Posts Tagged nuclear power

Japan’s Natural Disaster is Veering Wildly Toward a Full Scale Nuclear Catastrophe

I agree with John Aravosis at Americablog – this situation sounds as if it is out of control at the moment.  This horror show is happening in an industrialized, wealthy nation.  And the natural disaster, bad enough already, is veering wildly toward a full scale nuclear catastrophe.

Most of the workers are being evacuated from the power plant.  People within 18 miles are being urged to stay indoors, stop using air conditioning.  The plant is spewing radiation.  And this:

It now seems that the nuclear fuel rods inside all three functioning reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex are melting, a senior government official said.

Massive earthquake.  Tsunami.  Thousands missing and probably dead. And just a couple nuclear reactors blowing up.

Click through to the MSNBC article to see some truly horrifying before and after images.

There’s video here the tsunami taken at the street level – at about 4:30 the houses start to move.  I’d like to be eloquent but in the face of such suffering and devastating, words fail.

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Let’s play Spot the Conflict of Interest

We’ll make this like a little game of Connect the Dots, Utah Legislature version.

The SL Trib reports:

Critics hope that, without water plans for Utah’s first nuclear power plant will evaporate.

To that end, they recently filed formal protests with the State Engineer’s Office aimed at stopping the Kane County Water Conservancy District from preserving its right to 29,600 acre-feet of water already under lease by the reactor’s developers.

Utah law puts the public’s needs first, giving communities extra flexibility to ensure any future needs of their residents. [snip]

Aaron Tilton, chief executive officer of Transition Power Development LLC, the company behind the 1,500-megawatt nuclear station, is paying the water district $100,000 a year to lease the water right. His company also has promised $500,000 a year after five years, and $1 million a year once the plant comes online (emphasis mine).

“We haven’t even paid much attention to it,” Tilton said, noting that he hasn’t seen the protests.

Mike Noel, the water district’s administrator, isn’t worried either. [snip]

“Their agenda is to stop any construction and growth in Utah,” Noel said. “It’s not an environmental agenda. It’s a no-growth agenda.”

Let’s take a closer look and connect the dots (some of the following excerpted from my own blog post of October 2007 with attribution to the Deseret News):

  • Aaron Tilton is chief executive officer of Transition Power Development LLC.
  • Mike Noel is the exeuctive director of the Kane County Water Conservancy District.
  • Noel is chairman of the Legislature’s Public Utilities and Technology Committee, and Tilton is vice chairman.
  • Both men are members of the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee, which is co-chaired by Noel. The interim committee heard extensive testimony for and against nuclear power in its July and September [2007] meetings.
  • A bill to assist utilities in building nuclear power plants was discussed extensively by the Public Utilities Interim Committee on July 18 and Sept. 19 [2007] (emphasis mine).
  • Concerning the bill that was discussed July 18 and Sept. 19, Tilton said that he has no conflicts of interest. “I really don’t have a conflict of interest, because I’m not a regulated utility,” he said, and the bill dealt with those utilities.”
  • On his Declaration of Conflict of Interest form, Noel noted that he was associated with several groups: Michael E. Noel Environmental Consulting, Flood Canyon Ranch and Kane County Water Conservancy District. But he said it was not a conflict to co-chair the committee that is considering legislation involving a nuclear power plant. “The district is a public entity, like a city, a community, leasing water to them,” meaning the nuclear power plant, he said. ‘We’re a public utility. I work for the water district as a paid employee.'”

So if you own/run a business or if you control a public works operation, and you also have legislative power recommending approval or regulation of those things, would that be a conflict of interest? Just asking.

And remember, this post is not about the merits of nuclear power in Utah, it is about conflict of interest. Interestingly enough, the Salt Lake Tribune recently had an article entitled, New Utah House Speaker Clark says ethics reform top priority. As we saw with recent ethics investigations in the Utah legislature, our ethics laws are so puny, it doesn’t matter how blatant the misbehavior of our elected officials, no actual rules are ever broken.

UPDATE: I corrected the date and link to my original post on this topic.

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