We've invented a new category - Environmental Science!
Paul Marks goes back to nature for New
In the Norwegian Arctic, what looks like a series of huge
metallic spiderwebs is strewn through a 1.5 kilometre swathe of the Bardufoss
forest. But the network of steel acoustic pipes are actually infrasound
detectors, gently probing the ground for any rumbles below 20 hertz – beyond
human hearing – that might signify a nuclear
detonation. The array is one of 60 such stations in 35 countries that
make up the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Test Ban
The 960 shower-head-shaped cans (pictured above) at
the Bardufoss listening station direct sound into 10 "ears". These
were upgraded this week with ultra-sensitive infrasound detectors that will
make the array more useful than ever, says Anne Lycke, chief executive of
NORSAR, the Oslo-based engineering firm that carried out the work. In addition
to nuclear blasts, the station will be able to pinpoint the location of
volcanic activity and help map the path of meteors. Images:
NORSAR (New Scientist) (12/9/14)
Locals not happy with recent NRC ruling
Joe Kimball, reporting for Minnpost,
Wing city officials and leaders of the Prairie Island Indian Community say they
are unhappy with a recent Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruling that does little
to resolve the ongoing dispute over storage of spent
Prairie Island nuclear power plant is on the Mississippi River in Red Wing, and
is adjacent to the Indian reservation.
Red Wing City Council member Peggy Rehder, who has lobbied
in Washington, D.C. on the issue, wasn't surprised with the ruling.
"There's been a movement toward saying that spent fuel in dry cask storage
is safer for a longer period of time," she said. "It's disappointing,
but on the other hand, we're seeing movement in Congress toward getting spent
fuel that's in storage in at a least an interim storage site."
Ron Johnson, president of the Prairie Island
Indian Community's Tribal Council, said in a statement: "...the NRC
affirmed a new rule and generic environmental impact statement that concluded
that spent nuclear fuel (some of the most dangerous and toxic substances known
to mankind) can be safely stored 600 yards from our homes indefinitely if no
geologic repository is ever built. No other community sits as close to a
nuclear site and its waste storage." Images:
Star Tribune / MPR News (Steve Mullis) (8/9/14)
Things go from bad to worse at Vermont Yankee
Deb Katz (Citizens Awareness Network) sent this to The Rutland Herald recently – here’s a small
We must keep our focus on the public good for
the citizens of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire as Vermont
Yankee is powering down and working toward closure in December. The
Emergency Planning Zone is a critical way to keep that focus sharp.
The nuclear industry makes many claims about the safety and security of its
plants, including Vermont Yankee. However, we must acknowledge the potential
vulnerability of the fuel pools to terrorism and accidents.
Vermont Yankee is a GE Mark 1 reactor. GE Mark 1 and 2
reactors are the most vulnerable reactors structurally in the country. Vermont
Yankee’s fuel pool is filled to capacity and elevated (7 stories above ground
outside of containment). These factors pose an unacceptable risk to those who
live around the plant. Millions of curies of high-level waste are stored in
this above-ground pool with a metal roof. An attack on the pool that causes the
fuel cladding to catch fire could result in a 25,000-square-mile area being
uninhabitable for decades. An accident involving the loss of water from the
pool could have the same consequences. As long as the fuel is in the pool, we
must keep the Emergency Planning Zone.
Images: Greenpeace / Air Water Earth (NE) (25/8/14)
Another use for salt - No: 327...
Ryan Whitwam, writing for Extreme Tech, gets all scientific..
Nuclear power was the resurgent darling of the energy
industry just a few years ago as concerns over global warming mounted. Then
there was the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima
Daiichi plant in central Japan, which will continue to affect
residents for years to come.
A few companies have continued pushing safer forms of
nuclear power in a smaller form, and now one of them is getting the finding to
make its plans a reality. Transatomic Power has just picked up $2 million from
Founders Fund to develop a custom molten salt reactor that can eat nuclear
Transatomic has designed a system that can use different
types of fuel, including materials that are discarded as waste from traditional
nuclear plants. Molten salt reactor designs are appealing because they are
essentially immune to meltdowns like the one we saw at Fukushima.
Reactors like the one proposed by Transatomic use salt mixed
with the nuclear fuel to slow the reaction. When the temperature goes up, the
salt expands and reduces the rate of fission. Since salt’s melting point is
higher than the core temperature, even if power is lost and no one is around to
fix things, the reaction will eventually stop on its own.
Transatomic’s designs are also interesting
because they cannot be used to produce weapons-grade radioactive materials. At
the same time, it pumps out 500 megawatts of juice - that’s still only half of
a standard plant, but this one would be much smaller and produces only a
fraction of the high-level waste products. Images:
Extreme Tech (18/8/14)
UK waste burial sites - Part 2..
Writing for The Conversation, Stuart Haszeldine
Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh brings us this.
proposal for radioactive
waste to appear at a nearby burial site would be likely to fill the
great majority of the UK population with thoughts of danger, cancer – and
falling house prices. This illustrates the huge problem of public misperception
to overcome when disposing of radioactive waste.
price for decommissioning past and existing nuclear power plant and disposing
of that waste is around £70 billion – the single largest item of expenditure
for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.
to do with radioactive waste is a problem that has so far proved to be
intractable to successive generations of civil servants and ministers.
Radioactive waste would be packaged and contained for one million years, sealed
by multiple chemical and physical barriers within a repository dug out around
500 metres below ground level. In the mid-1970s, it was decided that deep
burial would provide the optimum secure solution.
issues of contention emerged. The right for the host community to withdraw was
promised by the government, but never transcribed into any contract. A package
of benefits to the hosting community was promised, but exactly what and when it
would be paid was not stated. The definition of the host community, its
boundary, and its relationship with the wider region remained vague. Exactly
what waste would be buried was contested.
Potentially the most significant statement of
all comes from the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey,
stating that arrangements for waste disposal have to be in place before
planning consent will be given for new nuclear power stations. Perhaps ministers of
the future should be satisfied merely to know that the UK “has a plan”? Images:
DECC / Shutterstock (4/8/14)
We're looking for somewhere to bury waste - any volunteers?
Mann, writing for the New Civil Engineer, reports on the
search for suitable burial grounds in the UK.
Government has begun a new search for a site to store the UK’s
follows a consultation on improving the process of finding a site to host a
geological disposal facility (GDF) that will store nuclear waste deep underground.
The facility would hold the decades of waste the UK’s nuclear power industry
has accrued, which is estimated to be 600,000m³.
will be offered cash incentives of up to £2.5m a year to allow exploratory
drilling to take place, which would establish if a location was suitable. The
drilling process would take up to 15 years.
of the waste dump, between 250m and 1,000m underground, will take 10-15 years,
meaning it could be almost 2050 before any waste is buried. The project has an
estimated price tag of £12bn.
and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Geological disposal provides the
secure, long-term solution we need to deal with the radioactive waste we have
been creating for more than 60 years, and we can learn from the experiences of
other countries who are also doing this.”
Davey added: “The GDF will enable us to dispose of our waste permanently. It is
internationally recognised as the safest and most secure way of dealing with
radioactive waste on a long-term basis, with countries including Finland,
Sweden and Canada already ahead of us in implementing it.”
Currently, the UK’s radioactive waste is stored
temporarily at nuclear sites across the country. Images: Destination 360 / Headline Science (25/7/14)
Are you sure you saw a reindeer down 'ere??
Mari Yamaguchi, writing for ABC News goes
farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture on
Japan's northern tip. Underground it's a different story.
and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleep dairy
town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe's 2,500 residents
fear could turn their neighbourhood into a nuclear
waste storage site.
worried," said 54-year-old reindeer handler Atsushi Arase. "If the
government already has its eye on us as a potential site, it may eventually
come here even if we refuse."
utilities have more than 17,000 tons of "spent" fuel rods that have
finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for
thousands of years. What to do with them is a vexing problem that
nuclear-powered nations around the world face, and that has come to the fore as
Japan debates whether to keep using nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at
Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant.
answer to that problem may lie in the Horonobe Underground Research Centre,
which has been collecting geological data to determine if and how radioactive
waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is
susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water
In return for hosting the research, which under
an agreement with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency doesn't involve any
radioactivity, Horonobe has received about 1 billion yen ($10 million) in
government subsidies and tunnel-related public works projects since 2000,
according to town statistics. Officially, though, this is only a test...
Images: (AP Photo/Shizuo
Kambayashi) CTV News (15/7/14)
A case of Gone Fission in Oregon, maybe??
over possible radiation
in the waters off the Oregon coast has spurred one coastal group in Tillamook
to start sampling and testing for it.
from all over visit the Oregon Coast, but now some worry the area could be contaminated. Since Fukushima, all
sorts of tsunami debris has washed up onto Oregon's coast. But some worry the
next thing to come our way could be radiation.
predicted modelling shows that we should start to see it coming along our
coastline at very low levels,” said Lisa Phipps, executive director of the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership.
group started taking samples of ocean water at Pacific City recently to test if
it for any level of radiation. The Oregon Public Health Division does test
ocean water quarterly.
far, it has not found any radiation levels higher than normal off the Oregon
Coast. It compares the amount of contaminated water released by Fukushima into
the ocean to a drop of ink in a large public swimming pool.
fisherman Bart Baldwin said the more information he has, the better. “If
there’s something out there that’s coming up, I would like to know,” he said.
Phipps said she expects the results of the
testing to show radiation levels well within normal range if it finds any at
all. The results from the testing should be back within the next two months. Images: King 5 News /
Richard Gessford (29/6/14)
The sky at night is glowing green over Texas - again
this, courtesy of Dallas News recently…
nuclear waste disposal site operated by Waste Control Specialists in
West Texas is steadily morphing away from its original mission as a depository
for very limited quantities of low-level radioactive items from Texas and
Vermont. Today, the site is taking on much greater quantities and higher levels
of radioactive waste from multiple states, and its owner wants permission to
dramatically expand operations.
this mission creep continues, Texans could find themselves the unwitting hosts
of the nation’s first permanent for-profit high-level nuclear waste facility.
If Waste Control’s intention is to build such a site, it owes Texans a
straightforward, transparent declaration of these plans so a full public debate
can occur. No state wants such a sensitive and dangerous site. With the
inventory of waste continuing to rise, the only option has been to store it in
temporary facilities around the country. That’s not a solution.
site sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer, and any radiation leak could risk
contaminating a major water source for eight states. Waste Control maintains
that the facility is state of the art, with multiple backup measures to avert
Texans deserve to be part of this important
discussion. But they can’t participate if they don’t even know it’s happening. Images: US Dept. of Energy / Britannica (23/6/14)
Us? Get political? Perish the thought..
Today we get slightly political thanks to the people over at
Russia’s Ecodefense, the leading anti-nuclear power
organization in the country, was recently branded a "foreign agent” by the Russian
government. Under Russian law adopted recently, non-profit organizations that
fail to register as a “foreign agent” but are found to be one can be subject to
large fines and dissolution of the organization. The
decision by the Ministry of Justice was based on the fact that Ecodefense
actively campaigned for many years against the construction of a nuclear power
plant near the city of Kaliningrad (shown right).
While part of the international NIRS/WISE network,
Ecodefense was founded in Russia, is based in Russia, and has focused on issues
affecting Russia. It has, for those reasons, refused to register as a “foreign
agent,” which in Russia is tantamount to an admission that the organization is
controlled from abroad and effectively is undertaking espionage activities on
behalf of other nations–neither of which is true in the case of Ecodefense.
