Public needs radiation risk awareness World Nuclear Association, World Nuclear News 12 September 2014 Educating the public on the risks of radiation should be a long-term process and not just take place in the aftermath of a major nuclear accident, a panel of radiation protection experts agreed. Speaking during a panel session at the World Nuclear Association’s 2014 Symposium, Roger Coates, vice president of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), said that the nuclear industry and governments “have not been honest in presenting the risks of radiation at low levels.”
With no plans, designated waste sits by farms Japan News, September 12, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Most radioactive-contaminated materials being kept at temporary storage sites in Fukushima and nearby prefectures still have nowhere to go.
In the Tohoku and Kanto regions, the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has produced a massive amount of waste tainted with radioactive substances that were released into the air from the power plant.
However, the central government is having difficulty finding locations to build final disposal sites, where the waste will be buried underground. At this stage, there are no clear prospects for construction plans anywhere in the regions.
“Authorities say it’s safe, but will it really be safe, even when we’re hit by tornadoes or typhoons? I hope it moves somewhere else soon,” said a rice farmer in his 60s in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, referring to one of the warehouses of “designated waste” that stand in an area of farmland near his rice paddies. The city is one of the most famous rice-producing areas in the prefecture.
Covered in sheets of silver foil designed to protect against the sun’s rays, the warehouses store the designated waste — rice straw that was originally supposed to be used as livestock feed. The city government initially explained that the warehouses would be kept in the farmer’s vicinity for only two years — until January this year.
Waste with cesium levels higher than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram will receive an environmental ministry designation based on the special measures law on handling environmental pollution caused by radioactive substances. The amount in Tokyo and 11 other prefectures totaled about 146,000 tons as of June 30, according to the Environment Ministry……..
As a construction plan for final disposal site has been substantially delayed, the contaminated rice straw will remain in the warehouses for the time being…….http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001561227
Regulators reject call for nuke plant shutdown By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press September 10, 2014 LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday rejected a senior federal expert’s recommendation to shut down California’s last operating nuclear power plant until the agency can determine whether its twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults……..
Peck, now a senior reactor instructor for the NRC in Tennessee, argued the NRC is not applying safety rules it set out for the plant’s operation……..The agency’s ruling was issued on the same day that PG&E released hundreds of pages of scientific research that found a fault 650 yards from the reactors, known as the Shoreline, is twice as long as initially believed, making it capable of producing potentially stronger earthquakes, and intersections between some faults in the region could create larger earthquakes than previously considered. PG&E said in a statement that the plant remains seismically safe and able to withstand the largest potential earthquakes in the area.
Former California Sen. Sam Blakeslee, a geophysicist who has previously raised seismic concerns at Diablo, said “it’s premature to declare the plant is safe in light of this new information.”…….http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Regulators-reject-call-for-nuke-plant-shutdown-5746362.php
Rally in Uranium Prices Is Unlikely to Last, WSJ, 14 Sep 14 Gains Fueled by Ukraine Crisis, Mine Unrest Don’t Offset Oversupply SYDNEY—A multiweek rally in uranium prices fanned by the Ukraine conflict and labor unrest at a large mine in Canada looks unlikely to continue for long as the reality of oversupply and lackluster demand sinks in among buyers of the nuclear fuel.
Industry analysts and some uranium producers believe that even as supplies fall, a substantial increase in demand is needed to drive prices up to levels that would make new investments worthwhile, when many operations are running at a loss……..
Demand for the fuel hasn’t recovered since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in 2011, which sparked nuclear-plant closures across the country and tarnished uranium’s image globally…….
state governments in resource-rich Australia have been encouraging the growth of the nation’s uranium industry. A decadeslong ban on uranium production in Queensland was lifted in July, opening the door to new applications to build mines in the state. The government of New South Wales this month said it would invite six companies to apply for exploration licenses.
Still, there is expected to be little investment in new projects until the market stages a more substantial comeback. Cameco said it would need to see much higher uranium prices before it started construction of its proposed Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia.
