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International Day against Nuclear Tests – August 29

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests brings public awareness and education about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. The day aims to end nuclear testing and to promote peace and security.

peace-1

http://www.un.org/en/events/againstnucleartestsday/      http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/day-against-nuclear-tests

August 29, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

All States must sign, ratify Nuclear Test Ban – call from United Nations

flag-UN-largeUN urges all States to sign, ratify Nuclear Test Ban as ‘critical step on road to nuclear-free world’ http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51744#.VeDS4SWqpHw 28 August 2015 – For the fifth International Day against Nuclear Tests, United NationsSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed states but stressed that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding treaty.

“The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the elimination of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Ban said in a message. “It is a legally-binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.”

The UN General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Testsin December 2009, adopting a unanimous resolution that calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” 2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

Reminding the world that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age, the UN chief said 70 years ago in 1945, “the Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of TNT and precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests.”

“Pristine environments and populated communities in Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific were hit,” he said. “Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health and economic damage. Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia, radioactive fallout – these are among the poisonous legacies of nuclear testing.”

“The best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future,” he said, noting that two decades after the CTBT was negotiated, “the time has long past for its entry-into-force.” “I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed States,” Mr. Ban said “At the same time, I stress that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding Treaty.”

“On this International Day, I repeat my longstanding call on all remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty – especially the eight necessary for its entry-into-force – as a critical step on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said.

The General Assembly resolution that established the world day was initiated by Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.

In his remarks, Assembly President Sam Kutesa said the recently held 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had highlighted the stark reality of the increasing divisions between the States parties over the future of nuclear disarmament.

“It is now time to bridge the gap and work with more resolute political will to ensure that the NPT continues to remain the cornerstone of global security,” he declared.

Mr. Kutesa applauded the efforts of the Government of Kazakhstan, not only for initiating the International Day, but also for its continuing leadership in efforts to end nuclear weapons testing and to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.

He also commend the recent announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme, reached in Vienna between the international negotiators and Iran as an important step forward on this critical issue.

“I hope this agreement will benefit the non-proliferation regime and will lead to greater mutual understanding and cooperation on the many serious security challenges in the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

He also announced that on 10 September, he plans to convene an informal meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day under the overall theme ‘Towards Zero: Resolving the Contradictions.’

August 29, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Red Cross Red Crescent call for binding international agreement on nuclear disarmament

Red Cross Red Crescent reiterates its call for Nuclear Disarmament, Red Cross and Red Crescent  28 red-cross-and-red-crescentAugust 2015 Mihoko Goto, Japanese Red Cross Hler Gudjonsson, IFRC

At the 25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima, Japan, which ended today, representatives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement emphasized the need for governments to take urgent action to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons through a binding international agreement.

In his speech at the conference, IFRC President Konoe reminded participants that the Movement stands united in working towards the crucial goal of eliminating the threat of nuclear war, stating that, “nuclear weapons and their terrible humanitarian consequences threaten the existence of each and every one of us. In the eventuality of nuclear detonation, no international capacity exists or could ever exist to assist those affected or to protect those delivering assistance.”

Thousands of people are still receiving continuous medical care for radiation related diseases at the two Red Cross atomic bomb hospitals in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Former Director of the hospital in Hiroshima, Dr. Masao TOMONAGA, stressed the urgent need to transfer the experiences from the atomic bombings in 1945 to the next generation while the last survivors are still alive. “I am determined to do whatever I can, since I am also a Hibakusha (atomic bomb victim).” Dr Tominaga stated in his speech……..

At the Conference, which took place only weeks after the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, participants expressed anxiety over the lack of progress in disarmament. These worries are in part triggered by the failure of States to reach agreement on a substantive final declaration at the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York in May this year.

The IFRC’s President Konoe, spoke of his renewed determination to mobilize the entire Red Cross Red Crescent movement to ensure greater progress towards nuclear disarmament. Since the end of the Second World War, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has been calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and in 2011 the appealed to governments to ensure that nuclear weapons are never again used……….   http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/news-stories/asia-pacific/japan/red-cross-red-crescent-reiterates-its-call-for-nuclear-disarmament–69280/#sthash.IBq3qDiB.dpuf

August 29, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Radiation standards: comparison of Hormesis theory versus Linear No Threshold theory

highly-recommendedUS Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org, 28 Aug 15, Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org “………..Comments on Hormesis It is true that some cell and animal experiments indicate that if small amounts of radiation were administered before later larger amounts, the damage done is less than if no previous small amount were given. (The word “tickle” is used in radiobiology lingo to denote such small amounts.)

On the other hand, other cell and animal studies using different doses, durations and endpoints fail to show this effect, and there is no human evidence, ie from epidemiology. But it is true that some evidence from chemistry indicates the same effect, and there is some theoretical support for an adaptive effect in animals and plants.

Hormesis advocates typically argue that although radiation attacks DNA and causes mutations, DNA repair mechanisms quickly correct these. These mechanisms are certainly numerous and busy – it is estimated over 15,000 repairs per hour are carried out in each cell – but from the sheer number of repairs, many misrepairs occur and it is the misrepairs that cause the damage.

HormesisBut even if the existence of hormesis were accepted, the question remains – what relevance would it have for radiation protection? The answer- as stated repeatedly in official reports by UNSCEAR and BEIR etc – is zero.

For example, do we give “tickle” doses to people about to undergo radiation therapy, or to nuclear workers? Of course, we don’t. And what about background radiation? All of us receive small “tickle” doses of radiation – about 3 mSv per year of which about 1 mSv is from external gamma radiation.

Do these somehow protect us from subsequent radiation? How would we notice? And if it did, so what? That is, what relevance would it have for radiation protection, eg setting radiation standards? The answer is again ….none.

Indeed, as we show below, increasing evidence exists that even background radiation itself is harmful.

Comments on LNT On the other hand, the scientific evidence for the LNT is plentiful, powerful and persuasive. It comes from epidemiological studies, radiobiological evidence, and official reports. Let’s examine these in turn. Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Catholic hopes for Pope Francis to take nuclear disarmament message to USA Congress

Pope & St FrancisGroup hopes Francis will take issue of eliminating nuclear weapons to Congress, National Catholic Reporter, Thomas C. Fox  |  Aug. 28, 2015  Ira Helfand hopes Pope Francis will call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons when he addresses Congress in September and Helfand has reason for cautious optimism.

The Springfield, Mass., physician is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. It was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 1985 “for spreading authoritative information and raising awareness of the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war.”

Helfand has worked for years to raise consciousness regarding the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear war. In this context, he and John Pastore, a Boston cardiologist, sat down with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley in June to share details of recent studies that show even a limited nuclear exchange would lead to the starvation of some 2 billion people. By far, the greatest impact of such a nuclear exchange would be on the poorest people of the planet. Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Police asks prosecutors to charge former head of Brazil’s nuclear power on corruption

corruptionPolice ask that charges be filed against former head of Brazil’s nuclear power company http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/08/28/police-ask-that-charges-be-filed-against-former-head-brazil-nuclear-power/ SAO PAULO –  Police say they have asked prosecutors to file charges against the former head of Eletronuclear, the state-owned company that operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, for his suspected role in a bribery scandal.

A federal police spokesman who was not authorized to be quoted by name said late Thursday that the department wants prosecutors to charge Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva with money laundering and corruption for allegedly taking as much as $10 million in bribes from construction companies for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Da Silva was taken into custody in late July and one week later stepped down as Eletronuclear’s chief executive officer.

The spokesman said the department also wants charges filed against Flavio David Barra, the top energy executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez and da Silva’s daughter Ana Cristina Toniolo for their suspected roles in the scheme. Da Silva, his daughter and Barra have denied any wrongdoing.

During Brazil’s military regime from 1964-1985, the retired navy admiral and nuclear engineer headed Brazil’s secret program to master the technology needed to transform uranium into fuel to generate electric power in nuclear plants. Da Silva also oversaw the ongoing project to build a nuclear powered submarine.

The request for charges to be filed come as police and prosecutors try to determine whether a kickback scheme engulfing state-run oil company Petrobras extends to other state firms, including electric utilities company Eletrobras, of which Eletronuclear is a subsidiary.

Prosecutors have said the scheme involved roughly $2 billion in bribes and other illegal funds. Some of that money was allegedly funneled back to the ruling Workers’ Party and its allies’ campaign coffers. It also allegedly included the payment of bribes to Petrobras executives in return for inflated contracts.

For Alexandre Barros, a political risk consultant with the Brasilia-based firm Early Warning, the Eletronuclear case shows that Petrobras-like corruption and kickback schemes are “probably present in other state-run companies.”

“Schemes like these have long been part of our culture and I think other similar schemes start emerging all over the place”, Barros said  “My big fear is that the armed forces may start feeling uneasy,” he added, without elaborating.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

UK under pressure to buy nuclear reactors – from GE/Hitachi, Westinghouse/Toshiba and Areva/Mitsubishi

Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1Hitachi has made no secret of its motive for trying to export reactor technology saying it needed a fresh outlet for reactors after Tokyo shut down Japan’s nuclear plants

failure to agree a final deal between EDF Energy and the Government on Hinkley “threatens not only the first new nuclear power station for a generation, but potentially all those that will come in its wake,”

ABWRs – one of the least reliable reactors in the world nuClear news No.77, September 2015

Introduction – Anglesey: a victim of Abenomics?  Exporting nuclear technology is a key element of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic strategy – “Abenomics”. Nuclear exports are seen as a way to rev up Japan’s long struggling economy, and tackle the persistent trade deficit made worse by the
need to import energy – especially Liquid Natural Gas – to replace reactors shutdown after Fukushima.

Japan’s top three nuclear engineering companies — Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Toshiba — which had a combined profit in their energy and infrastructure businesses of about 242 billion yen ($3.14 billion) in the fiscal year 2010/11, were keener than ever to look overseas for business after Fukushima put the domestic nuclear industry on hold. Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

Significant levels of thorium 230, a radioactive isotope found in USA residential area

text thoriumRecently found in American backyards: nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project  http://qz.com/490331/recently-found-in-american-backyards-nuclear-waste-from-the-manhattan-project/  The US Army Corps of Engineers announced last week (Aug. 19) that a residential area in Missouri’s St. Louis County is contaminated with radioactive waste. Significant levels of thorium 230, a radioactive isotope, were discovered in public parks and private yards that have been touched by floodwaters from Coldwater Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River.

 According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this “is the first time in more than 15 years of Corps-directed cleanups in the region that the government has confirmed radioactive contamination on residential properties.”
Coldwater Creek crosses through 20 miles of northern St. Louis County, and it’s no secret that the water was contaminated half a century ago when the US was developing its first atomic bomb. The country’s only uranium plant, a Mallinckrodt Chemical Works facility, was in downtown St. Louis. Radioactive waste was shipped to nearby Hazelwood, Missouri, and dumped on open ground—where it made its way into Coldwater Creek. Since then, the creek has flooded several times, spilling water into yards, gardens, and even the basements of nearby homes.

Around 2011, residents in the area began suspecting that their community had turned into a cancer cluster, with higher-than-averagerates of cancer and other illnesses due to contamination from the creek. As Al Jazeera reported in series of articles this April, the residential yards and public parks subject to Coldwater Creek flooding had never been tested for radioactive isotopes. Testing at sites directly alongside the creek only began in June of this year, followed by the more recent investigations of contamination in areas subject to the creek’s floods.

  The levels of thorium 230 that were discovered last week are from samples dug up 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) below ground in yards and parks, “in some cases showing levels two to four times the threshold for required cleanup,” according to Al Jazeera. Government officials maintain that there is no immediate health risk to residents, though they say they will initiate cleanup efforts.
  More instances of contamination are expected to be found as testing continues near other dump sites in the area, including landfills in Bridgeton, Missouri, where an underground fire is currently smoldering nearby. Concerned residents say that could exacerbate any ongoing fallout.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Disposal of plutonium; burial is cheaper than MOX processing

MOXFlag-USAflag-UKnuClear news No.77, September 20156. Plutonium Conundrum A US Energy Department-commissioned study, which has been leaked to the Union of Concerned Scientists, concludes that it would be cheaper and far less risky to dispose of 34 metric tons of U.S. surplus plutonium at a federal nuclear waste repository in New Mexico than convert it into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for commercial nuclear power plants at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina.

The unreleased report describes in detail the delays and massive cost overruns at the half-built MOX facility, located at the federal Savannah River Site. High staff turnover, the need to replace improperly installed equipment, and an antagonistic relationship between the local federal project director and the contractor are only some of the factors undermining the project. The new report also notes that there are “no obvious silver bullets” to reduce the life-cycle cost of the MOX approach.

According to UCS, a better alternative to turning the surplus plutonium into commercial nuclear fuel would be to “downblend” it, a method the Energy Department has already used to dispose of several metric tons of plutonium. It involves diluting the plutonium with an inert, nonradioactive material and then sending it to the nuclear waste site in New Mexico, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), for burial. The new report’s analysis supports that assessment. …….

The US report is bound to have a negative impact of the UK Government’s preferred management option for its plutonium stockpile which is to convert it into Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel. (See ‘Slow Progress on Plutonium Stockpiles’ Nuclear News No.76).
Don Hancock of the Albuquerque-based Southwest Information and Research Center, which closely monitors WIPP, also opposes the MOX project. But he’s sceptical about WIPP as a viable alternative and said the Energy Department should review other options, including storing the plutonium at the Savannah River Site or the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, where thousands of plutonium pits are already warehoused. He said: “The [DoE and] the Union of Concerned Scientists may be confident that WIPP will reopen in a few years, but I don’t see any real basis for that,” Hancock said. “Going from one bad idea to another bad idea is not the solution to this problem.” (3) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo77.pdf

August 29, 2015 Posted by | - plutonium, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Virginia Uranium suing South Carolina over moratorium in uranium mining

Virginia company sues state over uranium, Yahoo 7 FinanceAAP – Fri, Aug 7, 2015 11:01 AM AEST A mining company that wants to tap one of the world’s largest uranium deposits is suing Virginia to end a decades-long state moratorium on mining the radioactive ore.

Virginia Uranium Inc, which puts a market value of $US6 billion ($A8.16 billion) on the deposit, filed the lawsuit in US District Court to have the 1982 ban lifted so it can begin mining the 119 million-pound (53.98 million kg) deposit near the North Carolina line.

The Chatham company argues that the state meddled in a matter that should be decided by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Virginia officials, the lawsuit contends, came to the wrong conclusion when it said uranium posed unacceptable health and safety risks.

“But more importantly, it had no business asking that question to begin with,” the lawsuit said. “For the radiological safety concerns that are at the heart of Virginia’s ban are squarely within the field of exclusive federal regulatory concern.”

Virginia Uranium’s quest to mine the so-called Coles Hill deposit in Pittsylvania County was the most heated environmental issue in the state for years until December 2013, when incoming Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe made it clear he wanted the ban kept in place.

The company’s decision to abandon its efforts to lift the moratorium also followed an unsuccessful legislative bid to achieve that end.

A spokeswoman for McAuliffe said he would have no comment. The lawsuit also names state mining and environmental officials.

Virginia Uranium invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions, lobbying and to fly delegations of Virginia lawmakers to France and Canada to tour uranium mining and processing facilities.

But it couldn’t overcome opponents who said mining and the storage of radioactive waste – called tailings – would threaten nearby rivers and streams that feed public water supplies.

Full-scale uranium mining has never been conducted on the US’ East Coast and opponents said Virginia would be a poor place to start. They cited the state’s wet climate and the fierce weather that often rakes the state. Most uranium mining is done in dry parts of the globe.

The mining would also include a milling operation to separate the radioactive ore from the rock.

Critics said that posed one of the biggest threats to the environment because of radioactive waste that would have to be stored for generations……..https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/virginia-company-sues-state-over-010106436.html

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Legal | Leave a comment

Dr Ian Fairlie on US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation on radiation standards

highly-recommendedUS Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org, 28 Aug 15, 

Fairlea, Ian

Introduction On June 26 2015, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated it was seeking public comments by September 8, on petitions stating that the Linear No Threshold theory of radiation’s effects was not a valid basis for setting radiation standards and that the hormesis model should be used instead.

In more detail, the NRC has received three petitions for rulemaking requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model of radiation protection to the hormesis model. (See the Appendix for details of the petitions.) The LNT model assumes that biological damage from radiation is linearly related to exposure and is always harmful, ie without a threshold.

The hormesis model assumes that exposures to low radiation levels is beneficial and protects the human body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation. The NRC has stated it is examining these petitions to determine whether they should be considered in rulemaking and is requesting public comments.

US environmental groups are concerned that, if the NRC agreed with the petitions, it would introduce rules to weaken radiation protection standards at US nuclear facilities. On the other hand, according to two NRC staffers (Brock and Sherbini, 2012), the NRC apparently pays attention to the evidence on risks of low levels of radiation………

No evidence below 100 mSv? It is necessary at this point to directly address the argument often raised by hormesis advocates – that there is little evidence of effects below 100 mSv.

This is incorrect.Older evidence exists -see http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/a-100-msv-threshold-forradiation-effects/for a list of studies and the newer evidence, as we have just seen, clearly shows this fact as well. B. Radiobiological Evidence Current radiobiological theory is consistent with a linear dose-response relationship down to low doses (ie below ~10 mSv). The radiobiological rationale for linearity comes from the stochastic nature of energy deposition of ionising radiation. It was explained by 15 of the world’s most eminent radiation biologists and epidemiologists in a famous article (Brenner et al, 2003) as follows: “1. Direct epidemiological evidence demonstrates that an organ dose of 10 mGy of diagnostic x-rays is associated with an increase in cancer risk………..

The Importance of LNT in Radiation Protection Regardless of dissenting views on LNT, the reality is that most concepts used in radiation protection today are fundamentally based on the LNT theory. For example, LNT underpins the concepts of absorbed dose, effective dose, committed dose, and the use of dose coefficients (ie Sv per Bq of a radionuclide). It also allows radiation doses (i) to be averaged within an organ or tissue, (ii) to be added from different organs, and (iii) to be added over time.

LNT also permits annual dose limits; optimization -ie comparison of practices; radiation risk assessment at low and very low doses; individual dosimetry with passive detectors; collective dose, and dose registers over long periods of time. 9 In fact, the LNT underpins all legal regulations in radiation protection in the US and in the rest of the world.

Indeed, if the LNT were not used, it’s hard to imagine our current radiation protection systems existing at all. However this statement should not be misconstrued to mean that the LNT is used just because it’s convenient: the LNT is used because the scientific evidence for it is comprehensive, cogent and compelling……..

 

Conclusions

(i) the debate The validity or otherwise of LNT and hormesis have been the subject of hundreds of scientific articles and debates over several decades. Unfortunately, much of the literature on hormesis or adaptive response is based on faulty science or on misconceptions, or on misinterpretations, or on all three.

HormesisThis is particularly the case with several US and UK journalists who write with confidence on how radiation risks are exaggerated. Their knowledge and experience of radiogenic risks are limited to say the least, but these journalists, almost on a weekly basis, misinform and mislead the public about radiation risks, so the existence of the US petitions is perhaps unsurprising.

However real scientists are increasingly standing up and opposing the poor science used by hormesis advocates. Very recently, four Swiss scientists from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern; the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel and the University of Basel published a study which revealed that exposure to high rates of background radiation resulted in increased cancer risks to children (Spycher et al, 2015). http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408548/

In reply, 17 scientists (Siegel et al, 2015) mostly from the US, some of whom were members of a hormesis pressure group “Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information” objected to these findings. They alleged that the government would have to evacuate children living in higher radiation areas and relocate them to lower radiation areas. They stated that studies like this should not be taken seriously without public health policy implications being examined. (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111/)
The Swiss scientists in turn responded (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111R/) that the proposed evacuation was “nonsensical” in view of the very low numbers involved. In a spirited rejoinder, they refuted the poor science cited and added that “the Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information a priori exclude the possibility that low-dose radiation could increase the risk of cancer. They will therefore not accept studies that challenge their foregone conclusion”.
(ii) the petitions After briefly examining the three US petitions, my conclusion is that they do not merit serious consideration. It seems that the petitioners, who may or may not have axes to grind about radiation risks, have seized on the possible phenomenon of hormesis 11 to make ill-considered claims that radiation is protective or even good for you.

In other words, the petitions appear to be based on preconceptions, or even ideology, rather than the scientific evidence which points in the opposite direction. The petitions should not be used by the NRC to justify weakening regulatory standards at US nuclear facilities. A question remains whether the NRC should have accepted the petitions for review. Presumably the NRC has discretion not to review or to refer back spurious, mischievous, or ill-founded petitions.

 The NRC should seek guidance from the five US scientific agencies and Government departments mentioned above whose scientists have published evidence on the matter. Credits. Thanks to Dr Jan Beyea, Cindy Folkers, Dr Alfred Körblein, Xavier Rabilloud, Dr Marvin Reznikoff and Dr Gordon Thompson for comments on drafts. Any errors are my responsibility. References…….. http://www.ianfairlie.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/US-NRC-Consultation-4-1.pdf  (NRC):

 

August 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA, Reference, radiation | Leave a comment

Fukushima Health Impact Summary

nuClear news No.77, September 2015     New emerging evidence from Fukushima shows that nuclear disasters and their aftermaths can kill thousands of people due to necessary evacuations. Between 2011 and 2014, about 2,000 Japanese people, including many old people, died from ill-health and suicides connected with the evacuations. Some nuclear advocates, including government officials, have said these deaths are the fault of the evacuations, as if they were unconnected with the nuclear disaster.

This is incorrect: the evacuations were necessary to avoid large radiation exposures from the radioactive fallout due to the plumes from the Fukushima explosions and meltdowns. In future, such deaths should be included in assessments of the fatalities from nuclear disasters. In sum, the human toll from Fukushima is horrendous: 2,000 Japanese people have died from the evacuations and another 5,000 are expected to die from future cancers 1. Ian Fairlie’s Blog 16th Aug 2015 http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/summing-the-health-effects-of-thefukushima-nuclear-disaster/    http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo77.pdf

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Concerns over reliability, safety, chemistry of planned Advanced Boiling Water Nuclear Reactors (ABWR)

flag-UKNo2NuclearPower nuClear news No.77, September 2015 ABWRs According to World Nuclear News (WNN) there are four operable Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) in Japan while two more are under construction. Another two are being built in Taiwan and two planned for Lithuania, although another two have been shelved in the USA. The design is already licensed in Japan and the USA. WNN points out, disturbingly that ABWRs can run on a full core of mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel, raising the prospect of armed plutonium shipments travelling from Sellafield to Anglesey and Gloucestershire. (6)

Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Reference, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons – prolonging the Cold War theatre of the absurd

nukefools-dayRutherford H. Platt: A nuclear theater of the absurd, GazetteNet.com By RUTHERFORD H. PLATT Friday, August 28, 2015 NORTHAMPTON — Doctors Andrew Larkin and Ira Helfand in their columns marking the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Gazette, Aug. 6) remind us once again that this planet remains on the slippery slope to self-annihilation.

Amid a whirlwind of competing threats — climate change, natural disasters, economic instability, epidemics, racism, and the international immigration crisis — it is so easy to ignore that we remain on the precipice of nuclear catastrophe from accident, miscalculation, or deliberate intent…….. the biggest absurdity of all is why we allow our government to continue waging the Cold War at endless cost to the nation and at the risk of all humankind. http://www.gazettenet.com/home/18341787-95/rutherford-h-platt-a-nuclear-theater-of-the-absurd

August 29, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Will UK government lock Britain into Hinkley Nuclear White Elephant?

white_elephant_London-Sm

while these might be reasons for the Government to pull out of the project, it won’t be able to once the deal has been signed. And if the problem is that the strike price is too high, it’s unlikely that EDF or the other funders will want to pull out either.

At the Hinkley point of no return, is this a nuclear white elephant? The IndependentA Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantdeal for the £24.5bn power plant in Somerset could be signed in October after the Government agreed terms with the energy giant EDF. But, writes Tom Bawden, environmentalists are far from alone in opposing an ‘expensive mistake’ TOM BAWDEN 27 August 2015 One of Britain’s most controversial energy projects for decades – the £24.5bn nuclear power development at Hinkley Point in Somerset – is poised to get the green light.

After years of wrangling, the Government and EDF – the energy giant that will operate Hinkley Point C and own around half of it – have agreed a deal that would guarantee EDF a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of the electricity it generates, rising with inflation, up to 2061. That’s nearly three times the current price, suggesting households may have to hand over a substantial subsidy to the French state-controlled generator in the form of higher bills……..

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has gone so far as to say households will be £74 a year better off in today’s money by 2026-30 than they would be without Hinkley Point C.

But the detractors are not in the least bit convinced, with analysts, politicians and even some rival power companies dismissing the project as a colossal waste of money. Shortly before his sudden departure from RWE Npower this week, the chief executive of the big six provider, Paul Massara, said future generations would look back on Hinkley Point C as an “expensive mistake”.

Despite the strength of opposition to the project, David Cameron is expected to sign a final deal in October during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK; the Chinese are big backers of the project….

We look at some of the main challenges to completion.

The political justification

An in-depth report into Hinkley Point C by HSBC bank saw “ample reason for the UK Government to delay or cancel the project”. It argued that the justification for the plant was “receding” because the UK’s energy consumption is falling just as a threefold rise in the number of giant interconnectors, hooking the country up with mainland Europe, means we could import energy much more cheaply than generating it at Hinkley Point.

Furthermore, while UK electricity generation is set to fall, capacity looks set to hold up surprisingly well, in part because of rising wind and solar power. As a result, the strike price is very difficult to justify, HSBC argued.

But while these might be reasons for the Government to pull out of the project, it won’t be able to once the deal has been signed. And if the problem is that the strike price is too high, it’s unlikely that EDF or the other funders will want to pull out either.

Engineering problems

The new reactors at Hinkley Point will use the EPR – European Pressurised Reactor – model, a highly sophisticated new design that is supposed to be safer and more efficient than older reactors, but which has been fraught with problems and is not yet up and running at any site in the world.

The three other sites planning to use the new model have all suffered huge delays – in Finland, France and China – and Hinkley Point would be the fourth. Concerns about EPRs have mounted this year after a potentially catastrophic mistake was identified in the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Flamanville, Normandy……….

Problems at Areva

Areva, the French state-owned reactor designer behind the EPR model, has fallen deep into the red. It has  not sold a new reactor since 2008 as problems with its reactors have pushed plants in France and Finland billions of euros over budget.

But EDF and the French government have moved to address Areva’s financial weakness, meaning it is unlikely to cause problems for the Hinkley Point project by going bust. EDF has agreed to take control of Areva’s main reactor division in a deal orchestrated – and with the implicit financial support of – the French government.

Legal problems

Austria has launched a legal challenge to the European Commission’s ruling that the guaranteed price for the new Hinkley Point reactors amounts to legal state aid. The case is expected to drag on for two to three years…… http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/at-the-hinkley-point-of-no-return-is-this-a-nuclear-white-elephant-10475849.html

August 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

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