouth

Few people are as familiar with the inherent complications of shutting down nuclear power plants as Oleg Bodrov. In 2002, the Russian nuclear engineer-physicist was attacked while walking home from his office. He suffered a serious head injury and spent weeks in the hospital.

Bodrov believes the attack was motivated by his activism against a Russian plant that was re-smelting radioactive metal. Bodrov is co-founder and chairman of the environmental organization Green World, which is currently focused on determining best practices for decommissioning Russia’s aging nuclear reactors. Among the obstacles to shutting down nuclear plants is that they employ thousands of people who are not keen on losing their jobs. The attacker who assaulted Bodrov was trying to send a message, he believes.

Whitehaven News | Anti-nuke cathedral protest
ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners protested outside Carlisle Cathedral at the pro-nuclear stance of the new bishop.

The Right Reverend James Newcome succeeds Graham Dow as Bishop of Carlisle in October.

He recently endorsed the nuclear industry, telling journalists: We regard Sellafield as one of the most important institutions in the diocese.

It employs a significant number of people.

Saul Landau: The Nuclear Gang Rides Again
A group of scientists, military officials and government bureaucrats signed an informal pact with the devil. The contract became public in August 1945, when U.S. bombers nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Since then, no other nation has used a nuclear weapon, but thousands of radiation-emitting tests have occurred and nuclear energy plants mushroomed, with promises of cheap, safe and clean power. Over the decades, however, the nuclear industry has faced repeated cost over-runs, and serious accidents. Thousands died at the Chernobyl power plant (Ukraine) and a near catastrophe occurred at the Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) facility. Air Force planes dropped H bombs in the ocean off the Spanish coast and innumerable leaks, fires and mishaps occurred routinely at military and civilian nuclear installations.

United Kingdom Faces a Quandary Over New Nuclear or Coal Power –
The United Kingdom is nearing a crucial decision as it tries to tackle the climate crisis — whether to make a major push into new nuclear power or to proliferate coal-fired power plants constructed so their carbon emissions are captured and safely stored.
A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.

While U.S. officials and America’s utility industry continue to mull this question, Britain’s decisional clock is ticking much faster. At stake are not just the government’s pressing legal commitments to slash the country’s contribution to global emissions of climate-changing carbon gases, but also a stated policy goal of reducing dependence on energy imports from unstable regions.


Nuclear Weapons News

40 years later, dust still hasn’t settled from Project Rulison nuclear blast
The ground rippled when a nuclear blast shattered the earth beneath Doghead Mountain south of Rulison 40 years ago, witnesses remember.

It was an ocean wave that came across the valley, and you could see it coming at you clear as a bell, said Cristy Koeneke, who was a college freshman watching the detonation of Project Rulison from an observation tent set up several miles away, across the Colorado River.

The Project Rulison experiment was conducted Sept. 10, 1969. The federal government and private companies were trying to free natural gas from underground sandstone formations. The experiment continues to cause reverberations today because of the nuclear contamination it left behind.

The gas Project Rulison produced was less than anticipated and too radioactive to use. But hydraulic fracturing subsequently has unlocked the enormous gas reserves in the Rulison area and elsewhere in the Piceance Basin

Sudan Vision Daily News – Sudan Agrees with IAEA on Nuclear Energy Programme
The Sudanese government announced today that it signed a framework agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on developing a nuclear energy program.

The Sudanese cabinet session headed by President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir was briefed on the details of the agreement from minister of science and technology, Professor Ibrahim Ahmed Omer.
The spokesperson of Sudan’s cabinet, Omer Mohammed Saleh said the understanding between the two sides also includes using nuclear technology to improving productivity in agricultural and livestock, enhance infrastructure to treat cancer patients, uncovering drug resistant malaria, new energy sources, a study of groundwater basins and feeding it and the production of medical isotopes.

ElBaradei’s Swan Song by Gordon Prather —
Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei – who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to prevent Bush-Cheney-Bolton from launching a war of aggression against Iraq on the basis of false accusations about Iraq’s nuclear programs, then verified by ElBaradei to be in compliance with its Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency – has really had it tough the past several years.

ElBaradei has had to contend with a Board of Governors that has acted in blatant disregard of the governing articles of the IAEA Statute, violating Iran’s inalienable rights affirmed not only in Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and in the IAEA Statute, but also affirmed by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Associated Press: AP NewsBreak: Iran says US nuke documents ‘forged’
Iran accused the U.S. on Friday of using “forged documents” and relying on subterfuge to make its case that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The eight-page letter — written by Iran’s chief envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency in Vienna — denounces Washington’s allegations against the Islamic Republic as “fabricated, baseless and false.” The letter does not specify what documents Iran is alleging were forged.

It also lashes out at Britain and France for “ill will and political motivation” in their dealings on Iran.

The Associated Press: Obama facing hurdles to nuclear disarmament goals
Five months after President Barack Obama, with great fanfare, called for a world free of nuclear weapons, a crucial step toward that goal is running into resistance.

There is little indication Obama will have the votes he needs for a cornerstone of his nonproliferation efforts: Senate ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty. If Obama can’t get the treaty approved, he probably will have a hard time persuading the rest of the world to rein in nuclear weapon programs.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group based in Washington, said the Obama administration needs to “work faster and harder” to build support in the Senate.

Indian scientists stir controversy over nuclear capability of New Delhi _English_Xinhua
Barely a week after an Indian atomic scientist raised a major controversy by claiming that the country’s nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998 were not “as successful as claimed”, a couple of other top Indian scientists have also added fuel to the fire by calling for further tests to establish India as a true nuke power.

Experts say that the claims of atomic scientist K. Santhanam, who was associated with the Pokhran nuclear tests, and P.K. Iyengar, the former head of India’s main nuclear body Atomic Energy Commission, have only stirred up doubts about India’s nuclear capability not only in the “volatile” South Asian region but also in the world arena.

Ethiopian News | Nuclear Egypt poses a real danger to Ethiopia
North Korea keeps shooting its long range missiles now and then. These missiles do not just reach all important targets; they can also deliver a nuclear message. Its leaders, or rather leader, has effectively made the world believe that he is unpredictable, that one day he could really strike American or South Korean targets.

Japan, Russia and China are all concerned, but not as badly as the other two countries. He has the gun; he seems to have the will to use it. The missing element is the excuse. (Of course, the other side of the argument is that he is already using them and reaping the benefits at least from the immediate south.) Now there are many of us who think that we are too far away or too detached to be concerned about this issue.

Asia Times Online: India reels under explosive nuclear charge
In an explosive revelation that may well have unsavory foreign policy repercussions, a senior official of India’s premier defense organization – the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) – who played a pivotal role in orchestrating India’s nuclear program during the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998, has declared that the tests that year were a dud and not nearly as successful as projected to the world.

The declaration by K Santhanam – remarkable as it comes from a top nuclear scientist directly associated with India’s nuclear program – has stirred a hornet’s nest in New Delhi.

The scientific community and political parties – primarily the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its principal right-wing opposition Bharatiya Janata Party under whose stewardship the

tests were conducted – are scrambling to offer explanations to counter Santhanam’s statement.

Waiting For ElBaradei’s Swan Song by Gordon Prather —
The Egyptian Envoy to the Non-Aligned Movement has sent a formal letter to fellow Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei – Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Secretariat – urging him to support the inclusion, at next week’s regular session of the IAEA General Conference, an agenda item sponsored by virtually all members of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled “Prohibition of Armed Attack or Threat of Attack Against [IAEA Safeguarded] Nuclear Installations, During Operation or Under Construction.”

Now, the IAEA General Conference has already passed such a resolution – entitled almost identically, also introduced by Iran – way back in September 1990.

2009 Hiroshima peace ceremony a missed chance for world’s nuclear powers to come together – The Mainichi Daily News
When the Israeli ambassador to Japan attended the peace memorial ceremony in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, the United States, Britain and France became the only nuclear powers never to have participated in the annual event marking the atomic bombing of the city.

The city of Hiroshima has issued invitations to the peace ceremony to the world’s nuclear powers every year since 1998. In the first year, India and Pakistan sent their ambassadors to the ceremony, followed by the Russian ambassador in 2000 and a Chinese consul in 2008. However, the U.S., France and Britain have never dispatched a representative to the solemn occasion.

Disarmament confab ends with hope for NPT review in 2010 | The Japan Times Online
A senior U.N. disarmament official said Friday it is possible to achieve success at next year’s review conference of the parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if countries are flexible and their leaders have firm political will.

Hannelore Hoppe, deputy to the high commissioner for disarmament affairs at the United Nations, made the remarks at a closing speech of a three-day disarmament conference, commenting on the next NPT review conference to be held from next May 3 to 28 in New York.

Summing up discussions at the disarmament conference that ended Friday in Niigata, Hoppe said the global movement for nuclear disarmament has gained momentum.

US has ‘scrapped plan for missile shield in eastern Europe’ – Americas, World – The Independent
Moving to avoid a rift with Moscow, Barack Obama has “all but abandoned” plans to locate parts of a controversial US missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, a leading Polish newspaper claimed yesterday.

The Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza said that the Pentagon has been asked to explore switching planned interceptor rocket sites from the two east European states to Israel, Turkey, the Balkans or to mobile launchers on warships. Asked about the claim, a Pentagon spokesman last night said the missile shield plans were still being reviewed. “No final decisions have been made regarding missile defence in Europe” he said.


Department of Energy News

DOE studying how contaminants enter Columbia River – Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news
New technology is providing information on how contaminated ground water from the Hanford nuclear reservation may be entering the Columbia River.

A study for the Department of Energy of where ground water seeps into the river and what contaminants it contains won’t be completed until the end of the year. But already there is evidence showing ground water enters the Columbia River in upwellings away from its shores, said Larry Hulstrom, Washington Closure Hanford project lead for the Columbia River investigation.

It’s generally been assumed that ground water enters the river in seeps and springs within the first 6 feet of its banks. But some of the ground water may become trapped below a hard layer in the ground and only seeps into deep areas of the river, rather than at its shores.

“We’ve never had the technology available to determine if it was upwelling further beyond 6 feet,” Hulstrom said.

The Energy Daily: Ten-Year Probe Offers First View Of Los Alamos Releases
After 10 years of sifting through thousands of pages of classified records and overcoming secrecy obstacles at the nuclear weapons lab, independent investigators have provided the first rough estimates of radioactive and toxic releases from Los Alamos National Laboratory dating back to its earliest operations and the potential health impact of the nation’s first atomic bomb blast on ranchers and other nearby residents in New Mexico.

Investigators for the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) project released a draft final report in late June that—while far from definitive in its conclusions—said there was persuasive evidence from spotty, decades-old emissions monitoring data that radioactive releases during Los Alamos’ early years were so significant that they could dwarf the cumulative releases from all of the Energy Department’s other early nuclear weapons production sites.

In particular, the researchers said that although the lab did not monitor emissions from many of its earliest plutonium processing facilities, fragmentary records especially industrial hygiene,, or worker safety, reports from 1955 and 1956 suggest plutonium releases in the late 1940s and early 1950s were much higher than has been acknowledged by the government to date.

Praise for Fluor Hanford raises obvious question – Opinions | Tri-City Herald
David Brockman’s recent In Focus column lauding Fluor Hanford’s 13-years’ worth of accomplishments at the nuclear reservation was a puzzler.

The praise heaped on the outgoing contractor by the Hanford operations manager was certainly justified.

Indeed, Fluor’s record — as an environmental cleanup contractor and a generous corporate neighbor — is commendable.

But the list of accomplishments outlined in Brockman’s column leads to an inescapable question.

DOE to begin work on historic landfills – Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald
The Department of Energy plans to start work today to excavate the historic landfills that hold day-to-day trash generated by more than 50,000 Hanford workers and their families during World War II.

Unlike most other environmental cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation, this trash will be checked for historical significance as it is unearthed.

“Information collected from the waste sites will be used to construct a social history of Hanford workers,” said Tom Marceau, cultural resources supervisor for Washington Closure Hanford, a DOE cleanup contractor.

This Y-12 project is (more or less) on hold |
While Oak Ridge officials and their advocates in Washington push the multi-billion-dollar UPF for all it’s worth, another proposed production facility at Y-12 has been put on the back burner for the foreseeable future.

The would-be Y-12 project is called the Consolidated Manufacturing Complex, and apparently it’s been shunted aside because of the huge budget considerations associated with the top-priority Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project at Los Alamos in New Mexico.

The CMC would house Y-12’s lithium operations, general machining operations, depleted uranium operations and deuterium production. I haven’t seen a price tag yet, but it obviously won’t be cheap.

