Archive for the ‘Nuclear Crisis’ Category

Stopping the operations of the restarted Sendai Nuclear reactors

May 4, 2016
Dear all,
I’d like to forward the latest English message I sent out.
The following is a comment by a friend of mine who
graduated from Harvard University:
皆様
このほど発出した英文メッセージをお届けいたします。
ハーヴァード大出身の友人からのコメントです。
Dear Mitsuhei, will people never learn from the past not to even mention common sense! Aside from promoting a maternal society
I would propose to teach the young to admit mistakes and failures and how to move on.
It seems to be too late for many of our generation.😞
………
It will be noteworthy how the Sendai Nuclear Plant issue is dealt at the Ise-Shima Summit.
Mitsuhei Murata
伊勢志摩サミットがどのように川内原発問題を取り上げるかが注目されます。
村田光平
(Message sent out)
The Japanese public opinion is expressing vehemently its opposition against
the restarted operations of the two Sendai nuclear reactors.
The continueing earthquakes are enlarging the affected area.
Now they are approaching and they are now only 80 kilometers away from
the Sendai reactors.
The Nuclear Regulatory Authority continues to assert that there is no
scientific ground for stopping the reactors. It is just abnormal and
immoral.
Dr.Akira Hasegawa,eminent physisist and laureate of the American Maxwell
Physics Prize, criticizes the NRA as not scientific for not recognizing that nuclear
reactors are fundamentally dangerous,capable of releasing unlimited amount of radiation
when out of control.
The Japanese nuclear dictatorship will only be influenced by the
International Community.
This nuclear issue and the Tokyo Olympic Games are the twins bound by the
pursuit of economic interests at the expense of the public welfare.
I firmly believe in the will of heaven and earth that will not allow
immorality to last long.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is to visit the United States to
call on some of  the 387 Navy sailors, victims of radiation suffered
during the Operation Tomodachi on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.
(cf.my attached message to Ambassador Kennedy.)
This visit will certainly draw the  attention of the world to the unstoppable
Fukushima crisis.
With warmest regards,
Mitsuhei  Murata
Attachment:

“Dead animals litter California beaches… Alarming phenomenon”

April 27, 2016

ENENews


“Dead animals litter California beaches… Alarming phenomenon” — “Graveyard of washed-up sea life” — “Influx of malnourished sea creatures” — Experts: We’re really starting to worry… The animals are starving to death… Covered in sores… Stunted growth… Weak immune systems (VIDEOS)

Posted: 25 Apr 2016 04:26 AM PDT

TV: Alarm over “Catastrophic Leak” at US nuclear site — “Emergency response underway”

April 22, 2016

ENENews


TV: Alarm over “Catastrophic Leak” at US nuclear site — “Emergency response underway” — Surge in radioactive leakage after “essentially blowing a hole” in massive tank containing “deadliest substance on earth” — Former Worker: “I was very shocked to hear it breached that significantly” (VIDEOS)

Posted: 20 Apr 2016 02:19 PM PDT

A Fukushima on the Hudson?

April 2, 2016
Home Environment A Fukushima on the Hudson?

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The risk of a pipeline explosion in proximity to Indian Point is one in 1,000.

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SOURCETom Dispatch

It was a beautiful spring day and, in the control room of the nuclear reactor, the workers decided to deactivate the security system for a systems test. As they started to do so, however, the floor of the reactor began to tremble. Suddenly, its 1,200-ton cover blasted flames into the air. Tons of radioactive radium and graphite shot 1,000 meters into the sky and began drifting to the ground for miles around the nuclear plant. The first firemen to the rescue brought tons of water that would prove useless when it came to dousing the fires. The workers wore no protective clothing and eight of them would die that night — dozens more in the months to follow.

It was April 26, 1986, and this was just the start of the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident of its kind in history. Chernobyl is ranked as a “level 7 event,” the maximum danger classification on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.  It would spew out more radioactivity than 100 Hiroshima bombs. Of the 350,000 workers involved in cleanup operations, according to the World Health Organization, 240,000 would be exposed to the highest levels of radiation in a 30-mile zone around the plant. It is uncertain exactly how many cancer deaths have resulted since. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s estimate of the expected death toll from Chernobyl was 4,000. A 2006 Greenpeace report challenged that figure, suggesting that 16,000 people had already died due to the accident and predicting another 140,000 deaths in Ukraine and Belarus still to come. A significant increase in thyroid cancers in children, a very rare disease for them, has been charted in the region — nearly 7,000 cases by 2005 in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

In March 2011, 25 years after the Chernobyl catastrophe, damage caused by a tsunami triggered by a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake led to the meltdown of three reactors at a nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. Radioactive rain from the Fukushima accident fell as far away as Ireland.

In 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency had, in fact, warned the Japanese government that none of the country’s nuclear power plants could withstand powerful earthquakes. That included the Fukushima plant, which had been built to take only a 7.0 magnitude event. No attention was paid at the time. After the disaster, the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power, rehired Shaw Construction, which had designed and built the plant in the first place, to rebuild it.

Near Misses, Radioactive Leaks, and Flooding

In both Chernobyl and Fukushima, areas around the devastated plants were made uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.  In neither place, before disaster began to unfold, was anyone expecting it and few imagined that such a catastrophe was possible.  In the United States, too, despite the knowledge since 1945 that nuclear power, at war or in peacetime, holds dangers of a stunning sort, the general attitude remains: it can’t happen here — nowhere more dangerously in recent years than on the banks of New York’s Hudson River, an area that could face a nuclear peril endangering a population of nearly 20 million.

As the Fukushima tragedy struck, President Obama assured Americans that U.S. nuclear plants were closely monitored and built to withstand earthquakes. That statement covered one of the oldest plants in the country, the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Westchester, New York, first opened in 1962. One of 61 commercial nuclear plants in the country, it hastwo reactors that generate electricity for homes across New York City and Westchester County. It is located in the sixth most densely populated urban area in the world, the New York metropolitan region, just 30 miles north of Manhattan Island and the planet’s most economically powerful city.

The plant sits astride two seismic faults, which has prompted those opposing its continued operation to call for a detailed analysis of its capacity to resist an earthquake. In addition, a long series of accidents and ongoing hazards has only increased the potential for catastrophe. According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council (NDRC), if a nuclear disaster of a Fukushima magnitude were to strike Indian Point, it would necessitate the evacuation of at least 5.6 million people. In 2003, the existing evacuation plan for the area was deemed inadequate in a report by James Lee Witt, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

American officials have urged U.S. citizens to stay 50 miles away from the Fukushima plant. Such a 50-mile circle around IPEC would stretch past Kingston in Ulster County to the north, past Bayonne and Jersey City to the south, almost to New Haven, Connecticut, to the east, and into Pennsylvania to the west. It would include all of New York City except for Staten Island and all of Fairfield, Connecticut. “Many scholars have already argued that any evacuation plans shouldn’t be called plans, but rather ‘fantasy documents,’” Daniel Aldrich, a professor of political science at Purdue University, told the New York Times. 

Paul Blanch, a nuclear engineer who worked in the industry for 40 years as well as with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), thinks a worst-case accident at Indian Point could make the region, including parts of Connecticut, uninhabitable for generations.

According to a report from the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, there were 23 reported problems at the plant from its inception to 2005, including steam generator tube ruptures, reactor containment flooding, transformer fires, the failure of backup power for emergency sirens, and leaks of radioactive water laced with tritium. In the latest tritium leak, reported only last month, an outflow of the radioactive isotope from the plant has infused both local groundwater and the Hudson River. (Other U.S. nuclear plants have had their share of tritium leaks as well, including Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida where such a leak is at the moment threatening drinking water wells.)

Experts agree that although present levels of tritium in groundwater near the plant are “alarming,” the tritium in the river will not be considered harmful until it reaches a far greater concentration of 120,000 picocuries per liter of water. (A picocurie is a standard unit of measurement for radioactivity.) Tritium is the lightest radioactive substance to leak from Indian Point, but according to an assessment by the New York Department of State, other potentially more dangerous radioactive elements like strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63 are also escaping the plant and entering both the groundwater and the river.

Representatives of Entergy Corporation, which owns the Indian Point plant, report that they don’t know when the present leak began or what its source might be. “No one has made a statement as to when the leak started,” wrote Paul Blanch in an email to us. “It could have started two years ago.” Nor does anyone seem to know where the leak is, how much radioactive matter is leaking, or how it can be stopped. The longer the leak persists, the greater the likelihood of isotopes more potent than tritium contaminating local drinking water.

According to David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and once a trainer for NRC inspectors, the danger of flooding at the reactor should be an even greater focus of concern than radioactive substance outflows, since it could result in a reactor core meltdown. Yet despite repeated calls for Indian Point’s shutdown from the early 1970s on, it keeps operating.

On April 2, 2000, the NRC rated one of Indian Point’s two reactors the most troubled in the country, and it has been closed for lengthy periods because of system failures of various sorts. This, it turns out, is typical of Entergy-owned reactors. There were 10 “near-miss” incidents at U.S. nuclear reactors last year, a majority of them at three Entergy plants, according to a UCS report on nuclear plant safety. A near-miss incident is an event or condition that could increase the chance of reactor core damage by a factor of 10 or more.  In response, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must send an inspection team to investigate.

The number of such incidents has declined since UCS initiated its annual review in 2010, “overall, a positive trend,” according to report author Lochbaum. “Five years ago, there were nearly twice as many near misses. That said, the nuclear industry is only as good as its worst plant owner. The NRC needs to find out why Entergy plants are experiencing so many potentially serious problems.” Upstate New York’s Ginna plant, he adds, has been operating as long as Indian Point, but with only two “events” in its history. At Indian Point “there’s a major event every two to three years.”

What troubles Lochbaum more than anything else is Indian Point’s vulnerability to flooding. “There was a problem in May 2015 where a transformer exploded,” he told us. “There was an automatic fire sprinkler system installed to put this out. But it ended up flooding the building adjacent to where the explosion had taken place. Fortunately a worker noticed that an inch or two of water had accumulated. If the room had flooded up to five inches, all the power in the plant would have been lost. It would have plunged unit 3 into a ‘station blackout.’”

This might indeed have led to some kind of Fukushima-on-the-Hudson situation.  In Fukushima, after the earthquake wiped out the normal power supply and tsunami floodwaters took away the backup supply, workers were unable to get cooling water into the reactor cores and three of the plant’s six reactors melted down.

In 2007, when Indian Point’s plant owner applied to the NRC for a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license, it was found that a flood alarm could be installed in the room in question for about $200,000. As Lochbaum explains, “The owner determined it was cost-beneficial, that if they installed this flood alarm… it [would reduce] the risk of core meltdown by 20%, and [reduce] the amount of radiation that people on the plant could be exposed to by about 40%, at a cost of about two cents per person for the 20 million people living within 50 miles of the plant.” But nine years later, he told us, that flood alarm has still not been installed.

