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Nuclear power and WATER – theme for February 2012

Effects of uranium mining and nuclear power on water.

Overuse of precious fresh water.One of the greatest dangers of the nuclear/uranium industry is in its use of water.  Both uranium mining and nuclear reactors require enormous amounts of water.  This is a threat to the world’s scarce resources of fresh water.

Pollution. Both uranium mining and nuclear reactors also pollute water.  In uranium mining, water is often used to pour over radioactive dust tailings: radioactive water can leach down into groundwater. In the “in situ leach” process, radioactive water is disposed of into the aquifer.

Nuclear reactors use water for cooling – the resulting hot water is released into the source, river, or coastal sea, to thermally pollute the area, damaging plants and fish.


Effects of water scarcity, and hot water on nuclear reactors.. In heat waves, nuclear reactors often will need to be shut down, as their river sources of cooling water become too warm to function as a coolant.

As global warming brings about a rise in average temperatures and ocean levels, inland reactors will increasingly contribute to, and be affected by, water shortages. During the record-breaking 2003 heat wave in France, operations at 17 commercial nuclear reactors had to be scaled back or stopped because of rapidly rising temperatures in rivers and lake. Spain’s reactor at Santa María de Garoña was shut for a week in July 2006 after high temperatures were recorded in the Ebro River.

Paradoxically, then, the very conditions that made it impossible for the nuclear industry to deliver full power in Europe in 2003 and 2006 created peak demand for electricity, owing to the increased use of air conditioning.

Seawater can be used to cool reactors, but it has to be purified. Corrosive elements in the seawater would otherwise ruin the reactors – so seawater is  a last resort for cooling. As in the case of the Fukushima emergency – seawater was used, as  ruining the reactors was preferable to a catastrophic nuclear meltdown.


January 31, 2012 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Climate change policy manipulated by the nuclear lobby

The threat of climate change gained traction in the global imagination after the end of the Cold War. And as warming worries grew, nuclear power became an anti-emissions trump card in the eyes of many, fueling a reactor building spree. 

“Government policy came to incorporate promotion of nuclear power. It was taboo for us to even make an issue of it.”

Nuclear power boosters used climate change to ride to energy supremacy, Mainichi DailyNews, 30 Jan 12  In 1997, in the midst of the international negotiations that would eventually result in the Kyoto Protocol, the Japanese delegation was pondering whether it could realistically accept the protocol’s main point: a commitment to a 6 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. They were also grappling with what such a commitment would mean for Japan’s energy supplies.

Strangely enough, though the Japanese delegation was grappling with issues of carbon emissions and energy needs, there was not a single representative of the then Environment Agency on hand. Osamu Watanabe, vice minister at the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry at the time of the talks and now president of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., sums up Japan’s thinking like this:

“Taking nuclear power into account was a prerequisite for accepting the 6 percent reduction. Speaking for the industry ministry, we thought that the more nuclear power we had, the more we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Meanwhile, at the Environment Agency — which became the Environment Ministry in 2001 — there were many staff who took a more cautious attitude to the promotion of nuclear power. Their skepticism did not, however, often find effective expression.

“The industry ministry put up a lot of resistance to the Environment Agency getting involved in energy policy,” a senior agency official from the time says. “We just couldn’t get a word in.” Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | climate change, Japan, marketing of nuclear | Leave a comment

Records not kept by 5 Japanese nuclear disaster committees

Five Japan committees keep no disaster records Terra Daily Tokyo (AFP) Jan 27, 2012 Five government teams dealing with Japan’s tsunami and nuclear catastrophes kept no detailed records, an official said Friday, adding to a growing picture of chaos in Tokyo’s disaster response…

Now the government has admitted having no minutes from a further four emergency committees, Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA’s Pentagon secret aim for an even bigger bomb

Pentagon developing more powerful bunker buster bomb to target Iran’s ‘hidden nuclear weapons’ DAILY MAIL  29th January 2012 The Pentagon has made a secret request to develop its largest bomb because officials believe it is not capable of destroying Iran’s fortified underground facilities.

The 13.6 ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is the deepest penetrating ‘bunker buster’ currently in the U.S. arsenal, designed to take out fortifications built by Iran to hide their alleged nuclear weapons.
But a request has now been secretly submitted to Congress for funding
to make a more powerful weapon….

January 29, 2012 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Japan’s anti nuclear movement moves to the mainstream

Anti-nuclear movement unites rightists, leftists, The Asahi Shimbun, January 27, 2012 In the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Cocoro Fujinami posted a message on her blog that brought the little-known singer instant fame.

“How much are we going to coddle the nuclear power industry?” wrote Fujinami, a so-called B-class idol who has also posed as a gravure model and appeared in film.

However, that message also led to scorn. The 15-year-old is one of the new faces of the anti-nuclear movement in Japan, an issue that has blurred the lines between leftists and

After Fujinami posted that message on March 23, her blog received more than 3 million hits over three days. She won support from Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son and other well-known figures and became a regular invitee to anti-nuclear demonstrations. Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Iowa citizens to pay up even if nuclear company walks away!

MidAmerican’s nuclear plant proposal puts risk on consumers, Des Monies Register, 29 Jan 12, Sonia Ashe, Iowa Public Interest Research Group, Des Moines Beyond the lack of public protection against the financial risks and uncertainties associated with the development of new nuclear power, some provisions in Iowa’s nuclear construction work in progress bill, H.F. 561, actually incentivize behavior contrary to the public interest.

The Iowa Utility Board staff recently released a memo that makes clear that H.F. 561, as written, “would shift nearly all of the construction, licensing and permitting risk associated with one or more nuclear plants from the company to its customers.” That certainly
doesn’t provide proper motivation for a utility company like MidAmerican Energy to keep costs low or even follow through with completion of the project.

The memo also warns that H.F. 561 would prevent the Iowa Utility Board from offering traditional protection to consumers in the case of cost overruns, project cancellation or mismanagement.

MidAmerican Energy CEO Bill Fehrman keeps emphasizing that this bill lays all the responsibility and power at the feet of the IUB, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the IUB staff agrees.

If bringing new nuclear power to Iowa means forcing already strapped Iowans to bear all the cost and risk involved, with few protections, I say it’s not worth it. We have other, more cost-effective options that don’t require a blank check in advance….

January 29, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Problems in assessing radiation in Fukushima school lunches

Radiation testing on school lunches differs, The Yomiuri Shimbun, 30 Jan 12, FUKUSHIMA-Municipalities are carrying out tests for radioactive substances on ingredients used in school lunches, but parents are worried whether their children are adequately protected as the testsare conducted in various ways. Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

UK assesses the nation’s coming dangers from climate change

UK ranks top risks posed by climate change, SMH, David Stringer, January 27, 2012  Coastlines, working patterns and even the country’s most famous meal are under threat from climate change, Britain says in its first-ever national assessment of the likely risks. Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Worry over nuclear transport through Caribbean Sea

Hazardous waste through the Caribbean Sea a concern The Barbados Advocate, 1/23/2012 There is concern over the transportation of hazardous nuclear waste and other hazardous material through the Caribbean Sea which are potential threats to lives, health, the environment and our economies.

This comes from Ambassador Raymond Wolfe, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee….

He said that the focus on shipping and maritime commerce must also include improved measures, regulations and standards governing maritime safety, the training of seafarers and the safety of navigation at sea, including the safety of shipping vessels… while CARICOM acknowledges the rights of Member States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, there still remains a concern,” he stressed……..

January 29, 2012 Posted by | OCEANIA, safety | 1 Comment

What became of japan’s radioactive cows?

Japan loses track of radioactive cows, ABC Asia Pacific News, A woman feeds her cattle at a farm in Kawamata, 45 kilometres west of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. [AFP] Mark Willacy, Tokyo, 27 Jan 2012  Japanese authorities have lost track of nearly 3,000 cows suspected of containing high levels of radioactive caesium.

The cows ate rice straw contaminated in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Last year Japan’s health ministry ordered the testing of more than 4,500 beef cattle suspected of being contaminated with radiation.

But according to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper, so far only a third has been tested, with the distribution routes of about 3,000 head of slaughtered cattle remaining a mystery.
Of the tested meat, about six per cent was found to contain radioactive caesium above the acceptable safe limit. Food safety experts say that consumers would have to eat a lot of the
meat to suffer any damage to their health.

January 29, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australia’s ailing uranium industry

In short, the deal with India is seen by some as little more than a short term means to prop up an industry breathing its last gasp……

[For uranium explorers] the 52 week highs and lows paints the same picture as we saw for the producers – market participants doubt the viability of exploring for a product whose demand may be in jeopardy.  

  Share market participants have spoken and they clearly doubt the future of nuclear energy.

URANIUM STOCKS HIT HARD BUT BULLS ARE BELLOWING, The Bull,    By Bob Kohut | 30.01.2012 As the dismal trading in 2011 global share markets ground down to its agonising year-end finish, some Australian investors were heartened by the news that our government was about to lift the ban on uranium sales to India.. Continue reading

January 29, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | 1 Comment

National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nuclear Weapons Testing,   Victims of Nuclear Testing Radiation Remembered, 01.27.2012 by Jeff Robinson (KCPW News) It was 61 years ago today that nuclear testing began on the Nevada Test Site, as many residents of Salt Lake Cityand more rural areas like Kane County know too well. That’s why local leaders are marking a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nuclear Weapons Testing, which was designated by the U.S. Senate, to commemorate the lives of downwinders, those who were exposed to the radiation. Local resident Mary Dickson is one of them. She shared her downwinder story with KCPW’s Jeff Robinson.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Growth of anti-nuclear movement in Asia

Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia Though nuclear power still has a strong foothold in Asia, anti-nuclear sentiment and protest are growing from Mongolia to South Korea to Taiwan and even – in modest ways – in China. Christian Science Monitor, By Winifred Bird,  January 27, 2012 YOKOHAMA, JAPAN
Heonseok Lee has a simple way of describing how public sentiment toward nuclear power has changed in South Korea since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last March 11. “Before 3/11, I’d post an article criticizing the nuclear power industry, and right away there’d be hundreds of really nasty comments. After 3/11, there’ll still be a few dozen. But not hundreds,” says Lee, a full-time anti-nuclear activist in one of the world’s most pro-nuclear countries.
Though nuclear power still has a strong foothold throughout the region, and public opinion is mixed, activists across Asia have anecdotes like this to show that anti-nuclear sentiment and protest are slowly growing from Mongolia, to South Korea to Taiwan and even – in modest ways – to China.
This month, activists from Japan and South Korea announced plans for a new East Asian civil society network to promote renewable energy and oppose nuclear power. Continue reading

January 28, 2012 Posted by | ASIA, opposition to nuclear, South Korea | 1 Comment

Florida’s nuclear cost fiasco is a wake up call to Iowa

The Iowa Legislature is currently considering similar legislation (HF 561) that would allow MidAmerican Energy to force Iowa consumers to foot the bill in advance for nuclear reactors, and let MidAmerican keep the money regardless of whether they are ever constructed.

Nuclear Cancellation In Florida Is Warning To Iowa Legislators  Florida utility seeks to cancel nuclear construction plans while leaving customers on the hook for hundreds of millions as Iowa legislators consider allowing a similar
swindle IOWA –-(ENEWSPF)–January 27, 2012. News that Florida utility Progress Energy plans to cancel the construction contract for its proposed nuclear reactors in Levy County — and will leave customers with a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars — should convince Iowa
legislators to finally abandon a proposal by MidAmerican Energy that could bilk consumers across Iowa, said Friends of the Earth. Continue reading

January 28, 2012 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

12 $billion new Hanford nuclear waste facility has safety flaws

Safety at Wash. Nuclear-Waste Site Scrutinized, SciTech Today, By Peter Eisler January 27,  A new plant meant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is coming under fire by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. A chief concern is that abrasive and corrosive particles in the waste could erode pipes and mixing vessels used to pretreat the material for vitrification, ultimately causing leaks. A federal oversight panel is raising new concerns to the Department of Energy about potentially serious flaws in the design of a first-of-its-kind, $12 billion waste treatment plant that is being built for the nation’s largest radioactive cleanup. Continue reading

January 28, 2012 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment