Archive for the ‘Nuclear Crisis’ Category

NRC: We’re Keeping Fukushima-Style Nuclear Reactors Going

January 24, 2015
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Federal agency rejects appeal by watchdog group to suspend operations at reactors identical to those at disaster-stricken reactors in Japan.

An anti-nuclear demonstration in 2012.  (Photo:  Energ Justice Actions/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected an appeal to halt operations at the nearly two dozen reactors in the nation that have the same containment system as those at the ill-fated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

The decision was posted (pdf) in the Federal Register on Friday.

Watchdog group Beyond Nuclear filed the appeal in April, 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, charging that the then-21 Mark 1 design General Electric Boiling Water Reactors were “accidents waiting to happen.”

The filing (pdf) sought emergency enforcement action to protect the public from the “unreliability of [the design’s] containment system to mitigate a severe accident and the lack of emergency power systems to cool high density storage pools each containing hundreds of tons thermally hot and extremely radioactive used reactor fuel assemblies located atop the reactor building s and outside a rated containment.”

The suspension is necessary “in response to the dramatic and ongoing failure of similarly designed and constructed GE Boiling Water Reactors systems, structures and components at one or more units at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan,” the group wrote.

In response to the decision posted Friday, Beyond Nuclear stated that though it acknowledges that “a portion of the actions that we requested in April 2011 have been taken at some of these reactors,” it says it rejects the NRC decision that the issues raised have been resolved.

Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear and the person who initiated and submitted the petition, called the efforts taken so far to address the issues are “inadequate half measures that need not be fully implemented for years to come, if ever.”

“In critical safety areas for the Mark I containment vulnerability, the proposed corrective actions credited in the [NR] Director’s Decision are not even conceptually finalized or approved by the regulator. Moreover, there are significant agency staff non-concurrences on how to proceed with post-Fukushima action plans,” Gunter concluded.

Jim Riccio, Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst, wrote last month that “despite the efforts of green groups to ensure that the lessons of Fukushima have been learned by the nuclear industry and their regulators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is backing off post Fukushima fixes at reactors around the country due to fear that added regulatory costs would topple more nuclear plants.”

Beyond Nuclear adds that its continued concerns are based in part on a “nuclear industry that first considers its financial margins over public safety margins.”

“Our common struggle for real public safety, environmental protection and energy independence remains to permanently closing down an inherently dangerous atomic power industry.” it states.

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North Korea offers to cancel nuclear tests, U.S. uninterested

January 22, 2015

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Charlie Hebdo & Nuke Reactor Terror

January 14, 2015

http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/13/charlie-hebdo-global-nuclear-disaster/     Terror Attack on Charlie Hebdo Ignites Fear of Global Nuclear Disaster

Harvey Wasserman | January 13, 2015 9:10 am | Comments

The powerful global response to the terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo must now face a terrifying reality: It’s a horrible thing when an organ of free speech is assaulted and journalists die.

It will be an apocalyptic thing when it happens to an atomic reactor and whole continents are irradiated, with children first to suffer, a death toll in the millions and eco-economic impacts beyond calculation…..

Read the rest at Ecowatch.com

Terror Attack on Charlie Hebdo Ignites Fear of Global Nuclear Disaster – EcoWatch

January 13, 2015
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/13/2015 at 08:48:48

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Reprinted from ecowatch.com

The powerful global response to the terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo must now face a terrifying reality: It’s a horrible thing when an organ of free speech is assaulted and journalists die.

It will be an apocalyptic thing when it happens to an atomic reactor and whole continents are irradiated, with children first to suffer, a death toll in the millions and eco-economic impacts beyond calculation.

For decades our global security apparatus and its attendant media mavens have pretended that the radioactive elephant in the room of global terror does not exist. But after Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, 9/11, Charlie Hebdo and so much more, a terrible reality has become all too clear.

We have seen four American-designed reactors explode and three melt at a single Japanese site. A severely escalated thyroid cancer rate has followed, with more health disasters yet to come. Some two dozen sibling GE reactors currently operate in the U.S.

We have seen an entire continent–and more–irradiated by Chernobyl, with at least one major study calculating well over a million downwind deaths. Chernobyl-style reactors still operate in Europe.

