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Radiation levels high – 45 miles from Fukushima nuclear reactors

Fukushima-reactor-6Experts: Shock during first trip to Fukushima — Radiation levels so high far away from reactors that full protection suit would be used in U.S., yet people were walking around — “Contamination far more widespread than most understand”
Title: Cleanup From Fukushima Daiichi: Technological Disaster Or Crisis In Governance? 
Source: Fairewinds Energy Education
Author: Art Keller
Date: June 13, 2013
[…] Shortly after arrival on their first trip to Japan, the group headed for Shirikawa, a city 45 miles west and a few miles south of the Daiichi nuclear plant. [Sam Engelhard, an industrial hygenist and certified radiation protection technologist,] was shocked as soon as he unpacked his radiation sensor gear and turned it on. Here they were almost 50 miles from the accident site and in the opposite direction of the prevailing winds, and the crew’s radiation alarms immediately started going off.

“The radiation levels we were seeing were 1,000 times background, higher in spots,” Engelhard said. “If we had been working on a site this contaminated in the US, we would have been fully suited up in radiation protection suits, gloves, and respirators. Yet people were walking around and going about their business, with no idea of how contaminated everything around them was.” […]

[Kevin Wang of Califonia-based company PowerPlus] believes the Fukushima radiological contamination far more widespread that most Japanese understand. “One thing I heard so often during my trips to Japan that it became a mantra, was that ‘Fukushima is a Japanese problem and we have to fix it ourselves.’  So far, I haven’t seen any evidence that the government is taking the right steps to fix things. Instead, the wounded pride of government officials, and a lack of understanding at the urgency of the problem, prevented Japan from taking the steps they needed to.” […]


June 14, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

No to Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs). Yes to wind energy, for Warren Buffett

Buffett,WarrenThe best-known investor in the utility arena is raising its stake in wind in Iowa $1.9wind-farm-Iowabillion….

MidAmerican is cancelling its pursuit of new small modular nuclear power options…..

Buffett & co choose wind energy investment over nuclear REeweconomy, By Mike Jacobs  14 June 2013 The Equation Investors working with utilities are making clear and clean choices for meeting our energy needs.  Two big announcements show wind and energy efficiency are financeable and attractive, and new small nuclear reactors are not.  Recently MidAmerican Energy chose to add more wind energy to its supply, dump a “modular” nuclear plant proposal, and decline to follow the trend toward burning natural gas.


Meanwhile, today Seattle City Light announced a purchase of energy from a commercial energy efficiency developer, demonstrating a power-purchase approach to fund investments in energy conservation that won’t disrupt a utility company’s financial health.

With Warren Buffet behind the wind decision, (MidAmerican is a subsidiary of Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway), and a new financial model possibly cracking the nut on building owner and utility ambivalence about deep energy retrofits for commercial buildings, these are important developments.

To summarise what just happened: Continue reading

June 14, 2013 Posted by | renewable, USA | 7 Comments

Scrap all Fukushima prefecture nuclear reactors, says Governor


Fukushima Governor Seeks Scrapping Of All Nuke Reactors RTT News6/12/2013 The Japanese government has been asked to scrap all nuclear reactors in the Fukushima prefecture, where one of the two nuclear power plants had a disastrous accident two years ago, displacing tens of thousands of residents.

Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato met with Economy, Trade & Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Tokyo on Wednesday and handed over a letter raising the demand, Japanese media reported.

Sato said Fukushima was aiming for sustained regional development without relying on nuclear power, and it wanted the government to take responsibility in decommissioning all reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants…..

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

World must stand together for zero nuclear weapons

The World Must Stand Together  10 Jun 2013  Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Naomi Watts and Christoph Waltz think this matters to people everywhere:

On June 17-18 , Presidents Obama and Putin will meet on the side of the G8 Summit, with cutting nukes on the agenda. We must stand together for a world without nuclear weapons. Join the Global Zero movement and demand zero!

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | 1 Comment

Hollywood stars call for zero nuclear weapons

antinuke-worldSmHollywood to Obama: Eliminate Nuclear Weapons By  Zachary Keck June 14, 2013 Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have joined with the anti-nuclear group, Global Zero, in a new You Tube video to demand more action on the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Among the stars making a cameo in the video are Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Naomi Watts, Alex Baldwin, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Danny DeVito, Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon, Zoe Kravitz, and Christoph Waltz.

The video begins with a clip of President Barack Obama’s famous 2009 speech from Prague when he stated, “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The stars then take turns explaining the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons—including denouncing the notion that the spread of nuclear weapons cannot be stopped. While admitting the enormity of the task, the stars contend in the video that if the world decides it can’t stop the spread of nuclear weapons then it is in some ways admitting that nuclear war is inevitable.

