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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Climate change- what is to be done? – theme for August 17

Frogs are smarter than we are?  We insult frogs when we say that they would stay in  a pot of water, to die,  as it was slowly heated to boiling point. Dr. Victor Hutchison, at the University of Oklahoma, dispelled that myth when he studied frogs’ reaction to temperature changes in water. He followed the procedure outlined for a proper frog-boiling; put a frog in cold water, and gradually warmed the water up. (He stopped well before the boiling point.) The frogs most definitely did jump out when the water got too warm for them.

So – the message to human society surely should be –  act like a frogand don’t let global warming keep on creeping up on us!

Current approaches to the  climate change crisis:

  • Some climate scientists now warn that it is probably too late.  predicts The Unibhabitable Earth
  • Some advocate geoengineering solutions.
  • Climate scientists are in agreement that actions must be taken to adapt to climate change.
  • Drastic reduction in greenhouse gases is necessary, whatever other actions are taken.

Al Gore’s controversial new film carries a powerful message of hope.I hope that he’ s right.

Meanwhile the tragic main point of climate change is that it is affecting those who least deserve this. Rural populations in India, China and Africa , who have contributed very little to the cause of climate change are already afflicted with unusual heat, and drought. Pacific islanders, and South Asian coastal communities are already experiencing sea surges, as sea levels rise.

The challenge for this 21st century is surely for environmental justice – for meeting the plight of environmental refugees with help and compassion,  rather than with barriers and conflict.

The image below is by courtesy of the artist  Ricardo Levins Morales www.RLMArtStudio.com

 

 

p.s And of course, bear in mind that nuclear power is irrelevant to climate change –   except that it takes attention, energy, money and resources away from genuine solutions.

 

 

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change | Leave a comment

Municipalities near nuclear plants want say over restarts

aug 21 2017.png

 

More than half of municipalities within a 30-kilometer radius of nuclear power plants insist their approval must be sought for restarts, but only 6 percent of local governments that host such facilities agree.

The finding that 53 percent of municipalities require prior consultations came in a survey by The Asahi Shimbun undertaken two years after a reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture went back online in August 2015, the first to do so under new, more stringent nuclear regulations adopted in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The mayor of Hitachiomiya, Ibaraki Prefecture, said local governments beyond host communities “need” to have a say over restarts as the central government revised its nuclear emergency guidelines in 2012 to require municipalities within the 30-km radius to have evacuation plans in place in the event of a serious accident.

Before the Fukushima accident, only local governments within 8-10 km of a nuclear power plant had to do so.

The mayor of Misato, Miyagi Prefecture, said his town’s approval should be sought for a restart because a “local government not receiving economic benefits can make a levelheaded judgment on the pros and cons of resumed operations.”

Host communities receive grants and subsidies from the central government, in addition to taxes and other revenue sources related to power generation.

In the survey, The Asahi Shimbun contacted the heads of 155 local governments that either host or are situated within a 30-km radius of the 16 nuclear plants across the nation, excluding the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The figure includes the prefectural government of Hokkaido and 20 other prefectural authorities that host plants.

As things stand, there are no legal steps that an operator of a nuclear facility must take, such as winning the consent of a host municipality or the prefectural government, before a plant’s restart.

The Sendai nuclear plant went back online after operator Kyushu Electric Power Co. got the go-ahead only from Satsuma-Sendai, which hosts the plant, and Kagoshima Prefecture for a resumption of operations.

The survey found that Mihama, home to Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear plant, was against the notion of asking nearby municipalities for their approval for a restart.

Only a host community has a history of contributing to the safe operation of a nuclear plant,” the mayor said.

Of all the local governments, 61 heads called for legal procedures to be adopted with respect to restarts. All these calls came from municipalities located in areas surrounding nuclear power plants, except for one.

As long as nuclear energy has been promoted as a state program, the central government should take responsibility for setting the legal framework for a restart,” said the mayor of Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The mayor of Imari, Saga Prefecture, echoed a similar view.

Things remain ambiguous because no legal procedures are in place,” the mayor said. “The government is reluctant to enshrine the steps into law because that will make restarts harder. However, the central government should also listen to what people in municipalities beyond host communities have to say.”

The survey also found that calls for plant operators to gain the consent of the municipalities within a 30-km radius of a proposed restart have somewhat abated among 35 local governments, where nuclear plants have resumed operations.

Ten heads sided with this view in the current survey, down from 13 in the previous survey in autumn 2014.

Another 10 leaders called for setting up legal procedures for restarts, compared with 14 in the last survey.

Apart from the Sendai nuclear plant, Ikata in Ehime Prefecture and Takahama in Fukui Prefecture are currently operating.

Municipalities situated close to facilities that are expected to go back online in the near future are now taking a more clear-cut stance on nuclear energy issues.

Representatives from cities around the Genkai nuclear plant in Genkai, Saga Prefecture, formed a group to present a united front against moves to resume its operations, which is expected this winter.

Although the mayors of Hirado and Matsuura, both in Nagasaki Prefecture, did not take a stance in the 2014 survey, they joined the municipalities against the restart in the latest poll, bringing municipalities opposed to the restart to four, or half of the eight local governments within a 30-km radius of the facility.

