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Saturday
Jun112011

Aileen Mioko Smith & Robert Alvarez discuss the latest from Fukushima and implications for U.S. on Democracy Now!

Aileen Mioko Smith hosted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps in Japan last August, including a visit to Fukushima DaiichiToday Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez at Democracy Now! interviewed Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan, and Robert Alvarez of the Institute for Policy Studies. The 30 minute long discussion focused on the health impacts of radioactivity exposures to thousands of Fukushima Daiichi workers, as well as countless numbers of residents downwind and downstream, especially pregnant women and children. Alvarez pointed out that Fukushima-style reactors in the U.S., such as Vermont Yankee, contain several times more high-level radioactive waste in its storage pool than all four wrecked reactors at Fukushima put together.

Saturday
Jun112011

Fukushima reactor(s) "melt-through" to "dry earth floor"

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that one, or more, of the atomic reactors at Fukushima Daiichi which have suffered core meltdowns have actually experienced something even worse -- melt-through of multiple layers of steel (reactor pressure vessel and primary containment structure), so that molten nuclear fuel is now onto the "dry earth floor" beneath. ABC quotes senior adviser to the Japanese government Goshi Hosono (in translation): "At present there is damage to the bottom of the reactor container, we call this ‘core melting’ in English. Part of the nuclear fuel has fallen onto the dry earth floor and it's possible that it's still lodged there." The Random House Dictionary defines "China syndrome" as "a hypothetical nuclear-reactor accident in which the fuel would melt through the floor of the containment structure and burrow into the earth." If the above report is correct, the question becomes, are the desperate attempts to cool the molten nuclear fuel trying to prevent it from burrowing deeper into the ground, if it has already melted through reactor pressure vessel, primary containment, and presumably concrete foundations? Breaches of containment would create pathways for catastrophic radioactivity releases into the environment.

Wednesday
Jun082011

Floodwaters rise at Ft. Calhoun nuclear power plant, Nebraska

Amazing footage - but don't believe the "no danger to public" message. We've already seen what happens when nuclear plants are inundated (see Fukushima). A 1993 flood at Nebraska's Cooper atomic reactor (an identical twin to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 -- a GE BWR Mark 1), also on the Missouri River, caught plant operators flat-footed, and came precariously close to disabling safety significant systems, as well as spreading radioactive contamination. Severe weather, including floods, due to climate destabilization will make nuclear power ever more unsafe, unreliable, and untenable, as summarized in a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder.

Wednesday
Jun082011

Victory! Connecticut gives go-ahead to "Green Bank"

From the Coalition for Green Capital: "Thanks to the leadership of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and leaders in the state legislature, the Connecticut General Assembly passed new energy legislation that puts Connecticut at the forefront of state efforts to convert to a clean energy economy. Among other elements, this bill reconstitutes Connecticut’s existing Clean Energy Fund to form the nation’s first full-scale “Green Bank”, which will enable the state to leverage limited state resources as well as private capital to spur deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency projects."

Wednesday
Jun082011

Victory! Fresno County (CA) rejects proposed nuclear reactors

Fresno County, CA officials have rejected plans for up to two new nuclear reactors. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on June 7 to withhold a letter of interest for the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group. The NEG was backed by French energy corporation, Areva which also just announced a retreat from new nuclear construction in the U.S. Almost all of Areva's nuclear expansion plans in the US have fallen apart over the last several years.