nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Book “Atomic Comics” shows corporate influence, glossing over nuclear dangers

text-relevantThree books show how close nuclear catastrophe is, Green Left, , July 4, 2015 By Phil Shannon  “……Altogether more comforting has been the US comics industry. Ferenc Szasz’s history of atomic-themed comics,Atomic Comics starts with Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in the 1930s. Then, the assumed technological wonders of peaceful nuclear energy outweighed any anxiety over atomic war.

Dagwood Bumstead, Mandrake the Magician, Popeye and atomic-enhanced cartoon animals, including Donald Duck, have lent an “educational” hand to the task of reassuring readers that any dangers of nuclear fission were manageable.

A flock of caped heroes — Captain Marvel, Captain America, Superman and Wonder Woman — ensured that atomic bombs would not fall into the wrong hands, such as terrorists, evil scientists, unreconstructed Nazis, foreign powers or Reds.

It was assumed that the US hands that held The Bomb were the right hands and that nuclear warfare against the Soviet Union could be limited and winnable.

An “atomic banality”, says Szasz, now reigns in the comics and animation world in which “cynicism, resignation and bland acceptance” of nuclear fission, and the light satire of The Simpsons, coats over the continuing nuclear problems.

Book Atomic Comics

The corporate fingerprint is evident in all this cartoon contentedness. Although Szasz’s book should have developed this crucial issue more, the business giants of the comics industry — Marvel and DC Comics — which control three-quarters of the $700 million a year US comics market, share the supreme value of money-making with those who profit from nuclear energy and weapons.

Capitalism and the nuclear age are no laughing matter. https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/59405

July 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | 1 Comment

Mainstream media is complicit in cover-up of effects of Fukushima radiation

text-relevantHiding behind the glaring omissions of the mainstream press regarding Fukushima is the pressing reality that contamination from the event is severe, continual, on the rise, and already affecting North America.

Independent Media Runs With the Story There is, however, plenty of news coming out about Fukushima and plenty of conversation taking place about the impact on the environment and on human health. It’s just not to be found in the mainstream media, who is unquestionably strongly influenced by the nuclear energy industry and the government, and apparently involved in one of the greatest media cover ups of all time.

media-propagandaCover Up – Mainstream Reporting on Fukushima a Joke  Terence Newton, Staff Writer Waking Times , 5 July 15 It has been over four years since the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and ensuing catastrophic tsunami leveled the Pacific coast of Japan, setting off a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daichi power plant. Radiation has been pouring into the ocean, into the earth below, and into the air for over 1500 days now and there is still zero sense of urgency on the part of the government and world leaders to seriously address this blooming catastrophe. All efforts to stop the meltdown and clean up the radiation have been left in the hands of TEPCO, Japan’s energy company that has been proven time and again to be inept and unprepared to confront a disaster of this sort.

The mainstream media, for its part, appears to be complicit in a cover-up of the effects thatFukushima radiation is already having on our environment and on human and animal health, and instead insists on omitting most news on the matter, or seriously dumbing down reports of the fallout.

For example, Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

Revelations on the dirty work given to Windscale nuclear cleanup workers – and at Hanford

BBC: People taken from movie theater by police, forced to go in reactor and deal with burning fuel rods — TV: Military picked men off street to battle meltdown — Women, minorities, homeless, and prisoners used by nuclear industry for most dangerous work (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/bbc-police-grabbed-people-movie-theatre-made-reactor-deal-burning-fuel-rods-tv-men-picked-streets-forced-battle-nuclear-meltdown-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

BBC, ‘Windscale – Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Disaster’ (emphasis added) — Tom Tuohy, deputy manager at Windscale plutonium production plant (at 8:00 in): “We were trying to push the burning fuel into the back of the reactor.” — But the heat had melted the cartridges, so they were stuck in the core… Radiation was so intense they could only work a few hours. They were running out of firefighters. — Neville Ramsden, Windscale health physicist: “The police from the [plutonium] factory had turned up looking for volunteers and they brought a bus. They decided the best way to get the volunteers was to go up to the cinema, and ‘volunteer’ the back 2 rows at the show to go… push the fuel rods out of the reactor.”

Yorkshire Television, ‘Children of Chernobyl’(at 4:00 in): “When the robots broke down because of the extreme radioactivitymen were sent in to cleanup the site. They werenot volunteers. They were picked up off the streets and press ganged [i.e. taken by force] onto the roof… In 90 seconds, they received their permissible lifetime dose of radiation. The men were sent home and forgotten… They do not figure in any official casualty lists.”

Prof. Kate Brown, C-SPAN (at 35:00 in): “When there was an accident [at Hanford],when there was some dangerous groundthat needed to be worked… they sent in these temporary workersprisoners from the camps nearby… minority laborers… basically ‘jumpers’ to work in dangerous ground,unmonitored… and they’d leave with the many possible radioactive isotopes they had ingested… without any epidemiological trace… The plutonium cities presented a picture of healthy pink populations, this was a mirage.”

Prof. Brown (at 42:30 in): “That job [of refining plutonium] was often given to women… it’sone of the dirtiest jobs. At Dupont… they’d write the Army Corps, ‘Maybe since we’re going to make this super-poisonous product, we shouldn’t hire women who were younger than the menopausal age. What about fertility problems? What about mutants and monsters in offspring?’ They were real nervous about it… they knew a great deal, and they were worried.”

DC Bureau: When the enormous problem of high-level nuclear waste became apparent… White workers ordered African Americans to deal with this deadly mess, and disposal involveddumping plutonium straight into the soil…. [Mr. Lindsay] was recruited from his job as a segregated school principal to commute several hours from Greenwood, South Carolina… like thousands of other African American workers, was given the most dangerous jobs andordered to throw his dosimeter in a bucket before going into high risk areas.

Reuters: Police say Japanese gangsters rounded up homeless men to clean up Fukushima radiation… “Many homeless people are just put into dormitories [and] left with no pay at all.”

Anand Grover, United Nations Special Rapporteur (at 15:30 in): “These [Fukushima] workers told me, ‘Do you know we’re actually living in a shanty town?’… Literally on the pavement…in Tokyo… They told me that people come take them.”

Channel 4, ‘Nuclear Ginza’ (1995) — Prof. Kenji Higuchi (at 2:00 in): “The scenes I saw, the stories I heard, I found them difficult to believe at first… Workers go near the reactor and get exposed… Many of them become ill sometimes die… [They’re] picked off the street in the slums… I found so many… who didn’t know what had happened to them, or if they did,too frightened to speak… all their stories were the same… People simply don’t believe this could happen in a country like Japan… It’s as if they’re the living dead.”

July 6, 2015 Posted by | employment, UK | 1 Comment

Grim future for France’s nuclear companies AREVA and EDF

Burdened by losses, EDF’s foreign activities are currently unable to finance the increasing requirements at home, where the production costs of nuclear plants are rising by around 5% each year and investment needs are increasing.

The international trend is not for a nuclear renaissance but for a boom in renewable energy, and France will not be able to export significantly more reactors, or to develop new reprocessing contracts abroad under profitable conditions.

To understand just how far the French nuclear industry has fallen in recent years, look no further than the value of EDF and Areva. Since 2007, EDF’s stock price has fallen more than 70%; Areva’s by more than 85%. If Areva weren’t 83% government-owned, it almost certainly would have declared bankruptcy by now.


plants-downnuClear News July 15
 http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo75.pdf The deep crisis which the French nuclear industry is experiencing is not new, although it seems to have shocked some commentators. It actually represents the outcome of a strategy launched at the end of the 1990s which was always flawed. The project involved an aggressive export policy which it was hoped would disguise predictable difficulties at home, according to a report by WISE Paris for Greenpeace. (1)

 

 Faced with declining overseas markets and increasing expenditure at a domestic level, EDF and Areva appear to be heading for a terminal decline. The recent industrial restructuring will not save the industry. Only a genuine reorientation can prevent further disaster for the French economy.
Areva has now suffered four years of losses, including a record figure of €4.8 billion in 2014 and debts of €5.8 billion against a turnover of €8.3 billion. The group is facing bankruptcy and cannot sidestep a far-reaching redistribution of its business operations. Despite less worrying results, the EDF group, whose fifty-eight nuclear reactors operated in France provide more than 75% of the country’s electricity, is also experiencing difficulties. Boosted by its turnover of €72.9 billion, the electricity company recorded net profits of €3.7 billion in 2014. But its debt situation – now at €34.2 billion – is increasingly a matter of concern.
In the era of the energy transition, in which France has set itself the objective of lowering the share of nuclear power in its electricity generation to 50% by 2025, the future looks grim for the two companies.

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July 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, Reference | Leave a comment

When France shuts its nuclear reactors, it will be left with a monumental radioactive trash problem

flag-franceFrench nuclear waste will triple after decommissioning: agency http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/us-france-nuclear-waste-idUSKCN0PB4TM20150701
PARIS The amount of nuclear waste stored in France will triple once all its nuclear installations have been decommissioned, which will boost the need for storage facilities, French nuclear waste agency Andra said.

In a report released on Wednesday, Andra estimated that final nuclear waste volumes will eventually reach 4.3 million cubic meters, up from 1.46 million at the end of 2013 and an estimated 2.5 million in 2030.

That is based on an average lifespan of 50 years for utility EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors and including a new reactor under construction in Flamanville. Most of that waste will be only slightly radioactive, such as building rubble and clothing used during decommissioning, but because of its bulk, it requires increasing amounts of space.

Decommissioning

Andra, which publishes a nuclear waste inventory every three years, expects its low-level waste facility in Morvilliers, in the Aube region, would fill up between 2020 and 2025.

“We want to warn that the storage centers are filling up and that we need to optimize waste management because storage facilities are a rare resource,” Andra executive Michele Tallec told Reuters.

Volumes of highly radioactive, long-life waste – which represent just 0.2 percent of the volume but 98 percent of the radioactivity – should rise from 3,200 cubic meters at the end of 2013 to about 10,000 cubic meters when all France’s nuclear plants reach their end of life.

This waste is scheduled to be buried in the controversial deep-storage site in Bure, in eastern France, which already has a test facility but has not received any nuclear waste.

his year, Andra plans to present the French government and nuclear regulator ASN a technical dossier on Bure, which aims to bury nuclear waste 500 meters underground in thick layers of argillite rock, which Andra says will prevent most radioactive particles from traveling more than a few meters over hundreds of thousands of years.

Andra plans to put in a formal request to build the 35 billion euro facility – which faces resistance from environmental groups and local residents – in 2017 and hopes to start construction in 2020 with a view to open it for first testing in 2025.(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Michel Rose, writing by Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans)

July 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, France, Reference | Leave a comment

USA government hid radiation test results in Pacific

see-no-evilJapan Scientists: High radiation levels near West Coast after Fukushima disaster — Almost 30 Bq/m3 of cesium offshore — Secret documents reveal US gov’t previously ordered radiation test results in Pacific be hidden to avoid contamination fears   http://enenews.com/japan-scientists-high-radiation-levels-west-coast-after-fukushima-disaster-almost-30-bqm3-cesium-offshore-secret-documents-reveal-govt-ordered-radiation-test-results-pacific-be-hidden-avoid-cont

Michio Aoyama (Fukushima University) et al. (pdf), European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Apr 2015 (emphasis added): The oceanic distribution of Cs-137 and Cs-134 released from [Fukushima Daiichi] were investigated… During the period from end of March to early of April 2011, extremely high activities of Cs-137 and Cs-134 in seawater were concentrated along the coast… The high activities area spread to the region of 165_E with a latitudinal center of 40_N in the western North Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric deposition is also cause to high activities in the region between 180º and 130º W in the North Pacific Ocean. The total inventory of FNPP1-released Cs-134 in the North Pacific Ocean is estimated to be 15.2 +/- 1.8 PBq… Leak of stagnant water induced by heavy rainfall would also cause the increase of the total…

Meteorological Research Institute (further detailed inAoyama et al.): 137Cs and 134Cs activities in the North Pacific Ocean after Fukushima Nuclear power plants accident — MRI (Meteorological Research Institute) measured the concentration of radiocesium (134Cs、137Cs) in the seawater sampled in April – May 2011.

  • May 13 (42.72ºN, 151.12ºW): 27.3 Bq/m3 of 134Cs + 137Cs (13.5 + 13.8)
  • May 14 (40.97ºN, 141.46ºW): 19.3 Bq/m3 of 134Cs + 137Cs (8.1 + 11.2)

Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments(special committee created by Executive Order of the President of the United States), 1994: The [Department of Defense] engaged in fallout data gathering. In the fall of 1954, the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project established a “Fall-out Study Group“… A December 16, 1954, memorandum from the chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project stated… “The actual data obtained are SECRET and the sample collection should be discreetly handled.”… Another contemporary instance of selective disclosure of fallout-related research… is discussed in a February 1955 letter… Willard Libby, acting AEC chairman [reporting] on a proposed marine radiobiological survey in the Pacific… “The classification ‘Secret’ Defense Information has been assigned to the surveyin order to avoid… unwarranted recrudescence [i.e. recurrence] of fears in Japan of radioactive contamination of fish… The fact of an oceanographic survey in the Pacific, however, is regarded as unclassified so long as purpose, content, and results are not revealed.”

Note the rather obvious gap in the center of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s map showing test results for the Fukushima radioactive plume from 2011-15. According to the WHOI website, they are attempting to “reveal the ongoing spread of radiation across the Pacific.” Perhaps samples from a location that’s in the projected path of the radiation spreading across the Pacific would help.

See also: NYTimes: Gov’t scientist not allowed to publish findings on Fukushima cesium levels in Pacific — Japan researchers pressured to downplay disaster’s impact — Professors obstructed when data might cause public concern

July 6, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Game Over for UK’s Hinkley Point Nuclear power project?

The UK Government is now said to be deeply concerned about the future of the Hinkley project following revelations about problems at the similar reactor being built at Flamanville

Nuclear needs a blank cheque Now that it is plain that nuclear power has failed miserably to compete with renewable energy even on the somewhat skewed playing field represented by the (proposed) Hinkley C deal, nuclear supporters are trying to engineer a ‘blank cheque’ to be given to nuclear developers

nuClear News, July 15 http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo75.pdf  There is a growing chorus of critics calling for Hinkley Point C to be scrapped altogether, according to the Sunday Times.

It would be one of the most expensive man-made objects ever built in the world. At a cost of £24.5bn it would tie British households into paying for astonishingly expensive electricity subsidies until 2060. The world has changed since 2010 when Hinkley was first named as a site for new reactors. The price of renewables has plummeted.

 protest-Hinkley-C
 Peter Atherton, an analyst at Jefferies and long-time critic is unequivocal: “This project is an abomination,” he said. “It’s going to cost £16bn to build, plus another £6bn in financing costs. Either of those numbers alone should have made this unthinkable. We’re building a power station, not the pyramids.”
 Since 2010 the cost of solar power panels has plummeted by 67%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The price of onshore wind turbines has shrunk by 5%, though the government’s decision to slash subsidies will curtail new developments.

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July 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Sorry, but Nuclear Power just won’t help against climate change – new campaign

globalnukeNOhighly-recommendednuClear News, July edition, http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo75.pdf    “…. Don’t Nuke the Climate On June 16, seven international clean energy organizations launched a major new campaign aimed at keeping nuclear power out of all negotiations at the upcoming UN climate talks in Paris. The UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP-21’) will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The seven initiating groups are the two organisations behind the Nuclear Monitor − the World Information Service on Energy (WISE-Amsterdam) and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS) − along with Sortir du Nucleaire (France), Ecodefense (Russia), Global 2000 (Austria), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), and Burgerinitiative Umweltschutz (Germany).
Some of the same groups were critical to a similar effort at the UN negotiations in The Hague in 2000, which succeeded in barring nuclear power from the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. And some of the groups also organized the large Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free contingent to last year’s People’s Climate March in New York City.
Peer de Rijk of WISE-Amsterdam said: “We are calling on 1,000 civil society organisations to join us for a campaign to block the nuclear industry’s lobby activities at COP-21 and instead ensure the world chooses clean energy.” 
  • Nuclear Power is Not a Silver Bullet: Nuclear power could at most make a modest contribution to climate change abatement. The main limitation is that it is used almost exclusively for electricity generation, which accounts for less than 25% of global greenhouse emissions. Even tripling nuclear power generation would reduce emissions by less than 10% − and then only if the assumption is that it displaces coal. 
  • Greenhouse Emissions from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Claims that nuclear power is ‘greenhouse free’ are false. Nuclear power is more greenhouse intensive than most renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. Life-cycle greenhouse emissions from nuclear power will increase as relatively high-grade uranium ores are mined out. 
  • Nuclear Power – A Slow Response to an Urgent Problem: The nuclear industry does not have the capacity to rapidly expand production as a result of 20 years of stagnation. Limitations include bottlenecks in the reactor manufacturing sector, dwindling and ageing workforces, and the considerable time it takes to build a reactor and to pay back the energy debt from construction. 
  • Nuclear Power and Climate Change Countries and regions with a high reliance on nuclear power also tend to have high greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries are planning to replace fossil fuel-fired power plants with nuclear power in order to increase fossil fuel exports − in such cases any potential climate change mitigation benefits of nuclear power are lost. 
  • Climate Change and Nuclear Hazards Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.75, July 2015 22 water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. ‘Water wars’ − in particular, disputes over the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources between power generation and agriculture − are becoming increasingly common and are being exacerbated by climate change.  
  • Weapons Proliferation and Nuclear Winter Civil nuclear programs have provided cover for numerous covert weapons programs and an expansion of nuclear power would exacerbate the problem. Nuclear warfare − even a limited nuclear war involving a tiny fraction of the global arsenal − has the potential to cause catastrophic climate change. 
  • Renewables and Energy Efficiency: Global renewable power capacity more than doubled from 2004 to 2014 (and non-hydro renewables grew 8-fold). Over that decade, and the one before it, nuclear power flatlined. Global renewable capacity (including hydro) is 4.6 times greater than nuclear capacity, and renewable electricity generation more than doubles nuclear generation. A growing body of research demonstrates the potential for renewables to largely supplant fossil fuels for power supply globally. Energy efficiency and renewables are the Twin Pillars of a clean energy future. A University of Cambridge study concluded that 73% of global energy use could be saved by energy efficiency and conservation measures − making it far easier to achieve a lowcarbon, nonnuclear future.
Sign the Petition http://www.nirs.org/cop21/dontnuketheclimate.htm Ten Reasons Not to Nuke the Climatehttp://www.nirs.org/factsheets/nukesclimatefact614.pdf

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment | Edit

July 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

History of safety failures at US nuclear plants

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAHow the next US nuclear accident could happen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hugh Gusterson 5 July 15 “…….We can learn a lot about the potential for safety failures at US nuclear plants from the July 29, 2012, incident in which three religious activists broke into the supposedly impregnable Y-12 facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the Fort Knox of uranium. Once there, they spilled blood and spray painted “work for peace not war” on the walls of a building housing enough uranium to build thousands of nuclear weapons. They began hammering on the building with a sledgehammer, and waited half an hour to be arrested. If an 82-year-old nun with a heart condition and two confederates old enough to be AARP members could do this, imagine what a team of determined terrorists could do.

We have a detailed understanding of this incident thanks to energetic reporting byFrank MungerDan Zak, and, finally, a recent tour de force account in the New Yorker by Eric Schlosser, who has established himself as the premier reporter on nuclear accidents waiting to happen. Their cumulative reporting suggests that the Achilles’ heel of US nuclear safety culture lies in a fondness for automated security technologies, the delegation of government functions to private contractors, and a predilection for hollow facsimiles of effective audit procedures.

Where some other countries often rely more on guards with guns, the United States likes to protect its nuclear facilities with a high-tech web of cameras and sensors. Under the Nunn-Lugar program, Washington has insisted that Russia adopt a similar approach to security at its own nuclear sites—claiming that an American cultural preference is objectively superior. The Y-12 incident shows the problem with the American approach of automating security. At the Y-12 facility, in addition to the three fences the protestors had to cut through with wire-cutters, there were cameras and motion detectors. But we too easily forget that technology has to be maintained and watched to be effective. According to Munger, 20 percent of the Y-12 cameras were not working on the night the activists broke in. Cameras and motion detectors that had been broken for months had gone unrepaired. A security guard was chatting rather than watching the feed from a camera that did work. And guards ignored the motion detectors, which were so often set off by local wildlife that they assumed all alarms were false positives….

Instead of having government forces guard the site, the Department of Energy had hired two contractors: Wackenhut and Babcock and Wilcox. Wackenhut is now owned by the British company G4S, which also botched security for the 2012 London Olympics, forcing the British government to send 3,500 troops to provide security that the company had promised but proved unable to deliver. Private companies are, of course, driven primarily by the need to make a profit, but there are surely some operations for which profit should not be the primary consideration.

Babcock and Wilcox was supposed to maintain the security equipment at the Y-12 site, while Wackenhut provided the guards. Poor communication between the two companies was one reason sensors and cameras were not repaired. Furthermore, Babcock and Wilcox had changed the design of the plant’s Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, making it a more vulnerable aboveground building, in order to cut costs. And Wackenhut was planning to lay off 70 guards at Y-12, also to cut costs.

Incidentally, we hear similar stories coming out of Los Alamos, where the private contractor responsible for packaging nuclear waste for the Waste Isolation Pilot Project put pressure on an undertrained workforce to pack as many barrels of nuclear waste as possible everyday, if necessary by cutting safety corners to maximize profit.

These are the hazards of outsourcing essential state security functions to private contractors: They prioritize profit and, like the Soviet bureaucratic organizations Sonja Schmid blames for Chernobyl, they often find it hard to work together……

This time the nuclear facility was broken into by highly principled peace activists intent on symbolically spilling their own blood to make a point. Next time the intruders may be more malevolent, intending to spill others’ blood. If there is a next time, be prepared for an inquiry that shows a misplaced faith in automated security technology, private contractors cutting corners to make a buck, and government managers astonished that their reviews didn’t catch the problem. http://thebulletin.org/how-next-us-nuclear-accident-could-happen8441

July 6, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Increased ionising radiation in Chernobyl area, following wildfires

wildfire-nukeRadiation spike recorded after Chernobyl wildfire, International Business Times, 
July 2, 2015 Nuclear inspectors have recorded a significant increase in radiation in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, after wildfires tore through forest near the devastated nuclear power station.

Radiation recordings in the Polesskoye settlement, which was abandoned after the 1986 nuclear reactor explosion, show air contaminated with 10 times the normal levels of deadly cesium-137, The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine announced.

Cesium-137 is one of the most dangerous elements released in a nuclear explosion, and can cause leukemia after accumulating in the body……..

Ukranian capital Kiev lies only 132 km (82m) downwind of the current blaze, and Minsk, capital of Belarus, 342 km (213 m) north-west. The surrounding region is now largely deserted after the Soviet government resettled 116,000 people in the wake of the disaster.

“The real problem would be if the wind strength increased and fire got out of control. If there are very strong winds and they were blowing from east to west – as does happen in summer – it could be a risk to Europe,” he said.

Baverstock said that in the wake of the disaster, Cesium-137 was absorbed into the soil, and from, there into organic matter including tree bark and leaves. In forest fires, the chemical can be released into the atmosphere again, and can cause cancer to those who inhale it, or enter the food chain if ingested by animals.

Reports indicated that the fire is currently some distance from the main reactor, which is covered by a crumbling concrete dome, or the Red Forest, the 10 km zone around the reactor, believed to be one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world……..http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/radiation-spike-recorded-after-chernobyl-wildfire-1508955

July 4, 2015 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Tomb in Marshall Islands – becoming more dangerous because of climate change

This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking, Guardian 3 July 15  The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean Black seabirds circle high above the giant concrete dome that rises from a tangle of green vines just a few paces from the lapping waves of the Pacific. Half buried in the sand, the vast structure looks like a downed UFO.

waste store Runit_Dome Marshall Is

At the summit, figures carved into the weathered concrete state only the year of construction: 1979. Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.

Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States’ cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests.

Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.

Now locals, scientists and environmental activists fear that a storm surge, typhoon or other cataclysmic event brought on by climate change could tear the concrete mantel wide open, releasing its contents into the Pacific Ocean.

“Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010.

“It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium,” he said. “Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States.” Continue reading

July 4, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Community leaders in Nigeria oppose nuclear power facility

logo-NO-nuclear-SmNigeria: Community leaders oppose nuclear plant site, Star Africa,  APA  July 3, 2015  The Leaders Caucus of the Akwa Ibom State in south-eastern Nigeria has rejected plans by the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to site nuclear power plant in Itu Local Government Area of the state.

The Community leaders, led by Senator Anietie Okon, told journalists on Thursday in Uyo, the state capital the rejection was due to disastrous consequences that failure of nuclear plants had brought to even more discerning climes.

He wondered what gave Nigeria, where perennial incompetence in matters of safety and security has become legendary, the impetus to venture into such a risky project, while countries with known competences like Germany, Italy, US, Russia and Japan are shutting down such plants.

Okon said that gambling with such risky issue by Nigeria was a clear and deliberate invitation to disaster of monumental proportions.

Declaring Akwa Ibom as grossly unsuitable for such projects, the leaders noted that the location of nuclear plants all over the world is done far away from human habitation, noting that Akwa Ibom is small and compact, even as there is no distance across the state that is beyond 50km……….http://en.starafrica.com/news/nigeria-community-leaders-oppose-nuclear-plant-site.html

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Nigeria, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, told VICE News that companies have spent $100 billion worldwide trying to commercialize breeder reactors without success.

“So now you’re telling me that this combination of reactors has $1.3 billion scattered over more than a dozen technologies?” he said. “Bill Gates’ investment … is hopeless.”

Tech Titans Like Bill Gates Are Gambling on Nuclear Power — But It Looks to Be a Losing Bet, VICE News, By Laura Dattaro July 4, 2015 Nearly 50 American and Canadian tech companies, including heavy hitters like Bill Gates, have invested over a billion dollars in next-generation nuclear technologies in the last 10 years, according to the think tank Third Way.

Despite declining public trust in nukes, especially since the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan in March 2011, proponents argue that nuclear is key — some say the key — to providing reliable energy while at the same time helping to rid the world of fossil fuels.

“We were compelled by a mission to get involved in a very pressing energy challenge …. Marcia Burkey, chief financial officer of TerraPower, told VICE News. Bellingham, Washington-based TerraPower was founded by Bill Gates and is developing new nuclear reactor technologies.

But critics of nuclear power say this rosy picture does not match the realities of the industry, and that the technologies are too far from being scaled up commercially to meet the urgency of lowering emissions. What’s more, they say, the money behind the current push for more advanced reactors is paltry compared to the costs associated with developing, licensing, and constructing even a single nuclear plant.

Gates'-travelling-Wave-Nucl

“You can’t really in good faith put forward a technology that we don’t know how to do, and have no real prospect of knowing how to do in the next couple of decades. The solution needs to be underway already or to be capable of beginning tomorrow,” Peter Bradford, a professor at Vermont Law School and former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), told VICE News. “That’s really not true of any of those designs mentioned in the [Third Way] report.” Continue reading

July 4, 2015 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

German government requiring nuclear utilities to pay up in costs for disposing of radioactive trash

nuke-reactor-deadBerlin says utilities can’t dodge responsibility for nuclear waste http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/03/us-germany-energy-nuclear-waste-idUSKCN0PD18A20150703
BERLIN 

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday that if the provisions by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants were not sufficient, the government needed to discuss asking the companies to make further payments.

Gabriel also said that Berlin wanted to rule out quickly by law the possibility for utilities to reduce their financial liability regarding the de-nuclearization of the country.

Germany’s four nuclear operators — E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall — have set aside around 36 billion euros ($39.99 billion) in provisions for shutting down nuclear power plants and building a safe disposal site for highly radioactive waste.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

New renewable energy app from IRENA will help investors

logo-IRENAIrena off to a clean start with new renewable energy app, The National Business  June 30, 2015 The renewable energy sector has been growing fast, and more and more people – particularly potential investors – are seeking information on little known areas to venture into.

Although some forms of renewable energy have been around for decades, there has been almost no mapping of the industry. Sure, companies have looked into their particular areas of interests, but until the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, launched in 2009, there was little aggregated information available.

The organisation has now created an app to feed hungry minds on the subject – allowing users to search for renewable energy resources anywhere in the world, from sources such as wind, solar or marine, hydro, geothermal and bioenergy. And all this from their smartphone.

Launched last month, the Global Atlas pocket is a free app available for download on all platforms including BlackBerry 10, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

At present it claims to be the only global tool of its kind, combining 1,000 maps from 67 governments and 50 data centres.

The idea is that users can overlay information listed in the catalogue to help identify areas of interest for potential projects or business ventures…….

What are the pros of this app?

It’s important to remember that this is the first of its kind. So to begin with, Irena needed to grab whatever information is currently available on different markets and regions. It’s not an easy task. But you can select any place in the world to find out how much solar irradiation is present, ask if renewable energy could power 100 per cent of a particular island or even whether wind energy is a suitable prospect for the UAE…….. http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/irena-off-to-a-clean-start-with-new-renewable-energy-app

July 4, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, renewable | Leave a comment

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