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Large wildfire engulfs forest in Chernobyl’s EXCLUSION ZONE

RT | February 17, 2019

A major blaze has broken out in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – the site of the worst nuclear disaster in human history. The fire hit a forest some 20 kilometers away from the ill-famed nuclear power station.

The blaze inside Chernobyl’s ‘dead zone’ in northern Ukraine started on Sunday when dry grass caught fire, the Ukrainian emergency service said in a statement. The blaze then reached a forest near the abandoned village of Bychki located some 24km (15 miles) away from the damaged nuclear reactor.

Some 5 hectares (12 acres) of forest went up in flames. Three firefighting vehicles and 18 emergency crew members were dispatched to tackle the blaze, according to the emergency service’s statement.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area heavily contaminated by the disaster, has repeatedly witnessed wildfires over recent years. A large fire broke out there in June 2018. Another blaze, which scorched 25 hectares (60 acres) of land, hit it in 2017.

While the burning of possible radioactive wood and shrubs could release some dangerous combustion products into the atmosphere, the statement issued by Ukrainian officials mentioned no such risks for now.

Chernobyl became the site of one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history, when a local power reactor blew up during a safety system test on April 26, 1986, leading to massive contamination of the surrounding area and beyond. The catastrophic explosion released 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

The severely damaged reactor was sealed off by a protective ‘sarcophagus’ of steel and concrete, while the nearby town of Pripyat had its 50,000 population evacuated. A radioactive cloud covered a massive chunk of Europe in the wake of the disaster.

Today, Pripyat is a ghost town while the contaminated 30-kilometer (18.6 mile) area around the reactor has been turned into a no-go zone, which has for years been closed to any visitors, but is now booming with wildlife – keenly observed by scientists.

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Germany Pulls Rank on Macron and American Energy Blackmail

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.02.2019

It was billed politely as a Franco-German “compromise” when the EU balked at adopting a Gas Directive which would have undermined the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia.

Nevertheless, diplomatic rhetoric aside, Berlin’s blocking last week of a bid by French President Emmanuel Macron to impose tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 gas project was without doubt a firm rebuff to Paris.

Macron wanted to give the EU administration in Brussels greater control over the new pipeline running from Russia to Germany. But in the end the so-called “compromise” was a rejection of Macron’s proposal, reaffirming Germany in the lead role of implementing the Nord Stream 2 route, along with Russia.

The $11-billion, 1,200 kilometer pipeline is due to become operational at the end of this year. Stretching from Russian mainland under the Baltic Sea, it will double the natural gas supply from Russia to Germany. The Berlin government and German industry view the project as a vital boost to the country’s ever-robust economy. Gas supplies will also be distributed from Germany to other European states. Consumers stand to gain from lower prices for heating homes and businesses.

Thus Macron’s belated bizarre meddling was rebuffed by Berlin. A rebuff was given too to the stepped-up pressure from Washington for the Nord Stream 2 project to be cancelled. Last week, US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and two other American envoys wrote an op-ed for Deutsche Welle in which they accused Russia of trying to use “energy blackmail” over Europe’s geopolitics.

Why France’s Macron, at the last minute, attempted to undermine the project by placing stiffer regulations is a curious question. Those extra regulations if they had been imposed would have potentially made the Russian gas supply more expensive. As it turns out, the project will now go-ahead without onerous restrictions.

In short, Macron and the spoiling tactics of Washington, along with EU states hostile to Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries, have been put in their place by Germany and its assertion of national interests of securing economical and abundant gas supply from Russia. Other EU member states that backed Berlin over Nord Stream 2 were Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands.

Washington’s claims that Nord Stream 2 would give Russia leverage of Europe’s security have been echoed by Poland and the Baltic states. Poland, and non-EU Ukraine, stand to lose out billions of dollars-worth of transit fees. Such a move, however, is the prerogative of Germany and Russia to find a more economical mode of supply. Besides, what right has Ukraine to make demands on a bilateral matter that is none of its business? Kiev’s previous bad faith over not paying gas bills to Russia disbars it from reasonable opinion.

Another factor is the inherent Russophobia of Polish and Baltic politicians who view everything concerning Russia through a prism of paranoia.

For the Americans, it is obviously a blatant case of seeking to sell their own much more expensive natural gas to Europe’s giant energy market – in place of Russia’s product. Based on objective market figures, Russia is the most competitive supplier to Europe. The Americans are therefore trying to snatch a strategic business through foul means of propaganda and political pressure. Ironically, the US German ambassador Richard Grenell and the other American envoys wrote in their recent oped: “Europe must retain control of its energy security.”

Last month, Grenell threatened German and European firms involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 that they could face punitive American sanctions in the future. Evidently, it is the US side that is using “blackmail” to coerce others into submission, not Russia.

Back to Macron. What was he up to in his belated spoiling tactics over Nord Stream 2 and in particular the attempted problems being leveled for Germany if the extra regulations had been imposed?

It seems implausible that Macron was suddenly finding a concern for Poland and the Baltic states in their paranoia over alleged Russian invasion.

Was Macron trying to garner favors from the Trump administration? His initial obsequious rapport with Trump has since faded from the early days of Macron’s presidency in 2017. By doing Washington’s bidding to undermine the Nord Stream 2 project was Macron trying to ingratiate himself again?

The contradictions regarding Macron are replete. He is supposed to be a champion of “ecological causes”. A major factor in Germany’s desire for the Nord Stream 2 project is that the increased gas supply will reduce the European powerhouse’s dependence on dirty fuels of coal, oil and nuclear power. By throwing up regulatory barriers, Macron is making it harder for Germany and Europe to move to cleaner sources of energy that the Russian natural gas represents.

Also, if Macron had succeeded in imposing tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 project it would have inevitably increased the costs to consumers for gas bills. This is at a time when his government is being assailed by nationwide Yellow Vest protests over soaring living costs, in particular fuel-price hikes.

A possible factor in Macron’s sabotage bid in Germany’s Nord Stream 2 plans was his chagrin over Berlin’s rejection of his much-vaunted reform agenda for the Eurozone bloc within the EU. Despite Macron’s very public amity with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin has continually knocked back the French leader’s ambitions for reform.

It’s hard to discern what are the real objectives of Macron’s reforms. But they seem to constitute a “banker’s charter”. Many eminent German economists have lambasted his plans, which they say will give more taxpayer-funded bailouts to insolvent banks. They say Macron is trying to move the EU further away from the social-market economy than the bloc already has moved.

What Macron, an ex-Rothschild banker, appears to be striving for is a replication of his pro-rich, anti-worker policies that he is imposing on France, and for these policies to be extended across the Eurozone. Berlin is not buying it, realizing such policies will further erode the social fabric. This could be the main reason why Macron tried to use the Nord Stream 2 project as leverage over Berlin.

In the end, Macron and Washington – albeit working for different objectives – were defeated in their attempts to sabotage the emerging energy trade between Germany, Europe and Russia. Nord Stream 2, as with Russia’s Turk Stream to the south of Europe, seems inevitable by sheer force of natural partnership.

On this note, the Hungarian government’s comments this week were apt. Budapest accused some European leaders and the US of “huge hypocrisy” in decrying association with Russia over energy trade. Macron has previously attended an economics forum in St Petersburg, and yet lately has sought to “blackmail” and disrupt Germany over its trade plans with Russia.

As for the Americans, their arrant hypocrisy is beyond words. As well as trying to dictate to Europe about “market principles” and “energy security”, it was reported this week that Washington is similarly demanding Iraq to end its import of natural gas from neighboring Iran.

Iraq is crippled by electricity and power shortages because of the criminal war that the US waged on that country from 2003-2011 which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. Iraq critically needs Iranian gas supplies to keep the lights and fans running. Yet, here we have the US now dictating to Iraq to end its lifeline import of Iranian fuel in order to comply with the Trump administration’s sanctions against Tehran. Iraq is furious at the latest bullying interference by Washington in its sovereign affairs.

The hypocrisy of Washington and elitist politicians like Emmanuel Macron has become too much to stomach. Maybe Germany and others are finally realizing who the charlatans are.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Russophobia | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hastily-Buried Radioactive Waste Lays Bare Nuclear Power Legacy

Sputnik – 11.02.2019

Over 126,000 barrels of radioactive material are stored in the Asse mine in Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany bordering the North Sea, a fact that has many locals – as well as the global anti-nuke community – frustrated.

Manfred Kramer, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, lives close to the Asse salt mine in which the decaying waste is stored and — while acknowledging that politicians are finally beginning to take notice — has long protested against having radioactive waste in the old mine, Tekportal reported.

“It’s nice that she’s finally coming,” Kramer said, referring to Environment Minister Svenja Schulze’s upcoming visit to the mine, which was originally used for the extraction of potash salt until 1965. “Soon she’ll have been in office for a year. It sure took a while!” he quipped, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Three generations operated nuclear power in Germany, and now 30 generations or even more will have to suffer the consequences,” Schulze noted, adding, “this is proof of how irresponsible nuclear energy was.”

According to mining engineer Thomas Lautsch, who works for BGE, Germany’s federal company for radioactive waste disposal, the retrieval of the nuclear waste from the mine will be complicated and expensive, at a minimum.

“We would have to build a retrieval mine, which is more than simply just a new shaft. We would also need an interim storage facility for the waste, and we would have to create many new shafts to gain access to the individual chambers,” he said, cited by Msn.com.

The construction phase of the project alone could take eight or nine years, according to studies.

Because the old mine shafts do not meet current legal standards for the ten-thousand-year storage of nuclear waste, a new mine must be built around the old mine.

“The barrels must be finally and safely disposed of somewhere else in the country,” Kramer noted, “should they actually able to be retrieved by 2050.”

The mine, developed between 1906-1908, has a depth of around 765 meters. Between 1965-1995, the Helmholtz Zentrum München (a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers responsible for studying environmental health issues) took the unprecedented step of using the mine to store the nation’s radioactive waste, including weapon detritus, medical offal and power plant leavings.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Forgotten Uranium Mine Workers

By Jacquetta Harvey | January 29, 2019

Uranium caused Cancer forced me to raise my children alone. I had to sell the home we were in and downsized. The mortgage company said I had no credit on my name alone. I had to pay my new (older used) truck because I had no credit alone. We had bought the truck and traded my car because it was easier to carry the wheelchair and get my husband seated in the higher seat. My husband had no right hip for the last 4 months and his left arm was in a sling and useless. The cancer had eaten through the bones on both his arm and hip. When he went into kidney failure from the cancer, every time his body jerked or he was moved he was having spontaneous fractures throughout his body.

Let me explain his cancer to you. Some of you may already know Multiple Myeloma. This is a cancer usually affects men and at the usual age of late 60’s to 70’s. My husband “E’ was 40 when it was found. Multiple Myeloma eats the bone marrow and continues eating the bone until it is as thin as an egg shell and that is when it breaks. When the Doctor found it “E” had compressed two vertebra from us moving a camper shell from our truck, he then broke a rib leaning against a truck side to pick up a small 2-3 inch spring. Then broke his left arm pulling the spring while installing it in the forklift he was working on. “E” continued to work during his “Radical Experimental” treatment, when he could.

Part II

Eventually the cancer took over his kidney which caused the kidney failure.

The Radical Treatment he agreed to do was a multitude of toxic chemicals that had a great success with Breast Cancer patients, so it was considered radical in the fact it hadn’t been used with Multiple Myeloma and for the huge amount they would give him. For 3 days he would be given a liter bag of Chemo Chemicals and saline. This would have to be put into a port that was placed straight into his heart because the chemicals would eat up/holes in his veins before it could go anywhere else in his body and do what was meant to do… Thus it was put straight into his heart via the port. The toxic chemical cocktail was to kill off all of his bone marrow. The third day we were to go straight home so he would not be exposed to even a cold germ in a big store, it could kill him. When his temperature spiked 103 we were to head straight to the hospital. He would be placed in a private room anyone coming into the room had to gown up and could not even have a sniffle. A hard plastic port to be used for the stem cell rescue was placed in his carotid artery and He would be placed on a type of dialysis machine that would “Harvest” his Stem Cells. These would then be placed in a freezable container with a chemo agent mixed in and frozen. We requested blood and stem cell donors from his job for the next few days. A notice was put up at work and the hospital was overrun with donors, they had had to send them to other blood banks and hospital’s. The blood he needed immediately, the stem cells would be re-infused in a few weeks after another kill off of his bone marrow.

In the hospital he called me before I drove our 45 minute drive. He asked me to bring clippers and scissors, he said the bed looked like he had slept with a cat or a dog. When our 11 year old son, 15 year old daughter and I walked in the room, E grabbed ahold of some hair on his head and then on his beard and pulled and it just came out. I worried it hurt but he said it didn’t. We sent the kids down to the cafeteria to grab lunch and I cut and shaved his hair. He lost all the hair on his body and he lost the top layer of his whole digestive tract from his mouth to his anus. He could not eat or drink without vomiting.

Part III later.

#uraniummineworkers #ihateit #death #cancer #governmentforgotthem #1971-2019 #raisingchildrenalone #lostchildhood #lonelysad

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Bill Gates Pushes Nuclear Power Plants to ‘Prevent the Worst Climate-Change Scenarios’

By Bill Gates | December 29, 2018

… Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

Read more: https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

January 1, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

US Gov’t Scolded for Lack of Action Under Plutonium Disposal Deal with Russia

Sputnik – December 1, 2018

Moscow and Washington agreed in 2000 to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium by incorporating it into fuel for nuclear reactors. However, the Department of Energy has failed so far to build a costly nuclear facility and instead proposed burying their plutonium underground – something that scientists say could affect human health and the environment.

American academicians have criticised the government for insufficient efforts to dispose of surplus plutonium under a 2000 US-Russia agreement.

Congress asked the National Academies to assess the viability of the Department of Energy’s plan for disposing of 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeast New Mexico.

WIPP has “insufficient capacity” to get rid of plutonium that is no longer required for defence purposes, which is “one of several barriers to implementation” of the disposal plan, the Academies concluded in a Consensus Study Report.

According to the document, the dilute-and-dispose process proposed by the Energy Department runs counter to the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), a deal that the United States and Russia signed in 2000 to dispose of 34 tons of weapons-capable plutonium each.

The 2000 agreement took effect after being ratified by Russia in 2011. It stipulated that both Russia and the United States would build special facilities to turn surplus plutonium into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear reactors.

Moscow has met its part of the commitments; however, the Savannah River Site (SRS) MOX project has been under construction in South Carolina since 2007 and has not been completed yet. The study says that “substantial schedule delays and cost overruns” caused the government to scrap the project, which would adopt the PMDA-approved method.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Energy Department’s agency in charge of the US nuclear warhead stockpile, proposed what it called a cheaper way to dispose of plutonium. Instead of creating MOX oil, the office said, the SRS could be used to dilute the plutonium and bury it deep underground.

A federal judge ruled against the proposed shutdown of the SRS construction in June, arguing that Congress has not approved the dilute-and-dispose method to replace MOX. The judge argued that the NNSA’s proposal would turn South Caroline into the nation’s dumping ground for plutonium and produce an adverse environmental effect.

Academicians also insist that this approach has so far proven to be insufficient. “So far, the dilute and dispose process has been demonstrated at a small scale by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management as it begins to process 6 metric tons of surplus plutonium, a quantity separate from the 34 metric tons.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not satisfied with the US plans either. He ordered to suspend the implementation of the bilateral agreement in October 2016, citing “a threat to strategic stability” emanating from the US and its inability to deliver on its obligations.

Putin’s move came ahead of the US presidential vote, bringing the nuclear issue back to the agenda. “Our nuclear program has fallen way behind, and they [Russians] have gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing,” then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said during a debate with Hillary Clinton, who brought the deal into force as Secretary of State together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2011.

READ MORE:

Plutonium Stolen From Texas Last Year Eludes US Authorities

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , | 1 Comment

Woolsey Fire started at Santa Susana Field Lab — where “radioactive materials released were never accurately measured”

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | November 30, 2018

In my Nov. 16 column, I reported on potential radiation risks posed by California’s Woolsey wildfire having burned over parts or all of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory—south of Simi Valley, Calif., 30 miles outside Los Angeles—site of at least four partial or total nuclear reactor meltdowns.

The field laboratory operated 10 experimental reactors and conducted rocket engine tests. In his 2014 book Atomic Accidents, researcher James Mahaffey writes, “The cores in four experimental reactors on site … melted.” Reactor core melts always result in the release of large amounts of radioactive gases and particles. Clean up of the deeply contaminated site has not been conducted in spite of a 2010 agreement.

Los Angeles’s KABC-7 TV reported Nov. 13 that the Santa Susana lab site “appears to be the origin of the Woolsey Fire” which has torched over 96,000 acres. Southern Calif. Public Radio said, “According to Cal Fire, the Woolsey Fire started on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 8 … on the Santa Susana site.”

In my column I noted that Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, estimated that the partial meltdown of the lab’s Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) in 1957, caused “the third largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power,” according to Gar Smith in his 2012 book Nuclear Roulette. But Makhijani was speaking in 2006, so now of course the SRE meltdown counts as the fourth largest radio-iodine release—after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, and Windscale in England in 1957.

Santa Susana’s operators caused the destruction of the liquid sodium-cooled SRE on July 12, 1959—“showering the downwind hills and meadows of the 2,850-acre site with a fog of chromium and radioactive isotopes, including iodine-131,” according to Smith in Roulette. It was these hills and meadows that were burned so completely by the Woolsey wildfire.

“It [the fog of isotopes] likely spread to nearby communities such as Simi Valley, Chatsworth and Canoga Park,” according to Southern Calif. Public Radio’s Elina Shatkin (“What Happened at the Santa Susana Nuclear Site During the Woolsey Fire?” Nov. 13.) Makhijani calculated that fallout from the meltdown contained “80 to 100 times the amount of iodine-131 released at Three Mile Island” [in Harrisburg, Penn., in 1979], Smith reports in Roulette. Canoga Park Senior High School is one of four Red Cross evacuation centers for the Woolsey Fire.

During the two weeks after the partial meltdown of the SRE, workers tried to repair it. “When they couldn’t, they were ordered to open the reactor’s large door, releasing radiation into the air,” Shatkin reported for public radio.

Radioactive materials released by the meltdown were never accurately measured in part because monitors inside the SRE went off scale. Yet the melting of fuel didn’t cause the only releases of radiation from SRE—just the single largest. In his 2012 book Mad Science, Joe Mangano writes, “Every day, radioactive gases from holding tanks in the reactor building were released into the air—often at night … sometimes twice a day.” In Atomic Accidents, Mahaffey describes the same practice writing, “The fission gases were piped off and compressed into holding tanks for controlled release into the environment…”

After the July meltdown was halted, Atomics International, which ran the SRE, concocted a report for the Atomic Energy Commission on Aug. 29, 1957. The report falsely declared: “No release of radioactive materials to the plant or its environs occurred and operating personnel were not exposed to harmful conditions.”

However, conditions inside the reactor building were extremely dangerous for workers, and radiation levels are estimated to have reached between 10,000 and one million times greater than normal. According to one worker, staff radiation measuring badges were taken away. John Pace, a young trainee at the lab, “Before July 13, we wore film badges, and after then, at some point they [Atomics International] took them away, since they know that the levels would be really high.”

With 10 experimental reactors, radiation routinely released to the air, years of accidents, and four core meltdowns, the “downwind hills and meadows” can be considered permanently compromised with cancer-causing toxins. Dan Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy organization told public radio that Santa Susana’s soil has, “a mix of radioactive materials like plutonium, strontium-90 and cesium-137” and perhaps 100 toxic chemicals “such as PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals like mercury and chromium-6 and volatile organic compounds like PCE.” In 2012, the US EPA reported that its soil tests found radioactive cesium-137 at 9,328 times ordinary background levels.

Citizens living in the vicinity of Santa Susana have become harshly critical of the site’s early operators—Boeing, Atomic International and Rocketdyne—who for years burned toxic and radioactive wastes in open pits, endangering all the downwinders. In 2005, Boeing paid $30 million to compensate nearby residents for early mortalities and a range of rare diseases.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fukushima waiting to happen? Huge stockpile of nuclear waste on California fault line threatens US

RT | November 15, 2018

Millions of pounds of toxic waste are being buried under the site of a privately owned former nuclear power plant in California. The only problem? Experts warn that it sits on a major fault line — and in a tsunami zone.

The San Onofre nuclear plant, located just 108 feet from a popular beach, was shut down in 2015 after a leak was discovered. Now, the Southern California Edison energy company is burying the nuclear waste at the failed site — a move which has been approved by federal regulators.

Charles Langley, the executive director of Public Watchdogs, told RT that the situation at San Onofre is of “grave concern” because spent nuclear fuel and water “don’t mix.”

Langley claimed that research carried out by experts which highlighted the extreme risks of storing the waste at the facility was “suppressed” by the very government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety.

“There are actually fault lines that run underneath the facility. We’ve documented this in geological reports that were suppressed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It’s in a Tsunami zone and it’s also extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.”

So far, 29 of 73 canisters of waste are below the surface of the ground. Langley warns, however, that the canisters are unequipped to store the toxic nuclear waste. The warranty for the containment system is only for 10 years “and the canisters themselves are only guaranteed to last 25 years,” he said.

Nina Babiarz, a board member at Public Watchdogs, told RT that “there should have been a requirement for an underground monitoring system before one can even went in the ground.”

Babiarz believes the San Onofre plant is a ticking time bomb.

“It’s still very prevalent to me that this not only could happen, but it has happened at Three Mile Island, of course it has happened at Chernobyl, it’s happened at Fukushima — and lest we forget, it could happen at San Onofre,” she said.

Edison refused to answer any of RT’s questions. On its website, however, the company says they are “being proactive in seeking out options for the relocation of the fuel, including an off-site facility.”

But San Onofre is not the only nuclear site causing concern to scientists and environmentalists in California.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory — a highly classified former nuclear testing site, which was the location of the worst nuclear meltdown in nuclear history — was scorched in the California wildfires. During the 1959 disaster, 459 times more radiation was leaked there than during the infamous 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania.

Physicians for Social Responsibility say that the toxic materials in the soil and vegetation could become airborne in smoke and ash. More than half a million people live within 10 miles of the area.

Investigative journalist Paul DeRienzo told RT that given the site’s classified status, it’s no surprise that Americans don’t know much about the place.

“It was a tremendous accident [in 1959] that gave off more radiation than Three Mile Island did — and other than that, very little is known. It’s a highly classified site and whatever we learn about it, we learn in dribs and drabs over a long period of time,” DeRienzo said.

Asked whether government assurances that the site is safe could be believed, DeRienzo warned against trusting official guarantees.

“You can’t, because it’s classified, because a lot of the things that happened at Santa Susana were classified and therefore there are things that they’re just never going to tell you and only accidentally does it come out,” he said.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

‘Serious Breaches’ Disclosed in Norway’s Treatment of Nuclear Waste

Sputnik – October 30, 2018

An investigation of of Norway’s national nuclear repository has revealed radiation levels up to 57 times above the maximum permitted limit, prompting environmental concerns and second thoughts about its future.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has revealed “serious breaches” in the handling of radioactive material at the national facility for final disposal in Himdalen, including licensing issues, the daily newspaper Aftenposten reported. Starting from February this year, eight illegally stored containers of liquid oxygenated nuclear waste have been discovered, together with other irregularities.

“The breaches of the storage permit and the license terms mean that we can no longer be completely sure that the landfill is as safe as it should be,” Per Strand, department head at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, told the newspaper.

Three of the containers discovered in Himdalen held the isotope Americium-241; these were found to be up to 57 times more radioactive than permitted. The other six containers were also well above the limit stipulated in the permit and the license terms. Americium-241 is used by a number of Norwegian industrial companies. The substance is also used in small amounts in the fire and smoke detectors found in most Norwegian homes.

According to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, the burial that occurred in 2013 and 2014 invoked a risk of chemical reactions that could have damaged the containers, causing a leak of radioactive contaminants.

Norway’s nuclear waste is currently stored in four mountain halls in Himdalen, Aurskog-Høland municipality. The landfill opened in 1998. By the end of 2017 it was 63 percent full and is scheduled to receive waste until 2030. Then, the waste facility will be left under administrative supervision for another 300-500 years. The waste is encased in barrels filled with cement and cast into the floor.

Aurskog-Høland Mayor Roger Evjen confirmed that the municipality had notified the police of the case. He has also requested a meeting with the Industry Ministry to discuss the operation of the nuclear deposit.

“What has emerged is untenable and deserves criticism,” Evjen told Aftenposten.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority asked the Institute of Energy Technology (IFE), responsible for the deposit management, to conduct a full review, starting from the opening of the facility in 1998.

“They must prove that the waste is stored safely and that they thoroughly follow through their own routines,” Strand explained.

The Norwegian police admitted that the case has been on hold since February, citing a lack of investigators. Per Strand encouraged the police to prioritize the matter as a matter of national importance.

The IFE admitted to violating the routines, but denied any possibility of endangering Norwegians’ health or the environment, as the nuclear waste is “safely encapsulated” in containers.

READ MORE:

IAEA Finds Fault With Half of Norway’s Nuclear Reactors

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Radioactive, but… ‘safe’? Japan to dump Fukushima wastewater in Pacific despite objections

RT | October 17, 2018

Running out of space to store water contaminated by fuel that escaped during the Fukushima meltdown, the Japanese government is preparing to release it into the Pacific Ocean – despite the presence of radioactive elements.

Currently, 1.09 million tons of contaminated water is stored in 900 tanks near the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, which suffered a catastrophic release of fuel following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The government claims that radioactive material is being reduced to non-detectable levels through the Advanced Liquid Processing System procedure, but there is evidence that this process does not remove many radioactive elements, including antimony, cobalt, iodine, rhodium, ruthenium, strontium, and tellurium. Tepco, which operates the plant, admits the water contains tritium, but insist the levels are “safe.”

The UK Telegraph has obtained documents from Japanese government sources indicating that authorities are aware ALPS, developed by Hitachi, is not actually eliminating radioactive elements to non-detectable levels. Tepco was forced last month to admit that 80 percent of the water still contains radioactive substances after local residents and fishermen protested plans to dispose of it in the ocean.

Tepco admits that 65,000 tons of ALPS-cleansed water retain more than 100 times the amount of strontium-90 legally permitted. Strontium-90 accumulates in teeth and bones and can cause leukemia and bone cancer.

Tritium, too, is not harmless, despite Tepco’s assurances. According to nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, beta particles of the element are more harmful than X-rays and gamma rays.

The government initially planned to release the contaminated water in 2016, but was surprised by the strength of local opposition. In March 2016, Tepco executives were charged with contributing to deaths and injuries in relation to the Fukushima meltdown after a judicial panel said they had ignored a 2008 internal report warning the plant could be struck by 15-meter waves in the event of a tsunami.

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 5 Comments

Help Stop Radioactive Waste Dump and Thousands of Dangerous Shipments Across the US

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | October 5, 2018

The private company Waste Control Specialists (WCS) or “Interim Storage Partners” wants to place a high-level radioactive waste dump site (called a “centralized interim storage facility”) in West Texas.

If approved, opening this high-level waste dump would launch nation-wide transports of a total of 40,000 tons of irradiated reactor fuel (misleadingly known as “spent” fuel), to Texas from all over the country. The shipments are to be by rail, highway, and floating barge (even on Lake Michigan!). The planned-for thousands of such transports create risks for nearly everyone in the United States, because the ferociously radioactive material would pass near schools, hospitals, businesses, and farms, would travel on and over lakes, rivers, and waterways, and go through areas where our food is grown and where families live, play and work. Amazingly, no public meetings on the subject are planned in Texas or elsewhere.

Act now to stop this dangerous nuclear waste dump

Environmental and community right-to-know groups are demanding: 1) public meetings in Texas and along transportation routes across the country; 2) a halt to these transport and dumping plans; and 3) uniform publication of application and related materials in Spanish.  You can add your voice to these urgent demands by writing to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the license application by WCS until Oct. 19th.

Tell NRC: Listen to the people! No mass radioactive waste shipments to Texas.

Under WCS’s license application, the 40,000 tons of high-level waste from commercial power reactors could move on railroads, highways and even on waterways using barges for decades. Then, because the Texas site is supposedly “temporary,” after being shipped there the waste would have to be packed-up and transported again, to a “permanent” waste dump site — if one is ever approved. This means that new transportation and repackaging dangers will continue for additional decades.

For this reason, experts like D’Arrigo at NIRS and elsewhere recommend against any “interim” storage sites, and instead suggest storage on or near the reactors, until a permanent waste dump is opened.

The Texas region where WCS wants to store the waste (above-ground, and in the open) is prone to earthquakes, intense storms, extreme temperatures, and flooding. West Texas is not the place to store the most hazardous waste in the world.

Under the guise of “managing” this deadly waste from nuclear power reactors, the centralized temporary storage plan would make the problem worse, changing the country forever by ushering in an era of intensely deadly reactor waste transports everywhere, moving regularly through our major cities and rural communities.

Yet, the United States NRC does not want to fully consider the impacts of repeatedly transporting radioactive waste to or from the supposedly “temporary” site. Please tell the NRC to hold public meetings, to extend the comment and intervention deadlines, and to fully consider all the dangers from high-level waste storage and transport in the WCS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

You can email: WCS_CISF_EIS@nrc.gov.

A sample letter you could submit is available here.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Kristen Iversen – Full Body Burden – Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

argusfest – June 20, 2012

This talk was filmed at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado on June, 19, 2012.

Kristen Iversen shared excerpts from her new book “Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats”.

Here are some quotes about her book…

“In this powerful work of research and personal testimony, Iversen chronicles the story of America’s willfully blinkered relationship to the nuclear weapons industry . . . masterful use of the present tense, conveying tremendous suspense and impressive control of the material.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“Superbly crafted tale of Cold War America’s dark underside . . . exquisitely researched.” Kirkus starred review

“Iversen has crafted a chilling, brilliantly written cautionary tale about the dangers of blind trust . . . Full Body Burden is both an engrossing memoir and a powerful piece of investigative journalism.” Bookpage

“Full Body Burden is one of the most important stories of the nuclear era—as personal and powerful as Silkwood, told with the suspense and narrative drive of The Hot Zone. With unflinching honesty, Kristen Iversen has written an intimate and deeply human memoir that shows why we should all be concerned about nuclear safety, and the dangers of ignoring science in the name of national security. Rocky Flats needs to be part of the same nuclear discussion as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. So does Full Body Burden. It’s an essential and unforgettable book that should be talked about in schools and book clubs, online and in the White House.
–REBECCA SKLOOT, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“This terrifyingly brilliant book – as perfectly crafted and meticulously assembled as the nuclear bomb triggers that lie at its core – is a savage indictment of the American strategic weapons industry, both haunting in its power, and yet wonderfully, charmingly human as a memoir of growing up in the Atomic Age.”
–SIMON WINCHESTER, author of The Professor and the Madman and Atlantic

“News stories come and go. It takes a book of this exceptional caliber to focus our attention and marshal our collective commitment to preventing future nuclear horrors.”
–Booklist

Her website is: http://www.kristeniversen.com/

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment