Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in 2013

January 15, 2014 by Michael Steinberg
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Announcements of US nuclear power plant permanent shutdowns in 2013 came seemingly in a flurry.

Crystal River in Florida on February 13. Kewaunee in Wisconsin on May 4. San Onofre in Southern California on June 13. And Vermont Yankee in the Green Mountain State on August 27.

Together this comprises five nuclear reactors with an electrical generating capacity of nearly 4300 Megawatts.

Yet the lights haven’t gone out, or even dimmed, in any of the communities these plants served.

The causes of these nuclear plant closures are multiple. Ultimately, however, they all add up to an industry in decline, desperate to squeeze as much profit as it can out of aging, increasingly

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Hot Spots: Radioactive San Francisco

December 19, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg /blackrainpress / Dec 12th, 2013

This story is important in and of itself, but also because it once again unearths the region’s role in the birth of the atomic age, and also highlights the radioactive legacy that continues to haunt us.

On November 13 the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story written by the SF-based Center For Investigative Reporting. The story was about the radioactive contamination of Treasure Island, a former US Navy base in the middle of the Bay.

The Chron article reported that 575 metal discs consisting of radioactive radium-226 had been found in the ground at Treasure Island as of 2011. The report did not mention that the radioactive life of radium-226 is millennia, over 16,000 years.

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Elevated Rates of Thyroid Disease in California Newborn Linked to Fukushima Fallout

November 27, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg

A new study indicates that rates of a thyroid disease in California newborn spiked after they were exposed to fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The peer-reviewed study, “Changes in confirmed and borderline cases of congenital hypothyroidism in California as a function of environmental fallout from Fukushima,” appears in the November 2013 issue of the periodical Open Journal of Pediatrics.

In California all babies are tested at birth for congenital hypothyroidism, a rare disease that nevertheless can cause serious growth problems in children if it remains untreated.

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While NRC Contemplates Restart of San Onofre, New Study Shows Decline of Cancers Since Northern Calif Nuke Closed

April 10, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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New Study: Cancer decline since Rancho Seco nuclear plant closed over 20 years ago

by Michael Steinberg

Recently Southern California Edison asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to restart Unit 2 at its San Onofre nuclear plant. Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre have been shut down since January 2012 after radioactive steam escaped into the environment, and subsequent investigation found that steam generators installed less than two years before had suffered significant damage to large numbers of critical tubes in the generators.

Now Edison wants to restart Unit 2 in June, and receive permission from the NRC to operate that reactor for two years, despite failing to substantially address the damage to the steam generators or pinpoint the reasons for the problems, according to environmental group Friends of the Earth.

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Fukushima, San Onofre and Our Health

March 11, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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It’s been two years since Fukushima’s multiple meltdowns. San Onofre in the Southland has been shut down for over a year.

Time to look back and gaze forward. This article will concentrate on nuclear power plants’ radioactive emissions and their effects on our health.

To do this I’ll be drawing on a recent book, Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment. This book came out last year, authored by Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (radiation.org). The RPHP has been studying nuclear power plant radioactive releases effects on human health for several decades.

Numerous peer reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies published in various scientific journals by Mangano and his associates in the RPHP have found that children living within 50 miles of nuclear power reactors have higher amounts of radioactivity in their teeth; have higher rates of cancer, including leukemia; and that such rates drop after reactors shut down.

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Edison and Mitsubishi Knew San Onofre Steam Generators Were Defective

February 7, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press
A press release issued Wednesday by two prominent members of Congress charged that Southern California Edison (SCE) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) knew that the two replacement steam generators for the San Onofre nuclear plant were defective, and avoided adding safety measures to keep from triggering stricter scrutiny by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts send a letter to NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane on Wednesday stating,

“Southern California Edison and MHI were aware of serious problems with the design of San Onofre nuclear power plant’s replacement steam generators before they were installed. Further, SCE and MHI rejected enhanced safety modifications and avoided triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process.”

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A Call for San Diego Residents to Keep San Onofre Shut Down

October 3, 2012 by Michael Steinberg
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A recent poll of Southern California residents found that most of them want to keep the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant shut down . The poll also found that the residents don’t trust its majority owner and operator, Southern California Edison, to keep safety as its first priority at the nuke plant.

” A strong majority of Edison customers want to keep San Onofre shut down and almost half don’t trust Edison to put safety before profit,” environmental group Friends of the Earth reported on October 1.

Friends of the Earth (foe.org) commissioned David Binder Research to carry out the poll. The company talked to 700 registered voters in the counties San Onofre provides electricity to.

The results: “58% of respondents said they oppose reopening the plant…Only 32% said San Onofe should reopen,” Friends of the Earth reported.

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Nuclear Dread on Both Sides of the Pacific – Japan and San Onofre

July 16, 2012 by Michael Steinberg
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From San Diego Free Press

For those of an apocalyptic bent, the beginning of the final half of 2012 was near perfect.

True, the walls didn’t all come tumbling down, though those retaining the spent nuclear fuel pool atop Fukushima Unit 4 were bulging. But the signs seemed to be everywhere, from the eastern shores of Japan to the west coast of California.

The most widely reported such event was the July 1 restart of a Japanese commercial nuclear power reactor at the Ohi nuclear plant. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pushed for this restart, despite a massive protest in front of his office in Tokyo only days before. Digital Journal reported that 200,000 protested there on June 29

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How Rich San Francisco Non-Profit Property Owners Promote Homelessness

April 25, 2012 by Michael Steinberg
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Recent building takeovers have exposed the role of rich non profits in promoting homelessness by deliberately keeping vacant perfectly good structures that could provide homes for many without a roof over their heads.

Most recently, the April 1 takeover of 888 Turk Street in San Francisco by Occupy SF revealed the duplicity of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in this shameful situation.

The Archdiocese initially was caught by surprise on the day of the takeover, as hundreds streamed into the building and set up the SF Commune, a free space that was to serve as a community center and home to homeless people in cooperation with Occupy SF.

OSF invited the Archdiocese to participate in discussions and planning for the project, saying that the building had been empty for five years and needed a, well, resurrection.

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Deniers Trotted Out for Fukushima One-Year Anniversary While Experts Find Spike in American Deaths After the Disaster

March 5, 2012 by Michael Steinberg
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With the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster approaching, expect a barrage of “experts” braying that there was little to no damage to human health as a result of Fukushima’s radioactive releases.

But others say thousands have already died in the US alone as a result of Fukushima fallout.

This coming March 11 will mark the first anniversary of Fukushima’s multiple meltdown nuclear disaster.

The mainstream media has already begun trotting out assorted “experts” to assure us all is well and no one’s been harmed by all the radiation the reactors released. For example, on March 2, The Wall Street Journal-Japan ran a piece, “Fukushima Health Impact: Minimal?”

It lead off, “The health threat from radiation in the wake of the Fukushima accident is extremely low…according to a panel of American radiation experts who studied the Japanese case for the past year.”

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Nuclear Follies Continue: Fukushima, Vermont Yankee, and San Onofre

February 6, 2012 by Michael Steinberg
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As the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster approaches, recent developments in the nuclear power world at locales thousands of miles apart once again teach us the high prices societies pay for depending on atomic power to generate their electricity.

Fukushima

Nearly a year after a devastating earthquake and catastrophic tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, tens of thousands are still unable to return to their homes.

Children in the city of Fukushima were largely prohibited from going outside last summer.

Radioactive contamination has been found in local beef, rice, milk, vegetables and tea.

Most recently, the January 28 Mainichi Daily News reported, “Radioactive testing facilities have been inundated with requests to check gravel after it was revealed on January 15 that high radioactive levels were detected in gravel quarried near Fukushima Unit 1 and used in construction projects across [Fukushima] prefecture.”

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Occupy San Francisco Takes Over Vacant Hotel

January 25, 2012 by Michael Steinberg

Editor: Check out the following report by former OBcean Michael Steinberg who now lives in San Francisco. Apparently, the Occupy movement in San Diego is not the only one with problems with the daily fishwrap.

On January 20 Occupy protestors took over a 600 unit vacant hotel in San Francisco. But the San Francisco Chronicle missed the point. Actually it missed a lot of them.

As the final action of January 20th’s Wall Street West San Francisco protests, activists marched to the former Cathedral Hill Hotel at Geary and Van Ness and took it over.Why? The San Francisco Chronicle’s report the next morning only informed us that, upon arriving and being greeted by riot cops, “Some activists threw bricks and bottles, injuring two officers, one in the chest and one in the arm.” Also that “40 people broke in through a back entrance and loudly cavorted in the 600-room hotel for two hours. When they threw furniture from the roof, several dozen police cleared the building.”

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San Francisco Police Raid On OccupySF On Pearl Harbor Day a Coincidence?

December 10, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s minions attacked Occupy SF on the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Just a coincidence?

In the wee hours of this December 7 just past, over 100 SFPD riot cops invaded Occupy SF, gave the sleeping campers 5 minutes to clear out, arrested 70, supervised the destruction of their belongings in trash crusher trucks, and supervised the obliteration of the suddenly most offensive structures ever to grace the grounds of San Francisco: Tents.

Was it just a coincidence that this happened on the 70th anniversary …

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Occupy San Francisco Housing Action Day

December 5, 2011 by Michael Steinberg

On Saturday, December 3, Occupy San Francisco united with San Franciso Housing Rights organizations to oppose evictions, foreclosures and other housing injustices across the city. The day began with actions in the Bayview, Mission, Castro and Tenderloin, and culminated with a mass march from the Occupy SF site through the financial district to confront banks that put up the bucks that fuel these abuses.

A statement from a flyer promoting today’s action declared:

“From the subprime mortgage crisis that began our current recession, to bank bailouts, the rising rates of homelessness and policies like the Ellis Act that prioritize profit over people, housing has been central to the occupy movement in San Francisco, and around the country.”

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FUKUSHIMA: The Final Warning

April 27, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl—and now Fukushima.

This latest and hopefully last nuclear disaster ironically has struck the very land first devastated by two US atomic bombs.

Unlike those first two horrors, however, those of late in Japan were never supposed to happen.

The six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, like all others around the planet, were deemed safe and robust.

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The San Onofre Fukishima Connection

March 26, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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Two weeks into Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, the situation continues to worsen.

Among the headlines in today’s paper is “Breach feared at reactor—radiation high.” The Associated Press reported “Plant operators don’t know the source of radioactive water discovered in at Units 1 and 3.” The utility, Tokyo Electric Power Co., suspected that water found in Units 2 and 4 was similarly contaminated.

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It’s Up To Us To Stop This Nuclear Madness – NIRS Warns Stay Out of the Rain

March 18, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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As the first Fukushima radioactive plumes hit the West Coast of North America, “leaders” and “experts” try to reassure us there’s no danger. But it’s become painfully obvious that it’s up to us to determine the real truth, and to take action to stop this nuclear madness.

“We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it’s the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific,” he said.

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Obama Administration: Build More Nukes

March 16, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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Tuesday Mar 15th, 2011 8:25 PM

As the nuclear disaster in Japan intensifies, US Secretary Steven Chu calls on Congress for $36 billion to build new nuclear plants in the US.

Tuesday, March 15—Today at Fukushima’s desperate deteriorating nuclear complex in Japan, there was a fire in Unit 4 for the second time in as many days.

Two workers have been missing since the first fire yesterday.

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Earthquake Meltdown at San Onofre: It Can’t Happen Here?

March 11, 2011 by Michael Steinberg

As a result of the 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan, the 40 year old Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor there is in big trouble. Fukushima 1 is one of six reactors at the nuclear complex160 miles north of Tokyo. The LA Times reported today that the nuclear rector’s “emergency cooling system has not […]

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Reflections on the OB Mystique

January 3, 2011 by Michael Steinberg
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Editor: This nostalgic-seeming post by former OBceian now living in the Bay Area Michael Steinberg got to us a little late for an “end of year” article, but here it is anyhow. San Francisco, December 31, 2010 -Some might look at this phenomenon as a sociological thingie, others as the convergence of a particular time […]

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Activists shut down San Francisco ARCO/ BP gas station

August 21, 2010 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg / IndyBay.org / Aug 21st, 2010

SUMMARY: Five people were arrested Friday for locking down in an entrance and exit to an Arco/BP gas station at the corner of Fell and Divisadero in San Francisco. The protesters called their action a “bike spill.” They chained themselves to bicycles and laid in the car entrance and exit ways, effectively shutting down the gas station.

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San Francisco: Activists take over empty hotel to protest social service cuts

July 21, 2010 by Michael Steinberg
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Late Monday (July 19) afternoon housing activists took over the long vacant 43-unit Sierra Hotel in San Francisco’s Mission District. The hotel has been empty for years and is in a state of disrepair though structurally sound. The takeover is “a collective act of homefulness” to protest government cuts of social services that will result in more people being out on the streets.

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San Onofre on List of Leaker Nukes

March 8, 2010 by Michael Steinberg
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The San Onofre nuclear station is included in a list of commercial nuclear plants that have leaked radioactive tritium, a known cancer causing chemical.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) compiled the list. About one quarter of the nation’s operating nukes, 27 out of 104, have leaked tritium.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, created as a byproduct of nuclear fission. It combines easily with water, and can persist inside us for years if it enters our bodies.

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In Search of My Irish Roots and Great-Grand-Dad Cornelius

January 16, 2010 by Michael Steinberg
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My mother (Midge) had always told us that her grandfather, Cornelius Donahue, had come to this country from Ireland, but exactly where in Ireland was murky. Maybe County Cork, maybe not.

At a certain point, my brother (Lou) and I became interested in obtaining dual US/Irish citizenship for ourselves and for our mother. But in order to do this, first of all we had to document where in Ireland Cornelius came from.

So began my quest, “In Search of Cornelius.”

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Jim Carroll Vs Ronald Reagan

November 13, 2009 by Michael Steinberg
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Jim Carroll’s death on September 11 brought back a lot of memories. His burst into popular consciousness in the early 1980s with The Jim Carroll Band happened when I was living in San Francisco.

Ronald Reagan was just coming to power, and would soon axe my job as a tenant organizer. This job been funded by the federal government though a program created by the Carter administration.

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Where Is the National Security Agency’s ‘Secret Room’ for San Diego?

June 4, 2009 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg

Where is San Diego’s ‘Secret Room’? The room, that is, where the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly intercepts all our internet activities and analyzes them in “real time” for purposes the federal government refuses to reveal.

The existence of such a room in a San Diego telecommunications company was revealed years ago …

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Radioactive Waste: The San Onofre File

February 10, 2009 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg

Though a meltdown at a nuclear plant may be its worst case scenario, the dangers and risks by no means end there. In fact they go on every day.
Radioactive releases into the air and water are routine at nukes. As is the transportation of radioactive wastes offsite by road, rail and water. These activities are the seldom discussed everyday threats to people, other living beings, and the environment as a whole.

This report delves into what goes on at the San Onofre Generating Station in these respects.

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The San Onofre Nukes and the M Word

January 15, 2009 by Michael Steinberg
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Fortunately for us, the San Onofre nukes ended last year with a whimper rather than a bang. Or a meltdown. The same could be said for 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004. Because that’s how long a comatose battery sat there unnoticed and undermaintained. Not just any battery either. One that could’ve been called upon to prevent such a catastrophic event.

But none reporting on this disgrace could bring themselves to use the M Word to describe the potential threat.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated, in a December report, that its inspectors “found that the battery used to supply power to the plant safety systems under some accident conditions, was inoperable between 2004 and 2008 because of loose electrical connections caused by inadequate maintenance instructions (Reuters 12-22).”

Uh, what safety systems might that be? And which accident conditions? Would they have anything to do with the M Word?

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San Onofre Nuclear Plant: Highest Childhood Leukemia Death Rates

December 13, 2008 by Michael Steinberg
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A recent study found that childhood (ages 0-19) leukemia mortality rates around US nuclear power plants have been significantly higher than the national average.
“The plant with the largest local population is the San Onofre installation in Southern California, located on the border of San Diego and Orange Counties. Results are also presented for this site…and a [statistically] significant increase in leukemia for children aged 0-9 [41% higher than the national rate] and 10-19 [29.5% higher] was observed.”

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No on 98, Yes on 99 Rally In San Francisco

May 7, 2008 by Michael Steinberg

Opponents of Proposition 98 rallied at Civic Center Park in San Francisco today to urge people to vote against the measure, which would outlaw rent control and other tenant protections statewide. Today is the first day voters can cast their ballots in the June 3 state election. San Francisco, May 7-On the first day voters […]

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