Boasts of a nuclear "renaissance" in the U.S. ring even more hollow when one recognizes that almost any new nuclear activities in the US are of foreign origin. Although the deal appears to have almost completely fallen apart, the new reactor frontrunners were French as is the threatened new uranium enrichment plant. Now comes news that proposed new uranium mines in Wyoming will be majority owned by Russia in a 51%-49% partnership with a Canadian firm. About 80% of all uranium used in the U.S. is imported. The mine deal - between Uranium One of Canada and ARMZ of Russia - was described by the Financial Times in a December 6, 2010 article as "the latest sign of how, after a three-decade hiatus in new reactor projects, the US has lost control of key parts of the nuclear fuel chain."
Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of environmental groups (including Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter), represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, has just filed our defense in opposition to DTE/Detroit Edison's motion to dispose of "Contention 8" against the Fermi 3 new reactor proposal in Monroe, Michigan. Contention 8 alleges that the nuclear utility has not properly mitigated the effects from construction and operation of Fermi 3 on the state-endangered Eastern Fox Snake. This also has implications for protection of the fragile wetlands habitat along the Lake Erie shoreline favored as habitat by the snake, threatened by the 1,560 megawatt-electric GE-Hitachi "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR).
AP has reported that leaked U.S. diplomatic memos have revealed that in late 2009, 11.5 pounds of highly enriched uranium (HEU) at a nuclear facility in Libya were guarded by only a single armed guard for about a month. The critical mass for 85% HEU is about 110 pounds, meaning that the Libyan HEU would have provided 10% of the HEU needed for a nuclear weapon. In addition to the inadequate security, the U.S. diplomatic memos fretted about a loading crane that could have been used to steal the casks containing the HEU, and warned that the HEU could leak out of its containers within a few months.
"Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment" available online for free
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Dec. 2009, 335 pages, published by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), is viewable online at no charge in PDF format. Go to: http://www.nyas.org/Publications/Annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1. Then click on “Full Text.” Then, under “Annals Access,” next to “Nonmembers,” click on “View Annals TOC free.” This will allow you, chapter by chapter, to download and/or view the entire text of the book, for free. As the 25th commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe approaches (April 26, 2011), this vital book could not be more timely. It is written by Alexey V. Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, Russia; Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko, of the Institute of Radiation Safety in Minsk, Belarus. Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger of the Environmental Institute at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A. has served as the Consulting Editor. Please help spread the word about this significant scientific study, and its availability online at no charge. Its hardcopy sale price from the NYAS has been a whopping $150 for nonmembers – out of reach, of course, for most all-volunteer anti-nuclear groups. Besides that, NYAS only printed 700 hardcopies of the book to begin with. Now, no copies are left, and it is unknown if more will be printed.
The Honorable Russ Feingold, Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, is receiving thanks for his long leadership on nuclear weapons and nuclear power issues. On Wed., Dec. 1st, Sen. Feingold is the guest of honor at a U.S. Capitol reception hosted by the arms control and non-proliferation community, to thank him for his leadership against nuclear weapons risks (also to be honored are U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, and U.S. Representative John Spratt, Democrat of South Carolina). In addition, Sen. Feingold was just thanked by Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps in an op-ed, published in the Madison, WI Cap Times, for his leadership in opposing the risks of radioactive waste transporation on the Great Lakes, as well as radioactive waste "recycling" into consumer products. Sen. Feingold, who has served Wisconsin for 18 years in the U.S. Senate, just lost his re-election bid on Nov. 2nd. He and his stellar staff will be sorely missed.