|nuclear.com||Nuclear Power||Radiation||nuclear.com's Garage Sale||Discuss the news||About nuclear.com|
The graph shown above depicts the initial findings of European Commission's ExternE project -- a 10-year study of the cost of the damage to the environment and to health caused by different forms of power generation. The EC study found that if these "externalities" were included, the real cost of producing electricity from coal or oil would double and from gas would increase by 30 percent. The ExternE report says that nuclear power involves relatively low external costs due to its low influence on global warming and its low probability of accidents in EU power plants. Wind and hydro energy, however, present the lowest external costs, as the graph shows. Methodological details are available on the ExternE home page.
January 20, 2013
* [npp-environment-film-Pandora's Promise] Pro-nuclear activists get pulpit at Sundance, Romain Raynaldy, Agence France Presse
* [npp-environment] It's Time We Give Nuclear Power a Second Look, Robert Stone (director - Pandora's Promise), Huffington Post, Jan 18, 2013
Sept 27, 2012
Uranium-contaminated site yields wealth of information on underground microbe community, UC-Berkeley press release (via Nevada ANP)
July 20, 2012
* Nuclear is safer than coal or natural gas, even giving full credit to Stanford study on Fukushima health effects, nuclear.com info nugget highlights Nobel prize-winning physicist Burton Richter's comments prompted by recent study by Ten Hoeve and Jacobson of Stanford.
March 5, 2008
February 24, 2008
This is from the front page of today's Asbury Park Sunday Press, of New Jersey.
February 15, 2008
Wolf Creek tritium in Coffey County Lake
Wolf Creek releases radioactive liquid effluent (primarily tritium) into the Coffey County Lake. The lake water contains an average tritium concentration of approximately 13,000 picocuries per liter. During an inspection, NRC found that tritium was present in the plant's fire protection system as a result of using Coffey County Lake as a water supply. The inspector was unsure if the plant was required to treat the tritium in the fire protection system as if it was still licensed material. NRC this week published a "Regulatory Issue Summary" paper on the subject, declaring that the tritium from the lake is no longer considered licensed material, except for purposes of keeping concentration in the lake below maximum allowable, and for actions covered by decommissioning regulations. In addition to this lake water example, the document points out similar reasoning would apply to radioactive material released to atmosphere and then brought back to surface via rain or whatnot.
[Source: NRC Offices of NMSS and NRR, "Reuturn /re-use of previously discharged radioactive effluents", NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2008-03, February 13, 2008 -- ML072120368]
February 11, 2008
This is from the front page of today's The Gazette, of Pikes Peak region of Colorado.
If successful, the new chemical treatment would mean thousands of coal-burning plants worldwide could sharply curtail carbon emissions...
Analysis by his other company, Envirolution Systems, suggests a market potential of $700 billion worldwide for existing coal plants alone.
"It could be the first homegrown billion-dollar business in Colorado Springs," Neumann said.
After achieving success in lab tests, Neumann approached Springs Utilities about testing the process on one of the city's power stations. The testing, which begins today, will attempt to remove emissions on the equivalent of one-tenth of 1 megawatt at a 46-megawatt unit at Drake.
July 13, 2007
October 25, 2006
WWF report: Finns' ecological footprint third-heviest in world
... cropland and grazing land, consumption of timber for paper, pulp, and fuelwood, fishing, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, nuclear power, and the ...
Top power firms urge sustainable energy policies
... In the 'Powering a Sustainable Future' report, the companies urged governments to start favoring low carbon sources of electricity like nuclear, solar and wind ...
* [2006-03-22] High Levels of Radioactive Material in Water
* [2006-03-17] Nuclear Reactors Found to Be Leaking Radioactive Water
* [2006-03-10] Marshall Islands Nuke Test Victims to File Lawsuits
February 16, 2006
Tritium contamination found at Dresden and Byron too (that makes three, counting Braidwood)
In the midst of controversy about a series of leaks of tritium-containing wastewater at Braidwood nuclear plant between 1996 to 2003, Exelon announced Wednesday that it found elevated levels of tritium at the Dresden and Byron nuclear plants, too. Exelon officials said neither leak poses a health or safety threat. The Dresden leak was discovered within a few weeks after it began. Tests last week confirmed the Dresden leak.
Levels of tritium about 25 times higher than the safe drinking water limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were found in a test well near the center of the Dresden property, officials said. Surrounding test wells found levels at or lower than the EPA limit, apparently indicating a localized concentration.
At Byron, water with tritium levels about four times the EPA limit was found standing inside concrete vaults in the ground where several valves are located. Environmental samplings and engineering work is being done to determine if tritium has leaked into the ground outside the vaults.
Exelon said it plans this year to assess all 17 of its nuclear power generating facilities in three states to minimize the risk of inadvertent tritium discharges. "We realize that inadvertent releases are unacceptable and we are committed to eliminating them," Exelon Nuclear chief operating officer Charles Pardee said in the statement.
Tritium is a radioactive substance commonly found in groundwater, but is more concentrated in water used in nuclear reactors. Studies have shown long-term exposure through drinking or bathing can lead to cancer and birth defects.
[Source: Associated Press, "Tritium leaks found at two more Exelon nuclear plants", The Associated Press State & Local Wire, February 16, 2006 6:04 am GMT]
December 27, 2005
RFK Jr's NIMBYism decried by Greenpeace activist
Mr. Kennedy's resistance to the 'Cape Wind' wind farm project is out of step with the environmental community and efforts to fight global warming, according to letter from a Greenpeace employee published in New York Times. The activist, Ms. Smolski, said "This can't be the same man who has been calling for renewable energy, including wind farms." Here's her reply to RFK Jr's argument that the project would kill thousands of birds: "But for every 10,000 bird fatalities, less than one is caused by wind turbines, a far smaller threat than global warming, which could threaten up to 35 percent of all species with extinction by 2050. Additionally, Cape Wind will help prevent situations like the oil spill in Buzzards Bay that killed hundreds of seabirds, contaminated the beaches and closed shellfish beds for a year."
[Source: Kate Smolski (Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace), "Cape Cod Wind Project", letter to editor, The New York Times, December 27, 2005, p. A22]
October 16, 2005
Coal - uranium content in coal creates veritable artifical uranium mine in slag
The burning of brown coal in Victoria's Latrobe Valley (Australia) produces about 70 tonnes of uranium oxide per gigawatt of electrical energy per year. Essentially uncontained and uncontrollable, they are dispersed in air and across the countryside. An artificial uranium mine is contained in the slag material from power station coal combustion and deposited in landfills.
[Ref: Leslie Kemeny (International Nuclear Energy Academy's Australian foundation member), "Players in a safe nuclear tomorrow", MATP/The Australian, October 17, 2005, p. 8]
August 23, 2005
Delaware River - #2 nationally in oil traffic, but no continuous environmental monitoring
... the development of the oil refinery business during the 20th century that has powered the [Delaware River] region's importance to new heights. Of the 2,637 ships that plowed through this part of the river last year, 764 were oil tankers; the second largest number of ships, 435, carried fruit, a third of which goes through the Port of Wilmington, the busiest terminal on the river... This section of the Delaware is home to the worst pollution on the river, and has for centuries swallowed and, over time, digested human sewage and detritus.
Refineries, complete with their crowded pipe-like towers belching smoke and flame, dot the banks of the Delaware and its main tributary, the Schuylkill River, for miles. These refineries handle more than a million barrels of oil a day. "When you look at the 2,600 ships that come up the river yearly, about 900 are carrying chemical- and petroleum-related cargoes," says Dennis Rochford, president of maritime exchange for the Delaware River and Bay. "We're able to bring those ships up safely on a regular basis."
But inevitably, something goes wrong. During the evening of Nov. 26, 2004, the single-hulled Greek Athos I oil tanker, streaming north with the current, began to make a 180-degree right turn so it could dock against the current at the Citgo Asphalt Refinery near Paulsboro, N.J. As it turned, it twice struck a rusting ship's anchor, spilling 265,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the water across the river from the Philadelphia International Airport. The oil spread north to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, and as far south as Pea Patch Island near Delaware City. Although the situation was dire and took months to clean up, it was handled and coordinated well by the U.S. Coast Guard, Rochford says. The Athos spill brought the river needed attention, says Kathy Klein, executive director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, a nonprofit preservation group based in Wilmington. The attention, though, faded too fast. "It's fallen off the radar screen," she says.
Minor chemical and oil spills occur all the time and pollutants make their way to the river -- from the person changing his car's oil to someone dumping household chemicals on pavement. What's worse, no one knows what the long-term effects of the spills may be, says Danielle Kreeger, science coordinator for Delaware Estuary Program. "We are the second-largest oil port in the nation, and there is no continuous monitoring program looking at the effects of hydrocarbons and oil," she says, "even though there are small spills all the time."
[Source: Victor Greto (delawareonline.com) , "How much industry can a river take? South of Trenton, the Delaware is a commercial hub, tainted by pollution", The News Journal (DE), August 23, 2005]
Delaware River - worst pollution was in 1950s-60s, but old problems and new still exist
Despite the Athos spill, the quality of the water in the Delaware has improved. Many who have lived along or worked on the river say it's cleaner than it has been in decades. Out on the river north of Chester, Pa., by the former home of Scott Paper, Hickman Rowland, a 30-year veteran of the river, can see the improvements. "Years ago, you could tell what color toilet paper Scott was making by the color of the water here," says Rowland, owner of Wilmington Tug. "One day it was pink, the next blue." Now, it's more often than not a dependable murky gray, speckled with gulls, herons and osprey.
The worst period for pollution in the river was during the 1950s and 1960s, says Tom Fikslin, a water-quality scientist with the Delaware River Basin Commission. "Much of the cleaning up required upgrades of sewage-treatment plants," which had been spewing raw sewage into the river for decades, he says. Levels of fecal coliform bacteria, the presence of which indicates that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of people or other animals, dropped dramatically in summer samplings of the river in Philadelphia in the past 35 years. Fecal coliform levels dropped from more than 20,000 organisms per 100 milliliters in 1965 to nearly zero today. As levels of this bacteria dropped, oxygen levels in the water, radically low in the mid-1960s, have risen dramatically, allowing fish to breathe.
But the return of fish brought a new problem to light. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are highly toxic synthetic materials used mostly in electrical insulators. Although the Environmental Protection Agency banned PCB production in 1979, a lot of usable equipment still contains them. "When the fish came back after we cleaned up the river, we found they were full of PCBs," Fikslin says. PCBs build up in the environment, usually sticking to soil or sediments and remaining there for years. They have been found in the air, water and food and get into fish through contaminated water, sediment or food eaten by the fish. These PCBs build up in the fish and can reach dangerous levels. In March, the Delaware Division of Wildlife issued a ban on eating fish caught north of the C&D Canal because of the presence of PCBs and other chemicals, including mercury. From the canal to the bay, it issued more limited warnings about striped bass, catfish, American eel, white perch and bluefish, also because of PCBs.
But it's not just industry's fault. For sources of river pollution, industry has become second to stormwater runoff, Fikslin says. To put it simply, Fikslin says, there's no place for the increased storm runoff from development upstream to go except into the tributaries and the river. "The water quality has improved," Klein says. "But there are many problems, and water in the tributaries is getting worse."
[Source: Victor Greto (delawareonline.com) , "How much industry can a river take? South of Trenton, the Delaware is a commercial hub, tainted by pollution", The News Journal (DE), August 23, 2005]
April 16, 2005
* Letters: Going Nuclear
Embracing nuclear power in an attempt to avoid the global-warming implications of reliance on coal is like taking up heroin to avoid an addiction to crack. -- Alice Slater (President, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment)
... if nuclear energy is so great and so cheap, why aren't private entrepreneurs lining up to build nuclear power plants instead of gas-fired power plants? -- Adam Zielinski (Portland, Ore.)
... I, too, am reevaluating my long-held visceral aversion to nuclear fission... [Please] include suggested books, articles, and websites for those of us literate greens who'd like to better educate ourselves on recent work and debate in this area ... -- Howie McCausland (Bristol, Vt.)
... As a former nuclear submarine engineer officer, I am amazed that there are not more environmentally minded people shouting from the mountaintops that we need energy sources clean enough to operate inside sealed containers. ... -- Rod Adams (Editor, Atomic Insights)
March 21, 2005
Nuclear fuel cycle - greenhouse gas emissions comparable to wind, solar
"Nuclear power emits virtually no greenhouse gases. The complete nuclear power chain, from uranium mining to waste disposal, and including reactor and facility construction, emits only 2-6 grams of carbon per kilowatt hour," Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a conference on nuclear energy in the 21st century. "This is about the same as wind and solar power and one to two orders below coal, oil and even natural gas", he added.
[Source: Reuters, "U.N.: Nuclear Energy May Be Back in Vogue", March 21, 2005 6:55 am ET]
February 12, 2005
Cooling water intakes kill massive amounts of sea life
Recent studies of Northern California power plants show that their intakes have a significant impact on local marine populations -- much more than previously thought. In some cases, 10% to 20% of some fish populations were killed. Similar assessments for most Southern California plants haven't been updated since the 1970s.
"We know we've lost trillions of fish larvae, but no one's ever quantified their value to the food chain, other than to say the loss is probably important," said Pete Raimondi, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. He has worked as a consultant for the state Energy Commission, studying the effects of intake pipes on marine life. "We know that they're killed, and at what rate, but beyond that -- what is the long term effect to the rest of the ecosystem? We don't have a clue. We've never looked at that," he said.
At Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo, research shows that its intake pipes affect larval fish populations for three miles up and down the coast and 1 1/4 miles offshore. Recognizing the effects these pipes have on the marine environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 banned the use of seawater for cooling at new power plants.
[Source: Sara Lin (Times staff writer), "Desalting Plant Siting Raises Fears; Locating desalination facilities next to coastal power generators could extend the use of intakes that kill marine life, environmentalists say", Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2005, p. B1]
September 11, 2004
September 3, 2004
September 1, 2004
June 5, 2004
April 4, 2004
March 24, 2004
March 18, 2004
INEEL: Underground grouting proposed around buried waste to isolate aquifer from C14 contamination
Carbon-14 contamination was identified in 2002 near buried blocks of irradiated beryllium at INEEL. As an immediate risk reduction measure, before completing investigation and remediation plan for the entire Subsurface Disposal Area at the lab, officials have proposed injecting grout into the soil to isolate the blocks from water percolating down from the surface, and to isolate the contamination from the Snake River Plain aquifer.
[Ref: Associated Press, "Underground nuclear waste threatens aquifer", The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho), March 17, 2004]
March 5, 2004
February 22, 2004
Wisconsin court nixes gas plant, because wind wasn't considered seriously enough
Earlier this month, Dane County Circuit Judge Moria Krueger told the state Public Service Commission to start over and re-evaluate the environmental impact of two 545-megawatt power plants under construction in downtown Port Washington by Wisconsin Energy Corp. State law calls for the Public Service Commission to give preference to environmentally friendly forms of power generation when debating whether to approve power plant projects. The judge's ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Bob Owen of Middleton against the $650-million project because he believes the PSC has ignored this statute and given short shrift to recommendations of a state study on climate change issued more than five years ago. "It appears that the people that are appointed to the Public Service Commission have no interest whatsoever about whether there is a habitable planet for their children or their grandchildren. They never have taken global warming seriously. I consider it a severe threat, which is growing more and becoming more severe."
[Source: Thomas Content, "Wind-energy proponent proves he's a force to be reckoned with", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 22, 2004, p. 1D]
February 21, 2004
January 23, 2004
January 15, 2004
December 22, 2003
December 12, 2003
November 25, 2003
An essay by Natural Resources Defense Council's Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. today begs the question "Is there any doubt that many so-called environmentalists are indeed the whackos that ol' Rush says they are?" No. There is no doubt. Your humble nuclear.com editor finds it incredible that the same intellectual heritage which hoots at any attempt to define an unborn child as a human being has no trouble endorsing Mr. Kennedy's statement that "[T]he Salem nuclear plant in New Jersey, kills more than 3 billion Delaware River fish each year, according to Martin Marietta, the plant's own consultant." They're "killing obscene numbers of fish" he says. It's a "slaughter", he says. Guess what? He's counting fish eggs. These whackos would be laughable if so much public policy weren't set by their political allies.
[Ref: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Natural Resources Defense Council), "Crimes Against Nature", AlterNet, November 25, 2003]
August 27, 2003
"Linear two-cycle engine" design may allow much better fuel economy, longer engine life, and related advantages
A front page article in this morning's Clarksville, Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle describes an engine which "Some observers [have called] revolutionary with potential to help dramatically reduce American dependency on foreign oil".
The design features ratchet bearings installed in the drive mechanism which allow unneeded pairs of cylinders to shut down until their power is needed. This means an automobile could conceivably cruise on two cylinders while two or more cylinders are at complete rest. The engine produces power on every stroke, as opposed to every other stroke as in typical four cycle engines, so the new design only needs to be half as big. "It generates about 1-1/2 horsepower per pound, so it features a hugely efficient power density", its inventor, Fred Roberts of Clarksville, is quoted as saying. He believes that the engine may be used in cars as soon as seven or eight years from now.
The article says that MIT engineering professor Maureen Lincoln is helping refine the design. A first edition of the 115-horsepower two-cycle linear engine was built by Pennyrile Machine Co. in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Mr. Roberts started it up for the reporter, who noted that the engine gets cooler, rather than hotter, the longer it runs. It is designed to stay cool enough for someone to touch it even when running at higher RPMs.
Mr. Roberts has high hopes for the linear engine concept: "I remember first thinking on the day those two airplanes crashed into the twin towers (of the World Trade Center) that the United States has simply got to come up with a way to be far less dependent on Arab oil. I really think this is it," he said.
[Ref: Jimmy Settle (The Leaf-Chronicle), "Man builds little engine that could change world", The Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville TN), August 27, 2003, p. 1]
August 26, 2003
The Mann-made warning
David Legates, director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware, has an op ed in today's Washington Times describing a fight amongst climate researchers over the recent Soon et al. paper which suggests that the IPCC hockey stick shaped graph of the last millenium's temperatures is quite contradicted by a mass of research. The op ed doesn't mention that Dr. Legates was one of the et al. in Soon et al., but it does give a witty perspective on a fight which illustrates the intellectual dishonesty of the IPCC crowd. [Refs: David Legates, "Global warming smear targets", The Washington Times, August 26, 2003; W. Soon and S. Baliunas, "Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years", Climate Research, 23:89-110, January 31, 2003; and W. Soon et al., "Reconstructing climatic and environment changes of the past 1000 years: a reappraisal", Energy & Environment, 14:2&3, 233-296, April 11, 2003]
August 18, 2003
August 5, 2003
July 2, 2003
June 11, 2003
New Jersey having tough time balancing parkway asthetics with such things as affordable electricity and avoiding brownouts
New Jersey, at risk of electrical brownouts by next year, is having problems siting a needed power line upgrade from Oyster Creek nuclear plant. The utility wants to run above-ground line along Garden State Parkway, but highway authority wants only underground lines, which cost 6X more. The only other alternative is to traverse residential areas, which public opposes.
[Source: Dan P. Lee (Staff Writer, The Press of Atlantic City), "BPU head won’t rule out Conectiv plan", The Press of Atlantic City, June 11, 2003]