We have seen a U.S. reactor rocked by a 1979 hydrogen explosion and melt-down (repeatedly denied by its owners) that poured still-unknown quantities of radiation into the Pennsylvania countryside.


Slain cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were allies of anti-nuclear movement. Here’s a cover from the September-October 2012 issue of Charlie Hebdo.
(image by Charlie Hebdo)

Today, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission is poised to force ratepayers to subsidize the fault-riddled Davis-Besse nuke–a Three Mile Island clone–with millions of gouged dollars to keep it running despite profound vulnerability to its own advanced deterioration and the absolute impossibility of protecting it from a possible terror attack.

It has long been established that the accused 9/11 attackers contemplated hitting the reactors at Indian Point, 35 miles up the Hudson from Manhattan.

Neither U.S. military nor local police forces could not have stopped such an attack, which could have poisoned millions of people in the American northeast and gutted the entire U.S. ecology and economy.

Worldwide there are more than 430 commercial reactors still operating. There are more than 50 in France, just under 100 in the U.S.

Not one of them can be effectively guarded against a concerted terror attack. Each could spew massive radiation releases and do untold damage to the human race, the planetary ecology, the global economy.

Every serious student of terrorism knows that such an attack is merely a matter of time. Every serious expert on atomic reactors knows the potential human costs simply cannot be calculated.

It’s impossible for a sane world to comprehend why someone would want to attack one of these reactors.

But it’s impossible to deny that there are probably those right now contemplating how to do just that.

Perfectly protecting these reactors is impossible. But their owners are almost entirely shielded from liability from the consequences of such an attack.

And the fallout would utterly dwarf any other catastrophe the world has yet seen.

We now have the ability to replace all these reactors with renewable sources and added efficiencies that are cheaper, cleaner, more reliable and–above all–safer than atomic reactors.

No city will be irradiated by an attack on a wind farm. No downwind children will die from a terrorist machine-gunning at a solar facility.

All across the world, from Illinois and Ohio to France and Japan, corrupt corporate reactor owners demand public subsidies to keep these obsolete, non-competitive, supremely dangerous machines in operation.

But in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and of so much else we now know about today’s world, there’s no excuse for running these reactors–anywhere.

Why must we wait for the inevitable disaster to occur, and for the talking heads to then tell us that such insanity “could not have been predicted?” And that there is “nothing to worry about?”

Charlie Hebdo was an anti-nuclear publication. Its cartoons repeatedly lampooned the horrible dangers of this insane technology.

Its warnings now bear an added dimension, far deeper than the atomic industry–or the world’s leaders–seem willing to face.

As millions march in fear and mourning, will we now ignore Charlie twice? Are you willing to pay the next radioactive price?

Or will you act, and shut them all down?

 

Harvey Wasserman edits  www.nukefree.org . His SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at  www.solartopia.org . The Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show airs at www.progressiveradionetwork.com .
HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is available athttp://www.harveywasserman.com/, as is A GLIMPSE OF THE BIG LIGHT and clues to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.

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As Nuclear War Danger Grows, NYC Conference Set For Feb. 28

December 21, 2014
General News 12/20/2014 at 12:54:47

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The growing threat of planet-wide nuclear extinction will bring some of the world’s leading scholars and activists to New York City for a two-day symposium Feb. 28-March 1, 2015.
This conference will be held at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave., N.Y., NY, sponsored by The Helen Caldicott Foundation. The press is invited.[tag]

