Nuclear Power News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on nuclear power
Severe storms and tornadoes moving through the U.S. Southeast dealt a severe blow to the Tennessee Valley Authority [on April 27], causing three nuclear reactors in Alabama to shut and knocking out 11 high-voltage power lines, the utility and regulators said. All three units at TVA's 3,274-megawatt Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama tripped about 5:30 EDT after losing outside power to the plant, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. A TVA spokeswoman said the station's backup power systems, including diesel generators, started and operated as designed. External power was restored quickly to the plant but diesel generators remained running Wednesday evening, she said. The Browns Ferry units are among 23 U.S. reactors that are similar in design to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan where backup generators were swept away in the tsunami that followed the massive earthquake on March 11.
Note: And what might have happened if one of those tornadoes happened to hit a nuclear power plant?
Over the past six years, the Bush administration has spent almost $100 million on a highly classified program to help Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, secure his country’s nuclear weapons. The aid, buried in secret portions of the federal budget, paid for the training of Pakistani personnel in the United States and the construction of a nuclear security training center in Pakistan, a facility that American officials say is nowhere near completion, even though it was supposed to be in operation this year. A raft of equipment — from helicopters to night-vision goggles to nuclear detection equipment — was given to Pakistan to help secure its nuclear material, its warheads, and the laboratories that were the site of the worst known case of nuclear proliferation in the atomic age. While American officials say that they believe the arsenal is safe at the moment, and that they take at face value Pakistani assurances that security is vastly improved, in many cases the Pakistani government has been reluctant to show American officials how or where the gear is actually used. That is because the Pakistanis do not want to reveal the locations of their weapons or the amount or type of new bomb-grade fuel the country is now producing. In addition, the Pakistanis were suspicious that any American-made technology in their warheads could include a secret “kill switch,” enabling the Americans to turn off their weapons. While Pakistan is formally considered a “major non-NATO ally,” the program has been hindered by a deep suspicion among Pakistan’s military that the secret goal of the United States was to gather intelligence about how to locate and, if necessary, disable Pakistan’s arsenal, which is the pride of the country.
Note: Isn't it interesting that the U.S. administration has so fervently attacked Iraq and Iran for developing nuclear weapons, yet they seem unconcerned about Pakistan, which is known to have supported terrorist groups.
A three-year veil of secrecy in the name of national security was used to keep the public in the dark about the handling of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear fuel processing plant -- including a leak that could have caused a deadly, uncontrolled nuclear reaction. The leak turned out to be one of nine violations or test failures since 2005 at privately owned Nuclear Fuel Services Inc., a longtime supplier of fuel to the U.S. Navy's nuclear fleet. The public was never told about the problems when they happened. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed them for the first time last month when it released an order demanding improvements at the company, but no fine. In 2004, the government became so concerned about releasing nuclear secrets that the commission removed more than 1,740 documents from its public archive -- even some that apparently involved basic safety violations at the company. Environmental activists are still suspicious of the belated revelations and may challenge the commission's decision not to fine Nuclear Fuel Services for the safety violations. "That party is not over -- the full story of what is going on up there," said Ann Harris, a member of the Sierra Club's national nuclear task force. While reviewing the commission's public Web page in 2004, the Department of Energy's Office of Naval Reactors found what it considered protected information about Nuclear Fuel Service's work for the Navy. The commission responded by sealing every document related to Nuclear Fuel Services. Under the policy, all the documents were stamped "Official Use Only," including papers about the policy itself and more than 1,740 documents from the commission's public archive.
The U.S. government secretly hired hundreds of private companies during the 1940s and '50s to process huge volumes of nuclear weapons material, leaving a legacy of poisoned workers and contaminated communities that lingers to this day. From mom-and-pop machine shops to big-name chemical firms, private manufacturing facilities across the nation were quietly converted to the risky business of handling tons of uranium, thorium, polonium, beryllium and other radioactive and toxic substances. Few of the contractors were prepared for the hazards of their government-sponsored missions. Thousands of workers were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, often hundreds of times stronger than the limits of the time. Dozens of communities were contaminated, their air, ground and water fouled by toxic and radioactive waste. The risks were kept hidden. In some cases, they have remained so. The full story of the secret contracting effort has never been told. Many of the companies that were involved have been forgotten, the impact of their operations unexamined for half a century. Yet their history carries profound implications for the thousands of people they employed, as well as for the thousands who lived — and still live — near the factories.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.
Reindeer farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture here on Japan's northern tip. Underground it's a different story. Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleep dairy town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe's 2,500 residents fear could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site. Japanese utilities have more than 17,000 tons of "spent" fuel rods that have finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. What to do with them is a vexing problem that nuclear-powered nations around the world face, and that has come to the fore as Japan debates whether to keep using nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant. The answer to that problem may lie in the Horonobe Underground Research Center, which has been collecting geological data to determine if and how radioactive waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water flows. But as with America's doomed Yucca Mountain project, finding a community willing to host a radioactive dump site is proving difficult, even with a raft of financial enticements. One mayor expressed interest in 2007, and was booted from office in the next election.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Two prominent seismologists said on Tuesday that Japan is ignoring the safety lessons of last year's Fukushima crisis and warned against restarting two reactors next month. Japan has approved the restart of the two reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Ohi nuclear plant, northwest of Tokyo, despite mass public opposition. They will be the first to come back on line after all reactors were shut following a massive earthquake and tsunami last March that caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl at Tokyo Electric Power's Daiichi Fukushima plant. Seismic modeling by Japan's nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University, told reporters. "The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur," Ishibashi told reporters. "Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards." Experts advising Japan's nuclear industry had underestimated the seismic threat, Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, said at the same news conference. "The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable," Watanabe said.
Note: For more from reliable sources on corruption on the nuclear power industry, click here.
It has been revealed that ailing imaging company Kodak had a secret nuclear reactor hidden in a US research facility for more than 30 years. The reactor, which contained 1.5kg of enriched "weapons-grade" uranium, was a Californium Flux Multiplier (CFX) acquired by the company in 1974 and only decommissioned in 2006. "The uranium used in the CFX was highly enriched, but ... was not easily adaptable to creating a nuclear weapon," company spokesman Christopher Veronda told Fairfax Media. While the reactor was not used to generate power and therefore was not at risk of a meltdown, it was still vulnerable to radiation leaks. "These devices are very rare," said Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C. "According to the decommissioning plan submitted by Kodak it is only one of two such devices ever produced - and the only one for private industry," Mr Pomper [said]. The CFX, which was roughly the size of a domestic refrigerator, was used for neutron multiplication, an analytical method. Kodak used it to test chemicals for impurities, and to perform neutron radiography - an imaging technique in which neutrons are passed through an object [and] then produce an image of the object as they expose a photographic film. If the reactor really was secure, it poses the question: why was it decommissioned? Kodak claims that in 2003 it made the decision to pursue alternative, more cost-effective methods of analysis. The uranium was removed in 2007 and taken to a government facility in South Carolina.
Note: For reliable articles revealing the dangers of nuclear reactors, click here.
Look at the Department of Energy's 2012 budget request for the Livermore Lab and it becomes apparent that PR has an inverse relationship to budget. Some 89 percent of the funds are for nuclear weapons activities. Yet, more than 89 percent of the press releases showcase programs like renewable energy and science that receive less than 3 percent of the spending. This has caused many to believe that Livermore Lab is converting from nuclear weapons to civilian science. A major consequence of the chasm between public perception and where the money actually goes is that science at Livermore continues to exist on the margins - underfunded, understaffed and at the mercy of the 800-pound gorilla of the nuclear weapons budget. Consider the many benefits of transitioning Livermore from nuclear-weapons design to a "green lab," focused on nonpolluting energy development, climate research, basic sciences, nonproliferation and environmental cleanup. Livermore Lab is uniquely qualified to contribute in these areas. The lab already employs the right mix of physicists, other scientists, engineers, materials specialists, and support personnel for these undertakings.
Note: To learn more about how the public is being massively deceived around war and weapons spending, read what a top U.S. general had to say about this at this link.
A month after a devastating earthquake sent a wall of water across the Japanese landscape, the global terrain of the atomic power industry has been forever altered. The ongoing drama at the power plant in Fukushima ... has erased the momentum the nuclear industry has seen in recent years. Before Fukushima, a "nuclear renaissance" - as it was termed in the press - seemed well underway, except for this point: Nuclear power, as a total of world energy supply, has been in steady decline for the past decade. From 2000 to 2008, nuclear energy dropped from 16.7% to 13.5% of global energy production, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009. The 2010-11 preliminary report, expected to be released [on April 20], will show the downward trend has continued. Costs of nuclear power plants can be as high as $10 billion. The average construction time is seven years, but with licensing approval new builds often take a decade. Nuclear power reactors are dependent on government subsidies and loan guarantees to be built, cover costs in case of accidents and assume long-term responsibility for storage of spent radioactive fuel, critics say, which artificially lowers the cost of production. Market reaction has been swift against the nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster. Companies on the Standard & Poor's Clean Energy Index rose on average 17% in the wake of the disaster, while companies on the S&P Nuclear Index fell 8.7%.
The US military has been using Britain's atomic weapons factory to carry out research into its own nuclear warhead programme. US defence officials said that "very valuable" warhead research has taken place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire as part of an ongoing and secretive deal between the British and American governments. Campaign groups warned any such deal was in breach of international law. Kate Hudson, of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "Any work preparing the way for new warheads cuts right across the UK's commitment to disarm, which it signed up to in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That this work may be contributing to both future US and British warheads is nothing short of scandalous." The extent of US involvement at Aldermaston came to light in an interview with John Harvey, policy and planning director at the US National Nuclear Security Administration. Harvey said: "There are some capabilities that the UK has that we don't have and that we borrow... that I believe we have been able to exploit [and] that's been very valuable to us." In the same interview, Harvey admitted that the US and UK had struck a new deal over the level of cooperation, including work on ... a new generation of nuclear warhead known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).
1. Cost of the Manhattan Project (through August 1945): $20,000,000,000. 2. Total number of nuclear missiles built, 1951-present: 67,500. 3. Estimated construction costs for more than 1,000 ICBM launch pads and silos, and support facilities, from 1957-1964: nearly $14,000,000,000. 4. Total number of nuclear bombers built, 1945-present: 4,680. 5. Peak number of nuclear warheads and bombs in the stockpile/year: 32,193/1966 6. Total number and types of nuclear warheads and bombs built, 1945-1990: more than 70,000/65 types 7. Number currently in the stockpile (2002): 10,600 (7,982 deployed, 2,700 hedge/contingency stockpile) 8. Number of nuclear warheads requested by the Army in 1956 and 1957: 151,000 9. Projected operational U.S. strategic nuclear warheads and bombs after full enactment of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2012: 1,700-2,200 10. Additional strategic and non-strategic warheads not limited by the treaty that the U.S. military wants to retain as a "hedge" against unforeseen future threats: 4,900
Note: The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. To understand how these huge amounts of money affect our world, see what a top US general had to say about what he learned at this link.
Hanford union workers tell NBC Right Now there was an explosion at the plutonium finishing plant cleanup site weeks ago, but the event wasn't shared with the public. The Hanford union representative says it happened when workers were cutting some pipe as part of the demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant. The union representative wants to remain anonymous and says workers are concerned management isn't putting worker safety first. "Having a pipe explode at probably the most contaminated facility in the United States. This is one of the most hazardous buildings in the U.S." said the Union representative. PFP is where the plutonium was manufactured for one of the atomic bombs dropped in World War II. Workers describe the explosion as a spark then flames that shot out of a pipe and a loud bang that vibrated the pipe and the worker. "Management continues to call it a small pop even though the workers say no this thing was a big, loud bang like a shot gun blast," said the union representative. Workers say they think the contractor is playing down the explosion and possible safety concerns to protect themselves from fines and work delays. The union representative says if the pipe broke, workers would have inhaled plutonium particles that could have possibly deadly health effects.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear cover-ups news articles from reliable major media sources.
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