In April, GreenWorld posted a piece from Ecodefense’s Vladimir Sliviak
on the growing repression in Russia and how it seemed Ecodefense was
being targeted by the government. Today that piece is all too prescient. To
read the latest press release from Ecodefense on this latest crackdown on civil
society in Russia just click here. Images: Green World / Wikimedia (18/6/14)
Stand-in sturgeons needed for tests...
regulators are suggesting Indian Point's owner use dead local fish or
fish dummies to figure out how the nuclear power plant affects endangered
sturgeon in the Hudson River.
dead or fake fish would serve as body doubles for Atlantic and short nose
sturgeon, allowing plant owner Entergy to test underwater cameras and sonar
imaging. The cameras and sonar would be aimed at the intakes where cooling
water gets sucked from the river into the plant, possibly trapping fish on
racks meant to screen out debris.
purposes of the pilot study, you could tie dead fish or dummies to the rack, as
the focus will be on detection ability of the equipment," John Bullard of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
Indian Point sucks in billions of gallons of
river water daily, along with fish eggs, fish larvae and older fish. Some get
discharged back into the Hudson; others die trapped on intake screens or within
the cooling system. Images: Joe Larese (The Journal News) / NOAA (29/5/14)
Nuke nasties in New York
Nate Lavey, writing for the New
Yorker, considers suiting up for this one…
New Yorker published a video this week about the most radioactive place in New
York City, in Ridgewood, Queens. After months of study and small-scale
remediation, the Environmental Protection Agency added that area, which was
once home to the Wolff-Alport chemical company, to its list of Superfund sites.
decades, Wolff-Alport processed rare-earth metals and dumped the waste product,
radioactive thorium, down the sewer. Later, they sold their thorium to the
Atomic Energy Commission, which stockpiled the material for use in nuclear
weapons and reactors.
that the Superfund site has been designated, the E.P.A. will have to decide
which method of cleanup will most effectively reduce the area’s elevated
radiation levels - one option is to dig up the contaminated soil and ship it to
a treatment facility. But that process has its own problems, including health
The remediation could also cause significant
disruptions to the lives of the people who live and work in the area. Alberto
Rodriguez, the owner of Los Primos auto-body shop, which is located directly
above the contaminated site, said he was not happy about the designation. “We
might have to move our business,” he said. “We’re probably not going to be able
to get much work done.” Images: The New Yorker / Gizmodo (9/5/14)
Down in the dumps in North Dakota
Rebecca Leber, writing for Think Progress,
checks out some suspicious rubbish sacks for us..
Dakota recently discovered piles of garbage bags containing radioactive
waste dumped by oil drillers in abandoned buildings. Now the state is
trying to catch up to an oil industry that produces an estimated 27 tons of
radioactive debris from wells daily.
fines have apparently not been enough to deter contractors from dumping oil
socks — coiled filters that strain wastewater and accumulate low levels The
state is in the process of drafting rules, out in June, that require oil
companies to properly store the waste in leak-proof containers. Eventually,
they must move these oil socks to certified dumps. However, North Dakota has no
facilities to process this level of radioactive waste. According to the Wall
Street Journal, the closest facilities are hundreds of miles away in states
like Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Montana.
though it is illegal, contractors have taken the occasional shortcut to dump
the oil socks in buildings, on the side of the road, or at landfills. The rate
of dumping incidents has been on the rise as drilling activity has increased in
the Bakken shale region, according to one North Dakota Department of Health
study. Dump operators now even routinely screen garbage for radiation.
If things don’t improve, oil drillers may risk
turning parts of the state into EPA Superfund sites, which would mean a long
and expensive clean-up.
Images: (AP Photo)
North Dakota Health Department / Wikipedia (22/4/14)
Sludge - not so glorious - sludge...
Our thanks to the members of the Yakima Herald-Republic
editorial board - Sharon J. Prill, Bob Crider, Frank Purdy and Karen
Troianello – for this.
The U.S. Department of Energy didn’t exhibit undue alarm a
year ago when word came that an underground storage tank at the Hanford nuclear
reservation was leaking radioactive
waste. The agency blamed construction problems for the leak and said it
“seems unlikely” that other tanks would spring a leak.
Many of these tanks are decades-old single-walled shells
that have leaked and are a stopgap solution for storing 53 million gallons of
nuclear waste. The material is a legacy of plutonium production for the
Manhattan Project. A vitrification plant is being built to convert the waste
into glasslike logs for permanent storage, but the plan is years behind
schedule and billions of dollars over budget. So now the waste sits in the
tanks as a mud like sludge, and officials hope most of it stays put and doesn’t
leak into the ground.
Once in the ground, the waste would pose a danger to
groundwater and the neighbouring Columbia River, which forms the northern and
eastern borders of the reservation. Nobody wants this to happen, and since the
discovery of the leak a year ago, the Energy Department has started inspecting
the tanks more frequently.
The 1989 Tri-Party agreement signed by the
Energy Department, federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state
Department of Ecology stipulates that the federal government is responsible for
the cleanup. But the short-term financial outlay is minimal compared to the
long-term cost of contamination of the Columbia River, which holds immense
economic and environmental importance to the Northwest. Images: Crosscut / Newstalk KIT (11/3/14)
Carlsbad, Part 2...
Our thanks to the people at RT US for this leaky tale
down Mexico way…
highest ever levels of radiation have been detected at a New Mexico
nuclear waste repository. The latest readings come hot on the heels of a
radiation leak that triggered a lockdown of the entire facility recently.
monitoring the area around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New
Mexico, picked up trace elements of radioactive materials in the air. Russell
Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Centre
said the readings of americium and plutonium were the highest ever detected at
the disposal site.
Air filters were activated at the plant as a
precaution and workers were barred from entering the facility. Officials stated
that no radiation had escaped to the surface.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is one of the world’s three deep repositories
for nuclear waste left over from the production and testing of atomic weapons.
It buries the waste over 600 meters underground in tunnels hewn out of salt
Spokeswoman Deb Gill told the LA Times:
“We are emphasizing there is no threat to human health and the
environment.” However, she did say that officials know very little about
the extent of the problem or how to solve it. Allaying fears over the
situation, Russell Hardy said that the New Mexico State University is
monitoring air, ground and water samples from in and around WIPP. He added that
there had only been four incidents in the past where radiation had been
detected and levels were so low "you could eat it and it wouldn't hurt
you." Images: Inquirer / Current Argus (24/2/14)
Load up that waste - we are on our way to New Mexico!
Matthew L Wald, writing for the New York
Times, looks down a very deep hole for us…
Half a mile beneath the desert surface, in Carlsbad,
NM, in thick salt beds left behind by seas that dried up hundreds of millions
of years ago, the Department of Energy is carving out rooms as long as football
fields and cramming them floor to ceiling with barrels and boxes of nuclear
The salt beds, which have the consistency of crumbly
rock so far down in the earth, are what the federal government sees as a
natural sealant for the radioactive material left over from making nuclear
weapons. The process is deceptively simple: Plutonium waste from Los
Alamos National Laboratory and a variety of defense projects is packed into
holes bored into the walls of rooms carved from salt. At a rate of six inches a
year, the salt closes in on the waste and encapsulates it for what engineers
say will be millions of years.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, WIPP for short, is
drawing new attention in the New Mexico desert. At a time when the effort to
find a place for highly radioactive civilian and military wastes is at a
near-standstill, officials say the site might be a solution.
The material buried at the plant is limited by law to
plutonium waste from making weapons. The waste from spent nuclear fuel, which
is far more radioactive in its first few centuries, is not permitted. But
experts say that proper testing and analysis might show that the salt beds at
WIPP are a good home for the radioactive waste that was once meant for Yucca.
Some people despair of finding a place for what
officials call a high-level nuclear “repository”, but Allison M. Macfarlane, a
geologist who is chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said WIPP
proves it can be done.
“The main lesson from WIPP is that we have already
developed a geologic repository for nuclear waste in this country, so we can in
the future,” she said. The key, she said, is a site that is acceptable to both
scientists and the local community.
Images: Jeff T Green (Getty images) / Michael Stravato (NY Times) (11/2/14)
Are you sure fracking's such a good idea???
Spencer Hunt, writing recently for the Columbus
Dispatch, does a bit of fracking for us.
Pennsylvania environmental officials tested creek mud near a fracking
wastewater-treatment plant last year, they found radiation
at levels 45 times higher than federal drinking-water standards.
the plant owner prepares to dredge radium from Blacklick Creek, Pennsylvania
officials are examining other radiation problems related to Marcellus shale
fracking. They’re testing tons of cast-off rock and drilling sludge sent to
Pennsylvania landfills and liquid waste routinely trucked to Ohio disposal
is experiencing a similar drilling boom in which drillers are pulling up
radioactive waste from wells. Although it’s unknown how much radiation there
is, there are some standards already in place. That’s why state officials say
they have no plans for similar surveys or precautions.
advocates say the law ignores radiation hazards in liquid waste and makes it
easier to dump some waste into landfills without testing. “We have a health
risk to be considered. In Ohio, we’re just ignoring it,” said Julie
Weatherington-Rice, a senior scientist with Bennett & Williams
Environmental Consultants in Columbus.
shale drilling and fracking began in Ohio in late 2010, concerns about water
and air pollution, landowner rights, even earthquakes took centre stage. A
public debate about the effectiveness of Ohio’s property, pollution and health
safeguards continues unresolved.
Radiation is now increasingly listed among
environmental advocates’ top concerns.
Images: CBS Local / Marcellus (30/1/14)
New home wanted for missile waste - pronto!!
Whitmire, reporting for the Mansfield News Journal, tells a
Wednesday, J.R. Rice, director of the City of Mansfield’s Codes and Permits
Department, said he will issue a demolition order on Allen Hogan’s house at 663
Fifth Avenue in Mansfield, Ohio. Hogan
said he will appeal the demolition order with the Mansfield City Planning
woes at the spacious property began in 1994 when he bought 2,180 pounds of
scrap magnesium at an auction in Columbus and trucked it back to Mansfield. He
contends the metal was misidentified and given to a Defense Department office
in Columbus, which then sold it to Hogan’s company, Autojumble. Hogan said he
unknowingly took possession of radioactive waste from a former Minuteman
discovered the materials were radioactive in 1996 when he sent some cars and
metal to be crushed at a Canton site where a Geiger counter was used. In 1997,
U.S. Air Force officials organized a three-week cleanup at his property.
In 1999, Hogan filed a $10 million lawsuit
against the government, claiming the continued presence of radioactive
materials on his 663 Fifth Ave. property constitute a nuisance. He lost the
case on appeal. Since then he has found 50 pounds of radioactive material on
parts of his property, he said. Images:
Take My Trip / Mother Nature Network (24/1/14)
What's all the fuss? It looks fine to me...
reporting for the International Business Times, packs her bucket and
spade for this…
State health officials from California
have debunked claims raised by an Internet video posted on YouTube, which
pointed out dangerously high radiation levels in the sands of Pacifica
State Beach. The author of the video linked the radiation from the
crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
tests show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to
naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the
Fukushima incident," Wendy Hopkins, spokeswoman of the California Department of Public Health, said.
video showed an unidentified man carrying a commercial Geiger counter. The
device displayed levels of radiation as the man walked along the beach shores.
It showed the levels rose to "alert" levels. The video's author said
he has been taking radiation measurements in the area for over two years.
"Someone going around with a Geiger counter is likely to discover these
great variations in levels from time to time," Edward Morse, a Berkeley
nuclear engineering professor, was quoted by online portal Politix.
"That's absolutely no correlation with anything that happened in
Sythe, CEO for International Medcom, which designs and manufactures Geiger
Counters, supported the findings. "The radionuclides are in the NORM class
of radioactive substances, not from Fukushima," he said. When he saw the
video, he immediately asked a sample of sand from the beach and had it tested.
He said they are convinced whatever radiation levels found were not linked to
“If the sand were contaminated by radiation from
Fukushima it would show cesium-137 which is reported to be the major health
concern in Fukushima." Images: Trekaroo / Mightymac
More disposal tales... today - Washington State
thanks goes to King 5 news, Seattle and Nicholas K Geranios,
reporting for the Associated Press for this one…
U.S. Department of Energy intends to retrieve nearly all the highly
radioactive waste stored in underground tanks on the Hanford Nuclear
Reservation and convert it into a glass-like substance for permanent disposal,
according to a decision that was published Friday.
The decision covers the nation’s biggest collection
of radioactive waste, held in 177 underground tanks at the sprawling
reservation near Richland that has been engaged in environmental cleanup for
the past two decades. The material is left over from the production of
plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The document said the Energy Department intends to
retrieve 99% of the stored waste and close up the tanks. It’s necessary to
remove the radioactive material to avoid future leaks into groundwater and
other safety concerns, the decision says.
The dangerous waste will eventually be converted into
a glass-like substance at a $12 billion plant whose construction on the Hanford
site is stalled by safety concerns. The glassy logs are intended to be buried
in a national repository, the location of which is still undetermined.
The tanks will be “landfill closed,” which means they
will be filled with grout, stabilized and left in place. It was deemed too
expensive and dangerous to have workers actually dismantle the highly
radioactive tanks, said Suzanne Dahl, tank waste manager for the state
Department of Ecology.
