The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan’s Government and TEPCO sued by Ex-Futaba mayor, over Fukushima nuclear disaster

Ex-Futaba mayor sues state, Tepco over Fukushima nuclear disaster Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 22 May 15  Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, filed a lawsuit against the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday for exposing him to excessive radiation since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

Seeking ¥148.5 million in damages, Idogawa, 69, claimed that sloppy management by the central government and Tepco caused him to receive radiation over the annual limit during the early phase of the disaster, when hydrogen explosions and the venting of steam from reactor containment vessels took place.
Futaba is one of the two municipalities that host Tepco’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the disaster.
At a news conference, Idogawa expressed regrets for his inability to protect local residents from radiation. He also asked Futaba residents to join the lawsuit.
In his petition, Idogawa claimed to have received the excessive radiation between March 11, 2011, when the disaster started, and March 19 that year, when residents evacuated Futaba for Saitama Prefecture.
This was because as Futaba mayor he took part in work to collect information, secure places to which local residents could evacuate, and instruct and guide fleeing locals, according to the petition.
The suit, filed with the Tokyo District Court, is the first seeking compensation for health damage from events early in the nuclear crisis, according to Idogawa’s attorney.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Eliminate nuclear weapons -we must start now

Now is the time to eliminate all nuclear weapons  As the review conference of the parties to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons ends on Friday at the UN in New York, Amnesty International and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) believe that states must agree to initiate a process to create an international prohibition on and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

text ban_nuclear_weapons

Amnesty International and Ican oppose the use, possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons, given their indiscriminate nature. We are opposed to the possession of nuclear weapons by any country, including permanent members of the UN security council, and share the concern of the parties to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) regarding the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. Nuclear weapons stand alone in terms of their extreme potential to be indiscriminate. Their use would invariably violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

The conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the 2015NPT review conference have highlighted that there is a legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. It is clear to us and to a growing number of states that a diplomatic process to prohibit the use, possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons needs to commence urgently. This diplomatic process should proceed with all interested states, even if the nine countries that already possess nuclear weapons are not yet ready to join. We believe that the overwhelming majority of states would join this process, and that a prohibition on nuclear weapons is a humanitarian imperative.
Marek Marczynski Head of military, security and police, Amnesty International,Beatrice Fihn Executive director, Ican

May 22, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Legal, weapons and war | | Leave a comment

Court rules to keep injunction on restart of Takahama nuclear reactors

judge-1flag-japanJapan court upholds nuclear power plant injunction Phys Org News, 20 May 15 A Japanese court upheld an injunction banning the restart of two nuclear reactors, a report said Tuesday, in a blow to the government’s ambitions to return to atomic power generation.Fukui District Court in central Japan dismissed Kansai Electric Power’s motion for a stay on an earlier decision to temporarily bar the restart of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at plant in Takahama, Kyodo News said.

The decision made Monday comes as the government and Japan’s powerful utility companies work to get reactors back online, more than four years after the disaster at Fukushima……..

Issuing the injunction on the restart, the Fukui court earlier said the safety of the  at Takahama had not been proved, despite a green light from industry watchdog the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), whose guidelines, the court said, were “too loose” and “lacking in rationality”.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Immediate release ordered for Sister Megan Rice and her compatriots

Rice,-Megan-etcAnti-nuclear activist nun Megan Rice to be freed from prison Convictions for the 85-year-old Catholic nun and two fellow activists who vandalized a uranium facility were overturned, Aljazeera

May 16, 2015  A federal appeals court has ordered the immediate release of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic anti-nuclear proliferation activists who vandalized a uranium storage bunker, their attorney said Friday.

The order came a week after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.

On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met………..

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

10,000 lawsuits against TEPCO, operator of Fukushima nuclear power plant

legal costsFukushima n-plant operator faces 10,000 lawsuits Tokyo, May 6 Nearly 10,000 people have filed lawsuits against the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, following the 2011 accident at the plant, according to data released by a group of Japanese lawyers. Currently 9,992 people, among them home-owners unable to return to houses near the plant because of high radiation levels, have filed 25 joint lawsuits against Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) in 20 different courts, Efe news agency cited the group as telling Asahi newspaper on Wednesday.

The first case was launched in December 2012 by a group of residents evacuated from Futaba, located next to the plant.
Since then thousands of people, including 900 more so far in 2015, have filed new lawsuits or joined existing ones.

The plaintiffs are dissatisfied with the government’s financial compensation scheme, launched after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the nuclear accident.

Under the compensation scheme, TEPCO has been paying compensation to people who had to abandon their homes and to business owners in the affected region for the losses suffered because of the accident.

However, the plaintiffs claim the payments are insufficient and are asking for TEPCO to pay an additional indemnity until radiation levels around the plant return to the levels of prior to the accident.

They are also claiming financial compensation for the destruction of their communities. Most are also seeking compensation under Japan’s rehabilitation law. Fukushima is the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986, forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the area and seriously affected agriculture, fisheries and local livestock.

May 16, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Court clears anti nuclear nun of sabotage conviction

Rice,-Sister-Megan-82Nun’s sabotage conviction for nuclear facility break-in overturned by court Second ruling, for injuring government property, upheld after Sister Megan Rice and two fellow activists broke into Tennessee uranium storage facility in 2012 An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow peace activists who broke into a facility storing much of this country’s bomb-grade uranium and painted slogans and splashed blood on the walls.

In a 2-1 opinion issued on Friday, a panel of the sixth US circuit court of appeals overturned the most serious conviction against Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed. The court upheld a conviction for injuring government property.

On 28 July 2012, the activists cut through several fences at the Y-12 national security complex in Oak Ridge to reach the uranium storage bunker. Once there, they hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

At issue was whether the nonviolent protest injured national security. The majority opinion of the appeals court found that it did not. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons … the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend … But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage,” the opinion says.

Rice is serving a sentence of just under three years. Walli and Boertje-Obed are each serving sentences of just over five years.

Defendant’s attorney Bill Quigley said he hopes they will be re-sentenced to time served and released from prison.

The US attorney’s office for the eastern district of Tennessee did not immediately comment on the ruling Friday.



May 9, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Environment groups threaten threaten Palisades, NRC with lawsuit”

“Environmentalists Threaten Palisades, NRC With Lawsuit”

(NPR at Western Michigan University), an environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, is intervening against regulatory rollbacks at Entergy Nuclear’s Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in southwest Michigan.

Thiele interviewed Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps (a native of Kalamazoo — just 35 miles downwind of Palisades — who serves on the board of directors of Don’t Waste MI), as well as the coalition’s attorney, Terry Lodge. At the top of the story, Bette Pierman of Benton Harbor, chairwoman of Michigan Safe Energy Future (MSEF)–Shoreline Chapter, is heard presenting during a panel discussion. The interviews took place at a fund- and awareness-raising event held at the Old Dog Tavern on April 19th in downtown Kalamazoo. Music performed by the “Duffield-Caron Project, with Friends” can be heard in the background of the interviews.

The intervention focuses on the risk of pressurized thermal shock (PTS). Palisades has the worst neutron radiation embrittled reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of any nuclear power plant in the U.S. Like a hot glass under cold water (and a ton of pressure per square inch!), PTS could fracture Palisades’ RPV, causing a loss of coolant accident, core meltdown, and catastrophic radioactivity release.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, and the expert witness for Beyond Nuclear and the coaltion at Palisades, has produced a humorous short video about this serious subject, entitled “Nuclear Crack Down?”

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Environmental groups join Havasupai Tribe in appealing against uranium mine decision

justiceArizona Uranium Mine Decision Appealed by Plaintiffs  Phoenix New Times, By Miriam Wasser May 1 2015 A coalition of environmental groups is joining the  in appealing a U.S. District Court decision last month that Energy Fuels Inc. can resume uranium mining atCanyon Mine in Northern Arizona.The groups had filed a preliminary injunction in March 2013 to stop the company from completing construction of the mine and extracting uranium, and argued in favor of a new environmental impact statement.

Katie Davis, with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups appealing the decision, expects the coalition will have more detailed briefings that lay out specifics of their legal argument sometime in the next few months.

Meantime, she says, the basis of the appeal is that in the 30 years since the Forest Service conducted its original environmental assessment of the proposed mine, “There is a lot of new information about the cultural importance of the area and the impacts uranium mining [has on] human health and the environment.”
Canyon Mine is six miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and four miles from Red Butte, a designated Traditional Cultural Property. The ore body sits underneath land deemed sacred by multiple tribes in the region, and the mine is expected to yield 200 tons of uranium every day for the three to five years it’s operational…….
According to Davis from the Center for Biological Diversity, “allowing uranium mines to operate without a full understanding of the scientific, environmental, and cultural risks hurts our public lands and endangers our drinking water.”……
The next stage in the battle over Canyon Mine will be heard in front of a three-judge panel in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as early as this summer.

May 2, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Illegal drug use by USA missile launch officers?

2 nuke launch officers face illegal drug charges, The Big Story  By ROBERT BURNS Apr. 24, 2015  WASHINGTON (AP) — Two more Air Force nuclear missile launch officers have been charged with illegal drug use in cases stemming from an investigation that led to the disclosure last year of a separate exam-cheating scandal, the Air Force said Friday.

1st Lt. Michael Alonso and 1st Lt. Lantz Balthazar, both members of the 12th Missile Squadron at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, face hearings to determine whether they will be court-martialed. One of their fellow missile officers who was a target of the same investigation pleaded guilty to illegal drug use in January and was kicked out of the Air Force.

The Malmstrom missile wing operates 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. Launch officers are trained to operate ICBMs that are armed with nuclear warheads and are on constant alert for possible launch…….

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear legal battles drag on – putting nuclear restart in doubt

justiceflag-japanNuclear power in Japan Legal fallout Court cases frustrate efforts to restart Japan’s nuclear plants, Economists Apr 25th 2015 | NIIGATA  “……….the seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex sit idle, along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear-power facilities. Four years after meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, all Japan’s 48 usable reactors are the focus of safety concerns. An industry that once produced nearly a third of Japan’s electricity remains paralysed……..

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.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Court in south-west Japan rejects a residents’ injunction against restarting 2 nuclear power plants

judge-1flag-japanJapan moves nearer to restarting nuclear reactors after court gives go-ahead, Guardian,  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.

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Japanese court to rule on injunction to block restart of 2 nuclear reactors

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.

The ruling on the Sendai plant could show whether last week’s halting of reopening the Takahama plant over safety concerns was an aberration by an anti-nuclear judge or whether the judiciary has become bolder in supporting .. ……
A three-judge panel is to rule on the injunction request on the Sendai reactors at 0100 GMT.

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. …….

opponents are using the courts to block the revival of unpopular nuclear power, especially in areas where they can’t get local governors or mayors to prevent a restart.

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 ..

April 22, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

530 Minamisoma residents sue government over hot spot delisting

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)

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Cameco uranium company a “great corporate citizen”? Actually NO!

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……..

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal, Uranium | Leave a comment

Japan court says NO to restart of two nuclear reactors

judge-1flag-japanJapan court blocks restarting of two nuclear reactors Tokyo (AFP) – A Japanese court on Tuesday issued a landmark injunction against the restarting of two atomic reactors, after the country’s nuclear watchdog had given the green light to switch them back on.

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……..

A lawyer representing the plaintiffs called the ruling a “perfect victory”. “This is the best decision that we could have expected,” he told supporters outside the courthouse.

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……..

Pro-atomic Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has backed an industry push to return to nuclear — which once supplied more than one quarter of Japan’s electricity — as a plunging yen sent the country’s energy import bill soaring.

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.


April 15, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment


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