India and Russia hold major consultation to set up 22 nuclear power projects in India By ET Bureau | 30 Jul, 2014 NEW DELHI: India and Russia held major consultation in the realm of nuclear research away from the public eye ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Brazil in July.
Last month a scientific forum was held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in the Russian city of Dubna with .. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39250290.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
(image by http://www.tbs.co.jp/newsbird/)
Image courtesy of TBS News bird
A recent court ruling in Japan, Fukui District Court’s landmark ruling on May 21, has brought into question the justification for taking the risks associated with nuclear power.
The ruling states that the risks of earthquake-safety planning concerning nuclear reactors are impossible to measure because the science of earthquake prediction today is not able to allow for the risk of damage to nuclear power plants.
As we can see by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, these risks are and have been seriously underestimated. Even so, the Japanese nuclear corporations are still trying to claim that they can allow for any possible future disaster.
Risk assessment is a core part of any project and it takes into account the profit and other benefits of having a nuclear plant and this is balanced against the social, health and environmental issues.
For a corporation the profit element is the most important as the corporations need to be able to show profits to their shareholders whilst local community and other interested NGOs would normally voice the issues and risks from a social, health and environmental point of view.
Court ruling puts a spanner in the works
AJW.ASAHI.COM reported these facts on the May 21, 2014;
“…An anti-nuclear citizens’ network has translated a Japanese court’s ruling blocking the restarts of two reactors into English, Korean and Chinese to spread the ‘universal values’ of the judgment.
“Part of the translated ruling says: ‘this court considers national wealth to be the rich land and the people’s livelihoods that have taken root there, and that being unable to recover these is the true loss of national wealth.
“…The ruling also says, ‘the operation of nuclear power plants as one means of producing electricity is legally associated with freedom of economic activity and has a lower ranking in the Constitution than the central tenet of personal rights.
“…Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai, who heads a network of plaintiff groups demanding the abolishment of nuclear energy, said it is ‘extremely rare’ for a Japanese court ruling other than in patent cases to be translated into foreign languages.
“The ruling has resonated with people around the world because it declared universal values by placing priority on the lives of people over the merits of nuclear energy, Kawai said….”
Full article here;
The Green Action Japan website has this to say:
“English translation of the epoch-making Japanese court verdict issuing an injunction against restart of Japan’s nuclear power plants Ohi Units 3 and 4.
“On May 21, 2014, the Fukui District Court in Japan issued a scathing indictment against restart of the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant owned and operated by the second largest electric utility in Japan.
The injunction against the plant is epoch-making because it addresses generic issues applicable to nuclear power plants worldwide.”
English translation of summary now available.
Translation: Greenpeace / Cooperation: Green Action
Kyushu Electric Power fights back regardless
Kyushu Electric power has recently managed to get a ruling from the NRA to restart 2 of its 4 nuclear-reactor units. However, there are some problems with this ruling aside from the Ohi nuclear plant ruling mentioned above.
There are problems with the safety of this nuclear site such as the evacuation plan for the 30,000 residents, in the case of a nuclear incident.
“The (evacuation) plan itself is very sloppy, just slotting bits and pieces into a manual without giving any consideration to the special features of the area,” said Zenyu Niga.
The volcanic issue ignored
Also, aside from earthquake threats there is an issue with volcanoes with this nuclear plant. In fact there was a large eruption in 2013 at a local volcano reported here;
Apart from a number of calderas, Sakurajima, an active volcano, is just 50 Km away and a scientist said, “No-one believes that volcanic risks have been adequately discussed,” said Setsuya Nakada, a professor of volcanology at the University of Tokyo, who advised officials when they were forming regulatory guidelines for monitoring volcanoes.
(image by Christina mac Phearson)
Image courtesy of Christina mac Phearson
The manipulation of safety agencies who wish to ignore the court ruling
Kunihiko Shimazaki, who was one of the members of the post-Fukushima formed NRA that was supposed to oversee a new safety regime, was recently replaced. An executive of the Kyushu Electric Power Co said that “Shimazaki made us suffer,” and on “May 14, executives of the Kansai Economic Federation and Kyushu Economic Federation met with Katsuhiko Ikeda, the NRA secretary-general.”
Then “Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the deputy policy chief, openly criticised Shimazaki when he said, “While it is acceptable to have seismologists on the NRA, the same cannot be said for someone who knows absolutely nothing about nuclear energy.”
These three quotes were reported here:
Shimazaki was then replaced, leaving the NRA without a seismology expert for at least the next 5 years.
A financial problem exists
Concerning the issue of profitability Moodys of Japan KK reported that even if the Kyushu Sendai plant did start the 2 reactors, “The current tariff, implemented in May last year, is based on four of the company’s nuclear power plants being operational — so even if two reactors are restarted Kyushu will still not be able to return to profitability,” Kazusada Hirose, vice president of Moody’s Japan K.K.
Full article here:
Social, environmental and economic manipulation.
Half the population of the local town have voted to reject the local plant even though there is no alternative funding for other infrastructure to stimulate business unconnected to the nuclear industry. A video from an independent media company shows this clearly and shows how the nuclear company uses money to buy its way. That short video can be seen here (Reporting by Hitomi Yagi from TBS News Bird):
In the video, we see that there are many social and economic impacts caused by the nuclear plant, such as the possible loss of fishing grounds if another reactor is to be built on reclaimed land and how bribes to fishermen with compensation payments are used to achieve this. We also see the desperation of business needing customers because no other infrastructure projects have been put in place these last 3 years or so resulting in economic hardship and the local community being split apart.
(image by http://www.tbs.co.jp/newsbird/)
Image courtesy of TBS News Bird
Fish dying because of nuclear-associated pollution?
There is even a statement from a local in the video mentioned above, that increasing amount of “fish have been dying for the last five years” and we see some evidence of that, I wonder if that is why the fishermen are so ready to accept the compensation for the loss of their fishing grounds?
It is obvious that local government, national government and nuclear industry has contrived to fully manipulate the situation in this and other areas to the benefit of the nuclear industry and to the detriment of peoples safety, financial security and to the quality of the environment. It is obvious that the Sendai Kyushu reactor will be opened no matter the dangers involved.
“Even if the government can get over that hurdle, there are many problems to overcome—for example, the designs of the stations have to be finalised. The process could take years, by which time wind, solar and other renewables will have expanded so much it will make nuclear redundant.”
Boom-or-Doom Riddle for Nuclear Industry, truthdig, 27 July 14 “………The figures show that nuclear production is currently in decline from a peak in 2006, and is now producing less than 10% of the world’s electricity needs.
World solar capacity, on the other hand, increased by 35% in 2013, and wind power by 12.5%—although, added together, they still do not produce as much power as nuclear.
All the evidence is that wind and solar will continue to grow strongly, and particularly solar, where technological advances and quantity of production means that prices have dropped dramatically.
Costs of producing energy are hard to compare because solar is small and local and dependent on sunshine, while nuclear is large and distant and must be kept on all the time. However, research suggests that solar is already producing cheaper power per kilowatt hour than nuclear, the costs of which have not come down.
Both costs and time seem to be major factors in deciding which technology will gain market share. Nuclear stations are expensive and a long time passes before electricity is produced, making them almost impossible to finance in a normal commercial market. Solar panels, in contrast, can be up and running in days, and wind turbines within weeks.
Historically, nuclear power plants have always been built with government subsidy—a pattern that is continuing across the world. For example, the two countries with the largest number of reactors under construction—China, with 29, and Russia, with 10—have populations with no democratic say in the matter.
Critics of the WNA figures say that while the claims for reactors planned and proposed might be real, the chances of most of them actually being built are remote.The US is said to have five reactors under construction, five more planned and 17 proposed—but with existing nuclear stations closing because they cannot compete with gas on price, it is unlikely that all of these will be completed by 2030.
The UK, which has a government keen to build nuclear stations, is said to have four stations planned and seven more proposed. The first of these stations was due to be opened by 2017, but work has not yet been started. The earliest completion date is now expected to be 2024, and the rest will follow that.
The delay in Britain is partly because the subsidies offered to French, Chinese and Japanese companies to build the UK reactors are under investigation by the European Commission to see if they breach competition rules.
Martin Forward is from the English Lake District, where one of the four nuclear stations is planned, and runs Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment. He said: “I cannot see how nuclear has any future in Europe because of cost. Nuclear needs massive subsidies to be financially viable, but these are currently illegal under European law, so it is unlikely that the British ones will be built.
“Even if the government can get over that hurdle, there are many problems to overcome—for example, the designs of the stations have to be finalised. The process could take years, by which time wind, solar and other renewables will have expanded so much it will make nuclear redundant.”…….http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/boom-or-doom_riddle_for_nuclear_industry_20140727
Sanctions on Russia have potential for nuclear impact, PennEnergy, July 23, 2014 By Diarmaid Williams International Digital Editor Recent events in Ukraine have put Europe’s energy security again under scrutiny, and while there is great concern about the bloc’s vulnerability to Russia retaliating to sanctions by turning of the gas, not as much attention has been paid to the nuclear power aspect.
It is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium, accounting for 18 per cent of EU supplies.
The BBC reports that 30 per cent of the enrichment work to make uranium suitable for power generation is done by Russian companies.
Meanwhile, many countries within the EU have a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors – 18 in all. Finland has two – and all the reactors in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (who are in deals with Russia to build two more) are Russian-designed.
These states are heavily reliant on their nuclear capacity, with 50 per cent of Slovakia’s electricity and 45 per cent of Hungary’s being accounted for by these plants.The fuel for a reactor also has to be supplied in a form – called a fuel assembly – that meets the specifications of the particular reactor, and for Russian-designed nuclear reactors the fuel comes from a Russian company, TVEL. Anything that disrupts the supply of the fuel assemblies needed for these countries’ reactors would be a serious problem for them. A recent European Commission report argued that, “Ideally, diversification of fuel assembly manufacturing should take place, but this would require some technological efforts because of the different reactor designs.”
Because of the implications to countries’ power sectors and, subsequently, their economies, many are reluctant to back aggressive sanctions against Russia……..http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pei/2014/07/sanctions-on-russia-have-potential-for-nuclear-impact.html
Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short, Tri City Herald, BY RAY HENRY Associated Press July 26, 2014 WAYNESBORO, GA. The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.
So far, it’s not working.
Quality and cost problems have cropped up again, raising questions about whether nuclear power will ever be able to compete with other electricity sources. The first two reactors built after a 16-year lull, Southern Co.’s Vogtle plant in Georgia and SCANA Corp.’s VC Summer plant in South Carolina, are being assembled in large modules. Large chunks of the modules are built off-site, in an effort to improve quality and avoid the chronic cost overruns that all but killed the nuclear industry when the first wave of plants was being built in the 1960s and 1970s.
Analysts say engineers created designs that were hard or impossible to make, according to interviews and regulatory filings reviewed by The Associated Press. The factory in Louisiana that constructed the prefabricated sections struggled to meet strict quality rules. Utility companies got early warnings but proved unable to avoid the problems. Now the firms leading the project are phasing out the Louisiana factory for work on the biggest modules and contracting with new manufacturers………
Inspectors for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission halted their first review of the plant the following month, saying it was not ready for in-depth scrutiny. Follow-up inspections found more issues with the plant’s quality assurance programs. NRC officials proposed a $36,400 fine against The Shaw Group for firing a quality insurance supervisor elsewhere in its company who warned a potentially faulty part may have been shipped to a project in New Mexico. The fine was dropped after the company agreed to changes. The agency also said workers at the Lake Charles facility feared raising safety and quality concerns to their supervisors………http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/07/26/3079384/promises-of-easier-nuclear-construction.html?sp=/99/915/
“Joe Mangano is the constant, tireless voice that has helped keep me linked to reports from the front lines of the battle to expose the staggering risks to public health posed by nuclear power . . . Joe has been one of the most dedicated, intelligent and even-handed public activists I have ever known. He has also proven to be one of the most effective, on a battlefield where gains are measured in inches, if not centimeters.” —from the foreword by Alec Baldwin
Will Americans once again play nuclear roulette?
Just one year after the Fukushima meltdown, all 54 reactors in Japan have been closed, and may never be restarted. Germany recently closed several reactors, and will shutter them all within a decade. Italy revoked its pledge to build new reactors, keeping that nation nuclear-free. All these decisions are based on the understanding that reactors are extremely dangerous and expensive.
In the U.S., the remnants of the once-overwhelmingly powerful nuclear lobby are making their last stand for “clean” nuclear energy. The sixty-year-old vision of power “too cheap to meter” (words originally uttered by a banker promoting the industry) is back. While other countries end their reliance on nuclear energy, Americans contemplate its revival, even as existing reactors, which produce a fifth of U.S. electricity, pass retirement age and are corroding.
In Mad Science, Joseph Mangano strips away the near-smothering layers of distortions and outright lies that permeate the massive propaganda campaigns on behalf of nuclear energy. He explores the history of the industry, with its origins in the Manhattan Project, through its heightening promotion during the Cold War and its entwinement with nuclear weapons.
Mad Science includes an account of nuclear accidents and meltdowns and their consequences, from Chernobyl to Santa Susana and beyond; as well as a point-by-point refutation of pro-nuke arguments. Atomic energy is unsafe – it deals with staggeringly poisonous substances at every stage of its creation – un-economical in the extreme and impractical.
Publication October 2012 • 336 pages
paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-85-0 • ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-86-7
Kagoshima residents near Sendai nuclear plant given iodine tablets http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/27/national/kagoshima-residents-near-sendai-nuclear-plant-given-iodine-tablets/#.U9bY_ONdUnk KYODO JUL 27, 2014 Local authorities in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday started handing out iodine tablets to residents living within 5 km of the Sendai nuclear power plant, which may be restarted in the fall.