In the second half of the video, the stars introduce themselves and one-by-one say that they demand zero, a reference to Global Zero’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. See the video at

June 14, 2013 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | 1 Comment

Four types of radioactive isotopes emitted during a nuclear accident

text-radiationHow Does Radiation Affect the Body? Big Think, by MICHIO KAKU APRIL 16, 2011, “……Four different types of radiation are emitted during a nuclear accident like the Fukushima meltdown: iodine, cesium, strontium, and potassium. Physicist Michio Kaku, spoke with Big Think this week about these different types of radiation and the effect each one has on the human body. Like Chernobyl, he said, the main problem has been radioactive iodine: “That’s why people have been taking potassium iodide pills—to flood the thyroid glands.” But potassium
iodide pills are not “radiation pills,” he added. They protect against just one byproduct—iodine 131—not against cesium, strontium, or the extremely dangerous plutonium.


Below are these four different radioactive isotopes, their half-lives, and the types of cancer with which they are most often associated. Continue reading

June 14, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Norway, Iceland -100% renewable energy, and other countries following

flag-EUEU: 100 Percent Renewable Energy Is Here, The Energy Collective, David Thorpe, 13 June 13 June 13, 2013 Two questions for you: how many countries in the world source their electricity 100% from renewable sources? And which major European nation that is well-endowed with renewable energy resources, is the worst at exploiting them?

renewable_energy The answers can be gleaned from the recently updated International Energy Statistics of Electricity Generation from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy…….
These two countries are Norway and Iceland. Iceland has been at it since 1980. Admittedly it’s a tiny country, and is well-blessed with hydropower and geothermal, which provide 74% and 26% of the electricity respectively.
Norway, with a larger population of 5 million, has also been running almost exclusively on renewable hydroelectricity since 1980. However it also has recently added other renewables, wind and biomass (1.5%).
Another country to rely, perhaps bizarrely, on hydroelectricity is Portugal. Because of periodic droughts, the proportion of its contribution to overall electricity supply varies from year to year from between 38% and 58%. As a result, it has invested massively in wind power and now nearly one fifth the Portuguese electricity is from this source. Surprisingly solar contributed in 2012 under 1%, but biomass generated 5%.
Other countries also rely heavily on renewables. Denmark uses renewable sources for 45% of its energy: wind (30%) and biomass (15%). Spain provided its 47 million people with 31% renewable electricity in 2011. Italy, with 60 million inhabitants, now sources 17% of its electricity renewably. Germany is on 19%. France, 16%. Even the United States is higher than you-know-who at 12.7% (unfortunately, down from 1983 when it was 14.1%).
You-know-who is, of course, the UK, whose total renewable contribution is just 10%…………

June 14, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

New nuclear safety rules proposed for European Union

flag-EUEU Presents Post-Fukushima Nuclear Safety Rules  BRUSSELS June 13, 2013 (AP) abc news, The European Commission proposed tougher nuclear safety rules Thursday, amid international debate about the future of nuclear energy and how to secure aging plants.

Stress tests on European nuclear plants prompted by the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant showed that almost all of them needed safety improvements. A report on those tests called for more consistency across the 27-nation EU in assessing and managing nuclear safety threats. EU nuclear plants already undergo regular tests, but the proposed new rules would strengthen that. They include EU-wide safety reviews every six years, and the threat that the EU would send in inspectors if countries don’t do enough to ensure nuclear safety. It would also include a system of peer reviews, allowing national governments to verify their neighbors’ atomic plants.

Another new rule would require emergency response centers on the site of nuclear plants that would be protected against radioactivity, earthquakes and flooding.

The rules would need approval by the individual member states before coming into effect, not before next year.

Critics called the plan too modest; EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger called it “realistic.”….. Environmental group Greenpeace said the new rules do not do enough to address potential terrorist threats, or to increase the powers of nuclear regulators, which have been accused in the past of being too close to nuclear industry players.

Several European countries are rethinking their reliance on nuclear energy since the Fukushima accident……. After last year’s stress tests to gauge nuclear reactors’ ability to withstand accidents and natural disaster, the commission said the costs of needed improvements to EU reactors could run as high as 25 billion euros ($32 billion) over the coming years.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

New York giant bank to invest $3b in Japan renewable investments

piggy-ban-renewablesGoldman eyes $3b in Japan renewable investments SMH, 14 June 13, Goldman Sachs, the New York-based bank planning as much as 300 billion yen ($3 billion) in renewable energy investments in Japan, is eyeing offshore wind power after building up holdings in more established clean energy sources such as solar.

Japan Renewable Energy Co. was set up by Goldman in August after Japan began offering above-market rates to producers of clean energy. The incentives, or feed-in tariffs, have spurred investments in renewables, setting Japan on course this year to become one of the world’s largest solar markets by annual installations.

The company sees offshore wind as promising, Shigeru Yasu, a representative director at Japan Renewable Energy, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. Geothermal and biomass power also hold potential, he said……..

Five-year investment

Japan Renewable Energy plans in the next five years to invest as much as 50 billion yen directly into clean energy projects with capital provided by GS Infrastructure Partners. It will take as much as 250 billion yen of loans for project financing, Takahisa Nakagawa, also a representative director at Japan Renewable Energy, said in the interview. The investments and loans will amount to about 1,000 megawatts of clean energy, he said……..

Japan is set to overtake Germany as the world’s largest solar market, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said last month…….

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Groundwater radiation problems at Fukushima No 1 nuclear complex

Tepco again corrects water radiation level JAPAN TIMES , 14 JUNE 13 KYODO Tokyo Electric Power Co. has issued another correction for groundwater radiation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex and now says that it’s only a tenth of what it announced earlier this month.

The correction Wednesday was the second the beleaguered utility has issued for groundwater data. Tepco is locked in a battle with water and is desperately seeking fishermen’s consent to divert or dump the least-tainted portions of it into the Pacific Ocean to prevent it from mixing with highly radioactive water accumulating in the reactor buildings.

When it runs out of storage space, the tainted water will flood the premises and the environment, making the decommissioning process incredibly difficult.

Tepco said in May that the level of radioactive cesium in a sample of Fukushima No. 1 groundwater was so low it could not be detected. On June 3, however, the utility said the sample contained 0.61 becquerel per liter. This was then reversed Wednesday to a maximum of 0.055 becquerel. Other radioactive substances were not mentioned.

All of the figures are below Tepco’s upper limit for releasing groundwater: 1 becquerel per liter.

But the latest correction could deal another blow to Tepco’s efforts to dump the water by further damaging its already low credibility.

The radioactive water accumulating at the plant is a natural result of the makeshift cooling apparatus set up to keep the fuel from melting again. The water perpetually injected into the three reactors is leaking through holes created by the crisis and flooding each building.

Attempts to drain the water will be limited by Tepco’s rapidly shrinking storage space, and the penetration of the groundwater is only exacerbating the situation. ….

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Could Britain achieve 100% renewable energy?

renewable_energyDenmark, Norway, Portugal, Italy, Spain and all these other European countries show that it is possible to do so. They are all out-classing Britain.
flag-UKA bright future, full of jobs and export potential, with far less global upheaval caused by climate chaos awaits us, if only the political will was there

EU: 100 Percent Renewable Energy Is Here, The Energy Collective, David Thorpe, 13 June 13 Britain can, clearly, do far better, never mind all the party political wrangling over support for green technologies. If other countries can do it, so can we.

 As author and commentator Paul Gipe says: “the challenge has never been technical. The problem has always been a political desire for a high percentage of renewable energy in a nation’s generating mix, and the consistent implementation of policies that work”.  Some form of feed-in tariff, the evidence shows from international comparisons, with targeted and consistent support for selected technologies, clearly works to the benefit of those countries implementing it.
Britain is blessed with a huge amount of wind, tidal and marine current energy. There is also a plentiful source of organic material for anaerobic digestion, and solar thermal has always been popular on a small scale. Meanwhile, there is plenty of potential for demand reduction.
 Could Britain achieve 100% renewable energy? Continue reading

June 14, 2013 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK wind power succeeding without need for fossil fuel backup

Fossil fuel plants not needed to back up UK wind By   14 June 2013 An incidental note at the bottom of a wildlife article covering the culling of badgers in the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph could have explosive results for the energy industry.

According to the addendum, a measly four paragraphs in length, the National Grid — the country’s electric grid operator — has reported that wind energy produced 23,700 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power, requiring only 22 GWh of power from fossil fueled stations to fill the gaps: that is less than a thousandth of wind’s output, and ironically, less than a tenth of what was needed to back up conventional fossil fueled power stations.

The figures were similarly impressive when looking at emissions. According to the National Grid, wind saved nearly 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the period accounted for (April 2011 through to September 2012) and required only 8,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to be released as backup, measuring in at only 0.081%.

There is no easy information available on the National Grid website to confirm these figures referenced in the Daily Telegraph article, and furthermore the paper’s final sentence — “Not surprisingly, given these figures, no new fossil‑fuel power station has been built to provide back‑up for wind farms, and none is in prospect” — seems to be in direct contradiction to a BBC News story published this week, reporting that two diesel power stations are planned to compensate for fluctuations in green energy.

According to the article, Green Frog Power received planning permission last year to build its diesel power station in Plymouth, while Fulcrum Power has made an application for a similar power station in Plymouth, as well. Unsurprisingly, given the current climate surrounding the energy industry, both companies said that they support renewable energy. This article was originally posted on Cleantechnica. Re-produced with permission.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Labour Party snubs atomic test veterans

Labour ‘snub’ for A-bomb veterans The Shields Gazette, 13 June 13 A NUCLEAR test veteran from South Tyneside is “very disappointed” at the response of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband to a call for support.  John Taylor wrote to Mr Miliband, on behalf of himself and the 1,000 ex-servicemen, demanding justice after being exposed to radiation during British nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific in the 1950s.

Mr Taylor, 76, of Carnegie Close, South Shields, had a chance meeting with the Labour leader, while he was supporting Emma Lewell-Buck during her successful by-election battle in the town. But although Mr Miliband asked Mr Taylor to write to him about the campaign, the atom bomb veteran was “unhappy” with the Labour leader’s response.

Mr Taylor said: “Basically, everything in the letter was stuff we already knew. There was no pledge to back our campaign. “There is nothing in Ed Miliband’s letter that suggested he was going to support us. I was very disappointed, because I thought Mr Miliband could have taken up our fight in Westminster.

“I think the veterans’ solicitors will be disappointed with his response too. “His letter really suggested that we would have to fight our cases individually, rather than as a concerted campaign.”

Wearing little or no protective clothing, Mr Taylor witnessed three nuclear explosions between July and September 1957, as part of Operation Antler, while serving as a leading aircraftman with the RAF in Maralinga, Australia.

All the vets claim the nuclear tests caused medical problems for themselves and their families……..

Although the veterans saw their case rejected by the Supreme Court in London last year, Mr Taylor and fellow campaigners hope for a more positive hearing later this year at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese Red Cross Society radiation limits for emergency workesr

Red Cross radiation limit for relief workers too low, say critics Asahi Shimbun, By YURI OIWA June 13, 2013 The Japanese Red Cross Society has established a guideline for medical workers that sets an accumulated radiation dose limit of 1 millisievert for relief activities, although experts have said the ceiling is too low to allow workers to provide ample assistance to disaster victims.

“Radiation doses above 1 millisievert have no health effects,” said Yasushi Asari, a professor of emergency medical care at Hirosaki University. “There is no need for medical workers to use that threshold.”

Masahito Yamazawa, director-general of the Red Cross nuclear disaster preparedness task force, said during in-house discussions there were arguments for and against the 1-millisievert threshold. But the Red Cross determined that a 1-millisievert limit would still allow its workers to engage in relief activities in zones with high radiation levels because each relief mission usually lasts only up to a week, Yamazawa said.

One millisievert is the legal annual dose limit for members of the public during normal times.

Yamazawa added that allowances were also made for the fact that its medical relief squads include clerical workers.

“We have created the guideline out of a positive desire to help victims during a nuclear disaster,” Yamazawa said. “We will use it as a platform for further improvements if the need arises.”

Japanese Red Cross relief units fulfilled a total of 900 missions in communities ravaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. However, initially they were unprepared for a nuclear disaster, and that created a vacuum of relief squads in Fukushima Prefecture during the early stages of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Red Cross officials said they learned from that experience and decided to create the new guideline for nuclear disaster relief activities.

The guideline says relief squad members should carry dosimeters and iodine tablets at all times, and retreat to safety whenever they are in danger of being exposed to more than 1 millisievert in accumulated radiation. It also says relief workers should keep clear of zones that are off-limits to residents……

June 14, 2013 Posted by | employment, Japan, radiation | Leave a comment

France investigating low security at nuclear submarine base

France launches probe into ‘vulnerable’ nuclear base after media disclosure RT.comJune 13, 2013 The French government ordered an inquiry into a nuclear submarine base off the coast of Brittany after the claims in the local paper that the strategic site is vulnerable for terrorist attack due to poor security.

The country’s defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, took the publication by Le Telegramme de Brest daily very seriously, calling for an immediate check at the base on the Ile Longue island, AFP reports.

The paper has called the base “a fortress on paper,” revealing huge security flaws at the facility, which hosts France’s four nuclear attack submarines.
According to the publication, access controls to the base were very weak as they didn’t use biometric identification systems, which are common for most modern airports. ……

The submarines at the Ile Longue island constitute the bulk of France’s nuclear deterrent after the country closed its land-based, long-range nuclear system at the Albion Plateau back in 1999.

The four nuclear subs, which are commonly known as ‘Boomers’, are each equipped with 16 inter-continental ballistic missiles.
Le Telegramme warned that there’ll be serious trouble if they fall into the wrong hands as firepower of just one submarine is equal to 960 times the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima in 1945.

Independent defense consultant, Jean-Marie Collin, told Francetv Info that the investigation into the Ile Longue base is an “an admission of weakness” by the French defense ministry, which indicates problems in the country’s national security. ……

June 14, 2013 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment