Top 100 Energy Stories for Sept. 28th – Oct 4th

radbull Not a big news week in terms of major stories. A bit of surprising news however, is the story out of Germany that Merkel’s new coalition partner has said that there won’t be any nuclear renaissance, but more like an autumn.  Also, EDF has put the UK’s electric grid up for sale to try and raise nuclear construction money.  The harassment of Iran continues to take more and more press coverage over Obama’s claim of another secret nuclear facility.  This is mostly about trying to counter the international community’s call for  Israel and the US to stop their illegal nuclear weapons activities in the region.

Probably one of the most important stories that got buried this past week was the order to disclose former VP Cheney’s statements in the Valery Plamegate affair. A bit of bragging rights here, as this newsletter was covering the whole affair several weeks before it ever broke in the national media.  It would be nice to see a real prosecution on this and since the real trail leads right up to W himself, its just a matter of time before the whole sordid affair gets a bit of good old American justice.

Areva is shutting down its Virginia fuel assembly facility and moving it to Hanford, which just got another $2 billion for cleanup.  While the TVA whistleblower won out against her harassment battle. There’s CPS in Texas has delayed its decision on whether or not to increase its investment in the South Texas project. The alternative press in San Antonio did a good job of hitting the issues and PR tactics. There’s a continued battle in Wisconsin to pry open that state’s nuclear moratorium. The uranium mining scandals continue to make news with the most recent being a decent story in Mother Jones. There were actually at least 3 different protest actions around the world last week as well, almost a record!

In an unrelated piece, last week PBS aired a 6 part series on the history of the nation’s national parks.  Its a must watch piece with lots of little known historic snippets and gorgeous video.  Sadly the piece does a huge injustice in the last segment with its modern coverage.  I wrote an opinion piece on this here about the lack of honest coverage, or should I say reframing.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

Pass on power plant was sought all along – Business – The Sun News
The Grand Strand, South Carolina’s tourist economic engine, won’t have enough electricity by 2012 to keep its beachfront towers aglow unless a new $1.2 billion coal-burning power station is built near Florence.

That was the warning Santee Cooper, the state-owned electricity company, gave to state and federal regulators. It was the argument the power company presented at public hearings. And it was that caution that Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper’s president and chief executive, offered during interviews with journalists.

The argument that the coal-fired power plant was the only solution formed the key justification for Santee Cooper to spend $242 million over the past three years, most of that stockpiling material to build, even though it lacked government approval to operate the facility.

Proposed nuclear plants could affect WVa coal  – Charleston Daily Mail
On the wall of West Virginia Sen. Dan Foster’s office is an old photograph of a whitewashed church in the hills outside Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Kanawha County Democrat grew up in Oak Ridge, where plutonium was produced for nuclear weapons during World War II.

“In that church from maybe mid-1944 until the spring of 1945 was where they stored the enriched uranium they used in the Hiroshima bomb,” Foster said. “Nobody knew it but about three or four people.”

Foster co-sponsored a bill in the spring to repeal West Virginia’s effective ban on nuclear power in the state.

“I’ve lived around nuclear energy and nuclear reactors,” he said. “I am aware of the changing technology of the newer reactors.”

Three of those newer reactors have been proposed in states adjacent to West Virginia.

AFP: Thousands protest against France’s oldest nuclear plant
Thousands of people demonstrated in eastern France on Saturday to demand the closure of the country’s oldest nuclear power plant amid a huge police presence.

Organisers said more than 10,000 people, including from Spain, Italy and neighbouring Germany and Switzerland, rallied peacefully in Colmar while police said 3,500 took part in the protest against the Fessenheim nuclear plant.

“This is a success and the question of the closure of Fessenheim has now been clearly put forward,” said Denis Vernet, of the anti-nuclear umbrella group SDN, which organised the protest with the German movement Bund.

A delegation handed a letter to the region’s prefect Pierre-Andre Peyvel calling for the immediate closure of the plant.

CPS postpones vote on nuclear expansion
A vote on the plan to reduce San Antonio’s share in the nuclear project will be postponed at least a week.

CPS Energy’s board had been expected to vote Monday on a proposal pushed by Mayor Julian Castro to decrease its stake in the expansion of the nuclear South Texas Project to 20 percent to 25 percent, meaning it would have to sell about of half its current ownership.

But any public discussion and decision on nuclear by the utility’s board has been postponed tentatively until Oct. 13.

This decision is much too important to rush Castro said via e-mail. By moving board consideration back a week, we will give the CPS board, the City Council and, most importantly, the public additional time to hear from CPS Energy on this critical issue.

The delay comes a day after Castro halted a closed-door meeting between the City Council and CPS Energy to discuss nuclear because of a challenge from the San Antonio Express-News.

VY protesters disappointed – Brattleboro Reformer
The four women who were arrested Monday for entering the gates of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to protest the plant’s operation were cited for unlawful trespass and released shortly after being taken into custody.

Even though some of the women have been arrested at the gates up to seven times, those charges were all dropped prior to a court hearing.

Arrested were Harriet “Hattie” Nestel, 70, of Athol, Mass., Ellen Graves, 69, of West Springfield, Mass., Frances Crowe, 90, of Northampton, Mass., and Patricia “Paki” Weiland, 66, also of Northampton.

Nestel said having the charges dropped against them is “very frustrating.”

“We want to be able to testify in court on the reasons we were there and why what we did is really a preventative action,” she said, during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “To save lives. We want to be able to say that up front in court.”

The Windham County State’s Attorney’s office, which decides which cases should proceed to the courts, has declined to press charges because it doesn’t want the court to be used to make political statements.

SA Current: Risky Business: Part Two In a Series: What CPS won’t tell you about nuclear power
The banquet room inside the city’s lavishly refurbished Pearl Brewery is filled with solar advocates, coal-power people, city decision makers and bureaucrats, geothermal enthusiasts, and a table of Express-News staffers. They dine on salmon and judge in quiet gestures the performance of the panel at the front of the room.

As a tense but generally amenable exchange between the nuclear-energy proponents and the renewable-power disciples winds down, Matagorda County resident Susan Dancer steps from the shadows at the back of the room to steer the conversation, briefly, into dangerous waters. In a rapid-fire indictment of the entire course of the debate, Dancer drops the controversial C word.

But cancer isn’t on the menu at today’s forum. In fact, the talk is almost entirely of money. For more than a year, the city has been drifting, in multi-million-dollar installments, into a second helping of nuclear power from the South Texas Project nuclear facility outside Bay City.

Moscow considers joint missile shield with NATO – RT Top Stories
Moscow is against NATO’s anti-missile system becoming part of the US shield, but will consider the idea of Russia and NATO forming a missile umbrella, according to Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin.

If we have a clearer picture of what Washington is preparing, if we understand that the European anti-missile defense system is not going to be part of a US defense system, then such moves are possible, Rogozin told journalists.

Germany votes for nuclear autumn, not spring: Paul Taylor  | Reuters
To judge from the bounce in German energy companies’ share prices, you might think Sunday’s centre-right election victory means it’s springtime for nuclear power in Germany.

The reality is more likely to be a longer atomic autumn before ageing reactors are laid to rest. Both the conservatives and the liberal Free Democrats want to prolong the lifetime of Germany’s 17 existing nuclear plants, but not build new ones.

That will still be lucrative for utilities such as RWE (RWEG.DE), E.ON (EONGn.DE>, Vattenfall [VATN.UL] and EnBW (EBKG.DE), which face an uncertain future as Europe switches to a greener energy mix and EU regulators force them to divest their grids and pipelines.

Yankee protest ends in arrests: Rutland Herald
Four elderly women living downwind of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor were arrested Monday afternoon when they walked through the first two security gates at the Vernon reactor and sat down on folding chairs, blocking entry to the plant.

The four women, members of the Vermont Yankee Shut It Down Affinity Group, are no strangers to Vermont Yankee protests, and each said they had been arrested multiple times outside the Entergy Nuclear corporate headquarters in North Brattleboro but never prosecuted.

Entergy Nuclear officials said that the response by the plant’s security forces Monday afternoon went well and denied that security had been breached. But the women, wearing tie-dye T-shirts and carrying folding stools and signs, ignored the entreaties of the armed guard at the guardhouse, marched right past him through the second chain-link gate and then sat down with their folding chairs and protest signs.

Committee recommends license renewal for Indian Point | The Journal News
A team of independent experts who advise the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on safety are recommending that Indian Point be given 20 more years to operate.

“The application for renewal of the operating licenses for (Indian Point 2) and (Indian Point 3) should be approved,” the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a Sept. 23 letter, obtained by The Journal News.

The committee advises the NRC as part of the license extension review.

Without extensions, IP2 and IP3 would have to shut down permanently on Sept. 28, 2013, and Dec. 12, 2015, respectively, if their licenses are not renewed by the NRC. Indian Point 1 is no longer a working reactor.

AFP: China approves building of coastal nuclear plant
China has approved the construction of a new nuclear plant in its eastern coastal region, in the latest step in Beijing’s plan to include more clean energy in the country’s consumption mix.

The State Council, or cabinet, issued a licence last week for the building of the first phase of the Haiyang nuclear power station in Shandong province, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission announced.

Two reactors will be built initially, both using US-based Westinghouse Electric’s AP 1000 third generation technology, the commission said in a statement posted on its website on Sunday.

Each reactor will have a capacity of 1.25 gigawatts, the statement said. The reactors will be operational in May 2014 and March 2015, respectively.

CNIC – Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center Newsletter

KK-7 Stopped Due to Radioactive Leak, KK-6 Begins Start-up Tests
Local groups demand that start-up tests be suspended until investigations into KK-7’s leaking fuel rod problem have been concluded and that both KK-6 and KK-7 be immediately shut down.

Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Struck By Earthquake
The fact that an earthquake that arose so far away could cause so large a ground motion begs the question of whether the plant could withstand an earthquake immediately beneath the plant.

Nuclear Energy Policy Under a New Government
It might be hoped that a change of government would herald a change of nuclear energy policy, but we should not be too sanguine about the chances of a significant improvement.

Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant: 14 Month Delay
The estimated date of completion of construction and testing of its Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant has been extended by fourteen months to October 2010. It is the seventeenth time that the schedule had been extended.

Public Finance and Export Insurance for Nuclear-Related Exports
NGOs demand rigorous safety assessment, information disclosure and stakeholder involvement.

An accident not to be forgotten: 10 Years have passed since the JCO Criticality Accident
It might not have been so when the plant was first constructed, but at the time of the accident the plant was surrounded by houses. Nuclear fuel should not be handled in such places.

Workers’ Radiation Exposure Data for FY2008
The total collective dose in FY 2008 for people working at nuclear power plants was 84.04 person sieverts, an increase of 5.86 person sieverts compared to the previous year.

Who’s Who: Hiromitsu Ino
There are many superb specialists in all sorts of academic fields, but there is one important difference between Ino and a large percentage of these “experts”. That is that Ino succeeded in bridging the gap between specialist research and social activism.

News Watch
Japan and Mongolia sign Memorandum of Cooperation
Advisory Committee on International Nuclear Relations established
New framework for human resource development in Asia
Negotiations begin for Japan-Korea Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
First meeting of FNCA 3rd Phase
Fusion R&D
Monju restart this fiscal year?
Report on FBR Cycle Demonstration Process
Defective MOX fuel pellets


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Cancer Cluster investigation continues |West Palm Beach News Video from WPTV
In the late nineties, the State Department of Health looked into a possible cancer cluster in St. Lucie County. There were 28 cases of brain and central nervous system cancers in kids.

No pattern was established. No cluster proven.

As well and soil tests wrap up this week, some sobering facts about providing clusters exist. The centers for Disease Control conducted 108 cancer cluster investigations between 1961 and 1990. None of them found an environmental cause for cancer.

Local and State Health Departments now bear the burden of investigating clusters and there are 1,000 reported in the U.S. every year. Since 1995, only about 50 clusters have been confirmed in the country.

The DEP tests of wells and the counties tests of soil at schools go forward with the knowledge that in only one case, at Southside High School in Elmira New York, have children been victimized by toxic exposure. 20 cases of testicular cancer was documented.The school had been built near an industrial site.

With no relocation, Tallevast disappointed –
Lockheed: Decision based on commitment to restore the environmental conditions in the Tallevast community’

TALLEVAST  Tallevast residents Thursday voiced their disappointment with the decision by Lockheed Martin Corp. officials to not to relocate the community.

Ray Johnson, vice president and chief technical officer for Lockheed, said the decision was based on the company’s “commitment to restore the environmental conditions in the Tallevast community, and the fact that relocation would be inconsistent with that commitment.

But residents said only cleaning up the pollution left by a former beryllium plan would not solve their problems.

Lockheed decides not to relocate Tallevast residents  –
A vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp. said today the company will not pay for the relocation of Tallevast residents dealing with a chemical contamination problem.

Ray Johnson, vice president and chief technical officer for Lockheed, said the decision was based on the corporation’s commitment to restore the environmental conditions in the Tallevast community, and the fact that relocation would be inconsistent with that commitment.

Johnson met with the community advocacy group FOCUS and its attorneys to relate the company’s position and to present plans for a new community center.

FOCUS was formed after it was discovered in 2000 that the groundwater of this community of mostly black residents was contaminated with the toxic waste left behind from an old beryllium plant on Tallevast Road.

Uni radiation probe to be published – Manchester Evening News
A REPORT into a possible radiation link to the deaths of Manchester University staff will be published today.

Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, won the Nobel prize for research carried out at the university in the early 20th century.

Campaigners believe his former laboratories, which are now used as offices, may have been contaminated by harmful materials in his pioneering experiments.

The deaths of six university workers have been linked to the radiation scare

Scars linger from nuclear accident | Japan Times
10 years later, couple still fights in court while village grapples with how to move forward

On Sept. 30, 1999, Shoichi Oizumi and his wife Keiko couldn’t figure out why helicopters were hovering over their auto parts factory in the village of Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture.

“Firefighters came to our factory to tell us to close the windows as an accident took place at JCO Co.,” a nuclear fuel processor across the street, the 81-year-old Oizumi said. “But they did not know precisely what happened.

“I looked out the window, but I did not see any abnormal signs, such as smoke. I called the village office, but the officials did not know what really happened either,” he said.

The Hawk Eye: Doctor: Plan unfairly rejects many
Carla McCabe spent a decade building nuclear bombs at the sprawling Rocky Flats complex near Denver. When she developed a brain tumor and asked for help, federal officials told her none of the toxic substances used at the top-secret bomb factory could have caused her cancer.

Now, eight years after the federal program was created to help sick nuclear weapons workers, the man who until recently was the program’s top doctor says McCabe, 55, and many others like her are being improperly rejected.

The doctor, Eugene Schwartz, recently resigned and said many of the complaints workers, advocates and lawmakers have leveled at the controversial program are valid. For instance, Schwartz said he repeatedly warned the U.S. Department of Labor that it is ignoring established medical knowledge about the dangers of bomb work.

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 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

Israelis made to drink Uranium enriched juice? – RT
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.


NRC News

NRC Finalizes New Jersey Agreement To Regulate Certain Radioactive Materials – Nuclear Power Industry News
Nuclear Power Industry New is a blog about utilities, companies, suppliers in the nuclear energy market.
NRC Finalizes New Jersey Agreement To Regulate Certain Radioactive Materials

NRC will transfer an estimated 500 licenses for radioactive material to New Jersey’s jurisdiction

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed an agreement with New Jersey, under which the state will assume NRC’s regulatory authority over certain radioactive materials. New Jersey becomes the 37th NRC Agreement State, effective Sept. 30.

Under the agreement, the NRC will transfer to New Jersey the responsibility for licensing, rulemaking, inspection and enforcement activities for: (1) radioactive materials produced as byproducts from the production or utilization of special nuclear material (SNM – enriched uranium or plutonium); (2) naturally occurring or accelerator-produced byproduct material (NARM); (3) source material (uranium and thorium); (4) SNM in quantities not sufficient to support a nuclear chain reaction; and (5) the regulation of the land disposal of source, byproduct, and SNM received from other persons.

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 Fuel Cycle News

Officials: Missing SC nuclear pellets not risky – South Carolina & Regional – Wire – The Sun News
Federal investigators say the public faces little danger from 25 pounds of radioactive material reported missing from a South Carolina nuclear fuel plant, but at least one expert from a private group said any amount of uranium could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a public meeting in Columbia Thursday to discuss results of their months long inspection at the Westinghouse Electric Co. plant. In May, the Monroeville, Pa.-based company told regulators it could not account for about 25 pounds of low-enriched uranium – small, pencil eraser-sized pellets used to make nuclear fuel.

The material, which amounts to a container of pellets about the size of a five-pound coffee can, likely never left the plant and was recycled with discarded materials that don’t meet quality standards, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said Friday. And even if it had been released, the stable composition of the uranium is such that it couldn’t be used as a weapon, like a dirty bomb, he said.

Areva closing Lynchburg plant —
The company building a new facility in Newport News to build components for nuclear reactors has decided to end its fuel-assembly production in Lynchburg and expand its operations in Richland, Wash.

Areva said this week it will consolidate the two operations, resulting in a job loss of about 150 in Lynchburg. Areva has operated the Washington facility for 40 years. Areva spokeswoman Judy Thomas told the Tri-City Herald, a newspaper based in Kennewick, Wash., that the 150 employees in Lynchburg will be given first choice for 50 new jobs in Richland, where Areva has 700 employees.

The French-owned energy service company announced last year it will build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant at Idaho Falls, Idaho. It will produce a raw material for the Richland plant to turn into fuel assemblies for nuclear reactors.

Areva plans to open its Newport News manufacturing plant, a joint venture with Northrop Grumman, by 2011 on the James River waterfront near the shipyard.

Navajo Yellowcake Woes Continue | Mother Jones
When the EPA evacuates your town for Superfund cleanup, what happens to the people left behind?

After decades of uranium mining turned the tiny town of Church Rock, New Mexico, into a Superfund site, in August the EPA moved seven resident Navajo families to Gallup apartments, where they’ll wait for five months while the EPA scrubs their town of radioactive waste. But as the EPA hauls away the uranium tailings and radium-infused topsoils that have been permanent fixtures since mining ceased in the 1980s, Church Rock’s remaining residents are asking why they have been left behind. In 1979, the largest spill of radioactive waste in US history occurred in Church Rock when 94 million gallons of mine waste were accidentally released into a stream. Children swam in open pit mines and the community drank water from local wells as recently as the ’90s. (Now they haul in drinking water.) Cancer rates and livestock deaths remain higher than they should be. As for the families who remain, Church Rock evacuee and local activist Teddy Nez says the agency “drew an imaginary line in the sand” that excludes a residential area half a mile west of the Superfund site.

16 Minnesota Groups to MN Congressional Delegation: Reprocessing of Radioactive
Higher Costs, Pollution and Proliferation Dangers if Congress Opens Door to Reprocessing

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Minnesota’s Congressional delegation is hearing today from a diverse group of 16 Minnesota organizations — including Clean Water Action, Environment Minnesota, Sierra Club North Star Chapter and the Minnesota Peace Project — that strongly oppose any effort to open the door to the reprocessing of radioactive waste from Prairie Island and other nuclear reactors when Capitol Hill considers climate and energy legislation. In the case of Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island site, where the entire island, including the dry cask storage, sits in a flood plain of the Mississippi River, the waste needs to be moved to a more secure site as close to the reactor as possible as a necessary interim step.

The joint letter states that the controversial and dangerous practice of reprocessing is “not a solution to Minnesota’s or any state’s nuclear waste problem.” The letter explains in detail how reprocessing actually increases the volume of radioactive waste, is enormously costly, worsens proliferation concerns (including terrorist threats), increases pollution going into lakes, streams and rivers, and poses a range of safety risks. The full text of the 16-group letter is available online at

The Associated Press: 1,000 jobs lost at uranium enrichment plant
USEC Inc. said Monday about 120 employees and more than 850 workers for suppliers have lost their jobs since the Energy Department delayed a final review of the company’s application for a $2 billion loan guarantee to finance a uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio.

USEC suspended work on the project in August after the government’s decision over its plans for the American Centrifuge plant in Piketon.

Job losses have occurred in eight states with Ohio and Tennessee having the largest losses.

USEC said it is continuing with demonstration activities for the project and wants to be in a position to ramp back up should it be approved for the loan guarantees in 2010. The company said it hopes to update its application for the loan guarantee by early next year.

Nuclear Engineering International: NNSA converts two US research reactors from HEU to LEU
The University of Wisconsin Research Reactor and Neutron Radiography Reactor at INL have been converted from the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has now converted or verified the shutdown of a total of 67 HEU research reactors around the world.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in cooperation with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the University of Wisconsin, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy recently completed the conversion of the two research reactors through NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).

$5 million USEC tax break may be revised – Oak Ridge, TN – The Oak Ridger
The largest tax break given under city policies in effect for several years might have to be revised now that USEC Inc. and its partner and contractors have begun laying off employees, city officials said last week.

The property tax break, valued at up to $5 million over a 10-year period, was approved about a year ago — before USEC ran into trouble getting a big loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. The $2 billion guarantee would have been used for work on USEC’s American Centrifuge Program.

New Mexico Independent» N.M. plays role in moving nuclear materials around the country
Want to know what a top-secret truck moving special nuclear materials around the country looks like?

Check out this photo, which comes from a blog at the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. The photo was released after a Freedom of Information Act request from an environmental group.

It’s big and blue  and rumbling down an interstate near you. But if you were parked next to a nuclear warhead at the gas station, would you know it? writes Chronicle reporter Robert Pavey.

The Chronicle covers the Savannah River Site (SRS), a big-bomb producing facility back in the day, by which I mean the Cold War era. The Chronicle just published a series of stories on SRS’s critical role in disposing of plutonium from about 10,000 dismantled bombs.

So what does this top-secret transporting of nuclear materials have to do with New Mexico?

Patience, patience.

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.

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.

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?”

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.


Nuclear Waste News

Whitehaven News | N-waste to be sent back overseas Add your comments
HIGH-LEVEL radioactive waste built up at Sellafield from fuel reprocessing over the years will soon be sent back to foreign customers.

This is a milestone for both the nuclear industry and the British government, who hope the move will dispel claims that Sellafield was destined to become “the world’s atomic dustbin.

The waste comes from the fuel Sellafield has reprocessed over 30 years after removing the plutonium and uranium energy products.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority says it will reduce the stockpile of high level waste stored at Sellafield.

All UK reprocessing contracts with foreign customers since 1976 have included an option for the waste to be returned to country of origin and 10 years later the British government decided the option should be taken up.

VOA News – Taiwan Aboriginal Village Targeted for Nuclear Waste Disposal
Taiwan has tried and failed to sell its nuclear waste to North Korea and China. Now, the government is seeking a burial place at home. The top choice is a poor aboriginal community.

When it comes to nuclear waste, most people say, “not in my back yard.” But most residents of Nantian village in southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County favor building a low-level nuclear waste dump five kilometers away.

Taiwan has thousands of barrels of low-level waste – mostly contaminated clothing, boots and mops used by the workers at the island’s three nuclear power plants. Engineers at Taipower, the electricity monopoly, say it will take about 100 years for the harmful radiation to decay.

Russian forum discusses nuclear waste –
The 4th AtomTrans-2009 international nuclear forum has opened in St. Petersburg. news agency reported Tuesday that AtomTrans-2009 Press Secretary Vadim Titov said that a key topic of forum discussions will be “efforts to ensure safety in the transportation and use of radioactive materials, as well as safety in the handling of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.”

Addressing Atomtrans-2009 participants Atomspetstrans JSC Director Vladimir Naschokin said that upgrading Russia’s containers for transporting spent nuclear fuel will require investment of $79 million to $93 million. Otherwise, according to Naschokin, while the need for transport will continue until 2028, in the absence of investment a shortage of containers for transporting spent nuclear fuel from Russia’s 19 VVER-440 440-megawatt reactors will occur beginning in 2016.

Besides radioactive material transport issues, the forum will also cover matters concerning intermediate storage and final isolation of radioactive waste. Scientists and specialists attending the forum will also tour nuclear power industry facilities in northwestern Russia.

Danger in nuclear waste move: ACF – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Nearly 10,000 barrels of nuclear waste will be moved again in the Woomera prohibited area, to a more suitable storage facility.

The Defence Department is planning to move the barrels a few kilometres from where they are stored in an old aircraft hangar, to an explosives storage building.

David Noonan from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says the Federal Government needs to find a permanent site for the waste.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Nuclear Policy News

German FDP says may not extend nuclear plants’ lives  | Reuters
A senior figure in Germany’s Free Democrats has threatened to drop plans to extend the lives of national nuclear plants if power companies take issue with conditions the next government attaches to such extensions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are due to start coalition talks with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) on Monday and energy policy will be a key issue for negotiation.

The two groups have said they will look to extend the lives of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants, which an existing plan envisages phasing out by 2021 at the latest.

AFP: EDF announces sale of British electricity grid
French state electricity giant EDF said on Friday it had put on sale its electricity distribution network in Britain with the aim of raising more than 4.0 billion euros (5.8 billion dollars) to reduce debt.

The EDF distribution network in Britain covers London and the southeast of the country, a region that accounts for 40 percent of British gross domestic product, EDF said.

EDF provides power to 7.9 million homes in Britain, amounting to 28 percent of the country’s electricity supply.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported in August that several parties, including an Abu Dhabi investment fund, were interested in acquiring the network.

India: Rally demanding closure of nuclear plants tomorrow
Anti-nuclear activists have organised a rally here tomorrow to demand closure of nuclear power plants in the country, saying they were creating health hazards due to radiation.

The activists, under the aegis of the ‘National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements’, insisted on development of renewable technologies and demanded better health facilities for people suffering from radiations caused by nuclear plants.

“Tomorrow we are celebrating the birth anniversary of our father of the nation but our country no longer follows his principles,” Neeraj Jain of NGO ‘Lokayut’ in Pune said.

He alleged that propaganda of nuclear energy being a safe, cheap and clean energy are all lies.

Samuel Jyrwa, President of Khasi Student’s Union which has been spearheading movement against the proposed nuclear power plant in Meghalaya, said people of the state have expressed their opinion by participating in anti-nuclear hearings.

Associated Press: Capitals nuclear energy ads irk environmentalists
The Washington Capitals are opening the NHL season with a new sponsor that has some environmentalists seeing red instead of green.

The Nuclear Energy Institute says it’s placing signs at the Verizon Center to promote the clean-air benefits of nuclear energy. Supporters say nuclear energy provides electricity without the emissions of coal or other fossil fuels.

But environmental groups such as Greenpeace are crying foul. Nuclear policy analyst Jim Riccio says the Washington-based group doesn’t want sports teams being used to greenwash nuclear power, which it believes isn’t a solution to global warming.

The group says nuclear plants take years to build and methods of disposing nuclear waste haven’t been developed.

US, Italy sign pact to build nuclear power stations  | Reuters
The United States and Italy on Tuesday signed a nuclear cooperation deal that would enlist U.S. companies to help build a string of nuclear power stations across Italy, ending a 22-year ban by the Italian government.

“Italy is restarting its nuclear energy again,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters. “It has aggressive goals, very admirable goals, in decreasing its carbon emissions through nuclear, through renewable energy, through improvements and efficiency.”

Chu said companies like General Electric (GE.N) and Toshiba Corp (6502.T) unit Westinghouse will be able to bid on projects in Italy, which hopes to issue in mid-February criteria that would determine the location of the facilities.

SA Current – Express-News rejects: the Current’s new fall line
[Local clean-energy activist Margaret Day says the following column was rejected by Express-News Editorial Page Editor Bruce Davidson because it insinuates NRG Energy’s Executive VP of Nuclear Development, Mr. Steve Winn, “is a liar.” Express-News Ombudsman Bob Richter said Davidson turned it down because he “had other, better anti-nuclear commentaries and felt Day “misstated Winn’s reasoning. Whatever. We got a kick out of it. Which is why we at the second most comprehensive source on all things nuclear wanted to give it a public airing.

SA Current: Atomic Numbers
Most Texas homes weren’t built as if energy mattered. Despite 100-degree summer days, our roofs are still covered in heat-absorbing black-tar shingles. Cheap insulation in the attic, leaky doors, and single-paned windows mean when the air conditioner runs, it runs loads of cooled air right out the house.

San Antonio’s CPS Energy plans to spend $850 million to eliminate 771 megawatts of wasteful energy consumption through weatherization programs and rebates to help residential and commercial customers replace lights and appliances, and hoist solar panels onto their roofs by 2020. To do that will cost roughly $1,100 per saved kilowatt, according to the utility.

However, 80 miles to the northeast, municipally owned Austin Energy has already cut 800 megawatts through energy efficiency over the last 20 years at a cost of roughly $350 per kilowatt, said Scott Jarman, consulting engineer with Austin Energy’s efficiency program. But after 20 years of efficiency work, the savings are increasingly hard to find, and accordingly, more costly.

India plans to cut carbon and fuel poverty with untested nuclear power | Environment |
Prime minister Manmohan Singh announces 100-fold increase in nuclear energy output by 2050 with thorium technology

India nuclear plans: Thorium pellets at the
India’s prime minister today signalled a huge push in nuclear power over the coming decades, using an untested technology based on nuclear waste and the radioactive element thorium.

Manmohan Singh, speaking at a conference of atomic scientists in Delhi, announced that 470,000MW of energy could come from Indian nuclear power stations by 2050 more than 100 times the current output from India’s current 17 reactors.

Spain says has power to spare, can phase out nukes | Reuters
Spain’s top energy official said on Monday the country had enough spare generating capacity to phase out nuclear power stations in the medium term, in line with government policy.

In recent years, Spain has subsidized renewable energy in order to cut its heavy dependence on fuel imports and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is now the world’s third-biggest producer of wind power and the second-biggest of solar.

Nuclear power is unpopular in Spain and both major political parties ruled out building new plants in last year’s elections.

“Investing in nuclear energy makes sense when there are problems in ensuring supply. In ’99 or 2000 that was the case with our energy margin,” Energy Secretary Pedro Marin told a conference on energy policy.  Group seeks delay of Shippingport nuclear plant’s relicensing decision
A Pittsburgh-based energy advocacy group wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to delay a final decision on the licensing renewal process for Beaver Valley nuclear reactor Units 1 and 2, concerned about corrosion in a reactor containment liner.

We’re not optimistic, frankly, David Hughes, executive director of Citizen Power, said Thursday. Not because we don’t believe our concerns don’t have merit, but we’re not confident with the NRC.

A final decision had been expected Monday. But Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman, said Friday that timetable has been pushed back, as the NRC plans to release another report on the liner issue. A final decision could now come in early November, Sheehan said.

History is on the side of Akron-based FirstEnergy, owner of the reactors, and against Citizen Power. According to NRC records, a license renewal request has never been refused, with more than half of the 104 reactors across the country seeking license renewals in the last decade.

And the process cleared a big hurdle last week, with the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards recommending the license renewal.

Licensing renewal

Tuscumbia whistle-blower wins case against Browns Ferry | The Times Daily | Florence, AL
In what is being called a rare victory for whistle blowers, a U.S. Department of Labor appeals panel has ruled that a Tennessee Valley Authority contractor violated the federal whistle-blower law when it fired a Tuscumbia man 2004.

In a decision that was made public today, the Department of Labor’s review board ruled that James Speegle was improperly dismissed from his job as a painting foreman for Louisiana-based Stone and Webster Construction Inc., while working at Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant near Athens after reporting safety concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Uranium Policy Poll – KSTU
FOX 13 with partner asked republican and democratic insiders whether energy solutions should be allowed to bring 10,000 additional tons of depleted uranium and radioactive waste from Italy to the Tooele County Facility. Energy consultant, Jeff Hartley said, “Energy is the most regulated industry and of that industry, nuclear is the most regulated and I have every confidence that if those products posed any type of threat, they wouldn’t let them in the state.”

FOX 13 and asked 50 Republican and 50 Democratic politicians, activists and lobbyists and other insiders about the Uranium Policy. Both sides claim the science and the facts but the issues about Italian waste coming to Utah, 67 percent of Republican insiders say take it, especially because it comes with millions in shared profits for tax payers. 71 percent of Democrats say to keep it out, believing it will make Utah less safe and hurt the State’s image.

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.

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.”

Decision on nuclear power plant suspended for two months
nuclear 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 Yıldız said on Friday.

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

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.

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.

Canada and Kazakhstan reach nuclear trade deal | 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.


Nuclear Weapons News

Details shed light on end of nuclear monopoly – JSOnline
Even before its first Alamogordo test, the atomic bomb was the highest-stakes game around. It still is. At the July 1945 Potsdam Conference, President Harry Truman followed a careful plan to tell Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

In “Red Cloud at Dawn,” Princeton University history professor Michael D. Gordin quotes Truman’s interpreter, Charles “Chip” Bohlen, who watched out of earshot: “Truman said he would stroll over to Stalin and nonchalantly inform him. He instructed me not to accompany him‚because he did not want to indicate there was anything particularly momentous” about it. “So it was‚the Russian interpreter who translated.

AFP: Judge orders Cheney statements released in Plame case
A federal judge ordered the US Justice Department to release significant portions of statements former vice president Dick Cheney made to the FBI about the Valerie Plame case.

The judge dismissed objections brought by the previous George W. Bush administration to the release of records about the leak of Plame’s name to the media, which compromised her position as a covert CIA officer.

The Bush administration had claimed it could withhold the documents because their release could hamper the cooperation of White House officials in future probes.

The public interest group that filed the lawsuit in 2008 stressed “the particular urgency to inform the public about the role vice president Cheney played in the leak of Mrs Wilson’s covert identity, and the basis for the decision not to prosecute him.”

Gareth Porter: U.S. Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn’t Add Up
The story line that dominated media coverage of the second Iranian uranium enrichment facility last week was the official assertion that U.S. intelligence had caught Iran trying to conceal a “secret” nuclear facility.

But an analysis of the transcript of that briefing by senior administration officials that was the sole basis for the news stories and other evidence reveals damaging admissions, conflicts with the facts and unanswered questions that undermine its credibility.

Iran’s notification to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the second enrichment facility in a letter on Sep. 21 was buried deep in most of the news stories and explained as a response to being detected by U.S. intelligence. In reporting the story in that way, journalists were relying entirely on the testimony of “senior administration officials” who briefed them at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh Friday.

Who’s afraid of the NPT?
It had been clear from the outset that one of US President Barack Obama’s priorities in his foreign policy would be the promotion of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons technology. The fear of nuclear terrorism pervaded even his eloquent espousal of the elimination of nuclear weapons in Prague this spring, and his solution was the strengthening of the 40-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty. The flurry of activity during the current session of the United Nations General Assembly, his stern message to the international community (to quote a US commentator), the attendance by the US secretary of state at the conference of the Organisation of the CTBT Member States and the unanimous UN Security Council resolution on non-proliferation would appear to have fixed the international agenda on nuclear issues for the immediate future at least.

The shared sins of Soviet and U.S. nuclear testing | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Gerald Sperling’s new film, Silent Bombs: All for the Motherland, recounts the effects of decades of nuclear testing on Kazakh villagers near the Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk. The film is at once very particular to Kazakhstan, the exotic ambience of which is evoked with a sad lyricism, and, in a disturbing way, generic to the nuclear age. It evokes something that is simultaneously strange and familiar.

The Soviets tested around 500 nuclear weapons in northeastern Kazakhstan between 1949 and 1989. Until 1963 the tests were all aboveground. Some of these tests left behind massive craters that have become atomic lakes. Even when testing moved underground, tests often vented, according to the filmmakers.

The lasting toll of Semipalatinsk’s nuclear testing | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Article Highlights

* The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk in eastern Kazakhstan from 1949 until 1989 without regard for their effect on the local people or environment.
* The full impact of radiation exposure was hidden for years by Soviet authorities and has only come out since the test site closed in 1991.
* Semipalatinsk is a reminder of the high price paid by the people of Kazakhstan for Soviet nuclear weapons.

During the rainy, windy early morning of August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear explosion–code-named “First Lightning”–at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan. Witnesses remember feeling the ground tremble and seeing the sky turn red–and how that red sky was quickly dominated by a peculiar mushroom-shaped cloud. The Soviet military and scientific personnel conducting the test knew that the rain and wind would make the local population more susceptible to radioactive fallout. But at the time, authorities disregarded the consequences for the sake of military and political goals.

Associated Press: Syria calls for Israel to join nuclear treaty
Israel must comply with the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency if the Mideast is to become a region free of weapons of mass destruction, Syria’s foreign minister said Monday.

Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem echoed calls by many Arab nations during the current U.N. General Assembly session for Israel to comply with the IAEA’s demand to submit its nuclear facilities to the agency’s safeguard regime and to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty restricts any nuclear program to nonmilitary purposes.

Israel has never said it has nuclear weapons, but is universally believed to possess a sizable arsenal of such warheads.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Department of Energy News

GAO: Evaluate leaving more waste in Hanford tanks – | Tri-City Herald
Given the high cost to empty and treat Hanford’s radioactive tank wastes, the government should consider leaving more waste in the underground tanks, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The report also challenges the Department of Energy to find ways to reduce costs for retrieval and final disposal of high-level radioactive wastes, saying they could be more costly than justified by the reduction in risk.

The estimated price tag to empty Hanford’s underground tanks of radioactive waste and treat it are rapidly escalating and could be from $86 billion to more than $100 billion — rather than the $77 billion that DOE estimates, according to the report. The study was prepared at the request of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

Cost escalation is the result of a range of issues, including the difficulties Hanford workers have had in emptying the leak-prone tanks of millions of gallons of waste, questions about how well vitrification plant technology will work and a decision not to send treated wastes to Yucca Mountain, Nev., for disposal, the report says.

Hanford 200 North Area Demolition Slide show
Workers use excavators with extended arm shears and dust suppression to demolish three buildings, including building 212-R, -N and -P, that once stored spent nuclear fuel from Hanford’s plutonium production reactors. The former nuclear facilities are north of the center of Hanford, the 200 North Area. The buildings date to as early as World War II.

Hanford finishes shipping plutonium, unirradiated fuel | Tri-City Herald
Hanford has completed shipping its leftover weapons-grade plutonium and unirradiated nuclear fuel to South Carolina, a major step toward reducing security requirements at the nuclear reservation.

About 2,300 containers of material were shipped, most of them coffee-can-sized canisters of plutonium that had been stored at the Plutonium Finishing Plant. Shipments of the canisters ended in April.

Since then, the Department of Energy has been shipping about a dozen packages of unirradiated fuel, with those shipments completed in September. DOE had set a goal to have the shipping done before the start of fiscal 2010, which began today.

“It is a major accomplishment with a lot of effort by many people here at Hanford, a lot of effort by transportation crews and by the people at the Savannah River Site,” said Geoff Tyree, a DOE Hanford spokesman.

Hanford: US most contaminated nuclear site gets funding for environmental clean up
The Hanford nuclear site was established in 1943 in the town of Hanford, Washington along the Columbia River. Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the nuclear bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. The plant’s waste disposal procedures were woefully inadequate. To this day, millions of gallons of high-level radioactive waste remains at the site and comprises the largest Hanford decomission activities 1964-71environmental clean up in Uited States history since being decommissioned between 1964 and 1971.

On September 30, 2009: U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) a senior member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, announced that the final version of a spending bill that funds Hanford cleanup will include more than $87 million more for cleanup than the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request. Murray, who was part of the Conference Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee that crafted the final legislation, fought for the inclusion of the additional funding after the House version of the bill cut Hanford funding to $51.8 million below the President’s budget request. The additional funding secured by Murray will go primarily toward groundwater cleanup and K Basin sludge treatment and disposal.

Spending bill includes $2 billion for Hanford | Seattle Times Newspaper
The federal government would spend more than $2 billion in fiscal year 2010 to clean up the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site under a new spending bill.

The federal government would spend more than $2 billion in fiscal year 2010 to clean up the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site under a new spending bill.

That’s in line with what the U.S. Department of Energy usually spends to rid the Hanford nuclear reservation of radioactive and toxic waste.

The budget for fiscal year 2009 was $2.067 billion. A spending bill expected to be voted on soon by Congress includes $2.096 billion, which is more than was requested by President Obama.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state says the additional money will go toward groundwater cleanup and treatment and disposal of radioactive sludge.

In addition, $2 billion in stimulus money is being spent at the 586-square-mile site.

Security supervisor fired for alleged threat |
Wackenhut Services Inc., the government’s security contractor in Oak Ridge, has confirmed that a security supervisor was fired for allegedly threatening another employee.

“One supervisor was terminated for verbally threatening another employee, while on duty, which is a violation of the WSI-OR Workplace Violence Policy,” spokeswoman Courtney Henry said in response to questions about the incident.

Wackenhut also confirmed other disciplinary actions that have been taken against supervisory personnel and strongly denied that the contractor management had shown more leniency toward supervisors than hourly personnel. Several security police officers in recent weeks have suggested that Wackenhut (also known as WSI-Oak Ridge) uses a double standard in doling out punishments.

Failure to report SRS accidents costs two their jobs | Aiken Standard | Aiken, SC
One of two accidents at the Savannah River Site made public last week “had potential criticality safety implications” when a 200-pound bundle of highly enriched uranium fell 15 feet from a crane into a pit of acid.

Fuel bundles loaded with highly enriched uranium metal being transported by crane are lowered into a “dissolver” containing acid. The process converts the uranium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

Twice in August there were problems with the process, problems that caused two SRS employees to lose their jobs.

“Two recent events illustrate the challenges management faces in changing the behavior of some workers,” a report on the incidents read.

The incidents were described in the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report that was made public last week. Having potential criticality safety implications mean that a nuclear chain reaction could have occurred.

Hanford nuclear reservation takes next step on waste cleanup |
Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation have removed a 1.2 million gallon basin that once held 1,100 tons of spent uranium fuel roads, the U.S. Department of Energy says, and are beginning to clean up contaminated soil underneath the basin.

Contractor CH2M Hill’s Plateau Remediation Company started excavating the contaminated soil on Sunday, meeting a deadline under DOE’s agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Washington.

Earlier this month, workers finished years of work removing the K East Basin that once stored highly radioactive materials underwater, one of the greatest hazards at the former plutonium production site.

The basin held spent nuclear fuel from Hanford’s nine reactors beneath 20 feet of water for shielding. Soil underneath the concrete basin was contaminated by leaks in the 1970s and 1990s, DOE says.

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:


Other Energy News

Greater transparency – Las Vegas Sun
Efforts to improve the federal Freedom of Information Act, which provides the public access to government documents, have been hampered by members of Congress.

The Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of groups that supports open government, has identified 246 statutes that exempt documents from disclosure to the public. Over the past decade those statutes were cited by federal agencies as reasons for rejecting public records requests.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Associated Press CEO Tom Curley said many of those exemptions had been inserted by members of Congress in massive legislation without any public debate. They have since been buried in federal law, unnoticed until an agency uses the exemption to deny a request for documents.

New energy, renewable energy take 9% in China’s energy structure_English_Xinhua
New energy and renewable energy took nine percent in China’s energy structure in 2008, while coal took 69 percent and oil and natural gas 22 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

China’s new energy and renewable energy have boomed in recent years including hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power.

The country’s installed capacity of hydropower topped 170 million kw in 2008, the biggest in the world. Hydropower percentage in overall energy structure soared from one percent in 1949 to 7.4 percent in 2008.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Editorial: Solve the nuclear storage issue first | Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
The Lakeshore area has been a longtime friend of the nuclear power industry. We are home to the nuclear plants at Point Beach in the town of Two Creeks and a few miles away near Kewaunee.

They provide hundreds of good-paying jobs and produce energy in the context of a good safety record.

Wisconsin in 1983 banned construction of new nuclear plants, in large part because there is no national or international site to permanently dispose of the waste they would generate.

That’s still the case 26 years later and it’s the reason we remain concerned with proposals to lift the moratorium on nuclear plant construction.

Nuke radiation is not OK: Times Argus Online
The Sept. 16 headline on Vermont Yankee is wrong. The correct version should be “Vermont Yankee Radiation Not OK.”

There are vast amounts of verifiable information that children are highly susceptible to radiation and the truth of this issue is that it is about health.

Photos of Yankee’s plant failures are scary and the thought of 20 years added on to this plant’s existence is not good.

Waste from nuclear power plants is dangerous. Where does it go? Vermont Yankee presents many dangers now and in the future and is a risk not worth taking.

Renewable energy is possible and practical.

Badger Herald: Legislation to lift nuclear plant ban
Republican lawmakers work to decrease carbon footprint via new energy source

Three Republican legislators proposed ideas for new legislation Monday to repeal the state’s ban on construction of new nuclear power plants.

Rep. Michael Huebsch, R-West Salem, Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Green Bay, and Sen. Joe Liebham, R-Sheboygan, said in a statement Monday they are crafting the bill as a way to prevent energy shortages, unsustainable price increases and utility taxes.

Interview – Think towards Solar Energy, Not Nuclear – Standart
Dr Dominique Raynaud is an expert at climatic change issues. Along with other researchers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007. Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth is partially based namely on the research of Raynaud. Dr. Raynaud was on a visit to Sofia where he delivered a lecture on the preparation of the conference on climate change in Copenhagen.
– Mr. Raynaud, how real is the threat of global warming?
– Generally the stakes are rather high. Take Africa for example. This continent is already in a very dangerous situation. The sea level will rise by 50 or 80 cm or even more by the end of the century. This means there will be a lot of problems in many coastal countries. In Bangladesh, for instance, thousands of people will have to be evacuated. Millions of people will have to immigrate, increase of conflicts is very possible etc?
– You believe the future of the Earth is to an extent in the hands of the people. Do you think that they, though, can really be motivated to change the status quo?
– People should be educated, things should be explained to them. This issue should not be abandoned; people should be persuaded without being compelled. We are talking of a threat, of a possibility, not about something that will for sure happen. I also hope we are wrong. But even if we are right, this will happen for good because we will have to change our lifestyle.
– What do you think of nuclear energy? A lot of discussions are currently being held in Bulgaria on the necessity of constructing a second NPP?

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

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

Leave a Reply