Tag Archives: nuclear power

SLOW Breaking/HOT: Nebraska Nuclear Plant: Emergency Level 4 & About to Get Worse – June 14, 2011

Fort Calhoun near Omaha, Nebraska

“On June 6, 2011, the Fort Calhoun pressurized water nuclear reactor 20 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska entered emergency status due to imminent flooding from the Missouri River. A day later, there was an electrical fire requiring plant evacuation.

Then, on June 8th, NRC event reports confirmed the fire resulted in the loss of cooling for the reactor’s spent fuel pool. The discussion includes specific details of the technical failures at Fort Calhoun, the risks of coolant loss at overcrowded “spent” fuel pools, and the national hazards of nuclear facilities along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and other water sites during the current period of floods and climate change.”

Lots of Video (unable to post it here) through the 14th of April, 2011 and details at link below.

Why the HELL is this NOT FRONT PAGE and TOP OF NEWSCASTS? Today, the 16th of June, Brian Williams gave a one minute synopsis with an introduction calling it A FOOTNOTE!

GE OWNED NBC/UNIVERSAL (Just sold to Comcast) and builds Nuclear Power plants. Any Connection? What about the rest of Corporate Media?


Please RePOST!!!

LINK: http://curtiswalker.posterous.com/arnie-gundersen-nebraska-nuclear-plant-emerge#

Without Fairwinds, which I monitor, how would we know anything, much less details and danger, about this?

Crossposted at CURTISWALKER.POSTEROUS.COM, Freeflightnewmedia.typepad.com and elsewhere.

AGAIN, Please RePOST!!!

LINK: http://curtiswalker.posterous.com/arnie-gundersen-nebraska-nuclear-plant-emerge#

Winograd’s long fight against Nuclear Power Industry


Since at least 2006, Marcy has vocally criticized the growing lobbying & influence of the nuclear power industry. She has been a visible and consistent advocate for tighter regulations & greater safety controls for existing nuclear reactors. Marcy has consistently stated up front in her congressional platforms — unlike Hahn and Bowen — her criticisms and her oppositions to the development of new nuclear power plants and the recent growth in U.S. government subsidies for nuclear power (see, e.g., http://www.opencongress.org/wi…

Marcy has always supported America’s shift to greater use of alternative energies beyond oil and nuclear — e.g., hybrid technologies, wind energy & solar power.

MARCY WINOGRAD VS. JANICE HAHN: Janice Hahn — a longtime friend of Big Oil / Big Energy — has never made taken a bold platform position against the Nuclear Power or Oil Refinery Industry. Instead, Hahn (a former Public Affairs Regional Manager for Southern California Edison & employee) has generally been a “Friend” of Edison, General Electric and other Nuclear Power Plant operators.

MARCY WINOGRAD AND HARVEY WASSERMAN: In 2006, I attended a comprehensive discussion that Marcy Winograd hosted for Harvey Wasserman (an American journalist, author, democracy activist, and well known anti-nuclear advocate for renewable energy). At that talk, both she and Mr. Wasserman extensively discussed Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and the need to avoid in the U.S. precisely the types of scenarios now playing out in Japan. She was very clear about her calls for stronger regulations especially here in fault & quake marked Southern California.

Marcy Winograd is the sort of forward-thinking and non-Special Interest beholden politician we want and need. In contrast, Janice Hahn was a former public relations director for Southern California Edison (nuclear power contractor). She has received considerable financial support from Eidson and General Electric in the past.

The Nuclear Power Industry (Edison; General Electric, etc.) has bought politicians throughout the United States just like it did with similar politicians in Japan who are now suffering the consequences of their conflicts of interest. Marcy Winograd — far more than Janice Hahn or Debra Bowen — will stand up to those conflicts of interest and will fight for tighter regulations of nuclear power.

Bait And Switch: The Governor’s Executive Order To Destroy California’s Green Economy

As Jim Evans, Communications Director for Sen. Steinberg, notes, the Governor is poised to veto a bill he championed, which would mandate the highest renewable energy standard in the nation, requiring utilities to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.  But it’s far worse than just a veto.  Schwarzenegger wants to then set the standard himself by executive order.  You can see why this would please him – he would be able to say that he boldly moved the state forward in the renewable energy space, while vetoing the bill from the Legislature that would do the same thing.  And he wold significantly weaken the standard in a variety of ways.

The order presumably would set no limit on how much of the green power could be imported from other states.

Environmentalists who have been told about the governor’s still-evolving plans said Schwarzenegger also was considering directing the California Air Resources Board to look at broadening the state’s definition of renewable energy sources to include large hydroelectric dams and nuclear energy plants.

Critics questioned whether Schwarzenegger’s order would be binding once he leaves office at the end of 2010. The validity of the order would be subject to a variety of potential legal challenges, they predicted.

So Schwarzenegger would allow utilities to outsource all the green jobs that would be created if power needed to be created on California soil, ruining the one area of potential economic recovery in the bill.  He would put the standard on shaky legal ground, open to litigation and an unclear mandate.  And he would hand a gift to the nuclear power industry by twisting arms at the Air Resources Board to change their definition of renewable energy.

This isn’t just short-sighted, it’s downright criminal.  A high renewable standard could spurn all kinds of economic activity, but without a limit on importation, that activity will just go elsewhere instead of California.  This is an effort of questionable legality for Schwarzenegger to reward corporate cronies with lower purchasing prices for green energy at the expense of California jobs.


Stimulus Miracles

According to Joe Romm at Climate Progress, the compromise version of the Stimulus package dropped some $50 Billion in pork for the nuclear power industry.  If that is where they got their savings, let’s give a big Hurrah.

Of course, you will need to call an ambulance as Chuck Devore has a fit of apoplexy over this.  

Of all of the things that some legislators tried to cram into the stimulus package, they got the Green stuff about as wrong as coal.  Why they would cut back on doing energy improvements to Federal Buildings… something that has a positive payback for years and then try to cram a big help for nuclear into this is beyond me.  These are the reasons people know think that they are all in the pay of the corporations.

This will, however, become a Devore issue against Boxer, assuming that someone with more stature than Devore doesn’t step into the race.  Maybe Devore thinks that his role in life is to go once more into the breach for his party.  But, unlike Henry V, I doubt that he will have much success. Still, that candidacy will keep the issue alive for a long time.  

Initiative News

I have a bunch of things that might have been more appropriate for Quick Hits, but rather than flooding the Quick Hits Section, I’ll do it here. So, here we go:

  • Ted Gullickson of the SF Tenants’ Union, along with similar groups from across the state, has started a new blog, Oppose the Landlord Scheme, to, um, oppose the landlord scheme. Go check it out. Ted and the SFTU are always hard at work to protect and further the rights and interests of tenants.
  • You will soon be seeing signature gatherers for, yet another, parental notification measure.  The last two went down, with Prop 85 (45.8% Yes) garnering an even lower share than Prop 73 (47.2%) did before it. Each version has its own slightly different kicker. This one would require doctors to notify the authorities of children who can’t, for whatever reason, tell their parents of the pregnancy. If they don’t, they can be prosecuted.  Can you imagine the consequences of that? Apparently the drafters of the initiative didn’t bother to think about the actual effects of this law from within their bubble (Great Prop 85 ad).
  • The referenda on the Indian Gaming Compacts have qualified. They will be Props 94 (Pechanga), 95 (Morongo), 96 (Sycuan), and 97 (Agua Caliente). There was a little bit of a debate about these during the E-Board in Anaheim. UNITE-HERE is gearing up to fight these.
  • Asm. Chuck DeVore of Orange County has withdrawn his initiative to relax the rules for building nuclear power plants. Shockingly enough, he couldn’t get the signatures. This initiative would have gone down in flames, so I imagine even power companies wouldn’t want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.
  • The Next Nuclear Disaster? At San Onofre?

    “Everything they do is done with great secrecy behind closed doors… Their main purpose is to keep everything quiet so they can say: ‘Nuclear power is so safe. Just look, we’ve operated all these years without hurting any of the public.’ They have accidents all the time. They just don’t call them accidents. They call them ‘incidents’ and ‘occurrences.’ Mild? They may be, they may not be, but they are possible precursors to something more serious.”

    That was Lyn Harris Hicks. She’s a 30 year resident of San Clemente, and has lived by the nuclear reactors at San Onofre for all these years. She and the Coalition for Responsible and Ethical Environmental Decisions have been fighting to open up the culture of secrecy pervading the nuclear power plant. And on Sunday, The OC Register decided to join them in unearthing some of the radioactive, dangerous secrets of San Onofre.

    Is the power plant really as safe as it’s supposed to be? Is it vulnerable to terrorist attacks? Is it vulnerable to accidents? Is it just a disaster waiting to happen? Or is this just all being overhyped? Follow me after the flip for more…

    Well, San Onofre seems quite safe… Isn’t it?

    Overall, San Onofre gets good grades from the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission]. Seven years elapsed between its last two major enforcement actions. But some neighbors don’t trust the commission. Last year, radiation 16 times higher than that allowed in drinking water was found beneath the decommissioned reactor known as Unit 1. The commission called it “troubling” but said it was within radiation protection limits.

    Well, maybe things aren’t as great as they seem at San Onofre. Even the best and most “perfect-seeming” of systems are still run by imperfect people. And yes, people make mistakes.

    So just how safe is the San Onofre plant?

    How safe is San Onofre? The last major enforcement action issued by the commission to San Onofre was on Sept. 13, after liquid radioactive waste leaked from a truck in Utah. The tanker’s discharge valve was improperly closed and sealed.

    The action before that was on Dec. 15, 1999, after operators failed to recognize a condition that rendered inoperable a diesel generator and battery chargers.

    While violations serious enough to garner official dings are fewer and farther between than they were a decade ago, there are still many minor incidents – some reported by San Onofre itself. An Orange County Register review of commission reports shows San Onofre workers:

    •Improperly labeled a container of radioactive material, which wound up in a chemistry-lab trash can.

    •Allowed debris to collect in water-storage tank enclosures, which could block flow in an emergency.

    •Failed to promptly identify trapped air in safety-injection suction lines, which could damage emergency core cooling-system pumps.

    So just how safe is San Onofre? Aging infrastructure isn’t safe. Radioactive water below the plant isn’t safe. And oh yes, an open target for terrorist attack definitely isn’t safe.

    Oh yes, and how about that tritium?

    That’s not much comfort to Lyn Harris Hicks of San Clemente, who has lived beside the reactors for about 30 years.

    She is deeply troubled that radioactive tritium was found last year in groundwater beneath a defunct San Onofre reactor more than a decade after it ceased operations. Public health was not in danger, the commission and Edison said: Every year, people are exposed to about 300 millirems of radiation from natural sources. Anyone in contact with the water would have received about 1/10 millirems.

    Harris Hicks is skeptical. “Tritium into the beach is the most important issue to us,” she said. “This indicates it may have been seeping into the ground there all those years. We have our young surfers down there all the time. … That’s the problem of nuclear radiation, of course. It permeates.”

    OK, so tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides. But hey, that still isn’t saying too much. It’s still carcinogenic. And yes, continued exposure to tritium can be quite dangerous. It might just lead to cancer.

    So what does all of this mean? No matter how “safe” San Onofre is made, it’s still doing something very dangerous. And no matter how “safe” nuclear power is made, it’s still very dangerous. And Dr. Helen Caldicott reminds us why:

    The people [promoting nuclear power] are not biologists, they’re not geneticists, they’re not physicians. In other words, they don’t know what they’re talking about. And that makes me very annoyed. First of all, every reactor produces about [20 to 30] tons of highly radioactive waste a year. The majority of it is very long-lived and will have to be isolated from the ecosphere for hundreds of thousands of years … As it leaks into the environment, it will bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain: algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish, us.

    It takes a single mutation in a single gene in a single cell to kill you. [The most common plutonium isotope] has a half-life of 24,400 years. Every male in the Northern Hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads. What that means to future generations God only knows — and we’re not the only species with testicles. What we’re doing is degrading evolution, and not many people understand that.

    I guess not. I guess we still haven’t realized just how dangerous the health effects of nuclear power can be. And of course, nuclear power plants still aren’t prepared for possible terrorist attacks. These things really are ticking time bombs, just waiting to be set off.

    So what can we do about it? Well, maybe we shouldn’t allow for these nuclear power plants to continue operating. Maybe we shouldn’t count on nuclear power as a panacea for our climate crisis. And yes, maybe we shouldn’t rely on the unreliable power from nuclear power plants like the one at San Onofre.

    So maybe residents in San Clemente like Lyn Harris Hicks do have reason to be worried. Nuclear power isn’t reliable. It poses health risks. It creates open targets for terrorists. And perhaps, we shouldn’t be counting on nuclear energy to power our lives here in Southern California.