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

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This site will next be updated on April 28

 (painting by Donald Zolan )


April 23, 2012 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster remains critical

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over   HUFFINGTON POST, Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, 22 April 12,  Spent reactor fuel, containing roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl, still sits in pools vulnerable to earthquakes.

More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over. After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. Senator, it’s sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins pose far greater dangers than the molten cores. This is why:

• Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl

• Several pools are 100 feet above the ground and are completely open to the atmosphere because the reactor buildings were demolished by explosions. The pools could possibly topple or collapse from structural damage coupled with another powerful earthquake.

• The loss of water exposing the spent fuel will result in overheating and can cause melting and ignite its zirconium metal cladding resulting in a fire that could deposit large amounts of radioactive materials over hundreds, if not thousands of miles……

The urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity where 13 earthquakesof magnitude 4.0-5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Japan between April 14 and 17. This has been the norm since the first quake and tsunami hit the Dai-Ichi site on March 11 of last year. Larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant.

Spent nuclear fuel is extraordinarily radioactive and must be handled with great care. In a matter of seconds, an unprotected person one foot away from a single freshly removed spent fuel assembly would receive a lethal dose of radiation within seconds. As one of the most dangerous materials on the planet, spent reactor fuel requires permanent geological isolation to protect humans for thousands of years……

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Decision to restart nuclear reactors send Japan’s Prime Minister’s approval rating tumbling

 Japan PM Approval Rating Tumbles On Nuclear Power Decision, Market
News International, APRIL 22, 2012 – TOKYO (MNI) – The public approval rating for the cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dropped five percentage points to 29% in asurvey conducted between Friday and Sunday by Nikkei Inc and TV Tokyo
Corp from the previous month.

The reading was the lowest since Noda took office in September and it came after the government decided earlier this month to restart two idled nuclear reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Oi plant in western Japan.

The poll showed that 54% of the respondents criticized such move and only 30% favored it.
The survey also found that 46% said the minimum of Japan’s 50 nuclear power plants should be brought back online, with 29% arguing that all should be suspended.
Meantime, the disapproval rating rose eight points to a record

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan still does not have a new, independent, nuclear regulator

Neglect of nuclear regulation  23 April 12, The Nuclear Regulatory Agency was originally scheduled to be set up on April 1. Although the Noda Cabinet endorsed a bill to establish the agency on Jan. 31 and send it to the Diet that day, the Diet has yet to start deliberating on it. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Squabble in UK over who gets the lucrative nuclear decommissioning job

Union fury as US firms eye nuclear work The Independent MARK LEFTLY     23 APRIL 2012 A swath of US firms are preparing to bid to oversee the multibillion-pound decommissioning of 10 obsolete Magnox reactor-powered nuclear stations, angering unionsthat want the work to go to British outfits. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Don’t restart nuclear reactors say 6 Japanese ruling party lawmakers

6 ruling party lawmakers propose to delay reactor restarts April 21, 2012 The Asahi Shimbun By SHINICHI SEKINE/ Staff Writer Six lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, elected from Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, have crafted a proposal to postpone reactivating two nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK poll shows overwhelming support for renewable energy

Poll: Nine out of 10 people want more renewables Friends of the Earth survey latest to show public support for renewables as green group launches new Clean British Energy campaign  BusinessGreen  23 Apr 2012 
Almost nine in 10 people want to see the government ramp up the UK’s use of clean domestic energy and reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas, a new YouGov poll reveals.
Just under two-thirds of the 2,884 people questioned on behalf of campaign group Friends of the Earth listed wind, wave, solar, or tidal as power sources they wanted to see playing a greater role in the UK’s electricity mix over the next decade, while just two per cent backed an increase in gas capacity.  The survey is the latest to signal strong public backing for renewable energy, following Sunday’s YouGov poll for Scottish Renewables that found 71 per cent of Scots supported wind power, and a separate Ipsos MORI survey last week that reported 67 per cent of respondents were in favour of using more wind power…..

April 23, 2012 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power had had its day, as wind energy blows in worldwide

Small-scale wind power facilities could be used in developing countries and in remote areas. In developed countries, small-scale wind power turbines are also gaining in significance with consumers because the electricity generated with them costs less than that offered by many energy providers. Experts see a long-term growth potential in small wind technology.

More than half the wind turbines in Germany are run by private citizens, farmers and local communities.

  Wind energy blowing away nuclear power, by  Gero Rueter,,15903703,00.html  23 April 12, Wind energy supplies 3 percent of global electricity needs and will soon supply more electricity than nuclear power. In 2011, some 50 billion euros were invested in wind, leading some to say it’s cheap and creates jobs.

Wind energy is booming and it is gaining in significance worldwide. It supplies some 20 percent of electricity in Spain and Denmark as well as about 10 percent in Germany. By 2020, the share of wind energy will have risen to between 20 percent and 25 percent in Germany, according to estimates.

Last year, new wind power plants with a total capacity of some 40 gigawatts (GW) were installed worldwide, according to the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). This puts wind energy’s global capacity at 237 GW by the end of 2011- the equivalent of what some 280 nuclear power plants generate. Currently, there are some 380 nuclear power
plants producing electricity worldwide. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

India’s glowing renewable energy future

Sun shines over renewable energy Business Line, N. RAMAKRISHNAN 22 April 12,  Wind energy continues to be the single largest component of the RE portfolio, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of all Green power. The Indian renewable energy industry has never had it so good. Wind power installations in 2011-12 were the highest in a single financial year, at 3,163 MW, taking the total installed capacity to 17,320 MW.

The Centre has announced an ambitious national solar mission under which 20,000 MW of solar power capacity will be added in the next decade. The first phase of the solar mission envisages 1,000 MW of capacity, both solar thermal and solar photovoltaic. The installed renewable energy capacity in the country at the end of March 2012 stood at 24,500 MW, about 12 per cent of the total installed power capacity of 2,00,287 MW…..

April 23, 2012 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Fukishima’s radioactive wastes and the failure of nuclear reprocessing

The main reason why there is so much spent fuel at the Da-Ichi site is that the plan to send it off for nuclear recycling has collapsed.

This scheme is based on long discredited assumptions of …. a new generation of “fast” reactors

 nearly all of the spent fuel at the Da-Ichi containing some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet will remain indefinitely in vulnerable pools.

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over   HUFFINGTON POST, Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, 22 April 12,“……Last week, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed plans to remove 2,274 spent fuel assemblies from the damaged reactors that will probably take at least a decade to accomplish. The first priority will be removal of the contents in Pool No. 4. This pool is structurally damaged and contains about 10 times more cesium-137 than released at Chernobyl. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing, wastes | Leave a comment

Radiation danger to Japan’s reconstruction workers

Recovery workers to get radiation limits Jiji Press 23 April 12, The health ministry will introduce radiation exposure control standards for reconstruction workers in areas damaged by last year’s earthquake and tsunami, officials said.

The ministry found it necessary to implement the new standards, as reconstruction work is beginning in earnest in Fukushima Prefecture, home to a nuclear power station crippled by the disasters.

Currently, there are radiation exposure control standards for workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and those engaged in decontamination around the plant but not for construction and other workers. In areas where annual radiation exposure is estimated at greater than 5 millisieverts, employers will be obliged to have each worker carry a dosimeter and receive health checks at least once a year, officials said Friday. In other areas, such individual radiation exposure control will not be required.

April 23, 2012 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

Cesium 137 and the follies of Chernobyl and Fukushima

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over   HUFFINGTON POST, Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, 22 April 12, “….It’s been 26 years, since the Chernobyl reactor exploded and caught fire releasing enormous amounts of radioactive debris — seriously contaminating areas over a thousand miles away. Chernobyl revealed the folly of not having an extra barrier of thick concrete and steel surrounding the reactor core that is required for modern plants, in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere. The Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident revealed the folly of operating several nuclear power plants in a high consequence earthquake zone while storing huge amounts of highly radioactive spent fuel in vulnerable pools, high above the ground.

What both accidents have in common is widespread environmental contamination from cesium-137. With a half-life of 30, years, Cs-137 gives off penetrating radiation, as it decays and can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. Once in the environment, it mimics potassium as it accumulates in the food chain. When it enters the human body, about 75 percent lodges in muscle tissue, with, perhaps, the most important muscle being the heart.

April 23, 2012 Posted by | environment, health, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

U.S. Senator Wyden’s plea on the danger of Fukushima spent fuel rods

Japan needs urgent assistance at Fukushima reactor  18 April, 2012  After a tour of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities this month, U.S. senator Ron Wyden has urged the Japanese Government to urgently seek international assistance to relocate spent fuel rods stored precariously in unsound structures close to the ocean and prevent more deadly nuclear radiation being released into the environment. After an onsite tour of what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities decimated by last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki looking for ways to advance and support clean-up and recovery efforts.

Wyden’s principal concern is the relocation of spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean. He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.

Wyden wrote in his letter: Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment