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Kazakhstan’s radioactive disaster continues

Radioactive fallout from nuclear blasts have given Semey and neighboring villages abnormally high rates of cancer and birth defects.

Local oncology centers are screening tens of thousands of patients, trying to detect and treat tumors at early stages. People living in the area are still predisposed to breast and pulmonary cancer.

We are getting more and more disabled infants, each passing day their number increases. Environmental factors work slowly – we can see their effects in 10 or 20 years, in the first, second, third or fourth generation.”

VIDEO Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Legacy Euro News, 14/04/10  At the elderly care home in Semipalatinsk, we met 85 year old Praskovya. Semipalatinsk, or Semey, is a city 150 kilometers from the main Soviet nuclear weapons test site.

Praskovya is a former warehouse manager who used to work in a small town bordering the restricted area in the 1950s. She witnessed one of the nuclear explosions: “We were curious, so we went outside to watch. When the explosion happened, it looked like a large bowl, with black smoke and flames coming from the bowl. Then it rolled into a ball, and
a smoke column went up, and at the top, the mushroom appeared. And then the soldiers came and made us leave the street, shouting “it’s not allowed, it’s not allowed”. But we already saw everything interesting. And then everyone got health problems. Continue reading


May 17, 2012 Posted by | health, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Japan might manage without nuclear power – a boon for gas and renewables investors

There are certain predictions that seem fairly safe if Japan succeeds in weaning itself off nuclear power so quickly. The switch away from nuclear power should be a major boon to natural gas producers around the world.

Certainly the abandonment of nuclear power would be crushing to uranium miners like Cameco; there would be demand for uranium to service existing plants, but the growth story would vanish. 

Last and not least, abandoning nuclear power should be a major positive for renewable energy companies.

THE END OF NUCLEAR POWER: A BOON FOR INVESTORS? The By | 14.05.2012 Investors interested in the electrical utility sector and related industries, like mining and engineering, ought to pay a little extra
attention to Japan over the next few months.

With the last operating nuclear plant in Japan going offline for maintenance, Japan will be
operating a nuclear power-free electricity grid this summer. Whether the country gets through the summer without incident or interruption, it seems safe to bet that advocates on either side of the nuclear power debate will be paying close attention…..

This summer will be the real test, as the warm muggy climate of much of Japan puts a strain on the power grid. Last year, the nation made it through by implementing usage limits and asking businesses to shift activity to off-peak hours (weekends and evenings) to reduce peak demand. If similar measures manage to succeed this summer, and residents are not subjected to blackouts or excessive limitations, it may be hard to muster the support to restart those nuclear plants. Activists in other countries could likely point to Japan as proof that nuclear power is not essential. Japan Today, Europe Next? Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

General Electric, Hitachi, Toshiba keep mum as nuclear risks are socialised, and profits privatised

Fukushima nuclear disaster: who profits and who pays?  by Jan Haverkamp – May 16, 2012   Last week, the inevitable finally happened. The company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been nationalised. Japan’s trade and industry minister Yukio Edano announced a de facto state take-over of the company with a further injection of $12.5bn, bringing the total of state capital in TEPCO to $33.2bn. Edano has said that: “Without the state funds, (TEPCO) cannot provide a stable supply of electricity and pay for compensation and decommissioning costs”.

The total direct costs of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe for TEPCO, including compensation and clean up, are estimated at over $100bn. Many Japanese, however, experience in their daily lives that the damages are considerably higher because most of their claims and losses go uncompensated and most of their suffering goes unrecognised. The nationalisation of TEPCO, together with a legal practice called “channelling of liability” in which all liability related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster has to be channelled to TEPCO, means Japanese taxpayers and ratepayers will foot most of the bill.

An infuriating aspect of this story is that in a recent presentation by General Electric (GE) about its “success” over the past 50 years, there was not a word about the Fukushima disaster and nothing approaching an apology. Yet the Fukushima disaster was affected by well-known problems related to GE’s Mark 1 design, which was used at all four troubled reactors. Furthermore, GE was involved in maintenance throughout the four decades of the plant’s operation and had 44 on site at the time of the accident. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Kent County Council opposes nuclear waste bunker plan

Kent nuclear waste bunker proposal considered BBC News 16 May 12  A bunker used to store nuclear waste from all over the UK could be built in Kent, under a council’s plans. Shepway District Council is examining whether a nuclear disposal facility, where waste is buried underground, could be built at Romney Marsh. The authority said it could bring jobs to the area as Dungeness A and B power stations are phased out.

However, Kent County Council said it would use “every tool in the box” to oppose the scheme. The Romney Marsh Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility would be buried 200m (656ft) to 1,000m (3,280ft) below ground…..

Council leader’s ‘horror’ The leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said his authority
opposed the plan and would push for a county-wide referendum if necessary. “We are totally opposed to initiating any process that even entertains the possibility of building a nuclear waste disposal site anywhere near or around Kent,” he said. “We will do everything possible to oppose this unviable proposal and will use every tool in the box to bring an end to this scheme….

May 17, 2012 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK govt’s problem – how to make a nuclear subsidy look like ‘not a subsidy’

The coalition government pledged ‘no public subsidy’ for nuclear in its ‘programme for government’ in May 2010.

When is support not a subsidy? UK nuclear  London South East, Gerard Wynn , LONDON, May 16   – A British government argument that its planned
support for new nuclear power stops short of a subsidy, to satisfy EU regulators and a coalition pledge, only adds to the sense of a policy in trouble.

The planned UK nuclear build programme would be the biggest in the developed world, but is under threat after the exit of two backers. The economics are not helped by delays and cost over-runs at projects elsewhere in Europe and by low wholesale power prices.

The awkwardness of trying to stand by a commitment to ‘no subsidy,’ even while it accepts the technology needs support, risks boxing the government into a corner. Its predicament illustrates how the technology is struggling to maintain a toehold …

Whether the British programme proceeds will depend on cost, including the amount of price support, plus public acceptance of the technology and the government’s ‘no subsidy’ position, Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Indian Member of Parliament demands scrapping of nuclear power programme

Scrap nuclear power programme, demands Lok Sabha MP Business Standard, Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 17, 2012, An Independent MP today demanded scrapping of the country’s nuclear power programme saying it would have adverse effect on farm production, environment and people.

“I demand that the government should stop the nuclear power programme because it can affect our farm productivity, environment and people,” Tarun Mandal said during Zero Hour. He pointed out that radiation can be spread through water used in the atomic power plants which can badly hit crops, environment and people of the country. Mandal suggested that the government should harness other sources of
energy like hydro-power to meet power demand…..

May 17, 2012 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

In 2006 TEPCO knew of the tsunami danger to Fukushima

TEPCO knew 6 years ago about tsunami risk to Fukushima, Japan Daily Press, By Adam Westlake  /   May 16, 2012  Officials from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said on Tuesday that they, and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), were notified in 2006 of the risks a tsunami posed to the utility’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

After the 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia, a session was held by NISA and several of Japan’s utility companies to look at the state of the country’s nuclear reactors and
how prepared they were for earthquakes or tsunamis…

.. In August of 2006, their research culminated in a report that showed the utility companies in attendance, which included TEPCO, that the Fukushima facility had a high risk of losing power, and taking on sea water, in the event of a 14 meter (45.9 feet) tsunami. ….

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Engineers and Scientists speak out on nuclear energy

INES Statement on Nuclear Energy International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. May 2012 At the INES Council meeting on April 28th, 2012 in Vienna, the following statement was adopted by the INES Council members. “………..CONCLUSION Given the inevitable link to nuclear weapons, the risks involved and the obstacle that nuclear energy proves to be for renewable energy systems, we consider nuclear power incompatible with peaceful, just and lasting, i.e. sustainable development. Thus we demand:

  • much greater expansion of research spending on renewable energy
  • systems, redirecting current funding of nuclear energy research to this end
  • for the remaining nuclear research (for safety in operation, dismantlement and disposal), make independent reviews and public debate mandatory
  • enter a transition period of phase out and dismantlement of nuclear plants and development of renewable energy systems and technologies,
  • initiate and hold debates with civil society, developing concepts and recommendations, for research and policies improving efficiency and enhancing reductions in energy consumption   Unanimously adopted by

May 17, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

$6 billion to renew unnecessary B61 atomic bomb

ACA expert Kimball says it is “tragic that the B61s based in Europe are irrelevant to NATO’s defense.” He says their destructive capability is so massive that it makes their use incredible. “Neither US nor European taxpayers should be asked to waste more money to upgrade the system.”

US Nuclear Weapons Upgrades Experts Report Massive Cost Increase Spiegel Online, By Markus Becker , 16 May 12, The cost of modernizing US nuclear weapons, including those stationed in Germany, has risen sharply, according to estimates. Several independent experts told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the bill for renewing the B61 atomic bomb will rise to $6 billion. The project will also upset Russia, they say.

The B61 is the last remnant of the Cold War in Germany. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | EUROPE, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Malawi, Namibia, Niger workers making trouble for uranium mining companies

Conflicts with unions and management may have even larger impacts in the future,

Uranium Miners in Africa Facing Labor Disputes, Business Insider, Resource Investing News        | May 16, 2012, Uranium mining companies are operating in difficult environments in many jurisdictions, facing challenges ranging from regulatory compliance,
environmental delays, rising costs, and labor relations. Over the last year, the labor challenges seem to have become more accentuated for African uranium mining companies, with several companies having reporting strikes. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, employment, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Uranium | Leave a comment

Decentralised solar energy for use by USA soldiers

U.S. Army tests renewable energy systems for soldiers in the field GizMag, By Antonio Pasolini, May 16, 2012   In a bid to mitigate the risks associated with fuel transportation and to make soldiers’ work less technically complex, U.S. military scientists have started to test microgrids that would provide clean energy to soldiers in the field. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

NATO in rather a mess, as USA escalates its nuclear weaponry

Astonishingly, many people may think, the US is planning to upgrade its estimated 180 tactical nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey, replacing them with precision-guided ones at a cost of $4bn. The decision has been described as “nuclear escalation by default”.
The credibility, indeed raison d’être, of Nato is at stake. 
A Sceptic’s Guide to the Nato Summit by , 16 May 2012 
A quick route through the Chicago agenda
Four main issues: Afghanistan, Nuclear Weapons, Russia, Burden-sharing…..
2. Nato-Russian relations and Missile Defence. Nato’s relations with Moscow are bedevilled by US plans to base anti-missile missiles in Romania and Poland. Vladimir Putin, recently re-elected as Russia’s president who has declined an invitation to attend the Chicago summit, claims the missile defence system could be used against Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the US. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kodak’s secret nuclear reactor

Now, to the small matter of Kodak’s nuclear reactor. Wait. Nuclear WHAT? The Telegraph, May 16, 2012 Kodak had weapons-grade uranium in New York basement Company used nuclear reactor for quality testing Reactor destroyed in 2006 IS this how Kodak gets rid of red-eye?

In a startling development it’s been revealed that a New York Kodak facility secretly housed, oh, we don’t know, ONLY A NUCLEAR REACTOR. Kodak has gone bankrupt, but in its halcyon days made cameras and brought dreams to life with Kodak moments.

Little did we know the company also had the power to obliterate entire cities. reports  that in the basement of Kodak’s New York property lay 3.5 pounds of enriched uranium. Which means they had enough to build an atomic bomb.

No-one knew about it – not cops, firies, New York officials – except for a few top Kodak execs and White House types. “It’s such an odd situation because private companies just don’t have this material,” said Miles Pomper from Washington’s centre for Nonproliferation Studies. Apparently Kodak acquired the reactor in 1974 to check for impurities and other assorted testing. It was dismantled in 2006.

May 17, 2012 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment

Disagreements mar the progress of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The smooth conduct of the meeting masked the disturbing nuclear discord lurking underneath. Remedial action is needed if the NPT is to retain its authority and continue to deliver the security benefits it has for over 40 years.

Undercurrent of discord at nuclear treaty talks. The, 16 May 12 The problems of the international nuclear order are frequent subjects of our daily news, yet scant attention is given to the central treaty that governs this sphere of global activity. With 189 signatories,   the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) ) is the world’s most widely subscribed to international security agreement and contains the only legally binding commitment by states to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Walmart’s considerable solar energy achievement

And The Solar Lights All Went On In Massachusetts* (Walmarts) Renewable Energy News 16 MAY, 2012 |  by Energy Matters Various sources are reporting the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, will be partially powering half of its Massachusetts stores with solar energy very soon.

27 of its Massachusetts stores will have solar panel arrays installed by 2014, representing a total capacity of 10 megawatts. Walmart director of energy, David Ozment, said he expects the solar power systems to produce enough electricity to provide 10-15 percent of each store’s energy requirements….  The systems add to Walmart’s already significant on-site renewable energy portfolio. As of last month, the company had 115 rooftop solar arrays in seven countries, collectively generating 71 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Continue reading

May 17, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment