From the Patriot News:

A natural gas well where welders were believed to be working exploded today, killing two people and sparking a fire that spewed black smoke for hours. The blast happened around 9:50 a.m. in a remote, wooded area of Indiana Township, northeast of Pittsburgh, police said. Firefighters doused the resulting fire with foam, and part of the blaze was still burning about three hours after the explosion.

The cause wasn’t yet known, but state officials believe “people were welding at the site and there was an explosion and the well caught fire,” said Helen Humphries, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “Why they were welding or what caused the explosion, I don’t know yet."

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Join us October 23-24, 2010 in Harrisburg

The Ever Green Sustainable Film Fest is a multi-faceted event that brings together educational, quality environmental films; moderator-led discussions based on feature films; an opportunity for local filmmakers to share their talent and learn about key environmental issues through a short film contest; and the integration and promotion of local foods.

Visit Ever Green Film Festival


This issues's contents include:

  • 2010 Nuclear-Free Future Awards
  • More and More Questions About the Epr
  • Chernobyl Restrictions for Sheep Consumption Ending in Scotland; Not in Wales
  • Has Sweden Learned to Love Nuclear Power?
  • Kings Cliffe and the Low- Level Waste Crisis in U.K.
  • National U.S. Grassroots Summit on Radwaste Policy

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The Ninth Circuit Oral Argument has been set for November 4, 2010 at 2pm. It will take place in San Francisco, Courtroom 1, 95 7th Street.

Like the 2006 ruling in favor of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP), the outcome of this case involving the dry cask storage facility at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant has the potential to affect policy for all 104 nuclear facilities in the nation. If Mothers for Peace is successful, the case will set a major new precedent for government accountability with respect to security-related decision-making in the post- 9/11era.

SLOMFP’s objectives are twofold:

  • to force the NRC to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that thoroughly analyzes the potential environmental effects of attack on the dry cask storage facility;
  • to restore an appropriate balance between the influence of the nuclear industry and the public over the NRC.

After the 9/11 attacks, the increased level of secrecy at the NRC tilted the playing field even more dramatically in favor of the industry, which now has virtually unlimited access to sensitive information while the public has been completely shut out. We believe that our lawsuit could give members of the public a powerful new tool in making the government accountable for its decisions regarding security by allowing access to classified and other sensitive security information in closed hearings. (A closed hearing allows only attorneys and expert witnesses with appropriate security clearances to attend. SLOMFP attorney, Diane Curran, has the necessary clearances.)

More information about SLOMFP’s lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit of the U. S. Court of Appeals is available at


From the Scranton Times-Tribune:

Flooding forced PPL to shut down Unit 1 of the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant late Friday afternoon.

An estimated 1 million gallons of Susquehanna river water flowed from an 8-foot-diameter pipe heading to the condenser room - where steam leaving the turbine is cooled - and damaged equipment in the basement of the plant's turbine building.

As a result, the plant could be shut down for a long period.

"We don't have an estimate," PPL spokesman Joe Scopelliti said. "There is no timeline."

Patrick Finney, the plant's senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector, doesn't think the plant will be online any time soon, though.

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From the Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services:

Per megawatt existing nuclear power stations use and consume more water than power stations using other fuel sources. Depending on the cooling technology utilised, the water requirements for a nuclear power station can vary between 20 to 83 per cent more than for other power stations.

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From the Patriot Ledger:

Entergy Corp. has found tritium levels that exceed federal drinking water standards in a monitoring well at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant for the first time since the wells were installed nearly three years ago.

The power plant owner learned on Monday that samples taken on July 7 showed one monitoring well near the Cape Cod Bay shoreline had more than 25,000 picocuries per liter of tritium, a radioactive isotope. The Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum threshold for safe drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter.

The elevated levels of tritium are in a monitoring well that was installed in April. Entergy has found elevated levels in that well since May, and the well’s tritium levels previously peaked at just more than 11,000 picocuries per liter last month.

A nearby monitoring well showed elevated levels of tritium, at more than 3,000 picocuries per liter, on July 7. The plant’s 10 other wells, including several that were installed in 2007, showed relatively low amounts of tritium, plant spokesman Dave Tarantino said.

Tarantino said the tritium leak doesn’t pose any threat to drinking water in Plymouth, largely because the groundwater at the plant flows into Cape Cod Bay. A test of Cape Cod Bay waters showed no elevated levels of tritium on July 7, he said.

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From Seven Days:

A key legislative oversight panel is criticizing Entergy Vermont Yankee's for lacking  a "questioning attitude" that has led to a number of system failures at the aging reactor in recent years.

The Vermont Yankee Public Oversight Panel (POP) also concluded that Entergy didn't deliberately mislead a legislative panel or a state consultant when it neglected to inform them last August about underground pipes that carry radionuclides.

The three-member panel includes former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Peter Bradford, nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, and retired nuclear scientist Fred Sears.

Last summer, Gundersen questioned key Entergy engineers about whether there were underground pipes that could potentially be leaking.

The response: No. Case closed.

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From Web Urbanist:

Cooling towers have come to symbolize power plants – nuclear or not – around the world. Standing hundreds of feet tall with a distinctive hourglass profile, some of these “towers of power” show an unexpected side: they’ve become colossal curvaceous canvases upon which an astonishing variety of art has been displayed.

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Supplemental Report of the Public Oversight Panel Regarding the Comprehensive Reliability Assessment of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant

July 20, 2010

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