From NPR:

Nevada's Yucca Mountain is no longer an option for long-term storage of nuclear waste. But construction of a similar project is under way in Finland. In his film Into Eternity, director Michael Madsen questions the feasibility of safely storing waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

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From the Patriot News:

A document on federal websites since June 2008 that served as a virtual how-to manual for attacking a nuclear plant with an airplane has been removed from the sites at the request of Three Mile Island Alert, a midstate watchdog group.

Scott Portzline, an unpaid security consultant to TMI Alert, said that while researching sabotage and terrorism targeting nuclear plants in March, he found a document available for download on the Department of Energy website titled “Evaluation of Air Craft Crash Hazards Analyses for Nuclear Power Plants.”

The document showed the areas that a plane could hit at a reactor with maximum effect, and it cited buildings or targets that a plane could strike and cause radioactive release, Portzline said.

Energy Department officials said the report was posted by mistake as part of an effort to make the public aware of the department’s scientific work.

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From the Doxbury Reporter:

Like Ryan Boehm, whose op-ed piece, Pilgrim Station: a good neighbor, a nuclear future, was in the April 16, 2010, Duxbury Reporter, I too look out at the reactor from my home. I have not had the opportunity to take Pilgrim’s public relations tour; my husband and I signed up for a tour with the MIT Alumni Association a few years ago, but we were then “disinvited.”

I have, however, spent much of the last 25 years learning about nuclear power plants in general and Pilgrim Station in particular from independent experts, and Pilgrim is not my choice for a neighbor.

Health: Nuclear reactors release radiation into the water and air on a daily basis. The question is how much, and the answer is that no one really knows for sure because of antiquated and inadequate monitoring systems and lack of oversight by regulators.

Pilgrim Watch has been in litigation for four years in the license renewal adjudication process. We have made it publicly known that we would settle this dispute if Entergy would install a “real” onsite groundwater monitoring system, and a “real” air monitoring system located in offsite communities to record continuous weather data and radiation, linked to the Commonwealth and local emergency operations centers with public reports. This would be far cheaper than what Entergy has spent on lawyers. We can only conclude that Entergy fears what real monitoring systems might show.

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From Beyond Nuclear:

A new report released today by Beyond Nuclear - Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants - looks at the epidemic of reactors leaking tritium into groundwater. The report finds that the federal regulator – the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission -  is ignoring its oversight and enforcement responsibilities at the nation’s increasingly leaky, uninspected and unmaintained nuclear power plants.  The report shows that despite agency efforts initiated in 1979 to prevent uncontrolled radioactive releases to groundwater, the NRC is capitulating to an industry decision to take almost three more years before announcing an action plan.

Instead of mandating compliance with established license requirements for the control and monitoring of buried pipe systems carrying radioactive effluent, the NRC cedes responsibility to industry voluntary initiatives that will add years onto the resolution of a decades-old environmental and public health issue.

Of further concern, the agency and the industry continue to downplay and trivialize the health risks of prolonged exposure to tritium, a known carcinogen which is shown to cause cancer, genetic mutations and birth defects.

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(Harrisburg, PA) A threat to national security has been removed from US governmental websites thanks to the vigilance of Three Mile Island Alert’s Scott Portzline. The document published by one of the National Laboratories provided details on how to crash an aircraft into a nuclear plant and cause a catastrophic release of radioactivity or a meltdown.

Although this report had been identified years ago as a potential threat to national security, the Department of Energy (DOE) added it to its downloadable database in June of 2008. It was also made available for sale from a US Department of Commerce website for $40 dollars.

Portzline discovered the document’s availability in March 2010 while performing his ongoing research on sabotage and terrorism of nuclear power plants. He sent a letter describing the problem to the Department of Homeland Security, the DOE, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other governmental leaders requesting that it be removed from public availability without delay.

The Department of Energy reviewed the circumstances and removed the document from its web-portal known as the “Information Bridge.” The Department of Commerce also removed the report from its “National Technical Information Service” website database after being alerted by the NRC. DOE then notified Portzline in a letter dated April 16th.

Portzline said, “I was pleasantly surprised that swift action was taken. In the past, it would take an embarrassing media expose’ to move these bureaucracies into action. I’m not ignorant to the fact that more sensitive information is out there, but I don’t want our government making it easy like this.”

(The letters between the DOE and Portzline are attached. Scott Portzline has researched nuclear plant security issues for 26 years and has testified to numerous governmental agencies.)

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From the New York Times:

As Southern Company and its partners, armed with federal loan guarantees of $8.3 billion, move toward construction of two new reactors at a site near Augusta, Ga., opponents are taking aim at the design details.

The reactor, the Westinghouse AP 1000, is also planned for several other locations, but has not yet been fully approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is intended to be far safer than existing plants, ensuring that there will be no fuel melting in an accident by relying for its cooling on forces like gravity and natural heat flow instead of pumps, pipes and valves. That concept gives the AP 1000 its name, for Advanced Passive. (The 1,000 refers to the power rating in megawatts, although the actual power output is a less picturesque 1,154.)

A critical feature of the design is an unusual containment structure. One part is a free-standing steel dome, 130 feet high, surrounded by a concrete shield building and topped with a tank of emergency water.

The commission has raised concerns about whether a shield building would be strong enough to survive an earthquake. Westinghouse submitted a detailed report last month and plans another in May to demonstrate that the building is adequate.

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Three Mile Island Station, Unit 1 - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05-289/2010002

ADAMS Accession No. ML101130236
 

Download PDF

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From the Mercury:

Protesting nuclear bombs was one thing. Protesting at a local business that just happened to be a nuclear power plant, that was something else altogether.

So it was that plans to house walkers protesting nuclear weapons and power overnight at The Hill School were scotched at the last minute.

Rest assured, there was no blame to be found.

Protestor Jon Blickenstaff of Cincinnati, Ohio, said he did not blame The Hill School for its change of heart and Hill School spokeswoman Cathy Skitko emphasized that the decision was mutual.

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From the Press and Journal:

Three Mile Island’s Unit 1 reactor operated safely last year, despite a low-level radiation release in November caused by a vacuum cleaner that exposed 145 workers to insignificant doses, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

The workers were exposed because the vacuum, used to clean coolant system pipes inside the reactor, was not equipped with a HEPA filter, sending radioactive particles airborne inside the reactor’s containment building, the NRC said.
Radioactivity was released through an opening cut into the building to replace the reactor’s steam generators from Nov. 12 to 21, when “appropriate controls’’  were made to stop the release, the NRC said.

Radiation, albeit in almost immeasurable levels, was detected more than a mile away in Conoy Twp., Lancaster County, but the incident did not pose a threat to public health or the workers’ safety, the NRC said.

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June 4-6, Chicago, IL

The FORUM:  “A People’s History of Radioactive Waste” will teach the public about Radioactive Waste Problems and what can be done about them. It will convene at 12:30 on Saturday June 5 – and run through a Keynote event (TBA) that evening.

The SUMMIT will bring together activists and experts in this field to form the “Peoples Green Ribbon
Commission on America’s Nuclear Waste Future” which will (in the next year) issue our report on the
topic...well, in fact that group will name itself – so this is a “place holder name!” This event will convene on Friday June 4 and run through Sunday afternoon June 6, including The Forum.

June 4, 5, 6 – CHICAGO -- Location: Loyola University, Lake Shore Campus
(Note: Loyola is not a sponsor of this event)

Registration Fee: $30 Summit and Forum; $15 Forum only; $10 Special Saturday night program
Print and fill out the attached pdf registration form and return to NEIS at 3411 W. Diversey, #16, Chicago, IL 60647.
Please make your reservations early to guarantee your room (and get a good flight price). No refunds after May 3rd.
Do NOT send credit card information by fax or e-mail; use secure online payment; or mail checks.

Lodging will be available on campus – likely cost is $90 for 2 nights double room OR $120 for 2 nights single room, plus tax  – also an option to stay in town – limited home stays available.
Meals will not be provided – many eateries nearby

THE FORUM:
The People’s History of Radioactive Waste FORUM -- open to all:
Starts Saturday noon 6/5 – runs through a Keynote Address Saturday evening
Proposed workshops and speakers on all aspects of the radioactive waste challenge for survival including:
**Uranium mining and processing
**Military and Civilian waste sources and current policy challenges
**So-called “low-level” waste generation, processing, storage, disposal and “release”
**High-Level waste – on-site, transport issues, storage (on and off site), “recycling” and disposal
**Plutonium policy
– more details soon
If you are interested in offering a workshop during the FORUM – contact Kevin Kamps:
Kevin@beyondnuclear.org or 240-462-3216

THE SUMMIT:
America’s Nuclear Waste Future GRASSROOTS SUMMIT – open for those already active in
radioactive waste and responsible energy policy work, and those who are ready to get significantly
involved. The Summit will have three parts –
**Friday afternoon, June 4, — set priorities for the Saturday morning and Sunday sessions.
**Saturday morning June 5 – meet in small groups by topics and nominate members for the Green
Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Waste Future
** Sunday morning and afternoon June 6 – complete small group work, discuss and confirm our strategy and timeline, and elect Commission members.
For more information on the SUMMIT contact Mary Olson at NIRS – maryo@nirs.org or 828-252-8409 or
Alfred Meyer Alfred.c.meyer@gmail.com, 202-215-8208.

Goals of the Summit will be to identify common ground (geographically and in terms of challenges,
concerns and goals) and bottom lines. We will work in small groups and as a spokescouncil in addition to sharing time all together. In addition, a Green Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Waste Future will be elected and charged to produce a report which will provide an alternative plan from that of the federal Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. In order to set the outlines of the debate, we will issue the Green Ribbon Commission Report before the federal Blue Ribbon Commission issues its report over the next 18 – 24 months.

Note: the Summit is not open to those who promote the ongoing production of new radioactive waste, or work for the nuclear industry.

This event is the next step in a dialog that has been on-going since the first pile of nuclear waste was generated by the Manhattan Project – most irradiated fuel is still sitting on the reactor sites where it was made. The cancellation of Yucca Mountain creates an enormous new set of questions and challenges for the nuclear industry and the public interest. Similarly, the restriction of waste allowed at the Barnwell, South Carolina so-called “low-level” waste dump in 2008, leaves nuclear power plants (the primary generators of this waste in the civilian sector) in more than 30 states with no place to bury this enormous, and often highly radioactive waste category; similar challenges exist in the military waste world. The new plan to expand both the civilian reactor fleet and the nuclear weapons production complex threaten our heart-felt goal to see the end to more radioactive waste production. Come join this discussion!

This event is flowing from a group of activists who have been meeting by phone over the last 8
months. The summit planning group is below – we will have a website up, but for more
information at this point contact any of us:

Mary Olson, NIRS Southeast 828-252-8409 maryo@nirs.org
Judy Triechel, Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force 702-248-1127 judynwtf@aol.com
Dave Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service (773)342-7650 neis@neis.org
Linda Lewison, NEIS (773)342-7650 ljlewison@gmail.com
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear 240-462-3216 kevin@beyondnuclear.org
Alfred Meyer 202-215-8208 alfred.c.meyer@gmail.com

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