Potential Pipeline Explosions

As if none of this were enough, a new set of dangers to Indian Point have arisen in recent years due to a high-pressure natural gas pipeline currently being built by Spectra Energy. Dubbed the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline, it is to carry fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation underlying New York and adjacent states to the Canadian border.  At 42 inches in diameter, this pipeline is the biggest that can at present be built — and here’s the catch: AIM is slated to pass within 105 feet of the critical structures at the plant.

A former Spectra worker hired to help oversee safety during the pipeline’s construction told a reporter that the company had taken dangerous shortcuts in its rush to begin the project. He had witnessed, he said, “at least two dozen” serious safety violations and transgressions.

Taking shortcuts in pipeline construction could, in the end, prove a risky business. Pipeline ruptures are the commonest cause of gas explosions like the one that, in March 2014 in Manhattan’s East Harlem, killed eight, injured 70, and leveled two apartment buildings. Robert Miller, chairman of the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives,attributed the rising rates of such incidents in newly constructed pipelines to “poor construction practices or maybe not enough quality control, quality assurance programs out there to catch these problems before those pipelines go into service.”

In January 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board published a study documenting that gas accidents in “high-consequence” areas (where there are a lot of people and buildings) have been on the rise. With the New York metropolitan area so close to Indian Point, it seems odd indeed to independent experts that the nuclear plant with the sorriest safety history in the country has been judged safe enough for a high-pressure gas pipeline to be run right by it.

A hazards assessment replete with errors was the basis for the go-ahead. Richard B. Kuprewicz, a pipeline infrastructure expert and incident investigator with more than 40 years of energy industry experience, has called that risk assessment “seriously deficient and inadequate.”

At another nuclear plant subsequently shut down, as David Lochbaum points out, a rigorous risk analysis was conducted for possible explosions based on a worst-case scenario. (“I couldn’t think of any scenario that would be worse than what they presumed.”) At Indian Point, the risk analysis was, however, done on a best-case basis. Among other things, it assumed that any pipeline leak around the plant could be stopped in less than three minutes — an unlikelihood at best. “It’s night and day. They did a very conservative analysis for [the other plant] and a very cavalier best-case scenario for Indian Point… I don’t know why they opted for [this] drive-by analysis.”

Tombstone Regulation

Of all the contaminants released in this industrial world, radioactivity may, in a sense, be the least visible and least imaginable, even if the most potentially devastating, were something to go wrong. As a result, the dangers of the “peaceful” atom have often proved hard to absorb before disaster strikes — as at the Three Mile Island reactor near Middletown, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1979. Even when such a power plant sits near a highway or a community, it’s usually a reality to which people pay scant attention, in part because nuclear science is alien territory. This is why safety at nuclear power plants has been something citizens have relied on the government for.

The history of Indian Point, however, offers a grim reminder that the government agencies expected to protect citizens from disaster aren’t doing a particularly good job of it. Over the past several years, for instance, residents in the path of the AIM pipeline project have begunaccusing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of overwhelming bias in the industry’s favor. As FERC has a corner on oversight and approval of all pipeline construction, this is alarming. Its stamp of approval on a pipeline can only be contested via appeals that lead directly back to FERC itself, as the Natural Gas Act of 1938 gave the agency sole discretion over pipeline construction in the U.S.  Ever since then, its officials have approved pipelines of every sort almost without exception. Worse yet, at Indian Point, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission joined FERC in green-lighting AIM.

During the two-and-a-half-year period in which the pipeline was approved and construction began, the mainstream media virtually ignored the project and its potential dangers. Onlythis February, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been opposed to the relicensing of Indian Point, first raised concerns about the dangers of the pipeline, did theNew York Times, the paper of record for the New York metropolitan area, finally publish a piece on AIM.  So it fell to a grassroots movement of local activists to bring AIM’s dangers to public attention. Its growing resistance to a pipeline that could precipitate just about anything up to a Fukushima-on-the-Hudson-style event evidently led Governor Cuomo to urge FERC to postpone construction until a safety review could be completed, a request that the agency rejected. In February, alarmed by reports of tritium leaking from the plant, the governor also directed the state’s departments of environmental conservation and health to investigate the likely duration and consequences of such a leak and its potential impacts on public health.

According to Paul Blanch, the risk of a pipeline explosion in proximity to Indian Point is one in 1,000, odds he believes are too high given what’s potentially at stake. (He considers a one-in-a-million chance acceptable.) “I’ve had over 45 years of nuclear experience and [experience in] safety issues. I have never seen [a situation] that essentially puts 20 million residents at risk, plus the entire economics of the United States by making a large area surrounding Indian Point uninhabitable for generations. I’m not an alarmist and haven’t been known as an alarmist, but the possibility of a gas line interacting with a plant could easily cause a Fukushima type of release.”

According to Blanch, attempts to regulate nuclear plants after a Fukushima- or Chernobyl-type catastrophe are known in the trade as “tombstone regulation.” Nobody, of course, should ever want to experience such a situation on the Hudson, or have America’s own mini-Hiroshima seven decades late, or find literal tombstones cropping up in the New York metropolitan area due to a nuclear disaster. One hope for preventing all of this and ensuring protection for New York’s citizenry: the continuing growth of impressive citizen pressure and increasing public alarm around both the pipeline and Indian Point. It gives new meaning to the phrase “power to the people.”

Click here to read Tom’s response.

ALERT: Emergency at US nuclear plant after “massive” fire and multiple explosions

March 9, 2016

ENENews


ALERT: Emergency at US nuclear plant after “massive” fire and multiple explosions — “All of a sudden we heard this loud boom and the whole ground started shaking” — “Intense Flames… Heavy Black Smoke… Chaos” — 100s of fire personnel called in — “We ask that the public stay away from the area” (VIDEOS)

Posted: 08 Mar 2016 03:48 PM PST

“Uncontrollable radioactive flow” coming from nuclear plant near NYC — Actual releases are “trillions of times” higher

March 2, 2016

ENENews


“Uncontrollable radioactive flow” coming from nuclear plant near NYC — Actual releases are “trillions of times” higher than reported during latest leak — Cracks in multiple spent fuel pools — Intense investigation underway to see if it can be stopped (VIDEO)

Posted: 01 Mar 2016 09:02 AM PST

U.S. military kept nuclear weapons on Okinawa prior to 1972: Pentagon

February 20, 2016

U.S. military kept nuclear weapons on Okinawa prior to 1972: PentagonThe U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Base in Ginowan, OkinawaAFP

WASHINGTON —

The U.S. government has declassified the fact it held nuclear weapons on Okinawa in Japan during the Cold War, though the matter had long been an open secret.

A Department of Defense website states the Pentagon has declassified “the fact that U.S. nuclear weapons were deployed on Okinawa prior to Okinawa’s reversion to Japan on May 15, 1972.”

The National Security Archive at George Washington University welcomed the disclosure, but pointed to U.S. Air Force photos depicting nuclear weapons on the island that have been publicly available for more than 25 years.

“However welcome the release may be, its significance is somewhat tempered by (that) astonishing fact,” the non-governmental research group said in a statement Friday.

The group added that the U.S. government had wasted an “inordinate” amount of time and resources by delaying the declassification.

Japan is the only nation to have been attacked with nuclear weapons. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing more than 210,000 people and leading to Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Japan has since campaigned to abolish the weapons. Former prime minister Eisaku Sato won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his “three principles”—that Japan will not possess, produce or allow nuclear weapons on its soil.

Okinawa remained under U.S. control until 1972, and many parts of the archipelago are still used for U.S. bases.

© 2016 AFP

ENENews TV: Radiation leak reported at US nuclear plant — “Alarming levels of radioactivity” — 65,000% above normal

February 8, 2016

ENENews


TV: Radiation leak reported at US nuclear plant — “Alarming levels of radioactivity” — 65,000% above normal — Governor: “I am deeply concerned… Significant failure” — Officials worried about health of public — Extent and duration of release ‘unclear’ — Radiation experts being sent in (VIDEOS)

Posted: 07 Feb 2016 04:44 AM PST

Bizarre mutated animal found near US nuclear site

January 20, 2016

ENENews


 — CNN: It can only be described as monstrous — Fully-formed teeth and extra jaw growing out of head — Scientists “mystified… stunned… puzzled” by extremely rare deformity — Official: “We haven’t seen anything like this” (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

Posted: 19 Jan 2016 03:52 PM PST

Dirty Bomb Named West Lake in St. Louis Courtesy of EPA, DOE, Republic Services, Bill Gates, Exelon & President Obama

December 13, 2015

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The 11th hour has arrived on this disaster in the making, but President Obama’s alleged conflict of interest has protected Republic Services and Exelon.

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SOURCENationofChange

St. Louis is sitting on top of a ticking ‘dirty bomb’—hidden in plain sight, which if ignited could result in a nuclear event rivaling Fukushima.  This dirty bomb is not the work of ISIS, Hezbollah or any alleged ‘homegrown terrorists.’  The sponsors of this dirty bomb have never been cited on any DOD or NSA terrorist watch list, nor have they been treated to a CIA dark prison site, or the Hell that is Guantanamo.

In fact, the parties with both direct and indirect financial interests in this dirty bomb are linked to multiple presidential administrations (from FDR to the present Obama administration), and two Wall Street Fortune 500 corporations—nuclear giant Exelon Corporation and Bill Gates’ latest stock conquest, Republic Services, Inc. More importantly; this environmental crime has been perpetrated and supported by the very Superfund law allegedly written to protect all of us.

This ‘mother’ of all dirty bombs has a name—West Lake.

West Lake is a living metaphor for the extreme corruption in the present political system that places corporate ‘proprietary rights’ above public health and safety– to the point of lunacy.

West Lake disaster— nuclear waste dump meets underground landfill fire…
This is a tale of two—landfills. West Lake landfill is brimming chockfull with illegally dumped nuclear waste, while the second landfill—ie. the Bridgeton landfill has an underground fire which has been raging for some five years.  They are separated by roughly 1000 feet of ground—and a chain-link fence.  More to come on the ‘care and grooming’ of this homegrown mega ‘dirty bomb.’

Both are owned by Republic Services, Inc., but longtime Obama ally, nuclear giant Exelon Corporation shares ‘pollution liability’ which it voluntarily incurred in a corporate restructuring.

West Lake was made a Superfund Site in 1990.  According to the Superfund law the …”potentially responsible parties” are the now defunct Cotter Corp. (a General Atomics affiliate), Republic Services subsidiaries (Bridgeton Landfill LLC), Rock Road Industries LLC, the U.S. Department of Energy and nuclear power giant Exelon Corp.  Exelon acquired Cotter and maintained ownership from 1974 to 2000, and agreed to maintain ‘pollution liability’ from claims coming from any past actions by Cotter—including West Lake.

The West Lake landfill is an unlined pit filled with the oldest nuclear waste in the country, dating back to WWII and the Manhattan Project, courtesy of Mallinckrodt Chemical Corp.   Originally this ‘ nuclear waste had been secretly transported and dumped throughout the St. Louis region by Mallinckrodt with the blessing of the now defunct federal Atomic Energy Commission; (the predecessor of the Department of Energy or DOE).

None of the laborers and truck drivers in past decades knew the risk they accepted as they packed barrel drums full of nuclear waste using no tools other than shovels and their bare hands.  These laborers and truck drivers hauling the nuclear waste around town, dragging nuclear dust home on their shoes and dungarees, were guinea pigs sacrificed on the altars of ‘national security,’ and ‘corporate personhood.’

Historic record of negligence at both sites…

Dating back to the 1980’s serious problems emerged with West Lake as documented by the Mo. Department of Natural Resources; the same state agency now turning a blind eye on the alleged criminal negligence of Republic Services.  Among various violations; nuclear waste was initially left on the landfill surface with no top cover, and exposed to erosion in an area which has experienced decades of multiple tornadoes, as St. Louis is part of ‘tornado alley.’  Some of the waste was shallowly buried.  West Lake has no lining between the nuclear waste and any groundwater in the Coldwater Creek floodplain of the Missouri River.

The adjacent Bridgeton Landfill doesn’t appear to be benign either.  The local NBC affiliate reported in 2014 that the Bridgeton Landfill site has been releasing gases into our air which contain toxic chemicals, including benzene gas, a proven carcinogen.

2010…the ‘subsurface smoldering event’ burns out of control…

In 2010, the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill developed an underground landfill fire which has raged out of control to the present day.  Republic Services insists that there is no landfill fire, but merely a …’smoldering chemical event,’ or a ‘subsurface smoldering event’.

The utter stupidity of Republic’s semantic hair splitting speaks for itself.

While Republic Services was arguing the difference between a ‘smoldering event’ and a fire; local residents in Bridgeton, Mo. were living with foul odors so noxious they rendered outdoor activities impossible.

So far no one at Republic Services has admitted any liability regarding this ‘subsurface smoldering event’.   Though presently unable to verify the cause of this underground landfill fire (which has been raging over 5 years to date); the most common cause remains the actual ‘gas collection systems’ ironically used to remediate such fires.  When gas collection systems (such as the ‘gas extraction wells used at Republic’s Bridgeton Landfill); withdraw an overabundance of landfill gas—a subsurface smoldering event, or underground landfill fire occurs. (see p. 5 of report).

These underground gas collection systems for harvesting landfill gas are germane to this article as they bring into question a new program namely ‘landfill gas to energy’ spearheaded by Republic’s majority stockholder, Bill Gates.  Landfill gas to energy programs are being touted as safe, clean and user friendly.

In 2014 Gates purchased some 42 million dollars worth of Republic Services; making him the largest stockholder at some 91 million shares.  Gates also has one of the largest slices of potential civil and criminal liability, if this situation remains unresolved.

As Republic Services continued to stonewall any independent investigation; their ‘smoldering event’ at the Bridgeton Landfill was progressing closer to the raw buried nuclear waste in the adjacent West Lake Landfill approximately 1000 feet away.

The Dirty Bomb scenario…a Goliath over entire Midwest…

Citizen groups have argued that if the underground smoldering event/fire comes into direct contact with the dumped nuclear waste at the unlined West Lake site; the release of toxins and carcinogens would go airborne in a goliath nuclear plume, and create the mother of all dirty bombs.

Depending on prevailing winds at the time of a nuclear release event at West Lake; the entire St .Louis Metropolitan area of some 3 million people, could be impacted.  Additional contamination could spread far beyond St. Louis and possibly poison the entire Midwest United States in the form of nuclear airborne particulates.  Local groups have conducted independent assessments outside the perimeter of the two landfills.  A state consultant went on record reporting to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Bridgeton Landfill fire is spreading north towards the nuclear waste.

Further complicating this situation is the possibility of drinking water contamination, as West Lake sits on top of the Cold Water Creek floodplain.  Geologic chemist Dr. Robert Criss, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis…”determined that groundwater in St. Louis County had come into contact with radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.”

Geology experts have estimated that this nuclear ‘event’ could occur within weeks or months.  No one knows for sure, as both Republic Services and Exelon have been allowed to conduct and control the assessment process, with the blessing of Obama’s EPA.  Soil samples independently collected outside the perimeter of the West Lake Landfill have confirmed the presence of the following radioactive substances :  actinium 227, radium 226,224,223, thorium 232,230 and uranium 235,238,234.

Residents hired independent testing…

Community groups hired a Massachusetts lab to further analyze soil samples taken near the landfills.  Since residents weren’t allowed on either property; these families took soil from their kids nearby abandoned baseball field.  The lab found elevated levels of a type of radioactive lead which can develop from decaying radon or uranium particulate matter.

The EPA under Obama wouldn’t let these outside assessments stand, so they  conducted ‘follow-up’ assessment and concluded that …”nothing was out of the ordinary.

Republic Services attorneys were satisfied with the EPA results.

EPA enters the scene with phony study…protecting Republic

Once again EPA under Gina McCarthy enters the argument armed with a new assessment published October 16th, 2015.  Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; a Health Consultation was presented to the public.  The ‘Statement of Issues’ clearly explains the reason for the ‘health consultation.’

”On February 18,2014, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) received a request for assistance from the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region VII office in Lenexa, Kansas.  The USEPA requested that ATSDR review sampling data collected on and around West Lake Landfill National Priorities Site, Bridgeton, Missouri.  In 1973, the West Lake Landfill received radioactive wastes.  The data ATSDR received include radiological results from testing groundwater and air collected in the area as well as historical data of soils contaminated with radioactive wastes.  Much of these data were collected during the Remedial Investigation (RI) as reported in 2000.” (Source :  Health Consultation by Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.)

Based on this report; the EPA stated to the press and community that there was no clear and present danger. The EPA spokesperson Curtis Carey stated that they found no evidence of radioactive material migration off the West Lake Landfill. To quote Carey…”we will know if there’s any indication that there’s a change in situation there, and we’ll let the public know through local emergency managers.”

It should be noted that the report cautioned workers at the landfill site against inhaling radioactive dust and radon gas.

The EPA based this determination on the review of old data solely. No mention of new data was considered. Since the report failed to review or consider any data after 2000, new data on the underground fire which began in 2010 did not enter into the equation. No review of new data post-2010, and no problem for Republic Services.

The magical fence…

The only protective barrier which separates the nuclear dump at West Lake and the toxins coming from the Bridgeton landfill—is a chain-link fence peppered with signs. Residents sarcastically refer to it as the ‘magical fence.’

Community wants EPA removed and Army Corp of Engineers to take over…

West Lake Landfill was designated as a Superfund Site by the EPA in 1990.

The West Lake landfill is also the…”only site in the county contaminated with nuclear waste that is not under the control of FUSRAP. The radioactive waste in Bridgeton came from a place that is now a FUSRAP site.”

EPA has maintained this Superfund classification for 25 years with little action.  In 2008 a ROD or (Record of Decision) was filed which recommended a ‘cap and cover’ procedure to ‘fix’ the problem.   The ‘cap’ would consist of rock, clay and soil.

A description of the summarized procedure is quoted below from the EPA document of the ROD or Record of Decision.

”12.2 Description of the Selected Remedy The major components of the Selected Remedy for OU 1 are as follows:

• Installation of landfill cover meeting the Missouri closure and post-closure care requirements for sanitary landfills including enhancements consistent with the standards for uranium mill tailing sites, i.e., armoring layer and radon barrier

• Consolidation of radiologically contaminated surface soil from the Buffer Zone/Crossroad Property to the containment area

• Application of groundwater monitoring and protection standards consistent with requirements for uranium mill tailing sites and sanitary landfills

• Surface water runoff control

• Gas monitoring and control, including radon and decomposition gas, as necessary

• Institutional controls to prevent land and resource uses that are inconsistent with a closed sanitary landfill site containing long-lived radionuclides

• Long-term surveillance and maintenance of the remedy (p.42.)

Notice how there is no mention of the inconvenient fact that these sites are situated on a massive flood plain.  Surface water runoff control is akin to placing a ‘band-aid on a cancer.’

The community refused to comply with the 2008 ROD, stating the useless nature of EPA’s ‘cap & cover’ strategy, and EPA backed down.

Subsequently, multiple communities in the St. Louis area want the Bridgeton landfill fire extinguished, or at least kept from direct contact with the nuclear waste.  Additionally they want any nuclear waste removed from the floodplain at the West Lake landfill site.  They have no trust in the EPA’s tepid responses and are demanding that any cleanup of these two landfills be transferred from the EPA to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP Division.

A bipartisan Missouri Congressional delegation sent a letter to the EPA dated February 28, 2014 explaining how they…”believe that the Agency should work with the Army Corps of Engineers and its Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) operations in the St. Louis area.”  The delegation requested that …”that the EPA consider contracting directly with the Corps to handle any and all remediation needed…[and] to determine the appropriate long-term remediation.”

(Source :  Letter from US Senator Claire McCaskill, US Senator Roy Blunt, US Congress Member Wm. Lacy Clay, and US Member Ann Wagner to EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks, dated February 28, 2014)

EPA denies transfer…reason benefits Republic Services and Exelon…

The EPA has refused to relinquish jurisdictional control on multiple occasions, leaving the community confused.  EPA stonewalling on this transfer of responsibility is not arbitrary, but an artifact of corporate governance and faux ‘rule of law.’  As noted in an editorial published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch…”under the EPA’s Superfund program, the financially responsible parties are largely in charge of site studies and of the final recommendation.  If they disagree with the EPA’s remedy or consider the cost unreasonable—and not surprisingly, they often do—they can sue to keep from cleaning up the site.

Furthermore, the editorial explained ”why the Corps of Engineers is as better idea: [Army Corps] doesn’t have to ask the companies that will pay for a cleanup if a site needs it.  If the corps determines that the site needs cleaning, it does it and then negotiates for payment with the parties responsible for the environmental hazard.”

Nuclear waste expert Robert Alvarez agrees with the editorial explaining that…”the EPA is unable to take an aggressive stand on removing the nuclear waste, because it lacks the regulatory authority to take action without drawing a lawsuit from the responsible parties.”  Alvarez adds that the Army Corps of Engineers …”could order the removal without getting entangled in a lawsuit that could ‘drag on for years.’”

Alvarez served in the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration.

Notice the part stating that under Superfund, financially responsible parties, namely the polluters—control site studies.  Controlling assessment allows the alleged defendants to limit study or assessment scope—thus limiting civil and criminal liability.  It’s akin to allowing a man accused of genocide the right to control all aspects of the criminal investigation including any evidence. This aspect of Superfund law renders the EPA impotent, even as an investigatory agency.

Political issues behind alleged environmental negligence…

By now it has become patently clear that the very federal and state agencies tasked with ensuring public health and safety are either incompetent or criminally compromised.  Both executive officers, namely President Obama and Mo. Governor Jay Nixon refuse to cede to public demands for removal of the nuclear waste, and effective management of the underground landfill fire.

These same agencies (EPA, DOE and MO/DNR) have refused to consider allowing any independent assessment of the two landfills, but have deferred to the corporate authority of Republic Services, Inc. and Exelon Corp, and their army of  corporate attorneys.  Additionally, EPA authority is subservient to corporate demands.  The public has been locked out of the assessment and decision making process, with the exception of occasional meetings established by an EPA administered committee.  No evacuation and buyout plan has been offered.  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger proposed a ‘shelter-in-place’ plan in the event of a nuclear disaster.

Republic Services attorney would strip victims of their right to sue…

Here in Missouri, like in DC; a conflict of interest is treated like a charming idiosyncrasy as opposed to the political ‘entry drug’ of choice for overt criminality.  Missouri Senator Kurt Schaefer, a partner in the legal firm representing Republic Services, has added a dirty little amendment to a senate bill that purports to ‘clean up’ St. Louis neighborhoods.  The ‘Schaefer Amendment’ grants protection against …”certain claims against abandoned or damaged properties if the property was in ‘good faith compliance’ with an order issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the office of the attorney general.”  Both public groups and local media have linked the Schaefer Amendment to an attempt to shield Republic Services from …”lawsuits by citizens.”

Mo. Governor Jay Nixon ignores West Lake while pushing football stadium…

While public groups have demanded that the Mo. Governor issue an official ‘State of Emergency,’ which would bring federal dollars and assistance; Mo. Governor  Jay Nixon slaves for a new NFL football stadium funded with 1 billion public tax dollars.

The vapid nature of Governor Jay Nixon’s administration has been characterized by this Herculean effort to keep the NFL Rams football team here, sparing no expense.  Governor Nixon has a task force working feverishly to save—NFL football.  The Mo. Governor’s staunch refusal to issue a ‘State of Emergency’ has confused the public.  In fact, this entire case constitutes incompetence on a scale not seen since Nero fiddled—while Rome burned.
Incompetent handling or strategic delays…

In these days of what can only be called out as thinly cloaked corporate governance; distinct motives behind inordinate delays and incomplete studies are difficult to ferret out.  Why is the EPA commissioning incomplete studies pre-ordained to manufacture the ‘conclusions’ desired by Republic Services and Exelon Corporation?  Why is Mo. Governor Jay Nixon turning a deaf ear on a critically dangerous situation?  Why are Republic Services Inc, and Exelon Corporation allowed to control any assessment and reporting?  Evidence points to undue corporate access and influence peddling rivaling any banana republic.

Obama’s billionaires—major stockholder in Republic Services-Bill Gates…

Once again we see how access to the White House has led to preferential treatment.  Bill Gates bought majority stock in Republic Services in 2014.

Since then Gates has become a one-stop shop for corporate influence peddling on new energy technologies.  He has the president’s ear.  Lately Gates has been bullish on what he terms…’nuclear recycling’ and is pushing for ‘Manhattan Project ‘federal funding.  To quote Gates …

…”Among the technology Mr Gates said was the most promising was “nuclear recycling”, where he has invested several hundred million dollars. His biggest single commitment was in a US-based company called TerraPower.”

Arguing that solar is impractical, Gates explains that…

“Solar is only during the day, solar only works best in places where it’s warm. We don’t have perfect grids. We don’t have storage”
– Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft

Gates adds that…

“Nuclear technology today is failing on cost, safety, proliferation, waste and fuel shortage, and so any technology that comes in has to have some answer to all of those things.” TerraPower’s reactors would be powered not by enriched uranium, used by traditional reactors, but by depleted uranium, the waste from today’s plants.”

While this plan sounds interesting; it seems like the nuclear waste Fukushima type event looming over St. Louis would be an unforeseen circumstance he would like ‘swept under the rug.’  Ironically, Gates was explaining how ‘renewables’ should be funded by the government in the billions—like the Manhattan Project.  Ironically, the Manhattan Project is exactly how St. Louis found itself surrounded by its own dirty bomb, just waiting to explode.

Just a few weeks ago, Bill Gates stood side by side with Obama administration officials to announce a multi-billion dollar initiative claiming to accelerate ‘clean energy’ research and development.  This plan is one front of a global war on climate change; intended to spearhead movement at the Paris Greenhouse Gas Emissions Summit.   To quote the Wall Street Journal the …”president and Mr. Gates will join with other heads of state and investors to detail complementary public and private commitments to clean-energy innovation.”

Now while I support ‘clean-energy’ innovation; I don’t recall ever electing Bill Gates to anything.  I realize Gates is one of ‘Obama’s Billionaires’ but this looks like they are co-presidents—with a very small ‘p’.  It would be preferred by the little people in St. Louis—that Mr. Gates takes care of his nuclear mess here—before lecturing the rest of the world.  We are sitting on top of a virtual ‘dirty bomb’—and Bill Gates gets to play president.

