The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Why pilots and air hostesses are classified as radiation workers

radiation-warningHere’s why airline crewmembers are classified as radiation workers  Nov. 19, 2015 

Airline crewmembers have tough jobs. They have to maintain an aircraft’s safety while dealing with grumpy and inattentive passengers — all while keeping smiles on their faces.

But flight attendants and pilots also face an unseen menace on the job: Cosmic radiation.

You can’t see it or feel them, but at any given moment, tens of thousands of highly charged particles are soaring through space and slamming into Earth from all directions.

These particles, sometimes called cosmic rays or cosmic ionizing radiation, originate from the farthest reaches of the Milky Way. They’re bits and pieces of atomic cores shot to nearly light-speed by black holes and exploding stars, and they smash into (and through) anything and everything in their way.

With that incredible speed and energy, it’s no surprise cosmic rays can easily penetrate human flesh and, in the process, pose risks to our health. Their damage to tissues and DNA have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems, for example.

The good news is that these rays don’t pose much of a risk to humans on Earth. That’s because our planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field form a mighty shield against these rays. But the shield isn’t impenetrable, and some particles leak through.

Those who spend a lot of time high up in the atmosphere — flight crews, for instance — face much higher exposure to cosmic radiation. The closer to the ground you are, the less exposure you’ll get. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies airline crewmembers as radiation workers.

In fact, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reported in 2009 that aircrews have, on average, the highest yearly dose of radiation out of all radiation-exposed workers in the US.

The annual hit to aircrews is an estimated 3 millisieverts (mSv) — a complicated-sounding measure of the amount of background radiation a person receives in one year in the US — which beats out the annual doses received by other high-radiation jobs, such as X-ray technicians and nuclear power workers. (Only astronauts are more exposed; 10 days in spaces delivers about 4.3 mSv to the skin alone, which is about 4.3 years’ worth of cosmic radiation on the surface of Earth.)

Flying through the sky increases your exposure of two different types of cosmic radiation: galactic cosmic radiation, which is always soaring through an aircraft, and solar particle events, which only occur during solar flares. The latter, very intense bursts of energy from the sun can occur anywhere from one to 20 times per day.

We know that ionizing radiation — which not only comes from space, but from X-rays, nuclear power generation, and atomic bombs — causes cancer and reproductive issues in humans, including miscarriage and birth defects. But we don’t know the health effects of cosmic radiation alone.

Most studies have looked at people bombarded with high amounts of various kinds of radiation, such as atomic bomb survivors and those who received radiation therapy. For this reason we don’t know what level of cosmic radiation is safe for humans,according to the CDC. Which is why there are no official limits on the amount of radiation a crew member can receive in a given year.

There are some worldwide guidelines, however. The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends that a crew member not be exposed to more than 20 mSv per year. The ICRP says that the general public, on the other hand, should receive less than 1 mSv per year. That same 1 mSv recommendation goes for those who are pregnant, both in the sky or on the ground.

But for crewmembers, these limits are difficult to abide, according to the CDC, and such exposures may put them at greater risk for health effects.

To minimize exposures, crew members should try to limit working on flights that are very long, at high altitudes, or that fly over the poles, which are all associated with heightened exposures. Pregnant crewmembers are also particularly at risk and should try not to fly during their first trimester, or at all when the sun is having a solar particle event, which can deliver a higher dose of radiation in one flight than is recommended for the entirety of the pregnancy, according to the CDC.

To calculate your exposure on a typical flight, check out this handy Federal Aviation Administration online tool.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | employment, radiation | Leave a comment

Japan to step up radiation protection, as worker’s leukaemia attributed to radiation

radiation-warningLeukemia case recognized  Last month, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry acknowledged a man in his 40s who developed leukemia after working at the Fukushima plant as a sufferer of work-related illness. He was the first decommissioning worker to be recognized as such.

Appropriate radiation control vital for Fukushima decommissioning, November 22, 2015 The Yomiuri Shimbun It will take about 40 years to decommission reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. To secure the personnel necessary for that task, it is important to thoroughly safeguard the health of such personnel.

TEPCO has started stepping up its safety measures. The utility has established a consultative body in cooperation with subcontracting firms that dispatch personnel to the plant, thereby increasing the frequency of visits and inspections at their work sites. Measures also include expanding worker safety education. These steps are in keeping with a set of safety guidelines laid down by the government in late August.

An average of about 7,000 personnel work at the Fukushima facility every day, and not a small number of accidents tied to construction and other work have occurred. We hope TEPCO will comprehensively improve the work environment of these personnel.

It is particularly important to reduce the workers’ radioactive exposure. Continue reading

November 23, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, Japan | Leave a comment

Drastic risks to UK’s security, jobs, in the Hinkley Point C boondoggle

It is clear that this unprecedented handover of power and money to Chinese hands will prompt a justified reaction from those thousands of UK steel workers whose jobs are about to disappear due in part to the global dumping of steel by China.

Will the remnants of the steel industry and its workers see a fraction of the £76 billion to be spent by the Chancellor on his nuclear boondoggle? Not likely.

The nuclear option can and has been criticised in so many ways that the UK Government should think long and hard before proceeding with what many UK citizens will rightly consider an unpatriotic and unethical waste of money. It may even constitute a real and potent danger to our current lifestyle in Britain.

The Hinkley Point C boondoggle: a dangerous waste of money  By  on 2 November 2015 The UK Government’s pursuit of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C represents not just a colossal waste of money, but could also be real danger to the UK’s national security, write Professors Alex Russell and Peter Strachan of Robert Gordon University. “Let us hope that the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s actions do not lead to the radicalisation of unemployed steel workers who are now being joined by unemployed renewable industry personnel.”

The Conservative government, arguably, has completely lost the plot in continuing to pursue its so called energy policy that depends so heavily on building a new fleet of nuclear power stations to keep the lights on in Britain. The government want to have 16 GW of new nuclear power stations built in the UK all using EDF’s troubled Generation-III design, of which Hinkley Point C (3.2 GW) is only the first installment.

Hinkley Demo Oct. 9th Save our Solar

With this project is George Osborne seeking an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the first Chancellor of the Exchequer to commission the world’s most expensive nuclear power station? The Chancellor says the project represents good value for money. But the facts suggest otherwise. Further, and with the recent signing of a new nuclear accord as part of the State Visit of the President of China, not enough attention appears to have been given to national security issues.

Economic madness  All in all, Hinkley Point C will cost an estimated £76 billion, for up to 3.2 GW of new generation capacity. Building costs are now estimated by EDF, the owner, at £24.5 billion. As a sobering thought, even offshore wind looks cheap when compared to the full commercial costs of this project.

This apparent blank cheque for new nuclear build is all the more surprising coming at a time when the Treasury has slashed support for onshore wind and solar power and other low carbon projects. Continue reading

November 4, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, employment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Germany’s dash for renewables has helped to create new industries

Germany’s planned nuclear switch-off drives energy innovation, Guardian,  , 3 Nov 15 
While Britain visualises a nuclear future, Angela Merkel’s aim of replacing it with renewables by 2022 is well under way 
Hinkley Point will be the first nuclear power plant to be built in Europe since the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima reactor in 2011. But while the British government sees nuclear energy as a safe and reliable source of power, Germany is going in a different direction.

As a result of the Fukushima, Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to switch off all nuclear power by 2022 and fill the gap with renewables – a process known as theenergiewende (energy transition).


Germany’s push for renewables grew out of the anti-nuclear protests of the 1980s and currently more than a quarter (26%) of its electricity comes from wind, solar and other renewable sources, such as biomass, although 44% is from coal. The country’s government wants to increase the share of renewables in electricity to 40% to 45% by 2025.

No other country of Germany’s size has attempted such a radical shift in its power supply in such a short space of time. Described by Merkel as a herculean task, the transition is Germany’s most ambitious economic project since die Wende – the phrase used to describe the fall of the Berlin wall and subsequent reunification of east and west – with an estimated cost of €1tn (£742bn) over the next two decades.

However, Reinhard Bütikofer, the Green party’s spokesman for industry in the European parliament, said the really “mind-blowing” energy transition is happening in the UK, where the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset will cost electricity customers at least £4.4bn in subsidies. “They are cutting down on solar, PV [photovoltaics], purportedly for cost reasons, while on the other hand they pledge to guarantee the nuclear industry and energy price twice the market price for the next 30 years. That’s crazy.”

The energiewende is not uncontroversial, not least due to the rising cost of subsidies paid by ordinary bill payers, which has triggered complaints that poor households are subsidising affluent dentists to put solar panels on their roofs. But the transition is not opposed by Germany’s main business lobby, the BDI, despite lingering concerns about what the transition means for the country’s manufacturing base at a time when confidence in the Made in Germany brand has been knocked by the Volkswagen scandal.

“There is broad consensus in society on the political targets – to reduce CO2 and increase energy efficiency and the share of renewables,” said Carsten Rolle, the BDI’s head of energy and climate policy………

Germany’s dash for renewables has helped to create new industries. About 370,000 Germans work in the renewable energy industry, twice the number who work in fossil fuels, according to the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a green political thinktank.

The north German port city of Bremerhaven has staged a partial revival, after decades of decline following the collapse of the shipbuilding and fishing industries in the 1970s and 1980s……..

Bütikofer said it was a myth that the push to renewables was putting German companies out of business.

“The industrial Mittelstand has always persevered, moved ahead of the curve by being more effective than others,” he said. He believed that from damaging firms, the energy law can stimulate energy efficiency. “[The energiewende] is nudging sectors of German industry towards more ambitious innovation and I think that is the name of the game for future competitiveness.”

November 4, 2015 Posted by | employment, Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Japan’s govt admits that 40% of Fukushima evacuation personnel exposed to radiation of 1 mSv

text ionising40% of Fukushima evacuation personnel exposed to radiation of 1 mSv OCT. 27, 2015 TOKYO — 

Nearly 40% of Self-Defense Forces troops, police officers and firefighters involved in evacuation operations right after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis were exposed to radiation above the annual public limit of 1 millisievert, the government said Monday.

The Cabinet Office surveyed for the first time 2,967 personnel who assisted in evacuating residents living within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex as well as radiation cleanup and other activities from March 12 to 31, 2011.

The survey found that around 62% were exposed to radiation of less than 1 millisievert. But 38% were exposed to 1 millisievert or more, of whom 19% received 1 to 2 millisieverts and 5% received 5 to 10 millisieverts.

Daily radiation doses remained high until around March 15—the day the third reactor building suffered an explosion at the plant—and dropped below 0.1 millisievert from March 18.

The Cabinet Office revealed the data at a meeting to discuss ways to mitigate the radiation exposure of civilians helping others to evacuate in the event of a nuclear accident. The Japanese government is pushing for the reactivation of reactors that have cleared a set of new safety requirements imposed in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, but public concern persists about whether smooth evacuations would be possible in the event of a nuclear accident.

The government plans to set a 1-millisievert-limit for civilians assisting in evacuations such as bus drivers. But some bus drivers are reluctant to accept the proposal.

The maximum radiation dose for ordinary members of the public is set at 1 millisievert per year. The limit for workers at nuclear facilities is 100 millisieverts over five years and 50 millisieverts per year in normal times, but it is raised in emergencies.

October 28, 2015 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2015, Japan | Leave a comment

Radiation exposure to Fukushima workers and the community

text ionisingFukushima today: A first-person account from the field and the conference table, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 26 Aug 15  Subrata Ghoshroy “……….the building containing the failed reactors has radiation levels as high as 4,000 to 5,000 milliSieverts per hour (400,000 to 500,000 millirems per hour), making even the operation of robots difficult. In fact, two power company robots had to be abandoned while inside the depths of the plant. And some spots, such as inside the primary containment vessel, went as high as 9.7 Sieverts per hour (970,000 millirems per hour). In addition, it has not been possible to precisely locate the melted core. (Another conference speaker, Jun Tateno, who was a former research scientist with the Japanese Atomic Energy Research Institute, accused the government of suppressing voices from the scientific community that were critical of the safety of power plants. He said that we have reached a situation in which we do not even know how much plutonium is in the core.) In the meantime, huge amounts of water must be pumped in to keep the reactors cool; this liquid then mixes with ground water, contaminating it as a result.

The picture is not much better when it comes to the land. In an effort to decontaminate residential areas, radioactive soil is being dug up from approximately 1,000 sites. The government wants to consolidate this contaminated material in semi-permanent storage sites in the “difficult-to-return zones” in Futaba and Okuma towns. Local residents, meanwhile, fear that these could turn into permanent repositories of radioactive material……….

We were told that most workers did not wear dosimeters to record their cumulative radiation dose. There was good money to be made in decontamination work. They did not want to know.

But if one does the math, what the workers and their supervisors were ignoring—or were being told to ignore—could be significant. If a person spent one week working at this part of a supposedly safe parking area for 8 hours per day, then he or she would have been exposed to 40 microSieverts per day. And if that person was there for a 5-day workweek, then over the course of a single week that person would have been exposed to 200 microSieverts. In a year, that person could receive 10 milliSieverts, a significant dose. Of course, scientists are rightly cautious of such “anecdotal” evidence; our Geiger counter readings could have been off, or the machine calibrated incorrectly, or some other source of error introduced—though I doubt it because it had earlier read the background correctly. But the result of such quick and dirty, back-of-the-envelope calculations for what is supposedly a low-risk parking area, well away from the restricted hot zones, do give one pause—especially as the ongoing lack of dosimeters means that no one really knows a given individual’s cumulative dose. The amount of exposure to a thing that you cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or feel sneaks up on you. Even when you think you are safe, you are not.

If nothing else, the fact that a simple, random spot-check registered so highly is an eye-opener, and counter to what has been officially portrayed. ……..An important item seemed to lie further down in the article, which noted: “However, the health ministry said the number of workers surveyed is different from the total number of cleanup personnel reported by the Environment Ministry, which could mean the association failed to record radiation doses of all individuals working around the Fukushima plant.”

No wonder there has been public distrust and charges of a lack of clarity about the radiation clean-up operation, as can be seen in the title of a 2013 Guardian newspaper article: “Life as a Fukushima clean-up worker—radiation, exhaustion, public criticism.”Even when the approximately 7,000 workers involved in the clean-up do wear dosimeters, that is no guarantee of accuracy; there have been reports of a Tokyo Electric Power Company executive who tried to force clean-up workers to manipulate dosimeter readings to artificially low levels by covering their devices with lead shields………

August 28, 2015 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2015, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan exposing hundreds of young men to radiation – in the cause of promoting the nuclear industry

the level of radiation is so high that my biggest humanitarian concern is that – if the Japanese push to get these plants dismantled quickly – they will burn out hundreds and hundreds of young men. It’s usually young men because that’s how the construction trade is, needlessly. My point is, walk away for a hundred years, then come back in a hundred. By waiting a hundred years you’re reducing the radiation exposure to a significant, young virile gene pool that in my opinion doesn’t deserve to be exposed right now.

There’s a very real human cost to thousands of construction workers who are being exposed and will be exposed. But they have to show the Japanese that they’re dismantling that site because if the Japanese don’t believe it can be cleaned up they won’t let the other plants start back up.


It’s a show. This is all about showing the Japanese that it’s not too bad, and we can run our other forty or so plants fine, trust us. It’s definitely symbolic for the Japanese, but the real reason is the banks want their money back.

This Expert Claims the Japanese Government’s Fukushima Clean Up Is Just “a Show”   August 12, 2015 by Thomas Marsh   The past couple of weeks have seen two stories draw our attention back to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of March 2011, in which three nuclear reactors melted down after the plant was hit by a tsunami. Radioactive material was released in what was the biggest and most disastrous nuclear incident since Chernobyl in 1986.

One story concerned some pictures of deformed daisies near the Fukushima Daiichi site, which trended online for a while and got everyone all hot under the collar about radiation, until it was established that they occur all the time in nature. So no need to worry about that.

The other was a video released by Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive and engineer who’s declared Fukushima “the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind”. In it, he claimed that 23,000-tankers of water contaminated with radioactive isotopes have leaked into the Pacific from the Fukushima Daiichi site since 2011 and will continue to do so for decades – at a rate of three hundred tonnes a day. So maybe start worrying again.

Sure enough, a recent report by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) claimed that concentrations of radioactive isotope Strontium-90 have reached record highs in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean around Fukushima, with levels spiking by about 1,000 percent in three months. Continue reading

August 15, 2015 Posted by | employment, Japan | 5 Comments

More deaths from leaukemia as workers exposed to more low level ionising radiation

As cumulative dose of radiation exposure increased, so did the risk of dying from certain kinds of leukemia, the researchers found.

In the new study, the researchers calculate that for each gray (1,000 mGy) of total radiation exposure, a worker’s risk of leukemia rose three-fold.


Long-Term Low-Dose Radiation Exposure May Increase Leukemia Risk, Scientific American,  Leukemia was already known to be caused by exposure to high doses of radiation, like that released by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 By Kathryn Doyle July 10, 2015  (Reuters Health) – In a long-term study of more than 300,000 workers in France, the U.S. and the U.K., those with many years of exposure to low doses of radiation had an increased risk of dying from leukemia.

Medical workers and even patients are also exposed to much more radiation than was common decades ago, the study authors point out, but it’s unclear what amount of low-level exposure raises cancer risk, they say.

“A lot of epidemiological or radiobiological studies have brought evidence that exposure to ionizing radiation can cause cancer and leukemia,” said lead author Dr. Klervi Leraud of the Radiobiology and Epidemiology Department at Fontenay-aux-Roses in Cedex, France.

Workers exposed to ionizing radiation who are later diagnosed with leukemia can already ask for financial compensation in the U.S., the U.K. or France, Leraud told Reuters Health by email.

Leukemia is known to be caused by exposure to high doses of radiation, like that released by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. In the years following those bombings, leukemia cases increased among the survivors, the authors note in The Lancet Haematology, online June 21. But such high doses are rare today.

For the new study, researchers considered 308,297 nuclear energy workers whose radiation exposures were monitored. All had worked for at least a year for the French Atomic Energy Commission or similar employers or for the Departments of Energy and Defense in the U.S., or were members of the National Registry for Radiation Workers in the U.K.

The workers were followed for an average of 27 years, with data on exposure and health status through the early- to mid-2000s, depending on their country. Researchers looked for deaths from leukemia or lymphoma. Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, health | 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)

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

Burnout and stress in Fukushima’s 7,000 nuclear cleanup workers

Stress on The Front Lines of Fukushima Cleanup, NHK, 12 March 2015  Four years ago, crews at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan were racing to keep the nuclear plant from spiraling out of control following the earthquake and tsunami. Today, that sense of urgency has dissipated. But the situation remains serious as workers juggle a host of problems as they decommission the facility. Given the risks involved, health concerns and other worries weigh heavily on their minds……Every day about 7,000 workers help decommission the reactors. In heavy protective clothing, they carry out such tasks as collecting and storing contaminated water. However, the decommissioning work is expected to take up to 40 years to complete. Keeping stress levels down and morale up is proving difficult.

Maeda says a change of mood has definitely come over his staff. He also says it’s getting harder to find new skilled workers. His company now has only one-third the number of experienced workers it had before the accident. “If it carries on like this, we’ll go out of business,” he says.

Four years after the disaster, the decontamination of land around the plant continues. But it is hard to predict when places like Maeda’s hometown of Namie will be habitable again. He says many residents are losing hope of returning home………

June 8, 2015 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2015, Japan | Leave a comment

New private consortium to decommission nuclear power stations – will cut 1600 jobs

flag-UKMagnox nuclear decommissioning consortium to cut up to 1,600 jobs, Guardian, , 22 May 15  Cavendish Fluor Partnership says plans reflect ‘stepdowns’ in work at nuclear plants around UK The new private consortium that recently won the £4.2bn management contract for the decommissioning of 12 Magnox nuclear power stations has revealed plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs. Cavendish Nuclear, a division of Babcock International, plus its US partner Fluor, said the cuts reflected “planned stepdowns in the work programme” at a number of atomic sites around the UK.

The move comes amid speculation that Babcock is preparing to demand millions of pounds of extra subsidies from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the grounds that the workload was much heavier than anticipated.


Unions expressed shock that staff, agency and contract workers would lose their jobs between now and September 2016, although the Cavendish Fluor Partnership said it would try to find some alternative posts. Eleven of the plants have already shut down and the remaining one in operation – Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales – is due to stop generating power at the end of the year.

Problems with the decommissioning of the separate Sellafield site in Cumbria have recently led to the private consortium there which includes Amec and Areva of France – being thrown off the management contract.

The 12 nuclear power sites managed by the Cavendish consortium for Magnox include Berkeley, Gloucestershire; Bradwell, Essex; and Hinkley Point A in Somerset.

EDF last month announced plans to cut 400 construction jobs at the site of the planned new atomic plant of Hinkley Point C.

The reduction in workers comes amid continuing delays over a final investment decision on the £24.5bn project as negotiations with potential investors continue to move more slowly than expected.

May 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, employment, UK, wastes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

6,000 employees of failing nuclear giant AREVA are to lose their jobs

areva-medusa1French nuclear group Areva to cut up to 6,000 jobs worldwide, Yahoo 7 News May 8, 2015,
Paris (AFP) – French nuclear group Areva, which incurred massive losses last year, announced Thursday it would cut up to 6,000 jobs worldwide as it seeks to slash its costs by a billion euros by 2017. 
he number of job cuts will be between 5,000 and 6,000 worldwide, said the group’s human resources director Francois Nogue.Between 3,000 and 4,000 of the job losses will be in France.

Areva had earlier said it planned to reduce its labour costs by around 15 percent in France and 18 percent internationally.

The group’s labour costs currently come to between 3.5 billion and 4.0 billion euros — an unsustainable level given that revenues are only about twice that, said Nogue………….

May 8, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, France | Leave a comment

Mako Oshidori on the plight of TEPCO’s nuclear plant workers

Oshidori, MakoMako Oshidori in Düsseldorf “The Hidden Truth about Fukushima”, Fukushima Voice version 2E 28 May 2014  “…..Next, I would like to talk about the nuclear power plant workers. This man [photo in original] used to work for TEPCO as a nurse at a medical clinic inside FDNPP. I interviewed him when he quit his job at TEPCO in 2013. [photo]
When NPP workers die, the only deaths publicly announced by TEPCO are deaths that occurred while at work. For instance, if workers die during a weekend, in sleep, or during time off after 3 months of work, their deaths won’t be announced. Such deaths are reported to someone like him at the medical team at TEPCO, but they are merely attributed to chronic illnesses they must have had. There is no way to tell if the deaths were due to radiation exposure, but he said he was certain the workers were working under extremely severe conditions. I really wanted to write about his interview in various magazines, but unfortunately I can only write about this on the Internet which doesn’t have any sponsors.

There was an NPP worker who died in January 2012. I did a fairly thorough investigation after I was able to obtain police report on him. We got an address for the guarantor for the deceased worker, so we went to that address. There was an apartment building at this address without a unit numbered 204 which was supposed to be where the guarantor lived. In Japan, number four could mean bad luck (Note: In Japanese, number 4 phonetically sounds just likea Japanese word for “death”). After room 203, there was room 205, skipping room 204. I asked the other occupants of the apartment building, but there was no resident there by the name of this guarantor, so it didn’t seem like I wrote down the number wrong. Even though the building could be located on a map, you have to go there to verify the room is actually there. This might have been an guarantor with an imaginary address. This is the dark side of the construction and nuclear industries, not just post-nuclear accident, that those without families, especially elderlies, are given harsh work.

Workers who were exposed to 100 mSv in 2011 are entitled to annual cancer screening and thorough medical care. However, most workers get exposure doses below 100 mSv, such as 90, 95, or 83 mSv, and they don’t qualify for thorough medical care. Workers who had been working at NPP since before the accident know what could happen to them a after reaching a certain exposure dose in one year, or what it means to get exposed to 35 mSv in 2 hours during a particular work. They talk about how they probably won’t live too long. They are determined not to have any children, and they often talk about how uncertain they are about their lives in 5 years.

In current Japan, even children are not being protected, but there are some who are determined to protect children’t health. However, there is hardly any group or individuals advocating for protecting the workers in the most dangerous environment at FDNPS. I believe that is our responsibility. My article about the deceased worker from the January 2012 investigation was actually published in a weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun. However, a singer Ayumi Hamazaki suddenly got divorced right then, and I was asked to cut 75% of the article. I think a big reason why information such as this is not publicized is because readers are not craving for such information. We are in essence not fulfilling our duty to be informed……….

March 28, 2015 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2015, Japan | Leave a comment

Unsafety for workers decommissioning Dounreay nuclear power station.

Nuclear waste workers at Dounreay power station fear for their safety Decommissioning staff, hit by injuries and concerned about equipment, express ‘no confidence’ in management  Independent UK, MARK LEFTLY Author Biography SUNDAY 15 MARCH 2015  THE DECOMMISSIONING OF ONE OF THE UK’S MOST SIGNIFICANT NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS HAS RUN INTO SERIOUS PROBLEMS AFTER WORKERS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISPOSING OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE ACCUSED THEIR MANAGERS OF FAILING TO KEEP THEM SAFE.

Staff at Dounreay, on Scotland’s northern coast, have written to the site’s managing director, Mark Rouse, to raise concerns about decommissioning process.

The letter, seen by The Independent on Sunday, says workers have reported an “increasing number of injuries” and have “serious concerns” about the quality of new protective suits and other safety equipment. And they have “no confidence in senior management”.

The letter was sent to Mr Rouse last November, six weeks after a fire at the plant resulted in a serious radioactive leak. Staff warn that the situation at Dounreay is now similar to that of the mid-1990s, when a major safety audit had to be carried out.

Later this week Mr Rouse and a senior executive from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will address the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, but the problems will add to growing concerns around the UK’s multi-billion pound nuclear clean-up industry. Earlier this month, the National Audit Office reported that the cost of decommissioning and cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria has increased by £5bn to £53bn. The private sector consortium responsible for Sellafield was sacked in January.

In September, it emerged that the overall cost of cleaning up Britain’s toxic nuclear sites has risen by £6bn, from an estimated £63bn over the next century to £69bn. The Government and regulators have been accused of “incompetence”…..

The workers’ letter claims that the focus on delivery has been “at the expense of safe processes and practices on health, safety and welfare”…….

March 16, 2015 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Worker deaths at Fukushima nuclear plant

Professor: Fukushima workers told us about “all of the deaths” happening at nuclear plant — We stayed at their dormitory and “learned a lot about what’s going on there, it really is not pretty” — Instructor who was with him on trip weeps while topic is discussed (VIDEO)

Wesleyan University, Feb. 3, 2015 (at 12:45 in):

  • William Johnston, Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, Feb 3, 2015: [Eiko Otake, Visiting Artist at Wesleyan’s College of East Asian Studies, and I] hopped on the train in Tokyo… then rented a car… and we went to the town of Hirono, which is fairly close to the Daiichi reactors… Eiko found a place for us to stay there which was basically a dormitory for these workers. That opened up a whole other world to us. We sat down and had dinner, and we talked…. It was fascinating… we learned a heck of a lot about what was going on there.
  • Eiko Otake: (sobbing) Oh God…
  • Johnston: It really is not pretty. All of the deaths which have happened with subcontractors, which allows Tepco — which basically owns the place, manages it, but they work through subcontractors – and then when somebody dies, Tepco can say, “None of our men have died, of course not.”… In summer time we also learned of other things that were going on, but we couldn’t get the same lodging.

Asahi Shimbun, Feb 17, 2015: [TEPCO] submitted its plan to provide wide-ranging training programs for workers [after] a string of accidents, some of them fatal… Nine serious accidents occurred between March 2014 and January 2015, resulting in two deaths and eight serious injuries. The labor ministry ordered TEPCO to develop measures to prevent similar incidents following the death of a 55-year-old worker in January… [TEPCO] submitted the plans on Feb. 16 to the labor ministry… outlining countermeasures against occupational injuries and deaths. The report attributed the accidents to tight schedules and a lack of experience… a TEPCO official vowed that the utility would proceed with decommissioning the reactors with the highest priority on safety, saying, “We will ascertain (the pressure on the workers imposed by tight deadlines) by enhancing communication.”… “We have to prevent a situation in which workers feel it is no longer safe to work at the Fukushima plant,” a TEPCO official said. The plant operator also intends to accelerate decommissioning and improve efficiency… so employees will be able to work longer at the plant site before reaching the annual radiation exposure limit of 50 millisieverts.

AFP, Feb 17. 2015: In its preliminary report issued yesterday the IAEA also said it “strongly encourages Tepco… to reinforce safety leadership and safety culture” at the plant, where some 7,000 workers are engaged. One man died there in January after falling into a water tank. “There is still some room to enhance this interaction between radiation safety and labour safety through more integrated plans,” [an IAEA official] said.

Watch the discussion with Prof. Johnston and Eiko Otake here

February 20, 2015 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2015, Japan | Leave a comment


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