Read the latest summary of the Weekly Top 100 Energy Stories! A 'Weekly News' ticker had been continuously published on the main page until June 27, 2010...
Weekly Top 100 Energy Stories
June 27th 2010
There were a number of stories around the world about new reactor plans as well as a report from IEER on the state of India's push to radically weaken any kind of serious liability issues for American nuclear companies working there. The process of pushing the legislation has been given to Hillary Clinton's state department.
In the USA there is news that Obama's $36 billion loan proposal for new reactors is having trouble!
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The Weekly Top 100 Energy Stories are provided by abalone AT energy-net.org
About the Weekly News Stories
These stories are provided by abalone AT energy-net.org week by week. They publish them in several anti-nuclear networks and on their blog. Here is their own description of the service:
- The Energy Net has been online since 1988 when I was given the permission to take over the name from the folks that started the original Energy Net back in the early 1980’s.
- The original Energy Net was a network of activists across California who were organizing community based renewable energy programs, starting with making homes more energy efficient. This popular project was in competition against PG&E’s version of how to reduce electricity demand. The project died when PG&E and NRDC was able to push their own version of how to do energy efficiency programs within “the captured” California Public Utilities Commission.
- In 1988 The Energy Net first went online as a member of the global network of Bulletin Board Services (BBS) called Fidonet. It stayed a local BBS system until 1994 when we switched to its current location on the world wide web. The formation of this blog is hopefully the next jump in the evolution in online communications… The Energy Net has been the archival home of the Abalone Alliance, the California statewide antinuclear movement that ran between 1977 and 1985. Please check out these resources about the Alliance.
- This blog (containing the weekly news, the editor) was setup on April 3rd 2007 in response to the growing push to develop nuclear power by the Bush Administration and the nuclear power industry. The blog has initially been setup as a vehicle for publishing the best nuclear news in the world. Go HERE to see the full RSS Feed from where these stories are coming from. As oldtimers start checking back in and get over the huge PR push by the media on nuclear, there will be a growing need to organize a response.
June 20th 2010
Another week of fairly busy activity. Internationally, Greenpeace was quite active with protests in Sweden, a new report out of the UK on government give-aways and calls to cancel India's liabilty legislation that would allow US companies to walk away from nuclear accident. Japan released a safety report that left at least one reactor closed afterwards. UK's new government as promised will not give government loans to the private sector, canceling an 80 million pound loan in mid air. In a very intresting story out of Greece, we have a poster animal, in fact, one of the most endangered in the world being threatened by uranium! Besides the protest in Sweden, there were also two more in the UK and India. There was an international GNEP conference held in Africa. Also on a lighter side, WISE and LAKA are doing a global anti-nuclear poster book and are looking for submissions.
On the US front, the DOE finalized its loan for the new Vogtle reactors in Georgia. The NRC was fairly busy holdings a number of hearings around the country as well as releasing a DEIS on a North Carolina enrichment facility by General Electric-Hitachi.
June 7th - 13th 2010
Here's the latest Radiation Bulletin! The changes this week include an extended library index for people wanting to do research on back stories as well as a new division of several of the main subject areas into international and national groupings so that people can sort through content faster. Any ideas are accepted about how the bulletin looks or what other changes might be appropriate. I can't promise the moon but will consider any good ideas.
In general the rad-waste issue continues to draw a lot of attention around the world. A floating waste reprocessing facility in Russia has sunk that includes high level liquid wastes. A report out of Canada blasts contamination of water there, there was also a story about Israel using Palestinian areas as a dumping ground. There are also a number of waste stories across the U.S. as well with the recent national conference on waste in Chicago, more anger over the NRC's push to downblend wastes so that they can be dumped in Utah, hearings in Texas for a dump there as well plans to expand ORNL's waste dump in Tennessee.
Probably the hottest issue internationally continues to be India's Congress Party attempting to push through legislation that reduces accident liability for U.S. countries, with a number of Bhopal victims and the Gulf oil spill in the news, opposition to the waver is quite strong. I'm keeping the summary short as the new design makes it possible for readers to get a fast overview of what's up. I'm still having health problems so won't be using this arena to comment for now, putting most attention on just design and cleanup of the newsletter. Enjoy!
May 31st - June 6th 2010
Here's the latest version of the all new Radiation Bulletin. If you haven't gotten a chance to take a look at it please do! The new design allows readers to get a quick view of all the news stories, but with a click on the green/blue bars, summaries quickly open up if a story needs a closer look. The full story can still be seen by clicking on the title/URL as well that will open that story. The New design is faster to edit and cleanup as well.
I'm going to let the index speak for itself in terms of being able to summarize the latest news. I'm considering shifting to focusing on a couple of issues like this last week's U.S. Supreme Court nuclear waste decision in North Carolina or the major policy dispute in the UK that has emerged over the new Tory government's nuclear policy, or a story on how US citizen's have been getting rather dramatic increases of radioactive exposure in the last few years! Or, better yet, how about the idea of having a guest opinion from folks? I hope you like the new version! Any comments are welcome!
May 17th – 23rd 2010
There is a whole lot of the good, the bad and the ugly this time. The top story for me was a very important tidbit of news that a UK study on nuclear costs mentions. The country of Belorussian, which suffered the brunt of the Chernobyl disaster, has spent at least $250 billion dealing with the radiation fallout since the accident. In our country that only thinks of money rather than life, unless its for rhetorical purposes, maybe we should put more focus on the economic impacts of the disaster! [:(]
This was one hell of a major news week. A hint at some of the stories?
OK, The right wing Swedish government agreed to back off its plan to build new nukes and a Canadian study on reactor leaks by the Sierra Club. Protests, mini-nukes, bad news for the Navajo, good news in Colorado, Russia investing a billion into uranium mining in Namibia, films on Plamegate the UK nuclear showdown and nuclear Chuisms!
Don’t skip this one folks it was a very busy week!
May 10th – 16th 2010
What nuked up week its been. On the personal front I had to help a friend into the hospital who was dying. He had no family and has spent the last several years in a small space I provided for him. Before that, he was living on the streets. A product of America’s ongoing hatred of blacks and poor people.
The UN’s twice a decade NPT conference continues to be the most important news story hitting anywhere as the conference of some 118 nations is now actively pushing to get a formal time line in place to end the use of nuclear weapons worldwide! The world’s nuclear nations including the US are opposed for some reason or other. As part of the campaign a new scandal has erupted over a secret GAO report that was quashed over the US government’s giving Israel a very large quantity of HEU to make nuclear weapons.
On the international front the big story of the week was the ouster of the Labour Party in the UK by voters. No single party gained a clear majority so the Tories were forced to create a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats who had promised to stop nuclear power if put into power. As soon as they took power this past week the Lib Dem leadership reversed their promise to stop the UK nuke program which angered the party’s rank and file. It is now towing the Tory line that new reactors will be okayed but there will be no government subsidies for them. This will play havoc with EDF’s nuclear operations that warned the Brown Labour government that there would be no new reactors unless there was substantial government subsidies coming. The real pudding will come in the Parliament as it no party truly has the power to vote the funds needed, so it may very well be that another major pro-nuke push is now dead in the water!
Voting in Germany also threatened the conservatives agenda of extending that country’s nuclear program. A few days after the vote Merkel insiders claimed that they have developed a plan to bypass the government in allowing its aging reactors to bypass the country’s previous plan to shut them down, and this coming on one of the largest every anti-nuclear protests anywhere!
Greenpeace found 6 radioactive hot spots in Delhi, while Congress Party has taken a very low key approach to its desperate push to indemnify US corporations from possible nuclear accidents. South Korea working out a new deal to buy uranium from Australia while Japan continues to quietly push the global nuclear agenda. Toshiba which owns GE’s nuclear operations announced plans to open up major fabrication facilities in India while investments out of Tokyo were formalized to help fund the previously struggling South Texas reactor construction project in the USA.
Russia is in the news with its announcement to help Syria build a nuclear power facility, which enraged the US!
The Wall Street Journal had a pre-story coverage on a major new report that is due out of France this coming week over that country’s nuclear flat tire. Here we have the country that was planning on leading the world into a nuclear renaissance now seriously in trouble on all fronts as its hopes to build reactors continues to fall on its face with the latest disaster being the UK elections, not to mention the previous week where the US company (Dominion) it bought controlling interest over has decided to use a Mitsubishi reactor design! With Russia having a very mixed time over getting reactor construction contracts (Turkey just said yes, but a big no came out of Eastern Europe last week) as Asian companies out of South Korea and Japan appear to be gaining favor with cheaper product. China announced this last week that it would need $146 billion to carry out the world’s most aggressive nuclear development agenda. The country of Malaysia said no to development the previous week as Kenya and other countries across Africa have been seeking reactors, but are unlikely to get global financing.
In the USA, the horrific pro-nuclear give-away legislation by Kerry Lieberman was announced, attempting to gain from the recent Gulf Oil spill. Many environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the NRDC have signed onto this dreadful bill that secretly has set up an energy bank that would allow nuclear power to potentially gain unlimited government funding for not just the 12 nukes national media outlets like Reuters have mentioned by hundreds.
Just as disgusting is Obama’s clever backdoor request for $180 billion to rebuild the nuclear weapons infrastructure in the country. Again, we have Rupert Murdock’s control over Reuter’s being caught openly lying about this with their own spin stating that Obama is only requesting $80 billion for DOE.
Last but not least, there continues to be a growing number of safety related news stories just too many to detail. Being in California, I will mention the Diablo Canyon story as its local. PG&E the reactor’s owner has been given over a decade to come up with a solution to new regulations put in place by the state ending its ability to dump water directly back into the ocean at a tune of 2 billion gallons a day that is used to cool the two reactors. The local community has also put up stiff opposition to the IOU’s push to prematurely relicense the reactors calling for new seismic investigations.
There is also was also an interesting interview of the Texas billionaire who has been behind the construction of the country’s first nuclear waste dump in decades. He falsely uses the same kind of claims we’ve seen for years about how people’s health in the country are being effected because 36 US states currently don’t have a place to dump wastes (wrong). Furthermore, the national NPR media has started promoting the story that the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico has become a major candidate for the storage of spent fuel rods.
Note that most of the news this time is located in the policy and nuclear weapons section of the news!
May 3rd – 9th 2010
What will the oil spill spin doctors do? In this oped, I will once again suggest, as I’ve been doing for years that there are no issues left to win in this world except the battle against the corporate media propaganda machine. The US nuclear industry recently hyped a new poll done by Gallup claiming that support for nuclear power has never been higher having reached 62%, according to questions they asked 1,000 randomly selected citizens. At the same time not a single major print media outlet other than the Los Angeles Times covered what just a few years ago was a regular media event on the anniversaries of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Whether its Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or the New York Times opponents to nuclear energy can point to the media’s promotion of the issue by any number of tactics. Probably the very worst of these framing tactics has to do with dummying down the American public (the 8 second soundbyte) which obtains its news mostly from nationally syndicated TV news services. As anyone who follows the issue as this news service has been doing for the last 15 years, the real issue couldn’t be stranger from the glib niceties of infotainment news. Only when the serious events come home to roost is there a moment when the squirming tactics of the greedy finally ever seem to make it into the story. Probably the best example of the media’s wonderful role came with an article on the recent release that as many as one million people have died from Chernobyl. The numbers are so different from the official numbers that have been pushed by the IAEA and the media that even alternative media sources have been frightened away from the covering the books numbers.
This probably isn’t the right moment to go into much detail, but having spent a couple of weeks combing through news stories that have never made it out of Europe about the impacts to the 600,000 workers who were forced to clean up Chernobyl without proper protective gear, not to mention the fact that large numbers of people were never removed from contaminated regions, it comes as little surprise to myself. The country of Cuba put out a completely ignored news story earlier this year that they have treated over 25,000 children for leukemia from the Ukraine and Bylorussia, just one of dozens of countries that have been treating the sick. Simply because the pro-nuclear IAEA can claim and get global coverage that only 50 people died in claims that are now over 20 years old, we can see most clearly how the dangers from radiation can be manipulated. When will a single organization with resources and awareness take on the very serious problem caused by known manipulation of Chernobyl’s health effects put together the investigative story of how Russia concocted the now globally accepted scam that people who were impacted are suffering from some kind of neurosis rather than radiation sickness?
To make matters even more insane, a recent new study suggesting that the U.S. needs to be more concerned about environmental sources of cancer was publicly attacked by the National Cancer Society which claimed that only 6% of all cancers are caused by the environment, then quickly turning around and claiming that cancer levels could be reduced by 30% if cigarette smoking was stopped!
In this issue, there is more than a touch of bad news. The nuclear weapons issue continues to be the biggest story in the media with the International NPT conference at the United Nations. Some 25,000 people marched last week in New York City in support of ending nuclear weapons. Mostly a no-story hit as the media plays along with the Obama change spin. In a major sub-story Obama has opened a new strategic front with Russia restarting the country’s nuclear power technology exchange program after it was stopped under Bush during the Georgia-Russia affair. The restart of the exchange this time has a carrot attached — getting Russia to push its ally Iran to move towards some kind of nuclear fuel back down.In an excellent editorial on the NPT conference one Indian newspaper (Financial Express) brought out the horrific history of Russia dumping of nuclear submarines into the ocean a story not even acknowledged by most of the west’s media.
The deadly sodium cooled Monju breeder reactor in Japan was restarted last week 14 years after the reactor suffered a deadly coolant fire. Malaysia decided against development of nuclear energy while more pressure is being put on South Africa to push for nuclear energy. Greenpeace released a new video on the state of Areva’s Niger uranium mining operations. An Australian whistleblower at that country’s only nuclear facility made a touch of news. Another reactor in Eastern Europe was forced to stop construction due to lack of funding as the country refused to accept a $2 billion loan from Russia. Reports of Russia negotiating nuclear deals with Vietnam and Turkey hit the news.
In the U.S. the state of Minnesota passed legislation to remove is moratorium on nuclear development, following Iowa’s similar move the week before. The state of New Jersey took serious steps against a year old tritium leak at the Oyster Creek reactor. Senator Hatch from Utah is looking into the contamination payment history of RECA, with new legislation being promoted by liberals to expand downwinder coverage to 7 states (what about us victims beyond!). A very detailed article by ProPublica came out on the health effects of DOE workers. Areva may have lost another deal this time in what must be the most surprising place out of the USA with the recent partnership of EDF and Dominion in Maryland moving to select a Japanese reactor design from Mitsubishi! In another important story Florida’s Progress Energy came out with new estimates for their two reactors, upping the estimate from $17 to $22.5 billion with an operational coming after 2021.
Kerry is spinning his nuked up climate legislation next week. I’ve put a couple of stories in on the BP oil spill, but then how hard is it to dance an issue to death in the biggest me first culture in the world?
April 26th – May 2nd 2010
It would seem that Chernobyl has become a global embarrassment to the media these days! Only the Los Angeles Times cared to cover the 24th anniversary or the more delicate release by the New York Academy of Science’s exhaustive investigation of thousands of reports that were brought together, suggesting that over one million people have lost their lives due to Chernobyl. One of Chernobyl’s operators says it best, the world hasn’t learned a thing from the disaster or there would be a very different kind of discourse going on today. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for example is going ahead with a new cancer study around the country’s reactors. Just as a recent hearing before the National Academy of Sciences Nuclear Safety Review Board (NSRB) that is now chaired by the former Chairman of the NRC Richard Meserve demonstrates, we can expect the entire hierarchy of the nuclear radiation protection establishment to click into gear with another generation of self serving reports.
To the news… The top story around the world other than Obama’s nuclear weapons shell game continues (with one interesting addition with the US now in talks with Egypt over its call to make the middle east a nuclear free zone (and how do they plan on dealing with Israel?) to come out of India with the death of one of the 8 people who were contaminated when attempting to recycle medical equipment. The investigation into the incident has traced the equipment to Delhi University, which has in turn opened up a whole new can of safety concerns. Allegations have spread that more radioactive parts of the equipment are still missing, that the rad lab had a major incident earlier this year that was covered up as well as claims that up to 20 kilos of radioactive materials were secretly buried on campus. Victims of this still unfolding recycling tragedy are in a battle with health officials to get proper treatment as well as determine where the rest of the deadly materials are. The contamination incident has put a spotlight on India’s attempt to pass legislation that would reduce indemnification of nuclear companies as well as dramatic dangers of increasing the use of nuclear materials in poorer regions of the world.
Japan has given the go ahead to restart their Monju sodium cooled breeder reactor that suffered a major fire in 1995 and forced to shut down. Russia has cut a deal with the Ukraine to merge the two country’s nuclear reactor operations. The Ukraine, once the bread basket of the former Soviet empire has been struggling since independence with energy problems as well as the continued fallout from Chernobyl. Much of Europe continues to have serious concerns about Russia growing influence over energy issues like nuclear and natural gas. With its recent START treaty with Obama the country continues to play a global role in uranium fuel production issues. One of the major issues to keep an eye on will be around the IAEA’s version of Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The IAEA recently initiated plans to set up a global fuel bank centered around Kazakhstan which recently became the world’s largest producer of uranium ore. The former Soviet Satellite and 9th largest country in the world suffered greatly from uranium mining operations during the Soviet era. With the prosecution of a Clinton associate around the illegal purchase of uranium mines by a Canadian uranium mining billionaire, we have a wonderful example of the media’s version of radioactive teflon.
In the U.S. the big news hit when South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham pulled out of Kerry’s climate legislation that would have given the nuclear industry a blank check to build a hundred nuclear reactors. Kerry is hoping to bring Graham back in after during the congress’s immigration cycle. The DOE also claims that it needs an additional $13 billion in loan guarantees, and there are now legislative discussions taking place to sneak the money in. The NRC has slipped its decision date on Yucca Mountain back to the end of June(they probably don’t want their decision to coincide with a national n-waste conference by opponents). Areva has signed an (Nuclear) energy Park MOU with a local California utility, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy won a battle in court over Vogtle while FOE lost one just to the north in North Carolina. There was bad news as Iowa passed legislation that initiated plans to start looking for a reactor site in that state, while the push for more nukes continued with and Early Site Permit being posted for Victoria Texas. Legislation in Colorado appears to be the latest round in monitoring the push for new uranium mining especially around the restart of the controversial Canon uranium mill.
The push to expand coverage to former downwinders continues to get support that could include protectorates like Guam and an additional number of states. Sadly, as suggested by one commentator, radiation doesn’t abide by state borders and has effected citizens far beyond Nevada where the country used to conduct its above ground nuclear tests. The push to close Vermont Yankee continues to unfold with new scandals as it has come out that the NRC even knew of underground tritium pipes, and didn’t tell state investigators.The drum beat over Yucca continues mostly out of South Carolina and Washington, where cleanup continues to push ahead.
There are other important stories like Russia’s growing energy plans in Europe or the big offshore wind decision in the North East US, so its a must peek news week.
April 19th – 25th 2010
No Nukes and happy Earth Day! I’m going to start out here with an editorial comment. The international corporate run media has a global agenda to promote and frame the push to build nuclear reactors worldwide. Just days before the US economic collapse Bush’s Energy Secretary was in Austria at an IAEA planning conference where he said that the US would help finance the construction of nuclear reactors around the world. We can be assured that government agencies like the US State Department, US AID, and others are still actively behind this push. As part of the push it was very prominent that literally no major media outlet anywhere in the world has written a single article leading up to the 24th anniversary of Chernobyl. Taking a peak at early stories on the 26th only shows a few in Eastern Europe and the most important by ENS on the release of a major new report that nearly one million people have died to date as a result of the 1986 disaster. At a time when the world is being pushed to dramatically increase the number of nuclear reactors around the world, there is no more important example why poor or even wealthy nations should ever consider building large reactors ever again. The disaster played a central role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as costing more money than the entire output of that country’s nuclear energy was worth (WSJ 1990). A single accident anywhere in the world at a nuclear power facility, especially an old one that is carrying a large inventory of radiation could spread radiation around the world, effecting human health. These giant facilities that require immense amounts of water (as much as a billion gallons of coolant a day) are situated on coastal areas that could soon be under water due to the horrific failure of humanity to deal with climate change. Western countries, with the US leading the way have long been energy abusers, failing to recognize that modern lifestyles are unsustainable. I urge you to watch a presentation by Jeremy Rifkin on distributed energy and the kind of dramatic changes we need to truly make in this world!
A touch of good late breaking news. The plan to introduce US legislation to finance a dozen or more new reactors has been delayed for now. In a clear legislative victory, the Wisconsin(USA) legislators also blocked attempts to remove that state’s nuclear moratorium. Attempts to pass new legislation to compensate downwinders suffering from the nuclear weapons testing in the past has stalled.
Internationally, opponents of nuclear in Germany formed a 75 mile long chain of people taking a stand against nuclear energy, while Finland announced new delays at olkileuto, two new reactors and funding for 800 windmills. This comes on the heals of a national poll that showed that most the public were opposed to further nuclear development. The serious contamination of at least 8 people in India form contaminated scrap metal has put a new twist on pressures to let US companies avoid insurance. Australia has a rad waste battle on its hands, has refused to build reactors but just decided to sell uranium to Russia. Obama’s nuclear weapons spin split Europe over the US demand to keep theater weapons deployed. Note the US press failed to even mention the fact that some of the last survivors of the US attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki staged public calls to end all nuclear weapons production as well as the international Global Zero campaign.
A US group’s (Beyond Nuclear) report on tritium leaks was released documenting the state of leaks in the country. The US Department of Energy (DOE) promoted a new agenda of using a very large amount of economic recovery act monies during 2011 to do in one year what would have taken 7 years of work to clean up nuclear contamination. If the proposal goes ahead, this would be a positive, but still incredibly small cleanup step when considering the fact that current estimates place the full costs to reverse cleanup at between $270-330 Billion. DOE also announced its new schedule for the cleanup of n-waste at Hanford Washington which is the most contaminated nuclear site in the US. It also released its final plan for the cleanup of the country’s failed attempt at spent fuel reprocessing at West Valley New York. Their plan is a huge let down considering last years report that suggested there could be dramatic costs ($30 billion) to the regions major lake unless fully cleaned up. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced plans that it would make its decision on Yucca Mountain’s closure should go ahead for June 1st.
There are other stories you might want to take a look at, many of which concern the nuclear fuel cycle issue. But I’m ending this issue as I began it with another commentary. This past week the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) broadcast a two hour special commemorating the original Earth Day and its history. This program which promoted one of this country’s most prominent former Eco-Libertarians Stewart Brand who has been actively pushing for a new generation of nuclear energy. The documentary was a huge letdown because it ended at the point where the environmental movement in this country was at a crossroads. The program failed to mention the internal split of the movement where the large ecology non-profits all moved their offices to Washington DC while the more radical segment of the movement, like people opposed to nuclear energy or Earth First! movement were all but censored out of existence. The documentary was followed by a corporate “green wash” led by Duke Power’s CEO one of the biggest users of nuclear and coal. It is a sad day when PBS becomes the leading promoter of the corporate Green propaganda strategy. The program could be a better example of just how messed up this country is today and why.
April 5th -18th 2010
This is a two week addition of the news. Sorry, but I’ve had a rather severe medical emergency that put me in the Emergency Room at the local hospital twice. I’m doing a bit better after treatment for a rather severe urinary infection.
The biggest news was Obama’s global summit in Washington DC. There were many sub-stories taking place like Russia’s agreement to shut down its last operating plutonium production reactor or the push to secure HEU. One of the stories that missed the front pages on purpose was Israel’s nuclear weapons activity as well as a global movement to go far beyond the Obama spin (blather). The real question of course is all about how Obama framed this issue and the global jump to claim to be concerned about loose nukes and Iran, vs. nuclear expansion! The bulk of the stories on this are in the weapons and policy sections.
One of the major stories to hit was in India where at least 7 people were sent to hospital after being contaminated by a cobalt-60 radiation source that ended up in metal recycling operations.
The nuclear waste issue is clearly taking over the lead issue as it should as more and more problems continue to bang into the nuclear clean theme. Internationally, there are currently waste battles in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia, the US, Russia, France, Spain, Italy and very likely many more places where the out of site out of mind agenda are in place.
Greenpeace carried out two different protests in the last week against Russia and France. The industry is attempting to promote the claim that Sweden has found a “Democratic” model for to getting community support for taking the most deadly wastes. However, anyone in their right mind will know that what they’ve done has found a pro-nuclear community that have been offered lots of bribes to accept the wastes. This carrot stick approach has been used over and over again in the US, with small or indigenous communities. There is clear indication that the underground repository model being pushed in Sweden and recently blocked in the US is now losing its footing as an appropriate solution for the world’s most deadly wastes. On sight storage will continue to be the only option available in the US while country’s like France continue to push the idea of reprocessing. Another option that has gained scientific support is the concept of putting the waste far deeper into the earth using super deep bore holes that would deposit the waste far below any water table.
The global nuclear push continues to be given a “get out of jail” card with how the media refuses to look seriously at the radioactive waste issue when presenting the nuclear option. They’ve bought the idea that the fuel cycle that was originally set up to make bombs and power can be ignored, and in turn continue to buy claims that the only waste stream that is of concern is negligible in size. Yet, in the US, where the government acknowledges that it faces at least a $270 billion cleanup bill doesn’t want the public to make the link or dare be told that it not continue to push more nuclear development until it proves that it has a way to clean up the mess it already has.
There is now a legal battle between with state’s like Washington and South Carolina attempting to keep open the Yucca Mountain repository. These two state represent the locations of where this country’s largest nuclear wastes are currently stockpiled that want it relocated to Nevada (see below for more on South Carolina’s attempt to dump wastes on Utah).
The newsletter has regularly been following the attempt by DOE’s Savannah River facility in South Carolina to dump thousands of tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) at Energy Solution’s low level waste dump in Utah. The state’s regulatory body changed its regulatory position, ordering Energy Solutions to monitor the DU for ten thousand years. As a result of the Utah’s block on the waste the DOE also started investigating the idea of sending the waste to the new Texas WCS dump which is technically only supposed to be available for wastes from Texas and Vermont. But then WCS and the state has attempted to open the dump to wastes from across the country. Go here for the alert. The DOE has backed off sending the DU waste to Texas for now until it figures out a permanent solution. There was other news indeed, so as always be sure to scan through…
Mar 29th – Apr 4th 2010
A bit of a slowdown compared to last week. Just a few breaking stories with most news about ongoing events that have already seen the light of day. I wanted to follow up the scary breaking story last week about the possibility of some kind of Asian release. It does look like the incident was caused by a faulty monitor as other monitoring stations had no activity. There were two Chernobyl pieces including a short one out of Cuba about how they have now treated 25,000 victims of the 1986 meltdown.
Of particular concern to me comes out of Australia where a small number of aboriginal people have offered to become a host for a nuclear waste dump. A similar tribe (Goshutes) in the state of Utah in the U.S. had also acted in a similar way a number of years ago but were stopped by the Utah and the Department of Interior. They have since announced plans to push a legal challenge.
Probably the biggest story to hit came between the IAEA and Russia that announced their global fuel bank deal(the son of GNEP – Bush’s Global Nuclear energy Partnership). Lots of nuclear weapons stories have been breaking on contamination-compensation issues, blow back from START and The scandalous secret deal between Japan and the U.S. that openly lied to the Japanese people about nuclear weapons transiting through their country.
There were two protests in Europe, one in Belgium where hundreds were arrested a weapons protest and the other in the UK on the power issue. Japan came out with its official pro-nuclear agenda calling for the construction of 8 new reactors. A reactor being planned in India got delayed.
In the U.S. the biggest story was out of the state of New York where the government refused to give the Indian Point facility a discharge permit for its cooling system. Similar stories out of California and New Jersey have been out, while the pro-nuclear strategists in Arizona are now calling on all waste water producers to sell their water to the Palo Verde complex.
Radiation safety issues around workers is always a story somewhere in the country. Imagine if there was some kind of real investigation into the tragedy of Soviet era workers ever to surface without the reporters getting killed first! A report about spikes in cancer in South Carolina was released as well as the government seeking to find college kids to help and find native americans who were contaminated.
The most active news stories come out of the fuel cycle issue as the state of Texas has taken up a proposal from WCS to become the nation’s Low level waste home. There is a superb story about of Utah by Judy Fahay on that state’s ongoing waste battles. Indiana passed waste transportation legislation while the ongoing battle over spent fuel is all over the place as it has been now for weeks. Activists have announced details for a national convention and forum on nuclear waste for June 4-5-6 in Chicago.
There was a number of stories around uranium mining of interest as well! Last but not least, Its pretty clear that Obama is going to pull out all the stops in a last ditch attempt to pass his draconian nuclear laden energy bill as he tossed morsels to the right on offshore oil drilling and then to environmentalists with his gas mileage ploy. His gas mileage ploy was plain despicable, because what he did was literally nothing more than what the congress did nearly two years ago, as if we aren’t supposed to remember. He could have actually created several levels of efficiency standards, or even better yet, just as he’s taken such a horrific tactic with education and his race to the top, he could have offered an incentive for the car industry to the company that puts the first car on the market that gets over 100 MPG!
March 22nd – 28th 2010
Just way over the top! Talk about getting buried… This is late coming out due to all of the major stories that hit last week.
Before I get started with start, we have one story of particular interest, the possibility of some kind of major nuclear release.
Completely off the radar of the media is a story by NOAA that a cloud of dust that came across the Pacific from Asia set off Las Vegas radiation monitors this last week set off my own Chernobyl PTSD. Is the story real? Should anyone who cares be more than a bit concerned about this? Check the story. Its this kind of stealth non-news event that represents the kind of nightmare that will come someday if we don’t wake up a culture that doesn’t want to weight the impacts of having nukes across the world in the hands of poor nations.
Okay, Let’s Start with Start. Talk about the Wizard of Oz and behind the curtain manipulation. There is far more here than meets the eye. The story was clearly a cover for all of the dirty tactics (other DOE news) that will miss most people’s radar screens. A 25% reduction in the amount of nuclear weapons means that the two nuclear super nuts can now only wipe out the planet 4 times or so. The real story of course (behind the curtain) is DOE’s push to dramatically increase funding for new weapons designs, while NATO continues with a push to build a weapons shield in Europe. Jimmy Carter, for the 2nd time has come to Korea and called the U.S. tactics to thumbscrew North Korea as excessive.
Bush, err Obama signed a presidential order to hand over the growing 123 Trade debacle over to Hillary and the State Department. As a result of India’s parliment refusing to waive nuclear accident insurance for US nuclear vendors Russia and France which federally insure their government operations are set to take all of the contracts leaving GE-Westinghouse out of the very market that we opened up! A new report of Chernobyl shows increased birth defects in children in contaminated areas. Germany’s Merkel continues with its attempt to reverse the 2022 closure date of the nuclear industry. A new Finish poll shows that 9 out of 10 Finns would rather have wind power than nukes. A new UK scandal of the Brown Administration attempting to sneak in funding for nukes, even though the country was promised that none would come forward, hits as MP’s are now claiming that the sale of their nuclear infrastructure to France and U.S. companies (yes folks the U.S. also bought into British Energy) was a disaster.
The real blockbusters are happening in the U.S. this time. Just as the DOE/Obama Blue Ribbon Commission took center stage IEER released their FOIA findings of how the Bush Administration in last days ensnared the country in over 20 spent fuel contracts that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The latest Obama rope bender comes from Exelon’s plans start pushing Victoria in Texas with a request for an Early Site Permit, while the NRC gave Domminion’s North Anna project an okay on its EIS. New York State said no to Entergy’s plan to spin off a new nuclear company. While in Vermont the NRC has picked a former Entergy employee to be the agency’s inspector. At the same time as Entergy (for the 4th time or so) has claimed to have found and stopped the major tritium leak the company is attempting to close access to the records about the leak to the public in legal maneuvers. Davis-Besse has found 14 cracks out 69 reactor core nozzles.
On the legislative front, the nuclear door was reopened in Minnesota on a stealth amendment for solar funding. While Kentucky’s moratorium bill died.Legislation to reduce out of state rad-waste in Tennessee appears to be winning.
POGO came out with a story on how the DOE is pushing to deregulate safety oversight of its private contractors! Just as Chu while visiting ORNL’s newly opened HEU storage shack jumped across the river and offered more money for USEC’s enrichment facility. And what mysterious US agency has offered South Africa $10 million to keep them from closing down their failed PBMR program? Stay tuned for when the real culprit (Hillary or Chu) stands up.
Do I dare mention Chu’s Yuchy Blue Ribbon Commission stocked full of nuclear advocates held their first tea party? Get ready for the very worst possible results from these Mad Hatters that will make more than cat smiles glow in the dark.
Then of course we have the GAO report that says that it is taking at least 3 years for DOE workers to get money out of the DOL’s EEOICPA program.
The Goshute MRS nightmare has raised its head again with the tiny tribe filing a lawsuit claiming that the Dept. of Interior’s decision to stop the program was illegal and should be reversed. A court decision to allow HRI to go ahead with ISL uranium mining on Dine(Navajo) lands is an outrage that is still just starting to sink in. In Canada doctors in Alberta have restarted their campaign to block uranium mining the International Energy Agency has come out with a claim that nuclear is the cheapest power source of the future, other than in Australia where coal will be!
Activists hung a giant banner in front of government offices that said “Turn off Nuclear Power and not just for one hour” as part of an International conference of activists in Europe.
Last but not least in a NY Times article (sorry I didn’t post) the democratic party leadership is now ready to sell its Climate change legislation for nuclear porridge as dems are now looking to Kerry and Lieberman to find the magic nuclear bullet of nuke loans that will open the republicans up to energy bill.
There are quite a few stories not mentioned due to the sheer volume, so this is a must review! Its all here in this weeks version of the news. Read and weep, shout, but don’t for a second stop fighting!
March 15th – 21st 2010
Its always appropriate to point out just how hard it is to put a stake through the heart of a vampire. A few more stories to piss them off this time around. Portugal and Indonesia came out against development of nuclear while attempts to indemnify western companies from accident damages ran into opposition in India. The nuclear waste issue around the world hit the news with attempts in Germany to push ahead with Gorleben. A new dump in UK was blocked, while legislation in Russia enraged environmentalists. The UK situation is now coming to a head as coming elections may lead to a complete standoff with no party being able to have the power to advance any nuclear development. It looks like Hillary Clinton is behind the push construct nuclear reactors in of all places Chile! With her husband being caught up in the Kazakhstan uranium scandal wouldn’t be just like Bill to call for a nuke in Haiti too! There continues to be a buzz about the dramatic increase in cancers in Iraq, the story I’m posting this week has a gruesome picture of deformed children. Considering its the 7th anniversary of the Iraqi Invasion there’s even a followup story on the infamous missing Niger uranium story that helped launch the war. Westinghouse is considering investing money in a reactor
The battle grounds in the US continue in many directions. Yucca’s closure appears to be a rallying cry for the nuclear industry and republicans with the call now for the facility to be reopened with Obama ouster. New York’s AG has come out against relicensing Indian Point, while more the cooling tower battle in New Jersey is in a deadlock.TVA has postponed making a decision about finishing construction on its Bellefonte facility in the state of Alabama. A businessWeek article said that slow nationwide energy demand will play a major role in slowing down nuclear development as reactors planned for 2017 will not likely go online until 2020.
TN’s Alexander started pushing his trillion dollar nuclear funding bill, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability released a nuclear weapons report card for the Obama Admin, the Illinois Senate passed a bill that would remove a nuclear moratorium, there is uranium legislation in Colorado and several other western states. Exelon settled on over $1 million from Tritium leaks at its facilities in Illinois, while tritium at the Vermont Yankee appears to be heading towards the nearby river. A number of commentaries this week of interest include several focused on Vermont by Harvey Wasserman and Helen Caldicott.
There is still a large number of pro-nuclear commentaries across the country, but the news continues to cool off.
March 8th-14th 2010
What a relief! Obama’s nuclear swine flu outbreak has finally started to slow a bit. Its clearly not over with however, has France’s President can attest to as he was sacking the head of Areva, calling for rich nations to finance nukes for poor countries, and decrying cheap reactors. Nuclaire Sortir, a coalition of over 800 anti-nuclear groups released secret EDF documents disclosing serious safety concerns about the new EPR reactor design. Probably the most outlandish claim promoted at the nuclear love-fest was that the world will build 450 new nuclear reactors by the year 2030! That’s like doubling all the reactors current in existence that they built in the last 60 years. With hundreds of dignitaries showing up from all over the world, its of interest that across the Channel calls to investigate the nuclear industry’s roll in promoting climate change has come out! Let me know when the oil industry starts funding the anti-nuclear movement as a way to stop the nuclear industry! :)
There is indeed a whole lot of nuclear grumbling going on around the world. Most of it is, just grumbling… With it now officially public in Japan, peace activists from Hiroshima and Nagasaki are letting it be known that the government’s public claims of disallowing nuclear weapons into the country, while secretly doing otherwise goes far beyond disrespect. The news has also strained relations with the U.S. that never wanted the news that they have been forcing Japan’s government into allowing nuclear weapons to routinely enter Japan. Hey, I was on a ship that had nukes on board when it docked in Japan in 1973. For folks not watching, it was very likely a major incident last year where a U.S. nuclear powered sub was caught leaking nuclear fuel at several Japanese ports that played a major role in finally outing this 50 year old scandal, not to mention the ousting of the Liberals who had run the country for the entire time.