“We cannot have people up there with
blowtorches,” she said. Images: US Dept of
Energy / Groundwater UK (16/12/12)
Lake Huron Indian Nation unhappy about new nuke dump plans
Martha Troian, reporting for Indian Country
Today, brings us this…
controversial proposal to bury nuclear
waste a half mile from Lake Huron’s shoreline in Ontario is proceeding
over indigenous objections in a plan that has repercussions on both sides of
the U.S.– Canada border.
to the plan, which would inter low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste
about 2,230 feet underground in solid rock, is sparking opposition from
Indigenous Peoples and U.S. politicians alike. “We have a long list of
fears, legitimate fears in our community about these facilities, interaction
with our rights, our interests and our way of life,” said Saugeen Ojibwe Nation
Chief Randall Kahgee.
Saugeen Ojibwe is one of several indigenous communities opposing the
application of Ontario Power Generation for a license to store nuclear waste in
an underground facility. Ontario Power, a public company owned by the
provincial government, is one of the largest power generators in North America.
It wants to construct a deep geologic repository for storing low and
intermediate-level nuclear waste within the municipality of Kincardine. The
repository would be located at an existing nuclear site known as the Bruce
Generating Station, where there is already a nuclear waste-management facility.
The waste in question is stored there above ground, or in shallow pits.
Kincardine agreed to host the waste in return for $35.7
million that Ontario Power will pay the town and some neighbouring communities
over 30 years. The facility would store low and intermediate-level nuclear
waste from the power generator’s nuclear plants. Materials include the ashes of
items used at nuclear facilities such as mops, clothes, floor sweepings and
gloves. The site has been studied and analysed by engineers, geologists,
geoscientists and hydrologists and is safe for this purpose, Ontario Power
But this is not enough for Kahgee, whose Saugeen
Ojibwe Nation lies on the shores of Lake Huron. “We've been very careful how
we've manoeuvred ourselves with respect to this project,” said Kahgee. “Our
people should not have to shoulder the burden for the industry forever. That is
something that is not contemplated in our treaties… Images: John Flesher (AP/ Indian Country Today) /
Dounreay Site Restoration (13/12/13)
This could almost qualify to be 'No place to go...'
John Wildermuth writing for the pages of SF
Gate starts packing…
two dozen families are being forced from their Treasure Island homes so the
Navy can clean up toxic material buried in the old
waste disposal site beneath
the townhouse units.
letter we got last week was the first we heard of it," said Paris Hayes
(shown here with his wife, Lucinda) who has lived in his Bayside Drive unit for
more than 10 years.
residents will be moved out in stages, with the first group leaving in April
and the last gone by July. The affected residents of the six targeted
buildings will meet with Treasure Island officials Tuesday night to learn
details of the relocation plan and to express concerns about the effort. While
the island is owned by the Navy, there is an agreement once the cleanup is
completed to turn it over to the city for a $1.5 billion
Nov. 25 letter sent to the affected households said little more than that they
would likely be provided with new housing on the island and that the cleanup
doesn't mean their homes were unsafe. The letter added that ‘This work is
part of the Navy's ongoing cleanup of buried and currently inaccessible
low-level chemicals that were identified in prior assessments.’
while the letter said the cleanup was not related to recent efforts to seek out
radioactive material left from the man-made island's decades as a Navy base,
crews will be removing low-level sources of radiation. In the past couple of
years, however, there have been suggestions that larger, "hotter"
debris might be found elsewhere on the island.
The Navy is (currently) conducting surveys to
see if any radioactive material has migrated from the dump site. Images: SF Gate (Michael Macor) / Beta News (6/12/13)
If it's not Nevada, let's move on to Utah...
Amy Joi O'Donoghue, writing for Desert News,
is looking for somewhere to store some used uranium.
figuring out if it is going to be safe to allow large quantities of depleted
uranium to be buried in the desert 65 miles west of Salt Lake City, the state
of Utah has to contemplate a long list of "what ifs" that could
happen - and over a long, long period of time. There are events like war,
meteor strikes, volcanic activity, the return of large lakes like Lake Bonneville
every 16,000 years and even, to some degree, the threat to stable disposal
caused by burrowing ants.
Solutions is proposing to dispose of 3,507 metric tons of depleted
uranium at Clive, Tooele County, and it could be the nation's
repository of its inventory of 700,000 more tons of the radioactive waste,
which is a by-product of nuclear production material.
state has to sign off on the disposal, requiring the company to complete a
"performance assessment" that looks at how well its disposal site
will weather all sorts of events and conditions. The prospect of Utah receiving
the unique waste stream has been a contentious and complicated issue for
regulators, who have had to grapple with the idiosyncrasies of possibly
receiving such a unique waste stream.
the federal regulators, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have yet to
craft a rule on the storage of this brand of radioactive waste, leaving Utah to
forge out on its own with building a framework that is protective of public
health and the environment.
problem posed by the storage of depleted uranium stems from its increasing
radioactivity - it continues to get "hotter" over time, peaking at
2.1 million years and staying at the level for billions of more years. Utah regulators required Energy Solutions to
come up with contingencies in its storage plans that document how its site would
fare for a period of 10,000 years - and beyond that looking at "deep
time" scenarios until it reaches peak radioactive levels.
The scenarios contemplate vulnerabilities to the
public, from off-highway vehicle users, military at the Utah Test and Training
Range and the lone resident caretaker at the rest stop off I-80 at the
Aragonite exit (shown above). Images: Douglas C. Pizac,
(AP) / Flickr (14/11/13)
You can visit, but don't eat the dirt - what??
Mat Hufman reporting for the Las Vegas
Sun goes off-road for this anniversary.
Along Highway 50 east of Fallon, Nevada, at the former Old
Middlegate Station travellers and desert rats swap stories.
current one is about the nuclear
bomb that was detonated nearby, 50 years ago almost to the day. This
occurred between Fallon and Middlegate in a lifeless-looking place called GZ
Canyon. There are a few man-made structures that show the continued presence of
the Navy, but other than a military jet screaming overhead from Fallon Naval
Air Station, there’s not much else but grey scrub brush and quiet.
hard enough and you’ll notice a concrete pad, badly cracked, and twisted hunks
of rusted metal. These are the detritus of a nuclear blast, 1,200 feet below in
the granite hillside, set off Oct. 26, 1963. This was the government’s Project
Shoal, a 12.5-kiloton blast (equivalent to 12,500 tons of TNT) to study how to
detect deep underground nuclear testing in other countries.
Shoal site is one of two places in the state outside of the Nevada Test Site
where the government exploded nuclear weapons. The other site, Project
Faultless in Nye County, northeast of Warm Springs, has an 8-foot-high drill
casing with a small plaque describing the test. The remoteness of the area,
roughly 50 miles from Fallon in the Sand Springs Mountains, is a key reason why
this place was chosen.
the state and federal government say there’s no immediate concern about
radiation here. There is significant damage and radiation down several hundred
feet, but on the surface, the general advice is that you’ll be fine as long as
you don’t dig deep or eat the dirt. The 50th anniversary of the blast passed as
the others have, with few people noticing.
The only real reminder of the test is the name:
The initials in GZ Canyon stand for ground zero. Not that you’d ever find it…Images: Mat Hufman (Las Vegas Sun) / The Centre For
Land Use Interpretation (4/11/13)
I hope these containers aren't bound for the Kara Sea...
Found on the pages of
The Moscow Times, so 'spasibo’ to them…
Large-scale Soviet nuclear
tests, dumping of spent fuel and two scuttled nuclear-powered
submarines are a major source of pollution in the Arctic Ocean,
a Russian research institute has said.
There are 17,000 containers
and 19 vessels holding radioactive waste submerged in the Kara Sea,
as well as 14 nuclear reactors, said a report passed by Russia
to the Norwegian authorities in 2012, according to Bellona,
an environmental group that acquired a copy of document.
The sinking of nuclear
material and scuttling of ships used to be widespread practice.
Of particular worry now is the Soviet nuclear submarine, K-27,
scuttled in 1981 in the Kara Sea. The boat, equipped with two
nuclear reactors, was filled with bitumen and concrete before being sunk,
according to the Russian Nuclear Safety Institute, to ensure that it
would lie safely on the ocean floor for 50 years. That period is
nearly up. Last year, speakers at a joint seminar with Bellona
and state nuclear company Rosatom warned that a nuclear reaction
could occur on the K-27.
"Before that, no-one knew about
the danger," Igor Kudrik, a nuclear safety expert
at Bellona said. Images: Commons
Wikimedia / Barents Observer (24/10/13)
Stand back! Things may get a bit wet around here...
Thanks to AFP for this ‘watery’ tale…
workers at Japan's crippled Fukushima
nuclear power plant were doused with radioactive water from a desalination
system Wednesday, the plant's operator said. The fluid splashed onto the men
when they accidentally removed a pipe connected to the system.
water did not come into contact with their faces so there is a little
possibility that the workers ingested" any of the water, a TEPCO
spokeswoman said, adding there were five other workers present at the time.
pipe was reconnected and the leak stopped within an hour of the initial
incident, the utility said in a statement. The system is designed to desalinate
contaminated water once it has been treated to reduce its caesium content. It
is then stored in tanks on the site.
incident will do little to improve the commonly held view that TEPCO is making
a mess of cleaning up the world's worst nuclear accident for a quarter of a
century. Earlier this week it was revealed a worker had accidentally switched
off power to pumps keeping broken reactors at a steady temperature.
radioactive water is being stored in around 1,000 tanks, which have been the
source of leaks recently. Some contaminated water has made its way into the
sea, the company has admitted.
TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for the
water stored on site, but experts have said that ultimately it will have to be
dumped in the Pacific, once it has been scoured of the worst of its radioactive
load. This suggestion faces opposition from fishermen, environmental groups and
neighbouring countries. Images: Gawand /
Yahoo News (10/10/13)
There's plenty more (Jelly) fish in the sea...
huge cluster of moon
jellyfish forced the Oskarshamn plant, the site of one of the world's
largest nuclear reactors, to shut down by clogging the pipes conducting cool
water to the turbines.
of the plant on the Baltic coast in south-east Sweden had to scramble reactor
No 3 on Sunday after tons of jellyfish were caught in the pipes. By Tuesday,
the pipes were cleared of the jellyfish and engineers were preparing to restart
the 1,400MWe boiling water reactor, said a spokesman.
biologists said they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns
occurred in the future. It's true that there seems to be more and more of these
extreme cases of blooming jellyfish," said Lene Moller, a researcher at
the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. "But it's very difficult
to say if there are more jellyfish, because there is no historical data."
He added that the biggest problem was that there
was no monitoring of jellyfish in the Baltic Sea to produce the data scientists
needed for decisions on tackling the issue. Images:
Lionel Cironneau (AP) /News 168 (2/10/13)
I know there is a bit of radiation here, but, really??
We’ve not heard from our friend Annette Cary at the Tri-City
Herald for a while, so we’ll put that right with this little gem…
radiation readings that caused an emergency to be declared last month
at Hanford came from old contamination, according to Hanford officials. No
evidence of a new leak from the system being used to retrieve waste from a
Hanford tank or from the system's transfer hoses was found.
investigation concluded that insulating blankets that had shielded radiation on
an area about 4 square inches shifted, causing the elevated beta radiation
readings during routine monitoring, Kevin Smith, manager of the Department of
Energy Hanford Office of River Protection, said.
River Protection Solutions, the DOE contractor for the tanks farms, has
completed an assessment of the Tank C-101 sluicer, where the elevated reading
was recorded and the surrounding area and found no additional contamination or
exposure to the environment, according to Smith. The contamination was on the
concrete cover block near the base of the C-101 sluicer transfer hose cover
sluicer is part of the system being used to empty radioactive and hazardous
chemical waste from the single-shell tank and transfer it to a newer
double-shell tank for storage until it can be treated for disposal. Because the
abnormal reading could have been caused by a leak, workers at the C Tank Farm
evacuated and workers in central Hanford and near the K Reactors were ordered
to take cover indoors.
Work is expected to resume this week to pump
waste from Tank C-101 and a second C Farm tank, C-110, where waste was being
removed before the abnormal radiation readings were detected. Before work
restarts, the hot spot will be covered.Images: Cre a Vapeur / Beta News (5/9/13)
Santa Maria - Susana's getting messy!!
are getting messy at Santa
Susana research facility, reports the Santa Maria Times…
Californian environmental groups sued state regulators last week over the
cleanup of a former nuclear research lab, saying low-level radioactive waste
was improperly shipped to landfills.
