I would like to say that in 2014 progress has really been made – world-wide. But I’m not sure that this is true.
One area of progress is, without doubt, the rapid growth of renewable energy, both in large scale projects, and in small-scale diversified solar and wind energy. China is leading the way in renewable energy, but there are remarkable achievements in Europe, especially Germany, and also in some States of USA.
Another area – hard to pin down – a degree of public awakening to climate and nuclear issues – as exemplified in the global response to the People’s Climate Marches on September 21st.
Below. I found this inspirational photograph by Robert Rodriguez Jr http://robertrodriguezjr.com/2014/08/19/storm-king-mountain-environmental-movement/#comment-20272
Will that public awakening translate to action, in time? Even big businesses, corporations are now pledging support for climate action. Yet then immoral nuclear lobby now jumps on that bandwagon, with its massive ability to buy politicians.
When it comes to the nuclear horror, very little progress in the weapons area – it seems that the boys just can’t stop “improving” their nuclear weapons toys.
It’s a bit better concerning commercial nuclear power – the realities of its stupendous costs are now biting.
Wikipedia gives some encouraging facts concerning nuclear power in 2014:
” As of 2014, countries such as Australia, Austria, Denmark,Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Norway have no nuclear power stations and some remain opposed to nuclear power. Germany and Switzerland are phasing-out nuclear power. Globally, more nuclear power reactors have closed than opened in recent years.…..
In March 2014, around 130,000 Taiwanese marched for an anti-nuclear protest around Taiwan. They demanded that the government remove nuclear power plants in Taiwan. The march came ahead of the 3rd anniversary of Fukushima disaster. Around 50,000 people marched in Taipei while another three separate events were held around other Taiwanese cities attended by around 30,000 people. Among the participants are the organizations from Green Citizen Action’s Alliance, Homemakers United Foundation, Taiwan Association for Human Rights and Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.Facing on-going opposition and a host of delays, construction of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant was halted in April 2014.”[
They relate to the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) first signed in 1958, which, according to the government, enables the UK and the US “nuclear warhead communities to collaborate on all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture”.
One amendment refers to potential threats from “state or non-state actors”. But the amendments are for the most part arcane and their significance cannot be understood in the absence of information which is kept secret.
The MDA does not have to be debated or voted on in parliament, as I have remarked before. Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.
Yet the matters covered by the treaty, which is renewed only at 10 year intervals, are hugely important. Successive British governments have made clear a proper debate on the issues involved would not be welcome.
“A debate on the renewal of the MDA would be used by some as an opportunity to raise wider questions concerning the possible renewal of the nuclear deterrent…and our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” notes an internal MoD paper, dated 2004. The paper was released only earlier this year through a freedom of information act request by the independent Nuclear Information Service……….
Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) says the UK-US agreement flew in the face Britain’s commitments as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“It is appalling that David Cameron is signing secretive nuclear deals behind Parliament’s back. In no other area of government would such a sinister sidestepping of democratic process be tolerated.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/oct/20/nuclear-weapons-uk-us
Pakistan court stops construction work on nuclear plants http://www.firstpost.com/india/pakistan-court-stops-construction-work-nuclear-plants-1761153.html 19 Oct 14, Islamabad: A court in Pakistan has restrained the government from initiating construction work on two proposed nuclear power plants unless environmental safeguards are adhered to, media reports here said. The two-judge bench at the Sindh High Court restrained the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) yesterday to carry out work at the proposed sites in the southern port city of Karachi without adhering to environmental laws.
The court directive was issued on a petition challenging the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency which approved the two plants.
The counsel of petitioner said that the reactors would be built by the China National Nuclear Corporation on a design known as ACP-1000 that has not been operational even in China.
“The ACP-1000 reactor so far exists only on paper and in computer programmes and any real life experience, tests and trials … on the ACP-1000 design will be from operating the reactors in Karachi,” the counsel added.
Karachi, one of the world’s most densely populated cities with an estimated population of about 21 million, lacked the infrastructure for mass evacuation of its inhabitants in the wake of a possible nuclear accident, he added.
Pakistan government had finalised plans for starting work on two nuclear power plants of 11,00 MW each – adjacent to the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant – with support from China. Besides, subsequent plans for two more plants – K-4 and K-5 – were also under consideration.
State shops for ‘nuclear vendor’ IOL October 20 2014 Cape Town – The government has confirmed it is shopping around for its nuclear build programme and says it is consulting “nuclear vendors” in the US, South Korea, Russia, France, Japan and China.
The announcement by the Department of Energy yesterday comes weeks of controversy about the multibillion-rand nuclear project since it emerged last month that a R1-trillion agreement had been signed with Russia, followed by another with France.
The department said the government was consulting “nuclear vendor countries” with pressurised water reactor nuclear technology, similar to that used at Koeberg………
DA leader Helen Zille has said the nuclear co-operation agreement with France, signed by Joemat-Pettersson on Wednesday, is nothing more than a “decoy”.
“This is… to muddy the waters and divert attention from the Russian deal negotiated by President (Jacob) Zuma and signed by Minister Joemat-Pettersson last month.
“We are led to believe a similar agreement with the Chinese is next and that a proper procurement process has yet to begin, but all evidence points to a done deal with the Russians. No amount of obfuscation can allow our focus to shift from this.” – Cape Times http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/state-shops-for-nuclear-vendor-1.1767746#.VEcGcSJ4pBE
Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALD OCT. 19, 2014 The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.
Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment.
At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs substantially older than that.“I don’t know how we would explain to the public that these designs, 90-year-old designs, 100-year-old designs, are still safe to operate,” he said. “Don’t we need more convincing arguments than just ‘We’re managing aging effects’?”
“I mean, will you buy a car that was designed in ’64?” he asked……. Continue reading
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
“I don’t like to break the law and don’t encourage others to do so, either. But this industry has to be stopped.”
Ace Hoffman October 19, 2014
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
Four grandmothers attempted to plant flowers to bring attention to the dangers at Pilgrim nuclear power plant. But Judge Sullivan refused to allow world-renowned pediatrician and nuclear expert Helen Caldicott to testify in their defense, because she (the judge) sees a huge difference — when pushed to see it by the District Attorney — between “potential theoretical harm” and actual imminent harm.
The defendants — four women 60 to 80 years old — are using the “necessity” defense. Is there an immediate danger? Is the illegal act (trespassing) effective in addressing and abating the danger? The judge refused to learn how quickly a nuclear power plant can explode. She refused to hear that the plans for evacuation require immediate action for millions of people around the plant. She refused to consider that the warning that it’s time to evacuate must be sent out by people who, if they fail to do their duty, will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and end up in Judge Sullivan’s court (if she survives the holocaust) to be sentenced for negligent homicide.
How imminent can you get?
And sticks and stones may break my bones but planting flowers never hurt anybody.
The judge would like to turn the issue of nuclear safety away. Not her concern. Not in her courtroom. That’s for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide. They say it’s safe. And for the judge, that’s the end of the “imminent threat” defense. Continue reading
Is France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over? Oil Price, By Chris Dalby | Sun, 19 October 2014 French President Francois Hollande has promised to limit the growth of the country’s nuclear power, many older reactors have been targeted for decommissioning, and Greenpeace and other environmental groups have been relentless in their anti-nuclear campaigning. But until now, it seemed unlikely that France would ever truly rethink its love affair with nuclear power.
Last week, it did. On Oct. 10, France’s parliament voted to begin moving to undo decades of nuclear growth and to reduce its importance to the country’s energy mix. Over the next 11 years, France will reduce the amount of electricity coming from nuclear by one-quarter — from 75 percent to 50 percent. To do that, estimates are that as many as 20 of France’s 58 reactors would have to be closed.
The vote was part of a package of legal reforms in France’s long-awaited energy transition law, a main pillar of which was slowing nuclear power production and then maintaining it at the new lower level before progressively lowering it over the next 10 years.
The second pillar was removing bureaucratic hurdles that prevented renewable energy projects from getting off the ground. A trial period will see wind, solar, bio-gas and small hydro projects receive streamlined authorization in seven French regions.
A comparison of the contribution of renewables versus nuclear in France’s energy mix shows the massive disparity that the government is seeking to address. In June, France had 8,592MW of onshore wind installations and 5,095MW of PV, translating to 3.8 percent and 1 percent of the country’s energy needs. This compares to 63.2GWe of nuclear capacity.
The energy transition law aims to erase this imbalance. At 50 percent of national energy production, nuclear will remain the biggest source, but will be supported by a boosted renewables sector, with wind and solar levels similar to Germany’s…………
In March, around 60 Greenpeace protesters managed to spectacularly infiltrate Fessenheim in northeastern France, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant, which is set to be decommissioned in 2016. The activists deployed a huge banner on one of Fessenheim’s reactors, reading “Stop Risking Europe”, in support of their argument that France’s aging nuclear installations put all of Europe at risk, much like Chernobyl. Europe-Ecologie Les Verts (EELV), backed the protest at the time, widening a rift with Hollande’s Socialist Party that the energy transition law hopes to close……..
the pressure is on. Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are all abandoning nuclear power. Flagship nuclear firm Areva, which builds nuclear plants around the world, is not the profit-making juggernaut it once was. Nuclear is no longer as cost-competitive as it used to be compared to natural gas, wind and PV…….http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-Frances-Love-Affair-with-Nuclear-Over.html
Iran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with powers: IAEA Yahoo News, By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) 20 Oct 14 – Iran is taking further action to comply with an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency report showed, a finding the West may see as positive ahead of a November deadline for clinching a long-term deal.
The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and major powers seek to negotiate a final settlement of a decade-old nuclear dispute.
It said Iran had diluted more than 4,100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord that took effect early this year was extended by four months in July……..http://news.yahoo.com/iran-acts-meet-terms-extended-nuclear-deal-powers-163649048.html
Dennis Matthews 21 Oct 14, The whole containment vessel in which the fusion is carried out – so far very briefly and at no net energy output – becomes radioactive due to neutron bombardment, a process called neutron activation.
In addition it has one of the major problems that you have with nuclear fission. The people you train in Schools of Nuclear Science and Engineering can move effortlessly between fusion power and fusion weapons. There are no Schools of Nuclear Weapons Science and Technology but there are lots of Schools of Nuclear (Power) Science and Technology including one here in Australia that recently got restarted after several decades in the wilderness.
Why We Will Never Make A Nuclear Fusion Reactor As Good As The Sun, Business Insider, JESSICA ORWIG OCT 17 2014 “…………..combine four hydrogen atoms and you get a burst of energy that can destroy entire islands and did on Nov. 1, 1952. That day the US tested the first hydrogen bomb on the now-nonexistent Pacific island, Elugelab.……… Clean, limitless energy is the real holy grail. Combine that desire with the awesome power we first saw with the< H-bomb, and we’ve been dreaming of a way to harness nuclear fusion of the sun as a source of clean, endless energy.
For about the last 70 years, we’ve slowly developed ways of producing the extreme pressure and heat necessary for nuclear fusion. Today, the most promising methods use containment vessels called tokamaks that can sustain hot plasmas that produce nuclear fusion but require lots of energy and space to function. The other way is using powerful lasers to fuse hydrogen atoms together.
Both of these methods, however, still have a long way to go despite what you might read from the occasional headlines on the latest breakthroughs in new nuclear fusion technology………http://www.businessinsider.com.au/we-will-never-have-sun-like-nuclear-fusion-2014-10
Where Shall We Store Our Radioactive Waste? Red Baron’s Blog, 18 Oct 14, From September 20 to 22, 2014 the Deutsch-Schweizer Fachverband für Strahlenschutz (Swiss-German Radiation Protection Association) held a symposium in Mainz dealing with the topic: Zwischenlager – Dauerlager – Endlager: Wohin mit unserem radioaktiven Abfall? (Intermediate, permanent and final storage: Where shall we store our radioactive waste?)
The Federal Government has set up a commission of 33 persons to deal with the deposition of highly-radioactive waste according to the Standortauswahlgesetz(Law for selecting a site). The German government called scientists, members of environmental associations, representatives of the Churches!!, economy, trade unions, members of parliament and state governments into the commission to find a consensus on a site until December 31, 2015. In their initial sessions the members of the commission lost their time on points of order; so I doubt that they will meet the deadline set by the government…….http://mhoefert.blogspot.com.au/
In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making, NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALDOCT. 19, 2014………..The agency started Watts Bar as part of a campaign to build 17 reactors, but dropped the project in 1988 after spending about $1.7 billion, when it was supposedly 80 percent complete. In 2007, with electricity demand growing again, the T.V.A. board voted to restart work because, consultants said, it could be finished for $2 billion. But by the end of next year, when commercial operation is now expected, the T.V.A. will have spent more than $4 billion…………..Not everyone is convinced that finishing the job is a good idea.
The underlying difficulty, according to S. David Freeman, whom President Jimmy Carter appointed to chair the T.V.A. in 1977, and who tried to shut many of the nuclear projects, is that the agency’s executives are “nuke-aholics.”
“They’re addicted to nuclear power,” said Mr. Freeman, the author of a bookthat argues that renewable energy can meet nearly all electricity needs. He said that when he joined the T.V.A. board, “they were telling me Watts Bar was 90 percent finished, but a few years later it was 84 percent finished.”
Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is another skeptic. “There are elements of T.V.A. that are drawn to nuclear like a moth to the flame,” he said. “And the reality is T.V.A. has been burned very, very badly by nuclear power over the years.”
The contractors lowballed the price to build it in 1970 and again in 2006, Mr. Smith said. “To make it like new, they’re pulling out equipment that has never operated, and replacing it with new equipment,” he said. For people who pay electric bills, he added, “this has been a disaster.”…..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/us/in-tennessee-time-comes-for-a-nuclear-plant-four-decades-in-the-making.html?_r=0
NUCLEAR-REACTOR SHIP HEADED TO GALVESTON TO BE SCRAPPED Kristi Nix, The Pasadena CitizenMonday, October 20, 2014 GALVESTON, TX –
(PHOTOS) What life is really like in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disaster news.com.au OCTOBER 20, 2014
“They literally evacuated that day and were told they had to get out of town completely and since then they haven’t been able to go back,” she said.
“The kids themselves haven’t been back, adults have gone back on a daily pass to clear their house. Anyone that’s under 15 isn’t able to go on. So it’s pretty tough on them.”…….. 160,000 people have been forced from their homes after Japan’s environment ministry labelled 11 municipalities “no-go zones”. They’ve been forced to live in temporary housing while authorities painstakingly decontaminate the area in order for them to return home…….
Fukushima Update’s editor James Corbett, who lives 600 kilometres from the plant and started his website in an attempt to provide information on the disaster, said the situation is still a “huge problem” with no resolution in sight.
“The cores are still there and highly radioactive. The technology to approach the cores does not exist yet,” he told news.com.au.
“Just last week they had a typhoon and in the wake of that they found 10 times the radioactivity in the groundwater than in the week before.”
Since the disaster, Mr Corbett said clean-up operations have focused on containing groundwater that has become contaminated with radioactive material. But as more flows into the area each day from Japan’s mountains, it’s an ongoing problem that doesn’t come close to solving the real issue.
“There really isn’t the technology to even begin approaching the core of these reactors yet,’’ he said. “[They’re] the fundamental cause of the problem. That is going to go on for potentially years, potentially decades. At this stage it’s more damage control and trying to take care of things like the radioactive water.”………
There’s even a term — Genpatsu rikon — or “atomic divorce” coined to describe marriages ripped apart by the strain. Meanwhile there are plenty of tales of peoplebeing discriminated against by being banned from donating blood and asked to provide medical certificates on job applications, while farmers have had their livelihood threatened by stigma over produce.
“It’s taken a huge toll on residents of Fukushima and will probably continue for a long time to come,” Mr Corbett said.
“For generations survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a stigma attached to them. They were often treated differently if it was known they were from that area. I know even in my area of Japan … when I was working in school system there were students that had been evacuated. [It would be] interesting to see if they were treated differently.”
Despite this, effects of the disaster are often not openly discussed, as “expressing strong opinions, especially ones not seen as conducive to general harmony, is not seen as acceptable in public” in Japan, Mr Corbett said.
There is also a view that authorities are “basically trying to keep it out of the headlines” in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.
“Their number one project is trying to keep the situation under control in order to successfully conduct the Tokyo Olympics 2020,” he said……….http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/what-life-is-really-like-in-japan-following-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/story-e6frflp0-1227096107865
Whenever the nuclear lobby buys influence over the local elected officials the will of the local residents becomes completely ignored, resulting in a total corruption of democracy: ” The panel rejected 10 petitions against the restart, and adopted one calling for the plant to return online.”
The panel at the Satsuma Sendai city assembly in Kagoshima Prefecture discussed petitions both for and against the restart of the Sendai plant on Monday.
The plant is operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company. Last month it became the first to pass new regulations for nuclear plants introduced after the 2011 Fukushima accident.
Panel members in favor of the restart argued that the local economy has been sluggish since the plant went offline. But others opposing the restart said the screening by the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority does not guarantee the plant’s safety.
The panel rejected 10 petitions against the restart, and adopted one calling for the plant to return online.
The city assembly is likely to approve the same petition because a majority of the assembly members are in favor of the restart.
The assembly may hold a session as early as October 28th to discuss the matter.
The plant operator says it hopes to win approval from Satsuma Sendai City and Kagoshima Prefecture.
The utility must also obtain approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The plant will then undergo inspection of the newly installed equipment before going online.
The restart is likely to be early next year.
The series of groundwater monitoring wells near the sea front have seen continued changes consisting of high levels of various radioactive isotopes. Beta radiation in well 1-6 jumped to 5.1 million bq/liter on the 17th.
This well began to decrease by the next day. Wells 1-14 and 1-16 began to increase on the 18th. Well 1-14 saw an increase in cesium. Both wells saw an increase in beta radiation the second day. TEPCO claims they will continue to monitor these wells daily.
The ongoing behavior of these wells and any related increases in contamination inside the port or the sea near the plant could indicate an ongoing pathway for contaminated water to leak to the sea.
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