It is the first time iodine tablets have been distributed under guidelines instituted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which was set up in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Iodine tablets help people protect their thyroid glands from radiation.
The move by the Kagoshima prefectural and Satsumasendai municipal governments came after Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant cleared a key safety hurdle for restarting operations earlier this month.
About 2,700 of the roughly 4,700 residents over 3 who live within the 5-km radius were given a supply of tablets after hearing an official briefing, submitting medical interview sheets and receiving the green light from doctors, according to prefectural officials.
Briefings for the remaining residents will resume in September, they said.
A total of 39 residents declined to receive the tablets. Children under 3 will receive the equivalent at shelters in the event of a nuclear accident, the officials said.
Del. distributing radiation protection tablets http://newsok.com/del.-distributing-radiation-protection-tablets/article/feed/715584 July 26, 2014 MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP) — Officials say they’ll be distributing free potassium iodide tablets to Delaware residents who live within 10 miles of the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey.
If a radiation emergency were to occur, officials would inform the public through the use of emergency alert system radio stations. The information would include evacuation instructions as well as instructions on when to take the potassium iodide tablets.
Preparing for War with Russia. Removing Russia with a Preemptive Nuclear Attack? What is the Future of Humanity? By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts Global Research, July 26, 2014 paulcraigroberts.org “……..NATO commander General Breedlove and Senate bill 2277 clearly indicate that Washington is organizing itself and Europe for war against Russia (see my previously posted column).
Europe is reluctant to agree with Washington to put Ukraine in NATO. Europeans understand that if Washington or its stooges in Kiev cause a war with Russia Europe will be the first casualty. Washington finds its vassals’ noncompliance tiresome. Remember Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s “f**ck the EU.” And that is just what Washington is about to do.
The US Senate’s Russian Aggression Prevention Act, about which I reported in my previous column, does even more mischief than I reported. If the bill passes, which it likely will, Washington becomes empowered to bypass NATO and to grant the status of “allied nation” to Ukraine independently of NATO membership. By so doing, Washington can send troops to Ukraine and thereby commit NATO to a war with Russia………
As Stephen Starr explained in a guest column, there are no winners of nuclear war. Even if the US escapes retaliatory strikes, everyone will die regardless.
The view in Washington of the neoconservatives, who control the Obama regime, is that nuclear war is winnable. No expert opinion supports their assumption, but the neocons, not the experts, are in power,
Notice how quickly Washington escalated the orchestrated Ukrainian “crisis” without any evidence into “Russian aggression.” Overnight we have the NATO commander and US senators taking actions against “Russian aggression” of which no one has seen any evidence.
With Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Washington learned that Washington could act on the basis of baldfaced lies. No one, not Great Britain, not France, not Germany, not Italy, not the Netherlands, not Canada, not Australia, not Mexico, not New Zealand, not Israel, nor Japan, nor S. Korea, nor Taiwan, nor (substitute your selection) stepped forward to hold Washington accountable for its blatant lies and war crimes. The UN even accepted the package of blatant and obviously transparent lies that Colin Powell delivered to the UN.
Everything Powell said had already been refuted by the UN’s own weapons inspectors.
Yet the UN pussies gave the go-ahead for a devastating war…….http://www.globalresearch.ca/preparing-for-war-with-russia/5393375
Of course, as with the Abbott government, Australia barely gives any aid at all, so does this matter to Australia?
Expert calls on Pacific donor community to focus on renewable energy for shipping There’s been a call for international donors to adjust their priorities and invest in sustainable sea transport to reduce the Pacific’s reliance on expensive and high-polluting fossil fuels.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-27/an-pacific-sea-transport/5627330
Dr Peter Nuttall, head of the sustainable sea transport research program at the University of the South Pacific, says the region’s strategies for moving to a low-carbon economy appear to be ignoring the need to reform the maritime sector. He says sea transport in the Pacific is facing a “looming crisis” due to the spiralling cost of fuel. “For Pacific island communities and countries, shipping is an absolute lifeline,” Dr Nuttall told the ABC. “For many small maritime communities, if you cannot get ships out to the islands, then those communities simply have no futures.”
But Dr Nuttall says the donor community has focused on funding renewable energy projects in the electricity sector but ignored the need to do the same in the shipping industry. “We’re the most dependent region in the world on imported fossil fuel,” he said. “Seventy per cent, maybe as high as seventy-five per cent, of all fossil fuel burnt in the Pacific today is burnt for transport. “Many consultants (working for aid donors) come from a continental mindset where transport is the lowest user of energy and the whole concept that sea transport is critical is totally alien.”
Dr Nuttall says the maritime sector is ripe for investment in more sustainable methods of transport. “There are a range of renewable energy technologies and there are a whole lot of things you can do with conventional diesel-powered ships or heavy fuel-powered ships to make them more efficient,” he said. Dr Nuttall was one of the organisers of the second Sustainable Sea Transport Talanoa conference, held recently at the University of the South Pacific in Suva.
I think there’s a flaw in this argument . It sounds a bit like the USA pro-gun argument “Guns don’t kill people – people kill people”. But in fact USA has so many homicides, in which if just fists or a non-gun weapon had been used, death would not result. The wide possession of guns means a greater rate of violent deaths in USA. Are you saying that “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people. The person pressing the nuclear button kills people”. Therefore nuclear weapons in themselves are “innocent”?
BC’s Tales of the Pacific: Marshall Islands sues nuclear powers http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/editorials/67603-bc-s-tales-of-the-pacific-marshall-islands-sues-nuclear-powers, July 28, 2014 By BC Cook
BACK in the 1950s the Marshall Islands experienced massive destruction and radiation as the island nation hosted hundreds of nuclear bomb tests.
The United States sponsored most of these tests, though other nations exploded bombs there and throughout the Pacific region. You might assume a current lawsuit filed by the Marshall Islands against the U.S. and eight other nuclear powers has to do with demanding compensation for the testing. But you would be wrong. They are suing in U.S. court and in the World Court at the Hague, Netherlands. What do they want?
So the Marshall Islands is calling them out on the hollowness of their lofty promises. The Marshallese are saying, in effect, “Put your money where your mouth is. You talk a good game but don’t live up to your own hype.”They want the world to disarm its nuclear weapons. Come again? Well, the nine nations named in the lawsuits all signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. Part of that treaty committed the signatories to rid the world of nuclear weapons for good, but none of the countries has made any move in that direction. Talks were supposed to have been held, deals were to be made, agreements reached. And while some of those things came to pass we still have huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
It is not likely that anything will come of the lawsuits, not in terms of actual change. It is interesting to note, however, that there are fewer nuclear weapons in the world than there were in the Sixties, by a large margin. So the nuclear powers could claim that they have, in fact, greatly reduced the number of nuclear weapons in the world, just as they promised they would. The problem is that none of us feels much safer than they did back then. Why?
Because war and violence are still everywhere. There is constant strife in the world. We all feel like we could be swept up in the violence at any time: a terrorist strike here, a rebellion there, jets being shot out of the sky for simply being in the wrong place. And since the second world war atomic and nuclear bombs have come to symbolize everything wrong with the world we live in, our inability to get along with each other.
I am reminded of a scene in the Terminator movies when children are seen playing war with toy guns. In a profound moment of clarity, a machine explains to a person why humanity is doomed. He says it is in our nature to destroy ourselves. Take away the nuclear weapons and we will find another way to kill each other.
So a lawsuit has been filed, arguments will be had, promises will be made and broken, and people will go on dying. Was the machine right? Can we save ourselves? BC Cook, PhD teaches Pacific history and other subjects at St. Charles Community College. He lived on Saipan and has taught at universities in the U.S., including the University of Missouri.
EXTRACTS FROM DEBATE
(Full transcript below)
It’s not simply the matter of cleaning up and asking people to come back. We affected their lives that much and changed their course by promoting nuclear power and causing that accident.
The Views state in Point 2 that the accident imposed restrictions on people’s right to live.
but I think there was also an aspect to the accident that strictly questioned whether or not this technology called atomic power generation can coexist with our society in a broader sense.
In response to the request, the Seismological Society of Japan asked the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy to clarify whether this working group has the status of a third-party organ or not, taking a proposal made by the Science Council of Japan (refer to Footnote 6) into consideration. (Refer to an essay by Kato that appeared in the February 2014 issue of Science Journal Kagaku for details.) However, the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy has ignored this request and provided no reply to the Society whatsoever.
However, disaster prevention plans are not included in items inspected by the Authority. The government cannot win the confidence of residents without disaster prevention plans
We should set up organizations for such activities and build systems for exchanging opinions with citizens. Unless such actions are taken, things will not advance smoothly even if the government comes to the front. We have said this repeatedly.
There is no upper limit for the cost of nuclear power generation. No ceiling has been set on the cost of nuclear power generation because the cost depends on the size of an accident if it happens.
There have been no published data about cost distribution among existing plants. Oshima Kenichi of Ritsumeikan University calculated costs, but they were averages for existing plants.
Japanese systems have a built-in tendency to hide information in administration. What should we do about this tendency?
Power companies stop publishing their costs if and when competition results from electric power deregulation. The government must take steps to prevent such a response
The government talks about responsible energy policies. But the government will not be able to perform its responsibilities if it leaves the policies in the hands of business operators.
It is wrong to say that nuclear power is not necessary while it is OK for power companies to fail without such discussions. At the same time, it is unreasonable to say nuclear power is necessary by speaking as if our lives will be thrown into trouble if power companies become bankrupt.
The latest nuclear accident was so huge in scale that it could cause a big, global company called Tokyo Electric Power Company to fail if decontamination and compensation are assumed as its responsibilities.
Damage compensation is rising in value as the actual conditions of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident become more and more known. Where to go for securing funds for compensation becomes a problem under the circumstance. One approach is to obtain the funds by raising power rates. Another approach is to secure the funds by restarting nuclear power plants. The third approach is to build up the funds by asking to reduce damage compensation. There are no other alternatives. All these three approaches appear in the business plans of Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The government is shifting the burden to power rates and taxes after all. As for the fourth approach, the government is taking over compensation by using tax revenues
There are private companies that implement a national policy. In several places, the Opinions say the government comes to the front. I think the government must deal with nuclear power generation responsibly in many respects.
I feel that investing tax revenues in the organization in charge of decommissioning is inevitable in a sense.
As a matter of fact, the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act prescribes these points should be discussed within one year. But no discussion has yet taken place. We must discuss these points.
The elimination of the nuclear power industry resembles the abolition of nuclear weapons. They are parallel issues.
[Introductory notes by the Editorial Department of Science Journal Kagaku]
The Basic Act on Energy Policy stipulates the formulation of the Basic Energy Plan (a basic plan for energy supply and demand). In formulating the Plan, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry is asked to listen to the opinions of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, an advisory council for the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Subcommittee on Basic Policies presented Opinions on the Basic Energy Plan (hereinafter referred to as the “Opinions”) to the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy on December 13, 2013. The secretariat for the Advisory Committee had suddenly submitted the Opinions during a Committee meeting on December 6, 2013. Even though the Opinions were still a proposal, public comments on them were sought from that day. (The period for accepting the comments was initially announced to end on January 4, 2014, but it was later extended to January 6, 2014.)
Ueta acted as a member of the Subcommittee on Basic Policies (which held its first meeting on July 24, 2013, and its 13th meeting on December 13, 2013) and as a member of the Committee on Basic Issues, an organ that had performed roles similar to the Subcommittee before a government changeover (and held its first meeting on October 3, 2011, and its 33rd meeting on November 14, 2012) . In the meantime, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) published Views on Opinions on the Basic Energy Plan (hereinafter referred to as the “Views”; refer to the Appendix for details) on January 9, 2014. Science Journal Kagaku asked Ueta, who had taken part in these discussions, and Suzuki, the JAEC vice-chairman, to come to its office and discuss where Japan’s energy policies will go from here.
Original Problems with the Committee on Basic Issues and the Subcommittee on Basic Policies
Ueta: Needless to say, the substance of energy policies is crucial, but I feel that how decisions are made about the policies is an extremely big issue related to their substance. I wrote that in my book [Midori-no enerugii genron (The Principles of Greening Energy) published by Iwanami Shoten, Publishers]. I feel this way based on my own experience as a member of the Committee on Basic Issues and the Subcommittee on Basic Policies.
Looking back, the Committee on Basic Issues was established in response to the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. At the time when the Committee was launched, some of its members asked if it was all right for this Committee to have its secretariat located where it was (at the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in the first place. They also questioned if it was OK for a stakeholder of this kind to become the chairman of this Committee (aside from the question of personal qualifications) and for individuals involved in past policies to serve as members of the Committee.
There is a tendency for the secretariat to decide who will be members of these panels. As reported in the mass media, the composition of panel members changed considerably when the Committee on Basic Issues dissolved as a result of a government changeover and the Subcommittee on Basic Policies was born. (There were reports that Committee members critical of nuclear power plants fell substantially in number.) I think the change in members caused a considerable difference in the substance of published energy policies.
Personally, I felt the change in the panel members gave Japanese citizens doubts and caused them to wonder if the Subcommittee on Basic Policies could really come up with energy policies that are trustworthy.
The Committee on Basic Issues had problems in the first place, but there was a feature of its panel composition that permitted Committee members to lock horns with each other. Additionally, the Committee was originally designed to propose choices of a certain kind regarding energy policies. The Committee had an established process through which those choices were submitted to national debate. The Committee on Basic Issues was limited in many ways, but I give it high marks on this point.
What surprised me about the Subcommittee on Basic Policies was that the Opinions were explained for the first time in the latter half of its meeting on December 6, 2013, and became finalized before long on December 13. This seems excessively fast to me. I also felt public comments were not sought sufficiently.
I think we can say whether or not trustworthy energy policies will be formulated based on lessons learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for the first time when a trustworthy process to form decisions becomes available. In my view, the Opinions have a considerably big problem from that viewpoint. The Subcommittee on Basic Policies must have a great deal of discussions on the substance of energy policies. At the same time, the Subcommittee must build a process for discussing a fair way to form decisions that can ultimately convince citizens. I think things will go wrong unless the Subcommittee does that.
The JAEC’s Views Point Out a Lack of Explanations to Citizens
Suzuki: The JAEC stated that the Subcommittee on Basic Policies should carefully explain the Opinions to Japanese citizens in Point 1 of the Views, and discuss Views on Initiatives for Building the Confidence of Citizens (issued on December 25, 2012) in Point 8 of the Views. These points are close to what Mr. Ueta said. In the Views, the JAEC mentioned transparency, fairness, and citizens’ participation in the decision-making process as principles for building citizens’ confidence. The three members of the JAEC share the view that the Opinions do not take these principles into consideration.
Process transparency does not simply mean providing information. The point is that the type of information sought by people who wish to verify a process must be provided in a manner that permits its verification.
The JAEC also received criticism regarding the issue of fairness. Fairness in this context means how to take various opinions into account and how to listen to the opinions of people who occupy different positions.
We also stated public participation is essential in the Views. We asked the Subcommittee to give Japanese citizens opportunities to gain knowledge and express opinions through a decision-making process.
The Opinions published on this occasion are extremely insufficient in these respects. That is the shared opinion of the JAEC members. I agreed with Mr. Ueta precisely as I listened to his opinions just now.
The Opinions were decided on abruptly and quickly. The way they were decided came from public comments that were extremely large in number. The number of comments surpassed 10,000. There were national debates about it when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, though these were insufficient. There must have been both good and bad sides to those debates as a matter of course. But I think discussions were insufficient this time around.
My impression is that the substance of the Opinions is inclined toward positioning nuclear power as an important baseload power source, though there are many opinions about nuclear power. Granted that such positioning is accepted as one view, the Opinions offer no sufficient explanation for nuclear power’s positioning as an important baseload power source under the policy (stated by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo) of lowering the degree of reliance on atomic power generation as much as possible. There is no explanation about the expression “important baseload power source” written in the Opinions, either.
We invited a METI official to a regular meeting of the JAEC and asked the official how an important baseload power source differs from a key power source, an expression that had been used to describe atomic power generation. An important baseload power source is positioned slightly lower than a key power source,
if we understood the official’s explanation correctly. A key power source means the most important power source. In the meantime, a baseload power source is but one of the important power sources. Using baseball players in the same club as an example, a base power source is one of the starting pitchers. The official didn’t say exactly this, but that’s how I interpreted the explanation the official supplied.
If that is the case, the positioning must be written exactly as such and its meaning must be explained accurately. Unless that is done, citizens do not understand how a baseload power source is positioned and what it means.
The Opinions also say the period for checking the structure of energy supply and demand is about twenty years. I think the statement means that twenty years is the time for positioning energy policies that originally adopt long-term perspectives. I feel the Opinions do not give sufficient explanations. The period for reducing reliance on nuclear power and positioning it as an important base power source is set at twenty years this time around. However, the Opinions left unknown what would happen after this period ends.
In concrete terms, the question is whether or not to build and expand nuclear power plants. The Opinions say nuclear power plants will be positioned as a baseload power source, and their scale will be kept at the required level. Doing so requires replacement (of old nuclear power plants with new ones). However, Prime Minister Abe said Japan will not build or expand nuclear power plants for the foreseeable future. The Opinions say nothing about their replacement, either. Explanations have been insufficient. We wrote that in the Views.
Ueta: Frankly speaking, the Opinions are not written in language that is easy to understand. Sections of the Opinions that demand explanations increase in number as we discuss them more and more. It may be my shrewd guess, but I think explanations for the Opinions ended quickly to prevent such sections from further increasing.
As Mr. Suzuki said, the Opinions positioned nuclear power as an important base power source. The Opinions also stated Japan should lower the degree of reliance on nuclear power plants, but their scale should be maintained at a required level. How do these three statements connect to each other? That is an essential question. I think people who read the Opinions did not understand them. I feel the incomprehensibility of the Opinions strengthened Japanese citizens’ feeling of doubt about nuclear power.
It is often said that the restoration of public confidence is essential for energy policies. My impression is that the Subcommittee adopted an approach that was not sufficient for restoring public confidence.
What Kind of Society Should Japan Aim to Realize with March 11 as the Starting Point?
Editorial Department: Thinking about energy over the long-term amounts to thinking about how a society should be, doesn’t it?
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On April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed landmark cases in the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court against the nine nuclear-armed nations.
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The webinar takes place on August 6, the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Please join us to learn about this important campaign to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again. Click hereto register.
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‘Tokyo should no longer be inhabited,’ Japanese doctor warns residents regarding radiation http://www.naturalnews.com/046112_radiation_fukushima_tokyo.html 25 July 14 (NaturalNews)In an essay addressed to his colleagues, Japanese doctor Shigeru Mita has explained why he recently moved away from Tokyo to restart his practice in western Japan: He believes that Tokyo is no longer safe to inhabit due to radioactive contamination caused by the March 11, 2011, meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The essay, titled “Why did I leave Tokyo?” was published in the newsletter of the Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo.
Soil tests prove contamination
Dr. Mita opens his essay by contextualizing his decision to leave, noting that he had a long history as a doctor in Tokyo.
“I closed the clinic in March 2014, which had served the community of Kodaira for more than 50 years, since my father’s generation, and I have started a new Mita clinic in Okayama-city on April 21,” he wrote.
Dr. Mita notes that, for the past 10 years, he had been working to persuade the municipal government of Tokyo to stock iodine pills to distribute to the population in the case of a nuclear accident. Dr. Mita’s concern had been that an earthquake might trigger a meltdown at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. All of his requests were rejected, however, under the excuse that there was no reason to expect such an accident.
Prior to 2011, Shinjuku (the region of Tokyo that houses the municipal government) tested at only 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg. Today, levels at nearby Kodaira are at 200-300 Bq/kg.
“Within the 23 districts of Metropolitan Tokyo, contamination in the east part is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg,” Dr. Mita wrote.
For comparison, Kiev (capital of the Ukraine) has soil tested at 500 Bq/kg (Cs-137 only). Following the Chernobyl accident, West Germany and Italy reported levels of 90-100 Bq/kg, and both experienced measurable health effects on their populations.
Dr. Mita notes that the radiation situation in Tokyo is getting worse, not better, due to urban practices of concentrating solid waste in small areas such as municipal dumps and sewage plants. That is why, he says, radiation levels in Tokyo riverbeds have actually been increasing over the prior two years.
Dr. Mita’s essay also chronicles the many cases he has observed of patients presenting with radiation-induced health problems. He notes that, since 2011, he has observed while blood cell counts declining in children under the age of 10, including in children under one year old. In all of these cases, symptoms typically improve if the children move to western Japan. He has similarly observed persistent respiratory symptoms that improve in patients who move away.
Other patients have shown symptoms including “nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.” He also notes high occurrences of rheumatic muscle symptoms similar to those observed following the Chernobyl disaster.
“Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved,” he wrote.
Sources for this article include:
Nuclear Plants Should Focus on Risks Posed by External Events, Study Says NYT. By MATTHEW L. WALD JULY 24, 2014 Engineers at American nuclear plants have been much better at calculating the risk of an internal problem that would lead to an accident than they have at figuring the probability and consequences of accidents caused by events outside a plant, a report released Thursday by the National Academy of Science said.
Accidents that American reactors are designed to withstand, like a major pipe break, are “stylized” and do not reflect the bigger source of risk, which is external, according to the study. That conclusion is one of the major lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011, which began after an earthquake at sea caused a tsunami.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission calculates which problems are most likely and most troublesome, and aims to find components or systems that should be improved. B. John Garrick, a nuclear engineering consultant and vice chairman of the two-year study, said that engineers had more experience calculating the probability of failure in a valve or a pipe than in predicting earthquakes or floods. Better predictions of such events were possible, he said.
The study, ordered by Congress after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors, said that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the American nuclear industry should focus on the main sources of risk: accidents set off by “extreme external events,” like earthquakes or floods; multiple human or equipment failures; and “violations of operational protocols.”……….
In addition, the study said that safety officials should take into account the reduced capacity and maneuverability of outsiders to help a nuclear plant in trouble after a major earthquake or flood.
The United States should study costs not currently accounted for in making cost-benefit analyses about safety, like the expense of decontaminating areas distant from the plant, which the authors said was another lesson of Fukushima.
Psychological and social costs of evacuation or “sheltering in place,” meaning the confinement of people to homes, should also be considered, the study said, and so should decision-making about resettling people who had been evacuated because of the release of radioactive material.
And if two reactors at the same site had an accident at the same time, the study said that staffing might be inadequate for an event of long duration.
Congress also asked the academy to study the safety of spent-fuel storage,an area of concern since the Japanese accident. In the Fukushima accident, American officials became convinced — mistakenly — that water had drained or boiled from a pool of spent fuel and they urged Americans in Japan to stay 50 miles away. But the academy has not finished that part of its study.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/us/nuclear-plants-should-focus-on-risks-posed-by-external-events-study-says.html?_r=0
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