Watchdog, along with other groups, filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County
Superior Court against the Department of Public Health and Department of Toxic
Substances Control, which oversees the cleanup at the Santa Susana Field
about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Santa Susana was once home to nuclear
research and rocket engine tests. Responsible parties including Boeing Co.,
NASA and the U.S Energy Department have been working with state officials to
meet a 2017 deadline to rid the nearly 2,900-acre site of contaminated soil.
their complaint, the groups contend that materials from several buildings that
were demolished were sent to landfills and metal recycling shops that are not
licensed to accept radioactive waste. They also sought a temporary restraining
order to stop Boeing from tearing down a plutonium fuel fabrication building on
the hilltop complex.
is paramount that the public be protected from toxic, and in this instance
radioactive, harm," Liza Tucker of Consumer Watchdog said in a statement.
Officials at the toxic control agency rejected
the allegations, saying that debris sent offsite posed no threat to human
health or the environment. Stewart Black, a deputy director at DTSC, said the
state followed the rules in the demolishing and disposal of old buildings. Images: Puroserve / Enviro Reporter (12/8/13)
Finally!! A Nice Nugget...
bald eagles have hatched in a nest on the Hanford
nuclear reservation, for possibly the first time in more than 50 years.
officials are not aware of bald eagles producing eggs on the site since it was
established during World War II, according to Department of Energy spokesman
Cameron Salony. It's the first known bald eagle nesting attempt at Hanford in
young birds are estimated to be about 10 weeks old and already stand about 31
In February, Mission Support Alliance officials
surveyed for bald eagles on the site and spotted 13 adults and three juveniles.
Bald eagles are considered juveniles until they are about five years old, when
their mottled brown-and-white plumage turns to dark brown and they develop the
distinctive white head and tail of an adult. Bald eagles were listed as an
endangered species in 1967, but have since been removed from the list as their
population has recovered. They still are covered by the Eagle Protection Act,
and disturbing them can be considered a violation of the act.
The two young eagles at Hanford almost are ready
to fly. Fish and Wildlife says eaglets make their first unsteady flights about
10 to 12 weeks after hatching and leave the nest within a few days after that
first flight. However, they'll likely remain in the vicinity of the nest for
several weeks after fledging. Image: Justin Wild (MSA) / The Independent (5/7/13)
Prussian blue, anyone...?
Lyndsey Smith and Michael Sandelson,
reporting for the pages of The Foreigner based in Norway, take a look at
some sheep for us.
Agricultural Authority reports the number of sheep requiring ‘foddering down’
following 1986’s Chernobyl
disaster appear to be decreasing. 1,914 sheep had to undergo this
procedure last year, with 196 claims for compensation. This is “a marked
reduction from 2011”, according to them.
down’ involves the animals being fed a controlled caesium-free diet, sometimes
laced with a caesium binder (known as Prussian blue) six weeks prior to
slaughtering. Over two million sheep on a national basis have had to undergo
this process since the disaster, and Norway is still counting the cost of the
are particularly fond of mushrooms, which are known to accumulate caesium. 1986
saw a bumper crop of these, and major amounts of radioactive meat had to be
destroyed. Images: Miranda Metheny / The Guardian (25/6/13)
Another case of 'You've put What? Where?' Down Under
Miles Kemp, writing for Adelaide Now
in Australia, takes a look at some interesting documents for us…
released under the Freedom of Information Act show the Environment Protection
Authority has approved 36 facilities to store radioactive
waste, eight years after the State Government refused to allow a secure
waste dump to be built in the far north of the state.
the EPA has refused to tell the public where the material, some held by private
companies, is kept - even by postcode. Mr Brokenshire, a representative of
Family First, said it was unacceptable that the EPA would not reveal where the
waste was being stored. He commented: “The fact that it took a year to come up
with a simple list shows how ineffective the whole system is.”
2005 the State Government refused to allow a national storage facility to be
located in the far north of South Australia, despite it being selected as the
best location geologically. One known example of the known storage are 21
barrels of medium to high-level radioactive material stored in a tin shed in
the heart of Arkaroola, an Outback sanctuary the State Government wants on the
World Heritage list.
A spokeswoman for the EPA said it had a register
of 789 radiation sources but most were still in use. “Some of these sources are
in storage as waste. The majority of the sources are used in the industrial and
scientific/medical setting.” Images: News Ltd / Aussie
Heritage Tours (17/6/13)
TIMBER!!! down Chernobyl way...
cutting down a few thousand trees in the Chernobyl area? Time to dig out that
radiation suit – again! Our thanks to the pages of RIA Novosti for this crazy
scientists want the former-Soviet republic to restart tree-felling in areas
affected by the world’s worst nuclear power disaster at the Chernobyl
nuclear power plant, a Belarusian academic said on Thursday. The timber growing
in these forests has an increased radioactive nuclides content only in its
surface layers, mostly in the bark. This bark can be stripped using
domestically-made mobile bark-stripping systems,” Alexander Kovalevich,
director of the Forest Institute at the Belarusian Academy of Sciences was
quoted as saying by the Belta state news agency.
said timber could be safely procured in forests with a radiation contamination
level of up to 40 curies per square km.
Modern machinery will shield workers from
radiation, he argued. “At present, about 27 percent of timber is procured with
the use of harvesters and this share will rise to 70 percent by 2015. A driver
working in the cabin of this vehicle is fully protected from the viewpoint of
radiation safety,” he said. Images: RIA Novosti
(Andrey Alexandrov) / Sammy D Vintage (7/6/13)
US asks Canada: "You want to store what?? Where??"
grateful thanks to Fox28 for this little gem we found today…
lawmakers have questions about a proposed Canadian underground nuclear
waste repository near Lake Huron.
state Senate resolution that was introduced by Democratic Sen. Hoon-Yung
Hopgood of Taylor passed Wednesday. Lawmakers worry that the facility might
affect the Great Lakes, and they want Congress to help ensure Michigan's
concerns are fully resolved.
Power Generation has proposed the facility. The Detroit News reports that a
public comment period for the company's environmental impact statement comes to
an end on Friday. Hearings and other steps are expected before approval is
The storage facility for low - to medium - level
nuclear waste would be built in Kincardine, across Lake Huron from the Michigan
shoreline. Images: Summit Post /
Groundwater UK (27/5/13)
Today's Special: Caesium, Plutonium & Americium...
Emily Parsons, reporting for The Whitehaven
News was up for a pizza…
so-called Pizza Cumbriana was created eight years ago by Core (Cumbrians
Opposed to a Radioactive Environment), to highlight their concerns about plans
by Italy to ship more
irradiated (spent) fuel to Sellafield for reprocessing.
illustrate the environmental damage caused by such trade, Core presented the
embassy with a unique West Cumbrian “pizza”, complete with a topping of mud and
seaweed collected from a public footpath crossing the River Esk estuary.
analysis of the material by the University of Manchester had shown the topping
to contain levels of radioactivity that would be illegal in Italy and which, in
the UK, would classify it as Low Level Waste (LLW).
condemned pizza was swiftly removed by the Environment Agency and has
languished ever since with other LLW at the Atomic Energy Research
Establishment at Didcot, Oxford. Now it has been finally transported by road to
its rightful resting place to the Low Level Waste disposal facility at Drigg.
Forwood, Core spokesman, said: “Burying our pizza at Drigg is proof positive
that some of west Cumbria’s coastal areas are nothing more than nuclear
A report produced by Harwell Scientifics Ltd for
the Environment Agency entitled ‘Analysis of a Pizza Comprising of Sediment’
(RD 0693) confirmed the presence of high levels of Caesium 137, Americium 241,
and Plutonium 238, 239 and 240. Images:
Whitehaven News / Photaki (30/4/13)
Mamma Mia - we're off the menu!!
This comes from the English news section of Xinhau…
above the ruled thresholds have been detected in Italy's boars, local reports
radioactive isotope of the element cesium was found following routine
surveillance on tongue and diaphragm from boars in Italy’s northern Piedmont
region, according to a statement published on the health ministry's website.
samples were from wild boars captured during the 2012-2013 hunt season. On 27
of them, cesium-137 levels were above the ruled threshold, established as the
upper limit after nuclear incident.
quoted by the ANSA news agency estimated that the radioactive isotope may
derive from the Russian Chernobyl nuclear power plant, after the 1986 accident.
said that two nuclear sites in Piedmont region, the Trino Vercellese station
dismantled in 1987 and an experimental site in the Saluggia area, as well as
toxic waste, may also be at the origin of the findings.
cesium-137 is an artificial radionuclide produced by nuclear fission, and is
released from nuclear sites," said the head of the Enea Radiation
Protection Institute, Elena Fantuzzi. However, she added that the presence of
cesium-137 is continuously monitored at the national level and the amounts
detected "have never been worrying."
In her view, it is also important to consider
whether the metabolism of boars may facilitate the accumulation of the
radioactive isotope above the limits considered as safe. Images: Shutterstock / Wine Tours (15/3/13)
Fishing in Japan? I don't think so...
nice people at UPI have a cautionary fishing tale for us…
fish caught near the Fukushima
nuclear plant contained levels of radioactivity 5,100 times above the state-set
safety limit, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
Greenling fish, caught in the small harbour by the plant damaged in the March
2011 earthquake and tsunami, contained 231,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium
per pound, Kyodo News reported Friday.
someone were to eat around 2 pounds of fish with this level they would be
exposed to about 7.7 millisieverts of internal radiation, about the dose
received in a full-body CT scan.
has set up a 6-foot-tall net at the seafloor of the harbour, which has been
significantly contaminated with radioactive substances, to prevent bottom fish
from swimming out.
During efforts by Tepco to rid the harbour of
all fish, a Spotbelly rockfish containing 125,000 becquerels of radioactive
cesium per pound was also caught, officials said. Images: Alaska in pictures / Photo Travels (3/3/13)
We heard about the nuke plant closure - do you need some help?
We thought we’d have a positive Nuclear Nugget today, thanks
to those nice folks at Reuters and Saundra Amrhein…
The decision earlier this month to retire a nuclear
plant near Crystal River, Florida - potentially costing hundreds of
jobs and lost revenue - has residents banking on the lure of the endangered
manatee. "We'll always have tourism, we'll always have manatees. That's a
huge draw," said Michele Bunts, manager of Cracker's Bar, Grill &
Tiki. As the nation's only place where people can legally swim with manatees,
Crystal River draws tourists from around the world for a chance to snorkel with
the sea cows, which can be 10 feet long and weigh between 800 and 1,200 lbs
(364 to 545 kg).
About 600 people could lose their jobs once the plant is
eventually retired, but there will be plenty of work for at least the next five
to seven years. The plant would then transition into a "mothballed-type
status" for another 20 to 25 years.
Store and restaurant owners were hoping to recoup lost
business if Duke chose to decontaminate the plant, adding more workers.
Instead, the company announced on Feb. 5 it planned to pursue another option,
safely storing the plant for several decades to let nature help with the decay
before cleaning out the rest of the radiation.
River Mayor Jim Farley acknowledged that the county as a whole might take a hit
should many employees be reassigned out-of-state and if property tax income
drops if Duke does not replace the nuclear facility with a natural gas plant. But he predicted that ongoing
plans for the springs will make the area a bigger eco-tourism attraction than
it already is.
"It's not going to be a disaster,"
Farley said. "I think we're going to be able to cope. Images: Beach Chair Scientist /Gottus Realty (15/2/13)
Okay - what's making the Geigers tick at Aston Down?
Reports are being reviewed about the presence of radioactive
substances at the former MoD airfield at Aston Down, Gloucestershire,
following new claims of contamination.
2005, the findings of a Land Quality Assessment identified the presence of
radiological materials and artefacts in two hangars but campaigners are
concerned because only one type of survey - focussing on gamma radiation - was
Sally Morgan, of the Aston Down Action Group, said: "Alpha and beta
radiation is highly toxic if ingested and not as easily detectable as gamma
radiation." Stroud District Council has confirmed that its environmental
health team has been reviewing previously submitted reports concerning the
possible presence of radioactive materials.
A spokesman said: "The reports do not
directly refer to the monitoring of alpha and beta radiation. To ensure that we
have the best advice and appropriate action is taken, we are referring the
matter to the Health Protection Agency as the experts on radiological matters."
