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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Call from Iran for world nuclear disarmament

nuclear-weapons-3Iran’s foreign minister calls for world’s nuclear weapons states to disarm Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for talks on arms elimination treaty and for creation of zone free from weapons of mass destruction in Middle East, Guardian,  31 July 15, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has called on Israel and the world’s eight other states with nuclear weapons to begin disarming, in response to his country’s acceptance of strict curbs on its nuclear programme in anagreement reached earlier this month.

Writing in the Guardian, Zarif argues that by agreeing to the Vienna deal, titled the joint comprehensive plan of action, Iran was honouring the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), in which states without nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them. But he says the nuclear weapons states are not keeping their side of the bargain by disarming.

“The cold war-era asymmetry between states that possess nuclear weapons and those that don’t is no longer tolerable,” the minister writes, claiming Iran had “walked the walk” on non-proliferation.

“Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even talked the talk, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under NPT and customary international law. That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal.”

Israel does not officially confirm its nuclear arsenal, but it is believed to have about 80 warheads……….

Zarif makes three proposals: for negotiations to begin on a nuclear weapons elimination treaty; that this should lead initially to nuclear arsenals being taken off high alert readiness (for example, by removing warheads from missiles); and for the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction………..

Patricia Lewis, the research director for international security at the Chatham House thinktank, said: “Most interesting to me is that Zarif is strongly linking the nuclear deal in Vienna to the WMD-free zone. Iran used to be a thought leader in this process – a role it absconded from in recent years. It looks as if once again it may be prepared to take this on as a major issue. The fascinating thing to watch will be how Israel will respond, a country that won’t even reveal its nuclear weapons capability and remains outside the NPT.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/iran-nuclear-weapons-states-disarm-israel?CMP=share_btn_tw

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese Government Slick Propaganda to Minimize the Fukushima Situation in the eyes of the UN

After reading that article, I believe that this kid will be a tool for the the Japanese Government, which will be using that kid testimony to minimize the desperate extent of the situation in Fukushima, to justify its non evacuation of many people, the financially forced return of the previoulsly evacuees to go back to live in contaminated villages and to promote an illusory criminal reconstruction in the eyes of the world at the UN….She has been coached to that effect…..At least that is the impression this article gives me….

 I must add that to use a victim, a youth, as agent for their propaganda, is pretty slick, sly and devious, on the Japanese government part…

 Poor kid, she is being manipulated without even be aware of it….Sad, disgusting…

“… it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in.”
Unless:

1. The wind blows
2. It rains
3. You eat the food
4. You breathe
“…there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too.” Do tell!!!
Then, come back in 20 years and let us know which cancer(s) you have faced, if you have had a child with birth defects…at 16, it is so very easy to manipulate you. You want to go ‘home’…it just isn’t there anymore.

hkmmmAyumi Kikuchi, left, practices the speech she will give at a United Nations event with her English teacher, Fumi Arimura, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 23. She attends the relocated Futaba High School, now operating in the city of Iwaki.

Fukushima high school evacuee to share experiences at United Nations

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–A high school student who thought she was only temporarily fleeing her home during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and remains an evacuee to this day, will address an event at the United Nations headquarters this month.

Ayumi Kikuchi, 16, a former resident of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, located near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that suffered a triple meltdown, was asked by school officials to give the speech in New York City.

A nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of human rights, health and the environment contacted the prefectural Futaba High School, which now operates out of the nearby city of Iwaki. It invited a student from the prefecture to come and share their experiences of having lived through those trying events and the aftermath.

“At that time, I was a sixth-grader in my elementary school, and we were going to graduate in a few days,” Kikuchi says in her speech. “My home was 4 kilometers from the plant. At that time, I didn’t understand why we had to leave our home, and I thought we could come back home soon.”

However, she has been forced to live in various shelters over the years, including the Saitama Super Arena and one set up at the former Kisai High School in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture.

“I wondered what’s going to happen to us (at the time),” she said. She remembered watching the events unfold on the news.

“I went back to my home only once after the accident,” she wrote. “There were many houses left collapsed and roads still had cracks. Nothing seemed to have changed since the disaster. However, the inside of my house was totally different from what I remembered because of animal excreta and rain leaking in.”

The high school student said she hopes to one day work for the local government to help restore her town to what it once was.

Her school, which has a history of more than 90 years, will close after her class graduates. Four other relocated high schools are also scheduled to close.

“Many graduates are feeling very sorry and regretting that their old school is forced to close even though the school or the students have done nothing wrong themselves,” Kikuchi says in her speech.

In her message, Kikuchi will call on people to help one another in times of disaster. She also plans to ask people to share and pass on the memories that result from such devastating events.

“I want people to know about Fukushima’s situation accurately,” she wrote. “People in other countries may think that Fukushima is uninhabitable and may wonder why people don’t flee from Fukushima. In fact, however, it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in. Also, various movements toward reconstruction have been made, and there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too.”

Fumi Arimura, an English teacher at Kikuchi’s school, helped her write her 10-minute speech. Kikuchi leaves for the United States on Aug. 2.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201508010022

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

What Strontium 90 does to the body

diagram-Strontium-90Canada’s Land of Milk and Strontium 90, Enviro Reporter,  February 28, 2013“…….Strontium 90 never occurs naturally. It is man-made by the nuclear fission reaction. Strontium 90 is a “bone seeker.” It mimics calcium and if a bone is deficient in calcium, it will take up Strontium 90 in place of the calcium.

But whereas calcium will make your bones strong, Strontium 90 gets deposited in the bones and bone marrow and causes bone cancer and cancer of the tissues nearby. It can also get into the blood and cause leukemia.

Strontium 90 decays by practically pure beta radiation. When beta particles are ingested, they penetrate cells at the molecular level and are so strong that they can actually change the structure of the molecules they strike. If the molecule it strikes is a DNA molecule, then it can cause a spontaneous mutation.

Babies and pregnant women are the most sensitive to the effects of radiation. If a pregnant woman is drinking milk that has radioactive Strontium 90 in it, the fetus will concentrate that radioactivity. If a woman who is breastfeeding is drinking radioactive milk, the Strontium 90 will concentrate in her breast milk and thus get transferred to her baby.

Young children are the next most affected. Young girls are more affected than young boys. Women are more susceptible to the effects of radiation than men.

Strontium 90 has a half life of 28.79 years so it will be around for about 290 years before it completely decays away to a nonradioactive and risk-free form. That is, any Strontium 90 you ingest and lodges in your bones will remain in your body, decaying away, for your entire life.

There is no question about it – Strontium 90 is a man-made poison that we should never have to consume………http://www.enviroreporter.com/2013/02/canadas-land-of-milk-and-strontium-90/

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Fine – talk about nuclear power – but don’t pretend that it’s “low emissions”

The technology trap  Could new types of nuclear power station solve the problem? “Fast breeder reactors” produce more nuclear fuel than they use and so would theoretically have much lower life-cycle CO2 emissions than existing “burner” reactors. But in practice breeders are even more complex, dangerous and expensive than burners. As a result they have been stuck at the demonstration stage for decades and even some nuclear proponents admit that breeders are unlikely to be commercialized for at least another two decades, if ever.

The government’s issues paper mentions the possibility of nuclear reactors based on the thorium fuel cycle, but these are also more complex than uranium-based nuclear energy and there are no commercial systems operating as yet.

To sum up, based on existing commercial technology, nuclear energy is not a solution to the global climate crisis, because it will soon become too emissions-intensive. It is also not a short-term solution, because it is a very slow technology to plan and construct. It is dangerous and very expensive.

Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it “low-emission”,

global warming A

miningawareness Mark DiesendorfUNSW Australia, 31 July 15  Nuclear power is back on Australia’s radar. In its recent issues paper released as a preface to September’s Energy White Paper, the Abbott government reopened the debate thus:

With environmental considerations constraining the further development of hydro-electric sources, nuclear technologies continue to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market.

This sentence appears in a passage dealing with the “move to low-emissions energy”, and although nuclear is not explicitly described as a low-emission option, it certainly looks as if the government is prepared to consider embracing nuclear power as part of an alleged move away from fossil fuels.

