|published Friday, April 26, 2013 ||290 Views :: 0 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 ||318 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 ||489 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 ||382 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.
|published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 ||489 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Shannon Dinny
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Pink slips went out Monday to nearly 250 workers and more than 2,500 others were notified that they face furloughs of several weeks at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, where cleanup is likely to be slowed because of automatic federal budget cuts.
About 9,000 people work at south-central Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which produced plutonium for the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal beginning in World War II and through the Cold War.
|published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 ||479 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Greg Rohloff
The Amarillo Independent
During a daylong hearing on concerns over safety at Pantex, Dr. Peter S. Winokur, chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, addressed an array of National Nuclear Security Administration officials on Thursday and noted that, of all the facilities in the nuclear weapons complex, Pantex is the one he considered to be the gold standard for safety.
That a safety procedure review last summer would indicate employees felt undervalued by Pantex managers, that rocking the boat at the plant could lead to retaliation and possibly threaten the progress of a career, that meeting production schedules was valued more than meeting safety requirements, puzzled Winokur and other board members.
|published Monday, March 11, 2013 ||829 Views :: 2 Comments|
Fee Award Assessments Show Nuclear Weapons Complex in Disarray; Untested Changes to Reliable Stockpile Planned and Encouraged; NNSA Head Increased Profits For Contractors Despite Poor Performance; Greater Federal Oversight of Taxpayers’ Money Needed
By Jay Coghlan
Nuclear Watch New Mexico
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has recently released Fiscal Year 2012 Performance Evaluation Reports on its contractors at its eight nuclear weapons sites, following Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s successful lawsuit for FY 2011 Reports. These assessments are the scorecards for Performance Evaluation Plans negotiated between the government and its nuclear weapons contractors, which awards the contractors hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Public access to these reports is of increasing importance as federal oversight is being continuously diminished. The trend of soaring contractor profits paired with decreasing accountability should be reversed, especially given sequester budget cuts that will further handicap federal oversight.
Nuclear Watch New Mexico has released an analysis and selected excerpts of the FY 2012 NNSA Performance Evaluation Reports. In summary:
|published Friday, March 01, 2013 ||595 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Matthew Daly
The Associated Press
It was not clear Thursday whether cleanup of the leaking tanks would be affected by the spending cuts. Overall cleanup efforts at Hanford — one of the nation’s most contaminated sites — would be curtailed, Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow said.
A report by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee said more than 1,000 mostly private workers at Hanford could be furloughed. Hanford and other Energy Department defense sites where radioactive waste is stored would be forced to suspend or delay cleanup activities and even shut down some facilities, the report said.
|published Thursday, February 28, 2013 ||922 Views :: 2 Comments|
|published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 ||953 Views :: 2 Comments|
By Renee Parsons
The Huffington Post
As automatic sequestration budget cuts loom, the Department of Energy has managed to keep a $5 billion plutonium plant alive - just barely. According to an Office of Budget and Management proposed budget, funding for the controversial Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel program would be cut 75 percent with no justification for not pursuing an outright cancellation.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union ending the Cold War in 1990, the United States was faced with the dilemma of discarding a stockpile of dismantled nuclear warheads containing tons of lethal plutonium, leftovers from a frenzied arms-race with Russia that fabricated thousands of unnecessary budget-busting nuclear weapons, warheads and bombs since the end of WW II.