Top 100 Energy Stories Jan. 18th – 24th 2010

radbull The major news this last week comes from France as Sarkozy had to call in EDF and Areva over a growing internal battle.  The fallout over France’s failure to win the $40 billion UAE reactor construction contract continues as the economic downturn is now forcing EDF to likely sell off one third of its reactor fleet in France. Its purchase of the UK nuclear infrastructure is also under pressure, especially the original promise that no government (public money) would be needed to construct 10 proposed new reactors.  In Germany Merkel’s push to extend the lives of reactors is publicly opposed and may be in trouble. Even though the industry claims the life extension could result in hundred’s of billions in profits, the public is more concerned about the fact that most of the country is within evacuation zones of these aging nukes and with a majority of the public still opposed to their continuation.  The UK’s investigation of the Blair administration’s role in the Iraq invasion continues to be a major UK story.  Imagine the democrats daring to even threaten the  republicans and the former Bush administration in such a manner here!  We have watched as the democrats strategy to play nice has given them absolutely nothing. Isn’t it about time that we see some real hard investigations!

In the U.S. Vermont Yankee has suffered several more releases of radioactive wastes, going beyond the initial tritium releases to much more dangerous wastes showing up.  The utility, Entergy is now under investigation for publicly lying about the existence of underground pipes carrying radioactive water.  With the loss of the Democrat’s 60 seats in the senate,  We can expect another round of pro-nuclear pushing. A new shift to help more former and current DOE workers with their health problems (EEOICPA) hit the news across the country this past week. As part of the nuclear world’s ever expanding list of scandals and tragedies former oil industry workers are suing Exxon for not protecting them from radioactive contamination while handling pipes.  One of the most important scandals to break is how the state of Illinois is allowing a dramatic increase in the amount of radiation into commercial fertilizers (5x more than previously allowed). Dr. Mangano has a new study out in Pennsylvania about increased cancer rates near reactors, while there are international calls to evaluate the health impacts of Chernobyl outside of the corrupt IAEA-WHO campaign that continues to claim that less than 60 people died  This years state legislative battles is now in full swing with Kentucky pro-nuclear passage for more reactors in one of the two chambers.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

Yankee: More radioactive woes: Rutland Herald Online
“Entergy Nuclear has hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to assist the company in its internal investigation over whether company officials lied to state regulators last year over the existence of radioactivity in buried pipes, which appear to be the source of increasing levels and types of radioactivity leaking at the Vernon reactor.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed Friday that cobalt-60 and zinc-65, which are much more dangerous radioactive isotopes than tritium, have also showed up in dangerous levels in an underground trench where tritium registered up to 2 million picocuries earlier in the week.

Cobalt-60 registered at 13,000 picocuries, while the federal reportable levels are 100 picocuries per liter. For zinc-65, the level was 2,460, while the reportable level is 300 picocuries per liter. For tritium, the level is 20,000 picocuries for drinking water, and 30,000 picocuries in general. The most recent test in the trench for tritium put it at 1.6 million picocuries.”

Nuke plant rehab may cost P45B, says Kepco –
“-The rehabilitation of the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) may cost roughly P45 billion, according to a report submitted Friday to the state-owned National Power Corp.

According to a government official privy to the matter, the BNPP rehabilitation cost report was submitted by Korea Electric Power Co. (Kepco), as part of a feasibility study it had conducted on the nuclear facility.”

VPR News: Nuclear Engineer Says He Alerted State About Yankee Pipes Last Summer
“State officials reacted strongly last week when Vermont Yankee admitted it had underground pipes that could leak radioactivity.

But the news should not have come as a complete surprise. A nuclear engineer who advises the legislature says he alerted the state last summer and fall about the potential problems with the underground pipes.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer who works as a consultant for the Legislature to keep track of Vermont Yankee issues.

Gundersen also serves on a Public Oversight Panel that reviewed Yankee’s reliability to operate for another 20 years. The oversight panel asked Yankee if it had underground pipes that could leak – and plant officials repeatedly said no.

That information turned out not to be true. Yankee disclosed last week that it has underground pipes – and that the pipes could be the source of radioactive tritium found in a groundwater monitoring well 30 feet from the Connecticut River. ”

Calif. Nuclear Revival? A French Company Rolls the Dice –
“Conventional wisdom says California is a lousy place to bet on new nuclear power.

In Berkeley, the city government won’t buy services of any kind from a company that refuses to sign a “nuclear free” disclosure. In Sacramento, a moratorium against new reactor construction has held since 1976. And statewide, energy developers have a hard enough time securing permits for massive power plants run by renewable energy, much less finding enough political daylight to launch a multibillion-dollar nuclear project.”

Draft Law: EDF To Sell A Third Of Nuclear Power To Competitors – Nuclear Power Industry News
“According to a report by Bloomberg, Electricite de France SA, (EDF) Europe’s biggest generator, would be forced to sell as much as 120 terawatt-hours of power a year to rivals, about one third of its French nuclear output, under a draft law to open competition. EDF, a leading nuclear power utility, operates a French nuclear fleet consisting of 58 reactors spread over 19 different sites.

click for full sizeThe planned legilsation is designed to meet antitrust concerns of the European Commission, which raided EDF offices last year as part of a probe into whether the utility abused its dominant position by raising prices on France’s wholesale power market. State-controlled EDF holds 85 percent of the market by volume even after it was opened to competition nearly three years ago.

“The price will reflect the economic conditions” of EDF’s existing nuclear reactors and “all of the costs” of operating them will be calculated by the regulator, according to the document.”

Merkel’s ‘Muppet Show’ May Upset E.ON’s Nuclear Plans (Update3) –
“Chancellor Angela Merkel may have to put plans to extend the life of Germany’s nuclear-power plants on ice as falling poll ratings diminish her ability to overcome a unified opposition.

Weeks of coalition infighting over tax cuts and the war in Afghanistan have eroded Merkel’s political standing, making it harder to promote nuclear power, the most difficult task she has on her agenda, said Claudia Kemfert, chief energy analyst at the DIW economic institute.

The government has had a very bad start, Kemfert said in a phone interview in Berlin. People have the feeling that she’s not really a leader at the moment, and nuclear is not the best topic for her to win.”

Nuclear plants’ lifespan focus of talks –
“The German government said scheduled talks will focus on improving the lifespan of nuclear power plants and using reactor funds to aid renewable energies.

Der Spiegel said talks scheduled to take place Thursday in Berlin were expected to include German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, and other top officials, along with officials from German energy utility companies.

If the negotiations help lead to the lifespan of nuclear power plants being increased by 25 years, the country’s top four energy groups could reap significant profits.”

Progress says it’s not scrapping nuke plants, but will it delay them?
“Progress Energy is asking the Tampa Tribune to retract a two-paragraph brief that ran on page 6B of its print editions, which said the utility company had plans to scrap development of its nuclear power plant after state regulators last week rejected its $500 million rate increase request.Download Utility reaction to rate hike rejection1

The article sparked a protest from Sen. Mike Fasano, who sent a letter to Public Service Commission Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano asking the PSC to demand that the company refund to customers the money it had already collected from customers to pay for development of the new nuclear plants. “Since Progress Energy was allowed to raise rates last year and previously for advance nuclear cost recovery, it only seems fair that the customers who paid those rates should be given a refund for a project that is no longer in the works,” Fasano wrote. Download Argenziano24a.ltr”

AREVA awarded major role for U.S. ITER; work on cooling water system capped at $300 million  |
“AREVA Federal Services LLC, out of Charlotte, N.C., has been awarded a basic ordering agreement for design and fabrication of the Tokamak Cooling Water System for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

The cooling system is one of the major U.S. contributions to the international fusion project, and AREVA will oversee and integrate industry work on components via task orders and subcontracts, according to Ned Sauthoff, the project chief for U.S. ITER.”

Federal judge halts nuclear suit
“A federal court judge Wednesday ordered a stop to all activity in the $32 billion nuclear lawsuit while he decides if the case belongs under federal jurisdiction.

Judge Xavier Rodriguez of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas is expected to rule today on whether a citizens group that is trying to intervene has standing to get the case moved to federal court.

Until then, the opponents in the suit CPS Energy and NRG Energy  have had to halt depositions they were conducting for a trial that was set to start Monday in state court.

The citizens group, the Ratepayer Protection Coalition, argues CPS has violated the coalition’s constitutional rights, which would make this a federal case.”

Doubt cast on new nuclear plant – Taiwan News Online
“The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) , the highest authority of nuclear power management in Taiwan, has expressed doubt that the newly built Fourth Nuclear Power Plant can start full operations in late 2011 as scheduled, a spokesman for the council said Tuesday.

Although the plant has begun operating on a trial basis, some equipment has still not been installed. “There is a distance to go before full operations can start, ” said Chen Chih-ping, an official of the AEC’s Department of Radiation Protection.”

CNIC – Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center: Restarting Monju – Like Playing Russian Roulette
Japan’s Monju Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR, 280MWe) is scheduled to restart by the end of the 2009 fiscal year (March 31, 2010). If it does so, it will be the first time the plant has operated since it was shut down as a result of a sodium leak and fire fourteen years ago. This article reviews the history and current status of Monju and Japan’s FBR program.

The sodium accident
On December 8, 1995 at 19:47 an alarm went off indicating high sodium temperature at the exit of the intermediate heat exchanger in C-loop of Monju’s secondary coolant system. One minute later an alarm sounded indicating a sodium leak. At 19:52 staff confirmed that white fumes were coming from the area near the alarm sensors. The reactor was tripped manually at 21:20. Draining of sodium out of C-loop was started at 22:40 and completed at 0:15 on December 9. In other words, the operators waited for about an hour and a half before stopping the reactor and nearly three hours before taking action to stop the leak. (See NIT 51.)”

A Nuclear Critic Draws a Lesson from France’s Success – Green Inc. Blog –
“A new statistical analysis of an almost-secret topic what it costs to build nuclear reactors in France may have some lessons for a nuclear renaissance in the United States.

France, nuclear advocates often point out, gets about 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, or roughly quadruple the proportion that this country does. ”

Critics rap Alexander’s nuke proposal –
“A plan by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to build 100 nuclear plants over the next 20 years is fraught with problems, critics say.

Even though it sounds simple, opponents contend the idea is actually complicated by extremely high costs and the lack of a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Monday.

The newspaper said critics claim there is no real way to know how much building the reactors would cost, with estimates of construction costs for new nuclear units quadrupling in recent years to between $5 billion to $10 billion per reactor. Cheaper alternatives are available, they say.”

Areva considering producing cheaper reactors -report  | Reuters
“State-controlled nuclear reactor maker Areva is considering producing cheaper nuclear reactors after its flagship EPR reactor lost out to a lower-cost South-Korean rival in a $20 billion tender in Abu Dhabi last month, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Top Areva management last week launched a review of its product range “to determine whether Areva should reintroduce the simpler second-generation CPR 1,000 reactors, which it stoppped building 20 years ago, for client countries that are new to nuclear power”, the paper said.”

Vt. regulators rap Entergy for bad info – Brattleboro Reformer
“State utility regulators chastised the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant on Thursday for providing inaccurate information about the extent of underground piping at the reactor, saying they may seek financial penalties against the plant’s owner.

The Department of Public Service, which had supported Vermont Yankee’s bid for a 20-year extension on a license set to expire in 2012, is putting that support on hold until it can get satisfactory answers, department deputy commissioner Stephen Wark said in an interview Thursday evening.

“For us, this is a very disturbing development,” Wark said. “It requires us to re-evaluate our case that we brought before the (Public Service) Board.” The department represents ratepayers in utility cases before the quasi-judicial board.

Also Thursday, the department’s commissioner, David O’Brien, wrote to Entergy Nuclear, the parent company of the reactor’s owner, to ask for a new sworn affidavit about the extent of underground piping at the plant. O’Brien also wrote that the department was likely to ask the board to financially penalize Vermont Yankee for its earlier misstatements. ”

Congressman seeks inspection of buried piping system at Oyster Creek | | Asbury Park Press
“Rep. John Adler, D-NJ, and two other members of Congress have asked the General Accounting Office to investigate the condition of buried piping systems at nuclear plants, after a leak of water carrying traces of radioactive tritium were detected at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey and a similar problem turned up at the Indian Point reactor in New York.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection guidelines are not sufficient to ensure the integrity of that underground plumbing, which can carry cooling water for use during unexpected reactor shutdowns or diesel fuel for backup generators, the lawmakers say.

“Under current regulations, miles and miles of buried pipes within nuclear reactors have never been inspected and will likely never be inspected,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in the letter he signed with Adler and Rep. John Hall, D-NY. “As it stands, the NRC requires – at most – a single, spot inspection of the buried piping systems no more than once every 10 years. This cannot possibly be sufficient to ensure the safety of both the public and the plant.””


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Hanford employment records verified for ill worker program – Tri-City Herald
“The old Hanford records vault in Richland is being used for sleuthing these days.

Since the federal government approved a program to compensate ill Hanford workers in 2000, a staff that now numbers more than 10 has been assigned to help compile Hanford information. The first step for most applicants for the program is verifying they worked at the Hanford nuclear reservation and then when and where. It’s not as easy as it might sound.

Hanford seems to have both too many records and, yet, also not enough. Department of Energy and contractor workers have 25,000 boxes of Hanford records stored in Richland near the Federal Building.

And another 100,000 boxes are stored in Seattle at the Federal Record Center.”

Aid for ex-nuke workers – Sun Chronicle
“Some former employees of Metals and Controls Corp. who worked with radioactive material for nuclear weapons and later became ill with certain cancers may be eligible for benefits from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a press release Thursday announcing that employees at Metals and Controls who worked at the company between 1952 and 1967 have been added to the federal government’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

Metals and Controls was purchased by Texas Instruments in 1959.”

Study: Nuclear plant radiation may be to blame for cancer spike – News – Standard Speaker
“Thyroid cancer rates in Pennsylvania soared in recent decades and radiation from nuclear power plants may be the cause, a study released Thursday said.

Joseph Mangano, who authored the study which appeared in the International Journal of Health Services and is executive director for the Radiation and Public Health Project, called the growth in the number of cases “an epidemic.”

Pennsylvania’s incidence of thyroid cancer in the mid-1980s was 40 percent below the national rate, and now the rate is 44 percent above the national rate, he said.

“Something occurred to change Pennsylvania’s rate from low to high, and one of these possible factors is radiation from reactors,” Mangano said.

Some of the highest thyroid cancer rates occur in eastern Pennsylvania, which has the nation’s largest concentration of nuclear reactors, including the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Salem Township, he said.”

Former Oak Ridge hospital workers notified of new medical benefits
“The U.S. Department of Labor is notifying certain former Oak Ridge Hospital employees about compensation and medical benefits they may be eligible to receive.

It involves all former employees who worked at the hospital between May 15, 1950, and December 31, 1959.

The Department of Labor says a new class of employees has been added to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act’s (EEOICPA) Special Exposure Cohort (SEC).

The EEOICPA provides compensation and medical benefits to workers who became ill due to working in the nuclear weapons industry.

Survivors of qualified workers may also be entitled to benefits. ”

Independent: Post ’71 uranium workers may get recognition
“Post ’71 uranium workers employed as miners, millers and ore transporters between 1971 and 1982 have been trying for years to be recognized by the U.S. government as having illnesses that should be compensated under the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

During those years New Mexico’s uranium workers made up about one third to one half of all uranium workers in the United States. While a large number of them are ill, to date, they have no medical benefits as provided to pre-1971 victims, no compensation, and no one to go to bat for them in Washington. But that could be about to change.”

Hanford News: More Hanford downwinder claims will go to trial
“More Hanford downwinders could be going to trial to have their claims heard in a 19-year-old case.

Almost 2,000 plaintiffs have pending claims, many of them asserting that past emissions of radioactive material from the Hanford nuclear reservation were carried downwind and caused cancer or other thyroid disease. Some people also believe they developed other cancers from eating contaminated fish.

On Wednesday, Judge William Fremming Nielsen of Eastern Washington District Federal Court in Spokane said that he would select 30 of the claims for hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroids, to proceed to trial as soon as October. In addition, about 32 claims filed for thyroid cancer will be considered for settlement with the help of a mediator.”

Three out of four Germans not safe from nuclear power accidents | Germany | Deutsche Welle
“Nuclear power stations pose a threat to three out of four Germans, according to a new study published Tuesday by the German Environmental Foundation. But the government has recently decided to extend nuclear power.

The figures are based on the foundation’s ‘Nuclear Power Atlas,’ which counts the number of people living within a 150-kilometer (93-mile) radius of each of the 17 nuclear power stations in Germany – putting them in immediate danger in the event of a nuclear accident.

Between 5.4 million and 11.8 million people were counted within the various zones, which cover most of the western and southern regions of Germany. The city of Bremen, within 150 kilometers of six nuclear powers stations, is particularly at risk. ” – Duke to develop dirty bomb radiation test
“Duke University has received a $3.7 million contract to develop a test for radiation exposure from a dirty bomb or nuclear attack.

The contract comes from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and could be worth up to $43.6 million to Duke if the government renews it in the future.

“Since 9/11, there has been national concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the U.S. involving radiological or nuclear materials. Such an attack could kill or injure hundreds of thousands of people,” says John Chute, associate professor of medicine at Duke and principal investigator of the project, in a Duke news release.”

petroleumworld: Exxon hid radiation risk to workers for decades, witness says
“Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. energy company, knew or should have known that drilling pipes it sent to a Louisiana pipe yard were contaminated with dangerous radioactive material, a witness testified in court.

Paul Templet, a former secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality, told jurors yesterday in a civil trial in state court in Gretna, Louisiana, that internal Exxon memos showed the company had information beginning in the 1930s about cancer-causing radium in the residue, or scale, that built up inside its pipes. ”

Response: The risks of nuclear energy are not exaggerated | Comment is free | The Guardian
“Most scientists in this field agree that there is danger even in small doses of radiation”

You reported the view that radiation risks are exaggerated, but left out vital information on radiation protection (Radiation health threat overstated Oxford professor, 11 January). The article relied upon and extensively cited a retired ­professor of particle physics, Wade Allison, who is neither a radiation ­biologist nor an epidemiologist, and is not in my view an expert in radiation risks. Indeed, the other three scientists quoted in the article pointedly refrained from supporting Allison. His sole contribution to the literature is a self-published book.

An article alongside (Nuclear theory: the current consensus) states that “a single dose below 100 millisieverts (mSv) is usually considered safe”, and later gives Allison’s claim that “there is a threshold of about 200 mSv, below which the body can repair all DNA ­damage caused and, therefore, which is safe”. But there is no safe dose of ­radiation: no matter how low it is, a small risk remains.”

Letters: An unbiased study of the consequences of Chernobyl is needed | Environment | The Guardian
“There is no doubt that there has been a large increase in thyroid cancer incidence due to Chernobyl. I helped to bring this to public attention in 1992; we later showed that most cases have occurred among those who were young children at the time of exposure to high levels of fallout. This increase, initially seen in children is now occurring in young adults. Your special report on radiation (11 January), using World Health Organisation figures, comments that “only a few children have died of cancers since the accident”. Apart from the tragedy of any child’s death, measuring the impact only by mortality ignores the morbidity. Thyroid cancer generally has a very high cure rate, but thousands of thyroid operations have been carried out, some followed by multiple treatments and other consequences. The effects on the rest of Europe, largely exposed to low-dose radiation, are much less certain. The widely varying assessments of the numbers of deaths attributable to Chernobyl illustrate the need for a definitive unbiased long-term assessment of the overall consequences of the accident, as well as the need to maintain a sense of perspective.”

EEOC: Black workers got more radiation –
“A Tennessee company that processes nuclear waste has agreed to settle federal claims black employees were subjected to higher levels of radiation than others.

The Studsvik Memphis Processing Facility, formerly known as Radiological Assistance Consulting and Engineering, or RACE, has signed a consent agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. Under the agreement, 23 black employees are to receive a total of $650,000.

The EEOC alleged the company assigned black employees to work with radioactive waste and manipulated dosimeters to show lower levels of radiation than the actual ones. Black employees were also paid less and subjected to other kinds of discrimination.”

‘Downwinders’ Make One Last Push For Money : NPR
“Old-timers in a remote desert of northwest Arizona still talk about the mushroom clouds. A half century ago they could ride on horseback up the nearest hill to watch the nuclear weapons tests being held next door in Nevada. Today, they also talk about the cancers that came after those tests. Eventually Congress agreed to pay compensation to most of these downwinders, except they left out one area in Arizona – one closest to the test site.

Now after decades of activism that may finally change, sparked in part by the recent death of the woman who led the fight for the downwinders there. Daniel Kraker of member station KNAU reports. ”

Vets: Burn pits are killing us – Salt Lake Tribune
“War » But sickened warriors searching for help will have to wait for science and government bureaucracy to link their conditions to their service.

Emily Rainwater, a Defense Contract Management Agency employee, served two tours of duty in Iraq….

Editor’s note: Second in a three-part series

Combat had changed him.

Yet Andrew Rounds was still the adoring son his mother had sent off to war. He was still the hard worker who had helped her deliver newspapers after school. He was still the amiable soul who knew the names of everyone in the tiny village of Waterloo, Ore., from the mayor to the man who lived under the narrow bridge that crosses the river on the east side of town. ”

Nuclear plant pipe failures can threaten safety | threaten, failures, nuclear – News – The Orange County Register
“A rash of recent failures in the buried piping systems of nuclear reactors – including one at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station – has prompted three congressmen to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate “the integrity, safety, inspection, maintenance, regulations and enforcement issues surrounding buried piping at our nation’s nuclear power plants,” according to a public statement Thursday.

“Under current regulations, miles and miles of buried pipes within nuclear reactors have never been inspected and will likely never be inspected,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. (who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee) in the statement. “This is simply unacceptable. As it stands, the NRC requires – at most – a single, spot inspection of the buried piping systems no more than once every 10 years. This cannot possibly be sufficient to ensure the safety of both the public and the plant.””


NRC News

POGO Weighs in on How NRC Can Improve Allegations Program – The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog
“On Tuesday, POGO Investigator Ingrid Drake presented to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on revisions to the Enforcement and Allegations programs, which handles allegations that come in about safety issues or security concerns at nuclear power plants. POGO made recommendations last year to the NRC staff, who were revising the programs in response to the Peach Bottom debacle

A bit of background: the NRC hears from approximately 500-600 allegers each year. There was an increase to about 650 allegations in 2009. NRC substantiates about 30 percent, and 10 percent require a significant regulatory response.”

NRC cites fire hazards at Alabama nuclear plant – AP State GA –
“Federal regulators warned the Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday about “apparent violations” involving fire safety at the utility’s Browns Ferry nuclear plant in north Alabama.

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the findings don’t pose an immediate safety risk but are urging TVA to fix the three-reactor plant, which suffered a nearly disastrous fire in 1975 and later had to shut down for more than two decades due to problems.

The latest concerns were raised in an NRC inspection report and accompanying letter to TVA that said equipment necessary for shutting down the plant in case of a fire was not properly protected. The NRC said the plant also had flawed procedures that could delay fire response. ”

Hanford News: Nuclear power’s licensing demands create ‘tsunami’ for feds
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is bursting out of its headquarters in the box-store, strip-mall northwestern suburbs of Washington.

Buses shuttle among four structures where the commission has leased overflow space, but that’s not enough to relieve the feel of a college that badly underestimated the size of its incoming freshman class. Portions of the main cafeteria are partitioned off before and after lunch to form makeshift conference rooms. The actual conference rooms are off-limits because they’ve been pressed into service as offices.

The commission’s beleaguered staffers call the cause of all this uproar “the tsunami.” It’s been 25 years since a new nuclear power plant was licensed in the United States, but applications started arriving again in 2007, spurred by incentives launched during President George W. Bush’s administration. By the end of this year, the Energy Department expects to have applications in hand for 31 new reactors.”


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Brazilian police discover 450 kg of contraband uranium ore | Top Russian news and analysis online | ‘RIA Novosti’ newswire
“Police in the north Brazilian state of Amapa have unearthed a cache with 450 kg of enriched uranium ore, a dangerous mineral used for nuclear arms production.

The operation to seize radioactive material was a result of four-month work by investigators, who found a bag of pitchblende on Friday in a remote area of tropical rainforest.

Pitchblende, or uraninite, is an extremely radioactive mineral used as a major component for the production of fuel for nuclear power plants and nuclear arms.

An investigation is underway.

Brazil’s nuclear capabilities are considered the most advanced in Latin America. The country runs its sole nuclear power plant, Angra, with two reactors, and a third is under construction.”

Nuclear safety: When positive is negative – tech – 19 January 2010 – New Scientist
“WHEN news spread in December 2007 that an ageing nuclear reactor in Canada might shut down for much longer than its scheduled two weeks, the world caught its breath. The reactor, at Chalk River in Ontario, is the world’s biggest supplier of radioactive isotopes for medical use, and diagnostic tests for cancer and heart disease were put on hold while radiologists scrambled to find alternative supplies. It was called a crisis. All the while, lay people couldn’t help but wonder: did no one foresee this? Did no one think that this half-century-old reactor might someday need to be replaced?”

Used nuclear fuel arrives from abroad – The Augusta Chronicle
“Spent nuclear fuel shipped under heavy guard from Israel and Turkey is the latest batch of weapons-grade material now stored at Savannah River Site.

The shipment — four casks with 131 spent fuel assemblies — entered the U.S. through the Charleston Naval Weapons Station and was moved by truck to SRS last week.

The material contains highly enriched uranium — a critical ingredient for nuclear weapons — and marks the 50th such operation completed since 1996, when the U.S. government launched a program to recover material in foreign countries that could be vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists.”

Joliet wants to dump higher levels of radium on farmland | Chicago Press Release Services
“Joliet is pushing the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to more than double the concentration of cancer-causing radium it’s allowed to dump onto farmland in the south suburbs, expanding the potential for deadly radon gas in these increasingly urban communities.

Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element abundant in deep-water wells in northern Illinois and throughout the Midwest. Cities such as Joliet that rely on these deep wells spend millions of dollars each year to remove radium from their drinking water. Some communities pay to dump radium in a landfill, but Joliet and others use a cheaper alternative, mixing it with waste material that is sold to farmers as fertilizer.

About 21,000 tons of Joliet’s radium-enriched fertilizer has been dumped on area farms since 2005 The city is petitioning the state EPA to allow it to dispose of more than twice the level of radium that’s currently allowed. If granted, it would be 10 times higher than what was considered safe just five years ago — rekindling concerns about the long-term exposure of concentrated radium on the soil.”

Virginia/North Carolina News: Uranium threat to local lakes under study
“A $437,000 study being conducted by the city of Virginia Beach, Va. will examine what might happen to the water quality in Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake if a proposed uranium mine in Chatham, Va. were struck by a Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) storm.

“The state is attempting to get a study going through the National Academy of Science,” said Virginia Beach Director of Public Works Thomas Leahy. “But that study will not look at site specific issues or do any modeling of possible catastrophic events.”

Leahy said the study being conducted by Virginia Beach is designed to supplement the work of the National Academy of Science by looking at what would happen if a major storm flooded the proposed uranium mining site and washed radioactive materials downstream.”

Spent HEU fuel from Israel |
“riends of the Earth reported this week that spent nuclear fuel from an Israeli research reactor has arrived at Savannah River Site in South Carolina. According to Tom Clements, the group’s southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator, the shipment of 102 spent fuel assemblies of “material bearing bomb-grade uranium” was listed in a Dept. of Energy document that identifies U.S.-origin nuclear materials returned to the United States as part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. He provided that document as well.

Jennifer Wagner, a spokeswoman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, confimed the shipment, but provided few details. “NNSA cooperated with Israel on the return of U.S.-origin HEU spent nuclear fuel,” she said. “The shipment arrived at the Savannah River Site in January in conjuction with a U.S.-origin fuel return from Turkey.””

Watch Newspapers – Court Decision Aids Uranium Lawsuit
“Efforts Also Underway For More Industry Accountability

TELLURIDE: A U.S. District Court judge ruled last week that conservation groups suing the U.S. Department of Energy for its decision to expand uranium mining on public lands near the Dolores River Canyon may question agency officials and obtain records related to its Uranium Leasing Program through the process of discovery in order to build their lawsuit.

I find that some limited discovery is appropriate but reject the full range of discovery sought by Plaintiffs, wrote U.S. District Court Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel, who both affirmed and rejected parts of a previous finding issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe that denied discovery.

Cibola Beacon – Homestake still seeking renewal
“According to Homestake Project Manager Al Cox, he has been waiting for re-approval of the existing permit for several years and is now requesting a third pond, EP3, to speed up the process of reclamation. If approved by the New Mexico Environmental Department, EP3 would be constructed on HMC property on Sections 22 and 23, approximately 1,800 feet north of County Road 63. A 50-foot wide access corridor will be constructed to access the proposed pond and to locate piping and associated infrastructure to the pond area.

Cox said that the pond can be constructed in 90 to 120 days and would cost approximately $2.5 million.”

Vit plant mixing hazards raises worries – Tri-City Herald
“Inadequate mixing of some radioactive wastes at the Hanford vitrification plant could cause a criticality or a build-up of flammable gas that could cause an explosion, according to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

But the Department of Energy believes the problem can be resolved.

It initiated tests on the mixing system planned for parts of the vitrification plant after a panel of experts in 2006 identified it as one of 28 technical issues that needed to be studied. It’s the last major and complex issue to be resolved for the plant, which is half-completed.

DOE has been testing the mixing systems at the M3 Mixing Test Platform installed at Mid-Columbia Engineering near the Hanford nuclear reservation. It expects to have testing completed in April, including confirming any modifications that need to be done to the mixing system.

That’s ahead of a legally binding Tri-Party Agreement deadline to have the work completed in June.”

French Nuclear Power Fed by Uranium from Niger – Anarkismo
“Niger exports enough uranium to France to generate 80 per cent of the latter’s electricity supply, writes Khadija Sharife. But ordinary Nigeriens reap little benefit from France’s control of their country’s uranium resources, with over three-fifths of the population living below the poverty line and reports of radioactive contamination of water, air and soil by multinational mining operations.”

Australia’s aborigines: Atomic amends | The Economist
“A blighted site is handed back to the people displaced by British bombs

FROM the air, Maralinga looks much like the rest of Australia’s outback: vast, red and empty. Up close, there are differences. Its long, quiet airstrip recalls a time when this was an unlikely epicentre of the cold war. Parrots and wedge-tailed eagles cruise above a desert still littered with radioactive plutonium and other fragments of atomic weapons that Britain exploded more than 50 years ago.

Staking claim on a humble plot of Hiroshima

Once teeming with nuclear scientists and British and Australian servicemen, Maralinga fell into eerie silence when the tests ended, in the early 1960s. Then just before Christmas 2009, it returned to life.”

US set to discontinue depleted uranium in medium calibre ammunition
“It has emerged that the United States is seeking alternatives to depleted uranium for the future development and production of medium calibre bullets for its armed forces, although US government sources have declined to confirm the reasons behind the decision.
15 January 2010 – Dave Cullen

The dramatic change in policy will affect the future development of 25 mm and 30 mm rounds, which at present are used in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the A-10 Thunderbolt Aircraft. The A10 Thunderbolt was responsible for the majority of depleted uranium contamination in Iraq, and almost all the contamination in the Balkans. ”


Nuclear Waste News

“The Province of Guadalajara has today passed a measure which unanimously rejects the candidacy of the Municipality of Yebra (Guadalajara) to host a temporary centralised nuclear waste depot to stockpile waste from all of the country’s nuclear power plants. The motion prevents all of the municipalities of the Province from standing as candidates to host the plant as well as preventing the central government from taking any such requests stemming from the province’s municipalities into consideration, ”in view of the community and political rejection regarding them”. ”

Plans to store nuclear waste near Torness are opposed – EastLothian Today
“The possibility of radioactive waste being stored near Torness Power Station, Dunbar, was condemned this week.

candidate, blasted the idea as “a disgrace” and the SNP’s own candidate Andrew Sharp voiced his strong opposition to the use of East Lothian as a nuclear “repository.”

East Lothian MSP Iain Gray said: “This is unnecessary.”

Labour gambling taxpayer cash on nuclear clean-up costs says Hughes | Press Releases Detail
“By promising to fund any extra costs in decommissioning, Labour is gambling taxpayers’ money for energy firms who won’t pick up the tab,” said the Liberal Democrat Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Commenting on today’s report by the Comptroller and Auditor General into the sale of the Government’s interest in British Energy, Simon Hughes said:

This report shows the Government’s blindness to the clean-up costs of nuclear power in its headlong rush to build new plants.

By promising to fund any extra costs in decommissioning, Labour is gambling taxpayers’ money for energy firms who won’t pick up the tab.

The Government’s promises to build new nuclear power stations without public subsidy are virtually worthless when it’s already writing blank cheques to private energy firms. ”

Chu Defends U.N. Climate Science, Admin Efforts on Nuclear Waste –
“Energy Secretary Steven Chu today dismissed accusations of fraud in climate science generated by the release last year of hacked e-mails between researchers, saying e-mails showed “warts and bumps” in the scientific process.

Chu told a Senate panel there are “mountains” of evidence that climate change is real and the Energy Department will continue to rely on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which critics say has been undermined by the so-called “Climategate” e-mails.”

VPR News: Radioactive Tritium Has Been Found At Other Nuclear Plants
“Vermonters have been getting a lesson in radioactive tritium over the past two weeks because of the discovery of contamination at Vermont Yankee.

Vermonters are not alone.

Other Entergy reactors – including plants in Massachusetts and New York – also have similar leaks.

VPR’s John Dillon has more.

(Dillon) The Indian Point nuclear plant is almost as old as Vermont Yankee. It sits on the Hudson River, about 35 miles north of New York City. ”

BBC News – Sellafield returns nuclear waste to Japan
“he first shipment of highly radioactive waste from the UK has left the Sellafield nuclear site, the BBC has learnt.

It has been loaded onto a ship specifically designed to carry nuclear waste that will sail for Japan later.

The waste is a by-product of nuclear fuel spent by Japanese reactors that was sent to the UK for reprocessing during the 1980s and 1990s.

Some campaigners have criticised the shipments, saying they are dangerous.

“It is highly irresponsible for the industry to still be sending this kind of material across the world,” said anti-nuclear campaigner Martin Forward. ”

Radioactive surface water found at Vermont Yankee: Times Argus Online
“Extraordinarily high levels of radioactive water was discovered in a trench at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant this week, lawmakers revealed Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, told reporters that surface water discovered in a trench at the site of the Vernon nuclear reactor has tested positive for tritium, with levels ranging from 1-2 million picocuries per liter.

That’s about 100 times the amount of the radioactive isotope discovered late last year in groundwater surrounding Vermont Yankee.”

Nuclear waste bill passes Senate | | The Courier-Journal
“The Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would allow the storage of nuclear waste in Kentucky, which the bill’s sponsor hopes will open the door to nuclear energy facilities in the state.

Approval of the bill came despite complaints by one Eastern Kentucky Democrat that the bill could take the focus off coal at a time when Congress and the Obama administration is considering legislation and rules that he said could hurt the industry.”

More tritium found at Vermont Yankee | Burlington Free Press
“The search for the source of the radioactive isotope tritium that seeped into groundwater at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has led to the discovery of the isotope in a second monitoring well.

An e-mail from Rob Williams, spokesman for Entergy Vermont Yankee, said the search team received sampling results that showed an elevated level of 9,540 picocuries per liter in a second tritium monitoring well adjacent to the first well. A second confirmatory sample has been drawn from that well and is being analyzed.”

Superfund Sellout – Salem-News.Com
“Uniontown Industrial Excess Landfill Superfund site for sale

(AKRON, Ohio) – Why is the Uniontown Industrial Excess Landfill Superfund site for sale, when there has never been a cleanup of the hundreds of thousands of tons of toxins, only the continued flushing into our groundwater?

Residents aren’t getting straight answers. They are only being told that a buyer would receive liability protections through a “covenant not to sue.” Would this mean the new owner couldn’t be sued if people got sick, or just that they couldn’t be held liable for cleanup costs?

Are the Lake Township trustees still considering buying the dump? Don’t the taxpayers have the right to know if in fact this is still being planned before the public could be saddled with this toxic nightmare? Or, as seen elsewhere around the country, is a deep-pockets brownfields developer going to take over the IEL?”

With no panel to study alternative US nuke waste sites, could Yucca Mountain’s bones be creaking back to life? – Bellona
“A year since US President Barack Obama effectively killed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and his 2011 budget is expected to barely keep the lights on as the Energy Department clears out the offices  the administration and the energy department have so far failed to launch the blue-ribbon panel promised some nine months ago to study alternative nuclear waste proposals. Charles Digges, 19/01-2010

Meanwhile, 60,000 metric tons of US civilian and military waste continue to pile up, and high-level nuclear observers from the non-governmental sector are getting a little nervous. The build up of waste may also land the US government in hot water with the industry as Yucca Mountain has, for the past 20 years, been the Congressionally mandated end of the road for US spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. ”

AllGov – Utah Fights to Keep Out Foreign Radioactive Waste
“The state of Utah wants nothing to do with 1,600 tons of low-level nuclear waste from Italy that a local U.S. corporation is trying to bury in a landfill. EnergySolutions Inc. has been trying for two years to import the radioactive waste, but Utah officials are fighting the planned disposal in Tooele County.

The state government is barred under the U.S. Constitution from blocking the importation, leaving permission in the hands of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste (NWIC), to which Utah and seven other states belong. The NWIC gave permission to EnergySolutions’ predecessor, Envirocare of Utah, almost 20 years ago to dispose of low-level waste, but Utah officials now have told the NWIC that they no longer want such materials buried in their state.

Nuclear waste proposals revealed – Press & Journal
“Dounreay looks set to become a nuclear waste dump under plans revealed by the Scottish Government.

A consultation to find ways to manage the country’s radioactive waste was launched yesterday.

It aims to ensure the treatment, storage and disposal of the waste is carried out in a way that offers maximum protection to the people and the environment.

While the UK Government favours one deep burial site for all high-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste, with Sellafield the most likely location, Scottish ministers favour surface storage or shallow burial.”

Free Internet Press :: The Curse Of Gorleben – Germany’s Endless Search For A Nuclear Waste Dump :: Uncensored News For Real People
“Germany has been looking for a permanent storage site for its nuclear waste for over 30 years. The history of the Gorleben salt dome, a potential nuclear repository, is one full of deception and political maneuvering. And if opponents to the plans have their way, the search might even have to start again from scratch.

The ride down into the Gorleben salt dome takes less than two minutes. When the elevator stops at 840 meters (2,755 feet) below ground, the folding gates open onto a scene that looks like it could be in a modern art museum.

A sculpture made of old soft drink cans and other scrap metal welcomes visitors as they step out of the elevator. The artwork is meant to symbolize society’s unresolved waste disposal problem.”

Crumbling Atomic-Waste Dump Must Be Shut, German Regulator Says –
“Germany’s government was advised to move 126,000 barrels of nuclear waste from a crumbling underground storage site in central Germany to a nearby location in a bid to stop any leaks of radioactivity into groundwater.

Wolfram Koenig, president of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, manager the Asse facility, made the recommendation today in Hannover, Germany.

With 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) of underground water leaking daily into the abandoned salt mine and eroding walls, the regulator is seeking to relocate waste from Asse before it may get mixed with water and seep back out into aquifers. ”

Highly radioactive shipment threatens coastal communities
“THE first return shipment of foreign nuclear waste from Britain is due to occur in the next few days with the shipment of highly radioactive waste from the Sellafield Plant to customers in Japan.
These nuclear shipments raise critical security, safety and environmental concerns and subject coastal communities to unnecessary risks.
The NDA’s commercial transport subsidiary, International Nuclear Services (INS), will be responsible for the shipment, which will leave from Barrow, northwest England. The vessels will be carrying 28 stainless steel containers of vitrified radioactive waste and are expected to arrive in Japan by the end of March. This is the first in a series of nuclear waste transports to Japan, which are expected to involve between 850 and 1000 containers and take up to 10 years to complete.”

BBC News – Nuclear waste storage options examined
Nuclear waste could be stored permanently at up to four locations across Scotland, it has emerged.

The Scottish government has launched a consultation exercise on the issue.

It believes waste should be stored close to existing nuclear facilities, reducing the need for waste to be transported long distances.

Scotland’s civil nuclear sites are located at Dounreay, Hunterston, Chapelcross, Rosyth and Torness, near Dunbar. ”


Nuclear Policy News

Saudi Not Considering Nuclear Power, Oil Adviser Says (Update1) –
“Saudi Arabia is not considering developing an atomic energy program, even as neighboring oil producers pursue nuclear plants to meet power demand and diversify domestic energy sources.

We are ruling out nuclear energy for now, Mohammed Salim Sorour al-Sabban, who also heads Saudi’s United Nations climate negotiations, said in an interview in Riyadh today. We are joining the International Renewable Energy Agency and we will focus on solar energy as a renewable.

Saudi Arabia aims to boost solar energy projects and export electricity from such plants, al-Sabban said. ”

Diane Farsetta: Dump nuke provisions in Clean Energy Jobs Act
“Would a truly clean energy source produce one of the nation’s most hazardous substances? Of course not.

So why include provisions on nuclear reactors in the state’s Clean Energy Jobs Act, recently introduced in the Legislature? Nuclear reactors generate high-level radioactive waste, which is one of the nation’s most hazardous substances, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

In a November report, the respected nonpartisan agency found there were no good options for dealing with the radioactive waste. And as the federal government continues its decades-long struggle to find a solution to this grave public safety, environmental and political problem, the costs to taxpayers and ratepayers will skyrocket.

In the meantime, radioactive waste is piling up at 80 sites in 35 states, including three sites in Wisconsin. Many sites have active nuclear reactors, where the mounting waste problem has forced plant operators to rearrange the racks holding spent fuel in (cooling) pools to allow for more dense storage, according to the GAO report. Even with this re-racking, spent nuclear fuel pools are reaching their capacities.”

Daily Reflector: Roll Call: House legislation on stolen nuclear materials approved
“Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Jan. 22.

STOLEN NUCLEAR MATERIALS: Voting 397 for and ten against, the House on Jan. 21 sent President Obama a bill (HR 730) designed to improve international cooperation in locating stolen nuclear and radiological materials. The measure calls upon the administration to negotiate tinuclear forensics agreements under which countries would do a better job of policing loose nukes and sharing sensitive information. The bill also seeks to bolster Department of Homeland Security programs against terrorists’ dirty bombs or conventional nuclear weapons.”

Nuclear power may still need taxpayer help says watchdog – The Ecologist
“Government spending watchdog says it is still not convinced new nuclear power stations will be built without public subsidies

Independent Government auditors have questioned the ability of energy firms to pay the full building and cleanup costs of a possible ten new nuclear power plants announced last year.

The UK Government sold its stake in British Energy, which owns the sites most suitable for new nuclear power stations, to French firm EDF Energy in 2008.” UK could face bill for French nuclear plants
“BRITISH taxpayers may have to foot the bill for a new generation of nuclear power stations that will be run for profit by a foreign firm.

Billions of pounds of public cash could be needed to build the plants and put old ones out of action, an official report warned yesterday.

French-owned EDF bought the Government’s stake in British Energy last year. But ministers did not seek binding guarantees that EDF would fund new nuclear Âstations itself, the National Audit Office spending watchdog said. ”

Green group threatens legal challenge to government’s nuclear plans | Business |
“Friends of the Earth has threatened to launch a legal challenge against the government over its “fundamentally flawed” plans to approve hundreds of new nuclear reactors, power plants, wind farms, electricity pylons and pipelines.

The group has written to energy secretary Ed Miliband warning him that government planning statements issued in November breach environmental regulations and had not followed proper consultation. Friends of the Earth said it was also supported by conservation groups, the WWF and RSPB.

The energy industry and ministers have been braced for a legal challenge for months, particularly over plans to build as many as 10 new nuclear reactors.”

Confiscation of anti-nuke signs draws Peace River protest
“Peace River residents occupied the local Alberta Transportation offices Thursday, protesting the department’s decision to take down all private property anti-nuclear signs.

The six men have been sitting in the lobby since 11 a.m. and say they will keep sitting there until they get answers.

Staff brought them coffee.

The move is just one more incident in a heated dispute over a nuclear power proposal for the region.

Miles McSween, who sat with the protesters most of the day, said the province has been unfairly targeting anti-nuclear signs and suppressing free speech. Any signs along highways on private land are banned, but government contractors “have had to walk over real estate signs in the ditch to get the anti-nuclear signs, he said.”

Ky. Senate Passes Bill to Allow Nuclear Plants – ABC News
“Legislation to lift Kentucky’s ban on the construction of nuclear power plants steamed through the Senate on Wednesday but could get unplugged in the House.

The bill, which cleared the Senate on a 27-10 vote, is backed by Gov. Steve Beshear but House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he doesn’t think the measure will pass the House.

State law currently prohibits a nuclear power plant from being built in Kentucky until there is a permanent storage facility to contain the nuclear waste. A proposed high-level radioactive waste facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been discussed for years.”

French PM summons Areva and EDF chiefs amid spat | Reuters
“French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has summoned the heads of state-controlled groups EDF  and Areva on Wednesday and will likely call on the chief executives to stop sniping at each other in public.

Henri Proglio and Anne Lauvergeon have been at odds with each other since Proglio, who took over EDF in November, called the creation of nuclear fuel, reactors and waste recycling group Areva by Lauvergeon in 2001 “probably an error”.

Strategy disagreements between the two outspoken executives turned to public hostility in recent days after Areva suspended deliveries of nuclear fuel to and the collection of waste from EDF after the expiry on Dec. 31 of a deadline to renew a contract.”

Environmentalists want Vt. Yankee ads pulled – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-
“Environmental groups that accused Vermont Yankee of lying about the presence of underwater pipes carrying radioactive material are now calling on Attorney General Bill Sorrell, D-Vermont, to compel the company to pull its latest TV ads off the air.

James Moore of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group told reporters, “You can’t be willing to continually have a pattern in history of misleading regulators, legislators and the Vermont public, and then tell people we are your, you know, truth police, and it’s our website you’re got to come to, to get the facts.”

VPIRG and the League of Conservation voters repeated accusations that plant owner Entergy Vermont lied about the existence of underground pipes which critics say may have leaked radioactive tritium. The company says it was an unintentional omission. The groups are asking the attorney general to do what he did two years ago with another ad for the nuclear plant– get it off the air.”

North West Evening Mail | Anti-nuclear group heads to Westminster
“AN anti-nuclear group is heading to Westminster to voice its feelings on the future of the nuclear industry.

Marianne Birkby, founder of South Lakes anti-nuclear group Radiation Free Lakeland, will speak to the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry on January 27.

Three new sites in Cumbria have been identified as suitable for new nuclear power stations Kirksanton, Sellafield and Braystones. Public consultation is currently on-going.

Ms Birkby said: The nuclear juggernaut will only be stopped by people saying no as people are doing in Germany where 50,000 people of all walks of life, including convoys of farmers on tractors marched in Berlin opposing the proposed extension of the life of existing nuclear plants no one in Germany is proposing new build and certainly no country in the world is proposing such a blanket nuclear sacrifice zone in such a small area as the UK government.”

Most Chileans Oppose Nuclear Power, Support Wind Energy, Says Survey
“More than half of Santiago residents do not support nuclear energy as an energy source in Chile, according to a recent survey by the Universidad Diego Portales’ center for energy and sustainable development. Further, 62 percent said they favor wind energy as the preferred source of energy. Around 25 percent said they favored nuclear energy.

The survey was taken in light of the government’s growing interest in nuclear energy. When citizens were asked about the risks posed by such projects, 54.8 percent cited nuclear energy’s impact on health and the environment, 21.1 percent cited a possible lead of radioactive material and 18.6 percent cited risks associated with the lack of experienced professionals in the country.

Opposition grew stronger when those surveyed were asked about possibly building a nuclear plant in the Metropolitan Region: 65 percent opposed and 18 percent were in favor.”

ACLU sues Brattleboro police for anti-nuke protesters – WCAX.COM
“The ACLU has filed a suit against the Brattleboro Police Department on behalf of four protestors arrested last March.

During an economic stimulus conference the protestors silently held up a banner calling for the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. All four were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, but the charges were later dismissed.

However, the ACLU says the police violated the protesters’ First Amendment right to peacefully protest. They’re seeking damages, costs and fees.”

Areva CEO slams rival over lost Gulf nuclear deal – Yahoo! Finance
“Areva Chief Executive Anne Lauvergeon on Monday blamed the French nuclear power company’s humiliating loss of a multibillion-dollar reactor contract on a South Korean rival’s willingness to “do anything” to win.

In her first public comments since the United Arab Emirates last month picked a South Korean consortium over Areva for the prized deal, Lauvergeon was quoted in Le Monde as saying the strong euro hurt Areva by inflating the costs for its reactors. She also blamed poor coordination among the French energy companies who bid alongside it, including Electricite de France SA, Total SA and GDF Suez SA.

“South Korea was ready to do anything to win, in terms of price and in state financing,” Lauvergeon was quoted as saying.”

Bitter row throws French nuclear industry into turmoil – Times Online
“The French nuclear industry is in turmoil as uranium supplies have dried up and the treatment of spent fuel has been blocked amid an increasingly bitter row between the heads of its two main state operators.

EDF, the electricity group that runs 58 reactors in France, said that Areva, the nuclear energy group, had stopped uranium deliveries on January 4 and was refusing to take away spent fuel for reprocessing.

”The transport of combustibles isn’t working at the moment,” Anne Lauvergeon, the chairwoman of Areva, said.

As a result, used fuel is remaining at EDF sites instead of being reprocessed at La Hague treatment plant in northern France.”

North West Evening Mail | Chernobyl still blights Lakes farmers
“FARMERS are still paying the price of the Chernobyl disaster 24 years after the radiation rained down on the Lake District fells.

Restrictions remain in place which stop farmers whose land is still affected by the radiation from freely selling their animals or products.

Each animal has to be individually checked and cleared by the government before it can be sold.

One of the nine farms in England still being monitored is Baskill Farm, Ulpha.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s nuclear push faces many obstacles | | The Tennessean
“Since Sen. Lamar Alexander first began pushing the idea last spring of building 100 nuclear plants over the next 20 years, the proposal has increasingly become part of the national debate about the best way to generate electricity while lowering emissions that contribute to climate change.

President Barack Obama and some congressional Democrats have proposed new loan guarantees and tax breaks for nuclear plants as a way to attract Republican support for climate-change legislation. Late last year, Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, was able to get Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia to sign on to his idea as part of legislation to promote clean energy.

But Alexander’s push also…

Coalition opposes nuclear power – Camrose Canadian – Alberta, CA
“Mel Knight’s announcement that nuclear power will be considered as an energy option in Alberta does not sit well with the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Alberta, the province-wide alliance of grassroots organizations opposed to nuclear development.

Adele Boucher Rymhs, coalition president, feels the government has turned a deaf ear to the people to save its image on climate change.

“They are saying that we should consider nuclear power because of low carbon emissions, and are totally ignoring the fact that radioactive emissions will be just as big a problem in our atmosphere.”

Though results of the online survey indicated that 55 per cent of respondents were opposed to nuclear, the government has chosen to allow unproven new generation technology to be developed in this province.

The report also showed 75 per cent of Albertans are concerned about the health impacts of nuclear and 77 per cent do not want to leave a nuclear waste problem for future generations ”

US govt says loans for nuclear plants complicated | Reuters
“Loan guarantees may be enough for only 2 new reactors
* Chu says reactors can store spent fuel on site 50 years
* Utilities should not complain about waste storage costs

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Friday that the process for approving federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants has become “complicated,” but the department still expects to issue its first loan deals very soon.

“It was more complicated than I thought…these are multibillion dollar loans,” Chu told reporters at a lunch briefing at Energy Department headquarters, when he was asked why it was taking so long for the department to make a decision on the loan guarantees.”


Nuclear Weapons News

Whistleblower: Foreign Office officials thought war ‘illegal’ – UK Politics, UK – The Independent
“Chilcot inquiry will be told Lord Goldsmith’s top lawyer advised invasion was against the law

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the Foreign Office lawyer who resigned on principle on the eve of the Iraq war

A senior Foreign Office lawyer who quit in protest at the invasion of Iraq will this week lay bare the sharp divisions within the Blair administration and its Whitehall advisers as Britain careered towards war in 2003.

On Tuesday, three days before Tony Blair faces the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, Elizabeth Wilmshurst will make perhaps the most explosive contribution to date by revealing the confusion and infighting between officials and ministers over the legality of deposing Saddam Hussein without United Nations support. ”

Chilcot inquiry: Five crucial questions Blair must be made to answer | UK news |
“1 Did you mislead the public and parliament about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programme?

2 Did you give President George Bush a guarantee that Britain would follow the US to war?

3 Did you pressure the attorney general to change his mind about the legality of war after his initial judgment that it would be illegal without a second UN resolution?

4 Did you believe regime change would have been justified?

5 Did you insist orders for equipment such as body armour be delayed in the run-up to war because you did not want to alert opponents to the imminent invasion?”

Pressure on Blair as he makes final stand on Iraq | The Observer
“It is almost seven years since Tony Blair led Britain into war in Iraq. But when he strides into the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster at 9.30 on Friday morning, through a ring of steel set up by the security services, the passage of time will count for nothing.

Behind the former prime minister will sit more than 20 bereaved relatives of soldiers killed in the conflict, mothers and fathers who will struggle, perhaps for ever, to come to terms with their loss.

The organisers of the inquiry have been at pains to try to reduce the emotional temperature around Blair’s attendance. “The members of the committee are not judges, and nobody is on trial,” says the official inquiry website.”

AFP: Cherie Blair to act for Aborigines in nuclear case
“The barrister wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair will represent a group of Australian Aborigines suing the British government over nuclear testing on their land, a report said Saturday.

Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement spokesman Neil Gillespie said Cherie Blair had been engaged by a group from Emu Field, in Australia’s red desert centre, who are seeking compensation over 1953 atomic tests by Britain.

Five cases had been lodged in the British courts over illnesses allegedly linked to the fallout from two nuclear weapons exploded in the Great Victoria Desert in October 1953.”

Rudd Government refuses to help Maralinga veterans sue Britain | The Courier-Mail
“THE Rudd Government has refused to help Australian veterans who are suing the British Government over radiation exposure during atomic bomb tests in the 1950s and 60s.

A group of survivors and their families are joining a class action after 800 British nuclear veterans were granted permission to sue their own Ministry of Defence.”

44 years since atomic bombs fell on Palomares, Almería – Features at Typically Spanish
“A propaganda documentary made at the time on the United States operation which led to the accident has now been released

Photos went round the world in 1966 of the then Spanish Minister for Tourism, Manuel Fraga, and the United States ambassador to Spain, Angier Biddle Duke, taking a dip off the coast of Palomares in Almería.

It was a publicity shot taken with the intention of proving that the waters were safe after four atomic bombs fell in the area, two on land and two at sea, following a mid-air collision involving a B52 bomber and a tanker plane based at Morón de la Frontera in Cádiz during a mid-air refuelling operation. ” » ‘Hell To Pay’ Sheds New Light On A-Bomb Decision
“The atomic bombs that ended World War II killed by some estimates more than 200,000 people. In the decades since 1945, there has been a revisionist debate over the decision to drop the bombs.

Did the U.S. decide to bomb in order to avoid a land invasion that might have killed millions of Americans and Japanese? Or did it drop the bomb to avoid the Soviet army coming in and sharing the spoils of conquering Japan? Were the prospects of a land invasion even more destructive than the opening of the nuclear age? ”

Russian Nuclear First Use: a Case of Self-Defeating Exaggeration? – The Jamestown Foundation
“In mid-October 2009, Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council, used an interview to discuss Russia’s draft military doctrine and highlighted one aspect: the first-use of nuclear weapons in a preventive nuclear strike against the aggressor (Izvestiya, October 14). This was not the first such declaration regarding first use by the Russia, but it came in the aftermath of the conflict with Georgia in 2008. In early December, the Russian mass media published several leaks and commentaries concerning the draft military doctrine, which, reportedly President Dmitry Medvedev would soon sign. This addressed the rationale underlying a declaratory policy of nuclear first-use in the current international environment.”


Department of Energy News

OPB News · Manhattan Project Sites Not Likely To Be National Parks
“The old B Reactor on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation doesn’t look like it’s going to be a National Park anytime soon. But the National Park Service says there are ways to increase public access to the site.

The agency held a public hearing on that idea Thursday in Richland as correspondent Anna King reports.

The B Reactor, at Hanford, was part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II. But now many of the sites associated with the race to build a nuclear bomb are disappearing.

The National Parks Service came out with a study in December on how to save some of that history for the public.”

US Energy Secretary Chu: Loan-Guarantee Program To Be Sped Up
“U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday that the Obama administration hopes to issue nuclear loan guarantees “soon” as part of a broader plan to speed up loan guarantees, but that the government is running into problems finalizing the subsidies.

“We’re going to be accelerating our loan-guarantee process even more,” Chu told reporters in a briefing to discuss the administration’s priorities for 2010. Chu said that nuclear loan guarantees would come “soon,” but that getting them finalized was “more complicated than I thought.”

Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG), NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), Scana Corp. ( SCG) and Southern Co. (SO) are expected to receive the first guarantees for nuclear projects. Government support is viewed as essential because of high costs, lengthy timetables and a history of cost overruns in the construction of nuclear reactors.”


Other Energy News

The Chosun Ilbo: World’s Biggest Tidal Power Plant to Be Built in Korea
“The world’s largest tidal power station will be constructed off the coast of Incheon. GS Engineering and Construction signed a memorandum of understanding with state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) on Wednesday and will begin construction later next year with a view to completion around 2017.

The power station will have a capacity of 1.32 million kw/h, surpassing the 1 million kw/h of a nuclear reactor being constructed in Ulsan and 3.4 times greater than the capacity of the Rance Tidal Power Station in France, currently the world’s largest. It will generate 2.41 billion kw per year, the equivalent of 60 percent of Incheon’s household electricity consumption.”

Antarctica wind farm operational –
“The world’s southernmost wind farm, in Antarctica, is now operational.

The Ross Island wind farm will supply about 11 percent of the power to New Zealand’s Scott Base and the American McMurdo Station. Previously, the two sites relied on diesel-powered generators for electricity.

The wind farm will cut diesel consumption by about 463,000 liters a year and reduce carbon dioxide output by 1,370 tons annually, according to New Zealand-based Meridian Energy, the project’s developer.

The three turbines, each 37 meters tall and 33 meters wide, are generating 330 kilowatts of power.”

U.S. says wind could power 20 percent of eastern grid | Green Tech – CNET News
“Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

For the 20 percent wind scenario to work, billions must be spent on installing wind towers on land and sea and about 22,000 miles of new high-tech power lines to carry the electricity to cities, according to the study from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.”

AFP: Uncertain future for US climate law after Copenhagen
“The future of a US climate law is hanging in the balance in Congress as lawmakers gear up for crucial midterm elections amid a persistent economic slump, experts say.

Further reducing the impetus, UN climate talks in Copenhagen ended last month with a non-binding agreement to limit warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two Celsius) that did not set binding targets to reduce the emissions of gases scientists say are heating up the world’s atmosphere to dangerous levels.

Among the thorniest problems facing a possible US law is striking an agreement on creating a “cap-and-trade” market for greenhouse gases that would force heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less, creating financial incentives to fight global warming.”


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Nuclear Renaissance or ˜Retreat’? France is not the Example
“It is perhaps no accident that the nuclear power industry chose a French word renaissance to promote its alleged comeback. Attached to this misapplied moniker are a series of fallacious suggestions that nuclear energy is clean, safe and even renewable. And, in keeping with its French flavor, a key argument in the industry’s propaganda arsenal is that the U.S. should follow the successful example of the French nuclear program.

France serves as a convenient sound bite for politicians and others advocating a nuclear revival (hypocritically evoked by many of the same people who insisted on Freedom Fries at the start of the Iraq War). A failure to challenge this facile falsehood has cemented the myth of a French nuclear Utopia in the minds of the public. It masks a very different reality.

France gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. However, this alone does not constitute a success. Rather, it results in the production of an enormous amount of radioactive waste that, as is the case for all other nuclear countries, has nowhere to go.

Alison van Diggelen: Elise Zoli: In Defense of Nuclear Power
In an exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview, clean energy expert, Elise Zoli said, “The N-word (nuclear) is difficult in the context of renewables …but most experts who look at climate change and energy security believe that there is a significant role for nuclear.”

Zoli, a partner at Goodwin Procter, teaches clean tech and climate change at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management and argues that the technology deserves to be considered since it has a favorable balance of environmental impacts. She believes that nuclear should be part of the clean energy mix.”

Editorial: Reasons to question Vt. Yankee’s future | | The Burlington Free Press
“Revelations about underground pipes carrying radioactive fluids at Vermont Yankee raise serious concerns about how much stock Vermonters can place in Entergy’s repeated reassurances about the safety of the plant or anything else.

The sequence of events is especially bad for plant owner Entergy, which is trying to convince state lawmakers and regulators that allowing the plant to operate beyond 2012 is in Vermont’s best interest.

Entergy revealed last week that underground pipes could be the source of elevated levels of radioactive tritium detected in a groundwater monitoring well. Yankee officials said the tritium level detected posed no health threat, but they would continue to monitor the leak to see if it was spreading.”

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