Fukushima police sends nuclear contamination case against TEPCO execs to prosecutors, Rt.com 3 Oct, 2015 Fukushima police have finally reacted to a criminal complaint filed against TEPCO and 32 of its top officials two years ago over the contamination caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster. They have referred the case to prosecutors.
The criminal complaint alleges that the company and its executives failed to manage storage tanks of contaminated water or build underground walls to block the flow of radioactive material into the sea at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Notable people on the list include TEPCO’s President Naomi Hirose, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former President Masataka Shimizu.
Police have reviewed claims filed by local residents after 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from TEPCO tanks……..https://www.rt.com/news/317474-fukushima-tepco-contamination-prosecution/
David Cameron says that he would use nuclear weapons The PM described nuclear bombs as ‘the ultimate insurance policy’ and said the attack could be ‘justified’, The Independent, Jon stone Sunday 4 October 2015 David Cameron has said there are circumstances in which he would launch a nuclear attack on another country.
The PM described nuclear bombs as “the ultimate insurance policy” and said the attack could be “justified”.
Mr Cameron’s statement comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not use nuclear bombs on another country’s population.
“If you … believe like me that Britain should keep the ultimate insurance policy of an independent nuclear deterrent, you have to accept there are circumstances in which its use would be justified,” Mr Cameron told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on 4 October…….Warheads carried on Britain’s nuclear submarines are eight times more powerful than the atomic bombs used in 1945.
Parliament is set to vote during this parliamentar on whether to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Mr Corbyn opposes renewal, but some Labour MPs have said they disagree with him.
The Opposition’s official policy remains in support of Trident after the party’s leadership failed to secure a policy vote to change it at annual conference last week.
The SNP and Green Party oppose Trident. The Liberal Democrats want a small nuclear weapons system which they say would be less costly. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-says-that-he-would-use-nuclear-weapons-a6679256.html
The U.S. government lab behind China’s nuclear power push HONG KONG |REUTERS Dec 20, 2013 Scientists in Shanghai are attempting a breakthrough in nuclear energy: reactors powered by thorium, an alternative to uranium.
The project is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government body with close military ties that coordinates the country’s science-and-technology strategy. The academy has designated thorium as a priority for China’s top laboratories. The program has a budget of $350 million. And it’s being spearheaded by the influential son of a former Chinese president.
But even as China bulks up its military muscle through means ranging from espionage to heavy spending, it is pursuing this aspect of its technology game plan with the blessing – and the help – of the United States. China has enlisted a storied partner for its thorium push: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The U.S. government institute produced the plutonium used for the Manhattan Project and laid important groundwork for the commercial and military use of nuclear power.
The Tennessee lab, as it happens, helped pioneer thorium reactors. The Pentagon and the energy industry later sidelined this technology in favor of uranium……..
Thorium’s chief allure is that it is a potentially far safer fuel for civilian power plants than is uranium. But the element also has possible military applications as an energy source in naval vessels. A U.S. congressman unsuccessfully sought to push the Pentagon to embrace the technology in 2009, and British naval officers are recommending a design for a thorium-fueled ship.
In a further twist, despite the mounting strategic rivalry with China, there has been little or no protest in the United States over Oak Ridge’s nuclear-energy cooperation with China……..
Although it does not yield byproducts that can be readily used to make weapons, thorium does have military applications.
The fuel could be used to power Chinese navy surface warships, including a planned fleet of aircraft carriers. China’s nuclear submarine fleet has struggled with reactor reliability and safety, according to naval commentators, and thorium could eventually become an alternative.
Top British naval engineers last year proposed a design for a thorium reactor to power warships. Compact thorium power plants could also be used to supply reliable power to military bases and expeditionary forces.
Thorium also has military potential for the United States, experts say……..
Japan eyes nuclear deal with India October 5, 2015 Clearing the way for exports Nikkei Asian Review,
TOKYO –– Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit India around the end of this year to sign an atomic energy agreement with counterpart Narendra Modi, laying the groundwork for exports by Japanese corporations in that field.
India holds nuclear weapons but is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), so a focal point of negotiations between Japan and India was how to prevent the spread of nuclear technologies. The two sides are expected to agree on tight management of nuclear technologies on a par with the NPT.
Another obstacle to an agreement had been Indian laws that hold nuclear plant manufacturers partly liable in the event of nuclear accidents. In January, the U.S. and India agreed that an insurance framework created by India would cover damages related to accidents. Japan and India are seen reaching an agreement with conditions similar to the deal that Washington signed for such matters as the management of nuclear technologies and liability for damages………http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-eyes-nuclear-deal-with-India
French PM Valls discusses nuclear, China, culture on Japan visit, 2 Oct 15 Reuters/Toru Hanai/Files
By RFI French Prime Minister Manuel Valls met Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on Saturday during a three-day visit to the country that is Asia’s biggest investor in France. The Mitsubishi conglomerate could buy into troubled French nuclear power company, Areva, he said as his trip started……..
Nuclear power – French nuclear giant Areva is in trouble and its reactor branch is currently being bought by the EDF power company. Valls indicated that he was not opposed to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries investing in the branch in an interview with Asahi Shimbun newspaper and sources travelling with him said it could invest in Areva’s other activities, uranium mining for example. While 47 Japanese nuclear reactors remain closed following the Fukushima disaster, one reopened in August and another should be soon. Japan’s nuclear industry has always been an important client for Areva and EDF……http://www.english.rfi.fr/asia-pacific/20151003-french-pm-valls-discusses-nuclear-china-culture-japan-visit
Iran’s invisible opportunity, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Amory B. Lovins, 30 Sept 15, “……….the areas that could do the most to keep Iran from drifting back towards the nuclear path? Energy efficiency and renewables.
Legendary possibilities. At the eye of the storm over the Iran agreement is a zone of silence—an almost unnoticed opportunity to raise the odds of success. On the Iranian side, wisely using the period of restrictions on potential military nuclear activities could help Iran shift its domestic electricity priorities from a failed nuclear power program to a world-class, faster-to-implement, and vastly cheaper program that combines energy efficiency, modern renewables, and advances in the electrical grid. By weakening the domestic case for nuclear power, this approach could help remove uncertainty about Iran’s continuing domestic nuclear activities (however benign they may allegedly be, such as the creation of medical radioisotopes for radiation therapy). Importantly, that would clear some of the fog around Iran’s nuclear program. This in turn would isolate bomb-seekers and allow outside intelligence and monitoring efforts to focus on needles instead of haystacks.
Modernizing Iran’s electricity investments could also reduce the risk of renewed sanctions, reward and reinforce political moderation, enhance Iran’s prosperity and energy independence, bolster national pride, and—since the same logic applies to neighboring countries already making similar energy shifts for economic reasons—help stabilize the region by reversing an incipient Gulf nuclear arms race. More broadly, it could even help guard the global nonproliferation regime from dangerously permissive interpretations by updating the purpose of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s (NPT’s) Article IV, which enshrines signatories’ “inalienable right” to the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy. Thus, a speedy alignment of Iranian domestic electricity investments with new economic realities could advance the security and economic interests of Iran, Israel, the Arab Gulf states, America and its P5+1 partners, and the world. It could strengthen Iran’s global integration, political evolution, and national stature without compromising others’ similar goals.
Key Iranian officials already publicly favor this approach to their nation’s energy needs, and the technologies are ready and the vendors eager. Continue reading
STATE UTILITY REGULATOR RE-EXAMINES SECRET MEETINGS Don’t expect big changes yet By Don Bauder, San Diego Reader, Sept. 30, 2015 By now, savvy folks know that the California Public Utilities Commission has to clean up its act — thoroughly. Commissioners and staff members used illegal, back-channel communications with Southern California Edison to fleece ratepayers over costs of closing the San Onofre nuclear plant. Similarly, commission members were secretly helping Pacific Gas and Electric in its attempt to get a light penalty for its negligence leading to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and incinerated a neighborhood.
But the commission is not giving itself a thorough bath. It’s taking a cowboy bath at best.
Example: at the same time that the utility regulator was not turning over documents requested in a search warrant from the state’s attorney general, it was gathering legal opinions on how it could restore public confidence. Hmmm…
The utilities commission paid the law firm of Strumwasser & Woocher to make recommendations on the ex parte (one-sided) meetings between regulatory officials and utilities that led to the anticonsumer actions over San Onofre and San Bruno. It also had a staff lawyer, Ed O’Neill, prepare a report on both the secrecy and necessity of bringing efficiency to the decision-making process. O’Neill, who had worked for the commission before representing energy and telecom firms, was hired to “modernize” the commission’s decision-making process.
