Monday, March 28, 2011

It's as if every day is April Fool's day for the Nuclear Industry...

Monday morning, March 28th, 2011

Dear Readers,

Since my last report about the ongoing nuclear Fukushima Daiichi tragedy on Saturday, everything has kept oozing, leaking, steaming... dark smoke, white smoke, patchy smoke, thick clouds of smoke, workers contaminated. Workers pulled off the site. Workers sent back.

This isn't Chernobyl, they say. Not yet, anyway, they add.

Everything is precarious and at least one reactor containment vessel is surely breached. Or maybe one reactor.

One expert, Dr. Robert Gale, who visited Chernobyl soon after that accident, has stated what I've been saying for years: That the containment vessels make it much more difficult to bury the problem in cement, like they did at Chernobyl.

This isn't Chernobyl, alright. It's far more complicated, for one thing.

Below are two articles from this morning's World Nuclear News, the global supporters of nuclear energy (they, along with the IAEA and the Japanese regulators are, perhaps, most responsible for what is happening in Japan, besides the American nuclear promoters of course, who sold the American-designed reactors to Japan decades ago).

These two articles, and WNN's own commentaries (below, top) just don't belong together! Yet blithely they go forward, as if every day is April Fool's Day for the nuclear industry.

If the contaminated pools are to be drained, as one article states, then the radioactive crud goes into the environment. Yet, as the other article states, the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved two new reactors without a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), less than three weeks into the Fukushima tragedy!

And they did it after saying they would take into account all the "lessons learned" from the accident!

The first lesson is that all EISs, and all evacuation plans, and all KI (potassium iodate) distribution plans, are insufficient. Regardless of whether they are for reactors that are operating or planned, or for reactors near the coast or not, or near earthquake zones, and so on. Every EIS has now been proven insufficient in every way.

But not to the NRC!

Another lesson is that pouring sea water onto or into a nuclear reactor is a really, really bad idea. Yet every coastal reactor plans to do this if needed, as a "last-ditch" resort! They need clean, fresh water. But who, anywhere, has water to give to these things? Fukushima, it appears, will need fresh water from the "community" (what's left of it) for years and years.

Such plans need to be modified, but that can't happen without major retrofitting, including running huge new pipes for, in some instances, dozens of miles in multiple directions around the plant! And these new pipes might rupture in an earthquake anyway. And it's too expensive, costing billions of dollars. Well, then shut the plants down. That's the other choice.

Another lesson is that when a nuclear plant calls for help, SOMEBODY better respond. I don't care what hospital needs your generator, buddy, or what town needs your water. If the nuke plant asks for it in an emergency, it better get it.

As attorney Francis Boyle has stated, the nuclear industry should be tried for "crimes against humanity". I agree. That includes the purveyors of these wicked machines, who in many cases bribed their way onto foreign soil, with the excuse that "there's no other way to do business there" although their pockets were invariably deeper than the solar-wind guy's pockets were, if he had any.

It includes the regulators, who have proven once again, below, to be a deadly joke on the rest of us. They don't even pretend to try to protect us anymore.

It includes everyone -- state representatives too -- even down to the townships that supported these things and now own a piece of them. It includes some of the world's largest multinational corporations.

It includes anyone who doesn't think they could cut back 18% on their electricity usage to allow ALL the nukes in America to be shut down. We're virtually ALL guilty to some extent.

But some are much more guilty than others. It's time to go after them to the fullest extent of the law. International trials. Why do, for example, General Electric Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Mark 1s exist on this earth? Why would ANYONE keep one running now, after what we've seen they can do? Yet nearly two dozen run day and night in America, and many similar models operate around the world.

There are plenty of clean alternatives to nuclear energy. The biggest farce in the world is that there isn't any alternative.

Nuclear power destroys us all, bit by bit. It never has been vital in any way, and never will be. It's too inefficient, and too prone to catastrophic failures beyond their builder's "wildest" imaginations.

It's time to face reality about nuclear power. Humanity's dustbin includes some very large mistakes, but by any measure, this is our biggest.


Ace Hoffman,
Carlsbad, CA

The author has been studying nuclear issues for many decades. His book, The Code Killers, is available for free download here: .

World Nuclear News briefs, March 28th, 2011:

REGULATION & SAFETY: Contaminated pools to be drained
Pools of water with significant contamination are slowing down repair work in units 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi. It was in unit 3 that three workers recently suffered higher radiation exposure.

NEW NUCLEAR: Environmental approval for two new US reactors
There are no environmental reasons why two new reactors should not be built at the existing Vogtle nuclear power plant site in Georgia, according to the US nuclear safety regulators.

Full stories:


Contaminated pools to be drained
27 March 2011

UPDATE 1: 10.44am GMT 28 March, Several minor details

Pools of water with significant contamination are slowing down repair work in units 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi. It was in unit 3 that three workers recently suffered higher radiation exposure.

The origin of the water remains unknown, but readings by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) have shown very significant radiation dose rates near the pools in the lower levels of the turbine buildings. In unit 2 doses from the water's surface are 1000 millisieverts per hour, in unit 3 this is 750 millisieverts per hour while unit 1 shows 60 millisieverts per hour.


Residents within 20 kilometres of Fukushima Daiichi were moved on to evacuation centres by government after 15 March. People in a further ten kilometre radius have been recommended to stay indoors, but this group too has now been asked to evacuate on a voluntary basis.

Reconnection work to bring normal cooling systems and diesel generators back into operation requires access to these areas, on the first floor and basement of the turbine building. The necessity of this work forced Tepco to immediately begin pumping the water for storage in the hot wells of the condenser units higher up in the building. This is already happening at unit 1 while preparations are made to do the same at units 2 and 3.

It was at unit 3 on 24 March that three workers were inadvertently exposed to radiation from the pools and may have suffered radiation burns to the skin of their legs. They were exposed to over 170 millisieverts, compared to the current temporary limit set by regulators of 250 millisieverts. The workers ignored their dosimeters and continued working based on radiation survey results one day earlier. This indictes that either the survey was in error, or the contents of the water changed significantly in the space of one day.

The high doses from the water come from the rapid decay of radionuclides with short half lives. This leads officials to presume the water comes from the reactor system rather than the used fuel pond where this decay would have taken place some time ago. At the same time, however, pressures in the reactors have not dropped, indicating no large-scale pipe break. The primary containments of unit 1 and 3 are thought intact, although damage is suspected at unit 2. At least some damage to fuel assemblies is expected to have taken place at all three units.

Media coverage of the pools has been complicated by a mistake in Tepco's reporting which put the level of radioactivity in the water at 'ten million times' the normal level for reactor coolant. The company has retracted this, explaining that the level it reported for iodine-134 was actually for another radionuclide with a longer half-life and therefore a lower activity rate.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News



Environmental approval for two new US reactors
28 March 2011

Site clearance for the new units at Vogtle (Image: Southern)

There are no environmental reasons why two new reactors should not be built at the existing Vogtle nuclear power plant site in Georgia, according to the US nuclear safety regulators.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed its consideration of the environmental impacts of expanding the Vogtle plant with two 1100 MWe Westinghouse AP1000s in addition to two 1250 MWe units that have operated there since the late 1980s. The regulator's approval came in the form of a final supplemental environmental impact statement for a limited work authorization (LWA) and the combined construction and operating licences (COLs). It concluded that "there are no environmental impacts that would preclude" the awards.

The NRC work in reaching this point was built on an Early Site Permit awarded to Vogtle in August 2009. This officially noted the site's suitability for new nuclear reactors and therfore allowed planning to begin in earnest. The early site permit documentation was supplemented with a statement from the NRC on environmental impact in September 2010.

Southern Nuclear submitted its application to construct and operate two the new reactors in March 2008 and the company supplemented this in October 2009. The Vogtle application incorporates information from both the Site Safety Analysis Report conducted for its ESP application and from Southern's environmental report. For a COL application referencing an ESP, the NRC is required to prepare a supplement to the ESP Environmental Impact Statement.

The NRC's evaluation of the safety and security aspects of the construction of the new Vogtle units will be addressed in its Safety Evaluation Report.

Preliminary site work has already started, with start-up of the reactors slated for 2016 and 2017. Actual construction of the new plant cannot begin until Southern receives the COL.

In February 2010, Vogtle units 3 and 4 became the first new nuclear power plant construction projects to be offered conditional loan guarantees by the US Department of Energy (DoE).

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News

Author of this newsletter:

Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download:
Phone: (760) 720-7261
Address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
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Email: ace [at]