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|Webinar Archive Detail|
WEBINAR ARCHIVE DETAIL
- Small modular reactors, same nuclear problems
12:00 pm EDT
Please join us to learn more about small modular nuclear reactors, including the costs and risks they pose to the Southeast, particularly at TVA’s Clinch River site in Tennessee and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and to U.S. taxpayers. Hear expert analysis from and participate in a discussion with Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Autumn Hanna, Senior Program Director at Taxpayers for Common Sense; Tom Clements, Southeast Nuclear Campaign Coordinator with Friends of the Earth; and Sara Barczak, High Risk Energy Choices Program Director with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
The most striking thing about seeing any nuclear power plant up close is their sheer size. They are such impressive feats of construction and design, and it's hard to imagine that something so robust could fail. In this week's podcast, find out why nuclear power plants fail, and why failure is a fact of life that the industry refuses to acknowledge.
Articles free for a limited time on The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists website
Los Angeles, CA (January 07, 2013). France has been held up, worldwide, as the forerunner in using nuclear fission to produce electricity. However, a third of the nation's nuclear reactors will need replacing in the next decade, and public opinion has shifted toward reducing reliance on nuclear power. In a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE four articles explore whether France has the means or desire to unplug from nuclear power.
Nuclear arms experts Patrice Bouveret, Bruno Barrillot, and Dominique Lalanne argue that phasing out Frances' civilian nuclear program would entail costs both to military funding streams, and to the nation's identity. In their provocative article, "Nuclear chromosomes: The national security implications of a French phase-out," they explain that weapons channels are distinct from the power industry. However, as civilian and military nuclear programs have been intertwined for decades, cutting financing for civilian nuclear research projects would increase the cost of maintaining the nuclear arsenal. The extent to which the military and civilian budgets are shared and expenses transferred between them is impossible to quantify – a deliberate move by defense staff to maintain secrecy.
"From its beginnings after World War II, the French nuclear effort has occupied an exalted position in the country's national identity. In fact, one could reasonably argue that it would take a reimagining of that identity, and a reconsideration of France's nuclear deterrent, before a French exit from civilian nuclear power could become a serious possibility," Bouveret argues.
France's nuclear program has been closely linked to the idea of a strong and economically independent France since its introduction following World War II. State-controlled Électricité de France SA (EDF) provides three-quarters of the country's electricity via nuclear power plants; another majority-state-owned firm, Areva SA, is a supplier of nuclear reactors and other nuclear technologies, such as nuclear submarines, worldwide. As a result, France has invested heavily in nuclear infrastructure, and has not yet followed its neighbor Germany in moving to reduce reliance on nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
But Paris-based energy expert Mycle Schneider highlights serious financial difficulties on the horizon for both EDF and Areva as the French nuclear fleet ages: 22 of the country's 58 reactors will reach their 40-year lifetimes inside a decade. Extending the lives of these reactors or scaling down the nuclear sector to focus on alternative energy and energy-efficiency programs would seem viable options.
Yet the politics of such a choice are complex, as Schneider writes in a separate article. France's new president, François Hollande, is the first in French history to advocate reducing reliance on nuclear power, and to instigate an extended multi-stakeholder debate on this subject. The legalities are not simple either: According to Paris-based environmental lawyer Alexandre Faro, laws, regulations, or amendments would have to be carefully drawn to avoid large damage claims from the nuclear operator, EDF.
John Mecklin, deputy editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, concludes in his introduction that "Economics, politics, and legalities notwithstanding, before France can exit the nuclear power industry, it may have to change its idea of itself."
"Nuclear chromosomes: The national security implications of a French nuclear exit" by Patrice Bouveret, Bruno Barrillot, and Dominique Lalanne published January 2013 in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
"The French Nuclear Exit?" by John Mecklin published January 2013 in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Select articles from the issue will be free to access from a limited time here: http://bos.sagepub.com/.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists informs the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. The Bulletin was established in 1945 by scientists, engineers, and other experts who had created the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. http://bos.sagepub.com
SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. www.sagepublications.com
Articles free for a limited time on The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists website
Save the Date:
Symposium: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident l March 11-12, 2013
at The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City, NY
A unique, two-day symposium at which an international panel of leading medical and biological scientists, nuclear engineers, and policy experts will make presentations on and discuss the bio-medical and ecological consequences of the Fukushima disaster, will be held at The New York Academy of Medicine on March 11-12, 2013, the second anniversary of the accident. The public is welcome.
Chaired by Donald Louria, MD, Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health of the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey, the symposium is a project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation.
Confirmed speakers include:
Dr. Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences , University of South Carolina – Chernobyl, Fukushima and Other Hot Places, Biological Consequences
Ken Buesseler, Marine Scientist , Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute –Consequences for the Ocean of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident
David Lochbaum, The Union of Concerned Scientists – Another Unsurprising Surprise
Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki, Chairman, Department of Medical Genetics and Birth Defects, University of South Alabama– Congenital Malformations in Rivne Polossia associated with the Chernobyl Accident
Dr. Marek Niedziela, Professor of Pediatrics, Poznan (Poland) University of Medical Sciences – Thyroid Pathology in Children with Particular Reference to Chernobyl and Fukushima
Dr. Alexy Yablokov, Russian Academy of Sciences – Lessons from Chernobyl
Akio Matsumura, Founder of Global Forum for Parliamentary Leaders on Global Survival – What did the World Learn from the Fukushima Accident?
Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies - Management of Spent Fuel Pools and Radioactive Waste
Registration details will be available soon.
For further information about the symposium, contact: Mali Lightfoot, Executive Director, The Helen Caldicott Foundation.
Email: MaliLightfoot@gmail.com, t) 617-650-5048
Virginia Scissons, NDS l Prairie Messenger 14 November, 2012
SASKATOON — “The only way evil flourishes is for good people to do nothing,” Dr. Helen Caldicott quoted Edmund Burke when speaking to audiences at the Royal University Hospital and Third Avenue United Church, Saskatoon, on Nov. 1st.
Following an opening prayer by Elders Maria and Walter Linklater, Elder Pat Campbell from Patuanak, Sask., spoke about the devastating effects the uranium mining industry is having on the people, animals and environment in northern communities. The greatest changes have taken place in the past 25 years, he said. As a youth, said Campbell, he loved the spring time and particularly listening to the songs of the returning birds. Now there is silence. The deformities which the wildlife and fish are displaying are horrifying, he said, and we can no longer drink the water from the lake. Our young people and our old people are dying of cancer.
Geron Paul, a northern youth, said that he would not stop speaking out against the burying of radioactive fuel rods in the north until Saskatchewan put a ban on such burials as well as on the transportation of nuclear waste in the province, as has Manitoba. “They offer us money to bury nuclear waste,” he said, “but we can’t eat money.”
Caldicott began her talk where Paul left off. We are doing the same thing in Australia, she said. We also have vast deposits of uranium and are burying our nuclear waste in part of the country which is inhabited by the Aborigines. “It is tragic and extremely racist.” She warned that there is no known safe way to store these extremely radioactive materials, no matter what they tell you.
Caldicott then referred to her previous presentation at the Royal University Hospital. The posters announcing her talk in the SaskTel Theatre had been taken down, she said. She found it unbelievable that there is a Cameco Walk Way in a hospital which has a Cancer Clinic with many patients visible in the hallways.
The research is there, she said, and uranium mining and the whole of the nuclear industry is clearly responsible for the tremendous increase in the number of cancer patients and subsequent cancer-related deaths. Cancer has become epidemic, she said, and we must shut down the mines for the sake of our children, grandchildren and future generations. Isotopes for the treatment of cancer can be created by the cyclotron; uranium is not needed.
Caldicott went on to explain how uranium particles affect the human person. Referring to Uranium 238 and Uranium 235, she outlined the effects that x-rays, beta particles, alpha particles, radium and neutrons can have on us. Each dose of radiation we receive, whether it is from an x-ray for a dental procedure, going through a security check at an airport, or inhaling alpha particles while working in a mine, dose is cumulative, and with it comes the possibility of inducing cancer, the multiplication of unwanted cells. The incubation period of a single radiated cell which has been struck by a uranium particle is from five to 70 years — a long time, unlike a cold or the measles, she said.
Uranium particles are responsible for the mutations of genes; such mutations have resulted in the births of deformed human beings and wildlife. Caldicott cited as an example the terrible birth defects suffered by the babies of Iraq. The parents of these children were exposed to radiation during the bombing of Iraq in the early 2000s. If massive gene mutations occur, the course of evolution will be altered, said Caldicott.
Uranium has 200 “daughters” — that is, various forms of radiation which are emitted by uranium as it decays, said Caldicott. Some of these “daughters” are highly carcinogenic, even moreso than uranium, and have extremely long half-lives, as does uranium itself. In other words, upon their release into the atmosphere, explained Caldicott, once they are out there, they are there to stay for millions of years. The process is irreversible. Various “daughters” are known to attack specific organs in the human body, and there now exists a huge volume of research on this subject.
Interview with Helen Caldicott on GE's Secret Lansdowne Uranium Facility, November 1 2012
5 days ago
Dr. Cladicott answers some of my questions about the suitability of a General Electric uranium processing plant located in a densely populated part of Toronto's west-end. The interview is about 18 minutes long and should be a good starting off point for people who are concerned.