|published Friday, June 14, 2013 ||69 Views :: 0 Comments|
June 14, 2013
|The latest rendering of the Uranium Processing Facility, the multibillion-dollar production facility to be constructed at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge. The UPF would replace several old production facilities at Y-12, some of which date back to the World War II Manhattan Project. (SPECIAL TO THE NEWS SENTINEL) |
By Frank Munger
From the Knoxville News Sentinel
A retired federal official who helped guide the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source to a successful completion in 2006 — ahead of schedule and within budget — said he’s afraid another big Oak Ridge project may be headed for disaster.
David Wilfert, who retired from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2006 after SNS construction was finished, said the management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 appears to be “out of control.” The project could end up costing $10 billion or more, he said.
Wilfert said he was shocked last fall when the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-independent part of DOE, admitted that after spending $500 million the original design was not big enough to accommodate all the equipment and would have to be redone.
|published Thursday, June 06, 2013 ||201 Views :: 0 Comments|
June 1, 2013
From the Associated Press
RICHLAND, Wash. — A stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And it is leaking.
For 42 years, tank AY-102 has stored some of the deadliest material at one of the most environmentally contaminated places in the country: the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This complex along the Columbia River holds a storied place in American history. It was here that workers produced the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 — effectively ending the second world war.
Today Hanford’s legacy is less about what was made here than the environmental mess left behind — and the federal government’s inability, for nearly a quarter-century now, to rid Hanford once and for all of its worst hazard: 56 million gallons of toxic waste cached in aging underground tanks.
|published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 ||234 Views :: 4 Comments|
May 26, 2013
By the New York Times Editorial Board
From The New York Times
The United States has about 180 B61 gravity nuclear bombs based in Europe. They are the detritus of the cold war, tactical weapons deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey to protect NATO allies from the once-feared Soviet advantage in conventional arms. But the cold war is long over, and no American military commander can conceive of their ever being used. Even so, President Obama has put $537 million in his 2014 budget proposal to upgrade these bombs. When all is said and done, experts say, the cost of the rebuilding program is expected to total around $10 billion — $4 billion more than an earlier projection — and yield an estimated 400 weapons, fitted with new guided tail kits so that they are more reliable and accurate than the current ones.
This is a nonsensical decision, not least because it is at odds with Mr. Obama’s own vision. In a seminal speech in Prague in 2009 and a strategy review in 2010, Mr. Obama advocated the long-term goal of a world without nuclear arms and promised to reduce America’s reliance on them. He also promised not to field a new and improved warhead.
|published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 ||260 Views :: 1 Comments|
Rain cuts short planned 9-mile walk
May 27, 2013
From KMBC Kansas City
A hardy group of protesters marked Memorial Day in Kansas City with a rain-soaked march that went part of the way from the old Honeywell plant to the new facility.
The group intended to walk the 9-mile route, but stopped about halfway and drove the rest of the way to the new National Security Campus.
"The rest of the world is trying to get rid of nuclear weapons," said Henry Stoever of Peace Works Kansas City. "Here we have a plant that constructs nuclear parts."
|published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 ||354 Views :: 1 Comments|
By Frank Munger
From the Knoxville News Sentinel
May 21, 2013
|From B&W Y-12: The latest conceptual image of the Uranium Processing Facility released by the National Nuclear Security Administration.|
For the past couple of years, the government has stood behind a cost range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion for the Uranium Processing Facility, but that range may not be able to contain the giant project's growing costs as the schedule gets pushed into the future and funding gets stretched out.
Todd Jacobson of Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor this week reported that, based on a Government Accountability Office briefing prepared for congressional committees, the cost of UPF could go beyond the $6.5 billion estimated cap and perhaps go well beyond it.
According to information in the GAO's 27-page briefing package, the "space/fit" problem that forced the UPF team to re-do the building's design to accommodate more equipment is a big part of the cost escalation. The GAO cited NNSA documents that say the space problem will add $540 million to the project's cost, delay the start of construction and delay the start of facility operations by 13 months.
|published Friday, April 26, 2013 ||529 Views :: 1 Comments|
Legislation would establish new agency to find storage for high-level radioactive waste.
|Gregory Bull | Associated Press file photo FILE - This Sept. 13, 2012 file photo shows the San Onofre nuclear power plant along the Pacific Ocean coastline in San Onofre, Calif. Two years after Japan's nuclear crisis, Alison Macfarlane, the top U.S. regulator, says American nuclear power plants are safer than ever, but not trouble-free.|
By Thomas Burr
From the Salt Lake Tribune
April 25, 2013
A bipartisan group of senators wants to form a federal agency responsible for finding homes for the nation’s scattered stockpile of nuclear waste — but only if the eventual storage sites would welcome the radioactive leftovers.
The draft legislation, unveiled Thursday, would implement plans from a blue-ribbon commission that sought to end a stalemate over what to do with tens of thousands of tons of high-level nuclear waste piling up around the nation at nuclear reactors since the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada was shelved.
The proposal would allow for temporary storage until a permanent facility is constructed. There are no plans at present to house either in Utah. A consortium of utilities backing a nuclear storage site on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation has surrendered its license.
|published Monday, April 22, 2013 ||563 Views :: 0 Comments|
Plan to spend $10bn on updating nuclear bombs goes against 2010 pledge not to deploy new weapons, say critics
April 21, 2013
By Julian Borger
From the Guardian (UK)
Nearly 200 B61 gravity bombs would be given new tail fins that would turn them into guided weapons delivered by stealth F35 fighter-bombers. Photograph: EPA
Barack Obama has been accused of reneging on his disarmament pledges after it emerged the administration was planning to spend billions on upgrading nuclear bombs stored in Europe to make the weapons more reliable and accurate.
Under the plan, nearly 200 B61 gravity bombs stockpiled in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey would be given new tail fins that would turn them into guided weapons that could be delivered by stealth F35 fighter-bombers.
"This will be a significant upgrade of the US nuclear capability in Europe," said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of Nuclear Scientists. "It flies directly in the face of the pledges Obama made in 2010 that he would not deploy new weapons."
|published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ||3232 Views :: 0 Comments|
Nov 21, 2012
By Thomas Clements
From the Aiken Leader
Photo by: Tom Clements, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
CEO-designate Bill Johnson address the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board meeting on November 15. The issue of TVA's testing and use of plutonium fuel (MOX) was notably absent from the board's agenda. Based on cost, technical and public relations problems, Mr. Johnson will have an easy decision before him to terminate TVA's consideration of weapons-grade MOX, a new fuel form never before commercially used. According to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, the MOX turkey must not be pardoned and Congress must put it on the chopping block.
Columbia, SC – The Tennessee Valley Authority, the main nuclear utility that the Department of Energy is pursuing for use of plutonium fuel (MOX) made from surplus weapons plutonium, continues to stand up to DOE pressure to test and use the experimental MOX fuel.
The TVA board met at the Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville, Alabama on November 15 and the controversial MOX issue was avoided during board deliberations. In attendance was Bill Johnson, the new TVA CEO set to begin in January 2013. Even though DOE is now preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on MOX use, the MOX issue has not yet appeared on the agenda of the TVA board and TVA continues to maintain its stated position against MOX use.
In the public “listening session” at the start of the board meeting, the Alliance of Nuclear Accountability and several other organizations and individuals spoke about the foolishness of MOX testing and use by TVA and urged the agency to withdraw its consideration of MOX. ANA delivered a letter to board members pointing out problems with pursuit of MOX.
|published Monday, November 26, 2012 ||1985 Views :: 0 Comments|
By the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
Nov 25, 2012
It’s past time to take a hard look at what to do with the U.S. agency that manages the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.
In a rare bit of bipartisan common sense, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who is retiring at the end of the year, have introduced an amendment to the pending Defense Authorization Bill seeking to establish an advisory panel to take just such a look at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Udall wants the panel to come up with ways to reform the NNSA, which is responsible for the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs. It oversees the U.S. nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Together they employ about 20,000 people here.
The New Mexico labs and other NNSA installations have been plagued with untenable cost overruns, spiraling budgets and bureaucracies mired in red tape.
|published Thursday, November 08, 2012 ||2669 Views :: 0 Comments|
|From left to right: Kathy Crandall-Robinson (Women's Action for New Directions), Jonathan Epstein (Senate Armed Services Committee), and Katherine Fuchs (Alliance for Nuclear Accountability) |
Nov. 8, 2012
Recently, a delegation of Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) staff and members met with Senate Armed Services Committee Majority Council to discuss our opposition to the proposed Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) facility. Our delegation represented 67 organizations opposed to building the new Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Site in Tennessee. These organizations include national groups such as Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women’s Action for New Directions, as well as local groups like the Archdiocese of Detroit.
The 67 organizations all signed onto a letter circulated by ANA requesting that Senator Levin and his colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee not accelerate funding for the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) project. The UPF exemplifies many of the problems endemic to National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) projects, and has recently received media attention for contractors’ failure to design the building large enough to fit all necessary equipment inside.