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Despite volcano warnings, Japanese Officials Vote to Reopen Nuclear Power Plant

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanJapanese Officials Vote to Reopen Nuclear Power Plant, Despite Volcanic Warnings, Newsweek,  By  10/28/14 Local officials have voted to reopen a nuclear plant in Japan, despite warnings of increased volcanic activity in the region from scientists.

The decision comes despite a warning on Friday that Japan’s Seismological Agency had documented an increase of activity in the Ioyama volcano, located 40 miles away from the power station……….

Japan sits on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an area of great instability in the earth’s crust, which is home to 75% of the world’s volcanoes.

Minor tremors were reported on Friday morning and soon after, Japanese officials warned of a potential eruption and called for hikers to avoid the area, which is popular with tourists.

The Sendai plant is also situated only 31 miles from Mount Sakurajima, an extremely active volcano which erupts on a regular basis. The documentation of new activity comes barely a month after the eruption of Mount Ontake, when 57 hikers were killed on its slopes. There were no accompanying signs of seismic activity prior to the eruption which might have alerted Japanese authorities to the impending disaster.

The vote has been seen as an attempt to resurrect the country’s nuclear industry, which the  Japanese government hopes to restart despite public opposition to nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Prior to the disaster, the Japanese had derived 30 percent of their electricity from atomic power.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved Sendai’s safety features in September, but the plant must still pass operational safety checks before it will be able to reopen. http://www.newsweek.com/japanese-officials-vote-reopen-nuclear-power-plant-despite-volcanic-warnings-280462

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth petitions U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review licensing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor

Diablo nuclear power plantGroup Asks Court For Review Of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor License Over Earthquake Fears http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/10/28/environmental-group-asks-court-for-review-of-pge-diablo-canyon-nuclear-reactor-license-over-earthquake-fears/ October 28, 2014 AVILA BEACH, San Luis Obispo County (CBS SF) — An environmental group asked a federal court Tuesday to review its claim that California’s last operating nuclear power plant is violating federal law and should be shut down at least temporarily.

In a petition filed in Washington with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Friends of the Earth said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated its own rules when it altered the operating license for the Diablo Canyon reactors.

The petition marked the latest development in the dispute over potential danger posed by earthquake faults near the reactors.In a statement, the group said the change, involving how risks from earthquakes are assessed, should have triggered a license amendment proceeding that would have involved public hearings. Instead, the change was made internally.

The petition asked that the change be overturned and the court order a license amendment proceeding. It also asks that the power plant be shut down until those proceedings are completed.

“The NRC acted arbitrarily, abused its discretion and violated” federal laws by approving the change without seeking the required license amendment, the petition said. The NRC and plant owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co. have long said the plant located near San Luis Obispo, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is safe and in compliance with regulations.

NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said in an email the agency will review the filing.

The environmental group said the NRC and the company are trying to conceal that the reactors are vulnerable to strong shaking from possible earthquakes. “It is now clear that these outdated 1960s-era reactors are not built to withstand the earthquake risks that surround the plant,” spokesman Damon Moglen said in a statement. “Instead of making them address these safety issues, the NRC worked with PG&E to change the rules.”

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Tokyo doctor speaks out, warning parents about Fukushima radiation

A Tokyo doctor who has moved to western Japan urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection: A message from Dr. Mita to his colleagues in Kodaira, Tokyo  World Network for Saving Children From Radiation  July 2014 Doctor MITA Shigeru, who recently moved to Okayama-city, Okayama prefecture, to open a new clinic there, wrote a short essay in the newsletter published by Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo.

Although the target readers for this essay were not the general public, it has been cited in a weekly e-mail magazine published by journalist KINOSHITA Kouta, who has been organizing actions to urge people to leave radiation affected areas (including Tokyo) since 3.11, 2011.

On many occasions, public talks and gatherings, both Dr. Mita and Mr. Kinoshita have acknowledged the danger of radiation and they have called out for immediate action for radiation protection.

In November 2013, WNSCR translated an essay that Dr. Mita wrote for parents concerned about radiation: (Please read the article here). Despite the interests of many parents in Japan, there are very few doctors who show serious concern on the issues of radiation, and commenting on the issue publicly is even rarer.

It is the opinion of WNSCR that Dr. Mita’s views have significant meaning for the general public, especially for those who are interested in the health impact of radiation on the general population. We have permission to translate a new essay of Dr. Mita, through Mr. Kinoshita

Why did I leave Tokyo?

Shigeru Mita ( Mita clinic)

To my fellow doctors,…………http://www.save-children-from-radiation.org/2014/07/16/a-tokyo-doctor-who-has-moved-to-western-japan-urges-fellow-doctors-to-promote-radiation-protection-a-message-from-dr-mita-to-his-colleagues-in-kodaira-city-t/

October 29, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Uranium hexafluoride leak at Honeywell uranium plant, USA

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAU.S. nuclear regulators probing leak at Honeywell uranium plant BY LEWIS KRAUSKOPF Tue Oct 28, 2014 Oct 28 (Reuters) – U.S. nuclear regulators are investigating a leak of uranium hexafluoride that occurred on Sunday at an Illinois plant operated by Honeywell International Inc where union workers have been locked out.

Honeywell confirmed the Sunday evening leak at its Metropolis, Illinois plant, saying it was due to an equipment failure. There were no injuries and no reason to believe anyone was endangered by the leak, according to Honeywell.

An inspector from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission started an investigation at the plant on Tuesday, said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah.

“At this point we’re still in a fact-finding mode,” Hannah said. “We haven’t come to any conclusions about whether processesweren’t followed.” He said the investigation could take a few days to a week. Honeywell’s Metropolis plant is the only U.S. facility that converts uranium oxide into to uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, which is then enriched to be used as fuel in nuclear power plants.

Uranium hexafluoride is radioactive, and if released into the air can be chemically toxic……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/28/honeywell-intl-uranium-idUSL1N0SN0ZX20141028

October 29, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia to learn from Canadian renewable energy success story

flag-canadarenewable sources generate up to 65 percent of Canada’s electricity. Solar and wind are the country’s two fastest growing sources.According to him, Solar photovoltaic capacity reached 1,210 megawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 2013. The Canadian Solar Industry Association forecasts that annual capacity will increase three folds by 2025. By then, the Canadian solar industry will support more than 35,000 jobs, displacing 15 to 31 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Canada has two of the largest solar farms in the world

Saudi Arabia, Canada to hold renewable energy seminar  http://www.arabnews.com/economy/news/651686  29 Oct 14, A Canadian trade delegation, headed by Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade Simon Kennedy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet several Saudi officials and major firms with a special focus on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia.
Canadian Ambassador Thomas MacDonald said Canada’s first renewable energy mission, which is focused on solar technology, will visit the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), ACWA Power and other industry leaders.  Continue reading

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Canada, renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

100% off-grid renewable energy for German village of Feldheim

German Village goes Off-grid with Renewable Energy  28 Oct 14 If Germany has taken a pioneering though risky role in shifting to renewable energy, then the tiny village of Feldheim – population 150 – is at its vanguard.

The hamlet near Berlin is Germany’s first to have left the national grid and switched to 100 per cent local, alternative energy, swearing off fossil fuels and nuclear power decades before the rest of the country plans to near the same goal.

Electricity now comes from a wind park towering over its gently rolling fields and reaches homes through Feldheim’s own mini smart grid.

More than 99 per cent of the wind power is sold into the national system, along with electricity from a solar park on a former Soviet military base.

As winter nears, people here will heat their homes from a biogas plant powered by local pig and cattle manure and shredded corn, while on the coldest days a woodchip plant will also burn forestry waste.

The villagers took bank loans and state subsidies to build the system, in partnership with green power company Energiequelle, but say it is paying off as electricity and heating bills have been slashed.

Feldheim no longer pays for 160,000 litres of heating oil a year, said Werner Frohwitter of the local energy co-operative.

“This money is no longer going to Arab sheiks or (Russian President) Vladimir Putin,” he said at the village 80km southwest of Berlin. “This money is now staying right here.”………

Tiny Feldheim, ever proud to be at the cutting edge, has set up an electric car power station and ordered a 10 MW lithium-ion battery from South Korea. When the giant device arrives next year, it will give the village a 48-hour emergency supply, but that is not its main purpose. For most of the year it will be rented out to a regional power company as a buffer against grid fluctuations. -……….. http://sourceable.net/grid-german-village-renewable-energy/#sthash.QEh0YEwd.dpuf

October 29, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nanyang Technological University Singapore leads te way with a hybrid micro grid for renewable energy

NTU to build region’s first renewable energy integration demonstration micro-grid Phys Org 29 Oct 14 Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) will be building a hybrid micro-grid which will integrate multiple large-scale renewable energy sources. The first in the region, the hybrid micro-grid will test and demonstrate the integration of solar, wind, tidal-current, diesel, storage and power-to-gas technologies, and ensure these energy sources operate well together.

micro-grid-Singapore

To be built under the new Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator- Singapore (REIDS) initiative, the hybrid micro-grid will be located offshore at Semakau Landfill and is expected to produce power in the megawatt (MW) range, which will be suitable for small islands, isolated villages, and emergency power supplies. This will be able to power around 250 HDB 4-room apartments, which together consume a peak of 1 MW.

This initiative is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and the National Environment Agency (NEA). The S$8 million initial micro-grid infrastructure will also facilitate the development and commercialisation of energy technologies suited for tropical conditions to be developed by NTU Singapore together with 10 world leading companies…….http://phys.org/news/2014-10-ntu-region-renewable-energy-micro-grid.html

October 29, 2014 Posted by | ASIA, renewable | Leave a comment

European Union heading to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets

EU on track to meet 2020 renewable energy targets, Hydroworld, BRUSSELS 10/28/2014   Online Editor Greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union fell by almost 2% between 2012 and 2013, putting the EU close to its 2020 reduction target, according to data released this week by the European Environment Agency.

“According to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990,” an EU statement said. “So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.”

Hydroelectric power has been an integral component of the EU’s efforts in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions and producing 20% of its power with renewable sources.

The EEA’s analysis of member states’ own projections show the EU is likely to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 21% of 1990 levels by 2020, surpassing its 20% target. Meanwhile, the report shows 14% of the EU’s energy was generated by renewable sources in 2012, which is ahead of its projections to hit the 20% mark by the end of the decade.

“Our analysis shows that Europe is on track towards its 2020 targets,” EEA executive director Hans Bruyinickx said. “Even against the backdrop of economic recession in recent years, we can see that policies and measures are working and have played a key role in reaching this interim result.”…….The EU has said that it’s longer-term objectives include decarbonizing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/10/eu-on-track-to-meet-2020-renewable-energy-targets.html

October 29, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Germany’s new style decentralised energy industry

text-renw-GermanyGermany embracing renewable energy Power production from renewables has tripled in Germany within the past decade, mostly from wind and solar. Yahoo News 29 Oct 14 

“……..Last year, renewables accounted for 24 per cent of the country’s electricity.The German government introduced generous subsidies to kick-start the sector, amounting to 16 billion euros last year. But the government claims the program has already saved billions in fuel costs for the heavily import-reliant country.

“We have created new businesses worth 40 billion euros per year,” Ecologic Institute analyst Andreas Kraemer said.”We have created additional employment for up to 400,000 people. They all pay taxes, they all pay social security charges.”

German households and small business pay the largest share for the renewable turnaround.They pay around 29 euro cents per kilowatt hour and much of that goes towards a renewable energy surcharge.

Big industrial users are exempt from the surcharge and pay just 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour……..

A new-look energy market The energy turnaround has clouded the future for the dominant utility companies in Germany.Germany’s big four, Vattenfall, E.on, RWE and EnBW, have enjoyed an oligopoly driven by nuclear power and fossil fuels………

Investors look for exposure to renewables market The makeup of the German energy market already looks very different, with hundreds of companies and cooperatives being formed in a decentralised industry.

While banks, industry, and project developers own 40 per cent of renewable installations, farmers and private investors own half.A number of new investment vehicles have formed to take advantage of the new industry. Crowd funding start up Bettervest has financed 14 projects since its inception a year ago.

Company spokesman Julien Schroder-Gianoncelli said investors are attracted by the projects and the returns,\. “We are offering 5-10 per cent in interest, which is pretty good at the moment,” he said.

Ceramic Fuel Cells believes Germany’s regulations, incentives and market make it the place to be. Mr Obernitz said that, for the time being at least, there are no incentives available in Australia.

“I’m not sure if that is going to change,” he said.

“We would favour that because we have invented the technology in Australia, and it’s something that will change the world.”……… https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25372077/germanys-renewable-energy-incentives-and-regulations-attracting-australian-companies/

October 29, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

A nuclear deal with the West would give Iran a chance to kickstart the economy

Iranians Hope for Nuclear Deal With West to Kick-Start Economy, NYT  By  OCT. 28, 2014 For more than a year, President Hassan Rouhani has been dangling the prospect of a bright economic future before the middle classes that elected him, promising to complete a deal with the West to limit Iran’s nuclear program and end the sanctions hobbling the Iranian economy.

While the deadline of Nov. 24 is fast approaching, it is far from clear whether the two camps will agree on a pact. What seems certain, analysts say, is that with oil prices falling seemingly daily — and projected to drop even further — the oil-dependent government of Iran faces growing pressure to settle the nuclear standoff.

In one sign that Tehran might be bending, Obama administration officials and the chief American negotiator, Wendy Sherman, were said to be briefinglawmakers and allies last week on the outlines of an agreement, hoping to building support in advance of an announcement.

Iranian officials will never admit that either sanctions or low oil prices have any effect on their bargaining position in the nuclear talks. Yet, for a country that by some estimates needs an oil price of more than $140 a barrel to balance its budget, the roughly 25 percent drop in oil prices to around $80 a barrel since last summer has to be deeply concerning.

The precipitous decline could force the government to cut back popular benefits, like subsidies for gasoline and utilities and the $12 monthly cash benefit that Iranians have come to consider a birthright. And it could have even broader effects, possibly sending the economy into recession and pressuring the country’s currency……..

In Plan A — Mr. Rouhani’s vision — a nuclear deal would lead to the lifting of all sanctions, and the Iranian economy would become a tempting paradise for foreign investors……….http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/world/middleeast/iranians-hope-for-nuclear-deal-with-west-to-kick-start-economy.html?_r=0

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Both USA and Russia keen to promote nuclear industry, rather than public safety

Flag-USAflag_RussiaWhy Are The US & Russia Blocking European Nuclear Safety Upgrades?, Simply Info October 24th, 2014  “……The core reasoning for the US and Russia to try to prevent new standards appears to be money. Better safety standards would be extremely costly for their older reactors to comply with. Currently the US has avoided mandating any substantial safety upgrades post Fukushima and has let the industry dictate changes (or the lack of) to the NRC.”…..http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=13969

October 27, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear reactor No 2 – Extremely high level of radioactive cesium in nearby groundwater

Author-Fukushima-diary460,000,000 Bq/m3 of Cs-134/137 detected from mountain side of Reactor 2 Fukushima Diary,     26 Oct 14 Extremely high level of Cs-134/137 was detected in groundwater taken beside Reactor 2, Tepco announced on 10/24/2014. The specific state of underground is not verified yet.

It is groundwater taken from “sub-drain” located beside Reactor 2. (cf, Strontium-90 detected in potentially discharged water from Reactor 1 and 3

Cesium-137460,000,000 Bq/m3 of Cs-134/137 was detected from groundwater on 10/22/2014. 425,000,000 Bq/m3 of Cs-134/137 was also measured the next day.

From another sub-drain, 424,000,000 Bq/m3 was detected on 10/22/2014 as well. It was still 321,000,000 Bq/m3 the next day.

These sub-drains are located on the mountain side of Reactor 2, which is not affected by frequently reported groundwater contamination in the seaside of Reactor 2……….http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/10/460000000-bqm3-cs-134137-detected-mountain-side-reactor-2/

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s ¥130 billion pretax profit for year

New! Worker has minor injury at Fukushima Nuclear site due to snow build up - Tepco report

 

Tepco projects ¥130 billion pretax profit for year KYODO Japan Times, OCT 25, 2014 Tokyo Electric Power Co., manager of the disaster-struck Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is expecting to log a group pretax profit of ¥130 billion for the business year through March 2015, even without restarting the giant Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant or hiking rates again, sources familiar with the matter said Friday. … (subscribers only)  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/25/business/tepco-projects-%C2%A5130-billion-pretax-profit-for-year/#.VE6s1CLF8nk

October 27, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

28 of 32 Matsudo city children tested had thyroid nodules (≦5.0mm) but no medical follow-up,

Author-Fukushima-diary28 of 32 testees diagnosed A2 in thyroid inspection of Matsudo city Chiba http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/10/28-32-testees-diagnosed-a2-thyroid-inspection-matsudo-city-chiba/    28 of 32 testees were diagnosed as “A2″ in the thyroid inspection of Matsudo city, Chiba. The test was implemented from 6/1/2014 to 8/31/2014 and the result was announced on 9/26/2014.

A2 is given when the testee has thyroid nodule (≦5.0mm) or cyst (≦ 20.0mm). Matsudo city government however announces they won’t provide those testees with any medical follow-up for some reason.

The testees were supposed to be born 4/2/1992 ~ 4/1/2011. However, the children who already had the subjective symptoms were not given the right to have the test. The municipal government hasn’t made any announcement about why these children were eliminated from the testees.

October 27, 2014 Posted by | children, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan’s Sendai nuclear power plant may be at risk from volcanoes

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanIoyama volcano raises fears Japan’s Sendai nuclear power facility may be at risk, news,com,au 28 Oct 14 

“……….The waking of Mount Ioyama on the island of Kyushu comes after a recent warning from a prominent Japanese volcanologist about the Sendai nuclear plant’s vulnerability.

A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant could hit the reactors and cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.

Mount Ioyama sits virtually next door to the power plant. In recent weeks it has started experiencing tremors, the Japanese Metrological Agency’s volcano bureau says.

The implications for restarting the repaired Sendai nuclear power plant are serious……..

Now Mount Ioyama has suddenly gone from the dormant end of the threat scale to the second-highest. This means the area around the crater can be regarded as dangerous, and that small-scale eruptions are likely.

Another volatile giant, Mount Sakurajima, sits some 40km from the Sendai facility. This is a very active volcano with frequent minor eruptions. http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/ioyama-volcano-raises-fears-japans-sendai-nuclear-power-facility-may-be-at-risk/story-fnjww1r5-1227102573947

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

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