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Wednesday
Apr232014

Crimea conflict could risk another Chernobyl

As tensions mount in eastern and southern Ukraine after the Russian takeover in Crimea, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant sits in the potential firing line. Zaphorizhia, with six full size nuclear reactors, is located north of Crimea. Another nine reactors, at three separate locations, are also still operating across Ukraine.

"The current tension between Ukraine and Russia serves as a stark reminder that armed conflict and nuclear power don't mix,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “Decades of warnings that nuclear power plants are potential weapons for an enemy in wartime have gone unheeded. Whether intentionally targeted or accidentally hit during military conflict, atomic reactors and radioactive waste storage facilities could unleash catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity over a broad region.” Read the full Beyond Nuclear press release.

Tuesday
Apr222014

National Campaign Launched to Clean Up ‘America’s Secret Fukushima’

Charmaine White Face, Coordinator, Defenders of the Black Hills, and Clean Up the Mines! volunteersCharmaine White Face, Coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, based in Rapid City, SD has shared the following message:

"Finally, a national campaign with an upcoming federal bill to clean up all the abandoned uranium mines throughout the country.  There are more than 10,000 abandoned Uranium mines in the United States with 10 million people living within 50 miles of an Abandoned Uranium Mine (AUM)."

Clean Up the Mines! and Defenders of the Black Hills put out the following press release:

Red Shirt Village, Oglala Lakota Nation (SOUTH DAKOTA) –  Organizations from throughout the United States held an Earth Day ceremony to launch a nation-wide campaign to clean up hazardous abandoned uranium mines (AUMs). Clean Up The Mines! calls for effective and complete eradication of the contamination caused by the estimated 10,000 abandoned uranium mines that are silently poisoning extensive areas of the U.S.

Clean Up The Mines! volunteers from across the country toured abandoned mines this week. They donned hazardous materials suits at Mount Rushmore and carried a large banner to raise awareness of the 169 AUMs in the Southwestern Black Hills near Edgemont. There are another 103 AUMS in the Northwest corner near Buffalo. The Northern Great Plains Region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota contains more than 3,000 AUMs... READ MORE HERE.

Tuesday
Apr222014

Opponents to 20 More Years at Davis-Besse Challenge New Flaws: Renewables Cited as Inevitable Replacement

Toledo attorney Terry Lodge speaks out against a 20-year license extension at the cracked Davis-Besse atomic reactor at Oak Harbor High School, OH in August 2012.On Earth Day, 2014, opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse called for the problem-plagued atomic reactor to be shut down by Earth Day, 2017, or preferably earlier, before it melts down and its severely compromised containment releases catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity downwind and downstream into the Great Lakes basin. Davis-Besse's 40-year license expires on April 22, 2017.

Citing renewable sources of electricity, such as wind power and solar photo-voltaics (PV), as ready replacements, a coalition of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, filed comments by last night’s midnight deadline on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company’s (FENOC) proposed 20-year license extension.

At the same time, a coalition of official interveners resisting the license extension launched its latest salvo in the three-and-a-half-year-long NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding. The coalition is represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge (photo, left). The filing deadline was also April 21st -- 60 days after a Shield Building wall gap, and rebar damage, were officially reported by NRC.

The coalition issued a press release.

ASLB filing:

MOTION FOR ADMISSION OF CONTENTION NO. 6 ON SHIELD BUILDING CONCRETE VOID, CRACKING AND BROKEN REBAR PROBLEMS

Exhibits: #1, NRC Preliminary Notice of Event or Occurrence (Feb. 19, 2014); #2, Toledo Blade article, “Davis-Besse Had Air Gap in Shield Building,” (Feb. 15, 2014); #3, Declaration of Victoria Clemons (April 14, 2014); #4, Minutes of Internal Meeting of Davis-Besse Oversight Panel (Oct. 18, 2001); #5, Minutes of Internal Meeting of Davis-Besse Oversight Panel (Oct. 29, 2002); #6, NRC Preliminary Notice of Event or Occurrence (Sept. 20, 2013); #7, NRC Request for Additional Information (April 15, 2014); #8, Expert Witness Report of Arnold Gundersen, 50-246-LA (2013).

DEIS comments:

Amory Lovins' "Nuclear power’s competitive landscape and climate opportunity cost," March 28, 2014 (TMI+35), Dartmouth College, NH; PJM Interconnect: 30% grid integration of renewables not a problem.

More.

Monday
Apr212014

Chernobyl no "Eden" after 28 years

A newly published study has uncovered alarming indications of biological loss and ecological collapse in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor that exploded in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. 

Nuclear boosters have long claimed that the superficial appearance of teeming wildlife in the approximately 1,000 square mile Chernobyl exclusion zone indicates an Eden-like outcome. But the study observed a frightening halt to organic decay and the disappearance of important microbes that indicate the steady advance of a potential “silent spring.” 

The illusion that the absence of humanity can only benefit wildlife is trumped when humanity has inflicted man-made poisons on a fragile ecosystem whose inhabitants are now biologically compromised by radiation exposures that will continue indefinitely,” observed Linda Gunter, international specialist at Beyond Nuclear, of the study’s findings.

Highly reduced mass loss rates and increased litter layer in radioactively contaminated areas, published in Oecologia, March 4, 2014, by Mousseau (Dr. Tim Mousseau pictured), Milinevsky, Kenney‑Hunt and Møller, found that the natural cycle of decay of organic materials around Chernobyl is largely dependent on microbial communities which have been significantly reduced in these radioactively contaminated zones. 

“We already know about plant and insect mutations and the shortened lifespans of birds in the zone, but this news is even more alarming,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear. “The long-term consequences of the loss of this essential microbial community could be unprecedented ecologically, while the most immediate consequence is the build-up of undecayed leaf matter. This creates an increased risk of forest fires which could spread radioactivity to uncontaminated areas,” Gunter said.

Read the full press release


Wednesday
Apr162014

Nuclear emergency evacuation in Japan. What would happen?

Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action, Japan, discusses what would happen during an evacuation caused by a nuclear emergency in Japan. But the plans are deeply flawed and inadequate.