Category Archives: Nuclear power

Tracing waste drum’s journey from LANL to leak

By Staci Matlock, June 9, 2014. Source: Sante Fe New Mexican

Photo by the Santa Fe New Mexican

Photo by the Santa Fe New Mexican

On the night of Feb. 14, a mix of chemicals inside a container of radioactive waste in an underground salt cavern in Southern New Mexico created so much heat the drum’s lid cracked. Radiation leaked out. Heavy bags of magnesium oxide stacked on top of the containers to prevent leaks shifted and disintegrated from the force of the reaction.

A small amount of radiation made its way through filters and an air vent to the ground above the excavated salt bed. An alarm sounded at 11:14 p.m. that night, and the handful of employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad were quickly evacuated and tested for radiation exposure. Officials said 21 tested positive, but none at dangerous levels.

Within hours, the nation’s only permanent repository for nuclear waste — the one officials said would never have a radiation leak when the site opened 15 years ago — was shut down for what could be several years.

The container in question, a 55-gallon drum labeled LA00000068660, began its life in the birthplace of the atomic bomb. From a facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Area G, where the waste was repacked, to a room in the salt cavern near Carlsbad, where the drum was stacked and waiting to burst, a whole slew of people were responsible for how it was handled.

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Feds raided Rocky Flats 25 years ago, signaling the end of an era

By Electra Draper, June 1, 2014. Source: The Denver Post.
Rocky Flats was once the site of the a nuclear weapons production facility, May 29, 2014. This June will be 25 years since the FBI raided Rocky Flats. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Rocky Flats was once the site of the a nuclear weapons production facility, May 29, 2014. This June will be 25 years since the FBI raided Rocky Flats. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

ROCKY FLATS — In 1989, Germans tore down the Berlin Wall. The anti-Soviet Solidarity movement pushed for power in Poland. One million Chinese in Tiananmen Square demanded reform. And Colorado was seeing the end of its own extraordinary Cold War chapter at Rocky Flats, 16 miles northwest of Denver.

Twenty-five years ago, on June 6, 1989, a convoy of about 30 vehicles carrying more than 70 armed agents of the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency raided the U.S. Department of Energy’s plutonium-processing plant at Rocky Flats for suspected environmental crimes.

The Cold War site, which operated continuously from 1952 to 1989, was the Denver area’s largest industrial plant, with 4,000 men and women manufacturing plutonium fission cores used to detonate U.S nuclear bombs. Continue reading

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Earth Watch: Linda Gunter on nuclear power and Chernobyl’s toxic legacy

kpfk_logoGlobal Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica radio for a weekly Earth Minute segment and Earth Watch interview.

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Victory! Construction halted at Taiwan nuclear plant after protests

April 28, 2014. Source: Agence France-Presse

Protesters do morning exercise after camping overnight outside the Taiwan presidential palace on March 10, 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Taiwan calling on the government to shut down the island's nuclear power plants, citing the painful lesson of Japan's nuclear crisis after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake two years ago. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Protesters do morning exercise after camping overnight outside the Taiwan presidential palace on March 10, 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Taiwan calling on the government to shut down the island’s nuclear power plants, citing the painful lesson of Japan’s nuclear crisis after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake two years ago. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan said Sunday, April 27, it would stop construction at a controversial nuclear power plant, after tens of thousands of protesters blockaded a main street in the capital calling for the project to be scrapped.

Protesters broke through a police cordon to take control of a busy eight-lane intersection demanding an end to construction of the “Nuke Four” power station outside Taipei.

Later Sunday, the ruling Kuomintang party yielded to pressure from the anti-nuclear demonstrators and promised to stop work at the plant.

“There will be no further construction of reactor one,” Kuomintang spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi told reporters.

“Only safety checks will be done and after that it (reactor one) will be sealed for storage. Construction of reactor two will be terminated,” he said. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Green Economy, Nuclear power, Victory!

US energy consumption, CO2 emissions up in 2013, new analysis shows

Note: More renewable energy.  More fossil fuels.  More CO2 emissions.  In America (sic), we just want more of everything, planet be damned!

-The GJEP Team

April 2, 2014. Source: ScienceDaily

Natural Gas, frackingAmericans used more renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy in 2013, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Each year, the Laboratory releases energy flow charts that illustrate the nation’s consumption and use of energy.Overall, Americans used 2.3 quadrillion thermal units more in 2013 than the previous year.

The Laboratory also has released a companion chart illustrating the nation’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Americans’ carbon dioxide emissions increased to 5,390 million metric tons, the first annual increase since 2010.
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Study: Nuclear reactors are toxic to surrounding areas, especially with age

By Candice Bernd, March 11, 2014. Source: TruthOut

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr)

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr)

Is the baby tooth under your child’s pillow radioactive? It could be if you live relatively close to a nuclear power plant that has been operating normally and in accordance with federal regulations, according to a new study.

The study, released last week by the Santa Barbara-based think tank World Business Academy for its Safe Energy Project, found that public health indicators such as infant mortality rates and cancer incidence in surrounding areas rose dramatically after Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon power plant began operations in 1984 and 1985.

“This should be a concern for any nuclear reactor and its health risks, whether it’s been operating for a day or 30 or 40 years because these reactors create over 100 cancer-causing chemicals; much of it is stored as waste at the plant, but a portion of it is released into the environment and gets into human bodies through the food chain,” said Joseph Mangano, who authored the study. He is the executive director of the nonprofit Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP). Continue reading

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Fukushima anniversary: Ex-Japanese PM on why he now opposes nuclear power

March 11, 2014. Source: Democracy Now!

Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Three years ago today a massive earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that struck Japan’s northeast coast, resulting in an unprecedented nuclear crisis: a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

As Japan marks the anniversary with continued uncertainty around Fukushima’s long-term impact, we are joined by Naoto Kan, Japan’s prime minister at the time. It’s rare that a sitting world leader changes his position completely, but that’s what Kan has done.  He explains how he came to oppose nuclear power while still in office, as he weighed Tokyo’s evacuation.

“It’s impossible to totally prevent any kind of accident or disaster happening at the nuclear power plants,” Kan says. “And so, the one way to prevent this from happening, to prevent the risk of having to evacuate such huge amounts of people, 50 million people, and for the purpose, for the benefit of the lives of our people, and even the economy of Japan, I came to change the position, that the only way to do this was to totally get rid of the nuclear power plants.”

Click here for the video interview.

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U.S. sailors sick from Fukushima radiation file new suit against Tokyo Electric Power

Note: Perhaps there’s a sort of tragic irony in the USS Ronald Reagan facing the scrapyard…

-The GJEP Team

By Harvey Wasserman, February 9, 2014. Source: Eco-Watch

Now docked in San Diego, the USS Reagan’s on-going safety has become a political hot potato. The $4.3 billion carrier is at the core of the U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific. Critics say it’s too radioactive to operate or to scrap, and that it should be sunk, as were a number of U.S. ships contaminated by atmospheric Bomb tests in the South Pacific. Photo: Eco-Watch

Now docked in San Diego, the USS Reagan’s on-going safety has become a political hot potato. The $4.3 billion carrier is at the core of the U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific. Critics say it’s too radioactive to operate or to scrap, and that it should be sunk, as were a number of U.S. ships contaminated by atmospheric Bomb tests in the South Pacific. Photo: Eco-Watch

Citing a wide range of ailments from leukemia to blindness to birth defects, 79 American veterans of 2011’s earthquake/tsunami relief Operation Tomadachi (“Friendship”) have filed a new $1 billion class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power.

The suit includes an infant born with a genetic condition to a sailor who served on the USS Ronald Reagan as radiation poured over it during the Fukushima melt-downs, and an American teenager living near the stricken site. It has also been left open for “up to 70,000 U.S. citizens [who were] potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit.”

The re-filing comes as Tepco admits that it has underestimated certain radiation readings by a factor of five. And as eight more thyroid cancers have surfaced among children in the downwind region.Two new earthquakes have also struck near the Fukushima site.

The amended action was filed in federal court in San Diego on Feb. 6, which would have been Reagan’s 103rd birthday. It says Tepco failed to disclose that the $4.3 billion nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was being heavily dosed from three melt-downs and four explosions at the Fukushima site. The Reagan was as close as a mile offshore as the stricken reactors poured deadly clouds of radiation into the air and ocean beginning the day after the earthquake and tsunami. It also sailed through nuclear plumes for more than five hours while about 100 miles offshore. The USS Reagan (CVN-76) is 1,092 feet long and was commissioned on July 12, 2003. The flight deck covers 4.5 acres, carries 5,500 sailors and more than 80 aircraft. Continue reading

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