In the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, much remains unknown about the long-term health effects of the radioactive substances released.
Seeking answers, Tohoku University Prof. Manabu Fukumoto has been examining the blood and other factors of slaughtered cattle and wild animals caught by hunters mainly within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant.
Over a four-year period, 300 cows, 60 pigs and 200 Japanese monkeys were checked. “Studying animals that lived in areas with high levels of radioactive material will help shed light on how radiation affects people,” Fukumoto said. “In fact, they provide us with a wealth of information.”
Fukumoto discovered that cesium levels in the organs of calves were 1.5 times higher than in those of their mothers. “Calves are known to have excellent metabolism, but it was a surprise to learn that radiation could accumulate so easily,” the 64-year-old professor said. “We have to pinpoint the cause.”
Eggs and sperm will be harvested from such cows for in vitro fertilization. Resulting offspring will then be screened for irregularities in their DNA.
The professor is a pathologist who studied the effects of internal radiation exposure on people who had ingested radioactive substances. After the Fukushima accident, his wife was struck with grief when the government started slaughtering cattle. “If anyone can ensure their deaths weren’t in vain, I know it’s you,” she told him.
Since he was nearing 65, the professor had been contemplating retirement. “I felt I had to prove my mettle as a Japanese researcher,” Fukumoto explained.
No longer spending all day peering through microscopes, he now strives to gather samples around the nuclear plant. The professor was convinced that “this is the quickest way to resolve questions regarding long-term radiation exposure.”
Using the sample collection and data he has amassed, Fukumoto plans to build an archive on animals exposed to radiation from the Fukushima disaster for the next generation.
“I’m all about being a zoologist now,” Fukumoto said with conviction.
Redeeming lives of Fukushima’s irradiated animals
Source : Japan Times
Bilateral talks on Korea’s ban on fisheries imports from Japan following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have collapsed, and the matter will now go before a dispute panel at the World Trade Organization.
Seoul banned the import of 50 fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture after the disaster, and the ban was expanded to cover all fishery products from Fukushima and seven adjacent prefectures in September 2013 following reports that massive amounts of radioactive materials and contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant were being dumped in the sea.
Tokyo claims Korea’s import ban has no scientific basis and demanded that Seoul lift it as soon as possible.
A government official here said, “We said the import ban was in line with WTO regulations and asked Tokyo to explain its nuclear risk and the state of nuclear reactors.”
Tokyo initially requested bilateral consultations with Seoul under a WTO dispute settlement framework.
Source : Chosun
The Fukushima multiple nuclear disasters continue spewing out hot stuff like there’s no tomorrow. By all appearances, it is getting worse, out-of-control nuclear meltdowns.
On June 19th TEPCO reported the highest-ever readings of strontium-90 outside of the Fukushima plant ports. The readings were 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of strontium-90 at two locations near water intakes for Reactors 3 and 4. TEPCO has not been able to explain the spike up in readings. The prior highest readings were 700,000 Bq/m3.
Strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear reactors or during the explosion of nuclear weapons; e.g., it is considered the most dangerous component of radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon.1 It is a cancer-causing substance because it damages genetic material (DNA) in cells. Strontium-90 is not found in nature. It’s a byproduct of the nuclear world of today; e.g., strontium-90 was only recently discovered, as of August 2014, for the first time ever, by the Vermont Health Department in ground water at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Coincidentally, Vermont Yankee, as of December 29, 2014, is being shut down.
When a fission chain reaction of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 is active in a nuclear power station containment vessel, it produces a vast array of deadly radioactive isotopes. Strontium-90 is but one of those. So, somewhere in Fukushima Dai-ichih a lot of atoms are splitting like crazy (meanwhile Einstein e=mc2 turns over in his grave) and ergo, a lot of strontium-90 pops out and hangs around for decades upon decades. This is not a small problem.
Which may be why Einstein famously said, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”
For example, a large amount of strontium-90 erupted into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (1986), spread over the old Soviet Republics and parts of Europe. Thereby, strontium-90, along with other radioactive isotopes, kills and maims people, a lot of people, to this day, more on this later.
Farming in Fukushima
Because of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, farmers in the greater area have had a tough go of it. For example, on June 6, 2013 Japanese farmers met with TEPCO and government officials, including the official in charge of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Translated and Edited by World Network for Saving Children from Radiation).
The 13-minute video of the farmers’ meeting with officials shows farmers testifying about contaminated food that, “We won’t eat ourselves, but we sell it… I know there is radiation in what we grow. I feel guilty about growing and selling them to consumers.”
Well, sure enough, officials from New Taipei City’s Department of Health (Taipei, Taiwan), and other law-enforcement authorities, seized mislabeled products from Japan. It seems that “more than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers.”2
Meanwhile, within a couple of months of the illicit underhanded devious mislabeling incident, Taiwan draws a line in the sand for Japanese foodstuff.3
Not only that but on the heels of Taiwan’s discovery of the mislabeling gimmick, and only three months later, this past week, Japanese authorities are asking China to remove the restrictions.4 Previously, China banned food imports from ten prefectures in Japan, including Miyagi, Nagano, and Fukushima.
Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked.5
Meantime, Chancellor Merkel (PhD, physics) ordered a shutdown of nuclear power plants throughout Germany. Hmm.
Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean
According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Video- March 2015:
When Fukushima exploded, radioactive gases and particles escaped into the atmosphere. Most fell nearby on land and in the ocean. A smaller amount remained in the air, and within days, circled the globe… in the ocean close to Fukushima, levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.
Nevertheless, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:
Scientists who have modeled the plume predict that radioactivity along the West Coast of North America will increase, but will remain at levels that are not a threat to humans or marine life.
To date, based upon actual testing of water and marine life in the Pacific Ocean by Woods Hole, radioactive levels along the North American West Coast remain low, not a threat to humans, not a threat to marine life, so far.
Fukushima and its Ocean Impact
According to Dr. Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, March 11, 2015, cesium uptake in the marine food web is diluted, for example, when Bluefin tuna swim across the Pacific, they lose, via excretion, about one-half of the cesium intake that is ingested in Japanese waters.
Expectantly, there are no commercial fisheries open in the Fukushima-affected areas of Japan. On a continual monitoring basis, no fishing is allowed in contaminated areas off the coastlines.
When contamination levels of fish in Japan are compared to fish along the coast of North America, the levels of radiation are relatively low in Canada and in the U.S. As a result, according to studies by Woods Hole, eating fish from the U.S. Pacific region is okay.
Not only that, but rather than categorical acceptance of U.S. government statements about safety from radiation in ocean currents, Dr. Buesseler established a citizen’s network called “How Radioactive is Our Ocean?” where individuals contribute by voluntarily taking samples. Every sample from the West Coast had cesium-137, but the numbers are low and at levels harmless to humans, thus far.
But, on a cautionary note, Dr. Buesseler is the first one to admit the situation requires constant monitoring.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s findings are not sufficient to dismiss health concerns for many reasons, among of which Fukushima is white hot with radioactivity, tenuously hanging by a thread, extremely vulnerable to another earthquake or even an internally generated disruption. Who knows? It is totally out of control!
The California Coastal Commission issued a report that agrees with the low levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides detected in air, drinking water, food, seawater, and marine life in California; however, “it should be noted that the long-term effects of low-level radiation in the environment remain incompletely understood….”6
The risk of long-term exposure to low-level radiation is unclear. Studies of radiotherapy patients and others indicate that there is a significant increase in cancer risk if lifetime exposure exceeds 100,000 microsieverts, according to the World Health Organization. A person exposed daily to radiation at the high end of the levels now seen at Miyakoji [a village in Fukushima Prefecture] would reach that lifetime exposure level in fewer than 23 years.7
Current Status of Fukushima Nuclear Site
According to Dr. Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who travels to Japan to measure radiation levels: The site continues to leak radioactive materials. In fact, release of strontium-90 has grown by a factor of 100 when compared to 2011 levels. In other words, the situation is worsening. One hundred times anything is very big, especially when it is radiation.
Strontium-90 is acutely dangerous, and as it happens, highly radioactive water continuing to spew out of the Fukushima Dai-ichih facilities is seemingly an endless, relentless problem. The mere fact that strontium-90 has increased by a factor of 100 since the disaster occurred is cause for decisive sober reflection. Furthermore, nobody on the face of the planet knows what is happening within the nuclear containment vessels, but apparently, it’s not good. More likely, it’s real bad.
According to Dr. Helen Caldicott:
There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.8
Comparison analysis of Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011)
The world’s three most recent nuclear disasters are dissimilar in many respects. However, all three are subject to the same adage: “an accident is something that is not planned.” Thus, by definition, in the final analysis, the risk factor with nuclear power is indeterminate. Fukushima is proof.
Three Mile Island’s containment vessel, in large measure, fulfilled its purpose by containing most of the radiation so there was minimal radiation released. As such, Three Mile Island is the least harmful of the three incidents.
By way of contrast, Chernobyl did not have an adequate containment vessel and as a result, the explosion sent a gigantic plume of radioactive material blasting into the atmosphere, contaminating a 70 square kilometer (approximately 30 sq. mi.) region, a “dead zone” that is permanently uninhabitable, forever unlivable.
To this day, tens of thousands of people affected by Chernobyl continue to suffer, and die, begging the question of whether Fukushima could be worse. After all, the incubation period for radiation in the body is 5-to-40 years (Caldicott). As, for example, it took 5 years for Chernobyl children to develop cancer (Caldicott), and Fukushima occurred in 2011.
“Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but it is potentially worse. It is a multiple reactor catastrophe happening within 150 miles of a metropolis of 30 million people,” claims John Vidal. Whereas, Chernobyl was only one reactor in an area of 7 million people.
John Vidal, environmental editor, The Guardian newspaper (UK), traveled to Chernobyl:
Five years ago I visited the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border where much of the radioactive plume from Chernobyl descended on 26 April 1986. I challenge chief scientist John Beddington and environmentalists like George Monbiot or any of the pundits now downplaying the risks of radiation to talk to the doctors, the scientists, the mothers, children and villagers who have been left with the consequences of a major nuclear accident. It was grim. We went from hospital to hospital and from one contaminated village to another. We found deformed and genetically mutated babies in the wards; pitifully sick children in the homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told us every member of their family was sick. This was 20 years after the accident, but we heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers… Villagers testified that ‘the Chernobyl necklace’ – thyroid cancer – was so common as to be unremarkable.9
Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the ‘liquidators’ who had helped clean up the plant [Chernobyl], told us that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another, but that no one had ever asked him for evidence. There was burning resentment at the way the UN, the industry and ill-informed pundits had played down the catastrophe.10
And still more yet:
Alexy Yablokov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: ‘When you hear no immediate danger [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can’… At the end of 2006, Yablokov and two colleagues, factoring in the worldwide drop in births and increase in cancers seen after the accident, estimated in a study published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that 985,000 people had so far died and the environment had been devastated. Their findings were met with almost complete silence by the World Health Organisation and the industry.11
The environment is devastated and almost one million dead. Is nuclear power worth the risks? Chancellor Merkel doesn’t seem to think so.
Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!
The primary containment vessels at Fukushima may have prevented a Chernobyl-type massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere in one enormous explosion. Even though, Fukushima did have four hydrogen explosions in the secondary containment structures, and as previously mentioned, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:
When Fukushima exploded… levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.
But, more significant, troublesome, and menacing the primary containment vessels themselves are an afflictive problem of unknown dimension, unknown timing, unknown levels of destruction, as the nuclear meltdown left 100 tons of white-hot radioactive lava somewhere, but where?
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” William Shakespeare The Tempest.
Postscript: Quietly into Disaster is an alluring, exquisite, handsome full-length film that examines the consequences of nuclear fission, Produced by: Holger Strohm, Directed by Marcin El.
Source: Dissident Voice
Breast Cancer Rates Skyrocket Near Nuclear Power Plants http://naturalsociety.com/breast-cancer-rates-skyrocket-near-nuclear-power-plants/ by Robert Harrington
June 26, 2015 Rates as much as 5x higher A scientific research paper in Great Britain asserted that breast cancer rates increased to 5x the normal rate for women who lived near one of three nuclear power plants that they studied. The two others nuclear power plants doubled the incidence for those women living downwind from the reactors.
For decades the American public has been assured that there is very little chance that nuclear radiation escapes from the normal operation of a nuclear power plant. Yes, there may be catastrophic mishaps like Three Mile Island, or Chernobyl, or Fukushima, but absent those once-in-a-decade nuclear disasters, the people living near these plants have nothing to worry about … until now.
“Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.” 
The entire nuclear power industry was launched on the premise that they could be constructed so as to safely contain any and all radiation. Because so many nuclear reactors are relatively close to populated areas, this assumption was key to the promotion of nuclear power generation. If radionuclides could easily escape, then the whole business model and engineering paradigm would be fatally flawed.
“Other forms of cancer showing elevated levels included prostate, leukemia, mesothelioma and pancreas.” 
Scientific studies, such as this one conducted by Dr. Chris Busby, are rarely undertaken because the Nuclear Energy Industry would rather not know the true statistics. Were the facts surrounding nuclear discharges to become known to the general public there would be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear power plant sitings anywhere near densely populated areas.
Given that the worst cancer statistics concern carbon dioxide, gas-cooled graphite block reactors, in all likelihood they would be permanently shut down until a durable resolution could be implemented. It is this type of reactor that generates releases into the air which are higher than most other types of nuclear reactors.
Like the U.K., the U.S. nuclear power industry has also seen a great number of reported releases throughout the country over the past few decades. As these nuclear reactors age, they become the victim of a phenomenon known as technospheric breakdown. Since many of them were constructed in the 1970s, those that have not been decommissioned have been operating for a long stretch of time. The average age of commercial reactors in the USA is 34 years.
In view of the extraordinary stresses which exist in the reactor environment, the 40-year license that is granted by the NRC seems far too long. There are several points of inherent weakness within the structural engineering of nuclear reactors, as well as within the controlled atomic fission process that were designed in what could now be described as the nuclear Stone Age. And, yet, the same fatally flawed nuclear energy paradigm is still being promoted worldwide today.
When more studies are conducted, which indicate a spike in cancer rates in locations which have a nuclear power plant nearby, governments across the planet will be forced to respond appropriately. After all, the presence of ionizing radiation will always manifest as various forms of cancer the longer a residential or business area is exposed to it.
Hence, governments will eventually be compelled to remedy the many compromised nuclear power stations which are frequently making these contaminating releases. Not to do so will inevitably translate to an explosion in healthcare costs.
ConclusionJust as the Fukushima nuclear disaster has shown the complete folly of building nuclear power plants on one of the most seismically active (as well as tsunami-prone) group of islands in the world, there are now other well documented serious issues which ought to disqualify plants from being built. It would seem that those reactors with considerably higher rates of nuclear releases would qualify them as menaces to the community. Simply put, they shouldn’t even be there.
 Daily Mail
The containers carry drums filled with radiation-tainted clothes and equipment discarded by nuclear power plant workers. The items are mixed with cement and sealed inside the drums before making the voyage to a storage facility in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.
The problem was first discovered in February, but Nuclear Fuel Transport failed to report it to the ministry for more than four months after judging it to be a “peculiar case,” the ministry said Saturday. The first case involved the discovery of one broken bolt among four used to secure the lid of a single container. It was found during a check of empty containers at the company’s storage facility in Rokkasho, it said.
Last Monday, it found another broken bolt while preparing to transport waste from Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the company said.
When another broken bolt was found Thursday at the Rokkasho facility, the company conducted further checks and found two more there, it said.
There are 3,300 such containers, made between 2011 and 2014, around the country. It will take a while to check them all and for transport operations to resume, domestic media reports said.
All of Japan’s commercial nuclear reactors are idle and must pass new stringent safety checks adopted in the wake of the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011 before going back online.
For years, Japan shipped spent nuclear fuel to France and Britain for reprocessing because its commercial reactors generated nearly a third of its electricity needs before the Fukushima disaster.
Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle,
Guardian, Rosie Scammell, 28 June 15 Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican She is one of the world’s most high-profile social activists and a ferocious critic of 21st-century capitalism. He is one of the pope’s most senior aides and a professor of climate change economics. But this week the secular radical will join forces with the Catholic cardinal in the latest move by Pope Francis to shift the debate on global warming.
Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.
“The fact that they invited me indicates they’re not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he’s wrong on the economics. I think he’s right on the economics,” she said, referring to Pope Francis’s recent publication of an encyclical on the environment.
Release of the document earlier this month thrust the pontiff to the centre of the global debate on climate change, as he berated politicians for creating a system that serves wealthy countries at the expense of the poorest.
Activists and religious leaders will gather in Rome on Sunday, marching through the Eternal City before the Vatican welcomes campaigners to the conference, which will focus on the UN’s impending climate change summit.
Protesters have chosen the French embassy as their starting point – a Renaissance palace famed for its beautiful frescoes, but more significantly a symbol of the United Nations climate change conference, which will be hosted by Paris this December.
Nearly 500 years since Galileo was found guilty of heresy, the Holy See is leading the rallying cry for the world to wake up and listen to scientists on climate change. Multi-faith leaders will walk alongside scientists and campaigners, hailing from organisations including Greenpeace and Oxfam Italy, marching to the Vatican to celebrate the pope’s tough stance on environmental issues.
The imminent arrival of Klein within the Vatican walls has raised some eyebrows, but the involvement of lay people in church discussions is not without precedent.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, delivered the keynote address at a Vatican summit in April on climate change and poverty. Anticipating the encyclical, he said he was depending on the pope’s “moral voice and moral leadership” to speed up action…….
The pope will fly into New York on the first day of the meeting and address the UN general assembly, reinforcing his message and emboldening countries worst affected by climate change.
For Klein, the papal visit will mark a much-needed change in the way negotiators discuss the environment. “There’s a way in which UN discourse sanitises the extent to which this is a moral crisis,” she said. “It cries out for a moral voice.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/28/pope-climate-change-naomi-klein
NASA Experts: Southeast US hit by “anomalously high” levels of polonium from Fukushima — Never seen before, except during volcanic events — Fallout also detected in Mississippi river — Polonium releases kept secret in past nuclear disasters; Death estimates would skyrocket if included http://enenews.com/nasa-experts-anomalously-high-levels-polonium-found-southeastern-after-fukushima-explosions-never-recorded-before-except-during-volcanic-events-fallout-detected-mississippi-river-polonium-rel?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, W. Yang and L. Guo, NASA Stennis Space Center and Univ. of Southern Mississippi Dept. of Marine Science, 2012 (emphasis added): Depositional fluxes and residence time of atmospheric radioiodine (131I) from the Fukushima accident
- The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant explosions… emitted vast quantities of radioactive materials into the environment… radioiodine (131I)… 134Cs and 137Cs are of special concern to people because they could trigger dangerous health effects
- However, data on time series depositional fluxes are still lacking, preventing… prediction of the scope of dispersion especially in North America
- Following the Fukushima accident, a high level of 131I was first detected on March 23 in a dry deposition sample at [NASA’s space center]
- After this initial fallout, the 131I depositional flux increased up to ten- to twenty-foldduring the following two weeks, varying from 218 mBq/m^2/day to 463 Bq/m^2/day
- Concurrent high rainfall and high 131I fluxes were observed at the SSC site… from 97 to 337 mBq/L with an average of 217 mBq/L
- In addition to precipitation samples, 131I was also detectable in surface waters from the Pearl River in Mississippi, with an activity of 6.7 mBq/L
- Interestingly, the 210Po/210Pb ratios of the fallout samples during the peak 131I fallout period were anomalously high… Before and after the Fukushima accident, the environmental 210Po/210Pb ratio in precipitation samples varied from 0.02 to 0.09 with anaverage of 0.06 at the SSC in southern Mississippi… However, the 210Po/210Pb ratioduring the Fukushima fallout was up to 1.5 on March 23…
- To date, excess 210Po in the atmosphere was only reported for high temperature activities such as volcanic eruptions or degassing… Therefore, the anomalously high 210Po/210Pb ratios observed in the southern US were mostly derived from theFukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant explosions which could have resulted in the fractionation of environmental 210Po and 210Pb and thus the preferential release of volatile 210Po into the atmosphere. Indeed, the anomalous 210Po/210Pb ratios were accompanied by the peak fallout of 131I… indicating that the Fukushima nuclear plant explosions mainly contributed to the anomaly in the 210Po/210Pb ratio…
- it seemed that regions reachable by 131I transport within two weeks from Fukushima would receive much more fallout…
New Scientist, Mar 1983: 25 years since the nuclear accident at Windscale… Attention has centred [on] radioactive iodine… the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) said the iodine-131 may have killed 13… However, the damage to health may have been much more severe… Indeed, it could represent the worst environmental disaster that Western Europe has known this century… re-examination of the data… reveals that one crucial isotope released in the fire has been ignored… there was one isotope released in the accident that is highly mobile [with] a high take-up by the human body… this was only revealed this week by the NRPB after New Scientist’s inquiries… It is polonium… polonium could give… a total dose to the UK of 5 million man-rems… the death figures may have to be revised significantly upwards… The figures suggest that some 1200 excess cases of leukaemia may have been caused in Britain by the Windscale accident. Since leukaemia deaths account for some 15 per cent of cancers attributable to nuclear accidents, the total toll of cancer deaths suggested is 8000… Clearly further investigations into the whole of the Windscale accident must be urgently pursued. The British are in effect now the nuclear laboratory of the world.
Woods Hole’s Ken Buesseler and others have cited polonium-210 levels in seafood tested for Fukushima radionuclides, for example: “Doses from eating fish are very low off US, and in fact 500 times greater from a natural radionuclide, polonium-210, but no one worries about 210Po.”
Europe is ill-prepared for a Fukushima-level accident Nuclear Monitor Issue: #802 The full report is posted on the NTW website.
Michèle Rivasi, chair of NTW and Member of the European Parliament, said:
“The disaster of Fukushima has shed light on a number of very serious dysfunctions: in one of the evacuated city, Futaba, patients of the hospital have been left on their own for three days because the medical staff had run away. The panic made all plans useless, despite the famous “Japanese discipline”. Besides the unforeseeable reactions (which will lead in any way to chaos), the theoretical plans revealed totally inefficient. There are numerous shocking facts. Some patients were transported to places without any care facilities and the evacuation zone was ill defined and too small (it jumped arbitrarily from 2km to 3km and then to 10 and 20km, whereas the US authorities ordered their expats to leave from the 80km zone).”
Despite the Fukushima experience, EP&R measures in Europe vary considerably and are generally inadequate. The European Commission and European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group initiated a process of stress tests for all operating nuclear power plants in Europe in the aftermath of Fukushima, but this process did not include off-site EP&R. Later attempts by the European Commission to take action on this issue seem to have come to a virtual halt. EP&R plans in Europe are mostly based on INES Level 5 nuclear accidents and they generally cannot cope with an INES 7 accident, which is the level of the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.
Specific problems include:
Emergency drills….. Updating plans – …. Communication ….. Distribution of iodine tablets –…. Food standards …….
NTW calls for systematic involvement of civil society in the development of EP&R plans. NTW’s assessment makes it clear that the usual top-down approach in EP&R should be changed and that local populations and interested civil society organisations should be actively involved and supported in this participation.
Federal regulators hear Utah testimony on depleted uranium By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News, June 25 2015 “…………The NRC is proposing to adopt a rule that for the first time specifically addresses the disposal of the material, which is a waste stream generated from the enrichment process of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle.
Depleted uranium poses unique disposal challenges because it does not hit its peak radioactivity until 2.1 million years, and actually grows more radioactive over time. In its disposal stage, however, depleted uranium contains radioactivity that falls under the lowest level classified by the federal government — that of class A — and is legally within limits on what can be buried in Utah at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility.
Matt Pacenza, executive director of the radioactive waste watchdog organization called HEAL Utah, believes that the NRC is making a huge mistake by classifying depleted uranium as class A.
“Right now, a regulatory loophole could allow waste that does not reach a peak hazard for 2.1 million years to be treated just like waste which loses 90 percent of its hazard in less than 200,” his presentation asserted.
Pacenza, who spoke at the briefing Thursday, said the safety of the public and the environment cannot be assured given the complex nature of depleted uranium and its long-lived radioactivity.
HEAL Utah has lobbied hard against any depleted uranium being disposed of at EnergySolutions’ commercial facility in Tooele County ever since the Salt Lake-based company inked a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to begin accepting stockpiles of the waste — with the initial shipments reaching 10,500 tons.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert intervened, successfully getting some of those shipments turned around after he launched objections with the federal agency over the uncertainties associated with the material’s disposal.
State regulators then convened multiple hearings and crafted their own rules governing the disposal of any significant amounts of depleted uranium, including the requirement that EnergySolutions develop a site-specific performance assessment designed to specifically contemplate depleted uranium’s unique character……….
The NRC’s proposed rule on depleted uranium would affect commercial facilities in Utah and Texas, as well as Washington and South Carolina.
Mike Garner, executive director of the Northwest Interstate Compact — a regional alliance with oversight of low-level radioactive waste management — argued before the commission that the proposed rule should not be hoisted on states that aren’t planning to take depleted uranium, a concern echoed by the Nuclear Energy Institute that argued the proposal would be unnecessarily costly and burdensome.
Pacenza, too, added that the proposal is undergoing significant modifications that show how much industry — particularly EnergySolutions — is influencing the potential regulation of depleted uranium……
Comments on the rule can be submitted atwww.regulations.gov
Gates: Renewable energy can’t do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D, The Register , 26 Jun 2015 , Lewis Page
‘Only way to a positive scenario is innovation’ ……….In Bill Gates’ view, the answer is for governments to divert the massive sums of money which are currently funnelled to renewables owners to R&D instead. This would offer a chance of developing low-carbon technologies which actually can keep the lights on in the real world……
Germany’s Energy Revolution goes from strength to strength as the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-reactor-closure/blog/53355/
One less nuclear reactor threat to the people of Europe with the early closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor. Germany’s 33 year-old Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor will be shut down permanently on June 27th as the country’s phase out of nuclear power continues. It’s the first reactor to close since Germany passed its Atomic Energy Act in July 2011 which requires the closure of all commercial nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.
The reactor is being shutdown seven months early as the disastrous economics of nuclear power and Germany’s drive for clean and sustainable energy have made it impossible for its owner E.ON to operate the reactor and make a profit.
E.ON and other large nuclear utilities only have themselves to blame. They failed to anticipate the growth of renewable energy and so they failed to invest in it. At the same time, electricity prices have fallen making their nuclear power plants even less profitable.
That said, even E.ON is waking up to the new energy future of Germany. “The transformation of Europe’s energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy,” said the company in a report from March this year.
But what are the implications of the closure of Grafenrheinfeld? Won’t it leave an energy gap?
In short: no. Continue reading
Pope Francis Calls Nuclear Power Plants a Modern-Day Tower of Babel, Helen Caldicott MD by Ricky Onsman on June 26, 2015
In an audience with Japanese Bishops, Pope Francis had criticized nuclear power by comparing it with the Tower of Babel, as reported by Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of Tokyo. When human beings attempted to reach heaven they triggered their own destruction. “Human beings should not break the natural laws set by God,” the Pope said. (Mainichi Shinbun March 22, 2015; Asahi Shinbun March 25, 2015)
This is probably the first clear-cut criticism of the “civil use” of nuclear power issued by the Vatican. The Pope expressed his conviction during an ad limina meeting with the Japanese bishops on March 20. “The destruction of nature is a result from human beings claiming domination (over the earth).” With these statements the Pope referred to the TEPCO-nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011. Soon after the terrible disaster, the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference had publicly demanded from the government the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power plants.
During the audience, Bishop Katsuya Taiji, head of the “Council for Justice and Peace” of the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, had handed over letters of two activists from Fukushima to the Pope. The first author was Takumi Aizawa, a school clerk from Iidate Mura, the most contaminated place in Fukushima Prefecture, who is involved in health care and protection of children since the disaster. In fact Mr. Aizawa had the great wish to inform the Pope personally about the real situation of the people in the contaminated area because the government, the administration, many doctors and scientists, and the media try to cover up the extremely dangerous situation. The second author is Mako Oshidori, a well-known journalist from Tokyo, who attended most of the TEPCO press conferences with critical questions and who is investigating the contaminated region constantly…….
Until now the Vatican had condemned only the military use of nuclear power. Since the Vatican is member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it seems that with his critical statements about the “civil use” of nuclear energy Pope Francis deviates considerably from the position of his predecessors und is pursuing a new direction. Many Catholics hope that in his next encyclica on the protection of the environment the Pope will clearly voice also his critical attitude towards nuclear power.
Wolfgang Buff and Martin Repp
April 2015 http://www.helencaldicott.com/pope-francis-calls-nuclear-power-plants-a-modern-day-tower-of-babel/
Should the US Spend 1 Trillion on Nuclear Weapons? http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/should-the-us-spend-1-trillion-on-nuclear-weapons/ Given the rapid modernization of Chinese and Russian nuclear stockpiles, some argue the US might want to.By Franz-Stefan Gady June 27, 2015 The United States will have to spend $18 billion a year for 15 years starting in 2021 to keep its nuclear weapons operational, Kris Osborne over atmilitary.com reports.
His assessment is based on the testimony of U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work in front of the House Armed Services Committee yesterday. The subject of the hearing was nuclear deterrence.
“We’ve developed a plan to transition our aging system. Carrying out this plan will be an expensive proposition. It is projected to cost DoD an average of $18 billion a year from 2021 through 2035,” Work noted.
The Pentagon is in the middle of initiating the modernization of its nuclear triad (land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and long-range bombers).
Among other DoD programs to upgrade nuclear weapons complexes, the Navy is trying to work out a deal with Congress over its $80 billion Ohio Replacement Program (12 new ballistic missile submarines to enter servicein the 2030).
The Air Force is speeding up the development of its Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) to enter service in 2025 in addition to initiating a new mobile land-based intercontinental ballistic missile program and upgrading 480 B61-12 bombs (to be carried by the F-35 A).
Total cost of modernizing the United States’ nuclear triad over 30 years could be as high as 1 $ trillion, with $ 348 billion spend over the next ten years, according to a proposed modernization plan of the Obama White House. Continue reading
A culture of security: Focus for the next Nuclear Security Summit? Igor Khripunov, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 June 15 Igor Khripunov is a distinguished fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia (USA) and adjunct professor at its School of Public and International…
It would not take much highly enriched uranium to kill hundreds of thousands of people: as little as what could fit in a five-pound bag of sugar. That it has not happened so far does not mean it may never happen, especially when one considers that there are more than2,000 metric tons of dangerous nuclear materials in hundreds of sites scattered across the globe. And that there have been more than 2,300 cases of theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material since the early 1990s.Consequently, one of the greatest dangers facing the global community is the risk of terrorists getting enough uranium or plutonium to build a working, crude nuclear bomb, or to spike a conventional bomb with enough radioactive material to create a so-called “dirty bomb”—one which disperses harmful radioactive material over a wide area. The latter in particular is quite a plausible scenario; just think how the public would react if such a device exploded in a major urban center.
To prevent either scenario from happening, a coalition of about 80 civil society organizations from across the globe has been working together for the past five years to improve the security of fissile materials. Known as the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), it has been a forceful advocate for the prevention of nuclear terrorism, by spotlighting attention on the issue, sponsoring talks, and publishing detailed, formal written recommendations, among other activities. Its latest contribution is the report “The Results We Need in 2016: Policy Recommendations for the Nuclear Security Summit” developed by a group of international experts and circulated this month at public events in Vienna and Washington, DC. The release of the report was timed to coincide with the most crucial meetings of the “summit sherpas”—the official representatives of the participating states charged with preparing its agenda and drafting the final communiqué.
With the planning of the next summit in mind, the report prioritizes the items that the nongovernmental expert community wants the 2016 summit to focus on during its two-day proceedings. The list includes enhancing the security of military nuclear material, information sharing, best practices, and the elimination of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications, among other agenda items. In so doing, the FMWG has elevated the role of the public from what was perceived not long ago as a bystander to that of a major and proactive stakeholder in nuclear security. And a unique feature of the group’s report is that it takes a much wider and longer-term perspective of nuclear security challenges compared to the rather short-term vision often espoused by most government experts.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: It turns out that there is more to ensuring the security of nuclear material than physically protecting it, or trying to account for the whereabouts of every last bit of, say, highly enriched uranium. There is also something a bit harder to define, but perhaps even more important: a broader, all-embracing culture of nuclear security, that takes into account the human factor. Known as nuclear security culture, this approach encompasses programs on personnel reliability and training, illicit trafficking interception, customs and border security, export control, and IT security, to name just a few. Security culture has become a bit of a buzzword in many security-related domains, and the FMWG report seeks to raise it above this level, explicitly detailing the concept and its implications in a special section…………
nuclear security culture must become part of a comprehensive, joint architecture that elevates security to a basic societal value. Sharing the progress made in the nuclear field with other domains—particularly the chemical and the biological—will call for deeper communication and cooperation. To avoid fragmentation, security experts will need a shared concept to work together.
Finally, we must treat nuclear security culture as a continuously evolving educational and training discipline. Collaboration among government, industry, and academia is pivotal to a thriving, broad-based nuclear security culture; this means that nuclear security culture promotion needs a multi-stakeholder approach.
The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit can leave a valuable legacy by addressing such issues in a nuclear security culture roadmap endorsed by participating states. Nuclear security culture is an agenda item that deserves much more attention at the upcoming summit. http://thebulletin.org/culture-security-focus-next-nuclear-security-summit8428
Big hurdles to Iran nuclear deal as deadline looms, Reuters VIENNA | BY JOHN IRISH AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU 26 June 15 As a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues including sanctions relief and U.N. access to Iranian sites, a senior Western diplomat said on Friday.
“The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days,” the diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity in the Austrian capital, where talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran have entered their final phase.
“The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions (to Iran’s nuclear activity) and sanctions remain extremely problematic. We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences.”
Officials close to the talks say they have yet to agree on the speed and scope of lifting sanctions, how Iran will reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, the future extent of Tehran’s enrichment-centrifuge research and development program, and access for U.N. inspectors to military and other sites, as well as U.N. access to Iranian nuclear scientists.
Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments.
Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.
The real deadline is not June 30 but July 9, diplomats say.
The U.S. delegation must present the deal to Congress by July 9 if a mandatory congressional review period before President Barack Obama can begin suspending sanctions is to be limited to 30 days. After July 9, the review will last 60 days, according to a law passed recently by U.S. legislators…………..http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/26/us-iran-nuclear-talks-idUSKBN0P623G20150626
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