Images: Stroud News & Journal / Watch Talk (8/2/13)
Note to UK - should we really start fracking?
Rachel Morgan’s recent report on the pages of Times
Online raises some worrying thoughts on the by-products of fracking. Here
is a small extract …
new evidence pointing to potentially dangerous
levels of radiation in fracking wastewater, questions arise over just
who regulates this stuff. The short answer: No one, really.
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or U.S. Department of Transportation
step in, because this water is often transported across state lines? Does the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regulate the tanker trucks being
driven around on the state’s roads? What about the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, which monitors every radioactive molecule emanating from nuclear
answer, it seems, is a resounding no from every regulatory body except perhaps
from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. State DEP
officials say that yes, they are in charge of regulating the handling,
transport and disposal of wastewater from natural gas drilling. But those same
officials said they do not measure radium concentrations in fracking
wastewater, a position they held until their announcement Thursday that they
plan to launch a yearlong study of radioactive waste from the drilling
procedure formally known as hydraulic fracturing.
EPA is studying fracking’s impact on drinking water sources, with intentions to
release the full report in 2014. The plan will take into account the
potentially radioactive material that can be released from the shale by
fracking. The study was done in the early 1990s and tested wastewater from
conventional wells, when the salty brine was used to de-ice roads. That permit,
DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said, expired in 2010 and was not renewed. He also
said the DEP has never allowed brine from fracked wells to be used on the
“The study found no problems with the water,”
Poister said. “Radiation was barely detectable but not deemed a hazard in any
way.” Images: Evan Witek
(The Times) / BGS.AC (28/1/13)
Want to see some Atlantic Salmon? Best check out Connecticut Yankee...
We thought it was time for a nice, positive tale today,
thanks to the folks at World Nuclear News.
A US government conservation agency has purchased
land next to the decommissioned Connecticut
Yankee nuclear power plant to expand its nature reserve there.
US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have bought a 15-hectare portion of land
from the plant. The land will become part of the Salmon River Division of the
Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which will then cover some 168
hectares. The Salmon River is recognized by the FWS as a high-priority area for
fisheries, and is one of three federal Atlantic salmon restoration areas in the
state of Connecticut. Extensive beds of aquatic plants in the Salmon River
Division provide significant over-wintering, spawning and feeding habitat for a
large number of fish species, including commercial finfish and shellfish.
Yankee president and CEO Wayne Norton commented, "The success of this land
transaction is due to the cooperative efforts of the FWS and grassroots
organizations in the Haddam community and to the fact that this separately
acquired parcel of land adjacent to the original plant property was never
associated with site-related operations, nor needed for used fuel storage
Only a small part of the former plant site -
hosting the dry cask storage facility where some 1000 used nuclear fuel
assemblies from the reactor's operating life plus some contaminated metals are
kept - remains under Nuclear Regulatory Commission licence. Connecticut Yankee
retains responsibility for the security and protection of the storage
facility's two-hectare site until a national used nuclear fuel disposal
facility is available, when it would be removed. Images: Connecticut Yankee / Paul Nicklen (National
I'm sorry - I swear someone said Emmerdale...
west Cumbrian community fears it may be chosen to host an underground store for
Britain's nuclear waste. Samantha Parker, reporting for ITV,
has the full report.
householders say the area is one of only a few places where the geology is
thought to be suitable. A protest group has been set up and all 276 households
will be asked for their views in a referendum. A public meeting was held at the
local pub where villagers were able to speak to those for and against the plans
before casting their votes. The majority say they haven't been properly
is disputed by members of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely partnership who
spent three years gathering the opinions of those living in west Cumbria.
30th January the executives of the three local councils of Allerdale, Copeland
and the county council will meet to decide whether to go through to the next
stage of the process and look for a possible site. If they agree extensive work
will be undertaken to find an area with a suitable geology.
councils say no area has been identified as being suitable at this stage. If
the councils do vote for some or all of west Cumbria to go through to the
siting stage the west of the county can still withdraw at any stage until
building work begins.
The views of the people of Ennerdale will be
sent to all three councils ahead of their meetings on 30th January. Images: NOEND / Mediastudies (7/1/13)
Invasion of the black boxes in Wyoming
Abrahm Lustgarten, reporting for ProPublica,
wanders the Great Plains for this one.
a lonely stretch at the edge of the Great Plains is a crowning escarpment
called the Pumpkin Buttes. The land appears bountiful, but it is straining to
produce enough sustenance for the herds of cattle and sheep on its arid
prairies. "It's a tough way to make a living," said John Christensen,
whose family has worked this private expanse, called Christensen Ranch, for
more than a century.
has made ends meet by allowing prospectors to tap into minerals and oil and gas
beneath his bucolic hills. But from the start, it has been a Faustian bargain.
dry as this land may be, underground, vast reservoirs hold billions of gallons
of water suitable for drinking, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. Yet every day injection wells pump more than 200,000 gallons of toxic
waste from uranium mining into Christensen's aquifers.
a conflict between state and federal regulators over whether to allow more
mining at Christensen Ranch (and the damage that comes with it) has pitted the
feverish drive for domestic energy against the need to protect water resources
for the future. Twenty-five years ago, the EPA and Wyoming officials agreed
that polluting the water beneath Christensen Ranch was an acceptable price for
producing energy there.
the last five years, as regulators have vacillated over what to do, John
Christensen’s property has been speckled with thousands of small, mysterious
black boxes. From each dark cube, a mixture of chemicals is pumped into the
ground to dissolve the ore and separate out the uranium so that it can be
sucked back out and refined for nuclear fuel.
Horses graze behind a gate on a dirt road that
winds across this 35,000-acre tract, 50 miles south of Gillette, Wyoming.
Nearby, a small metal sign is strung to a cattle guard with chicken wire:
"Caution. Radioactive Material." Images: Abrahm Lustgarten, / FRROLE (28/12/12)
Friends of the Earth turn tourist guides...
We thought we’d go
all public spirited again, this time thanks to the pages of Green Left,
of the Earth have released a press statement, announcing their Radioactive Exposure Tour which will take place from Friday March 29 to
Sunday April 7, 2013.
tours have exposed thousands of people first-hand to the realities of
“radioactive racism” and to the environmental impacts of the nuclear industry.
travelling from Melbourne to Adelaide we will head through Port Augusta and
visit the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Then we'll travel north to the SA desert,
we'll visit BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine at Roxby Downs, the largest
uranium deposit in the world.
watch sunset over Lake Eyre and see the Mound Springs - oases that are fed by
the underlying Great Artesian Basin and host unique flora and fauna. Sadly,
some of the Mound Springs have been adversely affected or destroyed altogether
by the massive water taken for the Olympic Dam mine. The water is taken from
Arabunna land and we'll hopefully get to spend time with Arabunna elder Kevin
Buzzacott, co-president of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance.
hear first-hand accounts of the British nuclear bomb tests from Maralinga
veteran and whistle-blower Avon Hudson. After stopping for a swim at Coward
Springs, we'll head east and camp in the beautiful Gammon Ranges and visit the
not-so-beautiful Beverley uranium mine.
costs are: concession A$500 - waged A$750 - solidarity A$950. If cost is a
barrier, contact the organisers to discuss funding ideas.
If you're interested in joining in the 2013
Radioactive Exposure Tour, contact firstname.lastname@example.org " Images: foe.org.au
/ Eco News (12/12/12)
New program launched to clean up Navajo land
Jenny Kane, writing for the Carlsbad
Current Argus, brings us some good news.
More than 70 years after Navajo land first was poisoned by
the mining and milling of uranium
ore, its people have a chance to right some of those wrongs.
20 students will graduate from a new program that trains Navajo to help in the
cleanup of uranium. The program teaches students how to measure and detect
radon, one of the toxic products of uranium. They also are trained in a 40-hour
hazardous waste and emergency response course, first aid, cardiopulmonary
resuscitation, and basic job skills.
than 100 applicants tried to get into the class offered on the Navajo Nation.
Only about 20 were selected for the three-week training, which is preceded by a
physical and mental test. Though the recruitment of Navajo into the cleanup
force is new, the effort has been in the works for decades and is expected to
continue for years.
material began contaminating the Navajo Nation's land and water during the
1940s, when uranium was in high demand by the federal government.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Environmental Protection
Agency have teamed since 2007 to clean up sites scattered across the 27,000 square
miles of the reservation. Their priorities are uranium-contaminated water
sources and structures.
30 percent of the Navajo population does not have access to a public drinking
water system and may be using unregulated water sources with uranium
contamination, according to the EPA. Images: Stormy cs / TrekEarth (6/12/12)
It's Radon testing time here in Port Hope
time to go public-spirited again, this time thanks to the Northumberland
View, based in Ontario, Canada.
Hope Area Initiative contractors will be in the field and back visiting 450
local residents later this month as testing continues to prepare for the future
cleanup of historic low-level radioactive waste.
field work will take place at the 450 properties that were monitored for radon
gas this past summer. Phone calls to property owners to schedule the
appointments will start during the week of November 19, and home visits will
begin during the last week of November.
will use the personal identification number that has been assigned to each
property owner as a security measure. The testing is part of the Port Hope
Project Radiological Survey program that will survey 4,800 properties – every
property in Ward 1 Port Hope and select properties in Ward 2 – over the next
four years. Also this month, field investigations will be carried out at the Peter
Street Interim Mound and at the St. Mary’s School property to determine the
extent of future clean-up activities required.
these investigations begin, staff from the PHAI Management Office will visit
nearby neighbours and businesses to provide them with background information
about the work and to answer any questions they may have. Communication with
the property owners where the work is being done has already taken place.
expect very little impact that anyone will notice from these on-site
investigations,” said Walter Van Veen, Port Hope Project Director. “Our aim is
to complete the work with minimal disturbance and inconvenience to the property
owners and businesses.”
The radiological investigations are being
carried out by three contractors engaged by the PHAI MO as follows: Residential property investigations - SENES
Consultants Limited of Richmond Hill; Peter Street Interim Mound, St. Mary’s School
property and Caroline Street Park - Franz Environmental of
Waste Management Facility abandoned pipeline - Genivar Inc.
of Markham. Images: Photo Travel
Pages / Coastline Housing (16/11/12)
Hurricane warnings for USA East Coast - an update...
Bloomberg reported the following on
Saturday, October 27th,courtesy of Global Research.
‘Because of the size of Hurricane
Sandy, we could see an impact to coastal and inland plants’ Neil
Sheehan, a Philadelphia-based spokesman for the US NRC, said by phone
Saturday. He added: ‘We will station
inspectors at the sites if we know they could be directly impacted.’
The NRC met Saturday to discuss
the necessary precautions to take for the storm. As of 2pm New York time, Sandy had winds of 75 (121km) per hour
according to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami. It was about 430 miles south/south east of Charleston, SC. The current Hurricane Centre track calls for
the system to come ashore just south of Delaware Bay October 30th.
provides a list
of the nuclear reactors and utilities in Sandy’s potential path. Many of
the plants listed have had problems in the past – for example: Surry has
recently been plagued by problems with the coolant system, valves and damage
from a tornado; Calvert Cliffs was knocked offline by the last
hurricane and Indian Point is widely recognized as one of the nation’s
worst nuclear plants. Image: The Guardian (29/10/12)
Another 40 years storage? Not on my watch...
David Shaffer, reporting recently for the Star
Tribune, goes native for this worrying environmental report.
regulators are partially opening the door for a Minnesota Indian tribe to
challenge Xcel Energy's request for a 40-year extension on its license to store
radioactive waste in casks on the site of the Prairie Island nuclear
power plant near Red Wing, Minn.
the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the Prairie Island Indian
Community (many of whose members live next to the plant) shouldn't be allowed
to raise one of its main issues and that the environmental questions about
longer-term storage have been inadequately studied.
NRC pointed out that the tribe should be able to raise other safety issues
regarding radioactive waste in the pending licensing case. But Xcel Energy
Inc., the plant's owner, in a separate filing, argued that none of the tribe's
safety-related contentions should be considered.
June, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck
down NRC's waste-storage policy, saying the lack of a national nuclear waste
repository means that spent nuclear fuel "will seemingly be stored on site
at nuclear plants on a permanent basis."
