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Friday
Jul222011

EU aims to bury high-level radioactive waste in "deep geologic repositories"

Reuters has reported that the European Union has set a deadline of 2015 for its 14 member states with nuclear power industries -- comprising a total of 143 atomic reactors -- to come up with plans for "deep geologic disposal" sites for burial of their high-level radioactive wastes. However, the EU admits it will take as long as 40 years to construct those repositories. Deutsche Welle also reported on this story, including on the loophole in the new EU directive that will still allow high-level radioactive waste exports to foreign countries for reprocessing, so long as those countries also have deep geologic repositories.

Friday
Jul222011

Ten oldest U.S. reactors show weakness to earthquake and fire risks

4 of the 10 oldest U.S. reactors are located on the shoreline of the Great LakesIn a photo essay focused on the ten oldest operating atomic reactors in the United States, National Geographic reports on findings by Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors revealing weaknesses to seismic and fire risks post-Fukushima. Not mentioned is the fact that four of the ten oldest reactors -- Nine Mile Point Unit 1, NY; R.E. Ginna, NY; Point Beach Unit 1, WI; and Palisades, MI -- are located on the shoreline of the Great Lakes, 20% of the world's surface fresh water, drinking water supply for 40 million people downstream in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American First Nations. Four more of the ten oldest U.S. reactors -- Dresden Units 2 and 3, IL; Monticello, MN; and Quad Cities Unit 1, IL -- are located just outside, or not very far from, the Great Lakes watershed, in terms of the potential for airborne fallout from a catastrophic radioactivity release, as clearly shown by the widespread contamination downwind and downstream of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. (Also not mentioned in the article is the fact that four of Canada's oldest reactors -- four units at Pickering A nuclear power plant just east of Toronto -- are located on Lake Ontario's shore.) Each of the 10 oldest U.S. reactors has already received a 20 year license extension rubberstamp from the NRC.

Friday
Jul222011

What is the secret to success of Germany's anti-nuke movement?

"Nuclear power? No Thanks!" in German -- a slogan of the international anti-nuclear movement since the 1970s.Intense grassroots organizing. Several decades worth. In a story entitled "Germany's Anti-Nuclear Shift," Public Radio International's "The World" looks at the long history of Germany's anti-nuclear power movement, especially its resistance to the national radioactive waste dumpsite at Gorleben. That long history laid the groundwork for massive street demonstrations, as well as Green Party electoral victory, in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Even pro-nuclear Conservative Party Prime Minister Angela Merkel could not withstand the popular pressure, and announced a dramatic reversal to her previous plans to extend the operations of Germany's 17 atomic reactors: the immediate shutdown of the 7 oldest units, followed by the gradual shutdown of the 10 remaining units by 2022. A companion piece shows that the replacement power will come from Germany's renewable and efficiency industries -- already world leaders -- redoubling efforts, despite challenges. Gerry Hadden, the reporter of the two stories above, added his thoughts in a blog entitled "In Nukes’ Shadow, Fearlessness and Fatalism," comparing and contrasting the feelings of those living near the permanently shuttered (for safety reasons, after a fire) Brunsbüttel nuclear power plant in Germany, with those living near the shattered Chernobyl Unit 4 in Ukraine.

Friday
Jul222011

Radioactive tea from Japan seized at French border

The Voice of Russia reports that the first radioactive foodstuffs from Japan -- tea, exceeding "permissible" standards two-fold -- to be detected by French customs officials has been seized at the border and will be "destroyed" (radioactivity cannot be "destroyed" -- it will likely be dumped somewhere). The radioactively contaminated tea is reportedly from Shizuoka Prefecture, around 100 miles southwest of Tokyo, which is itself 150 miles southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This shows that the nuclear catastrophe's hazardous radioactive fallout has travelled far from the three melted down reactor cores and boiling high-level radioactive waste storage pools.

Thursday
Jul212011

"Homeland Security warns about potential threats against utilities"

Although this story by CNN does not mention nuclear power plants explicitly, it does feature a photograph of one! As the anti-nuclear movement has warned since even long before the 9/11 attacks, but especially so since, nuclear power plants and radioactive waste storage facilities are potentially catastrophic targets for terrorist attack, dirty bombs in our backyard of immense size.