the people of Greenland are “split down the middle regarding the repeal of the ban.”
Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.
The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.
In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem
This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.
Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..
In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise. Continue reading
The presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, By Steven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
“……………RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.
On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.
What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.
Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).
After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.
The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi political parties; theAzov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia……….http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, By Steven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
“………..RAPA supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act demands that Russia “withdraw from the eastern border of Ukraine,” which is by definition, the Russian border. In other words, RAPA provocatively demands that Russia remove its own military forces away from its own borders, while Ukrainian military forces are meanwhile massed on the other side, attacking predominantly Russian cities.
RAPA also demands that “Russian forces must have withdrawn from Crimea within seven days of the enactment of the Act.” Not likely to happen, given that
(1) Crimea was part of the Russian empire from 1783 until 1954,
(2) withdrawal from Crimea would require Russia to abandon its only warm water port at Sevastopol, where Russian forces have been based, by internationally recognized treaty, since 1997, and
(3) more than three-quarters of all Crimeans voted “yes” to reunify with Russia, a vote which Russia accepted by its subsequent annexation of Crimea.
Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to “withdraw from Crimea” amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea.
RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea.
This goal was recently echoed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who was applauded by the Ukrainian Parliament when he told them that the Ukrainian army will “have a victory parade in Sevastopol“. These statements are taken seriously in Moscow, where they are viewed as a promise to attack Russia. Thus, Putin’s advisers are telling him he must fight today in Eastern Ukraine, or tomorrow in Crimea.
Any Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine would certainly be described in the West as Russian aggression in pursuit of empire, which would trigger deafening demands that US/NATO forces act to support Ukraine. Should NATO intervene, subsequent Russian military action against any NATO member would trigger the alliance’s Chapter 5 mutual defense clause, committing it to war with Russia.
Any major Ukrainian attack upon Crimea would make war with Russia inevitable. Ukraine appears to be preparing for such an assault by drafting all men of ages 18 to 60 years, in a forced mobilizationof its armed forces, which also includes calling up its active reserves of one million men, and bringing more than 1000 battle tanksout of storage. Putin is being told by his close advisers thatUkraine will have an army of half a million men in 2015.
RAPA would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to train and arm the rapidly expanding Ukrainian armed forces, and position US/NATO forces for rapid intervention on the side of Ukraine in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian war. Thus, the many political and military provisions of RAPA would certainly act to fully encourage Ukraine to carry out its stated policy to retake Crimea. The Republic of Georgia attacked Russian forces in 2008 with far fewer US promises of aid. Of course, RAPA would also arm Georgia, too………..http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171
Japan may guarantee price for nuclear power to prop up industry TOKYO Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japan will consider guaranteeing prices for electricity generated by nuclear plants to help the country’s struggling utilities, which have lost about $35 billion in the three years since the Fukushima disaster saddled them with extra costs.
Japan’s nuclear plants are in shutdown with no schedule for restarts after the meltdown at Fukushima in 2011, leading the country’s utilities to turn to expensive fossil fuel imports.
But even if they can get their reactors running they face higher costs to meet new safety requirements just as the government is pushing through plans to allow more competition in the industry. They also face possible costs for decommissioning older units that are too costly to upgrade.
The move was floated by a trade ministry panel as an example of supporting the nuclear industry financially like Britain’s “Contracts for Difference” scheme, which guarantees nuclear operators fixed rates for power.
The panel, which is in charge of making detailed policies in line with the government’s basic energy plan, did not give a schedule for finalising the scheme.
Propping up nuclear power, promoted for decades by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party as cheap, safe and reliable, is likely to be at odds with public sentiment which has turned against atomic energy since Fukushima. If the market price of electricity falls below a pre-set level, consumers would pay the gap to the utilities, according to the British example discussed on Thursday at the panel……… http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N0QR1G120140821
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DOE GRANTS TOTAL $67M FOR 83 NUCLEAR TECH R&D, ENGINEERING PROJECTS; ERNEST MONIZ COMMENTS http://www.executivegov.com/2014/08/doe-grants-total-67m-for-83-nuclear-tech-r-ernest-moniz-comments/ ANNA FORRESTER · AUG 21ST, The Energy Department has awarded an estimated $67 million in total to fund 83 research and infrastructure enhancement projects on nuclear technology in support of the administration’s Climate Action Plan.
DOE said Wednesday that the projects are expected to bolster energy security, clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives across the country.
“These awards not only provide crucial funding for research and development, but also for the training and education of the next-generation nuclear energy workforce that will enhance American leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear energy here and around the world,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.
The department distributed the grant across the following:
$30 million for 44 university-led nuclear energy R&D projects;
$4 million for 19 research reactor and infrastructure improvement projects;
$20 million for five integrated research projects;
$11 million for 12 R&D projects by DOE national laboratories, industry and U.S. universities; and
$1 million for two infrastructure enhancement projects.
DOE said research coverage includes fluoride high-temperature reactor technology development and nuclear fuel storage, while the engineering projects focus on infrastructure upgrades, reactor materials and instrumentation.
White House faces Democratic Senate revolt over nuclear security cuts Yahoo News 21 Aug 14, , Twenty-six members of the Senate are calling on the Obama administration to increase planned spending on programs to secure or reduce global stocks of nuclear weapons materials in the upcoming 2016 White House budget, even as they are challenging an administration decision to significantly shrink these programs in 2015.
“The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons and materials,” the senators wrote………http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-faces-democratic-senate-150503823.html
Ukraine divides MPs over Fennovoima nuclear plant ownership Yle uutiset 19 Aug 14 According to an Yle poll, two Finnish party leaders say they could back the construction of the Fennovoima nuclear plant in Pyhäjärvi if Finnish ownership were at 50-53 percent. Four leaders declined to comment and four stand against the plant on principle. The uncertainty is partly due to the Ukrainian crisis.
Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori of the National Coalition Party said that the proposed Fennovoima nuclear plant would have to be under “clear domestic ownership”.
Neither Vapaavuori nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs have announced how much of the plant should specifically be owned by Finnish interest groups.
One reason behind the uneasiness of some MPs is the escalating situation in Ukraine, and the repercussions on Finnish-Russian ties. Russia enforced EU-wide sanctions as a countermeasure to EU and US sanctions in early August……..
Ownership figures misleading
The Russian national nuclear power company Rosatom currently owns 34 percent of the Pyhäjoki plant. According to Fennovoima, the Finnish stake is at 52 percent.
However, the company fails to discount two companies – Rautaruukki and Kestra – in their calculations. Kestra announced in March that it washes its hands of the power plant issue, while Rautaruukki was acquired by the Swedish SSAB in July.
As Kestra owns 4.5 percent of Fennovoima and SSAB owns 3.3 percent, a simple equation will show that the Finnish ownership of the power plant is actually only at 44.2 percent. http://yle.fi/uutiset/ukraine_divides_mps_over_fennovoima_nuclear_plant_ownership/7420930
EDITORIAL: Japan must pursue a path to a nuclear-free world Asahi Shimbun,August 11, 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month, both of which marked the 69th anniversaries of the atomic bombings. In the ceremonies in both cities, he emphasized determination to realize a world without nuclear weapons.
However, it seems that the gap between Abe and the cities that were struck by atomic bombs has increased since last year.
In a meeting with Abe in Hiroshima, 85-year-old hibakusha Yukio Yoshioka said, “(The Cabinet’s approval of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense) will make Japan a country that repeats its (past) mistake and can wage a war.”
Miyako Jodai, 75, who served as the representative of atomic bomb survivors in the ceremony in Nagasaki, said, “I want the government not to forget or deny the sufferings of atomic bomb survivors.”
They apparently demanded that Abe withdraw the Cabinet’s approval of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense.
DIFFERENT FROM DESIRES
There are also other causes of concern.
One is the exports of nuclear power generation infrastructure to emerging countries. Another is negotiations to conclude a nuclear power agreement with India, which has conducted nuclear tests without joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Both could lead to nuclear proliferation.
The Abe administration also plans to maintain the policy of removing plutonium from spent nuclear fuels and reusing it in nuclear power plants. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, the future of nuclear power generation remains unclear. In addition, Japan already holds stocks of more than 40 tons of plutonium whose use has yet to be decided. Anti-nuclear groups in Japan and abroad suspect that Japan has the intention of arming itself with nuclear weapons.
Why are the moves of the government of A-bombed Japan so different from the desires for anti-nuclear policies?………..
TRUST AND DIALOGUE
In the Hiroshima Peace Declaration, Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for the establishment of “a new security system based on trust and dialogue.”
In the world, the Obama administration is losing its centripetal force, and its relations with Russia have cooled due to the Ukrainian situation. China’s maritime advances have intensified friction with neighboring countries. The road to the “new security system based on trust and dialogue” is steep. But is it just a dream?
The Nagasaki Peace Declaration this year again advocated an idea of establishing “nuclear-weapon-free zones.” In the proposal, Japan and the Korean Peninsula are denuclearized, and nuclear powers promise not to attack the areas with nuclear weapons.
The Japanese government is negative to the idea on the grounds that relations of trust, which serve as a prerequisite, do not exist in the areas partly because North Korea has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests. North Korea counters the view, saying that what is a threat is the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
Relations of trust will be established through dialogue. To realize the nuclear-weapon-free zones, Japan should first show its intentions to set up the zones and leave the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Then, it should urge the United States to accept the zones. After that, showing a joint goal, Japan should strongly urge North Korea to take part in the negotiations.
The improvement of relations with China is also indispensable. A council of experts from five countries in the Asia and Pacific region, including former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, asked Japan and China to hold a summit meeting in its proposal compiled in Hiroshima.
It is not easy to untangle a thread. Unless there is a dialogue, however, nothing will start. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201408110020
DAP blasts BN’s nuclear power plans, calls it a threat to health, safety, The Malaysian Insider By LOOI SUE-CHERN 8 August 2014 Barisan Nasional (BN) is putting profit ahead of the interest of the people if it goes ahead with plans to build two nuclear power reactors in the country, said the DAP.
Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) said BN would be gambling with the people’s health and safety if it goes ahead with the plans. Lim disagreed with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, who had said that Malaysia cannot continue on an energy status quo and nuclear energy was a serious option for energy resources sustainability.
“Mah is wrong because Malaysia will be able to shift to a sustainable energy paradigm without relying on nuclear power plants,” Lim said in a statement today.
The Penang chief minister said Putrajaya would be able to achieve energy sustainability by wiping out corruption, investing in renewable energy projects, diversifying its domestic economies and reducing reliance on hydrocarbon resources.
“Lest Mah forgets the risks of nuclear energy, more than 150,000 evacuees are still unable to return home after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, following the huge earthquake and tsunami.
“Japan is still dealing with contaminated groundwater around the Fukushima nuclear power plants everyday,” Lim said.
He also said it is “irresponsible” of BN to decide to proceed with the proposed two nuclear power plants, when there are serious concerns about safety and the environment.
Lim said BN could not even ensure uninterrupted water supply, which would be a key component to cool and clean nuclear power reactors.
Apart from that, Malaysia still enjoys a high energy reserve margin of over 30%.
“Both the Pakatan Rakyat Penang government and DAP have adopted a firm and uncompromising stand against nuclear reactors due to their unsustainable costs, huge environmental and humanitarian risks.”The Penang state government had written to the then Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Tan Sri Peter Chin on March 21, 2011 to object against the building of any nuclear power plant in Malaysia,” he said, adding that Penang will also ban such facilities………. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dap-blasts-bns-nuclear-power-plans-calls-it-a-threat-to-health-safety#sthash.UMEY14oX.dpuf
Officially “Safe” RadiationBy William Boardman OpEd News 8/3/2014 More Radiation Exposure Won’t Hurt You, Says U.S. EPA
“Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” means what?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States is a full blown oxymoron when it comes to protecting U.S. residents from the danger of increased exposure to ionizing radiation. That’s the kind of radiation that comes from natural sources like Uranium and the sun, as well as unnatural sources like Uranium mines, nuclear weapons, and nuclear power plants (even when they haven’t melted down like Fukushima). The EPA is presently considering allowing everyone in the U.S. to be exposed to higher levels of ionizing radiation.
In 1977, the EPA established levels of radiation exposure “considered safe” for people by federal rule (in bureaucratese, “the regulation at 40 CFR part 190“). In the language of the rule, the 1977 safety standards were: “The standards [that] specify the levels below which normal operations of the uranium fuel cycle are determined to be environmentally acceptable.” In common parlance, this became the level “considered safe,” even though that’s very different from “environmentally acceptable.” “Acceptable by whom? The environment has no vote.
The phrase “considered safe” is key to the issue, since there is no “actually safe” level of radiation exposure. The planet was once naturally radioactive and lifeless. Life emerged only after Earth’s radiation levels decayed to the point where life became possible, in spite of a continuing level of natural “background radiation.” The reality is that there is no “safe” level of radiation exposure.
Is the EPA actually immersed in a protection racket?
The studied ambiguity of the proposal’s title — “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” — goes to the heart of the issue: who or what is really being protected, nuclear power operations?
Quite aware that it is perceived by some as placing the desires of the nuclear power industry above the safety needs of the population, the EPA begins its proposal for changing radiation limits with this defensive and apparently contradictory passage:
This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is being published to inform stakeholders, including federal and state entities, the nuclear industry, the public and any interested groups, that the Agency is reviewing the existing standards to determine how the regulation at 40 CFR part 190 should be updated and soliciting input on changes (if any) that should be made.
This action is not meant to be construed as an advocacy position either for or against nuclear power.
EPA wants to ensure that environmental protection standards are adequate for the foreseeable future for nuclear fuel cycle facilities. As far as the EPA is concerned, the uranium fuel cycle does not include Uranium mining, despite the serious environmental danger that process entails. Once the environmental and human degradation from Uranium mining has been done, the EPA begins regulating environmental protection from nuclear fuel cycle facilities, beginning with milling and ending with storage or reprocessing facilities for nuclear waste.
According to the agency itself, “EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the
environment. EPA sets limits on the amount of radiation that can be released into the environment.”
Radiation exposure is chronic, cumulative, and unhealthy
Given the pre-existing radiation load on the environment from natural sources, it’s not clear that there is any amount of radiation that can be released into the environment with safety. The EPA pretty much evades that question, since the straight forward answer for human health is: no amount. Besides, the semi-captured protection agency is just as much engaged in protecting economic health for certain industries as it is in protecting human health. This leads it to making formulations that manage to acknowledge human reality without actually supporting it:………
Lower radiation levels provide more environmental protection
Environmental organizations like the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) are urging the EPA to lower radiation release standards, to “protect more, not less.” According to NIRS, regulation of nuclear power has a sorry history:……..
In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences addressed “safe” levels of radiation and concluded that there are none in any scientifically meaningful sense.
Humans are exposed to a basic, damaging level of ionizing radiation from multiple sources from gestation till death. This natural background radiation is at a relatively low level, but the risk from radiation is cumulative. Every additional exposure above background radiation adds to the risk. Some of these risks, like radiation treatment to ward off cancer, are widely accepted as reasonable trade-offs. The reasonableness of greater exposure from the nuclear fuel cycle and the uncontrolled growth of nuclear waste is not such an obviously beneficial trade-off. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Officially-Safe-Radiatio-by-William-Boardman-Cancer_Environment_People_Radiation-140803-863.html
The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.
Abe undermining rule of law, Japan Times, BY JIRO YAMAGUCHI JUL 31, 2014 A recent series of events has demonstrated the deterioration of Japan as a nation. At the root of the problem appears to be a bottomless nihilism on the part of those in power characterized by their thinking that the powers that be can ignore the rules and norms of society and polity.
On July 1, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision to pave the way for Japan engaging in collective self-defense. This is an act that alters the foundation of Japan’s national security policies developed over the past 60 years, and an outrageous move that way oversteps the power of a single Cabinet.
How vague and sloppy the decision itself is was illustrated by the Budget Committee debates in both chambers of the Diet held two weeks later……..
The new conditions for the use of force overseas set under the LDP-New Komeito agreement will never serve as an effective brake on Japan’s military actions overseas.
Questions and answers in the Diet showed that the text of the Cabinet decision allows different people to interpret it in their own way.
If so, the norms set by the Cabinet over Japan engaging in collective self-defense will be meaningless. In the first place, Abe does not have the idea that government leaders must exercise their power in accordance with rules that are set down in words…….
If the content of norms and rules of a nation can be freely changed by those who interpret them, the nation is no longer under the rule of law; it’s under the rule of man.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority screened Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in accordance with the NRA’s plant design standards updated in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and announced that the Sendai plant has cleared the screening. Thus the NRA has paved the way for restarting the idled plant.
At the same time, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said NRA cannot determine whether the plant is safe to restart. The NRA chief insists its screening standards are not safety standards.
Yet, the Abe administration, which had repeatedly said it would reactivate nuclear power plants that have cleared “the safety standards,” is expected to push for a quick restart of the Sendai plant. The government says that NRA screening has confirmed the safety of the Sendai plant.
As with the issue of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, each of the people involved in the nuclear power policy is allowed to interpret the rules in his or her own way.
All these events demonstrate that people in power in this country — in particular Abe — do not recognize that they are bound by rules. They defiantly argue that even if certain things are prohibited under rules, they can do them simply by first changing the interpretation of the rules. Or, if they cannot win a game, they think that it’s because the rules and the referee are wrong. They then think that if the referee is replaced, things will be all right.
The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.
Jiro Yamaguchi is a professor of political science at Hosei University. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/07/31/commentary/world-commentary/abe-undermining-rule-law/#.U9xbVuNdUnk
Flicking the switch Restarting nuclear plants is unpopular but crucial for Shinzo Abe The Economist Aug 2nd 2014 | SATSUMASENDAI|”……. The pro-nuclear government of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, hopes a restart at the Sendai plant can open the way for a dozen or more reactors to resume operations……..The cost of closure to the local economy means that officials who favour nuclear power overwhelmingly outnumber opponents in the local assemblies that will vote in the autumn. Yet on the national stage, Mr Abe may still pay a price. His popularity has recently flagged. Last month his Liberal Democratic Party lost a gubernatorial election in Shiga prefecture, partly due to rising anti-nuclear sentiment. Some three-fifths of people are against the Sendai restart, according to a recent nationwide poll of public opinion.
Back in Kyushu, the possibility of an imminent restart was driven home this week when the prefecture handed out iodine tablets to households near the plant to protect against thyroid cancer in case of an accident. Other plans are incomplete, most notably on basic evacuation routes in case of a nuclear emergency. The plant is likely to restart without an earthquake-proof off-site emergency centre, though these were mandated after the Fukushima disaster. Japan lies in one of the world’s most seismically active areas, but insufficient discussion has been held about the risks posed by a surrounding group of five calderas and by Sakurajima, an active volcano only 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the Sendai plant.
The central government has to date relied on the NRA and on Kagoshima officials to make the case for the restart. Yet the governor, Yuichiro Ito, now says the authorities in Tokyo must convince the public of the plant’s safety. In 2012, before two reactors at Oi in Fukui prefecture were switched back on for a while, the governor there ensured that the then prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, reassured the public over the plant’s safety. Mr Abe may have to dip deep into his political capital if reactors across the country are to be fired up. http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21610329-restarting-nuclear-plants-unpopular-crucial-shinzo-abe-flicking-switch
Row over contract to help nuclear firms, Herald Scotland, Daniel Sanderson Wednesday 23 July 2014
The body is to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds of public cash in a project aimed at helping Scottish firms move into the nuclear power industry.
As part of its Nuclear Supply Chain Phase II initiative, Scottish Enterprise has advertised for expert companies to come forward to assist Scottish firms to win business in the sector. In a document provided to firms interested in winning the three-year contract, worth up to a third of a million pounds excluding VAT, it says that as well as extensive opportunities for businesses to play a role in decommissioning old plants, there is also “considerable commitment to nuclear new-build” in the UK and overseas that could be exploited.
The contract has been offered despite Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing saying last year that support for nuclear was “misguided” after the UK Government announced it planned to build another plant in England. Mr Ewing added that economic powerhouses, including France and Germany, were scaling back or eliminating their reliance on the power source and that investment should instead be diverted to renewable energy sources.
While Scottish Enterprise said it believed the “vast majority” of new activity would involve the decommissioning of old plants, environmentalists have hit out at the agency, accusing it of wasting public money by “chasing the nuclear dream”.
Meanwhile, opposition MSPs have accused the SNP of “hypocrisy” after details of the project emerged. Murdo Fraser, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The Scottish Government continually argues that nuclear power is declining, yet is now looking for a firm to deliver a programme designed to help businesses take advantage of nuclear power opportunities.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends Of The Earth Scotland, said he believed the Scottish Enterprise project was “a waste of time”, and said the cash would be far better spent on creating jobs in green energy. He said: “Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy but has no useful expertise in new nuclear. Scottish Enterprise should concentrate on playing to our strengths in renewables and not be distracted by the nuclear white elephant.”……..http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/row-over-contract-to-help-nuclear-firms.24830973
Regulator greenlights reactor restarts in nuclear-weary Japan Rt July 16, 2014 Japan’s nuclear watchdog has given a preliminary safety approval for restarting two nuclear reactors at the Sendai plant. A month is given for opposition groups to make their case against the move before a final decision is taken.
The reactors at Sendai power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture are two of 19 which Japanese electric utilities seek to restart and have applied for permission from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA)………
The regulator is bound to see criticism over the one-month public debate period. Even as it was prepared to release the report on Wednesday, a small groups of protesters shouting “Shame on you!” at the public meeting, with one demonstrator accusing the watchdog officials of being puppets of the nuclear industry.
Greenpeace criticized the approval, charging that NRA is “ignoring unresolved safety issues and rising public opposition.”
The Sendai plant has “no effective evacuation plan for the populations in the region, in particular for the elderly, children and those in hospital, no functioning emergency-response center protected against radiation,” the group said in a statement.
The regulator deflected the criticism from the environmental group, saying that evacuation plans are the responsibility of local governments rather than the NRA.
A petition against the planned restart of the Sendai reactors scored 30,000 signatures of residents in Ichikikushikino, a coastal town 5km from the facility. And a local assembly adopted a resolution calling for Sendai to be decommissioned rather than restarted.
In another example of opposition to Abe’s nuclear policies, a candidate backed by his Liberal Democratic Party lost Sunday election to anti-nuclear candidate for the position of Shiga prefecture governor. http://rt.com/news/173224-nuclear-reactor-restart-japan/
Nuclear plant tender to launch by year’s end; winning country to finance project: El-Osery, Daily News Egypt Sara Aggour / July 20, 2014 Egypt is to launch a global tender for its first Dabaa nuclear plant by the end of 2014, said Ibrahim El-Osery, the Ministry of Electricity’s adviser for nuclear energy
Speaking to the Daily News Egypt, El-Osery said the plant will be located in the Matruh governorate, with Egypt paying for the implementation expenses after operations start.
“One of the tender’s conditions is that whoever wins will take the responsibility of financing the project till its implementation,” said El-Osery……..http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/07/20/nuclear-plant-tender-launch-years-end-winning-country-finance-project-el-osery/
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