That ruling has emboldened the Prairie Island
tribe to petition for an expanded study of the risks of storing spent fuel rods
in casks for decades longer than intended. Yet the NRC said the commission
wants to avoid such plant-by-plant reviews until regulators can consider the
waste-storage issue more broadly. Images: Jim Seida (MSNBC) / NRC (1/10/12) (Pictured: Doreen Hagen, president of the Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council)
Wild? That's all I need - an anti-radiation scrub down...
comes from the Mainichi News. A professor is planning to attach radiation
measuring devices to wild monkeys to create radiation maps of forests
contaminated by the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster.
the contamination of forests is difficult ... For the sake of a detailed
investigation, we'll have wild monkeys help us out," said Fukushima
University professor Takayuki Takahashi, who is planning the project. The
radioactive contamination levels of the forests that cover around 70 percent of
Fukushima Prefecture are still not clear.
investigation will be carried out together with a wildlife protection centre.
Wild monkeys in highly contaminated areas like Iitate or Namie will be
captured, have devices to measure radiation with GPS functionality attached to
their necks, and then be released back into the wild. After about a month of
recording air radiation levels, the devices will be remotely detached and their
to Takahashi, wild monkeys move in groups and live in territories covering
around four hectares. Starting with one monkey, Takahashi hopes to then expand
to use more of the animals and increase the size of the area covered.
October last year, a test was done using a measuring device on a wild monkey in
the city of Fukushima, but after the apparatus was recovered a problem with it
prevented data from being accessed. Currently, Takahashi is working on
improving the measuring devices with an aim to resuming tests in the fall.
"The Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology is conducting radiation monitoring with
aircraft, but it is not getting detailed radiation amounts, so an early
investigation is necessary. If all goes well with the monkeys, I would also
like to use wild boars or dogs," said Takahashi. Images: Bird Quest Tours / National Geographic (19/8/12)
Keep 2075 free, we may need some digging done...
Matt Chorley, writing for The Independent,
checks out potential burial sites…
burial of radioactive
nuclear waste is to be fast tracked by the government despite warnings
about the risks.
have revealed an "enduring ambition" for Britain's first burial of
waste from nuclear power stations to happen as early as 2029, instead of 2040
as originally planned. Opponents warn
acceleration of the idea will mean cutting corners, and over-riding the views
of people living near burial sites.
idea of entombing waste from reactors deep underground was first raised by the
Labour government six years ago, with the emphasis on "voluntarism".
Councils were encouraged to come forward and offer to host the radioactive
matter. But the coalition wants the process to move faster, and has asked the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to carry out research into "the
potential options for acceleration".
waste would be buried in containers at depths of up to 1,000m with both metal
and the natural rock preventing radiation being released.
year NDA said it had "confidence" the 2075 and 2130 dates could be
brought forward, but shifting the 2040 date to 2029 was "more
challenging" and required consideration of other approaches which bring
"a higher degree of programme risk".
a new report on Implementing Geological Disposal, seen by The Independent
on Sunday, reveals the government is determined to press ahead with
acceleration, despite "the inherent risks". "Acceleration
remains an enduring ambition for ministers but no decisions will be taken until
NDA's further work is complete," it said.
Dr Douglas Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace
UK, said: "Acceleration of plans for burying nuclear waste could only be
achieved by by-passing proper consideration of hazards or railroading local
communities." Images: The
Independent / Macstories (30/7/12)
Does anyone know the opposite of 'NIMBY' ??
Heidi Ulrichsen, reporting for Northern Life
in Canada, wonders where she can get hold of some warning barrier tape (we can
help you there, Heidi…)
When the Municipality of Wawa first decided to explore the
possibility of hosting the country's nuclear
waste, a group of citizens had what Mayor Linda Nowicki calls an
“immediate knee-jerk response.”
The organization only works with communities
interested in potentially hosting the facility – it doesn't approach any
communities itself. The process to find a suitable project site is expected to
take about eight years. Given the consultations, regulatory approvals and
construction time lines, the NWMO estimates the earliest this facility will be
in place is 2035.
Wawa, located about seven hours away
from Greater Sudbury, on the shores of Lake Superior, is one of several
communities being courted by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)
as a potential site for its project deep beneath the earth.
For Nowicki, it's worth it for Wawa to consider the idea hosting the deep
geological repository, given the potential economic benefits down the road.
By the mayor's own admission, the town's economy isn't doing well, with the
mining, forestry and tourism industries taking a hit in recent years. “The
project has the potential to bring great economic return in the long term,”
Nowicki said. “I view it as a business opportunity and an economic development
”At the same time, citizens have a responsibility to come up with a long-term
solution for the country's nuclear waste. Every one of us in this country is
benefiting from the production of electricity from the nuclear reactors. We all
have a moral responsibility to deal with that waste for future generations.” Images:
anythingradioactive / SLACC (19/7/12)
Grim tales from the woods Chernobyl style..
Patrick Evans, reporting for the BBC,
takes a walk in the woods.
Much of the 30km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant
is pine forest, and some of it so badly contaminated that a forest fire could
create a devastating radioactive smoke cloud.
the region is slowly getting back to normal. People are returning to farm this
once booming agricultural area. It is happening inside the exclusion zone too.
Chernobyl Forestry Enterprise is now planting small new pine stands which it
plans to harvest in 80 years' time. But there are serious problems with the
rest of Chernobyl's extensive pine plantations.
damages easily and these dying radioactive plantations are considered too
dangerous and expensive to clear. If ignited, one expert likens the potential
effect to setting off a nuclear bomb in Eastern Europe. Wind could carry
radioactive smoke particles large distances, not just in Ukraine, but right
across the continent.
fighters in Chernobyl have one of the least enviable jobs in the world. They
spend all day up rusty Soviet watchtowers, which sway in the wind like tin-box
metronomes, and act as conductors to the huge lightning storms, often sparking
Their equipment is very basic. They believe they know when
they are fighting a radioactive fire - they experience a tingling, metallic
sensation in their skin - but they do not fully understand the serious dangers
of being exposed to superheated radioactive particles.
Their job description still belongs to heroic Soviet ideals
- they must put the blaze out, no matter the personal consequences…Images: BBC
What's that noise? Just 300 railroad cars on their way to S.Carolina
Sammy Fretwell, writing for The State in
South Carolina, suits up for this one.
company wants to send 300 railroad cars of radioactive
dirt from New Jersey to South Carolina for burial in a mega garbage
dump near Bishopville, rather than dispose of the waste in the Northeast.
shipments from Sayreville, N.J., to South Carolina would be unprecedented for
the mountainous waste dump, a nationally known landfill designed to bury
household garbage instead of toxic waste.
questions remain unanswered about the disposal plan, but this much is known:
dumping the soil would require extra precautions at the Lee County landfill.
The radioactive soil poses threats to public safety not normally found in
household garbage, records show. While the radioactivity in the dirt is
classified as naturally occurring, the natural levels were “technically
enhanced’’ at an industrial site in northern New Jersey, regulators said. As a
result, that concentrated and increased the radiation levels, said regulators
in South Carolina.
State law could, under certain circumstances, allow the disposal of such
material in Lee County, but state regulators acknowledge risks. Sayreville’s
plan to send radioactive soil to the Lee County landfill is the latest issue
raising concerns about the megadump that towers over Interstate 20 in eastern
dump has for years accepted more out-of-state garbage than any other landfill
in South Carolina and has been a source of citizen complaints. Kent Coleman, director
of DHEC’s waste management division, said the amount of the radioactive-laden
soil is substantial and worth careful scrutiny. He said some slightly
radioactive material occasionally has gone to landfills in small amounts, but
never 300 train cars.
records do not detail the health hazards. The volume is a very key issue, in
addition to the fact that it is radioactive material and needs special
consideration,’’ Coleman said. “The volume is a big issue in terms of how it is
The landfill likely would need to bury the
radioactive New Jersey dirt under a deeper cover of soil than is now required
for garbage. Household trash can be buried under several feet of soil at a
landfill, but the radioactive dirt from New Jersey might need to be buried
under 30 feet, Coleman said. The material also would have to be covered up
immediately after it was dumped in the landfill. (1/7/12)
Radioactive? Me? I find that hard to swallow...
Victoria Brenan, writing for The Whitehaven
News, looks out her mosquito repellent.
mosquitoes are being blamed after contaminated swallow droppings were
discovered at Sellafield. An Environment Agency report revealed that bird
droppings from around the swallows’ nesting site were found to be radioactively
is believed the swallows, which are nesting in the transport section at the
atomic complex, were contaminated by eating mosquitoes that fly above
Sellafield’s radioactive storage ponds. A spokesman for the plant said checks
at the nesting area showed the radiation dose was the “indistinguishable from
natural background radiation found in any work place, on or off a nuclear
site”. An anti-nuclear spokesman, however, said the birds were carrying “a
highly toxic message” back to South Africa when they migrate at the end of the
said the radiation level was so low it did not require any protective clothing
to be worn and said they were putting in place measures to reduce the birds’
access to certain facilities.
Ltd is aware of the potential issue for birds to become contaminated with low
levels of radioactivity as a result of historic operations at Sellafield,” a
spokesman added. “Monitoring and
analysis has shown that the contamination poses no threat to health as
there is no direct pathway for exposure to members of the public.”
Martin Forwood, of Cumbrians Opposed to a
Radioactive Environment (CORE), said the “much-loved ay from the National Academies of Science showed
tuna was showing up off the coast of California. The levels of
radioactive cesium and potassium were elevated, and the source was
Best not drink the water in Texas for a while
Our thanks to Forrest Wilder, reporting for the Texas
Observer, for this somewhat worrying environmental tale deep in the heart
of – well – you know where…
Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat, called on the Texas Attorney General to
allow the public release of confidential information related to a West Texas radioactive
waste dump owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons.
said the documents, obtained after a two-and-a-half-year battle with the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality, show "serious public health and
safety risks" from the dump. Waste Control is awaiting final sign-off from
TCEQ to open the Andrews County facility. The company has made no secrets about
its plans to become a national site for the burial of radioactive waste but has
been beset by critics who say the dump is dangerously close to water tables and
possibly the Ogallala Aquifer.
a general sketch of the confidential TCEQ documents, Burnam said they discussed
the "location of nearby groundwater tables, the margin of safety in the
event of groundwater contamination, what solutions were and were not considered
and the possible risk to the public of radiation.”
In a letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott, Burnam asked
for a decision on whether the "top secret" information is
confidential under law. "I think the public has a right to know,"
said Burnam. "I think public health and safety is involved in this right now.
It's very immediate that TCEQ shouldn't allow Waste Control to open its dump
until the company answers questions about the water”. Images:
Diane Poteet / CS / Texas Observer
New nuclear dump plans spark Spanish protests
Looking for a cheap Spanish property? Well, the pages
from The Olive Press could help…
Rajoy’s new government has announced a €700 million nuclear
waste dump for a village near Madrid, provoking mixed reaction from
residents and green groups. The dump, to be built in the small
town of Villar de Canas, is expected to create 300 new jobs – an obvious
blessing for its residents given Spain’s current 21 per cent unemployment rate.
in this small village 135 km south-east of the capital have welcomed the news,
with its mayor saying it was like ‘winning the lottery’.Those in nearby
villages, however, are considering taking legal action against the plan.
are also critical, saying the project is likely to cost nearly three times what
the government has proposed, and that transporting waste to the site will be
plan was originally voted in 2004, but the location decision was delayed by
Zapatero’s government amid protests.
