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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The very big gender gap – women don’t like nuclear power

Men and Women Divided on Nuclear Power, Morning Consult  DAVIS BURROUGHS   |   MAY 24, 2015 As the nuclear power industry pushes to build more reactors, they face pronounced unpopularity among an unexpected bloc: women.

A Morning Consult survey finds that a plurality of female voters, 42 percent, oppose increasing the use of nuclear power to generate electricity in the United States; 38 percent support it. A strong majority of men, 70 percent, support using more nuclear power, while 23 percent oppose.

The male-female gap is uniquely wide on this issue.

nuclear-and-women

Previous Morning Consult polling has found much smaller differences between men and women on energy issues. In one poll from Jan. 2015, the gender split on approval for other energy source was 7 percent for natural gas, 10 percent for coal, 3 percent for wind, and 1 percent for solar. For nuclear, the split was 27 percentage points.

“It’s tough to speculate on what makes women more averse to nuclear power than men,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of The Energy Poll at the University of Texas at Austin. “Across issues, women are both less engaged on energy topics, and far less likely to express concern.”……..

A separate survey question reveals three possible explanations as to what’s driving female voter’s concerns over building more nuclear facilities: trepidations over storing nuclear waste, the risk for a disaster or meltdown, and the availability of “better” energy alternatives.

“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out,” said Linda Mayrand, a survey participant from Melbourne, Florida, “there are better alternatives.” Mayrand said she would never live within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission designated evacuation zones, areas that span a 10-mile radius from a nuclear power plant……..

Nicky Davies, a campaigns director for Greenpeace USA, an environmental advocacy group, said the nuclear industry has two Achilles heels. “It is a fact that there’s no safe way to expose of nuclear power,” and secondly “it’s incredibly expensive.”……….

The Morning Consult poll was conducted from April 5 and 7, 2014, among a nationwide sample of 2,047 registered voters. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. http://morningconsult.com/2015/05/men-and-women-divided-on-nuclear-power/

May 25, 2015 Posted by | USA, women | Leave a comment

Distrust in New Zealand about Commission to study effects of Pacific nuclear bombing

Nuclear testing victims dubious about commission http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274486/nuclear-testing-victims-dubious-about-commission The head of an organisation representing victims of nuclear testing in French Polynesia says a commission set up to assess the aftermath of the testing could just be a charade.

Bikini-atom-bomb

It was set up by France’s defence minister, and will be made up of 24 members and chaired by the French High Commissioner in Papeete.

The director of Moruroa e Tatou, which represents victims of testing on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, says 80-percent of the members suffer serious health conditions, including cancer.

Roland Oldham is questioning why more more evidence is needed.

“Why more more and more commissions…isn’t there enough proof now that it had a bad impact on the environment, and a bad impact on the health of polynesian people – itsn’t it enough proof?”

He says they will make themselves heard.

“As far as we’re concerned, we will be speaking with a very loud voice, because we have had enough of all these lies, of 40 years of lying, and if this commission’s just for another lie, then it’s just a waste of money and a waste of time.”

Mr Oldham says the first meeting will be held in two days.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear company Eskom runs out of money for assessing environmental impact of nuclear energy

nuclear-costs1flag-S.AfricaEskom runs out of money for assessing environmental impact of nuclear energy  SOUTH AFRICA enca.com  23 May 2015 JOHANNESBURG – Government says nuclear power in South Africa is going ahead. Earlier this week Energy Minister Tina Joematt-Peterson said that procurement deals would be signed with prospective partners by the end of 2015.

In the next ten years, government plans to introduce 9600MWs of nuclear energy.

But signing procurement deals is one half of the process. The other half of the process has stalled.

The second version of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the site proposed for Nuclear 1, at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape is not complete.

During a question and answer session in Parliament in March Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown in a written reply said that Eskom had run out of money to complete the report.

“It was put on hold during 2013/14 due to funding constraints in Eskom.  In 2014, additional funds were approved and the finalisation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (revision 2) was initiated,” noted the reply.

Eskom said this version of the report is due to be released to the public in May 2015 for comment but the Minister of Public Works says this has been put on hold due to the limited funding.

In the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008,  Eskom was designated as owner operator for nuclear plants in South Africa. The Department of Energy says this means that Eskom is responsible for applying and obtaining various permits including EIA and nuclear licenses.

Eskom has already spent R35 million on the report, which was funded by the income generated from tariffs.

“Eskom, in terms of the electricity regulations, is allowed to budget for and spend money on activities that are deemed prudent for the development of generation project,” noted the power utility in a statement.

However, in 2014 Eskom had to reprioritise its expenditure, “The funding of the EIA was cut in favour of other projects and activities deemed more essential in nature

Costs for the EIA’s specialist studies are now being managed on an individual study and activity level. Still outstanding is the biodiversity offset study, public participation meetings and some still need to go through the independent phase review.

Eskom says this final stage is vital, “This phase of independent review is necessary to ensure that all issues raised have been addressed in an independent and transparent manner.”

The Department Energy says even though it’s not directly involved in the EIA process it is watching Eskom’s progress on the issue……

  • Others watching the process are the Thyspunt Alliance, a group opposing the development in the Eastern Cape.

    Trudi Malan said they are working with their own experts to verify the findings of Eskom’s report, “The problem with the Eskom EIA is that their experts only spend three of four days on the site, when we actually need more information,” she said.

    The first draft of the EIA was thrown out because incorrect methodology was used to do the assessment……..http://www.enca.com/south-africa/eskom-has-no-money-complete-environment-impact-assessment-nuclear-energy-project-site 

May 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Like Japan, South African govt is hiding the true costs of nuclear power

scrutiny-on-costsflag-S.AfricaGovernment hiding nuclear power plant costs: Earthlife Africa http://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/127160-government-hiding-nuclear-power-plant-costs-earthlife-africa.html

Nuclear critic Earthlife Africa argues that South Africa’s new power plants are another arms deal scandal waiting to happen By  – May 24, 2015 The South African government has done studies on what it would cost to build the planned 6 or 8 nuclear power stations, but it is not releasing the information (Also see: ANC wants to use people’s retirement savings to bail out Eskom).

This is according to nuclear critic and Earthlife Africa project co-ordinator Tristen Taylor, the Sunday Times reported.

Taylor was responding to comments from deputy director general of the Department of Energy, Zizamele Mbambo, who said that it would be premature for government to release figures at this stage, as prices were still being negotiated.

Mbambo’s comments were surprising, Taylor said, adding that government is not releasing the studies because it knows the nuclear power plants are going to cost a lot of money. Continue reading

May 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Creative accounting by Japanese govt makes nuclear power LOOK cheap

scrutiny-on-costsThe online magazine Business Journal recently explained the matter in bookkeeping terms. Kansai Electric and other power companies plan to decommission at least five superannuated reactors rather than apply for extensions because their respective output isn’t enough to pay for the government’s new safety measures, which cost about ¥10 billion per reactor. The problem is that once a reactor is shut down permanently, in addition to the cost of decommissioning, the company’s revenue for that plant drops to zero, thus hurting its bottom line even more and making it difficult to borrow money or issue bonds. Consequently, METI is thinking of changing the accounting system so that companies can spread this loss over 10 years, during which they can add a surcharge to every customer’s bill for decommissioning.

Obviously, when METI says nuclear is the cheapest form of energy, they’re not thinking about the user.

highly-recommendedLowball nuclear pitch is fooling no one http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/23/national/media-national/lowball-nuclear-pitch-fooling-one/#.VWJCRtKqpHx BY PHILIP BRASOR  Earlier this month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced the results of a review of energy production costs, which concluded that nuclear will remain the cheapest alternative for Japan over the next 15 years while pointing out that the calculations took into consideration the government’s new safety measures. By 2030, the cost of producing a kilowatt hour of electricity in a nuclear plant is expected to increase from ¥8.9 to ¥10.1. This estimate also incorporates the presumed savings resulting from those new safety measures, which, METI assumes, will reduce the “frequency” of reactor accidents.

In comparison, energy derived from coal will cost ¥12.9 per kilowatt hour and from LNG ¥13.4, though these figures are based on price increases predicted in 2011. More significantly, the cost of solar will rise from ¥12.4 to ¥16, and wind from ¥13.9 to ¥33.1. Geothermal comes in at ¥19.2. METI said these high costs will “affect development” of renewables, implying that there isn’t much of a future for them.

A few days later, Shukan Asahi ran an article assessing these calculations, pointing out that the figure of ¥10.1 per kW/hour for nuclear is, in the ministry’s statement, followed by the word ijō, meaning “at least,” while figures for other energy sources are not.

The Asahi suggests that METI is trying to assure deniability because it’s almost certain that nuclear-related costs will increase in the future. According to Kenichi Oshima, professor of environmental economics at Ritsumeikan University, the ¥9.1 trillion needed to clean up the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and pay compensation to locals affected by the accident was not factored into the estimate; nor was the cost of decommissioning not only Fukushima No. 1 but other reactors scheduled to go out of service in the next 15 years, and Tokyo Electric Power Co. hasn’t even set a budget for decommissioning Fukushima, a separate procedure from the cleanup. To put matters into perspective, the estimated amount of radioactive material at Fukushima that needs to be processed is equivalent to the amount of radioactive material that would need to be processed from the normal decommissioning of 54 nuclear reactors. Continue reading

May 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, Reference | Leave a comment

Abe government trampling on press freedoms – concern grows in Japan

see-this.wayIn Japan, anger at Shinzo Abe’s heavy hand on press turns mainstream (+video)
 The prime minister is accused of blocking free expression and emboldening the ultra right. Meanwhile, the number of international scholars protesting Abe’s views of World War II has jumped from 187 to 450. Christian Science Monitor

By Justin McCurry, Correspondent MAY 21, 2015 TOKYO — Is Japan’s commitment to free speech foundering?

A growing chorus of critics accuses the Abe administration of trampling on press freedoms, moving the issue beyond a coterie of academics and journalists……http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2015/0521/In-Japan-anger-at-Shinzo-Abe-s-heavy-hand-on-press-turns-mainstream-video

May 25, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

Potassium iodate pills for Canadian communities near nuclear facilities

potassium-iodate-pillsKI pill distribution coming near Pickering, Darlington nuclear stations OPG developing extensive awareness campaign prior to fall distribution Ajax News Advertiser By Keith Gilligan DURHAM 24 May 15 — Ontario Power Generation is planning an extensive public relations campaign prior to distributing potassium iodide (KI) pills near the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations.

Last year, OPG’s federal regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, mandated that KI pills be distributed to all homes and businesses within a 10-kilometre radius of nuclear stations.

Kevin Powers, the director of corporate relations and communications for OPG, told the Pickering Community Advisory Council on Tuesday, May 19 that distributing the pills is “quite a change in what our normal operations are.”

To better understand public knowledge of the pills, OPG has been doing research, Mr. Powers noted.“We did research to understand attitudes on KI pills. We wanted a better understanding of what their understanding was,” he said.

He noted only seven per cent of residents currently have the pills in their homes……… Distribution of pills has been done in New Brunswick and Quebec. It’s being done around the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce stations this year.

Pills are currently in some pharmacies within the 10-kilometre radius, “but not many people know. This change is in how we distribute them,” Mr. Powers noted…… The pills will continue to be available at pharmacies, he said. That’s because people might not get enough pills at their home or have moved and don’t have the pills.

“The CNSC mandated that pharmacies within 50 kilometres have the pills,” Mr. Powers said. http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/5636397-ki-pill-distribution-coming-near-pickering-darlington-nuclear-stations/

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Canada, health | Leave a comment

Manchester’s cold war nuclear bunker revealed

flag-UKFrozen in time: Cold war nuclear bunker built by panicking council chiefs revealed after 50 years, [good pictures] Mirror 24 MAY 2015 BY  The never-before-seen images of the safe room cast an eerie light on the tensions of the times….It was designed to act as a safe room to protect the town’s decision-makers and civic leaders from any nuclear attack or fall-out, reports the Manchester Evening News .

Thankfully it was never used, but many thousands of people have walked into the 200ft-high tower ever since without knowing what lies beneath their feet. Today the bunker, made up of subterranean corridors and rooms, is used for storage.

The different chambers, reinforced by concrete and brick, were part of the centre’s overall design. It opened in 1977 but the bunker wasn’t publicised.

The fascinating images reveal boxes of binary code tape, which would have been used to send messages to the government, still on the floor.

Abandoned telephones and an old exchange system also give a glimpse of how the post-apocalypse survivors would have kept in contact with the world.

Spare fuses and light bulbs are revealed and abandoned sinks, desks and chairs also give a glimpse of how office equipment has changed over 40 years.

The council said only a select few people would have gained entry should the sirens have sounded – senior councillors and officers, police chiefs, engineers, doctors and communications experts……..It’s understood that the government ordered the construction of thousands of underground complexes during the Cold War.

Most have been decommissioned. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/frozen-time-cold-war-nuclear-5752252

May 25, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference flounders over Middle East nuclear concerns

Dispute over Mideast nuclear arms ban set to torpedo U.N. meeting http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/22/us-mideast-nuclear-un-idUSKBN0O72J220150522 UNITED NATIONS | BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU A month-long review conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty appeared headed for failure on Friday after its members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East and other issues. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment

In deference to Israel, US Rejects Nuclear Disarmament Document

US Rejects Nuclear Disarmament Document Over Israel Concerns http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-rejects-nuclear-disarmament-document-israel-concerns-31245809

UNITED NATIONS — May 22, 2015  The United States is rejecting a global document toward ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states “cynically manipulated” the process by trying to set a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.

The final document of a landmark treaty review conference Friday would call on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.

Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program.

A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.

Discussions on the draft document are continuing after a request from Iran.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review draft text deletes words “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty”

‘Weapons-ban treaty’ deleted from N-draft / NPT draft also leaves out call for Japan visits http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002170195 By Tetsuya Mizuno / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent 22 May 15 

NEW YORK — The words “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” have been deleted from the president’s draft text on nuclear disarmament scheduled to be adopted at the ongoing review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Final draft documents, including the president’s The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference president, Algerian Ambassador Taous Feroukhi,draft text on nuclear disarmament, were distributed to countries participating in the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at U.N. headquarters on early Friday.

The deletion of the words “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” substantially toned down the resolution for nuclear disarmament from the initial president’s draft. A call for world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki was also not reinstated in the president’s draft text.

President of the conference Taous Feroukhi of Algeria was initially scheduled to distribute the final draft documents to each country Thursday night, but was delayed. The conference will seek to adopt the final draft documents unanimously on Friday.The president’s draft text says, “In light of the 70th year since the end of the tragic devastations of World War II” and incorporates the wording “interactions with and directly sharing the experience of people and the communities affected by nuclear weapons to know their humanitarian impact” as part of efforts to promote education of nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation.

These expressions were finalized as a result of discussions between Japan and China, according to sources.

The initial president’s draft included a call for world leaders and young people to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as proposed by Japan and other countries.

Nuclear nations and nonnuclear nations were sharply at odds over nuclear disarmament. The wording “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” was deleted in consideration for nuclear powers.

The president’s draft text incorporates the establishment of a working panel to discuss a legal framework “for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons.” The working panel is intended to comprise both government representatives and private organizations.

The president’s draft text stipulates that “the Conference recommends that the open-ended working group conduct its work on the basis of consensus.” It also stresses “deep concerns pertaining to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.”

“It is in the interest of humanity and the security of all peoples that nuclear weapons never be used again,” it says.

Nonnuclear power nations have been calling for the insertion of a statement that countries will never use nuclear weapons in any circumstances, but this was ultimately not included in the president’s draft text due to opposition from France and other countries.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

IAEA plays down Isis claims to be able to get atomic bomb ‘within a year’ from corrupt officials

ISIS in nuke boast: We can get atomic bomb ‘within a year’ from corrupt officials, Express UK ISLAMIC State (ISIS) are poised to buy its first nuclear bomb “within a year”, the terror group claimed tonight. By TOM BATCHELOR, May 22, 2015 The jihadists are looking to get hold of an atomic weapon or thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate explosive.

The merciless organisation says it hopes to purchase a nuclear device “through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials” in Pakistan.

But it admits that obtaining the deadly weapon may be a challenge and says it would settle for a “few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive”. The chilling boast was made in the latest edition of its propaganda ‘magazine’ circulated to publicise the group’s barbaric aims.

ISIS says it has already seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems” – and is now setting its sights on the ultimate dirty bomb.

The article reads: “Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table.

“The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah [powerful friends] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.”

“It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.

“And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That’s easy enough to make.” The propaganda piece, which is attributed to British hostage and journalist John Cantlie, also warns an attack by ISIS on the US would ridicule “the attacks of the past”……..However nuclear experts have cast doubts on claims to use an atomic weapon.

The United Nations nuclear agency has played down the threat, saying that the material ISIS could get hold of would likely be “low-grade” would not pose a major threat.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission undervalues American lives

 Why Is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Undervaluing American Lives? Huffington Post,  Senior Writer, Union of Concerned Scientists22 May 15  How much is your life worth?

That’s a key, but controversial, question for the federal government. Although it might seem distasteful to put a monetary value on a life, when federal agencies consider adopting new health and safety rules — or strengthening old ones — they often do just that and weigh the proposed rule’s costs against its lifesaving benefits. The lower value they give to a life, the easier it is for them to reject a proposed safety measure as too costly. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Inspector resigns as 127 Fukushima children diagnosed malignant or possible malignant thyroid tumor

thyroid-cancer-papillary127 Fukushima children diagnosed malignant or possible malignant thyroid tumor / Inspector Suzuki resigned http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/05/127-fukushima-children-diagnosed-malignant-or-possible-malignant-thyroid-tumor-inspector-suzuki-resigned/  5/18/2015, Fukushima prefectural government announced they found malignant or possible malignant thyroid tumor from 127 children so far.

Among 127 children, they confirmed 103 children cases are thyroid cancer.

Before 311, pediatric thyroid cancer was found only in one of 1 million children. The population of Fukushima prefecture is approx. 200 million in 2012.

They have tested only 0.4 million children so far.

Also, Fukushima health investigative committee announced in the press conference that the thyroid tumor inspector, Suzuki, professor from Fukushima medical university resigned “in order to focus on the medical treatment of thyroid cancer”. The successor, Otsuru, who is also a professor of Fukushima medical university stated he is a physician so he cannot treat the cancer.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | children, Fukushima 2015, Japan | 1 Comment

Nuclear fusion – expensive boondoogle – as far away as ever

nuclear-fusion-pie-SmStar power: Troubled ITER nuclear fusion project seeks new path, Phys Org 23 May  by Pascale Mollard “……Launched in 2006 after years of wrangling, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is saddled with a reputation as a money pit.

It has been bedevilled by technical delays, labyrinthine decision-making and cost estimates that have soared from five billion euros ($5.56 billion) to around 15 billion. It may be another four years before it carries out its first experiment………

ITER’s job is to build a testbed to see if fusion, so far achieved in a handful of labs at great cost, is a realistic power source for the energy-hungry 21st Century.

Fusion entails forcing together the nuclei of light atomic elements in a super-heated plasma, held by powerful magnetic forces in a doughnut-shaped chamber called a tokamak, so that they make heavier elements and in so doing release energy.

The principle behind it is the opposite of nuclear fission—the atom-splitting process behind nuclear bombs and power stations, which carries the risk of costly accidents, theft of radioactive material and dealing with dangerous long-term waste…….

The tokamak—a word derived from Russian—by itself is an extraordinary undertaking: a 23,000-tonne lab, three times heavier than the Eiffel Tower.

“This is a project of unprecedented complexity… a real challenge,” said Mario Merola, in charge of ITER’s internal components division.

Management tangle

Part of ITER’s problems lie in a diffuse managerial structure and decision-making among its partners: the 28-nation European Union, which has a 45-percent stake, the United States, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea and Switzerland. he partners are providing their contributions mostly in kind, which has been a cause of messy, protracted debate about who should provide what, when and how. It has been further complicated by the role of national agencies, which in turn deal with their own suppliers.

In some cases, said Bigot, discussions have dragged on for six whole years without resolution……..By November, there will be a new progress report, with the likelihood of a further increase in the price tag. The project has no reserve fund to deal with the unexpected…..So far around seven billion euros have been contractually committed to the thousand or so companies working on the scheme. Every year of delay adds 200 million euros to the bill……”clearly if we can’t manage this project correctly, if undertakings are not kept… (the project) could be in danger.” http://phys.org/news/2015-05-star-power-iter-nuclear-fusion.html

May 23, 2015 Posted by | France, technology | Leave a comment

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