Unexpected gas releases from Hanford tank –

by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

http://www.king5.com/news/environment/Unexpected-gas-release-from-Hanford-Nucler-Reservation-tank-201537031.html


KING 5 News has learned there’s been a series of unexpected hydrogen gas releases from a tank holding radioactive waste at Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Confidential sources say it began on March 16 and lasted for several days, much longer than usual, and they worry a single spark could have set off an explosive release of radioactivity.

This comes two days after a report by a government panel expressing concerns about the release of flammable gasses at Hanford and the government’s inability to respond to them.

Our confidential sources and government representatives are giving dramatically different versions of what has happened. Both agre a million-gallon tank holding nuclear waste at Hanford had a build-up of hydrogen gas.

Our confidential sources say it was of a magnitude larger than anything teams there have seen in at least two years and “burped” days longer than normal.

Workers who toil above the buried Hanford tank farms constantly monitor the tanks for gas build-ups and will conduct controlled releases to reduce pressure. We’re told this was a spontaenous release, not controlled.

Hydrogen gas is constantly being produced in some tanks by the extremely high temperatures of nuclear waste. They are like dozens of underground crock pots just simmering away. Sometimes, they can boil over.

DOE responds to KING 5 exclusive on gas release at Hanford

The Department of Energy released this response:

In mid-March one of Hanford’s double-shell tanks (DST) had a gas release which is an expected periodic event. Of the 28 DST’s at the Hanford Tank Farms, there are five that periodically release hydrogen gas in a spontaneous manner. These releases typically occur every one to two years in these five tanks and can last for a couple of days. Releases in the DST’s have been occurring for decades and are decreasing in hydrogen levels. DOE has specific ignition source controls on these five tanks to minimize the potential for ignition of flammable gas. In addition, all DSTs are actively ventilated to exhaust flammable gas from the tank head space.

In the case of AN-105, on March 16 during a 36 hour release, ORP monitored the level of hydrogen in the tank head space and it was well below the concentration required for a flammable environment (at approximately 37% of the lowest possible flammability limit).

ORP is committed to ensuring the safety of Hanford’s underground tanks.

Lori Gamache
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Department of Energy

From the Pacific Northwest to Fukushima: the long, tragic trail of failed General Electric Nuclear Plants

From the Pacific Northwest to Fukushima: the long, tragic trail of failed General Electric Nuclear Plants

April 3, 2013 – 11:50 am By paul.koberstein Posted in investigative journalism, nuclear power

Newly found court documents from long ago are raising fresh questions about the safety of nuclear reactors made by General Electric. The documents shed new light on old, unresolved safety problems at GE reactors that still had not been fully addressed by 2011 when nuclear accidents at three GE plants devastated Fukushima, Japan.

GE, the third largest corporation in the world, has designed and built dozens of nuclear reactors around the world since 1958, including six at Fukushima, as well as the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington — some 150 miles east of Portland and Seattle.

GE built six similar models of its boiling water nuclear reactor — the BWR 1–6 — and three sizes of containment buildings to protect the public from radiation coming off the reactors — the Mark I, II and III.

BWR

In 1974, GE revealed that in certain accident and non-accident situations, its smallest containment building, the Mark I, and a slightly larger version, the Mark II, could be subjected to “newly discovered” physical pressures that could structurally damage the steel containment and the equipment inside it. Later, GE acknowledged similar problems with the much larger Mark III.

However, as the old court documents reveal, GE’s top nuclear engineers had been expressing serious misgivings about the stability of the containment buildings long before 1972. In memos to their superiors that go back as early as 1964, the engineers questioned whether the reactors could remain stable during an accident scenario nearly identical to the one that unfolded a half-century later at Fukushima. However, they feared that a massive pipe break, rather than an epic earthquake and tsunami, would be the event that triggered the disaster.

The documents also remind us that in the 1990s, GE settled a series of claims made by utilities that had bought GE’s nuclear equipment. The utilities said the containment buildings at 10 plants were defective (see the list at the bottom of this page), equal to one-fourth of all GE nuclear power systems that were ever operated in the United States.

At least four of the disputes led to lawsuits. The lawsuits accused GE of knowingly selling defective reactors as well as committing various other acts such as breach of contract, racketeering and fraud as part of a marketing scheme to foist the reactors upon unsuspecting utilities and the public without their knowledge of the defects or their consent.

In their complaints, the utilities claimed each type of GE containment building — the Mark I, II and III — was defective.

The Richland nuclear power plant, its BWR-5 reactor and its Mark II containment structure were built from 1973–1983. The owner was then known as the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS), a consortium of 27 publicly-owned utilities in Washington state. The plant is situated on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most radioactively contaminated site in the country. Hanford, a former nuclear weapons factory, is owned by the US Department of Energy, which leased a portion of the site to WPPSS for operating the commercial nuclear power plant.

In 1999, the nuclear power plant was renamed the “Columbia Generating Station.” The new name, which replaced “Washington Nuclear Plant 2,” obscures the fact that nuclear fuel is what is used there to make electricity.

The name “Washington Public Power Supply System” is gone too. The utility consortium, hoping to rebrand itself in the wake of the financial disaster it created in the 1970s and 1980s, is now called “Energy Northwest.” The old WPPSS (usually pronounced “whoops” for obvious reasons) failed spectacularly while trying to build five nuclear plants at the same time in the 1980s. All but one were cancelled. Construction costs exploded and WPPSS defaulted on $2.25 billion worth of construction bonds in what at the time was the largest municipal bond collapse in US history.

Meanwhile, WPPSS and General Electric couldn’t agree on who was liable for paying to fix the plant’s defects. In 1985 WPPSS sued GE for $1.2 billion. WPPSS claimed that in 1971, when it bought the reactor from GE for $110 million, GE failed to disclose its knowledge about the reactor’s defects. A decade later, WPPSS had to spend another $297 million to rebuild it, delaying the initial start-up by 18 months.

In 1990, during trial in US District Court, Judge Alan A. McDonald said he heard “unrebutted evidence” that GE had falsely claimed that its nuclear plant hardware was “proven and tested” before it was placed on the market.

The proceedings were declared a mistrial after a jury wasn’t able to reach a unanimous verdict. Judge McDonald ruled that WPPSS could base its complaint against GE on negligent misrepresentation rather than on fraud and breach of contract. A second trial was about to start in 1992 when a settlement was reached.

As the Seattle Times reported at the time, GE settled the case for $134.9 million worth of goods and services, but paid no cash. However, GE agreed to increase the power output of the WPPSS reactor by 50 megawatts, an increase that could generate about $16.5 million worth of electricity in a year.

Documents from the case show that GE intended to conduct full-scale tests of the plants only after utilities began operating them in the backyards of communities like Richland, and the neighboring Kennewick and Pasco.

“The Court can only view that as a fairly sophisticated form of Russian roulette,” McDonald wrote.

Russian Roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance in which a player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against his head, and pulls the trigger.

Read More: http://times.org/2013/04/03/from-the-pacific-northwest-to-fukushima-the-long-tragic-trail-of-failed-general-electric-nuclear-plants/

 

Nuclear Board Warns of Hanford Tank Explosion Risk

Nuclear Board Warns of Hanford Tank Explosion Risk

http://news.yahoo.com/nuclear-board-warns-hanford-tank-003212420.html

Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said in advance of confirmation hearings for the next leader of the Energy Department.

State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation.

The board expressed those concerns again Monday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had sought the board’s perspective about cleanup at Hanford.

The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. It spends billions of dollars to clean up the 586-square-mile site neighboring the Columbia River, the southern border between Washington and Oregon and the Pacific Northwest’s largest waterway.

Federal officials have said six underground tanks at the site are leaking into the soil, threatening the groundwater, and technical problems have delayed construction of a plant to treat the waste for long-term safe disposal.

Those issues are likely to come up during confirmation hearings next week for Energy Secretary-nominee Ernest J. Moniz. The fears of explosion and contamination could give Washington and Oregon officials more clout as they push for cleanup of the World War II-era site.

Central to the cleanup is the removal of 56 million gallons of highly radioactive, toxic waste left from plutonium production from underground tanks. Many of the site’s single-shell tanks, which have just one wall, have leaked in the past, and state and federal officials announced in February that six such tanks are leaking anew.

“The next Secretary of Energy – Dr. Moniz – needs to understand that a major part of his job is going to be to get the Hanford cleanup back on track, and I plan to stress that at his confirmation hearing next week,” Wyden said in a statement Tuesday.

The nuclear safety board warned about the risk of explosion to Wyden, who wanted comment on the safety and operation of Hanford’s tanks, technical issues that have been raised about the design of a plant to treat the waste in those tanks, and Hanford’s overall safety culture.

In addition to the leaks, the board noted concerns about the potential for hydrogen gas buildup within a tank, in particular those with a double wall, which contain deadly waste that was previously pumped out of the leaking single-shell tanks.

“All the double-shell tanks contain waste that continuously generates some flammable gas,” the board said. “This gas will eventually reach flammable conditions if adequate ventilation is not provided.”

All of the tanks are actively ventilated, which means they have blowers and fans to prevent a buildup of hydrogen gas, and those systems are monitored to ensure they are operating as intended, Energy Department spokeswoman Carrie Meyer said.

For even greater safety, she said, the agency implemented an improved monitoring system in February.

“DOE is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety of Hanford’s underground tanks,” Meyer said.

The board also noted technical challenges with the waste treatment plant, which is being built to encase the waste in glasslike logs for long-term disposal. Those challenges must be resolved before parts of the plant can be completed, the board said.

The federal government spends about $2 billion annually on Hanford cleanup — roughly one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. About $690 million of that goes toward design and construction of the plant. Design of the plant, last estimated at more than $12.3 billion, is 85 percent complete, while construction is more than 50 percent complete.

The problems identified by the board show that the plant schedule will be delayed further and the cost will keep rising, Wyden said, adding: “There is a real question as to whether the plant, as currently designed, will work at all.”

Tanks At Hanford Nuclear Reservation Could Explode

We told you so, Whistle Blowers have be punished for trying to tell us, Occupy Portland told you, No Nukes NW told you. It must really be bad if DOE and Bechtel admit it…

Tanks At Hanford Nuclear Reservation Could Explode

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/hanford-nuclear-waste-could-explode_n_3001134.html?utm_hp_ref=green

YAKIMA, Wash. — Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said in advance of confirmation hearings for the next leader of the Energy Department.

State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation.

The board expressed those concerns again Monday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had sought the board’s perspective about cleanup at Hanford.

Photoessay
Hanford Nuclear Waste Tanks Could Explode, Agency Warns
By SHANNON DININNY, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/hanford-nuclear-waste-could-explode_n_3001134.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Hanford’s “witches brew of chemicals”…

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(CBS News) The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is called the most contaminated nuclear site in the country. Tom Carpenter, executive director of the environmental organization Hanford Challenge said, “A third of these tanks have failed already. One third! They’ve leaked a million gallons, there’s more to come.”

Radioactive waste is a “witch’s brew of chemicals,” Kaku said, explaining it contains the most dangerous chemicals known to science like plutonium, enriched uranium, nitric acid and solvents. “We have 56 million gallons worth of this toxic stuff,” he said.

“To get this into perspective, to get your head around this, imagine 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools containing the most toxic substance known to science of which two Olympic-size swimming pools have leaked right into the ground and eventually into the water table and, perhaps, even into people’s drinking water.”

Just last week, Washington’s governor confirmed six of those tanks are actively leaking again. Gov. Jay Inslee said, “Washington State has a zero-tolerance policy on radioactive leaks.”

But the federal government has already spent billions of dollars and decades attempting to clean up the site.

CBS News’ cameras were not allowed on the property, but did capture an above-ground replica of the tanks that are leaking. They were designed with a single layer of steel for maximum life span of 20 years, but the first tanks were built back in the 1940s.

Carpenter said, “They lost their integrity, essentially, their engineered design life, right around the time that we sent a man to the moon in the 1960s.”

And while Inslee says that the current leaks pose no immediate risk to the public, the cleanup at Hanford goes on. It’s estimated it will take at least 40 years at a cost of more than $100 billion.

—-

The problem is “scandalous,” according to CBS News contributor Michio Kaku, a physics professor at the City University of New York.

Kaku continued, “At the time of sequester, taxpayers spend $2 billion per year just maintaining the cleanup operation.

Then it was revealed that hundreds of gallons of high-level toxic waste have been leaking over the last several years right into the ground. Eventually into the groundwater and maybe the Columbia River.”

Kaku said we need to consider the problem as an emergency. “The government promised 10 years ago that it’s under control. Now we realize it’s not,” he said. “They have to take the waste, put it into new vats that are double, triple lined. They have to drill to assess how far the waste is. And it’s a ticking time bomb. In 15, 50 years — we don’t know when — it’s going to hit the ground table. When it hits the ground table, it will go right into the Columbia River, and remember, that’s one of the major rivers in the entire Pacific Northwest.”

“Very scary,” Kaku said. “It the legacy of the Cold War — Russia and the United States. We both have black eyes when it comes to handling nuclear waste.”

Watch the video report here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57571262/nuclear-waste-leak-in-wash–scandalous-expert-says/

  • Six tanks now said to be leaking at contaminated Hanford nuclear site (nonukesnw.wordpress.com)
  • Toxic nuclear waste leaking from Washington dump (treehugger.com)
  • Related articles
    • Toxic nuclear waste leaking from Washington dump (treehugger.com)
    • Highly radioactive: 1000 gallons of nuclear waste leak in Washington every year (rt.com)
    • DOE: Budget cuts may slow nuclear waste cleanup (nonukesnw.wordpress.com)
    • CBS News: U.S. nuclear waste leak a “major emergency problem” – Most dangerous substances known to science – “A ticking time bomb” (VIDEO) (enenews.com)
    • Gov: 6 underground Hanford nuclear tanks leaking (newsobserver.com)
    • Single shell tank at Hanford leaking radioactive waste (king5.com)

Do You Know YOUR Evacuation Route?

01 girl graveyard nuclear stacks

 

01 50 ft woman NNNW

More storage tanks could be leaking at Hanford nuclear reservation

More storage tanks could be leaking at Hanford nuclear reservation

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
on March 05, 2013 at 6:15 PM, updated March 05, 2013 at 7:24 PM

HanfordTankFarm.JPG
A Hanford tank farm. Jamie Francis, The Oregonian

Recent news that six single-shell storage tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation are leaking relatively small amounts of radioactive waste may be only part of the story.

The U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor are evaluating 14 other single-shell tanks that appeared to have lost liquid, according to state regulators and others who attended a DOE briefing in Oregon Monday.

Six of the 14 underground tanks are highest priority for leak evaluation. Causes other than leaks, such as evaporation, could explain lower levels in the tanks.

Kevin Smith, head of Hanford’s Office of River Protection, also told the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board that the small confirmed leaks, while complicated to spot, could have been detected earlier.

One problem: The department’s contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions, analyzed tank levels from year to year, instead of over multiple years.

That made it harder to spot tiny changes in tank levels — the confirmed leaks are estimated to total 660 gallons a year from the six tanks, with contents ranging from 36,000 to 447,000 gallons. The contractor is now evaluating multiple years.

The growing potential for leaks in the aging tanks came on top of other bad news for Hanford Tuesday, with DOE estimating that federal sequestration budget cuts will require a $171 million decrease in funding for Hanford contractors this fiscal year. Hanford’s annual budget is roughly $2 billion.

The cuts could delay progress toward closure of the leaking tanks, DOE’s Daniel Poneman said in a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and result in furloughs or layoffs for more than 4,700 of Hanford’s roughly 9,000 contractor employees.

Hanford made plutonium for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War, on a 586-square-mile site near Richland, Wash., along the Columbia River.

It has since converted to the world’s largest nuclear cleanup site. The toughest problem: 56 million gallons of highly radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks, including 149 leak-prone single-shell tanks.

Inslee announced the tank leaks late last month and is scheduled to visit Hanford’s tank farms today. He and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber have both recommended new, secure storage tanks at Hanford to better contain the waste.

DOE is also trying to resolve tricky technical questions with its $13.4 billion waste treatment plant, which is supposed to begin locking the tank waste into glass logs in 2019. Plant construction, already long-delayed, has largely been put on hold while the agency evaluates technical options.

“It all illustrates more and more clearly that we need to get the waste treatment plant completed and operating,” said Ken Niles, who directs the Oregon Department of Energy division that oversees Hanford cleanup.

“We do need some additional storage capacity and we certainly need more money than Congress is at the moment willing to spend on Hanford.”

The single-shell tanks contain nearly half the tank waste. Most is in sludge form, but DOE estimates they also contain roughly 2.7 million gallons of “drainable” liquid, more likely to leak.

DOE estimates 1 million gallons have already leaked from 67 tanks and some of the material has reached groundwater. All are decades beyond their design life.

An effort to pump liquid wastes into newer double shell tanks from 1981 to 1995 was believed to have stopped the leaks. But the news last month forced an abrupt change in that assumption.

Last year, the department also discovered a leak in the inner shell of one of the double-shell tanks, which had been presumed to be secure.

Jane Hedges, who manages the Washington Department of Ecology‘s nuclear waste program, told Washington legislators last week that there are no immediate threats to the public or the Columbia.

The leaking single-shell tanks are 200 to 300 feet above the groundwater table, she said, and it will take decades for the waste to get there. A recently built groundwater treatment plant should help keep the waste out of the Columbia River, she added.

Building new double-shell tanks would be costly. Hedges said the tanks would cost from $150 million to $500 million each, and take 5 to 7 years to permit and build.

Ecology and DOE are also evaluating other steps, including installing more asphalt or plastic barriers at ground level to make sure rainwater doesn’t enter the tanks, which increases the risk of leaks.

Dan Serres of the watchdog group Columbia Riverkeeper, attended DOE’s Oregon presentation Monday. Smith of DOE was refreshingly candid, Serres said, and it’s accurate to say that the leaking tanks aren’t an immediate threat.

“The problem is they’re going to be,” he said, “unless something is done to clean them up.”

Scott Learn; Twitter: @slearn1.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/03/more_tanks_could_be_leaking_at.html#incart_m-rpt-2

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Boxer-Biden Letter

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DOE: Budget cuts may slow nuclear waste cleanup

DOE: Budget cuts may slow nuclear waste cleanup

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press
Updated 4:12 pm, Thursday, February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cleanup of radioactive waste at nuclear sites across the country — including one in Washington state where waste tanks may be leaking 1,000 gallons per year — would be delayed under automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the cuts would delay work at the department’s highest-risk sites, including the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., where six tanks are leaking radioactive waste left over from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons.

It was not clear Thursday whether cleanup of the leaking tanks would be affected by the spending cuts. Overall cleanup efforts at Hanford — one of the nation’s most contaminated sites — would be curtailed, Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow said.

A report by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee said more than 1,000 mostly private workers at Hanford could be furloughed. Hanford and other Energy Department defense sites where radioactive waste is stored would be forced to suspend or delay cleanup activities and even shut down some facilities, the report said.

At Hanford, the retrieval of radioactive waste from leak-prone underground tanks would be delayed, the report said.

The federal government built the Hanford facility at the height of World War II as part of the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bomb. The site, along the Columbia River, holds at least 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste — enough to fill dozens of Olympic-size swimming pools. Many of the tanks are known to have leaked in the past. An estimated 1 million gallons of radioactive liquid already leaked there.

Other high-risk sites facing work delays are the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Idaho National Laboratory.

The Energy Department is facing an estimated $1.9 billion in spending cuts, including about $400 million for the Office of Environmental Management, which oversees the cleanup at Hanford and other former military sites.

The automatic cuts also would slice $900 million from the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining and securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

The agency’s acting administrator said more than 5,000 private contractors and about 1,800 agency workers could be furloughed under the program cuts, which are scheduled to take effect Friday unless the White House and Congress can come to a budget agreement.

The spending cuts would affect all aspects of the agency’s work, acting administrator Neile Miller told Congress this month. That includes “the safety and security of the (nuclear) stockpile, the facilities that maintain that stockpile, and the people and processes that provide the nuclear forces that provide us all with security,” she said.

Specifically, the cuts could force furloughs of more than 600 mostly private workers at the Pantex plant in Texas, where excess nuclear weapons are dismantled, and 1,000 mostly contract workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where a break-in last year by three anti-nuclear protesters — including an 82-year-old nun — raised questions about the NNSA’s oversight of private contractors. The agency announced in January that a new contractor has been hired to manage nuclear weapons facilities at the Tennessee and Texas sites.

Furloughs and 10 percent salary cuts also are likely at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California. A memo to employees from lab director Parney Albright called the cuts “unfortunate,” but said the furloughs and salary cuts would allow the lab “to maintain continuous business operations and, especially, safe operations in an environment of unpredictable staffing.”

Wyden seeks investigation into Hanford tank leaks

Wyden seeks investigation into Hanford tank leaks

By The Associated Press

Published: February 27, 2013 12:00AM, Today

Sen Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the new chairman of a key Senate committee, asked for a federal investigation Tuesday into leaking underground waste tanks at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

State and federal officials announced last week that six tanks at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation are leaking. The tanks hold a toxic and radioactive stew of waste left from decades of plutonium production for U.S. nuclear weapons.

The nuclear site borders the Columbia River, the Pacific Northwest’s largest river, which flows between Washington and Oregon, home state to Wyden, the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Wyden toured the Hanford site Feb. 19.

Wyden asked the Government Accountability Office by letter Tuesday to investigate when the Energy Department knew about the leaks and whether the agency and its cleanup contractors reported them appropriately. The letter also seeks a review of tank monitoring programs, including recommendations for changes.

“These new leak announcements raise a lot of questions about the monitoring and management of the Hanford tank farms,” Wyden said.

 

Washington Governor: Hanford Reservation May Be Leaking 1000 Gallons Of Nuclear Waste Per Year

Washington Governor Hanford Reservation

In this July 14, 2010 photo, workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation work around a a tank farm where highly radioactive waste is stored underground near Richland, Wash. (AP Photo/Shannon Dininny, File)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Radioactive waste tanks may be leaking some 1,000 gallons per year at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday officials are still evaluating how to effectively remove the remaining material from the problematic tanks.

The 1,000-gallon figure is a rough estimate based on the early assessment of six identified leakers. Inslee said the leakage numbers are still being evaluated to determine exactly how much has been lost and how fast the waste is leaving the tanks.

Inslee said there’s no available technology to plug the leaks, so federal and state officials are working to find the best available solution to remove the sludge. Inslee said that solution could come in weeks or months.

“We want to find the most expeditious way to get this job done,” Inslee said.

Hanford has 177 aging tanks that store millions of gallons of radioactive sludge. Inslee said faulty data analysis meant officials did not properly catch signs of leaking before now, and Inslee expressed concern about the other tanks at the reservation.

Federal officials say there is no immediate threat to public safety and that they have not detected any discernible change in contamination levels in monitoring wells.

The federal government built the Hanford facility in south-central Washington at the height of World War II as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Now the tanks at Hanford hold some 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste.

Leakage has been a problem in the past, with an estimated 1 million gallons of radioactive liquid having already leaked, but the tanks were believed to have been stabilized in 2005.

___

Follow AP Writer Mike Baker on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/HiPpEV

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Shut Down CGS – Feb. 28, 2013 Vancouver, WA

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Shut Down CGS – Feb. 27, 2013, Seattle, WA

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Six tanks now said to be leaking at contaminated Hanford nuclear site

Six tanks now said to be leaking at contaminated Hanford nuclear site

Mark Ralston / AFP – Getty Images file

The Hanford site in eastern Washington is considered one of the most contaminated locations on Earth.

By M. Alex Johnson, staff writer, NBC News

The leaking of radioactive liquids at the Hanford, Wash., Nuclear Reservation is more extensive than previously reported, with six storage tanks affected, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday.

In a conference call with reporters Friday after a meeting with Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Inslee disclosed that six of the 177 tanks were leaking at the nuclear facility in Richland, in eastern Washington about 50 miles southeast of Yakima.

Inslee said Chu told him that evaluation system of the tank levels wasn’t used correctly, raising the prospect that there may be even more leaks. But he said he was told that there was no immediate threat, a point the Energy Department reiterated in a statement Friday evening.

Hanford — which houses millions of gallons of radioactive waste left over from plutonium production for nuclear weapons — is already considered one of the most contaminated sites on Earth, the U.S. government says.

Last week, the U.S. Energy Department said that only one tank was leaking at Hanford.

“We need to get to the bottom of this,” Inslee said. He called the disclosure “very disturbing news” and contended that the Energy Department needed a new plan to remove liquid from tanks that can’t be repaired.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and an outspoken critic of containment efforts at Hanford, toured the site this week — before Friday’s announcement — and judged conditions there “an unacceptable threat to the Pacific Northwest for everybody,” NBC station KING of Seattle reported.

An estimated 1 million gallons of waste has seeped out of the underground tanks and reached groundwater that will eventually reach the Columbia River, scientists say. The U.S. plans to build a plant to turn the waste into low-level radioactive glass for safe storage, but that facility is years behind schedule for its projected opening in 2019.

In a statement Friday evening, Inslee warned that the federal budget impasse — which could lead to a “sequestration,” or cuts, of $1.2 trillion in federal spending over 10 years — made the Hanford predicament even more alarming.

“Frankly, the state Department of Ecology is not convinced that current storage is adequate to meet legal and regulatory requirements,” Inslee said.

“With potential sequestration and federal budget cuts looming, we need to be sure the federal government maintains its commitment and legal obligation to the cleanup of Hanford,” he said. “To see Hanford workers furloughed at the exact moment we have additional leakers out there is completely unacceptable.”

Graham Robertson of NBC News contributed to this report. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

Columbia Generating Station Fallout Plume!

Columbia Generating Station 25 Mile Radius Fallout Plume Map
The center of this Toxic Plume is located approximately 160 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington. This plume is produced by 1 reactor located at the Columbia Generating Station

“They plan to bring in an experimental fuel made from surplus weapons plutonium. Not only is the plant not designed for this MOX type fuel, using the plutonium based fuel will spread plutonium radiation downwind of the plant. This plant has the worst unexpected shutdown record of all Nuclear Power Plants in the US. Ground leaks have been reported from its elevated Radioactive Spent Fuel Pool.”

No Nukes NW T shirts

Click here to purchase T shirt: 

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The official letter of complaint by NRC whistleblower Richard Perkins has been released to the public.

The official letter of complaint by NRC whistleblower Richard Perkins has been released to the public. Mr. Perkins was the lead author on the investigative report on Flooding of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Following Upstream Dam Failure, a timely issue considering all the flooding on the East Coast from Hurricane Sally. Mr. Perkins alleges that the NRC has engaged in an effort to mischaracterize information as security sensitive in order to justify withholding important information from the public.

Super Storm Sandy Situation – Oct. 31, 2012

2012_SitRep6_Sandy_10312012_1000AM

Nonviolent Backcountry Resisters Cause Disruptive Breach of Vandenberg Air Force Base Security Zones

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2012
Contact: tierralinda@live.com

Nonviolent Backcountry Resisters Cause Disruptive Breach
of Vandenberg Air Force Base Security Zones

For the first time in nearly a decade, nonviolent civil resisters caused a disruptive breach of the backcountry security zones at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. VAFB enforces a sweeping global pattern of violent high-tech military abuse. Three participants were arrested for federal trespass and others eluded base security patrols. One participant [Theo Kayser] was hand-cuffed face down on the ground with an M-16 automatic rifle trained on his back during his 2 a.m. arrest, while search lights swept the surrounding hills. He was then held under armed guard for nine hours at a special security command post which VAFB had set up to deal with the backcountry occupation. Vandenberg security stated that they believed at least 15 individuals were spotted in base security zones between 0ctober 20th and 21st.

Action participants hope that others will follow their example in the months ahead. They entered the huge US Strategic Command facility at widely dispersed points and hiked miles into the base, crossing fences and rough terrain under cover of night, hanging banners on nuclear first-strike missile silos deep inside Vandenberg. They also conducted an unauthorized Christian prayer liturgy and exorcism of evil inside VAFB boundaries. Multiple sources, including contacts within VAFB, confirmed that the announced plans and the backcountry security zone occupation caused days of disruptive base alerts, interrupting Vandenberg’s business as usual to prepare for and deal with the security zone breaches.

Backcountry action participants and their supporters say that “Vandenberg, built on land stolen from the Chumash nation, launches and controls key satellites which run worldwide drone strikes that kill civilians, and are positioning US forces for a catastrophic peak-oil war with Iran. VAFB is making nuclear world war more likely by its first-strike Minuteman III flight tests, which seriously contaminate stolen indigenous territory at the Earth’s largest coral atoll, Kwajalein.”

Arrested action participants include Franciscan Priest Louie Vitale and Los Angeles Catholic Worker community members Theo Kayser and Rebecca Casas.

Radioactive kitchenware shipment ordered out of Canada

Subject: Radioactive kitchenware shipment ordered out of Canada

Background:

How would you like to have radioactive
kitchenware in your home, exposing you and
your loved ones to a dose of atomic radiation
every time you cook or serve food?

Thanks to the nuclear power industry, the
manufacture of metal objects incorporating
radioactive waste materials from nuclear
reactors is becoming increasingly common.

The story below deals with a shipment of
radioactive kitchenware from India that has
been sitting in a container at the Port of
Montreal for five months.

The kitchenware in question incorporates a
radioactive waste byproduct of nuclear
reactors called cobalt-60.

Cobalt-60 is an intensely radioactive
material, giving off penetrating gamma rays
that are much more powerful than x-rays.

Cobalt-60 (Co-60) does NOT exist in nature.
It is created ONLY as a radioactive byproduct
(or contaminant) in every nuclear reactor.

Cobalt-60 is used in Medicine and in Industry;
for cancer-therapy, for instrument sterilization,
for finding blockages in pipelines, for measuring
thicknesses in manufacturing processes — but
it should never be disseminated into the environ-
ment or be allowed to enter consumer products.

The principal producer and exporter of cobalt-60
in the entire world is Canada. And in 2008, with
no public debate and no public hearings, the
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
enacted regulations that ALLOW radioactive
wastes from nuclear reactors to be disseminated
into the environment (e.g. dumps and landfills)
or even into consumer products — as long as the
radioactivity is diluted to a low enough
concentration.

The Government of Canada is asleep at the switch.
(1) Legislative action is needed to STOP the practice
of allowing radioactive wastes to be incorporated
into consumer goods or to be released to the
environment, making those wastes “beyond
regulatory control”. Once such nuclear wastes
are “free-released”, they are neither monitored
nor controlled. (2) Canada should take more
responsibility and show more international
leadership in preventing radioactive waste
materials that are produced and exported from
Canada eventually ending up in the environment
or in consumer goods.

Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility,
Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire.

Radioactive kitchenware

shipment ordered out of Canada

Contaminated utensils stuck at Port of Montreal since May

CBC News, Montreal,

Oct 13, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/l/DAQERTRkT/www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/10/13/radioactive-utensils-port-montreal.html

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) [has] ordered that a small shipment of radioactive kitchenware, that found its way to the Port of Montreal, be taken out of the country.

The CNSC issued an order on Oct. 5, demanding that the contaminated container be sent back to India by Hanjin Shipping Canada — the company that delivered the cargo to Montreal’s port last May.

André Régimbald, the director of nuclear substance regulations for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said “this was a relatively low-risk package or container and therefore, there was no need at that time to take immediate strong measures to get the container out of the port.”

According to the order issued to Hanjin Shipping Canada, the utensils inside the two-cubic-foot box are contaminated with Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope often used for medical radiation.

The Canadian Borders Services Agency (CBSA) found the merchandise during routine scans performed on incoming cargo.

Radiation could stem from medical device scraps

Régimbald said the kitchenware’s radioactivity could stem from a failure to properly recycle medical devices.

“There could have been a source that is used in medical devices,” he said. “[Devices] to treat cancer, are very high-level sources and the replacement and disposal…is extremely regulated and it is possible that the source was inadvertently misplaced or misdisposed and found its way in the recycling industry, was melted with other metals and the metal was used to produce all sorts of manufactured goods.”

The safety commission said the material does not pose any risk to the health and safety of workers or the environment in its current location but would rather see the package sent away than seeing its contents accidentally travel to distributors.

Increase in contaminated packages

Régimbald said Canada has seen an increase in contaminated packages coming from Asia since 2011.

‘There’s no guarantee that it won’t be sent to some other consumer somewhere else in the world.’—Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
According to the commission, the CBSA has intercepted about 15 shipments with radiation levels above the permitted threshold since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown in Japan. Most of these cargos were sent to Vancouver.

Régimbald said that in most cases, the radiation was on the outside of the shipping containers and not within.

“We had a few cases like that but the Japanese authorities dealt with it and dealt with the problem,” he said.

Hanjin Shipping Canada has until 12 p.m. on Oct. 26 to remove the container from Canada.

Gordon Edwards, spokesman for the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility said “I think it shows that our regulator is really lax, that they don’t act very quickly and also [don’t] act with a lot of due deliberation because simply sending it back to where it came from, there’s no guarantee that it won’t be sent to some other consumer somewhere else in the world.”

Gérimbald said the Indian authorities have been advised by the commission that there may be a problem [sic!] with the control of radioactive sources and contamination in household products.

Indian officials said they were looking into the matter and taking precautions to prevent the problem.

================================================
Here are some useful background documents
on what the CNSC calls “recycling contaminated
metal”, but which the CCNR calls “contaminating
recycled metal”.
———————————————————–

For an essay dealing with the so-called
“recycling” of radioactive metals (which has
been an emerging practice in recent years) see

http://www.ccnr.org/essay_radwaste_recycling.pdf

For the position of the Steel Maufacturing Association
on the practice of “dumping” radioactive wastes from
nuclear reactors into the recycled “scrap” metal market:

http://www.ccnr.org/SMA_Radioactive_Scrap.pdf

For concerns expressed by the United Nations about
radioactively contaminated metal:

http://www.ccnr.org/UN_Radioactive_scrap.pdf

For information about the 1600 tonnes of radioactively
contaminated metal (steam generators) that Bruce Power
(Ontario) wanted to send to Sweden for “recycling”, with
the BLESSING (licence) of the CNSC:

http://ccnr.org/#sg

[you have to type the “sg” by hand]

For a concise summary of the issues related to the
proposed Ontario radioactive metal recycling shipment see

http://www.ccnr.org/15_facts_c_e.pdf

For the resolution that was passed by Quebec municipalities
and many organizations across Canada and throughout
the world against the shipment and “recycling” of the
Bruce steam generators see

http://ccnr.org/Resolution_e.pdf

For the signatories to this resolution see

http://ccnr.org/

Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
==================================

T-Shirts

No Nukes NW – Black/Silver

Unfuck the World – Black/Silver:

Please contact beth@nonukesnw.org for ordering T-shirts.  Thank you.

S23 No Nukes NW Rally- Kickoff Campaign for Nuclear Free Portland – Sept 23, 2012

 

Click here for Photo Gallery:       http://www.flickr.com/photos/79168981@N07/collections/72157631624323354/

 

 

Hanford Origami Booklets

Click on Image to download and print:

Click here for instructions on How to make the Hanford origami informative booklet

How to make the Hanford origami informative booklet.

 

 

Think in red…

Better Active Today than Radioactive Tomorrow!!!

KBOO radio: Tillicum Wawa on Thursday, September 20th at 6 p.m.

Tillicum Wawa on 09/20/12

Program:

Tillicum Wawa

Air date:  Thu, 09/20/2012 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Short Description:  TW kicks off a Nuclear Free Portland with Miriam German and honored elder John Bravehawk
Did you know there are plans to transport highly radioactive nuclear waste through Portland en route to Hanford? Government estimates state that 800 people will die just from the ambient radiation along the route. Stand up with Miriam German (Miriams Well), John Bravehawk (honored Lakota Elder) and Tillicum Wawa. Learn about plans for a Nuclear Free Portland. Listen to Tillicum Wawa on Thursday, September 20th at 6 p.m. for this important issue.

Listen here: 

Photos: Miriam German, John Bravehawk

http://kboo.fm/node/50058

Kickoff Campaign for Nuclear-Free Portland Rally

Kickoff Campaign for Nuclear-Free Portland Rally Press Release
No Nukes NW seeks a City of Portland Ordinance to make Portland a Nuclear-Free Zone
No Nukes NW seeks a City of Portland Ordinance making Portland a Nuclear-Free Zone
PORTLAND, OR
Rally for Portland Nuclear-Free Zone
Sunday, September 23rd, 1-4 p.m.
Japanese American Historical Society
2 NW Naito Pkwy and Couch – waterfront

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a8154425a7174b967ffdd7372&id=70214c423c

Kickoff Campaign for Nuclear-Free Portland Rally Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No Nukes NW seeks a City of Portland Ordinance making Portland a Nuclear-Free Zone
PORTLAND, OR

Rally for Portland Nuclear-Free Zone
Sunday, September 23rd, 1-4 p.m. 
Japanese American Historical Society
2 NW Naito Pkwy and Couch – waterfront

No Nukes NW will host a kick-off rally to create a new ordinance for the City of Portland that will make Portland a Nuclear Free Zone. The event, open to the public, will take place on Sunday, September 23rd, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Japanese American Historical Plaza, 2 NW Naito Parkway, Portland, Oregon.

The Hanford Nuclear Waste Site, approximately 225 miles northeast of Portland on the Columbia River, is the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the world. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has endorsed the continued transportation of highly radioactive waste along Oregon highways including, I-5, I-84 and US-97 to reach the Hanford Nuclear Waste Disposal site for storage and future processing. Hanford does not have the means to handle the waste it already has much less future deposits, and its only backup, the 20 double-shelled storage tanks, are now found to be leaking. Government death estimates propose that 800 people may die yearly from just the trucks coming through our highways, and that number is a number not inclusive of accidents! We find this intolerable and refuse to let it continue.

In the new ordinance, we demand that our city officials take control of monitoring our air, water, soil and food for contamination coming in from Fukushima fallout. We also demand that part of that monitoring system checks all goods coming into our stores from shipments of unmonitored food from Japan. Currently, No Nukes NW, a group of concerned citizens, is the only group to be monitoring radiation levels within the entire city by means of daily local Geiger counter readings. This is not a monitoring mechanism implemented by the city — It is we, the concerned citizens, taking control of measuring and disbursing pertinent findings regarding radioactivity in our city.

This Rally has been endorsed by Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Sierra Club, Veterans for Peace, the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and is acknowledged by the international anti-nuclear community as a positive step forward for the health and safety of Portlanders and the health and safety of the planet.

For more information, please contact:
No Nukes NW: 971-238-3898
Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW – beth@nonukesnw.org
Miriam German, No Nukes NW – miriam@nonukesnw.org
Website: www.nonukesnw.org
FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/338416596250911/?ref=ts

KBOO Radio Show with No Nukes NW

Please click on this link to hear the radio show:  http://kboo.fm/node/49918
Air date:  Fri, 09/14/2012 – 8:00am – 9:00am
Short Description:  Making Portland (and the world) a nuclear free zone, with No Nukes NW

Join Ani as she talks with Miriam German from No Nukes NW and the local band Miriams Well, as well as a guest from Veterens for Peace chapter 72, about making Portland a nuclear free zone.

No Nukes NW emerged from the Occupy Movement in Portland. After marching and organizing with Occupy for many months, several organizers formed No Nukes NW to specifically fight nukes.

On Sunday, September 23rd, the group will hold a kickoff event to start their campaign to make Portland a Nuclear Free Zone.

~ Rally for Nuclear Free Portland ~ September 23, 2012

~ Rally for Nuclear Free Portland ~ September 23, 2012

To learn more :  Facebook Event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/338416596250911/?ref=ts

1. The Department of Energy plans to continue using Hanford for radioactive nuclear waste dumping.

2. Washington’s Governor Gregoire endorses the transportation of highly radioactive waste along Oregon Highways, I-5, I-84, I-97 as well as by rail to reach the Hanford dump knowing that by the estimates of the DOE a minimum of 800 people would die from this action, by transport via the highways alone. This is a low estimate supposing accidents were not added to the reality. The estimate of 800 has nothing to do with reported trucking accidents, only the drive-by radiation leakage into the communities through which the trucks are driving. There is no information required of shipments by rail.

3. It is time to put an end to the businesses in our community making supplies for nuclear weapons, making transport planes for nuclear weapons, and the production of materials supporting the spread of nuclear power plants.

4. It is time to tell Hanford and the Columbia Generating Station Nuclear Power Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that we say No to Nukes, No to Nuclear pollution in our environment, in our air, in our Columbia River waters and our food! No to the proliferation of nuclear industry in Portland.

5. We have no one in our local government, state or federal gov’t monitoring the nuclear fallout of Fukushima in our food, water, or air in Portland or in Oregon. Only No Nukes NW is monitoring and this is not enough. We demand to be protected and alerted when radiation levels and fallout is on it’s way to becoming alarming.

It is also time to protect the people of Portland by creating a resolution to be voted on by our City Council to finally, once and for all, create a real nuclear free zone in Portland.

Join us in standing together for sanity in a nuclear free city in order to live without the fear of sickness and death from a nuclear accident or disaster.

Click image to download and print and distribute widely…


8.5 x 11″ – 1 per page


4 x 5″ – 4 per page

Bechtel Incompetent To Complete Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup: DOE Memo

Bechtel Incompetent To Complete Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup: DOE Memo

Tech Jeff McMahon, Contributor/ Forbes.com
8/29/2012 @ 12:29PM

B reactor as it appears in 2009.

More than 10 years into the job, Bechtel National Inc. has been described as incompetent to complete the $12.2 billion nuclear waste treatment plant at Hanford, Wa., the nation’s largest radioactive waste site, according to an internal Department of Energy memo.

In the Aug. 23 memo, the DOE official responsible for supervising engineering at the facility, Gary Brunson, calls for Bechtel to be immediately removed as the design agent for the novel Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), which was supposed to begin operation last year.

Brunson lists 34 “brief examples” of issues in which Bechtel’s design advice was factually incorrect, technically flawed, unsafe, or more costly than alternatives.

“The number and significance of these issues indicate that Bechtel National Inc. is not competent to complete their role as the Design Authority for the WTP, and it is questionable that BNI can provide a contract-compliant design as Design Agent,” Brunson writes in the memo.

The memo was acquired by the watchdog group Hanford Challenge and released to the media yesterday.

“The leaked memo puts the Waste Treatment Plant’s woes into sharp relief,” said Tom Carpenter, the executive director of Hanford Challenge. “This memo details exhaustive and disturbing evidence of why Bechtel should be terminated from this project and subject to an independent investigation.”

Bechtel officials argued that the Department of Energy reviewed and approved each of the “design solutions” criticized in the memo.

“Every one of the things in (the) memo are decisions that were discussed transparently, agreed upon,” Frank Russo, Bechtel’s project director, told USA Today.

“We brought in … independent review teams, literally from across the national laboratories and across the country, and they concluded as we did that the directions that we took in partnership with the department were appropriate.”

The Energy Department released a statement expressing frustration with the progress of the plant, which is supposed to vitrify—encase in glass—the 53 million gallons of radioactive and toxic waste at the plant. DOE officials said they would review the memo.

The Hanford facility processed plutonium for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War.

CORRECTED: an earlier version of this post implied the US had already spent $12 billion on the Hanford WTP. That is the current estimated cost of the project.

READ MORE:

No Nukes NW – Last Thursday on Alberta

What’s Inside The Suspect Nuclear Waste Tank At Hanford?

What’s Inside The Suspect Nuclear Waste Tank At Hanford?

Jeff McMahon, Contributor, Forbes.com
When news broke last week that radioactive material had been found outside of the inner containment wall of a double-hulled tank at the nuclear waste cleanup site in Hanford, Wa, most reports characterized the contents of the tank as “radioactive waste.”

But that’s more a category than a description.

The Energy Department has been eager to find out exactly what’s in the tank, which received wastes from leaky single-walled tanks and from more than a half dozen facilities at the Hanford site, including nuclear reactors, plutonium processing plants, a PUREX plant, and laboratories.

DOE funded many studies to analyze the chemical compounds in the tank, determine whether they could corrode the stainless-steel walls, and to anticipate the effects of a spill. Here’s some of what those studies found:

Hanford tank AY-102 contains 857,000 gallons of waste in the form of a brown sludge stewing from the heat of its own decay in a translucent yellow liquid at 110 to 135 degrees.

(The two deposits of highly radioactive material found this month between the walls of the tank are dry, according to DOE, and one of them is described as white. Officials plan to sample the material again in mid-September in the hope that its composition will reveal its source.)

The sludge inside the tank contains chunks of solids, many common metals—including aluminum, nickel, lead, silver, copper, titanium, and zinc—and other common elements. In 2001, DOE added sodium hydroxide and sodium nitrate to discourage the toxic sludge from corroding the tank. In a 2002 study, researchers found the sludge to be within standards that should not corrode the tank.

The most prominent radionuclides found within Tank AY-102, and their associated health risks, are:

URANIUM 235 and 238 are the natural isotopes of uranium commonly used in nuclear weapons and reactors. They are hazardous, according to the EPA because, “about 99 percent of the uranium ingested in food or water will leave a person’s body in the feces, and the remainder will enter the blood. Most of this absorbed uranium will be removed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine within a few days. A small amount of the uranium in the bloodstream will deposit in a person’s bones, where it will remain for years.”

PLUTONIUM 238, 239, 240 and 241. Plutonium is not easily ingested, according to EPA, but if inhaled it can remain in the lungs or travel to the bones and liver.

 STRONTIUM 90, a “bone-seeker” that the body mistakes for calcium and deposits in bones. A tiny amount of strontium 90 from the Fukushima disaster was found last year in milk in Hawaii.

• CESIUM 137, a more familiar radionuclide from Fukushima fallout, is distributed throughout the body’s soft tissues.

• THORIUM is a widely available radioactive element championed by some as a safer nuclear-energy source. According to EPA, “studies have shown that inhaling thorium dust causes an increased risk of developing lung cancer, and cancer of the pancreas. Bone cancer risk is also increased because thorium may be stored in bone.”

OTHER RADIONUCLIDES detected in one or more studies of Tank AY-102 include carbon 14, cobalt 60, selenium 79, technetium, antinomy, neptunium 237, americium 241 and curium 243/244.

The Hanford facility opened in 1943 to supply atomic materials to the Manhattan Project and produced plutonium for weapons through the Cold War. A very gradual shut down began in the 1960s. in 1989, the government began its cleanup of the site, which includes a controversial vitrification plant that has cost more than $12 billion so far. There are 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored on the campus.

READ MORE:

What’s Inside The Suspect Nuclear Waste Tank At Hanford?

Inspector General Faults EPA Radiation Monitoring

Citizen Monitors Keep A Wary Eye On Radiation And Government

Bechtel Incompetent To Complete Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup: DOE Memo

Bechtel Incompetent To Complete Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup: DOE Memo

Jeff McMahon, Contributor, Forbes.com

More than 10 years into the job, Bechtel National Inc. has been described as incompetent to complete the $12.2 billion nuclear waste treatment plant at Hanford, Wa., the nation’s largest radioactive waste site, according to an internal Department of Energy memo.

In the Aug. 23 memo, the DOE official responsible for supervising engineering at the facility, Gary Brunson, calls for Bechtel to be immediately removed as the design agent for the novel Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), which was supposed to begin operation last year.

Brunson lists 34 “brief examples” of issues in which Bechtel’s design advice was factually incorrect, technically flawed, unsafe, or more costly than alternatives. “The number and significance of these issues indicate that Bechtel National Inc. is not competent to complete their role as the Design Authority for the WTP, and it is questionable that BNI can provide a contract-compliant design as Design Agent,” Brunson writes in the memo.

The memo was acquired by the watchdog group Hanford Challenge and released to the media yesterday.

“The leaked memo puts the Waste Treatment Plant’s woes into sharp relief,” said Tom Carpenter, the executive director of Hanford Challenge. “This memo details exhaustive and disturbing evidence of why Bechtel should be terminated from this project and subject to an independent investigation.”

Bechtel officials argued that the Department of Energy reviewed and approved each of the “design solutions” criticized in the memo.

“Every one of the things in (the) memo are decisions that were discussed transparently, agreed upon,” Frank Russo, Bechtel’s project director, told USA Today.

“We brought in … independent review teams, literally from across the national laboratories and across the country, and they concluded as we did that the directions that we took in partnership with the department were appropriate.”

The Energy Department released a statement expressing frustration with the progress of the plant, which is supposed to vitrify—encase in glass—the 53 million gallons of radioactive and toxic waste at the plant. DOE officials said they would review the memo.

The Hanford facility processed plutonium for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War.

CORRECTED: an earlier version of this post implied the US had already spent $12 billion on the Hanford WTP. That is the current estimated cost of the project.

READ MORE:

What’s Inside the Suspect Nuclear Waste Tank At Hanford

 

DOE confirms 2nd leak at Hanford as state threatens legal action

DOE confirms 2nd leak at Hanford as state threatens legal action

by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Updated today at 6:09 PM

 A second leak of suspected radioactive material at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was recently detected, the U.S. Department of Energy confirmed Friday.

As with the first leak revealed last month, the new material was found in a gap between the walls of a double-walled storage tank (see photos)

The leak was found during a routine inspection and was described as a three-foot mass that tested positive for high-level radioactivity.

The second mass has not been measured or tested yet. Officials with the federal Office of River Protection said no radioactive material has escaped the outer wall of the tank and that there is no danger to the public or Hanford workers

The discoveries raise questions about the integrity of the double-walled tanks. Reactors at Hanford manufactured plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal starting in World War II. Closed in 1987, the 586 square mile reservation is home to 177 underground tanks holding chemical and nuclear waste.

Washington state is threatening legal action if the federal government doesn’t respond to questions about cleanup delays at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

The legal threats are the latest volley in a long-running dispute between the state and federal government over cleaning up decades of pollution left from nuclear weapons production at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation.

The biggest questions center on construction of a massive waste treatment plant to convert highly radioactive waste into a stable, glass form. The $12.3 billion project has encountered numerous technical problems and delays in the past decade and costs for the project have skyrocketed.

Most recently, the Energy Department  said it may not be able to meet the 2022 operating deadline established under a court-ordered consent decree when Washington last sued over missed deadlines. In June, the agency also said a new cost and schedule for the project would be delayed at least a year.

In a letter to Energy Secretary Stephen Chu released Thursday, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Attorney General Rob McKenna gave the agency until Sept. 26 to respond to their questions about the delays or face returning to court.

The two sides signed the consent decree in October 2010. Just 13 months later in November 2011, the Energy Department informed the state that some deadlines were at risk, the letter said. Six more months passed before additional details were provided.

“We are writing to ask for your commitment to respond with reasonable diligence to the circumstances you believe have put the Consent Decree schedule at risk, including taking all reasonable steps to avoid or minimize any possible delays from the current schedule,” the letter said.

The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the top-secret project to build the atomic bomb. Today, it is the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site, with cleanup expected to last decades.

The cornerstone of that cleanup has long been considered the so-called vitrification plant, which will convert millions of gallons of radioactive waste into glasslike logs for permanent disposal.  The highly toxic stew — enough to fill dozens of Olympic-size swimming pools — has been stored in aging, underground tanks, some of which have leaked, threatening the groundwater and neighboring Columbia River.

Additional reporting from the Associated Press.

No Nukes NW – Rally for Portland Nuclear Free Zone

No Nukes NW – Rally for Portland Nuclear Free Zone

1. The Department of Energy plans to continue using Hanford for radioactive nuclear waste dumping.
2. Washington’s Governor Gregoire endorses the transportation of highly radioactive waste along Oregon Highways, I-5, I-84, I-97 as well as by rail to reach the Hanford dump knowing that by the estimates of the DOE a minimum of 800 people would die from this action, by transport via the highways alone. This is a low estimate supposing accidents were not added to the reality. The estimate of 800 has nothing to do with reported trucking accidents, only the drive-by radiation leakage into the communities through which the trucks are driving. There is no information required of shipments by rail.
3. It is time to put an end to the businesses in our community making supplies for nuclear weapons, making transport planes for nuclear weapons, and the production of materials supporting the spread of nuclear power plants.
4. It is time to tell Hanford and the Columbia Generating Station Nuclear Power Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that we say No to Nukes, No to Nuclear pollution in our environment, in our air, in our Columbia River waters and our food! No to the proliferation of nuclear industry in Portland.
5. We have no one in our local government, state or federal government monitoring the nuclear fallout of Fukushima in our food, water, or air in Portland or in Oregon. Only No Nukes NW is monitoring and this is not enough. We demand to be protected and alerted when radiation levels and fallout is on it’s way to becoming alarming.
It is also time to protect the people of Portland by creating a resolution to be voted on by our City Council to finally, once and for all, create a real nuclear free zone in Portland.
Join us in standing together for sanity in a nuclear free city in order to live without the fear of sickness and death from a nuclear accident or disaster.

Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/338416596250911/

Energy official wants contractor relieved in nuclear cleanup

Energy official wants contractor relieved in nuclear cleanup

By Peter Eisler, USA TODAY

The company hired to clean up the government’s biggest radioactive mess should be removed from key aspects of the project because it made critical errors designing a massive plant to treat the waste, according to an internal Energy Department memo.

  • A fence surrounds B Reactor, the first large-scale nuclear reactor, at the Hanford site. Shut down in 1968, Hanford's Reactor B made plutonium for the first atomic bomb ever detonated.H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

    A fence surrounds B Reactor, the first large-scale nuclear reactor, at the Hanford site. Shut down in 1968, Hanford’s Reactor B made plutonium for the first atomic bomb ever detonated.

The memo details 34 technical problems attributed to Bechtel National, which designed and built the plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of radioactive waste from a half-century of nuclear weapons production at the Hanford Site in central Washington. A USA TODAY investigation this year highlighted technical problems with the project.

“The behavior and performance of Bechtel engineering places unnecessarily high risk that the (plant) design will not be effectively completed,” says the memo by Gary Brunson, the Energy Department official overseeing engineering for the project.

The first-of-its-kind plant was supposed to begin operating last year and much of the construction is complete, but technical problems have delayed its start-up until at least 2019. The project’s $12.3 billion price tag, which has tripled since it launched more than a decade ago, is likely to grow substantially as a result. A new cost estimate is expected next month.

Brunson’s Aug. 23 memo, addressed to top Energy officials, suggests that Bechtel be relieved of design responsibility for the project, leaving it responsible mainly for construction work.

The plant’s technical problems “demonstrate consistent non-compliance … between design of and realization of a safe operating facility,” the memo says. “The number and significance of these issues indicate that Bechtel National Inc. is not competent to complete their role.”

Read More:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-08-28/Hanford-Site-radioactive-waste-contractor/57373620/1

Department of Energy engineer says Bechtel should be out at Hanford nuclear plant

Department of Energy engineer says Bechtel should be out at Hanford nuclear plant

YAKIMA, Wash. — A U.S. Department of Energy engineer says the company hired to build a massive plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation should no longer have authority over its design.

Gary Brunson oversees engineering for the $12.3 billion waste treatment plant, which is being built to convert highly radioactive waste into glasslike logs for safe disposal. The plant is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

Brunson noted 34 instances where contractor Bechtel National provided information that was incorrect, technically unfeasible or failed to provide the best value to the government, among other things. Brunson detailed the findings in a memo Thursday to Energy Department managers.

Bechtel project director Frank Russo says the findings highlight how the project has changed in the past decade, rather than failures by the company.

“Radioactive material has been found between the inner and outer walls of an underground double-shell tank at Hanford for the first time.”

Hanford double-shell tank may have interior leak

Underground waste Tanks AY-101 and AY-102 are shown under construction in about 1969. Radioactive material has been found between the inner and outer shells of Tank AY-102, raising concerns that the inner shell may have leaked. It’s the first time radioactive material has been found in the space between the inner and outer shell of one of Hanford’s 28 double-shell tanks.
Photo courtesy DOE

Published: August 18, 2012

By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald

Radioactive material has been found between the inner and outer walls of an underground double-shell tank at Hanford for the first time.

The discovery increases the concern that the inner shell of the tank may have leaked, indicating the deterioration of at least one of the 28 double-shell tanks that are needed to hold millions of gallons of waste for decades to come.

“If we determine there was a leak or a previous spill, it reinforces the urgency of emptying the tanks and completing the mission,” said Tom Fletcher, Department of Energy assistant manager of the tank farms. “The tanks are not getting any younger.”

Hanford has 149 leak-prone single-shell waste tanks that are being emptied into the newer double-shell tanks. The waste is planned to be held there until the vitrification plant under construction can treat the waste for disposal, with the tanks required to be emptied by 2052.

“This changes everything,” said Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge. “These tanks were supposed to last another 40 years, but that thinking has been superseded by this new reality.”

DOE notified its regulator, the state Department of Ecology, of the issue last week, but it did not become public knowledge until Friday after Hanford Challenge obtained an email sent by DOE to the state.

The Department of Energy has not confirmed what the material is or where it came from, Fletcher said. DOE is investigating to determine whether waste leaked out of the inner shell of Tank AY-102 or the material came from another source, such as cross contamination from a pit with pumps or piping serving the AY Tank Farm where there could have been a spill.

It was discovered during video monitoring of the area between the inner and outer walls that was designed as an overflow space if the inner steel liner were to leak. A video camera was inserted down a tank riser that had not previously been used for visual examinations.

The video showed two side-by-side areas of contamination. One was a dry mound about 24 by 36 by 8 inches.

There was no contamination on the camera when it was removed, but a sample collected Aug. 10 showed the material was radioactive.

“This is fixed contamination on the floor. There is no liquid. There is no vapor,” Fletcher said.

It presents no risk now to the public, workers or the environment, he said.

Tank AY-102 has a capacity of about 1 million gallons of waste but currently stores about 707,000 gallons of liquid waste and 151,000 of waste sludge. In total, the 177 underground tanks at Hanford hold 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste from the past processing of irradiated fuel to separate out plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program during World War II and the Cold War.

Tank AY-102, which went into service in 1971, is just past its designed service life of 40 years.

When the state was notified last week, it assumed there was some water in the space between the two tanks. DOE said there have been small amounts of water in the space in the past from rinsing monitoring equipment.

The news from DOE that the material was radioactive came as a surprise, said Cheryl Whalen, cleanup section manager for the Department of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program.

“We’re concerned,” she said. “If anything happens to the DST’s (double-shell tanks), it will be a difficult situation because we are very dependent on all the tanks for single-shell tank retrieval.”

If there is a leak in the inner shell of the tank, it is a slow leak, she said.

DOE’s first step in its investigation is creating a historical timeline for the tank to determine what events, including in pits, could have affected it, Fletcher said.

Hanford workers have increased monitoring to make sure there is no change in conditions during the investigation. Cameras are being sent down twice a week, and the level in the tank will be checked every shift to make sure there is no indication of liquid leaking out of the inner shell. Samples also will be taken from both of the places that appear to have material between the inner and outer tanks.

Work is then planned to inspect all areas that are accessible between the inner and outer shells and to check to confirm no waste has made its way out of the outer shell.

Longer term, work will be done to determine if other double-shell tanks might also have similar issues and to explore ways to remove the material from between the shells, Fletcher said.

Read more here:   http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/08/18/2066462/double-shell-tank-at-hanford-might.html

Washington state: Possible radioactive leak at Hanford tank farm

Underground tank farm with 12 of the site's 17...

Underground tank farm with 12 of the site’s 177 waste storage tanks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington state: Possible radioactive leak at Hanford tank farm

Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Radioactive material has been found between two layers of a double-shelled storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. (Shannon Dininny/Associated Press / August 21, 2012)

By Kim Murphy

Los Angeles Times

August 21, 2012, 5:44 p.m.

SEATTLE — As part of the biggest, costliest environmental cleanup project in the nation’s history—disposing of 53 million gallons of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state—one thing was supposed to be sure: Waste stored in the sturdy, double-wall steel tanks that hold part of the toxic ooze wasn’t going anywhere.

But that reassurance has been thrown into question with the discovery of a 3-foot-long piece of radioactive material between the inner and outer steel walls of one of the storage tanks, prompting new worries at the troubled cleanup site.

“We’re taking it seriously, and we’re doing an investigation so we can better understand what it is,” Department of Energy spokeswoman Lori Gamache told the Los Angeles Times.

The discovery marks the first time material has been found outside the inner wall of one of the site’s 28 double-shell tanks, thought to be relatively secure interim storage for the radioactive material generated when Hanford was one of the nation’s major atomic production facilities. It opened in 1943 and began a gradual shutdown in 1964. Cleanup started in 1989.

The $12.2-billion cleanup project eventually aims to turn most of the waste stored at Hanford into glass rods at a high-tech vitrification plant scheduled to be operational in 2019, assuming the formidable design and engineering hurdles can be overcome.

In the meantime, plant engineers have been gathering waste stored in the facility’s 149 aging, leaky single-wall storage tanks and redepositing them in the double-shell tanks for safekeeping.

Over the years, more than 1 million gallons of waste has leaked out of 67 single-wall tanks into the surrounding soil.

“There’s been this presumption that the double-shell tanks at least are sound and won’t fail, and they’ll be there for us,” said Tom Carpenter of the advocacy group Hanford Challenge. Several days ago the group obtained a memo from the cleanup site detailing discovery of the mysterious substance.

“This changes everything. It is alarming that there is now solid evidence that Hanford double-shell has leaked,” Carpenter said in a separate statement on the discovery.

The 42-year-old tank, known as AY-102, holds about 857,000 gallons of radioactive and other toxic chemical waste, much of it removed several years ago from a single-shell storage tank where it was considered unsafe. Workers who relocated the material fell ill simply from inhaling the fumes, Carpenter said.

Department of Energy officials said none of the material has leaked outside the outer steel wall or the concrete casing that surrounds the structure, and there is no present hazard to workers or groundwater.

They said they were trying to determine whether the material leaked from the inner tank or oozed from a nearby pit into the space between the two walls, known as the annulus.

“There’s no evidence of it leaking the liquid from the inner shell right now,” Gamache said.

The material – a mound 2 feet by 3 feet by 8 inches — is dry and doesn’t appear to be growing. It was discovered during a routine video inspection of the annulus conducted last month from a viewpoint not normally used.

The possibility that it could have come as overflow from a nearby pit arises because a pipe runs into the annulus from the pit, Gamache said.

But Carpenter, who has talked extensively with workers at Hanford and was briefed Tuesday by one of the Department of Energy’s senior officials at the tank farm, said he believed the evidence was strong that there was a leak.

“I know Hanford would like it not to be so. But the people I’m talking to at the Hanford site say, no, it really does look like a leak,” he said. “From what I’m being told and looking at the pictures, it appears it’s coming from under the tank and going up. Which is a far cry from it coming from the pit.”

Gamache said an initial sample of the material revealed that “the contamination levels were higher than expected” and it definitely contained radioactive waste. “There wasn’t enough material to fully characterize the material, so we’re preparing to pull another sample. That will probably happen around the mid-September time frame,” she said.

Carpenter said that if the inner tank leaked, it would probably prompt the need to reevaluate expectations that the tanks could safely act as interim storage vessels for several decades.

“These are the tanks that are considered sound, that will last for another 40 years, and if that’s not true, then they’re going to have to consider building new tanks at a minimum,” he said. “They may also need to develop the ability to move waste around much quicker than they do now.”

Big, radioactive lump in Hanford nuclear waste tank: Is it leaking?

Underground tank farm with 12 of the site's 17...

Underground tank farm with 12 of the site’s 177 waste storage tanks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Big, radioactive lump in Hanford nuclear-waste tank: Is it leaking?

A discovery at the Hanford nuclear reservation throws into question the integrity of the double-walled steel tanks where radioactive waste is being temporarily stored.

By Kim Murphy  Los Angeles Times

As part of the biggest, costliest environmental cleanup in the nation’s history — disposing of 53 million gallons of radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation — one thing was supposed to be sure: Toxic waste stored in sturdy, double-wall steel tanks wasn’t going anywhere.  That reassurance has been thrown into question with the discovery of a 3-foot-long mound of radioactive material between the inner and outer steel walls of one of the supposedly safe tanks.

“We’re taking it seriously, and we’re doing an investigation so we can better understand what it is,” Department of Energy spokeswoman Lori Gamache said Tuesday.

The discovery marks the first time material has been found outside the inner wall of one of the site’s 28 double-shell tanks, thought to be relatively secure interim storage for the radioactive material generated when Hanford was one of the nation’s major atomic-production facilities. It opened in 1943 and began a gradual shutdown in 1964. Cleanup started in 1989.

The $12.2 billion cleanup eventually aims to turn most of the Hanford waste into glass rods at a high-tech vitrification plant scheduled to be operational in 2019, assuming the formidable design and engineering hurdles can be overcome.

In the meantime, plant engineers have been transferring waste from the facility’s 149 leaky, aging single-wall storage tanks into double-shell tanks for safekeeping. The double-wall tanks were expected to last another 40 years.

More than 1 million gallons of waste have leaked from 67 single-wall tanks into the surrounding soil over the years.

“There’s been this presumption that the double-shell tanks at least are sound and won’t fail, and they’ll be there for us,” said Tom Carpenter, of the advocacy group Hanford Challenge. Several days ago the group obtained a memo from the cleanup site detailing the discovery of the mysterious substance.

“This changes everything. It is alarming that there is now solid evidence that Hanford double-shell has leaked,” Carpenter said in a separate statement on the discovery.

The 42-year-old tank, known as AY-102, holds about 857,000 gallons of radioactive and other toxic chemical waste, much of it removed several years ago from a single-shell storage tank.

Workers who relocated the material fell ill simply from inhaling the fumes, Carpenter said.

Department of Energy officials said no material has leaked outside the outer steel wall or the concrete casing that surrounds the structure, and that there is no present hazard to workers or groundwater.  They are trying to determine whether the material leaked from the inner tank or oozed into the space between the two walls, known as the annulus, from a nearby pit.  “There’s no evidence of it leaking the liquid from the inner shell right now,” Gamache said.

The material — a mound 2 feet by 3 feet by 8 inches — is dry and doesn’t appear to be growing. It was discovered during a routine video inspection of the annulus, conducted last month from a viewpoint not normally used.

The possibility that it could be overflow from a nearby pit arises because a pipe runs into the annulus from the pit, Gamache said.  But Carpenter, who has talked extensively with workers at Hanford and was briefed on Tuesday by one of the Department of Energy’s senior officials at the tank farm, said he believes the evidence is strong that there was a leak.

“I know Hanford would like it not to be so,” he said. “But the people I’m talking to at the Hanford site say no, it really does look like a leak.”

JY25 – Bullshit Campaign ~ No Nukes NW Protest at Columbia Generating Station

Protest began bright and early on the road to CGS to greet the workers on their way to our damnation and taking Geiger counter readings of the area, proceeds into Richland, WA, with an impromptu Q&A at the offices of URS regarding whistleblower laws and processes, to end with the Peace Walk with the monks… Busy day!  NO NUKES!!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79168981@N07/sets/72157630779959686/

Safety First?

Video of Impromptu Q&A at URS:

Peace Walk with Monks:

Monks lead Interfaith Peace Walk to Hanford nuclear reservation

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/07/26/2033363/monks-lead-interfaith-peace-walk.html

By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald

Baby boomer Gene Weisskopf of Richland said he was too old to expect miracles Wednesday.

But as he set off behind two Buddhist monks draped in saffron cloths on a seven-mile walk through Richland to the 300 Area gate of Hanford, he said he believed the annual Interfaith Peace Walk had the potential for good.

Maybe the people who saw the trail of walkers, the purple banner flying and heard the drums beating and the chanted prayers “will be reminded the threat of nuclear weapons is still with us,” he said.

This is the sixth year since 2005 that two monks from the Nipponzan Myohiji Buddhist Temple on Bainbridge Island have visited Richland to lead a peace walk for the abolition of nuclear weapons just before the anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945.

Plutonium for the bomb, the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan in World War II, was produced at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Twenty people gathered in John Dam Plaza for a brief opening ceremony of prayer, poems and song, from John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance to an African American spiritual.

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus …,” sang Senji Kanaeda, a Buddhist monk born in Japan.

“The interfaith aspect is very important, because if we don’t have peace among religions, we’re never going to have peace in the world,” said Jim Stoffels of Richland, chairman of World Citizens for Peace.

The walk coincided with the 30th anniversary of World Citizens for Peace. The group was formed in the Tri-Cities when President Ronald Reagan wanted to put Hanford’s N Reactor and PUREX back to work producing weapons-grade plutonium, generating more high level radioactive and chemical waste to be stored in Hanford’s underground tanks, Stoffels said.

“We have a duty to leave a clean, safe Earth, air and water to our children,” Kanaeda said.

Since the monks led their first Interfaith Peace Walk to the Hanford 300 Area, hundreds of buildings have been razed, Stoffels said.

“Unfortunately, the shutdown and destruction of Hanford plutonium-production facilities has not put an end to U.S. production of nuclear weapons,” Stoffels said.

President Obama has made a commitment to spend $85 billion during a decade to build a new “nuclear bombplex” in New Mexico, Tennessee and Missouri, he said.

“So, we still have a long road ahead of us,” he said. But every step on the walk to Hanford on Wednesday brings closer the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, he said.

– Annette Cary:

Video:
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/07/26/2033363_a2033036/monks-lead-interfaith-peace-walk.html

Out of the Shadows: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6th, 2012

Out of the Shadows: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6th, 2012

Join peace and community groups in Portland to mark the 50th year of commemorating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for program of speakers and performers featuring Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken on August 6th, 2012.

Carol Urner, age 83, helped organize the original 1962 Portland commemoration and remains on the planning committee today. “College students and young mothers began this commemoration in response to both the Berlin crisis which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, and to the continued atmospheric testing which threatened us all personally, especially our children,” said Carol Urner of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. “Considering that the United States still has more than 1700 nuclear warheads ready to be launched at any moment, this commemoration remains an important way we involve younger generations in remembering the horrors of nuclear weapons and in working for a nuclear free future.”

Out of the Shadows: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

What: A one-hour program of speakers and performances to commemorate the lives lost to nuclear weapons, educate on the threats posed by nuclear weapons and pledge commitment to a nuclear-free world.

When: Monday, August 6th, 2012 6:00-7:00 pm

Where: Japanese American Historical Plaza (Waterfront Park at NW Naito Parkway & Couch Street in Portland, Oregon)

Speakers/performers include:
· Kathleen Flenniken, Poet Laureate of Washington State
· Rev. Dr. Lowell Greathouse of the United Methodist Church
· Traditional Japanese Youth Dance directed by Sahomi Tachibana
· Drumming by Place of Our Ancestors, of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
· Saori Erickson, award winning soprano, recent Grant High School Graduate
· Ailish Duff, winner of the Oregon PSR Greenfield Peace Writing Contest 2012
· Chisao Hata, Performance Artist
· Sean Tenney, Oregon PSR Shadow Project coordinator
· Hosted by Ronault “Polo” Catalani, Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights

Free and open to the public.

COSPONSORED BY: Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, American Iranian Friendship Council, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, First Unitarian Peace Action Committee, Greenpeace, Humanists of Greater Portland, Japanese Ancestral Society, Japanese Garden Society, KBOO Radio, Multnomah Monthly Meeting of Friends, No Nukes NW, Oregon Buddhist Temple, Oregon Hiroshima Club, Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Peace House, Portland JACL, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Regional Arts and Culture Council, SGI-USA Buddhists, Sisters of the Road, Tom Dwyer Automotive, Vancouver for Peace, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.oregonpsr.org

or 503-274-2720

No Nukes NW Upcoming Events Calendar

We Are All Radioactive

WE ARE ALL RADIOACTIVE is a brand new online crowdfunded documentary film about surfers rebuilding northern Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on 3.11.2011.

Nuclear fears galvanise usually sedate Japan

Nuclear fears galvanise usually sedate Japan

JapanToday.com   National Jul. 22, 2012 – 02:41PM JST

 

Nuclear fears galvanise usually sedate Japan Organisers said more than 170,000 people attended a recent anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo AFP

 

TOKYO —

Japan’s usually sedate society is angry and getting organized against nuclear power, with the kind of snowballing protest movement not seen for decades.

Weekly demonstrations outside the prime minister’s residence attract tens of thousands of people and a rally in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park last Monday drew a crowd organizers claimed at 170,000, demanding an end to atomic power in post-Fukushima Japan.

And as numbers swell there are indications the country’s usually inflexible politicians are getting worried and just might start paying attention.

“Before the disaster, I had never thought of taking part in rallies,” said 22-year-old Yusuke Hasunuma, referring to the tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

“But now I find it very exciting. It’s great to take action with other people who feel the same,” said Hasunuma, who has become a regular at the Friday evening protests in Tokyo’s political district.

“No one used to care before (the disaster),” said Masaki Yoshida, a mother-of-three who was forced from her Fukushima home by the radiation-spewing plant. “But people now think keeping their mouth shut means saying ‘yes’ to nuclear power.”

Protesters’ demands are simple: Japan should abandon atomic power, a technology that industry, government and regulators had sworn was safe until a 9.0 magnitude earthquake sent a towering tsunami crashing into the Fukushima plant.

One by one the country’s nuclear reactors were shuttered for safety checks and by May 5 this year, a technology that had provided a third of Japan’s electricity needs was idle.

But amid warnings the country’s industrial heartland could run perilously short of power over the hot summer, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in June ordered the restarting of two reactors.

That galvanised businessmen, housewives, parents with young children and a large number of elderly people, who came to the conclusion that taking to the streets was not so radical.

For Japan, analysts say, this marks a sea change in public attitudes where demonstrations are things that happen in other countries or belong to the past.

In the still-poor and war-battered 1950s a current of anti-U.S. sentiment, particularly among radical students, sparked often violent rallies where clashes with police resulted in injuries and at least one death.

Then, the protests were over an agreement that permits American military bases in pacifist Japan.

“The current anti-nuclear rallies are different from the ones against the U.S.-Japan security treaty,” which had an ideological and political agenda, said Yoshikazu Sakamoto, honorary professor of politics at the University of Tokyo.

“Now, ordinary citizens are participating,” Sakamoto said. “Many of them just feel distrust of and frustration with the government.”

Kiyoshi Abe, professor of media and communication studies at Kwansei Gakuin University, said the large number of elderly people was a key characteristic of the recent movement.

“I think many of those who experienced World War II and particularly the misery of atomic bombs are participating,” Abe said.

Elderly people worked hard and kept silent for the sake of the country’s recovery from the war, but they seem to have realized that what they dreamed of is different from what they are seeing now,” he said.

Abe said unlike sometimes bloody riots in other countries, the large presence of elderly appeared to have a calming effect on rallies in Japan.

And they are very ordered: protesters stick to the anti-nuclear message and go home in an orderly fashion at the appointed time.

But the demonstrations’ regularity and sheer size—even taking the police estimate of 75,000 people for Monday’s protest—is giving the government pause for thought in a country where for decades the political elite has largely ignored popular opinion.

As crowds gathered on Monday, Noda told a television program he would “listen attentively” to voices raised in the debate.

Nuclear energy is becoming an issue that divides the nation,” he said in an unusually candid assessment.

However, the University of Tokyo’s Sakamoto said the political classes may be able to out-wait the protests.

“People may abandon the current movement if nothing changes following recent efforts, and the country could return to its usual apathy,” Sakamoto said. “Citizens’ movements in Japan are still in a transitional phase.”

© 2012 AFP

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Subcontractor in Namie-machi Told Its Workers to Use Lead Casing Over their Dosimeters to Protect Radiation “Allowance”

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Subcontractor in Namie-machi Told Its Workers to Use Lead Casing Over their Dosimeters to Protect Radiation “Allowance”

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 11:52 PM PDT

Mr. Tomohiko Suzuki, journalist who went to work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant last year to report how it really was in the plant, said the workers use a variety of ways to lower (i.e. fake) the radiation exposure as measured by their dosimeters. One of the ways is to simply hand the dosimeter to a person who is not entering the high-radiation areas; another way is to flip the dosimeter in the pocket so that it won’t measure radiation as much.

Here’s a new one, decidedly more effective. A subcontractor in Namie-machi, Fukushima who contracts work from one of the 1st-tier TEPCO subcontractors supposedly told its workers to cover their dosimeters with lead plates when working at the plant last year.

Asahi Shinbun reveals in the article below (7/21/2012) that the paper obtained the recording of the company’s executive telling workers to do so:

線量計に鉛板、東電下請けが指示 原発作業で被曝偽装

Lead plate on dosimeter, a TEPCO subcontractor instructed the workers to fake radiation exposure at the plant

東京電力が発注した福島第一原発の復旧工事で、下請け会社の役員が昨年12月、厚さ数ミリの鉛のカバーで放射線の線量計を覆うよう作業員に指示していたことがわかった。法令で上限が決まっている作業員の被曝(ひばく)線量を少なく見せかける偽装工作とみられる。朝日新聞の取材に、複数の作業員が鉛カバーを装着して作業したことを認めた。役員は指示したことも装着したことも否定している。厚生労働省は、労働安全衛生法に違反する疑いがあるとして調査を始めた。

It has been revealed that a senior executive of a subcontractor instructed its workers to cover their dosimeters with lead plates several millimeters thick for the work ordered by TEPCO for the restoration of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant last December. It was done to disguise the radiation exposure levels of the workers, whose upper limit is set by the regulations. More than one worker has admitted to Asahi Shinbun that they worked with the lead cover over their dosimeters. The senior executive denies that he ever instructed the workers and that the lead cover was used.

朝日新聞は、福島県の中堅建設会社である下請け会社「ビルドアップ」の役員(54)が偽装工作したことを示す録音記録を入手した。昨年12月2日夜、作業員の宿舎だった福島県いわき市の旅館で、役員とのやりとりを作業員が携帯電話で録音していた。

Asahi Shinbun has obtained the recording that shows a senior executive (age 54) of the subcontractor “Build Up”, which is a medium-sized construction company in Fukushima Prefecture. The exchange between the executive and the workers took place at night on December 2 last year, at a ryokan [Japanese-style hotel, inn] in Iwaki City in Fukushima where the workers were staying. One of the workers recorded the exchange with his cellphone.

役員はその前日、作業チーム約10人に対し、胸ポケットに入るほどの大きさの線量計「APD」を鉛カバーで覆うよう指示した。だが3人が拒んだため、2日夜に会社側3人と話し合いがもたれた。役員は録音内容を否定するが、この場にいた複数の作業員が事実関係を認めている。

On the previous day, the executive had told the team of 10 workers to cover their pocket-sized dosimeter “APD” with lead cover. 3 workers had refused. So on the night of December 2 a talk was held between the company [the executive] and the 3 workers. The executive denies what’s in the recording, but more than one worker who were at the scene confirms the facts.

Asahi’s subscriber-only section has the actual transcript of the conversation that took place between the executive and the workers. Two additional articles (also subscriber-only) give the detailed background that led to this request. Reading them, I just feel sorry for the executive and the workers.

The company was contracted to put insulation around the pipes near Reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4 that carry contaminated water from the turbine buildings, so that the pipes wouldn’t rupture or leak from the freeze.

From the transcript of the recording (Asahi articles here and here, subscription-only; you can subscribe for free and read up to three articles per day):

わかりやすいように説明すると、年間50ミリシーベルトまでいいですよっていうのは、原発やってる人はみんな知ってるんだわな。で、これは、50ミリシーベルトっていうのは各個人の線量。で、俺らみたいな年間通して原発で働く人は、50ミリっていうのは50ミリだから。いっぱい線量浴びちゃうと、年間なんてもたないわけよ、はっきり言って。3カ月、4カ月でなくなっちゃうのよ、50ミリなんて。 だから、自分で自分の線量を守んないと、1年間原発で生活していけないのよ。原発の仕事でぎねがったら、もうその場でどっかで働くかっていうわけにはいかねえんだから。俺ら何十年もやってっから、原発ばっかり。だから、自分の線量を守るためにどうするっていうごどでやってるわけ

To explain it to you simply, everyone working for a nuke plant knows it is OK to be exposed up to 50 millisieverts per year. This 50 millisieverts limit is for each person. Then, for people like us, who work at the nuke plant all year round, 50 millisieverts is 50 millisieverts, and if we’re exposed to too much radiation it won’t last a year, frankly. [50 millisieverts] is up in 3, 4 months. So, unless we protect our own radiation exposure limit we cannot work at the plant and earn our living for one year. If we can’t work at the plant, we don’t have any other work. We’ve been working at the nuke plant for decades. Only at the nuke plant. So the thing is how we protect our radiation exposure [allowance].

線量がなくなったら生活していけねえんだ。わかる? 50ミリがどんどん目減りしていくわけだから

If this radiation [allowance] is depleted, we can’t earn our living. Do you understand? 50 millisieverts will just decrease.

やってはいけないってのは百も承知。やりたくない人は無理にやらなくたっていいんだよ

I’m fully aware that we shouldn’t be doing this. I’m not forcing anyone who doesn’t want to do it.

別の作業員が「これって犯罪に近いと思う」と言うと、役員はこう反論した。

When one of the workers said “I think it is almost a crime”, the senior executive countered:

「私、無理押しした? 自分のために納得してやってもらえるんだったらやってください、ということなの。俺は自分の線量を守りたいからやるよ」

Have I forced you to do it? All I’m saying is if you understand the situation and willingly do it for yourself, then please do it. I will do it because I want to protect my radiation [allowance].

「鉛で隠さないと、線量なくなったら仕事にならないんだ

If we don’t shield [the radiation] with lead, we will lose our radiation [allowance] and there will be no more work.

It looks these three workers had never worked at any nuclear power plant until they started working for this contractor. The senior executive at one point told them:

だから、よそでやれる人はいいよ。別にそんなことしなくったって。でしょ? ちょこっと来てやって。あと原発の仕事なんかする必要ねえと思ってる人、ね? だけど、俺らは年間通してずっとやってる。1年、2年、3年と継続してやってるわけだから、ドンドン累積されっちゃうと、原発の仕事できなくなっちゃうよ。

As I said, people who can work outside nuclear plants are OK. Don’t need to do it, right? Those people who come to work for a short time and no need to work at a nuke plant afterwards. But we’ve been working all year round. One year, two years, three years, we work continuously [at the nuke plant]. If radiation exposure accumulates we cannot work at the nuke plant.

Some Japanese bloggers are accusing the subcontractor and this executive for forcing the workers to fake the radiation exposure (even if it was technically a non-enforceable “request”).

According to NHK News who reported on the same topic, specifically naming the company (which is highly unusual for NHK):

役員は社長に対して「工事の始まる前に現場に下見に行った際、放射線量が急速に上がっていることを示す線量計のアラーム音に驚き、被ばく線量を少なく見せかけようとした。9人の作業員が一度鉛のカバーを使った」と説明したということです。

The executive allegedly explained to the president of the company that when he went to survey the location before the work, he was surprised at the alarm of his survey meter sounding off, indicating the rapidly rising radiation levels, that he wanted to make the radiation exposure levels look lower, and that 9 workers used lead covers once.

NHK also says the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor is investigating the company.

Two levels removed, TEPCO sits pretty with plausible deniability. TEPCO doesn’t force any subcontractors to fake the radiation levels. The subcontractors themselves do, each deciding what is best for the company in order to secure the work for the workers and to get the job done.

No one investigates TEPCO. No one will, as it is now practically owned by the national government.

The nuclear power plants in Japan have been supported by the companies like this Namie-machi subcontractor. Without them, there would have been no nuclear power plant, anywhere in Japan. And now, without them, there will soon be no skilled workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. And who is going to decommission all the other nuclear power plants in Japan? Decommissioning the plants cannot happen all at the same time.

PM NOda declared the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident “over” in December last year, soon after these workers insulated the pipes around Reactors 1 through 4, wearing dosimeters covered with lead plates. And his government goes after this subcontractor. What a joke.


New “Hero” for Friday Protesters in Tokyo: Former PM Yukio Hatoyama

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 01:20 PM PDT
also known as “space alien” among his critics for his off-the-wall remarks in the past. True to this moniker, Mr. Hatoyama said he would go inside the PM’s Official Residence and tell the prime minister to listen to the protesters, and he actually did (PM NOda was not there). Good for him on that.

According to the Jiji article below, Prime Minister NOda was as far away possible from Tokyo on Friday. He was in Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyushu. Noda has apparently been complaining to his guards that he cannot freely go out for a drink on Friday evening because of the protest.

From Jiji Tsushin (7/20/2012):

民主党の鳩山由紀夫元首相は20日夕、首相官邸前で行われた原発再稼働の抗議デモに参加した。マイクを握った鳩山氏は「皆さんの新しい民主主義の流れを大事にしなければならない。再稼働を止めるべきだ」と訴えた。

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Democratic Party of Japan participated in the protest against the restart of nuclear power plants in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in the evening of July 20. Holding the microphone, Mr. Hatoyama said, “We have to respect a new trend in democracy that you are creating. We should stop the restart.”

鳩山氏は「これから官邸に乗り込んで皆さんの思いを伝える」と宣言。そのまま歩いて官邸に入り、藤村修官房長官に、野田佳彦首相がデモ参加者の声を聞く場を設けるよう求めた。藤村長官は「首相に伝える」と語った。首相は、鳩山氏の要請について、視察先の福岡県柳川市で記者団に「さまざまな声を聞いていきたい」と述べた。

Mr. Hatoyama then declared, “I will go inside the Official Residence right now and tell them how you feel.” He then walked inside the Official Residence, and asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Shu Fujimura that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set up an occasion to hear what the protesters have to say. Mr. Fujimura answered “I will tell the prime minister.” Of Mr. Hatoyama’s request, PM Noda said to the press in Yanagawa City in Fukuoka Prefecture where he was visiting, “I want to listen to various opinions.”

デモに参加した理由について、鳩山氏は記者団に「政治家として民主主義の新しいうねりを肌で感じる必要がある」と説明。しかし、党内からは「党の元代表、元首相の参加はいかがなものか」(城島光力国対委員長)と冷めた声が聞かれた。

Asked why he participated in the protest, Mr. Hatohama explained to the press, “It is necessary to feel the new wave of democracy first hand.” However, his party was not enthusiastic about his participation. “Should he be participating in the protest as the former head of the party and former prime minister?” (Koriki Jojima, chairman of DPJ diet policy committee).

 

By the way, Hatoyama, who voted against the sales tax hike and got his DPJ membership suspended for a few months, is a member of the group of politicians who wants to build nuclear power plants deep underground so that the plants could be easily buried should serious accidents happen.

Yasumi Iwakami did the interview with Mr. Hatoyama on July 18 and it was netcasted on IWJ’s USTREAM. People have been tweeting “Oh he sounded so reasonable! Totally different from how the media has been portraying him!”

I didn’t think much of him when he was the prime minister, and don’t think much of him after he resigned. But I haven’t seen the video yet. If you understand Japanese, you can still view it for free at IWJ, here

Whether it is Hatoyama, or Kamei, or other politicians at the protest (including Yasuo Tanaka giving out white balloons), the need to hold up the “higher authority” must be in the national genes.

I came across this tweet by one of the organizers while browsing tweets to find information on Hatoyama’s appearance on the Friday protest:

首都圏反原発連合のやり方を批判する人たちは、まさにそのやり方を取ることによって首都圏反原発連合がこれだけの参加者を集めるようになったという単純な事実を無視する根本的な矛盾に気づかない。それが事実でないと言うのであれば、金曜日に自分たちの主催でそれ以上の参加者を集めてみれば良い。

Those people who criticize the way we do things at Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes simply ignore the fact that by doing it our way we’ve been able to gather so many people to participate. If they want to deny that fact, why don’t they organize something on their own on Friday and gather more people?

“Success” seems to have gotten better (or worse) of him.

…And so we helped the Bonneville Power Authority consider why to shut down the CGS during the ENW Integrated Program Review

https://vimeo.com/46016470

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The Bonneville Power Authority Needs Your Help To Shut Down CGS Nuke Plant
Where:  Bonneville Power Authority Portland Office
905 N.E. 11th Avenue P.O. Box 3621 Portland, OR 97208
(503) 230-3000
When:  Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9 a.m. -11 a.m.

The Scoop:  The BPA is holding it’s “oh what should we do” pity party at their HQ in PDX.  Each Spring the Wind power people and the Hydro People ask BPA to deal w/ overcrowding on the energy grid. The over crowding is due to CGS. BPA pretends to be afraid to ask CGS to shut down, but that is what always happens. We want to tell BPA to SHUT DOWN CGS PERMANENTLY. We don’t need their suicidal energy and they have the power to help us shut them down.
We will have signs. Let’s help them out with their pseudo-predicament. There’s no need for them to even have this a problem. We have enough wind and hydro to cover everyone’s needs w/o killing anyone in the process or in the future. End CGS!

The Bonneville Power Authority Needs Your Help To Shut Down CGS Nuke Plant

 

The Bonneville Power Authority Needs Your Help To Shut Down CGS Nuke Plant
Where:  Bonneville Power Authority Portland Office
905 N.E. 11th Avenue P.O. Box 3621 Portland, OR 97208
(503) 230-3000
When:  Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9 a.m. -11 a.m.

The Scoop:  The BPA is holding it’s “oh what should we do” pity party at their HQ in PDX.  Each Spring the Wind power people and the Hydro People ask BPA to deal w/ overcrowding on the energy grid. The over crowding is due to CGS. BPA pretends to be afraid to ask CGS to shut down, but that is what always happens. We want to tell BPA to SHUT DOWN CGS PERMANENTLY. We don’t need their suicidal energy and they have the power to help us shut them down.
We will have signs. Let’s help them out with their pseudo-predicament. There’s no need for them to even have this a problem. We have enough wind and hydro to cover everyone’s needs w/o killing anyone in the process or in the future. End CGS!

 

Washington nuclear site leaks alarm environmentalists – Video: Complete News

Washington state’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the most contaminated places in the United States, with the government recently disclosing that six large underground tanks are leaking up to 2,000 litres of radioactive liquid per year. The news has alarmed environmentalists, who fear the radioactive material could pass through groundwater to the nearby Columbia River. Officials say the leaks pose no immediate danger to the environment, or to people in the area. Richland, the town nearest to Hanford, is so closely tied to the site that the local high school basketball team is called the ‘Bombers’. The town is also economically dependent on the clean-up effort and people there have learned to live with the nuclear waste next door. Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports from Hanford, Washington.