Posts Tagged nuclear reactors
by: Susanne Posel
July 16, 2012
Officials at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California have admitted that conditions at the plant are worse than they anticipated.
Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear expert at the University of California, Santa Cruz, commented: “This reveals a far greater problem than has been previously disclosed, and raises serious questions about whether it is safe to restart either unit.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has downplayed concerns that prompted an investigation earlier this year when one reactor was closed. Published findings show that more than 3,400 steam generator tubes in the new steam generators at San Onofre have undergone some sort of damage — as well as about 1,800 in Unit 3 and 1,600 in Unit 2. Those tubes are instrumental in keeping the site’s 65 foot tall, 1.3 million pound generators up and running.
The aging facility, now more than a quarter of a century old, is in multiple stages of deterioration, yet it has not been scheduled for shut down. This endangers the populations living in the surrounding areas.
More than half of America’s nuclear power plants are suffering from wear and tear from aging, according to theNuclear Energy Institute (NRC). They point out that these facilities were intended to be used for 40 years, and they are now being pushed past the 60 year mark.
Now it has been concluded through research that 75% of the US nuclear power plants are leaking massive amounts of radioactive substance into local groundwater by way of corroded piping. The NRC has actually lowered their official standards to accommodate the reactors that are working below acceptable levels. Tritium, a dangerous carcinogen, is responsible for boosting cancer incidents. The US government’s response to this is to raise the acceptable exposure levels for the nation.
Propaganda keeps the nuclear programs in the US running passed their time under the guise of cheap power with no greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, nuclear only accounts for 20% of the US allocation of electrical power.
The 23 reactors that are beginning to give warning signs that they will fail in the near future are of the same Mark 1 design of those at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. General Electric (GE) is responsible for the Mark 1. GE claims that the Mark 1, originated in 1972 is a safe design. “Critics say its containment box is too small and its walls are too thin. They also say the waste storage pools, situated several stories above the ground over the main reactor and outside a key containment vessel, are vulnerable to terrorist attack or meltdown.”
by: Susanne Posel
June 29, 2012
Japan has allowed seafood caught off the coast near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to be sold to consumers; although only octopus and marine snails were allowed to be put on the market.
Hirofumi Konno, Soma city’s official in charge of sales at the fishing co-operative, says that with consumers buying the seafood, it proves there is support for the industry. Konno said:
I was filled with both uncertainty and hope today, but I was so happy when I found out the local supermarket had sold out by 3pm.
Testing of the seafood sold for radioactive substances were negligible according to the co-operative. However radioactive cesium, which is a byproduct of the nuclear process, has been found in species of fish from Japan to the west coast of America.
Nobuyuki Yagi, professor of the University of Tokyo, said in regard to Japanese fishing industry: Fishing cannot survive unless people buy the fish. That may seem obvious, but Fukushima is facing up to this.
In April of this year, Steven Manley, professor of biology at California State University Long Beach, says samples from the American west coastline revealed radioactive iodine that could only have come from a nuclear reactor and that iodine 131 “has an eight-day half-life, so it’s pretty much all gone. But this shows what happens half a world away does affect what happens here. I don’t think these levels are harmful, but it’s better if we don’t have it at all.”
Records show that some places were up to 250 times higher in radioactive levels that were recorded prior to the Fukushima disaster.
In one study, researchers from Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific have found that the Pacific Bluefin tuna that migrated from Japan to California are contaminated with cesium, which is a compound found only in nuclear reactors.
The seafood industry has been hoping that the fish they procured were safe for human consumption because the fish were taken several thousand miles from Japanese coastal areas.
The fish was polluted with cesium – 134 and cesium – 137 isotopes. These isotopes do not occur in nature, but are products of nuclear explosions. The levels of cesium found were measured higher than previous years, yet the US government maintains that these radioactive levels are safe for human health.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] Japan’s tsunami-caused nuclear disaster at the Fukushima energy complex in March 2011, in which three atomic reactors were heavily damaged, continues to wreak havoc on ecosystems – in the U.S.
The latest danger emanating from the Fukushima complex to hit our shores came not in the form of irradiated tuna, but in the form of a boxcar-sized piece of floating dock which washed ashore along a sandy Oregon beach earlier this month. The find initially excited some beachcombers, reports said, but scientists quickly began to worry that such debris was quickly becoming a whole new way to transport invasive species – crabs, seaweed and other marine organisms – to U.S. waters, further harming West Coast marine environments, The Associated Press reported.
Worse, scientists and marine biologists suspect more species could be hitching a ride to our shores as more tsunami debris arrives in the coming months.
“We know extinctions occur with invasions,” John Chapman, assistant professor of fisheries and invasive species at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, told AP. “This is like arrows shot into the dark. Some of them could hit a mark.”
Mitten crabs, spartina, shellfish all cause problems here – though they came from far away
Indeed. While international trade has meant that marine invasion to the West Coast has been occurring since the late 1860s, the global economy has greatly accelerated the process. So much so that now, there are areas like San Francisco Bay which amount to a “global zoo” of invasive species, where as many as 500 plants and animals from waters afar have established in U.S. waters.
The species can attach themselves to the hulls of cargo ships and the water some vessels take on as ballast, but have also come from home aquariums that have been emptied into bays.
Not only have the species upset marine ecosystems, but there are staggering costs associated with the phenomenon as well, in tens of billions of dollars.
“Mitten crabs from China eat baby Dungeness crabs that are one of the region’s top commercial fisheries. Spartina, a ropey seaweed from Europe, chokes commercial oyster beds. Shellfish plug the cooling water intakes of power plants. Kelps and tiny shrimp-like creatures change the food web that fish, marine mammals and even humans depend on,” the AP reported.
If anything, the Fukushima disaster will only make matters worse, since the problem has been growing for years. A 2004 study published by the scientific journal Ecological Economic, for example, estimated then that some 400 threatened and endangered species in the U.S. were facing wipe-out due to invasive species.
That said, scientists admit it’s too early to tell how badly Japan’s tsunami debris will worsen the situation already here in the U.S.
“It may only introduce one thing,” Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions in Richmond, Calif., said. “But if that thing turns out to be a big problem, we would rather it not happen. There could be an economic impact, an ecological impact, or even a human health impact.”
Reports said the dock that washed ashore in Oregon came from a fishing port located on Japan’s northern tip. It was strewn with a ton-and-a-half of mussels, seaweed, barnacles and starfish. AP reported that volunteers scraped it clean then buried it above the high water line and sterilized the rest with torches.
Some experts said, however, that despite the cleaning, there was no way to tell yet whether the scrap had released spores, larvae or anything else that could spawn and grow somewhere along the coast.
“That’s the ‘Johnny Clamseed’ approach,” James Carlton, professor of marine sciences at Williams College, said, a reference to John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, who introduced apple trees to parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana in the 19th century. “While that is theoretical, we don’t actually know if that kind of thing happens.”
Yet, scientists say they do know that the bigger the debris, the more likely it is bringing something along for the ride.
More debris continues to wash ashore along U.S. beaches – so much so that state officials are beginning to make appeals to Washington for help. This week, Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire announced plans for her state to begin clean-up efforts but said federal help would be needed.
“We don’t have the resources at the state level to do what we’re going to have to do here,” she said.