The world-wide People’s Climate March on September 21st showed that Climate Change is recognised as a huge global threat. The mainstream media glossed over this as quickly as they could, focusing on terrorism and matters military. Nevertheless, people have woken up, as never before, to the global nature of problems of environment and public health. Like a slow dawning, even political leaders are starting to see important connections, like for example, the safety threats of nuclear power plants situated in another country, but near their borders.
As always, politicians, beholden as they are to their corporate funders, are the last to want to act in the public interest, for a healthier planet.
Fortunately more and more people are realising that wonderful aim of Friends Of The Earth - “Think globally, act locally “.
Many of those who marched in September had no connection with organised groups. Many others were members of groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, Beyond Nuclear and hundreds of others – too many to list.
The corporate and political sociopaths who run government, business and mass media do not want you to know that environmental groups have made much progress. Not only the visible activism of Greenpeace exploits, and of protest marches, but the quieter actions of lobbying, and of alternative media have brought about changes in law, and curbed the onslaught of rapacious polluting industries.
What’s happening now includes the recognition that renewable energy and energy efficiency are economically successful, as well as universally ever more popular. Despite the powers that be, the world is realising that the “nuclear renaissance” is a stillbirth, and that the Fukushima nightmare is not over.
The task for those who care about the future of this planet is to keep on in the movement for the local and global public interest.
It’s good to join positive groups. But just look out for the charlatans. There are plenty of these, with important sounding names and important sounding members. Some American examples are- The Breakthrough Institute, Americans For Prosperity, American Enterprise Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and of course, nuclear information groups like Nuclear Matters. America is the great leader in these dishonest industry front groups, but all other countries have some, too, along with journalists like George Monbiot, who have been sucked in.
The best way to detect corporate anti-environment propaganda is, if possible, to “Follow The Money” – who is funding them? This applies to academics, too – as polluting corporations increasingly fund universities.
Oct. 30, 2014
The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company are to revise the timetable for decommissioning the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The current timetable calls for the process of removing spent fuel assemblies from the storage pool to begin in fiscal 2017, and removing melted fuel to begin 3 years later.
Government and TEPCO officials are now planning to delay the start of removing spent fuel units until fiscal 2019, or by 2 years, and the start of removing melted fuel till 2025, or by 5 years.
Radioactive rubble which has accumulated inside the No.1 reactor building is hampering fuel removal efforts.
Workers began dismantling the cover of the building this month to remove the debris.
But full-fledged work to dismantle the cover will not take place until March of next year, already resulting in a delay of more than 6 months.
To remove the spent fuel and melted fuel, separate facilities, such as cranes, must be set up on top of the reactor building. This would take more time.
The current timetable says complete decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi plant with 4 damaged reactors will take 30 to 40 years.
Oct. 29, 2014
Residents of Shioya Town, Tochigi Prefecture, have petitioned the Environment Ministry to drop a site in their town from consideration to host a facility for storing radioactive waste.
The site in Shioya, north of Tokyo, is one of five the government wants to build permanent storage facilities on for designated waste. The waste is material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that has radiation levels exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
The mayor of Shioya and the leader of a group of residents handed their petition to State Minister of the Environment Yasuhiro Ozato at the ministry in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Shioya has a population of about 12,000. But the petition was signed by about 173,000 people from across Japan.
Residents and their supporters claim a permanent storage facility would threaten the town’s water supply and accelerate population decline.
State Minister Ozato said he takes the residents’ and signatories’ concerns seriously. He stressed the importance of smooth communication and exchange of views over those concerns.
The representative of the residents’ group said that he expects the State Minister to understand that the signatures show how strongly people feel about the government’s plan.
The Environment Ministry plans to hold a meeting of the prefecture’s mayors on November 9th to win support for the permanent storage facility.
Shioya is expected to reiterate their opposition to the plan.
Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) Sweets, cookies and teas and tea products imported from Japan into Taiwan will be subject to tests for radioactive substances beginning next year, the acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director-general said Wednesday.
Chiang Yu-mei said that under the proposed measure, importers of the Japan-made items will not be able to apply for the necessary imported food inspections unless the products come with radiation examination certificates from the Japanese government.
The new measure is expected to take effect next year, Chiang said in response to a post by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen on her Facebook page that criticized the government for not checking Japanese green tea products for radioactive substances.
In the post dated Oct. 29, Lin questioned the surge in green tea drinks imported from Japan into Taiwan over the past three years even though green tea leaves in Japan had tested positive for radioactive substances since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
“Do you know that since the Fukushima disaster, imports of Japanese green tea have increased dramatically? Do you know that Japanese green tea has often tested positive for radiation?” Lin asked in her post.
In defending Taiwan’s practices on Japanese food imports, the FDA has repeadly stressed that Taiwan suspended imports of food items from five Japanese prefectures near the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant days after the facility suffered a meltdown in March 2011.
The temporary ban, imposed on foods from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, remains in effect today, the agency said.
In addition, batch-by-batch inspections for radioactive substances have been enforced on eight major types of foods produced in other parts of Japan since then, the FDA said
The tests cover fresh and chilled vegetables and fruits, frozen vegetables and fruits, live and chilled fishery products, frozen fishery products, dairy products, products for infants, mineral water or other types of drinking water, and seaweed, it said.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Elizabeth Hsu)
Source: Focus Taiwan
October 28, 2014
TEPCO has hidden the truth about the Fukushima nuclear disaster and now drip feeds information so the public can get ready for the next piece of bad news, James Corbett, editor, The Corbett report, told RT’s In the Now show.
Journalist Jun Hori has quit NHK, the Japanese state broadcaster saying that his network restricted what he could say about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and moved more slowly than others to report how far the radiation was spreading.
RT: Has TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) gotten away with hiding information from the public?
James Corbett: TEPCO has lied obfuscated and covered up the truth about what they knew about, or know about what is going on at sites since day one. And of course this goes back to the very beginning of the disaster when they knew within 72 hours that three of the reactors at the Fukushima No.1 plant site were in full melt down. In fact that they did not reveal to the public for almost three months after that event took place. And from there it only continues. We have cover-ups about the amount of radiation that has been released. TEPCO had to revise its original estimate up 250%. We have had cover up of the fact that there was and continues to be 300 tons of radioactive water flooding through the site. That wasn’t really revealed to the public until the summer of 2013, two years after the event took place. Cover-up after cover-up continuously being revealed and only very much later after the fact. I think TEPCO certainly has gotten away with an awful lot. Their practice seems to be, I am not sure if this is a coordinated strategy, but it certainly seems to be that it reveals information in dribs and drabs over long periods of time so that the public has time to be acclimatized to the last piece of bad news before the next one hits them.
RT: How tight is TEPCO with the Japanese government?
JC: Technically TEPCO has now been nationalized with the Japanese government being the largest stakeholder. So there is a direct Japanese government stake in the company. That is obviously a situation which creates a type of direct relationship between the company and the government in which obviously the interest of the government and interest of the company are directly tied financially. It creates a very worrying situation and the government has attempted to reform the nuclear regulatory agency here in Japan and attempted to set up a separate division of TEPCO for taking care of decontamination of the sites specifically. But arm’s length institutions or agencies like that are supposed to have oversight over this process aren’t really anything more than just a buffer between what is essentially the same thing now: the Japanese government/ TEPCO which are really wedded at the hip.
RT: Are you suggesting that the revelations from this disaster and the implications have not really caused tougher control over the industry?
JC: They certainly haven’t it at this point. In fact, what we have seen is the shutdown of all of the other reactors in the country for maintenance and none of those reactors have been turned on as of now. What we are seeing right now is that the struggle that is taking place between protesters and the Japanese government over the restart of those reactors. What has taken place since Fukushima has been the renewal of guidelines regarding safety measures for some of these plants. But there is a lot of concern that these measures that are now being used as the guidelines for whether or not a plant is within the safe operating limits – [are] equally as flimsy as those regulations that allowed the Fukushima plant to operate in the incredibly precarious position that it was operating in. There is still a lot of concern over the nuclear regulatory agency here and the fact that a lot of the members have taken outright bribes of various sorts from the nuclear industry. It seems that the long standing ties between the nuclear industry and the Japanese government here in Japan hasn’t really been shaken and they continue to have … influence over the Japanese government’s policy on nuclear energy.
Sendai nuclear power plant
October 28, 2014
A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on Oct. 28, a step forward in Japan’s fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011.
Kagoshima Prefecture’s Satsuma-sendai, a town of 100,000 that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co. plant, is 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo and has long relied on the Sendai nuclear power plant for government subsidies and jobs.
Nineteen of the city’s 26 assembly members voted in favor of restarting the plant while four members voted against and three abstained, a city assembly member told Reuters.
The restart of Japan’s first reactors to receive clearance to restart under new rules imposed following the Fukushima disaster is unlikely until next year as Kyushu Electric still needs to pass operational safety checks.
All 48 of the country’s nuclear reactors were gradually taken offline after the nuclear disaster, the world’s worst since Chernobyl in 1986.
An earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.
Japan has been forced to import expensive fossil fuels to replace atomic power, which previously supplied around 30 percent of the country’s electricity.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is pushing to restart nuclear reactors, but has said he will defer to local authorities to approve a policy that is still unpopular with large swaths of the public.
The restart divided communities nearest to the plant, pitting the host township that gets direct benefits from siting reactors against other communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster.
In Ichikikushikino, a town less than five km (three miles) from the Sendai plant, more than half the 30,000 residents signed a petition opposing the restart earlier this year.
In the lead-up to the local vote, officials held town halls in neighboring towns to explain the restart, where some residents complained that the public meetings were restrictive and did not address concerns about evacuation plans.
A fire broke out at Kyushu Electric’s other nuclear plant on Oct. 28, according to Japanese media. The fire started in an auxiliary building of the idled nuclear station and was extinguished by plant workers, the agency said. There were no injuries and no release of radioactive materials, it said.
A local council has voted to re-open the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant on the outermost western coast of Japan, despite local opposition and meteorologists’ warnings, following tremors in a nearby volcano.
Nineteen out of 26 members of the city council of Satsumasendai approved the reopening that is scheduled to take place from early 2015. Like all of Japan’s 48 functional reactors, Sendai’s 890 MW generators were mothballed in the months following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Satsumasendai, a town of 100,000 people, relies heavily on state subsidies and jobs, which are dependent on the continuing operation of the plant.
But other towns, located within sight of the plant, do not reap the same benefits, yet say they are being exposed to the same risks. A survey conducted by the local Minami-Nippon Shimbun newspaper earlier this year said that overall, 60 percent of those in the region were in favor of Sendai staying shut. In Ichikikushikino, a 30,000-strong community just 5 kilometers away, more than half of the population signed a petition opposing the restart. Fewer than half of the major businesses in the region reported that they backed a reopening, despite potential economic benefits.
Regional governor Yuichiro Ito has waved away the objections, insisting that only the city in which the plant is located is entitled to make the decision.
While most fears have centered around a lack of transparency and inadequate evacuation plans, Sendai is also located near the volcanically active Kirishima mountain range. Mount Ioyama, located just 65 kilometers away from the plant, has been experiencing tremors in recent weeks, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue a warning. The government’s nuclear agency has dismissed volcanic risks over Sendai’s lifetime as “negligible,” however.
Satsumasendai’s Mayor Hideo Iwakiri welcomed the reopening, but said at the ensuing press conference that it would fall upon the government to ensure a repeat of the accident that damaged Fukushima, an outdated facility subject to loose oversight, is impossible.
September’s decision to initiate the return Japan’s nuclear capacity back online was taken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who endorses nuclear production in the country, but has delegated the controversial call on reopening to local councils. Sendai was chosen after becoming the first plant to officially fulfill the government’s new stricter safety rules. It may also have been picked due to its geographical remoteness, and distance from the 2011 disaster area.
The primary reason for Abe’s nuclear drive been the expense in replacing the lost energy that constituted 30 percent of the country’s consumption, which the government says cost Japan an extra $35 billion last year. Japanese consumers have seen their energy bills climb by 20 percent since the disaster as a result.
But another concern remains the state of the country’s aging nuclear plants, which will cost $12 billion to upgrade. Meanwhile plans to build modern nuclear reactors – which were supposed to be responsible for half of the country’s nuclear power by 2030, according to previous government energy plans – have predictably been shelved in the wake of the disaster.
Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201410280087
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the cover of a building housing the No.1 reactor has been damaged.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says a strong gust of wind moved a machine at around 8:30 AM Tuesday, creating a triangular shaped hole about 1 meter wide and 2 meters long.
TEPCO has been using machinery suspended from a crane to spray chemicals into holes. This is to prevent the dispersal of radioactive dust when dismantling the cover.
The operator says no significant changes in radiation levels were seen at the compound, but work has been suspended.
Officials say the wind speed at the time was about 7 kilometers per hour, which is well below the 36-kilometer-per-hour standard required to suspend work. They say a sudden gust may have moved the machinery.
TEPCO has notified the central and local governments and is considering what steps to take. Officials say they don’t know when work can resume, or whether this problem will affect Thursday’s plan to remove part of the cover on a trial basis.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the levels of radioactive cesium in the compound’s groundwater at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant fluctuated greatly last week.
TEPCO detected the highest concentration of cesium in samples of water taken from 2 monitoring wells near a reactor building on Wednesday.
One well had 428,000 becquerels of cesium per liter of water, while the other contained 458,000 becquerels.
But only 2 days later, the reading in the first well had dropped to 5,200 becquerels, or one-eightieth of the level detected on Wednesday. The concentration in the other well stood at 470 becquerels, or about one-one-thousandth of the previous quantity.
TEPCO says these wells are connected underground with other wells that are highly contaminated. So the operator believes cesium poured into them with this month’s heavy rains and then flowed out with the underground water.
The utility says this problem cannot be fundamentally solved because the area around the wells thought to be the source of the contamination has extremely high radiation levels and cannot be decontaminated.
The 2 wells are among those from which tainted groundwater is pumped and discharged into the sea after being decontaminated.
But TEPCO has suspended the operation and is considering whether to resume the work.
U.S. Sends Planes Armed with Depleted Uranium to Middle East Aletho News, By David Swanson | War is a Crime | October 28, 2014 The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them.
A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). “Weight for weight and by number of rounds more 30mm PGU-14B ammo has been used than any other round,” said ICBUW coordinator Doug Weir, referring to ammunition used by A-10s, as compared to DU ammunition used by tanks.
Public affairs superintendent Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing told me that the A-10s now in the Middle East along with “300 of our finest airmen” have been sent there on a deployment planned for the past two years and have not been assigned to take part in the current fighting in Iraq or Syria, but “that could change at any moment.”
The crews will load PGU-14 depleted uranium rounds into their 30mm Gatling cannons and use them as needed, said Hubble. “If the need is to explode something — for example a tank — they will be used.” Continue reading
Truly Frightening”: Doctors being threatened for linking illnesses to Fukushima — Strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — Much higher incidences of whole range of health problems reported — Experts: 1,000,000 cancers, plus many other ailments possible (AUDIO & VIDEO) http://enenews.com/frightening-doctors-being-threatened-telling-patients-illnesses-related-fukushima-radiation-strange-tumors-kids-dying-pets-dying-higher-incidences-range-health-problems-being-reported-experts
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education on Radio Ecoshock, released Oct 29, 2014:
- Alex Smith, host of RadioEcoshock (at 10:30 in): We’ve heard almost nothing about the impacts [of the Fukushima catastrophe] on people in that region. There are accounts coming out of there of strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — what have you heard? Can we ever expect an honest accounting from Japanese authorities?
- Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer (emphasis added): That’s a pretty good summary, frankly. We continue to get information from people who live there about cancer rates — and illnesses in general, not just cancer. We think of radiation as a cancer causing thing, but it also causes many other ailments. Much higher incidences of a whole range of illnesses than they had in 2010, the year before the accident… We’re also working with doctors in Japan, and some brave doctors are saying that they’ve been threatened — that their hospital rights have been threatened — if you tell your patient this illness is radiation related you’ll lose your right to practice and things like that. So there’s enormous pressure on the medical community to tell the patients that what they’re experiencing is not at all related to radiation. The key is statistics, and the question is when will the statistics be released for mortality, morbidity, and general illnesses… We’re not seeing the data. The medical community now has to file every report that it writes with the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, before it’s issued. So if you’re a hospital, and you’ve got mortality data, you’re not allowed to issue that to the public until those reports have been cleared by the IAEA. Well, Article II of the IAEA charter is to promote nuclear power. So even if the hospital was conscientious — there’s a lot of political pressure not to be — but even if it was conscientious, there’s another step in the process, and they’ve got to clear an IAEA hurdle before those numbers are released.It’s truly frightening, the pressure the medical community is undergoing in Japan. Very few of them are willing to tell the truth.
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer, Oct. 20, 2014 (at 15:00 in): There’s experts out there like me – independent experts – who are saying that as many as a million cancers may result.
Sneak peek of Oct. 29 broadcast here | Watch Oct. 20 presentation here
Shutting down San Onofre to take 20 years, cost $4.4B, NRC says http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/10/28/shutting-down-san-onofre-to-take-20-years-cost-4-4b-nrc-says/ , OCTOBER 28, 2014, BY JAMIE CHAMBERS SAN DIEGO- IT WILL TAKE 20 YEARS AND COST $4.4 BILLION TO DECOMMISSION THE SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR POWER STATION, REGULATORS SAY.
Activists and residents peppered the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday with pointed questions about the decommissioning process. “How can you tell us a price when you can’t even tell us how long the waste will be there,” asked a woman at the meeting.
San Clemente resident Rochelle Becker said she thinks the process will end up costing much more than the commission’s estimate.
“The NRC has never met a budget. Why in the world should they now?” Becker asked rhetorically.
While the commission estimated that it would take 20 years to decommission the reactor, that doesn’t include removing the plant’s spent nuclear fuel rods. The spent nuclear waste will remain on the property for up to 100 years, under the current plan.
There is no federal nuclear waste storage site, so every nuclear reactor faces the same problem. At the end of their life cycle, nuclear power plant will become nuclear waste storage sites until that changes, according to the commission.
29 Oct 14 There are many groups (e.g. FOE, Beyond Nuclear) using law suits to try to protect the public from nuclear, which we never hear about. Without them we would be in even more trouble.
But, even US public universities became majority private funded over 20 years ago, via “Grant monies”. Also, the rich literally buy positions for their kids, and perhaps selves, to be professors via endowments. Canadian universities have been corrupted by mining interests for at least as long, probably longer, and by the World Bank, etc. Think of the McGill U. prof promoting asbestos. Little room for those who are unwilling or unable to get grants.
That little non-grant room is occupied by nepotism or direct patronage. Non-public monies started making inroads in France around the same time, but to a lesser extent, probably because even many French companies are govt. owned. Also, critical minds lost their teaching positions in the UK and US during the Red Scare. So, we are very much reaping all of that corrupted ideological influence.
Now is the time for non-nuclear business people to get mad at the unfair advantage given to the nuclear industry.
I hope that you and everyone see this imminent risk of a fuel pool fire from Sellafield and spread the word:
Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs
The nuclear industry has a grip on USA’s Department of Energy (DOE) – they work together to promote nuclear power. It’s not hard to find academics who will pretty much advertise nuclear power- especially nuclear physicists and engineers. After all, where else will they get a high-paying prestigious job?
A global tactic of DOE is buying academia. Universities like the funding. We have some of this funding in Australia, at Flinders University, for example.
The latest from the UK is Cambridge University – very happy indeed to be funded by USA to promote the pipe-dream of thorium nuclear powered reactors – as “safer nuclear power”. Note that it’s not “safe” nuclear power – just a bit less dangerous than conventional uranium-powered nuclear power. And considerably more dangerous that wind or solar power, of course.
Musical points to sinister nuclear implications, Japan Times, BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI OCT 28, 2014 A recent court-themed musical staged in Tokyo was, to say the least, an audacious dig at the contentious state secrets law scheduled to take effect in December.
Set several years after the law’s passage last December, the musical, performed last week in Nakano Ward by the social theater troupe Musical Guild Q, offered what its adviser said was a “fairly realistic” sneak peek into how the first-ever trial of violators of this law would play out. At the same time, it was also an attempt to sound the alarm about what critics of the law say is an attempt by the powers that be to retreat into a more controlled society like the one that existed during the Pacific War.
“The chief purpose of the musical was to alert the audience to the likelihood that after the law takes effect, even information that is vital to their everyday life can be unjustly taken away from them,” said veteran lawyer and rights activist Yuichi Kaido, who served as a special adviser for the show.
On trial during the musical, which is titled “The Secret Garden,” is a group of nine ordinary citizens………
the audience is gradually clued in to what the musical’s writer calls the secrets law’s “inseparable” connection with nuclear power, and its ulterior motive to help achieve Japan’s transformation into a nuclear weapons-capable nation………
lawyer Kaido says he hopes that a worried citizenry will continue to protest and do everything possible to show the government they oppose the law even after it takes effect on Dec. 10.
“I don’t want people to succumb to the law’s pressure, but continue to fight for their rights to access information they have every right to know about,” he said. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/28/national/musical-points-sinister-nuclear-implications/#.VFFjIiLF8nk
China’s Risky Nuclear Renaissance http://online.wsj.com/articles/heard-on-the-street-chinas-risky-nuclear-renaissance-1414508639 CGN Power’s Plan to Go Public Could Be Dicey By ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA Oct. 28, 2014
Nuclear energy: It’s risky stuff. Hence, there is often a heavy degree of government control over it—which makes it a doubly risky investment proposition.
Especially when that government is China’s.
A number of Chinese state-owned nuclear companies are going public these days. CGN Power, the country’s largest with 9.4 gigawatts of operating capacity, will likely offer $3 billion worth of new shares in Hong Kong next month, reports The Wall Street Journal. A small affiliate, CGN Meiya Power , raised $262 million in Hong Kong last month and has seen its shares rise by 20% since. Meanwhile, another top operator, China National Nuclear Power, also plans an initial public offering.
Once listed, these will be one of a handful of stocks globally, including the likes of Exelon of the U.S. and EDF of France, offering high or pure exposure to nuclear energy. And while much of the rest of the world is ambivalent about or hostile to nuclear energy, Beijing has big expansion plans. The Chinese government suspended new project approvals after Japan’s Fukushima accident in March 2011. But the need to diversify away from smog-causing coal has put its nuclear ambitions back on track. China now targets nearly tripling the nuclear capacity that’s up and running to 58 gigawatts by 2020. The IPOs will help fund that ambition.
The state’s involvement can cut both ways, though. CGN Power sells most of its output to state-run electricity grids at regulated tariffs. For power plants that began operating before 2013, these tariffs are tailored to yield a “reasonable” profit, according to CGN’s prospectus. Yet its net profit has fallen since 2011 because of either surging costs or weakening sales.
For newer plants, the tariff is supposed to be fixed—except when it isn’t. In a bid to avoid competition, these plants are required to cut tariffs if neighboring coal-fired power is cheaper. That’s quite likely as coal prices spiral downward. Energy prices are heavily regulated precisely because consumers are rather attached to light and heat. That makes them subject to political, as well as economic, forces.
In France, for example, shares in state-run EDF tanked 14% in June when the government scrapped a planned tariff increase. There’s even more reason to worry in China since governments could keep down power prices as a stimulus to troubled heavy industries. Growth prospects are high, which is likely one reason that CGN Meiya already trades at 10.9 times 2013 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. That is far higher than EDF’s 4.8 times or Exelon’s 6.6 times.
Double-digit multiples are no doubt tempting for IPO bankers but look too much for a large nuclear generator carrying this much political risk. Problem is, CGN’s balance sheet means it needs a high multiple, or fast growth in profits, to make its IPO math work.
Net debt as of this March is a hefty 5.1 times 2013 Ebitda, and still high at four times even if related-party loans are excluded. And less than 10% of the IPO proceeds are currently earmarked for paying off borrowings. As if nuclear power wasn’t risky enough
In Federal Court Filing, PG&E and Nuclear Regulator Said to Collude in Secret Decision to Cover up Diablo Canyon’s Vulnerability to Earthquakes http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/56383-in-federal-court-filing-pg-e-and-nuclear-regulator-said-to-collude-in-secret-decision-to-cover-up-diablo-canyon-s-vulnerability-to-earthquakes.html WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—October 28, 2014. Friends of the Earth has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn a secret decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to illegally alter the operating license for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant allowing Pacific Gas and Electric to hide the fact that the reactors are vulnerable to earthquakes stronger than it was meant to withstand.
The secret revision of Diablo Canyon’s license was revealed in NRC documents rejecting a dissent by the plant’s former senior
resident inspector. The inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, defied his superiors in saying that Diablo Canyon was operating in violation of its license and should be shut down unless and until new seismic information was addressed.
In a July 2013 formal dissent, which the NRC suppressed for more than a year, Dr. Peck argued that newly discovered faults could produce earthquakes far more destructive than the plant was designed, built and licensed to withstand. Last month, in rejecting the dissent, the NRC revealed that in September 2013 it had changed the way the risk of earthquakes at the plant are assessed — in effect, rewriting history and science to make the threat of more powerful earthquakes go away, without requiring any safety upgrades by PG&E.
The amendment was added in secret, unknown beyond the highest levels of PG&E and the NRC. Continue reading
Aggressive Thyroid Cancers Linked to Radiation Exposure http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/834000 Roxanne Nelson October 28, 2014 Researchers who have followed the children and adolescents exposed to radioactive fallout from the the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident have highlighted the fact that the thyroid cancers seen in these individuals are particularly aggressive. They say their work has implications for individuals affected by the 2011 nuclear reactor incidents in Fukushima, Japan.
The study is published online October 28 in Cancer.
The research team screened nearly 12,000 individuals from Belarus several times over a course of 9 years. Study participants were all under age 18 years when they were exposed to the Chernobyl radioactive fallout.
All individuals underwent up to three cycles of thyroid screening from 1997 to 2008. Radioactive iodine-131 (I-131) thyroid doses were estimated from individual thyroid activity measurements taken within 2 months after the accident, along with dosimetric data from questionnaires.
A total of 158 thyroid cancers were diagnosed in the 11,664-person cohort during 3 rounds of screening, which were conducted at roughly 2-year intervals.
The researchers found that higher I-131 thyroid doses were associated with higher frequency of solid or diffuse sclerosing variants of thyroid cancer (P < 0.01), as well as histologic features of cancer aggressiveness, such as lymphatic vessel invasion, intrathyroidal infiltration, and multifocality (all P < .03).
First author Lydia Zablotska, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, explained that her group has previously shown that radioactive iodine exposure significantly increases the risk for thyroid cancer in a dose-dependent manner. But this new study demonstrates that exposure to I-131 is associated with distinct clinical features indicating more aggressive tumors.
“Our study has very important implications for clinical practice,” Dr Zablotska told Medscape Medical News, especially as they relate to radiation exposure that resulted from the 2011 nuclear reactor incidents in Fukushima, Japan. Continue reading