Radioactive water dumped from Fukushima far from harmless

Beyond Nuclear decries misleading reports about decontamination in press release today:

TAKOMA PARK, MD, September 14, 2015 — Reports in the press today that “formerly contaminated” groundwater has been dumped from the stricken Fukushima nuclear site in Japan into the ocean are grossly misleading, says an expert at Beyond Nuclear, a national NGO of record on the dangers of nuclear energy.  Reports say 230,000 gallons of water have been dumped so far.

“This is another attempt to whitewash the enormous radioactive waste problem at the site by claiming to have discharged ‘purified’ radioactive water into the sea,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog at Beyond Nuclear.  “It is simply not possible to remove or ‘decontaminate’ radioactive hydrogen, or tritium, from radioactive waste water.

“A more accurate description would have been ‘permissible’ radioactive levels,” Kamps added.  “But ‘permissible’ does not mean safe, and it certainly does not mean ‘previously contaminated,’ which implies radioactive isotopes have been fully removed.”

Read the full press release.


Nuclear agency squandered $350 million on redundant building but claims $8 million too high and timeframe too long for cancer study

Beyond Nuclear today released a statement denouncing the NRC's willingness to squander money on white elephants and protracted licensing proceedings while canceling a vital cancer study around nuclear facilitiies:

TAKOMA PARK, MD, September 11, 2015 — This week, Beyond Nuclear, was widely quoted in the press as challenging the reasoning given by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in canceling a proposed cancer study around U.S. nuclear facilities. 

We alleged that the NRC’s balking at just an $8 million expenditure for a 39-month pilot study “smells wrong” and “doesn't seem like a credible answer." 

An NRC spokesman justified the cancelation due to cost and “the long duration" of such a study while pointing to the agency's “responsibility to use congressionally-provided funds as wisely as possible.”

That “wise” spending includes $350 million of taxpayer money squandered on a new building, 3 White Flint North (pictured), located at the NRC’s Rockville, MD headquarters and that the agency found it in fact did not need.  This lavish expenditure was predicated on ramping up staff to deal with the “renaissance” of new nuclear plants, which has proven an illusion of industry.  But the agency is not shy about spending time and money on projects favorable to the nuclear industry it is supposed to monitor.

“The NRC is certainly willing to spend millions of dollars and as long as it takes to license and relicense aging reactors that are likely responsible for cancers the agency now refuses to even look at,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear.  “The NRC has been reviewing the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant’s construction and operation application for 43 years for a 40-year operating license,” he noted.

Read the full press release.


“Radiation is Good for You!” and Other Tall Tales of the Nuclear Industry

“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering a move to eliminate the ‘Linear No-Threshold’ (LNT) basis of radiation protection that the U.S. has used for decades and replace it with the “radiation hormesis” theory—which holds that low doses of radioactivity are good for people.” says Karl Grossman, Beyond Nuclear board member and contributor to Counterpunch

Beyond Nuclear further recognizes that current NRC regulations do not protect childhood, women or their pregnancies. It is intolerable that they would expose people to more radiation claiming a beneficial effect, particularly when science overwhelmingly shows just the opposite. European studies around nuclear facilities show evidence of increased childhood cancer. PLEASE SIGN Beyond Nuclear’s petition demanding that NRC reject hormesis as a model for radiation protection.

Despite (or because of?) of these studies showing increased risks for children, and in addition to NRC’s consideration of hormesis, NRC has decided to cancel a vital cancer study around nuclear facilities in the U.S. It is clear that there is a major push at the Federal Government level to downplay the impact of radiation exposure to members of the public; particularly an attempt to hide the unique vulnerabilities of pregnancy and childhood. Beyond Nuclear will continue to fight to halt this nuclear industry onslaught.


"Senate Dems block GOP measure to kill Iran [nuclear] deal"

As reported by Politico:

Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully blocked a measure meant to kill President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, dealing a decisive defeat to Republicans’ attempts to derail the controversial agreement and ensuring its survival.

With a 58-42 vote, Democrats filibustered the disapproval resolution that Republicans and other deal opponents had tried to send to Obama's desk, where it would have been vetoed. But with more than enough support from Democrats to sustain that veto, the fight largely turned to the minutiae of Senate procedure and the suspense of whether Democrats would halt the bill from reaching the White House altogether.


Typhoon Etau's unprecedented downpour causes another radioactive wastewater release to Pacific from Fukushima Daiichi

As reported by the Guardian:

The heavy rain, which is expected to spread north on Friday, has also caused additional leaks of radioactive water at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said rain had overwhelmed the site’s drainage pumps, sending hundreds of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Workers at the Fukushima plant have had to store huge quantities of contaminated water used to cool melted fuel in three badly damaged reactors in thousands of steel tanks.

As reported by the International Business Times, Tepco issued a statement about its preparations at Fukushima Daiichi in advance of the typhoon's landfall.