Nuclear power currently provides around 20 per
cent of Spain’s electricity.“Radioactive waste has been generated for decades
and will continue to be for years because Spain is not in a position to do
without nuclear power,” said an Industry Ministry statement. Images: Actualidad / Tumbit Spain (2/1/12)
Could Fukushima fall-out be affecting Alaska's wildlife?
found this rather sad post-Fukushima environmental article on the pages of
Global Research recently.
in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being affected by radiation
from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
of ring seals (pictured) have washed up on Alaska's Arctic coastline since July, suffering
or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind
flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the
animals' fur coats.
at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far
been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if
radiation is a factor.
recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St
Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,"
said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the
University of Alaska Fairbanks.
is concern expressed by some members of the local communities that there may be
some relationship to the Fukushima nuclear reactor's damage," he said. The
results of the tests would not be available for "several weeks."
tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in US Pacific
waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which caused multiple
fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima plant and forced tens of thousands of people to
evacuate the surrounding area.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been
seeking the cause of the diseased seals for weeks, but have so far found no
answers. Images: National
Geographic / Tidbits Trinkets
Lovely but lethal invasion at St Lucie
Stapleton, writing for the Palm Beach Post, takes a cautious
look at a recent event. A massive influx of
jellyfish shut down the St. Lucie nuclear power plant in late August,
but it is only now that nuclear regulators, wildlife officials and marine
researchers are learning that the event also killed several tons of protected
goliath grouper. Jellyfish invasions of this magnitude are rare. Biologists at
the plant could recall only three other similar events in the past 30 years.
spokesman with Florida Power & Light said the public was never in danger
during the Aug. 22 event. The plant, which is designed to withstand the impact
of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, was shut down for two days because of the jellyfish
invasion and to repair a leak that was discovered in another pump after the
shutdown, Doug Andrews said.
four-day event began Aug. 22. The plant's three intake pipes, located almost a
quarter-mile offshore, began sucking in an unusually large number of moon
jellyfish. Travelling through the pipes at about 4.6 mph, the jellyfishes'
poisonous tentacles broke off. For fish trapped in the plant's intake canal,
the situation became lethal. Unable to escape the canal, the poisonous tentacles
attached to their gills, which became grossly swollen. Biologists from Inwater
Research Group poured white vinegar on the gills of the giant grouper in an
attempt to save them. Ten were rescued before divers were forced out of the
water after they, too, were stung.
spokesman Andrews said the utility removed the fish as quickly as possible
because of "concerns about the spread of bacteria and disease." He
cited the company's sea turtle protection program as evidence of the company's
concern for wildlife and research, adding that the company has accumulated the
longest documented record of sea turtle biology in the country.
"FPL takes its responsibility to protect
the environment very seriously," Andrews said. "We're just as
bothered when they die as anybody." Images:
Thomas Cordy (Palm Beach Post) / Edit International (12/12/11)
Oh well, it looks like I'm back on the menu...
James Meikle, writing for the Guardian,
collects his sheepdog for this one.
2012, hundreds of British sheep farms – all but eight of them in Wales – could
finally see the end of safety measures imposed as a result of radioactive
fallout from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl 25 years ago.
Food Standards Agency (FSA) is proposing lifting restrictions originally placed
on 9,800 upland farms and more than 4m sheep in north Wales, including in the
Snowdonia national park, Cumbria, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland after
rain clouds dumped contaminated material from the blast in Ukraine, then part
of the USSR, 1,600 miles away.
agency says the risk from radioactivity to consumers eating lamb or mutton is
now "very low" and that controls on 334 farms in Wales, some no
longer with sheep on them, and eight in Cumbria should be lifted. The FSA
launched a formal consultation on its proposal on Thursday. This closes in
February so restrictions still involving about 250,000 sheep will not be lifted
until well into next year.
Since June 1986 when the present restrictions were imposed,
farmers have had to call in officials to check their sheep for caesium, the
main radioactive element, every time they want to move the animals off the
hills for market.
Welsh government welcomed the move, saying: "While food safety is of
paramount importance both in terms of public health and for continued confidence
in the Welsh farming and food sector, we support the evidence-based
approach the FSA have taken to assessing risk of exposure to the public from
the effect of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster."
Its statement added: "Levels of
radiocaesium recorded in sheep have fallen well below the level of any serious
risk to the consumer, and the controls currently in place go beyond the already
stringent European food safety law requirements - which could be viewed as
overly restrictive." Images: Almay (Guardian) / Idependent (18/11/11)
What's the matter with you? It's the Grand Canyon, stupid...
found this worrying environmental report on the pages of the Idaho Mountain
Express & Guide recently, so our thanks to them.
Obama administration has proposed a 20-year ban on uranium mining
on lands bordering the Grand Canyon. Opponents to the ban argue that mining
would create jobs, and would not represent a threat to the canyon. Proponents
of the ban agree with Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, who said simply, "It's
the Grand Canyon, stupid."
Theodore Roosevelt, whose devotion to the American landscape earned him a place
on Mount Rushmore, wrote, "In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural
wonder, which so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout
the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it
in your own interest and in the interest of the country—to keep this great
wonder of nature as it now is." In other words, do no harm.
There are certainly those who do not see it that way. If we
need power, as demonstrated by the rising price of uranium, so what if the land
that holds that uranium happens to be held in the public trust and lies next to
the Grand Canyon?
Sen. John McCain of Arizona really were a maverick of the Teddy Roosevelt
variety, as he frequently says he is, he should be fighting to preserve the
park and the land around it from any threat. He would not allow any risk to
this natural treasure.
McCain and the rest of the Arizona congressional delegation have chosen to
support the interests of the extractive industries, including a company
controlled by the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, which is not even required to
pay royalties to the United States.
Anyone who has ever stood on the rim of the
canyon knows why Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should never give in to
powerful mining interests, no matter what the rationale - It's the Grand
Grand Canyon National Park / Wikimedia (10/11/11)
Just in case you thought we only ever mention the USA...
Fellowes, writing for Peterborough Today, mans the
barricades. Residents angry at the decision to allow nuclear
waste to be dumped near their village have raised £10,000 to help fund
a legal battle, which campaigners (right) hope will overturn the decision to allow the
waste to be dumped at Augean’s East Northants Resource Management Facility, in
case is due to be heard at the High Court in London on November 2.
well as fundraising, campaign group Waste Watchers are appealing for local
people who oppose the decision to travel down to London for the court case to
show their support for the legal challenge.
Leuchars, a member of Waste Watchers, said: “King’s Cliffe, which is more than
90 miles from the nearest decommissioned nuclear facility, and several hundred
miles from others, has now become effectively the national disposal site. There
has been no government strategy behind this; it is a purely random choice, and
it bodes ill for the future of the nuclear programme to which this government
has recently committed itself.”
appeal came after Northamptonshire County Council rejected the firm’s plans in
March. More than 3,000 people signed a petition against Augean’s scheme. At the
time of Mr Pickles’ decision a spokesman from DCLG said that as the King’s
Cliffe site was an existing landfill site which handles hazardous waste,
granting temporary permission for more waste to be disposed of there “would not
be harmful to the community”.
The decision means that the site can be used to
treat rubble and soil from dismantled nuclear sites and there are restrictions
on the amount of waste that the site can accept. Images: Alison Bagley /Peterborough Today (20/10/11)
Let's hope this cave is going to be big enough...
The following report
was found on the pages of YLE.fi, so our thanks to them.The project director of
3 nuclear power plant, TVO Senior Vice President Jouni Silvennoinen,
insists there is no space for waste from utilities other than TVO or Fortum in
the Onkalo underground disposal site on Finland's west coast.
(or ‘cave’) is being dug into the bedrock near the Olkiluoto power station by
Posiva, which is 60 percent owned by TVO and 40 percent by Fortum. The latter
utility owns two commercial reactors in Loviisa on the south-east coast, and
has applied to build a third. TVO has two operating reactors on Olkiluoto, an
island in the municipality of Eurajoki, on the west coast between Rauma and
is the first country in the world to attempt to build a safe permanent storage
place for nuclear waste, at an estimated cost of some three billion euros.
Similar repositories are planned in Sweden – where this so-called multi-barrier
deep geological disposal system was devised – and France, but construction has
In the meantime, most of the world’s spent fuel
rods are being temporarily stored in tanks of water – a practice being
increasingly called into question since last spring’s Fukushima disaster. There
are now some 1900 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste being held in interim
storage in Finland. Images: YLE (4/10/11)
Remind me again - just how many marine animals need to be killed this year???
Those good people at the BBC in Scotland wade through
the murky waters of The North Sea for this one. Returning contaminated seabed near a nuclear
site to a "pristine condition" could do more harm than good,
according an environmental watchdog.
particles were flushed into the sea through a liquid discharge pipe
from Dounreay in the 1970s.The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa)
had recommended in 1998 that the seabed off the Caithness plant be cleared of
all the pollution.
its board has now conceded that this may not be achievable. Board members have
agreed with Sepa officers that not all the particles posed a risk to health and
to recover all these could cause greater harm to the environment.
environmental watchdog has asked that the clean-up continue where practically
possible and be balanced against the risk of damaging habitats. In a statement,
Sepa said: "It is now widely accepted that a literal return to a pristine
condition is a far from simple or even achievable concept. By the summer of
this year 2,300 particles had been recovered from the seabed and beaches.”
July, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) reported that provisional tests
suggested 38 out of 351 particles found in the latest sweep posed a significant
health risk. Trying to achieve it might also cause more harm than good.
On another issue related to pollution, DSRL has
been discussing with Sepa the possibility of significantly reducing the numbers
of animals its tests. Fish, crabs, lobsters and periwinkles are tested for
potential radioactive contamination. More than 22,000 marine animals a year are
caught and killed to check species are not being harmed by discharges from the
nuclear site in Caithness. Images: BBC / The
There's a serious lack of Nimbyism in Ontario
on the pages of the Northumberland News in Ontario, Canada
the editor: Re:
Derrick Kelly's letter of Aug. 17, 2011 'Leave LLRW where it is'.
it is too late to stop the PHAI (Port Hope Area Initiative) process.
residents of Port Hope should have insisted on a referendum on whether or not
to have the LLRW (low level radioactive waste) buried here permanently at the
time the decision was made by the council of the day. We will continue to have
the stigma in spite of the billions of taxpayers' money being wasted on this
LLRW's location in town was well known and constantly monitored. The PHAI signs
that greet one at the Hwy. 401 exit at Toronto Road are not the most welcoming
sight for visitors.
spite of the $10 million given to Port Hope for keeping it here, we have not
seen any obvious benefits. The stigma will continue to affect property values.
New business is unlikely to locate here resulting in even higher property
only fear mongering, but complacency by us, the citizens, in not demanding a
referendum, has contributed to the negative perception of Port Hope by
outsiders. This perception will get worse once the LLRW starts being
transported to its new location.
old saying 'Let sleeping dogs lie', i.e., leave the LLRW where it is, was never
Florence Neill, Port Hope. Images: Style North / Ceasefire (Canada) (19/8/11)
Getting wetter - a continuation of the previous troubles in Omaha
Mutikani, John Crawley and Michael Avok have filed the following
story on the pages of Reuters.
tear on Sunday in a temporary berm allowed Missouri River flood waters
to surround containment buildings and other vital areas of a Nebraska nuclear
plant, but reactor systems were not affected.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the breach in the 2,000-foot
inflatable berm around the Fort Calhoun station occurred around 1:25 a.m. local
time. More than 2 feet of water rushed in around containment buildings and
electrical transformers at the 478-megawatt facility located 20 miles north of
shutdown cooling and spent-fuel pool cooling were unaffected. The plant,
operated by the Omaha Public Power District, has been off line since April for
activated emergency diesel generators after the breach, but restored normal
electrical power by Sunday afternoon. Buildings at the Fort Calhoun plant are
watertight, the agency said. It noted that the cause of the berm breach is
Chairman Gregory Jaczko and other officials planned to visit the site on
Monday. Jaczko will also visit the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville,
Nebraska, another facility that has been watched closely with Missouri River
waters rising from heavy rains and snow melt.
But water levels in that area 80 miles south of
Omaha are receding, relieving worries that water will rise around the
Brownville plant. Images: Reuters / Connecticut
Mop Company (27/6/11)
A 'Notification of Unusual Event' down in Omaha - Omaha???
J. Laukaitis, writing for the Lincoln
Journal Star, mans the sandbags...
Omaha Public Power District declared a low-level emergency on Monday at
Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station due to rising Missouri River waters.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project the river level elevation at the plant
site is expected to reach 1,004 feet above mean sea level later this week, and
is expected to remain above that level for more than one month.
notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and emergency management
agencies in Nebraska and Iowa of the declaration. Such a "Notification of
Unusual Event" is the least serious of four emergency classifications that
are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry, OPPD said in a news release.
Calhoun Nuclear Station will not move out of this emergency classification
until it is confident the water will remain below the 1,004-foot level.
In addition to the existing flood-protection at
the plant, OPPD employees and contractors have built earth berms (man-made
mounds of earth, in case you were wondering) and sandbagged around the
switchyards and additional buildings on site. Images:
Will Kincaid / Bismark Tribune / Nebraska Watchdog (7/6/11)
How do you solve an old problem like spent nuclear fuel?
Per Nyberg, reporting for the pages of CNN,
raises an old problem…
the energy source itself, it's the question that won't go away: what can be
spent nuclear fuel? Sweden believes it has the answer.
plan is to bury the country's expected 12,000 tons of nuclear waste in
corrosion-resistant copper canisters under 500 meters of crystalline bedrock.
