Tag Archives | Nuclear Power

Radioactive Time Capsules Of The Southwest

The Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles examines what they term “perpetual architecture” — several dozen cell structures scattered across the desert of the U.S. southwest holding radioactive hazards. These edifices are designed to exist forever — thousands of years from now, in a vastly different world, these may be the only remnant of our civilization. Below is the Green River Disposal Cell in Utah:

More than 30 of these disposal cells have been constructed over the last 25 years, primarily to contain radioactive contamination from decommissioned uranium mills and processing sites. They are time capsules, of sorts, designed to take their toxic contents, undisturbed, as far into the future as possible.

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Toys Of The Atomic Age

Oak Ridge Associated Universities has a groovy collection of vintage “atomic toys” and games for children which referenced and/or promoted nuclear technology. Included are board games such as “Uranium Rush” and “Nuclear War” and, below, 1952′s Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, which came with four pieces of real uranium:

Today, it is so highly prized by collectors that a complete set can go for more than 100 times the original price. The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own alpha source, an electroscope, a geiger counter, and a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom).

GilbertAtomicOpentrimmed

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Federal Judge Rules Vermont Can’t Shut Nuclear Plant

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

Should the feds really be able to force Vermonters to accept proven radiation leaks in their state? Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times:

A federal judge on Thursday blocked Vermont from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor to shut down when its license expires in March, saying that the state is trying to regulate nuclear safety, which only the federal government can do.

The judge, J. Garvan Murtha of United States District Court in Brattleboro, Vt., also held that the state cannot force the plant’s owner, Entergy, to sell electricity from the reactor to in-state utilities at reduced rates as a condition of continued operation, as Entergy asserts it is now doing.

The nuclear operator filed a lawsuit last year challenging the constitutionality of a state law giving the Vermont Legislature veto power over operation of the reactor when its original 40-year license expires.

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CIA, MI6 Behind Iranian Nuclear Scientist’s Death

Iran protestThat’s what Iran’s government says, anyway, and sadly the protestations otherwise by American and British governments just don’t seem convincing. From the Jerusalem Post:

Iran protested the United States and United Kingdom for their roles in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Wednesday, implicating the two nations in the attack, the official Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Saturday.

Iran sent a letter to the Swiss embassy in Tehran – the only official diplomatic channel between Iran and the United States in Tehran – saying that CIA-led operations in the Islamic Republic are known, and blaming the US for supporting “terrorist groups against Iran.”

Tehran also sent a letter to the British Foreign Ministry, claiming British intelligence operations aided in the killing of the 32-year-old Roshan in a car bomb.

The letter cited a quote by Foreign Intelligence Service Head (MI6) John Sawers, who said that the UK was beginning intelligence operations against Iran, according to IRNA.

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Strange Growth on Nuclear Waste Might Be “Biological in Nature”

SRSRob Pavey reports in the Augusta Chronicle:
Savannah River Site scientists are working to identify a strange growth found on racks of spent nuclear fuel collected from foreign governments. The “white, string-like” material was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools within the site’s L Area, according to a report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a federal oversight panel. “The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterized, but may be biological in nature,” the report said. Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample in hopes of identifying the mystery lint — and determining whether it is alive ...
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Three-Eyed Fish Caught Outside a Nuclear Power Plant

The Simpsons called it … via Geekologie:

Seen looking like about 40 fish sticks, a group of fishermen caught this three-eyed Simpsons ‘blinky’ fish in a lake near a nuclear power plant in Argentina. Jealous cyclops shark is jealous! Per Babel Fish (how appropriate!) translation:

“We were fishing and we took the surprise to remove this rare unit. As it were at night then we did not realize, but later it watched it to one with a lantern and it saw that it had a third eye”, elated Julian Zmutt, one of the fishermen. Zmutt assured that it is the first time that happens to him and that the finding began to worry to the population because “it begins to speak of the nuclear power station.”

Not gonna lie, I’d probably err on the side of safety and just not fish in the lake by the nuclear power plant. Bathe, sure, but I’ve always wanting a glowing peen that could guide me to the bathroom at night without having to turn on any lights.

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Confessions Of A Nuclear Power Safety Expert

3464115270_3c602de1d8An expert on the safety of nuclear power plants comes to the conclusion that there is simply no such thing as an 100 percent safe nuclear reactor. Via Miller-McCune:

I soon came to the conclusion that neither international cooperation nor technological advancements would guarantee human societies to build and safely run nuclear reactors in all possible conditions on Earth (earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wars, terrorism, climate change, tsunamis, pandemics, etc.). I am sadly reminded of this turning point in my life as I listen to the news about the earthquake, tsunami and extremely worrying nuclear crisis in Japan.

When Italy decided in the mid-’70s to add nuclear power to its power portfolio, young mechanical and nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi was among those attracted to the opportunities it presented. His work centered on nuclear safety issues — in particular, what might happen if something unexpected struck a power plant.

Corners he saw cut there eventually soured Silvi on that endeavor.

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Low Energy Nuclear Reactions: 2.5 Million Watt-Hours From A Nickel?

Thomas Blakeslee writing at renewableenergyworld.com:

All existing nuclear plants, and the planned $13 billion ITER hot fusion project, are based on the “atoms for peace” idea of adapting military bomb technology to civilian use. The tens of billions in research dollars that have been spent have clouded the judgment of leaders in the nuclear science community causing irrational denial of the work being done at low energy levels.

The ITER platform in Cadarache, where construction began in 2010 on buildings and facilities. Photo: Altivue.

The ITER platform in Cadarache, where construction began in 2010 on buildings and facilities. Photo: Altivue.

The disasters in Japan prove that these grandiose attempts to generate power from bomb technology are misguided.

The scientists that perform peer reviews and make up government advisory panels are all recipients of government largess. As a result, promising low energy nuclear work has been driven underground and forced to create its own journals and finance its own research.

Now, from Italy, comes the stunning news that Low Energy Nuclear Reactors (LENR) are, suddenly, a practical reality consistently generating significant power.

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Why Is George Monbiot Shilling For Nuclear Power?

George Monbiot. Photo: SlimVirgin (CC)

George Monbiot. Photo: SlimVirgin (CC)

Brian Gordon writes:

Helen Caldicott and George Monbiot have recently attacked each other in anti and pro-nuclear articles, and honestly I now am entirely unsure of the truth. Both claim scientific backing, though Monbiot appears to shred Caldicott’s claims. I have a great deal of respect for Monbiot; back when I was doing my own research on climate change (I was a sceptic and was attempting to see if it was real, was human-caused, was dangerous, etc, and I read lots of real science in the process), I found him to be ruthlessly honest and perfectly aligned with the actual science.

That said, I think the pro-nuke crowd, now including George Monbiot, is making two grave errors. The first is claiming that low levels of radiation are safe.

As an example of this, something that really struck me as a blow to the nuke movement was a seemingly unrelated article posted on Reddit a few weeks or so ago discussing the nude-o-scanners used by the TSA.

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Dr. Helen Caldicott On The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Nuclear facts you'd be more comfortable not knowing from a very clued up professional who will not be bought or intimidated into silence: Dr. Helen Caldicott, true to style, tells it as it is/as she sees it/like you wont usually hear it. To find out more about this Morally Driven Woman.. check out the links below. http://www.helencaldicott.com/about.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Caldicott http://www.conflict-resolution.org/sitebody/education/lecture_series/Caldicot...
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