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Wrap up of the week’s nuclear news

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Fukushima – the saga cntinues.  New high radiation readings found in reactor No.3.  The reality of chronic continuing radiation for the Fukushimaprefecture., as the  human, social and economic costs weigh on the evacuated population. Japan struggles with the problem of its nuclear wastes, and not only the ones from Fukushima, with no solution in sight. The dream of nuclear reprocessing has turned into an economic nightmare.

India cracks down on the anti nuclear movement, freezing the funds of non government organisations that are critical of the nuclear industry, and deporting a German tourist because he is anti- nuclear.  Now it seems, “anti-nuclear” must mean “anti-India”.  But it’s OK to be an American, Russian, or French pro nuclear executive visiting.

USA – safety of nuclear plants debated, and the chairman of the NRC getting a bad name in the industry – for putting safety ahead of the nuclear industry’s needs.

Malaysia:  The world, especially South East Asia watches, as the first entry of things nuclear is attempted by the Australian rare earths company, Lynas. If Lynas can get its project going, with no plan for disposing of the radioactive wastes, well, nuclear companies will be ready to follow suit.   But Lynas is not the only Ugly Australian company abroad. Paladin uranium’s bad record in Africa is just one amongst the sad reality of white Western  miners exploiting African people and environment.

Worldwide: renewable energy keeps growing, whether  subsidised or not, and even the International Energy Agency is noticing this.


February 29, 2012 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Humans can’t enter. Robot finds high radiation in Fukushima No.2 reactor

Robot detects high radiation levels at Fukushima Daiichi plant, Mainichi Daily News, 29 Feb 12, TOKYO (Kyodo) –– A remotely operated robot has detected high radiation levels of up to 220 millisieverts per hour at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor building, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday.

The Japanese-made Quince 2 robot, which began checking radiation levels on Monday, was exposed to 153 millisieverts of radiation in just less than three hours of operation, according to the utility.

“It is difficult for a human being to go inside and do work,” a Tokyo Electric official said of conditions inside the reactor building, adding that the humidity inside is also high at around 70 percent….

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy: Indian government deports anti nuclear foreigner, fetes pro nuclear foreignors

India with it’s multi gigawatt solar availability could power the entire world with just solar

Solar is cheap  today. It was 30 dollars per watt and today it has dropped down to 3 dollars per watt Nuclear is way way more expensive and will only leave our kids with a cancerous future and deadly waste forever

from our correspondent in India, 29 Feb 12, The Government is cancelling the licences of three NGOs without giving their names because obviously these NGOs don’t exist. Let’s see what they will cook up and who they will pay to be stooges for the government. It is not an impossible task for this extremely anti-democratic government to organize goons who will agree to be phony NGOs in their attempt to derail the Koodankulam protests.

Sad this government had to stoop this low to make such a hue and cry about an innocent tourist and about non-existing foreign funding of the protests. We are however one hundred per cent sure the government is massively funded to promote foreign interests in our country. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Cancer in India’s nuclear workers – the other side of nuclear power’s rosy picture

After being in denial for years, last month the selfsame Department of Atomic Energy for the first time admitted that the deaths of its employees and their dependents at the Kalpakkam nuclear site were caused by multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer linked to nuclear radiation. 
Not that the DAE willingly divulged the information – it came to light in response to a Right to Information (RTI) inquiry from October 2011, … one can only wonder what other reports the DAE is sitting on

The Darker Reality of India’s Nuclear Power GoalsBy John Daly  26 February 2012 India is betting heavily on nuclear power to meet its surging energy needs. While India currently has six nuclear power plants (NPPs) with 20 reactors generating 4,780 megawatts, seven other reactors are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 5,300 megawatts.

This current rate of nuclear power generation pales into insignificance with New Delhi’s future plans, Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | health, India | Leave a comment

Nuclear plant 45 years working, 100 years++ to get rid of it

Oldbury nuclear power station shutdown: What next? By Chris Kelly BBC News, 29 Feb 12,   “…….the beginning of the end for Oldbury. The end, though, will extend many more years into the future than Oldbury’s 45-year history.

Over the next three years, all 52,000 fuel elements inside the station’s nuclear reactor will be gradually removed which will mean no more heat is generated by the reactor. The fuel is then taken away – by road from Oldbury to nearby Berkeley, site of another inactive nuclear power station – and then by rail to Sellafield where it is reprocessed.

Once the fuel has gone, other hazards and chemicals on the site such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and acids are taken away and some of the buildings on the site will be demolished. “That will probably take about 15 years from now – so in the 2020s,” said Mr Sprauge. “What we will be left with then is the two reactor buildings and the centre block and pretty much nothing else.”

The longest job of the entire operation, though, will then begin. Leaving the station to slowly lose its radioactivity.  And that job – which requires little human intervention – will take some 80 long years while the radioactivity from components in the reactor slowly fades.

The final bow for Oldbury’s mysterious looking reactor buildings will then come in 2109 when work can begin to pull them down. By then, the Oldbury reactor buildings may have a new neighbour. Horizon Nuclear Power – a conglomerate formed by E.On and RWE – hope to build a new power station, next to the existing reactor building, by 2019.

But one resident of nearby Sheperdine – Reg Illingworth – is less than pleased about the idea of a new reactor there.

Mr Illingworth, originally from Liverpool, moved to the nearby village of Shepperdine when plans were afoot to decommission Oldbury in 2007. But the life of the station was extended until 2012 before plans for the the Oldbury B station were announced.

“I’m hyper, hyper worried,” said Mr Illingworth, who is a member of a local anti-nuclear campaign group. He added he was “glad to see it’s closing”……

February 29, 2012 Posted by | decommission reactor, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Fukushima radiation will be continuing and a chronic problem

Fukushima contamination is ‘chronic’, IOL News, February 29 2012  By Laurent Banguet, Paris Radioactive contamination levels from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have fallen sharply since the accident but will be “chronic and lasting” for many years, a French watchdog said on Tuesday.

“The initial contamination linked to the accident has greatly declined,” Didier Champion, crisis manager at the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), told reporters almost a year after the disaster.

“That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more, far from it. Today, and for many years to come, we will have a situation of chronic and lasting contamination of the environment.”

It was essential for Japan to maintain vigilant monitoring of fruit, milk, mushrooms, game and fish, Champion said.

“There are risks of chronic exposure at low dosage, and without care this can build up over time,” he warned.

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

Japan’s taxpayers up for $6 billion costs from nuclear disaster – it could happen to South Africans

 the Japanese taxpayer is liable for losses caused by the nuclear meltdown. The fall out in Japan has cost an estimated 500 to 600 billion dollars according to Greenpeace.

Adam says clauses in South African law limit the liability nuclear power plants pay if a disaster occurs. If a disaster happens in South Africa “the ordinary citizen will be paying for a clean-up,” says Adam.

Greenpeace launches anti-nuclear energy campaign, Times Live, Pearl Boshomane and Katharine Child | 28 February, 2012 Environmental activist organisation Greenpeace has launched a campaign urging the government to abandon the move towards using nuclear energy in South Africa. This comes on the heels of an announcement by Energy minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday that the government will allocate more funds — R300 billion– towards nuclear power plant construction

Also on Tuesday, Greenpeace released the ‘Lessons from Fukushima’ report, which states that the Japanese nuclear disaster of last year was a result of governmental and nuclear industry failures as opposed to a natural disaster. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Japan has no solution to disposing of its nuclear wastes

The country is yet to build a final disposal site for nuclear fuel.

Meanwhile, Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the troubled Daiichi plant, criticized the panel for drafting a new atomic energy policy platform before an investigation into the cause of the nuclear crisis is concluded…..

Panel calls for study on direct disposal of spent nuclear fuel,  Mainichi Daily News, 29  Feb 12, Nothing is decided yet but TEPCO told the press at its Tokyo headquarters Wednesday morning that this is one option TEPCO officials are considering to use at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A government panel commissioned to compile the country’s basic atomic energy policy said in its draft nuclear power platform Tuesday that Japan should study the possibility of burying spent nuclear fuel deep underground, instead of the current disposal
method of reprocessing spent fuel. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Scientists detail 15 ‘near misses’ at USA nuclear power plants

Fifteen ‘Near-Misses’ at U.S. Nuclear Plants in 2011 Environmental News Service WASHINGTON, DC, February 28, 2012 (ENS) – The Union of Concerned Scientists has documented 15 “near-misses” at 13 U.S. nuclear plants during 2011 and evaluates the response of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to each event in a report released today.

The second in an annual series of reports, “The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety 2011 Report: Living on Borrowed Time” details 15 special inspections launched by the federal agency in response to problems with safety equipment, security shortcomings, and other troubling events at nuclear power plants.

The overview is provided by David Lochbaum, the director of UCS’s Nuclear Safety Project. He worked at U.S. nuclear plants for 17 years and was a boiling water reactor technology instructor for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“While none of the safety problems in 2011 caused harm to plant employees or the public, their frequency – more than one per month – is high for a mature industry,” Lochbaum writes.

In the 40 years that the Union of Concerned Scientists has evaluated safety at U.S. nuclear power plants, “We have repeatedly found that NRC enforcement of safety regulations is not timely, consistent or effective,” the report states.

The UCS says its findings match those of the agency’s internal assessments, as well as of independent agents such as the NRC’s Office of Inspector General and the federal Government Accountability Office, which is the investigative arm of Congress.

Many of these 15 “near misses” occurred because reactor owners either tolerated known safety problems or took inadequate measures to correct them, Lochbaum finds…..

Article goes on to detail each of these.…

February 29, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Protest against India deporting German tourist because he is anti nuclear

“I don’t know whether he was involved in raising funds for anti-KNPP protestors. But being anti-nuclear does not mean one is anti-national.” 

Foreign fund remark: Kudankulam protester sends legal notice to PM  Economic Times, 28 FEB, 2012,    German deported, anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project activist cries foul Chennai: A German national was deported from India on Tuesday on grounds of raising funds for protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, prompting an anti-nuclear activist to say the move was anti-tourist.  Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, India | 1 Comment

Nuclear plants in South Carolina and Virginia had “near misses”

Nuclear watchdog group says Duke Energy plant among 2011 “near misses”  by johnmurawski on 02/28/2012   “……According to UCS, the situation at Duke Energy’s Oconee nuclear plant in South Carolina involved a glitch in the backup reactor core cooling system that would have rendered the system useless during an accident.

The backup system was installed in 1983 and the plant’s workers didn’t discover the problem until 2011.

Another plant mentioned in the UCS report was the North Anna plant in Virginia which lost offsite power after experiencing an earthquake which was more severe than the plant was designed for……”

February 29, 2012 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s government silence as it gives R300bn to nuclear industry

Strangely, neither President [Jacob Zuma] nor the minister of finance saw fit to mention the largest-ever procurement in South African history in the state-of-the-nation address or the Budget speech.

Greyling said there had also been no opportunity for the public to scrutinise a nuclear programme.

R300bn for nuclear plants not ‘end amount’ News 24, 2012-02-28  Cape Town The R300bn allocated in the Budget for building new nuclear power plants is not the final amount for the project, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Africa | 1 Comment

Federal govt confident of legal win in keeping new uranium mining from Grand Canyon

Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club aid the mining industry is used to getting its way when it comes to public lands, and she believes that is one reason for Monday’s lawsuit. “The mining industry seems to forget that these are public
lands, not their lands,” she said. “There are more important things than their short–term profits – namely the Grand Canyon.”

Environmentalists also said they do not believe the department’s environmental analysis will be found to be flawed as it spent more than two years on research, analysis and review of “hundreds of thousands of comments in support of the withdrawal,”

Salazar confident uranium-mining ban will withstand legal challenge By SALVADOR RODRIGUEZ Cronkite News, 28 Feb 12, WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday he is confident a 20–year ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon will hold up to an industry lawsuit challenging the January withdrawal of the land by federal officials.

Salazar’s comments came one day after the National Mining Association
and the Nuclear Energy Institute filed suit U.S. District Court in Arizona, arguing that the Department of the Interior cannot withdraw more than 5,000 acres of land at a time under the law it cited. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Evacuation from a nuclear disaster is a one-way ticket.

Britain is now going down the same route. The debate is complex, but it must not assume the same thing couldn’t happen here. That’s what they said in Japan after Chernobyl.

Japan’s nuclear disaster: a long half-life Life without neighbours, or Fukushima’s traditional livestock and fishing industries, would be a shadow of its former self, 28 February 2012 As the people of Pripyat, a once bustling Soviet city built for the workers of Chernobyl, will tell you, evacuation from a nuclear disaster is a one-way ticket. Continue reading

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

Rapid growth of renewable energy finally recognised by International Energy Agency

Renewable energy is now the fastest growing sector of the energy mix and accounts for almost one-fifth of all electricity produced worldwide.

International Energy Agency (Finally) Acknowledges Ascent of Renewable Energy Market Forbes, Erica Giles 29 Feb 2012, The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced last week that it will begin publishing an annual market forecast of renewable energy, starting in July. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment