Where is America’s cyberdefense plan?

The Empire State Building towers over the skyline of a blackout-darkened New York City just before dawn. (George Widman/Associated Press)That is the online title of an op-ed by Ted Koppel appearing in the Washington Post (the hardcopy headline reads "Before the cyber-blackout"). Koppel, best known for hosting the ABC news program “Nightline” from 1980 to 2005, is the author of the new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

The op-ed raises the specter of a power outage lasting not hours, or days, but weeks, or months, due to a coordinated cyber-attack on the vulnerable U.S. electricity grid.

But the op-ed does not address what this would mean at the 100 still operating atomic reactors across the country, and even at the numerous atomic reactors permanently shutdown. Even if operating atomic reactors were able to power down and shutdown safely during a power outage, their thermally hot cores would still have to be cooled for several days, or longer, before cold shutdown was reached, or else risk melting down. Although high-level radioactive waste storage pools would have a longer fuse -- days or even weeks before boiling would expose irradiated nuclear fuel to air, and risk a catastrophic fire -- the pools are not even required to be connected to emergency diesel generators, as reactors are. More.


St. Louis moms up in arms over nuclear waste fears

Moms and their children carry a child-sized casket filled with petitions for Gov. Nixon demanding that a state of emergency is declared. As reported by CBS Evening News, concern among residents in neighborhoods of North St. Louis County around the old radioactive waste dump adjacent to a smoldering landfill fire is deepening:

Ed Smith is an environmentalist who's been studying the site. "The folks around the St. Louis metro area need to be paying attention. We're talking about the possibility, if there's a surface fire, for radioactivity leaving the site."


Nuclear Hotseat: SPECIAL – St. Louis Nuclear Nightmare

West Lake Landfll, North St. Louis County, MONuclear Hotseat #227: West Lake Radioactive Waste Fire -- Dr. Caldicott, Bob Alvarez, Dawn Chapman

A full length Nuclear Hotseat SPECIAL on the West Lake Landfill in North St. Louis - a Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste dump - and the encroaching underground fire less than a quarter mile away.

FEATURED INTERVIEWS: The history of the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste with Bob Alvarez; the medical consequences faced by those exposed to the West Lake radioactive waste with Dr. Helen Caldicott; what it’s like on the ground in the North St. Louis neighborhoods impacted by the radioactive waste with Dawn Chapman, a mother who lives less than two miles from the West Lake Landfill.


CALLS NEEDED--TAKE ACTION! Contact President Obama, Members of Congress, EPA. More.


TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA scientific panel to protect the vulnerable from radioactivity

DEADLINE for written comments, and registration to participate on the call, is November 3, 2015. Call is November 10, 2015 noon to 5pm ET. Contact Edward Hanlon (email or call 202 564-2134) to register and/or submit written comments.

The EPA has scheduled a public teleconference with its Scientific Advisory Board Radiation Advisory Committee (RAC). This is the next step following an earlier comment period, as EPA considers possible revision of its 1977 radiation regulations. EPA will brief the RAC on this proposed rule making's scientific aspects, and members of the public will be able to speak and submit written comments. Beyond Nuclear has commented earlier and has updated talking points available.

The first public teleconference will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET on November 10, 2015. If all registered public has not been able to comment, a second call will be held November 13, 2015. Speaking time is limited to three minutes.


Unprecedented liquid high-level radioactive waste shipments delayed by congressional demand for security assessment

The Peace Bridge at Buffalo, NY, the route by which unprecented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste are most likely expected to rollAs reported by WKBW/ABC-Buffalo, NY, unprecedented shipments, by truck, of liquid high-level radioactive waste, from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina, U.S.A., could be postponed.

The delay is due to a bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Higgins (D-NY), demanding a Dept. of Homeland Security terrorism risk assessment on the shipments before they proceed. A companion bill is expected to clear the Senate, and President Obama's signature.

The article quotes Rep. Higgins: "Terrorists and militant groups have expressed an interest in using highly dangerous weapons, especially those utilizing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, known as CBRN agents or materials,” said Higgins. “This bill gives federal agencies the information they need to make decisions and develop policies that are informed by the terrorism threat picture.” More.