Is nuclear energy really low-emission?

Unfortunately, the notion that nuclear energy is a low-emission technology doesn’t really stack up when the whole nuclear fuel life cycle is considered.

In reality, the only CO2-free link in the chain is the reactor’s operation. All of the other steps – mining, milling, fuel fabrication, enrichment, reactor construction, decommissioning and waste management – use fossil fuels and hence emit carbon dioxide.

Several analyses by researchers who are independent of the nuclear industry have found that total CO2 emissions depend sensitively on the grade of uranium ore mined and milled. The lower the grade, the more fossil fuels are used, and so the higher the resulting emissions. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Bradwell: Handing Future UK nuclear Infrastructure to the Chinese

flag-UKflag-China NuClear News August 2015 The Government is preparing to hand over future UK nuclear infrastructure to Chinese firms, according to the GMB Union in a “total betrayal” of UK workers. The GMB raised concerns earlier this month about the prospect of the Bradwell, site in Essex, being given “lock, stock and barrel” to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation.
 Energy Secretary Amber Rudd responded in a letter to the union: “The UK government welcomes overseas investment in the UK’s new nuclear programme. This includes investment and participation from Chinese companies in the Hinkley Point C project and progressive involvement more generally in the UK’s nuclear new build energy programme. In the future, this could include leading the development of a site in the UK and the potential deployment of a Chinese reactor technology in the UK, subject to meeting the stringent requirements of the UK’s independent nuclear regulatory regime.” (1)
 Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “I have studied the letter from Amber Rudd carefully and conclude that it looks that the UK Government is preparing for a hand over of the future UK nuclear infrastructure to the Chinese state. This is a total betrayal of workers in the UK and of the long term interests of the UK economy.”
 (2) Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), takes a rather more fundamental objection to the proposals than the union’s. He said “There shouldn’t be investment from anybody, even British investors. The idea of creating more rubbish when we don’t have any way to dispose of what we’ve already got just seems quite frankly immoral.”
(3) 1. Western Morning News 29th June 2015 http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Chinese-Hinkley-Cnuclear-deal-8216-betrayal/story-26797760-detail/story.html
2. GMB 29th June 2015 http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/chinese-state-role-in-new-nuclear
3. Essex Chronicle 18th June 2015 http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/Nuclear-plan-blight-Bradwell-scommunity-200/story-26715329-detail/story.html      http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo76.pdf

August 1, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

US State and federal agencies agree on plan to demolish southern Ohio uranium plant

Demolition plan OK’d in southern  Ohio uranium plant cleanup, WT,  By KANTELE FRANKO – Associated Press – Friday, July 31, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – State and federal agencies have agreed on a plan for demolishing huge buildings and other facilities from a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio.

radioactive trashIt is the latest development in the lengthy decontamination and decommissioning process for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, which was built in the 1950s and produced enriched uranium for defense and commercial uses until 2001. Its shutdown left old buildings, chemicals and radioactive areas that must be addressed……..the structures slated for demolition include the three process buildings, each with more than 30 acres under one roof. The cleanup plans allow for recycling of equipment and building materials if that can be done in a safe, cost-effective way…….. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/31/demolition-plan-okd-in-southern-ohio-uranium-plant/

August 1, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Brain cancer risk increases with long term use of cell phone near one’s ear

Long-Term Exposure To Cell Phone Radiation Increases Risk Of Brain Cancer, New Study Says . Inqisitr 31 July 15 A new study appears to support long-held suspicions that prolonged use of cell phones, especially when placed against the ears, could increase the risk of cancer, specifically, certain types of brain cancer.

graph-electromagnetic-to-br

 The new study titled, “Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation (LIRF),” by Igor Yakymenko and colleagues at the Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology, and Radiobiology in Kiev, is a meta-study.

A meta-study is an analysis of hundreds of previous studies on the same subject using statistical methods than can reveal patterns across studies not revealed in single studies or smaller samples of studies.

Commenting on the results of the study in the light of previous studies that raised suspicions of a link between certain types of brain tumors and cell phone use, Yakymenko said, “These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation (LIRF) poses for human health.”

The study concluded that damage caused by cell phone radiation to human DNA over long periods increases the risk of suffering not only headaches, fatigues and skin disorders, but also cancer.

According to the researchers, available data indicates that use of a cell phone for 20 minutes a day for up to five years increased the risk of certain types of brain tumor threefold. Using a cell phone for an hour a day for up to four years increased the risk of brain tumors three to five times……..

Although a recent large study found no clear evidence of link between cell phone use and cancer, a small group of heavy cell phone users showed a significanly higher incidence of brain tumors than the rest, suggesting, in concurrence with the new study, that heavy use of cell phones over a long period of time could increase cancer risk.

Despite figures showing that the overall incidence of brain cancers have not increased significantly since the introduction of cell phones, Yakymenko warned cell phone users to be wary of the possibility that data spanning longer periods — such as three decades – could show higher levels of risk.

“(Our) data were obtained on adults who used cell phones mostly up to 10 years as adults. The situation can dramatically differ for children who use cells phone in childhood, when their biology much more sensitive to hazardous factors, and will use it over the life.”

The researchers advised that the best way to minimize risk is by reducing the amount of time spent with your phone placed against your ears while making or receiving calls. In other words, people should use their phones handsfree and away from their ears more often. http://www.inquisitr.com/2298149/long-term-exposure-to-cell-phone-radiation-increases-risk-of-brain-cancer-new-study-says/#ce1txuT4TR3W1g1W.99

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Middle East arms race? Started by Israel!

flag-IsraelIsrael, Not Iran, Started Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Claims that the Iran deal will spark a nuclear arms race in the region ignore the fact that Israel has led the race for the last 65 years. US News, By: Bruce Riedel, Columnist for Al-Monitor , 31 July 15 

The debate about the P5+1 agreement with Iran on its nuclear program has already produced a storm of angry rhetoric and a tsunami of opinion pieces. But one issue is notably absent from the debate: the fact that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems that are decades ahead of anything Iran could develop in the foreseeable future. Iran should be constrained by a global regime from getting the bomb, but the notion that Israel is a weak powerless state like Czechoslovakia in 1938 is ludicrous.

The American intelligence community first detected the development of the Israeli nuclear weapons program through U-2 overhead imagery at the end of the 1950s……….

The debate about the Iran deal should be conducted within the context of an understanding of the balance of power in the Middle East. A comprehensive and thorough discussion of the balance of power should include Israel’s real strategic situation. Hysteria is not the answer when the stakes are high. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/29/israel-not-iran-started-middle-east-nuclear-arms-race

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Judicial review panel votes to indict ex-Tepco execs

n-tepcoexecs-c-20150801-e1438335362861-870x355(Left to right) Former Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro.

Three former top executives at Tokyo Electric Power Co. are set to be hauled into court over their alleged responsibility for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution voted Friday that Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of Tepco at the time of the disaster, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, should be indicted for professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

The announcement by the panel of citizens came more than four years after the massive tsunami of March 11, 2011, knocked out the critical cooling functions at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, leading to three of the six reactors there melting down.

Prosecutors have twice previously decided not to seek such indictments, saying Tepco could not have expected such a massive tsunami to hit the nuclear plant and cripple its critical safety systems.

But on Friday the committee overrode the prosecutors’ decisions for a second time, which will lead to a compulsory indictment of the three Tepco executives. They were all responsible for major disaster prevention planning.

Holding a news conference at the Tokyo District Court, representatives of a group of Fukushima residents and others who have filed criminal complaints against the executives said they were elated.

“I want (the Tepco executives) to tell the truth” during the upcoming trials, said Ruiko Muto.

Muto said many elderly people who evacuated from the radiation-contaminated areas have since died in shelters away from their hometowns, while numerous people still living in Fukushima are being exposed to radiation via contaminated materials from the heavily damaged plant.

Muto said many people outside the prefecture have the impression that the nuclear crisis is over.

“If who should be held responsible is not made clear, (the dead) victims won’t rest in peace,” she added.

Before the catastrophe, Tepco had conducted simulations and concluded that critical facilities at Fukushima No. 1 would be flooded and critically damaged if a major earthquake struck off the Tohoku coast and tsunami of more than 10 meters in height hit the plant.

But prosecutors concluded that it was impossible for Tepco to predict such gigantic tsunami would actually hit the plant, as opinions from quake experts were not established regarding the possibility of such a powerful quake.

The judicial review committee said the Tepco executives were obliged to prepare for a worst-case scenario even if the possibility of such a disaster was considered very small.

The simulations provided a good indication that a major crisis was possible, but the three neglected their obligation to prepare for such an eventuality, the committee concluded in a 30-page document explaining its decision.

The panel pointed out that 44 patients who were forced to evacuate from a hospital located 4.5 km from Fukushima No. 1 died after their health conditions deteriorated because of the move. The committee alleged that their deaths were caused by the meltdown crisis.

Meanwhile, no health damage has so far been confirmed to have been caused by radiation from contaminated materials released from the plant.

The committee said one person who was exposed to radiation from contaminated materials has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but a causal link with the meltdown disaster has not been established.

The central government is preparing to allow the reactivation of some commercial reactors suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.

Muto said she hopes the findings in the upcoming trials will prompt a change in the national nuclear policy and lead to the abolition of all nuclear power plants.

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/31/national/judicial-review-panel-votes-indict-ex-tepco-execs-311-disaster/#.VbvwEPmFSM_

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Forget the politics: carbon taxing is the best way to limit greenhouse emissions

Abbott-chicken-littleWas carbon taxation ever given a fair go?……..

Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does


Politics aside, a simple carbon tax makes more sense than a convoluted emissions trading scheme,
The Conversation,  Associate Professor at University of Western Australia  Adjunct Lecturer, Law School at University of Notre Dame Australia July 31, 2015 Writing recently on The Conversation, Clive Hamilton correctly pointed out that an emissions trading scheme (ETS) can in no sense be called a tax – the two are fundamentally different. Under an ETS, the amount of emissions is fixed by the government and the market then sets the price; under a carbon tax, the price of emissions is fixed and polluters decide how much to emit.

In this sense, Hamilton is right to opine that “emissions trading is the opposite of a carbon tax”. But during Australia’s fractious debate about climate policy in recent years, the two have often been conflated together, and we have generally been starved of sober analysis of the contrasting merits of different policy instruments.

To put it more succinctly, what are the actual merits of a carbon tax, specifically as opposed to an ETS?

Start small

A carbon tax could begin at a relatively low level, to avoid economic disruption, and then could increase steadily and predictably over time. This would encourage affected companies to cut their emissions and to use energy more efficiently, in turn encouraging a move to lower-emission technology. As a result, companies that made better progress in cutting their emissions would have fewer costs to pass on to their consumers, leading to more competitive prices.

A carbon tax would provide government revenue which could then be used to reduce or offset other taxes, such as corporate and personal income tax. A carbon tax could be “revenue-neutral”, either through offsetting other taxes or by using the proceeds to subsidise alternative fuel industries and projects.

Taxes are relatively easy to understand, having been around for centuries in one form or another. For Yale University economist William Nordhaus, the advantages are even clearer when compared to the operation of an international ETS. He recently proposed redesigning climate treaties to adopt a “club model” in which participating states enact carbon taxes in concert with one another, which Nordhaus describes as “the easiest way” to deliver costly emissions reductions.

Price-based taxes capture revenue more cheaply and easily than quantitative instruments such as an ETS, not least because tax-collection infrastructure is already in place. Taxation has lower administrative and compliance costs than carbon trading.

Taxation is arguably more direct and transparent than emissions trading, and affords less opportunity for gaming, speculation or corruption; money moves from polluters directly to the government.

A carbon tax provides price certainty and stability (as opposed to the volatility of prices for tradable carbon permits) and a fixed price for carbon emissions across all economic sectors and markets. This price certainty allows corporations more easily to determine the viability of new, clean technology investments.

Finally, the argument for carbon taxation is concisely made by Harvard economist Richard Cooper:

Decisions to consume goods and services made with fossil fuels are made by over a billion households and firms in the world. The best and indeed only way to reach all these decision makers is through the prices they must pay. If we are to reduce CO2-emitting activities, we must raise the prices of those activities. Levying a [tax] … does that directly.

Was carbon taxation ever given a fair go?……..

Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does. https://theconversation.com/politics-aside-a-simple-carbon-tax-makes-more-sense-than-a-convoluted-emissions-trading-scheme-45433

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Ecomigration happening as climate change already submerging islands

Vanishing Paradise Kiribati – A Case of Ecomigration : Dr Abe V Rotor http://avrotor2.blogspot.com.au/   31 July 15   Kiribati main island is formerly Atoll Christmas, named by Captain Cook when he arrived on Christmas Eve in 1777. The island, like most islands in the region, faces irreversible submergence and sea water intrusion as a result of rising sea level brought about by global warming. The island was used as nuclear testing ground by the United States in the fifties and sixties.
Aerial view of the Kiribati group of islands. Rising sea level is forcing inhabitants to leave permanently their home islands, a classical example of modern day exodus – ecomigration. Displaced inhabitants are being settled mainly in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Kiribati island

Kiribati (pronounced /ˈkɪrɨbæs/ ( listen) KIRR-i-bas;[4] Gilbertese: [ˈkiɾibas]), composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator, and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point. Kiribati is the only country in the world located on both hemispheres and lying on both sides of the 180th meridian.

The groups of islands are:

* Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands
* Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 930 miles (1,500 km) north of Fiji
* Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) southeast of the Gilberts
* Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 2,050 miles (3,300 km) east of the Gilberts.
Caroline Atoll channel between west side of Long Island and Nake Island.

Used for nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, the island is now valued for its marine and wildlife resources. It is particularly important as a seabird nesting site—with an estimated 6 million birds using or breeding on the island, including several million Sooty Terns.

According to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, two small uninhabited Kiribati islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, disappeared underwater in 1999. The islet of Tepuka Savilivili no longer has any coconut trees due to salination. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by about half a metre (20 in) by 2100 due to global warming and a further rise would be inevitable. It is thus likely that within a century the nation’s arable land will become subject to increased soil salination and will be largely submerged.

Rising level level is also being felt in many countries, particularly island-countries like the Philippines.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Canada’s Nuclear Regulator doesn’t like Bureau d’audiences publiques

nuclear-lobby-put-downCanada’s nuclear regulator slams Quebec uranium review, Resource Clips, by Greg Klein | July 30, 2015 A recommendation against uranium mining in Quebec has come under fire from the federal agency that regulates uranium mining and nuclear energy in Canada. In a July 27 letter to Quebec environment minister David Heurtel, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission criticized the province’s BAPE commission for “conclusions and recommendations that lack scientific basis and rigour.”

Earlier this month, following a year-long review, the provincial government-appointed Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement suggested Quebec “could decide to suspend uranium mining either temporarily or permanently.” Should the province decide to allow mining, BAPE recommended conditions including consensus-building and additional research that the bureau said would require years to complete……..

“BAPE’s recommendation not to proceed is based on the perceived lack of social acceptance and not on proven science.”

Quebec has no uranium mines. The former Parti Québécois government imposed a moratorium on uranium exploration in March 2013 following the James Bay Cree Nation’s opposition to Strateco Resources’ Matoush project. Saying it had spent $123 million on Matoush, the company launched legal action against the province and has since delisted from the TSX.

As the BAPE inquiry began last year, the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association called for the replacement of chairperson Louis-Gilles Francoeur, whom the association called a “former environmental journalist.”

A decision on BAPE’s recommendations will come from Quebec’s environment minister, who’ll review the report with a committee.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

US Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation of water seepage

Gov’t: Erosion is “undermining foundation” of major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — “Extensive network” of seepage paths found — “Water flowing through from multiple sources & multiple directions” — Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/govt-erosion-undermining-foundation-major-dam-upstream-nuclear-plants-extensive-network-seepage-paths-discovered-water-flowing-multiple-sources-multiple-directions-nuclear-plants-doing-proble?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

TVA’s Boone Dam repair announcement, Jul 30, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • 2:30 — The location of this sinkhole and the presence of the sediment… really raised the possibility of a safety concern with the dam… The initial investigation showed that we had internal erosion. A phenomenon called ‘piping’ where voids from water flowing through the dam — more of a stream-like effect — than just seepageInternal erosion is one of the leading causes of dam failures around the world. So we knew that we had to do something here to protect the safety of the public… particularly downstream risk… Around the clock inspectors [are] keeping surveillance on the dam [and we have] sensors to monitor movements that might occur in the dam itself.
  • 4:00 — One of the key findings so far is that water is flowing through the foundation from multiple sources, and in multiple directions. It’s actually seeping through porous rock — rainwater upstream, through porous rock, through the dam
  • 9:15 — There’s still a lot of unknowns as we move into the project.
  • 21:30 — There’s only 3 companies in the world that do this kind of remediation.That’s the complexity we’re talking about.
  • 24:00 — Reporter: You said that water was coming from multiple sources and moving in multiple directions. To the people who are watching… I would think they would think that seems like an impossible task to do. There are some… in this community who think… that Boone Dam can’t be fixed… Is there a possibility that these solutions that you’re proposing won’t work?

TVA’s Boone Dam Investigation and Analysis Summary: [There is] “internal erosion,” in which voids develop within a dam and/or its foundation because of the action of flowing groundwater… one of the leading causes of dam failures… March of 2015, TVA discovered a well-developed, complex network of groundwater seepage paths coming from sources other than the reservoir… surface runoff flows underneath the dam and is a leading contributor to the observed seepage and sinkhole… Further investigation has confirmed that deterioration of the cutoff trench has occurred as seepage flows continue to undermine the foundation of the embankment dam… If left unaddressed, continued internalerosion may lead to enlargement of the network of voids at which time a large influx of water into the voids could cause rapid acceleration of internal erosion and eventual breaching of the dam. Due to the complex and urgent nature of the situation at Boone Dam, TVA has complemented its own dam safety engineers with nationally recognized experts… In its current state, the dam cannot be relied upon to serve the functions for which it was constructed. In the unlikely event of a dam failure, risks to the public wouldinclude: … loss of critical infrastructure [and] potential loss of life… [We are] engaging local and state emergency management officials… developing specific plans to address potential emergencies and conducting mock exercises to execute those plans. TVA has also initiated efforts to reinforce downstream facilities in a way that will minimize potential risks from an unlikely failure of Boone Dam.

TVA’s Boone Dam Weekly Update, Jun 23, 2015: Our investigation has shown that more water is seeping through the foundation of the dam than would typically be expected.  A contributor to the seepage is the high water table from the area just east of the dam.  Both sources of seepage and subsequent erosion have created an extensive network of seepage paths beneath the dam… TVA Dam Safety experts [are] working to understand the extent of the seepage and erosion

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 4, 2015: For the five operability evaluations described in the problem evaluation reports (PERs) listed below, the inspectors evaluated the technical adequacy of the evaluations… The inspectors completed five samples [including] PER 952079 – Functional Evaluation of Boone Dam Sinkhole.

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 9, 2015: The inspectors reviewed the operability evaluations affecting risk-significant mitigating systems listed below [including] PER 952103 for the discovery of a sinkhole and tailwater sediment at the Boone Dam.

Watch today’s TVA press conference here

August 1, 2015 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not worth the risks of accidents weapons and the wastes threats

Accidents, Waste and Weapons: Nuclear Power Isn’t Worth the Risks miningawareness  Mark DiesendorfUNSW Australia

The case for expanding nuclear energy is based on myths about its status, greenhouse gas emissions, proliferation, accidents, wastes and economics. Let’s take each in turn.

StatusNuclear is not, and has never been, a major energy force. Global annual nuclear energy generation peaked in 2006. Meanwhile its percentage contribution to global electricity generation has declined from its historic peak in 1993 of 17% to about 10% today. The only countries with significant growth are China, India, Russia and South Korea. In the rest of the world, retirements of ageing reactors are likely to outweigh new builds………

The next generation of reactorsSome generation IV reactors are potentially lower in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, but these are not yet commercially available.

All are likely to be even more expensive than conventional reactors. The fast breeder reactor is even more complex, dangerous, expensive and conducive to weapons proliferation than conventional nuclear reactors. Despite several decades of expensive pilot and demonstration plants, fast breeders have not been successfully commercialised, and may never be.

Advocates try to justify the integral fast reactor and the thorium reactor on the fallacious grounds that they cannot be used to produce nuclear weapons explosives. However, if not operated according to the rules, the integral fast reactor can actually make it easier to extract weapons-grade plutonium and hence make bombs. To be useful as a nuclear fuel, thorium must first be converted to uranium-233, which can be fissioned either in a nuclear reactor or an atomic bomb, as the United States has demonstrated.

The small modular reactor (SMR) has been a dream of the nuclear industry for decades, amid hopes that future mass production could make its electricity cheaper than from existing large reactors. However, offsetting this is the economy of scale of large reactors. The Union of Concerned Scientists, which is not anti-nuclear, has serious safety and security concerns about SMRs.

Weapons proliferationNuclear proponents dismiss the danger that civil nuclear energy will drive the development of nuclear weapons, by saying that the nuclear industry is now under strong international oversight. This ignores the harsh reality that India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Africa have all used civil nuclear energy to help build their nuclear weapons. Furthermore, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Libya, South Korea and Taiwan all used civil nuclear energy to cloak their commencement of nuclear weapons programs, although fortunately all except Iran have now discontinued them.

Thus nuclear energy contributes to the number of countries with nuclear weapons, or the capacity to build them, and hence increases the probability of nuclear war……https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/4410547/767215566

August 1, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear watchdog proposes raising maximum radiation dose to 250 millisieverts

Nuclear plant workers in Japan will be allowed to be exposed to more than twice the current level of radiation in emergency situations, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Radiation Council.

The radiation exposure limit will be raised from the current 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in emergencies, the radiation council announced in a report released July 30.

The higher level is still only half of the accepted international safety level of 500 millisieverts set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an influential independent organization that provides guidelines on radiation protection, for rescue workers in emergency situations at nuclear facilities.

The new cap will be activated from April 2016 after revisions to the nuclear reactor regulatory law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

The limit was temporarily raised to 250 millisieverts by the radiation council following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The decision was quickly made by the council members through e-mail discussions as the 100 millisieverts limit could have caused a shortage of workers tackling the emergency at the plant. Later, the limit was returned to 100 millisieverts.

Under the revised law, the exposure limit for plant workers will be immediately raised to 250 millisieverts when certain conditions arise, including the risk of radioactive materials leaking from the facility into the surrounding area.

The workers affected will include employees of utility companies and their contractors, inspection officers from the Secretariat of the NRA and other on-field workers.

Of the 174 workers who were exposed to radiation doses more than 100 millisieverts following the Fukushima accident, six were exposed to 250 millisieverts or more.

The radiation council decided that workers are protected if they wear masks and other gear even when exposed to 250 millisieverts. The health damage from acute radiation poisoning below that limit is negligible, it said.

The council’s report calls for nuclear plant operators to carefully explain to workers tackling emergency situations about their tasks and obtain their consent to work in such an environment.

It also requests utility companies to conduct proper training of workers, while one of the council members also called on them to conduct follow-up medical checks to detect cancer and other illnesses.

The report also acknowledges that nuclear plant workers could be required to engage in tasks that cause them to be exposed to more than 250 millisieverts in acute emergency situations.

At Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, which the company aims to restart in August, workers will carry out their tasks with an exposure limit of 100 millisieverts until the maximum limit is raised to 250 millisieverts.

A plant worker who has worked at nuclear facilities for 20 years said he suspects that workers from subcontractors will agree to work under the raised limit.

“The cancer checkups and other measures also sound to me as stopgap efforts to ease our anxiety,” he said.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507310057

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

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