The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Anti nuclear activists challenge pro nuclear Taiwan government

Protest-No!flag-TaiwanNuclear backers, critics clash at public meeting, Taipei Times By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter 22 Dec 14 Anti-nuclear energy activists clashed with their pro-nuclear counterparts on Saturday at an event in Taipei held to gather public opinions in preparation for next month’s energy conference.

The conference is set to focus on identifying alternative energy sources after the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) was suspended over widespread protests about the safety risks of the facility.The wide divide among advocates and critics of nuclear energy became clear soon after the northern preliminary meeting began……………

Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chung-cheng (潘忠政) said he suspects that the Atomic Energy Council has mobilized many state-sponsored and pro-nuclear academics and members of related groups to attend the meetings because the public generally opposes nuclear energy.

“The government can work with academics and provide all these scientific facts about the benefits of nuclear power, but at the end of the day, the decision as to whether to adopt nuclear energy should be decided by the public,” he said.

“I do not think they really understand how people feel about nuclear energy and their actions are a violation of democratic values,” he said.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Global danger as China and India upgrade their ballistic missiles

missile-envyflag-Chinaflag-indiaThe Most Dangerous Nuclear Threat No One Is Talking About Zachary Keck December 19, 2014 While Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs are all the rage these days, the most dangerous nuclear threat facing the world continues to go largely unnoticed.

Namely, China and India are both on the cusp of deploying multiple independently targetable reentry (MIRV) vehicles on their ballistic missiles, a development that is likely to have profound, far-reaching consequences for the region and beyond.

MIRVed missiles carry payloads of several nuclear warheads each capable of being directed at a different set of targets. They are considered extremely destabilizing to the strategic balance primarily because they place a premium on striking first and create a “use em or lose em” nuclear mentality.

Along with being less vulnerable to anti-ballistic missile systems, this is true for two primary reasons. First, and most obviously, a single MIRVed missile can be used to eliminate numerous enemy nuclear sites simultaneously. Thus, theoretically at least, only a small portion of an adversary’s missile force would be necessary to completely eliminate one’s strategic deterrent. Secondly, MIRVed missiles enable countries to use cross-targeting techniques of employing two or more missiles against a single target, which increases the kill probability.

In other words, MIRVs are extremely destabilizing because they make adversary’s nuclear arsenals vulnerable to being wiped out in a surprise first strike. To compensate for this fact, states must come up with innovative ways to secure their deterrent from an enemy first strike. This usually entails increasing the size of one’s arsenal, and further dispersing to make it more difficult for an enemy to conduct a successful first strike. For example, when the U.S. first deployed MIRVed missiles in 1968, the Soviet Union had less than 10,000 nuclear warheads. A decade later, however, it had over 25,000 (of course, the Soviet Union deploying its own MIRVed missiles incentivized expanding the size of its arsenal since more warheads were needed per missile).

With regards to China and India, then, the introduction of MIRVed missiles could have profound consequences of both of their nuclear postures. One of the most remarkable aspects of every nuclear state not named Russia or the United States is they have relied on an extremely small nuclear arsenal to meet their deterrent needs. This is especially true of India and China who have generally maintained minimum deterrence and no-first use doctrines. With the introduction of countervailing MIRVed missiles, however, there will be strong incentives on both sides to vastly increase the size of their arsenals if any to guard against the threat of a first strike by the other side.

Of course, the consequences of China and India acquiring MIRVed missiles would not be limited to those states alone. Most obviously, India’s acquisition of MIRVed missiles would immediately threaten the survivability of Pakistan’s nuclear forces. In the short-term, this will probably result in Islamabad further dispersing its nuclear arsenal, which in general will leave it more vulnerable to Islamist terrorist groups in the country. Over the long-term, Pakistan will feel pressure to expand the size of its arsenal as well as acquire MIRVed capabilities of its own.

The same pressures will be felt in Moscow.Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia has relied on its vast nuclear arsenal to compensate for its relative conventional weakness. In the eyes of Russian leaders, this will only grow more necessary as China continues to modernize its conventional military forces. Currently, Russia holds vastly more nuclear warheads than China, which is a source of relief for Moscow. As China MIRVs its missiles, however, as well as likely builds up the size of its arsenal, Moscow will see its nuclear superiority over Beijing rapidly erode. It can be counted on to respond by abrogating its arms control treaties with the United States, and expanding its own arsenal as well. In such a situation, a U.S. president would come under enormous domestic pressure to meet Russia’s buildup warhead for warhead.

Thus, while the prospect of North Korea and Iran acquiring operationalized nuclear arsenals may be concerning, China and India’s MIRVed missiles present far greater threats to the world.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | China, India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Removal of nuclear fuel from Fukushima reactors goes on inch by inch, with very high radiation levels

Japan in Depth / Fukushima decommissioning inches on, Japan News  December 21, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Removal of all nuclear fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was undoubtedly a milestone in efforts to decommission the facility, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. faces a mountain of more difficult problems to remove nuclear fuel from the pools at the three other heavily damaged reactors and extract the melted fuel inside them……….Removing all the nuclear fuel out of a reactor building is a significant step in the decommissioning process.

“If the whole decommissioning process were compared to the distance of 100 miles, this work would be only a mile,” said Akira Ono, head of the nuclear power plant, reflecting on the work that took more than one year……..

TEPCO began full-fledged activities to remove the nuclear fuel assemblies from the pool at the No. 4 reactor in November last year. The company repeated the cycle of putting the fuel in a transportation container and taking the container out of the reactor building. Then the spent nuclear fuel was transported to a shared pool about 100 meters west of the reactor building, and unspent fuel was moved to a storage pool at the No. 6 nuclear reactor about one kilometer from the building.

Next, the decommissioning efforts will be focused on the removal of the nuclear fuel from the Nos. 1-3 reactors. Since all of them melted down, radiation levels within their buildings are very high. That would make working conditions there even more difficult than those at the No. 4 reactor building, where workers could operate a crane from the roof above the pool, watching the nuclear fuel directly below them with their own eyes. However, a crane would be mostly remote-controlled at the Nos. 1-3 reactors. But workers still sometimes have to enter the buildings for maintenance and inspection of machines used there. TEPCO is planning to take measures to lower radiation levels there such as by scraping away the contaminated portions of the floors and putting up iron shielding.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel removed from Fukushima nuclear reactor 4, but 1. 2 and 3 still to go

spent-fuel-rods-Fukushima-nFukushima nuclear fuel removed from reactor By Web Staff December 21, 2014,FUKUSHIMA (AVN/NHK) The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has completed the removal of nuclear fuel from one of the reactor buildings.

By Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had removed 1,331 units of spent fuel as well as 200 units of unspent fuel from the fuel pool of the Number 4 reactor building.

Company officials invited the media to watch the removal of the last 4 units on Saturday.

Workers lifted a container of fuel from the pool and transported it to the Number 6 reactor building. It will be placed in a pool in that building.

The plant chief, Akira Onodera, says the completion of the operation marks a step forward in the process of decommissioning the reactors.

Workers have yet to remove fuel from the Number 1, 2 and 3 reactor buildings. That work will be more difficult because of the high levels of radiation.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Legal action: 344 displaced residents from Minamisoma sue TEPCO

justiceflag-japan344 displaced residents from Minamisoma sue TEPCO DEC. 20, 2014 – TOKYO —

A group of 344 former residents of Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture are suing Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) for more than 6 billion yen in compensation for being forced to leave their homes due to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The group’s lawyers filed the suit with the Tokyo District Court on Friday, NTV reported.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for mental suffering experienced while living in less than adequate temporary housing after being forced from their homes in the Odaka area of the city in the wake of the nuclear disaster in March 2011.

Along with an individual payment of 10 million yen, the plaintiffs are also demanding monthly compensation of 200,000 yen for the next three years until the evacuation order is lifted for their hometown.

Although some areas in Minamisoma are now open for re-entry, none of the citizens has returned to their homes.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

More radioactive materials released after crisis

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency says 75 percent of the radioactive substances released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant came more than 4 days after the accident.

The government’s investigation has not released what happened during this period. Experts say the reason needs to be determined as to why massive amounts of radioactive materials continued to be released for a prolonged period.

The nuclear accident in Fukushima has been evaluated as the worst, at level 7, on a par with the Chernobyl accident in 1986, due to the large amount of radioactive substances that were released. But the details on how the substances were released remain unknown.

A research group at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency collected new data on radiation detected near the plant over time to analyze how radioactive materials were released into the air.

The research has found that an estimated 470,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances had been released by the end of March 2011, when the discharge is believed to have mostly subsided.

The research group says 25 percent of the radioactive materials were released during the first 4 days of the accident, as the meltdown and hydrogen explosions were happening, while 75 percent were released over the 2-week period that followed.

The group also analyzed how the radioactive materials spread, using the climate data at the time. They found that contamination in places where former residents are still not allowed to return became serious on March 15th — 4 days after the accident.

They also say radioactive substances released between March 20th and 21st spread to a wider area, including the Kanto region, and are believed to have contaminated drinking water supplies.

The outcome of the analyses indicates that radioactive materials continued to be released after the first 4 days, which is believed to be the critical time during which the situation was deteriorating out of control.

The government’s investigation has focused on the first 4 days, and has not determined the cause of the massive release of radioactive substances following that period.

Masamichi Chino of the research group says the cause needs to be determined to prevent future accidents and to bring the situation under control quickly if another accident happens.

More than 120,000 people are still forced to live in temporary shelters.

Six municipalities remain off limits due to high levels of contamination.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear waste problem

Dealing with nuclear waste in South Korea The Korea Herald/Asia News Network December 21, 2014,The much awaited nuclear waste facility in Gyeongju will begin operations next year following final approval by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission last week. The Wolseong Low and Intermediate-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Center, consisting of six silos some 80 meters underground, can hold up to 100,000 barrels of radioactive waste.

A second-phase construction is underway to add a 125,000-barrel holding unit to the site, which is designed to store 800,000 barrels of nuclear waste over the next 60 years before it is sealed off.

A total of 23 nuclear reactors are responsible for about one-third of all power generated in Korea and produce 2,300 barrels of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste each year.

The country’s first low- and intermediate-level radioactive repository was realized some 28 years after the country started looking for a site. Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, was selected in 2005 after votes in four candidate cities. Almost 90 percent of voters in Gyeongju approved of the facility.

To win over communities that did not want a hazardous waste facility in their midst, the government promised 300 billion won in community support. The local community would also receive annual fees in addition to the initial grant.

The Gyeongju facility is just the first step. The country has yet to draw up a plan for dealing with the growing piles of spent nuclear fuel rods. Some 750 tonnes of spent fuel are produced each year by the country’s 23 nuclear power reactors.

Currently, spent fuel rods are stored temporarily on the reactor site pending the building of a centralized storage facility. About 13,250 tonnes were stored in different nuclear reactor sites as of end-2013 and it is estimated that the sites will become full incrementally between 2016 and 2038.

The Public Engagement Commission of 15 nuclear experts, academics, city council members and a representative of an environmental watchdog group was formed last year to engage the public in discussions about the spent nuclear fuel issues so that their opinions could be incorporated into policy decisions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is expected to draw up a plan for disposing of spent fuel based on recommendations by the commission.

So far, the commission has released an interim report suggesting that a permanent disposal facility must be completed by 2055. It has not said where it could be built or what type of storage could be employed. The commission, in the meantime, has extended its mandate to June 2015.

The Gyeongju site for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste took 28 years to complete. A facility for the more hazardous spent fuel rods will be much more controversial. Hence, the building of a permanent storage site for spent nuclear fuel rods is an urgent matter that requires immediate government attention…….


December 22, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima situation – highly radioactive, worse than Chernobyl

Fukushima Exponentially More Dire than Chernobyl — Deteriorating Plant Threatens Global Radiation? By  Guy Crittenden  Global Research, December 18, 2014 ENEnews 12 December 2014


  • “…………Instead of a long article about what transpired in 2014 and what may be ahead, I’m going to offer readers three items… that have made a deep impression on me recently; these are “must watch” items for anyone interested in helping our species avoid peril from environmental degradation
  • The deteriorating status of things at the destroyed nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan…you have an obligation, really, to be aware of conditions there
  • [There is a] very real and present threat from the… highly radioactive… destroyed cores of the reactors, as well as things like the storage of contaminated water in hastily-built, rusting containers
  • This is serious stuff… an actual meltdown of the reactors — real China Syndrome stuff — as had been assumed would never likely happen in a modern reactor
  • The situation is exponentially more dire than Chernobyl
  • [Workers must] remove the rods for safe containment without having them contact one another and trigger a fire, the consequences of which would be unimaginable — We’re talking mass extinction around the world, especially in the northern hemisphere
  • Most people have forgotten the situation and think of it only as a local Japanese problem
  • It’s only a matter of time before another earthquake or tidal wave triggers such an event

Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste watchdog for Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Hotseat, Dec 9, 2014 (at 37:00 in):  “If the meltdown is bad enough, that’s going to burn its way right through the foundations of the containment — like we’ve seen at Fukushima Daiichi.”

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

India comes up with a global nuclear power insurance plan, to solve USA companies’ liability problem

flag-indiaIndia looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan BY TOMMY WILKES AND SANJEEV MIGLANI NEW DELHI Fri Dec 19, 2014 (Reuters) - India is offering to set up an insurance pool to indemnify global nuclear suppliers against liability in the case of a nuclear accident, in a bid to unblock billions of dollars in trade held up by concerns over exposure to risk.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is hoping the plan will be enough to convince major U.S. companies such as General Electric to enter the Indian market ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit at the end of next month.

Under a 2010 nuclear liability law, nuclear equipment suppliers are liable for damages from an accident, which companies say is a sharp deviation from international norms that put the onus on the operator to maintain safety.

From the 1950s, when the United States was the only exporter of nuclear reactors, liability has been channeled to plant operators across the world.

India’s national 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 Indian families are still pursuing for compensation………..

GE-Hitachi, an alliance between the U.S. and Japanese firms, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Company and France’s Areva received a green light to build two reactors each. They have yet to begin construction several years later, according to India’s Department of Atomic Energy…………..

State-run reinsurer GIC Re is preparing a proposal to build a “nuclear insurance pool” that would indemnify the third-party suppliers against liabilities they would face in the case of an accident.

Under the plan, insurance would be bought by the companies contracted to build the nuclear reactors who would then recoup the cost by charging more for their services. Alternatively, state-run operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) would take out insurance on behalf of these companies………..

Moves to win over the Americans coincide with Russia’s push to build more nuclear reactors in India……..

December 20, 2014 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Into the ground under Fukushima nuclear plant – 6 tons of radioactive water

water-radiation6 tons of contaminated water leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant Fox News 19 Dec 14 As many as six tons of radioactive water has leaked into the ground at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said this week.

Crews were transporting the water to storage tanks when it leaked from pipes at the plant’s reactor building number one Wednesday.

The water had been scrubbed in an advanced liquid processing system, theJapan Times reported, citing TEPCo. It seeped into the ground, officials said, and did not flow into the sea because there was no nearby drainage ditch……….

Wednesday’s leak occurred on the same day a team of experts from South Korea spent three hours at the plant, looking into the safety of Japanese fishery products.  The group was informed of measures to keep the nuclear crisis under control, but apparently were not made aware of the leak, the Times reported.

The team inquired about the types of radioactive materials in the water and the results of radiation checks on local seawater, according to Japan’s Fisheries Agency.

In September last year, South Korea banned imports of fishery products from Fukushima and seven other areas due to recurring water leaks at the Fukushima plant.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Radioactive waste incineration to begin in Kawauchi , Fukushima Prefecture

incinerator-planned-for-JapKawauchi will have radioactive waste incinerator November 26, 2014 Radioactive waste incinerator built in Fukushima

 A facility to incinerate radioactive debris and other waste is ready to open in a village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The Environment Ministry had been building the temporary incineration facility in the village of Kawauchi since May.
Officials and village delegates marked the completion of the work in a ceremony on Wednesday.

The facility is designed to burn 7 tons of waste per day while removing radioactive cesium.

Ministry officials plan to put the facility into full operation in early January following test runs.
The government lifted an evacuation order for part of Kawauchi last month. But about 1,700 tons of debris and other waste stored in the village remain to be disposed of.

Village Mayor Yuko Endo said some residents are worried about radiation and an unsafe living environment. He said he hopes the incineration facility will help ease their concern.

The Environment Ministry says Kawauchi is the first municipality in Futaba County to have an incineration facility. It says it plans to build similar facilities in other municipalities in the county where Fukushima Daiichi is located.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Millions of Japanese have signed an online petition calling for phaseout of nuclear power

Japan set for nuclear showdown 12/27/2012 Days after Japan’s pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party was swept back to power in a landslide, millions of the country’s citizens have signed an online petition demanding the government phase out nuclear power generation. The petition has received 8 million signatures, while hundreds have taken to the streets to demonstrate against nuclear power, the AFP reports. Meanwhile, on Dec. 27, the LDP set to work dismantling the previous government’s plan to rid the country of nuclear power by 2040. The LDP’s victory on December 16 brought the party back to power after a rare three-year hiatus in its status as the majority party.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

China’s conventional and nuclear weaponry tend to merge

China: Lines blur between nuclear and conventional warfighting, The Interpreter  19 December 2014 China recently tested its WU-14 hypersonic device, marking its third flight test this year. These tests have elicited analysis for their impact on Beijing’s military capabilities, including their potential to break through missile defences. They merit even closer attention, however, for what they signal about possible shifts in Chinese views on deterrence, transparency and strategic stability.

The WU-14 flights are just the latest installment of Chinese military systems revealed to the world through tests and roll-outs. Other examples in recent memory include China’s anti-satellite test (ASAT) in 2007, its ballistic missile defence (BMD) tests in 2010, 2013 and 2014, as well as its unveiling of the J-20 stealth fighter in 2010. This is not to mention its flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in 2013, test of the intercontinental ballistic missile DF-31A in 2014 and recent revelations regarding the DF-41.

The level of sophistication and deployment of many of these systems remains to be seen. Still, these roll-outs indicate that China is shifting from transparency based on intent to one rooted in capabilities.

t first glance, Beijing’s approach towards conventional and nuclear deterrence may appear distinct and static. China’s conventional deterrence is based on war-fighting, counter-force, asymmetry and pre-emption. This is contrasted with its nuclear deterrence posture, which has for decades been founded on non-war-fighting, counter-value, asymmetry and no-first-use. It is often taken for granted that these two deterrence postures are isolated, with their only real point of intersection being asymmetry. Yet, there are indications that China’s conventional and nuclear deterrence are far less independent and fixed than its rhetoric suggests.

This stems from at least five factors:

  1. China’s Second Artillery has been responsible for both its conventional and nuclear missiles since the early 1990s. The potential for crossover between these two domains has only grown since that time, particularly in light of its training of personnel and advances in missile technology in recent years.
  2. China’s conventional and nuclear command and control centres are reportedly co-located. This means that an attack, whether through advanced conventional systems or cyber-attacks, while intending to negate conventional command and control centres, could also threaten China’s nuclear command and control, thus leading to escalation.
  3. China’s system of tunnels leaves gaps in the understanding of its nuclear and conventional forces. While there has been debate about the potential trove of nuclear warheads within China’s Great Wall Engineering project, the issue is less one of quantity than of overall inability to account for location, systems and practices that some Chinese experts maintain verify nuclear posture…………………
The time has come to begin formally expanding strategic dialogues with China to include exchanges and panels devoted to co-mingling of conventional and nuclear capabilities, whether in the domains of land, air, sea, space or cyberspace. Without such exchanges, the gap left from misalignment of Chinese capabilities and posture threatens to increase the risk of miscalculation and to exacerbate strategic mistrust.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Toshiba about to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit  12/27/2012Toshiba Corp. (NASDAQ: TOSBF) is currently in talks with three unnamed parties as it seeks to sell up to 16 percent of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co. nuclear power unit, the Wall Street Journal reports. The conglomerate is mulling three “very good offers,” Toshiba President Norio Sasaki said, and remains optimistic about its nuclear reactor business despite uncertainty about the future of nuclear power in Japan in the wake of Fukushima. Toshiba paid about $4.2 billion for 77 percent of Westinghouse six years ago and has since sold 10 percent of the company to Kazakhstan’s state-owned NAC Kazatomprom JSC. Toshiba will retain at least 51 percent ownership of the company, said Mr. Sasaki.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Declassified report on North Korea’s plans to attack USA nuclear power plants

terrorism-targets-2DIA: North Korea Planned Attacks on US Nuclear Plants, Washington Free Beacon 18 Dec 14    Five commando units trained for strikes, sabotage  North Korea dispatched covert commando teams to the United States in the 1990s to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in a conflict, according to a declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report. The DIA report, dated Sept. 13, 2004, reveals that five units of covert commandos were trained for the attacks inside the country.

According to the report, the “Reconnaissance Bureau, North Korea, had agents in place to attack American nuclear power plants.”

The document states that the North Korean Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, the ministry in charge of the military, “established five liaison offices in the early 1990s, to train and infiltrate operatives into the United States to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in case of hostilities.”…….

Disclosure of the report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, comes amid threats by presumed North Korean agents to conduct September 11-style terrorist attacks against U.S. movie theaters……….

December 19, 2014 Posted by | North Korea, safety, USA | Leave a comment


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