nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

NUCLEAR LIES – theme for October 2017

The nuclear industry’s history of lies goes right back to its beginnings in the early 1940s.

I would say the that lying is the worst thing about the nuclear industry – and that’s saying plenty!

Of the current lies –  it’s hard to pick which lie matters most.

Lately the nuclear lobby is touting the lie that “new nuclear” is essential for peace and nuclear non proliferation.  That’s a beauty, isn’t it?

The truth is that the nuclear weapons industry needs the “peaceful” new nuclear industry – in which to grow its expertise for the nuclear killing factories – the $trillion dollars nuclear weapons makers.   (Which is why governments are lending an ear to the otherwise completely futile “Generation IV”  nuclear reactor lobbyists)

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October 1, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear news to 21st October

I know that it’s becoming a tedious subject, but, unfortunately, the risk of war, a nuclear war, is creeping up inexorably. The general consensus of expert opinion is that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un does not want, or intend to start, a war. His quite rational aim is the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the USA. and thus prevent an American attack, and ensure the survival of his regime.  Russia and China, have achieved this ability, and USA and the world have learned to live with this reality.

Expert opinion seems completely confused as to the real aims of USA’s Donald Trump, and this is making for a scary scene. – And, it is hard to dismiss the opinion of the 27 psychiatrists who warned  about Trump’s mental state.

2017 – a catastrophic year for the nuclear industry – downturn in China, USA, and globally.

The growing threat of cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems.

North Korea’s belligerant response to USA-South Korea military drills.  South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities.

European Union statement on the Iran nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Quitting Iran nuclear agreement would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – says ICAN

JAPAN. Kobe Steel scandal and mismanagement is especially bad news for the nuclear industry. World Trade Organisation ruling on  Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood. Japan attempting to force contaminated food products onto the market.  Kansai Electric Power Co. to permanently close 2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture.  Japan’s solar powered smart communities.

Court rulings show Fukushima relief falls short of reality of victims. Robots are central to Fukushima’s highly dangerous nuclear radioactivity clean-up.

SOUTH KOREA. Secrecy surrounding meeting of World Association of Nuclear Operators in South Korea.

RUSSIA. Russia positions itself as mediator on North Korean nuclear crisis.

USA.

UK. UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy. Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees.  Part of the giant Hinkley Point nuclear plant will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) likely to create a new agency, after cancelling Cavendish Fluor Partnership.

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy. Kickbacks, procurement irregularities, at EskomFatal flaws in Eskom’s plan for new nuclear power at Koeberg, South Africa.

FRANCE. In 20 French cities, Greenpeace activists highlight the vulnerability of nuclear spent fuel pools.     29 French nuclear reactors at risk, warns France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).     Nuclear wastes – a divisive problem for the French, that could mean the end of the industry.  Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia. 100 employees evacuated from office of French nuclear station , due to mysterious package found.

CHINA.  Chinese slowdown may end nuclear’s last hope for growth.  China forced to close top skiing area, due to earthquake concerns about North Korea’s nuclear tests.  China looks to a second record breaking year in solar power installations.

UKRAINE. £1.3bn Chernobyl New Safe Confinement planned for completion this year.

CZECH REPUBLIC. Czech Republic breaking its legal obligations in building nuclear facility, with neighbouring countries not participating.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

WTO panel rules on Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood

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September 28th. Banners and calls for government action at Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square: “We oppose imports of radioactive, contaminated Japanese seafood.”
 
A dozen civic groups are protesting the lifting of an import ban on Japanese seafood.
“It’s been more than six years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but radiation-tainted water is still being released into the sea. If the government lifts the restrictions, contaminated Japanese seafood will enter Korea.”
 
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the Korean government slapped a temporary import ban on Japanese food. It then extended the ban to all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures around Fukushima in September 2013, citing safety concerns.
 
In mid-2015, Tokyo lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the restrictions.
After several bilateral meetings, a dispute resolution panel was set up in Feburary 2016, and this weekthe WTO panel sent its first dispute resolution report.
 
“Yes, both Seoul and Tokyo received the panel’s interim decision on Tuesday. For now, we cannot reveal the outcome as the concerning party’s duty. The result will be made public next spring, after it’s translated into three languages. What we can say now is that we will take measures if we think the panel’s ruling poses a risk to public health.”
 
In the complaint, Japan argued the Korean government lacked an explanation and scientific proof to back its restriction measures, adding Seoul had failed respond to Tokyo’s requests to answer its questions.
 
“In 2014 and 2015, Korea dispatched experts to conduct inspections in Fukushima. But, according to what I’ve found through information disclosure requests, under pressure from the Japanese government, the team didn’t conduct inspections in deep water, oceanfloor deposits as originally planned. Such inspections are critical to finding levels of contamination.”
 
The inspection team was disbanded in 2015 without a clear reason, and there was no final report on the inspection.
Experts believe it’s highly likely Korea lost the first panel ruling.
Once the outcome is made public next year, Korea has 60 days to hold discussions with Japan, and 15 months of appeal process, if it decides to do so.
 
“The Korean government needs to see how Japan is controlling its radiation tainted water, and conduct a thorough inspection in Fukushima, including of deep seawater, to show the import ban is fair. Secondly, the Korean government needs to take active measures to release whatever the inspection team found in 2014 and 2015 to restore people’s trust.”
 
Importing food is a matter of a nation’s sovereign rights.
A number of other countries, including China, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. all have some sort of import restriction measures, with China banning imports from ten prefectures in Japan, and Russia banning not just fresh seafood, but processed seafood.
Thus, the WTO ruling could have a broader impact and give Japan the basis to claim that food produced in the Fukushima region is 99 percent safe.
 
“There’s no safety level. Food safety standards differ according to the scientific research methods and the machines you use. No matter how small, radioactive material like Cesium, which stays in a natural state for a long time, accumulates in fish. If consumed by people, there’s a possibility it can cause cancer.”
 
Following the import ban in 2011, Japanese seafood imports to Korea have slumped to less than half the level they were at before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Many Koreans are worried about the possible resumption of seafood imports from Japan.
 
“Then, people won’t be conscious or cautious of food from Fukushima, and I’m worried my child will eat Japanese seafood. The government should protect the public’s health.”
 
“With concerns about radioactive contamination in seafood imports from Japan, and a lack of transparency from the government, the Korean public is calling on the administration to take the necessary measures that guarantee the safety of the nation’s food supply.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News. ”

 

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan attempting to force contaminated food products onto the market

A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
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WTO panel said to back Japan on Fukushima fish ban

Tokyo has called South Korean restrictions on seafood imports unfair
GENEVA/SEOUL — A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
The WTO dispute settlement process lets parties appeal panel decisions. Ryu Young-jin, South Korea’s minister of food and drug safety, told lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday that the country would appeal any ruling against it by the panel “in the interest of public health.”
For Tokyo, a victory would mark progress on rolling back restrictions on imports of fish and other seafood from waters off eastern Japan. The South Korean ban, which Japan claims is unfair under WTO rules, was imposed in 2013. Japan tried and failed to talk the matter out with South Korea in 2015, prompting Tokyo to request the establishment of the dispute resolution panel.
What happens next remains unclear. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the import ban would stay in place until at least 2019.
A number of other countries have imposed similar restrictions on Japanese seafood for fear of radioactive contamination, so the ruling could have a broader impact.

Seoul considers appeal against WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea is considering appealing the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel findings that its import restrictions on Japanese seafood after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were unfair, the country’s trade ministry said Wednesday.
Japan lodged a complaint at the WTO in 2015 to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements on fish caught from eight prefectures near Fukushima since 2013.
On Tuesday, WTO’s dispute settlement panel in Geneva ruled in favor of Japan and notified the two sides of the result.
“We will appeal in accordance with the WTO procedures if (its decision) is considered unfair and affects the government’s ability to safeguard the health of our people,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a release. “Public health concerns are our top priority.”
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days to appeal to an appellate body, which could delay imports of Fukushima-related seafood for another two years during the deliberation period.
Details of the final result will be available to WTO member nations in January and will be open to the public afterwards, the ministry said.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Rulings show Fukushima relief falls short of reality of victims

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A recent district court ruling on a damages lawsuit over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident must have reminded many people of the serious consequences of the disaster.
The meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant shattered the happy and peaceful lives of local residents.
A huge number of people born and raised in the surrounding communities can no longer hope to continue their lives there, including working and developing their personalities through interactions with others.
In the lawsuit filed by around 3,800 plaintiffs, the Fukushima District Court on Oct. 10 held the government and the electric utility responsible for the nuclear accident and ordered them to pay compensation to about 2,900 evacuees.
It was another court ruling that represents a “legal defeat” for the government over the disaster, following a decision made in March by the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture.
For many years, the government has been promoting nuclear power generation as a national policy. Policymakers involved should revisit the lessons from the severe accident, which should be blamed on their blind faith in the “safety myth” of nuclear power.
They should also start making fresh efforts to enhance the safety of nuclear plants and provide effective relief to victims.
One key issue in the around 30 similar lawsuits that have been filed across the nation is whether it was possible to foresee the massive tsunami that triggered the meltdowns.
So far, three district courts have handed down rulings, all of which acknowledged that the tsunami was foreseeable. Their decisions were partly based on a related view announced in 2002 by a government agency.
Last month, however, the Chiba District Court denied the government’s legal responsibility for the accident, saying the disaster might not have been prevented even if presumed safety measures had been taken.
The ruling was based on a lenient judgment that showed insufficient sensitivity to the consequences of the accident.
In contrast, the Fukushima court delivered a well-reasoned, convincing ruling that describes in detail possible measures that could have been taken. It was based on a wide range of evidence, including courtroom testimonies by experts and facts and data concerning the situation when the accident unfolded.
Nuclear safety regulators and nuclear plant operators have the grave responsibility to constantly update their scientific knowledge and adopt safety measures of the highest possible level.
This is a vital imperative whose importance has become even clearer since the Fukushima accident.
Another key issue in the Fukushima disaster-related lawsuits is the way relief should be provided to victims.
All three rulings ordered compensation payments beyond government-set standards to a considerable number of plaintiffs.
The Chiba District Court ruling amply recognized the mental damages from the loss of hometowns caused by the accident. The Fukushima court granted compensation to a wide range of people, including residents in areas in Fukushima Prefecture that were not ordered to evacuate by the government, as well as in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, for their suffering from anxiety about radiation exposure.
The court rulings differed in their views about certain issues and damages granted.
But they all acknowledged that the government’s guidelines for compensation and TEPCO’s payments based on the guidelines do not adequately reflect the reality of the victims’ suffering.
The government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation, which crafted the guidelines, should scrutinize the rulings to determine if the guidelines have any shortcomings or other problems.
The nuclear accident cannot be undone. Obviously, the government and TEPCO are obliged to provide quick and appropriate relief to victims from the viewpoint of people suffering the consequences of the disaster.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

North Korea’s belligerant response to USA-South Korea military drills

North Korea warns US of ‘unimaginable’ nuclear strike http://thehill.com/policy/defense/356166-north-korea-warns-us-of-unimaginable-nuclear-strike, North Korea is warning that the United States will face an “unimaginable” nuclear strike for conducting ongoing joint naval drills with the South Korean military on the Korean peninsula.

“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones,” the state-controlled news agency KCNA warned Thursday, Newsweek reported. “The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”

KCNA also reportedly blamed the U.S. for “creating tension on the eve of war” by participating in civilian evacuation drills in South Korea over the weekend.

The remarks come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

President Trump has recently stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un, whom he’s dubbed “Little Rocket Man.”

During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

The high-stakes war of words comes after North Korea conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear tests to display its progress toward developing a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities

 https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/10/19/South-Korea-developing-missiles-to-destroy-North-Korea-nuclear-facilities/3121508418413/, By Elizabeth Shim   South Korea is preparing for full-scale war with North Korea by developing missiles that could destroy North Korea nuclear and missile facilities in the event of a conflict.

Gen. Kim Yong-woo, chief of staff of the South Korean army, said a plan to reduce to ashes North Korea’s weapons facilities, has been created, local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Thursday. Kim, who submitted his report for an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly’s defense committee, said the objective of the plan is to decimate Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction while minimizing casualties.

“We will develop the concept of operations that suppresses North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction in the early stages, while minimizing damage,” Kim said Thursday.

The concept of operations includes the development of three types of all-weather, ultra-precise, high-power missiles, the formation of a special maneuvering unit, a combat bot and drone system, and “game changers” or cutting-edge military systems.

The three types of missiles include a tactical surface-to-surface missile, the Hyunmoo-2, and the Hyunmoo-4 missiles, according to local news network YTN. The Hyunmoo-4, capable of carrying a 2-ton nuclear warhead and of targeting North Korea’s underground military facilities, will begin development once U.S.-South Korea missile guidelines are revised.

Included in the plan is an air-ground task force that includes airborne and mechanized troops, that would be deployed to make a push into enemy territory and to neutralize nuclear and missile facilities, Seoul said.

In a separate statement on Thursday, the South Korean navy said the Korea-based three-axis system that includes Kill Chain, Seoul’s pre-emptive strike system, is under review.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration set to unravel protection rules on ionising radiation?

EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’Bloomberg, By Ari Natter, 

  • Trump administration guidelines may be  prelude to easier rules
In the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA’s determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama.
It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump weakening radiation safety levels, watchdog groups critical of the move say. “It’s really a huge amount of radiation they are saying is safe,” said Daniel Hirsch, the retired director of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s program on environmental and nuclear policy.
“The position taken could readily unravel all radiation protection rules.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/epa-says-higher-radiation-levels-pose-no-harmful-health-effect

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

FACT CHECK: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009? ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?

Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’? Snopes, 19 October 17, 

Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

CLAIM:  Then-Secretary of State Clinton ordered then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to deliver highly enriched uranium to the Russians in a secret plane-side meeting in 2009.

RATING –    MIXTURE
WHAT’S TRUE:  On behalf of the U.S. government, Robert Mueller delivered a sample of highly enriched uranium confiscated from smugglers in Georgia to Russian authorities for forensic examination in 2009.

WHAT’S FALSE:  There was nothing nefarious in the transfer of the ten-gram sample, which was done at the request of Russian law enforcement and with the consent of the government of Georgia, whose agents had participated in its confiscation.

ORIGIN: In May and June 2017, a number of hyperpartisan news and opinion web sites published articles reporting that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, who in mid-May was named special counsel in the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials, was himself enmeshed in “secret dealings” with Russia related to his 2009 delivery of a sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to Moscow ordered by Hillary Clinton.

The conspiracy web site Intellihub noted that the transfer was revealed in a WikiLeaks release of a classified State Department cable:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facilitated the transfer a highly enriched uranium (HEU) previously confiscated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during a 2006 “nuclear smuggling sting operation involving one Russian national and several Georgian accomplices,” a newly leaked classified cable shows.

So-called “background” information was provided in the cable which gave vague details on a 2006 nuclear smuggling sting operation in which the U.S. government took possession of some HEU previously owned by the Russians.

The secret “action request,” dated Aug. 17, 2009, was sent out by Secretary of State Clinton and was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Georgia Embassy Tbilisi, the Russian Embassy, and Ambassador John Beyrle. It proposed that FBI Director Robert Mueller be the one that personally conduct the transfer a 10-gram sample of HEU to Russian law enforcement sources during a secret “plane-side” meeting on a “tarmac” in the early fall of 2009.

The WikiLeaks release was announced via Twitter on 18 May, the day after Mueller was appointed special counsel:

……….Intellihub characterized the plane-side transfer of uranium “shocking” and “rather reminisce [sic] of the infamous [then-Attorney General] Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton meeting which occurred on a Phoenix, Arizona, tarmac back in June of 2016” (which meeting was cited by former FBI Director James Comey as the reason he concluded the Department of Justice wasn’t capable of an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail issues at the State Department).

Read in its entirety, however, the cable itself reveals nothing questionable or nefarious about the transfer of evidence between Mueller and a similarly placed Russian law enforcement official in Moscow. It merely asked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to inform the Russian government that the transfer, which was postponed from an earlier date, would take place on 21 September 2009.

Moreover, it provided a complete explanation of why the transfer was taking place:…….

The 2006 sting operation was widely reported after the fact by U.S. newspapers, including the Washington Post:

Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

Despite partisan attempts to make it appear conspiratorial, the transfer of the sample of confiscated uranium was simply an instance of cooperative law enforcement between three countries: the U.S., Georgia, and Russia. The Russia government requested a sample of the uranium for forensic testing, the Georgian government signed off on it, and the U.S. government carried out the delivery.

The total amount of HEU confiscated in the sting was 3.5 ounces (about 100 grams). The amount Mueller delivered to the Russians was ten grams (the weight of four U.S. pennies). https://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-robert-mueller-uranium/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Abolish nuclear safety agency – secret advice from its chair, Sean Sullivan, to President Trump !

GOP chair of nuclear safety agency secretly urges Trump to abolish it https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/10/19/21217/gop-chair-nuclear-safety-agency-secretly-urges-trump-abolish-it

Proposal follows radiation mishaps and exposures; Dems oppose the move, By Patrick MaloneR. Jeffrey Smith20 Oct 17, 

The chairman of a panel charged with protecting workers at nuclear weapons facilities as well as nearby communities has told the White House he favors downsizing or abolishing the group, despite recent radiation and workplace safety problems that injured or endangered people at the sites it helps oversee.

Republican appointee Sean Sullivan, a former Navy submarine officer, told the director of the Office of Management and Budget in a private letter that closing or shrinking the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board he chairs is consistent with President Trump’s ambition to cut the size of the federal workforce, according to a copy of Sullivan’s letter. It was written in June and obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity.

The five-member Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, chartered by Congress, has helped persuade the federal government to impose tighter safety rules and regulations at most of the eight nuclear weapons sites — employing more than 40,000 workers — where nuclear weapons and their parts are produced or stored.

Nonetheless, the nuclear weapons complex in recent years has experienced alarming problems, including the mishandling of plutonium, a radioactive explosive; the mis-shipment of hazardous materials, including nuclear explosive materials;  and the contamination of work areas and scientists by radioactive particles — shortcomings detailed in a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Sullivan’s position is consistent with the longstanding preferences of the large private contractors that produce and maintain the country’s nuclear arms, most of which also contribute heavily to congressional election campaigns and spend sizable sums lobbying Washington. The board and its expert staff are now probing what it considers to be additional safety lapses or deficiencies that would cost weapons contractors millions of dollars to fix.

Three other board members, all Democrats, have said in written complaints about Sullivan’s proposal that he was not speaking for them, and argued that that other government agencies assigned to safeguard nuclear workers and the public near weapons sites are not capable of handling the task by themselves.

A spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Wood, declined to comment about the letter but said no announcement would be made by the White House about the issue until February, when the board’s fate will be decided as part of a Trump administration reorganization and consolidation plan.

Funding for the board’s operation in fiscal 2018 remains in versions of the defense funding bill, and in an effort to block Sullivan’s request, a Senate Democrat has added language to his chamber’s version that would bar the board’s elimination. But the bill is still being discussed between the Senate and House.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation hazard in Fukushima Olympics – as happened in Australia’s 1956 Olympics

The 1985 Royal Commission report into British Nuclear Tests in Australia discussed many of these issues, but never in relation to the proximity and timing of the 1956 Olympic Games. Sixty years later, are we seeing the same denial of known hazards six years after the reactor explosion at Fukushima?

Australia’s nuclear testing before the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne should be a red flag for Fukushima in 2020,  https://theconversation.com/australias-nuclear-testing-before-the-1956-olympics-in-melbourne-should-be-a-red-flag-for-fukushima-in-2020-85787, The Conversation, Susanne Rabbitt Roff. Part time tutor in Medical Education, University of Dundee, 20 Oct 17,  The scheduling of Tokyo 2020 Olympic events at Fukushima is being seen as a public relations exercise to dampen fears over continuing radioactivity from the reactor explosion that followed the massive earthquake six years ago.

It brings to mind the British atomic bomb tests in Australia that continued until a month before the opening of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne – despite the known dangers of fallout travelling from the testing site at Maralinga to cities in the east. And it reminds us of the collusion between scientists and politicians – British and Australian – to cover up the flawed decision-making that led to continued testing until the eve of the Games.

Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies agreed to atomic testing in December 1949. Ten months earlier, Melbourne had secured the 1956 Olympics even though the equestrian events would have to be held in Stockholm because of Australia’s strict horse quarantine regimes.

The equestrians were well out of it. Large areas of grazing land – and therefore the food supplies of major cities such as Melbourne – were covered with a light layer of radiation fallout from the six atomic bombs detonated by Britain during the six months prior to the November 1956 opening of the Games. Four of these were conducted in the eight weeks running up to the big event, 1,000 miles due west of Melbourne at Maralinga.

Bombs and games

In the 25 years I have been researching the British atomic tests in Australia, I have found only two mentions of the proximity of the Games to the atomic tests. Not even the Royal Commission into the tests in 1985 addressed the known hazards of radioactive fallout for the athletes and spectators or those who lived in the wide corridor of the radioactive plumes travelling east. Continue reading

October 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy

Energy Voice 17th Oct 2017Labour has threatened to vote against nuclear industry contingency measures post-Brexit, claiming they give ministers a blank cheque to make “controversial policy decisions”. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the Nuclear Safeguards Bill contained so-called Henry VIII powers which would enable the Government to pass laws with less scrutiny in the Commons.

She told MPs: “The job of a legislature is to legislate: the Bill before us as it stands is efectively a blank cheque handing that job over to ministers. “And I hope that the Minister can respond today with an iron-clad guarantee that the Government will not use those powers in that way but the ultimate guarantee will be to change the face of this Bill
itself.

“Safeguards are vital for our nuclear industry, but they are needed for our parliamentary democracy as well.” Speaking during the Bill’s second reading, Ms Long Bailey received cheers from the Government benches as she said there needed to be a nuclear safeguarding regime for the UK after it leaves the EU “should all else fail”.

But she said: “Let me add a caveat to that: we will need to see evidence of substantial amendment of the procedure set out here in this Bill, and evidence that the Government is really thinking about the best post-Brexit Euratom formulation before we can wholeheartedly commit at report stage and third reading to the passage of this Bill.”
https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153420/uk-needs-nuclear-safeguarding-regime-post-brexit-labour-says/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Economically, the nuclear industry is in collapse

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 17th Oct 2017, Mark Cooper: In 2008, the “nuclear renaissance” hype was in full swing. South Carolina was one of the first states to hop on the bandwagon. Public
and investor-owned utilities rushed to sign a contract for two new reactors at the V. C. Summer nuclear station before the design for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors was finalized, to avoid the price run-up that was expected to occur when orders for dozens of reactors were signed.

There was no rush of orders, but there were 17 formal revisions before the design was
finalized, and perhaps many hundreds more made in a more informal manner.

Adecade later, the nuclear industry is in shambles. Billions of dollars were spent on the two now-abandoned reactors at V. C. Summer, and only two other reactors remain under construction, at a plant in Georgia. The South Carolina reactors were so far behind schedule and over budget that they
triggered the bankruptcy of the reactor vendor (Westinghouse), the near-bankruptcy of its corporate parent (Toshiba), and the resignation of the CEO of the utility (Santee Cooper) that owns 45 percent of the V. C. Summer project.

The nuclear industry’s collapse is stunning, but it should come as no surprise. This is exactly what happened during the first round of nuclear construction in the United States, in the decade between
1975 and 1985. History is repeating itself because of a dozen factors and trends that render nuclear power, new and old, inevitably uneconomic.
https://thebulletin.org/dozen-reasons-economic-failure-nuclear-power11196

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy

New Energy Minister Mahlobo’s first words on his nuclear vision for SA, Fin 24, Oct 19 2017 Matthew le Cordeur , Cape Town – Incoming Energy Minister David Mahlobo on Thursday highlighted his vision for South Africa’s nuclear energy future, following the approval for Eskom to develop 4GW of new power stations near Koeberg last week.

Mahlobo is the third energy minister this year. Tina Joemat-Pettersson was axed in March after the nuclear programme was halted following a court ruling. Her successor, Mmamoloko Kubayi, was this week redeployed to the communications ministry, with speculation that President Jacob Zuma was not happy with her progress in restarting the nuclear procurement programme.

Critics and opposition parties have warned that Mahlobo’s appointment could be an attempt by Zuma to push through the nuclear deal, as the president’s leadership position hangs in the balance ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

4GW of new nuclear next to Koeberg

His appointment comes as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) last week authorised its Final Environmental Impact Report for the power station at Duynefontein, giving Eskom permission to develop a new nuclear plant next to the existing Koeberg power station.

Koeberg, based outside Cape Town, is Africa’s only nuclear power station and contributes 6%, or 1.8GW, to South Africa’s power grid.

Citing the outdated 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which states that South Africa requires 9.6GW of nuclear energy before 2030, Mahlobo said the latest development forms part of a “policy decision to pursue nuclear energy as a baseload energy form to mitigate our carbon footprint”………..

Zuma’s nuclear minister?

Allegations that Mahlobo’s appointment is a desperate bid by Zuma to get the nuclear new build programme off the ground hinge on revelation that he accompanied Zuma (with Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo) on a state visit to Russia in 2014, where he met with Putin at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo. No aides, advisers or wives went along, creating a veil of secrecy.

It has been widely speculated that Zuma and Putin struck a deal on nuclear cooperation at this meeting, but no evidence has ever emerged to confirm this. Rosatom, Zuma and the Department of Energy have consistently denied such a deal.

Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay said South Africans should be deeply concerned. “This is the state securitisation of the energy department. It started under Kubayi and will be completed under Mahlobo.” http://www.fin24.com/Economy/new-energy-minister-mahlobos-first-words-on-his-nuclear-vision-for-sa-20171019

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia

French nuclear giant EDF seeks business in Asia China and India loom large for the world’s largest nuclear power company, Nikkei Asian Review, TALLULAH LUTKIN and TOGO SHIRAISHI, Nikkei staff writers, 19 Oct 17,    PARIS — The world’s largest nuclear power company, Electricite de France, believes nuclear power still has a role to play in the future, despite forecasts suggesting the market is in getting precarious. According to one senior EDF official, there are still plenty of opportunities in nuclear plant construction — especially in Asia — that can complement renewable power sources……

State-owned EDF is determined to play a role in the growth of the nuclear power industry worldwide…..

For future projects, EDF has its sights on China, where most of the world’s new reactors are currently being built…..

In India, EDF’s nuclear ambitions should benefit from a combination of a growing economy still reliant on coal, a lack of access to electricity for millions of people, and an existing nuclear program, Ursat said.

The company also plans to jointly develop a plant in Turkey in cooperation with Japan, using a new reactor design, the ATMEA1, developed by French multinational Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. EDF’s close partnership with Mitsubishi is an indication of the importance of the Japanese market, Ursat said.

EDF is in the process of acquiring part of Areva, which is being restructured to save it from bankruptcy.  EDF will acquire Areva’s nuclear construction operations, renamed New NP, in December for between 1.25 billion and 1.875 billion euros. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is taking a 19.5% stake in New NP.

Ursat acknowledges that the nuclear power industry faces hurdles. “One of the challenges facing new projects is cost overruns,” he said. Thus, New NP’s primary objective is to “make new projects profitable, stay on schedule and lower costs.”……..

Projections by the International Atomic Energy Agency do not fully support EDF’s optimism, and vary significantly depending on circumstances. In the upper-end scenario, nuclear electricity generating capacity could increase from 391 gigawatts in 2016 to 874GW in 2050 worldwide. In the lower-end scenario, it would decline until 2040 before rebounding to current levels in 2050. Only three reactor constructions were started in 2016, down from 15 in 2010.

Moreover, some developed countries have decided to partly phase out nuclear power. France has announced its intention to close up to 17 nuclear reactors. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to cancel all plans for new nuclear power plants and “move toward a nuclear-free era,” something Germany is already pursuing. Both South Korea and Germany are looking to renewable sources as a replacement for nuclear power, rather than merely as a supplement.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are becoming more competitive. According to the International Energy Agency, auction prices for solar power will drop from over $150 per megawatt-hour in 2013 to $30 in 2020….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/French-nuclear-giant-EDF-seeks-business-in-Asia

October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

Politifact rates Nikki Haley Mostly False on her claim that Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal

Haley wrongly says Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal, Politifact,  By Allison Colburn Defending President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said Congress now has a voice on the issue that it didn’t have in the past.

Trump’s decision allows Congress to potentially kill the agreement or tack on new conditions………

Here, we are fact-checking Haley’s claim that Congress was “never allowed” to debate or discuss the agreement.

Congressional responsibility in the Iran deal

Much of the responsibility for U.S. foreign policy falls under the authority of the executive branch. Congress does play a significant role, however, in foreign trade and commerce, immigration, foreign aid, the defense budget and any declarations of war. The Senate authorizes treaties and confirms the president’s cabinet nominees.

To avoid needing Senate approval for an agreement with a foreign power, the president can simply avoid calling the agreement a treaty. The Obama administration said the Iran deal was neither a treaty nor an executive agreement. Instead, the State Department said in a letter that the deal “reflects political commitments” between the seven nations involved.

When the president negotiates a deal that is not deemed a treaty, Congress — if it wants a say on the deal — must convince the president to give the legislative branch the power to approve or block the final deal.

That’s exactly what Congress did when it passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a bill that had bipartisan support and allowed Congress the right to review any agreement reached in the negotiations. Obama initially threatened to veto the bill but did not.

Senators considered a separate, and ultimately unsuccessful, measure that would have given them the the power to block the agreement through a resolution of disapproval. A procedural vote on the resolution fell short of the 60 votes needed to override a Democratic filibuster.

Despite the resolution’s failure, by passing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress was able to have some authority and say in the final agreement.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who spearheaded the bill, has touted the legislation for taking “power back from the president” and forcing the executive office to be transparent………

Our ruling

Haley said Congress was never allowed to debate or discuss the Iran nuclear agreement while Obama was in office.

Though Congress had to fight for the right to disapprove of the deal, the passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 allowed Congress to not only vote on the deal but to also hold public hearings and debate. The Senate ultimately did not have the votes to block the deal, but the act included a requirement for the president to frequently monitor Iran’s progress in meeting the agreement’s conditions.

So Congress did have input, even if Obama initially tried to avoid it.

We rate this claim Mostly False. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/oct/19/nikki-haley/haley-wrongly-says-congress-had-no-input-iran-nucl/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment