Phoenix, AZ — Arizona’s Havasupai Tribe and a coalition of conservation groups are praising Judge David Campbell’s decision today to uphold the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across one million acres of public lands adjacent to Grand Canyon. The court ruled that the decision complied with federal environmental laws and that it was not too large, as plaintiffs had argued. At stake is protecting the aquifers and streams that feed the Colorado River and Grand Canyon from toxic uranium mining waste and depletion.
PG&E Corp. PCG and Edison International EIX are embarking on the most extensive and costly study of earthquake risks ever undertaken for U.S. nuclear power plants using 3-D seismic technology pioneered by the oil industry.The utilities plan to spend $128 million and use research gathered at sea to acquire a better understanding of seismic hazards at California’s two atomic plants built along the coast in the most earthquake-prone area of any U.S. reactors.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should:
The crash last week of a U.S. drone on the Seychelles Islands—the second crash of a U.S. drone on Seychelles in four months—underlines the deadly folly of a plan of U.S. national laboratory scientists and the Northrop Grumman Corp. for nuclear-powered drones.
The drone that “bounced a few times on the runway” at Seychelles International Airport on April 4 “before ending” up in the sea, according to a statement from the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, was conventionally powered. So was the drone which had a similar accident on Seychelles in December. From the Indian Ocean island nation the U.S. flies drones over Somalia and over waters off East Africa looking for pirates.
But the use of nuclear power on U.S. drones was “favorably assessed by scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and the Northrop Grumman Corp.,” revealed Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists.
Tennessee Valley Authority’s plans to complete an unfinished nuclear reactor near Scottsboro are again on hold as delays and cost overruns continue to plague work at its Watts Bar nuclear plant in Tennessee.TVA officials announced Thursday that construction of a second reactor at the Watts Bar plant in Spring City that was scheduled to be completed this year will not be finished until 2015. The cost of the project, estimated at $2.5 billion when work began in 2007, has grown to $4.2 billion.The delay will prevent TVA from beginning work this year to complete the Unit 1 reactor at Bellefonte nuclear plant east of Scottsboro, officials said.
Eighty percent of the world’s nuclear power plants are more than 20 years old, raising safety concerns, a draft U.N. report says a year after Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
Many operators have begun programmes, or expressed their intention, to run reactors beyond their planned design lifetimes, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) document which has not yet been made public.
“There are growing expectations that older nuclear reactors should meet enhanced safety objectives, closer to that of recent or future reactor designs,” the Vienna-based U.N. agency’s annual Nuclear Safety Review said.
“There is a concern about the ability of the ageing nuclear fleet to fulfil these expectations.”
From CBC News/Canada:
First Nations communities in the Elliott Lake area say the gates to the backyard are firmly shut even though business leaders there are on board with being considered a long-term storage site for nuclear waste.
The North Shore Tribal Council said there’s going to be opposition to the area becoming a nuclear waste storage site. The council represents seven First Nations across the North Shore of Lake Huron.
Tribal Council CEO Alan Ozawanimke said the chiefs have one message for the nuclear waste management group looking around Canada for potential sites: “Don’t waste your financial resources if you plan to conduct a study in this area because they’re going to oppose it.”
Read the full story: First Nations vow to fight nuclear waste storage plans – Sudbury – CBC News.
A former nuclear regulator, an economic analyst and a congressional think-tank adviser say 2011 marked the fall of the so-called U.S. nuclear renaissance, despite regulators’ approval last week of a new reactor design.
The experts said 2012 likely will bring more challenges for the nuclear industry in the wake of triple meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant after a crippling 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March.
Read the rest of the story: In the wake of triple meltdowns, experts say America’s nuclear initiative waning | timesfreepress.com.