FROM Dan Hirsch
California's Double Standard for Public Protection State regulators waited for months before they responded to the Southern California Gas Company's dangerous leak in the San Fernando Valley. They waited for years until the federal government finally forced closure of the Exide Technologies battery-recycling plant near East Los Angeles. Nancy Martinez reports for Eastern Group Publications, with six bi-lingual papers, including the Eastside Sun .
How Safe Are America's Aging Nuclear Power Plants? America's nuclear power plants are aging. The anticipated lifetime originally was about 40 years, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing them to be re-licensed for 20 more. Now a year-long investigation by the Associated Press reports that the NRC works with the industry to weaken safety standards, or fail to enforce them, in order to keep the plants running. Accidents at nuclear plants may be extremely rare, but when they happen, they're devastating. Are regulators in the US doing all that it takes to prevent another Fukushima-type incident from happening here?
How Safe Are America's Aging Nuclear Power Plants? The ongoing disaster at Fukushima has focused attention on the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States. Could a similar accident happen here? The nuclear industry says there's only been one "safety-significant" incident since 2001, and that was nine years ago. But the nuclear plants are aging. The anticipated lifetime originally was about 40 years, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing them to be re-licensed for 20 more. Now a year-long investigation by the Associated Press reports that the NRC works with the industry to weaken safety standards, or fail to enforce them, in order to keep the plants running. The probability of a nuclear accident is very low, but the consequences can be catastrophic. Have the industry and its regulators become complacent?
State Radiation Monitors Were Offline after Japan Disaster Trace amounts of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear-power reactors have turned up in rainwater from New England to Florida. They are comparable to findings in Washington State, Nevada and California. But the Environmental Protection Agency says monitors in San Diego, San Bernardino and Los Angeles were off-line last week for repairs and maintenance.
Obama Reassures Nation on Radiation, Nuclear Safety The United States and Japan have different interpretations of radiation readings from the nuclear power plant at Fukushima. President Obama said that he did not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the West Coast, and added that nuclear power is still part of America's energy future.
Japan's Ongoing Disaster and the Future of Nuclear Power There hasn't been a nuclear power plant constructed in the United States since the 1970's, but the Obama Administration has approved federal loan guarantees for two new reactors in Georgia. They are not yet licensed, and the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has raised questions about their safety from aircraft attacks and their vulnerability to earthquakes. Now comes the crisis at Fukushima. We update the situation in Japan and explore the future of nuclear power in the US.
Japan's Ongoing Disaster and the Future of Nuclear Power The extent of the damage at Fukushima is still unclear, and nobody knows how much radiation has been released or how more will be. But the ongoing crisis has renewed debate about the safety of nuclear power. There hasn't been a nuclear power plant constructed in the United States since the 1970's, but the Obama Administration has approved federal loan guarantees for two new reactors in Georgia. They are not yet licensed, and the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has raised questions about their safety from aircraft attacks and their vulnerability to earthquakes. Should nuclear energy be expanded to fuel President Obama's "green economy?" Is it still too early to tell?
Will a Massive Source of Potential Cancer Finally Be Cleaned Up? The Santa Susanna Mountains between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys is among the most contaminated places in the United States. For decades during and after World War II, it was used to test rocket fuel and nuclear materials. In 1959, a small nuclear reactor actually melted down there, an incident kept from the public for 20 years. In the meantime, houses were built on the slopes. But, even after they discovered what they were living on, many homeowners did not move away. Now, after generations of local effort, the state and federal governments have agreed to a cleanup. Midnight tonight is the last opportunity for public comment .
LA's Own Nuclear Meltdown Revisited It's been 50 years since America's first nuclear meltdown in the Santa Susana Mountains, between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. The site was a massive research installation, which tested 30,000 thousand rocket engines over the years and included ten nuclear reactors. On July 13, 1959, one of those —the Sodium Reactor Experiment — sprung a leak , and was shut down. But before the problem had been resolved, the reactor was started up again. It ran for nearly two weeks without any kind of containment, like the big concrete domes that shield commercial reactors at San Onofre and other nuclear power plants. To this day, nobody knows how much gas was vented into the air, and cleanup operations still continue. We speak with reporters, environmentalists and a trainee of the facility, who was just 20 years old at the time.
Nuclear Power and Climate Change After 20 years and $9 billion, the nuclear-waste storage facility at Nevada's Yucca Mountain has been scrapped by the Obama Administration. There has not been a nuclear power plant licensed in the US since the Three Mile Island accident 30 years ago. In the meantime, nuclear power is finding converts in Europe, and America's Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking at more than 30 applications.
Climate Change and Nuclear Power After 20 years and $9 billion, Nevada's Yucca Mountain won't be the final resting place for 60,000 tons of deadly nuclear waste piling up at power plants all over the country. So what happens now to a nuclear industry that expected a shot in the arm from demand for “clean” energy to reduce global warming? No new plant has been licensed in the US since the Three Mile Island accident 30 years ago, but Energy Secretary Henry Chu has promised to find a way. Has Europe developed safer technologies? What about cost and weaponization? Would nuclear power be better or worse than climate change?
Santa Susana Nuclear Meltdown For 40 years, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory tested rocket engines and nuclear reactors in the hills between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. In 1959, officials reported problems with a nuclear research reactor, but said that no employees were exposed to radiation and that no radioactivity was released outside the facility. In 1979, UCLA graduate students uncovered records indicating that there was a partial reactor meltdown, similar to that at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island that same year. Last week, a new report says the meltdown released as much as 300 times the radiation of Three Mile Island, possibly causing 260 cancers in surrounding neighborhoods. The report is based partially on technical models to fill in details researchers can't get from the Department of Energy or the Boeing Company , which now owns the property. We get the latest in a long-running battle over technology and public health.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."