To Find America’s Nuclear Missiles, Try Google Maps NPR by GEOFF BRUMFIEL July 31, 2014 “……in truth, the location of these weapons is no secret.
The missiles and their command bunkers have been in the same place “for decades,” Air Force Capt. Edith Sakura of the 90th Missile Wing Office of Public Affairs wrote in an email. “They are near county and state roads that are public access to people. You need security clearances to access the sites; however, it would be hard to ‘hide’ such facilities.”
Moreover, as other commenters noted, the sites are already visited by foreign militaries. Russian officers regularly inspect U.S. missile silos to make sure America is adhering to international arms-control treaties. (And the U.S. sends its own observers to Russia.)……http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/31/336847318/to-find-america-s-nukes-try-google-maps
The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.
Abe undermining rule of law, Japan Times, BY JIRO YAMAGUCHI JUL 31, 2014 A recent series of events has demonstrated the deterioration of Japan as a nation. At the root of the problem appears to be a bottomless nihilism on the part of those in power characterized by their thinking that the powers that be can ignore the rules and norms of society and polity.
On July 1, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision to pave the way for Japan engaging in collective self-defense. This is an act that alters the foundation of Japan’s national security policies developed over the past 60 years, and an outrageous move that way oversteps the power of a single Cabinet.
How vague and sloppy the decision itself is was illustrated by the Budget Committee debates in both chambers of the Diet held two weeks later……..
The new conditions for the use of force overseas set under the LDP-New Komeito agreement will never serve as an effective brake on Japan’s military actions overseas.
Questions and answers in the Diet showed that the text of the Cabinet decision allows different people to interpret it in their own way.
If so, the norms set by the Cabinet over Japan engaging in collective self-defense will be meaningless. In the first place, Abe does not have the idea that government leaders must exercise their power in accordance with rules that are set down in words…….
If the content of norms and rules of a nation can be freely changed by those who interpret them, the nation is no longer under the rule of law; it’s under the rule of man.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority screened Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in accordance with the NRA’s plant design standards updated in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and announced that the Sendai plant has cleared the screening. Thus the NRA has paved the way for restarting the idled plant.
At the same time, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said NRA cannot determine whether the plant is safe to restart. The NRA chief insists its screening standards are not safety standards.
Yet, the Abe administration, which had repeatedly said it would reactivate nuclear power plants that have cleared “the safety standards,” is expected to push for a quick restart of the Sendai plant. The government says that NRA screening has confirmed the safety of the Sendai plant.
As with the issue of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, each of the people involved in the nuclear power policy is allowed to interpret the rules in his or her own way.
All these events demonstrate that people in power in this country — in particular Abe — do not recognize that they are bound by rules. They defiantly argue that even if certain things are prohibited under rules, they can do them simply by first changing the interpretation of the rules. Or, if they cannot win a game, they think that it’s because the rules and the referee are wrong. They then think that if the referee is replaced, things will be all right.
The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.
Jiro Yamaguchi is a professor of political science at Hosei University. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/07/31/commentary/world-commentary/abe-undermining-rule-law/#.U9xbVuNdUnk
Bill reviving Ukraine’s nuclear power ambitions goes to parliament July 31, 20:20 UTC+4 KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. A bill restoring Ukraine’s nuclear power status was registered in the national parliament on Thursday amid the ongoing military conflict in the south-eastern regions and strained relations with Russia.
The bill, reviving Ukraine’s nuclear ambitions, was forwarded to the parliament’s security and budget committees………
Nikolai Filatov, head of the all-Ukraine Union of Strategic Missile Forces Veterans, said the restoration of the nuclear power status would take much effort and cost at least one or two annual national budgets but “maintaining [strategic missile forces] in combat readiness would be much less expensive,”
He said that Ukraine was able to create land-based mobile missile systems, “which will pose a threat to a potential enemy”……
Ukraine, which had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the USSR, abandoned nuclear weapons under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Russia and Britain.http://en.itar-tass.com/world/743128
Persistent Nuclear Waste From Fukushima Inhibits Restarts Fukushima’s long-term problems will make public acceptance of a general nuclear restart difficult.http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/persistent-nuclear-waste-from-fukushima-inhibits-restarts/ By Clint Richards July 30, 2014 After months of attempting to negotiate with local residents in Fukushima, the Japanese government has abandoned its attempt to purchase land to store nuclear waste from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Storing nuclear waste and preventing groundwater from entering the disaster site continue to be persistent problems for the government, with no clear solution. This inability is a key factor explaining why public sentiment remains so strong against restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors, despite newer and much more robust safety standards from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA).
Instead of purchasing nearby land, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto met with Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato and the mayors of Futaba and Okuma and proposed a 30 year lease for 230 billion yen ($2.25 billion). The Jiji Press reported that local residents had refused to selltheir land because they believed the temporary storage facilities would become permanent if the land was owned by the state. The mayors of the respective towns said they would submit the proposal to their residents, but that it would take time to gain acceptance.
Additionally, on Monday Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) finally admitted that an operation underway since May to divert groundwater from entering into reactor buildings was unsuccessful. TEPCO had been attempting to intercept the water before it entered the tainted facilities and divert it into the ocean, but so far “the utility has yet to see tangible results,”according to the Japan Times. There are reportedly 400 tons of water flowing into the contaminated area on average every day, with TEPCO’s operation intended to reduce that amount by as much as 100 tons. Instead, the company hopes to stop groundwater from entering by solidifying the nearby hillside soil with concrete.
The government’s piecemeal approach to the waste problem generated by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has done little to inspire the confidence of the Japanese population about plans to restart some of its reactors in the coming months. While Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant passed the NRA’s new, more stringent safety inspections on July 16, 59 percent of Japanese people oppose the restart, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll conducted July 26 and 27. Even though the Sendai reactors only need to gain local acceptance in order to restart, these poll numbers indicate that a more general restart will continue to be met with resistance. The government has further plans to stem the flow of contaminated groundwater, for instance revamping its “ice wall” beneath the Fukushima Daiichi reactors by adding additional pipes and dumping as much as 10 tons of ice a day. However, until Japanese people feel there is an effective, long-term solution to the nuclear disaster in place, public opposition to nuclear energy will remain.
Fired From Los Alamos for Pushing Obama’s Nuclear Agenda, The Daily Beast, 31 July 14 The President says he wants to get rid of the world’s A-Bombs. But when an employee at the nation’s premier nuclear lab suggested the same thing, he got axed. By Douglas Birch, Center for Public Integrity
James E. Doyle’s ordeal with Washington began one morning in early February last year, when his supervisor stopped by his desk at Los Alamos National Laboratory and told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications.
The 55-year-old political scientist asked the reason for the request, and he eventually was told that someone at the House Armed Services Committee wanted to see the publications. But Doyle said officials refused to tell him who it was or why.
Later that day at the lab’s New Mexico campus, he said, two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.
They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama’s embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.
The assertion astonished Doyle, since the laboratory’s security authorities had already reviewed the article and declared it unclassified. But it was the start of a series of events in which Doyle first had his pay docked and his security clearance withdrawn, and then eventually was fired.
He got that final news on July 8, a day after the Center for Public Integrity asked the Energy department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nation’s nuclear labs, about the dispute over his article. “I was shocked,” he said, shortly afterward. “I am still shocked.”
Experts say Doyle’s treatment raises questions about the commitment of the nuclear weapons labs—which face increased competition for resources amid declining military interest in their key product—to intellectual independence in their workforce………..
Doyle, who holds a doctorate in international studies from the University of Virginia, has been at Los Alamos for the past 17 years. Before he joined the lab, he said, he wrote the Department of Energy’s strategic plan for keeping weapons-grade uranium and plutonium stored at hundreds of sites scattered across the former Soviet Union from falling into the wrong hands. He referred to this risky state of affairs as “the babushka-with-uranium-in-the-chicken-shed” problem.
As a nuclear safeguards and security specialist in the lab’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Division, which has 250 employees and an annual budget of about $185 million, Doyle has studied ways to verify reductions in United States and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles beyond the current levels. He also edited a textbook, Nuclear Safeguards, Security and Nonproliferation: Achieving Security with Technology and Policy, which, he said, is used in three dozen universities in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/31/fired-from-los-alamos-for-pushing-obama-s-nuclear-agenda.html#sthash.o3ZKvqHu.dpuf
Flicking the switch Restarting nuclear plants is unpopular but crucial for Shinzo Abe The Economist Aug 2nd 2014 | SATSUMASENDAI|”……. The pro-nuclear government of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, hopes a restart at the Sendai plant can open the way for a dozen or more reactors to resume operations……..The cost of closure to the local economy means that officials who favour nuclear power overwhelmingly outnumber opponents in the local assemblies that will vote in the autumn. Yet on the national stage, Mr Abe may still pay a price. His popularity has recently flagged. Last month his Liberal Democratic Party lost a gubernatorial election in Shiga prefecture, partly due to rising anti-nuclear sentiment. Some three-fifths of people are against the Sendai restart, according to a recent nationwide poll of public opinion.
Back in Kyushu, the possibility of an imminent restart was driven home this week when the prefecture handed out iodine tablets to households near the plant to protect against thyroid cancer in case of an accident. Other plans are incomplete, most notably on basic evacuation routes in case of a nuclear emergency. The plant is likely to restart without an earthquake-proof off-site emergency centre, though these were mandated after the Fukushima disaster. Japan lies in one of the world’s most seismically active areas, but insufficient discussion has been held about the risks posed by a surrounding group of five calderas and by Sakurajima, an active volcano only 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the Sendai plant.
The central government has to date relied on the NRA and on Kagoshima officials to make the case for the restart. Yet the governor, Yuichiro Ito, now says the authorities in Tokyo must convince the public of the plant’s safety. In 2012, before two reactors at Oi in Fukui prefecture were switched back on for a while, the governor there ensured that the then prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, reassured the public over the plant’s safety. Mr Abe may have to dip deep into his political capital if reactors across the country are to be fired up. http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21610329-restarting-nuclear-plants-unpopular-crucial-shinzo-abe-flicking-switch
Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories. It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing. Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:
- with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
- with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
- with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
- and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.
Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate. To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’
Rio Tinto’s ‘Sustainable Mining’ Claims Exposed By Kemal Özkan http://www.globalresearch.ca/rio-tintos-sustainable-mining-claims-exposed/5394301 July 31, 2014 Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate. Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.
Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine. The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory. If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations. Continue reading
Court urges Chem-Nuclear safety The Augusta Chronicle, By Sarita Chourey Morris News Service Thursday, July 31, 2014 COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Court of Appeals is ordering Chem-Nuclear to better protect the groundwater from contamination at the Barnwell County’s low-level radioactive waste disposal site. Under the order, the site operator and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control have 90 days to turn in a plan to reach compliance.
The Sierra Club, represented by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, had not asked for Chem-Nuclear’s license to be revoked, but rather that it improve waste-handling procedures at the 235-acre site near the town of Snelling.
In its ruling Wednesday, the three-person court said DHEC had not enforced the law on several parts of the regulation, and that the Administrative Law Court was wrong when it found Chem-Nuclear to be in compliance.
In one part of Wednesday’s decision, the court said the trenches at the site have no system to collect liquids that have drained or percolated through radioactive materials.
“DHEC and Chem-Nuclear argue Chem-Nuclear is justified in not having a … collection system due to ‘concerns regarding the radioactive exposure to workers handling and processing (it),’” wrote the court. “We fail to see how the danger of radioactive contamination to workers actually justifies releasing it into the groundwater without testing and remediation. Rather, it seems the danger to health and safety requires testing and remediation.”………
Tritium results from the manufacture of nuclear power, and is found in radioactive waste generated by nuclear power plants.
In 1999 a nearby church property was contaminated by radioactive material due to Chem-Nuclear’s disposal practice of pumping contaminated water out of a trench into lined ponds. ……. http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2014-07-31/court-urges-chem-nuclear-safety?v=1406837686
Renewable energy share reaches record high in Germany, PV Magazine 31. JULY 2014 New installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014. The share of renewable energy in gross domestic energy consumption is expected to rise to a record high of 28.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a preliminary survey by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).
The construction of new renewable installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to record levels by mid-year. In the first half of 2013, the renewables share of gross domestic energy consumption was at 24.6%.
Producing 18.3 billion kilowatt hours, photovoltaic power generation increased by 27.3%, while wind grew by 21.4% to 31 billion kilowatt hours. Biomass energy generation increased 5.2% to 22 billion kilowatt hours in the period……..
Energy generation by conventional plants on decline
The production by conventional power plants is declining significantly, BDEW reported……..
Gas and electricity consumption saw a general decline in the period: Natural gas consumption amounted to 445.7 billion kilowatt hours, down some 20% from 555.5 billion. The BDEW attributed the drop to significantly warmer weather in 2014, which lowered overall heating demand, especially compared to the very cold first half of 2013. A decline in production in Germany’s chemical industry likewise contributed to lower gas use. Adjusted for temperature, natural gas consumption still fell nearly 7%.
Electricity consumption in the period dropped 5% to 268 billion kilowatt hours, down from 282 billion a year ago, due mainly to the mild weather.
Record year for UK renewables http://renews.biz/71533/uk-renewables-output-hits-18-1twh/ Renewables claimed a record 14.9% of the UK generation mix in 2013, figures from DECC reveal.Some 53% of this came from onshore (32%) and offshore wind (21%), accounting for 7.9% of the nation’s electricity. Offshore wind generation surged by 52% and onshore by 40%. Overall renewables output was up 30% on 2012.
Meanwhile, figures for the first quarter of 2014 showed a renewables share of 19.4%, up 43% to 18.1TWh on the 12.7TWh in the first quarter of 2013.
Onshore wind rocketed 62% in the quarter, from 4.1TWh to 6.6TWh, as a result of “much increased capacity and high wind speeds”. Offshore wind was up 53% from 2.9TWh to 4.4TWh.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “The government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off. Renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years.
“Having a strong UK renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating hi-tech green jobs. A green energy future that once seemed impossible for Britain is fast becoming a reality.”
RenewableUK welcomed the figures, which it said should “make those in government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice”.
R-UK director of policy Gordon Edge said: “More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10% of electricity from wind alone this year.
“That’s why it’s particularly puzzling to see some politicians fail to back the cheapest and most successful renewable technology, onshore wind, at a time when a majority of voters from all the main parties are telling them to support it.”
Installed renewables capacity in the UK increased by 27% (4.2GW) to 19.7GW in 2013, due mainly to a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity and a 23% increase in offshore wind capacity. For the first time, more than 5% of the total energy supply, covering electricity, heat and fuel for transport, came from renewables, up from 4.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013. The UK needs to meet a legally binding target of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020.
Meanwhile, figures for the first three months of 2014 showed high rainfall in Scotland led to hydro output increasing by 78% to a record quarterly level of 2.2TWh.
Renewable electricity capacity was 20.8GW at the end of the period, a 15% increase on the corresponding window in 2013 and a 5.4% increase on the previous quarter.
Some 145MW of capacity joined the feed-in tariff scheme, increasing the total to 2386MW or 11% of all installed renewable capacity. Solar PV contributed 107MW, wind 13MW and anaerobic digestion 7MW.
Overall UK electricity generation for the quarter was 93.3TWh, a dip of 8.2% on a year ago due to the warmest first three months seven years.
In Two Years, Denmark’s Wind Power Will Be Half the Cost of Fossil Fuels http://motherboard.vice.com/en_au/read/in-two-years-wind-power-will-be-half-the-cost-of-fossil-fuels-in-denmark BRIAN MERCHANT SENIOR EDITOR July 30, 2014 Wind power is officially the cheapest source of energy in Denmark, according to the nation’s government—and by 2016, it claims the electricity whipped up by its newest turbines will be half the price of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
Denmark’s Energy Association (everything about Scandinavia is friendlier, even its DEA) announced the news last week, and it’s an achievement worth highlighting. Wind and solar are achieving grid parity with fossil fuels—that is, it’s just as cheap—in many places around the world. Even without the tax breaks, declining manufacturing costs and growing scale have rendered wind power just as cheap as natural gas in many states right here in the gas-rich US. And at least one analyst determined that this is the “beginning of the grid parity era” for solar, worldwide.
But Denmark is blowing past grid parity and towards a scenario in which clean energy is actually much, much cheaper: When its two massive offshore wind farms come online, they’ll be the nation’s most inexpensive energy source by a wide margin, analysts say.
“Electricity from two new onshore wind power facilities set to begin operating in 2016 will cost around 5 euro cents per kilowatt-hour,” Yale 360 explains. “Wind power would remain the cheapest energy option even if interest rates on wind power projects were to increase by 10 percent, the report found.”
That’s good news for a nation that’s hoping to get 50 percent of its power from wind turbines by 2050. Right now, the nation already boasts an impressive clean energy mix of 43 percent. “Wind power today is cheaper than other forms of energy, not least because of a big commitment and professionalism in the field,” Rasmus Peterson, Denmark’s energy minister, said at a press conference. “This is true for researchers, companies and politicians. We need a long-term and stable energy policy to ensure that renewable energy, both today and in the future, is the obvious choice.”
Importantly, the DEA’s analysis “was not based on a full cost-benefit assessment of different technologies that included an assessment of environmental benefits, taxes or subsidies.” That is, the agency did not factor in the health and environmental costs of burning fossil fuels—which are considerable—and instead looked directly at the market forces in the country.
Natural gas and coal are much more expensive in Denmark than it is in the US, which helps make wind such an economic bargain, and the nation has explicitly pursued wind power for decades. But improving technology, falling costs, and the strong, consistently blowing offshore winds that will turn the new turbines are making the case airtight.
Yesterday brought the good news that Germany was meeting a full 28.5 percent of its energy needs with clean sources. Now Denmark is proving that running your nation on clean energy can be cheaper than we possibly could have imagined, even ten years ago.
The world’s nuclear statistics are distorted by an anomaly whose cause is not technical but political. Three years after the Fukushima events started unfolding on 11 March 2011, government, industry and international institutional organizations continue to misrepresent the effects of the disaster on the Japanese nuclear program. In statistical documents on the issue, with the exception of the six units at Fukushima Daiichi, the entire Japanese reactor fleet of 48 units is considered operating. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) classifies all of these Japanese reactors as “in operation”—11 percent of what the IAEA considers the world nuclear fleet—despite the fact that none of them have generated power since September 2013, only two produced electricity in 2013 and just ten in 2012. The average outage of these Japanese “operational” units is over three years, as this report documents. In fact, three units have not generated power for the past seven years. To find a more appropriate way to deal with this situation, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 proposes a new category called Long-Term Outage (LTO).
Taking into account reactors in LTO, the number of operational reactors in the world drops by 39 (9 percent) from 427 in July 2013 to 388 in July 2014—50 fewer than at the peak in 2002— and brings world nuclear statistics into closer alignment with reality.
Mycle Schneider, Project Coordinator and Lead Author of the WNISR, states: “It is time to match the international nuclear statistics to the industrial reality. The introduction of the new category Long-Term Outage (LTO) more appropriately represents the operational status of nuclear power plants and provides industry analysts, political decision-makers and investors with a tool that mirrors empirical facts rather than wishful thinking.”
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in existing as well as in potential newcomer nuclear countries and looks in detail at how the changing market conditions are affecting the economics of nuclear power. WNISR2014 also updates a Fukushima Status Report featured for the first time in 2013 that triggered widespread media and analyst attention. While the Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation and assesses how nuclear power performs in systems with high renewable energy share.
Finally, a detailed country-by-country analysis provides an overview of all 31 countries operating nuclear power plants, with extended sections on China, Japan, and the United States.
Some of the key features of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 include:
- Declining role. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production declined from the 2012 low of 4.5 percent, a level last seen in 1984, to a new low of 4.4 percent.
- Aging. The average age of the world’s operating nuclear reactors to increase and by mid-2014 stood at 28.5 years.
- Construction Delays. At least 49—including three quarters of the Chinese projects—of the total of 69 construction sites have encountered delays, many of them multi-annual. Construction of two units in Taiwan was halted.
- Project Cancellations. Several projects have been cancelled and new programs indefinitely delayed, including in the Czech Republic and in Vietnam.
- Operating Costs Soar. Nuclear generating costs jumped by 16 percent in real terms in three years in France, and several units are shut down in the U.S. because income does not cover operating costs. The economic survival of nuclear plants is also threatened in Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
- Renewables vs. Nuclear. In 2013 alone, 32 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 37 GW of solar were added to the world power grids. By the end of 2013, China had 91 GW of wind power and 18 GW of solar capacity installed, solar exceeding for the first time operating nuclear capacity. China added four times more solar than nuclear capacity in the past year. And Spain generated more power from wind than from any other source, outpacing nuclear for the first time. It is also the first time that wind has become the largest electricity generating source over an entire year in any country. Spain has thus joined the list of nuclear countries that produce more electricity from new renewables—excluding large hydro-power—than from nuclear power that includes Brazil, China, Germany, India and Japan.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 is a © Mycle Schneider Consulting Project.
For further information and full copies of all previous reports see The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014.
Guardian: Abnormal blood in monkeys linked to Fukushima disaster — Study: ‘Epidemic infectious disease’ could occur — “We cannot find other reasons except radiation” — Concern about strontium-90 & other radioactive materials besides cesium — “Potential direct relevance to humans”http://enenews.com/study-finds-blood-monkeys-70-km-fukushima-plant-epidemic-infectious-disease-could-occur-find-other-reasons-except-radiation-effects-neurological-development-discovered-other-mammals-potent?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
The Guardian, July 24, 2014: Japanese monkeys’ abnormal blood linked to Fukushima disaster – study – Wild monkeys in the Fukushima region of Japan have blood abnormalities linked to the radioactive fall-out from the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new scientific study that may help increase the understanding of radiation on human health. [...] Professor Shin-ichi Hayama, at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told the Guardian [...] “This first data from non-human primates — the closest taxonomic relatives of humans — should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans… The low haematological values in the Fukushima monkeys could have therefore been due to the effect of any radioactive materials… We did not conclude the low-blood cell counts are caused by caesium but so far we cannot find other reasons except radiation.”
Scientific Reports (Nature.com), July 24, 2014: In April 2012 we carried out a 1-year hematological study on a population of wild Japanese monkeys inhabiting the forest area of Fukushima City. This area is located 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant […] Total muscle cesium concentration in Fukushima monkeys was in the range of 78-1778 Bq/kg, whereas the level of cesium was below the detection limit in all [monkeys from 400 km away.] Fukushima monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit [...] These results suggest that the exposure to some form of radioactive material contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys. […] low hematological values in Fukushima monkeys could have [...] been due to the effect of other radioactive materials. […] The hematological changes in the Fukushima monkeys might likely be the result of exposure to some form of radioactive material, but only radiocesium concentration was measured in this study. […] We therefore plan to investigate in a future study the underlying mechanism in detail with the aim of detecting other radioactive materials, such as 90Sr. […]
The Australian, Higher Education Reporter John Ross, July 25, 2014: Reality apes movie for Fukushima monkeys — In the latest Planet of the Apes movie, a virus created in a lab pushes primate evolution into overdrive while morphing into a simian flu that wipes out most of the human race. Scientists monitoring the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown may be witnessing something similar in real life [...] “Low blood cell count … may suggest that the immune system has been compromised, potentially making the entire troop susceptible to, for example, epidemic infectious disease.” The study suggests strongly that the blood changes are the result of nuclear contamination [...]
Fox News, July 25, 2014: “The findings are consistent with what our group had found with red blood cells and hemoglobin content for children living around Chernobyl,” said Tim Mousseau, a biologist at U. of South Carolina […] “The fact that they are seeing a signal in monkeys living in Fukushima city means that there’s some potential direct relevance to the human population.”
Obama curbs nuclear security goals as bomb-building budget grows, http://news.yahoo.com/obama-curbs-nuclear-security-goals-005500310.html by Douglas Birch, 30 July 14 Since the start of his presidency, Barack Obama has been clear that one of his major goals was to secure nuclear weapons and materials, and as recently as March, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Holland, the president declared that “it is important for us not to relax but rather accelerate our efforts over the next two years.”
According to a new analysis of nuclear security spending by a bipartisan group at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the administration in its proposed 2015 budget chose to cut nuclear nonproliferation programs in the Energy Department by $399 million while increasing spending on nuclear weapons by $534 million.
In addition, despite missing a self-imposed deadline of April 2013 for ensuring that nuclear materials were safe from terrorists across the globe, the White House at about the same time rejected a confidential Energy Department-sponsored plan to accelerate those efforts by 2016, the year Obama is slated to convene a fourth international summit on the issue.
The proposal, which appears in a May 2013 report obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity, was intended to address the huge amount of unfinished work in the Obama administration’s nonproliferation plan.It said that more than two tons of portable, easily-weaponized uranium were still being held in scores of nuclear research reactors, while the world’s supply of another nuclear explosive, plutonium, was growing at a rate of about 740 bombs’ worth a year.
Despite progress, there remained enough nuclear explosive material in the hands of civilians to cobble together 40,000 atomic bombs.
And delays keep piling up even though at least a third of the aging tanks storing 56 million gallons radioactive waste have leaked or are leaking, pouring some of the world’s most dangerous contaminants into the Columbia River.
Yet the treatment plant to create safe storage for all that waste—which will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years—still isn’t built. It should have been finished three years ago. And the Environmental Protection Agency is skeptical that the plant’s current completion date of 2022 will be met.
Only Another 40 Years to Go The plant is a crucial part of a wider remediation job that’s decades from being done, according to Dennis Faulk, the EPA’s program manager for Hanford
“I think we have another 40 years to go,” Faulk told WhoWhatWhy. “And another $100 billion will be needed over that time.” It costs about $2 billion a year to keep cleaning.
The EPA oversees and enforces the cleanup efforts, which are carried out by the Department of Energy and the contractors it hires. Both Congress and the Department of Energy itself have given those efforts a failing grade.
The Department of Energy’s internal watchdog last year blamed the department and the contractor that’s building the plant, Bechtel National Inc., for the delays. The Department of Energy’s oversight lacked focus and Bechtel implemented scores of design changes without subjecting them to the required nuclear safety review, according to a report from the department’s Inspector General.
Congress’ Government Accountability Office was harsher. It recommended shutting down construction until the design work is completed safely, and said the Department of Energy was prematurely awarding millions in performance incentives to Bechtel. Meanwhile, Bechtel and another contractor are fighting whistleblower lawsuits from two former employees, and guess who’s paying for their legal fees? The Department of Energy is.
All of those complications are worsened by the fact that the search for waste keeps turning up surprises, like nearly 100 pieces of spent fuel found in Native American burial grounds. So as the Herculean task creeps forward, occasional new contamination findings like that add time to the clock, which means the projected completion dates are really only theoretical.
Hanford wasn’t built with an abundance of forethought. The job of making weapons-grade plutonium came first. Everything else, like planning for the waste and telling people about the release of radioactive materials, came second.
Most critical work on the plant has been shut down………..http://chasvoice.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/after-40-billion-americas-biggest.html
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