Fukushima Two Years Later: Many Questions, One Clear Answer

By: Monday April 8, 2013 2:05 pm

You can’t say you have all the answers if you haven’t asked all the questions. So, at a conference on the medical and ecological consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, held to commemorate the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan, there were lots of questions. Questions about what actually happened at Fukushima Daiichi in the first days after the quake, and how that differed from the official report; questions about what radionuclides were in the fallout and runoff, at what concentrations, and how far they have spread; and questions about what near- and long-term effects this disaster will have on people and the planet, and how we will measure and recognize those effects.

 

Fukushima Plus Two: Still the Beginning?

By: Monday March 11, 2013 12:10 pm

I was up working in what were in my part of the world the early morning hours of March 11, 2011, when I heard over the radio that a massive earthquake had struck northeastern Japan. I turned on the TV just in time to see the earliest pictures of the tsunami that followed what became known as the Tohoku quake. The devastation was instantly apparent, and reports of high numbers of casualties seemed inevitable, but it wasn’t until a few hours later, when news of the destruction and loss of power at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hit the English-language airwaves, that I was gripped by a real sense of despair.

Seventy Years of Nuclear Fission: Short on Confidence; Long on Waste

By: Tuesday January 29, 2013 12:55 pm

On December 2, 1942, a small group of physicists under the direction of Enrico Fermi gathered on an old squash court beneath Alonzo Stagg Stadium on the Campus of the University of Chicago to make and witness history. Uranium pellets and graphite blocks had been stacked around cadmium-coated rods as part of an experiment crucial to the Manhattan Project–the program tasked with building an atom bomb for the allied forces in WWII.

LIPA’s Nuclear Hangover Proves Headache for Sandy’s Victims

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 6:50 am

As the sun set on Veterans Day, 2012, tens of thousands of homes on New York’s Long Island prepared to spend another night in darkness. The lack of light was not part of any particular memorial or observance; instead, it was the noisome and needless culmination of decades of mismanagement and malfeasance by a power company still struggling to pay for a now-moldering nuclear plant that never provided a single usable kilowatt to the region’s utility customers.

Oyster Creek Nuclear Alert: As Floodwaters Fall, More Questions Arise

By: Wednesday October 31, 2012 1:15 pm

New Jersey’s Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station remains under an official Alert, a day-and-a-half after the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared the emergency classification due to flooding triggered by Hurricane Sandy. An Alert is the second category on the NRC’s four-point emergency scale. Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the federal regulator, said that floodwaters around the plant’s water intake structure had receded to 5.7 feet at 2:15 PM EDT Tuesday, down from a high of 7.4 feet reached just after midnight.

Superstorm Sandy Shows Nuclear Plants Who’s Boss

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 11:45 am

If hoses desperately pouring water on endangered spent fuel pools remind you of Fukushima, it should. Oyster Creek is the same model of GE boiling water reactor that failed so catastrophically in Japan.

Alert Declared at Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 9:15 am

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reporting that an “alert” has been declared at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Ocean County, New Jersey. An alert is the second level on the four-point scale, a step above an “unusual event.”

Hurricane Sandy Brings Wind, Rain and Irony to US Nuclear Plants

By: Monday October 29, 2012 10:30 am

The Calvert Cliffs nuclear reactor is again in the line of fire, as are numerous other plants. Hurricane Sandy will likely bring high winds, heavy rain and the threat of flooding to nuclear facilities in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Edison Con? San Onofre Nuclear Plant Owner Proposes Reactor Restart

By: Friday October 5, 2012 2:45 pm

Southern California Edison, the operator of the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), has proposed to restart one of the facility’s two damaged reactors without repairing or replacing the parts at the root of January’s shutdown. The Thursday announcement came over eight months after a ruptured heat transfer tube leaked radioactive steam, scramming Unit 3 and taking the entire plant offline. But perhaps more tellingly, Edison’s plan–which must be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission–was issued just weeks before the mandated start of hearings on rate cuts.

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