Top 100 Energy Stories Sept. 21st – 27th 2009


I finally caught up…

Germany fell to the right today. Expect a major war over a new push to toss out Germany’s nuclear moratorium. A foul week indeed as new intenational alliances with Corporations are popping up worldwide. EDF and Germany, US in Italy and and India. Canada with India, Russia with Germany and Japan. The latest US version was Progress Energy and Areva in Florida. With PUHCA gone, and the democrats incapable of any backbone the best example is the Obama grandstanding on nuclear weapons! Yeah, Israel got caught in the limelight, with its forced experiments with radiation and the UN’s vote to reign in their illegal weapons program, but right next to all the PR noise out of DC, we have the IAEA holding a slamfest on Nuclear sustainability!  And oh yeah, Utah’s new governor came out swinging for corporate bribes when he failed to do anything about the massive du waste planned to ship there after incineration at Oak Ridge.

Speak of scandals, was it a TVA whistleblower that the NRC is now attacking for disclosing security lapses at the giant federal agency.  WCS is now legal in Texas, folks so there are now llw solutions for the industry to start dumping full speed ahead.  Hundreds of waste experts around the world were in Hanford this week to talk about how to deal with Yucca, while another PR spin in DC on Energy took stage.

Japan is finally investigating the secret nuclear weapons deals with the US while probably the best news comes with the World Health Organization calling for dramatic new safety precautions over worldwide Radon health dangers (lung cancer). I wanted to write something else about the growing policy crisis that is completely missing from action, but what the hell. We get what we deserve at this point. I nearly crushed the wall and my fist when Hillary went to India to certify the 123 treaty. Folks, this stuff is being orchestrated at the intenational level.  Its just a matter of time before the missing PUCHA law gives the global nuclear giants the right to walk all over this country.

The writing is clearly on the walls folks.  Somebody needs break through the corporate media on this issue and dozens of others or we are in serious trouble.

Check out the new video capacity. The Israeli isotope scandal has a vid as does the super hyped DC Energy event. This was a packed week for news. There must have been over 200 stories on Iran alone to sort out.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

Kyiv Post» Kazatomprom: Kazakhstan’s first NPP in Aktau to start operating in 2016
The feasibility study for the Aktau nuclear power plant (NPP) is currently being appraised by the state regulators, while the first block of the power plant is scheduled for launch in 2016, Kazatomprom vice president Sergei Yashin said.

“The feasibility study has been completed and currently being appraised by the authorized state agencies,” Yashin said at the forum of Kazakhstan Energy Week on Friday in Astana.

Yashin reminded that the design and building of VBER-300 reactor and the NPP was the prerogative of the Russian-Kazakh joint venture established in October last year. / Europe – US seeks role in Italian nuclear industry
Italy will hold talks with the Obama administration and Westinghouse next week on opening its nuclear power market to US technology following concerns raised by Washington that the revival of the Italian nuclear industry after a two-decade moratorium will be dominated by France’s EDF.

Italian and US officials said Claudio Scajola, minister for economic development, and Steven Chu, US energy secretary, would sign an agreement in Washington next Tuesday on research and development of nuclear technology and issue a joint declaration on industrial co-operation in nuclear power.

Mr Scajola will then visit the Beaver Valley nuclear plant built by Westinghouse in Pennsylvania which started operating in 1976. Japan’s Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006.

Italy Nuclear Power Plan May Cost EU40 Billion, Sole Reports –
Italy’s plan to increase nuclear power may cost 40 billion euros ($59 billion,) Enel SpA Chief Executive Officer Fulvio Conti told daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Italy will probably need about eight reactors that will cost as much as 5 billion euros each, Conti said, according to the newspaper.

Italy, which has the highest electricity prices in the European Union, has been looking for ways to cut power costs and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Italians voted to shutter the country’s nuclear power plants in a 1987 referendum following the Chernobyl power-plant accident in the former Soviet Union.

Enel may invest an additional $1.3 billion over the next three to four years in the U.S., where the utility has invested in renewable energy projects, Conti told the newspaper.

AFP: New Russian nuclear plant worries residents

Russia’s plans to build a nuclear power plant in its Baltic territory of Kaliningrad, hemmed in between Poland and Lithuania, has local residents and environmentalists worried.

Russian state energy corporation Rosatom announced plans last year to build a 1,200-megawatt nuclear plant near Sovetsk by 2016. The site is just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Lithuania’s border.

But memories of the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986 in what is now Ukraine has convinced residents like Lyudmila Litvinova and others who went to a meeting with local officials that the risk is too high.

“Why would we want to succumb to a radiation risk here in Russia,” Litvinova, 52, told AFP.

High Springs Herald: Local officials OK with nuclear power plants being built nearby
While the state has given approval to construct two nuclear power plants nearby in Levy County, some local officials did not have any safety concerns about having a nuclear power plant so close.

In fact, the only concern raised about building the plants centered on the financial impact they would have.

“You don’t really hear of any accidents involving nuclear reactors on Navy ships,” Alachua City Commissioner Jean Calderwood said. “Looking back on the history of nuclear power plants, I would say we are standing on pretty solid ground.”

High Springs Mayor Jim Gabriel, who said he doesn’t have much background knowledge of the proposed Levy plants, said he is generally in favor of a nuclear power plant.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Israelis made to drink Uranium enriched juice? – RT Top Stories
Juice laced with uranium is just one of many clinical trials allegedly conducted at Israel’s Negev nuclear plant, claims investigative journalist Yossi Melman.

Melman has accused the plant’s management of forcing its workers to take part in life-threatening experiments for the sake of nuclear developments.

Radioactive container found in local cemetery | The Kansas City Kansan
The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department responded to a case of “hazardous material release” Wednesday afternoon at the City Cemetery at 38th and Bryant Circle.

When arriving on the scene, crews discovered a container with a label of “radioactive.”

“Haz Mat crews located a container with labeling indicating contents were Radioactive,” said Craig Duke, spokesperson. “Crews using monitoring equipment confirmed contents had a low level Radioactive material. On scene command contacted company listed on container and identified contents as a Nuclear Density testing machine which is used in highway and bridge construction to test the compactness of the soil during bridge construction.”

Commentary: Childhood cancer near nuclear power stations – 7thSpace Interactive
In 2008, the KiKK study in Germany reported a 1.6-fold increase in all cancers and a 2.2-fold increase in leukemias, among children living within 5 km of all German nuclear power stations. The study has triggered debates as to the cause(s) of these increased cancers.

This article reports on the findings of the KiKK study; discusses past and more recent epidemiological studies of leukemias near nuclear installations around the world, and outlines a possible biological mechanism to explain the increased cancers. This suggests that the observed high rates of infant leukemias may be a teratogenic effect from incorporated radionuclides.

Doses from environmental emissions from nuclear reactors to embryos/fetuses in pregnant women near nuclear power stations may be larger than suspected and hematopoietic tissues may be considerably more radiosensitive in embryos/fetuses than in newborn babies. The commentary concludes with recommendations for further research.

North West Evening Mail| Radiation questions
MP Tim Farron will call for Sellafield’s compensation scheme for radiation-linked diseases to be extended to the wider population.

The nuclear industry scheme to compensate workers or their dependents for diseases which may be radiation-linked was set up by BNFL and the unions at Sellafield in 1982.

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.

A total of £6.2m has so far been paid out. Many of the cases were linked to Sellafield, but the scheme has now been widened to include all nuclear radiation workers.

Radiation Free Lakeland is calling for the scheme to be extended to the wider population within at least a 5km radius of Sellafield.

Mr Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, will ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to extend the scheme for radiation-linked diseases.

AFP: WHO slashes safety limits of radioactive radon
The World Health Organization has slashed the safety limits of radon to a tenth of its current level, noting that the naturally occurring radioactive gas causes up to 14 percent of lung cancer cases.

“In view of the latest scientific data, WHO proposes a reference level of 100 becquerels per metric cube to minimize health hazards due to indoor radon exposure,” said the UN health agency in a report published this week.

“However, if this level cannot be reached under the prevailing country-specific conditions, the chosen reference level should not exceed 300 becquerels per metric cube,” it added.

Becquerel is a measuring unit for radioactivity and reference levels represents the maximum accepted radon concentration in a residential dwelling.

A previous WHO report published in 1996 had fixed the reference level at 1,000 becquerels per cubic metre.

After smoking, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer, killing tens of thousands of people a year, said the WHO.

What about health risk from Calvert Cliffs? —
Whenever I read anything in the newspaper about the proposed purchase by Electricite de France of 49.99% of Constellation Energy’s nuclear business, I cringe. The French company wants to build a double-size third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs. The mere existence of any nuclear reactor causes unimaginable harm to the public and environment every-single-day.

Plutonium is considered weapons-grade when it contains 93 percent Pu-239. The plutonium that would be used in the new reactor is 94 percent Pu-239. A single speck of Pu-239 in the lung will cause lung cancer. Pu-239 has a half life of a bit over 24,000 years. This is a major health risk.

Nuclear plant put on final warning after leak – Herald Scotland |
A nuclear power station has been sent a final warning letter after radioactive waste
leaked into the sea.

Around 2600 litres of low-level waste was discharged from Hunterston B into the Firth of Clyde because of a problem with a valve.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said the leak did not cause an environmental issue, but it issued the Ayrshire power station with a final warning letter because procedures were not followed.

Extracts from a letter sent by SEPA radioactive substances specialist Keith Hammond to the director of Hunterston B on July 8 emerged in the Sunday Herald.

He wrote: EPA is deeply concerned over this matter.


NRC News

FR: NRC: Solicitation of Public Comments on the Implementation of the Reactor Oversight Process
SUMMARY: The NRC is soliciting comments from members of the public, licensees, and interest groups related to the implementation of the Reactor Oversight Process (ROP). An electronic version of the survey questions and additional information about the ROP are available at This solicitation will provide insights into the self-assessment process and a summary of the feedback will be included in the annual ROP self-assessment report to the Commission.

DATES: The comment period expires on November 6, 2009.

The NRC continues to be interested in receiving feedback from members of the public, various public stakeholders, and industry groups on their insights regarding the calendar year 2009 implementation of the ROP. In particular, the NRC is seeking responses to the questions listed below, which will provide important information that the NRC can use in ongoing program improvement. A summary of the feedback obtained will be provided to the Commission and included in the annual ROP self- assessment report. Questions

Nuclear agency to hold public meeting on Babcock & Wilcox performance | Lynchburg News Advance
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold its annual public meeting with Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group officials at 6 p.m., Sept. 28 at Lynchburg City Hall.

The public meeting will include a report on the NRC’s performance review of B&W’s operations from June 2008 through June 2009. The performance review examined safety and the handling of nuclear materials at B&W’s Mt. Athos Road facility in Campbell County. The NRC investigation concluded that B&W operates safely.

NRC officials will be present to answer questions from people who attend.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

China has begun refined fuel stockpiling: planner | Reuters
China has already begun adding refined fuel to its state reserves as part of a larger plan to enhance the country’s energy security, a top economic planner said on Sunday.

In May, an industry official told Reuters China planned to stockpile 10 million tons of fuel reserves by 2011, equivalent to about two weeks’ of current consumption of gasoline, diesel and kerosene combined.

“We are doing this already,” Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, told Reuters when asked how much refined fuel China intends to stockpile this year. He did not elaborate.

Plutonium Shortage Could Stall Space Exploration : NPR
NASA is running out of the special kind of plutonium needed to power deep space probes, worrying planetary scientists who say the U. S. urgently needs to restart production of plutonium-238.

But it’s unclear whether Congress will provide the $30 million that the administration requested earlier this year for the Department of Energy to get a new program going.

Nuclear weapons use plutonium-239, but NASA depends on something quite different: plutonium-238. A marshmallow-sized pellet of plutonium-238, encased in metal, gives off a lot of heat.

Colorado delegation pens letter to dissuade mercury storage plan
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu could remove Grand Junction from the list of potential mercury-storage sites and he should do just that, Colorado’s senators and a congressman said.

“We believe there is abundant evidence to characterize this proposal as unreasonable and respectfully urge that you eliminate from further review the alternative for storing mercury in Mesa County,” the Colorado officials said.

Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and U.S. Rep. John Salazar, all Democrats, sent the letter on Thursday.

azdailysun: Tuba dump finally getting feds’ attention
The EPA will drill test holes looking for uranium-contaminated waste that villagers fear is a threat to their downstream springs.

A dump near Tuba City that has been leaching low levels of radioactive waste into the shallow aquifer finally is getting some federal attention, if not an actual cleanup yet.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to fence off a remaining section of an old dump, near two Hopi villages, and test for hot spots of radioactivity close by. This includes one area where the agency says uranium levels in the water exceed what’s federally considered safe for drinking water by eight times.

Local villagers who believe their downstream springs are threatened have long sought a total excavation of the dump.

Uranium-related waste found in the testing will be removed with heavy equipment beginning in October, and 263 new testing holes will be dug to search for more.

AdelaideNow… Call to refine our own uranium

HEATHGATE Resources wants to build a uranium conversion plant at its Beverley mine to add greater value to the raw material it mines at the site.

Heathgate president David Williams said it was time to consider conversion, which is the stage before uranium is enriched in preparation for use as a nuclear fuel.

“You are still not into the contentious stage. Why couldn’t we do a conversion in Australia?” Mr Williams says in an interview in today’s SA Weekend magazine. “Why couldn’t we do that value add in Australia?

“I think that will be an interesting debate to go forward. Are we simply going to stay as an exporter of the raw material or are we going to do a bit more?”

Associated Press: Venezuela seeking uranium with Iran’s help

Iran is helping to detect uranium deposits in Venezuela and initial evaluations suggest reserves are significant, President Hugo Chavez’s government said Friday.

Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran has been assisting Venezuela with geophysical survey flights and geochemical analysis of the deposits, and that evaluations “indicate the existence of uranium in western parts of the country and in Santa Elena de Uairen,” in southeastern Bolivar state.

“We could have important reserves of uranium,” Sanz told reporters upon arrival on Venezuela’s Margarita Island for a weekend Africa-South America summit. He added that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within the next three years.

The announcement came as revelations that Iran has secretly been building a uranium-enrichment plant provoke concerns among countries including the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China.

Utahns question accelerated uranium enrichment – Salt Lake Tribune

Critics of planned depleted-uranium shipments to Utah told regulators Thursday that it makes no sense to generate such waste when the country is advocating nuclear nonproliferation.

Depleted uranium is a by-product of uranium enrichment for nuclear fuels — or for weapons — and its accelerating commercial production in the United States has the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a three-year process to write rules for its disposal. In the meantime, Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions is preparing to bury new shipments of it in the Tooele County desert.

Canada and Kazakhstan reach nuclear trade deal | Markets | Markets News | Reuters

* Deal to supply nuclear material, equipment, technology

* Cameco Corp to benefit from agreement

* Agreement to ensure peaceful nuclear uses only (Adds quotes, details)

OTTAWA, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Canada and Kazakhstan have reached a nuclear cooperation agreement to open up Kazakhstan’s civil nuclear market to Canadian uranium and technology suppliers, Trade Minister Stockwell Day said on Thursday.

In a statement, the government said that one of the Canadian companies that will benefit from the agreement with the Central Asian country is Cameco Corp (CCO.TO), one of the world’s largest uranium producers.

Cameco owns 60 percent of a venture that operates the Inkai uranium deposit in Kazakhstan.

Gone: enough HEU for 15,000 weapons|

NNSA and USEC announced the same milestone in very different ways today, both saying 375 metric tons of Russia’s highly enriched had been eliminated under the nonproliferation program that was initiated in 1993.

The program, sometimes referenced as Metagons to Megawatts, has converted the weapons-grade material — enough to reportedly make 15,000 nuclear weapons — to a low-enriched material of use for nuclear reactor fuel. The milestone is 75 percent of the 500 metric tons targeted for elimination by 2013.

In a statement, NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino said, “The continued success of this important bilateral agreement demonstrates the enduring U.S.-Russian commitment to the safe and irreversible elimination of excess fissile materials, as recently reaffirmed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in Moscow. This milestone puts us one step closer to accomplishing the President’s goal of securing or eliminating weapons-usable nuclear materials worldwide.”