From flickr.com/photos/52996534@N00/3856834913/: Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud
Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud
(image by andy z)
Dr. Caldicott is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, and nuclear weapons. She has been awarded 21 honorary doctoral degrees and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling.
This symposium will be unique, linking the existential threat of Artificial Super Intelligence(ASI) with the current existential threat of nuclear war. It will examine a future in which intelligent machines could launch a nuclear war with no human input.
This threat is compounded as the escalating crisis in the Ukraine has significantly increased nuclear risk. According to Dr. Caldicott: “As the Cold War heats up again, the U.S. and Russia each maintain over one thousand nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert to be launched with a press of a button, increasing the risk of a global conflagration.”
“Between them,” she goes on to say, “the U.S. and Russia possess 93% of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons arsenal, a situation which is made worse by outdated equipment, negligence, poor maintenance, viruses, and hacking within the arsenals of both countries.”
Far from his past disarmament promises, “President Obama plans to earmark $1 trillion over the next 30 years to replace every nuclear weapon, missile, ship, submarine and plane.”
Among the Conference discussion topics are:
*How many times have we come close to nuclear war with Russia? What are the precipitating human and technological factors?
* What are the medical and environmental consequences of a limited or major nuclear war?
* How can we cure the present political pathology leading the world to the brink of nuclear war?
February 28, 2015
Session One
* Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control,” who will discuss multiple nuclear accidents and near misses.
* Seth Baum, co-founder of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, will discuss the catastrophic risk of nuclear war.
* Max Tegmark, professor of physics at MIT, a Swedish-American cosmologist, will discuss the threat of artificial intelligence and of computers launching a nuclear war with no human input.
Session Two
* Hans Kristensen, of Silver Spring, Md., Director of the Nuclear Information Project of the Federation of American Scientists, will address the current size of nuclear arsenals.
* Bill Hartung, Center for International Policy of Washington, D.C., will discuss the inordinate power of the U.S. military-industrial complex.
* Greg Mello, Secretary and Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group, Albuquerque, N.M., will discuss the role and funding of the nuclear weapons laboratories.
* John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute of Policy Studies, Washington, D.C., will compare military expenditures with global warming outlays.
* Bruce Gagnon, co-ordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, will speak on the dangerous, ongoing militarization of space.
Session Three
* Bob Alvarez, Senior Scholar for Nuclear Policy at the Institute of Policy Studies, Washington, D.C., will discuss lateral proliferation and describe how a small nuclear exchange could trigger a global holocaust.
March 1, 2015
Session Four
* Holly Barker, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, will discuss teratogenic and genetic pathology (congenital malformations) from U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.
* Alan Robock, Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., will outline his pioneering work on Nuclear Autumn and Nuclear Winter.
* Lynn Eden, author of “Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Devastation” (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs), will discuss an issue the Pentagon has ignored: the holocaust of firestorms in the aftermath of nuclear war.
Session Five
* Janne Nolan, Research Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., will discuss the underlying psychological pathology of nuclear warriors.
* Mike Lofgren, former chief analyst for military spending at the Senate Budget Committee, will describe U.S. capitalism as it relates to tenuous nuclear situation.
* Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Leader for IKV Pax Christi, Utrecht, The Netherlands, will discuss 2014 report “Don’t Bank on The Bomb.”
Session Six
* Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., will describe his research after spending one year at the Los Alamos Labs.
* Robert Sheer, author of “Star Warriors” and Clinical Professor of Communications at the University of Southern California, will describe his research on the young men who do the research on nuclear weapons development at Lawrence Livermore Labs.
Session Seven
* Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics at MIT, Cambridge, Mass., will present the pathology within the present political system that could induce extinction.
Session Eight
* Tim Wright, Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Geneva, Switzerland, will suggest some potential and exciting solutions.
* David Krieger, Founder and President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, Ca., about the law suit brought on behalf of the Marshall Islands.
* Helen Caldicott, President of The Helen Caldicott Foundation, will discuss an urgent prescription for survival.
The conference will begin at 9 a.m. sharp both days; check-in at 8 a.m. Press must register in advance with the Media Coordinator and must have current press credentials to be admitted.
The sessions will be livestreamed globally and broadcast by TUC radio, London.
The mission of the Helen Caldicott Foundation is to educate the public, the media, and public officials about the grave medical and environmental dangers inherent in nuclear power and the nuclear fuel chain, the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons, nuclear war, and climate change.
The Foundation is located at 131 Forest Hill Drive, Asheville, NC 28803. Mali Lightfoot is Executive Director. -30-

 

Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular “Workplace” column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more…)

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Renewables Help Push Nuclear Giants to Brink of Collapse

December 14, 2014

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Plans are forming to build two giant nuclear reactors in England with approval from the UK and energy backing from France. Since general elections are coming up soon in the UK, there will be no final approval, if any approval, for a while. Lets hope this plan gets denied.

Plans to build two giant nuclear reactors in south-west England are being reviewed as French energy companies now seek financial backing from China and Saudi Arabia—while the British government considers whether it has offered vast subsidies for a white elephant.

A long-delayed final decision on whether the French electricity utility company EDF will build two 1.6 gigawatt European Pressurised water Reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset—in what would be the biggest construction project in Europe—was due in the new year, but is likely to drift again.

Construction estimates have already escalated to £25 billion, which is £9 billion more than a year ago, and four times the cost of putting on the London Olympics last year.

Costs Escalate

Two prototypes being built in Olikuoto, Finland and Flamanville, France, were long ago expected to be finished and operational, but are years late and costs continue to escalate. Until at least one of these is shown to work as designed, it would seem a gamble to start building more, but neither of them is expected to produce power until 2017.

With Germany phasing nuclear power out altogether and France reducing its dependence on the technology, all the industry’s European hopes are on Britain’s plans to build 10 new reactors. But British experts, politicians and businessmen have begun to doubt that the new nuclear stations are a viable proposition.

Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, London, said: “The project is at very serious risk of collapse at the moment. Only four of those reactors have ever been ordered. Two of them are in Europe, and both of those are about three times over budget. One is about five or six years late and the other is nine years late. Two more are in China and are doing a bit better, but are also running late.”

Tom Greatrex, the British Labour party opposition’s energy spokesman, called on the National Audit Office to investigate whether the nuclear reactors were value for money for British consumers.

Peter Atherton, of financial experts Liberum Capital, believes the enormous cost and appalling track record in the nuclear industry of doing things on time mean that ministers should scrap the Hinkley plans.

Billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe, who wants to invest £640 million in shale gas extraction in the UK, said that the subsidy that the British government would pay for nuclear electricity is “outrageous.”

Finding the vast sums of capital needed to finance the project is proving a problem. Both EDF and its French partner company, Areva, which designed the European Pressurised water Reactor (EPR), have money troubles. Last week, Areva suspended future profit predictions and shares fell by 20 percent.

Chinese power companies have offered to back the project, but want many of the jobs to go to supply companies back home—something the French are alarmed about because they need to support their own ailing nuclear industry. Saudi Arabia is offering to help too, but this may not go down well in Britain.

On the surface, all is well. Preparation of the site is already under way on the south-west coast of England, with millions being spent on earthworks and new roads. The new reactors would be built next to two existing much smaller nuclear stations—one already closed and the second nearing the end of its life. The new ones would produce 7 percent of Britain’s electricity.

But leaks from civil servants in Whitehall suggest that the government may be getting cold feet about its open-ended guarantees. The industry has a long history of cost overruns and cancellations of projects when millions have already been spent—including an ill-fated plan to build a new nuclear station on the same site 20 years ago.

The Treasury is having a review because of fears that, once this project begins, so much money will have been invested that the government will have to bail it out with billions more of taxpayers’ money to finish it—or write off huge sums.

The whole project is based on British concern about its aging nuclear reactors, which produce close on 20 percent of the country’s electricity. The government wanted a new generation of plants to replace them and eventually produce most of the country’s power.

Guaranteed Prices

In order to induce EDF to build them, it offered subsidies of £37 billion in guaranteed electricity prices over the 60-year life of the reactors. This would double the existing cost of electricity in the UK.

The European Commission gave permission for this to happen, despite the distortion to the competitive electricity market. But this decision is set to be challenged in the European Court by the Austrian government and renewable energy companies, which will further delay the project.

Since the decision was made to build nuclear power stations, renewable energy has expanded dramatically across Europe and costs have dropped. Nuclear is now more costly than wind and solar power. In Britain alone, small-scale solar output has increased by 26 percent in the last year.

In theory, there are a number of other nuclear companies—from the U.S., China, Japan and Russia—keen to build stations of their own design in Britain, but they would want the same price guarantees as EDF for Hinkley Point.

With a general election in the UK looming in May next year, no decisions will be reached on any of these projects any time soon. And a new government might think renewables are a better bet.

December 10, 2014

Nuclear Scientist: Fukushima an apocalyptic disaster that will haunt future generations; World now an experimental lab with humans as guinea pigs — Japan Gov’t Report: Fukushima is worse than 3/11 quake and tsunami

Published: December 9th, 2014 at 8:53 am ET
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Excerpts from Op-Ed by Quamrul Haider, Ph.D., Chair of Dept. of Physics at Fordham University, Dec 4, 2014 (emphasis added):

  • The fraternity of nuclear scientists… create the impression… their extremely risky projects have been carefully thought out in every detail and are inspired by the spirit of greatest responsibility… A large section of the scientific community… believes [their accident simulations are] about as reliable as tomorrow’s weather forecast [and] that by building nuclear power plants in populated areas, the whole world becomes an experimental laboratory with human beings as guinea pigs.
  • There is always the possibility of a major disaster. The basic difference between nuclear and other industrial accidents lies in the long-range repercussions… one could forget about the havoc wrought, for example, by the explosion of a gas pipeline or the breaching of a dam… But an accident in a nuclear power plant, such as a reactor getting out of control, is capable of doing more than immediate harm. Examples of the deadly long-term effects of a reactor accident are Chernobyl and Fukushima [which] will linger on for ages to haunt the future generations. Among the survivors there will be many cases of permanent sterility, increase of genetic mutation in our progenies, and a shortened life span as a result of cancer and other radiogenic diseases.
  • [It’s] irresponsible and misleading to suppress the consequences of radiation[A]ttempts are madeto blind the people by equating nuclear accidents with more familiar hazards… an unlimited risk is falsely portrayed as a limited one and glossed over in a manner that is not only unconscionable, but also unpardonable. Thesedeceptions are further camouflaged by the way in which they are presented to the public… the far-reaching consequences of lethal radiation are overly simplified. In the post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima era, these… do not hold water.
  • Wars, plagues, famines and natural disasters were known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse… After Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear accidents can be added [as another] horseman of the apocalypse.
  • Critics describe nuclear reactor asone of the most dangerous technological beasts that mankind has devised and nuclear accident as “A Nuclear War without a War.”
  • The consequences can assume dimensions that do not take second place to the consequences of earthquake… and in a wayactually exceeds them.

R/V Marai — Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology(JAMSTEC, administered by gov’t of Japan): The great earthquake [and]tsunami with its height of more than 10 m attacked mainly the Pacific coastline of Tohoku district and approximately thirty thousand people were killed, missing or injured. What is worse is that Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant was seriously damaged… a gigantic radiation has been leaking to the atmosphere, land and ocean. After this record crisis, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) requested JAMSTEC… monitor [the] level of radiation.

See more about Dr. Haider’s nuclear experience here

Can We Ever Recover from the Murder of John Kennedy?

November 26, 2014

The murder of John Kennedy shaped our nuclear planet…..

http://ecowatch.com/2014/11/24/murder-john-kennedy/

BY HARVEY WASSERMAN”The images we ingest never cease to shape us.

Just 51 years ago, the head of a profoundly gifted young man was blown apart.

A few months earlier he’d given a speech that promised a new dawn.

He reached out to our enemies. He talked of going to the moon, of technological breakthrough and human promise. And he stopped the radioactive madness of atmospheric Bomb testing, a reason many of us are alive today.

It’s easy to idealize John Kennedy……”

READ THE REST AT:

http://ecowatch.com/2014/11/24/murder-john-kennedy/

‘Special Alert’ issued for major dam upstream of US nuclear plants

November 26, 2014

ENENews


‘Special Alert’ issued for major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — Muddy seepage coming up near foundation — Cause of sinkhole and ‘mysterious’ discharges unknown after weeks of analysis — Newspaper: “Hopefully, it isn’t catastrophic” — Officials working around clock, submarines and ground-penetrating radar in use (VIDEO)

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 11:44 AM PST

Powerful quake rocks Japan, 6- out of 7 on intensity scale

November 26, 2014

ENENews


Powerful quake rocks Japan, 6- out of 7 on intensity scale — Officials warn of strong aftershocks, around 50 so far — Helicopters find “more extensive damage than earlier thought” — Major roads collapsed, buildings flattened — Witnesses: “Strongest ever felt… Shaking was enormous” (VIDEOS)

Posted: 22 Nov 2014 11:17 PM PST


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