|published Friday, June 14, 2013 ||80 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 ||219 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 ||244 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 ||272 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 29, 2013 ||288 Views :: 1 Comments|
May 25, 2013
While the House of Representatives is still looking to the stalled Yucca Mountain project to solve the nation's Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) problem, the Senate is moving ahead in a different direction. On April 25th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee released a "discussion draft" of a bill to begin a pilot "consolidated interim storage" program.
The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) does not support consolidated storage of SNF, as it does not solve the problem of SNF and would actually spreads the problem to new areas. Consolidated storage will expose communities across the country to increased radiation as nuclear waste rolls down highways and train tracks. Instead of consolidated storage, ANA supports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission mandating a system of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS).
HOSS would keep SNF as close as safely possible to its site of generation, thereby exposing fewer people to radiation. A HOSS program utilizing passively cooled dry casks would be a solution to over-crowded spent fuel pools at reactors and provide increased protection from human or natural disasters, like terrorist attacks and earthquakes.
Read the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources "discussion draft" nuclear waste bill here
Read ANA's response to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee here
|published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 ||364 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 ||538 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 ||573 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 Monday, April 22, 2013 ||891 Views :: 0 Comments|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2013
CONTACT: Snake River Alliance
Liz Woodruff, Executive Director
208-344-9161 (w); 208-871-4597 (c)
BOISE – If Thursday’s complaint by two Idaho National Laboratory workers exposed to plutonium shows anything, it is that the Department of Energy and its INL contractor must be more vigilant about the hazards of the materials handled at the Idaho site but also more transparent when dangerous accidents occur and more responsible in helping injured workers, the Snake River Alliance said Friday.
INL workers Ralph Stanton and Brian Simmons say INL contractor Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) not only created a dangerous work environment but also retaliated against the two when they raised concerns about their exposure to plutonium in a November 2011 accident that affected more than a dozen workers.
On Thursday, Seattle attorney Jack Sheridan filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the retaliation but also that BEA downplayed the significance of the workers’ plutonium exposure, transferred them to lower level jobs and took various forms of disciplinary actions against them.
|published Wednesday, April 03, 2013 ||551 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Annette Cary
Flammable gases in Hanford's underground tanks holding radioactive waste continue to pose a possible risk of an explosion, according to a letter from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked the defense board for a rundown of current issues at Hanford as he prepares for a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary nominee. Wyden is the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.