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The “China Killer” – India developing new long range nuclear missile

India to test new missile  dubbed ‘the China killer’, The Age 3 Dec 11, Given the incendiary moniker ”the China killer” by the more sensationalist press, India’s newest nuclear-capable missile will be its most powerful yet, and an unmistakable signal to its neighbours.

Agni V – formally named after the Hindu god of fire and acceptor of sacrifices – is set to be tested within three months. It will be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 5000 kilometres, meaning it can reach not only Beijing and Shanghai, but all of northern China. India’s existing arsenal can already reach every corner of Pakistan…. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power has always been, and still is, the excuse for nuclear weapons

Nuclear power has always been the nefarious Trojan horse for the weapons industry, and effective publicity campaigns are a hallmark of both industries.The concept of nuclear electricity was conceived in the early 1950s as a way to make the public more comfortable with the U.S. development of nuclear weapons.

“The atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends,” a consultant to the Defense Department Psychological Strategy Board, Stefan Possony, suggested. The phrase “Atoms for Peace” was popularized by President Dwight Eisenhower in the early 1950s.

After Fukushima: Enough Is Enough, NYT,  By HELEN CALDICOTT, 2 Dec 11…….After the [Fukushima] accident, lobbying groups touted improved safety at nuclear installations globally. In Japan, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. — which operates the Fukushima Daiichi reactors — and the government have sought to control the reporting of negative stories via telecom companies and Internet service providers.

In Britain, The Guardian reported that days after the tsunami, companies with interests in nuclear power — Areva, EDF Energy and Westinghouse — worked with the government to downplay the accident, fearing setbacks on plans for new nuclear power plants. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

TEPCO claims that radioactive substances now responsibility of landowners, not TEPCO

TEPCO: Radioactive substances belong to landowners, not us, By TOMOHIRO IWATA / Asahi Shimbun Weekly AERA, 24 Nov During court proceedings concerning a radioactive golf course, Tokyo Electric Power Co. stunned lawyers by saying the utility was not responsible for decontamination because it no longer “owned” the radioactive substances.

“Radioactive materials (such as cesium) that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not TEPCO,” the utility said. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Japan, Legal | 1 Comment

UK government and its crazy economics of a plutonium Mox nuclear plant

“This is crazynomics – the reality is that the nuclear fairytale is a nuclear nightmare. Having announced the closure of a Mox plant because it was colossally inefficient and because there was no market for its service, the government now wants to build another one that will fast become a hugely expensive white elephant.

Mox plant U-turn by coalition stuns anti-nuclear campaigners, Guardian UK, Terry Macalister, 2 Dec 11 Having closed down a massively loss-making mixed-oxide fuel
reprocessing plant at Sellafield, the government amazes Greenpeace by proposing to build a new one

The government has astonished the anti-nuclear lobby by outlining plans to spend £3bn of public money building a new mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) plant – months after announcing the closure of a similar facility that lost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds….. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | - plutonium, politics, UK | Leave a comment

American public has no way to know the cost of USA nu clear weapons

Taxpayers Left in the Dark When it Comes to Nuclear Weapons Spending, Project on Governmnet Oversight (POGO) Dec 01, 2011, By MIA STEINLE and DANIELLE BRIAN The U.S. government has never been fully open about the cost of its nuclear weapons programs. This fact has sparked a debate over how to best calculate the financial burden nuclear weapons place on taxpayers. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote yesterday that the estimate of $700 billion over ten years put forth by the Ploughshares Fund (a nuclear policy foundation that is one of POGO’s funders) has gained a lot of traction, has been disputed by the Obama administration as being too high.

In response, Ploughshares defended its number but pointed out that “There is no official number that tells American citizens how much our government is spending on nuclear weapons. In fact, we are not even precisely sure how many nuclear weapons we have.”

But what wasn’t fully acknowledged in WaPo’s analysis is that the Obama administration’s $200 billion estimate—a rough number the Department of Defense (DoD) gave to Congress earlier this month—is far too low.

The nuclear weapons budget is divided between the DoD and the Department of Energy (DOE), accounting for about 7 percent and 67 percent, respectively, of each department’s budget. But it’s unclear if the administration is counting everything it should be counting when it comes to nuclear programs. As Stephen I. Schwartz, co-author of a 2009 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report on nuclear spending, told WaPo, the administration’s current estimate is likely leaving out some important costs:

“It’s a little like saying it costs me $1,000 a year to operate my car, except that I am not counting the cost of insurance, repairs, registration, taxes, etc.,” Schwartz said. “The actual cost is higher, maybe even much higher. But unless the folks at DOD can provide us with a breakout of the costs for each system, it’s impossible to say what’s included and what’s not.”

The administration’s estimate does not appear to include the lifecycle costs of projects, which are often far greater than initial construction costs. And the DoD is known for projects with high maintenance costs. For example, the DoD’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will cost $382 billion to acquire, but operating costs for the life of the program will total a staggering$1 trillion.…..

So, how much does the U.S. spend on nuclear weapons? The only way to know for sure—and the only way for Congress to make informed decisions about funding—is for the administration to be more transparent about its nuclear spending, and to make a complete, detailed budget available to the public that includes operations, tactical nukes and other costs borne by the taxpayer. We also need a GAO audit of that budget, because right now, the one thing we do know is that we do not know enough.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

High radioactive cesium levels in Abukumagawa river, Japan

Cesium levels hit tens of billions of becquerels at river mouth, The Asahi Shimbun November 25, 2011, By EISUKE SASAKI Researchers have sounded the alarm over river water containing cesium levels at tens of billions of becquerels a day flowing into the sea near Fukushima Prefecture, site of the crippled nuclear power plant.

A joint study by Kyoto University and the University of Tsukuba, among other entities, estimated that water at the mouth of the Abukumagawa river running through the prefecture was contaminated with cesium levels of about 50 billion becquerels a day. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear power program delayed even further

The Coalition’s plans for building eight to 10 nuclear plants over the next decade were described last week as “simply lacking credibility” by peers in the House of Lords.  

EDF Energy, the company building the first plant, has refused to give a “firm and final completion date” for nuclear power. 

Setback to nuclear power plans Britain’s plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations have suffered another setback after being delayed by at least a year. By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent TELEGRAPH 02 Dec 2011 The first of the new plants will not be built until 2019 because of extra safety checks following Japan’s atomic disaster.

Ministers originally hoped to get the first nuclear power station built by 2017, before revising this to 2018. Now there has been a further slippage, after an updated timetable showed the first station in Somerset is not expected until nearer the end of the decade.. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

All Japan’s nuclear reactors could be shut down by May 2012

Shutdown schedule for 9 active nuclear reactors, Reuters, 1 Dec 11“……..Kyushu Electric Power Co, one of the country’s most highly nuclear reliant regional power firms, on Thursday started regular maintenance on the No.1 unit at its sole Genkai nuclear plant, as planned, leaving only nine reactors online.

A total of 54 nuclear reactors had been available for commercial use before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disabled cooling systems at Fukushima Daiichi, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co, triggering meltdowns and causing the world’s worst radioactive material leakage in 25 years.

No reactor shut for regular maintenance has restarted since the March 11 disaster amid public concerns over atomic energy and the government’s reassessment of safety regulations…… Without approval for restarts, all of Japan’s reactors could be shut by next May, …..

Following are the locations of nuclear power plants still in operation and the companies’ schedules for shutdowns. If the utility has not given a schedule, the dates by which each reactor has to be taken offline for maintenance are listed, according to Reuters calculations.:…….

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton urging Burma to come clean on nuclear research

Clinton seeks a nuclear surety from Burma, SMH, Lindsay Murdoch, December 2, 2011 BANGKOK: Hillary Clinton has made Burma’s purchase of missile technology from North Korea the highest priority of the first visit by a US secretary of state to the impoverished south-east Asian nation in 50 years.

Mrs Clinton is seeking an assurance from Burma’s leaders they are not receiving nuclear technologies from North Korea and wants them to agree to more vigorous inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to a senior State Department official.

US officials travelling with Mrs Clinton say there are no signs of a ”substantial” effort by Burma to develop nuclear weapons but they are worried by the increased pace of military contact with Pyongyang……..

It was reported that Mr Thein Sein spent much of the meeting giving a detailed 45-minute presentation about further change, including the adoption of international agreements on nuclear programs to allay suspicions about the Burma-North Korea weapons trade.

Burma insists that any nuclear-related activities are purely for civilian research purposes. But Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this week that resolving questions about Burma’s illicit nuclear research were fundamental to the US’s improved relations with Burma. A UN report released in November last year said North Korea was supplying banned nuclear and ballistic equipment to Burma as well as Iran and Syria. Burmese army defectors have claimed the country has been researching weapons of mass destruction since 2001.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Burma, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan sets radiation level limit for childrens’ school meals

First radiation limit set for school mealsThreshold set at 40 becquerels for food, drinks in 17 prefectures, Japan Times, Dec. 2, 2011 Kyodo The government has instructed the boards of education of 17 eastern and northeastern prefectures to set the upper limit on radioactive substance exposure for food and drink served in school meals at 40 becquerels per kilogram, officials said Thursday.

The threshold is one-fifth of the current provisional limit on radioactive cesium for items of general consumption — 200 becquerels per kilogram for drinking water, milk and dairy products. The maximum allowable amount for rice, vegetables, meat and fish is set at 500 becquerels per kilogram.

The officials of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said they newly set the criteria for school meals as the government plans to lower the upper limit of annual internal exposure to radioactive cesium through food and drink consumption to 1 millisievert from the current provisional threshold of 5 millisieverts. The 17 prefectures include Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tokyo, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.

The ministry has earmarked about ¥100 million in the third extra budget for the current fiscal year to cover part of the cost to purchase dosimeters to detect radiation amounts in meals at schools in the 17 prefectures, according to the officials.

Under the directive, municipal governments are requested to buy equipment that can detect radiation levels in food and drink below 40 becquerels and to stop serving items with radioactive substances that exceed the upper limit, the officials said.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan trying out a giant washing machine for radioactive cleanup

Japan looks to giant washer to clean Fukushima debris, MY,TOKYO, December 2, 2011 (AFP) – Japan is looking to launder tsunami debris in a giant washing machine to get rid of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident, a researcher said Friday.

In a scheme they hope will result in finally being able to dispose of contaminated waste left by the waves that crushed towns on the country’s northeast coast, a cleaning plant will be built near the Fukushima Daiichi power station. Shredded waste — including the remains of houses and cars destroyed by the tsunami — will be put inside a huge water-filled drum where steel attachments will scrub away radioactive particles, the researcher told AFP.

The plan is a joint scheme between Tokyo-based construction company Toda Corp. and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency…..Government planners have said radiation-contaminated debris could be stored in a facility in Fukushima prefecture for at least 30 years until its final destination is determined.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Arms control experts doubt report that China’s nuclear arsenal is very large

US experts skeptical over China nuclear force report, By Dan De Luce (AFP) –2 Dec 11 WASHINGTON — Arms control experts are dismissing a report by US university students that suggests China’s nuclear arsenal may be much larger than previously estimated, saying the research is shoddy and unreliable. Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Wind power growing in importance in South Korea

South Korea’s drive for renewable energy By Lucy Williamson, BBC News,1 Dec 11 South Korea “…..Wind power is becoming increasingly important to South Korea – not just as a way to help meet ambitious targets on greenhouse gas emissions, but also as a way to boost the economy.

“Green Growth” has been a key national strategy since President Lee Myung-bak took office four years ago……..South Korea is relatively late to the green technology market. Europe is the established leader in wind turbines – and even China is judged to be steaming ahead.

Korea completed its first wind farm five years ago. Spread across a beautiful series of hills in Gangwon Province, near the country’s eastern coast, the wind farm produces an impressive 240MW per year…..

December 3, 2011 Posted by | renewable, South Korea | Leave a comment

Photographs of Germany’s nuclear waste train protest

 Following a nuclear train  Reuters Photographers’ Blog By Fabrizio Bensch, 2 Dec 11  126 hours from La Hague to Gorleben; the longest ever nuclear waste transport from Germany to France

This is a retrospective on the past 10 years, during which I have covered the nuclear waste transportation from France to Germany many times. The German nuclear waste from power plants is transported in Castor (Cask for Storage and Transport of Radioactive material) containers by train to the northern German interim storage facility of Gorleben…….Nuclear waste from German nuclear power plants was reprocessed at the French plant at La Hague. The train used to transport it was protected in Germany by up to 20,000 policemen. Each transportation was different, but the pictures each year were very similar. There were blockades on the railway tracks, activists chaining themselves to the tracks, peaceful and violent protests along the route and the waiting patiently for hours for the train to move further along….

Nowhere in the world are anti-nuclear protest so symbolic and visible as in Gorleben. But in the end even in this agricultural region the last castor container still reached its final destination after 126 hours and 1200 kilometers (745 miles).

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Podcast report on frequent fliers and backscatter radiation scanning

Podcast REPORT For Frequent Fliers, How Big a Concern Is Backscatter Body Scan Radiation?    PBS Newshour Dec. 1, 2011 SUMMARY As millions of Americans take to the skies for holiday travel, some scientists have raised concerns about the small dose of ionizing radiation emitted by backscatter full-body scanners used to screen passengers at U.S. airports. In partnership with ProPublica, Miles O’Brien examines what we do and don’t know about the machines.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment