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
Survey finds employees at contaminated nuclear site wary of challenging managers Times Colonist, Nicholas K. Geranios / The Associated Press June 24, 2014 SPOKANE, Wash. - Few of the U.S. Department of Energy workers who are helping build a plant to treat the most dangerous radioactive wastes at a nuclear site in Washington state feel they can openly challenge decisions made by management, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The survey conducted by the department shows only 30 per cent of its employees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation feel they can question their bosses……..
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said the study shows recent allegations of retaliation against Hanford workers who raised safety concerns made other employees less likely to come forward.
Hanford, near Richland in south central Washington, is engaged in a multi-decade cleanup of the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste.
Two people who recently raised concerns about the design and safety of the unfinished Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford lost their jobs. Donna Busche was fired earlier this year, while Walter Tamosaitis, a 40-year Hanford employee, was laid off last year.
The U.S. Department of Energy has asked its Office of Inspector General to investigate Busche’s firing.
“Fatally compromised” NRC Commissioner Magwood urged to resign immediately , Beyond Nuclear, 21 June 14 34 groups, including Beyond Nuclear, represented by attorneys Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein, have urged NRC Commissioner William Magwood IV to resign immediately, as well as to retroactively recuse himself from numerous votes over the past many months, due to his apparent and actual conflict of interest.
He has agreed to become the Director-General of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, an institution explicitly mandated to promote nuclear energy — at odds with Magwood’s current job to protect people and the environment as a nuclear safety regulator. In 2009 and 2010, Beyond Nuclear helped lead a coalition effort opposing Magwood’s nomination and confirmation as an NRC Commissioner, due to his previous, long career of promoting nuclear power at DOE and in industry…..http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2014/6/18/fatally-compromised-nrc-commissioner-magwood-urged-to-resign.html
When the Democratic Party of Japan established the NRA, then–prime minister Naoto Kan implemented a rule to prevent conflicts of interest. It stopped anyone from becoming an NRA commissioner who had been employed by a nuclear organization in the three preceding years, which was defined as someone receiving $5,000 per year from the nuclear industry during that time period.
It appears that the Liberal Democratic Party has ignored that rule.
Post-Fukushima nuke watchdog outrages Japanese, Straight,com NRA appointee Satoru Tanaka’s financial ties to the nuclear industry provoke howls from environmentalists and opposition politicians by MARTIN DUNPHY on JUN 13, 2014 JAPAN’S PARLIAMENT, THE Diet, approved a controversial government appointee to the country’s nuclear watchdog agency on Wednesday (June 11).
Satoru Tanaka, a 64-year-old professor of nuclear engineering, will start his job as commissioner with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in September.
The staunch supporter of nuclear power has deep ties to the nuclear industry and has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from affiliated companies over the years. Continue reading
Nuclear regulators to Boxer: ‘None of your business’ Orange County Register, By TERI SFORZA / STAFF COLUMNIST 9 June 14,
Japan underreports 80 nuclear bombs-worth of plutonium to IAEA Rt.com : June 08, 2014 Japan has failed to mention having about 640 kg (1,411 lbs) of unused plutonium in reports it submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2012 and 2013. The unreported amount is enough to make about 80 nuclear bombs.
The MOX fuel was loaded into the No. 3 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear plant in March 2011 during its regular checkup, shortly before the Fukushima Nuclear disaster happened later that month. It was then taken out two years later as the reactor remained offline.
The unreported plutonium was first found by Kakujoho, a nuclear information website……..http://rt.com/news/164504-japan-nuclear-ieae-reports/
“The public policy position of Exelon is to oppose subsidies for wind and solar while the company itself purports to be this super-green company and also wants more subsidies for nuclear,” he said. “That’s just hypocritical.”
Nuclear Giant Exelon Blasts Win, by Elliot Negin, Director of News & Commentary, Union of Concerned Scientists Corporate executives often tout the benefits of competition in a free-market economic system, but it’s striking just how much large corporations don’t like it. In fact, some companies will do all they can to squash it, lobbying for favors and subsidies while working to deny them to their competitors.
The squabble over a key federal tax break for the wind industry is a case in point. Called the production tax credit (PTC), it has helped quadruple the wind industry’s generation capacity over the last five years, and six states now have enough wind turbines to meet more than 15 percent of their annual demand
Unlike most coal, nuclear, and oil and gas subsidies, the PTC — which has been around only since the mid-1990s — is not permanent. Congress has to renew it periodically. Last December, Congress let it expire yet again, and lawmakers likely will not restore it until after the November mid-term elections, if at all. The PTC represents roughly $1.2 billion in annual tax savings to the wind industry.
Wind’s more-established competitors want the PTC dead.
ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and their front groups, for example, want Congress to let it die. Never mind that the oil and gas industry has been receiving an average of$4.86 billion annually in today’s dollars in subsidies and tax breaks since 1918. Or the fact that Congress exempted natural gas developers from key provisions of seven major environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
The nuclear power industry doesn’t like the wind tax break, either. Its most outspoken critic is Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear plant owner with 23 reactors at 14 plant sites. Continue reading
Israel renews restrictions on nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu By Noam Sheizaf |972 Magazine June 1, 2014 Despite serving 18 years in prison, including 11 in solitary confinement, Vanunu is forbidden from traveling and speaking to the media. Recently, he was denied a permit to speak before the British Parliament, following an invitation by 54 MPs.
The Israeli interior minister and the IDF Central Command have decided to extend restrictions on nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu’s freedom of movement and speech. Vanunu’s attorney, Avigdor Feldman, has been notified on the decision and told +972 Magazine he will once again petition the High Court of Justice on Vanunu’s case.
Since his release from prison in 2004, Vanunu hasn’t been allowed to leave Israel, enter a foreign consulate or embassy, come within 500 meters of an international border, port or airport or enter the West Bank. He is forbidden from speaking to journalists, and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) monitors all foreign nationals with whom he meets. The Shin Bet must also approve Vanunu’s meetings with a foreign national who the Israeli media says is his partner.
Last month, Vanunu’s request to travel to London for a three-day visit was denied. He had been invited to speak before the British Parliament (his invitation was signed by 54 MPs) as well as to attend an Amnesty International event. Feldman also petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice against that decision……… Continue reading
Global Voyage for a Nuclear Free World – Radiation survivors tell their story in Lima, Peru Peru This Week By Roxana Garmendia, 27 May 14 Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors visit Lima as part of their worldwide tour campaign ‘world free of nuclear weapons.’Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two words one cannot easily forget. They represent the destruction and the immense human suffering and loss caused by the usage of nuclear weapons. On August 6, 1945, American airplanes dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and three days later on Nagasaki. 69 years have passed since then but the effects of such acts are still present to this day. To tell us more on these tragic events, a delegation of survivors recently visited Lima as part of their worldwide tour campaign on a ‘world free of nuclear weapons.’
A group of both men and women – most of them in their 70s – shared their memories and the consequences these events had in their lives and those of their families. They were young – if not infants – and some did remember those moments quite well; others learnt about them growing up and through their families. One man recalled his hair falling off and having open wounds in his legs and body caused by the radiation and from which worms would stem out; a lady being covered with a blanket by her mother, saving her from getting the radiation burns – different was the fate of the other family members who died soon after, she explained. More than 200,000 people have died of radiation sickness; the vast majority of them civilians.
There were, of course, those who survived the nuclear attacks; in Japan they are known as hibakushas. A hibakusha technically is someone that has been exposed to radiation within a few kilometers of the hypocenter or was not yet born but was carried by a pregnant woman that had been exposed to such radiation. It is estimated that there are more than 220,000 hibakushas alive – Japanese for the most part but also Koreans and Chinese who were brought to Japan as forced labor during those years. One percent of them are believed to still suffer from some disease related to the bombings. The effects of the radiation, it must be said, are both short and long-term, and may appear later.
It was not only the physical scars, illnesses and traumas that the hibakusha have suffered all along; they were also victims of discrimination. Jobs were difficult to get as people were afraid of any disease transfer. Likewise in social terms, it was not any better as the belief that the illness could be hereditary was very much in the air, and doubts about this still persist. A Japanese lady revealed, for example that all her children suffer from cancer, thyroid, and intestinal problems, common illnesses among other second generation hibakushas (approx. 300 to 500,000).
Several years after, the hibakushas organized themselves and managed to obtain some benefits from the Government. The Japanese Government provides them a monthly allowance and free medical treatment for those registered hibakushas. No compensation, however, was ever paid by the Americans even though they were the ones who threw the bombs……http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-global-voyage-for-nuclear-free-world-radiation-survivors-tell-their-story-in-lima-peru-103071
The Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) ‘outs’ the fossil fuel groups behind the attacks on renewable energy
New Report Exposes Fossil Fuel Front Groups Behind Attacks on Renewables http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/05/22/new-report-exposes-fossil-fuel-interest-groups-behind-clean-energy-attacks Fossil fuel exploitation in the United States has reached a fevered pitch. Oil production is at a near-record high, and fracking activities have made the U.S.the number one producer of natural gas. All of this comes at a cost. In 2013, the oil industry averaged 20 oil spills per day, destroying countless swaths of the environment and leaving toxic chemicals for nearby residents to deal with. Meanwhile, oil and gas train derailments have totaled at least 11 in the last 11 months.
During this period of dirty energy dominance, investments in renewable energy continued to fall by 14% in 2013. The United States is averaging 20 oil spills per day, 1 dirty energy transport train derailment and explosion per month, and yet we’re still doubling down on fossil fuels.
This all seems fairly shocking, until you peel back the curtain on who is behind the efforts to keep renewable energy solutions out of the picture, which is exactly what a new report has done. The Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) has released a report detailing not only the fossil fuel front groups behind the attacks on clean energy, but also how they are able to use their money and political muscle to prevent a viable market for clean energy, limiting energy choices for consumers.
The fossil fuel lobby aggressively uses lobbying and propaganda to achieve their goals. Self-identified “free market think tanks” are among the most effective advocates for the fossil fuel industry to lobby for policy changes. Dozens of these so-called free market organizations, a majority of which are members of the State Policy Network (SPN), worked to influence state level energy policies and attack the clean energy industry…
Fossil fuel-funded front groups operate in multiple areas to influence the policy-making process in their attempts to eliminate clean energy policies. Continue reading
Chinese officials indicted in nuclear cyberspying case, By Eric Tucker, The Times of Israel, 19 May 14 US announces unprecedented charges against military hackers who targeted big-name firms, stole trade secrets WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States announced on Monday unprecedented cyber espionage charges against five Chinese military officials accused of hacking into US companies to gain trade secrets The hackers targeted big-name makers of nuclear and solar technology, stealing confidential business information, sensitive trade secrets and internal communications for competitive advantage, according to a grand jury indictment……..
The indictment says that five hackers — members of the People’s Liberation Army — worked from a building in Shanghai to steal proprietary information from the companies and the labor union, including communications that could have helped Chinese firms learn strategies and weaknesses of American companies involved in litigation with the Chinese government or Chinese firms.
The defendants are all believed to be in China and it was unclear whether they would ever be turned over to the US for prosecution. But the Justice Department, publicizing the charges, identified all five by name and issued “wanted” posters………
The indictment will put a greater strain on the US-China relationship and could provoke retaliatory acts in China or elsewhere.
“What we can expect to happen is for the Chinese government to indict individuals in the United States who they will accuse of hacking into computers there,” said Mark Rasch, a former US cybercrimes prosecutor. “Everybody now is going to jump into the act, using their own criminal laws to go after what other countries are doing.”
Rasch said the indictments attempt to distinguish spying for national security purposes — which the US admits doing — from economic espionage intended to gain commercial advantage for private companies or industries, which the US denies it does. Classified documents disclosed by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden described aggressive US efforts to eavesdrop on foreign communications that would be illegal in those countries.
“These five people were just doing their jobs. It’s just that we object to what their jobs are,” Rasch said. “We have tens of thousands of dedicated, hard-working Americans who are just doing their jobs, too.”
Unlike in some countries, there are no nationalized US industries. American officials have flatly denied that the government spies on foreign companies and then hands over commercially valuable information to American companies. http://www.timesofisrael.com/chinese-officials-indicted-in-nuclear-cyberspying-case/#ixzz32JH7SA85
MoD loses battle to block radioactive waste contamination report, Rob Edwards, Guardian 14 May 14, Report warning contamination of military sites could pose public health risk to be published next week after six-month delay
The report was submitted for publication last October by the 18-memberCommittee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare). To the frustration of its authors and the Scottish government, UK ministers have sat on it for the past six months after objections from the MoD.
But after the 75-page report was leaked to the Guardian, a decision was taken in Whitehall on Tuesday to publish it early next week. It will reveal that Comare is concerned about radium contamination from the second world war at Dalgety Bay in Fife and at least 25 other sites across the UK.
The contamination at Dalgety Bay poses “a potential risk to public health”, the report says. It condemns the MoD’s failure to provide a comprehensive list of other potentially contaminated sites as “unacceptable” as it “implies an unknown risk to the general population”.
Because of the “extensive” contamination, parents should be recommended not to allow their children to dig on the beach, the report says. Although it concludes that there is no immediate evidence of increased cancers, it points out that side-effects can take time to appear and recommends a study of cancer rates to be carried out around Dalgety Bay in five or 10 years.
Comare’s report recommends that the Scottish government should ensure that Dalgety Bay is cleaned up as soon as is possible. An evaluation of the best means of remediation should be instituted immediately, “considering efficacy, practicability and cost”, it says.
According to the report, disposal of radium – used to paint aircraft dials so that they could be read in the dark – was “very widespread”. It criticises the MoD for only providing a limited list of sites where this could have happened. Though the only site named in the report is Dalgety Bay, 15 have been previously listed by the MoD.They include the old SAS headquarters at Stirling Lines in Hereford, a former naval air base near Portsmouth and a previous home to the Red Arrows in Gloucestershire. There are also potentially contaminated sites in Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Nottingham, Shropshire, Cumbria, Stirling, Perth and Kinross, Angus, Moray and the Mull of Kintyre.
Comare is demanding authority from the government to force the MoD to draw up a full list of potentially contaminated sites. “The information available for each site should be evaluated and, where deemed necessary, investigation and/or remediation instituted,” it says.
The MoD has been accused of resisting funding an expensive cleanup at Dalgety Bay to avoid setting a precedent for dozens of other sites around the country. “The MoD would rather this report hadn’t existed,” said one insider……….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/14/mod-nuclear-waste-contamination-report-dalgety-bay
VICE: Japan mother may be jailed for “tweet critical of nuclear lobbyist” — Fukushima police travel 1,000 miles to interrogate her, examine computer — Officer: We only go outside prefecture for “potentially dangerous criminal” — “May be held without bail… without right to see lawyer”http://enenews.com/vice-japan-mother-fled-radiation-jail-tweet-critical-nuclear-lobbyist-fukushima-police-travel-1000-miles-interrogate-her-examine-computer-officer-only-prefecture-potentially-dangerous-criminal?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
VICE, Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky, May 11, 2014: Mari Takenouchi [...] wrote a tweet critical of a nuclear lobbyist. Takenouchi may go to jail [...] Prosecutors confirmed they will be flying to Okinawa [...] to question her on May 13. Police have already traveled from Fukushima to Okinawa to interrogate her [...] [She] fled her hometown of Tokyo with her infant son days after the disaster, hoping to avoid fallout from Fukushima. [...] Takenouchi said police came to her apartment in Okinawa and examined her computer [...] The prosecutor’s office will decide by July whether to indict [...] she may be held without bail [...] without a right to see a lawyer or have one present during questioning.
Lieutenant Tadashi Terashima, Fukushima police spokesman: “We only send police officers from one prefecture to another if the subject is really a potentially dangerous criminal.”
Translation of Takenouchi’s tweet: There’s a common point between the 2 criminals of the century. Yasuhiro Nakasone, who introduced nuclear plants in Japan, said: “I didn’t expect Japan in 2011 to become such a battered country.” Ryoko Ando, a (pro-establishment) citizen activist who hosts Ethos’ human experiments in Fukushima, said: “Is this the kind of world we’ve arrived at over the 67 years since the end of World Ward Two?”
VICE on Ryoko Ando: “The Japanese head of Fukushima Ethos, a project [...] funded by the French nuclear energy lobby. Fukushima Ethos encourages residents to continue living in contaminated areas as long as decontamination procedures and radiation measurements continue to be done [...] Ando reported it to the Fukushima Prefectural Police, accusing Takenouchi of either criminal defamation or criminal contempt.”
Takaaki Hattori, legal expert:“Unprecedented for the police to launch a contempt investigation against a journalist for a single tweet, made in the public interest. If all debates about nuclear energy in this country are going to become grounds for criminal investigations, freedom of speech will vanish. The fact that police even sent the case to the prosecution is disturbing.”
Japan Times, Feb. 12, 2014: “Japan fell from 22nd to 53rd place on [Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index] for “the ban imposed by the authorities on independent coverage of any topic related directly or indirectly to the [Fukushima] accident.”
Sydney Morning Herald: “The cloud was at its thickest during the three hours Takenouchi and her son, Joe, spent outside [...] Joe was exposed to 145 times the normal [radiation] level”
Science Editor: Fox News Told Me Not To Talk About Climate Change The Huffington Post | by Dominique Mosbergen 04/30/2014 This week, a science writer was asked to appear on Fox News to discuss the future of science and technology. However, he says there was one caveat: The issue of climate change would be off-limits.
On Wednesday, Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, described his experience with the news outlet this way:
In a blog post on Scientific American, Moyer explained that he had offered to discuss what he foresees as the “trends for the future” on “Fox & Friends.” In a blog post on Scientific American, Moyer explained that he had offered to discuss what he foresees as the “trends for the future” on “Fox & Friends.”
“About the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we’re going to have to deal with the impacts. So I put that as one of my talking points,” he wrote.
But Moyer says a producer of the show soon reached out to him to tell him explicitly to not discuss climate change during the segment. Not wanting to back out of an opportunity to “share cool science with whomever will listen,” Moyer agreed to still appear on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday.
That, however, will likely be the last time Moyer will appear on the show.
“I found the tone and topics of coverage while I was sitting in the green room this morning to be not something that I wanted to be a part of in the future,” he told Talking Points Memo of his “Fox & Friends” experience. “I didn’t realize that the drumbeat of conservative propaganda was so ubiquitous on the show.”……
Moyer, however, insists that the Fox producer wrote this in an email: “[C]an we replace the climate change with something else?”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Fox News’ coverage of climate change has beencalled into question. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found the conservative news outlet covers climate change inaccurately 72 percent of the time.
“There are some things that in science and scientific discourse are not controversial at all,” Moyer told Talking Points Memo in light of his Fox News experience. “I hope that we can all as a society agree to at least discuss them and come up with good solutions. Just because you don’t want something to be true doesn’t make it not true.”
According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, about four in 10 Americans said “they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases,” per the AP. That’s in stark contrast to the97 percent of climate scientists who say global warming in the last 100 years has very likely been caused by human activity. http://linkis.com/zite.to/eoXrO
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