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Jan-07-2011 13:26printcomments

Reactor Reax: Nuclear Energy Reporting This Week

The latest stories from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Nuclear danger

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - As the world moves toward its ultimate end, whatever what will be, endless millions wonder why nuclear power is on the move at the same time that non damaging non-lethal energies like solar and wind power are seeing major progress.

When it all is over and the smoke is clear, if there is a living one of us standing to evaluate and discuss what went wrong, just remember this; American scientists have been joined by those from the world over in directing energy and resources toward nuclear power.

There is no way to properly dispose of nuclear waste; the subject has cost billions all by itself without ever seeing an answer spring forth.

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island must be far enough into the past now that the wheels of financial ingenuity have new tires and real traction.

Can the tea party go nuclear?, Politico, December 29, 2010. "Although several tea-party-supported winners in the House espoused an 'all of the above' approach to energy policy that included nuclear energy during their campaigns, it remains to be seen how new members will react to the sticker shock from new reactors and the massive role the federal government plays throughout the industry."

US Renewables Now Neck-and-Neck With Nuclear Power, Energy Daily, December 29, 2010. "According to the most recent issue of the 'Monthly Energy Review' by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 'nuclear electric power accounted for 11% of primary energy production and renewable energy accounted for 11% of primary energy production' during the first nine months of 2010 (the most recent period for which data have been released)."

Flirting With Disaster, Newsweek, January 4, 2011. "A growing number of plants are nearing the end of their operating lifetimes, and details about the security of existing facilities are classified. 'The industry is hiding behind the 9/11 tragedy to withhold information—like which plants have failed tests and repairs that have been made—that should be available,' says David Lochbaum, a nuclear analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists."

Say no to revving up rickety reactors, (op-ed by John LaForge, staffer, Nukewatch), Madison Capital Times, December 28, 2010. "Since there is no safe level of radiation exposure -- no matter how 'insignificant' -- the NRC should hear from Wisconsin and Minnesota that we don't believe utility lullabies, and that the last thing we should do with retirement-aged reactors is stomp on the accelerator."

Nuclear Socialism, Bullfax, December 23, 2010. "If subsidies are socialism, then all energy sector players are socialists. What makes nuclear special is the dominant role played by French state-owned enterprises."

Judge nuclear power against wind and solar, panel says, Maryland Gazette, January 7, 2011. "Federal regulators agree with opponents of a proposed third reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant that a draft report did not sufficiently consider alternative power sources, such as wind and solar, to the $10 billion, 1,600-megawatt project."

Vt. nuke plant again drawing dirty ground water, WGGB TV/Vermont, January 6, 2011. "The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is once again extracting contaminated groundwater from beneath the Vernon facility. On Dec. 30, the plant began extracting water contaminated with radioactive tritium from two new wells close to the Connecticut River."

Early Bid for a Reactor Site Draws Opposition in Texas, New York Times, December 24, 2010. "In this case, Exelon, the utility that has filed the application, has stated that it will not build on the site unless business conditions change. Meanwhile, opponents of the project figure that if they do not object now, they will never have another opportunity, and they say they have found unique problems with the geology of the spot."

EDF's role in US nuclear market is clouded, Nuclear Power Daily, December 30, 2010. "Since parting ways with US firm Constellation in October, EDF has vowed to find a new partner for its American subsidiary Unistar, and to press ahead with construction of a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. But according to several sources familiar with the situation, EDF has missed a golden opportunity by refusing the 7.5 billion dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DoE) to help build the reactor."

Battle Over Uranium Bodes Ill for U.S. Debate, New York Times, December 26, 2010. "A proposal for a new mill to process uranium ore, which would lead to the opening of long-shuttered mines in Colorado and Utah, has brought global and local concerns into collision — jobs, health, class-consciousness and historical memory among them — in ways that suggest, if the pattern here holds, a bitter national debate to come."


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Rick Maltese January 8, 2011 11:29 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for submitting my comment. I'm being dramatic but to clarify: If people believe that serious Climate Change can be prevented then the sensible solution is nuclear because it can replace the fossil fuel CO2 producing energy plants like coal and natural gas. Nuclear energy and nuclear bombs should not be compared. That's like saying some people murder other people so none of them should be trusted. The complexity of nuclear bombs is not a direct result of nuclear plants. The majority of bombs need centrifuges and ironically the regimes who have them use centrifuges not energy plants.

Editor: Thanks for following up Rick...

Mulligan January 8, 2011 7:53 am (Pacific time)

Those who are so against any form of nuclear power essentially base their opinions on emotion, not science. This type of energy production has been in a constant mode of advancing itself in terms of safety standards. Some of those warnings from the past have been proven false. Our miltary has been using this type of power for decades, so statistically, what problems of significance have been occurring with them? What terrorist' attacks have been succesful? It has been estimated that an individual's lifetime use of nuclear energy, the waste would not even fill a soda can. A standard city landfill could hold enough waste such as this for a planet's worth of energy waste for millions of years of use. The so-called green power as per today's technology is simply not going to meet our needs. Regarding climate change, this is not human-caused, and the majority of scientists are now supporting that reality because there is no evidence to support that we have any impact on the climate on a planetary level. If you think solar, wind, wave or whatever power will meet our energy needs, then you are quite naieve about what it takes to meet our needs. America also must tap into our natural resources of gas and oil, including shale, for that will last us for centuries, while we enhance and develop other energy sources. This is not something you do with the wave of a hand, it will take decades, so get real people. With over 300 million people coupled with growing energy demands, we have no other choice that increasing our nuclear power energy, and it will be done. Three-mile Island caused no deaths from over 30 years ago, and the Russians learned from their fatal mistakes, Once again, our choices are based on time-relevant needs, not uninformed pie in the sky emotional ignorance.

skinny dog January 7, 2011 11:59 pm (Pacific time)

This article is factually incorrect. There is in fact ways to safely dispose of nuclear waste - by using it as fuel.

IFRs (Integral Fast Reactors) and liquid fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) both consume nuclear waste as fuel. The miniscule amount of material left over by these new generation of reactors is equivalent to background radiation in 300 years. Not 3,000, and not 300,000, and not 3 million. 300 years.

Quit scaring people.

Tim King: I'm the News Editor of; those are my words.  How long do you expect to live?  I don't care if you count it in dog years, people don't live 100 years for the most part, so 300 or 3,000, what is the difference?  Do you really believe yourself?  Nuclear pwer is unsafe and there is a history of disasters related to the development and use of nuclear power.  This isn't some rosy picture, you are advocating for a type of energy that is unnatural and the waste can not be fully disposed of, I'm surprised you would write than when anyone could quickly verify that there is no sure fire way to get rid of nuclear waste.    Your scenario sounds like you are trying to mislead people,   France has a method of reusing spent waste that is illegal in the US.  Look it up Oregon's former Sec. of State told us that in retrospect, he wishes the US had gone that way.  All that would do is make a dangerous irresponsible practice a little safer, not much. 

I am no expert in regard to nuclear science, but I know enough to comprehend the dangers.  I can provide links to many things I refer to here.   Our writer Eileen Fleming also has substantial information about the growing resistance nationwide to nuclear power.  The only thing that has distracted people from this are the two needless wars that have nearly brought this nation to its knees. Anti-nuclear protests were massive in the 80's and 90's.  

I was in Las Vegas working for the FOX station when our Mayor Oscar Goodman said he would block the transfer of spent waste to Yucca Mountain with a line of Metro Police cars on the freeway if he had to.  I am no expert, but I am a veteran journalist and in addition to other background, I have been on the Nevada Test Site three times which is more than most reporters can say, and one visit was for the first subcritical test since the mid 1980's moratorium.  They were detonating plutonium a thousand feet underground.  Not very eventful in and of itself, but the next trip to the Test Site was to get Bechtel's answer for why Beatty, Nevada's water tables were showing signs of radioactivity.  All we have is a history of disaster and death ever since Einstein. 

Also, a friend of mine here in Salem headed the first video crew to visit Chernobyl after that disaster.  Did I mention that I spent my high school and college years downwind of Diable Canyon?  You have to love that; build a nuke plant on a Native American burial ground and name it after the devil.  It is so damned fitting.  In the event of nuclear disaster, kiss your children goodbye. 

Then there is that damned U-235 at my old Marine base, MCAS El Toro in So Cal., and we have been revealing information on that toxic waste zone for over three years.  It's only one contaminant at that base but I have to say I despise the damage that the military industrial complex is responsible for in the US and this energy you advocate for is a cousin to the military at best.

There is clean energy; nuclear power is a hazardous approach that leads to massive potential contamination from meltdown; nuclear power plants have been the target of reported bombs and terrorist attacks since they were first constructed.  Solar power is clean and terrible contaminated land, like the El Toro Marine base which is an EPA Superfund site, can become solar farms and go on for generations of use.  Now that is a smart idea.  Don't expect people to agree with you unless they are unaware of the facts or financially invested in nuclear power .  

Rick Maltese January 7, 2011 10:32 pm (Pacific time)

This is really foolish to pick on Nuclear. The rate of development of solar and wind is not only too slow and unreliable they need a backup system and nuclear is perfect for that. It's predictable and because it is far more concentrated it will meet the needs of the planet far sooner. We need a Manhatten style project to save the earth from disasterous climate change. But if you want to see destruction keep doing what you're doing. We'll be catapulted into a dark age.

Editor: Rick, I have no words.... no idea how to respond to your idea of destruction to prevent climate change, wow.

Gregory Cragg January 7, 2011 4:47 pm (Pacific time)

Wikileaks has proved that the US really does not care about finding a safe place for its nuclear wastes, I offered my idea three years ago, that answers all of the related problems, as well is inexpensive to use and maintain as well simple!

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