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U.S. Nuclear Sites

We need to strengthen nuclear power safety

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Japan, U.S. Nuclear Sites | Comments Off

Opinion: Letter

July 9 — To the Editor:

The Herald’s recent editorial on several safety-related problems at the Seabrook nuclear power plant (Nuke plant safety woes worrisome, June 26) underscores the fact that strengthening nuclear power safety is the responsibility of all citizens and individuals, community groups, business leaders and elected officials, (who) should speak out about the potential threat to the Seacoast posed by the plant’s continued operation.

Regardless of whether one is pro- or anti-nuclear, the need to make nuclear power plants as safe as possible is a no-brainer. We know severe nuclear accidents can happen, with massive human, economic and environmental consequences. Last year’s Fukushima earthquake and tsunami is an obvious case in point. Tens of thousands of Japanese citizens lost their homes and livelihoods. A wide swath of the Japanese countryside will be uninhabitable for decades. And the Japanese economy was devastated. Conservative estimates put the total cost of the disaster and clean-up at more than $100 billion.

It goes without saying that (more…)

Los Alamos Underestimates Radiation Leak Risk

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Environmental News, Featured, U.S. Nuclear Sites | Comments Off

One of the nation’s main nuclear weapons labs has sharply underestimated the amount of radiation that could leak from the facility as a result of an earthquake, according to a federal advisory panel.

The radiation could be more than four times as intense as the Los Alamos National Laboratory predicted in a safety analysis last year, according to a recent report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The New Mexico laboratory’s analysis included “multiple, substantial deficiencies,” wrote Peter S. Winokur, chairman of the advisory board. The higher estimate calls for “additional safety controls” and “prompt action,” he added.

The report’s findings raise questions about the safety and reliability of Los Alamos, which says its work includes ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. (more…)

America’s New Nuclear Plants Cost Billions More Than Expected

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Environmental News, Featured, U.S. Nuclear Sites | Comments Off

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ATLANTA (AP) — America’s first new nuclear plants in more than a decade are costing billions more to build and sometimes taking longer to deliver than planned, problems that could chill the industry’s hopes for a jumpstart to the nation’s new nuclear age.

Licensing delay charges, soaring construction expenses and installation glitches as mundane as misshapen metal bars have driven up the costs of three plants in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, from hundreds of millions to as much as $2 billion, according to an Associated Press analysis of public records and regulatory filings.

Those problems, along with jangled nerves from last year’s meltdown in Japan and the lure of cheap natural gas, could discourage utilities from sinking cash into new reactors, experts said. The building slowdown would be another blow to the so-called nuclear renaissance, a drive over the past decade to build 30 new reactors to meet the country’s growing power needs. Industry watchers now say that only a handful will be built this decade.

“People are looking at these things very carefully,” (more…)

The Nuclear Neighborhood – Tests from 1945-1998

Posted by on Jul 8, 2012 in Featured, International Sites, U.S. Nuclear Sites | Comments Off

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.