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Nuclear power plants – unwise for pregnant women and children to live near them?

the new evidence of an association between increased cancers and proximity to nuclear facilities raises difficult questions. Should pregnant women and young children be advised to move away from them? Should local residents eat vegetables from their gardens? And, crucially, shouldn’t those governments around the world who are planning to build more reactors think again?
Reasonable DoubtEnvironmental Research Foundation By Ian Fairlie Among the many environmental concerns surrounding nuclear power plants, there is one that provokes public anxiety like no other: the fear that children living near nuclear facilities face an increased risk of cancer. Though a link has long been suspected, it has never been proven. Now that seems likely to change.

Studies in the 1980s revealed increased incidences of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations at Windscale (now Sellafield), Burghfield and Dounreay in the UK. Later studies near German nuclear facilities found a similar effect. The official response was that the radiation doses from the nearby plants were too low to explain the increased leukaemia. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, which is responsible for advising the UK government, finally concluded that the explanation remained unknown but was not likely to be radiation.

There the issue rested, until a recent flurry of epidemiological studies appeared. Last year, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston carried out a meta-analysis of 17 research papers covering 136 nuclear sites in the UK, Canada, France, the US, Germany, Japan and Spain. The incidence of leukaemia in children under 9 living close to the sites showed an increase of 14 to 21 per cent, while death rates from the disease were raised by 5 to 24 per cent, depending on their proximity to the nuclear facilities (European Journal of Cancer Care, vol 16, p 355).

This was followed by a German study which found 14 cases of leukaemia compared to an expected four cases between 1990 and 2005 in children living within 5 kilometres of the Krummel nuclear plant near Hamburg, making it the largest leukaemia cluster near a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world (Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 115, p 941).

This was upstaged by the yet more surprising KiKK studies (a German acronym for Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants), Continue reading


May 3, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Paragliding into a French nuclear power plant!

* Greenpeace enters nuclear site, drops smoke flare

* Intrusion just days before presidential runoff

* France’s high use of nuclear is issue in campaign

* Man entered Civaux plant’s security zone (Adds separate intrusion, details)

PARIS, May 2 (Reuters) – A Greenpeace activist dropped a smoke flare as he flew over a French nuclear reactor on a paraglider on Wednesday, seeking to draw attention to what green activists call gaps in nuclear security four days before a presidential election runoff. The plant’s owner, EDF, confirmed an engine-powered paraglider had landed within its Bugey nuclear site in southeastern France.  [ note – there’s  a  brief video of this flight at ]

The pilot flew over the plant and threw a red-smoke flare on the roof of a building before landing, television images showed.  Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Consumers ultimately paid up for nuclear bribery in japan

Consumers ultimately footed bill, Utilities gave nuclear plant hosts billions Kyodo Electric utilities, their subsidiaries and related organizations provided at least ¥28.7 billion to local governments, mostly as donations, during the five years through to March 31, local government sources and data obtained by Kyodo News revealed.

The electric power companies incorporated most of the expenses into their electricity
charges for consumers and business clients as necessary costs for power generation. Such donations are not required to be made public and may amount to more than the latest finding revealed Tuesday, experts said. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Japan, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Crucial issues are not addressed in Hanford Nuclear Reservation waste permit

Critics say new Hanford Nuclear Reservation waste permit has big holes ,   May 02, 2012,   By Scott Learn, The Oregonian  Washington’s new blueprint for dealing with dangerous waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation tops 16,000 pages, covering the maze of polluted land and water at the former nuclear weapons production site.

But Hanford activists say it leaves crucial issues unaddressed; namely, imports of new radioactive waste and the ultimate cleanup plan for leaking storage tanks and much of 43 miles of contaminated ditches.

Washington’s Department of Ecology issued a draft of the 10-year“dangerous waste permit” Tuesday. It’s now up for public comment, including a hearing scheduled for May 16 in Portland. Activists, led by Heart of America Northwest, say Washington regulators are giving a free pass to the U.S. Department of Energy, which operates the nation’s largest nuclear cleanup site.

The department wants to bury and cap most of the contamination instead of removing it, they say, and to bring more nuclear waste to Hanford. The state permit does nothing to stop that, said Gerry Pollet, executive director of the Hanford watchdog group.

“They’re saying, ‘We’re going to give you a permit even though this is a non-compliant facility and there’s no closure plan,'” Pollet said. “The public doesn’t have anything to look at.” ….  The public comment period runs through Sept. 30, including the Portland hearing starting at 7 p.m. May 16 at the Red Lion Hotel on the River — Jantzen Beach, 909 N. Hayden Drive.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Costs and safety problems in Japan’s older nuclear reactors

Six reactors in Japan, including Tsuruga’s unit No. 1, have the same design as those that failed at Fukushima—a General Electric Co. model called Mark I originally designed based on tests from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 2009, Chubu Electric Power Co.  based in central Japan, decommissioned the No. 1 and 2 reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear-power plant because they were too expensive to keep up to safety standards.

 Japan Assesses Older Nuclear Plants WSJ,  By MARI IWATA and ELEANOR WARNOCK, May 2, 2012, TOKYO—Japan is grappling with the question of whether older nuclear reactors are more prone to spinning out of control when a disaster hits, as the nation pushes to restart units for the first time since last year’s accident in Fukushima. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

The thorny question of the importation of nuclear wastes for temporary management

Importation of foreign radioactive waste into the U.S. sets a bad precedent and may well serve to discourage other countries from developing safe techniques to manage their own waste

US company applies to import radioactive waste from Mexico, incinerate it and return the ash  Washington Post, 2 May 12,  YAKIMA, Wash. — A waste management company has applied to the federal government for a license to import up to 500 tons of radioactive waste from Mexico to south-central Washington, where the waste will be incinerated and the resulting ash returned to Mexico.

This isn’t the first application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to import foreign radioactive waste, but it’s among several recent proposals that have generated little opposition because the waste won’t be permanently stored in the U.S.  In 2009, a proposal to import thousands of tons of radioactive waste from Italy, treat it and ultimately store the remnants in Utah was abandoned following public outcry. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s consumer trap of paying in advance for nuclear reactors

Progress Energy files for more recovery charges after nuclear project estimate soars and is further delayed
Progress Energy, the electric utility in Pinellas County and much of North and Central Florida, has filed its nuclear cost recovery charges with the state Public Service Commission to assist in continuing work on nuclear reactors which may never be built, or ever return to
service at the Levy and Crystal River sites….

Progress Energy’s charge if granted in full will have a tremendous impact on residential
homeowners, who would be expected to pay an extra fee of $5.09 on a 1,000-kilowatt-hour residential bill beginning next year, compared to the extra $2.86  in 2012. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Inadequate insurance for Koodankulam nuclear power plant

Koodankulam N-plant insured for Rs 8,000 cr By R Srividhya   May 02 2012     , Chennai, The controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Plant in Tamil Nadu has been insured by United India Insurance for a sum of Rs 8,000 crore carrying a premium of Rs 35 crore. However, the insurance covers only the equipment and infrastructure and does not include the nuclear reactor and possible human losses arising out of a possible reactor failure.

The installation and erection process of the plant has been insured with the company for the past seven years, company officials said and would continue till the commissioning of the plant.

“After the commissioning of the plant, which is expected to happen in a few months, the coverage would only be for the cold zone, outside the reactor area and would not include the reactor region, known as the hot zone,” said PK Mahapatra, deputy general manager, United India Insurance. About 60 per cent of the risk has been reinsured with Swiss

May 3, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, India | Leave a comment

UK may have 1000 radioactive waste sites

Nuclear waste ‘may be blighting 1,000 UK sites‘ MoD under fire after report finds number of contaminated sites is far higher than previously estimated Rob,  2 May 2012 Hundreds of sites across England and Wales could be contaminated with radioactive waste from old military bases and factories, according to a new government report. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Indonesia – earthquake zone – not good for nuclear reactors

 Indonesia should consider the fact that it is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, making it prone to disaster.

Indonesians ‘should think twice’ before going nuclear http://www The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 05/03/2012 Japanese experts have warned the Indonesian government to be very careful when deciding whether to generate power from nuclear energy, arguing that the archipelago is prone to natural disasters. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Indonesia, safety | Leave a comment

The confused issue of the ever-growing costs of nuclear power

Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve? Think Progress By Joe Romm on Apr 6, 2011   ‘Forgetting by doing’? Real escalation in reactor investment costs Drawing on largely unknown public records, the paper reveals for the first time both absolute as well as yearly and specific reactor costs and their evolution over time. Its most significant finding is that even this most successful nuclear scale-up was characterized by a substantial escalation of real-term construction costs. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

EU policy chief to talk with Netanyahu about Iran nuclear issue

EU’s Ashton plans Israel visit to update Netanyahu on Iran nuclear talks Ashton’s visit, expected to last several hours, comes ahead of the second round nuclear of talks between Iran and western powers, which will begin May 23 in Baghdad. Haaretz, By Barak Ravid, 2 May 12,   European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to fly in to Jerusalem on Wednesday, to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a rundown of developments in nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers. The meeting is apparently an effort to prevent Israel from speaking out publicly against the talks.

Ashton’s visit, expected to last several hours, comes ahead of the second round of talks, which will begin May 23 in Baghdad. After the first round of talks in Istanbul last month, Netanyahu accused the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany of giving Iran a “freebie” by providing it with more time to enrich uranium, before the second round of talks. U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected the claim.

Ashton’s visit was planned during a visit to Europe this week by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, said a senior Israeli official….. The meeting is unusual, because Ashton will meet only with Netanyahu and will not be visiting Ramallah. The Israeli government source said that’s because the only topic under discussion will be the Iranian nuclear talks.

Ashton is expected to personally tell Netanyahu about the first round of nuclear talks and about preparations for the next round, in an effort to assuage his concerns that a deal is in the works that would authorize Iran to continue enriching uranium…..

May 3, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Investors need to consider the radioactive waste problems of rare earths processing

Uranium and thorium present real risk to rare earths developers – Dennis    Mineweb 2 May Interview with Carolyn Dennis of Dundee Capital Markets   “….. TCMR: Some rare earth deposits include uranium and thorium byproducts and, if a company is not recovering those, it needs to dispose of them. Is that a challenge most REE miners face?

CD: It’s a real risk across the board for rare earth companies. Each deposit, depending on the type of mineralogy, will have varying grades of uranium and thorium. The jurisdiction the deposit is in and how it approaches dealing with the uranium, thorium and radioactivity will dictate how much of an issue it is for the project. It can be a problem in processing as well. In a lot of cases, the thorium should be removed from the concentrate earlier in the process in order to improve processing downstream. Beyond that, radioactive waste material needs to be disposed of….”

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Exploding the negative myths about solar power

New solar reality: Busting myths and burying fossils REneweconomy,  By  on 3 May 2012 [ contains several charts], Climate Progress

The myth is that solar energy has achieved little despite huge subsidies. The reality is that solar has achieved a great deal despite relatively low subsidies.

new report from the Baker Center for Public Policy just released a fabulous new analysis comparing incentives for solar with historical incentives for fossil fuels, including an illustrative chart:

The report, commissioned by the solar industry’s trade group, has a number of interesting conclusions:

– Solar has had relatively small subsidies. That’s right, incentives for solar have been small compared to fossil fuels

– Incentives are working. Long term, stable incentives have ‘bridged the chasm’ to get solar past early adoption stages and to market.

– The employment potential for solar is even better than anticipated. Solar can create between 200,000 and 430,000 jobs in 2020.

– Solar power will not only be competitive, but will be a robust addition to America’s energy portfolio. Expanding the use of solar would limit the impact of price volatility and supply disruption- just rooftop solar could provide 20 percent of America’s energy needs.

These arguments are even more persuasive in light of the recent paper from McKinsey showing how dramatically the market for solar photovoltaics will grow in the coming decade. Taken together, these analyses show that we are clearly reaching the dawn of a new age for solar.

Let’s explore some of the most important takeaways from the Baker Center report:  ….

May 3, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Growth of renewable energy in USA

Who uses renewable power, in one map, Washington Post,  by , 05/02/2012  We keep hearing that renewable energy is booming in the United States, but where is it? Here’s a handy map from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing how much electricity each state gets from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal (but not hydropower):….

Why do some states do better than others? Policy helps. Some 30 states have laws that require utilities to get a certain portion of their power from renewable sources. (The Southeast is the big exception here.) The strictness of the laws varies from state to state, but by and large, states with stricter standards get more renewables. But simply having natural resources helps, too: Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota don’t have strict standards, but there’s so much wind up there that turbines are going up anyway….. Meanwhile, the EIA notes, if you include hydropower, some states in the Pacific Northwest look even better. Idaho gets 93 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams. Oregon gets 78 percent and Washington 82 percent….  The EIA has data on total renewable generation, not including hydropower, here (Excel file). The top states in 2012 on this metric were:

1. Texas
2. California
3. Iowa
4. Minnesota
5. Washington
6. Illinois

May 3, 2012 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment