Last fall, Energy Secretary Chu pledged to add solar panels onto the White House roof before the start of summer 2011. As summer 2011 draws to an end, McClatchy News asks what happened, while reporting that the presidents of the Maldives and India have already beat the U.S. to the punch. (Beyond Nuclear Launch Partner Steve Strong of Solar Design Associates was in charge of adding solar panels to the National Park Service controlled swimming pool area of the White House during the George W. Bush administration, mentioned in the article.)
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's "Reaching Critical Will" project is spreading the word about a United Nations high-level meeting on nuclear power safety and security taking place at UN headquarters in New York City on September 22nd, during the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for the high-level meeting in the wake of the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the high-level meeting on nuclear power safety and security in June. On May 20th, Ban announced the launch of a "UN system-wide study on the implications of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant," to be published at delivered at the Sept. 22nd high-level meeting. Ban first announced the Sept. 22 high-level meeting during his remarks commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, in which he also said "We must treat nuclear safety as seriously as we treat nuclear weapons."
Nuclear power boosters have long tried to convince victims of radioactive catastrophes that "it's all in your head." Both at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the nuclear power industry -- and its friends in government regulatory agencies, the PR industry, and even academia -- tried to convince the public that any ill effects were not due to physical impacts of radioactive fallout, but rather to stress and worry caused by "anti-nuclear fear mongering." A short piece in NewScientist gives this Orwellian "psy-ops" ploy "airtime" yet again, this time in the context of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters. More.
The August 23, 2011 earthquake centered just 4 miles from the North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, Virginia has prompted an "augmented inspection team" of the reactor by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission following the initial disclosure that the 5.9 magnitude quake's ground acceleration likely exceeded the design specifications of the nuclear reactor.
The two unit reactor site automatically scrammed following the earthquake that shook most of the East Coast and damaged structures and monuments 90 miles away in Washington, DC when the power plant's electrical switchyard failed to maintain a power connection to the electrical grid. Three of the four emergency diesel generators powered up as needed but a fourth generator failed due to loss of cooling water.
However, one immediate concern focuses on the miles and miles of inaccessible and uninspected buried pipe that carry tritium contaminated radioactive water under the entire reactor complex. While the NRC "augmented" inspection will look over many of the "safety-related" components of the reactors, the federal agency has turned over all of its inspection and enforcement oversight of these inaccessible pipes carrying cancer causing radioactive tritium to a "voluntary initiative" run by the nuclear industry itself. The question of whether or not this radioactive water is now leaking out of broken buried pipes under the reactor complex into groundwater around the Lake Anna area is chiefly up to the industry to self report; a controversy identified by Beyond Nuclear in its 2010 report "Leak First, Fix Later."
Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter was also quoted in a New York Times article entitled "13 Plants Felt Earthquake, but Reactors Were Spared":
“Once again, Mother Nature is warning us that nuclear power is the most brittle of electrical power systems,” said Paul Gunter, director of reactor oversight for the Washington group Beyond Nuclear.