Friday, June 1, 2012

Beyond Nuclear - newsreel, links

Larry King

Tell EPA, don’t sacrifice Navajo water for uranium mining!

Former uranium mine worker and Navajo leader, Larry J. King (pictured), has gathered 10,000+ signatures and growing on a petition to stop new uranium mines that will contaminate Navajo drinking water supplies. Hydro Resources requested a permit 23 years ago to mine from an aquifer at four sites in two New Mexico towns: Church Rock and neighboring Crownpoint. It has since received permits from the EPA and NRC and the state. The Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mininghas been fighting the plan since 1994. The site is on private land but within the Navajo community. The Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on its own lands. Mining from the aquifer for uranium will pollute the water under the two towns and make it undrinkable.  Read more and please sign the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency which is revisiting its decision to grant Hydro Resources a permit.

Down to the wire on latest "Mobile Chernobyl" bill, action needed!

The next week or two are crucial for stopping the "consolidated interim storage" legislation that already passed the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, ironically enough on April 26th, the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. The bill would effectively transfer liability from high-level radioactive waste generators to American taxpayers, while "playing" a risky radioactive waste "shell game" on our roads, rails, and waterways. The temporary parking lot dumps could simply see the deadly wastes "returned to sender" someday, for lack of a permanent disposal plan, effectively doubling transport risks. Major metropolitan areas would face accident ("Mobile Chernobyl") and terrorism ("dirty bombs on wheels") risks. Please call U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office at (202) 224-3542. Urge that he block this bill from reaching the Senate floor. Likewise, phone your own two U.S. Senators' offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and urge they stop this dangerous bill dead in its tracks. More.

Urge U.S. government to take action on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4

Despite a high profile visit by Japanese nuclear and environment minister Goshi Hosono, Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4's high-level radioactive waste storage pool remains at risk of another earthquake draining away its cooling water supply and causing a catastrophic radioactive inferno with very large-scale releases directly into the environment. Urge your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to support U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) call for the U.S. to offer assistance to the Japanese government to accelerate removal of the irradiated fuel from the precarious pool. Phone your Congress Members via the Capitol Switchboard at(202) 224-3121. Also contact the White House with the same urgent request.More.
Universities’ study links radioactive bluefin tuna caught off California coast to Fukushima disaster.

Beyond Nuclear has posted several media accounts of a joint scientific study by Stanford University and Stony Brook University finding “unequivocal evidence” that massive radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe turned up in fish caught off the coast of California.  The scientific report concludes that Fukushima has "caused significant local and global concern regarding the spread of radioactive material."  The authors published their study Pacific bluefin tuna transport Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to California in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More.

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Stony Brook and Stanford Universities link radioactive bluefin tuna caught off California coast to Fukushima

As reported at The Raw Story: Bluefin tuna are large, fast-swimming fish, growing up to ten feet in length and weighing up to half a ton. The fish swim at “breakneck” speeds and cross the oceans to feed and mate, up to 45,000 miles over 16 months, scientific studies have shown.A study, published by the universities at Stony Brook and Stanford, has scientifically linked  radioactive contamination in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California in August 2011, to the massive releases of radionuclides into ocean waters from Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear catastrophe which began in March 2011. The scientific report concludes that Fukushima has "caused significant local and global concern regarding the spread of radioactive material."  The authors with Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University jointly published "Pacific bluefin tuna transport Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to California” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The authors report "unequivocal evidence" that the radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 contamination in the bluefin tuna is from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear catastrophe.  The bluefin tuna spawn in the waters of the Western Pacific off the coast of Japan each year and then migrate across the Northern Pacific to the eco-systems in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of California.   Radioactive cesium accumulates in the muscle tissue of fish.  The report states, “Because bluefin tuna are harvested annually in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) at 1.7 – 9.9 x 10metric tonnes (between 1700 and 9900 metric tonnes) for human consumption (2000 to 2010), the possibility of radioactive contamination raises public health concerns.”
The report further states that the samples showed a 10-fold increase in radiocesium concentrations in the commercial fish and, presently, would likely only provide low doses of radioactivity through consumption relative to other naturally occurring radionuclides in those same fish.
However, the study appears to have measured only one kind of radiation: gamma. The researchers do not mention measuring beta or alpha radiation, two types that deliver a much higher dose once inside a human body. This means that any radioactive decay level (usually given in becquerels - Bq) would under represent the actual level of radioactivity. Additionally, the researchers attempt to compare radiocesium contamination with that of naturally occurring radiation. However, such comparisons should be avoided because studies show that cesium can behave very differently, collecting in unexpected places in the body and residing there longer than expected.
The study represents the first evidence that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, coming by way of the Pacific Ocean marine food chain, can ultimately end up increasing internal radioactive exposure and body burden for humans in the US. Since publishing the study, the authors have now caught more bluefin tuna that have completed additional migrations between Japan and California.  These commercial fish will be tested for increased bioaccumulation of radioactive isotopes. Additional bio-magnification of radioactive isotopes like cesium-137 can be expected to continue to increase in the fish food stock in these contaminated eco-systems. The average life span of bluefin tuna can be up to 15 years, meaning that additional fish migrations into these contaminated eco-systems can increase as the result of bio-magnification, bio-accumulation and  the uptake and retention of radioactivity in muscle and organ tissue.

"Not on our Great Lakes: anti-nuclear activist criticizes proposed Ontario waste site"

Jim Bloch of The Voice, serving northern Macomb and St. Clair Counties in eastern Michigan, has reported on the speaking tour of Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps across Michigan, which featured showings of the documentary film "Into Eternity" about the proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste in Finland. The tour was organized by Kay Cumbow of Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), to ring the alarm about the DGR ("Deep Geologic Repository," or DUD, as Greenpeace Canada's Dave Martin dubbed it, for Deep Underground Dump) targeted by the nuclear utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the Bruce Nuclear Complex on the Ontario shoreline of Lake Huron, 50 miles from Michigan and upstream of such communities on the U.S. side as Alpena, Bay City, Port Huron, and Detroit.
Although supposedly "only" for so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes from 20 atomic reactors in Ontario, as Bloch reports, the DUD could easily morph into a catch-all for every category of radioactive waste, including high-level, from 22 operable and additional shutdown reactors across Canada. Concerned citizens and environmental groups are urged to express their opposition to Canadian decision makers by visiting the proposal's environmental assessment website. The Great Lakes (photo, above left), 20% of the world's surface fresh water, and drinking water supply for 40 million people in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American/First Nations, would be put at radiological risk.
It's interesting that OPG chose to cut off its consideration of earthquakes in the area at just 180 years ago: 200 years ago, the New Madrid quakes of 1811 and 1812 -- the largest in North American recorded history -- were powerful enough to impact the Great Lakes region, even though they were epicentered in Missouri. Native American oral history in Michigan, for example, speaks of tsunami-like waves on the Great Lakes. The DUD's entrance tunnel mouth would be located about a half-mile from the Lake Huron shore, as would its surface facilities for handling and storing radioactive wastes.

"Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission" by Karl Grossman

Investigative journalist, and Beyond Nuclear board of directors member, Karl Grossman (pictured, left), has published an article entitled "Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission" which has appeared at the Huffington Post and elsewhere. In it, Karl reports that U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman, Dr. Gregory Jaczko, has been pressured to resign over a year early due to withering attacks by the nuclear power industry and its friends within the NRC and on Capitol Hill, due to his safety advocacy. Karl points out that NRC has never, in its nearly 40 years of existence, denied a license to construct or operate a commercial atomic reactor. It has also rubberstamped 73 license extensions for 20 additional years of operation at U.S. atomic reactors, with 13 other license extensions already applied for.

New York Times editorial: "Nuclear Power After Fukushima"

In a May 25th editorial, the New York Times lauded outgoing U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman, Gregory Jaczko, for his devotion to safety -- such as his call for clear and ambitious deadlines for "Fukushima lessons learned" to be applied at U.S. atomic reactors -- and called on his nominated replacement, Dr. Allison Macfarlane, to keep holding NRC's and the nuclear power industry's feet to the fire.
But, as Beyond Nuclear board of directors member Karl Grossman has put it in his article "Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission," the New York Times "misses the institutional point": Jaczko was crucified by the nuclear power industry, and its friends within the NRC and on Capitol Hill, for his safety advocacy, a fate that could easily befall Macfarlane as well.

"Are U.S. Nuclear Plants Ready for a Fukushima-like Meltdown?"

PBS NewsHour has posed this question, focusing on Entergy Nuclear's River Bend, Louisiana and Indian Point, New York nuclear power plants, featuring the Union of Concerned Scientists' recent report "Living on Borrowed Time: The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2011" (which documented that 5 of the 15 most serious "near-misses" last year took place at Entergy nuclear plants: 2 at Palisades, MI; 2 at Pilgrim, MA; 1 at Cooper, NE), and interviewing outgoing U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, forced out of the agency by his fellow Commissioners' reluctance to expedite "Fukushima lessons learned" safety upgrades at U.S. atomic reactors.

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