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4 States Struggling to Manage Radioactive Fracking Waste via Ohio Valley ReSource

By Jie Jenny Zou

The Marcellus Shale has transformed the Appalachian Basin into an energy juggernaut. Even amid a recent drilling slowdown, regional daily production averages enough natural gas to power more than 200,000 U.S. homes for a year.

But the rise of hydraulic fracturing over the past decade has created another boom: tons of radioactive materials experts call an “orphan” waste stream. No federal agency fully regulates oil and gas drilling byproducts—which include brine, sludge, rock and soiled equipment—leaving tracking and handling to states that may be reluctant to alienate energy interests.

“Nobody can say how much of any type of waste is being produced, what it is and where it’s ending up,” said Nadia Steinzor of the environmental group Earthworks, who co-wrote a report on shale waste. [Earthworks has received funding from The Heinz Endowments, as has the Center for Public Integrity.]

The group is among several suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate drilling waste under a federal system that tracks hazardous materials from creation to final disposal or “cradle to grave.” The EPA declined to comment on the lawsuit but is scheduled to file a response in court by early July.
he Marcellus Shale has transformed the Appalachian Basin into an energy juggernaut. Even amid a recent drilling slowdown, regional daily production averages enough natural gas to power more than 200,000 U.S. homes for a year.

But the rise of hydraulic fracturing over the past decade has created another boom: tons of radioactive materials experts call an “orphan” waste stream. No federal agency fully regulates oil and gas drilling byproducts—which include brine, sludge, rock and soiled equipment—leaving tracking and handling to states that may be reluctant to alienate energy interests.

“Nobody can say how much of any type of waste is being produced, what it is and where it’s ending up,” said Nadia Steinzor of the environmental group Earthworks, who co-wrote a report on shale waste. [Earthworks has received funding from The Heinz Endowments, as has the Center for Public Integrity.]

The group is among several suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate drilling waste under a federal system that tracks hazardous materials from creation to final disposal or “cradle to grave.” The EPA declined to comment on the lawsuit but is scheduled to file a response in court by early July.
[…]

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参院選 原発争点にならず 野党統一候補も訴え封印 via 毎日新聞

原発を抱える鹿児島、佐賀の両選挙区(ともに改選数1)で、再稼働が参院選の争点になっていない。統一候補を立てた野党は陣営内でも原発へのスタンスが異なるため訴えを封印せざるを得ず、脱原発票が行き場を失っている。

 「この選挙は日本の将来、行く末を左右することになる」。公示日の22日夕、九州電力川内原発の地元、鹿児島県薩摩川内市の中心部で街頭演説した野党統一候補の無所属新人、下町和三(しもまちかずみ)氏(56)は憲法改正を目指す安倍政権批判を展開した。

 昨年8月の再稼働から間もなく1年。川内原発は今も、全国で唯一稼働する原発だ。しかし、下町氏は14分間の演説で原発に触れずじまい。一方、自民現職の野村哲郎氏(72)も同日の第一声では、安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の成果や野党共闘批判に終始し、川内原発には一言も言及しなかった。

 安全保障関連法廃止や改憲阻止で結集し、共闘する民進、共産、社民3党の中で、原発に対する姿勢は最も温度差があるテーマだ。原子力規制委員会の安全確認を得られた原発の再稼働を認める民進に対し、共産、社民は川内原発の即時運転中止を訴えてきた。

 原発については主張を一時棚上げした形の共産党県委員会の幹部は「安保法廃止を目指す共闘のためには仕方ない」と語り、陣営幹部も「支援者の中にもさまざまな意見がある。原発には触れないようにしている」と打ち明ける。下町氏を支援する市民団体メンバーの一人で鹿児島市の主婦、樋之口里花さん(44)は「まずは安保関連法を廃止することが大事で、原発に手を付けるのはそれからだ」と話した。

 九電玄海原発(佐賀県玄海町)を抱える佐賀選挙区も同様だ。原子力規制委の審査が終盤を迎え、再稼働が迫るにもかかわらず、反対を訴える候補者は一人もいない。

続きは 参院選 原発争点にならず 野党統一候補も訴え封印

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Japanese utility admits to ‘coverup’ during Fukushima nuclear meltdown via The Toronto Star

TOKYO—The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a coverup and apologized for it.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) president Naomi Hirose’s apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word “meltdown.”

“I would say it was a coverup,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”
[…]
An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.

The report said TEPCO officials, who had suggested possible meltdowns, stopped using the description after March 14, 2011, when Shimizu’s instruction was delivered to vice-president at the time, Sakae Muto in a memo at a televised news conference. Shimizu had a company official show Muto his memo and tell him the Prime Minister’s Office has banned the specific words.

Government officials also softened their language on the reactor conditions around the same time, the report said.

Former officials at the Prime Minister’s Office have denied the allegation. Then-top government spokesman Yukio Edano, now secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party, criticized the report as “inadequate and unilateral,” raising suspicion over the report by the lawyers seen close to the ruling party ahead of an upcoming Upper House election.

TEPCO has been accused of a series of cover-ups in the disaster, though the report found TEPCO’s delayed meltdown acknowledgement wasn’t illegal.

Hirose said he will take a 10 per cent pay cut, and another executive will take a 30 per cent cut, for one month each to take responsibility. He vowed to take further steps to improve TEPCO’s safety culture, but ruled out a possibility to further investigate what really led to Shimizu’s instructions.

The report said Shimizu’s instruction delayed full disclosure of the plant’s status to the public, even as people who lived near the plant were forced to leave their homes, some of them possibly unable to return permanently, due to the radiation leaks from the plant.

[…]
The issue surfaced earlier this year in a separate investigation in which TEPCO reversed its earlier position that it had no internal criteria regarding a meltdown announcement, admitting the company manual was overlooked.

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党首第一声 福島でなぜ原発語らぬvia中日新聞

国政選挙の公示日に、福島県内で第一声を発する党首がとうとういなくなった。過酷な事故を忘れてしまったのか。原発を語り続けることは政治の責任である。

 参院選が公示され、七月十日の投開票日まで十八日間の選挙戦が始まった。各党首は第一声をどこで発し、何を語るのか。有権者に向けた重要なメッセージである。

 自民党の安倍晋三総裁(首相)は熊本市の熊本城内にある加藤神社を第一声の地に選んだ。熊本地震で屋根瓦が崩れ落ちた天守閣を背景に、安倍氏は「熊本の復興に対する私たちの強い意志を全国に発信しようと考えた」と、熊本を選んだ理由を強調した。
[…]

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「官邸の指示」再調査せず 民進、東電の姿勢に反発via 朝日新聞

東京電力福島第一原発事故で炉心溶融(メルトダウン)の公表が遅れた問題で、東電が再発防止策を発表した。第三者検証委員会が推認した「官邸の指示」については、東電として再調査しないという。真相の解明は、新潟県との合同検証委員会にゆだねられる。
[…]
当時、核燃料が溶けている可能性が高いとすでに認識していたのに、社長の指示で「炉心溶融」との言葉を避けたことを隠蔽(いんぺい)と認め、「今後は事実を伝える姿勢を貫く」と語った。

 ただ、再発防止策の前提となった第三者委(委員長=田中康久・元仙台高裁長官)の報告書が問題の背景に「官邸の指示」があったと推認し、当時の官房長官だった枝野幸男・民進党幹事長らの反発を招いたことについては「調査するつもりはない」と繰り返した。

 第三者委は当時の官邸関係者への聞き取りをしないまま「官邸からの圧力」を推認しており、枝野氏らは「党への信用毀損(きそん)」などとして法的措置も検討している。広瀬社長は「推認は推認として受け止めた」とし、その理由についても「(真相の解明を)しなくても済む対策をとった」と繰り返すのみだった。

 真相の解明は柏崎刈羽原発を抱える新潟県の泉田裕彦知事も求めており、東電と同県は今後、合同で検証を続けていく。広瀬社長も「今後、委員の先生がたと合同で相談させて頂きながら(やり方を)決めていく」としており、検証の対象に「官邸の指示があったかどうか」が含まれる可能性は否定しなかった。

 こうした東電の姿勢に対し、民進党の岡田克也代表は同日、記者団に「東電も第三者委を作ったわけで、知りませんでは済まない。これは政治家の名誉のかかった問題だ」と反発した。 企業の不祥事に詳しい郷原信郎弁護士も「官邸の関与をにおわせて責任を逃れるシナリオが最初からあったのでは。東電には期待できず、当時の官邸や立地自治体の方で解明に取り組むべきだ」としている。

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California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant To Be Shut Down via National Public Radio

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant will be shut down by 2025. The plan was announced today by the power utility operating the plant, along with labor and environmental groups.

[…]

“Right out there, we’ve got tons of highly radioactive waste, sitting,” Linda Seeley tells Lauren Sommer of member station KQED, standing at the front security gate that blocks access to the two big domes sitting on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Seeley was one of thousands of protesters here in the 1980’s trying to stop the plant from opening. Now she’s with a group called Mothers for Peace that’s been pushing to close the plant. “I always feel nervous here,” she says.

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011 reignited the concerns about the Diablo Canyon plant in California’s San Luis Obispo County. After dangerous levels of radiation spilled out of the earthquake-damaged reactors in Japan, lawmakers in the U.S. called for greater scrutiny of the potential risks posed by Diablo Canyon.

Not all environmentalists will be happy to see Diablo Canyon go. “Nuclear is just a huge part of moving towards a cleaner electrical system,” says Michael Shellenberger, co-founder of The Breakthrough Institute which does research on energy and the environment.

Shellenberger tells Lauren there needs to be a place for nuclear in the clean energy future since nuclear reactors don’t generate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide like burning coal and natural gas do. He had pushed to keep Diablo Canyon running to serve some 1.7 million homes.

“You cannot power the world on wind and solar,” Shellenberger said. When sun and wind are lacking, utilities turn to fossil fuels.

[…]

Pacific Gas and Electric Company said in a statement that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s generating capacity will be replaced by “a cost-effective, greenhouse gas free portfolio of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage.”

Still, with the plant not scheduled for shutdown for another decade, some safety experts say, given the plant’s location near fault lines in earthquake-prone California, they’ll feel better when that day comes. The closure plan still requires regulatory approval.

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被団協、オバマ氏演説は責任回避 批判の決議採択 via 中日新聞

[…] 決議はオバマ氏の演説について「人の心を打つような言葉が盛り込まれていた」と一定の評価を示した一方で、演説中にあった「空から死が落ちてきた」との表現を「あたかも自然現象のようだ」と批判。総会後の記者会見で田中熙巳事務局長(84)は「許せない。死をつくったのだ」と語った。

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Hibakusha group says Obama Hiroshima speech ‘avoided responsibility’ via the Japan Times

[…]Obama, who became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city devastated by the U.S. atomic bombing in World War II, said at the beginning of his 17-minute speech, “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed.”

The resolution adopted at the end of the two-day annual general meeting in Tokyo said the speech included “some words that struck people’s hearts.”

But Terumi Tanaka, secretary-general of the group known as Nihon Hidankyo, said, “Death did not fall (from the sky). Death was created” by the atomic bombing. Tanaka was at the ceremony in Hiroshima in which Obama made the speech.

“That (part) is absolutely unacceptable for hibakusha,” he said at a news conference after the meeting.
[…]

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Messenger: Activist won’t back down in quest to rid St. Louis of nuclear waste via St. Louis Post Dispatch

[…]

We’re in her dining room to talk about West Lake Landfill and the nuclear waste that was dumped there illegally decades ago. The radioactive waste dates to the production of the first atomic bomb, a double-edged sword of a legacy for St. Louis. The city is proud of its efforts to end World War II but still dealing with the remnants of that effort in the next century.

[…]

She quotes two old Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports, one from 1982 and the other from 1988, that outline how “hot” the waste is in West Lake and call for some sort of “remedial action.” She quotes one of the foremost flooding experts in the region, Bob Criss from Washington University, who said, “This is the wrong place to store hazardous material. It does not belong in a flood plain.”

Nobody who read Drey’s words from a decade ago would have been surprised by the release this week of a secret EPA report that reached similar conclusions.

The report, internal findings by EPA scientists that had been kept secret since 2013, concluded that it was feasible to remove the nuclear waste from West Lake. The scientists also found that doing so would reduce long-term risks.

[…]

The U.S. Senate passed a bill this year to carry out Drey’s preferred solution — have the Corps of Engineers take over the project and clean it up. But the measure appears to be dead in the House. Here’s what lawmakers need to know about Drey:

She’s not giving up.

All through her house are pictures of sloths. Paintings, drawings, stuffed animals. Drey says she likes them because at her age, she moves pretty slowly. According to her notes — and I wouldn’t suggest arguing with her research — sloths move about 420 feet in a day, at most.

In a lifetime of activism — for civil rights, against nuclear war, to protect the environment — Drey has often found that success is hard to come by. But she keeps moving, slowly, but forward. Twenty years ago, she was on hand as the director of the Department of Energy came to St. Louis and promised all the nuclear waste in the region would be cleaned up and shipped out. At the time, she had already been working on the issue for almost 20 years.

The waste — some of it, at least — is still here, and Drey is still working.

“We need to get both houses of Congress to say they’re going to clean it up,” Drey says. “It just can’t stay there.”

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「原発支持」に転換する米環境団体 via The Wall Street Journal

米国で影響力の強い環境団体のうち数団体が、長年にわたる反原発の立場を軟化させている。環境保護論者の優先課題は気候変動に移っており、反原発運 動に大きな変化が生じている。米国では採算が悪化している一部原子炉が閉鎖されつつあるが、環境団体の態度の軟化はこの国の原子力業界が直面する最大の政 治的ハードルを低くしている。

米国で最も多くの原子力発電所を所有するエクセロン社のジョー・ドミンゲス執行副社長(政府・規制問題担 当)は、「歴史的には、こういった団体が原発に反対してきただけに、反対派の中で彼らの存在感が薄れているのがかなり目立つ」と述べる。原発は温室効果ガ スを排出せず、連邦政府のデータによれば、米国の電力の約20%、カーボンフリー(二酸化炭素=CO2を出さない)電力の60%を賄っている。しかし最近 は安価な天然ガスや、原子力より再生可能燃料を好む各州の方針に押され、全米で十数基の原子炉が向こう数年間に閉鎖される予定か、すでに閉鎖されている。

米国で最古参の大手環境団体のシエラ・クラブは、既存のすべての原発を政府の運転許可期間より前倒しで閉鎖することを支持するという長年の立場を放棄する か否かについて議論している。シエラ・クラブの指導部は、同団体が石炭や天然ガスを使用する発電所の閉鎖を訴えるなか、既存の原子炉が再生可能燃料に転換 する際の仲立ちや代替的エネルギー源になるとみている。環境団体の環境防衛基金(EDF)も同様に、原発に関する方針をどの程度調整すべきかについて判断 を示そうとしており、財務的に苦しい原子炉の維持を支持する可能性がある。

イリノイ州では、シエラ・クラブやEDFのほか、天然資源保 護協議会(NRDC)などの環境団体がエクセロン社や州議会議員との間で、向こう2年間に2基の原子炉を閉鎖するという同社が6月初旬に下した決定を覆す ための法案づくりを進めている。実現すれば、エネルギーの効率化と再生可能燃料を推進する一方で、二酸化炭素を排出せずに電力を生む原子炉の稼働継続が保 証される。

(略)

既存の原発の維持に反対していた環境団体の変化は2つに分かれている。様子見の姿勢をとる団体と、イリノイ州のように原発の維持に向けて積極的に動いて いるグループだ。ただし、市場の状況からみて、新規に稼働を開始する原発はほとんどない。このため、議論はもっぱら、既存の原子炉の行方に集中している。 主要な環境団体の大半は、原発新設には反対の立場を維持している。

(略)

その一方で、グリーンピースなどの環境団体は、放射線放出や核燃料廃棄物の処理など環境上のリスクは気候変動防止の利益をはるかにしのぐとして、既存の原発の閉鎖に向けて積極的な活動を続けている。

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