DOE Contractor At Savannah River Fires Workers for Leaking To Press

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions fired an undisclosed number of employees fo leaking an emailed memo that discussed how more than 1,400 employee reductions at SRS would be implemented.

According to the Aiken Standard, the paper rece3ived a copy of the email and its contents were considered classified by the Department of Energy. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has a history of accidents and mishaps at the site and routinely relies on confidentiality and national security in order to avoid releasing details of incidents. Ironically the company hopes to take part in the economic bonanza that Senate ratification of the New Start Treaty will bring with the modernization of SRS. This is the most radioactive site in the United States in terms of curies. There is an estimated 400 million curies of radiation in liquid waste storage tanks at the site. Despite billions spent in clean-up there has been no reduction in radiation caused by remediation.

http://www.aikenstandard.com/results/1211-SRS-disciplinary-action

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Guardian: Whaling talks break down

International Whaling Commission (IWC) national delegates meeting at Agadir, Morocco, failed to approve a plan that would have legalized commercial whaling in exchange for a gradual reduction in the number of whales killed over a 10-year period.

The Animal Welfare Institute estimates that Iceland, Norway and Japan have killed 33,000 whales since the ban was introduced in 1986. Iceland and Norway hunt for whales in the northern hemisphere, outside the reach of IWC control. Japan has been whaling in the Antarctic under an IWC provision that allows whales to be killed for research purposes.

Some groups, including Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund, had hoped to bring these countries under IWC’s purview through the plan.

Other groups hailed the breakdown in negotiations as a victory. “The IWC is taking a safe course, opting for a cooling off period that protects the moratorium and other IWC conservation measures,” said Patrick Ramage, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s global whale campaign.

READ THIS STORY AT GUARDIAN.CO.UK

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BBC: Can painting a mountain restore a glacier?

The first experimental step in an innovative plan to recuperate Peru’s disappearing Andean glaciers involves returning an extinct glacier to its former snowy white color, not by falling snow but by whitewash.

There is debate between those who dismiss the idea as just plain daft and those who praise it as a simple yet brilliant solution.

The idea is based on the simple scientific principle that when sunlight is reflected off the painted white or light-colored surface, solar energy passes back through the atmosphere and out into space, rather than warming the Earth’s surface.

Eduardo Gold, the 55-year-old Peruvian inventor who came up with the scheme, said it would bring about a cooling of the peak’s surface, which in turn would generate a cold micro-climate around the peak producing conditions ripe for the glacier to re-grow.

READ THIS STORY AT BBC.CO.UK

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DCBureau.org releases in depth investigation into California’s Proposed Desalination Plant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joseph Trento, 202-466-4310 or (mobile) 202-255-2441

Janet Wilson, 714-649-0514

DCBureau.org releases in depth investigation into California’s Proposed Desalination Plant

Washington, DC, May 11, 2010 – From the beginning, developers of a huge desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif., have promised it would cost the public nothing to build and would provide a critical new drinking water supply.

But dozens of interviews and a review of available records by the Public Education Center’s DCBureau.org show that southern Californians would actually pay at least $640 million over 30 years, including as much as $374 million in public subsidies. All that money would repay construction costs with interest, operating costs with overhead fees, and unspecified profits to investors for what would be the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.

So is the project a thirst quencher, an environmental problem, or both?

As population swells and climate change could begin to wreak havoc on already dwindling supplies, boosters say it is well worth the price to bring a local water supply to the drought prone region. They say desalination is a crucial piece of multi-pronged strategies to keep California flush with water, and despite recessionary woes, the time is right

But critics say that far from being a New Age answer to water woes, desalters are costly, unnecessary boondoggles that often malfunction and carry damaging environmental side effects. They argue subsidizing the costly plants is the wrong approach, and that conservation, recycling wastewater and other, far cheaper alternatives should be tried first.

Poseidon Resources LLC, the private developer, is pushing to complete a dizzying checklist of approvals before heading to Wall Street for financing later this month. Before the bond sale, it needs to obtain a second rating in addition to the BBB- it got from Standard and Poor’s, the lowest investment grade rating.

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DCBureau.org is a non-profit project staffed by award-winning reporters whose mission is to investigate previously overlooked news stories about significant issues and bring them to the attention of national and international audiences. Janet Wilson, a USC Annenberg Hunt national health reporting fellow, is an environmental journalist based in southern California.

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