“The nuclear industry is still in the midst of upheaval,” said Jonathan Hinze, senior vice president at nuclear-research firm Ux Consulting Co. …http://online.wsj.com/articles/rally-in-uranium-prices-is-unlikely-to-last-1410726782
Close the door on nuclear dangers http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/217596-close-the-door-on-nuclear-dangers By Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Daryl G. Kimball and Paul F. Walker . 14 Sept 14, It is widely understood that nuclear weapons have only been used twice in wartime and with terrible consequences.
The dangerous health and environmental legacy of nuclear testing is a reality today. With strong bipartisan support, the United States government monitors the health of downwind populations in Utah and Nevada and elsewhere. The government and people of Kazakhstan also bear a heavy, ongoing health and land rehabilitation burden from the era of Soviet nuclear testing.
Through the years, nuclear testing also fueled the development and spread of new and more deadly types of nuclear weapons. Today, the world’s nuclear-armed states still possess nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons – the vast majority of which are held by the United States and Russia. Continue reading
In an accompanying media release, IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said speeding up the adoption of renewable energy technologies is the most feasible way of reducing carbon emissions and avoiding catastrophic global warming.
Speeding Up Renewable Energy Access Critical for Climate, Health and Economy: Report DESMOGBLOG.com Chris Rose, 14 Sep 14 Renewable energies are increasingly seen as the best solution to a growing global population demanding affordable access to electricity while reducing the need for toxic fossil fuels that are creating unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s the underlying message of a new report — REthinking Energy: Towards a New Power System — published this week by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“Rapid technological progress, combined with falling costs, a better understanding of financial risk and a growing appreciation of wider benefits, means that renewable energy is increasingly seen as the answer,” the 94-page report says.
“Not only can renewable energy meet the world’s rising demand, but it can do so more cheaply, while contributing to limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius – the widely cited tipping point for climate change,” the report adds.
“A technology once considered as niche is becoming mainstream. What remains unclear is how long this transition will take, and how well policy makers will handle the change.”……..
The report said renewable energy technologies have grown more robust and more efficient in the last decade and are increasingly able to generate power even in suboptimal conditions such as low wind speeds and low solar irradiation. Energy storage technologies are improving fast, it added, while costs have plummeted.
“Worldwide, renewable power capacity has grown 85% over the past 10 years, reaching 1,700 GW in 2013, and renewables today constitute 30% of all installed power capacity,” the report said, noting the challenge today is how to finance and accelerate the continued deployment of renewables.
Total investment in renewable energy rose from $55 billion in 2004 to $214 billion in 2013 (excluding large hydropower), said the report, which also pointed out that $550 billion is needed annually until 2030 to double the global share of renewable energy and avert catastrophic climate change.
The report added that politicians have an important role to play. “If they make it clear that renewable energy will be a larger part of their national energy mix, and commit to long-term, non-financial support mechanisms, they could reduce uncertainty and attract more investors.”
Deploying renewables also stimulates economic activity, creates jobs, provides power for those left off the grid, the report said. Most renewables do not deplete finite resources and they also reduce the risk of ecological disasters.
“The changes at hand offer the potential for a new industrial revolution – creating a renewables-based system, which enhances access, health and security, creates jobs and safeguards the environment,” the report said. “The technology is ready to deploy. People, businesses and governments must now embrace its potential.”
In an accompanying media release, IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said speeding up the adoption of renewable energy technologies is the most feasible way of reducing carbon emissions and avoiding catastrophic global warming.
“A convergence of social, economic and environmental forces are transforming the global energy system as we know it,” Amin was quoted as saying. “But if we continue on the path we are currently on and fuel our growing economies with outmoded ways of thinking and acting, we will not be able avoid the most serious impacts of climate change.” http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/09/14/speeding-renewable-energy-access-critical-climate-health-and-economy-report
Renewable manifesto sets out blueprint for next government http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2014/09/14/renewable-manifesto-sets-out-blueprint-for-next-government/ Sunday, September 14th, 2014 By Charlotte Malone Ahead of next year’s general election, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has published a blueprint for the next government, outlining plans to create jobs, investment and growth whilst helping the UK catch up in the global energy race.
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The UK currently gets 5% of its energy from a renewable industry that supports over 100,000 jobs and has received over £30 billion of private investment since 2010.
In order to meet a legally binding target of having 15% of the national energy demand met by renewables by 2020, the UK must more than double the share of renewable electricity, more than double the share of renewable transport fuels and more than quadruple the share of renewable heat.
REA states, “The next government will be responsible for the UK succeeding – or failing – in meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets. It could also be the government that turns the government that turns the budding renewable energy industry into the main economic engine for creating jobs and growth in the energy sector and reducing the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.”
Currently the UK is 26th in the EU renewables league tables, but by REA argues that with forward-thinking policies the UK can move up the rankings and benefit as a result. Nina Skorupska, REA chief executive, said, “From clean power infrastructure to Zero Carbon Homes and from heat networks to sustainable transport, this is the most comprehensive guide a government could wish for if they’re seeking to maximise the value of this young, vibrant and innovative industry.
“Looking out to 2020, this manifesto sets out how the government can keep up the progress on renewable electricity, and accelerate the roll-out of renewable heating technologies and transport fuels.”
Orlando moves to dump stake in Duke’s nuke plant By Kevin Spear Orlando Sentinel, September 14, 2014 The Orlando City Council is expected to approve a plan Monday to dump city ownership in Duke Energy’s crippled nuclear generator for an amount far less than the original purchase value.
Duke’s nuke plant near Crystal River was bedeviled with concrete failures even before it started up in 1977, two years after Orlando’s electric utility bought a small share of the reactor. Disabled by epic calamity that began five years ago, the unit was supposed to run until at least 2036 and, depending on overhauls, possibly many years beyond then……….
the Florida Municipal Power Agency, which provides wholesale electricity to 30 cities, suggested the Duke plant could turn into a liability quagmire.
“There is much uncertainty and risk involved in decommissioning a nuclear power plant,” the agency stated in a memo to its directors.
“The project is planned to take up to 60 years to complete, and involves complex dismantling and transportation of contaminated material.”…….
Company officials determined that further repairs would cost $1.5 billion to $3.4 billion and take as many as eight years.
After much suspense, Duke Energy finally announced last year that the nuke was beyond saving and would be “placed in a safe, stable condition for 60 years until decommissioning work is completed in 2074.”
During a tour of the nuclear generator in 2011, plant operators said that more than 1,300 bundles of used uranium fuel were stored in a pool 30 feet deep.
That fuel pool, cooled to 101 degrees and blended with boron to stop the splitting of atoms, will remain a long-term maintenance and security concern for Duke Energy.
Asked Friday about the status for that highly radioactive fuel, Duke spokeswoman Heather Danenhower declined to provide further information.
“For security reasons, we do not disclose the number of nuclear fuel assemblies in our spent fuel pool,” Danenhower said.
Exelon and Entergy see sustainable energy solutions—renewable energy, efficiency, conservation, etc.—as a long-term threat to
their profits. This is not because of excessive regulations or safety requirements on nuclear power: the industry has not had to implement a single safety upgrade due to the Fukushima meltdowns and faces less regulatory enforcement than it did twenty years ago. The closure of a record number of reactors since 2013 has exposed fundamental economic problems facing the industry, and a growing number of nuclear plants simply cannot compete with modern, efficient, cost-effective
Plutonium found in city nearly 30 miles from US nuclear site — Newspaper: Explosion ‘melted through’ container causing radioactive release — More Pu-241 went airborne than all other types of plutonium combined, yet not included in test results http://enenews.com/plutonium-detected-city-30-miles-nuclear-site-explosion-melted-container-released-four-types-plutonium-officials-testing-pu-241-leaked-all-others-combined?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Carlsbad Current-Argus, Sept. 9, 2014: DOE will provide WIPP update next week — It appears the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is far from reopening… According to photographic evidence made public by the DOE, it appears a chemical reaction caused an explosion inside one of the waste drums. The explosion melted through portions of the drum, and the incident triggered a small release of americium and plutonium into the outside air about half a mile from the facility.
“Plutonium… about half a mile from the facility”? Recently published air monitoring data from the state of New Mexico indicates that soon after the WIPP radioactive release 3 types of plutonium were found nearly 30 miles away in Carlsbad, the state’s 10th largest city. The levels were similar to those found within the nuclear site’s boundary:
- WIPP NW Border, 2/21-2/28: Plutonium-238 = 0.015 pCi/sample (Lab minimum detectable activity [MDA] = 0.0082)
- WIPP site, 2/21-2/28: Plutonium-239/240 = 0.0092 pCi/sample (MDA = 0.0062)
- WIPP site, 2/28-3/11: Plutonium-238 = 0.027 pCi/sample (MDA = 0.024)
- Carlsbad, 25+ mi. away, 2/28-3/11: Plutonium-238 = 0.016 pCi/sample (MDA = 0.0074)
- Carlsbad, 25+ mi. away, 2/28-3/11: Plutonium-239/240 = 0.022 pCi/sample (MDA = 0.0074)
More Plutonium-241 was released from WIPP than all other plutonium isotopes combined, yet officials have not included it in any publicly available test results:
- Plutonium-241 = 15,900 dpm
- Plutonium-239/240 = 11,600 dpm
- Plutonium-238 = 514 dpm
assive Radiation Plume from Fukushima Heading Toward American West Coast According to a Scientific Report By David Gutierrez Global Research, September 11, 2014 According to scientific modeling systems used by the European Union, the radioactive ocean plume released by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is likely to remain a massive clump of radioactivity until it slams into the West Coast of the United States in late 2017. On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, knocking out power and cooling capability to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Within three days, multiple meltdowns and reactor explosions had taken place. By March 25, massive amounts of radioactive material were observed leaking directly into the Pacific Ocean.
In 2013, the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway used computer models to project the movement and dispersion of this radioactive plume. Although the results of this study have been cited in official Chinese government documents, they have not been widely publicized.
Levels to remain high through at least 2026
The researchers used two separate scenarios to model leakage of radioactivity from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific. The first scenario assumed continuous and constant leakage for 20 days, while the second assumed continuous and constant leakage for one year.
Although delivering differing estimates of total radiation, both models concluded that the pollution would remain in a relatively unified mass and take the same path across the ocean until crashing up against western North America. Both models show the plume colliding with the U.S. West Coast and beginning to spread out starting around late 2017, with a maximum concentration of radiation hitting the coast toward the end of 2018……..http://www.globalresearch.ca/massive-radiation-plume-from-fukushima-heading-toward-american-west-coast-according-to-a-scientific-report/5401006
Egypt Calls for Ban On Fissile Material Production for Nuclear Weapons http://allafrica.com/stories/201409120325.html Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations at Geneva Amr Ahmed Ramadan called on Wednesday 10/9/2014 for an international convention to ban the production of fissile materials used in nuclear weapons.
Ramadan made the remarks during the closing session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), 2014 held in Geneva.
A suggested agreement will lead to prevention of nuclear weapons production, the diplomat said.
Also, Ramadan urged to keep the outer space away from armed conflict, reiterating the importance of giving guarantees by the nuclear States not to threaten other non-nuclear countries.
In his speech, Ramadan reviewed a number of effects of the proliferation of nuclear weapons on humanity, citing the results of Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conferences in Oslo, March 2013 and in Nayarit, February 2014.
Late Fukushima manager flagged ‘density danger’ risks plaguing Japan’s big nuclear plants http://rt.com/news/187128-nuclear-japan-reactors-safety/ September 12, 2014 Recently disclosed documents show the late manager of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima plant warned of safety risks in restarting nuclear power stations in the seismic-prone country, which is considering rebooting full-scale nuclear energy production.
Yoshida specifically cited the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site in northern Japan, also run by Fukushima operator TEPCO. A seven-reactor facility, he said, was difficult to operate as “chaos” ruled the site after the earthquake. He added that grouping numerous nuclear reactors together made it more difficult to manage.
“I thought it wasn’t very good from a risk-diversification standpoint, but [Tepco] had already built this [Fukushima Daiichi] and Kashiwazaki, so I had to work within that [system],” he said, Reuters reported. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant was completely shut down for 21 months following an earthquake in 2007.The transcript released by the government is part of a government investigation into the causes of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since the 2011 incident, Japan has shut down all of its nuclear facilities.
But on Wednesday, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved the restart of two reactors of a nuclear power station at Sedai after the plant met safety requirements needed. It is seen as the first step to reopening an industry of 48 reactors.
Under Japanese safety regulations, reactors after 40 years are to be decommissioned, unless they receive a 20-year extension. Reuters estimates that as many as two-thirds of Japan’s 48 idled nuclear units may never restart again.
Prior to March 2011, Japan generated 30 percent of its electrical power from nuclear reactors.
in the face of such opposition from Scotland — even in the possible wake of a decided No vote — it will remain difficult for the UK government to continue its absurd and costly pursuit of renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system against the backdrop of international negotiations to ban nuclear weapons.
Britain’s wee nuclear problem, IFP.com Erika Simpson and Bill Kidd, Special to QMI Agency Friday, September 12, 2014″…..The SNP pledges it will negotiate the removal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system from the Faslane naval base, 40 km from Glasgow. The UK’s four Vanguard submarines are stationed on the Firth of Clyde, a series of rivers, estuaries and sea lochs.
A Yes vote would mean Britain’s 20-billion-pound replacement of the four Trident submarines during the next decade could not go ahead.
It also could mean the UK’s commitment to nuclear weapons would need to be rethought.
The UK government has assumed since 1968 that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty gives it some kind of right to possess nuclear weapons.
If an independent Scotland fulfills its policy to remove the submarine-based Trident nuclear weapons system from its territory, the UK will need, within four years, to find another stationing location for all its sea-based nuclear warheads, since it costs too much to deploy them at sea for months at a time.
This will be a difficult task, almost as tough as it would be for Vladimir Putin to find another home for Russia’s Black Sea fleet stationed in the Crimean Peninsula.
If the UK wants to maintain its nuclear-armed submarines, it would need to find another deep-water port, preferably on British turf and not on another colony’s territory….. The UK government says other potential locations in England are unacceptable due to their proximity to population centres, although the UK has housed nuclear submarines and loaded nuclear weapons onto them not far from Glasgow since 1969. If Westminster does decide to relocate the weapons, cost estimates vary enormously.
Some argue building a new base would cost merely 2.5 billion to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.47 billion to $6.26 billion), while others say moving the Tridents will cost closer to 50 billion pounds. Certainly, it would be a lot extra for English and Welsh taxpayers to pay for in the wake of their country’s partition and probable economic decline……..
if an independent Scotland decided to join the alliance, it could follow the example of other NATO states such as Canada, Norway and Lithuania, which do not allow nuclear weapons on their soil. Furthermore, if an independent Scotland spearheaded initiatives to establish more international treaties to prohibit nuclear weapons, its approach could have a major impact on other NATO members, despite the inclination to erect a new central front in Europe to protect the Baltic states.
Even if not enough Scots vote Yes to win independence, their voting patterns could provide an opportunity for Britons as a whole to rethink their approach to nuclear weapons. The very high costs of replacing the submarines, coupled with the logistical challenges of relocating the weapons, means there is a strong opportunity to reject the nuclear option, should a Westminster political party adopt such a policy.
For their part, representatives of the SNP are prepared to participate actively in the humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons and support negotiations on an international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, even without the participation of the nuclear-armed states. Such a treaty would make the possession of nuclear weapons unambiguously illegal for all, putting them on the same footing as biological and chemical weapons.
In the face of such opposition from Scotland — even in the possible wake of a decided No vote — it will remain difficult for the UK government to continue its absurd and costly pursuit of renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system against the backdrop of international negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. Scotland’s vote this Thursday could go either way, but it is already sure to push Mother England to overcome her Cold War thinking about security by undermining traditional arguments in favour of maintaining these weapons of mass destruction.
— Bill Kidd is the Scottish Member of Parliament for Glasgow Anniesland and a member of the Scottish National Party, which supports an independent and non-nuclear Scotland.
— Erika Simpson is an associate professor of international relations in the politics department of Western University. http://www.lfpress.com/2014/09/12/britains-wee-nuclear-problem
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