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Saturday
Sep032011

Fukushima turns Japanese sewage treatment plants into nuke dumps

The adverse impact of radioactive contamination in Japan continues to widen hundreds of kilometers away from the site of the worsening nuclear disaster.

Aljazeera reports that dozens of Japanese sewage treatments plants in areas hit by Fukushima's radioactive fallout are stuck with tons of  radioactive sludge contaminated by cesium-137. Treated sewage that was processed for cement production and agricultural fertilizer is now accumulating at sewage plants because its too radioactive.  Nobody wants it.

Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years (that's recognized as at least 300 years of biological hazard) emitting highly penetrating gamma rays in addition to beta particles. Its "biogeochemical" properties allow it to move readily through the food chain entering the same pathways as the nutrient potassium.

Friday
Sep022011

Calvert Cliffs busted by NRC for security violations

NRC file photo of the twin reactors at Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake BayNational Public Radio station WAMU at American University in Washington, DC has reported that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has increased inspection levels at Baltimore-based Constellation Energy's Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay due to security related violations of regulations deemed by NRC to be of "moderate" safety significance. Calvert Cliffs is the closest nuclear power plant to the nation's Capitol, about 50 miles or less from the District of Columbia. WAMU also mentioned the shut down of one of Calvert Cliffs' two reactors when Hurricane Irene's winds tore aluminum siding from the turbine building and drove it into a main transformer, as well as an incident last winter in which melting snow leaking through the roof short circuited electrical equipment, forcing both reactors to shut down.

Thursday
Sep012011

Earthquake at North Anna shifted, partially damaged dry casks storing high-level radioactive waste

Workers load irradiated nuclear fuel into a horizontal dry cask "bunker" at the North Anna "Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation"Over a week since the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, VA, Dominion Nuclear has let it be known that 25 of 27 vertical casks, each one weighing 115 tons, shifted between one to four inches due to the earthquake. An undisclosed number of 13 fully loaded and 13 empty horizontal dry casks suffered partial damage when concrete came loose. The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and CNN have reported on this story.  

Wednesday
Aug312011

What ever happened to those solar panels on the White House Chu promised?

President Carter added solar panels to the White House roof in 1979, only to have President Reagan tear them off in 1986.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.)

Wednesday
Aug312011

UN high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security Sept. 22nd

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."