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Ukraine denies radioactive leak on Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant

Source: Reuters

Ukrainian authorities denied on Tuesday a report in pro-Kremlin media that a radioactive leak had taken place at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, Europe's largest.

Life News newswire published documents which it said came from Ukraine's emergencies ministry and showed that a leak at the power plant had led to a spike in radiation over the past two days exceeding permitted norms by 16 times.

Three officials from Ukraine's emergencies ministry, energy ministry and the plant itself told Reuters there had been no leak.

"The plant works normally, there have been no accidents," said an energy ministry official. The officials could not comment if documents published by Life News were authentic. Reuters was not able to verify the documents independently.


Read more: http://www.firstpost.com/world/ukraine-denies-radioactive-leak-on-zaporizhzhya-nuclear-plant-2023865.html

Doctor exposed to Ebola patient attacks 'utterly illogical' quarantine system

Source: Guardian


“The ridiculous thing about this is the advice says once we are home we shouldn’t use public transport or go into crowded places, or if we do it should just be for short journeys of less than an hour, and yet they were quite happy to let us go home disperse from UK airports on the underground, on flights to Glasgow, which just makes a complete mockery of the quarantine arrangements,” Deahl said.

“It just begs the question whether they gave that advice because they didn’t want to spend the money on taking us home. It’s utterly illogical and I’d like to see someone at Public Health England try and justify and explain why – if they said we weren’t to go into crowded places or public transport once we were home – why people could use public transport to get from the airport.”

Deahl, from Newport in Shropshire, was one of 30 NHS volunteers to help tackle the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. He flew back to Heathrow airport via Casablanca on Sunday night, sitting next to the nurse who has since been diagnosed with early stages of the virus.


He also criticised the “totally inadequate” facilities for testing at-risk health workers once they landed at Heathrow airport, which he said increased the chances of cross-infection. He said nurses were herded into several overcrowded “tiny poky little offices” and had to wait up to an hour to be checked over. The temperature testing kits that health workers are given to take home had run out by the time he got seen, Deahl said. “The facilities for doing temperatures and the suite of rooms they were using were totally inadequate for the numbers coming through,” he said. “We were all crowded together and queueing together so given what’s happened the chances of cross-infection, just from that experience, were high – just from being herded together at Heathrow in a ridiculously small space.”


Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/30/doctor-exposed-ebola-patient-utterly-illogical-quarantine-system

UPDATE: Plymouth School Department employees wake to post-Christmas payroll error

Source: Wicked Local Plymouth

More than 1,300 Plymouth Public Schools employees, from cafeteria workers to top administrators, woke up Friday morning to find that their bank account balances were significantly lower than expected. Not only were their bi-weekly paychecks missing, but two additional weeks of pay had also been withdrawn from their accounts.


“I can’t believe this was even possible,” one veteran teacher told the Old Colony. “How can they take money out of your account without your permission?”


“We have hundreds of banks associated with these accounts, and right now we are calling each, informing them of the situation and asking that they return the funds,” Arrighi said Friday.


Many of the affected employees were angry, both about the potential damage to their financial situations and the way they were informed - or rather not informed - of the debacle.


Read more: http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/article/20141230/NEWS/141239929

If that page is loading slow, try one of these cached copies:



Vermont Yankee Ends Operations After 42 Years

Source: Associated Press

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped sending power to the New England electric grid at just after noon Monday following more than 42 years of producing electricity from the southeastern Vermont town of Vernon.

The shutdown came at 12:12 p.m., as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle when operators inserted control rods into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear reaction process, the plant’s owner said.


Bill Mohl, the president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, said economic factors, especially related to the natural gas market in the Northeast, were the primary reason for the shutdown.

“The Northeast has undergone a shift in supply because of shale gas, resulting in sustained low natural gas prices and low wholesale energy prices,” Mohl said in a statement.


Read more: https://www.wbur.org/2014/12/29/vermont-yankee-power-plant

Ukrainian Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Reactor For Second Time This Month

Source: Radio Free Europe

Ukraine has shut down a reactor at of its most powerful nuclear power plant for the second time in a month due to an apparent electrical malfunction.

Workers at the Zaporizhzhya power plant disconnected one of the facility's six reactors on December 28, citing a problem with the unit's generator.


A different reactor was shut down for several days earlier this month after experiencing a short circuit.

The 6,000-megawatt Zaporizhzhya facility is Europe's largest nuclear plant and the fifth-most-powerful in the world.


Read more: http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine-nuclear-reactor-shut-down/26766172.html

Iranian military tests suicide drone

Source: Associated Press

Iran’s army said Saturday it has deployed a suicide drone for the first time in massive ongoing military drills near the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the army’s chief commander of ground forces, described the unmanned aircraft as a “mobile bomb,” according to state media, which said the aerial device is designed to strike air, ground and naval targets.


The six-day military exercise is being carried out over 850,000 square miles near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply passes.

Iran frequently touts advances in its homegrown aerospace industries. It says its most advanced drone, the Shahed-129, can reach much of the Middle East, including Israel. The drone is said to have a range of 1,050 miles and a 24-hour flight capability, and can carry eight bombs or missiles capable of hitting both stationary and moving targets.

Read more: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/dec/28/iranian-military-tests-suicide-drone/

Inside Japan's Controversial Military Expansion

Inside ​Japan's Controversial Military Expansion
Journeyman Pictures
Published on Sep 22, 2014

Rise of the Samurai: How Japan's growing military is setting off alarm bells both in Japan and around the world.

As tensions with China continue to escalate, Japan is ramping up the role of its military as a deterrent power. But many are worried this aggressive posture will lead to a repeat of the mistakes of the past.

"As I don't know the purpose and intention of unidentified aircraft approaching our air space, I always become tense", says Sho Yoshida, a fighter pilot with Japan's Self Defence Forces.

This unified military outfit was formed following the Allied occupation of Japan at the end of WW2, and is constitutionally restricted to defending the nation.

But now a heightening feud with China over the disputed Senkaku Islands, as well as the country's proximity to a wildly unpredictable North Korea, has led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reinterpret the legal framework that governs the SDF, with a view to transforming it into a force equipped for offensive operations.

"Unless it has the power to strike, it cannot become a so-called 'deterrent power'", explains retired general Toshio Tamogami.

And after a number of well-funded recruitment campaigns, enrolments at Japan's elite military college are at a record high.

But not everyone here support the moves.

"Japan has not really reflected on its past", bemoans Tadmasa Iwaii, a WW2 veteran and former Kamikaze-turned-pacifist.

"It hurts my conscience."

GAO: FBI’s Anthrax Investigation Flawed and Inaccurate


Government: FBI’s Anthrax Investigation Flawed and Inaccurate
Posted on December 23, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog

“No Firm Link Between the Mailed Anthrax Spores and a Sample Taken from Ivins’ Lab”

CBS News Baltimore reports:

Flawed and inaccurate. That’s what a 77-page report from the government calls the FBI’s research to investigate a series of anthrax attacks.


Years into the investigation, the FBI honed in on Army biodefense expert Bruce Ivins. Colleagues at the University of Maryland traced the anthrax spores used in the letters back to a flask—one Ivins had primary access to.

The FBI used what scientists found at the University of Maryland to seal their cases against him, but in 2008—just days before he was going to be indicted—the Fort Detrick scientist killed himself.

Now, new research states there’s no firm link between the mailed anthrax spores and a sample taken from Ivins’ lab in Maryland.


The (U.S. Government Accountability Office) says the FBI’s research did not provide evidence of the methods and conditions used to differentiate between samples of anthrax bacteria and they say that is a key scientific gap.

The journal Science notes:

The 2011 [U.S. National Academy of Sciences] review concluded that the science behind the investigation could not rule out the possibility that someone other than Ivins committed the crime. Last week’s study, from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), comes to a similar conclusion.

Indeed – as we’ve demonstrated in hundreds of articles – the FBI had no real case against Ivins to begin with.

Most popular Atomic City blog posts of 2014


Most popular Atomic City blog posts of 2014
December 22, 2014 by Frank Munger

Readers of Atomic City Underground like old and interesting photographs, keep track of current events at the Department of Energy and its affiliated institutions and communities, and sometimes have an affinity for the unusual. That sort of defines what this news blog is all about.

I just took a look at the year’s most popular posts, using a number of analytical tools, and here are those that — sometimes inexplicably — ranked highest.

1. Now that’s a whole heck of a lot of waste.

2. NNSA confirms uranium incident at Y-12; top official coming to Oak Ridge to address situation.

3. In the megaton range at the Y-12 History Center.

4. CNS unveils org structure, some managers.

5. Isn’t this quaint?

6. Another view of K-25’s conclusion.

7. Declassified pics of final A-bomb preparations.

8. Nuclear survivor: Bill Clark recalls 1958 criticality accident and his up-and-down life since then.

9. Backlash on Y-12 benefit changes.

10. Eight workers got internal rad doses during secret project at ORNL; lab was doing work for Y-12.

11. Bobcat visits Oak Ridge lab.

12. Right of incumbents employees at Y-12/Pantex.

13. Workforce reductions in the works at Y-12, Pantex.

14. ‘Spies look and act like normal people’

15. The CNS benefits plan unveiled; employee share of the health premiums to increase at Y-12/Pantex.

16. Retirees planning Dec. 4 protest at Y-12.

17. GAO denies protest on Y-12/Pantex contract; could set the stage for transition of contractors.

18. Fatality at EnergySolutions facility in Erwin.

19. Gene Patterson to join Y-12 contractor.

20. Broken bones at Y-12.

Nuclear: Carbon Free, but Not Free of Unease


Nuclear: Carbon Free, but Not Free of Unease

Next week, if all goes as planned, the 42-year-old nuclear reactor at the Vermont Yankee generating station will be shut down for the last time. The steam turbine at the plant, which at its peak could make enough electricity for about half a million homes with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, will grind to a halt.

Vermont Yankee, in the river town of Vernon near the Massachusetts border, had been the target of years of protests and lawsuits by state officials, environmentalists and others concerned about safety and radioactive waste.

But in the end, the antinuclear movement didn’t kill the plant. Economics did.

“People are always surprised when we say that really wasn’t the driver in shutting it down,” said Bill Mohl, the president of a division of Entergy Corporation that operates Vermont Yankee and four other nuclear plants, including Indian Point north of New York City. Although Vermont Yankee produced power inexpensively, was upgraded recently and was licensed to operate until 2032, the plant had become unprofitable in recent years, a victim largely of lower energy prices resulting from a glut of natural gas used to fire electricity plants, Mr. Mohl said.


The industry’s recent struggles represent something of a reversal from the previous decade, when there was talk of a nuclear revival in the United States after nearly 30 years without any new reactor construction permits being issued. Even then, however, some experts questioned just how much nuclear power could grow in the United States and abroad, and how much it could contribute to the effort to reduce carbon emissions.


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