Elsewhere, the battle to build new nukes around the world continues. Of all the craziest claims made was that even with the 8.8 quake in Chile, nuclear proponents have come back with claims that such an incident shouldn’t get in the way of building reactors! Russia appears to be on the inside track on getting contracts with India, while South Korea has supplanted Russia in Turkey’s nuclear push. A major nuclear promoter connected to B Clinton was sentenced to 14 years, the NIMBY effect appears to be raising its head in South Africa with plans to build a nuke near one of the more posh coastal resort areas. The industry claims that there are currently 49 reactors under construction and 230 proposed worldwide. Here’s the link to the WNA’s list of reactors. If you take a look, you will see that China, Russia, India and South Korea are leading areas where reactors are being built. Also of interest, is the fact that only India appears to have any regular news coverage, let alone opposition.
There were two new protests in Europe last week, one in the UK and the other over rad-waste headed for Russia.
In the usa, one of the biggest stories to hit was about a suspected terrorist who was picked up in Yemen who had worked at at a number of reactors. Concerns about how nukeworker.com might represent future security problems come to mind. A very extensive report on the historic contamination in PA includes extensive documentation. There was an important public event in Virgnia last week on uranium mining, while a federal judge ordered the go-ahead for uranium mining on Navajo lands, at the same time another agency started hiring people to help find radiation victims. The DOL put out its EEOICPA 2009 annual report. Vermont activists are calling for the closure of Vermont Yankee right now, especially until they stop all the leaks. Every week for the last month there are reports that they have found the leak, and then the next week we hear stories like robot stuck in sludge etc.
It looks like there will be a national conference on nuclear waste in Chicago on June 5-6 put on by groups concerned about the national state of affairs. Don’t stop here! Make sure to browse, as there are a lot of important stories, as well as Alexander’s pitch in a major DC blog!
March 1st - 7th 2010
Nuclear quagmire!!! The last week of news continues to escalate. Its taken several hours more than usual to put this newsletter together. Obama’s change wasn’t what a whole lot of us were expecting. So the fallout continues to escalate worldwide as both Russia and Canada have announced new economic investment plans. The volume of news continues to grow and in a whole lot of unexpected directions.
Let’s start with Mordechai Vanunu, official refusal to accept a Nobel Peace prize. Follow that up with Nuclaire Sortir release of documents that threatens to blow the lid off of EDF/Areva’s EPR reactor design. The U.S. flip-flop on letting Pakistan into their version of the new nuclear club. The Paris nuclear conference. Sweden’s concern about the safety of their new repository geology, a new earthquake faultline near PI’s heated debate over Bataan. How dare I even mention the fact that Chile was in the middle of promoting the development of reactors just as the largest earthquake to hit the planet in a very long time hit! New opposition to the UK’s nuclear push emerged in the form of a biography by the former head of BFNL. Then there was the astounding news out of Palestine about how the U.S. lost three armed nuclear weapons during the Gulf war and continues to hide the story from the world. I’m not even gonna get into news out of Japan… Poland get’s financial support to start construction of reactors. South Africa, which recently abandoned its PBMR reactor project is now pushing new reactors down the throats of a pristine coastal community. Its not every week that so many major issues hit around the world! And oh my favorite in the bunch, There been a tripling of cancers near the community of Fallujah Iraq, and the media is starting to actually cover the story a bit that broke months ago. But wait…
The DOE finally filed for the formal closure of Yucca Mountain! That was followed days later with Washington state dems screaming where’s the science at Chu! I can imagine how Steve was laughing backstage after failing to present Nevada’s version of the science vs. DOE’s. A lot of interesting news out of Georgia. NPR did an excellent tech talk show with Lester Brown on Friday. It seems at least a couple of people finally got some of the Yucca story right. Washington was given $55 million by a federal court over the Yucca closure. But the idea of drilling super deep bore holes and dropping spent fuel down kind of sounds like a new way to seed volcanic activity to me… We are now seeing pro-nuclear conspiracy stories out there that there are, nor ever has been any danger of nuclear waste(I had to post it). Then over to one of the other favorite dumping grounds of the nuclear industry, Utah. The first of 16 million tons of the Moab tailings pile has been moved away from the Colorado River. A report by HEAL and IEER point to the likelyhood that Energy Solutions may have taken in wastes that were not allowed at their Clive facility. Thus, we are watching the fifth major Utah battle to be won in the last decade to happen there, as the DU waste dumping issue is now red hot. Speaking of Energy Solutions, they are having a bit of a hard time these days as a serious fire at their Tennessee facility finally made the news.
Then we have the death of a DOE worker at Hanford (not radiation), new plans to help workers get help, a push to force cooling towers at Oyster Creek, NJ, while California is considering blocking all seawater cooling for nukes or any other facility. Vermont’s IOU’s Entergy continues to make all kinds of bribes in its attempts to spin off a new nuclear company in New York, as a poll shows that 70% of Vermont responders don’t like the nuke anymore. Nationally a poll shows the public worried about waste, with numbers showing a drop in support. Attempts to reverse Minnesota’s nuclear moratorium died in committee. And oh, my has there been an explosion of op-ed pieces from P-Moore and more.
I can’t sumarize everything that happened, but one article jumped out at me and that was a story out of DOE’s Oak Ridge blog about how they are working on ways to streamline the NRC’s license process. What the hell!
Almost too much for anyone to even wrap their heads around this time. Triage is a tough to do!