Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expose Of The Abysmal Safety Record of Nuclear Industry & It's Cozy Relationship With US Gov't

New Exposé Reveals Nuclear Regulatory Commission Colluded with Industry to Weaken Safety Standards
by: Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Op-Ed via, June 28, 2011

Three U.S. senators have called for a congressional probe on safety issues at the nation’s aging nuclear plants following a pair of new exposés. In a special series called “Aging Nukes,” the Associated Press revealed that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry have been working in tandem to weaken safety standards to keep aging reactors within the rules. Just last year, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to reactor vessels. The AP report also revealed radioactive tritium has leaked from 48 of the 65 U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping. Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard—sometimes at hundreds of times the limit. We speak with AP investigative journalist Jeff Donn.

Given the abysmal safety record of the Nuclear Energy industry in the US this should be a cause of concern not just for those in power but also for the general public.
The thing which makes this even more troubling and disturbing is the cozy relationship between the Nuclear Energy Industry and the supposedly independent government regulatory body the Nuclear Energy Commission.
What these two partners have done over the years is to downplay ongoing problems at nuclear plants such as leaks and accidents releasing toxic forms of radiation into the air and or into the drinking water or into lakes streams and oceans contaminating the food chain.
After seeing how the government and industry colluded in the Japanese Nuclear Power Plant disaste Fukushami the public and media should be skeptical of reassurances by either the government or the Nuclear industry.

So there indeed needs to be a formal and possibly a criminal investigation into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Besides the ethical and moral questions this raises for a government agency to be in bed with the industry it is supposed to be overseeing . Does such collusion break government's rules or guidelines and does such collusion count as a criminal offence.
For instance as with Big Coal and Big Oil and the Pharmaceuticals and Big Corporations such as Walmart are these government officials taking bribes or a bit of Quid pro Quo that is at some point will they get high salaried positions in the nuclear industry or are they contravening the law by having personal investments in the industry or if running for political office will or have they received large donations from the industry or just lots of paid for trips to bogus conferences in the Bahamas or elsewhere as other Big Industries and corporations are apt to do.

Another reason this is all troubling and disturbing is that Mr. Change that is President Obama has come out as being gungho about building more nuclear plants while spending very little on the Green Alternatives. energy sources.

As we have seen Obama and his administration is in bed with Big Coal, Big Oil, and the Pharmaceutical and Health insurance industry and the Military Industrial Complex so it is not all that surprising that he and his administration would be in bed with the Nuclear Energy Industry. Besides as Obama has said he needs at least a Billion dollars for his 2012 campaign.

What may in fact will happen or is happening is that Obama will be trying to find out if the information used was at all classified and therefore illegally leaked to the investigators-if so the investigators of this scandal may end up in the same cell block as Bradley Manning .
This would fit with Obama's style as it has evolved from protecting whistleblowers to torturing them and possibly executing them for treason.

Expose of the cozy relationship between the Nuclear Industry in the US and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which could lead to a nuclear disaster or if there are ongoing leaks taking place in a number of facilities this may at the present time have a negative impact on the public's health and on the environment.
Over the years the Commission has been giving the nuclear industry in America a free ride by ignoring the numerous accidents at these plants
The Regulatory Commission has also been colluding with the Nuclear Industry over the serious problem of aging and out of date equipment.
Equipment that is out of date and ought to be replaced but is not.
Equipment such as pipes buried underground for the last forty years have corroded and are leaking but the Commission ignores the issue .
And when leaks occur which are ongoing and exceed the acceptable standard the Regulatory Commission merely changes the basic standard to allow for such leaks and malfunctions.

Besides a poor safety record overall the Nuclear Enegy Industry treats even its most serious issues as being purely a matter of Public Relations and that it is their job to convince the government and public at large that Nuclear enegy is safe and cost efficient and necessary to meet the needs of America.
All of these points are questionable.
Firstly as we see from this report the Nuclear Energy facilities are not as safe as the industry claims.
In fact they have had an abyssmal safety record.
In order to keep these Nuclear facilities up to reasonable safety standards if followed through would increase the cost of Nuclear Industry thereby throwing into doubt their cost efficiency.
Thirdly there are other forms of technology such as solar and wind which are safer and will do less harm to the environment or to people.
For instance if the US government were to make equivalent investments and possible improvements of these technologies in the long run these Green Technologies would not cost anymore than would using Nuclear Energy. And there are those who would argue that the costs of these technologies Wind & Solar would over the long run would be cheaper , safer and do less damage to people or to the environment.
For instance in one of the articles below the environmental group the Sierra Club points out that the building of a new Nuclear Power Station made up of four nuclear reactors to replace an older station in ontario, Canada would cost about 35 $billion .
and as noted below Wind Turbines cost about 3.5 million dollars each.
How many Windturbines or solar panelling would 35 billion dollars buy.
But first the government of Ontario should stat thinking outside of the box and invest in developing better energy alternatives and improving on those such as Wind and solar which are already being used.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a cozy relationship with the industry
The information about the Nuclear Industry which has an impact on the general public's health and safety should be accessible to the press the public and consumer watchdogs-
It should be but it is not -the excuse has been that since 9/11 this information must be kept secret for reasona of --wait for it "National Security".
That little phrase can be used to shut down almost any inquiry into government actions but also private industries which are seen as vital to America's security and well being etc. etc....

The question raised in this piece is why is Obama spending so much money and resources on Nuclear power when alternative safer energy sources are available.
How mahy wind mills can one build for the price of a single nuclear power plant.
Media Blackout on Nuclear Incident at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska

Public Relations Spokesperson defends Nuclear Power Industry treats the expose as old news .
The PR spokesperson insists all US nuclear plants are not at all like the one at Fukushami in Japan
This statement is far from being accurate since about 30 nuclear plants in the US are like those in Fukushami.
And as is further pointed out the US Nuclear Energy Industry and the US government are not in the habit of being forthcoming with accurate information on the various aspects of the industry including its poor safety record.
There is also this notion of a false equivalency with other Energy sources and their safety records.
For instance when a coal fired plant explodes it doesn't release toxic material which could kill tens of thousands of people as a major leak or a full melt down in a nuclear power plant would as it did in Chernobyl.
The crashing down of hundreds of Wind Turbines may cause injuries and death but it would be nothing compared to a disaster at a nuclear plant.

Radioactive Hydrogen Tritium Leaks Found in Majority Of U.S. Nuclear Power Sites
June 22, 2011

Press TV on the other hand presents a more serious piece on the expose of the US Nuclear Power Industry and its possibly criminal collusion with the regulatory agency.
23 plants that are operating in the US are exacly like those in Fukushima
75% US Nuclear Plants Leaking Toxic Tritium Radiation Into Drinking Water Supply

The government of Ontario is planning to build a new Nuclear Power Plant made up of four reactors total cost appro. 35 Billion in Canadian dollars.

Arguments against the Darlington proposal for new nuclear reactors at Sierra Club Canada

A public hearing has been announced for March 2011 on a proposal to build up to four new nuclear reactors at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. The scheme is part of a plan to replace the ageing reactors at the Pickering station, which are scheduled to close by 2020.

Too often local governments and community members are fed false promises about nuclear energy by people who stand to gain from perpetuating a nuclear power industry in Ontario. For these reasons and more, Sierra Club Canada (SCC) is committed to ensuring that Ontarians get to hear both sides of the nuclear energy debate.

There is no justification to accept either the expense or the risks of nuclear technology. All it takes is the courage to stand up to the nuclear lobby.

and for further cost benefits analysis of Wind Energy vs Nuclear plants see:

How much do wind turbines cost?
Wind turbines come in many shapes and sizes, but here is a general guideline on how much they cost:

Total costs for installing a commercial-scale wind turbine will vary significantly depending on the cost of financing, when the turbine purchase agreement was executed, construction contracts, the type of machine, the location of the project, and other factors. Cost components for wind projects include wind resource assessment and site analysis expenses; the price and freight of the turbine and tower; construction expenses; permitting and interconnection studies; utility system upgrades, transformers, protection, and metering equipment; insurance; operations, warranty, maintenance, and repair; legal and consultation fees. Others factors that will impact your project economics include your financing costs, the size of your project, and taxes.

The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.

Most of the commercial-scale turbines installed today are 2 MW in size and cost roughly $3.5 Million installed. Wind turbines have significant economies of scale. Smaller farm or residential scale turbines cost less overall, but are more expensive per kilowatt of energy producing capacity. Wind turbines under 100 kilowatts cost roughly $3,000 to $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity. That means a 10 kilowatt machine (the size needed to power an average home) might cost $35,000-$50,000.

If you would like to find companies that produce wind turbines and view the cost of the machine only, you can use these links. They are connected to our Company Directory that provides reputable companies in the field of wind.

Small Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturers
Commercial Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturers
For More Information:
Windustry has developed a WindProject Calculator to provide cash flow modeling for your wind project.
Small Wind Turbine Product Information is a web site that uses the pending AWEA standards for small wind turbines for product listing and comparison.


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