"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tricastin radioactive fluid leak may be historical ... hiccup could will affect Gordon's grand nuclear build plan - that's show business folks!

A fluid leak was reported at the Tricastin nuclear power plant in SW France , 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Avignon last Tuesday. Whilst cleaning a tank containing a solution with traces of non-enriched uranium, a reservoir designed to collect it overflowed. Some 30,000 liters (7,925 gallons - comparison - a standard road petrol tanker holds 34,000 litres = £40,000) of solution seeped into the ground and two nearby rivers. Despite assurances, local authorities have now banned the use of well water from three nearby towns as well as using water from the contaminated rivers to irrigate crops. Residents have also been banned from swimming, water sports and fishing in the contaminated waters. See post on 14th May Klaus Töpfer ex German Minister of the Environment - "It would be disastrous if we were to consider a future with nuclear energy once again" with map of nuclear accidents in Europe including the then just announced Tricastin event.

France's nuclear safety agency (ASN) claimed that the "risk was slight." On Friday, the Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) -- which is responsible for safety inspections of France's nuclear facilities -- announced that it had discovered traces of uranium in the water that pre-dated the recent leak.

In October 1998, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) reported that uranium had been secretly stored on the facility grounds since the 1970s in a mound of eatth / dirt six meters (20 foot) high. This (It now appears) contained nuclear waste with uranium from military stockpiles. Years ago there were warnings that rainwater could wash uranium out of the pile and into the ground.

French anti-nuclear umbrella group Sortir du nucleaire, or Abandon Nuclear Power have written to Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo demanding a comprehensive examination of France's nuclear industry. Thye make claims that other accidents have been kept secret "so as to not damage the reputation of nuclear energy."

Borloo has deflected criticism and action by electing a special committee to review the accident. Le Parisein reporty that he has asked for groundwater in the areas surrounding all French atomic plants to be tested. Which will byuy him time. he has also deflected the crticis by blaming Areva, the French nuclear contractor (bidding to supply UK plants in Gordon Brown's massive renaissance of the UK industry) that operates the Tricastin facility through its Socatri subsidiary, for its handling of the incident as well as unsatisfactory operational and safety procedures.

".. everything is under control," Borloo told the paper. "I intend to make sure." It is also almost August .... when nothing happens in Paris.

"Maybe it's the beginning of the truth," Sortir du nucleaire spokesperson Stephane Lhomme says optimistically.

Lhomme points out that Borloo's planned testing will only be conducted on groundwater and that possible gas emissions will be ignored.They also want all nuclear plants testing not simply nucklear power plants.

Nuclear watchdog IRSN also has a conflict of interest. "We want an independent group that we can trust doing the checking," Lhomme said. "We don't want the state to be telling everyone: 'Hey, everybody, there's no problem.'"

Instead, Sortir du nucleaire would prefer for the Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD) -- an independent French NGO founded in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster -- to conduct the tests. The group was not large enough to conduct all the tests, and that it should be joined by other international independent organizations.

Transparency Ho.Ho.Ho.

In a company statement, Areva CEO the fragrant and beautiful Anne Lauvergeon announced Wednesday that she would personally visit the Tricastin facility tomorrow and meet with public officials blah, blah

Sortir du nucleaire will not be invited to participate in the examinations or discussions. "If you are not for nuclear power in France," Lhomme laments, "then you are nothing. We are given absolutely no rights to see what's happening inside nuclear plants."

Tricastin is one of 59 nuclear plants in France, which supply nearly 80 % of France's domestic electricity ... and some of the UK's. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is an enthusiast for nuclear energy. His government is cooperating with a number of other nations in building nuclear facilities, and his government decided in May to establish a state agency to export French nuclear technology. France is currently cooperating with Saudi Arabia, India and a number of North African countries to help install nuclear power plants,

Greenpeace's Marillier said: "This accident just shows that what Sarkozy says is wrong and that this will never be a clean-energy industry. Even though France wants to export nuclear power to the world, it isn't even able to keep things clean on its own sites."

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