The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Serious questions about China’s involvement in Britain’s new nuclear power projects

dragon-3flag-UKSerious issues for George Osborne on China’s role in the UK’s nuclear future  The Conversation,  Professor of International Development, University of Bristol October 5, 2015 George Osborne will address the Conservative party conference on Monday fresh from a sales trip to Beijing. His efforts to drive more trade between the two nations saw Chinese state-owned companies invited to participate in the development of nuclear generating plants in Britain. They will have the chance to work with French state-owned company, EDF at Hinkley Point, Somerset and will be the sole operators at Bradwell, Essex. The move has already attracted doubts but there are other vital issues that have yet to be aired. These can be crystallised into five clear questions that Osborne and his government must answer.

Safety concerns

Two Chinese companies are involved with Hinkley Point: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). The latter was responsible, under its previous guise (China Guangdong Nuclear Power) for building and running China’s first nuclear station, Daya Bay, near Hong Kong. It was initially improperly built – with reinforcement rods missing from the concrete base under the reactor – and there have since been reports of minor leakages of radioactive materials (though this is difficult to check, given China’s lack of transparency).

The deeply corrupt environment in which many Chinese companies operate compounds the possibility of these companies being lax on safety measures and it’s simply not good enough to say that Britain has one of the tightest nuclear safety regimes in the world. Confronted with the power of the Chinese government and the British government’s enthusiasm for unceasing flows of Chinese investment, the risk must be that the regulatory agency will be sidestepped or unable to cope………

Who builds what and with which workers?

The public needs to know whether Chinese construction companies will be involved in building Hinkley Point and other power stations and, if so, whether they will seek to use workers from China. ……..

One of the companies involved at Hinkley Point – China National Nuclear – produces China’s nuclear weapons. This means that as well as the Communist Party, CNNC is almost certainly controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (as all Chinese military-related companies are). Given geopolitical uncertainty (with rising tensions between China, Japan and the US over China’s territorial claims in the East and South China Seas), allowing such a company anywhere near Britain – not to mention in an industry as strategic as power generation – verges on the insane. Has MI5 been consulted on this, and if it has, what was its advice?

At its heart, the question of Chinese state (and thus Communist Party) involvement in Britain’s power generation, is a matter of national security. In its desire to help financial services (the only economic sector it privileges) penetrate the Chinese market, the government’s nuclear quid pro quo means it is set to embark on a potentially very dangerous path. Had this deal been negotiated by Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, the media would have been wondering if he were in the pay of the Chinese government. But George Osborne? Surely not.

Osborne may address some of these concerns in Monday’s speech, but it seems unlikely. In any case, before any binding commitments are made, it’s vital that the government’s proposal be opened up to public debate and subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

France hoping to get Japan to help save failed nuclear company AREVA

AREVA crumblingNuclear energy on agenda during French PM’s trip to Japan French Prime Minister Manuel Valls rounded off a three-day visit to Japan with bilateral talks on the nuclear sector.

It follows an announcement in September by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries stating it was considering taking a stake in Areva NP, the reactor-making subsidiary of French nuclear company Areva. In July, French energy giant EDF agreed to buy between 51 and 75 percent of the subsidiary. At the time it announced it would be looking for partners to take a minority stake.

Valls formally asked his counterpart Shinzo Abe for Japan’s help in reorganising France’s nuclear sector……

October 7, 2015 Posted by | France, Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

Radiation danger forces delay to inspection of Fukushima Unit 2 Containment

text ionisingflag-japanFukushima Unit 2 Containment Inspection Delayed To January, Simply Info, October 2nd, 2015 TEPCO announced that the problems created by the stuck shielding blocks and high radiation in the work area will require the containment inspection to be delayed until January 2016. Rusted shielding blocks caused ongoing delays as they tried to determine a way to remove them. The area also has radiation levels as high as 1 sievert/hour. This has prevented workers from being in the area for any extended time………..The long delay is due to the need to decontaminate the work area before human workers can enter. ……

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Nuclear contamination case against TEPCO is sent by police to prosecutors

justiceflag-japanFukushima police sends nuclear contamination case against TEPCO execs to prosecutors,  3 Oct, 2015 Fukushima police have finally reacted to a criminal complaint filed against TEPCO and 32 of its top officials two years ago over the contamination caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster. They have referred the case to prosecutors.