The Genkai town hall and the Saga prefectural government have already agreed to resuming plant operations.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708210035.html

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Ionizing radiation: Radiation protection standards need to be improved

ionizing radiation

Translated by Hervé Courtois

Doctors and scientists are warning about the health risks of ionizing radiation.

Even small doses of about 1 millisievert (mSv) increase the risk of developing radiation-induced diseases.

There is no threshold below which radiation could be considered harmless.

Summary of a meeting of experts in Ulm (Germany) on 19 October 2013

On 19 October 2013, the German and Swiss members of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) invited doctors and scientists in the fields of radiobiology, epidemiology , statistics and physics at a meeting of experts in Ulm, Einstein’s hometown. Participants discussed current knowledge about the health effects of ionizing radiation, especially in the field of low doses.

The panel concluded that a revision of current radiation protection standards is essential to reflect the current level of scientific knowledge. Ionizing radiation is capable of causing detrimental effects on health; Some can be predicted and quantified through the use of epidemiological models.

In the past, the identification of the health risks of ionizing radiation was based on studies of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. This reference group can no longer be considered appropriate in the light of the new statistical evidence. Even very low doses of radiation are likely to cause disease.

Here are the conclusions of the Ulm Symposium:

1. Even background natural radiation has detrimental effects that are measurable;

2. The use of radiation for medical diagnosis has measurable adverse health effects;

3. The use of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons tests have measurable adverse health effects;

4. The use of the collective dose concept in epidemiological studies can reliably predict and quantify the health risks of low radiation doses.

5- The use by the ICRP of basing the risk factors for low doses of radiation on the examination of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors should be considered outdated.

6. Improved radiation protection based on the notion of risk is necessary. It must be combined with the rigorous application of the minimization requirement of radiation exposure.

1. Even natural radiation has measurable adverse health effects.

Even low doses of natural radiation (terrestrial and cosmic radiation, inhaled radon and ingestion of natural radioisotopes) have adverse health effects that can be measured by epidemiological studies. It is therefore a deception to assert that exposure to radiation can be considered safe as long as it is at the level of the doses of “natural” background radiation. 1-17

2. The use of radiation for medical diagnosis has adverse health effects that are measurable

It has been shown that conventional CT scans and radiological examinations cause an increase in cancer cases (mainly breast cancer, leukemia, thyroid cancer and brain tumors). The risk is greater in children and adolescents than in adults and the embryo is the most vulnerable of all. 18-40

Limiting the use of diagnostic rays and the use of nuclear medicine to cases of absolute necessity is urgently recommended.It would be necessary to adhere to strict rules for the use of scanners and to use only CT scanners [Computed tomography = scanners called scanners -ndt] with low radiation emission. Whenever possible ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging should be preferred.

Some population groups have an increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to radiation, for example women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that women with such a risk not be included in X-ray screening. 41-45

3. The use of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons tests have measurable adverse health effects

Due to the use of nuclear weapons (over 2,000 tests) and serious nuclear accidents, large quantities of radionuclides have been released and widely dispersed; They expose a large part of the world’s population to increased exposure to radiation. The epidemiological studies carried out in the populations concerned, around the Nevada and Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test sites and in the areas affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters show an increase in morbidity and mortality. 46-54

Even the routine operations of nuclear power plants have adverse effects on the health of the surrounding population. Depending on the distance, an increase in cases of leukemia and other types of cancer has been observed in children under 5 years of age in the nuclear power plant environment. (Currently, the strongest evidence is in Germany, with concordant results in studies in Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom.) 55-59

In workers exposed to ionizing radiations, there is a significant increase in cancer cases compared with the other groups even though the official limit dose has not been exceeded.

The health of their children is more impaired than that of other children. 60-64

Among employees of uranium mining companies and atomic weapons production sites, there is an increase in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 65-68

Leukemias and many other types of cancers have been caused by low doses of ionizing radiation, in areas with increased background radiation due to nuclear weapons tests, nuclear accidents, or medical diagnostic examinations and occupational exposure. 69-92

Following exposure to low doses of radioactive iodine, thyroid diseases including cancers have been observed in children, adolescents and adults. 93-99

In addition, low doses of ionizing radiation cause serious non-malignant diseases such as meningiomas and other benign tumors, cardiac, cerebrovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases or dysfunctions; And also psychiatric disorders and cataracts.100-113

Studies have shown that in utero and in children, brain exposure to ionizing radiation causes a decrease in cognitive development. Possible sources of radiation include, but are not limited to, diagnostic X-rays, radiotherapy and exposure to radiation due to nuclear accidents. 114-116

As a result of the nuclear accidents, teratogenic effects have been observed in both animals and humans, even in those exposed to low levels of radiation. 117-120

Some genetic effects can already be observed in the first generation of offsprings, others only appear in later generations. Late affections may be difficult to confirm.

Numerous studies have been carried out in the “dead zones” of Chernobyl and Fukushima on animals whose generations succeed one another rapidly; they showed severe genetic abnormalities related to the level of radiation in their habitat.

In humans, such abnormalities have been observed for a long time following exposure to low doses.

Transgenerational effects of radiation, that is to say genetically fixed, have often been documented, for example, in the children of the Chernobyl liquidators. 121-128. Many other studies also suggest that ionizing radiation causes long-term genetic or epigenetic damage. 129-146

4.The use of the concept of collective dose in epidemiological studies can reliably predict and quantify the health risks of low doses of radiation.

The concept of collective dose is, in the current state of knowledge, the surest way to quantitatively evaluate the stochastic risks of radiation. Significant new clinical studies confirm the linear no-threshold model; this model establishes that there is no threshold below which radiation would have no effect on health. 147,148

Using the concept of collective dose that takes into account current scientific studies, the following risk factors (excess absolute risk, EAR) should be applied:

A risk factor of 0.2 / Sv should be used to predict cancer mortality and 0.4 / Sv to predict the incidence of cancer. 149-151

The United Nations Scientific Committee for the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) still use low risk factors of 0.05 / Sv for cancer mortality and 0.1 / Sv for the incidence of cancers. However, in its 2013 assessment of health risks in Fukushima, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized that ICRP risk factors should be doubled. 152

The above risk factors apply to an exposed population whose ages have a standard distribution. However, according to the ICRP, the sensitivity to ionizing radiation of young children (less than 10 years) and fetuses is three times higher than that of adults. 153-155

Risk factors for the prediction of the incidence and mortality of non-malignant diseases (non-cancerous diseases), especially cardiovascular diseases, are of the same order as those of malignant diseases. 156-157

It would be desirable for WHO and national radiation protection institutions to adopt the risk factors mentioned above as a basis for risk assessment after nuclear accidents.

5. The use by the ICRP of studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors as a basis for determining the risks of low radiation doses should be considered an outdated practice.

In their studies, institutions such as the ICRP used as reference the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the prediction of the effects of radiation.

Risk prediction on this basis is not transferable to other populations exposed over a long period of time to increasing levels of radiation, for the following reasons:

The Japanese survivors were briefly exposed to high energy penetrating gamma radiation.

Radiobiological investigations have shown that such exposure is less harmful to tissues than an internal alpha or Beta irradiation following the incorporation of radionuclides.

The same applies to long-term exposure to x-rays or Gamma rays from natural or artificial sources at levels comparable to normal background radiation. 158-159

The radiation delivered by the nuclear bombs has an extremely high dose level.

Previously, it was accepted that the mutagenicity would therefore be higher in this case than for low doses. Currently, the ICRP claims that this assertion always holds and divides in its calculations the risk of developing cancers by a factor of 2.

Studies on occupationally exposed cohorts of workers contradict this assertion and WHO sees no justification for dividing this risk factor into two. 160-161

Radiation doses received due to radioactive fallout and neutron activation have not been taken into account by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), despite the fact that they have caused significant effects on the survivors of Hiroshima And Nagasaki. The actual effects of radiation have therefore been underestimated. 162

Because the RERF only began its work in 1950, there is a lack of important data on the first five years after the nuclear bombing. It should be recognized, therefore, that the assessment of teratogenic and genetic effects, as well as those of cancers with a short latency period, is incomplete.

Because of the catastrophic situation after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must admit to considering the survivors as a selected cohort of specially resistant people (“the survival of the fittest”). Therefore, these studies were not representative of a normal population. This selection bias caused an underestimation of about 30% of the radiation risk. 163

The survivors of the nuclear bombing were ostracized by the Japanese society. It is very likely that information about the origin of the family or the morbidity of the descendants has been hidden or falsified so as not to endanger, for example the chances of marriage and the social integration of children. 164

Editor’s Note:

Risk factors used in the concept of collective dose describe the likelihood that additional cases of disease, higher than rates of spontaneous cancers, occur, that carcinogenesis caused by radiation, cancer incidence or mortality, Increase above the baseline of a given population.

Usually this Excess Absolute Risk (EAR) is represented by unit 1 / Sv. A risk factor (EAR) of 0.2 / Sv for cancer mortality means that a 1Sv irradiation would cause an additional 20% risk of cancer death – in addition to the 25% base risk. An EAR of 0.2 / Sv corresponds to a relative risk excess (ERR) of 0.2 / 0.25 = 0.8 / Sv.

6. Improved radiation protection based on the notion of risk is necessary. It must be combined with the rigorous application of the minimization requirement of radiation exposure.

Determining the level of radiation health risk that is acceptable and reasonable can only be achieved at the societal level by listening to the voices of those involved. To protect populations, the risks of ionizing radiation should be determined as accurately as possible and presented in a comprehensible manner. In medicine, such radiation protection criteria are already becoming more and more important.

Assessing the dangers of ionizing radiation according to a risk-based concept can help to minimize their adverse effects even at low doses. Associated with the legal minimization requirements, a set of concrete measures using such a concept could serve to further reduce the harmful effects of radiation. The concept of risk acceptability for carcinogenic materials at work already existing in German legislation is, in broad outline, a good example to follow. 165-169

The highest priority should be given to the protection of life before birth and the integrity of future generations. Radiation protection must broaden its adult-based models and adapt them to the particular vulnerability of the embryo and children.

