Sunday, January 31, 2010

Leak at Vermont nuclear plant causes angst about new reactor construction

A leak of radioactive water from a nuclear power plant in New England is causing the industry some worries as a renewed focus on the energy source gains prominence.

According to the Boston Globe, the leak from the Vermont Yankee facility in Vernon, Vermont, about 10 miles from the Massachusetts border, do not pose a threat to the water quality or ecology of the Connecticut river.

The radioactive isotope that leaked, tritium, can cause cancer in humans if consumed in drinking water.

The incident has caused a long-time supporter of the Vermont Yankee facility, the Green Mountain State's governor Jim Douglas, to ask the state legislature to withhold, at least temporarily, support for the facility's re-licensing by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The NRC has extended the permits for 59 nuclear reactors in recent years and is expected to consider whether to extend permits for 37 more during the next several years.

President Obama called for an increase in the country's nuclear power plants during his State of the Union address last week. The NRC has also seen an upsurge, for the first time in decades, in proposals to build new facilities.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alaska to mount legal challenge to Endangered Species Act

Alaska's legislature is considering a request by the state's attorney general to appropriate $1 million for a lawyer to mount a challenge to the Endangered Species Act.

That's according to a report in the Juneau Empire today.

Alaska officials have repeatedly complained about the application of the ESA within their state, most recently in connection with the polar bear.

The state has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior, arguing that the listing of that species as threatened is not justified.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Environmentalists challenge off-road vehicle use plan in Idaho national forests

Environmentalists have sued to block plans for allowing off-road vehicles in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the largest in the 48 contiguous states, arguing that regulations issued by the USDA Forest Service fail to protect the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

The Idaho Statesman has a report here.