From Energy News, numerous documents on the 2014 “radiological event” that possibly released “370 Billion Bq of Plutonium equivalent may have escaped from WIPP drum during ‘thermal runaway’ & multiple fires.” The “events”* occurred February 5 (underground mine fire involving an EIMCO Haul Truck 74-U-006B ; 86 workers were in the mine at the time of the fire) and February 14 (release of radioactive material from a transuranic (TRU) waste container in Panel 7 Room 7).
Below is a video of the April 3, 2015 meeting via youtube:
The next DOE WIPP Town Hall meeting is May 7:
The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host its Town Hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street.
Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/
* See Hilgartner, Bell, & O’Connor (1982), Nukespeak: Nuclear Language, Visions, and Mindset (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books) and 30th anniversary update.
Also see 1999 comments from Dr. Judy Johnsrud and myself on behalf of the (now sunseted) Nuclear Waste Task Force, Sierra Club regarding the WIPP draft permit.
Filed under: nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear waste |
For the first time on the Web, Honicker vs. Hendrie: A Lawsuit to End Atomic Power (1978) is presented full text.* It’s not a great copy; the book’s tightly bound condition and fading typeface make it less than a perfect scan. Nevertheless, Honicker vs. Hendrie, even in this humble state, remains historically relevant and a compelling statement on the potential harm of the nuclear fuel cycle. Moreover, Honicker vs. Hendrie is revolutionary for its discussion of human rights, including “deprivation of life,” the “right of the people to be secure in their person,” and informed consent:
May a government agency, in the course of its lawful regulatory process, impose upon a private citizen the risk of death, or a health burden which the individual citizen does not consent to bear? (p. 142)
Honicker vs. Hendrie or In the Matter of Petition for Emergency and Remedial Action, Jeannine Honicker, Petitioner, was written with assistance of lawyers from The Farm “representing a mother whose daughter contracted leukemia — are questioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s constitutional right to bombard people with low-level atomic radiation. The case is currently up before the Supreme Court of the United States” (“Nuclear power“). The Petition sought to
…compel the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cease operation of all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle except those involving isolation of hazards from the biosphere, to undertake all measures necessary to prevent or lessen the impact of emergency conditions already created, and to begin emergency and remedial action within 30 days. (p.1)
Ms. Honicker is described in the Petition as “a citizen intervenor and petitioner to intervene at licensing actions before the Atomic Safety Licensing Board for nuclear fuel cycle facilities in Tennessee. She is a member of Churchwomen United. League of Women Voters, Safe Energy for Tennessee, Catfish Alliance, and Southminster Presbyterian Church, but represents herself as a private citizen in the present petition” (p. 3).
The evolution of the case is outlined in a book written by Ms. Honicker, Shutdown: Nuclear Power on Trial (Summertown, TN: Book Pub. Co., 1979), and is worth reporting here for its dramatic background:
The late Congressman Clifford Allen of Tennessee spent his last Thanksgiving Day composing a press release about the severe underestimates of radiation released into the biosphere from the nuclear fuel cycle. He had just received some alarming information, a copy of the memo written by Dr. Walter Jordan, a member of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board and a former Assistant Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratories. In 1977, in what has come to be known as the “Jordan Memorandum,” Dr. Jordan disclosed that the estimates of the releases of radon gas from the nuclear fuel cycle had been 100,000 times too low. Dr. Jordan’s figures showed that as many as one hundred deaths could eventually result from each day that the nuclear power industry continued in operation.
With Congressman Allen as he composed his press release was Jeannine Honicker, a Nashville businesswoman. Jeannine’s daughter, Linda, had contracted leukemia at age nineteen, but recovered after a difficult and complicated bone marrow transplant. Jeannine’s husband, Dolph, News Editor for the Nashville Tennessean, had written Linda’s story for the Reader’s Digest.
In the process of learning about leukemia, Jeannine discovered something else. Leukemia is one disease which has been shown to be caused by radiation. According to health physicists, a doubling of the spontaneous rate of leukemias might be part of the price we would pay if we used nuclear-generated electricity. Jeannine was among more than thirty intervenors in the licensing process for the world’s largest nuclear plant at Hartsville, Tennessee. Joining with nuclear opponents in ten southern states, she helped to found Catfish Alliance. Following Clifford Allen’s death, she ran for his seat in Congress, unsuccessfully.
In early 1977 Jeannine met Stephen Gaskin, founder of The Farm, a religious community in Summertown, Tennessee, and Albert Bates, a paralegal associated with Farm Legal. They agreed to help prepare a case against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
On July 29, 1978, a Petition for Emergency and Remedial Action was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, citing the Jordan Memorandum and other recent government disclosures and asking that the Commission suspend the licenses of the nuclear industry pending a complete investigation of the biological effects of low-level ionizing radiation.
When the Commission did not respond on an emergency basis, a suit was filed in Federal Court in Nashville, seeking an injunction to shut down the nuclear fuel cycle. (p. 7-8)
* In uploading this book to the Web, I sought permission from The Book Publishing Company @ The Farm. They informed me the copyright reverted to Jeannine Honicker. I could not locate this info in the Library of Congress Copyright Catalog.
Filed under: nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear power, nuclear secrecy |
From the World Uranium Symposium held in Quebec, April 14-16, 2015. Several themes underscore the meeting:
The Symposium is occurring at a time when many organizations and governments question the future of nuclear power, currently providing about 11% of the world’s electricity. The year 2015 also marks the seventieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the corresponding United Nations negotiations of the Non Proliferation Treaty for the prevention and the abolition of nuclear arms.
Participants drafted the Declaration, which highlights the long term social and technological problems of the nuclear fuel cycle:
Recognizing that the risk of contamination resulting from the extraction, use and storage of radioactive substances presents a unique and grave threat to all living creatures, their environments and watersheds, transcending all political and geographic boundaries and enduring for eons to come;
Recognizing that there are stores of radioactive waste throughout the world that have not been effectively isolated;
Recognizing that there is compelling scientific evidence that there is no safe dose of exposure to radioactive emissions, and that even small doses can present health risks to miners and local populations, animals and plant life;
Recognizing that more must be done to understand, recognize and acknowledge the full scope and extent of all social, health and environmental short and long term impacts of uranium and nuclear-related activities on human life, wildlife and plant life…
Filed under: atomic culture, nuclear power, nuclear weapons testing |
One telling fact is that a key transparency policy document is itself a secret. The Board of Governors has never officially announced, or disclosed, its 1996 decision to release its documents after two years. Also symbolizing IAEA opacity, and greatly frustrating researchers, is an IAEA rule that limits visits to the Vienna headquarters archives room to only five days a month.
The secret disclosure policy and the unwelcome mat are just two indicators of this important agency’s failings in the area of transparency. But the most significant transparency gap is that the IAEA has no comprehensive policy on disclosing information. There is no formal system to request records, nor are there public procedures or standards for declassifying very old records.
The analysis and supporting documents are here.
Filed under: atomic culture, nuclear secrecy |
10 Lessons from Fukushima: Reducing Risks and Protecting Communities from Nuclear Disasters is written by the Fukushima Booklet Publishing Committee, which grew out of the Japan CSO Coalition for 2015 WCDRR （JCC 2015).
The Committee is comprised of the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC), Fukushima Beacon for Global Citizens Network（FUKUDEN, Peace Boat, and CWS Japan to educate the world community on the impact of the March 11, 2015 (ongoing) nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. 10 lessons was released March 14, 2015 at the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai. The Fukushima Booklet Publishing Committee observes:
Rather than a publication for learning about events that happened in the past, we see this booklet in terms of providing guidelines for dealing with issues in the present, and as such it should be used to prevent disasters that could easily happen in the future. We aim to translate this booklet into as many languages as possible, and to have it read throughout countries that have nuclear plants or in countries where there are plans afoot to build nuclear plants. (p. 70)
The 72 page booklet is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.
Filed under: nuclear power, nuclear secrecy, public information |
I stumbled on this remarkable document in my files from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (September, 1973) titled E=MC2=disaster?: A Citizen’s Bill of Rights and Consumer’s Guide to Nuclear Power. In using the adjective “remarkable” to characterize the doc, I’m stressing the foresight of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department in conducting hearings on nuclear power and drafting the rights doc years before the Three Mile Island disaster in March 1979 – and mentioning Dr. John Gofman and Ralph Nader’s research on a potential nuclear disaster occurring in Pennsylvania. One can hardly imagine a government agency doing this in the 21st century.
I received the publication from my friend and mentor Dr. Judy Johnsrud years ago. It’s not a great scanned copy, but it is a rare doc that outlines specific information rights and a place at the table for communities who host nuclear power plants.
The file is here: Citizens Bill of Rights.
Filed under: nuclear power, nuclear secrecy, public information |
While researching Wilhelm Reich’s (non) involvement in the Atoms for Peace speech and program, I came across his colleague Dr. Elsworth Becker‘s 1968 description of Reich’s discovery of a black substance or energy during the first Oranur experiment in 1951. Reich named the substance called DOR or deadly orgone radiation:
Besides near disaster and disease, this experiment brought about the discovery of a new type of energy (actually already matter since it was visible) which Reich called “deadly orgone” or “DOR.” This resulted from the effect of nuclear radiation on orgone energy. DOR is black, lusterless, toxic, carries a high charge, and is oxygen and water-hungry. It appears as black specks in the atmosphere, as though someone had sprinkled the air with black pepper. One can clearly see the sun through it, but photographs appear as though they were taken in shadow…
Reich’s DOR is a sidenote to accounts of a mysterious, recurring black substance, termed dust or “mold” reported in the media and by citizen-journalists in the wake of the Fukushima-Diaachi nuclear disaster. To draw conclusions here would be scientifically irresponsible, but it is nonetheless interesting.
Photo courtesy of Science Insiders
Filed under: atomic culture |