Speakers and participants in the Ulm expert meeting,
19 October 2013:

» » Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Hoffmann, MPH, Professor für
bevölkerungsbezogene Versorgungsepidemiologie und
Community Health, Institut für Community Medicine,
Universitätsmedizin in Greifswald

» » Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Körblein, Dipl. Phys., selbstständiger
Wissenschaftler in Nürnberg, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat
der IPPNW.de

» » Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Edmund Lengfelder, Professor
em. des Strahlenbiologisches Institutes an der Medizini-
schen Fakultät der LMU München, Leiter des Otto Hug
Strahleninstitutes für Gesundheit und Umwelt

» » Dr. rer. nat. Hagen Scherb, Dipl. Math., Helmholtz Zen-
trum, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und
Umwelt in München

» » Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Professorin
em. für experimentelle Physik an der Universität in Bre-
men, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Hartmut Heinz, Facharzt für Arbeitsmedizin,
ehem. leitender Werksarzt in Salzgitter, AK Atomenergie
der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Angelika Claußen, Fachärztin für Psychothe-
rapie in Bielefeld, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Winfrid Eisenberg, ehem. Chefarzt der Kin-
derklinik in Herford, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Claudio Knüsli, Leitender Arzt der Onkologie
im St. Claraspital in Basel, Vorstandsmitglied IPPNW.ch

» » Dr. med. Helmut Lohrer, Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin
in Villingen, Int. Board der IPPNW, International Councillor
der IPPNW.de

» » Henrik Paulitz, Dipl.-Biol., Atomenergie-Referent der
IPPNW.de in Seeheim

» » Dr. med. Alex Rosen, Kinderarzt in Berlin, Stellv. Vorsit-
zender der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Jörg Schmid, Facharzt für Psychotherapie in
Stuttgart, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Reinhold Thiel, Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin, Ulmer
Ärzteinitiative, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

I add a reference: Risk of cancer in 680,000 people exposed to CT scans in childhood or adolescence: a study linking data from 11 million Australians

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2360

What is IPPNW?

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW), is a pacifist international organization of doctors committed to nuclear disarmament. Established in 1980, the organization was awarded the Unesco Prize for Peace Education in 1984 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its “important and competent information work”, which improved global awareness of the consequences of a nuclear war and acute radiation syndrome. The organization has close to 150,000 members in more than 50 countries.

The IPPNW website: http://ippnw.org/

Sources:

https://www.vivre-apres-fukushima.fr/radiations-ionisantes-les-normes-de-radioprotection-doivent-etre-ameliorees/

The text is complemented by a long list of references to download here

https://www.vivre-apres-fukushima.fr/gm-documents/ref-Ulmer_expertentreffen.pdf

https://www.ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Atomenergie/Health_effects_of_ionising_radiation.pdf

August 21, 2017 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

An attack on North Korea’s military nuclear infrastructure would release uncontrolled radiation throughout the peninsula, and Japan , too

David Lowry’s Blog 16th Aug 2017, Bennett Ramberg, now a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) – and formerly a senior official at the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs under the first Bush
administration – has written extensively that,  even if the U.S. were to destroy North Korea’s military nuclear infrastructure, Kim Jong-un has thousands of conventional missiles, many aimed at South Korea’s national infrastructure, including its 23 nuclear reactors at four sites ( with another under construction at Yeongdeok.)

Any such attack would inevitably destroy the containment for the irradiated (spent) nuclear fuel storage ponds adjoining each reactor complex, distributing uncontrolled radiation across the densely populated peninsula, and, almost certainly near –neighbor Japan too.

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has recognised the risk of his nation having nuclear power plants and has
pledged to pull out of the nuclear business, asserting in a speech in June “We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era.”  http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/korean-crisis-conventional-threat-to.html

August 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. President Trump’s attack on science

Trump’s attack on science isn’t going very well, WP,  August 10  2017Robert B. Richardson is an ecological economist and an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability. He served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors from 2014 to 2017.

The first 200 days of the Trump administration have been marked by direct and consistent confrontations with the scientific community, and no area of science has been targeted more explicitly than climate science. The administration has proposed drastic cuts in the budget to federal climate change programs; removed climate-related information from government websites; and refused to renew the appointments of more than 30 members of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors — including me.

Scientists know that these actions are dangerous to public health, the economy and our national security. Thankfully, some government workers concerned about climate change are pushing back on the administration’s attempts to muzzle them, finally speaking out — or, in some cases, leaking out — against threats to academic freedom.

This week, The New York Times published a draft report written by scientists from 13 federal agencies. The draft, completed this year under congressional mandate as a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, states that “evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.” It goes on to say that “many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”

The document was publicized before the Trump administration signed off on the release of the final draft. As the Times reported, scientists who worked on the draft feared that the Trump administration would not approve the document or might tamper with the report.

Fears of censorship are not unfounded. Staff members at the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resource Conservation Service must “avoid” using the phrase “climate change” in agency documents, according to a series of emails leaked to the Guardian this week. The phrase “weather extremes” is now the prefered language. Other phrases on the blacklist: “climate change adaptation,” “reduce greenhouse gases” and “sequester carbon.”

Such phrases are part of the language and lexicon of science, and instructing federal scientists to avoid using particular words is an affront to the pursuit of knowledge. This is censorship, and it is dangerous to both science and democracy…….

The United States previously served as a world leader in global environmental responsibility, but tragically that’s no longer the case. The administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and President Trump’s refusal to budge on the issue at the recent Group of 20 conference confirms that the United States is denying science and dangerously ignoring the threat of climate change.

Meanwhile, the removal of data and information about climate change from federal agency websites deprives the public, including teachers and students, of valuable information regarding the state of knowledge about climate change. And the administration’s proposed budget cuts would eliminate critical funding for programs that will help protect the country from the worst effects of climate change, and where appropriate, adapt to the changing environment…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-attack-on-science-isnt-going-very-well/2017/08/10/096a0e1e-7d2c-11e7-a669-b400c5c7e1cc_story.html?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer51b12&utm_medium=social&utm_source=t

August 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear lobby waking up to the industry’s monumental failure?

Nuclear’s Fork in the Road Atomic Insights, August 19, 2017 By Jim Little
Would you be willing to continue investing in an established business with flat revenues, increasing costs while competing against an agile field of competitors who enjoy a market advantage of lower costs, quicker deployment schedules and the support of government subsidies and favorable public opinion? Should you stay the course and focus on addressing those challenges or divest? This is the stark choice facing the nuclear power industry today……

Will nuclear generation continue or decline? Will the nuclear industry turn its attention away from new plant builds and extended-life operation activities and rather focus on decommissioning as evidenced by the plethora of recent conferences focused on decommissioning as the new market opportunity?…..

With revenues remaining flat, cost increases are significantly squeezing the profit margins of these operations. The financial outlook for nuclear utilities is bleak in an investment environment which rewards growth in revenues and profits. A number of utilities with nuclear units in merchant markets have recently announced decisions to decommission those units which are no longer able to sustain profitability. Utilities with units in regulated markets are likewise feeling similar financial pressures.

This situation was recently described to me by one nuclear utility executive: “From a shareholder perspective, how can I justify a recommendation to continue to invest in a facility when facing a forecast of declining returns while there may be other more profitable uses of capital?” So, should the default decision be to retire that unit and fund those efforts through its decommissioning fund; i.e. a “Nuclear 401(k)”?There are no easy choices. While the logic may seem straightforward, abandoning even a single unit could have cascading effects and far reaching implications. This same executive explained his concerns further: “How does one retain and attract talent going forward when there is a signal that nuclear may not enjoy full support going forward?” The inability to offset talent loss due to retirements in the workforce can affect performance on the remaining operations, increase costs, and further accelerate the departure away from nuclear. With a downturn in the industry there are other outcomes such as the reluctance of students to enter the nuclear field, university decisions to pursue other programs of study, research budgets reduced and grant applications no longer being sought. There are a number of other issues; the loss of existing, stable baseload generation and economic impacts such as those being experienced in host communities such as Zion, Illinois, and Vernon, Vermont. From a national policy perspective, it directly impacts the largest source of carbon-free generation in the United States, currently 63% of the nation’s total carbon-free generation.

Lastly, for the industry, the departure from nuclear is likely irreversible once made in the U.S. as the current talent and knowledge base is the result of over 50 years of investment and development. The situation may best be described by Stephen Wright, a comedian who is a master of the art of irony: “I live in a house halfway down a dead end street. It’s one way.”……..https://atomicinsights.com/nuclears-fork-road/

August 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Massive protest : thousands against French Nuclear Project in Jaitapur

In Pictures: Jaitapur says a Resounding ‘Nako’ (No!) to French Nuclear Project, http://www.dianuke.org/pictures-jaitapur-says-resounding-nako-no-french-nuclear-project/ 20 Aug 17, Thousands of men, women, and children from the farming, agro-trading, and fishing communities of Jaitapur in India’s picturesque Ratnagiri District in Maharashtra, today courted arrest en-masse, after a march from Sakhri Nate to Madban village – the site of the upcoming Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park (slated to be the world’s largest such nuclear power facility) – in the presence of heavily-armed state police personnel.

Today’s massive and entirely peaceful protest against the setting up of the Nuclear Power Plant in this ecologically-rich but fragile zone, is of a piece with several such protests and jail-bharo campaigns which have been organized by these local communities in previous years.

Speaking to DiaNuke.org, Satyajit Chavan, young leader of the local community’s protest group Jan Hakka Seva Samiti said – “it is shocking that the police used drones, hovering over the entire route of the demonstration and over our protest meeting, for the first time in our thoroughly peaceful protest that has been ongoing for years now. It is clearly a way for the state to project its power and intimidate people’s struggles. It is unfortunate that the right of collective and democratic movement enshrined in our constitution is being undermined so brazenly.” Satyajit also emphatically added that the protest in Jaitapur has been organised spontaneously by local people, and is not funded or co-ordinated by any political party. “The banner of Jan Hakka Seva Samiti under which people assembled and registered their protest today is totally non-political. However, the media that had come to cover the protests interviewed only some leaders of political parties who just came their to show solidarity. In the past the media has used such occasions to portray the entire protest being anchored by Shiv Sena and other political groups, which is completely far from the reality”, Satyajit Chavan said. He is also a key leader of the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements(NAAM), a country-wide network of grassroots anti-nuke movements in India.

A solidarity letter sent by activists from France was read out at the protest in Jaitapur today, which highlighted the common struggle against nuclear lobbies dangerous profiteering:

“Far and close friends of the international anti-nuclear family !

You are not alone ! From various countries we watch carefully what is happening in Jaitapur, India.

Here from France we are impressed by your courageous actions that we totally support.
Here from France we spread the news on what you do (in French and in English for other international networks).

Here too, the central government is acting against the will of its own people and violating their basic right for a sane life at home.

Here too, there are many people wishing and working actively for the final death of the devil Areva.

Here too, this devil Areva is surviving until today only because the central government, without the agreement of the people, is giving to it non-stop billions of Euros coming directly from the tax-payers pockets.

Like yourself, as world citizens, we reclaim respect and justice for people and Nature as a first condition for a livable and even better world.

With full and renewable solidarity!”

More details about the protest and objections by the local community can be read here.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

America’s federal advisory committee on climate change abolished by Trump!

The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change, WP,  August 20 The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.

The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.

The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration.

Administration officials are currently reviewing a scientific report that is key to the final document. Known as the Climate Science Special Report, it was produced by scientists from 13 different federal agencies and estimates that human activities were responsible for an increase in global temperatures of 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010.

The committee was established to help translate findings from the National Climate Assessment into concrete guidance for both public and private-sector officials. Its members have been writing a report to inform federal officials on the data sets and approaches that would best be included, and chair Richard Moss said in an interview Saturday that ending the group’s work was shortsighted……

While many state and local officials have pressed the federal government for more concrete guidance on how to factor climate change into future infrastructure, President Trump has moved in the opposite direction.

Last week, the president signed an executive order on infrastructure that included language overturning a federal requirement that projects built in coastal floodplains and receiving federal aid take projected sea-level rise into account. Some groups, such as the National Association of Home Builders, hailed the reversal of that standard from the Obama administration on the grounds that stricter flood requirements would raise the cost of development and “could make many projects infeasible.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) said in an interview Saturday that the move to dissolve the climate advisory committee represents “an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” An official from Seattle Public Utilities has been serving on the panel; with its disbanding, Murray said it would now be “more difficult” for cities to participate in the climate assessment. On climate change, Trump “has left us all individually to figure it out.”…..

Trump Cabinet officials have either altered the makeup of outside advisory boards or suspended these panels in recent months, though they have not abolished the groups outright. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace dozens of members on one of the agency’s key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is “reviewing the charter and charge” of more than 200 advisory boards for his department. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/08/20/the-trump-administration-just-disbanded-a-federal-advisory-committee-on-climate-change/

August 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Coral bleaching is happening across the Pacific Ocean

Coral bleaching: Researchers struggle to find anywhere in Pacific Ocean untouched, ABC News, By Nadia Daly,20 Aug 17  Scientists aboard a French research ship say they have been shocked to see the extent of coral bleaching across the Pacific Ocean, just halfway through their two-year voyage around the world.

The vessel Tara has been sailing around the globe for more than a decade to study the effects of climate change on the ocean.

Its current expedition will cross 11 time zones and span 100,000 kilometres from Europe to Asia and back again, and the group claims it is the biggest study of this scale across coral reefs.

The focus is how coral reefs in the Pacific are adapting to climate change, and on a stopover in Sydney, captain Nicolas De La Brosse said the extent of damage is already deeply troubling.

“What we’ve seen in really isolated spots like Samoa for example, even though it’s very far away from [developed] countries with pollution, we struggled to find any coral life,” he said.

Mr De La Brosse said nowhere was immune to the effects of global warming.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the Pacific, coral is starting to bleach.”

He said data was still being collected and analysed and the final results would be released at the end of 2019……

August 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

US-South Korea War Games increase the tension, and risk of nuclear war – North Korea

North Korea Warns US-South Korea War Games Driving Toward ‘Uncontrollable Nuclear War‘ https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/20/north-korea-warns-us-south-korea-war-games-driving-toward-uncontrollable-nuclear-war  The North called the planned joint military exercises “reckless” and said the U.S. is “lost in a fantasy”, by Jake Johnson, staff writer

With the United States and South Korea set to begin joint military exercises on Monday—and as Trump administration officials attempt to de-escalate tensions after the president threatened to bring “fire and fury” upon North Korea—the regime of Kim Jong-un published an editorial in a state-run newspaper on Sunday calling the planned war games “reckless behavior” that is “driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of  a nuclear war.” The editorial added that the military exercises amount to “pouring gasoline on fire,” and warned that the U.S. would not be able to “dodge the merciless strike” the regime claims it is prepared to launch.

“The Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies,” the editorial continued. “It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted.”

“If the U.S. is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else’s doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever,” the editorial concluded.

The U.S.-South Korea military exercises are set to last for ten days, and they will consist of 17,500 American troops and 50,000 South Korean troops. As the Associated Press noted, the drills “hold more potential to provoke than ever,” and some are calling on the U.S. and South Korea “to postpone or drastically modify drills to ease the hostility on the Korean Peninsula.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been running high of late as the North continues to develop its nuclear capacities and as U.S. President Donald Trump continues to ratchet up tensions by responding erratically. Trump recently suggested that his “fire and fury” remarks were not “tough enough.”

As a result, a growing number of lawmakers are calling for Trump to be stripped of the “nuclear football.” “No U.S. President, certainly not Trump, should have sole authority to initiate an unprovoked nuclear war,” argued Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

According to a recent CBS News poll, nearly 60 percent of Americans are “uneasy” about Trump’s ability to deal reasonably with North Korea, and the same percentage believes that the U.S. should not be threatening Pyongyang with military action.

As Common Dreams has reported, activists and analysts have issued urgent calls for diplomacy in recent weeks as tensions continue to intensify. The failure to pursue diplomatic avenues could result in a “nuclear nightmare,” some have warned.

“Time has proven that coercion doesn’t work,” CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin recently wrote. “There’s an urgent need to hit the reset button on U.S.-Korean policy.”

August 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America: small, but growing Republican movement for action on climate change

More GOP lawmakers bucking their party on climate change, But if the Republican Party is undergoing a shift on climate, it is at its earliest, most incremental stage. Politico, By DAVID SIDERS. 08/19/2017 
LOS ANGELES — While President Donald Trump continues to dismantle Obama-era climate policies, an unlikely surge of Republican lawmakers has begun taking steps to distance themselves from the GOP’s hard line on climate change.

The House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan backwater when it formed early last year, has more than tripled in size since January, driven in part by Trump’s decision in June to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

 And last month, 46 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would have deleted a requirement that the Defense Department prepare for the effects of climate change.

The willingness of some Republicans to buck their party on climate change could help burnish their moderate credentials ahead of the 2018 elections. Of the 26 Republican caucus members, all but five represent districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee next year.

But it has also buoyed activists who view the House members’ positioning as a rare sign of GOP movement on climate change……http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/19/more-gop-lawmakers-bucking-their-party-on-climate-change-241800

August 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK Council leaders back ‘Mayors for Peace’ in urging countries to ratify a new United Nations (UN) treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons

Herald 20th Aug 2017, COUNCIL leaders are backing a call by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two
Japanese cities devastated by US atomic bombs 72 years ago, to accelerate
international moves for a nuclear ban.

They are calling for the UK and other nations to renew their nuclear disarmament efforts in a bid to defuse
growing fears of nuclear war in the wake of destabilising tensions between
North Korea and the Trump administration. A conference of ‘Mayors for
Peace’ in Nagasaki earlier this month passed a resolution urging
countries to ratify a new United Nations (UN) treaty prohibiting nuclear
weapons as soon as possible.

The treaty has been agreed by 122 countries
but opposed by nuclear weapons states, including the UK.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15483955.Council_leaders_call_to_accelerate_international_moves_for_a_nuclear_ban/

August 21, 2017 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Despite Trump, Iran’s President Rouhani is determined to keep the nuclear deal

Iran’s top priority to protect nuclear deal from US http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/08/20/irans-top-priority-protect-nuclear-deal-us-rouhani  Rouhani, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday the top foreign policy priority for his new government was to protect the nuclear deal from being torn up by the United States. “The most important job of our foreign minister is first to stand behind the JCPOA, and not to allow the US and other enemies to succeed,” Rouhani told parliament, using the technical name for the 2015 deal that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran’s nuclear programme.

“Standing up for the JCPOA means standing up to Iran’s enemies,” he said on the last day of debates over his cabinet selections. Rouhani indicated a week ago that Iran was ready to walk out on the nuclear deal if the United States continued to apply fresh sanctions.

US President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to tear up the deal during his campaign, and it has come under mounting pressure after Tehran carried out missile tests and Washington imposed new sanctions — with each accusing the other of violating the spirit of the agreement.

But Rouhani has insisted it remains Iran’s preferred way forward, not least to help rebuild the struggling economy and create jobs.

“The second responsibility of the foreign ministry… is to get involved in economic activities. It should help attract foreign investment and technology,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran needed $200 billion in investments for the oil and gas sector alone.

Parliament approved 16 of his 17 cabinet picks, rejecting his suggested minister of energy, a reformist named Habibollah Bitaraf. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was the charismatic face of Iran’s nuclear negotiations, retained his position.

So did Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who recently struck a billion-dollar deal with French giant Total.

Rouhani, a political moderate, worked hard behind the scenes to secure support for his choices, including from the supreme leader and the military. He began his second term earlier this month after winning a resounding victory over a hardline challenger in May, vowing to continue his outreach to the world and improve civil liberties at home.

But he has angered reformists by again failing to appoint a single woman minister, and looks no closer to securing the release of jailed opposition leaders — one of whom, Mehdi Karroubi, briefly went on hunger strike this week to demand a trial after six years under house arrest.

Rouhani has yet to appoint a minister of science, research and technology, which conservatives consider to be a sensitive post.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

Trump’s very poor decision making on the Iran nuclear deal

Trump may be planning to make a very bad decision on the Iran deal  WP, 20 Aug 17 “……According to international inspectors and the U.S. intelligence community, Iran has largely abided by the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, which greatly reduced its stockpile of enriched unranium and placed strict limits on its nuclear activities. If the regime continues complying, it could be a decade or more before Iran could again threaten to become a nuclear power. Yet perversely, Mr. Trump is matching his passivity toward Iran’s regional meddling with an apparent determination to torpedo the nuclear pact.
After grudgingly certifying in July that Iran was meeting the terms of the deal — a test mandated by Congress every 90 days — Mr. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he planned to find the regime noncompliant when the next certification is due in October. How to reach such a finding if the intelligence community judges otherwise? According to Foreign Policy, Mr. Trump ordered a group of political aides, including now- fired strategist Stephen K. Bannon, to cook up a rationale — something that presumably will be made easier by their lack of data or expertise.
The real experts puzzle over what Mr. Trump could hope to accomplish by announcing that Iran is noncompliant — other than satisfying what appears to be his compulsive urge to spoil President Barack Obama’s legacies. Without proof of Iranian noncompliance, U.S. partners in the nuclear deal, including the European Union, Russia and China, would surely refuse to support the nullification of the accord or the reimposition of sanctions. Iran might respond to decertification by resuming uranium enrichment, even if Mr. Trump did not reimpose U.S. sanctions. That would present the White House with the ugly old problem of how to stop Iranian progress toward a bomb. Could Mr. Trump credibly threaten Iran with military action even while using the threat of force against North Korea?….https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-may-be-planning-to-make-a-very-bad-decision-on-the-iran-deal/2017/08/20/1faf5642-81e2-11e7-b359-15a3617c767b_story.html?utm

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Trump preoccupied with the idea of nuclear annihilation, but knows little about nuclear weapons

Trump Thinks About Nuclear Annihilation a Lot, But Doesn’t Know Much About It, New York, By Margaret Hartmann, 20 Aug 17  “…… Trump has been publicly discussing his vivid fears about nuclear weapons for decades, predating any serious talk of him running for president. These comments suggest that Trump thinks about nuclear annihilation far more than the average American – but he simultaneously has a particularly weak understanding of how the strategy surrounding them works. That’s created the frightening mix that was on display last week: it appears that Trump is well aware of the awesome threat posed by nuclear weapons, but he thinks it can be addressed like a problem in the board room (of a reality TV show)……..

A month before Trump was inaugurated, Mother Jones looked at Trump’s many public remarks about nuclear war and noted that he’s often spoken as if he thinks nuclear war is inevitable…….

as the New York Daily News reports, over the years he has actually laid out what he believes is the path to our salvation. Unsurprisingly, it involves Trump singlehandedly saving humanity with his superior negotiation skills……

His greatest dream is to personally do something about the problem and, characteristically, Donald Trump thinks he has an answer to nuclear armament: Let him negotiate arms agreements – he who can talk people into selling $100 million properties to him for $13 million. Negotiations is an art, he says and I have a gift for it.

The idea that he would ever be allowed to got into a room alone and negotiate for the United States, let alone be successful in disarming the world, seems the naive musing of an optimistic, deluded young man who has never lost at anything he has tried. But he believes that through years of making his views known and through supporting candidaes who share his views, it could someday happen.

Later that year a Washington Post piece noted that Trump hoped to “perhaps one day fulfill his fantasy of becoming the U.S. negotiator on nuclear arms limitation talks with the Soviets.”

“It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past.”

He could learn about missiles, quickly, he says.

“It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles … I think I know most of it anyway. You’re talking about just getting updated on a situation …

The problem, in addition to Trump’s overestimation of his negotiating skills, is that it doesn’t seem he’s devoted much effort to learning anything about missiles, or nuclear strategy in general. During the campaign he repeatedly demonstrated a lack of familiarity with some very basic concepts surrounding nuclear weapons.

During a Republican primary debate, Trump could not answer a question about his “priority among our nuclear triad” (the nation’s land-, sea-, and air-based systems for delivering nuclear weapons). It was clear from the context of the question that it was about maintaining our aging weapons systems, but Trump answered, “Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible, who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important.”

…….. Several times during the campaign, Trump suggested that Japan and South Korea should get their own nuclear weapons if they aren’t willing to pay the full cost of having U.S. military personnel stationed in their country. In a May 2016 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Trump described the situation like a business negotiation.

“They have to pay. And you know what? I’m prepared to walk, and if they have to defend themselves against North Korea – we have a maniac over there,” Trump said. “In my opinion, if they don’t take care of us properly, if they don’t respect us enough to take care of us properly, then you know what’s going to happen Wolf? Very simple: they’re going to have to defend themselves.”

There’s little evidence that being president has expanded Trump’s understanding of nuclear issues. In the midst of last week’s war of words with Kim Jong-un, Trump offered Americans the false assurance that he’s fixed up the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the past six months – though with well over 4,000 nuclear warheads, insufficient fire power against North Korea is certainly not a concern.

And despite access to the world’s top nuclear experts, the New York Timesreported that Trump’s improvised threat to Kim Jong-un last week was the result of his believe that he alone understands how to deal with the dictator…….. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/trump-thinks-about-nukes-a-lot-doesnt-know-much-about-them.html

August 21, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Taiwan Premier Lin Chuan steadfast in goal of a non nuclear future

Focus Taiwan 17tyh Aug 2017, Despite  a nationwide power outage caused by a technical error at the
Tatan, Taoyuan power plant on Tuesday, Premier Lin Chuan on Wednesday said
the government still plans to stick to its non-nuclear homeland goal by
relying on nuclear power as little as possible.

During an interview with CNA on Wednesday afternoon and following an upsurge in criticism of the
government’s energy policy focused on Taiwan Power Co., Lin said it was
illogical to call for the long-term use of nuclear power as a way to solve
the short-term problem of an accidental power outage.
http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201708170027.aspx

August 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment