Saturday, May 10, 2008

Solar Power Sizzles

Solar Power Sizzles
Author: WorldWatch Institute
Published on May 9, 2008 - 7:41:14 AM

Washington, D.C. May 8, 2008 -- Global production of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells increased 51 percent in 2007, to 3,733 megawatts, according to the latest Vital Signs Update from the Worldwatch Institute, produced in collaboration with the Prometheus Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

More than 2,935 megawatts (MW) of solar modules were installed in 2007, according to early estimates, bringing cumulative global installations of PVs since 1996 to more than 9,740 MW-enough to meet the annual electricity demand of more than 3 million homes in Europe.

"Thanks to strong, smart policies in countries like Germany and Spain, the PV industry is making great strides in efficiency and cost, bringing solar power closer to price parity with fossil fuels," says Janet Sawin, Worldwatch Senior Researcher and author of the update.

Over the past year, Europe-led by Germany-surpassed Japan to lead the world in solar cell manufacturing, producing an estimated 1,063 MW in 2007. Thanks to government policies that guarantee high payments for solar power fed into the electric grid, Germany remains the world leader in solar PV installations, accounting for almost half the world total in 2007. About 40,000 people are now employed in the PV industry in Germany.

Spain ranked second after Germany for total installations in 2007, but accounts for only an estimated 3 percent of global production. As in Germany, the Spanish market is being driven by a strong guaranteed price for PV electricity.

Despite a dramatic increase in solar cell production in the United States, up 48 percent to 266 MW, the nation's share of global production and installations continued to fall in 2007.

In contrast, China raced past the United States for PV cell manufacturing in 2006 to place third globally, and it now ranks second only to Japan for national production. Over the past two years, China's PV production has increased more than sixfold, to 820 MW in 2007. Despite these impressive numbers, the domestic market remains small and most PV cells made in China are exported to Europe.

"With billions of dollars invested in the solar energy technologies in the last 12 months, the PV sector is primed for accelerating its impact in both centralized and distributed generation at increasingly competitive costs," says Travis Bradford, President of the Prometheus Institute. "As it reaches widespread cost parity in the next few years, demand will flourish in many places around the world simultaneously."

Solar PV prices declined slightly in 2007, with even greater reductions held back by the hot pace of demand and a continued shortage of polysilicon, an essential ingredient for conventional solar cells. Analysts expect much more dramatic price drops-perhaps as much as 50 percent in the next two years-as more polysilicon becomes available, production and installation are further scaled up, manufacturing efficiencies increase, and more advanced technologies are introduced. As a result, solar electricity could soon be a competitive alternative to conventional retail power in many regions, including California and southern Europe.

According to Sawin, "PV and other renewables offer significant potential to meet global energy needs while addressing climate change, enhancing energy security, and creating jobs. Scaling up renewables is primarily a matter of political will and enacting strong, consistent policies that create demand."

Vital Signs Update:

Western states rebuff plan for Italian nuclear waste in Utah

Western states rebuff plan for Italian nuclear waste in Utah

By JOHN MILLER – 1 day ago

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Eight Western states on Thursday rejected a company's plan to ship tons of radioactive waste from Italy for disposal in Utah, saying importing foreign loads would violate the group's rules.

EnergySolutions Inc. is applying for a federal license to import 20,000 tons of waste from four Italian nuclear reactors, with a portion of it to be buried at its private disposal site in Clive, Utah.

But members of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management said their rules would need to be changed to allow roughly five or six rail cars of waste a year to be buried there.

The group's decision, however, doesn't mean the waste can't enter the country. A spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing the import license, doubts that the unanimous vote will kill the application.

The federal public comment period on the license application ends June 10.

"They could say we'd still like to bring the material for processing in Tennessee and dispose of it in some other way, presumably exporting the rest of it back to Italy," NRC spokesman Dave McIntyre said in a phone interview.

Environmentalist oppose the shipments and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has pledged to keep his state from becoming a dumping ground for global nuclear waste.

"EnergySolutions is a bully that's used to getting its way," said John Urgo of the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, which opposes the shipment. "The Northwest Interstate Compact and Gov. Huntsman refused to be bullied."

Congress created the compact in 1985 as a regional system for managing low-level radioactive waste. The compact's designated facility is in Richland, Wash., which accepts waste from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

EnergySolutions takes waste from other states. Earlier this week, the company filed a lawsuit to challenge the compact's ability to regulate shipments to Utah.

The company concedes it has "coordinated some of its activities with the Northwest Compact" in the past, but insists the panel has no authority over what it handles because the Utah site is privately owned.

After the vote Thursday, EnergySolutions executives said they're hoping a federal judge rules in their favor.

"We don't believe they have the authority to make decisions like they did that govern our operations," Val Christensen, vice president and general counsel, told The Associated Press.

EnergySolutions wants to bring the Italian waste through New Orleans or Charleston, S.C., for processing and incineration in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The company then wants to bury 1,600 tons in Utah, home of the country's largest and only privately owned low-level radioactive waste dump.

In a related move, compact members approved a resolution that seeks to stop other foreign waste from being shipped to Utah after it has been reclassified as domestic waste in Tennessee, a practice since 2006 with incinerated waste from countries such as Canada, France and Germany.

The reclassification, authorized by Tennessee regulators, resolved EnergySolutions' issues with separating waste from different sources — an inaccurate, costly and potentially dangerous process, company officials said.

But the changes also mean that some foreign waste incinerated in Tennessee likely has been buried at the EnergySolutions site in Utah

Western states rebuff plan for Italian nuclear waste in Utah

Western states rebuff plan for Italian nuclear waste in Utah

By JOHN MILLER – 1 day ago

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Eight Western states on Thursday rejected a company's plan to ship tons of radioactive waste from Italy for disposal in Utah, saying importing foreign loads would violate the group's rules.

EnergySolutions Inc. is applying for a federal license to import 20,000 tons of waste from four Italian nuclear reactors, with a portion of it to be buried at its private disposal site in Clive, Utah.

But members of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management said their rules would need to be changed to allow roughly five or six rail cars of waste a year to be buried there.

The group's decision, however, doesn't mean the waste can't enter the country. A spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing the import license, doubts that the unanimous vote will kill the application.

The federal public comment period on the license application ends June 10.

"They could say we'd still like to bring the material for processing in Tennessee and dispose of it in some other way, presumably exporting the rest of it back to Italy," NRC spokesman Dave McIntyre said in a phone interview.

Environmentalist oppose the shipments and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has pledged to keep his state from becoming a dumping ground for global nuclear waste.

"EnergySolutions is a bully that's used to getting its way," said John Urgo of the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, which opposes the shipment. "The Northwest Interstate Compact and Gov. Huntsman refused to be bullied."

Congress created the compact in 1985 as a regional system for managing low-level radioactive waste. The compact's designated facility is in Richland, Wash., which accepts waste from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

EnergySolutions takes waste from other states. Earlier this week, the company filed a lawsuit to challenge the compact's ability to regulate shipments to Utah.

The company concedes it has "coordinated some of its activities with the Northwest Compact" in the past, but insists the panel has no authority over what it handles because the Utah site is privately owned.

After the vote Thursday, EnergySolutions executives said they're hoping a federal judge rules in their favor.

"We don't believe they have the authority to make decisions like they did that govern our operations," Val Christensen, vice president and general counsel, told The Associated Press.

EnergySolutions wants to bring the Italian waste through New Orleans or Charleston, S.C., for processing and incineration in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The company then wants to bury 1,600 tons in Utah, home of the country's largest and only privately owned low-level radioactive waste dump.

In a related move, compact members approved a resolution that seeks to stop other foreign waste from being shipped to Utah after it has been reclassified as domestic waste in Tennessee, a practice since 2006 with incinerated waste from countries such as Canada, France and Germany.

The reclassification, authorized by Tennessee regulators, resolved EnergySolutions' issues with separating waste from different sources — an inaccurate, costly and potentially dangerous process, company officials said.

But the changes also mean that some foreign waste incinerated in Tennessee likely has been buried at the EnergySolutions site in Utah

National Activist Summit on Nuclear Waste, May 30-June 1; register now

Subject: National Activist Summit on Nuclear Waste, May 30-June 1; register now
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 17:34:43 -0400

From: "Michael Mariotte" <>

National Activist Summit on Nuclear Waste
May 30 -- June 1, 2008
Columbia, South Carolina

This is the "call" we posted a few weeks ago: We as a community say "stop making more" radioactive waste since we understand that the failure to find a real solution to this problem is the failure of the technologies that produce it; We as a community demand responsible management of radioactive waste; We stand firm against false "solutions;" We reject the idea that this waste should be exported -- to Indigenous Lands -- or anywhere else; We call for better security and improved management and containment where ever the waste is now; We focus on the hazards of transporting radioactive waste and materials -- particularly in the case of irresponsible, false "solutions..." it is time for us to come together -- to find and re-affirm that "We" -- in the sense of The People, in the sense of impacted communities -- and essentially as activists.

Now we have more information:
Dr. Frank von Hippel will speak on Friday May 30 on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and reprocessing with a panel including Steve Frischman, Kevin Kamps and Diane D'Arrigo

Dr. Arjun Makhijani will speak on Sunday June 1 on his Carbon Free and Nuclear Free: a Roadmap for US Energy Policy

Saturday we will share our stories and have 8 -- 10 options for information workshops -- as well as time to think together about nuclear waste in the context of the industry's effort to "come back" in both the commercial and military sectors.

For event schedule, costs (as low as $15 if you stay off-site OR total of $110 with 2 nights and 5 meals) and registration page (note: registration is required). Please visit: for more information or if you already know you want to register.

This event was born in a moment at a 'break-out' session of a conference on Precautionary Action in Greensboro, NC in November 2007 -- and is being carried forward by a planning group* including participation from:

Bobbie Paul -- Atlanta WAND
David Kraft -- Nuclear Energy Information Service
Debbie Grinnell -- C-10
Diane D'Arrigo -- Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Glenn Carroll -- Nuclear Watch South
Janet Marsh -- Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Judy Treichel -- Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force
Kevin Kamps -- Beyond Nuclear
Leslie Minerd
Liz Veazy -- Southern Energy Network
Mary Olson -- NIRS Southeast
Rochelle Becker -- Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
Sara Barczak -- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Sara Tansey -- South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses and Communities
Susan Corbett -- Sierra Club, South Carolina Chapter
Tom Clements -- Friends of the Earth

*this list now also includes cosponsoring organizations -- and I am sure more will be added -- please be in touch if your group wants to cosponsor!

Note: due to industry attempts to participate in recent events intended for activists, there will be a pre-registration process. This event is open to all who are working positively for the end of the production of more radioactive waste (stop making it)!

Mary Olson
Southeast Regional Coordinator
NIRS Southeast Office
PO Box 7586 Asheville, NC 28802

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS)
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 340, Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-NIRS fax 301-270-4291

NIRS affiliated with World Information Service on Energy (WISE) in 2000 -- the NIRS / WISE Network serves grassroots activists on 5 continents
This is NIRS' 30th anniversary year: Help kick off our next 30 years, and our work to build a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future, with your most generous contribution possible. Please make your tax-deductible donation here.

And if you haven't done so yet, don't forget to sign the statement on nuclear power and climate at (but please don't sign more than once!). If you've already signed, ask your friends and colleagues to sign!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Russia puts tanks and missiles back in Red Square parade

Russian T-90 main battle tanks roll through the Moscow Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade on Friday, May 9, 2008. Heavy weaponry including tanks and missiles rolled on Friday through Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. State Historical Museum seen behind. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia showcased its military might and youthful new president to the world Friday, as heavy tanks and missile launchers rumbled across Red Square in a Victory Day parade for the first time since the Soviet era.

In a nationally broadcast speech two days after his inauguration, President Dmitry Medvedev avoided the bellicose rhetoric of his mentor and predecessor, Vladimir Putin, who drew parallels between United States and Nazi Germany during last year's parade.

However, in his speech marking victory over Adolf Hitler's Germany, the 42-year-old Medvedev said the history of World War II demonstrated that military conflicts are rooted in "irresponsible ambitions which prevail over interests of nations and entire continents."

"We must not allow contempt for the norms of international law," he said, in what sounded like veiled criticism of the United States and its Western allies.

The Kremlin has consistently criticized both the U.S.-led war in Iraq and wide Western recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Russia-allied Serbia as flagrant violations of international legal norms.

A stern-faced Putin, who was named prime minister Thursday, hovered at Medvedev's shoulder on the podium hiding the mausoleum of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin. His face was prominently shown in TV broadcasts — an image that played to the wide belief the former president will continue calling the shots.

Medvedev, his country's third post-Soviet president, hailed the rebuilding Russian military, saying it can "give a reliable protection to the motherland."

"Our army and navy are getting stronger. Just as Russia itself, they are gaining strength," he said.

More than 100 combat vehicles, including intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, rolled across the cobblestone Red Square and strategic bombers and fighter jets roared overhead in the first such display in 18 years.

Medvedev smiled frequently as he watched the parade, which the communist rulers of the Soviet Union made into an annual exercise in saber-rattling directed at the West.

Russia's military spending increased eightfold to an annual $40 billion during Putin's eight-year tenure thanks to the nation's oil bonanza. Analysts, however, say the military suffers the same problems that dented its capabilities and prestige since the Soviet collapse.

Widespread bullying of young conscripts by older soldiers has made the draft extremely unpopular, and rampant corruption and mismanagement plague the military. Despite repeated pledges by Putin to modernize the armed forces, Russia has purchased only a handful of new combat jets and several dozen tanks.

Most of the combat vehicles shown in Friday's parade were slightly modernized versions of Soviet weapons designed in the 1980s.

"As the Soviet Union in the past, Russia wants to demonstrate its might to potential enemies," military analyst Alexander Golts wrote in the online Yezhednevny Zhurnal. "But the West clearly understands the true picture behind the talk of 'rising potential.'"

Modern communications and control systems remain scarce, and a Russian equivalent to the U.S. satellite navigation system has failed to come on line as scheduled this year amid equipment shortages. Basics like night goggles, portable radios and satellite phones are rarities.

Russia's navy is in particularly poor shape. Soviet-built nuclear submarines frequently need repairs and rarely leave their bases. The first in a series of new nuclear submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruky, is to be commissioned this year, but the Bulava nuclear-armed missile developed to equip it has failed tests and its deployment prospects are uncertain.

Hiroshima nuclear attack: A U.S. war crime?

A video clip from a BBC documentary shows how a single U.S. bomb wiped out an entire city.

Idaho: No Good Site for Dangerous Uranium Enrichment Plant

Author: Snake River Alliance
Published on May 8, 2008 - 10:42:44 AM

May 6, 2008 - Tuesday's announcement by French-controlled Areva, Inc., that it selected Idaho for its proposed uranium enrichment plant puts Idaho in the unenviable position of contributing to an industry that's both dangerously risky and bad energy policy, the Snake River Alliance said.

"It wouldn't matter if Areva had chosen any of the other four sites it was considering for this plant; we would oppose it no matter where Areva planned to build," Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley said. "We oppose expanding uranium enrichment wherever it occurs. It is premised on expanding nuclear power, which is an expensive and dirty power source."

The Alliance fought in the recent Legislature against two bills that amounted to multimillion-dollar giveaways aimed at luring Areva to Idaho. Shipley said the Alliance will continue attempts to block construction of the Areva plant by educating Idahoans on the true risks posed by the huge amounts of dangerous radioactive waste that will be generated by an enrichment plant.

"As we all know, nuclear power produces waste every step of the way, from uranium mining and milling to uranium enrichment and power production," Shipley said. "With Areva's announcement, we will engage our members and supporters in what we know will be a long process as Areva begins its uphill fight to secure federal, state, and local permits for this ill-advised industrial plant." Shipley said the Alliance and its statewide membership will closely monitor Areva's required permit applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as with Bonneville County and the state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Water Resources.

"Areva may have convinced Idaho legislators that this plant is harmless and good for the local economy," Shipley said. "We will be working to make sure Idahoans know the real facts – facts that were not allowed to be raised during legislative hearings last winter."

Shipley noted Areva's announcement comes as Idahoans are still up in arms after learning that 6,700 tons of dangerously contaminated sand are due to arrive in Idaho this month after being shipped to the United States from Kuwait. That sand, which is contaminated with depleted uranium from military munitions, was found to also contain dangerous amounts of lead after the shipments left Kuwait.

"If as we hear Idahoans are upset about the contaminated sand shipments from Kuwait, they will be even more alarmed to learn what waste Areva plans to produce from its enrichment plant," Shipley said. "Besides producing nuclear fuel, uranium enrichment produces a very dangerous kind of nuclear waste. All nuclear waste is dangerous, but this is very dangerous."

About 90 percent of what comes out of a uranium enrichment plant is depleted uranium hexafluoride waste, which is both radioactive and chemically toxic. If exposed to moisture – even damp air – the waste releases highly corrosive gas that damages kidneys and lungs and can be fatal. There is currently no place to dispose of this waste in the United States, so for the foreseeable future the waste would remain at the Idaho plant site.

"Areva and other supporters of this plant claim it will be an economic boon to Idaho and that it's needed to meet future domestic energy needs with ‘clean' nuclear power," Shipley said. "What we should be talking about is how Idaho and its local communities can benefit from clean and sustainable renewable energy development. There is an enormous amount of wind being developed in Idaho that produces no waste and that provides even more jobs than Areva is proposing." Ironically, there is a large wind farm now operating outside Idaho Falls, and another large wind farm was approved in adjacent Bingham County last month.

"This is Idaho's energy future," Shipley said. "Why would any Idahoan want nuclear power when we can more than meet our energy needs by promoting Idaho's abundant renewable resources and implementing more energy efficiency and conservation measures. A uranium enrichment plant will only enable a nuclear power industry that will leave a legacy of toxic and radioactive waste and divert energy investment dollars that should be used for a clean energy future."

The Snake River Alliance has a long history of advocating for the cleanup of the radioactive legacy from the Cold War at the Idaho National Laboratory and protecting the Snake River Aquifer that lies underneath the contamination. It also advocates clean energy alternatives to nuclear and fossil fuel power generation.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nuclear Power: Not Yet

By Mike Sciortino
May 08, 2008

In the last issue of the Port Side, Matthew Zitterman wrote a piece supporting the expansion of nuclear power in the United States. Given the importance of energy production in the United States and the mounting uncertainties surrounding alternatives to fossil fuels, the prospect of increased nuclear power capacity needs to be thoroughly examined. In his article, which you can glance at online, Zitterman cites the numerous benefits to nuclear power, maintaining that technological advances in nuclear reactors virtually eliminates all risks of melt-downs and claims that since the technology is ready, the United States should proceed with nuclear power to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate global climate change, because nuclear fission does not emit carbon dioxide.

Nuclear power does represent a viable option for U.S. energy production, but the current political situation simply will not allow it. Zitterman briefly mentions the problem of nuclear waste and rightly believes it could be solved by “adaptive management” solutions in which the waste is temporarily stored until new technologies come along that convince the scientific community to be completely safe in the long, long-term. Now, we’ve arrived at nuclear power’s Achilles’ heel.

Currently, nuclear waste is kept on-site at the 103 reactors in the United States. The problem of what to do with nuclear waste in the long-term remains unsolved and has ultimately inhibited the industry from making any progress over the past three decades. The problem stems from the origins of nuclear power and the blind promotion from the Atomic Energy Commission (now subsumed by the Department of Energy) and nuclear industry interests. The severe public backlash to nuclear energy during the 1970s was a direct result of the hasty, secretive development of nuclear power by these actors, who did not address the thorny issue of nuclear waste until it was too late.

After exogenous factors such as the partial melt-down at Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl, public opinion solidified in opposition to nuclear power. The end of the oil-shocks in the seventies made nuclear power even less desirable as a cheap source of power. During the 1980s, the federal government began to devise plans to permanently store nuclear waste, which culminated in 1982 with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The NWPA was amended in 1987, selecting Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as the designated site for a permanent geologic repository. Two decades and seven billion dollars later, the repository at Yucca Mountain remains unfilled.
The NWPA set up geologic disposal as the sole approach to nuclear waste in the United States because it represented a technologically feasible, relatively cheap, and fast solution. Representatives close to nuclear industry interests hastily pushed through the legislation. In the end, the states received no decision-making authority. Already hesitant with the site, recent studies have found that water seeps into Yucca Mountain every 1000 years or so, which may deteriorate the casings filled with waste, causing radionuclides (released by waste) to enter the biosphere. The studies have intensified the opposition and bring the entire option of geologic disposal into question. Now facing a stalemate in the courts, the situation between the state of Nevada and the DOE is deadlocked.

If filled, Yucca Mountain will only be able to store nuclear waste for another six years. Then, another solution will need to be found, and according to the NWPA, it will most likely be another geologic repository. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) strongly promotes the adoption of adaptive management strategies in which casings of waste can be stored and monitored while the science of nuclear waste management advances. If this option were to take hold, however, it would put the DOE and nuclear industry in an uncomfortable position. Nuclear power may seem cheap now, but the prospect of having to pay for continuous storage and monitoring may heavily affect the balance sheets.

Nuclear waste cannot stay on-site forever. It poses too great a health and security threat in the long-term. A new policy must be devised that defines a clear link between the expansion of nuclear energy and waste management. Public participation will be essential to change the negative perceptions regarding nuclear waste, management especially from communities where there are planned storage facilities. Monitored, retrievable nuclear waste solutions seem like a proper solution, but the political obstacles to achieving such a major departure from current policy will be difficult to overcome. And until we do, let’s keep nuclear power in the rear-view.

Duck and Cover Spoof

Took off all the original sound then added some SFX, Foley, ADR and Music to an old 50's propaganda movie, Duck and Cover, the real one is on youtube also

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Duck And Cover - Original 1950 Airing

Duck and Cover was a suggested method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear detonation which the United States government taught to generations of United States school children from the late 1940s into the 1980s. This was supposed to protect them in the event of an unexpected nuclear attack which, they were told, could come at any time without warning. Immediately after they saw a flash they had to stop what they were doing and get on the ground under some cover—such as a table, or at least next to a wall—and assume the fetal position, lying face-down and covering their heads with their hands. Similar instructions were given in 1964 in the United Kingdom by Civil Defence Information Bulletin No. 5. and, in the 1980s, by the Protect and Survive series.
Critics have said that this training would be of little, if any, help in the event of thermonuclear war, and had little effect other than promoting a state of unease and paranoia.
The United States' monopoly on nuclear weapons was broken in 1949 when the Soviet Union tested its first nuclear device, and many in the government and public perceived that the United States was more vulnerable than it ever had been before. Duck-and-cover exercises had quickly become a part of Civil Defense drills that every American citizen, from kids to the elderly, practiced so as to be ready in the event of nuclear war. In 1950, during the first big Civil Defense push of the Cold War; the movie Duck and Cover was produced (by the Federal Civil Defense Administration) for school showings in 1951. At the time, it was believed the main dangers of a Hiroshima-type nuclear blast were from heat and blast damage: radioactive fallout itself was not clearly identified until 1954, after the Castle Bravo nuclear-weapon test in the Marshall Islands caused sickness and death in Japanese fishermen on the Lucky Dragon fishing vessel.

Olympic flame lit on Everest peak

Olympic torch on summit of Everest

Chinese climbers bearing the Olympic flame have reached the summit of Everest, Chinese state media report.

Chinese television showed the climbers lighting the torch shortly after 0900 local time (0100 GMT) before taking the final steps up to the summit.

Correspondents say China is hoping the dramatic feat will counter some of the damaging publicity from the protests during the torch's international relay.

A previous attempt failed because of strong winds and snow storms.

The climbers, dressed in red padded anoraks bearing the Olympic logo, passed the flame between several torches as they approached the summit.

Huddled at the top they then unfurled Chinese and Olympic flags and cheered for the cameras.

The Olympic torch reaches the summit of Mount Everest

The main Olympic torch, which is running separately, is continuing its relay through China.

The torch was carried through the southern city of Guangzhou on Wednesday past cheering crowds with no reports of disruptions.

"The command centre has given its order for the final assault tomorrow," Beijing Olympics official Shao Shiwei told reporters at the Everest base camp on the Chinese side of the mountain late on Wednesday.

Detail from map of China
Use the map to see the full Olympic torch relay route or read about some of the key cities:

Heavy snowfall on the weekend had dealt a blow to the team, badly damaging several of the high-altitude camps set up to provide a jumping off point for the final ascent.

A group of mainly ethnic Tibetan climbers left camp at 8,300m before dawn on Thursday for the final assault on the peak.

Both China and Nepal sealed off their sides of the mountain and the ascent organisers kept the exact plans a secret because of fears it might draw protests from pro-Tibet activists.

Human rights activists have been angered by the crackdown on anti-Beijing protests in Tibetan areas of China in March that turned violent.

Mount Everest lies on the border between Nepal and Tibet, in China.

The main torch is scheduled to visit every province in China before arriving in Beijing several days before the Olympics begin on 8 August.

The international leg of the torch's tour was marred by protests in several cities - including London, Paris and San Francisco - by activists upset at China's human rights record.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why a brand-spanking new NTS EIS is desperately needed

Hello All,
I wanted to forward this news update to you so that you can spread the word and participate with your comments. Thanks!
Karin Tobin

Speak now or for the next five years hold your peace.

The NNSA has issued its 'Draft Supplement Analysis for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Nevada Test Site and Off-Site Locations in the State of Nevada.' The document, released on April 17, is the NNSA’s periodic report on the Nevada Test Site’s Environmental Impact Statement that was completed in 1996. Per NEPA, the NNSA must review the 1996 EIS every five years to determine if it is still applicable to current conditions.

The NNSA’s draft report is the basis for citizens’ comments submitted at public meetings or in writing or email through the end of May.

After the NNSA finishes reviewing comments submitted at public meetings and in writing the agency will 'determine whether the existing environmental impact statement should be supplemented, a new environmental impact statement should be prepared, or no further [NEPA] documentation is required.'

In the likely event that neither the mainstream media or even Western activists groups have given you a heads up about why a brand-spanking new NTS EIS is desperately needed, let's take a few pointers from Robert Loux of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects who wrote in his September 2007 letter to Stephen Mellington of the NNSA.


‘Since 1996...baseline conditions have changed markedly. It is difficult to see how the...Supplemental Analyses can possibly represent today's known baseline conditions, or how federal officials, using this outdated information, can make informed decisions on future uses and management of the NTS at the landscape.'

The core of Loux's concern - as it should be because of his position with the State of Nevada - is over a dispute with the State of Nevada on land issues. Loux contends that current and proposed uses of the NTS should be part of formal consultations with the Department of Interior per language in a 2005 report by the U.S. House of Representatives. The actual ‘uses’ of the Nevada Test Site have changed since 1996. After the 1996 NTS EIS was finalized, a number of new ‘uses’ were initiated. They include: an ongoing subcritical testing program announced in November 1996; various Congressional decisions since 1996 regarding readiness for resumption of underground nuclear testing; and large scale, open air explosive detonations, such as Divine Strake, at locations not previously evaluated and designated for such activities. Loux writes that there is a need for new environmental baselines using data from environmental impacts from subcritical and other testing at NTS since 1996 and that a new site-wide EIS is needed not only for Nevada land issues but also to assess the impacts to humans and the environment.

Loux is right on the money about a lot of things especially Divine Strake. The ‘additional use’ of the NTS for activities such as Divine Strake was NOT addressed in the 1996 NTS EIS. The DTRA and NNSA, if you recall, insisted that Divine Strake, the cancelled mega-conventional-explosive experiment, was addressed in that 1996 EIS and that is why we got three-in-a-row sham Environmental Assessments.

Insisting on a new environmental impact statement for the NTS will be the ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure for our future worries, woes and, quite possibly, cancers. The NTS EIS supplement analysis states that DTRA is still pushing ahead and describes DTRA’s Hard Target Defeat Program as an ongoing multi-year effort to evaluate 'alternative capabilities’ using ground and air munitions against tunnels, bunkers and buildings representing different geographic scenarios. The analysis states, 'Tests have been conducted using conventional military munitions in NTS Areas 12 and 16.

This is the only activity currently associated with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Hard Target Defeat Program.' [page 61] Reading between the lines, it is clear that this ‘ongoing’ DTRA program over the next five years will result in more high explosives testing at the NTS at DTRA’s favorite testing areas, such as Area 16 where Divine Strake was proposed, which were NOT adequately tested for soil contamination in 1996. This should be a major source of worries for downwinders. Why? DTRA and NNSA will, as they did before, justify any and all future open-air high explosive testing without the need for a new NTS EIS, which means there will be NO data on the level of contamination of soils related to these tests. Future use of these Areas [12 and 16] is folly without adequate testing of the soils, which received fallout from Shots Coulomb B, Shasta, Kepler and a number of others. Even tests a fraction of the size of Divine Strake can loft that still ‘hot’ radioactivity into St. George, Utah, or Las Vegas, NV. And ‘that’ radioactivity is not as innocuous as ‘eating a banana’ and ‘watching TV’ as one St. George-based pro-Divine Strake commenter once wrote. ‘That’ radioactivity will create a new generation of downwinders.

The process for a new NTS EIS will include scoping meetings, public written/oral comment frameworks and a full discussion of how activities such as subcritical and nuclear simulation testing – and more - relates to the mission of the NTS. This process will be the perfect occasion to bring up the fact that subcritical and nuclear simulation testing at the NTS violates the spirit of test-ban treaties and sends the wrong message – ‘do as I say not what I do’ – to the world community about our non-proliferation efforts. It will also be an occasion to repeat over and over again that the NTS activities – all of them – violate the treaty with the Western Shoshone nation. It will also be an occasion to remind the NNSA that their radiation monitoring network, called CEMP, is of third-world quality and doesn’t do nearly a good-enough job at ensuring the safety of people in St. George and Las Vegas and beyond of lofting radiation from the NTS in emergency situations especially large events such as earthquakes or tornadoes.

It is imperative that citizens go to these public meetings and submit comments to insist that the 1996 NTS EIS does not adequately assess the environmental impacts of future NTS activities over the next 5 years AND why it is not valid AND that a new site wide EIS needs to be prepared.

The public meetings, which appear to be Divine Strake-style poster shows, are in Pahrump on May 5, Las Vegas on May 6 and St. George on May 7. Times and location can be found here:
Also, public comments will be accepted through May 30, 2008 to the address in the above document or to or hand delivered at the meetings.

The final supplemental analysis, which will include the NNSA's final action determination, will be issued on Sept. 30, 2008.

September 11, 2007
State of Nevada - Letter from Bob Loux to Steve Mellington requesting that DOE prepare a new site-wide EIS for the Nevada Test Site
Draft Supplement Analysis for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Nevada Test Site and Off-Site Locations in the State of Nevada

Don't be deceived, there's no such thing as 'clean coal'

Don't be deceived, there's no such thing as 'clean coal'
Cherise Udell
Article Last Updated: 05/03/2008 08:55:22 AM MDT

Let's be real: "Clean coal" is a marketing slogan not a technological reality. Coal does currently provide us with a reliable source of electricity but at an astronomical price that is hidden from us consumers.
Maybe you pay for it with your child's asthma. Maybe you paid for it with your father's heart attack or your grandmother's stroke that took her speech away. Maybe you lost a baby to SIDS on a particularly bad air day.
Emissions from coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, air toxins - and premature deaths. The EPA estimates that over 30,000 Americans are dying prematurely each year due to emissions from power plants, the majority of which are coal-powered.
This doesn't even address the high mortality rates associated with the mining process. Thus, coal kills more people annually than homicides (16,000 in 2000) or AIDS (14,000) and nearly as many as traffic accidents (42,000).
So when coal industry advocates like Joe Lucas, vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal, and Bountiful resident Bruce Taylor, co-owner of the proposed coal plant in Sevier County, say "cleaner coal," what exactly do they mean?
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a typical coal plant annually generates:

* 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2),

the primary human cause of global warming,
* 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2),
* 500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death,
* 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), equal to what would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs,
* 720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), which causes headaches and places additional stress on people with heart disease,
* 220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone,
* 170 pounds of mercury, an extremely potent neurotoxin; just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe for human consumption. The Great Salt Lake is already heavily contaminated with mercury.
* 225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who regularly drink water containing 50 parts per billion,
* 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium.
None of these numbers sounds "clean" to me. So, does coal advocate Lucas consider a "clean" coal plant to produce only 7,000 pounds of annual sulfur dioxide emissions instead of 10,000 pounds? Does he consider 2 million tons of carbon dioxide instead of 3.7 million tons to be "clean" or how about 120 pounds of mercury instead of 170 pounds? Does "clean" coal only cause 20,000 premature deaths annually as compared to 30,000?
The reality is coal is dirty and will likely remain so.
If the American Coalition for Clean Coal is determined to funnel much-needed tax monies away from the development of real energy solutions that are sustainable and life-giving rather than life-taking, then I want to know exactly what is meant by clean.
Please do not try to manipulate me with deceptive advertising, green-washing or in this case, clean-washing.
Lucas and others in the energy sector must choose between investing in antiquated pulverized coal technology, desperately trying to make it "cleaner" or investing in innovative, renewable and truly clean energy technologies that will position the United States as a leader in the new global economy of the 21st century.
You can guess which choice will be better in the long run for our pocketbook, our economy and our health.
For more information about the high costs of coal check out: energy/fossil fuels/
* CHERISE UDELL is the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air and a mother of two daughters.

Coming Soon

I currently run a
"The Shundahai Network: A Decade of Resistance" Which I am closing at the end of May, 2008, this will be it's replacement. See you later in May or the first of June.

Peace, gregor

PS Check out my other blogs:
Gregornot Vision Day by Day
Gregornot's Vipassana Voyage

To conclude with the ever inspiring words of the Buddha:
"If the roots remain untouched and firm in the ground, a felled tree still puts forth new shoots.
If the underlying habit of craving and aversion is not uprooted, suffering arises anew over and over again."
~Dhammapada XXIV verse 338

Reposting the most relevant Post from my old blog

I am reposting the most revel ant post of my old blog so that they are not lost, due to ending the old blog.

Grandmother Red Moon Song

Words of wisdom and the 100th monkey

Julia Moonsparrow

Julia Moonsparrow speaks out directly to law enforcement at the annual mothers day resistance at Mercury, Nevada Test site.

4/1/07 peace rally at the Nevada Test Site

Local TV coverage of the Nevada Desert Experience's action at The Nevada Test Site on April 1, 2007, with guest speaker Martin Sheen. Members of the Las Vegas Out of Iraq participated.


By focusing on the Native American struggle for spiritual and cultural autonomy on disputed lands in the U.S. Southwest, "Trespassing" unpacks a deadly political and ethical controversy around land rights, uranium mining, nuclear testing and the disposal of nuclear waste, and examines the ability of a culture to bring itself to the brink of annihilation while simultaneously producing "gatekeepers" to combat that annihilation. Trespassing offers an in depth and provocative examination of historical survival and struggle designed to impact the present generation and alter a deadly course of action.

April Fool's Protest #3 at Federal Bulding, Las Vegas,NV

Marching band and people protest against the mobile chernobyl bill outside of the federal building in Las Vegas, NV.

Nuclear fools day 2000 #2

Julia Moon Sparrow talks about the land and the future of the world and life and death.

Nuclear fools day 2000 #1

On april fools day 2000 the shundahai network had their 5th annual nuclear fools day parade to bring attention to the issue of nuclear waste being dumped at yucca mountain. For more information go to

Yucca corrosion data found to be suspicious

Findings fuel further criticism

WASHINGTON -- Government scientists raised questions in recent weeks about Department of Energy experiments on how long it will take canisters containing highly radioactive nuclear waste to corrode after being placed within Yucca Mountain.

The discovery led DOE to replace the data that were part of its license application to build a repository at the Nevada site, a project official said Wednesday.

At the same time, DOE has launched a review of the challenged research, which involved the nickel-based Alloy 22 that will be the outer cover of waste-containing packages. In the experiments, Alloy 22 samples were subjected to a solution of corrosive chemicals and then weighed to determine how much they had degraded.

Technicians reviewing the results reported "documented, repeated and potentially significant excursions" from the American Society for Testing and Materials standard for handling corrosion test specimens, according to a March 5 document that surfaced this week.

The activity is taking place weeks before the department has said it plans to apply for a construction license. It fueled further criticism from Nevada critics of Yucca Mountain who charge DOE is rushing unduly to file for a license.

Russ Dyer, the chief scientist for the Yucca Mountain Project, said the suspicious corrosion data "was roped off" and is not part of the Yucca application.

Dyer said DOE initiated a corrective action to determine "what exactly happened in this experiment and the results that came out of it and the processes we used."

In the meantime, DOE is using corrosion rates resulting from a separate set of experiments that sought to determine how corrosion might develop in canister welds and other crevices of the waste package.

"What is the potential impact on total system performance, and the answer is none," Dyer said. To gain a license, DOE must show that the canisters together with other features of the repository can prevent radioactive material from leaking for periods close to a million years.

Steve Frishman, technical policy coordinator for the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, maintained DOE was "papering over" a problem. He said the state may challenge DOE on the corrosion data during license hearings.

The discovery came as scientists from Sandia National Laboratories were reviewing corrosion data. They said they uncovered a "vulnerability" in the data that were collected over five years.

The Sandia findings were contained in a March 5 Power Point presentation that became available on a Yucca Mountain public document database.

After emerging from the corrosive bath, the Alloy 22 "coupons" were cleaned of corrosion before being weighed. Sandia reported the cleaning process "may have been incomplete."

As a result, salts and other residue may have skewed the weight of the samples, raising questions about how much corrosion had taken place. A heavier piece might suggest the metal could last longer.

Sandia said there is "less than a 50 percent chance" the corrosion data were invalid. "But given the critical nature of this parameter (it) must be confirmed."

"The corrosion rate is the core of the total system performance analysis," Frishman said. "When they are talking about containers that don't fail for hundreds of thousands of year, it is possible they are off by orders of magnitude."

The corrosion experiments were conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. In 2006, DOE issued a stop work order on a separate set of corrosion experiments after Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors reported the work was based on humidity gauges that were not calibrated.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Don't Forget to Vote, Not that it matters, but you get the cool"I voted" sticker, that shows your a real American

Rationing now, just practice for gasoline

It's kind of creepy to see that retailers have the power to ration food....
Rationing is the controlled distribution of resources and scarce goods or services. Rationing controls the size of the ration, one's allotted portion of the resources being distributed on a particular day or at a particular time.
Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Many parts of America, long considered the
breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable
phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New
England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and
cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports
that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew
frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain
for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

"Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said.
"You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or
five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but
only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A
20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

"You can't eat this every day. It's too heavy," a health care executive
from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the
Basmati into a shopping cart. "We only need one bag but I'm getting two in
case a neighbor or a friend needs it," the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were
being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two
sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried
to exceed the one-bag cap.

"Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases
based on your prior purchasing history," a sign above the dwindling supply

Shoppers said the limits had been in place for a few days, and that rice
supplies had been spotty for a few weeks. A store manager referred
questions to officials at Costco headquarters near Seattle, who did not
return calls or e-mail messages yesterday.

An employee at the Costco store in Queens said there were no restrictions
on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and
flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail
level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of
flour from commercial suppliers doubled.

The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who
view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come.

"It's sporadic. It's not every store, but it's becoming more commonplace,"
the editor of, James Rawles, said. "The number of reports
I've been getting from readers who have seen signs posted with limits has
increased almost exponentially, I'd say in the last three to five weeks."

Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia,
and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the
highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract
for foreign rice sales.

"I'm surprised the Bush administration hasn't slapped export controls on
wheat," Mr. Rawles said. "The Asian countries are here buying every kind
of wheat." Mr. Rawles said it is hard to know how much of the shortages
are due to lagging supply and how much is caused by consumers hedging
against future price hikes or a total lack of product.

"There have been so many stories about worldwide shortages that it
encourages people to stock up. What most people don't realize is that
supply chains have changed, so inventories are very short," Mr. Rawles, a
former Army intelligence officer, said. "Even if people increased their
purchasing by 20%, all the store shelves would be wiped out."

At the moment, large chain retailers seem more prone to shortages and
limits than do smaller chains and mom-and-pop stores, perhaps because
store managers at the larger companies have less discretion to increase
prices locally. Mr. Rawles said the spot shortages seemed to be most
frequent in the Northeast and all the way along the West Coast. He said he
had heard reports of buying limits at Sam's Club warehouses, which are
owned by Wal-Mart Stores, but a spokesman for the company, Kory Lundberg,
said he was not aware of any shortages or limits.

An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site,
Seeking Alpha, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco.
"I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be
panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to
cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just
hoarding some for my own consumption," he wrote.

For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though
consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags. "At our
neighborhood store, it's very expensive, more than $30" for a 25-pound
bag, a housewife from Mountain View, Theresa Esquerra, said. "I'm not
going to pay $30. Maybe we'll just eat bread."
Tip of the hat to Dee's "Dotes

"Downwinders" can sue over Hanford issues

SPOKANE — A major ruling Friday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for 1,000 to 2,000 Hanford "downwinders" to sue Hanford contractors for radiation damages.

The downwinders were people who lived in Eastern Washington at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War who were exposed to releases of radioactive iodine-131 from the Hanford nuclear reservation while government contractors made plutonium for nuclear bombs. They claim the releases caused a variety of health problems, including thyroid cancer.

People didn't know about the radiation releases until U.S. Department of Energy environmental-monitoring reports sought by The Spokesman-Review and two environmental groups under the Freedom of Information Act were declassified in 1986.

In an amended opinion Friday that expanded on several rulings last August, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said the statute of limitations for individual plaintiffs pursuing claims hadn't expired — a ruling which may be appealed by the Hanford contractors to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That ruling restored an award of $317,251 to Gloria Wise, one of two Hanford plaintiffs with thyroid cancer who got a favorable verdict from a Spokane federal court jury in the 2005 "bellwether" trial of six Hanford plaintiffs with various thyroid diseases linked to the radiation emissions. Wise was born in Pasco in 1944.

Lawyers for the Hanford contractors had appealed the jury verdict, saying Wise's claim was filed too late.

The 9th Circuit has also ruled that the Hanford contractors, including E.I. du Pont de Nemours, General Electric and UNC Nuclear Industries, are not entitled to blanket legal immunity because they were operating Hanford at the request of the government.

Congress did not adequately define the contractor defense issue when it passed the 1957 Price-Anderson Act, which limits the liability of nuclear contractors in accidents while ensuring compensation coverage to the general public, the court said in the ruling written by Judge Mary Schroeder.

The ruling affirms an earlier ruling on contractor immunity by the Spokane trial judge, U.S. District Court Judge William Nielsen, which the contractors had appealed.

The 9th Circuit ruling on the statute of limitations and other legal issues is a major victory for plaintiffs in the 18-year-old Hanford litigation, said Richard Eymann, a plaintiffs' attorney in Spokane.

"All the technical defenses, including contractor liability, are now gone," Eymann said in a phone interview. "It now means that all the plaintiffs, if they can prove causation, can have their cases go to a jury trial."

There were originally about 2,200 plaintiffs in the long-running litigation, but some people have died or their cases have been withdrawn. An accurate count of pending cases could not be obtained Friday.

The ruling will put additional pressure on the government to settle the long-running litigation, Eymann said. U.S. taxpayers are paying the legal bills to defend the Hanford contractors in an agreement that dates back to the Manhattan Project, the secret government program to develop an atomic bomb during World War II.

Kevin Van Wart, lead attorney in Chicago for the Hanford contractors, said they may appeal the statute-of-limitations ruling because the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has taken a different position.

"We're still looking at the ruling to see whether we want to appeal," Van Wart said Friday.

Van Wart also said the three bellwether cases of people with autoimmune thyroid diseases that the court has already remanded for new trials are weak — and that it will cost more to retry them than the plaintiffs could get in damages.

The parties agreed to try 12 bellwether cases before a federal jury in Spokane. Six of the claims were dismissed, and the remaining six went to trial in April 2005.

DIVINE STRAKE: Judge rejects downwinders' request

Revival of bunker-buster bomb test a possibility

Once declared dead by politicians and environmental activists, the non-nuclear Divine Strake bunker-buster bomb test has hope for resurrection after a federal court ruling.

A defense agency's director had canceled the blast months after his reference to a "mushroom cloud over Las Vegas" sparked a lawsuit and criticism.

But in a ruling late last month, Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd George granted the Justice Department's request to strike as moot a motion by the downwinders' attorney that the court should allow them to present evidence of "the need for continuing judicial oversight" of the agency's "dangerous plans to detonate high explosives" on the surface of the Nevada Test Site.

"The plaintiffs are no longer subject to any alleged harm from the experiment, as it has been canceled, and thus they now lack standing, and the matter has been rendered moot," George wrote in his Feb. 21 ruling for the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.

"At its core, the defendants assert that this court lacks jurisdiction to require them to complete an environmental impact statement for an experiment that will not occur and, even if this court had such jurisdiction, there is no longer any controversy for the court to resolve or harm for the court to remedy," his ruling said.

The blast was to be the last and largest in a series of bunker-buster experiments using conventional chemical explosives designed to crush tunnels deep in limestone where an enemy could store weapons of mass destruction.

Miners had dug a 36-foot-deep pit near the top of Syncline Ridge at the test site, 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas, to hold an explosive slurry that when detonated would send shock waves through a 100-foot-thick block of bedded limestone to crumble a tunnel in the ridge.

George also granted the Justice Department's motion to strike and exclude the downwinders' exhibits and testimony in support of their request for continuing judicial oversight.

Also, he denied awarding attorney's fees to the plaintiffs' counsel, Reno attorney Robert Hager, because the request was premature given that a final judgment on Hager's motion for a temporary restraining order had not been made when the downwinders sought declaration as the prevailing party.

George left open the possibility for Hager to appeal.

"While a final judgment will be entered contemporaneous with the filing of this order, in connection with the granting of the defendants' motion to dismiss, the judgment will remain appealable until the expiration of the time to appeal, or until the completion of the appeal if the plaintiffs choose to appeal," George wrote.

Hager was traveling in Europe and could not be reached for comment late Monday.

In the lawsuit, he represented downwinders and Western Shoshones from the Winnemucca Indian Colony.

The lawsuit, with concerns voiced by some elected officials in Nevada and Utah, prompted a series of postponements of the detonation, originally scheduled for June 2, 2006.

The test was canceled Feb. 22, 2007, when James Tegnelia, director of the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, issued a one-page statement, saying, "I have become convinced that it's time to look at alternative methods that obviate the need for this type of large-scale test."

The statement remained posted late Monday on the agency's Web site, and a spokeswoman had not responded to a request for comment on George's ruling.

After the test was announced in 2006, Tegnelia apologized for saying the blast from a 700-ton slurry of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil would send a "mushroom cloud over Las Vegas."

But his statement last year stopped short of saying public outcry and thousands of comments made at public meetings opposing the Divine Strake detonation persuaded him to cancel the test.

At the time of Tegnelia's Feb. 22, 2007, statement, members of Nevada's congressional delegation said they were relieved that the blast was finally canceled.

They said Defense Department planners failed to quell fears expressed by Nevadans and their neighbors in Utah and Idaho.

Monticello lung cancer deaths 'elevated'

It's good news based on bad news: The Utah Department of Health has found that lung cancer deaths in the southeast Utah town of Monticello are "significantly elevated," a claim that residents here have been making for years.

Now members of the town's Victims of Mill Tailings Exposure (VMTE) committee are hoping the study results will persuade the federal government to help the beleaguered town. San Juan County commissioners are in Washington, D.C., this week, armed with the new data, lobbying for a bill that would provide funding for early detection health screening and treatment.

The U.S. government owned and operated the uranium mill in Monticello from the time it was built in 1941 until 2000, when the site was finally considered free of toxic materials following a Super Fund cleanup. For the first 19 years, the plant provided source materials for the U.S. atomic energy program — and produced toxic dust that blew across the town, landing on window screens and clotheslines. After the mill was closed, uranium tailings were used by unsuspecting residents in the mortar and foundations of their homes and in children's sandboxes.

Proving that exposure to the dust and tailings actually caused hundreds of cases of subsequent cancers is impossible, says state health department epidemiologist John Contreras. "There's no technology available that can tell you that," he says. But the new study shows that lung and bronchial cancers are significantly elevated compared to all lung and bronchial cancer deaths reported in the Utah Cancer Registry, and notes that lung cancer has risk factors associated with exposure to the contaminants.

Story continues below
The elevated rates were found in three five-year time periods between 1973, the year the Cancer Registry began, and 2004. Stomach cancer rates were elevated in one time period only, so those results are considered inconclusive.

The health department study was based on 159 cancers diagnosed in Monticello. That's well shy of the 502 cancers (and over 100 cases of other serious illnesses) that VMTE member Barbara Pipkin has documented, but some of these were diagnosed prior to 1973 — including many of the leukemias — and some were diagnosed outside of Monticello, after residents moved away. "Even two miles away," says Pipkin.

To make the study an apples-to-apples kind of study, the health department restricted it to cancers diagnosed in Monticello. To include the others, Contreras says, "would have taken millions of dollars."

In a letter hand-delivered this week to officials at the U.S. Department of Energy, VMTE Chairman Steve Young of Monticello noted, "You cannot replace the lives lost, but you can begin to assist with the problems caused. ... It is time to act as the costs continue to compound and human lives are being lost."

Earlier this winter, says the VMTE's Pipkin, yet another Monticello resident died of leukemia.

Nuclear Power will not solve the Problem of Global Warming

by Jay Miller

Nuclear power reactors use a rare isotope of uranium 235 as a power source. This isotope occurs naturally as a small quantity in rock formations. The first step in mining this uranium uses large loaders and trucks, the wheels on which are likely taller than you are and could no doubt pick up your car in one scoop. These vehicles use diesel fuel and because of their size and weight get a fraction of one mile per gallon. The broken rock is transported to a diesel slurping crusher. Next comes a series of milling and refining and enrichment activities that occur primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky. Entire mountain tops are removed to strip mine coal which is burned to produce electricity. This electricity runs the milling and enrichment process. A common error is the idea that nuclear power causes no green house emissions. In fact the diesel and coal burned to mine, refine, mill and enrich uranium to produce the pellets in fuel rod is actually substantial.

The nuclear power industry is the most heavily subsidized industry in the history of the United States. The nuclear industry was developed to produce atom bombs during World War Two. Following the war some in the industry promoted the idea of the "peaceful atom"- that atomic energy could and should be used to produce electricity. After extensive debate the U.S., which had spent billions of dollars to produce 2 atomic bombs and was the sole nuclear power in the world, made the mistake of subsidizing the development of civilian nuclear power. Other countries followed the lead. Unfortunately this rush had little to do with producing electricity and everything to do with producing nuclear weapons. Before long there were a half dozen countries with nuclear weapons - many of which were developed from enriched uranium siphoned off what were supposed to be civilian nuclear power generators.

The use of nuclear power to produce electricity is not particularly efficient or economical and so it requires vast governmental subsidies. So why did so many other countries invest in nuclear powered electrical generation? They used nuclear power as a guise to obtain enriched uranium or plutonium for weapons production. This trend continues today with countries like North Korea and Iran stating that they need to develop nuclear power for electricity when in fact the real unstated goal is probably obtaining fissionable material for weapons production. This proliferation of nuclear weapons to more and more countries will continue until the governments with nuclear arsenals ( and those seeking to build such arsenals in the future ) admit the fact that their commercial reactors exist for the purpose of providing weapons grade materials and end the facade that nuclear reactors can be an economical or benign source of electrical power. The proliferation of nuclear weapons is probably the single greatest danger facing the United States and someday if a terrorist succeeds in sneaking one of these devices into the country and detonating it in one of our major cities the terrorist will likely have the nuclear power industry to thank for providing the material.

Due to the inefficient, uneconomical nature of civilian nuclear power generation the entire industry has been subsidized by American taxpayers from the initial development, to the construction, monitoring and insuring of the reactors, to the disposal of the highly radioactive waste produced. In a country supposedly founded on the principal of free enterprise and free markets the nuclear industry stands out as a monument to government subsidy and interference. When it comes to the danger of these power reactors, consider the fact that no private insurance company would provide inclusive insurance to a single one of the 103 reactors in the U.S. and the government had to step in and pass the Price-Anderson Act making taxpayers liable for much of the damage from a nuclear power reactor accident.

The possible bill for irradiating hundreds of square miles of land runs into the hundreds of billions. As we have seen with the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, the results of a nuclear accident are devastating - huge territories rendered useless and uninhabitable due to radioactive contamination. While such an accident is unlikely with today’s safeguards it still could happen. Do we really want to take the risk when clean, renewable alternatives exist?

Another understated danger of nuclear power is the highly toxic, radioactive waste produced. This waste is currently stored in holding pools at the reactors. These pools are aged and deteriorating, many are leaking waste into soil and groundwater. The problem is there is no fool proof way to dispose of this radioactive waste safely. Just one component of this waste, plutonium, is an alpha emitter that causes cancer at a 100% rate when inhaled or ingested and remains toxic for thousands of years. No matter how many tax dollars the government throws at this problem, no solution has yet been found and when a design is even considered, such as the facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, the public outcry is that people do not want this danger in their state or community. Considering the serious danger of nuclear waste products who can blame them.

The nuclear industry produces the fewest jobs per tax dollar spent of any industry. Many of the people who have gotten jobs working with these materials, from Navaho miners in the Southwest to workers in the weapons industry, have payed with their lives and health. Industry officials proudly point out that the use of nuclear power is high in France. It is true that France produces almost all of its electrical power from nuclear reactors. France is an interesting country known for monumental blunders, almost always caused by putting all of their eggs in one basket - one can recall their idea of the impenetrable "Maginot Line" during WW II as an example. France cuts corners. For example they have "solved" the problem of what to do with some of their nuclear waste - they load it on ships and dump the waste into the ocean. This practice spreads radioactive substances into the earth’s environment endangering virtually every living thing on the planet. When confronted on the issue France basically replies that they will do whatever they want. They consider their small nation a superpower on par with the U.S. and attempt to achieve this status by maintaining a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and a string of reactors to provide electricity. Other countries in Europe are phasing out nuclear power plants. Many are investing heavily in wind power.

The electric utility industry is a highly centralized industry. Centralization allows the industry to control production. Because of the scale of investment it is a natural monopoly. In other words it does not make economic sense to have numerous companies all stringing electrical wires in the same area and competing with one another. So we have interstate commissions and governmental regulation. The problem with this system is that it eliminates competition, entrepreneurship, free market incentives and concentrates control into the hands of a few executives and away from consumers. The greatest fear of these well paid electric industry executives is the creation of a single, nationalized grid. In other words a grid that anyone can sell energy to or buy from. This would encourage free enterprise, smaller scale producers and entrepreneurs. It would lead to the eventual elimination of huge, subsidized, monopolies which now run the electric industry and profit excessively from consumers vulnerabilities and limited choice of providers.

The large electrical monopolies love nuclear power, coal and oil fired plants. These plants are far too technical and require far too much investment for the average citizen or small business to undertake. The large monopolies do not favor the wide spread use of solar photovoltaic cells, wind generators or other de-centralized production because it would undermine their monopoly.

If one considers the U.S. Dept. of Energy budget one could really call it the Dept. of Oil, Coal and Nuclear Subsidies. Beyond a few demonstration projects to make it look like the Dept. has funded solar, wind and other alternatives there has been no effort to promote alternatives. Oil, coal and nuclear receive an ocean of funding, while alternatives receive a drip. That is because the huge energy monopolies control the energy debate in Congress through their campaign contribution largess. Any representative who promotes nuclear as a solution simply has not heard both sides of the story. I think there is a problem in that the nuclear industry provides one-sided shows and information for governmental representatives and if these representatives are not careful to study the issue and hear all sides they will likely make decisions which are not in the best interest of the citizens they represent.

Another issue is the decommissioning of nuclear plants. Many people do not realize that these plants have a life span of 30-60 years. Basically the plant itself - reactor, containment vessel, buildings, etc. become contaminated with radioactivity and must be disposed of. The NRC estimates this cost at $325 million for each nuclear power plant. Of course the power companies could never afford all of this so again taxpayers will pick up much of the tab. It is interesting how they do this decommissioning. There are two plans. The first plan is to have people in protective suits dismantle everything - buildings, equipment, etc. and then load it onto trucks and haul it all away to a radioactive waste disposal facility. They still haven't come up with a long term disposal facility even after pumping millions of tax dollars into the Yucca Mountain trail. But they have a second contingency plan. They would bury the entire nuclear power plant in asphalt and "entomb" it in place.

Government representatives need to make a distinction between "renewable" energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, etc., and terminal sources such as nuclear. In other words the supply of uranium 235 will run out in about 70 years at the current rate of use. So nuclear power is a stop-gap source. In comparison the sun will always shine, wind will always blow, and the grass will always grow. It makes sense to invest in clean, renewable resources we have right here in the USA in stead of importing so much oil. Eventually oil, coal, natural gas and uranium will all run out. I think it makes sense for humanity to start investing in clean, renewable sources. I prefer that the free market is finally allowed to run its course in the energy field. The billions and billions of federal pork barrel tax dollars poured into nuclear have made it difficult for other energy sources to compete. Also the energy monopolies that have been established favor massive, centralized production at the expense of smaller scale facilities and free market competition. We need to either subsidize energy sources equally or we need to end the massive pork barrel trough the nuclear companies feed from.

The centralization of the energy monopolies makes the energy supply less redundant and subject to large scale back outs during storms, etc. This centralization would be a disaster if this country is ever involved in a shooting war. It would make it easy for an enemy to knock out electrical supplies here ( just hit a few big plants ). Also if there is ever an actual shooting war in the future strategically I can guess where the first 103 conventional bombs will land on U.S. soil. An enemy could just drop a conventional bomb on the 103 nuclear power plants here and have the effect of a nuclear attack in that radioactivity would be spread across the nation making much of our land uninhabitable.

These nuclear power plants are potentially extremely dangerous and that is why they have extensive security measures to prevent a terrorist or accident from occurring. Still the danger will always be there and on 9-11 it was demonstrated that terrorists can slip by security. We could find ourselves fleeing the radiation in our cars with a few hastily packed suitcases abandoning our homes, property and belongings essentially forever as people did in the Ukraine after Chernobyl. Then there will be no use second guessing. We need to think this through now.

In conclusion there are many problems associated with nuclear power. There is the security danger of a melt-down type incident or terrorist stealing nuclear material for a dirty bomb. Fossil fuels are currently being consumed in the mining, milling, processing and enrichment process to make nuclear fuel rods. The waste produced is extremely toxic and difficult to dispose of. The use of nuclear power to produce electricity around the world has lead to the proliferation and spread of nuclear weapons to many countries, including unstable dictatorships like Pakistan. Nuclear power creates the fewest jobs of any energy source.

I think that those who call for "steam-lining" and "fast-tracking" the licensing of nuclear plants are creating a risk wherein necessary measures to protect against terrorists, natural disasters, to dispose of waste carefully and prevent accidents are not given proper consideration. I think that in a nation founded on the principal of freedom and free enterprise the massive pork barrel subsidies given to nuclear power are out of place. Tax payers paid to develop nuclear power, they subsidize the building of nuclear plants, they subsidize the fuel cycle where uranium is processed using fossil fuels, they subsidize the disposal of waste and eventual decommissioning, they insure the plants and tax payers will assume the cost of damages in the event of an accident, they pay for regulatory enforcement, etc. I mean at some point with nuclear it seems we would be ahead to just shovel tax dollar bills into a furnace by the train load and burn them to produce energy.

I am a 51 year old male. I work as a high school educator. I live in a solar house down by a river.