The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

China’s rail disaster – a prelude to nuclear disaster?

The breadth of Chinese ambitions to indigenize foreign technologies and scale them for mass deployment has simply outpaced its ability to plan, operate and staff these complex undertakings in a safe and sustainable manner. This is true in the case of high-speed rail, and it threatens to become the overarching storyline for the country’s nuclear energy program.

Wenzhou Train Crash Highlights Risks of China’s Nuclear Program Epoch Times,  July 29, 2011 by ML  COULD A TECHNOLOGY mishap akin to Saturday’s deadly train crash near Wenzhou, China happen at one of China’s 40 operating or planned nuclear power reactors?….. Experts are attributing China’s high-speed rail woes to its policies of adapting foreign technologies without the means to adequately operate and maintain them.

The risky strategy isn’t just being used by China’s Ministry of Railways, it’s also the foundation of the country’s nuclear power program. Continue reading


July 30, 2011 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

USA’s pro nuclear Blue Ribbon Waste Commission rejects nuclear reprocessing

The good news: The BRC rejects reprocessing for now. The report states: “No currently available or reasonably foreseeable reactor and fuel cycle technology developments—including advances in reprocess and recycle technologies—have the potential to fundamentally alter the waste management challenge this nation confronts over at least the next several decades, if not longer. 

Waste Commission rubberstamps more nuclear, but rejects reprocessing – for now Beyond Nuclear 30 July 11, A year and a half after its creation, on July 29th Energy Secretary Chu’s “Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future” (BRC) has published its draft report of recommendations for dealing with the mountain of U.S. high-level radioactive waste now nearly 70 years high. Continue reading

July 30, 2011 Posted by | reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s strategic approach to renewable energy and energy efficiency

This package of proposals forms the basis for Germany’s confidence that it can phase out one source of energy and phase in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The combination of a mix of policies (emissions trading, standards, regulations, incentives) with planning and investments in the longer-term infrastructure is the pathway Germany has chosen.

How Germany plans to succeed in a nuclear free, low-carbon economy, |, 29 July 11, Germany plans to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets while it phases out nuclear power  Germany has taken some fundamental energy decisions in recent months, ones that are interesting for other countries to study and learn from. The most “famous” decision recently has been to phase out nuclear power in the next ten years. This move builds on years of debate and a societal decision after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident to move away from nuclear energy.

There has been much less focus, however, on the phasing in of other sources of energy. Nor has there been much focus on how Germany can remain the economic powerhouse of Europe, and the world’s second largest exporting country, while removing a significant source of energy from its grid.

This phase-in story is vital to understand, especially taking into account that Germany plans to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets while it phases out nuclear power. So, how will this work?……. Continue reading

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Anger in Japan,as nuclear regulator’s hypocrisy is revealed

the Chubu Electric scandal features the direct involvement of the nuclear safety agency, the government body responsible for overseeing nuclear power plant operations. This cannot be seen as anything but an attempt to distort public opinion….

The revelation that the government attempted to manipulate a public symposium on a pluthermal power-generation project in 2007 has confused and angered people living near nuclear power plants….

‘Credibility shot to pieces’ / Latest utility scandal also sullies govt nuclear safety agency The Yomiuri Shimbun, 29 July 11, An attempt by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to stifle public opposition to a plutonium-thermal power generation project at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant during a 2007 community symposium is the latest scandal to involve a nuclear power project. Continue reading

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear waste management in a mess

Panel Scorns Nuclear-Waste Policy, 29 July 11, By RYAN TRACY,  A presidential panel Friday scolded the U.S. government for failing to effectively deal with a growing stockpile of radioactive nuclear waste, saying Washington should change course and create a new, independent entity to decide where to dump it.

In a draft of its final report, which is due in January, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future said the current policy for dealing with nuclear waste is “all but completely broken down.”

The Obama administration didn’t support or reject the recommendations presented by the panel in the draft…..Panel Scorns Nuclear-Waste Policy –

July 30, 2011 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear regulator’s deceptive role in promoting nuclear power

UPDATE: Japan’s Nuclear Regulator Admits It Tried To Sway Public Opinion On Nuclear Plants By Kosaku Narioka and Toko Sekiguchi, Dow Jones Newswires;  JULY 29, 2011,

— Japan’s nuclear regulator behind efforts to falsely suggest public support for nuclear power

— At least two utilities say they were asked to take part in secret efforts

— Admission comes as government releases energy strategy that reduces dependence on nuclear power

— PM Kan says that scandal brings into question the agency’s very existence

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--The Japanese government disclosed Friday that its primary nuclear regulator tried to manipulate public opinion at public forums around the country to promote nuclear power, findings that further damage the industry's already tattered reputation. Continue reading 

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

New York monitoring for potential ‘dirty bombs’

NYPD Testing “Dirty Bomb” Monitoring Network, NTI: Global Security Newswire -July 29, 2011 The New York Police Department is preparing to bring online an innovative monitoring network for detecting the presence of radiological materials that could be part of a “dirty bomb,” the Associated Press reported on Friday (see GSN, April 12).

The system links the 2,000 compact radiation sensors used daily by officers to a command post in lower Manhattan, which would receive an alert if any one of the detectors picked up a trace of a potential radiological weapon. The technology is being tested and federal officials want to see if it could be put into place in other parts of the United States……NTI: Global Security Newswire – NYPD Testing “Dirty Bomb” Monitoring Network

July 30, 2011 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s electric bicycles, powered by renewable energy

Germans get on their e-bikes – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation),29 July 11, Electric bikes may be the bicycle industry’s next big thing if German users are anything to go by.Demand in Germany, one of Europe’s largest markets for electronic bicycles along with the Netherlands, tripled in 2010 and is set to grow by 50 per cent to 300,000 this year, according to bicycle industry association ZIV.This attitude reflects a broader trend in Germany, where the Greens party is gaining popularity, for people to buy a range of “green”, environmentally friendly products…..Germans get on their e-bikes – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Germany, renewable | 1 Comment

Local anger as preparation begins for new UK nuclear plant

Green light for Hinkley C despite protests,by Luke walsh,29 July 11, Energy giant EDF has won approval to start work on what would be the first nuclear power station built in the UK for 20 years, despite protests from local campaigners….

Following the council’s ruling, which has been branded ‘jumping the gun’ by anti-nuclear campaigners, EDF can begin the clearance of most vegetation, hedges and trees from a 420 acre site, but will have to pay more than £25 million to cover measures to mitigate the impact of the project.

It also allows for the excavation of more than 2 million cubic metres of soil and rocks, the re-routing of underground streams, the creation of roads and roundabouts, major changes to the landscape and the start of deep excavations for the power station foundations.

Stop Hinkley spokesman, Crispin Aubrey, said: “This is like giving a developer permission to excavate a greenfield site even before they have permission to build the actual houses. “What will those councillors say to the people of West Somerset in two years’ time, with massive holes in the ground lined with concrete and a devastated wasteland – no trees, no hedges, no wildlife – and EDF says ‘Sorry, we don’t think it’s worth going ahead’.” …..
Green light for Hinkley C despite protests

July 30, 2011 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Fish killed by nuclear plant’s hot water release

Oyster Creek nuclear plant pump shuts down, resulting in fish kill, July 29, 2011, By Eliot Caroom/The Star-Ledger Pumps that cool water as it leaves the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant shut down yesterday evening, causing a rise in water temperature and a fish kill in a canal, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said today.

Electricity stopped due to a problem with the Jersey Central Power & Light grid, and the pumps shut down at 8:05 p.m., the a spokesman for the NRC said.

“Oyster Creek reduced reactor power to control discharge water temperatures, but a fish kill was subsequently identified in the canal,” said spokesman Neil Sheehan in an email.  Exelon said in a statement that 300 fish were lost due to the temperature rise…..Oyster Creek nuclear plant pump shuts down, resulting in fish kill |

July 30, 2011 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

USA to sell nukes to Saudi Arabia, despite its weapons ambitions?

The White House’s decision is already facing opposition from members of Congress who worry about sharing nuclear technologies with countries in today’s increasingly unstable Middle East. The concerns were further fueled by recent comments made by a senior member of the Saudi royal family that their country would seek to develop nuclear weapons if Iran did.

