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Schoolground in Japan has high levels of radiation in fungus

text ionisingChilling Phenomena”: Fungus emitting radiation 70 times higher than nearby asphalt — “A boy sitting on that patch could do real damage to his gonads”   Title: Cleanup From Fukushima Daiichi: Technological Disaster Or Crisis In Governance? 
flag-japanSource: Fairewinds Energy Education
Author: Art Keller
Date: June 13, 2013
[…] One of the first demonstrations conducted by [Kevin Wang]’s team was at a Japanese school still in routine use. The contamination was widespread and included troubling accumulations of radiation in biological materials. While the asphalt driveway was contaminated, the grass next to it was four times as radioactive as the asphalt. The worst were the patches of fungus on the bleachers at the school’s baseball field, which had sucked-up radionuclides to such a degree that they were emitting radiation at 70-times the contaminated asphalt.

[Sam Engelhard, an industrial hygenist and certified radiation protection technologist] described the chilling phenomena of the fungus-turned-radiation-sponge as, “a remarkable example of biological amplification.”

Wang said it more bluntly, “A boy sitting on that patch to watch a baseball game could do real damage to his gonads.” […] Full report here

June 15, 2013 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Don’t mss this terrific nuclear power article by Terry Tamminen

the main reason SONGS closure might signal the beginning of the end of nuclear power in America is that the costs of decommissioning will no longer be hidden from ratepayer view, meaning we will get a good look at how “too cheap to meter” is actually “way too expensive to keep doing.” Edison invested $2.1 billion in the coffin-reactorplant and related assets and has allocated $2.7 billion for decommissioning, a polite term meaning “clean up the mess,” while admitting this is not the entire cost that will ultimately be necessary. All in, SONGS will cost California ratepayers over $5 billion, plus the cost of fuel. And who knows if the nuclear waste will ever be safely stored (we’ll need hundreds of years for the final answer to that question, regardless of where the waste ends up) or if that will add still more billions to the tally.

highly-recommendedNuclear Power Is So 20th Century BY: Terry Tamminen, 14 June 15,  Nuclear power seems cheap, but if you count the embedded costs of dealing with the fuel, does it make sense as an option for a clean future? When I was born, in the 1950s, nuclear power was said to be “too cheap to meter.” Although few and far between, disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl have laid waste to that claim and, for that matter, entire cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a nuclear physicist, led the charge to eliminate her nation’s nuclear power plants in the next few years based on a rational risk analysis. With the decision by Southern California Edison to decommission its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), we may now see enough data points to reasonably conclude that the nuclear power era is coming to a close.

What is different about the SONGS decision that could lead to such a “straw that broke the camel’s back” conclusion? Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Don’t miss this terrific climate change article

globe-warmingClimate-change summary and updateNature Bats Last  14 June 2013

Humans have tinkered with the natural world since we appeared on the evolutionary stage. Our days may be numbered.

As the home team, Nature Bats Last, American actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the expression, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” With respect to climate science, my own efforts to stay abreast are blown away every week by new data, models, and assessments. It seems no matter how dire the situation becomes, it only gets worse when I check the latest reports.

The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm). Tomlin’s line is never more germane than when thinking about their pursuit of a buck at the expense of life on Earth.

Worse than the aforementioned trolls are the media. Fully captured by corporations and the corporate states, the media continue to dance around the issue of climate change. Occasionally a forthright piece is published, but it generally points in the wrong direction, such as suggesting climate scientists and activists be killed (e.g., James Delingpole’s 7 April 2013 hate-filled article in the Telegraph).

Even mainstream scientists minimize the message at every turn. As we’ve known for years,scientists almost invariably underplay climate impacts. I’m not implying conspiracy. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (they couldn’t care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version. The concept is supported by an article in the February 2013 issue of Global Environmental Change pointing out that climate-change scientists routinely underestimate impacts “by erring on the side of least drama.”

If you’re too busy to read the evidence presented below, here’s the bottom line: On a planet 4 C hotter than baseline, all we can prepare for is human extinction (from Oliver Tickell’s 2008 synthesis in the Guardian). Tickell is taking a conservative approach, considering humans have not been present at 3.5 C above baseline (i.e., the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, commonly accepted as 1850). According to the International Energy Agency’s November 2010 assessment, which does not include self-reinforcing feedback loops, global average temperature of Earth will hit the 3.5 C mark in 2035. To be fair, this assessment does not consider economic collapse, either……

June 15, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear marketing film ‘Pandora’s Promise’ gets some poor reviews

nuclear-dead-catSome thoughts on “Pandora’s Promise” and the nuclear debate By David Roberts, Grist 14 June 13“……Pandora’s Promise is directed by Robert Stone, who brings all the zealotry of a convert to the proceedings. The results are … well, take it away, reviewers.

The New York Times:

You need to make an argument. A parade of like-minded nuclear-power advocates who assure us that everything will be all right just doesn’t cut it.


Where Stone errs, even on behalf of his own argument, is in not including a single voice in opposition to nukes, even just for contrast, and in treating those who opposed nuclear power in the past as a bunch of brain-dead hippies. The juxtapositions created between his current-day subjects and people marching and singing against nukes in 1979, make the latter look like idiots, when all they were doing was acting in good conscience. It’s not the best way to make a persuasive argument. Regarding the science of the pro-nuclear debate, no one on screen is less than convincing, and nothing in the end seems more benign than a twin-stacked breeder reactor; the viewer might almost come away thinking that what he or she needs in the morning is a healthy dose of nuclear radiation. But this is a zealotry issue, and Stone is a convert.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind. In fact, there is much to admire in those who recognize altered circumstances, integrate fresh information, and come to a new judgment. What is disingenuous about Pandora’s Promise is the way the new judgment is conveyed. The film mocks groups that continue to protest nuclear power, treating one-time colleagues as extremists and zealots. An audience discussion after a preview at the University of Chicago made it clear I was not the only one who sensed the self-righteous tone of the newly converted in the film’s narrative. In the end, by dismissing the protestors and failing to engage them in significant debate about the pros and cons of nuclear energy, the film undermined its own message.

Seattle Weekly:

But the doc’s bigger flaw is that no one is allowed to make a reasoned anti-nuclear argument. To the well-made film’s many statistics, graphics, and common-sense assertions, the lack of a rebuttal is deafening.

Village Voice:

Alas, [the movie’s] argument against fear-driven orthodoxy is undercut by the fact that, as with so many of this subgenre’s entrants, there are no substantial competing voices included in the mix …


June 15, 2013 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry fleeces taxpayers again – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Golden Fleece Award Goes to Department of Energy for Federal Spending on Small Modular Reactors   $100 Million in “Mini Nuke” Corporate Welfare Already Doled Out, Another Half Billion Dollars Or More in the Pipeline for Major Corporations that Could Pay for Own R&D, Licensing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The federal government is in the process of wasting more than half a billion dollars to pay large, profitable companies for what should be their own expenses for research & development (R&D) and licensing related to “small modular reactors” (SMRs), which would be about a third of the size or less of today’s large nuclear reactors.  In response, the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense today handed out its latest “Golden Fleece Award” to the Department of Energy for the dollars being wasted on SMRs.


Titled “Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors,” a related TCS background report is available online here……

In making the Golden Fleece Award, Taxpayers for Common Sense highlighted the following issues: Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Water-guzzling nuclear power is not viable for Jordan


Professor Steve Thomas, a nuclear policy expert from the University of Greenwich in London, also questions the argument that renewables aren’t a realistic option for Jordan.

“Although the government have been saying that they aren’t viable, what really isn’t viable is their nuclear plans,” he told DW.

Jordanians protest plans to go nuclear. DW 14 June 13, As Jordan works on plans to build its first nuclear plant, protestors are still criticizing the country’s decision to go nuclear in the first place. They say it wastes water and ignores the nation’s renewables potential.

Safa Al Jayoussi, an activist with Greenpeace in Jordan, becomes concerned when she starts to explain why Jordan won’t be able to cope with the country’s impending turn towards nuclear power. She says Jordan is one of the five driest countries in the world and that the  new power plans are just going to put the nation under even more pressure.
“Nuclear power plants require large quantities of cooling water, usually from a large river or a large lake,” she told DW. “But, in Jordan, we don’t really have any sources of water.” Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Jordan, water | Leave a comment

Western powers want to sell nukes to India, never mind about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)……

Buy-US-nukesWestern powers have taken a keen interest in the nuclear emergence of India …… making it an attractive
prospect for technology exporters.

If India joined the NSG, it would be the only member of the suppliers group that has not signed up to the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT)

BRITAIN LOBBIES FOR NUCLEAR EXPORT GROUP TO ADMIT INDIA Yahoo 7 News, Reuters June 15, 2013 By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA – Britain has stepped up efforts to let India join an influential global body controlling nuclear exports, a move that would boost New Delhi’s standing as an atomic power but which has faced resistance from China and other countries. Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | marketing, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

USA Federal Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors

fleecing-taxpayerDepartment Of Energy’s Small Modular Reactor Program

Savannah River Nuclear Development Site

Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors Taxpayers for Common Sense February 27, 2013 Download: Golden Fleece: Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Nuclear Reactors (pdf)   “…..Federal Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors Federal support for SMRs is provided through a subsidy program for commercial nuclear power that can be traced back to the 1950s when federal subsidies for nuclear power reached astronomical levels.  Not only did the government develop reactor and enrichment technology for the private sector, it also assumed legal responsibility for nuclear waste disposal, something never done for any other industry.  In addition, the government issued multimillion-dollar development grants for many reactor technologies (most since abandoned) and distributed research reactors around the world.  Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Solar power could be the answer as Southern California’s electricity supplier

solar rooftop arrayCould Solar Power Ride to the Rescue in Southern California? The closing of San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant leaves a region worried about how to meet summer energy demands. Take Part, June 14, 2013 “…….The answer could be solar power: Utility-scale solar in California hit a 2,000-megawatt milestone on June 7, the same day SoCal Edison voted to shutter its nuclear plant. Last September, 1,000 megawatts was a breakthrough, but California’s solar capacity kept growing throughout the winter, and doubled in nine months. Don’t assume that the new solar power can be perfectly swapped out for the nuclear power, though; the nuclear plant was producing its 2,250 megawatts 24 hours a day, while the solar output is at its highest for only a few hours at a time……

Political activist Cindy Asner thinks fears surrounding San Onofre’s closure have been overblown. She tells TakePart of a conversation with a SoCal Edison executive fretting about people who wouldn’t have air conditioning during the summer. “I was worried about Fukushima, and they were worried about air conditioning? It’s preposterous!” She points to American ingenuity: “during World War II, we were on rations, but the American people found a way.”
In its latest report, the federal Energy Information Administration shows two states with summer power concerns: California and Texas. Yes, that reliably coal-and-natural-gas-powered red state is at greater risk for rolling blackouts than California. Expect a disproportionate amount of media attention on California, though, as pro-nuclear folks lament the loss of another plant and anti-renewable energy folks complain that solar is unreliable…..

June 15, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Hydraulic fracking causing radiation problem in water

water-radiationReport says drilling is creating radiation problems in Ohio Ohio,com.By BOB DOWNING  June 14, 2013  The FreshWater Accountability Project Ohio ( today released a report on the presence and dangers of radiation present throughout the horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) industry that is extracting minerals in Ohio.

The report, authored by Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a longtime expert on radioactive waste management and since 1992, on radiation hazards from oil and gas drilling, details the serious problem associated with bringing up long-buried radium and other naturally-occurring hazards from thousands of feet underground.

The radiation is associated directly with the “hottest” areas of gas and oil productivity in deep shale layers and is an inevitable and burgeoning waste problem.

Resnikoff points out that much of the highly-radioactive solids such as rocks and soils pulled up during drilling, and contaminated muds and sands are cheaply disposed of in municipal landfills in Ohio, irrespective of actual radioactivity content, for 1/100th of the cost of disposal of comparable low-level radioactive waste from nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation in the nation’s three facilities for that purpose.

n Ohio, he stated, “It is evident that environmental concerns are trumped by the economics beneficial to the unconventional shale drilling industry.” Similarly, Dr. Resnikoff identified evidence that the Patriot water treatment facility in Warren, Ohio, which delivers pretreated water to the Warren public water treatment plant, is likely sending radium-laden water into the Mahoning River watershed. “On a daily basis, Patriot does not test for gamma emitting radionuclides and for radium-226,” he observed.

The expert also performed calculations showing that transport of radioactive liquid waste by tank truck greatly exceed federal thresholds which require specific tank design, minimum insurance under federal regulations of $5 million per shipment, and signage to be prominently located which identify the load as radioactive material.

The report notes that all three sets of federal regulations are being routinely violated which means State of Ohio regulations are clearly inadequate for this hazardous material, and possibly illegal……

June 15, 2013 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Lithuania gets renewable energy law

President signs in renewable energy law Dalia Grybauskaite signed the Renewable Energy bill into law opening up possibilities for widespread use of renewable energy resources such as biofuels, wind power and others.

The bill will make it easier for people to use renewable energy and diversify their usage away from gas-generated electricity. Lithuania is trying to reduce the political power that Russia has over it because of the 100 percent dependency on its gas.

“Energy independence is possible only if we use various energy sources. We have ambitious goals – by 2020 we want at least 23 percent of the energy consumed to be produced from renewable energy sources, and thus become less dependent on one energy source. This can be done only by developing modern, human and environmentally friendly renewable energy technologies,” Grybauskaite said.

Grybauskaite added that the government must ensure that renewable energy would be developed, taking into account human health and the environment and the individual interest groups so that it cannot become a source of profit at the expense of others.

The president said that the law was not perfect, but it needed to be signed because the public interest is at stake.

June 15, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy can lead Lithuania towards energy security

Opinion: Will renewable energy sources lead towards energy security? Lithuania Tribune, Inga Sapronaitytė , 14 June 13, All countries should give high priority to the development of renewable energy sources (RES) and their effective use.  Alternative energy is one of the ways to establish new jobs, develop a ‘green’ economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Lithuania should also focus on the development of RES and increase its energy independence, since it is still highly dependent on Russia for this. Effective use of RES could increase reliable energy supplies and comply with the environmental requirements of the EU…….

Since Lithuania does not have major sources of fossil fuels (except probable shale gas), the only way to increase energy security and independence is development of  renewable energy sources.

The key factors preventing from this development include:

Low prices of organic fuel (oil and gas) until 2006. Renewable energy sources could not compete with conventional sources, except  in rural areas where  timber were the cheapest fuel.;

The inherited district heating network in the cities was adapted to use only fuel oil or gas. Modernisation of this field of the economy is very expensive.

Renewable energy sources are most effectively used in small systems yet there is still lack of local qualified staff and competent authorities.

A sceptical attitude toward renewable energy sources has prevailed in society and among politicians for a long time,  preventing legal and economic incentives.

During the recent decade the situation has changed significantly. Positive changes toward RES (especially in the heating sector) were determined by the restructuring of the sector such as separation of manufacturer and supplier.

Privatisation providing for the emergence of smaller energy producers using RES has also had a sizeable effect, together with increased global organic fuel prices. This has changed the attitude of society and politicians towards renewable energy sources……..

So far the main renewable energy sources in Lithuania were conventional sources used for energy needs, i.e. timber, wood-processing industries waste and hydro-energy. Only during the last five years energy produced by wind power plants has acquired more relevance, as well as bio-fuel used in transport.

According to the National Strategy for the Development of Renewable Energy Sources, logs and wood waste, straw and other agricultural and industrial waste account for approximately 90 per cent in the balance of renewable energy sources. Another 10 per cent consist of biofuel, hydro-energy, wind and geothermal energy.

June 15, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | 2 Comments

Japan’s government ignoring nuclear phaseout policy, and public opinion

Energy report skips nuclear phase-out Japan Times, KYODO JUN 15, 2013 Japan’s annual energy report released Friday barely refers to the fact that the previous government upheld a goal to phase out nuclear powerin the 2030s, reflecting the pro-nuclear stance of the current government.

The latest Energy White Paper covers a period between last August and around March, during which the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan compiled a new energy strategy in light of
the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The most controversial part in the strategy was a pledge to “devote all policy resources to enable zero nuclear power plant operation in the 2030s,” but the white paper does not use the phrase in explaining
the strategy…….
The zero-nuclear goal shows up in the white paper once, but only as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quoted statement, which criticizes the energy strategy for stirring concerns and distrust among the local
governments hosting nuclear plants and businesses.

The goal, if maintained, would have marked a massive shift in Japan’s
decades-long promotion of nuclear power……
The white paper also touches on a poll conducted by the previous
government seeking to gauge public opinion on energy policy, but does
not mention that the government at that time concluded that at least a
majority of the people are hoping for a society that does not rely on
nuclear power.

Of the 50 commercial reactors, only two, in western Japan, are online.

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Dangerously high global temperatures

Global Temperature Nearing Dangerous Levels, Says Study
Greenhouse gas emissions are dangerously rising at an alarming level.  The abnormally fast growth rate could push the Earth beyond the safe limit in terms of average global temperature.  The report is based on the study conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).  Rising temperatures have profound effects on economic growth, agriculture, water and energy supply, and public health.


According to the IEA, carbon emissions increased by 1.4 per cent. This means an additional 31.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide were released into the air.  The IEA is a research group organised by industrialised nations to monitor climate change. Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Safety and insurance problems for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

fleecing-taxpayerAlthough significantly smaller than traditional reactors, SMRs will still require significant insurance in the event of an accident. New nuclear reactors are currently covered by the Price-Anderson Act for accidents valued at over $12.6 billion. Price-Anderson may fall dramatically short in the case of SMRs

Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors Taxpayers for Common Sense February 27, 2013 Download: Golden Fleece: Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Nuclear Reactors (pdf)

“……..Current Applicants Seeking Federal Subsidies

Five small modular reactor projects have applied for support from DOE to date, but none of the five different reactor designs have been licensed by the NRC. NRC and DOE aim to award the first design certification license by 2018 and final construction/operating license by the early 2020s. Currently, all five projects are in the pre-application phase with NRC working towards initial design certification.
All but one SMR project would develop an integral pressurized light water reactor (iPWR) while the other would develop a fast neutron reactor (FNR)…… Continue reading

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Reference, safety, technology, USA | Leave a comment