By Tsuyoshi Inajima, April 11, 2013. Source: Bloomberg
Photo: Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Bloomberg
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean.
Leaks were found in three of seven pits in the past week, reducing the options for moving contaminated water from basements of reactor buildings. Water in the basements is from the months after the earthquake and tsunami disabled the plant two years ago, when disaster teams used hose pipes and pumps to try and cool the reactors.
While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate. With Japan’s rainy season approaching, contaminated water levels are likely to increase at the plant 220 kilometers (137 miles) northeast of Tokyo.
Reducing radiation levels in the water and pouring it into the sea is one of two options the utility has, said Kazuhiko Kudo, a research professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University. The other option is “to keep building above-ground storage tanks,” said Kudo. That’s a fight Tepco can’t win without stopping the underground water pouring into the basements, Kudo said. Continue reading →
Only five years ago, industry executives and leading politicians were talking about an American nuclear renaissance, hoping to add 20 or more reactors to the 104-unit U.S. nuclear fleet.
But today those companies are holding back in the face of falling natural gas prices and sluggish and uncertain electricity demand. Only five new plants are under construction, while at least that many are slated for permanent closure or shut down indefinitely over safety issues. Continue reading →
The “Canyon” uranium mine, seen here in the foreground, with Grand Canyon National Park six miles to its north. Photo: Bruce Gordon, Ecoflight.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK— The Havasupai tribe and three conservation groups today sued the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to allow Energy Fuels Resources, Inc. to begin operating a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park without initiating or completing formal tribal consultations and without updating an outdated 1986 federal environmental review. The Canyon Mine threatens cultural values, wildlife and endangered species and increases the risk of soil pollution and pollution and depletion of groundwater feeding springs and wells in and near Grand Canyon. The lawsuit alleges violations of environmental, mining, public land and historic preservation laws.
“We regret that the Forest Service is not protecting our sacred site in the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property from destruction by uranium mining,” said Don Watahomigie, chairman of the Havasupai tribe. “The Havasupai are returning to the federal courts to protect our people, our religion and our water.” Continue reading →
Barrels of low-level Class A commercial nuclear waste are checked with a Geiger counter in a trench at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, 10/18/88. Photo: Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis
This month, the Department of Energy announced that a tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is leaking up to 300 gallons of radioactive waste a year. Then last week, Washington governor Jay Inslee corrected that figure: a total of six tanks are leaking. To people unfamiliar with Hanford, this might sound mildly apocalyptic. Nuclear sludge left over from Cold War plutonium production is drip drip dripping into American soil, infiltrating the groundwater, slowly making its way into our rivers. But to Washington residents and Hanford observers, the leak is just another in a long line of mild disasters at America’s most contaminated nuclear waste site, a radioactive drop in the already-polluted Columbia River. Continue reading →
Nuclear waste has been leaking into the Columbia River for my entire life, and I recently turned 60. So when I read the BBC News story about new leaks from radioactive waste tanks on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, I wondered what was new about it. Reviewing the BBC article, what’s new is what’s left out of the story–the fact that enormous amounts of waste are already in the groundwater and contaminating the salmon and public water supplies of the communities all along the river on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, theHanford Nuclear Reservation contains 60% of the highly radioactive and chemical waste in the United States, and one million gallons of that waste has already leaked into the groundwater. That groundwater is moving into the Columbia River, where one million people live downstream in communities that rely on the river as the source for their municipal water supply.American Scientist has the details.
In 2006, Yakama Indian Nation pursued a Superfund claimto restore the environment of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which was built by the U.S. Government on Yakama territory, where they traditionally fished for salmon. This talk by Russell Jim is related to Hanford. Russell Jim is a fellow and board member of the Center for World Indigenous Studies where I serve as an associate scholar, and is in charge of the negotiations between the Yakama Indian Nation and the U.S. Government to clean up Hanford, the largest Superfund site in the country. Continue reading →
Crackdown on women protesters against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India. Photo: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS.
KUDANKULAM, India - An indefinite struggle continues against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern Indian state Tamil Nadu despite a government crackdown on protests.
Idinthakarai, a village in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, has become the hub of a mass agitation which started on Aug. 16 in 2011. Hundreds of men, women and children from a group of 12 villages are leading a campaign to stall operation of the nuclear plant. The public agitation intensified after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
The villagers say they have been facing false propaganda through the media, foreign money, threats from goons, prohibitory orders against meeting in public places, harassment from officials, abuse from policemen, cases of sedition in courts, and arrest warrants.
The movement has become a major headache for the government, S. P. Udayakumar, leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Power (PMANP) told IPS. The sit-in-protest at Idinthakarai has now continued more than 500 days. Continue reading →
Idle No More protesters and anti-nuclear activists blocked the CP rail line near the General Electric-Hitachi nuclear processing facility in Toronto on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The protesters blocked a train, but left peacefully, according to police at the scene. The rail-line protest came after a demonstration at the plant and a march through the surrounding neighbourhood earlier in the day.
The plant has been operating in the area for almost 50 years, but went largely unnoticed by the community until anti-nuclear activist Zach “NoCameco” Ruiter began a campaign to get it shut down. He says anti-nuclear activism is now an issue that belongs with the Idle No More movement.
Note: The following are the top ten articles from Climate Connections from 2012, based on the number of views each story received. Several articles were written by GJEP, or were sent to Climate Connections by the original authors. They are posted in reverse order, from number 10 through number 1. Our blog received a record 270,000 visitors in 2012 from over 200 countries.
10. Three responses to Bill McKibben’s new article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” (July 24)
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of GJEP, Rachel Smolker of BiofuelWatch, and Keith Brunner, GJEP Communications Associate
Bill McKibben, in his new Rolling Stone article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” does an effective job at summarizing the hard and theoretical numbers that warn us of the devastating impacts of continuing to burn the Earth’s remaining fossil fuel reserves–yet it somehow falls short of its stated goal to help mobilize a new movement for climate action. Continue reading here
9. Breaking News: Secret US military testing of radiological materials on poor and minority communities (September 24)
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of GJEP, and Orin Langelle, GJEP Board Chair
During an interview we conducted last week in St. Louis, MO, Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor gave us a long description of research she had conducted into a major military cover up of the use of U.S. citizens as test subjects for military experiments related to the Cold War. Continue reading →
Signing ceremony for secretive deal announced despite community opposition
Residents of the northern Saskatchewan village of Pinehouse feel betrayed and appalled that a controversial “Collaboration Agreement” between the village and uranium giants Cameco and Areva is set to be signed today, despite community concerns and opposition to the deal.
At a community meeting held last night, Pinehouse Mayor Mike Natomagan announced that the agreement, which critics say amounts to a gag order that violates residents’ Charter rights, will be signed even though residents have not yet been provided with a copy of the agreement.
“There are a lot of questions about the agreement in the community, and we’re being told that a confidentiality clause means we can’t get the answers we need from our administration,” says Pinehouse resident John Smerek. “To us, it’s a simple issue of democracy. People have a right to see what’s in an agreement before it’s signed, not after. But even though we’ve asked to see the agreement and to have input, the residents here have been totally shut out of the process.” Continue reading →