The Fukushima District Prosecutors’ Office will now determine whether to pursue criminal charges against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and its top management over the leaks of highly radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

The criminal complaint alleges that the company and its executives failed to manage storage tanks of contaminated water or build underground walls to block the flow of radioactive material into the sea at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Notable people on the list include TEPCO’s President Naomi Hirose, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former President Masataka Shimizu.

Police have reviewed claims filed by local residents after 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from TEPCO tanks……..

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

USA nuclear weapons department helping China develop thorium reactors, despite their military uses

text thoriumThe U.S. government lab behind China’s nuclear power push  HONG KONG |REUTERS  Dec 20, 2013 Scientists in Shanghai are attempting a breakthrough in nuclear energy: reactors powered by thorium, an alternative to uranium.

The project is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government body with close military ties that coordinates the country’s science-and-technology strategy. The academy has designated thorium as a priority for China’s top laboratories. The program has a budget of $350 million. And it’s being spearheaded by the influential son of a former Chinese president.

But even as China bulks up its military muscle through means ranging from espionage to heavy spending, it is pursuing this aspect of its technology game plan with the blessing – and the help – of the United States. China has enlisted a storied partner for its thorium push: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The U.S. government institute produced the plutonium used for the Manhattan Project and laid important groundwork for the commercial and military use of nuclear power.

The Tennessee lab, as it happens, helped pioneer thorium reactors. The Pentagon and the energy industry later sidelined this technology in favor of uranium……..

Thorium’s chief allure is that it is a potentially far safer fuel for civilian power plants than is uranium. But the element also has possible military applications as an energy source in naval vessels. A U.S. congressman unsuccessfully sought to push the Pentagon to embrace the technology in 2009, and British naval officers are recommending a design for a thorium-fueled ship.

In a further twist, despite the mounting strategic rivalry with China, there has been little or no protest in the United States over Oak Ridge’s nuclear-energy cooperation with China……..

Although it does not yield byproducts that can be readily used to make weapons, thorium does have military applications.

The fuel could be used to power Chinese navy surface warships, including a planned fleet of aircraft carriers. China’s nuclear submarine fleet has struggled with reactor reliability and safety, according to naval commentators, and thorium could eventually become an alternative.

Top British naval engineers last year proposed a design for a thorium reactor to power warships. Compact thorium power plants could also be used to supply reliable power to military bases and expeditionary forces.

Thorium also has military potential for the United States, experts say……..

October 5, 2015 Posted by | China, politics international, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Japn’s PM Abe keen to sell nuclear technology to India

Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1Japan eyes nuclear deal with India October 5, 2015  Clearing the way for exports Nikkei Asian Review, 
TOKYO –– Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit India around the end of this year to sign an atomic energy agreement with counterpart Narendra Modi, laying the groundwork for exports by Japanese corporations in that field.

Abe is considering a trip around December or January. A framework for preventing military use of nuclear materials and atomic power technologies is a prerequisite for Japanese companies to export related technologies to India.

  India holds nuclear weapons but is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), so a focal point of negotiations between Japan and India was how to prevent the spread of nuclear technologies. The two sides are expected to agree on tight management of nuclear technologies on a par with the NPT.

Another obstacle to an agreement had been Indian laws that hold nuclear plant manufacturers partly liable in the event of nuclear accidents. In January, the U.S. and India agreed that an insurance framework created by India would cover damages related to accidents. Japan and India are seen reaching an agreement with conditions similar to the deal that Washington signed for such matters as the management of nuclear technologies and liability for damages………

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, marketing | Leave a comment

Critical problem of Fukushima nuclear reactor No2 – where is molten core?

text cesium“Long-lived radionuclides such as Cesium-137 are something new to us as a species. They did not exist on Earth in any appreciable quantities during the entire evolution of complex life. Although they are invisible to our senses they are millions of times more poisonous than most of the common poisons we are familiar with. They cause cancer, leukemia, genetic mutations, birth defects, malformations, and abortions at concentrations almost below human recognition and comprehension. They are lethal at the atomic or molecular level,”

Fukushima: The World’s Never Seen Anything Like This Popular Resistance By Robert Hunziker, October 2nd, 2015 The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 nuclear reactor fuel is missing from the core containment vessel. (Source: Up to 100% of No. 2 Reactor Fuel May Have Melted, NHK World News, Sept. 25, 2015.)

Where did it go? Nobody knows.

Not only that but the “learning curve” for a nuclear meltdown is as fresh as the event itself because “the world has never seen anything like this,” never.

Utilizing cosmic ray muon radiography with nuclear emulsion, researchers from Nagoya University peered inside the reactors at Fukushima. The nuclear fuel in reactor core No. 5 was clearly visible via the muon process. However, at No. 2 reactor, which released a very large amount of radioactive substances coincident with the 2011 explosion, little, if any, signs of nuclear fuel appear in the containment vessel. A serious meltdown is underway.

“The researchers say further analyses are needed to determine whether molten fuel penetrated the reactor and fell down,” Ibid. In short, researchers do not yet know if the molten hot stuff has penetrated the steel/concrete base beyond the containment vessel, thus entering Mother Earth.

The Nagoya University research team, in coordination with Toshiba Corporation, reported their findings at a meeting of the Physical Society of Japan on Sept. 26th.
Thus, therefore, and furthermore, it is advisable to review what’s at stake:
Cesium-137“High-level nuclear waste is almost unimaginably poisonous. Take for example cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years, which makes up the largest fraction of long-lived radionuclides residing in spent nuclear fuel. One gram of radioactive cesium-137 (about half the size of a dime) contains 88 Curies of radioactivity. 104 Curies of radioactive cesium-137, spread evenly over one square mile of land, will make it uninhabitable for more than a century,” Comments on Draft of Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013, Physicians for Social Responsibility, May 23, 2013.
As for example, there are 1,090 square miles of land surrounding the destroyed Chernobyl reactor that Ukraine classifies as an uninhabitable radioactive exclusion zone because radioactive fallout left more than 104 Curies of cesium- 137 per square mile on the land that makes up the zone. Scientists believe it will be 180 to 320 years before Cesium-137 around Chernobyl disappears from the environment.

Here’s the big, or rather biggest, problem: Cesium is water-soluble and makes its way into soils and waters as it quickly becomes ubiquitous in a contaminated ecosystem…… Continue reading

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, Reference | Leave a comment

Pt. 2 – Fukushima Contamination – Dr. Tim Mousseau

“Bio-Impacts of Chernobyl & Fukushima”

Evolutionary biologist Dr. Tim Mousseau shares findings from his unique research on the biological effects of radiation exposure to wildlife from the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl & Fukushima.

This is part 2 of a 3-part series of presentations on Fukushima contamination by independent research scientists Ken Buesseler, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Tim Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina.

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Fukushima police to send toxic water case against TEPCO, execs to prosecutors

FUKUSHIMA — Police here will refer Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and 32 current and former TEPCO executives to prosecutors in connection with leaks of toxic water into the Pacific in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative sources say.

The police will send papers on the case to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors’ Office on suspicion TEPCO and the executives violated the environmental pollution offense law.

Among the 32 individuals are TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former President Masataka Shimizu. They are suspected of being negligent in their duties and releasing radioactively contaminated water into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

An initial criminal complaint accusing TEPCO executives of professional negligence resulting in injury or death was filed jointly by individuals and representatives of a citizens’ group. In September 2013, the same complainants filed with the Fukushima police against the TEPCO executives on suspicion of violating the environmental pollution offense law.

The complaint says the central government ordered TEPCO to build underground walls to prevent leaks of contaminated groundwater, but that TEPCO postponed taking the measure, citing costs and other reasons. Furthermore, the complaint accuses TEPCO of using weak water storage tanks resulting in the leak of some 300 metric tons of contaminated water, and of insufficient monitoring measures that led to the delayed discovery of the leak and increasing the volume of water that escaped.

Source: Mainichi

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima contamination in drinking water

A recent Health Ministry report showed that a number of Japanese cities were still finding traces of Fukushima related contamination in their drinking water. The amounts found were low but they did include cesium 134, the shorter lived contaminant from Fukushima Daiichi. A strontium 90 test was not conducted on these samples.
These cities had traces found in their drinking water:
Morioka-Shi, Iwate
Sendai city, Miyagi Prefecture
Fukushima city, Fukushima Prefecture
Ibaraki city
Utsunomiya-Shi, Tochigi
Maebashi city, Gunma prefecture
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Chigasaki-Shi, Kanagawa
Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Afraid about radiation, but afraid to speak out: Fukushima mothers

chld-Japan-medicalReluctant to speak, Fukushima moms admit fear of radiation, pressure from families, Japan Times, BY , 29 Sept 15 STAFF WRITER To stay or to flee. Mothers in Fukushima Prefecture had to make harsh decisions for their families after the nuclear disaster of March 2011. More than four years on, they still have to.

Those who remain there live in constant fear for their children’s health. But choosing to flee opened them to accusations of being bad wives who abandoned their relatives, community and husbands tied to jobs.

It is a no-win situation for those who face the decision to stay or go, because they may be unable to live up to the ideal of a ryosai kenbo (good wife, wise mother).

“Consciously or subconsciously, women are aware of the role we are expected to play in a family. After the earthquake and nuclear disaster, however, everything changed,” said Yukiko (not her real name), a mother and voluntary evacuee in her 30s. “I can’t live up to those expectations any more, and society judges me.”

All women interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity.

As the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant began to play out, Tokyo Electric Power Co. established a 20-km no-go zone around the site, outside of which the government said conditions were safe. Many did not believe the assertion.

Yuriko, a woman in her 70s who lives in the city of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, believes the zone restrictions divided the community.

“Some people trusted the government’s word and continued to live here, but others couldn’t stand living every day in fear and moved out,” Yuriko said. “Nobody knew what to believe and communities have fallen apart.”

The fear of radiation, rumors and media reports about the safety of local food prompted many mothers just outside the no-go zone to evacuate voluntarily for the sake of their children’s health. Some moved to neighboring prefectures, including Iwate and Miyagi, and others made the great leap south to Tokyo.

“To be honest, I didn’t have much knowledge about the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. But I did know how deadly high exposures of radiation could be,” said Yuko, in her 30s, who has a 6-year-old daughter. “I evacuated to Tokyo within a week of the disaster. My husband stayed in Fukushima, but I was determined to leave to prioritize the safety of my daughter.”

In many cases, voluntary evacuees like Yuko are mothers who fled with their children while their husbands remained in Fukushima to work…………..

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, Japan, social effects | Leave a comment

Japan’s coastal population: risks from radiation ignored by govt and IAEA

UK research clearly shows that coastal zone populations are exposed to doses of marine radioactivity under the following set of environmental parameters:

  1. resident in coastal zones up to at least 200kms downstream of a source of liquid radioactive discharges to sea
  2. resident in coastal zones adjacent to coastal waters with high suspended sediment loadings
  3. resident in coastal zones adjacent to extensive fine sediment inter tidal/sub tidal sediment deposits (salt marsh, mud flats etc)
  4. resident in coastal zones subject to prevailing onshore winds and storm or tidal conditions generating marine aerosols, sea spray and coastal inundation
  5. resident in coastal zones where such parameters (A to D above) have, elsewhere, been shown to enable/facilitate the penetration of marine radioactivity for across the shoreline and up to 10 miles inland from the coast.


Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population Tim Fukushima toiletDeere-Jones 28th September 2015 

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.

Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site.

The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations.

This strategy is based on a flawed hypothesis, developed by the nuclear industry through the late 1940s and early 1950s, when both oceanography and the study of the behaviour and fate of radioactivity in marine environments were in their absolute infancy.

As a result, the principal conclusions on the marine impact of the Fukushima event put forward in recent reports from the IAEA, the Government of Japan and it’s relevant agencies, minimise the environmental and public health negatives and emphasise a range of hypothetical ‘positives’.

This is a major flaw because the empirical evidence from ‘non-aligned’ research in the UK is that coastal communities are subjected to highly enriched doses of marine radioactivity through pathways of exposure, and from environmental parameters, which will not be analysed and researched under current Fukushima monitoring plans.

As a result, significant public health impacts of the event will not be documented, nor will important data about the way Fukushima marine radioactivity behaves at the coastline.

Failing to gather the evidence of coastal radiation Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Death of heroic anti war photographer Kikujiro Fukushima

Renowned Anti-War Japanese Photographer Kikujiro Fukushima Dies at 94, Peta Pixel,  September 28, 2015 by Michael Zhang Acclaimed Japanese photojournalist Kikujiro Fukushima passed away on September 24th, 2015, after suffering a stroke at the age of 94. Fukushima was known for his criticism of Japan’s decision to go to war in World War II, and he spent decades documenting both the war and the aftermath of it in his homeland.

In the early years of his career, Fukushima pointed his camera at survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. The work was published in an award-winning 1961 photo book titled “Pika Don: Aru Genbaku Hisaisha no Kiroku” (which translates to “Atomic bomb: Records of one atomic bomb survivor”).

He went on to create projects, books, and exhibitions about subjects that were off the beaten path: Japanese military secrets, social injustices, feminist movements, industrial pollution, the fight against nuclear power plants, and more.

Fukushima is the only photographer who documented the aftermaths of both the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Both are nuclear crises but different kinds,” Fukushima told the New York Times in an interview published last year. “Hiroshima’s crisis was caused by the bomb dropped by the enemy during the war. Fukushima’s crisis, though initially triggered by the earthquake and tsunami, was not really natural. It was caused by Japan’s nuclear industry whose interests more lie in their financial gain rather than the safety of the public.”

“In Hiroshima, I photographed people who were dying. In Fukushima, it looked normal but nobody knows what is going to happen in long term. I didn’t know where to begin.”……..


September 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Unit no.5 nuclear reactor was gravely endangered, IAEA finally admits

IAEA Report Admits Fukushima Unit 5 Worse Than Previously Stated, Simply Info, September 28th, 2015 | Details found in the recent IAEA report on the Fukushima disaster admitted some key information about the events at unit 5. These details show that the events at unit 5 were much more dire than the impression given to the public.

During the initial disaster little was mentioned about unit 5 as other units spiraled into catastrophic meltdowns. TEPCO’s reporting was limited, purposely avoids key events and obfuscates others. The Japanese government official report did provide more detail but it used carefully crafted language to downplay and avoid admitting the real risks unfolding at this unit…….

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Energy sector cooperation with North Korea in support of a regional Nuclear Weapons Free Zone

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-S-KoreaEnergy sector cooperation with the DPRK in support of a regional Nuclear Weapons Free Zone NAPSNet Special Report David von Hippel and Peter Hayes,, NAPSNet Special Reports, September 21, 2015,



In this paper, we describe the DPRK energy economy, including a description of recent trends in DPRK energy supply and demand. We then summarize the DPRK’s energy security situation and energy sector needs, along with a brief description of potential regional/international cooperation options for providing energy sector development assistance to DPRK. These options include conventional energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. They are followed with more general approaches to engagement and an example “package” of cooperation measures. These non-nuclear options are benchmarked to a quantitative estimate of the net present value of the two light water reactors that were to be provided in the US-DPRK Agreed Framework but never completed, as a reasonable benchmark, followed by a review of the DPRK nuclear energy sector and related potential cooperation options and issues related to the DPRK domestic pilot light water reactor and enrichment programs. We conclude by highlighting key insights and opportunities for increasing the DPRK’s energy security in the context of regional energy development in which all states have a stake……….

September 30, 2015 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment


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