This “modernizing” involved suggested changes in the California Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, even though the original purpose of that act was to sacrifice efficiency in favor of the public’s knowledge of and participation in commission decisions.
Generally speaking, the Strumwasser recommendations are considered sound. …….. http://m.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/sep/30/citylights-california-utility-drop-secret-meetings/
pity UK taxpayers in decades, centuries and millennia to come.
When the party’s over … the financial spectre at the end of nuclear power http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985577/when_the_partys_over_the_financial_spectre_at_the_end_of_nuclear_power.html Dr Ian Fairlie 1st October 2015
There are two rules about the end costs of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie. It’s far more than you ever knew. And whatever sum of money was ever set aside, it’s nowhere near enough. Germany understands this. That’s why it refused to let E.ON spin off its nuclear liabilities into a hands-off company. But the UK, it seems, has lost the ability to learn from its nuclear mistakes.
Nuclear power has a wide spectrum of disadvantages.
One is that when reactors are shut down for good, a host of financial liabilities continue with no income flow from the sale of nuclear electricity to pay for them.
And enormous new liabilities for decommissioning and final disposal commence at the same time.
This became crystal-clear in April when the German energy giant E.ON proposed to spin off its remaining nuclear activities1 into a separate company, Uniper, in an attempt to protect the parent company from the multiple nuclear liabilities from the impending shutdowns of its nuclear reactors: Germany is phasing out all nuclear power by 2022. Continue reading
Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has reignited the debate about whether to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons. Here are the facts about the missiles and the submarines that launch them.
1. Next year, Britain will decide whether to build a new generation of nuclear missile submarines.
Since 1998, the only nuclear weapons Britain has are Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles aboard four Vanguard-class submarines.
4. A 100kt bomb detonated in the air over central London would probably kill about 250,000 people, almost instantly.
That’s before taking into consideration the effects of radioactive fallout.
(Technical note: The 250,000 figure has been worked out using Nukemap, thispopulation-measuring map, and a rule of thumb that the total dead caused by a nuclear explosion is roughly equivalent to the population inside the “5psi overpressure” radius.)………
7. According to the Royal Navy, the Trident missilehas a range of 4,000 nautical miles, or 7,500km.
That means that a submarine at its base in Faslane could hit targets in Nevada, or central India.
Within two minutes of launch the missile will be travelling at 6km a second, and can reach a target at maximum range in about 20 minutes……..
9. The Trident missiles are built, and owned, by the US, although the warheads and submarines are British-built.
The US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin builds the missiles, and provides the technical support to keep them operational………
11. When a new prime minister is elected, they give the commanders of each of the four submarines a sealed letter, known as the letter of last resort.
These letters contain orders of what to do in the event that the government has been destroyed, and the prime minister and the “second person” have been killed or incapacitated, in a nuclear attack on Britain.
When the prime minister leaves office, their orders are destroyed unopened. No one knows what Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, or any of their predecessors wrote in their letters of last resort, and what action would have been taken if there had been an attack.
By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-30 The Russian navy has announced that it is developing its strategic nuclear submarine presence in the Pacific Ocean with the addition of the newest member of its submarine fleet……..http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/russia-bolsters-pacific-ocean-submarine-presence
People’s Forum: Iran agreement would prevent nuclear weapons http://www.elkharttruth.com/discussions/local-dialogue/peoples-forum/2015/10/02/People-s-Forum-Carl-Helrich-Iran-agreement-would-prevent-nuclear-weapons.html
Carl Helrich of Goshen breaks down the Iran nuclear agreement. Our agreement with Iran is to prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. With John Kerry and one of our greatest nuclear physicists Ernest Moniz at the table we were not confused by the physics.
To see why this is a good agreement requires some knowledge of nuclear weapons. The lowest level weapon is a uranium bomb (Hiroshima). This requires 90 percent enriched uranium. The next level is a plutonium bomb (Nagasaki). This is considerably more complex in production and triggering. The problems are known; details are classified. The physics limits sizes of these, which we attained in WWII. Modern American, Russian, British, French, Chinese and probably Israeli arsenals contain fusion weapons, for which size is (in principle) unlimited.
Iran is enriching uranium. The agreement stops enrichment at a level sufficient for power plants, but far short of the 90 percent necessary for a weapon. The time required to “break out” and produce 90 percent will decrease as centrifuge technology improves. The agreement, however, provides the IAEA access to Iran’s sites. And successful breakout still puts Iran at the lowest level in the hierarchy of nuclear weapons. Any attempt to move higher will be evident and we will respond.
The agreement will stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon for 15 years and, because it opens inspection of Iran’s nuclear sites, it also opens communication.
The world will be a better place if no nuclear weapon is ever again detonated in anger. But force can never guarantee that. And we can never erase the knowledge we have of nuclear weapons. Our only hope is in diplomacy and peaceful cooperation among nations.
Nuclear reactors are closing and we are counting http://www.beyondnuclear.org/the-nuclear-retreat/2015/9/30/nuclear-reactors-are-closing-and-we-are-counting.html The United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), the second largest bank in the world, headlined that “Nuke Retirements are coming” in its September 24, 2015 global financial research issue of US Electric Utilities and IPPs. The international investment giant projects “a growing capitulation in the nuclear sector as the prospects for protracted downturn remains front and center.”
UBS forecasts, “We see both ETR (Entergy) and EXC (Exelon) as substantially exposed to this thesis: it has specifically emerged in recent days that not just ETR’s Fitzpatrick but also the Pilgrim unit could well be shut in lieu of investing to improve profile up to NRC levels. Further, we see EXC as highlighting this nuclear retirement thesis further with not just its Ginna plant in NY and Oyster Creek (NJ) plants poised to retire in 2019, but also now its Three Mile Island unit is at risk beyond known the ongoing saga in Illinois over support for Quad Cities, Clinton, and even Byron.”
UBS admits that its forecast “could well underestimate total retirements” as actual retirements might prove more aggressive particularly for the other single unit nuclear power stations. With Exelon’s two unit Quad Cities nuclear power plant in Illinois still posting losses, UBS sees the nuclear power corporation’s “plans to retire the plant as entirely credible (and seemingly committed to investors) should Illinois fail to produce a sufficiently attractive scheme” in spite of the fact that 50% of its nuclear assets are clustered in the state.
There is even more good news to be found in this particular UBS forecast where, “In turn, if retirements move forward as contemplated, we see a real corresponding uplift to the renewable industry as this becomes the growing source of ‘plugging’ for any further holes in meeting prospective carbon targets.” The UBS assessment undermines the pro-nuclear industry’s most prevalent false argument that “No Nukes” means more coal. It clearly doesn’t.
You can keep pace with these anticipated nuclear power plant closures and more by periodically visiting our website’s “Reactors are closing” page.
Former governor cites Freedom of Information Act Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy to force it to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and publicly share information relating to proposed shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory.
The suit was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Idaho on Andrus’ behalf by the Boise-based environmental law firm Advocates for the West.
Gov. Butch Otter announced in January that he would grant a one-time waiver to the 1995 Batt agreement to allow the proposed shipments if the DOE can restart a problem-plagued liquid-waste processing plant at INL, east of Arco. He said permission to ship the fuel for research at INL can be used as an incentive to get the liquid waste out of the state faster.
But nuclear activists contend the two proposed shipments of 25 fuel rods, weighing about 100 pounds per shipment, are part of a plan to open the door to ship about 20 metric tons of spent commercial nuclear fuel into the state.
In a news release, Advocates for the West said the lawsuit comes after months of effort by Andrus to require DOE to provide information to Idaho citizens about its request for the waiver. “Without DOE leveling with Idaho about both near-term and longer-range plans, we simply have no ability to assess the wisdom of what they are planning for the state,” Andrus said. “I suspect they know what they are planning will be very controversial, and for that reason they want to keep it secret. That is simply unacceptable.”
Andrus requested information about the waiver and proposed shipments in January. Advocates for the West said DOE provided documents containing dozens of redacted pages. In a letter dated July 10, the agency justified its refusal to provide other documents by saying they fell under exemptions contained in the Freedom of Information Act, including those related to proprietary information of private companies and attorney-client privilege.
Advocates for the West said virtually all the information DOE supplied was already in the public record, including newspaper accounts of the agency’s request for a waiver from state officials.
Andrus appealed the decision to withhold the information, and that appeal was also denied.
“The DOE has left us little choice but to ask the federal courts to enforce the law,” Andrus said. “A fundamental tenet of the American system of government is openness and transparency. The people have both a right and an obligation to know what their government is doing. That is why we feel it is so important to bring this information to light.”
Andrus said that without a permanent national repository for the highly radioactive material, Idaho will for the foreseeable future become that repository. Email the writer: email@example.com
Near the town of Guadix, where summer temperatures often top 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the main sound at the site is a whirring of motors to keep the mirrors – mounted on giant steel frames – tracking the sun as the Earth turns.
The Andasol plant, whose name combines the local Andalucia region with the Spanish word for sun – “sol”, provides electricity for up to about 500,000 people from about 620,000 curved mirrors.
The glass alone would cover 1.5 square km (0.6 square miles) – the size of about 210 soccer pitches. Installed electricity generating capacity at this semi-desert site is about 150 megawatts.
There is little sign of life here, at an altitude of 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) near the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range. Some hardy red and yellow flowers grow around the fringes, a few pigeons flap past and workers say that the odd fox lopes by at night.
The environmental benefits of clean energy are judged to outweigh the scar to the landscape from the mirrors, which are visible from space. The land is infertile, there is little wildlife and few people live nearby. The biggest regional city, Granada, with about 240,000 people, is 70 km (45 miles) away.
Andasol was Europe’s first “parabolic trough solar power plant” when its first section opened in 2009 – California has the biggest.
Sunlight bounces off the mirrors to heat a synthetic oil in a tube to a blazing 400 degrees C (752 F). That energy is in turn used to drive a turbine, generating electricity.
At Andasol, some energy also goes into a “heat reservoir” – a tank containing thousands of tonnes of molten salt that can drive the turbines after sundown, or when it is overcast, for about 7.5 hours.
That gets round the main drawback for solar power – the sun does not always shine. The system is very different from better-known rooftop solar panels that transform sunlight directly into electricity……..
Solar power has massive potential – one U.N. study estimated the world’s electricity needs could be generated by harvesting solar power from an area of the Sahara 800 km (500 miles) by 800 km.
And in 2014, a report by the International Energy Agency said the sun could – with a radical shift in investments – be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear.
Capacity just from solar thermal plants like Andasol could expand to 1,000 gigawatts a year from 4 gigawatts at the end of 2013, the agency said…….. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/01/us-climatechange-summit-earthprints-spai-idUSKCN0RV43O20151001
Fiji PM Warns Of Syria-Style Refugee Crisis If Rich Nations Don’t Do More On Climate,Thom Mitchell, New Matilda, 2 Oct 15 Frank Bainimarama has taken aim at advanced nations for ignoring the plight of Pacific Islanders in pursuit of short-term economic growth. Thom Mitchell reports.
The Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has hit out at developing nations for their “unacceptable” progress in reducing carbon emissions as part of a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he warned of a humanitarian refugee crisis on the scale of the current migration out of Syria if more is not done.
The talks come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seeks a place for Australia on the UN Security and Human Rights Councils, but Bainimarama warned that developed nations like Australia are not listening to the voice of Pacific Island nations, whose human rights are threatened by rising seas and hostile weather patterns.
“It is simply not acceptable for advanced economies to build a high standard of living on the degradation of the earth and the seas,” Bainimarama said.
The choices we face may be politically difficult in the short run, but the consequences we are already seeing – environmental degradation, unbearable heat, drought, powerful tropical storms and unpredictable weather patterns – are simply unacceptable,” he said.
“[Fiji] plans to move some 45 villages to higher ground, and we have already started.
“We have committed to resettle people from other low-lying, South Pacific Island States that face the prospect of being swallowed up by the rising ocean and falling inexorably to oblivion.
“Should that happen, the people of those Island States would be refugees as desperate and lost as the hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
As New Matilda reported in June, experts in migration law, like those at the University of New South Wales’Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, are already warning that the “disasters on steroids” climate change will bring is likely to create a need for special refugee visas.
It is clear by now that international pledges nations have made through the United Nations climate change process will not be enough to keep the global rise in temperature to less than two degrees, which is the level accepted as ‘safe’ by Australia and around 200 other nations: https://newmatilda.com/2015/10/01/fiji-pm-warns-syria-style-refugee-crisis-if-rich-nations-dont-do-more-climate#sthash.hk0kghO3.dpuf
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