January 27, 2015
On 1/27/2015, Tepco announced they measured high density of Strontium-90 from groundwater in the seaside of Reactor 2.
It was 31,000,000 Bq/m3. The sampling point was the boring well, which is the closest to Reactor 2.
This is the highest density measured from this boring well, which is 10% more than the previous highest record.
The sampling date was last December. No Sr-90 data of January has been published.
Source: Fukushima Daiichi
January 28th, 2015
Study: Global consequences from Fukushima-like nuclear disaster; Many nations at risk of ‘great exposure’ — Transport of hot particles to US was especially effective during worst releases after reactor explosions — Radioactivity confined ‘close to surface’ due to seasonal factors
T. Christoudias and Y. Proestos of The Cyprus Institute, J. Lelieveld of Max Planck Institute of Chemistry (Germany), Dec 12, 2014 (emphasis added):
- We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents… We present an overview of global risks… [These] risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter [Fukushima crisis began with 10 days left in winter].
- The model setup was evaluated… using emission estimates from… Fukushima
- The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents.
- Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months compared to the summer… Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the north… Horizontal advection [i.e. transfer] is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface [and] surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region.
- Our results illustrate that accidents… could have significant trans-boundary consequences. The risk estimate [shows] increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east… This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface…It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents [for] emergency response planning on national and international levels.
JAMSTEC, Univ. of Tokyo, etc.: We show a numerical simulation for the long-range transport from the [Fukushima] plant to the US… Large-scale updraft [over] Japan from March 14 to 15 was found effective in lifting the particles [to the] jet stream that could carry the particles across the Pacific within 3 to 4 days [See study: On Mar. 15, Fukushima reactors emitted 100 quadrillion Bq of cesium into air — This one day was equal to total lifetime release from Chernobyl]… Some of the particles [had a] long-range atmospheric transport over — 10,000 km within 3 to 4 days… [R]adioactive materials were detected in that period over the east and west coasts of the U.S… In order for the particles to be transported with the jet stream, they must be lifted up from the surface boundary layer to the mid- or upper troposphere. Large-scale updraft was indeed observed… on March 14 through 15… [T]he westerlies in mid-March were thus particularly effective in the trans-Pacific transport of the radioactive materials…
CPI asks govt to explain why it rushed into nuke agreement http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/cpi-asks-govt-to-explain-why-it-rushed-into-nuke-agreement_1537199.html January 27, 2015 New Delhi: The CPI on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain why the government “rushed” into an agreement with the US on the nuclear liability issue, saying a proposed insurance pool to cover American nuclear firms would violate Indian law on the issue.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said US suppliers “should obtain insurance from international insurance companies at commercial rates. Why are they unable to do so? Is this because they are unable to persuade their own companies that their reactors are as safe as they claim?”
Expressing concern over reports that Modi government has agreed to US demands that its companies be protected from liability for accidents caused by design defects in reactors they supply, Raja said the intent of the Indian law was “clearly to place some liability on the supplier. This was meant to ensure that multinational suppliers would pay adequate attention to safety standards.”
Observing that design defects have contributed to nuclear accidents including those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, he said US firm GE had “designed the Mark 1 reactors that were involved in the Fukushima accident.”
“Why is the Indian agreement rushing into a deal to purchase a reactor that is running into difficulties elsewhere,” Raja asked.”Your negotiations with President Obama have been opaque, and very few details are publicly available. … I hope that you will take urgent steps to address and answer them publicly,” he said. “Japanese (Fukushima) victims have been unable to hold (US firm) GE to account because of the Japanese liability law which indemnifies the supplier. It was to prevent such an eventuality that Clause 17(b) of the Indian law allows the operator a right of recourse against the supplier,” the CPI leader said.
It was only after the Bhopal gas disaster experience, the Supreme Court had formulated the ‘absolute liability’ principle under which all parties involved in running a hazardous enterprise would be liable for damage caused to the public, he said.
“I understand that there are only two reactor designs on offer by US companies – the AP1000 designed by Westinghouse and the ESBWR designed by GE.”
“Neither of these reactors is in commercial operation anywhere in the world. In fact, the ESBWR is so new that even its design was certified only recently by the US Nuclear Regulatory Council,” Raja said.
Observing that India would therefore be one of the first countries to have the ESBWR, he asked the Prime Minister: “Have you obtained any guarantees from President Obama, that the cost of such delays will be borne by GE and not the Indian Government?”
Raja also expressed concern over the cost of electricity from the proposed American reactors and said the two AP1000 units being constructed in Vogtle (US) were initially projected to cost USD seven billion each.
“If one uses the same cost per unit of installed capacity for the ESBWR, then this would suggest that it may cost as much as USD 10 billion,” he said, adding this would translate into a cost of electricity that exceeds Rs 15 per unit, “much higher than the tariff from competing sources.”
Poisoning of ex-KGB spy ‘nuclear terrorism,’ U.K. inquiry told The Star.com 27 Jan 15 Evidence suggested Litvinenko had ingested the highly radioactive isotope polonium-210 in mid-October 2006 and again two weeks later. By: Jill Lawless Associated Press, Published on Tue Jan 27 2015
LONDON — Former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium not once but twice, a British judge was told Tuesday, as an inquiry opened into the slaying one lawyer called an act of nuclear terrorism ordered by Moscow.
Ben Emmerson, attorney for Litvinenko’s widow, said the KGB spy turned Kremlin critic was the victim of an “assassination by agents of the Russian state.”
He said the 2006 killing “was an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city which put the lives of numerous other members of the public at risk.” Litvinenko, who had become a Britain-based critic of the Kremlin, fell violently ill on Nov. 1, 2006 after drinking tea with two Russian men at a London hotel. He died three weeks later, aged 43, of “acute radiation syndrome.”
Litvinenko’s extraordinary killing — and his deathbed statement that he was poisoned on orders from President Vladimir Putin — soured Russian-British relations for years. Judge Robert Owen, who is overseeing the inquiry, said the issues raised by the death “are of the utmost gravity.”
No one has ever stood trial for Litvinenko’s killing. Britain and the dead man’s family have accused Russia of involvement. Moscow denies the claim, and has refused to extradite the two men identified by Britain as the prime suspects………http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/01/27/former-russian-spy-alexander-litvinenko-poisoned-twice-inquiry-told.html
Only very broad features have been outlined and, hopefully, when the details become known the Indian government will not be found to have given away where it matters. If a negative picture does eventually emerge from the details, then the question will be — what for? ………
As for possessing a bomb, it does not enhance security. Pakistan followed quickly in India’s footsteps with its own nuclear tests in 1998 so that India’s superiority in conventional defence capability was replaced with parity in nuclear capability. http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/subir-roy-why-persist-with-nuclear-power-115012701341_1.html
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is overseeing the modernization of Russia’s nuclear weapons capabilities and during a talk show on the state-run Rossiya 1 television channel boasted that Russia had managed to develop a new technological breakthrough which will somehow overcome any U.S. missile defense system.
Germany’s Constitutional Court will hear nuclear utilities’ complaints about early nuclear shutdowns
German court to decide on nuclear exit complaints this year Tuesday, January 27, 2015 CSTDUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s highest court aims to decide this year on complaints filed by the country’s biggest utilities against a decision to shut down its nuclear plants earlier than initially planned, a court spokesman said on Tuesday.
E.ON , RWE and Vattenfall [VATN.UL] filed complaints with the Constitutional Court after the government imposed a stricter closure timetable in 2011 as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan……..
The court will not decide on individual damages claims – estimated to total at least 15 billion euros ($17 billion) – but its decision could provide the legal basis for such motions should it rule the government’s decision is illegal.
The court spokesman said he could not be more precise about the timing of the ruling, adding it still needed to be decided whether a hearing would take place.
RWE, Germany’s second-biggest utility, said it expects a ruling in the second half of the year.
The complaints are part of a number of legal steps being pursued by RWE and its peers over Germany’s nuclear policy, including a nuclear fuel tax and the immediate three-month shutdown of all of its nuclear power stations following the Fukushima disaster.
($1 = 0.8787 euros)
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan and John Stonestreet) http://kfgo.com/news/articles/2015/jan/27/german-court-to-decide-on-nuclear-exit-complaints-in-2015/
Under pressure from GE and Westinghouse, the two American nuclear vendors hoping to sell billions of dollars worth of reactors to India, the Obama administration has demanded that Section 17(b) and Section 46 of the Indian liability law be deleted or amended.
Double standards? The irony is that American nuclear suppliers operate under a domestic liability regime that allows operators to sue them for recovery of damages in the event of an accident. That is how Metropolitan Edison, the operator of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, sued Babcock Wilcox after the infamous 1979 accident.
Why India should say no to US demand to dilute its nuclear liability law The Modi government should resist pressure from Barack Obama, who landed in New Delhi on Sunday morning, to change key provisions to favour foreign supplier of reactors. Siddharth Varadarajan Scroll.in 26 Jan 15
With the issue of nuclear liability emerging as an obstacle in the relationship between India and the US, the Modi government is under pressure to dilute the law in favour of foreign reactor suppliers. Without this, we are told, it will not be possible to operationalise the US-India nuclear agreement and provide the country with the electricity its people need.
In the event of a major nuclear accident in India, one which damages lives and property, what does the law say about how liability is to be apportioned? Continue reading
Over the next 30 years, the bill could add up to $1 trillion. Instead of spending less on nukes, we’re spending more – and a new nuclear arsenal comes at the expense of more important national security programs.
Missing a nuclear opportunity http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/230565-missing-a-nuclear-opportunity 25 Jan 15 By Will Saetren In the State of the Union address, President Obama once again failed to rekindle his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. This is inexcusable. The Cold War ended nearly 25 years ago, but the threat of nuclear annihilation remains. Preventing nuclear disaster is possible, but it requires a serious commitment from all of us – the government, private sector, and regular citizens. Continue reading
Insurers to offer Rs 750 cr capacity for nuclear pool; rest from govt, Standard.com M Saraswathy | Mumbai January 26, 2015
Both operators and suppliers would be provided as cover against associated risks The proposed nuclear risk pool that will be set up in India will have five government-owned insurance companies (General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC), New India Assurance, Oriental India Insurance, National Insurance and United India Insurance) providing half the capacity for the Rs 1,500-crore pool. The rest will come from the central government.
Prime Minister Narendra Mdoi in his statement at the joint press interaction with President Barack Obama of America, said the civil nuclear agreement was the centrepiece of our (India-US) transformed relationship, demonstrating new trust…….. Continue reading
Ill-founded hope The belief was always that science would find some way of neutralising the dangerous radioactivity, and then it could be buried as simply as any other rubbish. This hope has proved to be ill-founded.
The British government promised four years ago it would not build any more nuclear power stations until it had found a solution to this 50-year-old problem. But it has abandoned the promise
Still No Solution to Storage of High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/25/no-solution-radioactive-nuclear-waste/ Paul Brown, Climate News Network | January 25, 2015 A private consortium formed to deal with Europe’s most difficult nuclear waste at a site in Britain’s beautiful Lake District has been sacked by the British government because not sufficient progress has been made in making it safe.
It is the latest setback for an industry that claims nuclear power is the low-carbon answer toclimate change, but has not yet found a safe resting place for radioactive rubbish it creates when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life.
Dealing with the waste stored at this one site at Sellafield—the largest of a dozen nuclear sites in Britain—already costs the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century.
Hundreds of people are employed to prevent the radioactivity leaking or overheating to cause a nuclear disaster, and the cost of dealing with the waste at this site alone has already risen to £70 billion.
Dangerous to humans
This extraordinary legacy of dangerous radioactive waste is present in every country that has adopted nuclear power as a form of electricity production, as well as those with nuclear weapons. No country has yet solved the problem of how to deal with waste that remains dangerous to humans for thousands of years. Continue reading
B.C.’s citizen scientists on alert for radiation from Japan, Vancouver Sun BY AMY SMART, TIMES COLONIST JANUARY 25, 2015 Since October, citizen scientists have been dipping buckets into the waters of B.C.’s coast, looking for fallout from the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Japan.
At the centre of the search are two man-made isotopes, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, which act as “fingerprints” for radiation specific to the Japan disaster. Both isotopes were released when the reactors failed in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami, just as they were during nuclear testing in the mid-20th century.
While Cesium-137 has a half-life — the time it takes for the radioactivity to fall to half its original value — of 30 years, Cesium-134’s is only two years. That means that if Cesium-134 is found in a sample, scientists can be certain it came from Fukushima.
“It’s been sufficiently long since atmospheric weapons testing last century or the Chernobyl disaster that we don’t see traces of [Cesium-134 from those sources] anymore,” said University of Victoria ocean chemist Jay Cullen. “So if we detect it in seawater or an organism, then we know that sample has been affected by Fukushima.”
The radiation is as close as 100 kilometres, with levels expected to peak over the next two years. But so far, members of the InFORM Network — citizen scientists, and representatives from academia, government and non-governmental organizations — haven’t found anything in seawater samples collected by volunteers at 14 coastal locations.
“The models of ocean circulation that the physical oceanographers have put together suggest that we are going to see it along the coast and we can expect it to arrive over the next couple of years, the heart of that contaminated plume,” said Cullen, who leads the network.
InFORM is also monitoring marine life, which can absorb radiation. The first results, from sockeye salmon and steelhead trout selected for their known migration paths, showed traces of Cesium-137, but no Cesium-134……….
John Smith, a senior research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, agrees that the health risks are likely to be “extremely low.” At its peak, the radiation in the plume is expected to be three to five becquerels per cubic metre of water. Canadian guidelines for safe drinking water impose a limit of 10,000 becquerels per cubic metre, he said.
For Smith, who began monitoring the plume’s spread in 2011, it provides a “dye test” for testing theories about ocean currents. The results will have implications for all kinds of models, including understandings of climate change, he said.
“This was a unique oceanographic event in that a large quantity of radioactivity was deposited into the ocean off Japan at a given moment in time and at a given location. It was a tremendous disaster. But it has provided an oceanographic tracer for currents that has never occurred before.”…….. www.vancouversun.com/health/citizen+scientists+alert+radiation+from+Japan/10758982/story.html
The Short Walk Home. How PM Modi, President Barack Obama Clinched Nuclear Deal NDTV All India | Reported by Nidhi Razdan (with inputs from agencies) | January 25, 2015 Within hours of US President Barack Obama’s arrival in Delhi, a landmark breakthrough on nuclear trade was clinched with Prime Minister Narendra Modi……….
Sources say America has forfeited its demand on insistence on “flagging” or tracking the nuclear material they supply to India, required under its rules to ensure it is not being used for military purposes. India said the demand was intrusive, especially because safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, are in place.
Nuclear commerce worth billions of dollars was meant to be the centrepiece of a new strategic relationship between the United States and India, allowing New Delhi access to nuclear technology and fuel without giving up its weapons.
But a tough liability law which was cleared by the Indian parliament in 2010 and holds equipment suppliers liable for damages for an accident had meant that billions of dollars in trade were held up by concerns over exposure to risk. The US said this is a sharp deviation from international norms that put the onus on the operator to maintain safety. For India, the law grew out of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, the world’s deadliest industrial accident, at a factory owned by U.S. multinational Union Carbide Corp, which families are still pursuing for compensation.
The law had so far effectively shut out Western companies from a huge market, as energy-starved India seeks to ramp up nuclear power generation by 13 times, and also strained U.S-Indian relations. …http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/the-short-walk-home-how-pm-modi-president-barack-obama-clinched-nuclear-deal-653481
America’s nuclear power utilities seek big ratepayer bailouts, Daily Kos.com by nirsnet JAN 23, 2015
America’s nuclear power utilities are increasingly saddled with aging, uneconomic reactors. Their operating and maintenance costs are rising, and in many locations they’re no longer able to compete with low-cost natural gas and the growing use of wind and solar power.
For a year now, Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear utility, has been complaining–loudly–that at least five of its 11 Illinois reactors are uneconomic. And the nuclear giant has threatened to close some or all of these reactors if it can’t get some form of bailout (a word Exelon despises, but is nonetheless accurate). Of course, there are many who would feel much better if those threats were actually promises….
But Exelon hasn’t said what it wants Illinois to do about these threats. The utility has said it wants Illinois to institute a vague “market-based solution” to Exelon’s economic problems. Last year, Exelon floated the idea that it needs some $580 million/year in additional revenue to make up for its nuclear fleet’s losses. The utility did get the legislature last year to order state agencies to produce a report that Exelon hoped would provide backing for its position. But that report didn’t exactly do what Exelon wanted. Instead, it found that Illinois could easily handle the threatened reactor shutdowns; that if they occurred, it might bolster clean energy development in the state; and that bailing out Exelon would be expensive.
Why Exelon hasn’t articulated what it wants is obvious: it knows that when it puts down real numbers for the subsidies it seeks, then people will be able to figure out what a bailout may cost. Even the “market-based solution” Exelon wants, which is utility-speak for a means of hiding the costs, will have to have numbers attached to be meaningful………..
Exelon doesn’t appear to be gaining any new friends. Even the Chicago Sun-Times editorialized on the issue, beginning its piece: “The people of Illinois got a bit of good news Wednesday when a report by several state agencies essentially said nobody should rush in with baskets of cash to rescue Exelon’s fleet of nuclear power plants.” The paper said the legislature should “be in no hurry to play along” with Exelon.
NRG Energy, one of Exelon’s major competitors in the state, was even less charitable, saying in a statement to Midwest Energy News,
These reports demonstrate that the economic situation for multiple nuclear facilities is more manageable than originally thought. The report finds that the retirements of the Illinois nuclear fleet won’t cause reliability problems with the state’s electric supply, except under extreme scenarios never before seen in US energy markets. In addition, short-term job losses could be replaced with increased investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
In any event, any subsidy to these plants, already paid for many times over, is unnecessary and could easily cost more than the rate increase costs of nuclear plant retirements. Allowing the market to work, which means no “subsidy legislation,” will save ratepayers more than $120 million per year and create almost 10,000 new Illinois jobs between now and 2020.
……….In New York, meanwhile, Exelon is looking for another ratepayer bailout: this one for its antiquated Ginna reactor, which it says has lost $100 million over the past three years. Exelon wants the NY Public Service Commission to approve a new above-market power purchase contract with Rochester Gas & Electric that would cost ratepayers more than $200/year each. RG&E at first appeared willing to do so, but is now looking at other possible alternatives that would lead to Ginna’s shutdown…..
For its part, the second-largest nuclear utility, Entergy, already closed its uneconomic Vermont Yankee reactor. Its Pilgrim reactor in Massachusetts is also teetering on the edge of viability; Entergy’s solution so far is similar to one of Exelon’s ideas: get Pilgrim included in the state’s new Clean Energy Standard. As in Illinois, this wouldn’t lead to any new carbon reductions, but would serve to prevent investment in new, genuinely clean energy technologies. So far, Massachusetts has held firm in its view that no existing power plants, including Pilgrim, should be included in the new standard, but with a new Republican governor that stance could change. The state will hold public hearings on its standard in March.
Ohio’s FirstEnergy can be added to the list of bailout seekers. It is seeking subsidies that the Ohio Consumers Counsel puts at $3 Billion to keep its Davis-Besse reactor and some old, decrepit coal plants operating.
The portion for Davis-Besse alone is at least $171 million/year and NIRS estimates that the actual price tag may be $225 million/year above the market rate for electricity.
Ohioans are not happy with the prospect of such rate increases. As the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Wednesday, some 200 people crammed into a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) hearing in Cleveland “to vent rage about the company’s latest rate proposal, and at times, its actions over the last decade.”
As is the case elsewhere, some of FirstEnergy’s power plants, especially the Davis-Besse reactor and the Sammis coal plant, can’t compete with lower cost natural gas and wind power. Since FirstEnergy doesn’t own those gas and wind plants, it wants ratepayers to pay the much higher costs of keeping Davis-Besse and Sammis open……..
Thirty years after an infamous chemical leak killed thousands at Union Carbide’s factory in Bhopal, the threat of tough Indian compensation laws has frustrated US hopes of an export boom in the energy sector – despite an agreement by former US president George W Bush to share civil nuclear technology in 2005.
After pressure from US diplomats, the Indian government was thought to have agreed a state-backed insurance scheme that would cap the exposure of nuclear suppliers and open the door to billions of dollars of new contracts. India will also allow closer tracking of spent fuel to limit the risk of it falling into terrorist hands.
“Today we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our civil nuclear cooperation,” Obama said on Sunday………
Details of the deal remain vague, however, and officials stressed they were still working out the finer arrangements of the scheme, which is designed to avoid the need to change Indian law……….
The two governments also said they had struck deals to share defence technology and improve dialogue in future, with a security hotline between Obama and Modi……….
“Nuclear liability remains the cinder in the eye of the relationship right now,” Rick Rossow, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said in Washington last week. “Nuclear cooperation was the high-water mark for our bilateral history and the fact that India’s nuclear liability law precludes American involvement, it stings.”
US suggestions of full legal indemnity for suppliers were knocked by the Indian government, which is wary of trying to overturn a 2010 nuclear liability law in parliament……. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/25/obama-modi-limit-us-liability-nuclear-disaster
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