USEC, which purchases the low-enriched material as part of the program and supplies it to customers, said it had paid the Russian Federatlon more than $5.6 billion since 1995.

Company considers chemical ND uranium extraction –

An Australian company exploring for uranium in southwest North Dakota says it believes it may be able to save millions of dollars by pouring chemicals over piles of lignite to extract the radioactive element and other valuable substances.

Formation Resources Inc. of Bismarck is a unit of PacMag Metals Ltd., based in West Perth, Australia. The company says the so-called heap-leach process can be done for less than $20 million. Building a processing plant could cost four times that much.

The company says the high-grade uranium found in southwest North Dakota is at a shallow depth, usually less than 60 feet. Jim Guilinger, a PacMag consultant, says that makes the heap-leach process more attractive.

Serbian Spent Nuclear Fuel Will Be Shipped To Russia – Nuclear Power Industry News

During the 53rd IAEA General Conference, delegates from the Russian Federation and Serbia signed a trade contract, laying the groundwork for the final repatriation of spent
nuclear fuel from the Serbian Institute for Nuclear Sciences at VinÄ to the Russian Federation.

The Foreign Trade Contract (FTC) is a pre-condition for the spent fuel´s envisioned repatriation to Russia, setting out provisions for the safe and secure transport, reprocessing, storage and subsequent disposal of the high-level waste at Russian facilities. The FTC was signed by Mr. Sergey Kazakov, Director of the Russian Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety and Mr. Radojica Pesic, General Director of the Serbian Public Company Nuclear Facilities.

Labor’s uranium policy flawed: Bowler (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Independent Member for Kalgoorlie, John Bowler, expects the Labor Party will eventually abandon its anti-uranium stance.

The Opposition Leader, Eric Ripper, has rejected reports of an internal rift over the issue.

It comes after the shadow treasurer, Ben Wyatt, said a future Labor Government would not shut down mines approved by the current Government.

How U.S. Removed Half a Ton of Uranium From Kazakhstan –

On a snowy day in December 1993, just months after Andy Weber began his diplomatic job at the U.S. Embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan, he met with a tall, bullet-headed man he knew only as Col. Korbator.

“Andy, let’s take a walk,” the colonel said. As they strolled through a dim apartment courtyard, Korbator handed Weber a piece of paper. Weber unfolded it. On the paper was written:

Colorado Independent » Colorado officials: Yellowcake uranium trucks can go wherever they want’

State says material ‘doesn’t really present that much of a hazard’; plans to truck sulfuric acid into Montrose County site

MONTROSE Opponents of a proposed uranium mill in southwestern Colorado near the Utah state line may be relieved to hear that state officials in charge of overseeing the transport of incoming ore and outgoing yellowcake don’t actually consider such things “nuclear materials.”

Uranium yellowcake and sulfuric acid would be carted along I-70 in Colorado

By state statute, uranium ore and processed yellowcake, used to make fuel rods for nuclear reactors, are considered mere hazardous materials and therefore not limited to transportation along the state’s designated nuclear materials routes.

“When you’re dealing with yellowcake shipments, they get carried in pretty much a dump truck,” said Capt. Allan Turner of the Colorado State Patrol’s Hazardous Materials Transport Safety and Response (HMTSR) team.


Nuclear Waste News

Rialto officials say Superfund listing a win in perchlorate fight – San Bernardino County Sun

A 160-acre site in the northern area of the city known for introducing a perchlorate plume into the local ground water supply has been added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List.

When the listing was announced Wednesday, officials declared it as a landmark victory for Rialto residents.

“This is a very victorious day for the city of Rialto, after spending $28 million to try to get these guys to do the right thing,” Councilman Ed Scott said.

The Superfund designation represents a commitment by the EPA to clean the site while making it eligible for government funding, said Wayne Praskins, Superfund project manager.

The EPA has been developing an initial cleanup proposal that should be ready at the beginning of the year, Praskins said Friday.

It will cost between $10 million and $15 million to construct the facilities needed to conduct a cleanup at the site, and $1 million per year to operate them, Praskins said.

Water pact gambles with health of Utah families – Salt Lake Tribune

In 1991, facing obvious limits to growth from meager water resources, Las Vegas power brokers decided to bring the drama of high stakes gambling from the casinos to the board room of the Southern Nevada Water Authority headed by the Bernie Madoff of Western water, Pat Mulroy.

The strategy was even proudly Ballyhooed in public. Las Vegas would just keep building beyond the capacity of its Colorado River allocation and dare other states or the federal government to stop them.

At the time, a spokesman for Nevada’s Colorado River Commission even announced, “The federal government will never let Nevada go dry.”

Open wide, Utah – Salt Lake Tribune

Utah: the guinea pig state. And now for the latest federal experiment with our public health, the curious case of depleted uranium, a radioactive waste that keeps getting hotter as time goes by.

But first, some background. Our state constitution might as well read: “Give us your chemical weapons incinerator, your biological weapons testing facility, your nuclear fallout, your radioactive waste.” Utah has it all.

Now, we’re being told to take another one for the country. Federal regulators have yet to determine where and how depleted uranium should be disposed, yet 49,000 metric tons of the material have already been buried at EnergySolutions’ low-level radioactive waste disposal facility at Clive.

And, even as the NRC holds hearings to start writing rules for safe disposal of this growing waste stream, another 14,000 metric tons await shipment to Utah from South Carolina beginning next month.

Guv rejects call for immediate N-waste ban – Salt Lake Tribune

Gov. Gary Herbert rebuffed a challenge Friday from an environmental group to impose an immediate moratorium on shipments of depleted uranium to Utah.

“I’m not prepared to that,” Herbert told The Tribune in an interview.

While he said the issue is worth further exploration, the governor said, “I don’t want to respond with a knee-jerk reaction. We want to study the pros and cons.”

Herbert on Thursday had said during a news conference that he worries about depleted uranium coming to Utah because of its long period of radioactivity.

“It’s forever,” he said. “And the thing that causes most of us concern with depleted uranium is it gets hotter over time.”

Those comments and the state Radiation Control Board’s rejection earlier this week of a proposed moratorium, prompted the group HEAL Utah on Friday to challenge the governor to action.

HEAL Executive Director Vanessa Pierce publicly released a letter to Herbert urging him to recognize the proposed shipments of thousands of tons of depleted uranium to the EnergySolutions’ landfill in Tooele County as a “clear and present danger” to the health and well being of Utahns.

Nuclear sites fear being the alternative to Yucca | Richmond Times-Dispatch

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 he faces re-election next year and Nevada residents adamantly oppose the project.

Wrecked ship not tested for radioactivity –

A ship wreck discovered off the coast of Italy two weeks ago may contain bodies, as well as radioactive waste, the mayor of Longobardi says.

An underwater camera revealed orange barrels marked “toxic” and what may be two bodies.

Authorities say the vessel was sunk in 1993 by a criminal organization to conceal toxic waste, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

It remains underwater 12 miles off the coast and by Thursday calls for government action to deal with the possible pollution were mounting.

“This terrible threat from the bottom of our sea calls for more than just good intentions,” Calabrian Member of Parliament Jole Santelli said. “Serious situations like the one we have now in Calabria should be examined in depth to ensure the right tools are available to clean the polluted sea swiftly and efficiently.”

The Environment Ministry promised to send the Astrea, an oceanographic survey ship, to look into the problem. However, Calabrian Environment Councilor Silvestro Greco said Wednesday the Astrea was not up to the task.

Greco said the council of regional governments would petition the European Commission to assist.

The ship was found after a mafia turncoat told prosecutors he was involved in the 1993 sinking of the Cunsky to hide 120 containers of radioactive waste. A robot was sent down to investigate the vessel.

Dounreay publishes off-site contamination report on Environmental Expert

Dounreay today publishes the findings of its investigation into the discovery of a radioactive particle in land adjacent to the licensed site.

The investigation report has been distributed to the land-user and nearby residents following its submission to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It can be downloaded here.

An investigation was carried out into the discovery of contamination during a survey last month of the off-site area designated for development as a repository for low level radioactive waste from the site decommissioning.

One find was determined to be a ‘minor’ DFR particle and the second was found to be a disperse area of radioactive contamination containing caesium.

From expert advice neither of the finds poses a health risk.

Both of the finds were well below the ground surface indicating they have been there for 10 years or longer.

The reason for the contamination at this location was not definitively determined.

Nuclear giants vie for £3.6bn clean-up – Building

Bidders for nuclear work are gearing up to fight for a multibillion pound contract to manage the clean-up of the Dounreay site on the northern coast of Scotland

On Monday, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority issued a tender seeking a consortium to oversee the restoration operation at the derelict site, which contains three former nuclear reactors. The programme is valued at about £3.6bn.

The Pentland Alliance is regarded as the frontrunner for the job. Members of this consortium, which includes Amec, CH2M Hill and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), have been seconded to senior posts at Dounreay over the past three years.

However, in a surprise move last week, the commercial arm of UKAEA chose engineer Babcock International rather than Amec to be its buyer, which raised questions about the future of the Pentland Alliance. However, it is thought that the consortium will continue.

Hanford landfill still growing | Tri-City Herald

Work has started to make Hanford’s massive landfill for low-level radioactive waste even larger.

Improvements also are being made to help the landfill, the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, or ERDF, keep up with the accelerated pace of environmental cleanup at the nuclear reservation.

Cleanup work at Hanford is increasing with the infusion of $1.96 billion in federal economic stimulus money. With more cleanup work comes the need for more waste disposal capacity, so the stimulus funding includes about $100 million for work at ERDF.

“The pace of cleanup at Hanford is totally linked to the capabilities of ERDF,” said Dave Einan, an environmental engineer for the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates the Department of Energy project.

Deseret News | Workshop avoids mention of N-waste coming this way

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission grappled with the hot topic of long-term solutions
to the storage of depleted uranium and tried to steer clear of the burning issue
closer to home EnergySolutions’ pending arrival of tons of the stuff.

Shipments of 10,800 metric tons of depleted uranium are on line to be disposed of at the company’s Clive facility in Tooele County after a contract was inked with the U.S. Department of Energy this summer.

An official from that agency cautioned participants in a public workshop Wednesday in Salt Lake City that any analysis performed so far on what storage conditions should be imposed was not done specific to Clive.

DU-NRC meeting IEER PDF Notes

The NRC held a two day workshop on a proposed change in the low-level waste disposal
regulation, 10 CFR 61.55, to accommodate large amounts of depleted uranium (DU)
from uranium enrichment plants and other “unique” waste streams. I participated
in this workshop, at the invitation of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC). The proceedings were transcribed. The transcript and slide presentations
have been posted on the NRC’s website.

Nuclear waste experts meet in Kennewick – | Tri-City Herald

Nearly 300 of the world’s top experts from 21 countries in dealing with subterranean nuclear waste issues are meeting this week at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

They are sharing science and trying to better understand how to deal with the legacy of radioactive materials.

The Migration ’09 conference has booked the convention center all week. That means the Kennewick Public Facilities District Board of Directors must hold its monthly meeting Thursday across the parking lot at the Toyota Center.

“This is the most important conference (in the world) relating to the science behind the solutions,” said Thomas Fanghanel, a researcher from Germany who is chairman of the conference.

Utahns hear plans to regulate uranium disposal – Salt Lake Tribune

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will take about three years to write new rules for disposing of the kind of depleted uranium Utah is poised to accept next month.

Agency officials are conducting a two-day round-table discussion in Salt Lake City to explain their process and get ideas. They said in Wednesday’s session at the Marriott University Park hotel that new rules for the radioactive waste are needed because the volumes now being produced never were envisioned when NRC considered disposal methods in the 1980s.

The new rules will affect where and how the powdered material should be buried — in which climates and how deeply — and will set standards for reviews of existing dumps, like the one EnergySolutions runs in Tooele County. That site in Clive piles up waste at ground level and covers it.

EnergySolutions: State rejects depleted uranium shipment moratorium – Salt Lake Tribune

State officials Tuesday rejected a plea to place a moratorium on any more depleted-uranium shipments to an EnergySolutions site in Tooele County, possibly clearing the way for shipments next month of the radioactive waste.

But the state still could require the company to remove the waste in the future.

In an 8-3 vote, the Utah Radiation Control Board rebuffed a request from the anti-nuclear-waste group HEAL Utah to halt such shipments until the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission finishes a three-year examination of whether depleted uranium should be reclassified on the nation’s radiation danger scale.

Times & Star | Opinion | Time to admit West Cumbria is unsuitable for nuclear waste storage

LAST week Germany’s nuclear waste storage site, which has so far cost nearly $2 billion, was pronounced ‘dead’ by the Environment Minister, and he was backed by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection.

German newspapers had been reporting that the conservative government of the 1970s, led by Chancellor Kohl, had altered a scientists’ report that came to the conclusion that the location in Lower Saxony was not suitable for long-term storage of nuclear waste, so that Gorleben could indeed be chosen.

All local authorities should plan for radioactive waste

All local authorities should have plans drawn up for considering applications for radioactive waste in landfills.

That’s the view of the authority set up to get local government and the nuclear industry talking.

Nuleaf’s executive director, Fred Barker, said some people were ‘willing to stick their head above the parapet’ but they were shouted down by political leaders in local government.

He went onto explain, at RWM in Birmingham last, that there were many contracts available for dealing with local level radioactive waste from industries such as hospitals.

And the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is due to start decommissioning its fleet of cold war era nuclear submarines in the near future.

Yankee Waste Disposal Site Approved in TX – WCAX.

It appears Vermont Yankee is getting an out-of-state site to store its low-level nuclear waste.

The nuclear power plant has been storing its low-level waste at the Vernon reactor since its long-time disposal site in South Carolina closed last year. But now a facility owned by Waste Control Specialists LLC in Andrews County, TX, has won final approval from regulators to build a disposal site. Construction documents still need approval and then the site will take about a year to build. Yankee’s owner, Entergy Nuclear, says once the Texas site is built disposal costs will shrink.


Cleanup of toxic waste to begin – St. Catharines Standard – Ontario, CA

It will be the biggest radioactive waste cleanup in Canadian history.

An estimated 1.2 million cubic metres of soil contaminated with historic low-level radioactive waste and industrial toxins — enough to fill almost 500 Olympic-size pools — will be dug up in this town east of Toronto and trucked to a new storage facility north of town, where it will be sealed for centuries.

Approval for the monumental $260-million-plus task, expected within weeks, will mark a major milestone in a decades-long fight to eradicate a dark stain on the town.

Starting in the 1930s, the waterfront Cameco refinery, formerly Eldorado Nuclear Ltd., refined radium used for treating cancer and uranium that helped the Manhattan Project develop the first atomic bombs.

Until a cleanup in the mid-1970s, low-level radioactive by-products and other toxins entered the environment through use of contaminated fill, and to some extent through sloppy transport and water and wind erosion in storage areas. – Waste shipment from Calif. completed at Carlsbad

The first shipment of nuclear waste byproduct has been delivered to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the southeastern corner of New Mexico.

The Department of Energy said the shipment arrived safely early Friday morning.

The DOE estimates that about 30-40 shipments will be sent from a facility in California to WIPP.

The waste is a byproduct of the nation’s nuclear defense program. It consists of tools, rags, protective clothing, sludge, soil and other materials contaminated with radioactive elements that have atomic numbers greater than uranium.

The material arrives by truck in lead-lined casks certified by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Livermore Lab speeds Visalia Superfund cleanup – San Francisco Business Times:

Steam-cleaning technology created by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was
used to clean a Superfund site in Visalia, in California’s Central Valley and
the job was finished a century earlier than first expected.

Utility company Southern California Edison used the site to soak wooden utility poles in creosote and other protective chemicals for some 80 years. Those chemicals contaminated the soil and underground water in the area. By the 1970s, the chemicals had seeped down as much as 100 feet in places.

The site, called the Visalia Pole Yard, was one of the first Superfund sites, part of a federal government cleanup program for very toxic places. Superfund sites are on the National Priorities List of the Environmental Protection Agency because they may seriously threaten public health.

A nuclear waste solution —

Yucca Mountain may never be used, but a physicist lays out his argument favoring
repositories over costly reprocessing. By Frank von Hippel

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project is now comatose, if not dead. And that puts us back at square one on a crucial question: What are we going to do with all the radioactive waste being discharged by U.S. nuclear power reactors?\n\nMany conservatives on Capitol Hill favor the French “solution”: spent-fuel reprocessing. But reprocessing isn’t a solution at all: It’s a very expensive and dangerous detour.\n\nReprocessing takes used or “spent” nuclear fuel and dissolves it to separate the uranium and plutonium from the highly radioactive fission products. The plutonium and uranium are then recycled to make new reactor fuel, thereby reducing the amount of fresh uranium required by about 20%. But based on French and Japanese experience, the cost of producing this recycled fuel is several times that of producing fresh uranium reactor fuel.

AllGov – Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management: Who is Warren “Pete” Miller, Jr.?

Warren F. “Pete” Miller, Jr. has been selected by President Barack Obama to fill two posts that oversee each end of nuclear energysupplying it and storing its waste. First, Miller was nominated to be Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy, and about a week later, he was also chosen to serve as director of Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. Industry observers believe Miller’s latter role will involve carrying out Obama’s wishes to end the controversial project to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Miller was confirmed by the Senate for the first position on August 7, 2009, but his confirmation for the radioactive waste role was held up by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who opposes the closing of Yucca Mountain.

Born in Chicago on March 17, 1943, Miller is one of five children raised by Warren F. Miller, Sr., and Helen Robinson Miller. His father worked as a milkman, delivering dairy products to homes in the Chicago area, and his mother worked as a secretary at the University of Chicago. Miller attended all-black inner city schools while growing up, and during high school, he enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps, becoming commander of his ROTC unit.


Nuclear Policy News

Merkel wins as Germans choose centre-right | U.S. | Reuters

German voters gave Chancellor Angela Merkel a second term on Sunday and a mandate to partner with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in a government that will rein in the role of the state in Europe’s largest economy.

Merkel, 55, has ruled for the past four years in a “grand coalition” with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), an awkward partnership of traditional rivals.

US gives the nuclear deal a complete green signal

IN A gigantic leap in the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the United States has assured India that irrespective of New Delhi’s reservations, they would be moving ahead with the deal.

The government has held the position that the deal is flawed and discriminatory in nature.

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had talks witht the Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna in their meeting on Friday in New York, and the decision was conveyed, said Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake.

He also stated that the UN Security council’s plea urging all states to join the NPT was not the topic of discussion when Clinton and Krishna met.

Fired TVA whistle-blower faces investigation | The Tennessean

Gail Richards says NRC trying to intimidate her for reporting lax security

Gail Richards thought her nightmare was over.

In April, the Tennessee Valley Authority whistle-blower reached a settlement over her firing, which came after she reported security lapses in the power producer’s nuclear energy program.

But now the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission the group that oversees TVA’s nuclear facilities has started its own investigation of Richards for potential infractions, including whether she improperly took private documents that she used to defend herself in a series of workplace allegations.

Richards said NRC investigators grilled her for several hours this month in a Washington, D.C., hotel, threatening to get the Department of Justice involved in her case a prospect that the wife and grandmother worries could lead to prison. She and her lawyer say the NRC is guilty of the same intimidating retaliation tactics that it’s supposed to protect whistle-blowers from.

Decision on nuclear power plant suspended for two months

power plant in Mersin’s Akkuyu district requires further evaluation, which is
to set to conclude in two months, and the final decision will be announced on
Nov.24, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yz said on Friday.

Speaking at press conference at the Mining Exploration Institute (MTA) in Ankara
on Friday, Yz emphasized that the government’s determination to construct a nuclear
power plant continues and that they are striving to reach a satisfactory agreement.

Nuclear power potential a long way off for oilsands energy needs: study

Nuclear power could help meet growing oilsands energy needs, but won’t likely happen before 2025, a study released late Friday said.

Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada, which looked at alternatives to natural gas in oilsands development, said nuclear energy still poses many challenges.

Existing technology can’t produce required pressurized steam for in-situ oilsands development, the study found, while high costs, a lack of commercial development or regulatory approvals would mean emerging options wouldn’t be ready for nearly a decade.

IAEA: States Briefed On Sustainable Nuclear Future – Nuclear Power Industry News

IAEA Leads Collaborative Project on Nuclear Technology

Member States have been briefed on an IAEA project that helps nations chart their way forward in choosing innovative technologies when developing sustainable nuclear energy.

The International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) brings together technology holders and users so that they can consider jointly the international and national actions required to achieve the desired innovation in nuclear reactors and fuel cycles.

Yury Sokolov, IAEA Deputy Director General of Nuclear Energy and INPRO Project Manager, opened the meeting by introducing the scope and goal of the project.

Areva and Progress Energy form alliance

Areva Inc has announced a five-year deal that will see it become the comprehensive supplier of services and products for Progress Energy’s four nuclear power plants.

The deal will see Areva provide refuelling and outage services, replace and repair plant equipment, and provide engineering and maintenance support plus other technical services to Progress Energy’s plants in North and South Carolina and Florida.

Belgium eyes annual nuclear power levy – paper | Reuters

Belgium could raise between 500 million euros ($740 million) and 1 billion per year by extending the life of its nuclear power stations, business daily De Tijd reported on Wednesday.

The money would come primarily from dominant electricity player Electrabel, the Belgian arm of French utility GDF Suez (GSZ.PA).

De Tijd said Energy Minister Paul Magnette would soon be submitting to the government a report that concludes Belgium cannot meet its energy needs without nuclear power.

The country plans to shut its three oldest reactors in 2015 and the remaining four by 2023.

FACTBOX-Energy policy in the next German government | Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking re-election in a federal vote on Sunday and polls give her conservatives a solid lead over their coalition partners and rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel hopes to form a coalition with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), and voter surveys give her just enough support for such a centre-right alliance.

However, other ruling partnerships are possible, including a second “grand coalition”, grouping Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and the SPD.

Below are the most various coalition scenarios and how they would likely affect German energy policy:

German Nuclear Plants’ Future at Stake in Merkel Election Fight –

Seidler, a 41-year-old tour guide at E.ON AG’s Grafenrheinfeld nuclear-power plant
in southern Germany, may have to find a new career before she retires.

“There are about six years of work” until the plant reaches a government-mandated production limit, Seidler said. After that, she said, “it’s over for Grafenrheinfeld” — unless voters grant a reprieve in Sept. 27 elections.

Seidler works at one of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants, which require an extension to operate beyond deadlines imposed in 2002 by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder. They won’t get it unless Merkel, who wants to keep them open, wins the majority she needs to ditch her current coalition with the Social Democrats.

Areva Unit Bids Said to Fall Short of 4 Billion Euros (Update1) –

Areva SA, the biggest builder of nuclear reactors, received three offers of less than
4 billion euros ($5.9 billion) for its transmission and distribution unit, according
to three people familiar with the sale.

General Electric Co. teamed up with CVC Capital Partners Ltd. to make an offer, while Toshiba Corp. submitted a separate bid, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. France’s Alstom SA and Schneider Electric also submitted a joint offer, the people said.

The bids fell short of the 4.25 billion euros analysts had estimated the unit to be worth. Areva is selling the business to raise money to develop uranium mines and buy Siemens AG’s share of a nuclear-reactor joint venture. The company bought the division from Alstom for 920 million euros in 2004. The French state, Areva’s biggest shareholder, may favor a domestic buyer, analysts surveyed ahead of the bidding deadline last week said.

EDF In Talks With E.ON Over Taking A Stake In German Company – Nuclear Power Industry News

EDF is leading the drive to build the next generation of nuclear reactors in Britain

According to a report by The Times Online, EDF, the heavily indebted French power group, is close to agreeing a big asset swap with E.ON, its German rival, but it played down reports recently that it was also considering the sale of a 20 percent stake in British Energy, the UK’s nuclear generator.

EDF, which is leading the drive to build the next generation of nuclear reactors in Britain, has begun a sweeping review of its businesses as it aims to cut its €37 billion (£33.5 billion) debt pile.

In May, EDF sold a 20 per cent stake in British Energy, which it bought only a year ago, to Centrica, the British Gas owner, for €2.5 billion.

Officials have denied a report in La Tribune that EDF was considering selling a further 20 percent stake in the company to help to fund its plans to build four nuclear reactors in Britain by 2025 however, they did not rule out the possibility.

Arjun Makhijani | The Progressive

My guest for this week is Arjun Makhijani, author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.

MP3 Download

Panel ponders nuclear plant rates | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.

As the nuclear industry prepares to ramp up construction nationwide, Indiana legislators considered Tuesday whether to allow utilities to recoup some project costs from customers years before a reactor is in operation.

House and Senate members heard testimony about an incentive known as “construction work in progress,” whereby utilities can charge ratepayers for interest costs on the overall project from the beginning.

When a plant is up and running, the utility can start recovering the actual construction costs though the existing regulatory structure.

Alexander: The ‘real fear’ about nuclear power |

In a speech to an international business group at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander warned that the United States will suffer if the rest of the world passes the U.S. in development of nuclear power. The “real fear,” he said, will be waking up on a windless day when the light switch doesn’t work.

Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus and an increasingly outspoken advocate for the nuclear industry, said Monday:

“There are 40 reactors under construction in 11 countries around the world
and none of them in the United States. The country that invented nuclear power
and that gets 70 percent of its carbon-free electricity from nuclear power hasn’t
started a new nuclear power plant in 30 years.”

Harvey Wasserman: Tom Friedman’s Idiocy Atomique

Nuclear Pyschosis at the New York Times
Tom Friedman’s Idiocy Atomique

France’s atomic power industry is a failed radioactive flame. Its 58 reactors are unpopular, unsafe, uneconomical, dirty, direct agents of global warming, weapons proliferators and major generators of atomic waste for which there is no management solution.

But self-proclaimed “green advocate” Thomas Friedman seems to think otherwise. In his just published New York Times op ed “Real Men Tax Gas” Friedman applies the term “wimp” to those who fail to fight global warming. But in true corporate style, he can’t face the hard truths about France’s industrie atomique. To wit:


Nuclear Weapons News

Associated Press: Japan launches probe of secret pacts with US

Japan’s new government launched an investigation Friday into whether previous administrations entered secret security pacts with Washington, including one said to endorse U.S. nuclear-armed ships despite a policy of barring such weapons.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which unseated the long-ruling Liberal Democrats in parliamentary elections last month, has vowed to improve transparency in government as well as review military ties with the U.S.

Japan’s previous governments have always denied secret deals, but some bureaucrats have recently said that long-standing speculation that they existed is correct, prompting new Foreign Minister Katsuya Okadato to launch an inquiry.

“We will reveal everything we find,” Okada told reporters in New York, according to Kyodo news agency.

Four alleged pacts are subject to the investigation, including one between the two allies in 1960 giving tacit approval of port calls by U.S. military aircraft and warships carrying nuclear weapons.

Associated Press: Brazil VP says country should build nuclear arms

Brazil’s vice president says in an interview published Friday that his country should develop nuclear weapons. Other officials stressed that his comments were not government policy.

Jose Alencar, who also served as defense minister from 2004 to 2006, said in an interview with journalists from several Brazilian news media that his country does not have a program to develop nuclear weapons, but should: “We have to advance on that.”

“The nuclear weapon, used as an instrument of deterrence, is of great importance for a country that has 15,000 kilometers of border to the west and a territorial sea” where oil reserves have been found, Alencar said.

AFP: Obama to push nuclear-free world at Security Council

US President Barack Obama will on Thursday chair an unprecedented summit at the UN Security Council to rally world support for nuclear non-proliferation and advance nuclear disarmament.

The talks come as Iran’s suspect energy program has once again been thrust into the spotlight, with world powers warning more sanctions could follow if Tehran refuses to comply with UN demands to rein in its nuclear ambitions.

The summit will be the first time the 15-member council will be chaired by an American president, with Obama having set combating nuclear proliferation as a priority of his new administration.

Associated Press: US rejoins nuke-test treaty session 10 years later

After a 10-year gap, the United States on Thursday rejoined a biannual conference designed to win more support including from the U.S. Senate for the treaty banning all nuclear bomb tests.

The session brought together foreign ministers and other envoys from more than 100 nations that have ratified or at least signed the 1996 treaty. A speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton scheduled for later Thursday represented the first U.S. participation since 1999.

The pact has lingered in a diplomatic limbo since a Republican-dominated Senate rejected it that year, but U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to now “aggressively” pursue ratification.

The Associated Press: Key elements in UN nuclear resolution

Key elements in the resolution adopted unanimously Thursday by the U.N. Security Council:


Resolved “to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.”


Urged all states to ratify the treaty, which outlaws all nuclear tests everywhere. Lack of ratification by a handful of nations, including the U.S., has kept the treaty from entering into force.


Called for negotiation of a treaty that would ban production of fissile material used for nuclear weapons.


FACTBOX: Who are the world’s nuclear powers? | Special Coverage | Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama is chairing an historic meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that called on nations with nuclear weapons to scrap their deadly arsenals.

Here are some details of official and unofficial nuclear powers and their weapon stocks:


* UNITED STATES: According to the counting rules in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), as of January 2009 the United States had an estimated 5,200 nuclear warheads and 2,700 operationally deployed warheads (2,200 strategic and 500 nonstrategic).

President Obama’s remarks to UN Security Council |

Here’s an excerpt from President Obama’s opening remarks today at the United Nations  ecurity Council summit on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

“Just one nuclear weapon exploded in a city — be it New York or Moscow; Tokyo or Beijing; London or Paris — could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And it would badly destabilize our security, our economies, and our very way of life.”

Here’s a link to news report from New York Times and below is the full text of Obama prepared remarks:

Egyptian FM: UN must monitor Israel’s nuclear program – Israel News, Ynetnews

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on the UN Security Council to monitor the Israeli nuclear program, and to further order Mideast countries to strip of nuclear arms, Egyptian daily al-Masri al-Youm reported.

“Israel’s nuclear capabilities cannto evade world attention,” Gheit said in a letter sent to the 15 nation members of the Security Council.

The Associated Press: Terrorism and nukes top General Assembly agenda

More than 120 world leaders meet Wednesday on the heels of a climate change summit to tackle other crucial issues on the international agenda from terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons to growing poverty resulting from the global financial crisis.

“Amid many crises food, energy, recession and pandemic flu, hitting all at once the world looks to us for answers,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in prepared remarks for the opening of the General Assembly’s 64th ministerial session.

“If ever there were a time to act in a spirit of renewed multilateralism, a moment to create a United Nations of genuine collective action, it is now.”

The Associated Press: US faces UN pressure on nuclear test-ban treaty

This time around, U.S. Senate skeptics who killed the nuclear test-ban treaty a decade ago must take into account a new, $1-billion verification network underpinning the pact, the treaty chief said Wednesday.

In 1999, “the system was a blueprint,” Tibor Toth said of the high-tech web of stations on alert for nuclear bomb tests. Now “I could call it a `verification Manhattan Project,” he said, referring to the all-out U.S. program that built the first bombs in the 1940s.

Toth, who heads the U.N.-affiliated Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, spoke with The Associated Press on the eve of a conference of some 150 nations convened every other year to urge those that have not ratified the treaty, including the United States, to do so.

The two-day session will be held in parallel Thursday with a summit of the 15 U.N. Security Council members on the subject of nuclear nonproliferation, presided over by U.S. President Barack Obama.

AFP: Britain’s Brown offers to cut nuclear sub fleet

Britain is prepared to scale back its nuclear capability as part of global disarmament efforts, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday ahead of an address to the UN General Assembly.

He told BBC radio that Britain was prepared to reduce the number of submarines that can launch nuclear missiles, but said there were no plans to cut the number of warheads.

“Just as America and Russia are making those reductions, we are prepared to consider that, but only as part of an agreement,” Brown said.

