Critical analysis of Fukushima report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse - Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14
There is broad disagreement over the amounts and effects of radiation exposure due to the triple reactor meltdowns after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) joined the controversy June 4, with a 27-page “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report ‘Levels and effects of radiation exposures due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.’”
IPPNW is the Nobel Peace Prize winning global federation of doctors working for “a healthier, safer and more peaceful world.” The group has adopted a highly critical view of nuclear power because as it says, “A world without nuclear weapons will only be possible if we also phase out nuclear energy.”
UNSCEAR, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, published its deeply flawed report April 2. Its accompanying press release summed up its findings this way: “No discernible changes in future cancer rates and hereditary diseases are expected due to exposure to radiation as a result of the Fukushima nuclear accident.” The word “discernable” is a crucial disclaimer here.
Cancer, and the inexorable increase in cancer cases in Japan and around the world, is mostly caused by toxic pollution, including radiation exposure according to the National Cancer Institute. But distinguishing a particular cancer case as having been caused by Fukushima rather than by other toxins, or combination of them, may be impossible – leading to UNSCEAR’s deceptive summation. As the IPPNW report says, “A cancer does not carry a label of origin…”
UNSCEAR’s use of the phrase “are expected” is also heavily nuanced. The increase in childhood leukemia cases near Germany’s operating nuclear reactors, compared to elsewhere, was not “expected,” but was proved in 1997. The findings, along with Chernobyl’s lingering consequences, led to the country’s federally mandated reactor phase-out. The plummeting of official childhood mortality rates around five US nuclear reactors after they were shut down was also “unexpected,” but shown by Joe Mangano and the Project on Radiation and Human Health.
The International Physicians’ analysis is severely critical of UNSCEAR’s current report which echoes its 2013 Fukushima review and press release that said, “It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers.”
“No justification for optimistic presumptions”
The IPPNW’s report says flatly, “Publications and current research give no justification for such apparently optimistic presumptions.” UNSCEAR, the physicians complain, “draws mainly on data from the nuclear industry’s publications rather than from independent sources and omits or misinterprets crucial aspects of radiation exposure”, and “does not reveal the true extent of the consequences” of the disaster. As a result, the doctors say the UN report is “over-optimistic and misleading.” The UN’s “systematic underestimations and questionable interpretations,” the physicians warn, “will be used by the nuclear industry to downplay the expected health effects of the catastrophe” and will likely but mistakenly be considered by public authorities as reliable and scientifically sound. Dozens of independent experts report that radiation attributable health effects are highly likely………. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/18/fukushima-bad-and-getting-worse/
Japan Newspaper: Leaks plaguing Fukushima No. 5 reactor — Experts: Indicates “deterioration in the system” — Report: Water contains up to 3,000 Bq/liter of Cobalt-60, had been used to cool spent fuel (PHOTOS) http://enenews.com/japan-newspaper-leaks-are-plaguing-fukushima-no-5-reactor-experts-this-indicates-deterioration-in-the-system-report-water-contains-up-to-3000-bqliter-of-cobalt-60-was-used-to-cool-spe?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Asahi Shimbun, July 20, 2014: Water leaks continue to plague No. 5 reactor at Fukushima plant— A leak of radioactive water was found in the piping of water used to cool the spent fuel pool [...] a sign of possible deterioration in the system. [TEPCO] said water from the cooling pond leaked [...] TEPCO employee found a pool of water in each of two boxes–75 centimeters by 50 cm–that house a control valve in the cooling water piping system on the fifth floor [...] The water had collected to a depth of 9 cm in one box and 18 cm in the other. The water contained 2-3 becquerels of cobalt 60 per cubic centimeter [2,000 to 3,000 Bq/liter], according to the utility. This particular piping section has been unused since July 6, when a similar leak was discovered at another section. Experts say the continuing leaks indicate that valves are deteriorating, and that the utility’s inspections are inadequate. [...] the pumping of cooling water was temporarily halted after a leak in a similar piping system [inside the No. 6 reactor building] was detected on July 11.
TEPCO official: “We are aware that our approach proved to be lax as we were unable to detect the problem until the leak occurred. We are reviewing the way checks should be conducted.”
Similar incident at Unit 5 on July 6 — Fukushima Daiichi NPS Prompt Report, Jul 8, 2014: The cooling of the spent fuel pool of Unit 5 [...] was stopped due to seawater leak found at a pipe resumed cooling by another system at 15:40 today [...] A system that cools the spent fuel pool at Unit 5 has been stopped on July 6 2014, after seawater was found leaking from a pipe [...] the cooling of 994 fuel assemblies inside the spent fuel pool will be continued through another system [...]
How Nuclear Worsens Climate Change, Sierra Club, Dave Andrews May 28, 2014 The nuclear industry has been selling the world a story that nuclear power is a solution to climate change because it does not generate carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. While this is true of the nuclear chain reaction itself, the front and back ends of nuclear power generate a large volume of CO2 and leave a trail of endlessly dangerous radioactivity along the way.
☢ Nuclear power has a big carbon footprint. At the front end of nuclear power, carbon energy is used for uranium mining, milling, processing, conversion, and enrichment, as well as for transportation, formulation of rods and construction of nuclear reactors (power plants). At the back end, there is the task of isolation of highly radioactive nuclear waste for millennia—a task which science has so far not been able to address. Large amounts of water are also used, first in mining and then in cooling the reactors.
All along the nuclear fuel chain, radioactive contamination of air, land and water occurs. Uranium mine and mill cleanup demands large amounts of fossil fuel. Each year 2,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste and twelve million cubic-feet of low-level radioactive waste are generated in the U.S. alone. None of this will magically disappear. Vast amounts of energy will be needed to isolate these dangerous wastes for generations to come.
☢ Nuclear power takes too long to deploy. Construction of the 1500 new reactors that the nuclear industry claims are needed to address global warming would mean opening a new reactor once every 2 weeks for the next 60 years. Reactors can take 10-15 years to build with an estimated cost of $12-15 billion each. In the past, cost and time needed for construction have each more than doubled from original estimates. We need to supply low-carbon energy sources NOW.
☢ Nuclear power is not suited for warming climates. Nuclear reactors need enormous amounts of cool water to continually remove heat from their cores. Reactors have been forced to close during heat waves due to warmth of sea, lake or river water — just when electricity is being used most. Low water levels during heat and drought have also forced reactors to shut down. In addition, cooling causes serious damage to aquatic life, killing millions of fish and untold numbers of macroinvertebrates, aquatic eggs and larvae.
☢ Six times as much carbon can be saved with efficiency or wind. Benjamin Sovacool from the Institute for Energy and Environment at Vermont Law School averaged the high and low estimates of carbon pollution from nuclear power. His study revealed that nuclear power’s carbon emissions are well below scrubbed coal-fired plants, natural gas-fired plants and oil. However, nuclear emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaic and six times as much as onshore wind farms. Energy efficiency and some of the other renewables also beat nuclear by sixfold or more.
☢ Nuclear power is not flexible. Nuclear is all-or-nothing power. A reactor can’t be geared to produce less power when electricity from renewables (like wind and solar) increases on the grid. This can make it challenging to increase renewables past a certain point. (continued on page 2)
When a reactor shuts down due to accident, planned upgrade or permanent closure, a large amount of power has to be found elsewhere. And nuclear plants are being closed, not opened — some because they no longer are making a profit. It’s important to develop renewablesNOW to be able to replace the electricity when utilities announce plans to close reactors.
☢ Nuclear subsidies rob research on renewables. Nuclear power has been subsidized throughout most of its fuel chain. In 2011 the Union of Concerned Scientists published Nuclear Power, Still Not Viable without Subsidies. This report shows that in some cases subsidies were greater than the value of the electricity produced. Subsidies are supposed to be for new innovations — not for propping up outdated technologies like fossil fuels and nuclear. Nuclear is also a dirty extractive industry – and like coal, oil and gas, nuclear depends on a limited supply of natural resources (uranium) in the ground.
☢ Cost of nuclear is going up, while cost of renewables is going down.Estimates for new reactors are, on average, four times higher than estimates from just eight years ago. Estimates for new reactors are invariably far less than the final cost, with the final cost often doubling. Sometimes, as in the cases of the Columbia Generating Station, Cherokee, and Perry, billions were spent while the reactors were never finished. Costs of renewables continue going down while their efficiency increases. ……. http://content.sierraclub.org/grassrootsnetwork/sites/content.sierraclub.org.activistnetwork/files/teams/documents/SierraNuclearClimate%20%284%29.pdf
June a global scorcher as records melt, The Age July 22, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.
Combined average temperatures over land and sea were 0.72 degrees above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees, making it the hottest June and adding to the record May and equal record April, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
More striking for climatologists, though, were the sea-surface temperatures. These came in 0.64 degrees above the 20th century average of 16.4 degrees – the first time any month had exceeded the long-run norm by more than 0.6 degrees.
Parts of all major ocean basins notched their warmest June, with almost all the Indian Ocean and regions off south-eastern Australia the hottest on record.
An El Nino event remains about a 70 per cent chance of forming during the northern summer, which could see more records tumble. The weather pattern sees the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean becoming relatively warm compared with western regions, and typically brings hotter, drier than usual conditions to south-east Asia and Australia.
Australia posted its hottest 12 months on record in the year to June, while 2013 was the hottest calendar year in more than a century of records, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
While June was another month of above-average temperatures, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were cooler than normal – breaking a sequence begun in February in which every state or territory had above-average warmth, NOAA noted.
June was the 352nd month when global temperatures were above the 20th century average – with the last below-average month in February 1985……….
Stand-Alone Solar Power “Container” Supports Educational Development on Remote Indonesian Island
>Panasonic, Jul 22, 2014 Indonesia consists of approximately 13,000 islands, many of which lack access to electricity due to the difficulty building large power plants and running power lines in the distinctive geography. Panasonic chose Karimunjawa Island, an island located not far from Java Island, near Jepara District, as the recipient of our installation of the Power Supply Container, an easy to set up and transport electrical supply system, in aims to make life better for the people living there.
In total, 250 people attended the ceremony, including Governor KH. Ahmad Marzuki of Jepara District, Minister Yoshiko Kijima of the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia, Representative Director Iskandar Budisaroso Kuntoadji of IBEKA, and the Executive Director Tri Mumpuni as guests of honor; and teachers and students. The guests of honor delivered congratulatory speeches; Mrs. Kijima told that she felt really happy about regional contributions through support by a Japanese company.
People in Karimunjawa Island can only use electricity at night from 6pm-6am, utilizing diesel generators. As no power is available during daytime, their crucial activities are interfered including commercial activities and certain education curriculum. In particular the opportunity to utilize electronic devices, such as fans, computers, or even lighting during the day ultimately hamper the economical development of the island. To solve this social issue, Koperasi Pundih Artah, which receives Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security, IBEKA and Panasonic have launched a project for improving the educational environment, by utilizing the Power Supply Container, under the cooperation of Jepara District and the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia.
During school hours, the Power Supply Container gives support to improve the educational environment; children can use lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and audiovisual educational materials through personal computers and TVs. When there are no classes, the electricity is sold to nearby areas through a management association of the Power Supply Container to contribute to activation of the regional community and improve the regional electricity infrastructure.
Panasonic made efforts to provide the Power Supply Container and to offer IBEKA with technical assistance in this project. Meanwhile, IBEKA is giving support for establishing management associations in Karimunjawa for independent operation of power supplies as well as provides training and supports for their operation, management and maintenance to achieve a sustainable power supply in Karimunjawa……..http://news.panasonic.net/stories/2014/0722_28041.html
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
The majority of the IPPNW’s report details 10 major errors, flaws or discrepancies in the UNSCEAR paper and explains study’s omissions, underestimates, inept comparisons, misinterpretations and unwarranted conclusions.
1. The total amount of radioactivity released by the disaster was underestimated by UNSCEAR and its estimate was based on disreputable sources of information. UNSCEAR ignored 3.5 years of nonstop emissions of radioactive materials “that continue unabated,” and only dealt with releases during the first weeks of the disaster. UNSCEAR relied on a study by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) which, the IPPNW points out, “was severely criticized by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission … for its collusion with the nuclear industry.” The independent Norwegian Institute for Air Research’s estimate of cesium-137 released (available to UNSCEAR) was four times higher than the JAEA/UNSCEAR figure (37 PBq instead of 9 PBq). Even Tokyo Electric Power Co. itself estimated that iodine-131 releases were over four times higher than what JAEA/UNSCEAR) reported (500 PBq vs. 120 BPq). The UNSCEAR inexplicably chose to ignore large releases of strontium isotopes and 24 other radionuclides when estimating radiation doses to the public. (A PBq or petabecquerel is a quadrillion or 1015 Becquerels. Put another way, a PBq equals 27,000 curies, and one curie makes 37 billion atomic disintegrations per second.)
2. Internal radiation taken up with food and drink “significantly influences the total radiation dose an individual is exposed to,” the doctors note, and their critique warns pointedly, “UNSCEAR uses as its one and only source, the still unpublished database of the International Atomic Energy Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The IAEA was founded … to ‘accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.’ It therefore has a profound conflict of interest.” Food sample data from the IAEA should not be relied on, “as it discredits the assessment of internal radiation doses and makes the findings vulnerable to claims of manipulation.” As with its radiation release estimates, IAEA/UNSCEAR ignored the presence of strontium in food and water. Internal radiation dose estimates made by the Japanese Ministry for Science and Technology were 20, 40 and even 60 times higher than the highest numbers used in the IAEA/UNSCEAR reports.
3. To gauge radiation doses endured by over 24,000 workers on site at Fukushima, UNSCEAR relied solely on figures from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the severely compromised owners of the destroyed reactors. The IPPNW report dismisses all the conclusions drawn from Tepco, saying, “There is no meaningful control or oversight of the nuclear industry in Japan and data from Tepco has in the past frequently been found to be tampered with and falsified.” Continue reading
Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse - Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14 “……..Points of agreement: Fukushima is worse than reported and worsening still
Before detailing the multiple inaccuracies in the UNSCEAR report, the doctors list four major points of agreement. First, UNSCEAR improved on the World Health Organization’s health assessment of the disaster’s on-going radioactive contamination. UNSCEAR also professionally “rejects the use of a threshold for radiation effects of 100 mSv [millisieverts], used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the past.” Like most health physicists, both groups agree that there is no radiation dose so small that it can’t cause negative health effects. There are exposures allowed by governments, but none of them are safe.
Second, the UN and the physicians agree that areas of Japan that were not evacuated were seriously contaminated with iodine-132, iodine-131 and tellurium-132, the worst reported instance being Iwaki City which had 52 times the annual absorbed dose to infants’ thyroid than from natural background radiation. UNSCEAR also admitted that “people all over Japan” were affected by radioactive fallout (not just in Fukushima Prefecture) through contact with airborne or ingested radioactive materials. And while the UNSCEAR acknowledged that “contaminated rice, beef, seafood, milk, milk powder, green tea, vegetables, fruits and tap water were found all over mainland Japan”, it neglected “estimating doses for Tokyo … which also received a significant fallout both on March 15 and 21, 2011.”
Third, UNSCEAR agrees that the nuclear industry’s and the government’s estimates of the total radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean are “far too low.” Still, the IPPNW reports shows, UNSCEAR’s use of totally unreliable assumptions results in a grossly understated final estimate. For example, the UN report ignores all radioactive discharges to the ocean after April 30, 2011, even though roughly 300 tons of highly contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific every day for 3-and-1/2 years, about 346,500 tons in the first 38 months.
Fourth, the Fukushima catastrophe is understood by both groups as an ongoing disaster, not the singular event portrayed by industry and commercial media. UNSCEAR even warns that ongoing radioactive pollution of the Pacific “may warrant further follow-up of exposures in the coming years,” and “further releases could not be excluded in the future,” from forests and fields during rainy and typhoon seasons –when winds spread long-lived radioactive particles – a and from waste management plans that now include incineration.
As the global doctors say, in their unhappy agreement with UNSCAR, “In the long run, this may lead to an increase in internal exposure in the general population through radioactive isotopes from ground water supplies and the food chain.”……” http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/18/fukushima-bad-and-getting-worse/
“We want you to know EPA is not proposing any changes to the standards at this time,” said Jessica Wieder of EPA’s Office of Radiation. “We’ve issued theANPR just to solicit public input and information early as we evaluate whether the standards need to be changed at all.”
EPA has concerns about several other deficiencies in the current rule, Littleton said, including:
“In addition to finding groundwater contamination in the vicinity of several nuclear power plants, radioactive contaminants including uranium, strontium, and cesium have been found in groundwater in other uranium fuel cycle facilities,” Littleton said. “These environmental problems could linger on long past the operational phase of these facilities.”
Spent Fuel Storage: When the 1977 rule was written, regulators expected used fuel rods to be stored at nuclear plants for no more than 18 months before being transported to reprocessing plants or a long-term waste depository. Now regulators expect fuel rods to continue to accumulate in increasingly crowded conditions at power plants until at least 2050.
“Since these wastes are stored for much longer duration, there’s a possibility that these wastes could contribute to higher public doses,” Littleton said. ”The agency believes that storage is a covered activity, but if we revise it could be prudent to state that the rule is applicable to long-term storage on site.”
Radionuclides: Because regulators in 1977 expected spent fuel to be reprocessed, the rule specifically restricts radionuclides likely to be emitted during reprocessing: krypton-85, iodine-129, plutonium-238 and other alpha emitters. The U.S. no longer considers reprocessing viable for most existing spent fuel…….
Alternative Technologies: The 1977 rule applies only to the uranium fuel cycle, so it does not apply to facilities that use other fuels, like thorium, and it may not be suited to emerging technologies like small modular reactors, Littleton said.
“Do small modular reactors pose unique environmental considerations, or do existing limits adequately address concerns with small modular reactors?”
The EPA is collecting public comments on the proposed rule revision until Aug. 3. The public may submit comments at regulations.gov.
Study: Cesium from Fukushima debris removal likely spread 50 km http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201407160064 July 16, 2014 By MIKI AOKI/ Staff Writer
Radioactive substances released during rubble-removal work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant last year likely spread to areas nearly 50 kilometers away, according to a research team at Kyoto University.
The agriculture ministry earlier raised the likelihood that debris-removal operations on Aug. 19, 2013, led to cesium levels exceeding the safety standard detected in rice harvested more than 20 km from the plant.
Akio Koizumi, a health and environment science professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine, and four other scientists discovered that the wind likely carried the cesium more than twice that distance.
The researchers set up air sampling instruments at three points in residential areas of Fukushima Prefecture and have measured radioactive cesium concentrations every week since September 2012 to estimate residents’ exposure to radiation.
From samples collected between Aug. 15 and 22 last year, they found a reading of 1.28 millibecquerels per cubic meter at a location in Soma, 48 km northwest of the plant. That radioactivity level was more than six times higher than usual.
Radioactivity levels were 20 to 30 times higher than normal in Minami-Soma, 27 km north-northwest of the Fukushima plant. And there were almost no changes in cesium concentrations in Kawauchi, 22 km west-southwest of the plant, the researchers said.
Based on the wind’s speed and direction at the time, as well as size of the collected particles, Koizumi and his colleagues concluded that the radioactive cesium came from the Fukushima No. 1 plant as the result of the Aug. 19, 2013, clearance work at the No. 3 reactor.
The team also found that cesium levels at the measuring point in Minami-Soma surged in both May and June 2013. They attributed the increase to debris-clearing operations at the facility.
The research results indicate that future rubble removal at the nuclear plant could disperse radioactive materials over much broader areas surrounding the facility.
In March this year, the scientists presented their findings to the Environment Ministry. It has also been reported that the agriculture ministry instructed Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear plant, to take measures to prevent the release of radioactive substances in the debris-removal work at the site.
TEPCO currently plans to resume debris-removal efforts by the end of July, starting with the dismantling of a cover installed on the No. 1 reactor building, where highly contaminated rubble remains to be removed.
The utility acknowledged that the Aug. 19 operations released a maximum 4 trillion becquerels–more than 10,000 times the usual levels at the site–over four hours, and apologized to residents for “causing trouble.”
However, TEPCO argued that it is unclear whether the increase in cesium readings was related to debris-clearing work.
Earth Focus Episode 55 – Nuclear Insurance: America Goes Naked
Earth Focus Episode 55 – Nuclear Insurance: America Goes Naked
Fukushima Crisis Total Cost $1 To $10 TRILLION Dollars; via A Green Road
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/
The Billionaire War Heats Up Slate.com 17 July 14 The richest people in America are turning on one another—over climate change.By Eric Holthaus Move over, Al Gore. There’s a new wealthy environmentalist whom conservatives love to hate. If you haven’t heard of him yet, meet Tom Steyer…….In a biographical post on his super PAC’s website labeled “accountability,” Steyer says “climate change has not always been on my radar.” In 2012, after founding Farallon Capital Management and running it for more than 25 years (amassing a billion-dollar fortune in the process), he left his post to work on global warming full time.
As the Washington Post reported last year, to reduce his footprint (which is probably still pretty big), Steyer chooses to take the red eye. He doesn’t shy away from the occasional environmental campaign rally, but he’s not about to guilt trip you for not switching out your light bulbs, either. His target is much bigger: the American political process itself.
In response to his efforts to make global warming a major political issue in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections,
Climate change challenge tSteyer is fast drawing the ire of the political landscape’s resident oil-money billionaires, the Koch brothers. Their talking point is simple: Tom Steyer is one of us, so lefties should demonize him, too. As Slate’s David Weigel wrote, “Republicans are trying to Koch-ify Tom Steyer in just five or six months.”
Ever since February, when Steyer announced a $100 million campaign to fight climate change, critics have been eager to pick at anything that may tarnish his green label. Steyer’s campaign—$50 million of his own, and $50 million from his super PAC, NextGen Climate—is primarily meant to encourage action on global warming……….
teyer doesn’t dispute that he “was for coal before he was against it.” In an op-ed in Politico on Monday, Steyer explained his about-face from hedge fund capitalist to environmental crusader, in an attempt to set the record straight:
[I]t’s true—Farallon did make fossil fuel investments under my watch. But the more I learned about the energy and climate problems we currently face, the more I realized I had to change my life. I concluded that the best way to align my work with my beliefs was to make a real change—leaving my role managing a firm with investments across the industrial spectrum, and instead joining in the global effort to find a solution to climate change once and for all.
Steyer says that he’s completely divested his personal holdings from the fossil fuel industry as of June 30 though certainly that won’t stop the right from claiming that he’s being hypocritical. But that’s missing the point. It’s not Steyer’s dollars (or even the source of those dollars) that will make the biggest difference but his example of putting his money where his mouth is. In his Politico piece, he offers an incredibly personal description of his epiphany and his decision to dedicate himself to tackling global warming on behalf of his children’s generation. Steyer has done something that’s still far too unusual: He’s admitting he was wrong on climate change and that he wants to rectify it. It’s that kind of honesty that we’ll all need to embrace if we’re to face the steep climb of remaking the global economy into one that isn’t tied to carbon with a full head of steam (or, electrons, as the case may be).
Meanwhile, in a world where money defines political clout, most billionaires aren’t as eager to ruffle the status quo. The few who are stand out. Last month, Steyer joined billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and near-billionaire former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to release a high-profile report on the economic effects of climate change in the United States. That report called for the leaders of the business community to address the growing specter of climate change out of their own self-interest: to avoid economic risk. With their billions in annual revenue as part of the fossil fuel industry, the Koch brothers may want to take note……….http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/07/tom_steyer_koch_brothers_billionaires_are_battling_over_climate_change.html
Operator of New Mexico nuclear dump reaped $1.9 million bonus after underground truck fire http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/20/operator-new-mexico-nuclear-dump-reaped-1-million-bonus-after-underground-truck/ CARLSBAD, N.M. – The contractor that operates the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.
The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1nLfPmq) Sunday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an “excellent” job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
Some observers say last February’s fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job.
Initial probes by federal regulators into both incidents identified a host of management and safety shortcomings.
The Department of Energy says it is not considering revising or terminating its contract with Nuclear Waste Partnership.
The company has a contract to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant through 2017.
Fox: Fukushima radioactive material still being found in U.S. soil — Japan Gov’t: The disaster “posed radiation threat to human society”… In 4 days “detectable all across northern hemisphere” — Denmark: Fukushima clearly had widespread consequences, not limited to borders (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/fox-fukushima-radioactive-material-found-arizona-soil-japan-govt-fukushima-release-posed-radiation-threat-human-society-detectable-all-across-northern-hemisphere-4-days-denmark-fukushima-widespr
Danish Emergency Management Agency’s Carsten Israelson, Nordic Nuclear Safety Research’s 2013 Fukushima seminar (at 4:15 in): The accident in Fukushima… clearly showed that there are consequences that are widespread, and is not limited to borders… Nuclear accidents do happen! Nuclear accidents will likely have widespread consequences – for all of us. >> Watch presentation hereNational Institute of Radiological Sciences (Japan), March 3, 2014: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident led to the release of large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. [...] The released radioactive materials posed radiation threat to human society. Thus, source identification of radioactive contamination and long-term environmental behavior of released radioactive materials are important issues of study after the FDNPP accident.
Japan Atomic Energy Agency & University of Tokyo, Apr. 10, 2014: By March 15, traces from the accident in Fukushima were detectable all across the northern hemisphere. By April 13, the associated radioactivity had spread to the southern hemisphere of the Asia-Pacific region and was clearly detectable at CTBT IMS stations located in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
Fox 10 News — Phoenix, AZ, July 15, 2014: [Aubrey Godwin, director of Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency] says radioactive material can still be found in Arizona soil from nuclear weapons testing in the 50′s and from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in 2011. Despite that Godwin says there is no health concern.
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