Take action on Diablo Canyon NPP: tell California State Lands Commission to do full CEQA review

From Mothers for Peace

California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, serves on the three-member State Lands Commission.  This Commission leases the land to PG&E for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.  These leases are due to expire in 2018 and 2019.

ACTION: Send an email to the Commission asking the staff to prepare a full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for the land leases before considering a renewal. Also ask that the meeting scheduled for April 5 be held in San Luis Obispo County.  Send the message to:  Jennifer.Lucchesi at slc.ca.gov

Gavin Newsom Speaks on Diablo Canyon

 

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20,000 drums of radioactive waste waiting in Idaho for disposal

From the Post Register

February 25, 2016

Containers filled with radioactive waste continue to stack up in the desert west of Idaho Falls.

There are nearly 20,000 steel drums filled with the transuranic waste, waiting to find a permanent resting place. The waste is in a holding pattern as a New Mexico nuclear waste repository slowly recovers from a pair of 2014 accidents.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. is scheduled to reopen to limited operations in December, U.S. Department of Energy officials told the Idaho National Laboratory Site Citizens Advisory Board last week.

But DOE officials said there is still much uncertainty about when Idaho will be cleared to begin shipping out its growing stockpile of waste. That’s because even when the repository known as WIPP reopens, it’s still not expected to be back at full strength for several more years as additional repairs are made. In addition, other federal facilities around the country will be hoping to send their growing waste collections all at once, too, creating a bottleneck.

“I think it’s fair to say that once does WIPP does resume operations, it will be at a much slower pace than what we were accustomed to before the shutdown,” said Brad Bugger, a supervisor at DOE’s Idaho Operations Office.

That continued uncertainty about when the waste will leave Idaho has led to new concerns that the DOE will miss another state-mandated cleanup milestone in the 1995 Settlement Agreement. The agreement said the transuranic waste — which continues to be slowly uncovered and repackaged at the desert site — needs to be gone from the state by the end of 2018.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” to meet the deadline, said Susan Burke, INL coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. She added that continuing to process and package the waste into drums — even if it can’t yet be shipped outside Idaho — is still safer for the environment and human health than leaving it in place.

The waste includes tools, rags, clothing, sludge and dirt — anything contaminated with a transuranic element such as plutonium. Most of it came from the now-closed Rocky Flats Plant outside Denver, where nuclear weapon components were made.

Truckloads of waste, held in wooden and fiberglass boxes and metal drums, were shipped to the site in the 1970s and ’80s, where it was dumped and covered over with dirt. For years DOE cleanup contractors have been working to carefully clean up the mess that was left behind.

In a recent interview, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said he is keeping an eye on the approaching 2018 deadline. DOE is already out of compliance with the Settlement Agreement due to liquid waste that was supposed to be treated by 2012. The department also is in violation of a Settlement Agreement requirement to ship a running average of 2,000 cubic meters of transuranic waste out of the state each year.

“I certainly believe we have time right now if the Department of Energy is willing — and we’re trying to engage them in conversation about that 2018 deadline — that we can find a way to resolve some of that,” Wasden said. “One of those (ways to resolve the problem) would be to have a prioritization of shipments to WIPP once it is open.”

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Explosion heard in Iwaki City, 60 km from Fukushima, still unidentified

From Fukushima Diary

Unidentified explosive sound heard in Iwaki city twice on 8th Feb

Iwaki city citizens reported to police, fire department and city hall that they heard something explode on 2/8/2016.

It reportedly sounded like thunder or exploding meteorite. It also shook the buildings and windows.

The most reports were sent from Onahama area. The cause hasn’t been identified nor any damage was reported.

Onahama area is approx. 60km from Fukushima plant. Tepco has not announced anything about the plant status related to this issue.

Video and sound can be watched here.

http://togetter.com/li/935857

http://blog.livedoor.jp/kinisoku/archives/4579163.html

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/02/unidentified-explosive-sound-heard-in-iwaki-city-twice-on-8th-feb/

Possible explosion in Iwaki city still unidentified

February 19, 2016

The cause of the possible explosion still have not been identified.

NIED (National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention) observed weak tremor that last for a few tens of seconds around 15:30 of 2/8/2016, when the explosive sound was observed in Iwaki city.  The tremor was measured even in Hitachi city of Ibaraki prefecture. However NIED denies the possibility of an earthquake because the tremor was observed in widespread area at once. They also denied the possibility of meteorite.

Meteorite was not seen by anyone either.

Ministry of defense comments none of their fighter aircraft flew above Iwaki city that time.

However, none of the investigation has been implemented for the potential connection with Fukushima plant so far.

http://maguro.2ch.sc/test/read.cgi/poverty/1455859525/l50

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/02/possible-explosion-in-iwaki-city-still-unidentified/

PG&E covers up continued safety problems at Diablo Canyon

From the Lompoc Record
February 25, 2016

Nuke plant poses risks

PG&E recently reported to the NRC its analysis of an incident that occurred on Dec. 31, 2014, at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

PG&E described it as an “event or condition that could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems needed to remove residual heat and mitigate the consequences of an accident.” Do they mean meltdown?

Just how small of a problem was this that took over a year to diagnose, repair and report? Did they shut down part of the plant during that year, or did they continue to operate without knowing the cause of the problem?

Once again we are reminded that while we sleep, the possibility of a nuclear disaster at Diablo is very real. How many safety regulations have been fudged away over the years? What health risks are people living downwind from these reactors subjected to?

The way for California to safely meet carbon emission standards is by using renewable sources, not by keeping Diablo open. Renewables mean no carbon or highly toxic radioactive waste hanging around for 250,000 years.

Shut it down now, before it’s too late.

by Simone Malboeuf
Los Osos

http://lompocrecord.com/news/opinion/mailbag/hartmann-nuke-risks-oil-trains/article_9f1703e4-4a34-5f16-997c-6be468a26bc9.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

 

Group to monitor trial of former TEPCO executives to clarify truth about Fukushima disaster

From Asahi Shimbun

By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer

January 27, 2016

Lawyers, journalists and scientists will form a group to help expose the truth and spread details about the Fukushima nuclear disaster during the criminal trial of three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

“We will encourage the court to hold a fair trial while transmitting information regarding the trial across the nation,” said an official of the planned organization, whose name is translated as “support group for the criminal procedure on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”

Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of TEPCO, the operator of the crippled plant, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, face mandatory charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

Although the trial is still months away, 33 people are now setting up the group, including Ruiko Muto, who heads an organization pursuing the criminal responsibility of TEPCO and government officials for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tetsuji Imanaka, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, and Norma Field, a professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, have also joined.

Three reactors melted down at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011. A number of hospital patients died in the chaotic evacuation.

About 14,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture filed a criminal complaint against TEPCO executives, government officials and scientists in 2012, saying they were aware of the dangers to the Fukushima nuclear plant from a tsunami, but they failed in their responsibility to take proper countermeasures.

Tokyo prosecutors twice decided not to indict the three former TEPCO executives. However, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, a panel of citizens, decided to forcibly indict the three in July last year.

“It has been almost five years since the disaster, but many details, including their foreseeability of the tsunami, remain unclear,” said science writer Takashi Soeda, one of the group’s co-founders. “As TEPCO has not unveiled a sufficient amount of information even in inquiries conducted by the Diet and the government or in civil lawsuits, the truth must be uncovered through the legal force of a criminal trial.”

Five lawyers appointed by the Tokyo District Court will act as prosecutors in the trial.

Legal experts expect the lawyers will indict the former TEPCO executives and release a statement naming the victims around March 11, the fifth anniversary of the triple disaster that still haunts the Tohoku region.

Charges near for former TEPCO executives over Fukushima nuclear disaster

From Asahi Shimbun

February 26, 2016

Lawyers on Feb. 29 are expected to indict three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The indictment mandated by a citizens panel will be filed at the Tokyo District Court by lawyers serving as prosecutors.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, a 75-year-old former TEPCO chairman, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69, led the utility when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The indictment will say the three former executives were aware that such a large tsunami could strike the coast of the Tohoku region, but they did not take measures to protect the nuclear plant.

The indictment will also argue that their failure to carry out their professional duties led to the deaths of patients at hospitals in mandatory evacuation zones as well as injuries to other residents during the evacuation.

A criminal complaint was filed against the three former executives by residents and citizens groups.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in September 2013 decided not to indict the former executives, saying it was difficult for TEPCO to forecast such a large-scale natural disaster hitting the nuclear plant.

However, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution in July 2014 overrode the prosecutors’ decision, and sent the case back to them for a further look.

But the prosecutors again decided not to indict the three.

The citizens panel in July 2015 again overrode the decision, saying the three former executives should face mandatory indictment and be tried in court.

Court-appointed lawyers will serve as the prosecutors in the trial.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602260087

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

TEPCO begins burning contaminated workers’ clothing

The radiation will go into the air and add to the contamination spreading far and wide.

“lightly contaminated”, “low-level radiation” — more cover-up by TEPCO and the news media

From Asahi Shimbun

By HIROMI KUMAI/ Staff Writer
February 26, 2016

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Tokyo Electric Power Co. has started to incinerate the thousands of boxes of lightly contaminated waste, including clothing used by workers, at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to reduce the amount of tainted waste on the site.

TEPCO, the plant operator, fired up a special on-site incinerator on Feb. 25 to burn protective suits, gloves, socks and other work clothes worn by plant workers that became contaminated with low-level radiation.

The operation will reduce the amount of tainted work clothing accumulating at the plant during decommissioning operations since the nuclear disaster unfurled in March 2011. The garments cannot be processed outside the plant due to the radiation.

The clothing being incinerated are items with the lowest levels of contamination that have been stored in tens of thousands of 1 cubic-meter special boxes. The number of containers reached 66,000 at the end of last year.

The incinerator is equipped with two types of filters that can reduce the radioactive levels of the exhaust air to less than one-millionth, while reducing the capacity of the waste to about 2 percent.

The incinerator can burn a maximum of 14 tons of items per day when it is operated to capacity for 24 hours. The ash residue will be stored in metallic barrels on the plant compound.

The incineration project was authorized by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in July 2014. TEPCO began operational tests of the incinerator using untainted waste last fall.