confidence in restarting the reactors may be misplaced. Every one of them is the subject of a lawsuit by locals trying to stop them from being fired up again. The government and the energy utilities will continue to argue that although they cannot completely rule out another accident, they have made nuclear power as safe as possible. By rejecting that argument, the Fukui court has set a precedent other courts may follow, says Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, a former climate-change negotiator.
Kansai Electric has challenged the Fukui ruling. Experts say the company will very likely get a higher court to overturn it. But the longer legal tussles drag on, the older the reactors become, putting their eventual operation in doubt. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Japan’s new watchdog, is reviewing about 20 reactors for compliance with its regulations. Luc Oursel, the late chief executive of Areva, a French nuclear giant, predicted in 2013 that two-thirds of Japan’s plants would eventually restart. Few believe that now.
For Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the ruined Fukushima plant, these issues are a matter of life and death. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is its only remaining viable nuclear facility. The company says it loses ¥100 billion ($835m) per reactor every year that the reactors are down. The plant’s chief, Tadayuki Yokomura, says that TEPCO has poured $2 billion into reinforcing the facility against earthquakes and tsunamis. There is, he insists, no reason why all seven reactors cannot be restarted. The problem is that he has yet to convince the public of that. http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21649557-court-cases-frustrate-efforts-restart-japans-nuclear-plants-legal-fallout
Japan moves nearer to restarting nuclear reactors after court gives go-ahead, Guardian, Justin McCurry in Tokyo, 22 Apr 15 Court in south-west Japan rejects a residents’ injunction against resuming operations at the Sendai power plant apan’s plans to return to nuclear power generation more than four years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima received a boost on Wednesday after a court approved the restart of two nuclear reactors.
The Kagoshima district court in south-west Japan rejected a residents’ injunction against restarting two reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant, bringing the country a step closer to operating a nuclear reactor for the first time since September 2013.
The ruling comes a week after another court sided with concerned residents in a separate case by temporarily blocking the planned restart of two reactors at the Takahama plant on the Japan Sea coast, citing safety concerns.
Hiroyuki Kawai, head lawyer for the plaintiffs, described Wednesday’s ruling as “extremely regrettable”.
He added: “We will not give in, we will continue fighting. We will not let our emotions be swayed by any short-term results and we will fight until we get rid of all nuclear reactors in Japan.”……
Wednesday’s court decision leaves Kyushu Electric Power, the operator of Sendai nuclear power plant, with just one more regulatory obstacle to overcome before it can restart the two reactors, possibly as early as June.
Regulators have said they are “very close” to completing their review of the Sendai reactors’ safety regime.
Once the licensing procedures are complete, the two reactors, which were commissioned in the 1980s, would have to pass a final operational safety inspection before being switched back on, the NRA commissioner, Toyoshi Fuketa, said.
“We need to have a period for inspection and this is the first experience for Kyushu and for us,” he said. “It will take a certain time … it’s quite difficult to say.”
In the latest lawsuit, residents had argued that Kepco and regulators had underestimated the risk posed to the Sendai plant by nearby volcanoes, and that evacuation plans in the event of a Fukushima-type disaster were insufficient.
The plaintiffs said the “ability to predict eruptions is known to be inadequate”, adding there were “no grounds for Kepco’s assertion that the probability of a [volcanic] eruption is low”………
Kansai Electric Power, which serves the huge city of Osaka, faces legal challenges against four of its 11 reactors, and has said it would decommission two reactors.
Tokyo Electric Power, the operators of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi, is hoping to persuade local authorities to approve the restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world’s biggest nuclear power plant.
Chubu Electric Power, meanwhile, was forced to close its Hamaoka plant in May 2011 owing to its proximity to offshore tectonic plates. The plant is in a region that experts say is at risk of being struck by a powerful earthquake. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/22/japan-moves-nearer-to-restarting-nuclear-reactors-after-court-gives-go-ahead
Japan nuclear ruling to show whether legal fight emboldened By Reuters | 21 Apr, 2015,KAGOSHIMA (JAPAN): A Japanese court will rule on Wednesday on an injunction to block the restart of two more nuclear reactors, a decision that could determine whether a legal drive by citizens to prevent the reopening of the sector on safety grounds will gather steam.
A court order preventing Kyushu Electric Power Co from operating Sendai would risk tying up the industry in legal battles for months or years.
Last week’s ruling “certainly sets a precedent and it will cause some of the other governors and other courts to think twice” about nuclear, said Michael Jones, Senior Analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie,
Local residents who submitted a suit against the restart of the restart of the Sendai reactors argue the utility and regulator has underestimated the risk of nearby volcanoes and operational plans lack credible evacuation measures. …….
Should the injunction request be rejected, as many expect, Japan’s biggest utilities still face the possibility of being forced to mothball their reactors amid mounting legal challenges, Jones said.
“It is not totally unreasonable to think that, to imagine, that the three largest utilities, Tepco, Chubu and Kans .. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47004245.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
530 Minamisoma residents sue government over hot spot delisting KYODOSome 530 residents of a city near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant filed a lawsuit Friday demanding that the central government revoke a decision to remove their districts from a list of radiation hot spots, ending their entitlement to handouts… (registered readers only) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/17/national/crime-legal/530-minamisoma-residents-sue-government-hot-spot-delisting/#.VTQwstKqpHw
Don’t call Cameco a “great corporate citizen,” group says BY JASON WARICK, THE STAR PHOENIX APRIL 17, 2015 Governments should not describe Cameco as a “great corporate citizen” while suing the company over a $1.5 billion tax debt, a lobby group says.
“One questions whether governments should promote companies who so flagrantly violate Canadian tax law,” said Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness………
Howlett noted Cameco is in court for allegedly avoiding payment of $1.5 billion in federal and provincial taxes by funnelling business through a Swiss subsidiary. The IRS in the United States also alleges the mining company owes it more than $30 million. Cameco is disputing the allegations.
Howlett said he wonders what deterrent there is for companies to dodge their taxes if governments continue to praise them. He said it sends all the wrong signals, noting the issue is particularly serious because of the massive amounts involved.
“It is very much a concern,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at the Saskatchewan legislature on Thursday, Wall said he’s been “watching very carefully” as the tax case develops…….. http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/call+Cameco+great+corporate+citizen+group+says/10982294/story.html
The district court in the central prefecture of Fukui made the temporary order in response to a bid by local residents to halt the restart of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant, a court official said……..”the safety of the reactors hasn’t been secured”, the court ruled, saying the watchdog’s new standards were “lacking rationality”, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The reactors could be damaged by an earthquake even smaller than that envisaged in the safety standards, the court said……..
Two other reactors at Takahama also remain offline.
Greenpeace hailed the court decision, saying it “could have a nationwide ripple effect on similar pending injunction cases — threatening to derail the Japanese government?s nuclear reactor plans”.
A separate court ruling on the restart of two other reactors in southern Japan is expected later this month.
– ‘Warning from the court’ – Hiroshi Miyano, a nuclear expert and visiting professor at Hosei University in Tokyo, said the court decision would affect the timing of future reactor restarts.
“This can be seen as a warning from the court, which told the (plant) operator that it has to better explain its resumption plans,” Miyano said……..
But Japan has seen a groundswell of public opposition to the technology since Fukushima, where reactors went into meltdown after a tsunami swamped their cooling systems — setting off the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
Japan’s entire stable of nuclear power stations was gradually switched off following the disaster, while tens of thousands of people were evacuated due to concerns about radiation exposure.
Many are still unable to return to their homes and scientists have warned that some areas around the plant may remain uninhabitable for decades or more.https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/27100653/japan-court-blocks-restarting-of-two-nuclear-reactors/
Decision Allows Mining Without Tribal Consultation or Update Decades-old Environmental Review
PHOENIX, Ariz.— U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell denied a request to halt new uranium mining at the Canyon uranium mine, located only six miles from Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. The Havasupai tribe and a coalition of conservation groups had challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow Energy Fuels Inc. to reopen the mine without initiating or completing formal tribal consultations and without updating an obsolete federal environmental review dating to 1986. At stake are tribal cultural values, wildlife and endangered species, and the risk of toxic uranium mining waste contaminating the aquifers and streams that sustain the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
“We are very disappointed with the ruling by Judge Campbell in the Canyon Mine case,” said Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi. “We believe that the National Historic Preservation Act requires the Forest Service to consult with us and the other affiliated tribes before they let the mining company damage Red Butte, one of our most sacred traditional cultural properties. The Havasupai Tribal Council will meet this week to talk about appealing this ruling.” Continue reading
U.S. Sailors Sick From Fukushima Radiation File New Suit Against Tokyo Electric Power, EcoWatch Harvey Wasserman | February 9, 2014 Citing a wide range of ailments from leukemia to blindness to birth defects, 79 American veterans of 2011’s earthquake/tsunami relief Operation Tomadachi (“Friendship”) have filed a new $1 billion class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power.
The suit includes an infant born with a genetic condition to a sailor who served on the USS Ronald Reagan as radiation poured over it during the Fukushima melt-downs, and an American teenager living near the stricken site. It has also been left open for “up to 70,000 U.S. citizens [who were] potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit.”
The re-filing comes as Tepco admits that it has underestimated certain radiation readings by a factor of five. And as eight more thyroid cancers have surfaced among children in the downwind region. Two new earthquakes have also struck near the Fukushima site.
The amended action was filed in federal court in San Diego on Feb. 6, which would have been Reagan’s 103rd birthday. It says Tepco failed to disclose that the $4.3 billion nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was being heavily dosed from three melt-downs and four explosions at the Fukushima site. The Reagan was as close as a mile offshore as the stricken reactors poured deadly clouds of radiation into the air and ocean beginning the day after the earthquake and tsunami. It also sailed through nuclear plumes for more than five hours while about 100 miles offshore. The USS Reagan (CVN-76) is 1,092 feet long and was commissioned on July 12, 2003. The flight deck covers 4.5 acres, carries 5,500 sailors and more than 80 aircraft.
Reagan crew members reported that in the middle of a snowstorm, a cloud of warm air enveloped them with a “metallic taste.” The reports parallel those from airmen who dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, and from central Pennsylvanians downwind from Three Mile Island. Crew members drank and bathed in desalinated sea water that was heavily irradiated from Fukushima’s fallout.
As a group, the sailors comprise an especially young, healthy cross-section of people. Some also served on the amphibious assault ship Essex, missile cruiser Cowpens and several others.
The plaintiffs’ ailments parallel those of downwinders irradiated at Hiroshima/Nagasaki (1945), during atmospheric Bomb tests (1946-1963), and from the radiation releases at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986). Among them are reproductive problems and “illnesses such as Leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illnesses, stomach ailments and a host of other complaints unusual in such young adults.”
One 22-year-old sailor declared to the court that “Upon my return from Operation Tomodachi, I began losing my eyesight. I lost all vision in my left eye and most vision in my right eye. I am unable to read street signs and am no longer able to drive. Prior to Operation Tomodachi, I had 2/20 eyesight, wore no glasses and had no corrective surgery.” Additionally, he said, “I know of no family members who have had leukemia.”
Plaintiff “Baby A.G.” was born to a Reagan crew member on Oct. 15, 2011—seven months after the crew members exposure—with multiple birth defects.
The suit asks for at least $1 billion to “advance and pay all costs and expenses for each of the Plaintiffs for medical examination, medical monitoring and treatment by physicians,” as well as for more general damages……..
Filed on Dec. 12, 2012, the initial suit involved just eight plaintiffs. It was amended to bring the total to 51.
That action was thrown out at the end of 2013 by federal Judge Janis S. Sammartino on jurisdictional grounds.
A January deadline for re-filing this second amended complaint was delayed as additional plaintiffs kept coming forward. Attorneys Paul Garner and Charles Bonner say still more are being processed.
The suit charges Tepco lied to the public—including Japan’s then Prime Minister Naoto Kan—about the accident’s radioactive impacts. Kan says Unit One melted within five hours of the earthquake, before U.S. fleet arrived. Such news is unwelcome to an industry with scores more reactors in earthquake zones worldwide.
The Plaintiffs say Tepco negligently leveled a natural seawall to cut water pumping expenses. The ensuing tsunami then poured over the site’s unprotected power supply, forcing desperate workers to scavenge car batteries from a nearby parking lot to fire up critical gauges. Tepco belatedly dispatched 11 power supply trucks that were immediately stuck in traffic.
Similar reports of fatal cost-cutting, mismanagement and the use and abuse of untrained personnel run throughout the 65-page complaint.
Attorney Bonner will explain much of it on the Solartopia Radio show at 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Feb. 11—like the eleventh day of every month—will be a worldwide fast day for those supporting the victims of Fukushima’s deepening disaster.
The future of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the nuclear power industry and a growing group young sailors tragically afflicted by Fukushima’s secret fallout will be hanging in the balance.
Visit EcoWatch’s FUKUSHIMA page for more related news on this topic. Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org, where petitions calling for the repeal of Japan’s State Secrets Act and a global takeover at Fukushima are linked. He is author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. http://ecowatch.com/2014/02/09/u-s-sailors-fukushima-radiation/
Under the latest rules, the long search for a place to store Britain’s stockpile of 50 years’ worth of the most radioactive waste from power stations, weapons and medical use can be ended by bypassing local planning.
Since last week, the sites are now officially considered “nationally significant infrastructure projects” and so will be chosen by the secretary of state for energy. He or she would get advice from the planning inspectorate, but would not be bound by the recommendation. Local councils and communities can object to details of the development but cannot stop it altogether.
The move went barely noticed as it was passed late on the day before parliament was prorogued for the general election, but has alarmed local objectors and anti-nuclear campaigners.
Friends of the Earth’s planning advisor, Naomi Luhde-Thompson, said: “Communities will be rightly concerned about any attempts to foist a radioactive waste dump on them. We urgently need a long-term management plan for the radioactive waste we’ve already created, but decisions mustn’t be taken away from local people who have to live with the impacts.”
Objectors worry that ministers are desperate to find a solution to the current radioactive waste problem to win public support to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Zac Goldsmith, one of the few government MPs who broke ranks to vote against the move, criticised the lack of public debate about such a “big” change. “Effectively it strips local authorities of the ability to stop waste being dumped in their communities,” he said.
Labour abstained in the vote, indicating that a future government will not want to reverse the change of rules. However, the shadow energy minister, Julie Elliott, has warned that the project is expected to take 27 years to build even after a preferred site was identified and would cost £4bn-5.6bn a year to build, plus the cost of running it for 40 years.
Since the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution found in 1976 that it was “morally wrong” to keep generating nuclear waste without a demonstrably safe way of storing the waste, there have been at least four attempts to find the right site, all of them shelved after strong protest.
There are now 4.5m cubic metres of accumulated radioactive waste kept in secure containers at sites across Britain, though only 1,100m3 of this is the most controversial high-level waste, and 290,000m3 is intermediate-level waste. Itcosts £3bn a year to manage the nuclear waste mountain, of which £2bn comes from taxpayers.
The most recent proposal for a more permanent solution was to ask local authorities to volunteer to examine whether they could host the development. Initially, a coalition of Cumbria county council and Copeland and Allerdale borough councils put their names forward, but the policy stalled in 2013 when the county council pulled out.
Last year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published awhite paper which said ministers would prefer to work with public support, but reserved the right to take more aggressive action on planning if “at some point in the future such an approach does not look likely to work”.
The day before parliament rose, MPs voted in an unusual paper ballot to implement a two-page statutory instrument which adds nuclear waste storage to the list of nationally significant infrastructure projects in England, via the 2008 Planning Act.
Officials have said approval depends on a “test of public support” and any site would undergo extensive geological safety tests.
Copeland borough council, one of the two areas most affected by any such development at Sellafield, said it was pleased with the government’s change to planning rules.
Radiation-Free Lakeland – set up to block the Sellafield proposal because they claim there is no evidence deep storage is safe or that the geology of Cumbria is suitable – claimed, however, “the test of public support is a fig leaf: the government hast’t said what the public support will be”.
The only existing high-level radioactive underground waste storage, in New Mexico, USA, has been closed since last year following two accidents.
Germany has put similar plans for burying high-level waste on hold and four other countries, including France and Japan, are examining the idea.
Fukushima residents suing government for lifting evacuation advisories Asahi Shimbun, 1 Apr 15, MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Hundreds of residents here plan to sue the central government for lifting evacuation advisories near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, saying the decision endangered their lives because radiation levels remained high around their homes.
In the lawsuit that will be filed with the Tokyo District Court, the 535 plaintiffs from 132 households in the city just north of the nuclear plant will demand that the government retract its decision to lift the advisories and pay 100,000 yen ($837) in compensation to each plaintiff.
According to the plaintiffs, the government’s cancellation of the advisories goes against the Law on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, which states that its purpose is to “protect the lives, bodies and properties of citizens from a nuclear disaster.”
After the crisis started at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, the government issued evacuation orders for areas within 20 kilometers of the plant. The plaintiffs’ homes are in areas that were issued evacuation advisories and surrounding neighborhoods.
During the decontamination process for areas around the plant, the government initially wanted to lower annual radiation exposure doses to 1 millisievert. After that goal proved impossible, the target became 20 millisieverts.
“The government has selfishly raised the limit on annual public radiation exposure from 1 millisievert set before the nuclear crisis to 20 millisieverts, having residents return to their homes still exposed to high doses of radiation,” said Kenji Fukuda, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. “This is an illegal act that violates the residents’ right to a healthy environment guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights laws.”……
“The woodlands and farmlands of the surrounding areas are still contaminated, leaving many of the radiation levels unreduced,” said Shuichi Kanno, the 74-year-old chief of a ward in Minami-Soma who heads the plaintiffs. “Radiation levels have even increased in some areas. There is no way our children and grandchildren will be returning to their homes like this.” http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201504010062
Marshall Islands Will Appeal in Nuclear Case Against US http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/marshall-islands-appeal-nuclear-case-us-30067766 UNITED NATIONS — Apr 2, 2015, By CARA ANNA Associated Press The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is persisting with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that the United States meet its obligations toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons. It filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the case. Continue reading
The latest punch in the gut for nuclear proponents in the province comes from a May 14 Federal Court decision to nullify the approval of up to four new reactors at Darlington Station, about 60km east of Toronto.
Among other issues, the presiding Justice James Russell cited inadequate planning for both nuclear waste storage and a catastrophic accident as reasons to revoke the project’s license, which was originally secured following a multi-year environmental assessment (EA). Justice Russell found that the EA failed to adhere to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The Federal Court review of the EA was initiated by environmental groups Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Greenpeace Canada, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW) and Northwatch with lawyers from Ecojustice and CELA representing the application in court.
In a press release following the decision, the environmental groups called the Federal Court’s ruling “common sense.”
Justin Duncan, Staff Lawyer for Ecojustice and co-counsel for groups, said “the court’s ruling means that federal authorities can no longer take shortcuts when assessing nuclear projects.”………http://rabble.ca/news/2014/05/anti-nuclear-advocates-federal-court-trouble-ontario-liberal-and-pc-energy-plans
Lawsuit targeting Genkai nuclear plant’s MOX plan rejected KYODO SAGA – The Saga District Court on Friday rejected a suit seeking to block Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s plan to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) at the Genkai power plant in Saga Prefecture.,,(subscribers only) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/20/national/lawsuit-targeting-genkai-nuclear-plants-mox-plan-rejected/#.VQ8uJ_yUcnk
Fighting EU’s nuclear ambitions http://www.arabnews.com/columns/news/721126 ANDREAS MOLIN 21 March 2015 In October, the EU approved a controversial subsidy deal to allow billions of pounds of state aid for Hinkley Point C, a new nuclear reactor planned for the UK. Austria’s intention to launch a legal challenge against this decision has provoked controversial comments in international media. So, why does Austria care about a nuclear power plant being built in the UK, and what are the real issues at stake?
Against this background, Austria feels it has no option but to challenge this state aid decision at the courts of the EU. This action is not aimed at any particular EU member state, but rather seeks to defend a common competition regime, which this decision could render meaningless. In partnership with The Mark News
STATE AID FOR HINKLEY POINT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT: BBH TO PREPARE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE EU COMMISSION http://www.beckerbuettnerheld.de/en/article/state-aid-for-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-plant-bbh-to-prepare-a-lawsuit-against-the-eu-commission/12.03.2015
In October last year, the European Commission approved the state aid scheme in favour of the British nuclear power plant project Hinkley Point C. The German electricity supply company Greenpeace Energy has now decided to take legal action against this decision with the help of the renowned German energy law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH). A number of municipal energy utilities, such as Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, are considering and, respectively, preparing to join the lawsuit.
According to plans by the British government, Hinkley Point nuclear power plant – which is to be constructed in the southwest of England – is to receive state support for no less than 35 years. The scheme was backed by the European Commission, which in October last year gave the green light for a state aid package of approximately €23 billion. This means that, starting from 2023, the nuclear power plant operators will be paid a guaranteed purchase price above the usual market price for the electricity produced.
Based on the so-called Contract for Difference (CfD) the British government pays a fixed feed-in tariff: The electricity produced by Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is to be remunerated by 12.8 cents per kWh – plus compensation for inflation. On top of that, a number of additional, significant state subsidies are granted, including a guarantee in the event of a shutdown for political reasons. The scheme is completed by a loan guarantee given by the British government, a generous appraisal of the future decommissioning costs and the fact that no tendering procedure was carried out.
With a total capacity of 3,260 MW, about 7% of the highly subsidised electricity generated in Great Britain will then enter the EU’s internal electricity market. As a consequence, the Hinkley Point model will affect the European electricity market. Furthermore, the Commission’s decision provides a kind of blueprint for the specific interests of Germany’s neighbouring countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as those of Slovakia and Slovenia – also because the British government is already planning the construction of further nuclear power plants within the scope of the CfD mechanism. The potential locations of these future power plant can be seen on the website of the British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
BBH’s clients doubt that the state aid granted to Hinkley Point is in conformity with EU competition law. Continue reading
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