Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion For Emergency Public Hearing On Votgle Units 3 & 4

BEFORE THE GEORGIA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION STATE OF GEORGIA
)
In Re: )
Review of Georgia Power Company’s ) Dockets No. 27800 & 29849
Certificate of Public Convenience and )
Necessity for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 )

NUCLEAR WATCH SOUTH MANDAMUS MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY PUBLIC HEARING ON VOGTLE 3 & 4

Nuclear Watch South files this mandamus motion and complaint that the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has failed to respond to Nuclear Watch South Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 in accordance with laws governing the PSC.

I. Background

Nuclear Watch South filed on April 18, 2017, a request for an emergency public hearing to hear substantial issues surrounding the bankruptcies of Georgia Power’s Vogtle construction consortium partners which affect the public and to establish a schedule for public review of Georgia Power’s Vogtle 3 & 4 expansion under construction in Burke County. When the PSC failed to respond within 30 days, Nuclear Watch South filed on May 19, 2017, its Motion to Compel a Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4.

Nuclear Watch South’s legal petition to the PSC seeks a process for the public to address, among other issues, many hundreds of millions of public dollars that have been, and are being, collected and deposited as profit for Georgia Power’s shareholders without any meaningful action from the PSC over the past six months while Georgia Power’s Vogtle 3 & 4 consortium partners are mired in bankruptcy courts.

Nuclear Watch South’s request asked that the PSC establish a deadline for Georgia Power to submit, at minimum:
1) The complete and true construction schedule for Vogtle 3 & 4

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4

2) The cost to complete Vogtle 3 & 4 construction

3) The cost to cancel Vogtle 3 & 4 construction

II. The Public Service Commission has failed in its legal obligation to respond to a legitimate public request in a specified timeframe.
More than 60 days have elapsed without a response to Nuclear Watch South’s request from the PSC, with one exception: on May 25, 2017, PSC staff attorney Jeffrey Stair sent Nuclear Watch South representative Glenn Carroll an e-mail stating: “It is Staff’s intent to place these items on a future regularly scheduled Energy Committee meeting agenda for Commission consideration.”1

The Commission’s inadequate response to Nuclear Watch South’s request places it in noncompliance with its legal obligation to make a proper response to a legitimate request in a timely fashion as required by Georgia PSC Rule 515-2-1.05 which states: “All applications, petitions or complaints filed with the Commission, or actions initiated by the Commission, on Friday prior to the second Tuesday in each month shall, unless otherwise directed by the Commission, be assigned for hearing on the fourth Tuesday or some succeeding date, and likewise those filed or commenced subsequent to the Friday preceding the second Tuesday in the month and not later than Friday prior to the fourth Tuesday shall, unless otherwise directed by the Commission, be assigned for hearing on the second Tuesday in the following month, or some succeeding date.” [emphasis supplied]

To be in compliance, the PSC should have placed Nuclear Watch South’s request on the calendar

1 The entire text of May 25, 2017 e-mail from Jeff Stair to Glenn Carroll: Ms. Carroll:
The Georgia Public Service Commission Staff has received and reviewed Nuclear Watch South’s Request
for Emergency Hearing as well as Nuclear Watch South’s Motion to Compel a Response. It is Staff’s intent to place these items on a future regularly scheduled Energy Committee meeting agenda for Commission consideration.
As you are aware, Staff and its consultants are continuing their comprehensive review of Plant Vogtle Units
3 and 4, as well as preparing testimony to be offered in the upcoming Vogtle Construction Monitoring proceeding. Also, Georgia Power Company has not yet filed its revised cost and schedule estimates for Units 3 and 4, nor has the Company indicated what type of filing it may ultimately make at the Commission. Once the Company provides its updated projections, Staff and Intervenors will be in a better position to respond, as may be appropriate.
I will be sure to give you sufficient advance notice of when Nuclear Watch South’s Request will be considered at an Energy Committee meeting.
[signed] Jeff Stair

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 on May 9, 2017, or established an specific alternative date. Staff attorney’s reference in his May 25, 2017 e-mail to the open-ended, semi-annual Vogtle construction review process and assertion that “Georgia Power Company has not yet filed its revised cost and schedule estimates for Units
3 and 4, nor has the Company indicated what type of filing it may ultimately make at the Commission,” do not satisfy the PSC’s legal obligation to make a specific response to Nuclear Watch South’s request for an emergency public hearing. As a matter of point, the particular excuse that Georgia Power hasn’t made a move yet is precisely the problem Nuclear Watch South seeks relief from via an emergency public hearing.

In the May 11, 2017, 16th Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review (VCM) hearing before the PSC, Georgia Power testified that it would probably file its analysis of the path forward in June. A June date would, indeed, satisfy the spirit of Nuclear Watch South’s request which suggests a June 30, 2017, deadline in its 4/18/17 Request for Emergency Public Hearing.

However, at the June 1, 2017, PSC Energy Committee meeting, Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald offered a motion for Georgia Power to voluntarily cease CWIP collection and use the traditional AFUDC (Allowance for Funds Used During Construction) mechanism to recover its costs in the rates when the project is complete. While Nuclear Watch South has stated its appreciation for Commissioner McDonald’s initiative, the motion, and the meeting, fail to address the central question of a timely and direct response to Nuclear Watch South’s request for an emergency public hearing as required by law. Significantly, at the June 1, 2017, meeting Georgia Power’s attorney Kevin Greene revealed in verbal exchange with Commissioner Stan Wise, that Georgia Power would not supply the requested information about costs and schedule on Vogtle 3 & 4 in June and anticipates submitting plans in August 2017, or later. Greene’s statement validated press reports about Southern Company CEO statements before the May 24, 2017, Southern Company annual shareholder meeting: “Fanning said Wednesday he now hopes to have that evaluation completed in August or ‘late summer.’”2

2 Southern Co. CEO: Time needed for new Vogtle plan, by Matt Kempner, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 25, 2017 http://www.myajc.com/business/southern-ceo-more-time-needed-for-new-vogtle- plan/5tKTIa1WpXKx95F5qPyWeL/

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 At the PSC’s Administrative Affairs meeting on June 6, 2017, the Commission voted to indefinitely delay a decision on Commissioner McDonald’s motion pending further study. Nuclear Watch South’s request was still not on the agenda. The PSC stated concern about breaking the law if it passes a symbolic motion asking for Georgia Power to voluntarily cease collection of the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery tariff enabled by the Georgia legislature in the 2009 Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act. It is seeking input from the State of Georgia Attorney General, but did not establish a time frame to do so.

PSC meetings on June 15, 2017, also failed to include Nuclear Watch South’s request on the agenda.

The total effect of the PSC’s inaction is that, so far, Georgia Power has, de facto, set the agenda and the schedule for the Georgia Public Service Commission’s response (or lack thereof) to not only Nuclear Watch South’s request, but to the entire circumstance clouding the future construction of Vogtle 3 & 4. To let this situation persist is an egregious lapse of PSC oversight protection for the people of Georgia who are captive customers to Georgia Power’s profitable monopoly and who are paying almost $50 million per month for continued construction at Vogtle 3 & 4.

The situation forces Nuclear Watch South to point out via this Mandamus Motion, that the PSC’s inaction places the PSC in flagrant violation of Georgia PSC Rule 15-2-1.05 which regulates the PSC’s response to the public and establishes a standard for timely response to a legitimate request.

III. The Public Service Commission has broad legal powers which authorize it to protect public interests and processes Nuclear Watch South has repeatedly cited the laws which empower the PSC to decertify3 Vogtle 3 Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-6: Upon application of a utility or upon its own motion, the commission may reexamine any certificate granted under this chapter to determine whether new forecasts of future requirements require the modification of the construction, purchase, sale, or expenditure for a certificated capacity resource. If upon such reexamination the commission finds that the certificated capacity resource is no longer needed or that

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 3 & 4 (which it should do because Nuclear Watch South has proven since 2013 using Georgia Power’s own SEC-filed annual report data that power from the $18 billion dollar reactors is not needed as Georgia Power is 30% overbuilt in a shrinking energy market) and also to obtain information from the utilities which it regulates, and to establish any processes it needs to get information (including to grant Nuclear Watch South’s Request for Emergency Public Hearing or to establish another mechanism to bring transparency and public input to the Vogtle question such as a facilitated stakeholder meeting).

O.C.G.A. 46-2-20 (f) and (g) empowers the PSC in the current instance (in which Georgia Power has refused to make important information available to the PSC for six months) to raid the company’s offices if necessary to get the information it needs.4

O.C.G.A. § 46-2-20 (b) is the basic law empowering the PSC to establish any process it needs to get at the truth and the law pursuant of which Nuclear Watch South makes its Request for Emergency Public Hearing.5

IV. The Public Service Commission must exercise its powers for the protection of both the public and Georgia Power As stated above, and repeatedly, in every forum offered by the PSC, Georgia Power is overbuilt any additional certificated capacity resource is needed to assure a reliable supply of electric power and energy for the utility’s Georgia retail customers, the commission may modify or revoke the certificate. If the utility cancels, abandons, or increases some or all of the capacity resource as a result of such modification or revocation of the certificate, it may recover through any rate-making vehicle over a reasonable period of time, absent fraud, concealment, failure to disclose a material fact, imprudence, or criminal misconduct, the amount of its investment in such capacity resource, along with the cost of carrying the unamortized portion of that investment, net of actual salvage value, to the extent such investment is verified as made pursuant to the certificate. The commission shall disallow such investment and costs resulting from fraud, concealment, failure to disclose a material fact, imprudence, or criminal misconduct. [emphasis added] 4 O.C.G.A.
§ 46-2-20 (f) The commission shall also have the power and authority to examine all books, contracts, records, papers, and documents of any person subject to its supervision and to compel the production thereof.
(g) The commission shall have the power, through any of its members, at its discretion, to make personal visits to the offices and places of business of the companies under its supervision for the purpose of examination. Any Commissioner making a personal visit pursuant to this subsection shall have full power and authority to examine the agents and employees of any such company, under oath or otherwise, in order to procure information deemed by the Commissioner necessary to the work of the commission or of value to the public.
5 O.C.G.A. § 46-2-20 (b) The commission may hear complaints; in addition, it is also authorized to perform the duties imposed upon it of its own initiative.

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 while enduring a protracted, national downturn in electric sales, i.e., power from Vogtle 3 & 4 is not necessary and does not meet the “public convenience” test. Every day that the decision to stop constructing Plant Vogtle is delayed is costly to the consumers the PSC is supposed to protect. Georgia Power cannot lead with the decision to decertify Vogtle construction because, among other reasons, a primary consideration for the company is the fact that they, and only they, among the Vogtle construction consortium, are making a good profit from the mismanaged nuclear construction project.

Figure 1: Georgia Power Profits 2006-2016
But, in fact, Georgia Power also needs for the PSC to initiate decertification in order to clear the way for the company to recover its sunk costs, an important point of O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-6 which states: “If the utility cancels, abandons, or increases some or all of the capacity resource as a

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 result of such [PSC initiated] modification or revocation of the certificate, it may recover through any rate-making vehicle over a reasonable period of time, absent fraud, concealment, failure to disclose a material fact, imprudence, or criminal misconduct, the amount of its investment in
such capacity resource, along with the cost of carrying the unamortized portion of that investment, net of actual salvage value, to the extent such investment is verified as made pursuant to the certificate.” Id. Annotated.

V. Conclusion
Nearly six months have elapsed since Toshiba’s December 27, 2016, revelation of billions of dollars in losses from its U.S. nuclear projects, including Vogtle, a mere five days after the PSC’s notorious $2 billion Christmas gift to Georgia Power on December 22, 2016. 6

During that time, Westinghouse has entered bankruptcy, Toshiba is rumored to be planning bankruptcy, and construction partner CB&I is being accused of falsifying information in the merger with Westinghouse that were terms of the settlement in which Georgia Power accepted almost $2 billion in cost overruns, the same overruns which the PSC approved five days before the shocking Toshiba announcement. We ask, “Is this any way to build a nuclear plant??”

But the public has not been given a seat at the negotiating table even though it is our money that has been invested and lost on the unneeded nuclear project. During this protracted period of financial unraveling, Georgians have transferred $250 million from their pockets to Georgia Power’s bankroll which Georgia Power has then plowed back into the unneeded radioactive waste manufacturing facility less than half-built on the banks of the Savannah River.

Indeed, the argument to cancel Vogtle grows stronger with each passing day (and the seemingly infinite construction delays continue to accrue at the rate of one day for every single day of construction). The 16th Semiannual Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review (VCMR) currently underway at the PSC has contributed significant new insights. In testimony filed June 8, 2017, 6 How Georgia officials pantsed you over the holidays, by Matt Kempner, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 6, 2017 http://www.myajc.com/business/kempner-how-georgia-officials-pantsed-you-over-the- holidays/kKdADfa9OhQqqcscxu5CQK/

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 economic expert Philip Hayet testifies that Vogtle 3 & 4 are no longer economic to complete. Vogtle construction monitors Steven Roetger and Dr. William Jacobs filed, at the same time, testimony highlighting ongoing extreme delays of over 300 days which occurred in 2016 on several critical paths and redacted information concerning idle workers.

Even so, participation in the 16th VCMR has been unsatisfying to date for public witnesses, who, unlike the rich monopoly Georgia Power (which the PSC regulates), are rudely interrupted and shut down if their remarks exceed three minutes. Public witnesses, ordinary citizens who take time off work to come to obscure, poorly noticed, PSC hearings, often suffer hostile challenges to their testimony and written comments from the Commissioners. The current Public Service Commission has established a new low standard in its lack of sensitivity to the public it serves as the largest boondoggle in construction history since the Biblical Tower of Babel continues to drain public money while the PSC fiddles around and does nothing.

The Christian minister who gave the devotion prior to the June 6, 2017, PSC administrative session told an illuminating story about Nero, the infamous Roman emperor who “fiddled while Rome burned.” He testified that Nero needed to burn some buildings in order to conduct his own building program, but the fire got out of hand and burned most of Rome. The story of Rome burning is a rich metaphor for the bungled Vogtle project which is enriching a powerful monopoly, Georgia Power, while impoverishing Georgia citizens. Indeed, Georgia Power burns our hard-earned money on an unnecessary construction project, while the PSC takes a nap or “phones it in” not even showing up for the few important public hearings about Vogtle 3 & 4.

Nuclear Watch South is backed by many Georgia laws cited above in its demand for an effective public process to bring the public’s interest to the table to address the Vogtle situation.

This Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4 underlines the serious legal requirement for the Commission to take immediate action to establish a process and a timeframe for Georgia Power to submit information and an emergency public hearing to decide the issues outlined above.

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to
Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4
Respectfully submitted,

_/s/_

Glenn Carroll
Nuclear Watch South

Nuclear Watch South
P.O. Box 8574
Atlanta, Georgia 31106
atom.girl@nonukesyall.org
404-378-4263

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Nuclear Watch South Mandamus Motion to Compel Response to
Request for Emergency Public Hearing on Vogtle 3 & 4

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“Could lead to considerable radiological release” — Multiple states activating Emergency Operations Center — Pilots told to avoid flying over area

BREAKING: Emergency at US nuclear site after collapse — TV: “Fears of radioactive contamination” — Expert: “Could lead to considerable radiological release” — Multiple states activating Emergency Operations Center — Pilots told to avoid flying over area (VIDEOS)

Published: May 9th, 2017 at 6:36 pm ET
By ENENews

318 comments

KING 5 News, May 9, 2017 (emphasis added): Hundreds of workers were told to take cover at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation after a tunnel full of highly contaminated materials collapsed… Officials say a collapsed patch of ground above the tunnel was larger than first believed. The U.S. Department of Energy said the collapse covered about 400 square feet instead of the 16 square feet first reported… A source said “take cover” status was expanded to the entire site at 10:35 a.m… Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the Department of Energy and The White House reached out to his office after the incident. “This is a serious situation… Our understanding is that the site went into immediate lockdown“…

USA TODAY, May 9, 2017: [A] manager sent a message to all personnel telling them to “secure ventilation in your building” and “refrain from eating or drinking.”… In the past, rail cars full of radioactive waste were driven into the tunnels and buried… Hanford’s emergency operations center was activated… long-time workers think it may be the first time it was opened for a possible radioactive release.

Yakima Herald, May 9, 2017: BREAKING… Several counties adjacent to the Hanford Site — Yakima, Walla Walla, Grant and Adams counties — participated in a mid-morning conference call with the state Emergency Operations Center, Yakima interim EOC director Tony Miller said. “At this time, we’re monitoring the winds“… If there should be a release of contamination that goes beyond the boundaries of the Hanford site, it would mean that produce would not be allowed in or out of the affected area, Miller said. Milk and the dairies in the Valley could be affected as well…

Statesman Journal, May 9, 2017: Oregon activates emergency operation center after tunnel collapses at Hanford… ODOE officials are coordinating with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Health Authority and nuclear safety experts at Oregon State University, ODOE spokeswoman Rachel Wray said Tuesday morning. “Hanford is 35 miles away from Oregon,” Wray said. “We are concerned about Oregonians’ health and that concerns the food we eat.”

US Dept. of Energy: An alert was declared at the Hanford Site this morning… Later this morning, the alert was expanded to a Site Area Emergency. A Site Area Emergency is declared when the event is affecting or could potentially affect personnel beyond the facility boundary…

WA Emergency Mgmt:‏ State Emergency Operations Ctr activated for Hanford Site emergency

Tri-City Herald, May 9, 2017: Private pilots in the area have been told to avoid flying over Hanford. The Hanford Patrol is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to put a formal air restriction in place until the FAA can confirm there is no danger.

Fox News, May 9, 2017: “We need to understand whether there has been any environmental contamination resulting from the subsidence at these tunnels,” [Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.] said.

KHQ, May 9, 2017: Hanford tunnel collapse prompts fears of radioactive contamination

Washington Post, May 9, 2017: “It appears that this is a potentially serious event,” [Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists] said. “Collapse of the earth covering the tunnels could lead to a considerable radiological release.”

Watch broadcasts here: CBS | FOX | KHQ | KING 5

ENENews: “More infant deaths near Hanford: Cemetery blocks filled w/ babies downwind of US nuclear site — Mother: My newborns died in hours… tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — ‘Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… nuke industry took in the dead of night'”

Cemetery full of dead babies missing brains next to US nuclear site — Funeral Director: Almost all infants we have died the same way… “that’s pretty much all I see on death certificates” — Few miles from “most contaminated place in hemisphere” — “One of largest documented anencephaly clusters in US history” (VIDEO)

 http://enenews.com/one-largest-documented-clusters-history-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Published: March 23rd, 2016 at 10:04 am ET
By

Seattle Times, updated Jan 28, 2016 (emphasis added): How the state is missing chances to find deadly birth defect’s causeat least 40 other mothers have lost babies to [anencephaly, which result in missing large parts of the brain] in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties since 2010… one of the largest documented clusters of anencephaly in U.S. history… “Something’s going on and someone needs to tell us,” said [mother Sally] Garcia… Dr. Lisa Galbraith was one of the doctors… In Prosser, the obstetrician oversaw care of Garcia’s pregnancy and others affected by the disorder… “I had a total of four or five babies with anencephaly over the course of two years,” recalled Galbraith… the rate of anencephaly was much higher [than US averages]… Washington health officials… have collected no blood samples, performed no genetic tests and conducted no examination of water, soil… and have no plans to do so… In Texas, just three babies with anencephaly sparked enough outrage to overhaul the state’s birth-defects reporting system.

Seattle Times video transcriptCarlen Majnarich, funeral director: “It’s tragic… It just seems like that’s pretty much all I see on the death certificate is the same diagnosis. And nobody seems to know why. We average close to 100 families a year here in Prosser [a few miles from Hanford]. Almost all the infants that we have have died of anencephaly. It’s just what do you say?”… Sally Garcia (mother who lost her baby to anencephaly): “All these on this side [of the cemetery] are all babies… all babies, starting from right there.”

The Legal Examiner, Dec 31, 2015: [T]he strange eruption of anencephaly cases, which occurs in Washington at a rate almost 5 times as high as the national average, has highlighted a number of government policies that may actually conceal these sort of birth defect “clusters,” rather than help investigate them.

KVEW-TV, Mar 4, 2016: As of November 2015 cases of anencephaly have continued to increase with the current rate at 9.5 per 10,000 live births.

Sara Barron, MS, BSN – American Journal of Nursing, Mar 2016: In the spring of 2012 two babies without brains were born within weeks of each other at the rural hospital in Washington State where I was working… I was stunned when the delivering physician said another patient was expecting the same outcome. After speaking with colleagues at neighboring hospitals, I learned that two other babies with anencephaly had recently been born in the area. In over 30 years of nursing, I had seen only two cases of anencephaly prior to these. I called the Washington State Department of Health and reported a birth defect cluster… RISK FACTORS… Radiation exposure. Popular media and blogs have often linked the Washington State NTD cluster to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County, Washington. Although leaks from nuclear power plants have been associated with a higher rate of anencephaly and other NTDs, Washington State Department of Health investigators point out that the three counties with the highest prevalence of NTDs were both upwind and upriver of the Hanford site, making the nuclear plant an unlikely cause of the 2012 cluster.

  • Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “The Hanford Site… is widely considered to be the most contaminated place in the Western Hemisphere
  • KOIN: “The biggest, most toxic nuclear waste site in the Western hemisphere
  • Time: “The largest nuclear clean-up site in the western hemisphere
  • AFP: “The Western hemisphere’s most contaminated nuclear site“”

More infant deaths near Hanford: Cemetery blocks filled w/ babies downwind of US nuclear site — Mother: My newborns died in hours… tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — “Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… nuke industry took in the dead of night”

ENENews: Scientific American: Plant is in “crisis mode”… fuel has melted through containers — Official: Corium may never be extracted — Gov’t suggests dumping it under Pacific Ocean


Washington Post: “No one knows what to do with Fukushima” — Scientific American: Plant is in “crisis mode”… fuel has melted through containers — Official: Corium may never be extracted — Gov’t suggests dumping it under Pacific Ocean
Published: February 22nd, 2016 at 9:28 am ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/wash-post-one-fukushima-plant-crisis-mode-official-melted-fuel-never-be-extracted-govt-suggests-dumping-corium-pacific-ocean?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29


Washington Post, Feb 10, 2016 (emphasis added): Five years after nuclear meltdown, no one knows what to do with Fukushima… one huge question remains: What is to be done with all the radioactive material?… Tepco has built a 1,500-yard-long “ice wall” around the four reactor buildings… however, Japan’s nuclear watchdog blocked the plan, saying the risk of leakage was still too high… [M]ost problematically, there’s the nuclear fuel from the plant itself… “The biggest challenge is going to be the removal of the nuclear fuel debris,” [Akira Ono, Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi superintendent] said. “We don’t even know what state the debris is in at the moment.”… one of the options the government is considering is building a nuclear waste dump under the seabed, about eight miles off the Fukushima coast… Many groups… staunchly oppose the idea of burying the radioactive material at sea in such a seismically active area. “At some point it would leak and affect the environment,” said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.
http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/five-years-after-nuclear-meltdown-no-one-knows-what-to-do-with-fukushima-1.393368


Japan Times, Feb 20, 2016: NRA commissioner suggests plan to remove all fuel debris at Fukushima plant may not be best option — A Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner has suggested that removing all fuel debris from reactors at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may not be the best option. “I wonder if the situation would be desired that work is still underway to extract fuel debris 70 or 80 years after” the nuclear disaster, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa told reporters Friday. “There are a variety of options, including removing as much fuel debris as possible and solidifying the rest,” he added… Fuketa said that unlike the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, it is “not realistic” to construct concrete buildings to cover reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant because the situation is different. The commissioner also questioned whether construction of an underground ice wall around the reactor buildings to prevent radioactive water buildup will prove effective.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/20/national/nra-commissioner-suggests-plan-remove-fuel-debris-fukushima-plant-may-not-best-option#.VsvFm_ySjaw


(bags of radioactive waste)
Scientific American, March 2016 issue: Five years ago this month… half of the facility’s uranium cores to overheat and melt through their steel containers… Today the disaster site remains in crisis mode…
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/5-years-later-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-site-continues-to-spill-waste/

See also: Nuclear Expert: Simply impossible to remove melted fuel from Fukushima — Corium “has spread all over… could actually have gone through floor of containment vessel” — Only way to deal with these reactors releasing dangerous radiation is to cover in concrete — Will take centuries of work (VIDEO):
http://enenews.com/japan-nuclear-expert-simply-impossible-remove-melted-fuel-fukushima-corium-spread-all-place-could-actually-gone-floor-containment-vessel-only-possible-outcome-cover-reactors-concrete-will-cen

ENENews: Sickened animals “unlike anything doctors have ever seen” on West Coast — “They’re eating themselves from the inside”

Sickened animals “unlike anything doctors have ever seen” on West Coast — “They’re eating themselves from the inside” — Cancers… liver, pancreas, intestines shut down… infested with parasites and immune to antibiotics — Unprecedented catastrophe to cause loss of 200,000 sea lions (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/sickened-animals-anything-doctors-along-west-coast-theyre-eating-inside-cancers-liver-pancreas-intestines-basically-shut-down-infested-parasites-immune-antibiotics-unprecedented-catastrophe-p
Published: January 7th, 2016 at 11:19 am ET
By ENENews


(Garnet the California sea lion, deceased, arrives at the Marine Mammal Center. Azure Gilman / Al Jazeera America)
Al Jazeera, Jan 6, 2016 (emphasis added): In warming ocean, record number of seals and sea lions sicken and starve — Ailing or dead seals and sea lions washed up on California beaches in record numbers in 2015; this year could be worse… They are brought in with all sorts of problems: lockjaw, poisoning, cancer… But most of the record number of seals and sea lions washing up on California’s shores and being brought to a regional rescue center are starving… this slow-motion catastrophe is likely to continue… In 2015, [NOAA] counted more than 4,200 California sea lions, 90 Guadalupe fur seals, and 70 northern fur seals. The [Marine Mammal Center’s] staff began to realize something was different early in the year… the pups brought in for rescue were unlike anything the veterinarians had ever seen… It was the worst year in the center’s 40-year history, staff said… Only half the usual number of sea lion pups were born off the California coast in 2015, [Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center] said… veterinarians at the Marine Mammal Center are bracing for the worst.
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/6/in-warming-ocean-record-numbers-of-seals-and-sea-lions-are-sick-or-starving.html


(Volunteers using wooden sheilds to corrall an evasive animalAzure Gilman / Al Jazeera America)
Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center: “They were basically just skin and bones. Their liver, their pancreas, their intestines were basically shut down. And they were eating themselves from the inside to stay alive by the time we saw them… If it continues, if this is the new normal, the sea lion population and the fur seal population in California are going to have severe drops in their overall population.”

http://www.lagunabeachindy.com/sea-lion-pups-in-trouble-again/
Laguna Beach Independent, Dec 18, 2015: With the lowest body weights ever documented, California sea lion pups are not only starving from lack of food, they’re infested with parasites and immune to antibiotics, said [Keith Matassa] the director of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center… A record number of emaciated and dying sea lion and seal pups is expected along local shores this winter… Last year, 3,500 sea lions and seals were rescued by various California marine rehab facilities. This year, the stranded pinnipeds are expected to hit 4,000… The animals are riddled with intestine-perforating parasites, known as thorny-head hookworms. “We’re seeing such a high level of parasites now, it’s not normal,” said Matassa… Antibiotics for infections are proving ineffective… Conditions have “not gotten much better over the past couple of years,” [Sharon Melin, NOAA wildlife biologist] said… The food web, said Melin, “has been out of whack now for quite some time.”… The fact that northern pup seals are following suit signifies the domino effect of a distressed environment, she said… the California sea lion population tops out at 300,000… she predicts a drastic decline to 100,000 due to low food availability… “There’s so many stressors on the ocean right now,” Matassa said.


( An emaciated sea lion pup. Pups have had trouble finding their usual prey of sardines and anchovies, which are moving to cooler areas because of ocean warming caused by El Niño. Photograph: Noaa Fisheries West Coast)
Guardian, Dec 30, 2015: Unprecedented numbers of dead or starving seals washing ashore as Pacific Ocean warms, with experts saying they are ‘preparing for the worst’ in 2016… According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, there has been a huge increase in stranded sea lions… According to NOAA, more than 4,200 sick sea lions have been washed up in California so far this year, comfortably the greatest number of strandings over the past decade.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/30/el-nino-ocean-warming-seals-california-pacific


( A sea lion pup under normal weight in a picture taken in January 2015. Photograph: Noaa Fisheries West Coast)
Dr Terry Gosliner, senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the California Academy of Sciences: “We are entering a really interesting period where the observations we make don’t have a precedent… It could take decades for these ecosystems to stabilize again.”
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/30/el-nino-ocean-warming-seals-california-pacific

ENENews:“May have been born weak” — Carcasses washing up on beaches in US, Canada, Mexico — Highly endangered whale “died from abnormal blood clot formations in heart and lungs”

It kills me. They will die and go to hell before they admit that the Pacific Ocean has died, and it is just a matter of time for the rest of life on earth!

Baby whales dying along West Coast from unknown cause — Gov’t experts request rush on tissue testing — Scientist: “May have been born weak” — Carcasses washing up on beaches in US, Canada, Mexico — Highly endangered whale “died from abnormal blood clot formations in heart and lungs” (VIDEO)

Published: December 30th, 2015 at 8:36 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/dead-baby-whales-washing-along-west-coast-carcasses-being-found-beaches-canada-mexico-highly-endangered-whale-died-abnormal-blood-clot-formations-heart-lungs-video

Video
http://www.cheknews.ca/dead-baby-orca-was-a-female-127994/
Canadian Press, Dec 30, 2015 (emphasis added): A female orca calf has been found dead on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Paul Cottrell of Fisheries and Oceans Canada said a surfer spotted the dead whale washed up on Mussel Beach near Ucluelet on Dec. 23… a necropsy was conducted on Christmas Day. Scientists are still awaiting results of tissue-sample testing and a cause of death is not yet known… “All our populations of killer whales are at risk, so it’s a shame regardless of which population it’s from,” he said. “You hate to lose a calf out of these populations.” Scientists have requested a rush on the tissue testing… He said it’s believed the calf was about two months old… Cottrell noted it was especially unfortunate that the calf was female because of their value in contributing to the population.

http://argonautnews.com/heavy-seas-beach-dead-whale-in-santa-monica-sailboat-in-playa-del-rey/
The Argonaut, Dec 23, 2015: Heavy Seas Beach Dead Whale in Santa Monica… The remains of a 10-foot, 1,200- to 1,400-pound newborn gray whale washed ashore Tuesday afternoon on Santa Monica Beach… Lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett said… officials believe the whale died a day or two after its birth.

Weekly Alibi (New Mexico), Dec 23, 2015: I rented a blue Dodge Neon in Chula Vista and decided to drive as far down the Pacific coast as a week would permit… I stopped in Ensenda and got a stamp for my passport… That night I stayed at a little ranch by the sea… The beaches were empty. I found a small dead whale on the shore one day.

video
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Whale-Washes-Ashore-Del-Mar-Shores-Solana-Beach-San-Diego-361572601.html
NBC San Diego, Dec 11, 2015: Lifeguards closed off beach access to Del Mar Shores Friday morning after a dead, newborn gray whale washed ashore, officials confirmed… According to Jim Gilpatrick with the NOAA Fisheries, the calf is about three to four weeks old… Biologists are not sure why the whale died. There was no sign of foul play or fishing lines, and Gilpatrick speculated the animal may have been born weak. They took samples to try to determine the cause death.


http://khon2.com/2015/12/18/scientists-applaud-hawaii-island-residents-for-helping-transport-endangered-whale-to-oahu/
KHON, Dec 18, 2015: Rodney Kuahiwinui sighted a dead whale at South Point… marine mammal experts were able to identify the animal as a highly endangered false killer whale… Scientists were able to determine [it] died from abnormal blood clot formations in the heart and lungs… Only three Hawaiian false killer whales have been reported stranded in the past 18 years. “With less than 200 individuals alive today, every piece of information is critical,” says [Dr. Kristi West, head of Hawaii Pacific University’s stranding program].

ENENews: St. Petersberg Russia; Mass panic as radioactive cloud pours from nuclear plant —


Mass panic as radioactive cloud pours from nuclear plant — Radiation levels reportedly spike near reactor after emergency shutdown — Traffic jams as people evacuate area — “Everyone got very worried and rushed to get iodine” (PHOTOS)

Published: December 22nd, 2015 at 10:47 am ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/mass-panic-radioactive-steam-pours-nuclear-plant-radiation-levels-spiked-area-plant-traffic-jams-people-evacuate-area-everyone-very-worried-rushed-iodine-photos


http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/628592/Chaos-Russians-flee-Chernobyl-style-plant-radioactive-leak

Express, Dec 21, 2015 (emphasis added): Russians flee Chernobyl-style plant over fears of radioactive leak — Russians took iodine and caused traffic jams… amid fears officials were covering up a radioactive leak. The panic followed the emergence of pictures showing a cloud of vapour pouring from Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, some 50 miles from St Petersburg. The authorities insisted that the was no radioactive leakage… but people did not believe the “no danger” claim. Radio Svoboda reported that in the wake of the incident on Friday locals in Sosnovy Bor started withdrawing money from their credit cards. They said locals were in panic mode despite statements from officials that the radiation level was normal… One local said: “Everyone got very worried and rushed to get iodine.”… There were traffic jams as residents left the area and headed for St Petersburg… The plant manager (not pictured) insists there are no reasons for evacuation. [Oleg Bodrov, chairman of Green World ecological group] said: “They know well that the officials’ first task is to say all is normal but not to report about danger, even if there is one. All those who understand a bit about nuclear energy know that it was an attempt to mistake the wish for the reality… this vapour is surely radioactive… Bodrov called for medical checks for staff at the power plant. Interfax reported that a special commission was working at the nuclear station aiming to find out the reasons for the emission.

Daily Mail photo captions: A cloud of vapour pouring out of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in St Petersburg caused mass panic… Russian radio reported St Petersburg residents rushing out to buy iodine to protect against radiation poisoning after spotting the steam flowing out of the power station… The billowing vapour spreads across buildings

QHA, Dec 19, 2015: Accident occurred at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (PHOTO) — Eyewitnesses of the accident and the inhabitants of the Russia’s northern capital are scared. The second unit was stopped at the station… The accident occurred at the second power unit when a pipe with steam cracked in turbine hall yesterday. The steam filled the room, and leaked beyond the power plant. The employees of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) had to go home… According to specialists, the release was radioactive, because the waste steam entered the so-called loop reactor coolant. However, the population was encouraged not to panic.

Baltic Newsletter of the Green World, Dec 20, 2015: An emergency stop of the second power unit of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant took place… The reason for the stop and cooling of the reactor was a sudden leak of radioactive steam from a faulty pipe in one of the rooms of the turbine shop… During the cooling – down step, the reactor steam was ejected through the pipe into the environment. A south – southeast wind of 5 meters per second (not typical for this area) blew the radioactive steam toward the Gulf of Finland… Thus, the five millionth city of St. Petersburg, located 40 km east of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant was fortunate this time. According to some sources , the radiation level rose a few times higher than the background radiation only in the NPP area.

Watch video from the Director of Leningrad NPP here