TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings"> Thumbnail for 808997

This week TEPCO officials at a meeting with officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan admitted that the ice wall they promoted as an impermeable barrier to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water has failed to work as billed and is technically incapable of blocking off groundwater.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to be overwhelmed by enormous amounts of contaminated groundwater that is generated every day as it mixes and interacts with contaminated water in the basement of the reactor buildings. Currently 400 tons of groundwater flows into the damaged reactor buildings every day and mixes with the highly radioactive water in the basements.

Fukushima Daiichi - TEPCO - Ice Wall

TEPCO had developed the ice wall and installed subdrain wells around the reactor buildings to pump up the contaminated groundwater, treat it, and discharge it into the Pacific Ocean, in the hopes that it would reduce the amounts of contaminated water generated every day. The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes that freeze the soil around them.

Before installation of the wall, TEPCO described the project to the public, saying, “We will create an impermeable barrier by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings.”

The ice wall began operating in March of this year, but has not yet made a meaningful impact on reducing the amount of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.

Experts are concerned that the increasing levels of highly radioactive water in the reactor buildings could escape into the local environment in the event of heavy rainfall or a tsunami.

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22 security guards at Palisades placed on leave for falsifying fire inspection records"> Thumbnail for 808999

Officials from the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan operated by Entergy have confirmed that 22 workers have been placed on paid leave after it was found that fire inspection records had been falsified.

One of the duties of security officers at some nuclear power plants is to conduct routine checks to ensure that there are no indications of fires. These fire inspections are part of a commitment made by licensees instead of upgrading or modifying nuclear power plants to remove the threat of fires affecting the performance of critical safety systems.

Val Gent, spokeswoman for the nuclear power plant said, “we cannot tolerate employees stating they completed a task when they didn’t, and we are obligated to fully investigate any such instances.”

Several of the security officers placed on leave have told reporters that they are being treated as scapegoats by plant management, and claim they were never trained to perform the fire inspections.

“Now the company [Entergy] lawyer is asking us questions, saying the NRC will be speaking with us…and that we could be criminally liable,” a suspended security officer told a reporter from WWMT News Channel 3.

The falsification of fire reports was discovered in June when physical documents indicating fire inspections had been performed were found to not match the digital records from security key cards tracking employee movements in the plant. Entergy began an internal investigation after finding the discrepancy.

In 2013 and 2014, employees at the Entergy-owned Waterford nuclear power plant in Louisiana were also found to have falsified nearly a year’s worth of fire watch logs.w

Source: Detroit Free Press

Source: WWMT

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New film about Indian Point nuclear power plant provides insights about regulating the nuclear industry"> Thumbnail for 809001

“Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky—so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

At Indian Point 2 and 3 there have been frequent accidents and issues involving releases of radioactivity through the years. The discharges of tritium or irradiated water, H30, which cannot be filtered out of good water, into the aquifer below the Westinghouse nuclear plants and also the Hudson River have been a major concern.

But it’s not just Indian Point that “Indian Point” is about. The film emphasizes: “With so much attention focused on Indian Point, the future of nuclear plants in the United States might depend on what happens here.”

“I would give the film an ‘A.’ I wholeheartedly recommend it for wide release throughout the United States,” says Priscilla Star, founder of the Coalition Against Nukes: “It is a stellar learning tool. It depicts the David-versus-Goliath struggle involving those trying to close these decrepit nuclear plants and the profit-hungry nuclear industry. It shows grassroots activists fighting the time bombs in their community.”

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. For the past two weeks it has been showing five-times-a-day at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, also in Manhattan. That run will go until Thursday, July 21. On Friday, July 22, it is to open in Los Angeles. After its theatrical release, it will air on the Epix cable TV channel.

Among those in the film are anti-Indian Point activist Marilyn Elie and long-time environmental journalist Roger Witherspoon who has written extensively about Indian Point. And also Entergy employees appear. Meeropol and her crew were given full access to the nuclear plants.

The documentary provides a special focus on Dr. Gregory Jaczko. He was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan began in March 2011. As notes Meeropol, Jaczko sought to have “lessons learned” from the Fukushima catastrophe—which involved General Electric nuclear plants—applied to nuclear …read moreRead More


California to reconsider $4.7 San Onofre settlement after corruption allegations undermine public confidence"> Thumbnail for 808241

This week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will start to reconsider the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station settlement that was reached in March 2013 and left consumers on the hook instead of utility shareholders for $3.3 billion of a $4.7 billion negotiated settlement for a broken nuclear power plant that was forced to shut down after a radiation leak in January 2012. The commission itself has been under investigation since 2014 for its seemingly inappropriate relationships with the very utilities it is supposed to regulate.

Reopening the settlement allows ratepayers the opportunity to get a more fair and balanced position at the negotiating table while parties divide the costs of the failed steam generator replacement project that lead to the premature shut-down of the San Onofre reactors.

It has been discovered that the settlement that assigned ratepayers (not the utilities that owned and operated the plant) the majority of the costs for the premature shutdown, was negotiated and defined almost entirely in private communications and backroom meetings between the regulators and company officials, and not through the appropriately designed public process – which would have ensured that the public interest was being upheld.

The settlement process is designed to guarantee representatives from all stakeholder parties; regulatory agencies, the ownership organizations, and appointed representatives for the ratepayers, a seat at the negotiating table. Instead, Edison, the company that owned and operated the San Onofre nuclear power plant cooperated closely with regulators behind the scenes to subvert the public process and negotiate the terms of the settlement and strategy for dealing with the backlash from the public when the settlement would be presented.

In March 2014, Edison revealed the settlement to the public, portraying it as a $1.4 billion “rebate” for ratepayers – referencing the amount of costs that the utilities would cover for the premature closure of the plant. Consumer groups started criticizing the deal after it was learned that the ratepayers would be funding the other $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion settlement.

Ultimately, it was the news media that uncovered the truth and laid it bare before the public. Reporters uncovered a wealth of e-mails and corporate correspondence which exposed the backchannel communications and how terms of the settlement were established.

Simply stated, Edison, a company that was supposed to be under investigation by the CPUC, was instead working covertly with the regulators that were supposed to be investigating them, to discretely negotiate a critical settlement that ultimately transferred billions of dollars of costs from the utility to the public.

One of the reasons that this corruptive behavior may have occurred was because both Edison and the CPUC shared an interest in obtaining documents from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – the company that manufactured the faulty steam generators that ultimately forced the plant to shut-down. Edison is in court with Mitsubishi, seeking $7.6 billion for the failed steam generators.

For several months, commission lawyers worked directly with Edison attorneys to draft and issue subpoenas used in the case against Mitsubishi. The …read moreRead More


said-no-pro-nuke-supporter-ever

said-no-pro-nuke-supporter-ever

Nuclear Power Is a Moral, Public Health and Public Safety Issue,
a Crime Against Humanity, All Living Creatures, and Our One and Only Home – Planet Earth

The purpose of this paper is to urge you to include a plank in the Democratic Party Platform to close all nuclear power plants now, not to build any new ones, not to allocate money in bills for research for new nuclear technology, new kinds of “safer” nuclear power plants and to once and for all acknowledge that nuclear power is not clean, green, renewable. To exclude such a plank puts the Democratic Party on the side of the nuclear industry and against We the People. We absolutely do not need nuclear power to save the climate, now or ever. … Read More