The End Of All Crossroads

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Tag: nuclear threat

Tokyo Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste In The US

“Evacuation costs near a US nuclear plant could easily exceed one trillion dollars and contaminated land would be uninhabitable for generations.”

Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Proliferation (Click image for Article page)

About this video

While traveling in Japan several weeks ago, Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen took soil samples in Tokyo public parks, playgrounds, and rooftop gardens. All the samples would be considered nuclear waste if found here in the US. This level of contamination is currently being discovered throughout Japan. At the US NRC Regulatory Information Conference in Washington, DC March 13 to March 15, the NRC’s Chairman, Dr. Gregory Jaczko emphasized his concern that the NRC and the nuclear industry presently do not consider the costs of mass evacuations and radioactive contamination in their cost benefit analysis used to license nuclear power plants. Furthermore, Fairewinds believes that evacuation costs near a US nuclear plant could easily exceed one trillion dollars and contaminated land would be uninhabitable for generations.

[BEGIN: RIC Conference Footage]

NRC Chairman Jaczko: The events at Fukushima reinforce that any nuclear accident with public health and safety or environmental consequences of that magnitude, is inherently unacceptable. But we focussed on the radiological consequences of this event. I believe we cannot ignore the large social and economic consequences such an event poses to any country with a nuclear facility that deals with such a crisis.

In Japan, more than 90,000 people remain displaced from their homes and land, with some having no prospect for a return to their previous lifestyle in the foreseeable future. While not easy to characterize, these are significant hardships on these people and they are inherently unacceptable. So as we look to the future and we look in a proactive way, we ultimately will have to address the issue of how do we deal with nuclear events that lead to significant land contamination. And displacement, perhaps permanently, of people from their homes and their livelihoods and their communities.

[END: RIC Conference Footage]

Arnie Gundersen: What you have just heard was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, saying that the NRC does not take in to account mass evacuations and people not getting back on their land for centuries when it does a cost benefit analysis as to whether or not a nuclear plant should be licensed.

I am Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds and today I am at the Regulatory Information Conference put on by the NRC in Washington D.C.

So today, I am in Washington D.C. Couple of weeks ago though, I was in Tokyo and when I was in Tokyo, I took some samples. Now, I did not look for the highest radiation spot. I just went around with five plastic bags and when I found an area, I just scooped up some dirt and put it in a bag. One of those samples was from a crack in the sidewalk. Another one of those samples was from a children’s playground that had been previously decontaminated. Another sample had come from some moss on the side of the road. Another sample came from the roof of an office building that I was at. And the last sample was right across the street from the main judicial center in downtown Tokyo. I brought those samples back, declared them through Customs, and sent them to the lab. And the lab determined that ALL of them would be qualified as radioactive waste here in the United States and would have to be shipped to Texas to be disposed of.

Now think about the ramifications for the nation’s capital, whether it is Tokyo or the United States. How would you like it if you went to pick your flowers and were kneeling in radioactive waste? That is what is happening in Tokyo now. And I think that is the point that Chairman Jaczko was trying to make. When the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does it’s cost benefit analyses now, it does not take into account the cost to society if you have to evacuate for generations or if you have to move 100,000 people, perhaps forever.

There is a hundred miles between us and a dozen nuclear power plants here in Washington D.C. Fukushima was almost 200 miles away from Tokyo, and yet Tokyo soil in some places, the ones I just happened to find, would qualify as radioactive waste here in the United States.

How would we feel if our nation’s capital were contaminated to that degree? So I agree with Chairman Jaczko, new nukes and old nukes that are being re-licensed should include as a cost in their analysis what we have learned to be happening in Tokyo and in Japan.

Thank you very much and I will keep you informed.

24 Mar 2012



Now 5 Nuke Plants with Problems from Sandy: New Jersey’s Salem reactor shuts down as water pumps “not available” — Trouble with both units at New York’s 9 Mile Point — Also Oyster Creek, Indian Point, Limerick

“The first 3 nuclear plants with problems reported are Oyster Creek, Indian Point, & Limerick”


Flooded Nebraska nuclear plant raises broader disaster fears
By Steve Hargreaves @CNNMoney June 28, 2011: 8:10 AM ET (Click photo to sourcepage)


Alert: Emergency Declared at NJ Nuclear Plant from Hurricane Sandy — Power lost, ocean water rising — Concern about cooling of reactor and spent fuel pool


More Nuclear Plants Affected: NY’s Indian Point reactor shut down — Storm causes condenser problem at Pennsylvania plant


ABC, October 30, 2012:
Salem Nuclear Power Plant on Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey, was manually shut down just after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning “when four of the station’s six circulating water pumps were no longer available due to weather impacts from Hurricane Sandy,” according to plant co-owner PSEG Nuclear.
At the Nine Mile Point plant near Oswego, New York, in what operators say “is likely a storm-related event,” unit 1 shut down automatically around 9 p.m. Monday because of an electrical fault, while unit 2 experienced a power loss from an incoming power line because of the same fault. An emergency diesel generator started automatically to supply power to unit 2.

News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant – June 19, 2011


Cracks found at nuclear power plant north of Columbia

“Cracks in the reactor head at the nuclear plant are a concern that must be addressed, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”



SCE&G has begun repairs to reactor head; watchdogs worry about long-term safety


COLUMBIA, SC — Utility engineers are working to seal cracks at a Fairfield County atomic power plant before the fractures widen and make the plant more vulnerable to a nuclear accident.

The SCE&G plant doesn’t present any current threat to the public, but cracks in the reactor head at the nuclear plant are a concern that must be addressed, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Without repairs, the small cracks could widen and allow water that keeps the reactor cool to escape. In a nuclear plant, it is important to keep cool water circulating through the reactor to avoid a meltdown of atomic fuel and possible release of radiation.

In documents filed with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, SCE&G says it plans to make repairs that will satisfy concerns about the recently discovered flaws at the V.C. Summer reactor. The repairs should be good for at least 40 years, the power company said in an Oct. 30 report to the NRC. The repairs have begun, a spokeswoman for SCE&G said.

But while nuclear industry watchdogs said they’re glad SCE&G found the flaws, they expressed worries about long-term safety.

Instead of sealing cracks in the aging reactor head, SCE&G should install a new head, as some other power plants have done, Columbia anti-nuclear activist Tom Clements said.

“The situation … indicates to me that the best and safest fix is for the old, cracked vessel head to be taken out of service and replaced,” Clements said.

Both he and David Lochbaum, a national expert on nuclear plant safety, said the containment roof eventually could have other cracks. New reactor vessel heads could cost $40 million to $60 million, he estimated.

“At some point in the not-too-distant future, it seems like the company will want to replace the head with one that is a little more resistant to this kind of cracking,” said Lochbaum, who is with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

SCE&G’s nuclear plant, located about 25 miles northwest of Columbia, began operating in the early 1980s. The Midlands-headquartered power company is building two new reactors adjacent to the existing reactor. The new reactors are among only a handful approved for construction in the United States – the first to be built in 30 years.

At issue is a steel dome that sits atop a room surrounding the core of the nuclear plant, where atomic reactions occur to produce power. The reactor head is a smaller dome underneath the larger containment dome. SCE&G recently discovered flaws in four welded holes where nuclear fuel rods are inserted to control the atomic reactions.

Company spokeswoman Rhonda O’Banion said in an email Wednesday that SCE&G’s repairs are “preemptive to assure we have no issues in the future.” Repairs are occurring while the Summer plant is off line for refueling, something that happens about every 18 months. She characterized the reactor dome flaws as “minor defects.”

O’Banion did not say whether the company had long-term plans to replace the reactor vessel head, but NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said he believes the company will do so eventually.

Nationally, cracks in the domes of reactor vessels have occurred at other power plants, including Duke Energy’s atomic station in Oconee County near Seneca, said Lochbaum, who was in South Carolina this week to discuss flooding issues at the Oconee plant. The 2001 Oconee cracks were more serious than at Fairfield, he said. The discovery of the Oconee cracks prompted the NRC to require utilities to take a closer look for fractures at pressurized reactors like the ones at Oconee and Fairfield, Lochbaum said.

Lochbaum said, however, that SCE&G’s Summer plant never made the NRC’s list of plants most vulnerable to cracked reactor heads.