Top 100 Energy Stories Oct. 19th-25th 2009

radbull Here’s another issue of the news.  Sorry about the delay on this again.  There are still a few kinks in the system yet to work out.

This was a slow news week. Again the most interesting news stories are coming internationally, with a couple more scandals out of the UK (spying on activists) as well as Uganda pulling out of plans to build a reactor.  Uranium prices are going up do to an unpublicized uranium mining accident at Bhp Billiton’s Beverly mine in Australia.  Germany is calling for the U.S. to pull its nuclear weapons and China hosted the latest GNEP conference.  Yeah, its still going on outside the U.S. Also the stories out of Africa and Siberia (waste dumping) continue to get attention.

In the US, Obama’s Magwood nomination to the NRC as well as the AP1000 safety issues made news.  This last weekend’s indigenous uranium forum in New Mexico also took place, and there was a whole series of video’s posted as part of the CPS San Antonio South Texas debate.  The LA Times did a piece on the history of the DOE and there was a whole series of stories about Atomic workers and their upcoming event.  There were several major PR pushes, including one by AP’ Hebert.  He needs to be hit up!

There were a lot of Health and Safety stories as well.  I’m being short here due to being late, so dig in..

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

AFP: Japanese firms to develop small nuclear reactors
Japan’s major nuclear reactor manufacturers have begun developing small nuclear power systems for both developed and emerging countries, a report said on Saturday.

Toshiba Corp. is developing an ultra-compact reactor with an output of about 10,000 kilowatts and has started procedures for approval in the United States, the Nikkei business daily said.

The new reactor, the Toshiba 4S, is designed to minimise the need for monitoring and maintenance, with an automatic shutdown function to ensure safety in case of problems, the newspaper said.

20 years after public vote, Rancho Seco is decommissioned by U.S. – Sacramento News – Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee
Sacramento’s Rancho Seco nuclear power plant has been formally decommissioned by the federal government, the first action of its kind in response to a public vote.

The 20-year decommissioning process cost Sacramento Municipal Utility District ratepayers $500 million.

District voters decided in June 1989 that such a costly endeavor was justified to eliminate the risks posed by nuclear power.

The vote followed a long series of accidents and costly unplanned shutdowns at Rancho Seco, which began operating in 1975.

New Vision Online : Uganda halts nuclear power project
UGANDA is not rushing to build a nuclear power plant, it has been announced.

Sources privy to the matter said the country will wait until its human resource capacity, legal and regulatory framework as well as the financial obligations are strengthened.

“There is no competence in the country to handle nuclear power project and we cannot build this overnight,” the sources added.

The announcement comes at a time when IBI, a junior mining company from Canada, is pushing for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Government for a nuclear power development in Uganda.

Boston Business Journal: Seabrook gets a violation
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Severity Level IV violation to the owners of the Seabrook nuclear power plant because a contract employee deliberately failed to report an arrest to his employer, violating the plant’s physical security plan requirements, according to the Daily News of Newburyport.

The NRC Enforcement Policy describes a Severity Level IV violation as one that involves noncompliance with NRC requirements that are not considered significant based on risk, according to the Daily News.

The Associated Press: Vermont Senate chief questions Entergy spinoff
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant’s future as a provider of a third of the state’s electricity could be in jeopardy if the plant’s owner spins it off to a newly created company, the head of the state Senate said Wednesday.

The comments from Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, a Democrat who represents Vermont Yankee’s home county of Windham, came as lawmakers prepare to debate early next year whether the aging reactor should get a 20-year extension on a license currently set to expire in 2012.

Plant owner Entergy Nuclear’s plan to spin off Vermont Yankee and five other reactors into a newly created company could make it a “tough sell” to get the Legislature — the only one in the country that has given itself the power to vote up or down on a nuclear license extension — to approve the continuance.

Three Mile Island renewed for another 20 years – The York Daily Record
Read the release that details how TMI will operate for an additional 20 years

* Record Tracker blog: More on TMI’s renewal, including links to documents.

* York Town Square blog: Three Mile Island emergency indelibly written into memories.

Thirty years after Three Mile Island Unit 2 suffered a partial meltdown, a federal agency has approved its sister reactor to operate for an additional 20 years.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the operating license Thursday for TMI Unit 1 in Dauphin County. The new license will expire April 19, 2034.

The reactor’s original 40-year license was
Read TMI’s response to landing license renewal.
set to run out April 19, 2014.

TVO: Start-up of Europe’s First EPR Postponed to Mid-2012 :: POWER Magazine
Start-up of Europe’s first EPR nuclear power plant, the Olkiluoto 3 under construction in Finland, has been postponed beyond June 2012 because civil construction is taking longer than was previously estimated, according plant owner Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO). Finland’s nuclear regulatory agency has, meanwhile, called attention to “deficiencies” in the welding of the plant’s cooling system, potentially causing further delays.

The Finnish utility said last week that the plant’s supplier, an AREVA-Siemens Energy consortium, is responsible for the current schedule, and that it has requested a re-analysis of the anticipated start-up date.

Work on the long-awaited nuclear power project began in 2005, and the plant was originally due to come online in 2009, but the project has been consistently plagued with faulty materials and planning problems. AREVA in September revealed that the total cost of the flagship third-generation reactor had risen to some €5.3 billion—up from the originally estimated cost of €3 billion. Costs could go up even more because of timeline uncertainties.

VT pol says Yankee nuke plan cound hinder license
The head of the state Senate says it will be much more difficult for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to win legislative approval for a 20 year license extension if the plant gets a new owner.

On Wednesday Senate president Pro Tem Peter Shumlin criticized the Department of Public Service for reversing itself and deciding to support a plan by Entergy Nuclear to create a new company that would own Vermont Yankee and five other nuclear plants.

Shumlin says the transaction means Vermont Yankee will no longer be owned by a financially strong company, but by a new firm with $4.7 billion in what he calls “junk bond” debt.

Developer makes plans for another nuclear plant | Local News | Idaho Statesman
As in the past, the Snake River Alliance opposes Alternate Energy Holdings’ latest proposal.
Nomad nuclear reactor developer Don Gillispie, chairman and CEO of Eagle-based Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., said Tuesday that he has submitted a comprehensive plan amendment application for development of a nuclear power plant on 5,100 acres in Payette County.

“This is a key step to developing an additional nuclear site in Idaho,” Gillispie said in a statement.

He still has a rezoning application in process in Elmore County. Previously he sought to get approval to site that plant in Owyhee County.

He said Idahoans are just learning about the economic benefits a nuclear plant could bring to rural communities.

Secret files reveal covert network run by nuclear police | Environment | The Guardian
The nuclear industry funds the special armed police force which guards its installations across the UK, and secret documents, seen by the Guardian, show the 750-strong force is authorised to carry out covert intelligence operations against anti-nuclear protesters, one of its main targets.

The nuclear industry will pay £57m this year to finance the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). The funding comes from the companies which run 17 nuclear plants, including Dounreay in Caithness, Sellafield in Cumbria and Dungeness in Kent.

Around a third is paid by the private consortium managing Sellafield, which is largely owned by American and French firms. Nearly a fifth of the funding is provided by British Energy, the privatised company owned by French firm EDF.

Private correspondence shows that in June, the EDF’s head of security complained that the force had overspent its budget “without timely and satisfactory explanations to us”. The industry acknowledges it is in regular contact with the CNC and the security services.

Crumbling stores, leaky plants and the dangers of old age | Terry Macalister | Environment | The Guardian
Dealing with the problems of old age lies at the heart of the nuclear industry’s challenge to convince the public of its safety: leaky power plants, crumbling waste stores nearing the end of their lives and overworked inspectors who do not have the time to assess properly the next generation of power stations.

Even with billions of pounds a year being poured into clean-up operations, it is a toxic legacy going back to the cold war that continually threatens to undermine the facelift given by the new private sector companies. The companies, mainly from France and Germany, have joined the government to try to convince the public it is time for a nuclear renaissance, on both energy security and climate change grounds. In recent days the industry watchdog, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), has admitted that the possibility of a serious accident at Britain’s biggest nuclear complex, Sellafield in Cumbria, is still “far too high”, while questioning the safety designs of new reactors being submitted for approval.

The private sector managers who took over at Sellafield less than a year ago have been told in a letter that they should reduce the risks at the radioactive storage pond dubbed “Dirty 30” and elsewhere as soon as possible.

AFP: Alarm as Taiwan wants to extend life of oldest nuclear plant
Taiwan wants to extend the life of its oldest nuclear power plant for another 20 years, the government said Tuesday, triggering alarm among activists who fear it could put public safety at risk.

State-owned Taiwan Power Company has asked to keep using the Chinshan plant, operational since 1978 in a coastal area of north Taiwan, after the licenses of its two reactors expire in 2018 and 2019, the Atomic Energy Council said.

“The application is for extending the life of the plant’s two generators from 40 to 60 years,” the cabinet-level council said in a statement.

Conservation activists Tuesday voiced severe concerns about what they called a risky plan, also citing a shortage of space to store the nuclear waste.

“We strongly oppose the measure… We cannot afford taking such as risk,” Gloria Hsu, a National Taiwan University professor, told AFP.

Cooper Report on Nuclear Economics PDF
Within the past year, estimates of the cost of nuclear power from a new generation of
reactors have ranged from a low of 8.4 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to a high of 30 cents. This
paper tackles the debate over the cost of building new nuclear reactors, with the key findings as
¢ The initial cost projections put out early in today’s so-called nuclear renaissance were about
one-third of what one would have expected, based on the nuclear reactors completed in the
¢ The most recent cost projections for new nuclear reactors are, on average, over four times as
high as the initial nuclear renaissance projections.
¢ There are numerous options available to meet the need for electricity in a carbon-constrained
environment that are superior to building nuclear reactors. Indeed, nuclear reactors are the worst
option from the point of view of the consumer and society.
¢ The low carbon sources that are less costly than nuclear include efficiency, cogeneration,
biomass, geothermal, wind, solar thermal and natural gas. Solar photovoltaics that are presently
more costly than nuclear reactors are projected to decline dramatically in price in the next
decade. Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, which are not presently available, are
projected to be somewhat more costly than nuclear reactors.
¢ Numerous studies by Wall Street and independent energy analysts estimate efficiency and
renewable costs at an average of 6 cents per kilowatt hour, while the cost of electricity from
nuclear reactors is estimated in the range of 12 to 20 cents per kWh.
¢ The additional cost of building 100 new nuclear reactors, instead of pursuing a least cost
efficiency-renewable strategy, would be in the range of $1.9-$4.4 trillion over the life the

Group predicts more problems at nuke site –
Westinghouse vows to fix all the issues raised by regulators

SCOTTSBORO – Westinghouse’s failure to show that a shield building for a proposed nuclear plant near Scottsboro is structurally safe is “the tip of the iceberg of problems that lie ahead” for the project, said Lou Zeller, director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

Zeller said Friday that cracks could cause the steel and concrete buildings housing a nuclear reactor to leak into the air outside the plant.

But Westinghouse spokesman Scott Shaw said that the plant “wouldn’t be licensed” if that were the case.

Zeller said containment buildings at older nuclear plants are “showing signs of wear and tear,” including cracks.

But Shaw said Westinghouse designed a concrete building with steel plates to prevent any leaks, instead of steel-reinforced bars used in previous nuclear plant designs.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday informed Westinghouse, designer of the AP1000 plant proposed at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bellefonte site, that it will need to modify its design.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Conscripts Were Exposed To High Levels Of Radiation

Former soldiers suffering from radiation poisoning are suing the Chilean treasury and Nuclear Energy Commission for US$85 million. The men were exposed to high levels of radiation whilst guarding the same nuclear facility in Santiago in the late 1980’s.

The Soldiers were all guarding the same nuclear facility in Santiago between 1988-1989.

Over 60 ex-guards of the La Reina Nuclear Reactor and Research Center cited various health problems in filing their lawsuit against the state. The men in question secured the facility as part of their national military service duties between 1988-1989 and show symptoms of dangerous over-exposure to radiation.

The case presented by the Santiago law firm Alfredo Morgado reads: This petition demands compensation from the state on behalf of the victims who have died or continue to suffer as a result of radiation poisoning.
The lawsuit also points to the non-existent help the government has offered to the men. Amongst the medical conditions cited are various forms of cancer, bone and nerve degeneration, digestive problems, migraines and diarrhea.

Some of the men also claim compensation for medical conditions and congenital defects allegedly passed on to their children.

Among the petitioners are the families of soldiers who died as a result of the contamination. Guillermo Cofre died in 1989 after being asked to clean up a nuclear waste spill with a towel.

His military uniform had melted, almost as if he had fallen in acid, his father said. Both Guillermo and his companion on the task Luis Gomez Naranjo died of leukemia within 18 months of the accident.

The families of the deceased are suing for over US$3.5 million each, while the remaining petitioners are each claiming between US$1 to 1.5 million for current and future health complications. The case is being heard at the Santiago Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit comes at a time of increased lobbying efforts on behalf of nuclear energy proponents linked to Chile’s mini

New research suggests how low doses of radiation can cause heart disease and stroke
A mathematical model constructed by researchers at Imperial College London predicts the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, stroke) associated with low background levels of radiation. The model shows that the risk would vary almost in proportion with dose. Results, published October 23 in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, are consistent with risk levels reported in previous studies involving nuclear workers.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in developed countries, as reported in the paper and also by the World Health Organization ( For some time, scientists have understood how high-dose radiotherapy (RT) causes inflammation in the heart and large arteries and how this results in the increased levels of cardiovascular disease observed in many groups of patients who receive RT. However, in the last few years, studies have shown that there may also be cardiovascular risks associated with the much lower fractionated doses of radiation received by groups such as nuclear workers, but it is not clear what biological mechanisms are responsible.

Advisory board recommends Special Exposure Cohort for Oak Ridge Hospital workers, 1950-59 |
The Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health today recommended that Oak Ridge Hospital workers, 1950-59, be desigated a Special Exposure Cohort, NIOSH spokeswoman Shannon Bradford said.

The ruling is based on the likelihood they were exposed to chronic levels of radiation. The SEC status, if it stands, would make it easier for those workers with cancer to receive compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

The advisory board concurred with an earlier recommendation from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and now it will be sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will make a recommendation to Congress, Bradford said. If Congress doesn’t act within 30 days, the secretary’s recommendation stands, she said.

Study of baby teeth yields new findings on nuclear fallout
Joan Ketterer still recalls the button her son Edward got for donating his baby teeth to what was then a ground-breaking study looking at the effect of nuclear fallout on children born in the St. Louis-area in the 1960s.

“I Gave My Tooth To Science” proclaimed the button, which Edward or “E.J.” as his parents called him, proudly wore for days.

But the button was eventually put away. Edward grew up, got married and opened a successful orthodontics practice in Houston. And Joan Ketterer forgot all about the study.

But Tuesday, a New York-based research group released new findings that suggest male tooth donors who ended up with cancer as adults had double the amount of a radioactive isotope created by nuclear fallout than healthy donors who participated in the original St. Louis study.

Senator seeks more compensation for state nuclear energy workers | | Coshocton Tribune
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown unveiled legislation Tuesday that would extend occupational illness-related compensation and health benefits to hundreds of former employees at two Cold War-era nuclear facilities in Ohio.

The Ohio Democrat’s proposal would extend a special designation to the Feed Materials Production Center in Fernald and the Piqua Organic Moderated Reactor in Piqua so that former workers suffering from certain forms of cancer would automatically qualify for compensation.

Under current law, compensation is paid only if there is evidence the cancer was likely caused by radiation exposure.

“Former energy workers battling cancer should not have to struggle to receive the benefits to which they are entitled,” Brown said.

Board OKs expanded compensation for ill Hanford nuclear workers – Breaking News – Yahoo | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news
A compensation program for ill nuclear workers won key approval Tuesday to offer automatic $150,000 payments to potentially hundreds more Hanford workers or their survivors.

An advisory committee to the federal government meeting in New York voted unanimously to further ease compensation requirements for Hanford workers who may have developed any of a wide range of cancers due to radiation exposure on the job. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, now is expected to recommend the eased rules, called a special exposure cohort, to Congress.

If Congress does not object, the special exposure cohort would be formed.

Under the special exposure cohort, automatic $150,000 compensation and medical coverage would be extended to any Hanford worker who was employed for at least 250 days from Oct. 1, 1943, through June 30, 1972. That’s more inclusive than previous decisions to ease rules only for workers assigned to specific Hanford areas for certain of those years.

Radioactive Rabbit Droppings Help Spur Nuclear Cleanup
Putting a new spin on the term “nuclear waste dump,” radioactive droppings from Cold War-era critters have spurred a high-tech cleanup funded by the current U.S. government economic stimulus program.

Government contractors this September flew a helicopter equipped with radiation detectors and GPS equipment over scrubland in eastern Washington State near the vast Hanford Site, a 1950s plutonium-production complex.

The goal was to pinpoint soils contaminated with harmful radioactive materials that had been spread far a field within the complex by animals and the wind.

Radiation victims lose compensation
Court rules damages paid earlier ‘adequate’

Twelve victims of radiation poisoning have lost their appeal for 12 million baht in compensation from an engineering and electrical equipment distributor over its reckless storage of radioactive materials.

Sonthaya: Right hand crippled SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

The members of the group claimed Kamol Sukosol Electric Co Ltd was negligent when it stored radioactive materials not properly secured in its car park.

This allowed a cylinder of cobalt-60 – a radioactive isotope that can cause cancer – to be stolen from the company property.

But the Appeals Court yesterday ruled in the company’s favour saying the 640,276 baht in compensation the Civil Court had earlier ordered Kamol Sukosol to pay was sufficient.

Report looks at hidden health costs of energy production – Politics AP –
Generating electricity by burning coal is responsible for about half of an estimated $120 billion in yearly costs from early deaths and health damages to thousands of Americans from the use of fossil fuels, a federal advisory group said Monday.

A one-year study by the National Research Council looked at many costs of energy production and the use of fossil fuels that aren’t reflected in the price of energy. The $120 billion sum was the cost to human health from U.S. electricity production, transportation and heating in 2005, the latest year with full data.

The report also looks at other hidden costs from climate change, hazardous air pollutants such as mercury, harm to ecosystems and risks to national security, but it doesn’t put a dollar value on them.

Coroner to investigate cancer death cluster around historic nuclear lab – Home News, UK – The Independent
An inquest is to be opened into the deaths of two Manchester University academics who died of pancreatic cancer after working for years in the building where Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, conducted his experiments.

The Manchester coroner, Nigel Meadows, has acted after hearing from the families of the two academics that their deaths may be linked to deposits of nuclear materials still contaminating the building in which the pioneering scientist worked, now known as the Rutherford Building. These materials include polonium, which killed Alexander Litvinenko, as well as radon and mercury.

Downwinders: Include Guam in law; Radiation survivors group meets | | Pacific Daily News
A group of island residents and members of the Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors met yesterday to discuss legislation that proposes to include Guam in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

The federal RECA law, passed in 1990, compensates people who have been diagnosed with specific cancers and chronic diseases that could have resulted from exposure to agents associated with nuclear weapons testing, according to a 2005 report published by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council.

The law covers exposure to nuclear tests carried out for more than 20 years during and after World War II. According to the report, both on-site participants of above-ground nuclear tests and “downwinders” in areas designated by RECA are eligible for compensation.

Areas of Nevada, Utah and Arizona are covered in the law as “Downwind Counties,” the report states. / UK – Nuclear dust rains on France’s atomic parade
It should have been a day of celebration, a moment to showcase France’s expertise in nuclear power built over decades of research and development.

Instead government ministers and local state representatives yesterday scurried for cover, cancelling their visits to the planned 50th anniversary celebrations of the Cadarache nuclear site in picturesque Provencal France.

Could the reason have been the embarrassing discovery of kilos of unrecorded plutonium that has for years been lying in the nooks and crannies of fuel manufacturing facilities at Cadarache – sparking worries over nuclear safety standards and questions for the public prosecutor?

Tallevast citizens wary of park planned atop pollution | | Sarasota Florida
An artist’s design for a new community park in Tallevast depicts an idyllic green space where children can shoot hoops and play baseball, and families can picnic by a small lake.

Contamination may be too close for comfort at the site

The plan, however, does not show that the park will sit atop groundwater polluted with chemicals known to increase the likelihood of kidney and liver cancer, leukemia and lymphoma.

Lockheed Martin officials say the park can be built before the cleanup of 200 acres of polluted groundwater traced to a former weapons plant on Tallevast Road.

Depleted uranium: How dangerous is it? – Salt Lake Tribune
In the public controversy over storage of depleted uranium at Energy Solutions’ site west of Salt Lake City, none of the participants have explained why DU becomes more radioactive over time, nor how fast, nor how hazardous that material is.

Uranium is a heavy metal, found in small quantities everywhere — in the soil, the water, our foods and our bodies. An average human being has about 0.000002 of a pound of uranium in her/his body, two-thirds of which is in the bones, the rest distributed throughout the body. All uranium is radioactive; your body is slightly radioactive because of the uranium it contains. At a world-average concentration, an acre-foot of fresh water contains about a 0.0001 pound of uranium; seawater has about 100 times as much.

FACTBOX-Plutonium, one of the world’s deadliest elements | Markets | Reuters
France’s nuclear safety watchdog said on Thursday it had suspended efforts to dismantle a plutonium technology plant after nearly 3 times the expected levels of the radioactive element were found at the site. [ID:nLF530004]

Around eight kilograms of plutonium were believed to have been stored at the site when it was up and running, but some 22 kilograms had been discovered to date and the final figure could be closer to 39 kilograms, the nuclear safety watchdog ASN said.

FACTBOX-Plutonium, one of the world’s deadliest elements | Markets | Reuters
France’s nuclear safety watchdog said on Thursday it had suspended efforts to dismantle a plutonium technology plant after nearly 3 times the expected levels of the radioactive element were found at the site. [ID:nLF530004]

Around eight kilograms of plutonium were believed to have been stored at the site when it was up and running, but some 22 kilograms had been discovered to date and the final figure could be closer to 39 kilograms, the nuclear safety watchdog ASN said.

Watchdog suspends work at French plutonium plant | Markets | Reuters
The French nuclear safety watchdog ASN has suspended work dismantling a plutonium technology plant over worker safety fears, after almost three times as much plutonium was found at the site than expected.

The watchdog said it was only told of the problem on Oct. 6, although the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the state body that supervises the plant in Cadarache near the southern port of Marseille, had been aware of the problem since early June.

Next nuclear worry for US: Kazakhstan? |
So far, the former Soviet state has cooperated with the US on nuclear issues. But a new report suggests that Kazakhstan might be looking to do business with other, less responsible regimes, too.

Washington – Does Kazakhstan want to increase its nuclear commerce – doing deals with other nations that have mixed records when it comes to weapons proliferation? That is a sensitive issue which US intelligence appears to be following closely.

Since it gained independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has cooperated with the US on key denuclearization activities. Nuclear weapons stationed on Kazakh territory were returned to Russia and their delivery systems destroyed.


NRC News

Washington Business Journal: Nuke Commission signs huge lease
Usually, p.r. people wait until the close of business to release bad news. For some reason, LCOR waited until 5:37 p.m. today to announce the largest suburban Maryland lease of the year. This is what happens when the federal government is involved.

The General Services Administration, acting on behalf of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has signed a 15-year lease with developer LCOR to build a 14-story 362,000-square-foot office building adjacent to the NRC’s two current Rockville Pike headquarters office buildings.

The site  North Bethesda Center, a 32-acre mixed-use development rising at the White Flint Metrorail station  is a joint venture between LCOR and USAA Real Estate Co.

North Bethesda Center ultimately is expected to generate almost 6,500 additional daily trips to and from the White Flint Metro station.

NRC Safety Warning Jeopardizes Nuclear | nrc, reactors, jeopardizes – Local News –

NRC Action Throws Into Question Future of 14 of 31 Proposed New U.S. Reactors; Forward Path Now Unclear for Proposed Reactors in NC, SC, GA, FL, AL – Including AP-1000 Reactors in GA and SC on DOE Loan Guarantee Short List.

POGO Opposes White House Nomination of Industry Cheerleader for Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) expressed its strong concern about President Obama’s choice of William Magwood to fill a vacant seat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In a letter sent to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chair Senator Barbara Boxer and Ranking Member James Inhofe yesterday, POGO questioned Mr. Magwood’s ability to effectively oversee and regulate the more than 120 licenses and renewal applications currently and soon to be before the Commission, and opposed his nomination.

This nomination flies in the face of the spirit of President Obama’s commitment to high ethical standards for the Administration’s appointees, said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “We believe it should be examined in the full light of public and congressional scrutiny.

Boos as Obama taps Yucca supporter – – Las Vegas Sun
Senators urged to reject choice for nuclear commission

Anti-nuclear groups are fighting the Obama administration’s nomination of a pro-Yucca Mountain nuclear industry insider to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

On Oct. 9, President Barack Obama nominated Bill Magwood to the commission, which is charged with regulating and licensing all civilian use of nuclear materials, including the stalled nuclear waste dump proposed for 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Critics of the choice say Magwood has a history of nuclear boosterism that is incompatible with the role of a regulator. He also has repeatedly been quoted as saying Yucca Mountain is the best solution to the nation’s nuclear waste storage issues, most recently in May.

NRC orders changes in reactors set for S.C. –  – The State
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is raising safety concerns a proposed new reactor designed by Westinghouse, two of which South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and Santee Cooper plan to install at their existing plant north of Columbia.

A key part of the reactor may not withstand a tornado, earthquake or even high winds, NRC said.

The commission staff has directed Westinghouse to make changes in the reactor design so its outer shell, which protects the reactor’s containment structure, is strengthened. The staff concluded the steel and concrete structure of the AAP-1000 reactor does not meet safety design requirements.

SCE&G spokesman Robert Yanity said Thursday the redesign is not expected to affect the schedule of the South Carolina reactors, which are set to come online by 2016 and 2019, respectively.

The project at the V.C. Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville is projected to cost $10 billion. Utility officials hope to have a combined operating and construction license in hand by 2011.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Times & Star | News | Sellafield hit by another plant failure
SELLAFIELD has been hit by another plant failure but there is said to be no impact on site safety or operations.
breaking news

Evaporator B known as Bravo and which treats highly radioactive liquor has failed for the second time in six months due to coil corrosion.
Sellafield’s operators stress, however, that as no fuel reprocessing is currently taking place production is not affected and there are no implications for health and safety.

A new demand for uranium power brings concerns for Navajo groups –
Uranium from the Grants Mineral Belt running under rugged peaks and Indian pueblos of New Mexico was a source of electric power and military might in decades past, providing fuel for reactors and atomic bombs.

Now, interest in carbon-free nuclear power is fueling a potential resurgence of uranium mining. But Indian people gathered in Acoma, N.M., for the Indigenous Uranium Forum over the weekend decried future uranium extraction, especially from nearby Mount Taylor, considered sacred by many tribes. Native people from Alaska, Canada, the Western United States and South America discussed the severe health problems uranium mining has caused their communities, including high rates of cancer and kidney disease.

GNEP issues Joint Statement, vowing peaceful, safe use of nuclear energy _English_Xinhua
The third Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Executive Committee meeting was held here on Friday, on which its member countries stressed to support a peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy.

Zhang Guobao, director of the National Administration of Energy, presided over the meeting. In an opening address, Zhang said nuclear energy that is clear, safe and greenhouse gas emission-free, would play a crucial role in the world energy system.

At the meeting, the Executive Committee reconfirmed that safety, security and non-proliferation were fundamental prerequisites for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. All partnership activities should be conducted in a manner to enhance them.

According to the GNEP Joint Statement issued at the meeting, the partners will further strengthen cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other relevant international organizations.

Uranium to Exceed $50 on Olympic Dam Slowdown, Macquarie Says – Bloomberg
Uranium will rise above $50 a pound in coming weeks because of reduced production at BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Olympic Dam mine in Australia, Macquarie Bank Ltd. said.

Prices have added 9.8 percent over the past two weeks on concern about reduced supply following an accident at Olympic Dam, the world’s fourth-largest producing uranium mine. Uranium oxide concentrate for immediate delivery traded at $47.75 a pound on Oct. 19, Roswell, Georgia-based UxC said in a weekly report.

Uranium will go up into the low $50s over the next month, Max Layton, an analyst at Macquarie in London, said by phone today.

Russia aims to control 25% of global nuclear fuel market by 2030  | ‘RIA Novosti’ newswire
Russian state-controlled nuclear fuel supplier TVEL plans to control 25% of the world’s nuclear fuel market by 2030, the company’s vice president said on Tuesday.

The company, which currently controls 17% of the world’s market of fuel for nuclear power plants, previously said it intended to gain a 30% share.

Pyotr Lavrenyuk said the adjustment was due to “a change in global nuclear power plant construction dynamics.”

In 2008, there were 436 reactors in the world, with a total installed capacity of 370 GW. By 2030, their number is expected to increase to 660.

TVEL supplies fuel to 76 power generating reactors and 30 research reactors worldwide.

Probe into uranium mine leak continues – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Commonwealth supervising scientist of the Ranger uranium mine at Kakadu National Park says investigations are continuing into water contamination at the site.

Alan Hughes has told a Senate estimates committee that Energy Resources of Australia has conducted geophysical surveys to determine the impact and extent of leaking from a tailings dam at the mine.

Mr Hughes says the company has only preliminary results from the surveys and is not sure if ERA will make the findings public.

“I understand that they are having significant discussions with the traditional owners and the Northern Land Council about tailings and seepage issues on an ongoing basis,” he said.

Deseret News | Tailings spill shuts down EnergySolutions project until Tuesday
A truck carrying uranium mill tailings from a Moab cleanup project headed by EnergySolutions tipped over and spilled some of the radioactive dirt last Wednesday.

The multimillion-dollar cleanup project directed at properly disposing of the 16 million tons of uranium tailings was suspended until Tuesday for a safety evaluation, EnergySolutions spokesman Mark Walker said.

“Safety is always our first priority,” Walker said. “It’s a self-imposed shutdown.”

EnergySolutions, which was awarded the project nearly 18 months ago to haul the tailings 30 miles north of Moab, had been carting dirt up a haul road at the site Wednesday evening when the driver came too close to the shoulder and the truck tipped over, Walker said.


Nuclear Waste News

‘Hot’ nuclear waste could still be shipped to Hanford under proposed settlement | Oregon Local News – –
When Oregon and Washington’s governors announced a settlement with the U.S. Department of Energy in August for cleanup of radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, they said it included a “moratorium” on shipping new radioactive waste to Hanford until a plant to treat the tank wastes was up and running.

But in fact a big chunk of radioactive waste — including contaminated metal from decommissioned U.S. nuclear plants — isn’t included in that proposed moratorium, Oregon officials confirmed Friday.

Ken Niles, assistant director of the Oregon Department of Energy, said Oregon continues to oppose importing the waste, formally known as “Greater than Class C” or GTCC waste.

Energy fears over nuclear waste dumps | Environment | The Observer
Former senior advisers say ministers ‘cherry-picked’ reports to bolster case for new power plants

Former senior government advisers on nuclear power have accused ministers of being “cavalier” and “cherry-picking” their advice to bolster the case for a new generation of nuclear power stations.

They and other industry experts say the government should not embark on building any new atomic facilities without properly tackling the unsolved problem of how to deal with radioactive waste from existing power plants.

In 2006 the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management published recommendations on how the UK should dispose of nuclear waste. A key idea was that long-term disposal would be best carried out by identifying suitable sites at which the waste could be buried, a process called deep geological disposal.

Africa choking on West’s waste – The National Newspaper
It started with a story about nothing. Last week, Britain’s Guardian newspaper posted a short, vague article on its website about a question being asked in Parliament. But that was about it: the newspaper said it couldn’t reveal “who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found. Worse, the paper couldn’t say why not, only that “legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

A baffling story but one that, in the internet age, was soon fleshed out by intrepid bloggers. They uncovered so much of the hidden story that, by the next morning, the parties involved backed down before their court appearance with the newspaper.

EnergySolutions clarifies ‘contracts’ claim – Salt Lake Tribune
EnergySolutions clarifies ‘contracts’ claim Italian waste » There are agreements, but no binding deal.

Washington » EnergySolutions has sent a clarification to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission explaining that it did not have signed contracts to import Italian low-level waste after a congressman questioned the company’s claim last week.

Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., quizzed EnergySolutions President Val Christensen about why the company argued in a June filing that it would suffer substantial economic harm if a license were not granted to import 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy.

Christensen acknowledged that the company did not have any contracts and the filing should have said “memorandum of understanding,” which is not a legally binding contract.

In a filing with the NRC Friday, the company said that “upon further review” it would be more precise to use the word “memorandum” instead of “contracts.”

Gordon, along with Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, is sponsoring legislation that would ban the importation of foreign low-level radioactive waste. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also is a co-sponsor.

FACTBOX-What happens to spent nuclear fuel? | Reuters
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GE.N) (6501.T) has proposed an alternative nuclear fuel recycling system, which could reduce radioactive waste and avoid extraction of plutonium that can be used for making weapons.

Nuclear experts say while the proposed Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) could help to solve some of the biggest worries as more countries build nuclear reactors, high costs are drawbacks.

Here is what is happens about spent nuclear fuel at present:

— What happens to spent nuclear fuel?

AdelaideNow… Alarm over radioactive waste plan
ABOUT 80 drums of radioactive waste has been earmarked to be shifted 450km from Edinburgh RAAF base to a new waste dump at Woomera.

The Defence Department is seeking licence approvals to turn an old explosives storage building into the Koolymilka Waste Storage Facility in the Woomera Prohibited area.

Defence has told The Advertiser that it also plans to shift 206 44-gallon (194 litres) drums – or about 40 cubic metres – from a nearby Woomera site for the new “temporary” waste dump.

Nuclear Power Revival for GE Leaves Waste Unsolved (Update1) –
When 65 scientists met at Princeton University in 1955 to decide where to permanently store radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, their conclusion was simple: Bury it deep underground, far from earthquakes.

Since then, reactors worldwide have produced 270,000 tons of spent fuel, storing most of it in canisters above ground. U.S. regulators, reviewing 18 applications to build new atomic plants, said last month they may approve such temporary storage for as long as 40 years, double the current allowable time.

Governments across the globe are endorsing similar plans to temporarily warehouse their carcinogenic waste, helping clear the way for a revival in nuclear-plant construction that has given about $115 billion in contracts to General Electric Co., Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse unit and Paris-based Areva SA.

Radioactive Waste: German Company Sent Nuclear Material for Open-Air Storage in Siberia – SPIEGEL ONLINE
The Western media reported last week on how the German company Urenco shipped nuclear material to Siberia, where the highly toxic waste was stored in containers in the open air. The company has stopped deliveries and will store the material with higher standards in Germany in the future.

The radiation warning sign was so small that few passers-by took note in the commuter rail station in Kapitolovo, Russia. Fifty-six steel canisters were sitting there on a summer day three years ago. Just a stone’s throw away, people were waiting for trains to take them to downtown St. Petersburg.

BBC NEWS | ‘Toxic waste’ report gag lifted
Lawyers for the oil trading company Trafigura have ended attempts to keep secret a scientific report about toxic waste dumping in the Ivory Coast.

The legal firm Carter-Ruck has written to the Guardian saying the paper should regard itself as “released forthwith” from any reporting restrictions.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger welcomed the move.

Trafigura said neither they nor Carter-Ruck had “improperly sought to stifle or restrict” debate and reporting.

An MP revealed the report’s existence to parliament earlier this week after the Guardian was served with a “super-injunction” banning all mention of it.

Radioactive waste cleanup approved – Peterborough Examiner – Ontario, CA
The cleanup of low level radioactive waste in Port Hope has been given the go-ahead by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

A five-year licence for the project was announced by the commission yesterday. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. had requested a 10-year licence for the project.

The licence will be valid until Dec. 31, 2014. It takes effect on the date of the land transfer of the Welcome Waste Management Facility property from Cameco and Canada Eldor Inc. to the federal government.

House panel weighs ban on imported nuke waste | | The Tennessean
A ban on importing foreign radio active waste is needed to ensure there’s enough room to store waste generated in the U.S., including at Tennessee research facilities and Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear plants, Rep. Bart Gordon said Friday.

Gordon, D-Murfreesboro, participated in a hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Environment subcommittee on legislation he co-sponsored to enforce a ban.

The legislation was prompted by an application from EnergySolutions Inc. to bring in up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italian nuclear power facilities to the U.S., where it would be processed at a company plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The remaining material would be shipped to a company storage facility in Clive, Utah.

Nuke waste: Congressman presses EnergySolutions on its ‘contracts’ – Salt Lake Tribune
Washington » EnergySolutions told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it would suffer “substantial economic harm” if a license is not granted to import 20,000 tons of Italian low-level radioactive waste because the Salt Lake City-based company had contracts it must fill.

But EnergySolutions President Val Christensen acknowledged under questioning by a congressional committee Friday that there were no signed contracts with Italy or the waste holders.

“Help me here,” Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., asked Christensen. “You wrote to the NRC, a federal agency” that you would suffer harm because of existing contracts.

“Because contract negotiations were under way,” Christensen
To see the EnergySolutions brief, filed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, click on the icon (pdf)

Deseret News | Only Congress might halt nuclear waste
Powerful Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., praises many Italian imports: Ferrari cars, Armani suits and delicious prosciutto ham.

But when it comes to importing Italian low-level radioactive waste to Utah, he winced and exclaimed Friday, “It makes me say, ‘Mama mia!’ ”

Markey chaired a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to ban shipment of such foreign waste to America. Witnesses from all sides of the issue said action by Congress may be the only way to stop it, if recent court rulings hold.

EnergySolutions to make its case on foreign waste – Salt Lake Tribune
EnergySolutions President Val Christensen plans to tell a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee today that legislation to ban imports of foreign low-level radioactive waste is unnecessary and could hinder U.S. efforts at revitalizing the nation’s nuclear-energy production.

Christensen, in prepared testimony obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune , says the bill — aimed at halting shipments of 20,000 tons of Italian low-level waste for processing in Tennessee, 1,600 tons of which would be buried in western Utah — would encumber U.S. companies from trying to help their own nation build more nuclear plants.

“There are no advantages gained by erecting this barrier to international trade,” Christensen says in his remarks. “The legislation would prevent American companies from playing an international role in a vital part of the nuclear-fuel cycle that is essential to the global nuclear-energy industry, and would be doing so based on emotions and preconceptions, rather than on facts and sound science.”

NewsRoom Finland: Finland’s Posiva to dig world’s first final repository of nuclear waste in bedrock
Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva said Thursday it would file a construction licence application in 2012 to excavate the world’s first final repository of nuclear waste in bedrock.

Reijo Sundel, the managing director of Posiva, said construction was slated to begin in 2014, with commissioning scheduled for 2020.

The repository in Olkiluoto in western Finland is to be used to store about 12,000 tonnes of spent fuel.

Anti-nuclear group criticizes German waste shipments to Russia | Environment & Development | Deutsche Welle | 15.10.2009
In the wake of a French investigation into reports that nuclear waste is sent from French plants to Siberia, news has emerged that Germany has a long tradition of shipping toxic waste to Russia.

The German anti-nuclear group “Ausgestrahlt” said that since 1996, Germany’s only uranium enrichment plant in Gronau has shipped about 22,000 tons of uranium hexafluoride, which is a compound used in the uranium enrichment process, to Russia.

“Ausgestrahlt” reported on Wednesday that only 10 percent of that was returned to Germany as enriched uranium. The anti-nuclear activists said the remaining 90 percent was stored in Siberia, outdoors and in rusting containers. Uranium hexafluoride is highly toxic and corrosive to most metals.

UK wastes billions on defence projects-govt report | Currencies | Reuters
* Equipment programme unsuited to meet likely threats

* Report may put future spending plans at risk

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Britain wastes up to 2.2 billion pounds ($3.57 billion) a year because of over-ambitious defence projects getting out of control, a government-commissioned report said on Thursday.

The scathing report, by former Ministry of Defence adviser Bernard Gray, found the average defence equipment programme takes five years longer and costs 40 percent more than originally planned.

Radioactive’ ship near Alang: Inquiry ordered
An inquiry has been ordered into reports that an allegedly radioactive contaminated ship from the US has anchored off the Alang coast in Gujarat, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.

“We have got complaints that a radioactive contaminated ship has anchored at Alang. We have already ordered an inquiry into the matter and hope to get the report within the next two days,” he told reporters in New Delhi even as environmentalists in Gujarat demanded that the US government recall the ship.


Nuclear Policy News

San Antonio Clean Tech Nuclear Forum September 16, 2009 Part 1 from Public Citizen on Vimeo.

San Antonio Clean Tech Nuclear Forum September 16, 2009 Part 1 on Vimeo
Mayor Julian Castro City of San Antonio,Steve Bartley Interim General Manager, CPS Energy,Craig Severance, CPA Author, Business Risks & Costs of New Nuclear Power,Dr. Patrick Moore Co-Chair, Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, Dr. Arjun Makhijani President, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research
At the San Antonio Clean Tech Forum noted pundits square off and discuss the San Antonio’s involvement in the proposed expansion of the South Texas Nuclear project.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani September 16 interview from Public Citizen on Vimeo.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani September 16 interview on Vimeo
Interview with Dr. Arjun Makhijani at the San Antonio Clean tech forum
on the risks associated with the planned expansion of STP 3 & 4 and the alternatives that should be considered.

“Risking San Antonio’s Economic Future, Nuclear Experts Explain Flaws and Risks of Pursuing More Nuclear Reactors” part 1 on Vimeo
Craig Severance, CPA Author, Business Risks & Costs of New Nuclear Power
Dr. Arjun Makhijani President, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research
Perform an in depth analysis of the financial risks that San Antonio faces with the proposed expansion of the south texas nuclear project and discuss other alternatives that the city should be considering.

The Associated Press: Nuclear energy becomes pivotal in climate debate
Once vilified by environmentalists and its future dim, nuclear energy has become a pivotal bargaining chip as Senate Democrats seek Republican votes to pass climate legislation. The nuclear industry’s long-standing campaign to rebrand itself as green is gaining acceptance amid the push to curtail greenhouse gases.

Nuclear power still faces daunting challenges, including what to do with radioactive reactor waste. Reactors also remain a tempting target for terrorists. – Congress Mulls Nuclear Power As A Way To Reduce Emissions
The push for cap-and-trade climate change legislation is giving nuclear power a new half-life. As an air-pollution-free energy source, nuclear could solve a lot of problems — if it can get past the ones that sidelined it decades ago.

The accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in Russia turned many against nuclear. No new plants have been opened in the U.S. in more than two decades. The proposed nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain may have its funding cut off by Washington.

But there are signs the opposition is waning thanks to cap-and-trade. The Environmental Protection Agency says that since nuclear creates no carbon emissions, expanding it would make it easier to meet carbon-reduction goals.

Deseret News | Delay urged for water diversion
Critics of a plan to divert river water to support a proposed nuclear reactor in Emery County say any diversion should be put on hold until a new study of the Colorado River’s water supplies is completed.

Additionally, they say Utah’s water engineer should hold off until their protests are formally heard in the spring of 2010.

At issue is the transfer of 24,000 acre-feet of water from the San Juan River to the Green River in support of Blue Castle Holdings’ nuclear reactor at an industrial park.

Another 29,600 acre-feet of water is pending for lease from the Kane County Water Conservancy District in support of the project’s development.

Nuclear power: The consumer always pays | Environment | The Guardian
Model for new UK reactors reveals damaging disagreements between Finland and French contractors

From the outside, there is nothing unusual about the warehouse by the offices on Finland’s Olkiluoto island, site of what should have been the world’s first modern nuclear reactor. But inside, stacked on five kilometres of shelving, are 160,000 documents. “If a valve for the reactor is changed, it comes in a small box and a van full of documents,” complains Jouni Silvennoinen, project director for Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the Finnish utility that ordered the plant from the Franco-German consortium Areva-Siemens.

The paper mountain helps explain why the reactor, which should have cost €3bn (£2.72bn) and been working this year, will now miss its revised completion date of mid-2012 and will cost at least 5.3bn. In the latest delay, Finland’s nuclear safety regulator halted welding on the reactor last week and criticised poor oversight by the sub-contractor, supplier and TVO.

Nuclear tax: ‘An additional 10% on energy bills’ | Environment |
Get set for a new government carbon tax designed to subsidise the nuclear industry. The Guardian’s Tim Webb says that figures he obtained show the additional levy would add £44 to an annual electricity bill of £500 – that’s a nearly 10% increase

Feds keep lid on Atomic Energy Canada sale report
The federal government said late Monday it had received a report it commissioned on the best way to break up and sell Atomic Energy Canada Ltd.  but refused to release the report’s recommendations, citing “commercial confidentiality considerations.”

Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt announced last spring that the government was prepared to break up AECL, a Crown corporation, into two parts.

One part would include the business responsible for selling and building CANDU reactors, the large powerful machines that provide electricity at plants in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. The government signalled its intention to a seek a private sector partner to buy all or part of the CANDU business.

Decision nearing on nuclear alliance ( – The Maryland Gazette)
Late changes could have impact on BGE, ratepayers

BALTIMORE – Consumer advocates said Wednesday that newly proposed changes to the Constellation Energy deal with a French nuclear power company could bring less money into the state than originally expected and potentially impact how much Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. spends on capital improvements.

BGE is a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, which provides power to homes in Central Maryland, including 88,600 natural gas and 221,500 electricity customers in Anne Arundel County.

FPL nuclear projects will cost customers $63 million next year; Public Service Commission approves planning costs of proposed reactors — South Florida
Florida Power & Light customers will pay nearly $63 million next year to cover the cost of planning two nuclear plant expansions.

That’s 67 cents per month in nuclear costs for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours used, but it’s $1.60 less per month for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours than customers paid this year for those costs, FPL officials said.

Next year will be the second that FPL customers have paid for planning costs for the expansions. Last year, about $220 million was approved for this year.

The Public Service Commission voted 3 to 1 on Friday to pass the costs to customers next year. During the meeting, some commissioners praised nuclear power as a cheap energy source that reduces the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and its dependence on oil.

Florida approves FPL, Progress nuclear charges | Stocks | Reuters
The Florida Public Service Commission on Friday agreed to let the state’s two largest utilities collect more than $270 million from ratepayers next year as a down payment to develop new nuclear plants expected to come online in the next decade.

The commission will allow FPL Group’s (FPL.N) Florida Power & Light Co to recover nearly $62.7 million in costs related to construction of two proposed nuclear reactors, Turkey Point Units 6 and 7, and work to increase output at its existing nuclear units, Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 and St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, the commission said in a release. FPL is the state’s largest utility with 4.5 million customers.

Living with nuclear power: public views not as simple as we thought on Environmental Expert
A UK study provides the first contemporary investigation of public perceptions of nuclear power among residents living close to existing nuclear plants. It indicates that responses are not simply ‘for’ or ‘against’, but a complex ‘landscape of beliefs’ that will need complex communication from authorities about plans for new plants.

Climate change and energy supply concerns have put nuclear power back on the policy agenda. For example, recent UK government policy proposes that new nuclear power stations should form part of the future UK energy mix(1). As in other countries, many of the candidate sites are those that have existing nuclear facilities.

The study examined local response to nuclear power in two UK locations near power stations: Oldbury and Bradwell-on-Sea. It used a technique where participants sorted statements on nuclear power according to how the statements reflect their point of view.

The analysis indicated that there are four different ‘points of view’:

* Beneficial and safe. A belief that nuclear power brings both local and global benefits and the power station workers are trustworthy.
* Threat and distrust. Nuclear power is unsafe and the government and the nuclear industry are not trustworthy.
* Reluctant acceptance. Nuclear power is ‘the best of a bad lot’.
* There’s no point worrying. An indifference to nuclear power and a belief that it is out of our control
* These four unique points of view were found at both locations, indicating the results are likely to be reflected in other communities, at least in the UK. Most participants in the study held the first two views.

Now, nuclear power corp in land acquisition row- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
MUMBAI: Another mega power project has got embroiled in land acquisition row. Local villagers have decided to oppose the acquisition of 938
hectares of land for the proposed 9,600-MW Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri district. The government started the process of acquiring land on Thursday.

The project involves setting up of six European pressurised water reactors (EPRs), each with 1,600 MW capacity, and is expected to be completed by 2020, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) CMD SK Jain said. The NPCIL has tied up with French state-owned nuclear energy giant Areva for the project.


Nuclear Weapons News

No-nukes action plan | The Japan Times Online
The International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, an international panel co-chaired by former Japanese and Australian foreign ministers Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi and Mr. Gareth Evans, agreed Oct. 20 on an action plan toward global nuclear disarmament after a three-day meeting in the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima.

The action plan, to be included in a final report issued in January, will call for a drastic reduction of nuclear weapons worldwide by 2025, although the ICNND did not disclose a target figure at this point. Ms. Kawaguchi said the figure, taking into account the capacity of nuclear weapons dismantling facilities, will be “realistic yet ambitious.”

ElBaradei to the Rescue by Gordon Prather —
In what will probably be his last act as Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Secretariat, Mohamed ElBaradei is seeking approval by the Obama-Biden administration of an agreement which “could open the way for a complete normalization of relations between Iran and the international community.”

NIE Reveals Qom Facility Followed 2007 Bush Threats by Gareth Porter —
The Barack Obama administration claims that construction of a second Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Qom began before Tehran’s decision to withdraw from a previous agreement to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in advance of such construction. But the November 2007 U.S. intelligence estimate on Iran’s nuclear program tells a different story.

The Iranian decision to withdraw from the earlier agreement with the IAEA was prompted, moreover, by the campaign of threats to Iran’s nuclear facilities mounted by the George W. Bush administration in early 2007, as a reconstruction of the sequence of events shows.

Germany to U.S.: Take Away Your Nukes! – TIME
Germany’s new coalition government put the finishing touches to its policy program this weekend, promising moderate tax cuts to help support the economy, a reduction in the length of compulsory military service, and the continued operation of the nation’s aging nuclear power plants. No big surprises there. But one detail could have interesting international repercussions: the man designated to be foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, is pushing for the U.S. to remove its remaining nuclear weapons from German soil.

Fine Print: Lowering alert levels in U.S. and Russia –
The high alert levels for U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces are more political statements carried over from the Cold War than military necessities for the 21st century, according to a multinational study released last week.

The two nations “could examine how measures to reduce operational readiness can accompany the bilateral arms control process” as part of the current negotiations over renewal of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, according to the study by the EastWest Institute, a nonprofit think tank. The study, “Reframing Nuclear De-Alert: Decreasing the Operational Readiness of U.S. and Russian Nuclear Arsenals,” was supported by the governments of Switzerland and New Zealand governments.

The study reminds readers that the United States “keeps roughly 1,000 nuclear warheads on alert” atop 450 Minuteman III land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and on the submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) aboard as many as four Trident subs patrolling in different parts of the world.

Conferees Approve Study of Nuclear Bomb –
The first step toward rebuilding one of the nation’s tactical nuclear weapons so it could be put in the stockpile well into the 21st century has been approved by House and Senate conferees.

The lawmakers permitted $32.5 million to be spent next year on feasibility, design and cost studies for the non-nuclear components of the B61-12 tactical nuclear bomb, according to their report released this week on the fiscal 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. The measure contains funds for the nation’s nuclear weapons programs.

It’s Not Iran, Stupid by Gordon Prather —
President Obama sent a message, via Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu, to the September meeting of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reaffirming the commitments he made, to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” in his “electrifying” speech in Prague and in his United Nations Security Council Resolution 1887.

In making their decision to award Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee “attached special importance to Obama’s vision of, and work for, a world without nuclear weapons.”

UK secrets at risk over sex romps of nuke chief’s secy? – UK – World – The Times of India
A personal assistant to Britain’s nuclear weapons chief has been told that she has put the national security at risk by being a part of a sex scandal.

Julia Sinclair, 48, is secretary to Rear Admiral Stephen Lloyd, who is in charge of procurement and delivery of nuclear submarines. According to experts, married mum-of-two Sinclair is at risk of being blackmailed by indulging in sordid orgies.
Her sleazy hobby was revealed when pictures of her at two orgies were circulated among fellow swingers.

Sinclair has high-level security clearance, and access to strategic documents at Abbey Wood ministry of defence base near Bristol.

“It’s a huge security risk. This is what the Soviets always tried to do to — catch someone in a sensitive post, get them in a sexual situation and take pictures to blackmail them into being a spy,” The Sun quoted security expert Chris Dobson, as saying.


Department of Energy News

Toxic legacy of the Cold War —
Reporting from Fernald Preserve, Ohio – Amid the family farms and rolling terrain of southern Ohio, one hill stands out for its precise geometry.

The 65-foot-high mound stretching more than half a mile dominates a tract of northern hardwoods, prairie grasses and swampy ponds, known as the Fernald Preserve.

Contrary to appearances, there is nothing natural here. The high ground is filled with radioactive debris, scooped from the soil around a former uranium foundry that produced crucial parts for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

A $4.4-billion cleanup transformed Fernald from a dangerously contaminated factory complex into an environmental showcase. But it is “clean” only by the terms of a legal agreement. Its soils contain many times the natural amounts of radioactivity, and a plume of tainted water extends underground about a mile.

Nobody can ever safely live here, federal scientists say, and the site will have to be closely monitored essentially forever.

SRS subcontractor indicted for fraud | Aiken Standard | Aiken, SC
A former Aiken resident who worked at the Savannah River Site as a subcontractor on the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility has been indicted for fraud.

Joseph Ralph Lohre Jr., 46, was charged in a three-count indictment with theft of government funds and two counts of making false statements.

The indictment alleges that between March 2006 and May 2008, Lohre falsely claimed eligibility for housing benefits through a program administered by the National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal agency overseeing the MOX project, and that as part of his fraud, he submitted falsified documentation to support a claim that he owned a permanent residence in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

At the time, Lohre was working as an engineer contractor at SRS.

Greentech Media: Experts: Energy Department Should ‘Immediately Halt’ Plans to Issue Taxpayer-Backed Loan Guarantees
Not only does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) objection last week to major problems in the AP1000 reactor design call into serious question the future of over half of proposed new reactors in the United States (14 of 25), it also means that it would be “grossly imprudent” for the Department of Energy (DOE) to proceed with its plans for loan guarantees for new reactors that are not finalized and licensed.

Four experts delivered that stern warning during a news conference today urging the DOE to halt controversial plans to issue nuclear loan guarantees “soon,” according to Energy Secretary Chu. These guarantees are part of the DOE’s Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Two of the four new nuclear projects that the DOE is reported to be considering for taxpayer-backed loan guarantees are AP1000 designs proposed by the Southern Company at the Vogtle site in Georgia and the South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) V.C. Summer site.

Substance from nuclear blasts outside test site – News –
Radioactive tritium in well two miles from detonations had been predicted

Scientists have found the first radioactive tritium from nuclear weapons tests in a monitoring outside the Nevada Test Site’s boundary.

The levels, reported Tuesday by the National Nuclear Security Administration, were within safe drinking water guidelines. The relatively short-lived isotope had migrated two miles through groundwater layers in 35 years to reach the boundary.

Sample results were verified by an independent laboratory and reported to state environmental officials, NNSA officials said in a news release.

Scientists believe it will take and estimated 240 years for the tritium-laced water to travel another 14 miles to the nearest public water source. By that time it will have decayed to non-detectable limits, said Darwin Morgan, a spokesman for the NNSA’s Nevada Site Office.

“The big thing to us is it shows the models are accurate and gives us higher confidence in our ability to understand what is going on with deep groundwater,” he said Wednesday.

Scientists said in July they probably would find tritium after completion of Well EC-11 near the northwest edge of the test site. Underground tests Benham and Tybo were detonated in Pahute Mesa, two miles from that location in 1968 and 1975, respectively.

The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO – Cold War-era nuclear workers recognized
An event in eastern Missouri will join other U.S. observances of the service of Cold War-era nuclear weapons workers.

Several hundred workers, or their survivors and friends, are expected to attend ceremonies Oct. 30 in Weldon Spring during the first National Day of Remembrance.

Congress dedicated the day to recognize the sacrifices of nuclear weapons and uranium workers from more than 300 U.S. facilities, many of them disabled or dead from exposure to radiation or other toxins.

Event organizer Denise Brock says $4 billion has been paid to workers or their survivors nationwide, including $200 million in Missouri, as federal compensation for the harm since 2000.

The event will include a tree dedication and wreath laying, as well as signups for free medical screenings.

Portsmouth Daily Times – 45M Loan To USEC In Question
Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-2nd District) released a statement Thursday condemning the U.S. Department of Energy, claiming the DOE told her office it would not supply $45 million it promised in August to the American Centrifuge Project at the USEC plant in Piketon. A spokesperson for USEC, however, said the company will continue to work with the DOE to move the project forward.

During his 2008 presidential campaign through Ohio, then-Sen. Barack Obama, wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland pledging his support for the centrifuge project in Piketon. Despite his pledge, the loan guarantee was denied on July 20. A spokesperson from the Obama White House told the Portsmouth Daily Times in July that the project did not appear ready for commercialization. Several weeks later, the DOE agreed to reconsider USEC’s application in six months and offered $45 million to help bring it up to DOE standards.

Thursday, Schmidt said the DOE was no longer committed to making those funds available to USEC.


Other Energy News

Business Journal of Milwaukee: A lot of wind over Lake Michigan
A Michigan public university plans to test a floating wind turbine platform to demonstrate how wind energy could work on Lake Michigan.

Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center received $1.4 million in federal funding to conduct the study. The university plans to have the platform installed by the fall of 2010.

Meanwhile, We Energies plans to issue a request for proposals in early November that will be the start of a $3 million study sanctioned by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to determine the feasibility of wind turbines on Lake Michigan.

We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said the energy utility is not involved in the Michigan study, but will collaborate with Grand Valley State to share information

Arizona Rep. Giffords authors U.S. Solar Roadmap bill as CA plows ahead
In continued efforts to promote clean energy, U.S. House Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has introduced the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which is now on its way to the full House after achieving commendable bipartisan support after short deliberation in the Science and Technology Committee. Giffords’ bill would designate the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as the leading organization for developing a strategic plan to direct solar energy research and its deployment into the commercial sector. The legislation would also allocate $2.25 billion for solar research over the next five years, which is a far cry from the pro-oil Bush administration that pillaged funding for renewables.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Green Left – Nuclear debate: A dangerous option that wont solve climate change (Jim Green)
There are three main problems with the nuclear “solution to climate change it is a blunt instrument, a dangerous one, and it is unnecessary.

First, nuclear power could at most make a modest contribution to climate change abatement. The main limitation is that it is used almost exclusively for electricity generation, which accounts for about one-quarter of global greenhouse emissions.

Doubling global nuclear power output by mid-century at the expense of coal would reduce greenhouse emissions by about 5%.

No place for nuclear power in the world | | The Des Moines Register
Regarding Carolyn D. Heising’s Oct. 13 guest opinion: The more urgent question should have been: What is the future for nuclear power?

I would agree with Heising on just two points: The United States needs an aggressive program of energy efficiency, and the stakes are too high for vital (energy) decisions to be made on the basis of hope and faith.

Not one of her 10 paragraphs even hints at the horrendous problems and worries of nuclear-power generation. Nuclear power has to be perfect, lest a Chernobyl-type accident once again spiels radioactive waste capable of destroying surrounding countryside for generations to come.

Public Citizen – Loan Guarantees for New Nuclear Reactors Put Taxpayers at Great Risk and Should Not Be Issued by Department of Energy
Groups from Maryland Ally with 3 other States with Reactors Up for Loan Guarantees to Speak Out in Opposition; DOE Liberalization of Rules Would Expose Taxpayers to Billions of Dollars in New Defaults

Taxpayers will be put at significant new risk for billions of dollars if the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) moves ahead in the coming days and weeks to issue its first set of controversial taxpayer-backed, conditional loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors, according to 18 national and state-level public interest groups from Maryland, Georgia, Texas and South Carolina. In a joint statement issued today, the groups called on DOE to put the issuance of loan guarantees on hold given the unacceptable financial risks placed on the taxpayer, the poor track record of the DOE with past loan guarantees and the lack of transparency in the loan guarantee decision-making process.

Let’s not be world’s nuclear waste dumping ground | | Lancaster Eagle Gazette
If a friend asked to dump his garbage in your yard because he knew you would know what to do with it, what would you say? Probably, no thanks. That’s what the U.S. should say to countries that want to send their nuclear waste here for processing and storage. Thankfully, Sen. Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon are sponsoring legislation in Congress to keep other countries’ nuclear waste out of the U.S.

No other nation allows the importation and storage of another country’s nuclear waste. We shouldn’t, either.

The controversy arose when a private Utah company, EnergySolutions, asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to bring in 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy. The company would process the waste in Tennessee and store the resulting 1,600 tons at a private facility 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. The NRC also said it has applications from Mexico and Brazil to do the same thing.

Billions spent and very little to show
Splurge till you drop. Ask and you won’t get. Nearly a century after King Chulalongkorn’s departure, which is being commemorated nationwide today, our kingdom has been effectively split into two countries.

The divide goes deeper than the confrontations between the Democrats versus Puea Thai, Prem versus Chavalit/ Thaksin, yellow versus red, or even between Siam and Patani..

Here I am referring to a Thai-land-of-wastefulness, and on the other hand folks have to fight tooth and nail for years before they receive a single satang of compensation from the powers that be. And even then they may still be accused of being too greedy.

Jon Kyl: Why We Need to Test Nuclear Weapons –
President Barack Obama made history last month when he presided over the nuclear nonproliferation summit at the United Nations Security Council. Since nuclear proliferation is among the most pressing threats facing the world, one would have thought that the president would use the Sept. 24 summit to condemn the newly discovered uranium enrichment facility in Qom, Iran.

He did not. Instead he asked the Security Council to pass a nonbinding resolution stressing the urgency of global disarmament and arms-control treaties among the five permanent Security Council members. The resolution never mentioned Iran or North Korea.

Outrageous Thought of the Day: Nuclear Hypocrisy | The Public Record
How absurd is it that we have the government on the one hand pulling back from using a hollowed out mountain in Nevada to store nuclear waste because of a fear (legitimate I grant) that hundreds or thousands of years hence, some earthquake or other catastrophe could cause the stored waste to leak into the water table, while on the other hand we have this same government deliberately taking some of the most dangerous waste–the actual uranium from the used fuel rods–and putting it into bombs, shells and bullets to be splattered and burned all across the landscape?

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