There it will remain isolated from human contact for at least 100,000 years.
idea, which still needs final approval, was developed by Swedish Nuclear Fuel and
Waste Management company (SKB) - a collective of Sweden's nuclear power
three decades of research, SKB believes that Osthammar in central Sweden is the
perfect final resting place for the country's nuclear waste. Not only is the
1.9 billion year old bedrock ideal says SKB, but the locals are largely in
favour of the plan and it is close to the nuclear power plant at Forsmark. The
latest poll showed that 88% of Osthammar residents are in favour of having the
storage site in their community.
have a complicated relationship to nuclear power. Following the Three Mile
Island incident in the U.S. in 1979, Sweden voted to shut down all its nuclear
reactors by 2010.
However the decision was overturned by a new
government and only two reactors were decommissioned. Today Sweden's 10 nuclear
reactors produce almost half of the country's electricity. (25/4/11) Images:
Flickr / DW World
Dodgy monitors in US raise safety questions
Mike Lee, reporting for the San Diego Union-Tribune,
takes a look at the state of America’s radiation stations.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said again Monday that Americans aren't
exposed to unsafe levels of radiation, but malfunctioning
federal monitors in San Diego and elsewhere have lead to calls for
investigations into the status of the safety net.
of the EPA's radiation sampling stations nationwide weren't operating on March
11 when Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami that crippled nuclear
reactors and created the release of radiation. The air samplers are part of a
system called RadNet and public interest has swelled in recent weeks as people
looked for information about radioactive fallout from Japan.
officials said the San Diego radiation station in Kearny Mesa is working
properly even though online charts suggested something still wasn't right on
Monday because they aren't similar to others for Southern California.
"This appears to be a display issue on the website, which we are working
to address," agency spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in an email. “That
monitoring system has been problematic since November, which it went offline
because of a damaged "flow controller" and a broken on-board
computer; it was back in action March 19.”
RadNet monitors are specialty instruments and the parts are not easily
replaced, We placed an order for the parts in November and considered options
to temporarily fix the monitor, however the options available to us would not
have maintained the integrity or quality control of the monitor. (29/3/11) Images: KVAL / Naples News
Yet more tales of depleted uranium left hanging about- this time from Springfield, Mass
This came to us in a roundabout way today, courtesy of
the Associated Press -- A Massachusetts official says environmental
experts are investigating the possible presence of radioactive depleted uranium
at the site of the historic Springfield Armory after the U.S. Army and Nuclear
Regulatory Commission said they don't have documents proving they've removed
Bureau of Environmental Health Director Suzanne Condon said Wednesday solid
depleted uranium coated a round added to a larger munition used for military
testing and training in the 1960s at the site, now home to the Springfield
Technical Community College and other facilities.
Depleted uranium typically causes kidney ailments. Condon says the public
health risk is low because any uranium likely would be in chunks, not a form
that could be inhaled.
The Springfield Armory began as a major arsenal under George Washington in the
Ten inspectors will conduct radiology tests Thursday and Friday. (23/3/11) Images: How Stuff Works / Popart UK
As we abuse our carbon footprints this week, here's something else to worry about
to Press TV for this sorry environmental tale that may have passed
you by recently.
A campaign group monitoring the UK's nuclear plants at
Sellafield has accused the government of breaking an international nuclear pollution
group said the increased activity in the nuclear fuel reprocessing plants at
Sellafield violates the UK's commitment to an international agreement to
decrease the seas' radioactive pollution. The government's Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has planned a “crash program” of reprocessing
which will double discharges of radioactive waste from Sellafield, Cumbria into
the Irish Sea.
The government would be violating its commitments to “progressive and
substantial reductions of discharges” under the Oslo-Paris (Ospar) convention,
which seeks to limit pollution of the north-east Atlantic, critics said. The
report, by anti-nuclear group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment
(Core) , estimates that discharge of plutonium into the sea from Sellafield
will rise from 120 gigabecquerels a year to more than 250. There will be
similar increases in the levels of radioactive isotopes caesium-137 and
cobalt-60 compared with the past five years, it says.
Core's spokesman, Martin Forwood, accused the NDA of "breathtaking
complacency" and demanded an end to reprocessing. (23/2/11) Images: University of Liverpool/ South West Sea
Does Indiana want nuclear power plant? Not very likely!
thanks goes to John Russell and the Indystar for this one.
strong opposition from environmentalists, senior citizens and consumer groups,
an Indiana Senate committee on Thursday endorsed legislation that encourages
the construction of coal-fired and nuclear
power plants in Indiana and would allow utilities to quickly recover
certain costs from customers.
wide-ranging measure, supported by major utilities across Indiana, passed the
Senate Utilities and Technology Committee along party lines after three hours
of heated discussion. Six Republicans, including Chairman Jim Merritt of
Indianapolis, voted in favour, and two Democrats voted against. The bill now
moves to the full Senate for consideration.
than a dozen organizations showed up to oppose the measure, including
environmentalists, large industrial customers, wind power advocates, the AARP
and consumer groups.
The Indiana Cast Metals Association, which
represents foundries across the state, said the bill allows too many
"trackers," or mechanisms that allow utilities to automatically pass
along the cost of federal mandates without sufficient oversight from the
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. "Energy costs are a top concern of
our members," said Blake Jeffery, the association's executive director. (18/2/11) Images: Hello Indianapolis / WCSI
Who are you calling bird-brained - new research at Chernobyl
Matt Walker, reporting for BBC Earth News, suits up to join the
scientists at Chernobyl.
Birds like the Marsh
Warbler (pictured) living around the site of the Chernobyl
nuclear accident have 5% smaller brains, an effect directly linked to
lingering background radiation. The finding comes from a study of 550 birds
belonging to 48 different species living in the region.
Brain size was
significantly smaller in yearlings compared to older birds. The discovery was
made by a team of researchers from Norway, France and the US.
exclusion zone has been set up around the site of the accident, but scientists
have been allowed inside to gauge the impact the radiation has had on the
ecology of the region.
their latest study, the scientists used mist nets to collect birds from eight
woodland sites around Chernobyl, which have seen a decline in the numbers of
larger animals and small invertebrates living within.
After controlling for the differences between
species, they found that the birds had brains 5% smaller on average compared to
birds not exposed to background radiation. (9/2/11) Images:
Marek Szczepanek (BBC) / Vermont Guardian
Sellafield emergency could threaten Norwegian wildlife & livestock - oh deer...(geddit?)
Our thanks to the North West Evening Mail for
this one. An emergency at Sellafield could threaten the Norwegian food
industry, a report has claimed.
report, published by Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, claims a fire or
explosion at the West Cumbrian site could disperse around one per cent of the radioactive
waste stored at the site. Goats and sheep are thought to be some of the
most at-risk animals, though caesium expelled during an explosion would also
affect vegetation, it is suggested.
report also claims reindeer husbandry (management) would be severely affected.
report says: “The environmental consequences for Norway following a
hypothetical accident at Sellafield – with a release of one per cent of the
total assumed inventory contained in the B215 HASTs – will according to our
model predictions be severe, particularly in connection to sheep and goat
to 80 per cent of all lambs could be exceeding the food intervention level for
radiocaesium the first few years after the fallout, with 30-40 per cent likely
to be above for years or even decades. There
will, consequently, be a need for extensive countermeasures in large areas for
A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd played down the
findings of the report. (2/2/11) Images:
Science Blogs / Life
This should really be filed under Leaks & Spills, but we fancied a change...
Yet another tale of leaking, this
time courtesy of our friends at the Brattleboro Reformer in Vermont.
Both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Vermont Department of Health
have indicated a new leak of tritiated water may have been found at Vermont
Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.
"It doesn't appear to have any
connection to the original leakage from last year," said Neil Sheehan,
spokesman for the NRC.
"It's evident that either
groundwater can follow the human-made channels or it's another system or
components that are leaking," said Bill Irwin, chief of radiological
health for the Vermont DOH.
Both have said the level of tritium
in the ground water, 9,200 picocuries per litre, poses no danger to public
health. A spokesman for Yankee said engineers have no information to indicate
whether this discovery is evidence of a new leak.
"We have a reading we don't
understand," said Larry Smith, Yankee's director of communications.
"And we are investigating to see what it means." (28/1/11) Images: New York Daily News / sneigwh.blogspot
Look busy - this is costing someone £1billion...
Tim Webb reporting for The Observer gets his chequebook out.
Nuclear operators will
have to pay the first £1bn towards the cost of any accident in the UK – seven
times more than the current cap on their liabilities – the government will
propose today (Monday). Energy secretary Chris Huhne told the Observer that he
wanted to introduce the new rule to ensure that there would be no public
subsidy for nuclear power.
Currently, any operator of a nuclear site only
has to pay the first £140m towards clean-up
costs, with the taxpayer contributing the rest. Huhne said: "The
government is determined to provide certainty to low carbon investors, but
there will be no public subsidy for nuclear power which is a mature technology.
We are taking steps to reduce any risk of the taxpayer having to pick up the
tab for new nuclear [power] further down the track. We've already set out how
operators will be required to put aside money from day one for their eventual
clean-up and waste storage, and now we're increasing substantially the
liability to be taken on by operators." (24/1/11)
Images: The Telegraph / Washington Post
Told you we shouldn't have discarded Yucca Mountain plan...
Rob Pavey reporting for the Augusta Chronicle brings us this
River Site could help solve the nation's nuclear waste challenges, but
it should not become a permanent dumping ground, members of a national study
panel were told Friday.
"I'm not going to let my state, or our
sister state, be left holding the bag without one hell of a fight," U.S.
Sen. Lindsay Graham told members of the Blue Ribbon Commission.The panel,
created by the Obama administration, was asked to develop new policies for
disposing of high-level defense waste and spent nuclear fuel.
During a day-long meeting in Augusta, the
group heard from an array of speakers, many of whom criticized the government's
controversial decision to abandon its Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, which
was designed as a permanent repository for 70,000 tons of spent fuel from the
nation's 104 commercial reactors.
"It was a short-sighted decision with
devastating consequences," Graham told the commission, which is co-chaired
by former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft. (14/1/11) Images: GA Moonbat / Jackie Ricciardi (Augusta
The skies at night may be glowing bright (green), deep in the heart of Texas - again!
Anna M. Tinsley and the Star Telegram bring us another
environmental scare story.
An Austin judge on Thursday
blocked an eight-member commission from deciding whether to allow as many as
three dozen states to ship low-level radioactive
waste to a remote West Texas site, sending countless loads of
contaminated materials through North Texas.
Travis County Judge Jon Wisser signed a
temporary restraining order against the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Disposal Compact Commission, apparently preventing a vote Tuesday on rules to
guide the shipment of the radioactive material to a Waste Control Specialists
facility in Andrews County, about 350 miles west of Fort Worth.
"We are opposed to the expansion of the
site," said Timothy Gannaway, founder and director of the Promote Andrews
advocacy group that sought the restraining order. "We're a little worried
about what the next step might be. If we give a little here, are they going to
ask next to transport waste here from other countries? At what point do they
stop asking for more?"
"It's too much, too fast, too soon, if at all," said Bob Gregory, a
commission member and chairman and CEO of the Austin-based Texas Disposal
Systems. "I don't think we are ready to do this at all at this time
because it was never the intent of the Texas or Vermont legislatures ... to
open this facility up to all the states in the nation." (7/1/11)
Images: Associated Press (Star Telegram)
Will UniStar Nuclear keep its New Year's resolutions -opponents don't think so!
Meghan Russell, writing for the pages of Southern Maryland
Newspapers Online, starts the new
year with this.
As Maryland crawls another year closer to
the proposed 2015 run date for Calvert
Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant's third reactor, the parties involved with
seeing its fruition may have another item to add to their list of New Year's
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic
Safety and Licensing Board released a report responding to a new contention
submitted in June by five environmental groups challenging UniStar Nuclear
Energy's CC3 project. The board's three-judge panel reviewed the contention and
admitted one aspect must be further addressed in the NRC staff's draft
environmental impact statement for the project - that is, the ASLB agreed more
discussion is needed on possible alternative solutions to nuclear power, as
required by the National Energy Policy Act.
The environmental groups who raised the
contention include the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Beyond
Nuclear, Public Citizen's Energy Program and Southern Maryland Citizens
Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions.
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