Monday, October 26, 2009

NRC public hearing on NUREG-1437: Ace is (finally!) on YouTube!

October 26th, 2009

Dear Readers,

Last week I attended the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing in Dana Point, California regarding the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (NUREG-1437). I have created a YouTube video of my presentation. It begins with clips of remarks by another attendee regarding the written document I had submitted at the hearing (and handed out to attendees). (The same document was also my previous newsletter (October 22nd, 2009).)

The video runs about five minutes in length.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOFxNTcuoN8

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA
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-----------------------------------------
Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download: acehoffman.org
Blog: acehoffman.blogspot.com
phone: (800) 551-2726; (760) 720-7261
address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
Subscribe to my free newsletter today!
Email: ace@acehoffman.org
To unsubscribe:
Send "Unsubscribe" in subject line.
-----------------------------------------

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Concerns regarding San Onofre's Steam Generator replacement project

To: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Submission (for tonight's hearing in Dana Point, California)

October 22nd, 2009

The most dangerous times for any nuclear power plant are: Initial start-up or during a restart, and during a shut-down, especially an emergency shut-down.

Three Mile Island Unit II, for instance, had been in commercial operation for less than three months when it partially melted down. It was only slightly different from, slightly more powerful than, Unit 1, which, today, was relicensed by the same careless Nuclear Regulatory Commission we seek redress from today as well -- for another 20 years -- until April 19, 2034. Some of Three Mile Island Unit 1's parts will be 60 years old when it is finally "retired" -- irradiated, thermally heated, pressurized, chemically embrittled, and cycled on and off hundreds or even thousands of times.

The Emergency Core Cooling Systems, mandatory for all commercial reactors, have never actually been tested, and many scientists have asserted that their calculations have indicated the ECCSs may not work when needed. Not only that, but several ECCSs, such as Monticello's, were found to be completely inoperative several decades after installation, and would definitely not have worked. Control rods have jammed, fuel rods have been bent, plutonium has escaped... and one reactor, Davis-Besse, nearly corroded all the way through before anyone noticed! Except maybe the filter salesman.

Many of San Onofre's sea-encrusted, rusted, dilapidated parts will be 60 years old, too, if it makes it to retirement age.

And with all the NEW parts they are installing at San Onofre right now -- miles of pipes, dozens of pumps, scores of valves, hundreds of new sensors, drum after drum of electrical cables -- there will be new pressures and fluid flows throughout the system, new control mechanisms, and even relatively new, or completely new, operators. People quite a bit younger than the plant itself, who don't know how hard people fought to stop it in the first place. Who don't know that almost all our fears have ALREADY been realized, from cancers in the community because of the plant, to fraud at the plant, to piling nuclear waste problems, to threats of terrorism. Yes, it was all foreseen.

Right now, one by one, each of San Onofre's two remaining operable reactors are being rebuilt, top to bottom. That is, pieces of them are being replaced, top to bottom (even the fog lights, and certainly the sump pumps). But despite the retrofit, vastly more pieces are never being touched, never even being inspected.

How much inspection can such a small crew as the NRC leaves "on site" really do? There is only one inspector for every couple of hundred workers.

Furthermore, a climate of cover-up still exists at the plant, according to whistleblowers this author has talked to. And no doubt no one from The Shaw Group wants to expose their mistakes, since they are all new at the site and the last group or operators -- Bechtel and their subcontractors -- were fired en masse after about 40 years of running the most dangerous thing on earth, on August 30th, 2009.

During the retrofit -- a different division of Bechtel is doing that work -- the danger is probably a lot less than during an average day the plant is running. Criticality is not occurring at the shut-down reactor. Water isn't screaming through the system at enormous velocities and pressures. Lazy, sleepy operators on mood-altering cardiac beta blockers for health problems due to sitting all day long aren't using inaccurate and faulty instrumentation to monitor the whole thing and stop it from melting down.

So I'm less scared when the plant is shut down than at any other time. But the restart AFTER this major retrofit will be an especially dangerous time.

And then, the continued operation of the plant for 20 more years may well spell doom for SoCal at some point -- for any of a million different reasons. The old welds might start failing, let alone all the new ones that weren't done right, or were done right in Japan or elsewhere in the world, but didn't get shipped properly to America, or broke during installation. And nobody reported anything, because of the climate of cover-up.

During the actual retrofit, at least the reactor that is being refitted is not increasing the quantity of spent fuel with nowhere to put it by an average of 250 pounds per day per reactor, as happens each day the reactor is operating (500 lbs per day for San Onofre altogether, when both reactors are running). That's in addition to the tritium which is released and poorly tracked, and the hundreds of pounds per year of noble gases which are not tracked or stopped in any way at all, and the daily releases of radioactive isotopes of all known elements, in varying quantities, as allowed by ALARA.

All nuclear facilities vent radioactive isotopes to the public. HEPA filters were originally designed in the 1940s for cleaning the air of radioactive particles but they only achieve a 99.97% success rate (by definition). 3 particles in 10,000 may not sound like a lot, and might have been good enough for The Manhattan Project, but when you are releasing billions of billions of particles every day INTO the filters, it means you are letting a lot of children die in your community DESPITE the filters. And HEPA filters don't work for isolating tritium (a lot more H3 could be removed, but not that way) nor do they do anything to stop the release of the noble gases, which flow right through them. The legal limit for releases of tritium each year by each reactor at San Onofre is about one thirtieth of a teaspoon. Tritium is extremely hazardous, and even this seemingly small amount is way, way too much. And besides, whenever they release more than a thirtieth of a teaspoon, the NRC gives them two special dispensations: One not to say anything, and one not to do anything.

So-called "low-level" waste, such as the old steam generators, and the old pumps, pipes, valves, etc., which are being swapped out at the same time as the steam generator replacement project is going on, will be irradiating people, and will get into our children's braces eventually.

No reactor should ever be restarted. Period. Shut them ALL down and dismantle / decommission them. All other choices are folly.

Ace Hoffman
POB 1936 Carlsbad, CA 92018
www.acehoffman.org
Blog: acehoffman.blogspot.com

The author has developed and distributed award-winning educational software for more than 25 years and has customers at over 1000 colleges and universities in over 100 countries. His company web site -- www.animatedsoftware.com -- gets millions of "hits" every month. Hoffman has studied nuclear power for about 40 years and wrote approximately 1000 blog entries on nuclear issues prior to authoring The Code Killers in 2008 (and several dozen since).


-----------------------------------------
Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download: acehoffman.org
Blog: acehoffman.blogspot.com
phone: (800) 551-2726; (760) 720-7261
address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
Subscribe to my free newsletter today!
Email: ace@acehoffman.org
To unsubscribe:
Send "Unsubscribe" in subject line.
-----------------------------------------

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood...

cc: Beth Parke, Executive Director, SEJ

October 8th, 2009

Dear Readers,

The Society of Environmental Journalists is holding its annual meeting this week, in Madison, Wisconsin.

James Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy Corporation, which owns more than half a dozen nuclear power reactors, will be speaking tomorrow morning (10/9/2009) in "Capital Ballroom B" under the topic: "BIG THINK: Energy Policy in a New Economy." The panel presentation is supposed to discuss how to "set the world on a new, greener path." So what's HE doing there?!?

Another member of the panel will be a smart-grid enthusiast, Katherine Hamilton, president of the GridWise Alliance, which supports something I support, namely a smarter and greatly expanded electrical energy grid. But the Alliance works with: "the Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, Midwest Research Institute and other organizations to lobby Congress and statehouses, including Maryland, on various clean energy policies and funding." MRI? Fine, but both the UCS and the NRDC are troubling allies. (The UCS is often referred to in this newsletter as the UUCS ("Union of UnConcerned Scientists" because of statement such as this: "While nuclear waste can be stored safely for the short term (in on-site concrete casks)..." (May, 2009 UCS factsheet.) That's not showing much concern! And the NRDC helps build wildlife "sanctuaries" around nuclear power plants, and that makes them happy. 'Nuff said 'bout them, too.) Hamilton worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, "to put into place several programs mandated in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, including federal energy audit and water conservation programs." So basically, she stays away from worrying about nuclear power.

Another panelist is Abrahm Lustgarten, Energy Reporter, ProPublica, former staff writer and contributor for Fortune, who received his masters in journalism from Columbia in 2003, and wrote a book about China with a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which supports public radio (PBS), which is the mouthpiece of the government for most things they talk about, and gets most of its money from the government (right now, PBS is getting a grant from NASA and announcing it daily (a VERY pro-nuclear government agency, which has launched dozens of plutonium-238-laden rockets and several small reactors, and some of these "toys" have failed, causing worldwide plutonium dispersals!)). Lustgarten does not appear to be an expert on the dangers of nuclear energy and is also hardly a counterbalance to Rogers.

The final panelist, Brian Czech, is a "certified wildlife biologist" who "applies his training and experience to economic issues, especially macroeconomic policy. He has 20 years of experience in federal, state, and tribal governments with duties ranging from firefighting to managing elk herds to developing national conservation policies. Czech is also a visiting professor at Virginia Tech University, where he teaches ecological economics and endangered species policy. A prolific author, Czech wrote the book Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, which calls for an end to reckless economic growth." So basically, he stays away from worrying about nuclear power, too? So it appears. But he's probably plenty worried about "climate change" and "global warming," which nuclear power could be considered a source of, not a solution for, but Rogers will claim otherwise, because "they" always do. And it sounds like everyone on the panel will let him.

The moderator, Lisa Palmer, is an award-winning science writer and guess what? I can't find anything negative she has ever had to say about nuclear power!

Will questions from the audience make this event memorable? Palmer can ensure that doesn't happen, by, for example, letting each of these panelists make long-winded statements about how damaging global warming is to plant and animal species all over the world, and how badly BOTH expanded nuclear power AND most (but not all) green energy solutions need a better energy grid to be viable options (but not the same grid: The renewable one is more distributed, and thus, much more resilient).

It does not appear that anyone on the panel will be qualified, or interested in, grilling The Big Guy (Rogers, he's everywhere these days, he must have a fast jet at his disposal, I hope someone will ask him how he got there) about what HE knows about how tritium damages a fetus. Nothing, he's an executive, not a doctor, he'll say. You know it as well as I do.

No one on the panel will be asking Rogers what he expects to do with the nuclear waste his reactors have already created. It's well over ten million pounds of nuclear waste -- all his! He's been saying, "Yucca Mountain" for years (as have them all), but what does he say now? Reprocessing? That's even yuckier that "Yuckie" Mountain!

No one will ask what he expects to do with the waste from the new nuclear reactors he wants the government to build for him. That's us, folks, the common taxpayer, who will pay for his nukes (and his waste)! (And not to mention, his ratepayers, too, will pay particularly dearly for these things.) And that's after the government finishes paying billions of dollars to foreign-owned companies with American names (such as "Westinghouse" and "GE") to cover the costs of designing the new nuclear reactors.

If they only allow a few questions, it will surely be quite a whitewash. And, of course, with Palmer moderating the questions from the audience, there's no reason to expect the truth to be exposed even if they allow a thousand questions (in the 75 minutes allotted to this important topic).

It's unlikely that Mr. Rogers will be asked what he thinks will be the total number of Curies his reactors will release into the environment over their lifetime, and the total number of deaths he thinks these releases will cause. (Not including accidents he doesn't think have happened, let alone, accidents he doesn't think WILL happen.)

It's unlikely that the rate hikes that are inevitable if Duke continues to be a nuclear-focused company will be realistically expressed.

It's extremely unlikely the circular cracks in the flanges (they call them "nozzles" for some reason, but let's pray they never BECOME "nozzles") at the Oconee reactor (owned by Duke) will be discussed. These cracks went nearly all the way around some of the control-rod flanges (they call them "nozzles" but God forbid...). IF the cracks had gone just the least little bit further around it could have -- would have -- resulted in a MELTDOWN. Oops, Mr. Rogers, there goes the neighborhood! And the state it's in, with it (South Carolina)!

So-called "super-alloys" aren't so super. Numerous parts, from steam generators to pipes, pumps, valves, and the reactor vessels themselves, are falling apart sooner than expected and in worse ways than expected. Indeed, this is the most likely cause for catastrophe in the nuclear industry these days (but hardly the only one). And just about ANY qualified person in the nuclear industry -- even Mr. Rogers -- will probably admit to you (once he believes you know a thing or two about the industry) that yes, "materials" is their biggest worry -- "these days." (They're such optimists!)

It is a shame to see a sham at the SEJ annual meeting, but I think that's what the environmental journalists in the audience should expect. In reality, nuclear topics should fill the agenda this year at the SEJ meeting. And real experts should be speaking, not just industry blowhards and their sycophants, so that the journalists can learn more about the topics they plan to write about, instead of just learning what the party line is, as if that's news.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Society of People Who Call Themselves Environmental Journalists, 2009 agenda:
http://www.sej.org/initiatives/sej-annual-conferences/AC2009-agenda

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From NIRS: Dems caving on nukes in climate bill? Act Now!
============================

ACT NOW! E-MAIL/FAX YOUR SENATORS

ACT OCTOBER 15! CALL YOUR SENATORS ON NATIONAL DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE CALL-IN DAY

Your actions are more important than ever, as the push for more nuclear power subsidies in the Senate climate bill intensifies.

October 8, 2009

Dear Friends,

Now that the Kerry-Boxer climate bill has been introduced, the nuclear industry is intensifying its efforts to turn the bill into a multi-billion dollar giveaway for new reactor construction, dirty and dangerous radioactive waste schemes like reprocessing, further "streamlining" reactor licensing proceedings, and the whole industry Christmas wish-list.

Leading the charge are Senators like John McCain (R-AZ) who has already said he will "never, never, never" vote for the bill; Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has been making speech after speech calling for 100 new reactors in the U.S. by 2020 even while admitting he won't vote for a climate bill; and now Lindsay Graham (R-SC) who says golly gee, if they'll just put a lot of money for nuclear power and offshore oil drilling in the bill, maybe they'll get some more votes...

Yeah, right... Expanding oil drilling isn't exactly the best way to reduce carbon emissions--and neither is nuclear power or "clean coal," another pet cause of these Senators who won't vote for a climate bill in any case. What they're really trying to do is lard the bill with so much taxpayer giveaways to their favorite dirty energy interests that no one should vote for it.

Unfortunately, some of the bill's backers are listening to the nuclear lobby. Read this article posted on the NY Times website yesterday.

No matter where you stand on the climate bill itself, and our constituency seems fairly evenly divided between "against it," "for it, with reservations" and "wait and see what's in the final bill," we can all agree that the bill must not become a multi-billion dollar bail-out for the nuclear power industry.

Please send a letter to your Senators today. You can send an e-mail, fax, or both.

Please plan to call both of your Senators on National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day, Thursday, October 15. It doesn't matter where they may stand on the issue--they need to hear your voice. Let's keep those phones ringing from dawn til midnight on October 15! Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Please forward this Alert as widely as possible. Print it out and take it to meetings, post it at neighborhood food co-ops and other progressive venues, please do everything possible to spread the word. Organize protests at your Senators' district offices. Write letters-to-the-editor: Senate offices read them!

The backroom deals are being made now. It's never been more important for us all to take every action possible.

*Again: please send a letter to your Senators today.

*Please call your Senators on October 15, and start now to organize your friends, neighbors and colleagues to join you. Plan call-in gatherings at your house, a local pub or restaurant, a park--wherever it's easy for people to join you.

*Please forward this Alert and do everything possible to reach out to people who may not be on this list.

*If you haven't donated recently, please make a small contribution now and help us expand our outreach during this critical period. Faxes are more effective than e-mails, but we do have to pay for them; your contribution will also help us pay for the thousands of faxes that we hope everyone will send!

Together, we can stop this nuclear madness and build the nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future our planet and our people need.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte

Executive Director

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

www.nirs.org

nirsnet@nirs.org

============================
Dodging bullets:
============================

The location of this morning's earthquake off California was not more than about 45 miles out to sea from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, where about five million pounds of high-level radioactive used reactor cores (aka "Spent Fuel") is currently being stored and about 500 more pounds are being created every day the reactors are running. Right now, one of the "SONGS" reactors is undergoing multi-billion-dollar repairs and is closed. It should be PERMANENTLY SHUT, not "fixed" (patched up with toilet-paper and spit, wrapped up with bailing-wire and coat-hanger wire, duct-taped, and turned on again).

------------------------------------------------

A really cool interactive live map of earthquake activity (thanks to Dr. Carol Rosin for finding this!):
http://www.iris.edu/seismon/

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From:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gxhGnOv1Z19F4ACtyN7PXeO4qOIAD9B6OTGO0

Small undersea quake occurs off California coast

(AP) ­ 10 hours ago

AVALON, Calif. ­ A magnitude-3.8 undersea earthquake has struck near the Channel Islands off the southern tip of San Clemente Island.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the tremor occurred at 8:31 p.m. Wednesday about 31 miles southeast of San Clemente Island and 43 miles south of Avalon.

The USGS Web site reported that very light shaking was felt in some Orange County communities, including Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, but police there said they received no calls about the quake.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

AVALON, Calif. (AP) ­ A magnitude-3.7 undersea earthquake has struck near the Channel Islands off the southern tip of San Clemente Island.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the tremor occurred at 8:31 p.m. Wednesday about 31 miles southeast of San Clemente Island and 43 miles south of Avalon.

The USGS Web site reported that very light shaking was felt in some Orange County communities, including Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, but police there said they received no calls about the quake.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


============================
Information about the author of this newsletter:
============================

Blog:
http://acehoffman.blogspot.com/

Book:
http://acehoffman.org/

Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download: www.acehoffman.org
phone: (800) 551-2726; (760) 720-7261
address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
Subscribe to my free newsletter today!
email: ace@acehoffman.org
-----------------------------------------

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Talley followup: The many financial-failure tsunamis of nuclear power

October 7th, 2009

Dear Readers,

Last week, practically the entire Pacific Rim was under several earthquake-generated tsunami warnings and watches. Thousands are confirmed dead in Indonesia, Samoa, and American Samoa; thousands more are still missing. In some places, waters roared a mile or more inland. These events have demonstrated: "that the early-warning systems are not fail-safe and education is as important as technology, seismologists and disaster management experts say." (Kathy Marks, Sydney, ABCNews.go.com, October 3, 2009)

Seismologists, geologists, and other experts say our coastal nuclear reactors are NOT properly protected (and can't be) against reasonably foreseeable -- even expected -- tsunamis. The "sea wall" at San Onofre, for example, is only about 30 to 35 feet tall; waves at high tide already lap the bottom. Some of the waves from the Banda Ache tsunami in 2004 were 50 to 60 feet high! Only dumb luck protects us. Two weeks after the event, an eyewitness to the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami wrote:

"The best way to describe this ­- because we grew up with the images and we all know what it looked like -­ is that Banda Ache looks like Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. It's totally destroyed. The buildings have been flattened for miles and entire communities -- probably something like a hundred thousand people -- have been swept out to sea." (Chris Rainier, National Geographic, January 11, 2005.)

Real tsunamis aside, a financial crisis is often called a tsunami as well. The nuclear industry is in the midst of a financial crisis, as are we all. In a brief email exchange with Wall Street Journal journalist Ian Talley (whose article was discussed in my previous report (September 29, 2009)), Talley clarified how the Department of Energy's nuclear loan guarantees could be used:

>"$18.5 billion in loan guarantees can leverage loans far in excess of that value."

He added that the maximum amount of "LG" is 80% of the cost of a nuke.

The basic concept is that someone other than the federal government will loan the extra billion (if the lowest of the two ridiculously low industry estimates Talley gave of $5 billion is correct) or the extra $4 billion (if my estimate of $20 billion for a new nuke started today is correct).

Either way, it isn't easy to get loans for a billion dollars these days, even if someone knows a gung-ho pro-nuclear government has provided an additional $4 billion to throw away on the risky venture.

So one question is: By proposing doubling the amount of money available for loan guarantees, is Secretary of Energy Chu expecting to start more than the 4-5 nukes the original $18.5 billion was for? Or is he just upping the ante for those first few, because he realizes they'll actually cost a lot more than he thought? Talley didn't know. Chu didn't say.

From the utilities' standpoint, the biggest stumbling block for new nuclear construction at the moment appears to be spent-fuel-related. With Yucca Mountain not technically on the horizon (though not "killed" altogether, by any means), the government isn't willing to make the dumb deal it made back in the 1980s, when it promised to take all the used reactor cores away and magically make them disappear.

Needless to say, it wasn't a dumb deal for the utilities and they ALL -- every one that is operating today -- signed on. The government would take the highly radioactive -- and pyrophoric -- used nuclear reactor cores and manage their long-term care. That's "long-term" as in: Longer than the United States has existed as a country, times a thousand.

It hasn't worked out that way. The government hasn't taken the waste, and you can blame politics all you want, but the real reason it hasn't worked out is the physics make it impossible for a "safe" repository to exist. Someone will ALWAYS have a legitimate gripe against ANY plan. It's the nature of ionizing radiation that it will break down any container made of any material, as it irradiates the container. Microbes won't "eat" radiation away for us. Each little atomic breakdown has all the strength, per alpha particle, beta particle, or gamma ray, of the alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays of a nuclear bomb. A nuclear decay is an unstoppable force. Its direction cannot be predicted or controlled. It has an average energy level within a statistically-definable range of probable values, according to various laws of sub-atomic particle physics. The precise moment of any particular decay is also unpredictable.

No place on earth is safe to hold the waste. No place can be guaranteed not to have ANY of the following, to start a long list: Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, jet crashes, terrorists, sloppy construction, or poor design. If all else goes well, any location could still be hit by an asteroid. Why doom the whole earth for one small asteroid?

And then there are the transportation problems. The last DOE solution I saw had about 98 wheels and was just a drawing. It looked like a lumbering terrorist's target to me. They don't really know what they are going to do.

No country has ever "solved" its nuclear waste problem. France grinds stuff up, releases much of it directly into the North Sea, and stores the rest with no idea of what to do with it. (A tiny fraction is reused, so they call the whole thing "recycling".) Here in American we just let it sit in scores of deadly sites all over the country.

And the dry storage casks are deteriorating as we speak. Shoddy welds, shoddy alloys, unrealistic expectations...

Meanwhile, the government is already being sued by about a dozen nuclear power companies, asking for permission to stop putting money into the used-reactor-core-storage fund, and to get back some of what they've already put in! The rest are watching closely, like a pack of vultures.

New nuclear power plant loan guarantees don't come with promises to take the spent fuel. And THAT's the real financial hang-up for new nuclear construction in America.

But the nuclear industry is working HARD to get around that with help from -- seriously! -- French espionage, infiltration, subversiveness, and other covert and overt actions. That's right: The French intend to get American suckers (that's you and me, folks, the American taxpayer) to pay French-government owned and/or managed firms (EdF and/or AREVA) to build and operate expensive NEW reprocessing plants here in America! And open new (and old) uranium mines, new milling operations, and so on. They use agent-provocateurs, subliminal messages in their advertisements, covert lobbying and funding of politicians... and in other countries where these two "corporations" do business, they behave even more illegally!

Reprocessing would theoretically "solve" the fuel problem for the utilities, including slowly eating into their current backlog of millions of pounds of commercial nuclear power-plant high-level radioactive waste. but "theoretically" is one thing, and realistically is another.

What reprocessing really would do is cost another hundred (or two hundred) billion dollars and pollute the entire planet, killing people and causing health effects as if we are all expendable, as long as no one can prove for certain where any particular cancer, leukemia, heart disease, birth defect, etc. came from. And burn enormous quantities of fossil fuels in the process, causing thousands more deaths.

Reprocessing of nuclear waste is chemical-intensive, too. But it's the only thing that could possibly allow a dying industry to keep going. The current fleet of operating plants is running out of options for waste storage. None of the plant's owners want to have to shut down for lack of storage space, but it might happen. As long as someone will take the waste from you later, operating a nuclear power plant is a "great" way to make money -- like stealing candy from a baby (and giving them cyanide to play with in return).

Aside from the waste problem, new nuclear construction almost suffered from an insurance problem. Instead, the Price-Anderson Act was extended a few years ago in one of the most notorious pieces of midnight legislation to come out of the Bush years (and that's saying a lot). If Price-Anderson had not been extended, that too would have stopped new nuclear construction because the Act prevents citizens from seeking damages against the utility in the event of an accident. No Price-Anderson would have meant no new nukes. And the old ones would have shut down, too. But now, although both Price and Anderson are long gone, the Price-Anderson Act has been renewed and you still can't get insurance for your home against a nuclear accident anywhere in the world. (Some form of Price-Anderson has been copied in every country which has operating nuclear programs.)

In addition to the waste problem and the insurance problem -- the former unsolvable and the latter solved by government fraud -- there are still the costs and delays of construction.

Offshore wind power, solar power, energy conservation and other solutions can be brought online virtually immediately -- by the time a permit for a new nuclear power plant is granted, especially a new design, you could have thousands of megawatts of renewable energy up and running.

And the new nuclear power plant, which may well cost close to -- or more than -- $20 billion dollars if construction started today -- will have faulty parts, faulty welds, faulty pipes, faulty concrete, faulty wiring, faulty instructions, workers sleeping on the job, fire crews not knowing what to do when there's a fire, exploding transformers, leaky steam generators, and thousands of other problems. These are the day-to-day facts of life at ANY large facility (but these examples are taken strictly from Nuclear Regulatory Commission records). Most large industrial facilities won't kill millions of people if and when they fail. Most industries are not running on the edge of a mega-catastrophe 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as nuclear power does.

Every nuclear construction project now involves hundreds of companies in dozens of countries, each with their own level of oversight for worker safety and for quality of their output. Each has different ethics about what "quality" means, and what the punishments are for shipping shoddy work half-way around the world where its shoddiness won't be discovered for decades, until the part fails at a critical moment, causing a meltdown, and all the evidence is destroyed.

Fraud has always been rampant in nuclear construction and operation, and continues with the new international trade agreements, where even so-called "American" companies such as GE and Westinghouse are really just fronts for, in those cases, Japanese corporations, and where both EdF and AREVA claim in America that they are as American as apple pie, just because the heads of the American divisions are American.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA
www.acehoffman.org

=====================================
Cancer and nuclear power:
=====================================


(In the superb article linked to below, the reporter outlines many of the enormously complicated cost issues related to new nuclear construction. The article also quotes the notorious Victor Dricks of the NRC making the outlandish claim that airplanes simply cannot destroy nuclear power plants, calling it "impossible." The entire nuclear community should demand Dricks' permanent ouster from the NRC! He is unqualified, pretentious, arrogant, irrational, and on a personal basis, attempts to intimidate the activists both physically and through enforcing arbitrary rules on who can place documents where, or at all. Arbitrary, except the utility can always place anything they want on the NRC's table, and the NRC will ensure that material is handed out. That's Victor Dricks, and the NRC's, idea of free speech. -- Ace)

A clip from:
http://www.sacurrent.com/news/story.asp?id=70567

Risky Business
Part Two In a Series: What CPS won't tell you about nuclear power
San Antonio Currant September 30th, 2009

by Greg Harman

..."For more than a year, the city has been drifting, in multi-million-dollar installments, into a second helping of nuclear power from the South Texas Project nuclear facility outside Bay City.

"On one level, the city's obsession with the bottom line ­ $5.2-billion for our share of two new nuclear-power reactors ­ makes sense. It was, after all, runaway costs and construction failures that undermined Wall Street's willingness to invest in the hugely expensive projects, resulting in a decades-long freeze on domestic nuclear power plants. Today, with 17 proposed nuclear projects jockeying for crucial federal loans through the U.S. Department of Energy, Moody's Investors Service is warning that utilities that pursue new plants face heightened financial risks and may expose their customers to 'future rate shocks.'

"For the last hour, the talk has idled at intersecting concerns over whether Toshiba can deliver two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors to STP on time and on budget; whether renewable energy sources could become cost competitive with nuclear by 2020, when San Antonio will really need the extra electricity; if CPS Energy's price estimates for alternative energy sources, such as natural gas and efficiency, are even close to accurate.

"'Nuclear has risks,' confesses CPS Energy's Co-CEO Steve Bartley, 'cost risks, waste risks, health-and-safety possible risks. … Our goal is to evaluate the risks as best we can, understand what they are, and plan a mitigation strategy.'

"While the Congressional Budget Office wrote in 2003 that 'well above 50 percent' of federal nuclear-power loan recipients will default because of 'technical risks' and high construction costs, Bartley tells the audience that CPS had its proposal screened by Fitch Ratings and were told the utility should be able to maintain a Double-A credit rating through the life of the reactors. "

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"Preventing Future Deaths" - a Coroner acts:
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From: "Richard Bramhall" <bramhall@llrc.org>
To: "info llrc" <info@llrc.org>
Subject: "Preventing Future Deaths" - a Coroner acts
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 13:23:20 +0100

"Preventing Future Deaths" - a Coroner acts

Following the 10th September '09 verdict on the death of Stuart Dyson, Robin Balmain, a Coroner in the Black Country Coroner's District in Smethwick, UK, has written to the Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth MP.

The Jury in the inquest into Mr. Dyson's death found that he had been exposed to Uranium during his service in Iraq during 1991, and that the Uranium caused or contributed to the colon cancer which finally killed him in 2007 at the age of 39.

The expert witness at the inquest was Professor Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, who presented evidence of the inadequacy of the radiation risk model advised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. The Ministry of Defence failed to send either legal or scientific representatives.

Mr. Balmain writes that "action should be taken" since the use of Uranium weapons creates "an obvious risk to service personnel" which "equally applies to civilians in areas of conflict."

For over a decade the Low Level Radiation Campaign has stated that use of Uranium weapons is contrary to international law because of their indiscriminate effects.

Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules 2008 states:

"Where the evidence gives rise to a concern that circumstances creating a risk [that] other deaths will occur, or will continue to exist, in the future and in the coroner's opinion action should be taken to … eliminate or reduce the risk of death … the Coroner may report … to a person who the Coroner believes may have the power to take such action."

Rule 43A requires Bob Ainsworth to reply to Mr Balmain within 56 days.

Mr Balmain's letter is at http://www.nonuclear.se/dyson_coronor_rule43_20090918

Report on verdict at www.llrc.org/du/subtopic/dysonverdict.htm including full copies of written submissions from Professor Busby and MoD.

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Newsletter author contact information:
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Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download: www.acehoffman.org
phone: (800) 551-2726; (760) 720-7261
address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
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email: ace@acehoffman.org
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