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Friday, August 12, 2011

Fukushima as warnings of greater catastrophes to come

August 10, 10:26 PM
Nuclear Power Safety Expert From an Expert - Consider TMI Chernobyl and Fukushima as warnings of greater catastrophes to come.

Nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi studied unlikely outside threats to nuclear plants in Italy before changing direction and going solar.   When Italy decided in the mid-’70s to add nuclear power to its power portfolio, young mechanical and nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi was among those attracted to the opportunities it presented. His work centered on nuclear safety issues — in particular, what might happen if something unexpected struck a power plant.   Corners he saw cut there eventually soured Silvi on that endeavor. His next position — at the Italian Commission on Nuclear and Alternative Energy Sources, which included work on nuclear disarmament — eventually soured him on nuclear energy itself.   “[If we] continue with nuclear power, there will definitely be worse accidents,” he argued in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster.   Over the weekend, Italian voters agreed and overwhelming rejected restarting nuclear power in their country.   “Why not consider Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima as warnings of greater catastrophes to come and avoid the inevitable by shutting them down, much like changing your diet and/or lifestyle after finding out that your cholesterol or blood pressure is elevated, rather than continuing down the same path until a heart attack or stroke strikes?”   “… I [have come] to the conclusion that neither international cooperation nor technological advancements would guarantee human societies to build and safely run nuclear reactors in all possible conditions on Earth (earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wars, terrorism, climate change, tsunamis, pandemics, etc.). I am sadly reminded of this turning point in my life as I listen to the news about the earthquake, tsunami and extremely worrying nuclear crisis in Japan.”   (Italian voters in 1987 decided to shutter all the nation’s nuclear plants and by 1990 they were closed, although the government opted to restart nuclear power in 2008. Post-Fukushima, the country has placed a moratorium on those plans and over the weekend the country’s voters decisively rejected a return to nuclear power.)   “Nuclear today only generates about 12 percent of the developed world’s electricity. By instituting an energy efficiency program,” Silvi suggests, “we could fill the gap caused by shutting them all down and put this malevolent genie back into the bottle.

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Nuclear Energy - News August 12, 2011

Nuclear Energy - News August 12, 2011

FPL president grilled on nuclear costs
FPL president grilled on nuclear costs (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Florida Power & Light President Armando Olivera and other utility executives were grilled Wednesday about the utility's rising cost estimates for its proposed nuclear plant expansions.
Japan says to set up new nuclear safety watchdog (Reuters)
Japan will set up a new nuclear safety watchdog under the auspices of the Environment Ministry, it said on Friday, part of an effort to tighten safety standards after an earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.
Japan earthquake, Riverside, sister city (The Press-Enterprise)
A Press-Enterprise special section on the large earthquake near Sendai, Japan. Special Section: Japan Quake A Press-Enterprise special report on the recovery of the quake-ravaged city of Sendai, Japan.
Giant tent to go up over Japan nuclear reactor - AP (Guardian Unlimited)
The operator of Japan's damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is building a huge tent to cover one of the worst-hit reactors, officials said Friday.
NRC: License for Ga. nuke plant likely in 2012 (Canadian Business Magazine)
The Southern Co. is unlikely to receive permission until early 2012 to build what could become the country's first new nuclear plant in a generation, according to a new timeline from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Environmental groups challenge AP1000 licensing (Business Journal)
The AP1000 Oversight Group, the N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network and Friends of the Earth Friends of the Earth Monitor warns that Georgia nuke plant faces problems Poultry waste to fuel Georgia plant S.C. court nixes anti-nuke plant appeal , together with 22 other groups, filed a new petition with the NRC today.

Another Shutdown at Nine Mile Point 2
Another Shutdown at Nine Mile Point 2 (B104.7)
The NRC says controllers manually shut it down as it was restarting from an automatic shutdown last Saturday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nuclear Energy - News August 10, 2011

TVA, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy disagree over Bellefonte nuclear plant's viability
TVA, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy disagree over Bellefonte nuclear plant's viability (Alabama Live)
An environmental watchdog issued a report Tuesday critical of any effort by TVA to complete work on the Bellefonte nuclear plant near Scottsboro.
8/10/2011 - U. of Mich. getting up to $3.5M in nuclear grants (WWUP-TV Cadillac)
The Energy Department says it's awarded the University of Michigan up to about $3.5 million in research grants aimed at enhancing technology and training for the U.S. nuclear energy industry.
CSU receives $1 million nuclear energy grant (ReporterHerald)
FORT COLLINS The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Colorado State University up to $1.09 million through a research grant, which will help develop cutting-edge nuclear energy technologies and train and educate the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry.
HARDtalk Watch (BBC News)
Since the Fukushima nuclear plant failure in Japan the nuclear industry has been under enormous pressure.
New Westinghouse Reactor Could Withstand Plane Crash (WTAE-TV Pittsburgh)
Westinghouse Electric Co. says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined its new AP1000 nuclear reactor design is safe enough to withstand the impact of a plane crashing into it.

Study says safety risk, higher rates if TVA revives Bellefonte plant
Study says safety risk, higher rates if TVA revives Bellefonte plant (WVLT-TV Knoxville)
Opponents of the Tennessee Valley Authority reviving its mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeastern Alabama say building a reactor is a safety risk and could drive up rates.
Japan ignored own radiation forecasts (KFMB-TV San Diego)
Japan's system to forecast radiation threats was working from the moment its nuclear crisis began.

Anti-Nuclear Groups Protest Proposed Manhattan Project Park

Re posted and dated, but a must read.
By JOHN MCARDLE of Greenwire
Published: July 19, 2011

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week offered his support for the establishment of a Manhattan Project National Park, and top leaders on Capitol Hill have already vowed to move a plan developed by the National Park Service through Congress in the coming months. But Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Maryland-based Nuclear Information Resource Service, said today that the effort runs contrary to the goals of the national park system.

A plan to create a multi-state national park dedicated to the top secret project to develop an atomic bomb during World War II has drawn the ire of anti-nuclear groups that believe the government shouldn't be in the business of celebrating the creation of a weapon of mass destruction.
"National parks are national treasurers, and glorifying a weapon of mass destruction is certainly not among the purposes of a national park," Mariotte said.
Greg Mello, of the Los Alamos Study Group in New Mexico, shares those concerns.
"We have to bracket a healthy historical interest with our moral sensibilities and with common sense, and that's what's not happening here," said Mello, whose group has been lobbying against the effort for several years as the National Park Service has conducted a feasibility study ahead of making its official recommendation.
"What we risk is harming the national park system as a whole and the idea of national parks just when we need to protect the environment the most," Mello said.
Mello and Mariotte said honoring the atomic bomb with its own national park would set a poor precedent.
"Once you open the gate ... a national park can be anything," Mello said. "Why don't we have a Disneyland national park or NASCAR national park; what's the limit?"
In the Interior Department release last week, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said the story of the creation of the atomic bomb is one that should be shared with future generations.
"There is no better place to tell a story than where it happened, and that's what national parks do," Jarvis said. "The National Park Service will be proud to interpret these Manhattan Project sites and unlock their stories in the years ahead."
If approved by Congress and President Obama, the new park would be made up of sites and facilities located in Los Alamos; Hanford, Wash.; and Oak Ridge, Tenn. The park would be run through a special partnership that would allow the Department of Energy to manage and operate the facilities, while the National Park Service would provide educational and interpretive services (Greenwire, July 13).
Yesterday, in an interview with the Associated Press, NPS spokesman David Barna responded to the concerns that have been raised by anti-nuclear groups in the week since NPS sent its proposal to Congress.
Barna said the NPS manages several parks that are "viewed by some people as not part of our glorious past," such as Civil War battle and Native American battle sites.
Barna said facilities that would make up the new Manhattan Project parks "are significant parts of our national cultural history. And before they get bulldozed over, we are in favor of preserving these places so future generations can study these events, for good or bad."
"I don't have a problem with honoring people who served the country," Mariotte said today. But "honoring an inanimate object that creates such so much destruction that we vowed to never use it again boggles my mind."
Mello said his group intends to begin a lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to convince legislators to vote against creating the new park.
"We hope sanity will prevail and the tight federal budget will make it more difficult for truly bad ideas to grow," he said.
A spokeswoman for Senate Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) -- who co-sponsored a bill that allowed Interior to study the creation of a Manhattan Project park -- said today that NPS has provided a strong argument for why the Manhattan Project deserves its own park and that "we're taking their advice."
Copyright 2011 E&E Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
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Re Posted info from July 28, 2011

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July 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

Two particularly interesting articles came through my e-mail today and I wanted to share them with you.

This one gives a short, but quite good, history of the German anti-nuclear movement which, as you know, is succeeding in its goal of moving Germany away from nuclear power and toward a clean energy future.

I particularly ask you to note this line: "In June 2011, Germany became the first industrialised nation to commit to abandoning the atom as an energy source once and for all by 2022 - a move unthinkable without the unremitting pressure of Germany’s tenacious anti-nukes movement."

A move unthinkable without the unremitting pressure of a tenacious anti-nuclear movement. That is why NIRS does what we do, why we send you these Alerts and urge you to take part. We need to be just as tenacious and unyielding as the German anti-nuclear movement has been for years. And we need to put the same kind of pressure on decisionmakers in the U.S. Sometimes it may seem we send out too many actions, or perhaps we seem repetitive--asking you to send in letters on an issue you've already acted on, to send in your umpteenth letter on nuclear loans, for example.

But that's part of being tenacious and putting on pressure. Remember that we are countering an industry with far more resources and more lobbyists that we could ever muster--the industry is meeting with Congressmembers and Administration people every day. Those people are hearing the industry's viewpoint. If they're going to hear ours--the majority of the American public's--we have to do it ourselves. We do our best to provide you with the tools and information to do so, but it only works when we all participate.

And it's also why we ask you to help us spread the word as far and wide as you can. Because our movement needs to keep growing if we're going to be as effective as we can be and need to be. We must keep growing if we're going to have the ability and resources to mount the kinds of effective public actions that many of you have been asking for. The August 7 MUSE concert will be the largest public anti-nuclear statement in the U.S. in many years (and thank you to everyone helping pull it together!), but it should be a start to bigger things, not an end in itself.

The second article is this op-ed from House Progressive Caucus Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) that appeared in yesterday'sArizona Republic.

In April, thousands of you responded to our Alert urging the Obama Administration to prevent uranium mining around our great national treasure, the Grand Canyon. And the Administration heard your comments and those of tens of thousands of others, and in June the Interior Department decided to place a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mines there. It was a great victory.

But as Rep. Grijalva warns, some House Republicans are attempting to overturn the Interior Department's decision even before its final implementation, and require the government to hand out leases for new uranium mines.

We need to protect this victory, and the Grand Canyon itself. Tell your Congressmembers here to reject any and all efforts to open up the area around the Grand Canyon to uranium mining!

Back to the nuclear loan program...Buried in our last e-mail on the MUSE concert was a note that we have updated our action page on nuclear loans and we urged you to take new action to ensure that the Senate does not attempt to put new money into this program (the House already has decided not to add money for the program, but if the Senate adds money, the House could well accept). The last thing we need in an era of unprecedented and harmful budget-cutting is more taxpayer money for more nuclear reactors.

But perhaps the note was too buried, and the response from you was low. So I ask you again to please tell the Senate: end the nuclear loan program.

I know many, many of you already have taken similar actions this year--but that's part of being tenacious, part of keeping up the pressure. It's what we have to do, it's what works.

As always, thanks for all you do. Together we will build a nuclear-free carbon-free energy future....

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Your activism and contributions make our work possible: protecting the Grand Canyon; preventing new reactor construction; seeking shutdown of dangerous existing reactors; building a nuclear-free carbon-free energy future. Please make a tax-deductible contribution here, or after you've submitted your letters.

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August 11, 2011

Dear Friends,
In mid-July we sent the Alert partially reprinted below about a critical EPA rulemaking that could end the use of environmentally devastating once-through cooling systems at nuclear reactors and coal plants. More than 3500 of you already have submitted comments--thank you! But that means many thousands of you have not yet submitted your views.
The comment period has now been extended until August 18. If you haven't already, please comment today! The sample comment letter is here.
The nuclear industry knows how critical this rulemaking is and they are continuing their all-out campaign to get nuclear backers and employees to send in comments. The industry knows that many of the aging reactors in the U.S. would close rather than spend the considerable money necessary to install modern cooling systems. We need to absolutely flood the EPA with our comments. Please act now.
By the way, it was great to see so many friends--old and new--at last Sunday's amazing MUSE concert! There are lots of photos and videos posted on our main Facebook page here. And you can see Aileen Mioko Smith's (from Green Action Japan) moving speech on conditions at Fukushima on our website. Thanks to all the musicians and everyone at Guacamole Fund for putting together this incredible event!
July 14, 2011
Dear Friends,

Thanks to years of inaction, hundreds of outdated power plants--mostly nuclear and coal--across the country use antiquated cooling water systems that scoop up massive amounts of water from local waterways and trap and crush aquatic life to death in the process.  Each year these power plants kill billions of fish from our lakes, streams, and coastal waters.

Decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to come up with new, national requirements to modernize power plant cooling systems and fix this problem.  But instead the agency is now caving to industry pressure and has proposed a new cooling water rule that takes a weak stance and punts decision making to the states on a case-by-case basis.  This approach hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work now.

Even worse, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has launched an all-out campaign through its Nuclear Advocacy Network to demand an even weaker approach from EPA. NEI claims that more than 7,000 people already have sent letters to the EPA from its side. We need to counter their efforts, and quickly.

Urge EPA to stand up for our waters and wildlife.  You can submit a  comment here urging EPA to adopt a strong standard for modernizing power plant cooling systems in its final rule.
America’s aging power plants are not only the nation’s largest air polluters, they also withdraw more water than any other source, causing staggering aquatic impacts.  And nuclear reactors are the largest water users of them all.

Power plants’ toll on fisheries rivals, and in some cases exceeds, that of the fishing industry. Fortunately, none of this damage is necessary because modern closed-cycle cooling systems recirculate cooling water, reducing withdrawals and fish kills by about 95 percent.  Since 1972, Section 316(b) of the federal Clean Water Act has required power plants to use the Best Technology Available (BTA) to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of cooling water intake structures. 

In 2001, EPA issued national regulations identifying closed-cycle cooling as BTA for new power plants.  But many older reactors, typically although not exclusively those built more than 30 years ago, still rely on antiquated and damaging once-through cooling systems, which withdraw water directly from its source but do not recycle it. Instead the water is thrown back into its source at far higher temperatures than it was when taken in.

For more information on the environmental devastation caused by once-through cooling at nuclear reactors, see Licensed to Kill, a report published by NIRS and other groups in 2001 and available here.

The rule EPA proposed on April 20, 2011 would be a step backward in our collective efforts to safeguard America's waters. Basically, EPA has chosen the path of least resistance by caving into industry pressure and punting this issue to state agencies–agencies that too often lack the resources and the ability to stand up to industry on this issue. And if the Nuclear Energy Institute gets its way, things will get even worse. What is needed is a clear rule focused on modernizing power plants by stopping the use of once-through cooling.

Thanks to our friends at NRDC for being on top of this issue and providing us with the basis for this Alert and the sample comment letter.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Re posted by

Reactor opinion changing

Current issue.

 Enformable - August 8, 11:57 AM
The worst nuclear disaster to strike Japan since a single bomb fell over Nagasaki in 1945 occurred in the spring of 2011 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the epic tsunami.   Of course, the Fukushima disaster forced me to re-live my own experiences in visiting the atomic cities, and my research into the American "cover-up" since. I was hardly alone. Writing in a New York Times op-ed after Fukushima, Nassrine Azimi, a senior adviser at a United Nations institute, observed: "When it comes to nuclear issues -- from atomic weapons to nuclear power -- no two nations could be more irredeemably intertwined. After the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite dissenting voices of some of its own citizens, America drew mostly wrong conclusions as it plunged into nuclear expansion."

Re Posted from

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Radiation Alerts

If nuclear disaster struck, how fast could Triangle scoot? (News Observer)
Booming with subdivisions and office parks, the region surrounding the Shearon Harris nuclear plant has doubled in population over the past decade, making the Triangle one of the fastest-growing nuclear evacuation zones in the nation.
UN chief heads to Japan as nuclear crisis simmers (Raw Story)
UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrives in Japan on Sunday, where he plans to visit the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone, as the crippled atomic power plant simmers and a food safety scare deepens.

Man conducts experiments to split atoms in his kitchen (The Straits Times)
Richard Handl's blog post on his attempt to set up a nuclear reactor at home and test if he can split atoms in his kitchen.
Leakage causes operators to shut down Nine Mile 2 nuclear plant (The Post-Standard)
The Nine Mile Point 2 nuclear station was shut down this morning after higher than normal leakage was detected in its drywell, the plant's operator said.
66th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing commemorated in Japan (People's Daily Online)
People carry flowers to the alter at the Peace Memorial Park during the service to commemorate the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima at Hiroshima on August 6, 2011.