Exelon…

President Obama has long deep ties to Chicago based Exelon Corporation.   Exelon as it is now known was brokered in a merger of two utilities in 2000.  The investment banker whobrokered the deal was none other than President Obama’s first term chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who was then working for Wasserstein Perella & Co.

In 2012, a year before the Fukushima nuclear disaster; President Obama authorized $8bn in loan guarantees for the construction of two new nuclear power plants in Waynesboro, Georgia at the Vogtle power plant.  These loan guarantees pushed ahead against the objection of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair, Gregory Jaczko.  To quote Jaczko; …”I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima never happened.”

Exelon lobbyists challenge post-Fukushima safety recommendations…

The Center for Responsive Politics has documented that Exelon Corporation has spent $34.6 million on lobbying.  Exelon has also received direct access to the Obama administration at a level which would make RICO racketeers blush.  The New York Times published an expose in August 2012, which documented how Exelon exerted undue influence on Obama administration environmental policies.  This included delaying and eventually weakening a proposed EPA rule designed to prevent power plant water intake systems from exterminating nearby aquatic life.

Exelon also joined forces with industry trade association Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and other unidentified nuclear power plant owners to crush any post-Fukushima regulations recommended by the NRC.  More specifically, they lobbied against a proposed requirement mandating the installation of filters on hardened vents at some 31 boiling water reactors.  These filtered vents are designed to prevent radiation discharges into the environment during a malfunction.  Filtered vents are required in Japan and most of the EU.  NRC technical staff provided evidence citing filtered vents as a cost-effective measure which would protect communities near nuclear reactors.

In 2013 over 50 members of Congress sent letters to the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) demanding commissioners reject ‘filtered vents’.  They also wanted a prolonged delay on any other post-Fukushima reforms.  Two of the letters had signatures from House members (21 Republicans and 26 Democrats). It should be noted that since 2008 ‘contributed’ over $3.32 million to 41 of the 47 signatories on these letters.  Exelon provided approximately 30 percent of these contributions.

Industry coffers prevailed and the NRC ordered owners of the 31 reactors in question to upgrade hardened vents, but failed to require filters.  Furthermore, the NRC created a two year period to review all alleged options for the reduction of radiation releases, after which it will open the proposed rule to public comment.  The final version won’t come due until 2017.

Secret nuclear summit with Third Way and Obama…

Fast-forward to 2015 and we find President Obama comfortably ensconced with Wall Street funded ‘think-tank’ representatives from ‘Third Way’ at a secret ‘White House Summit on Nuclear Energy.’

This summit was solely organized and attended by nuclear industry insiders. White House Senior Policy Advisor Jason Walsh personally thanked ‘Third Way’ for…”…being really valuable partners in helping us think through this event and also design the agenda…John Cowan, President of ‘Third Way’ will be moderating the third panel.”

Also in attendance was the CEO of Dominion Generation Group, David Christian.  Christian spoke to the …”low cost”, “clean” nature of nuclear energy.  He then spoke about Dominion’s relicensing application made that same day, for the Dominion Surry nuclear plant, and the plan to extend its operating life to 80 years; (which is double the original design life.)  According to the Fairewinds group; …”Nuke risk analysts and experts have long suspected that the nuke industry and its alleged regulator the NRC were developing new plans behind closed doors to double the lifespan of these aging, leaking, and outdated atomic reactors.”  …”Many of these aging atomic reactors predate computer design programs when they were designed back in the 1960s on mathematical slide rules.”

The Dominion proposal submitted the day of this secret summit with industry insiders is the first in the entire industry.

Part of this summit relies on President Obama’s love affair with SMR’s aka, Small Modular Reactors, whose placement is—underground.   The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy has announced plans to spend $425-million…”…over five years to support first-of-a-kind costs associated with certification and licensing activities for small modular reactors (SMRs)through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Chances are the Obama administration doesn’t want to attract any attention to problems associated with underground placement of nuclear reactors or fissionable materials.  West Lake publicity becomes politically inconvenient.

Conclusion:

Any sitting president can order independent assessment and the jurisdictional transfer the St. Louis community requested.  Furthermore, elected officials had to know of the EPA Superfund rule which allows alleged polluters the right to challenge any EPA requests via SLAPP lawsuits of questionable legitimacy, and also allows corporate polluters the right to control the assessment process and any subsequent ‘site studies.’  Hello fox, meet henhouse.

If our elected officials had informed the public about the joke that is EPA Superfund regulation; we could have fought to demand transfer of these sites to the US Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP division—years ago.  Instead, elected officials wrote polite letters to EPA asking for a transfer of authority, knowing that this was an exercise in futility.

Ð Obama’s silence on this disaster speaks volumes.

The people of St. Louis suffering through this environmental crime are viewed by corporate and federal officials as politically acceptable ‘collateral damage.’  It takes no imagination to realize that corporate SLAPP suits against the EPA are designed to wait out the clock as damaged parties die off, waiting for their ‘day in court.’

Those who deny that political access leads to criminal interference– are leading with a specious and inane argument.  Though a political conflict of interest may not be technically criminal; it certainly is unethical.  The evidence of preferential treatment which is the by-product of unparalleled access to the White House, has resulted in a jerry rigging of law engineered to retrofit the needs of corporate interests above public safety.  Such unfettered access has created a class of self-appointed monarchs who treat the law as a joke—and the disaster of West Lake is the smoking gun.


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