U.S., Saudis to Discuss Nuclear Agreement, WSJ, JULY 29, 2011,By JAY SOLOMON,WASHINGTON—The Obama administration plans to resume talks with Saudi Arabia about nuclear cooperation, according to senior U.S. officials, in a move aimed at boxing in Iran and keeping an eye on Riyadh’s strategic ambitions. Continue reading

July 30, 2011 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

School shuts up Fukushima teacher on radiation risks

Fukushima Teacher Muzzled on Radiation Risks, Bloomberg, By Takahiko Hyuga – Jul 28, 2011 As temperatures soared to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a recent July morning, school children in Fukushima prefecture were taking off their masks and running around playgrounds in T-shirts, exposing them to a similar amount of annual radiation as a worker in a nuclear power plant.

Toshinori Shishido, a Japanese literature teacher of 25 years, had warned his students two months ago to wear surgical masks and keep their skin covered with long-sleeved shirts. His advice went unheeded, not because of the weather but because his school told him not to alarm students. Shishido quit this week.

“I want to get away from this situation where I’m not even allowed to alert children about radiation exposure,” said Shishido, a 48-year-old teacher who taught at Fukushima Nishi High School. “Now I’m free to talk about the risks.”…..

Radiation Exposure   About a fifth of the 1,600 schools in Fukushima are exposed to at least 20 millisieverts of radiation a year, the Network to Protect Fukushima Children from Radiation said, citing the most recent government readings in April. That’s the limit for an atomic plant worker set by theInternational Commission on Radiological Protection.

More than three-quarters of the schools receive radiation readings of 0.6 microsievert per hour, said the network, a group comprising 700 parents. That’s 10 times more than the readings in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, on average…..

July 29, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | 1 Comment

Western North Carolina at risk of becoming USA’s nuclear waste host

In its first weeks, the Commission, made up of 16 pro-nuclear advocates, was presented with a history of the nuclear waste issue in the country. However, instead of all 12 of the previously proposed sites, the presentation focused on only three: Sandy Mush among them.
Specter of nuclear waste dump returns to WNC,  Macon County News, , 28 July 2011 by Christopher Carpenter “…– “We’re back to where we started; it’s the same story,” said Olson, a biologist and biochemist by training who has worked with NIRS since 1991. This week the first draft recommendations of a federal commission on nuclear energy are due out. Olson cautioned to be prepared for more flashbacks to come.

Unfortunately ‘fabulous’  It was only later that Yucca Mountain became the main focus of federal planners, even though there were many indicators that the site was geologically unsound. The site was crisscrossed with four major fault lines, the porous volcanic bedrock was far from ideal and in the first three years of studying the site, more than 200 earthquakes were recorded registering over 2.5 on the Richter Scale. Twenty years and $10 billion later, the Obama Administration finally conceded that a facility at the site would be destined to leak radiation and decided to walk away from it.

Thirty years ago, Western North Carolina, with its solid granite bedrock, was identified as a possible site for a national nuclear waste repository. The community of Sandy Mush in Leicester (just 23.5 miles from the Buncombe County Courthouse in downtown Asheville) was one of twelve sites in the country that were seriously being studied by the U.S. Department of Energy.   Continue reading

July 29, 2011 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Poll shows Californians increasingly oppose nuclear power

Opposition to nukes in California grows, CalCoast News, July 28, 2011. A new public opinion poll indicates that support for nuclear energy has dropped sharply in California.  The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reveals that nuclear energy, which had been enjoying an upswing in public support, is now viewed with concern since last spring’s disaster in Japan.

Nearly two-thirds of Californians now oppose building more nuclear plants in the state—the lowest level of support ever found ini a PPIC poll. The findings are consistent with a similar PPIC conducted last month……

July 29, 2011 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

UK Supreme Court backs atomic veterans right to appeal

UK nuclear test veterans win leave to appeal, LONDON  Jul 28, 2011 (Reuters) – Ex-servicemen who say they were made ill as a result of being exposed to radiation during British nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s won the latest stage of their battle for compensation on Thursday.

The Supreme Court gave the 1,011 veterans permission to further argue their right to seek damages, the Press Association reported.Veterans blame ill health — including cancer, skin defects and fertility problems — on their involvement in British nuclear tests in Australia, on Christmas Island and in the Pacific Ocean between 1952 and 1958.

The Ministry of Defense acknowledges a “debt of gratitude” but denies negligence. On Thursday, the Supreme Court gave the veterans the go-ahead to appeal against a lower court ruling that the cases were brought too long after the events to be heard…..

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Legal, UK | 1 Comment