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Mar-21-2014 19:00printcomments

Reactor Reax Top Stories - US Nuclear Site Fire was Preventable

The latest news about everything nuclear, from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Nuclear danger

(WASHINGTON DC) - US nuclear site fire 'was preventable', BBC, March 14, 2014. "Maintenance and safety lapses were at the root of a lorry fire that shut down the only US underground nuclear waste repository in February, a report says. The report also cited problems with emergency response and oversight at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), outside Carlsbad, New Mexico. The state's two senators called the findings 'deeply concerning'. WIPP, which holds specific kinds of defence nuclear waste, remains closed after a radiation leak last month. It is still unclear if the fire and the leak, which contaminated 17 workers, are related. A separate report on the leak is expected in the upcoming weeks."

Scientist testifies about danger of Pilgrim's spent fuel rods, Cape Cod (MA) Times, March 21, 2014. "An expert on safety and security at nuclear power plants told a Plymouth District Court judge Thursday he believes the thousands of spent fuel rods packed in pools at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station present a danger to the public. Gordon Thompson, executive director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, testified on the potential dangers of the Plymouth nuclear plant during the third day of the trespassing trial involving 12 Cape Downwinders. Thompson said the spent fuel rod assemblies emit radiation. 'Those assemblies will be hazardous for several hundred thousand years.' According to Thompson, the original pools at Pilgrim were designed 42 years ago to hold about 580 spent fuel assemblies. About 3,800 rods at Pilgrim are stored in pools in the upper level of a building outside the reactor."

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Clean-up 'Dumped on Destitute and Unskilled', International Business Times, March 18, 2014. "The unskilled and destitute are being targeted to finish the clean-up job at Fukushima nuclear plant. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which claimed the lives of 15,884 people, caused a catastrophic nuclear meltdown at the plant in 2011. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the operator of the nuclear plant, has come under intense scrutiny for leaving the hazardous decommissioning work to unqualified staff while pouring resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, according to the New York Times. Now experts fear that as qualified engineers are forced to quit the site because they have reached the legal limits for radiation exposure, only poorly skilled labourers are being brought in."

Cancer rates advance as nuke plant ages, Santa Maria (CA) Times (opinion), March 19, 2014. "The nuclear industry once envisioned 63 reactors would operate in California. Safety and economic concerns limited the number that actually opened to just seven. All have closed, except for the reactors at Diablo Canyon. Several journal articles showed immediate and drastic declines of local infant deaths and child cancers after reactor shutdown. Another showed significant declines in Sacramento County cancer rates, in the 20 years after the Rancho Seco reactor closed. Radiation releases and health should be the most critical issue for officials and citizens, as the debate on Diablo Canyon continues."

Troubled nuclear reactor shut down again, Citizens Voice/Wilkes-Barre, PA, March 21, 2014. "The troubled Unit 2 reactor at PPL's Susquehanna Steam nuclear power plant in Salem Township was shut down Thursday morning when operators found a leak in a water supply pump. Employees disconnected the reactor from the electrical grid after they identified a steam leak coming from packing on a reactor water feed pump discharge isolation valve and were unable to halt the leakage, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

Dungeness nuclear power station quietly taken offline for five months over fears of Fukushima-style flood disaster, Independent (UK), March 18, 2014. "The energy giant EDF has been accused of playing down the threat of flooding at Dungeness after it emerged that one of the nuclear power plant's reactors was quietly shut down for five months last year after experts identified risk of a Fukushima-style disaster. EDF closed the reactor on the Kent coast on 22 May to allow work on a new flood protection wall, after alerting the Office of Nuclear Regulation that without urgent work the site was at risk of being inundated by sea water. The closure of the 550-megawatt reactor - one of two at Dungeness - followed an internal EDF report which found that the shingle bank sea defences were 'not as robust as previously thought', raising fears that they could be overwhelmed in extreme weather, according to the ClickGreen website, which first reported the closure."

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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