According to Y-12 spokeswoman Ellen Boatner, the Oak Ridge contractor doesn’t anticipate major progress on the CMC for the next couple of years.

Los Alamos National Lab Missing 67 Computers – – Business Technology Leadership
New Mexico-based Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) , the nation’s leading nuclear weapons lab, once again finds itself the focus of concerns about potentially serious cybersecurity lapses.

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) , a watchdog group, Wednesday released a memo from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) expressing concern over the theft of three computers from the home of an employee at Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) in January.

LANS is a limited liability company comprising the University of California at Oakland, Bechtel National Inc. and two other firms that have been managing LANL since 2006.


Other Energy News

BBC NEWS | Harrabin’s notes: Shipping out
Global shipping contributes about a billion tonnes of CO2. That’s more than the entire economies of Germany or the UK.

Aviation lobbyists have gleefully highlighted the figures. They are a useful distraction from green assaults on the rise in aircraft emissions.

But the shipping industry indignantly rejects the comparison with aviation. The International Maritime Organisation says moving goods by ship is 80-100 times more efficient than by air.

Department of Energy – Treasury, Energy Announce $500 Million in Awards for Clean Energy Projects
Marking a major milestone in the effort to spur private sector investments in clean energy and create new jobs for America’s workers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $502 million in the first round of awards from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) program that provides cash assistance to energy production companies in place of earned tax credits. The new funding creates additional upfront capital, enabling companies to create jobs and begin construction that may have been stalled until now.

The Recovery Act is investing in our long-term energy needs while creating jobs in communities around the country, said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. This renewable energy program will spur the manufacture and development of clean energy in urban and rural America, allowing us to protect our environment, create good jobs and revitalize our nation’s economy.

A practical approach to alternative energy sources vs. nuclear power
In the article on nuclear power [”A Comeback for Nuclear Power”, August 2009], there was no discussion about what to do with the nuclear waste or the actual cost to build nuclear power plants. I have heard it may be approaching $1 billion dollars. Do not forget the cost of dealing with nuclear waste (if there is a safe way). I wonder how much solar or wind power we could build for a billion dollars.

donga: Japan`s Historic Power Transition
The landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in yesterday’s general elections has ended the 54-year reign of the Liberal Democratic Party. The elections, which enabled the first major transition of power in post-World War II Japan, hold great significance in Japanese political history. Though a non-Liberal Democratic coalition took power for 10 months after the 1993 general elections, the Liberal Democratic Party still held control.\n\nThe Democratic Party’s victory resulted from the Japanese people’s desire for change. The Japanese public had been long fed up with the near total domination of the Liberal Democrats, who lost support due to bureaucratic politics, corruption, chronic factionalism and frequent replacement of prime ministers. Another factor was that the Japanese economy, which had been revived under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi after the “lost decade,” took another turn for the worse due to the global economic crisis. Led by Yukio Hatoyama, the Democratic Party lambasted collusion between the government and the Liberal Democrats and achieved a revolutionary transition of power by promising down-to-earth policies such as childcare support and ending budget waste.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls for Trial of Climate Science
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, wants to put climate change science on trial.

In an attempt to head off a U.S. EPA finding that climate change endangers public health and welfare in the United States, the Chamber Tuesday petitioned the federal agency for a trial-like hearing of the scientific evidence before an administrative judge or EPA official.

“An endangerment finding would give rise to the most far-reaching rulemaking in American history,” the Chamber said in its petition. “Before embarking on that long, costly process, EPA ought to do everything possible to assure the American people of the ultimate scientific accuracy of its decision.”


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Nuclear nonsense – Salt Lake Tribune
Gov. Gary Herbert supports a full palette of energy options for Utah. The clean greens: solar, geothermal, wind. The dirty browns: coal, oil, natural gas. And the chameleon of electricity production, nuclear fission, which provides clean power but carries its own environmental and safety baggage.

Nuclear power plants were popular until a near meltdown of a reactor in Pennsylvania in 1979 shocked the nation to its senses. There hasn’t been a domestic plant built since.

But in the rush to curb climate change, well-founded fears have been forgotten and a nuclear revival is underway. Nuclear power plants emit only water vapor and produce enough power to replace fossil fuels as a base-load provider of electricity. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received applications for 26 new reactors and more are expected, including paperwork for a proposed plant near Green River in Emery County, which would be Utah’s first.

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