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Energy Net

Japan: nuclear scandal widens and deepens | WISE - 0 views

    "After it was revealed that Tepco had falsified inspection reports at three of its nuclear power plants for years (see WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 573.5436, "Japan: whistleblowing turns into tornado"), other utilities began to investigate if they too had failed to mention defects in reports. Soon, two utilities, Chubu Electric and Tokohu Electric, reported that they too had left out details of faults in their inspection records.

    Chubu is Japan's third largest power company, and halted all its reactors after admitting it had failed to report signs of cracking in water pipes of reactors 1 and 3 at its Hamaoka plant to the authorities. The largest of these, in Hamaoka-3, was 60 millimeters long and 3 millimeters deep, in a pipe around 40 millimeters thick.

    The failure of Chubu to notify the authorities of the crack indications in water pipes is all the more worrying because of recent incidents involving pipes at Hamaoka. Last year, a water pipe at Hamaoka-1 exploded, releasing radioactive steam into the containment building (see WISE News Communique 558.5339, "Japan: a 'grave situation' at Hamaoka BWR"). This year, sixteen workers were irradiated after a water pipe leak at Hamaoka-2 (see WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 569.5411, "Japan: More problems at Hamaoka")."
Energy Net

Fukushima media coverage 'may be harmful' - health - 30 August 2011 - New Scientist - 0 views

    Alarmist predictions that the long-term health effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan will be worse than those following Chernobyl in 1986 are likely to aggravate harmful psychological effects of the incident. That was the warning heard at an international conference on radiation research in Warsaw, Poland, this week.

    One report, in UK newspaper The Independent, quoted a scientist who predicted more than a million would die, and that the prolonged release of radioactivity from Fukushima would make health effects worse than those from the sudden release experienced at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine.

    "We've got to stop these sorts of reports coming out, because they are really upsetting the Japanese population," says Gerry Thomas at Imperial College London, who is attending the meeting. "The media has a hell of a lot of responsibility here, because the worst post-Chernobyl effects were the psychological consequences and this shouldn't happen again."
Energy Net

Japan's radiation forecast system was ignored - 0 views

    "Japan's system to forecast radiation threats was working from the moment its nuclear crisis began. As officials planned a venting operation certain to release radioactivity into the air, the system predicted Karino Elementary School would be directly in the path of the plume emerging from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

    But the prediction helped no one. Nobody acted on it.

    The school, just over six miles from the plant, was not immediately cleared out. Quite the opposite. It was turned into a temporary evacuation center."
Energy Net

REFILE-Japan's nuclear industry credibility crumbles amid email scandal | Reuters - 0 views

    "A Japanese nuclear power plant has come under fire for trying to sway the outcome of a public forum on atomic safety, dealing a fresh blow to the industry's credibility four months after the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

    An employee with Kyushu Electric Power Co instructed workers at the utility and its affiliates to pose as ordinary citizens and send e-mails backing the restart of nuclear reactors in southern Japan to a televised public hearing.

    A massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the coastal Fukushima-Daiichi power plant in northeast Japan on March 11, sparking a fuel-rod meltdown and the biggest nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.

    The plant is still leaking radiation in a protracted disaster which prompted the government to go back to "scratch" on its nuclear energy policy. Only 19 of Japan's 54 reactors are still running. "
Energy Net

At California Nuclear Plant, Earthquake Response Plan Not Required - 0 views

    "As the world's attention remains focused on the nuclear calamity unfolding in Japan, American nuclear regulators and industry lobbyists have been offering assurances that plants in the United States are designed to withstand major earthquakes.

    But the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which sits less than a mile from an offshore fault line, was not required to include earthquakes in its emergency response plan as a condition of being granted its license more than a quarter of a century ago. Though experts warned from the beginning that the plant would be vulnerable to an earthquake, asserting 25 years ago that it required an emergency plan as a condition of its license, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fought against making such a provision mandatory as it allowed the facility to be built.

    Officials at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the utility that operates Diablo Canyon, did not respond to calls seeking comment before the story was published. After publication, a spokesman for the company said the plant does have an earthquake procedure that had been implemented during a 2003 earthquake near the facility, and that staff are trained to respond. The company did not provide further details upon request.

    As Americans absorb the spectacle of a potential nuclear meltdown in Japan -- one of the world's most proficient engineering powers -- the regulatory review that ultimately enabled Diablo Canyon to be built without an earthquake response plan amplifies a gnawing question: Could the tragedy in Japan happen at home?"
Energy Net

State senator tells feds to pause license review for Diablo Canyon nuclear pl... - 0 views

    SACRAMENTO - A top regional official of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told a legislative committee Thursday that the agency intends to proceed with its safety and environmental analysis for extending the license of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, despite a request from the plant's operator that the agency take no final action until after more thorough seismic studies are completed.

    The federal licensing agency hopes to proceed as scheduled with its review, said Troy Pruett, deputy regional director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's division of reactor projects.

    "Staff has invested many thousands of hours in environmental and safety review," Pruett told members of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. "Our desire now is to publish that."

    The senator, whose district includes the site of the nuclear plant, assailed the federal agency for what he called its decision to look at Diablo Canyon seismic issues "through rose-colored glasses" despite the damage to nuclear reactors in Japan resulting from last month's earthquake and tsunami.
Energy Net

Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4 - Bloomberg - 0 views

    One of the reactors in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may have been relying on flawed steel to hold the radiation in its core, according to an engineer who helped build its containment vessel four decades ago.

    Mitsuhiko Tanaka says he helped conceal a manufacturing defect in the $250 million steel vessel installed at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4 reactor while working for a unit of Hitachi Ltd. (6501) in 1974. The reactor, which Tanaka has called a "time bomb," was shut for maintenance when the March 11 earthquake triggered a 7-meter (23-foot) tsunami that disabled cooling systems at the plant, leading to explosions and radiation leaks.
Energy Net

Former NRC Chairman Dr. Dale E. Klein Elected to Southern Company Board of Directors - ... - 0 views

    "Dr. Klein served as chairman of the NRC from July 2006 to May 2009 and as a commissioner until March 2010. Prior to his service on the NRC, he served as the assistant to the secretary of defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs from November 2001 to July 2006

    Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO David M. Ratcliffe has announced the election of Dr. Dale E. Klein, 62, to the Southern Company board of directors. A former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Dr. Klein is currently the associate vice president of research and associate director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin."
Energy Net

Demands for release of nuclear whistleblower as Israel holds Vanunu in solitary confine... - 0 views

    "There were demands last night for the release from prison of the man known as the Israeli nuclear whistleblower after it emerged he was being held in solitary confinement in the same section of prison as some of Israel's most notorious criminals.

    Mordechai Vanunu, who spent 18 years in jail for revealing details of Israel's nuclear arsenal in 1986, was sent back to prison for three months in May after being found guilty of unauthorised meetings with foreign nationals. Vanunu, who became a cause celebre for human rights activists around the world and was elected rector of the University of Glasgow in absentia, is being held in Ayalon Prison in central Israel.

    Amnesty International is calling for Vanunu's immediate release and his brother, Meir, contacted the Sunday Herald to express fears over Vanunu's wellbeing after being the first person to visit him in seven weeks.

    In an email, Meir Vanunu said: "I found him to be all right in general, but it was a depressing experience. The disturbing main fact is he is held in the hardest prison section there is in all Israeli prisons. It has the most notorious criminals in the country, well known hard murder cases and so on. Of course, there is no justification for doing this to Mordechai and it is only a continuous vindictiveness and harassment by the secret services and not serving any so-called 'security' interests.""
Energy Net

AFP: 'Abducted' Iranian denies being nuclear scientist - 0 views

    "An Iranian who claimed he was "abducted" by US spies last year denied upon his arrival in Tehran Thursday that he was a nuclear scientist, but said he was questioned by Israelis during his captivity.

    Shahram Amiri, who vanished from Saudi Arabia in June 2009 while on a pilgrimage, arrived in Tehran on Thursday after surfacing in Iran's Interest Section in Washington two days ago.

    Immediately after his arrival he told reporters that he was just a "simple researcher", refuting earlier claims by Iranian officials that he was a nuclear scientist.

    "I had nothing to do with Natanz and Fordo sites," Amiri said referring to Iran's two uranium enrichment plants."
Energy Net

Oyster Creek owner accused of cover-up | | Asbury Park Press - 0 views

    "Members of an environmental coalition who opposed the relicensing of the Oyster Creek Generating Station have accused its owner, Exelon Nuclear, of violating state law.

    The coalition's attorney Richard Webster, who is the legal director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, said Tuesday that "Exelon covered up tritium discharges that occurred in July 2007 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to follow up to ensure a violation that was to be corrected 10 years ago had been."

    Tritium contamination was found in the ground at the facility in May. Exelon attributed the contamination to a July 17, 2007 tritium release. Tritium is a weak, naturally occurring radioactive form of hydrogen.

    Webster maintains that a freedom of information request revealed that Exelon illegally failed to report a major discharge of tritium to the ground in 2007.

    "As the Department of Environmental Protection has noted, Exelon is required to report tritium discharges," he said."
Energy Net

Document Reveals that DOE's Internal Nuclear Weapons Plans Significantly Differ From th... - 0 views

    * Abandon promised science and "ignition and gain" at Livermore Lab NIF mega-laser

    * Jack up funding for nuclear weapon "life extensions" beyond what the facts justify, and

    * Escalate bomb budgets through 2030 despite lip service to Obama disarmament goals

    LIVERMORE -- The Fiscal Year 2011 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (colloquially known as the "Green Book"), obtained recently by Tri-Valley CAREs, reveals that the U.S. Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) foments internal plans significantly at variance with the agency's public pronouncements and the Nation's disarmament goals.

    "The document demonstrates that the NNSA will reach deeper and deeper into the taxpayers' pockets in the coming decades, even as it jettisons scientific objectives and delivers less," charged Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, the Livermore-based nuclear weapons watchdog organization. " What the plan reveals about the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is shocking." (See attached analysis for details.)"
Energy Net

France24 - EU probes Belgian nuclear power deal - 0 views

    "The European Commission has been looking into whether Electrabel abused its dominant position after reaching a nuclear power plant deal with the Belgian government, a spokesman said on Saturday.

    The preliminary investigation has been underway "for several months," said Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, confirming reports in the Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L'Echo.

    Electrabel, a unit of French utility group GDF Suez, is the leading electricity provider in Belgium."
Energy Net

Convicted scientist Syutagin forced to admit guilt in return for freedom and exile in s... - 0 views

    "Russian scientist Igor Sutyagin, who was serving 15 years following a wrongful conviction on espionage charges, was Friday delivered together with three other convicted spies to Vienna and exchanged, in what appears to be the biggest US-Russian "spy swap" since the Cold War, for ten Russian individuals who have admitted earlier in New York to have been acting as agents of the Russian Federation. Maria Kaminskaya, 09/07-2010

    Information that Sutyagin, an innocent man who was imprisoned at the height of what became known as "spymania" in Russia, will be part of an exchange by which Russia will repatriate ten US-based agents has earlier been confirmed by his lawyer Anna Stavitskaya. His release became joyful news for Bellona, which is all too familiar with the dismal situation with human rights and the workings of the justice system in Russia, though the fact that Sutyagin was forced to sign a confession of guilt in order to walk free was another testimony that little has changed for the better."
Energy Net

Remember the Rainbow Warrior and the Marshall Islands | Greenpeace International - 0 views

    "Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by the French secret service in New Zealand's Marsden Wharf. It is the day we remember our colleague Fernando Pereira who was killed in the attack. He was just 35.

    The bombing was personally authorised by then French president François Mitterrand and was intended to prevent Greenpeace from leading protests against French nuclear weapons testing on the Moruroa Atoll.

    Just three months before its sinking, the Warrior helped evacuate 300 residents of the Rongelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands as part of Operation Exodus."
Energy Net

Senator Pressures NRC to Clear NUMEC President of Illegal Uranium Diversions to Israel ... - 0 views

    "The office of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania attempted to obtain a statement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission according to documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act. On August 27, 2009, Arlen Specter wrote to Rebecca Schmidt asking that the NRC "issue a formal public statement confirming that he [constituent Zalman Shapiro] was not involved in any activities related to the diversion of uranium to Israel."

    Zalman Shapiro was formerly president of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation at Apollo, PA. According to a secret GAO report "Nuclear Diversion in the US?" partially declassified on May 6, 2010 NUMEC received over 22 tons of uranium-235, the key material used to fabricate nuclear weapons.

    Israel's top economic espionage case officer Rafael Eitan, who handled spy Jonathan Pollard in the 1980s, infiltrated NUMEC under false pretenses in 1968. According to Anthony Cordesman, "there is no conceivable reason for Eitan to have gone [to the Apollo plant] but for the nuclear material." CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden called NUMEC "an Israeli operation from the beginning." NUMEC's venture capital came from David Lowenthal, who had close ties to Israeli intelligence and David Ben-Gurion,who spearheaded Israel's nuclear weapons program. "
Energy Net

North West Evening Mail | News | Claims of 'handouts' for nuclear reactors denied - 0 views

    "ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have accused the government of preparing to allow multi-million pound "handouts" to firms building nuclear reactors.

    Greenpeace said the move went against assurances given by ministers that the nuclear industry would not receive any handouts to help build new nuclear power stations.

    The government has denied the accusation.

    Business leaders in Cumbria hope a new generation of reactors will cement the county's position as a key player in the global atomic energy industry.

    Three locations in West Cumbria have been put forward as potential reactor sites - in Kirksanton, Braystones and Sellafield.

    Nuclear is a cornerstone of the multi-billion pound Energy Coast Masterplan vision for the area."
Energy Net

CBS 7 - Nuke Waste Site has More Troubles - 0 views

    "A troubled site for disposing some of the nation's low-level radioactive waste has two more problems to deal with.

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it'll issue a "notice of violation" within two weeks. It says Waste Control Specialists has stored a concrete canister of the hottest low-level radioactivity material at its West Texas site for more than the 365 days allowed by its waste processing license.

    An agency spokeswoman says the commission's drafting what it will require of the company to deal with the violation. She adds, however, that the TCEQ will let the waste remain on site as long as WCS complies with the commission's corrective demands. She also says there will be no fines."
Energy Net

BARC report too finds high uranium, heavy metal levels - Chandigarh - City - The Times ... - 0 views

    "After reports from a German lab highlighted the threat of high uranium content in water, linking it with high incidence of abnormalities among residents of the Southern-West Malwa region of Punjab, another preliminary report by Baba Atomic Research Center (BARC), Mumbai, and researchers at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, has found unsafe concentrations of uranium and heavy metals in water samples collected from Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and adjoining areas. This comes at a time when the state health department is facing flak for its alleged attempts to play down this serious threat to people's health.

    Dr HS Kushwaha, director health, safety and environment group of BARC, said, "235 water samples were collected from the region about a year back, and many of these were found to have high uranium content. So, we assigned the task of exploring the possibility of uranium prospect and health risk assessments in area to physics department of GNDU, about six months back." "
Energy Net

'Radioactive waste threat' to future of Stratford site | News - 0 views

    "Radioactive waste buried under the Olympic Park could jeopardise plans to develop the site after the Games, it is claimed.

    Traces of thorium and radium have been buried in a disposal cell under the site of the main stadium. The Olympic Delivery Authority insists the deposits pose no risk during the Games.

    But experts say that a reassessment of the site after 2012 may be necessary before any development plans - housing, for instance - are put in place.

    Independent nuclear analyst John Large said: "There is some doubt about the applicability and validity of the radiological risk analysis undertaken for the future legacy use."

    The Lower Lea Valley site was industrial land which was used for landfill and where illegal dumping of waste was common in the Fifties and Sixties."
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