Tag Archives: contamination

Hydrofracking in Ozark National Forest, Arkansas, Challenged

20 May

A view of a bluff in the 1.3 million acre Ozark National Forest

 

Reported by: KARK 4 News

 

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Little Rock to prevent gas drilling under Greers Ferry Lake in north central Arkansas and in the Ozark National Forest in northwest Arkansas.

Those bringing the suit against three agencies of the United States government are a large group of environmental organizations and individuals from across north Arkansas. Their filing seeks to stop all drilling until studies have been conducted to comply with applicable environmental laws and to demonstrate that hydraulic fracturing of gas wells is not potentially harmful to the environment.

The complaint filed by the plaintiffs alleges that there is already gas drilling taking place in the Ozark National Forest, and that the number of wells is far in excess of estimates made in 2005 by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for leasing gas on government-owned lands. These wells use the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which forces large volumes of water mixed with chemicals into underground formations to improve gas production.

The suit claims that the drilling activities will severely damage the National Forest, and that the effects of the “fracking” process upon surface and ground waters, the air and other parts of the environment are unknown and uncertain, and should be studied more thoroughly before being used in the Forest.

The plaintiffs allege that BLM and the U.S. Forest Service have violated the law by not having conducted environmental impact statements and Resource Management Plans for the Forest area as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Regarding Greers Ferry Lake, the suit states that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued licenses to natural gas companies to conduct seismic surveys at Greers Ferry Lake of underground formations beneath the lake and surrounding public lands that could yield natural gas. Three licenses for seismic surveys have been issued, and work on two of them have been completed. Work on the third license, issued in October, 2010, is currently underway, and the suit alleges that plaintiffs anticipate that drilling activity under the Lake will occur following completion of the seismic work.

The suit asks that the Federal Court enjoin Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the Corps of Engineers from issuance of any additional gas leases until environmental impact statements and resource management plans have been completed and approved; and that BLM be ordered to halt any activities being conducted by any persons under any gas leases already issued by it in Arkansas.

The plaintiffs are represented by Richard H. Mays of the Mays & White law firm in Heber Springs.  Mays has been involved in a number of high-profile environmental cases in Arkansas.

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Another Worker dies at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

14 May

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances. (AFP/HO/TEPCO via Jiji Press)

By Mandie Sami, wires

A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has died.

It brings the total number of deaths at the complex to three since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March.

The man, aged in his 60s, started working at the plant on Friday.

Taichi Okazaki, a spokesman for plant owner TEPCO, says the man was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday – far below the company’s safety threshold of 5 millisieverts.

Mr Okazaki says the cause of his death is not known.

“No radioactive substances were detected on the worker,” Mr Okazaki said. There were no signs of injury on the dead man.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, was carrying chainsaws with another worker inside a facility to treat contaminated water being released from the plant’s crippled reactors.

He fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6.00 am on Saturday (local time) and was brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious. He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to prime minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party politician, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” he told a news conference.

The March quake and tsunami triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the sea, prompting Mr Kan to review Japan’s nuclear-leaning energy policy from scratch.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the Fukushima plant under control. Two TEPCO employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.

The most recent death comes as the operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant completes a total shutdown of the facility.

Mr Kan called for the closure last week to avoid a repeat of the disaster at the Fukushima plant, where engineers are still struggling to bring it under control.

Despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Mr Kan is expected to announce that the country will keep using nuclear power at a G8 summit in France later this month.

Japan to Release Radioactive Water into the Sea from Fukushima Nuclear Plant

4 Apr

Cross posted from NDT Television

On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power said it will release more than ten thousand tons of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The water will be released into the sea to free up more storage space for water that has much higher levels of radioactivity.

The water to be released is about one hundred times more radioactive than legal limits.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary says there is no other choice.

[Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary]:
“We came to this conclusion because even though it is water containing radioactive particles, it is inevitable that we release it in to the sea.”

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the decision was taken because it was not harmful to humans and done in order to avert an even bigger danger.

[Hidehiko Nishiyama, Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agcy.]:
“As it is not harmful to people’s health and as it is necessary to avert an even bigger danger, we decided it was inevitable.”

Japanese engineers have been scrambling to prevent a meltdown since an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Bulgarians Protest Russian-Backed Nuke Proposal

31 Mar

Hundreds of people joined an anti-nuclear protest in Sofia on Wednesday, calling for the government to drop plans for a new Russia-backed nuclear plant after the radiation disaster in Japan. About 300 protestors -- some wearing gas masks and radiation suits -- gathered outside the government headquarters to shout "No to Belene!" against the planned 2,000 megawatt facility on the Danube in northern Bulgaria. Many people at the rally had yellow radiation signs stamped on their jackets and carried slogans reading "Stop the Nuclear Bomb in Belene." In a declaration distributed to journalists, the organisers warned that "the Fukushima disaster showed that the nuclear industry had not learned the lessons of (the world?s worst nuclear accident in) Chernobyl."

Another Evacuation as Smoke Rises from Another Japanese Nuke Plant, Japanese Protest

30 Mar

Smoke was spotted at another nuclear plant in northeastern Japan on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The company said smoke was detected in the turbine building of reactor No. 1 at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant around 6 p.m. (5 a.m. ET).

Smoke could no longer be seen by around 7 p.m. (6 a.m. ET), a company spokesman told reporters.

The Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where workers have been scrambling to stave off a meltdown since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems there.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. owns both plants.

After the dual disasters, Japanese authorities also detected cooling-system problems at the Fukushima Daini plant, and those living within a 10-kilometer radius (6 miles) of Fukushima Daini were ordered to evacuate as a precaution.

Protest
Hundreds were protesting on Wednesday outside the Tokyo headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of the earthquake-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan.

Protestors were chanting “Stop nuclear power”.

The Japanese Nuke Meltdown is being equated to Chernobyl in terms of plutonium release. See the video here.

Radiation from Japan Nuclear Meltdown detected in rainwater in the US

28 Mar

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Sunday that very low concentrations of radioiodine-131 that were likely from the Japanese power plant severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month have been detected in a sample of rainwater. Officials did not say where the sample was taken.

The agency said the sample was taken in the past week and is one of more than 100 around the country. It is part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency network that monitors for radioactivity.

Read the rest of the story here.

Union of Ontario Indians protest plans to ship radioactive waste over Great Lakes

25 Mar

By Eartha Jane Melzer

The Union of Ontario Indians will battle a plan to ship 1,600 tons of radioactive waste from the Bruce nuclear power complex to Sweden via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, the group announced this week.

UOI, a political advocacy organization that represents 39 First Nation communities in Ontario, said that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Bruce Power Corporation failed to properly consult with First Nation communities before approving the plant to ship 16 contaminated steam generators from the Bruce Power complex in Kincardine.

“[M]ost of the Chiefs and Councils who are signatories to treaties all along the Great Lakes were never consulted,“ Southwest Regional Anishinabek Nation Chief Chris Plain said in a statement. “The duty to consult and accommodate must be done with the rights holders and we were never consulted.”

“We will do everything in our power to prevent the Ontario and Federal governments and the nuclear power industry from using our precious waterways as a garbage disposal route,” Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee said. “It is contrary to Supreme Court decisions, our aboriginal and treaty rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the laws of Nature.”

Mayors from more than 70 communities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway have warned that the proposed shipment has not received adequate environmental review and threatens the water supply for millions people.

The ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan shows that accidents can result in radioactive contamination of water supplies.This week officials in Tokyo warned residents not to let infants drink the tap water because it contains elevated levels of radioactive iodine.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation approval is required for the Bruce shipment to pass through U.S. waters.