Boomers continue their love affair with the car while the industry ponders how to get their tech-driven kids on the bandwagon.
The president of Toyota Motor Corp. is perplexed by boys who don’t have a vehicle and think they can pick up girls these days.
“In the past, if you wanted to date someone, you couldn’t ask her out if you didn’t have a car,” Akio Toyoda, 57, told a packed auditorium of about 900 Meiji University students in Tokyo earlier this fall.
“It’s all changed now. Money goes on monthly phone bills. Also, parking’s expensive and it’s easy to get around . . . on public transport.”
His frustration is indicative of the looming crisis facing the big automakers down the road: how to get kids interested in cars.
While boomers continue their love affair with the automobile, their tech-driven offspring would rather get from point A to point B on their smartphones, which has car makers in a tailspin.
Did you sign a smartphone contract instead of a car lease? Let us know in our comments section below
The big auto manufacturers are on pace for a record-setting sales year in Canada and the U.S. But a worrisome scenario looms to get so-called “millennials” (ages 16 to early 30s) behind the wheel, and keep sales momentum rolling in the future, experts say.
The elusive Gen Y crowd (often considered to be people born in the 1980s and 1990s) would rather socialize on their computers and smartphones than drive over to a friend’s house the way mom and dad liked to do in their day, says Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants in Richmond Hill.
“Kids don’t love cars the way their parents do, and smartphones are replacing some of the social elements that a vehicle used to fill,” he says.
“They feel they can be social more efficiently (via text and Twitter) than having a big honking car in the driveway,” he adds.
High gas prices and environmental concerns also don’t help matters, analysts say.
Eight Steps to Empire: The Culture Wars (Excerpt) | Operation Paul Revere InfoWars.com Contest
Published on Apr 6, 2013
Eight Steps to Empire: The Culture Wars is a documentary exploring the concept of empire in the modern era. The film looks at the usage of diversion and cultural subversion as mechanisms of social control.
This 24-minute excerpt from the film is submitted as part of InfoWars.com’s Operation Paul Revere Contest (www.infowars.com/contest).
Originally scheduled for release in Spring 2011, the film’s release date has been pushed back due to a lack of funding. Production has been slow as the movie is being produced by a single person working on a $500 desktop computer.
For updates, follow:
Click here to watch the previously released trailer for the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThKfZpPOjvI
Thank you for your support. Please share.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This video contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. All use of copyrighted material in this material is for the non-commercial purpose of social, political, and cultural critique, and intended to be educational. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this film is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
I don’t mean to put a damper on the everyone’s summer holidays, but the current heatwaves in the U.S. and Europe has me thinking back to numerous warnings issued during last summer’s major drought and “record-breaking heatwave” in the U.S.
Analysts at Rabobank, a Netherlands-based bank specialising in food and agri-business financing, were crunching the numbers and predicted at the time that food prices, specifically meat prices, would soar in 2013 as a result of the U.S. drought.
Back in 2011, the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), a research body of academics from Harvard and MIT, using data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index, published a paper that correlated “outbreaks of unrest” in 2008 and 2011 with increases in food prices. They claimed to have identified the precise threshold for global food prices that leads to worldwide unrest: 210 points…
“high global food prices are a precipitating condition for social unrest. More specifically, food riots occur above a threshold of the FAO price index of 210.”
Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of NECSI and one of the paper’s authors, said:
“When people are unable to feed themselves and their families, widespread social disruption occurs. We are on the verge of another crisis, the third in five years, and likely to be the worst yet, capable of causing new food riots and turmoil on a par with the Arab Spring.”
The aggregated FAO Food Price Index averaged 211.3 points in June this year, but more telling indicators might be their June 2013 Cereal Price Index, which averaged 236.5 points, and their Sugar Price Index, which averaged 242.6 points. Dairy prices are also riding above this 210 threshold, so when we consider that most people’s diets are substantially based on sugar, cereals and dairy, followed by meats from cattle raised on grains, it seems pretty clear that we’re very much in the danger zone.
Tesco boss says cheap food era is over
Philip Clarke admits prices will rise as poll finds UK shoppers would pay more to back farmers
- The Observer, Saturday 20 July 2013
Speaking exclusively to the Observer, Philip Clarke of Tesco, which was heavily implicated in the horsemeat scandal, said that rising global demand means the historic low prices to which British consumers have become used are now unsustainable.
“Over the long run I think food prices and the proportion of income spent on food may well be going up,” he said. “Because of growing demand it is going to change. It is the basic law of supply and demand.” The admission comes as a new poll, commissioned by the Prince’s Countryside Fund to mark National Countryside Week beginning tomorrow, reveals that a majority of British consumers would be prepared to pay more for food if they knew the extra was going to farmers rather than to supermarket shareholders. The YouGov poll also indicates that more than 80% of consumers think it is important to buy British produce where possible as a way of showing support for the nation’s farmers.
Butterflies aren’t showing up for Michigan summer
The American Painted Lady butterfly drinks some nectar in the yard of Joe Derek, former naturalist for the city of Farmington Hills. / Joe Derek
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Joe Derek, 65, of Farmington Hills talks about some of the plants in his natural garden on Friday, June 28, 2013, that help attract butterflies while while standing near Joe Pye weeds. Derek, formerly the naturalist for the city of Farmington Hills, has a 2-acre butterfly garden at his home. Ryan Garza / Detroit Free Press / Detroit Free Press
A European cabbage butterfly hides from the rain on a plant in Joe Derek’s butterfly garden in Farmington Hills on Friday June 28, 2013. Derek, formerly the naturalist for the City of Farmington Hills, has a 2-acre butterfly garden at his home. Ryan Garza / Detroit Free Press / Detroit Free Press
There aren’t many among the lantana, the butterfly bushes or the milkweed plants in Joe Derek’s Farmington Hills yard.
Butterflies are strikingly absent this year from his naturally landscaped property off 10 Mile Road, where he grows two acres of native plants known to draw the fluttering beauties.
“Normally, at this time of year, I’d see hundreds,” says Derek, former naturalist for the City of Farmington Hills. “In my life, I’ve never seen a season where we’re not seeing butterflies really of any kind.”
They’re missing from Diane Pruden’s yard in Milford, too.
■ RELATED: If you plant it, the butterflies will come
“It’s just horrible,” says Pruden, a monarch conservationist for the nonprofit group Monarch Watch. “I’ve got plants that should be covered with eggs and caterpillars right now, and there are just none to be seen.”
Butterfly enthusiasts say there’s a dearth of butterflies in Michigan this year. Official data are still being collected by monitoring groups around the state, but anecdotally, at least, the outlook is grim.
Holli Ward, executive director of the Michigan Butterflies Project based in Jenison, near Grand Rapids, says she has seen disappointingly few monarchs this year, the type she studies most.
“We go out and are looking, looking, inspecting thoroughly,” she says. “On a good day, we’re looking at hundreds of milkweed stalks — every week, twice a week since early June. We have not seen a single egg or caterpillar.”
Her group examines milkweed because it is the only plant monarchs use to lay their eggs; it’s also a food source in their early days as caterpillars.
Ward is hopeful it’ll get better later into the season, but she has her doubts.
“This year’s cooler, wetter spring really didn’t help,” Ward says. “Couple that with last year’s extremely hot, extremely dry weather, and it’s a terrible situation for monarchs.”
Besides the weather, part of the problem is development of prairies and grasslands, farming practices that have all but eliminated milkweed and other native plants from corn and soybean fields through the heartland, and suburban landscaping with nonnative plants. Combined, these factors have wiped out huge swaths of habitat that used to lure and feed these delicate insects.
Widespread use of pesticides — especially large-scale spraying for mosquitoes and gypsy moths — also kills caterpillars. Rampant use of herbicides in landscaping also contributes to the problem, destroying many native plants the butterflies need to survive.
■ Learn about the plants that are best for attracting butterflies and make a commitment to add them to your garden, landscaping or even in pots on your patio or porch.
■ Don’t use pesticides in your yard. They kill the butterflies, too.
■ To become a citizen scientist and help the Michigan Butterfly Network with its butterfly counts, go to www.michiganbutterfly.org or call Ashley Anne Wick at 269-381-1574, ext. 12, for details.
■ You can also monitor and check the progress of monarch butterflies through Journey North, a nonprofit group that tracks wildlife migration and seasonal change through field observations. To learn more, go to http://journeynorth.org.
■ If you’re in western Michigan, learn more about the Michigan Butterflies Project counts at http://michiganbutterflies.org or by calling Holli Ward at 616-581-8002 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Monarch butterfly numbers drop by ‘ominous’ 59%
Posted: Mar 15, 2013 10:26 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2013 7:16 PM ET
The decline in the Monarch population now marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events, experts say.
The number of Monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico dropped 59 per cent this year, falling to the lowest level since comparable record-keeping began 20 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday.
It was the third straight year of declines for the orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from the United States and Canada to spend the winter sheltering in mountaintop fir forests in central Mexico. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997.
The decline in the Monarch population now marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events, the experts said.
But they differed on the possible causes.
Illegal logging in the reserve established in the Monarch wintering grounds was long thought to contribute, but such logging has been vastly reduced by increased protection, enforcement and alternative development programs in Mexico.
The World Wildlife Fund, one of the groups that sponsored the butterfly census, blamed climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the Monarchs’ main food source, milkweed. The butterflies breed and live in the north in the summer, and migrate to Mexico in the winter.
“The decrease of Monarch butterflies … probably is due to the negative effects of reduction in milkweed and extreme variation in the United States and Canada,” the fund and its partner organizations said in a statement.
Sharing planet Earth’s finite resources in a better way is a more practical way of managing the needs of a rising population
At any public meeting on the environment over the past decade , there’s one question that almost always came up. It is a variation of ‘Why will no one talk about population?’ As a result, population is discussed endlessly while people grumble that no one ever talks about it.
The same oddly circular conversation happened in the Observer Review section in an article relating to the new book, 10 Billion, by Stephen Emmott, head of Microsoft’s Research Lab. Five full pages of extract and interview warned, ‘we’re ignoring … the biggest crisis in human history.’
Yet it’s hard to ignore, in the circumstances.
We have World Population Day, the UN Population Awards, numerous organisations dedicated specifically to the issue, and just two weeks ago the UN published its latest, and widely reported, update on global population figures.
Government policies around the world on population are untiringly controversial and debated, from countries in Europe (like Germany) worried about declining populations, to those in Asia (like China) worried about the opposite.
Emmott, of course, does not appear to be anti-people, just concerned about the impact we’re having on the planet, with climate change being key. He covers what is now very familiar ground describing human pressure on resources, talks generally about the need to reduce consumption, identifies rising population more specifically within poorer countries and suggests that we could be facing a world of 28 billion people by the end of the century (a dangerously loose and wildly unlikely figure to use for someone with a scientific reputation).
It’s welcome to have such a senior, corporate figure concerned about the prospects for life on earth. The tone and alarmism echo Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 classic, The Population Bomb.
You might expect from someone associated with a dominant, hard-nosed global corporation like Microsoft, a hard-nosed strategy and business plan to sort the problem out. But, having lamented ‘the debate we urgently need,’ on ‘how billions more want to live, behave and consume,’ it was frustratingly difficult across five pages to find a single, specific, constructive proposal about what we might do differently.
New energy from ‘artificial photosynthesis’, which Emmott mentions as one possible solution, might have novelty appeal but, you suspect, might be some way off from solving immediate problems. It was disappointing too because less novel but far more proven approaches are common knowledge. We’ve known for decades that universal primary education for women and good health services will do more to relieve the pressure for large families than any fiddling in the ‘magic bullet’ food lab.
Reblogged from : FSP-Microcosm News-Global Community Report
Outlook is Grim for Mammals and Birds as Human Population Grows
Average Growing Nation Can Expect 10.8 Percent More Threatened Species by 2050
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ongoing global growth in the human population will inevitably crowd out mammals and birds and has the potential to threaten hundreds of species with extinction within 40 years, new research shows.
Scientists at The Ohio State University have determined that the average growing nation should expect at least 3.3 percent more threatened species in the next decade and an increase of 10.8 percent species threatened with extinction by 2050.
The United States ranks sixth in the world in the number of new species expected to be threatened by 2050, the research showed.
Though previous research has suggested a strong relationship between human population density and the number of threatened mammal and bird species at a given point in time, this study is the first to link an expanding human population to fresh threats of extinction for these other species.
The lead researcher created a model based on 2000 data to forecast future threatened species connected to human population growth projections, and published the predictions in 2004. In this new study, that model’s predictions were confirmed by 2010 actual figures. The scientists then used the same model, containing data on 114 countries, to extend their predictions to the middle of this century.
“The data speak loud and clear that not only human population density, but the growth of the human population, is still having an effect on extinction threats to other species,” said Jeffrey McKee, professor of anthropology at Ohio State and lead author of the study.
Eric Miller / Reuters file
Steve Tannen wears heavy clothing to protect himself against freezing wind chills as he practices for an upcoming bike race in Minneapolis. His city ranks No. 1 for fitness, according to the American College of Sports Medicine
Minneapolis, with its many parks, playgrounds and recreation centers, ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for fitness and Washington D.C. ranks a close second, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
Detroit and Oklahoma City come in at 49th and 50th according to the American College of Sports Medicine. And a second survey released Wednesday finds Minnesota also leads in senior . The two studies show Americans sure can’t blame climate for their couch potato tendencies – and they point to a fairly simple solution for living a long and healthy life: exercise.
“We asked if we have a built environment that supports exercise, does the population exercise? And the answer is yes,” says Walter Thompson, a professor at Georgia State University who chairs the advisory board for the College’s American Fitness Index.
The findings demonstrate that Americans can’t use weather as an excuse to be couch potatoes. “Minnesotans sure could use that as an excuse, but they don’t,” Thompson said in a telephone interview. It’s the third year in a row that Minneapolis has ranked No. 1 in the survey.
“What Minneapolis does so well – they are firm believers in the ‘if you build it, they will come’ attitude,” Thompson says. “They spend a lot of money on their parks. They spend $227 per capita on their parks.”
And that’s even knowing that snow is going to put the parks out of commission for many days of the year.
“They have five baseball diamonds per 10,000 inhabitants,” Thompson added. There are many dog parks, golf courses and playgrounds, as well as indoor recrreation centers with running tracks, basketball courts and gyms. “They make their parks inviting, they make their parks safe,” he added.
“So you can see they put their money where it needs to be to create the healthy environment.”
In contrast, Oklahoma City spends just $62 per capita on its parks. “That translates to fewer baseball diamonds, (fewer) parks, (fewer) playgrounds,” Thompson says.
“If you don’t provide the environment for people to exercise in, that is going to translate to lower personal health indicators,” Thompson said. And the states with lowest fitness levels have more people with diabetes, with obesity, and a higher percentage who smoke, he said.
For the study, the ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine using U.S. Census data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and data.
The CDC survey asked people how much they had exercised in the past month – the best way there is to estimate fitness without actually watching people, Thompson says.
Public policies are vital, says Thompson, who lives in Atlanta, ranked 21st in the survey. In 2008, Atlanta’s city government closed 22 recreation centers to save money. In 2010, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed started to reopen them. “He’s just about done it,” Thompson says. Atlanta ranked 14th in the index in 2008, fell to 15th in 2009 and 18th by 2011.
The findings fit right in with another survey – this one looking at senior health. Again, Minnesota ranks at the top.
“Minnesota ranks first for senior health, followed by Vermont (2), New Hampshire (3), Massachusetts (4) and Iowa (5),” the United Health Foundation says in its America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.
“The five least healthy states for senior health include Mississippi (50), followed by Oklahoma (49), Louisiana (48), West Virginia (47) and Arkansas (46).
- How does your hometown stack up among fittest cities? (usatoday.com)
- And America’s Fittest City Is… (news.health.com)
- This Is America’s Fittest City (everydayhealth.com)
- Philadelphia Falls One Place On Health And Fitness Rankings (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Minneapolis tops Portland for ‘fittest’ (kgw.com)
- How Does Your Hometown Stack Up Among Fittest Cities? (sci-tech-today.com)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul The Healthiest Cities In US Thanks To Parks And Recreation (medicaldaily.com)
- Austin ranks 11th in “fittest” cities (kvue.com)
May 22, 2013
By Geoffrey Sea
Disaster is about to strike in western Kentucky, a full-blown nuclear catastrophe involving hundreds of tons of enriched uranium tainted with plutonium, technetium, arsenic, beryllium and a toxic chemical brew. But this nuke calamity will be no fluke. It’s been foreseen, planned, even programmed, the result of an atomic extortion game played out between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the most failed American experiment in privatization, the company that has run the Paducah plant into the poisoned ground, USEC Inc.
As now scheduled, main power to the gargantuan gaseous diffusion uranium plant at Paducah, Kentucky, will be cut at midnight on May 31, just nine days from now—cut because USEC has terminated its power contract with TVA as of that time [“USEC Ceases Buying Power,” Paducah Sun, April 19, page 1] and because DOE can’t pick up the bill.
DOE is five months away from the start of 2014 spending authority, needed to fund clean power-down at Paducah. Meanwhile, USEC’s total market capitalization has declined to about $45 million, not enough to meet minimum listing requirements for the New York Stock Exchange, pay off the company’s staggering debts or retain its operating licenses under financial capacity requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Paducah plant cannot legally stay open, and it can’t safely be shut down—a lovely metaphor for the end of the Atomic Age and a perfect nightmare for the people of Kentucky.
If the main power to the diffusion cascade is cut as now may be unavoidable, the uranium hexafluoride gas inside thousands of miles of piping and process equipment will crystallize, creating a very costly gigantic hunk of junk as a bequest to future generations, delaying site cleanup for many decades and risking nuclear criticality problems that remain unstudied. Unlike gaseous uranium that can be flushed from pipes with relative ease, crystallized uranium may need to be chiseled out manually, adding greatly to occupational hazards.
The gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge, TN, was powered-down dirty in 1985, in a safer situation because the Oak Ridge plant did not have near the level of transuranic contaminants found at Paducah. The Oak Ridge catastrophe left a poisonous site that still awaits cleanup a quarter-century later, and an echo chamber of political promises that such a stupid move would never be made again. But that was before the privatization of USEC.
Could a dirty power-down at Paducah—where recycled and reprocessed uranium contaminated with plutonium and other transuranic elements was added in massive quantities—result in “slow-cooker” critical mass formations inside the process equipment?
No one really knows.
Everybody does know that the Paducah plant is about to close. Its technology is Jurassic, requiring about ten times the energy of competing uranium enrichment methods around the world. The Paducah plant has been the largest single-meter consumer of electric power on the planet, requiring two TVA coal plants just to keep it operating, and it’s the largest single-source emitter of the very worst atmospheric gasses—chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
The plant narrowly escaped the selection process that shuttered its sister plants in Tennessee and Ohio long ago. A 2012 apocalypse for Paducah workers was averted only by a last-second, five-party raid on the U.S. Treasury involving four federal entities pitching together to bail out USEC financially, a deal so arcane that knowledge of Mayan astrological codices would be required to grasp its basic principles. The plot would make for a great super-crime Hollywood movie in which Kentucky’s own George Clooney and Ashley Judd could star, if only the crafting lawyers and bureaucrats had made the Code of Federal Regulations as easy to decipher as bible code, or half as interesting.
“The deal” that saved Paducah operations for a year, past one crucial election non-coincidentally, probably consumed more net energy than it produced by stupidly paying USEC to run depleted uranium waste back through the inefficient Paducah plant—like a massive government program paying citizens to drink their own pee as a way to cut sewerage costs and keep medics employed prior to a Presidential contest. The deal never would have passed muster if it had been subjected to environmental or economic reviews of any kind, but it wasn’t. The “jobs” mantra was chanted, and all applicable laws from local noise-control ordinances to the Geneva Conventions were waived.
But the deal expires on May 31, in nine days. USEC and DOE have both said that discussions for a new extension deal continue, but rumors of a new deal were dashed on May 7, sending USEC stock into a flip-flop, when in an investor conference call, the company announced that no extension had been agreed, with very pessimistic notes about even a “short-term” postponement. That accompanied news that USEC had suffered a $2 million loss in the first quarter of 2013, largely attributable to the power bill at Paducah, which USEC says it’s under no obligation to keep paying.
Showing no enthusiasm whatsoever, USEC CEO John Welch said on May 7:
“While we continue to pursue options for a short-term extension of enrichment at Paducah beyond May 31, we also continue to prepare to cease enrichment in early June.”
Meanwhile, the Kentucky DOE field office in charge, managed by William A. Murphie, has advertised a host of companies “expressing interest” in future use of the Paducah site, with no explanation of how the existing edifice of egregiousness will be made to disappear. “Off the record,” the Kentucky field office has floated dates like 2060 for the completion of Paducah cleanup.
That’s two generations from now and kind of a long time for the skilled workforce and other interested parties to hang around. Even the 2060 date assumes that costs can be minimized by evacuating the diffusion cells before power-down—the scenario that seems certain not to happen because no one has the funding for it. Flushing the cells of uranium hexafluoride gas is the only sensible way to power-down, but it’s costly and time-consuming. At the Piketon, Ohio, plant a semi-clean power-down has cost billions of dollars and has taken twelve years and counting to accomplish. (Murphie will have to explain why he paid USEC so much money for the extended power-down at Piketon, while simultaneously asserting that a Paducah power-down can be accomplished swiftly and cheaply). Clean power-down also requires that workers and supplies be available on demand, and in the Paducah case, there simply isn’t time.
According to reliable sources, contracts are being prepared for the work of placing the plant into what Murphie calls “cold storage”—a term of his invention. But those contracts won’t take effect until October when fiscal 2014 funds are available. “Cold storage” at that point means closing the doors, posting guards outside, and otherwise walking away.
Can there yet be an extension deal to hold over the plant until 2014 funds are available? Probably not, because USEC may not last that long, the equipment in the plant has been run to decrepitude with no attention to maintenance, there isn’t sufficient time to make the arrangements, and a second end-run around environmental compliance would likely generate lawsuits.
USEC to Cease Enrichment at Paducah Plant
- Operations for inventory management and site transition to continue -
BETHESDA, Md.–()– USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU) announced today that it had not been able to conclude a deal for the short-term extension of uranium enrichment at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky, and the company will begin ceasing uranium enrichment at the end of May. The Paducah plant is the only U.S.-owned and operated uranium enrichment facility in the United States. USEC leases the plant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
“While we have pursued possible opportunities for continuing enrichment, DOE has concluded that there were not sufficient benefits to the taxpayers to extend enrichment. I am extremely disappointed to say we must now begin to take steps to cease enrichment,” said Robert Van Namen, USEC senior vice president and chief operating officer.
“We will continue to meet our customers’ orders from our existing inventory, purchases from Russia under the historic Megatons to Megawatts program and our transitional supply contract with Russia that runs through 2022,” Van Namen said. “In addition, our work to commercialize the American Centrifuge continues through our research, development and demonstration program with DOE, which remains on schedule and within budget, as we remain on a path to deploy this critical technology.”
USEC will take steps to cease enrichment at the Paducah plant over the next month and to prepare the plant site for return to DOE. USEC expects to continue operations at the site into 2014 in order to manage inventory, continue to meet customer orders and to meet the turnover requirements of its lease with DOE.
“We will be working with DOE during the coming months and expect to reach agreement on how to best transition the site. The company and our workforce have unparalleled expertise that should be drawn on. We can provide significant value to the in making that transition in the most cost-effective and timely manner,” Van Namen said.
USEC expects to begin reducing its workforce at the plant in the coming months. The Company will begin notifying workers as the specifics of the transition activities are defined. USEC anticipates maintaining a workforce at the site into next year to support ongoing operations, perform transition activities and meet regulatory requirements.
“We want to thank our employees and the entire Paducah community for their efforts to support continued enrichment at the plant. Although the community has known about this possibility for a number of years, we recognize that the Paducah area will soon feel the real impact of this decision and its effects on many individuals and families,” said Steve Penrod, vice president of enrichment operations.
“For 60 years, Paducah employees and the community have supported our national security and energy security. For now, at least, that mission is ending, but we are committed to working with the community and DOE for the smoothest possible transition that positions the plant site for its future role in the area’s economy.
“We want to thank members of the Kentucky delegation and our unions, the United Steel Workers and the Security, Police & Fire Protection Professionals, all of whom have worked tirelessly on behalf of the employees at this plant. We fully expect they will now recommit to helping the community create the next economic chapter for this site.”
USEC Inc., a global energy company, is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
PADUCAH GASEOUS DIFFUSION PLANT
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) is located in western Kentucky, 10 miles west of the City of Paducah, near the Ohio River in McCracken County. The plant sits on a 3,425-acre tract of property, 750 acres of which are enclosed inside the PGDP fence and 74 of those contain process buildings. The site is owned by DOE and leased and operated by the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), a subsidiary of USEC, Inc.
It is the only operating uranium enrichment facility in the U.S. The site contains uranium enrichment process equipment and support facilities. The mission of the Plant is to “enrich” uranium for use in domestic and foreign commercial reactors. Enrichment involves increasing the percentage of uranium-235 in the material used for creating reactor fuel (UF6). Uranium-235 is highly fissionable, unlike the more common isotope uranium-238. The PGDP enriches the UF6 from roughly 0.7 percent uranium-235 to about 2.75 percent uranium-235…….
USEC preparing for close down
USEC will start taking steps to close down its operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant over the next month and to prepare the plant site for return to DOE, said Robert Van Namen, USEC senior vice president and chief operating officer.
USEC expects to begin reducing its work force at the plant in the coming months and anticipates maintaining a work force at the site into next year, Van Namen said.
The former Kentucky Ordnance Works site was chosen from a candidate list of eight sites in 1950. The construction contractor was F.H. McGraw of Hartford, Connecticut, and the operating company was Union Carbide. The plant was opened in 1952 as a government-owned, contractor-operated facility, producing enriched uranium to fuel military reactors and for use in nuclear weapons. The mode of enrichment was the gaseous diffusion of uranium hexaflouride to separate the lighter fissile isotope, U-235, from the heavier non-fissile isotope, U-238. The Paducah plant originally produced low-enriched uranium, which was further refined at Portsmouth and the K-25 plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. From the 1960s the Portsmouth and Paducah plants were dedicated to uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants. In 1984 the operating contract was assumed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems. Lockheed Martin has operated the plant since the merger of Martin Marietta with Lockheed in 1995. From 2001, all USEC production has been consolidated at Paducah.
The Paducah plant had a capacity of 11.3 million separative work units per year (SWU/year) in 1984. 1812 stages were located in five buildings: C-310 with 60 stages, C-331 with 400 stages, C-333 with 480 stages, C-335 with 400 stages and C-337 with 472 stages.
Employment and Economic Impact
USEC employs around 1100 to operate the plant. The Department of Energy employs around 600 through contractors to maintain the grounds, portions of the infrastructure, and to remediate environmental contamination at the site. The facility has had a positive economic impact on the local economy and continues to be an economic driver for the community. Elected officials are working to ensure that the plant continues to operate though other methods of enriching uranium, such as centrifuge, are more efficient.
Plant operations have contaminated the site over time. The primary contamination of concern is trichloroethylene (TCE), which was a commonly used degreaser at the site. TCE leaked and contaminated groundwater on and off the site. The groundwater is also contaminated with trace amounts of technetium-99, a radioactive fission product; other contaminates include polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs). Through normal operations, portions of the plant are contaminated with uranium.
In 1988, TCE and trace amounts of technetium-99 was found in the drinking water wells of residences located near the plant site in McCracken County, Kentucky. To protect human health the Department of Energy provided city water, at no cost, to the affected residents and continues to do so.
The Department of Energy is using electrical resistance heating, ET-DSP(trademarked) to vaporize the TCE from the groundwater. This clean up action began in mid-2010. Much of the contamination of the actual plant will not be cleaned up until the plant ceases operations.
- USEC Inc. (USU) to Halt Enrichment at Paducah Plant, Cut Workforce (streetinsider.com)
- Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant passes safety review, while still facing possible shutdown and replacement (blogs.courier-journal.com)
- Statement From Mcconnell, Paul, and Whitfield on Paducah Doe Site (mcconnell.senate.gov)
- CMA CGM extends USEC-Caribbean ‘Cagema’ south to Trinidad and Tobago (linervision.wordpress.com)
- Weekly BASKET: Time to U-Turn USEC (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Energy Dept. IG Finds Conflicts of Interest in Nuke Clean-Up (pogoblog.typepad.com)