Letters: Steps towards a nuclear-free world | World news | The Guardian

It’s good news that President Obama has kicked back the Pentagon’s “timid” proposals for a new nuclear posture review in favour of a radical rewrite (Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal, 21 September). Breaking out of the “more of the same” approach is key to making progress towards abolition.

It was disappointing, then, to read David Miliband’s comments, pushing attention off on to Iran and North Korea, as usual (New nuclear resolve, 21 September). Perhaps this isn’t surprising when you consider that the UK’s nuclear policy remains the replacement of Trident a cold war system with no conceivable military use, and irrelevant to our contemporary security needs. But the population has noticed that the world has changed even if the government hasn’t a significant majority now opposes Trident replacement.


Why should we abolish nuclear weapons? This apparently naive question seems to have become a matter of debate, writes Hiromichi Umebayashi, founder and special advisor of Peace Depot, Inc. Japan.

In this article, the author writes that in Japan there is a deep-rooted desire for nuclear abolition that derives from its first-hand experience of the appalling damage caused by nuclear weapons. Yet this does not seem to be enough to constitute a successful argument for “a world free of nuclear weapons”. The effort to bring about a nuclear abolition must be indivisibly and essentially integrated with the challenge of creating a more equitable, just, and humane global society.

The need for a global solution to problems like poverty and climate change is a given, as if tacitly mandated by the standards that guide civilised human society. Nuclear abolition, in contrast, tends to be confined within the category of weapons linked to national security. It is not seen as a moral and global moral issue. To succeed, the nuclear abolition movement must be brought into a wider sphere of people’s thinking.

asahi: Mixed signals on report led to secret nuke deal – English

A difference in interpretation of a diplomatic document in 1959 apparently led to a secret pact allowing Washington to bring nuclear weapons into Japan–and decades of denials from Tokyo, former officials said.

The revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1960 introduced a “prior consultation” system between the two nations about nuclear wea-pons.

At that time, Japanese officials believed prior consultation would be conducted when U.S. ships and aircraft carrying nuclear weapons anchored or landed in Japan or even passed through Japanese waters or airspace.

However, U.S. officials thought that the 1959 document meant that such acts would not require prior consultation.

Russian gen. says global missile shield could eliminate nuke threat | ‘RIA Novosti’ newswire

MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) – A missile defense system developed jointly by the world’s leading powers could eliminate the global threat of nuclear strikes, a former top Russian military official said on Monday.

The U.S. last week announced the cancellation of plans to deploy an anti-missile system in central Europe, which had been fiercely contested by Moscow. NATO has since said it is willing to consider a joint missile defense project with Russia.

“If we return to the issue of a European missile defense system, which was abandoned a few years ago and included the U.S., we could organize mutual controls, and use the means available to all participants, in order to control the mutual nuclear potential,” said Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, who led the Strategic Missile Forces in 1991-1993.

If a global missile defense system was to be built in cooperation with Russia, France, Italy, Israel and Britain, on equal terms, then China would also need to be included, he said.

Shelving of Missile Defense Reflected Military’s Concerns –

Call it another revolt of the generals. More than 13 years ago, the nation’s military leaders told civilian defense officials they wanted to limit spending on missile defenses and to emphasize the protection of forces deployed overseas over defense of the American homeland against a long-range
missile threat.

Last week, after a lengthy internal Pentagon review and against the backdrop of new limits on overall military spending, the generals again threw their weight behind a relative contraction of the effort to defend against long-range missile attacks. They cited needed budgetary savings and more immediate threats in demanding faster work to protect overseas forces and bases against shorter-range attack.

Turkey unwilling to become fulcrum of new missile shield – report – South Eastern Europe – The Sofia Echo

Turkey’s plans to buy missile systems from the US should not be interpreted as a willingness to host missile defence shield components on its territory, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman said on September 21.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu has denied media reports that Turkey is buying missile interceptors against a threat posed by Iran, the daily said. Iran was the main target of the missile defence shield initiative of former US president George W Bush, to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, scrapped by Barack Obama on September 17.

Having rebuffed the Bush administration on the plans to put missiles on its soil, Turkey re-inforced its stance that it would host Nato equipment, but not join US initiatives outside the alliance’s framework.

With reports in the US saying that the department of defence notified congre

Key to reiterate NZ’s nuclear-free policy |

Prime Minister John Key will use his first speech to the United Nations to underscore his Government’s commitment to a nuclear-free New Zealand.

In the first speech by a National prime minister to the UN General Assembly in nearly 15 years, Key will reaffirm New Zealand’s anti-nuclear credentials and emphasise its determination to keep an independent foreign policy.

It is significant that he is making the speech while on his first official visit to the United States, which has been a fault line in foreign policy between Labour and National for most of the past two decades.

The issue flared again when Labour opposed the Iraq war while National was still in Opposition. But Key drew a line in the sand before the last election by promising his commitment to a nuclear-free New Zealand and an independent foreign policy. He will use his speech to the General Assembly on Saturday to stress the new bipartisan approach.

Sibel Edmonds’s Big Day « Blog

Sibel Edmonds, former contract-FBI translator/whistleblower and “most gagged person in U.S. history” has finally told all to’s Philip Giraldi. It’s all in the cover story for November’s issue of The American Conservative magazine, “Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?” which hits the stands (and Website) on Tuesday.

Last month, Edmonds was deposed in a civil lawsuit for 6 hours (video and transcript here), and told as much of her story as she ever has, and all together in one place. Now, however, she has gone much further and apparently told Giraldi everything, less sources and methods.

Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal | World news | The Guardian

Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country’s arsenal, the Guardian can reveal.

‘A multilateral process in which weapons states agree to radical disarmament’: Julian Borger

Obama has rejected the Pentagon’s first draft of the “nuclear posture review” as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.


Department of Energy News

Waste mixing being tested for Hanford vit plant | Tri-City Herald

Orange liquid swirled and pulsed in a clear acrylic tank just outside the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The iron oxide that gave the tank’s contents its bright color was one of several materials in the tank being used to simulate the heavy particles in radioactive waste that tanks at the Hanford vitrification plant will need to keep mixed.

Once the vitrification plant begins operating to turn some of Hanford’s worst radioactive waste into a solid glass form, some tanks will be in “black cells” that will be so radioactive after operations begin that humans cannot enter again.

That means the mixing system that’s been developed with no moving parts and is being tested now must work nearly perfectly for 40 years without the help of human hands.

K-25 costs going through the roof? |

Reports are circulating that the cost of completing the K-25 demolition is going up big-time, as in hundreds of millions of dollars.

DOE isn’t saying much, except to say that’s under evaluation by the agency and Bechtel Jacobs, the Oak Ridge cleanup manager. I have heard a specific dollar amount, but won’t repeat here because nobody is confirming it. Earlier, of course, I reported on the technetium-99 issue that’s getting big attention.

Here’s what DOE spokesman John Shewairy said in response to questions about the rising cost of K-25 D&D. I’m not exactly sure what it means, but you can read it for yourself:

Chopper seeks radioactive waste spread by animals at Hanford | Tri-City Herald

A helicopter is scheduled to fly low over the center of Hanford today looking for hot spots where animals have spread radioactive contamination in hundreds of places among the sagebrush.

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. will be conducting an aerial radiological survey of the “BC controlled area,” 13.7 square miles that have had little human intrusion.

But it is just south of the BC cribs and trenches that 50 million gallons of liquid waste contaminated with radioactive salts were discharged during the Cold War. Animals attracted to the salts spread the waste across miles of the Hanford desert.

Actualite financial¨re: US Energy Secretary: To Push For More Nuclear Loan Guarantees

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday he will push for billions of dollars in new loan guarantee authority to help rejuvenate a domestic industry and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Although companies have submitted 18 new nuclear power plant license applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy only has authority for $18.5 billion, enough for four to five plants.
“If you really want to restart the American nuclear energy industry in a serious way…we (need to) send signals to the industry that the U.S. is serious about investing in nuclear power plants,” Chu said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference here.
Pressing for new nuclear power plants may help the administration win over the handful of Republican senators needed to help pass a landmark climate bill into law. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for example, supports a cap on emissions in principle, but said government support for nuclear power is essential for him to consider backing a bill that would cut greenhouse gases.
Although it’s nowhere near the 100 new nuclear power plants that the GOP has called for, Chu said “there’s real interest out there (for) another four to five or more, we could easily do.”

2 SRS workers fired over dropping uranium – The Augusta Chronicle

Savannah River Site officials have taken corrective actions and fired two workers after two incidents in H Canyon in which bundles of highly enriched uranium were dropped by a crane.

According to a Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report dated Aug. 21 and made public Thursday the incidents “had potential criticality safety implications” and halted reprocessing operations for a week.

A criticality accident is one in which a chain reaction occurs, said Charles Nickell, the site’s nuclear materials disposition manager. “It is something we definitely don’t want to happen.”

The H Canyon area is where highly enriched uranium is loaded by cranes into vats of acid, called “dissolvers,” that help purify and convert the material from solid to a liquid form. The liquid is later blended with natural uranium to create low-enriched uranium and shipped off-site for use in the manufacture of fuel rods for commercial reactors.

Shutdown of Oak Ridge incinerator delayed |

Department of Energy’s long-stated plan to shut down its Oak Ridge incinerator
at the end of September has been put on hold — at least for another month and
a half.

According to Dennis Hill, a spokesman for Bechtel Jacobs Co., efforts to burn the remaining inventory of hazardous waste got delayed, in part, because some of the last liquid-waste shipments contained higher-than-expected quantities of mercury. That meant the waste had to be burned at a slower rate to meet the incinerator’s emissions requirements, Hill said.

“The higher concentration waste is incinerated at lower rates to meet emission limits and, therefore, requires additional time to incinerate,” Hill said. “We also are conducting tank rinse and closure activities at the same time.”

Department of Energy – Secretary Chu Presents Smart Grid Vision and Announces $144 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Transition to the Smart Grid

In his keynote speech to the GridWeek 2009 Conference this morning, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu detailed his vision for implementing the smart grid and modernizing America’s electrical system: a stronger, smarter, more efficient electricity infrastructure that will encourage growth in renewable energy sources, empower consumers to reduce their energy use, and lay the foundation for sustained, long-term economic expansion. Secretary Chu’s presentation can be found here.

During his remarks, Secretary Chu also announced more than $144 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the electric power sector, including $44 million in awards to state public utility commissions and $100 million in available funding for smart grid workforce training programs.

“America cannot build a 21st Century energy economy with a mid-20th Century electricity system. This is why the Obama Administration is investing in projects that will lay the foundation for a modernized, resilient electrical grid,” said Secretary Chu. “By working with industry leaders and the private sector, we can drive the evolution to a clean, smart, national electricity system that will create jobs, reduce energy use, expand renewable energy production, and cut carbon pollution.”

Electricity costs should rise to reflect demand: Chu | Green Business | Reuters

As the United States’ power grid becomes more sophisticated, electricity rates will
need to rise to reflect periods of intense energy use and to encourage consumers
to change their electricity habits, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday.

Chu said currently most local electricity rate commissions view themselves as consumer advocates and try to keep electricity prices as low as possible.

“Hopefully that will evolve somewhat, so that they begin to fold in some of the real costs of electricity generation and electricity use,” Chu said at conference focused on creating a “smart grid.”

Ethics scandal brewing at DOE? |

Weapons Complex Monitor reports that the Dept. of Energy is investigating an ethics complaint filed against Cynthia Anderson, who heads the Recovery Act efforts for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management. The newsletter’s Mike Nartker reported that the investigation was prompted by an anonymous complaint, which alleged improper acts in hiring-related activities at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and other issues.

The newsletter received a copy of the complaint, which also was reportedly sent to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the House Majority Whip, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others. In a statement, DOE spokeswoman Shari Taylor Davenport told the newsletter, “The Department of Energy takes allegations of unethical behavior seriously and is looking into the matter.”


Other Energy News

Whistleblower Film Series

Thursday evenings, October 1-October 29, 6:30pm at the Capitol Visitor’s Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street NE. FREE admission; open to all. Questions? Don’t hesitate to call and talk to POGO’s Abby Evans at (202) 347-1122

Film Series Dates and Movies

Thursday, October 1: The Pentagon Wars
Thursday, October 8: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Thursday, October 15: Silkwood
Thursday, October 22: The Insider
Thursday, October 29: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers The Council on Competitiveness

The National Energy Summit & International Dialogue will take place in Washington, DC on September 23-24 at the Mayflower Hotel. A live webcast will feature gavel-to-gavel coverage of both days, including exclusive interviews and in-depth analysis. Please visit with us regularly as the speakers and agenda are updated on a frequent basis. Also, check out our interactive blog as we endeavor to engage in a vigorous discussion in the days leading up to this exclusive event.

The National Energy Summit & International Dialogue broadcast has concluded. You can view the vidoes from the summit here.

Click here to learn more about the Council on Competitiveness.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Opinion : Opposing views of proposed mill: Uranium market has little or no room for the Pinon Ridge Mill (Montrose, CO)

As Energy Fuels Resources (EFR) awaits Montrose County BOCC approval for a special use permit for the Pinon Ridge Mill and prepares to submit a permit application to Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), it lacks capitalization to build the mill, faces a very tight uranium market with surplus uranium production capacity, a dropping uranium market price and production costs higher than market value.

Today’s market bears little resemblance to the first uranium boom and bust in the Colorado-Utah borderlands when the federal government paid a guaranteed base price for uranium ore to miners to feed nuclear weapons production programs. “Yellowcake,” uranium oxide produced by uranium mills is a global commodity widely available at a volatile market-based price for commercial purchase for use in nuclear reactor fuel.

1. The Uravan belt uranium is not a significant fraction of U.S. nor global uranium resources. Uranium resources at permitted uranium production sites in Wyoming, Nebraska and Texas dwarf the potential of this district.

Bill Grant: Nuclear power revisited: The elephant in the room |

There’s still nowhere to put that toxic waste

Nuclear electricity is affordable and emission free

People opposed to nuclear energy applications point to the high initial price tag of enormous nuclear generating facilities that can … read more provide enough reliable electricity for several million people; they often overlook the resulting low cost per unit of power when spread over that large market. There are 104 nuclear plants operating in the US today. Many of us who are old enough to remember the controversies surrounding their construction can remember how many times we were told that nuclear power plants are frighteningly expensive and that they always cost more than predicted. We even remember that electrical power prices often increased immediately after the plants went into operation due to the effect of adding those big, expensive plants into the utility rate base. What many people who consider “news” media to be their only information sources rarely understand, however, is that the 104 plants currently operating provide the US with 20% of its electric power at an average production cost of about 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour. They also do not understand that after a few decades of operation and revenue production, the initial mortgages on those plants are largely paid off. The best information of all, which is not really “news” and does not get regularly published on the front page, is that the plants still have at least 20 years of life remaining during which they can produce emission free, low cost power. The companies that own the plants and their stock holders understand the economics pretty well; that is why 18 applications for 25 new plants have been turned into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission already with more in the pipeline. All of the used fuel – what some people call waste – is being carefully stored in a tiny corner of the existing sites, just waiting to be recycled into new fuel. It still contains 95% of its initial potential energy, but it is a bit hot to handle when it first comes out

Focus on efficiency, not nuclear plant —

Sunday’s Sun editorial claims the Constellation Energy Group-Electricite de France deal will help ratepayers, in part because EDF might construct a new nuclear reactor that will increase Maryland’s supply of electricity (“PSC’s power play,” Sept. 20). The cost of a new nuclear reactor is in the billions, and the electricity generated by the reactor may not be available for a decade. The problem is that ratepayers are suffering high energy costs now.

The best and most immediate solution to our high energy costs is investment in energy efficiency. Instead of investing billions into nuclear, we should invest heavily in weatherizing and retrofitting our homes and businesses. By doing so, we will decrease the amount of electricity needed to turn on our lights and keep us warm in the winter. In fact, studies demonstrate that we can reduce Maryland’s electricity use by 15 percent by the year 2015 through basic energy efficiency projects. We owe it to ratepayers to start lowering utility rates today, not in a decade.

Fielding Huseth, Baltimore

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