Tag Archives: nuclear power

Fallout at a Former Nuclear Weapon Plant – NYTimes.com

11 Mar

The Japanese government’s failure to warn citizens about radioactive danger put the entire city of Tokyo at health risk — and the rest of us as well. The report, which was written by an independent investigative panel established by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation (published March 1 in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists), bluntly states that the much vaunted “absolute safety” of nuclear power is no more than a “twisted myth.”

The threat from nuclear power plants is twofold: grand scale catastrophe and continuing health problems connected with radioactive contamination in our air, water, soil and food supply — both short-term, high-level contamination and the long-term, low-level kind.

In Japan, radiation was detected in beef, milk, spinach, tea leaves and rice. And more than a dozen cities in the United States tested positive for fallout from Fukushima in their water supplies. Scientists found radiation from Japan in milk from Phoenix to Little Rock, Ark., to Montpelier, Vt. A year later, many questions about Fukushima’s operations remain unanswered.

Tepco may be the latest in a line of the nuclear businesses with a self-imposed mandate to suppress truth. Here in the United States, we have our own tightly held radioactive secrets.

via Fallout at a Former Nuclear Weapon Plant – NYTimes.com.


Some fear U.S. nuclear agency is playing ‘regulatory roulette’ – CNN.com

2 Jun

Does “NRC” really stand for “Nuclear Radiation Commission”?

Monitoring wells in New Jersey’s Cohansey aquifer last year detected tritium levels of 4 million picocuries per liter, 200 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

Such radioactive spills are a problem nationwide. More than half of the country’s 65 nuclear power plant sites have suffered significant tritium leaks or spills, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The worst was at the Braidwood plant, 60 miles southwest of Chicago, also owned by Exelon, which leaked more than 6 million gallons of contaminated water, causing some tritium to enter a drinking water well. …

“The NRC’s almost acting like they’re waiting till somebody dies till they enforce the regulation. Tombstone regulation — that’s too high a price to pay by Americans,” said David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

via Some fear U.S. nuclear agency is playing ‘regulatory roulette’ – CNN.com.

No More Nukes for Japan

10 May

Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister, announced that Japan will build no more nuclear power plants. Japan will “start from scratch” on a new energy policy and will “do more to promote renewable energy.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times informs us that America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission is too cozy with the nuclear power industry. Surprise surprise. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll tell us that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

Nukes Delayed

29 Apr

The New York Times reports that half the $17.5B Congress authorized  in loan guarantees back in 2005 has gone unclaimed. Yet Obama is going to add $36B more in guarantees to the budget next year. “Even supporters of the technology doubt that new projects will surface any time soon to replace those that have been all but abandoned.” However:

Mr. Wilmshurst [VP Electric Power Research Institute] said the continued depressed price of natural gas had clouded the economics of new reactors, and he predicted that construction activity would “go quiet” for two to five years. His group has shifted its efforts to helping figure out how existing plants can extend their licenses to 80 years from the current limit of 60.

Just what we need, even older and more fragile plants, NOT!

A Culture of Complicity at Work in Fukushima

27 Apr

The old boys network comes though time after time, and did so at the nuclear plant at Fukushima. The plant has had serious problems since 2000, “including cracks in the shrouds that cover reactor cores,” says The New York Times. But regulators, politicians, and company executives colluded in keeping the lid on:

Investigators may take months or years to decide to what extent safety problems or weak regulation contributed to the disaster at Daiichi, the worst of its kind since Chernobyl. But as troubles at the plant and fears over radiation continue to rattle the nation, the Japanese are increasingly raising the possibility that a culture of complicity made the plant especially vulnerable to the natural disaster that struck the country on March 11.

Do we have any reason to think that things are different in the good old USofA. I think not. “Best practices” is a B-school aspirational concept, and is used to sell books and other merchandise, but it’s not used to actually operate nuclear power plants, or deep sea oil drilling rigs. In those worlds the Best Practice is to set up a PR smoke screen.

Dr. Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Fallout

25 Apr

Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl. Radioactivity concentrates in food. We’ve got to get over our hubris; our arrogance threatens our way of life. Video lasts 10 minutes.

Wikipedia entry on Caldicott, Australian anti-nuclear activist.

Teach-in: Shut Down Indian Point Nuclear Plant NOW

25 Apr

Saturday, 30 April, 4 – 8 PM, Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall, 55 Washington Square South, New York City.

The teach-in will feature 3 speakers: Chris Williams of Pace University and author of”Ecology & Socialism”, Tim Judson President of the Citizens’ Awareness Network and Marilyn Elie-Co-founder of the Westchester Citizens’ Awareness Network. The speakers will go into the specifics of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, it’s power production and N.Y’s useage, the Fukushima disaster and it’s potential parallels at Indian Point, and a broader context of the political and economic use of nuclear power. We will discuss strategy to shut it down.

Organized by Shut Down Indian Point Now!

Severity of Fukushima on Par with Chernobyl

12 Apr

Will it break the scale? The New York Times reports:

But at a separate news conference, an official from the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said that the radiation release from Fukushima could, in time, surpass levels seen in 1986.

“The radiation leak has not stopped completely, and our concern is that it could eventually exceed Chernobyl,” said Junichi Matsumoto, a nuclear executive for the company.

Radioactivity may leak for months in Fukushima

4 Apr

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says that if the current situation continues for a long time, with accumulation of more radioactive substances, there will be “a huge impact on the ocean.”

From a summary of the current state of the disaster in The New York Times, 04/04/2011. A special issue of Nature is devoted to the disaster.

Ten reasons why new nuclear was a mistake

3 Apr

Plus One (1) makes Eleven (11)! Count ’em!

Alexis Rowell tell us why in this post at Transition Culture. Here’s the list:

  1. Nuclear power is too expensive
  2. New nuclear power stations won’t be ready in time
  3. Nuclear does not and will not safeguard our energy security
  4. Nuclear power is not green
  5. Nuclear power will do little to reduce our carbon emissions
  6. Nuclear power stations are inefficient
  7. Plane crashes are a risk to nuclear power stations
  8. Nuclear power kills
  9. It’s a myth that renewables cannot provide baseload
  10. Global expansion could lead to new nuclear security risks
  11. And we still have no idea what to do with nuclear waste

Here’s what we need to do:

  1. Energy efficiency
  2. Renewables (and possibly Combined Heat & Power in urban areas if we can find enough non-fossil fuels to run it)
  3. Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs)

Read the full post to find out more.


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