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Fukushima nuclear plant never should have been placed over river site

TV: Warnings the worst is yet to come at Fukushima — Deep underneath nuclear plant a massive pool of contamination is believed to be heading toward Pacific Ocean (VIDEO) Title: Fukushima leak questions handling of nuclear plant crisis
Source: ABC News (Australia)
Date: Sept. 19, 2013  MARK WILLACY, REPORTER: Atsunao Marui is one of Japan’s top groundwater scientists and a member of a panel set up by TEPCO and the Government to try to find ways of managing Fukushima’s growing reservoir of radioactive water. He says putting the nuclear plant on this stretch of coast in the first place was inviting disaster

ATSUNAO MARUI, GROUNDWATER SCIENTIST(voiceover translation): A river used to flow right where the turbine and reactor buildings are now standing, so the groundwater is flowing very fast through there and it’s spreading the contamination. The company should have known this could happen.

WILLACY: But there are warnings the worst is yet to come because it’s believed that deep beneath the nuclear plant is a massive underground pool of contaminated water which is slowly making its way towards the sea.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Resources -audiovicual | 1 Comment

Japanese government considers taking over the Fukushima radiation cleanup

Jtext-radiationflag-japanapan LDP Plan Would Put Government in Control of Fukushima Cleanup, WSJ,  Proposal Would Reduce Tepco’s Financial Burden By  MARI IWATA, 20 Sept 13 TOKYO—Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering a plan that would give the government sole responsibility for containing and cleaning up contamination from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant, allowing its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., 9501.TO -2.28% to focus its dwindling resources more efficiently on decommissioning the facility……..

The government had already effectively nationalized Tepco by buying a majority of its shares, but the stock still trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is eager to see the cash-strapped company return to financial health, a significant challenge, given lost revenue from the idling of all of the company’s nuclear reactors, as well as the costs of the cleanup and purchasing of more liquefied natural gas than before the accident to fuel thermal-power plants to make up for lost nuclear generation.

Tepco has posted two straight years of large net losses since the accident. It swung to a profit in the April-June quarter, solely on the back of a large government subsidy to help it pay compensation to Fukushima victims but it carries Y800 billion ($8.14 billion) in debt that should be refinanced this fall. On top of that, Tepco estimates it must borrow an additional Y300 billion by the end of December if it wants to stay afloat, a spokesman said……..

Under the proposal, Tepco would continue to handle decommissioning operations for Fukushima.

Tepco President Naomi Hirose said Thursday that the company would prepare Y1 trillion ($10 billion) to decommission the entire plant in addition to Y960 billion it had reserved for the work by the end of June. This doesn’t include costs associated with handling contaminated water at the site. There hasn’t been any estimate on the total cost of decommissioning the stricken plant…….Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has urged the government and Tepco to intensify the decommissioning effort, saying “the deadliest risk is another huge natural disaster,” which would “destroy all these makeshift tanks and water processing systems, releasing all the radioactive materials there into the environment.”

September 21, 2013 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, politics | 2 Comments

Japan’s power struggle over electricity and nuclear energy

It will not prove so simple. For one, a new, strengthened nuclear agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), must declare any plant safe before it starts—and several sit on or near active faults (Japan accounts for a fifth of the world’s big earthquakes). In addition, the law gives towns and villages a say over nearby plants, and most Japanese want to ditch nuclear power for good. To cap it all, news of the mess at the stricken Fukushima plant gets no better. 

flag-japanElectricity in Japan  Power struggle The Economist,  Sep 21st 2013 | TOKYO  The shadow of Fukushima, the world’s worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl, hangs over Japan’s energy future

THIS week Japan’s last working nuclear reactor was switched off. At Oi, on the west coast of the country’s main island, the closure was supposedly for routine maintenance and safety checks. Yet no firm date is in sight for reopening Oi or any other of Japan’s 50 reactors, shut in the wake of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Before the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 turned so much of Japan’s world upside down, the country counted on nuclear power for 30% of its electricity—one of the highest proportions in the world. Now it is entirely without nuclear power for only the second time since 1970.

In government since December, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) warns of the economic costs of mothballed plants. The industry ministry says that the need to import extra oil, gas and coal to fire conventional power stations will have cost Japan an extra ¥9.2 trillion (about $93 billion) by the end of 2013. A sharply weaker yen and higher oil prices have not helped, and Japan is now running trade deficits for the first time in three decades. Businesses and consumers face much higher electricity costs in Japan than in many countries.


The cosy community of electricity utilities, bureaucrats, academics and heavy industry, known in Japan as the “nuclear village”, is urging the LDP to restart the reactors. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, would love to oblige.  Continue reading

September 21, 2013 Posted by | politics | Leave a comment

South Carolina was very nearly nuclear bombed by US military

exclamation-book-Command-and-ControlThe Time the U.S. Military Came This Close To Dropping a Nuclear Bomb on North Carolina Slate, By , Sept. 20, 2013 Remember fallout shelters? Air raid drills? Duck and cover?

At the height of the Cold War, Americans lived in perpetual fear of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. But perhaps we were afraid of the wrong side.

declassified document obtained by author Eric Schlosser sheds new light on the 1961 Goldsboro accident, in which a U.S. Air Force B-52 broke apart in midair over text-historyNorth Carolina, dropping a pair of Mark 39 nuclear bombs on the countryside below. The accident is not news, but just how close the military came to wiping out a swath of the Eastern Seaboard has long been debated. For years the military insisted that the hydrogen bombs were never in danger of detonating.

The secret document, written by a nuclear weapons safety supervisor in 1969 and first published by The Guardian today, makes it clearer than ever that was not the case. In fact, three of the four safety mechanisms on one of the bombs were unlocked in the course of the fall. By the time the bomb reached the ground, the only thing preventing it from detonating was a single, simple, low-voltage switch. A short-circuit of that switch as a result of the mid-air breakup—“a postulate that seems credible,” the supervisor writes—could have resulted in mass destruction.

The Mark 39 bombs, Schlosser notes in his new book Command and Control, were some 250 times as powerful as the device that the United States dropped on Hiroshima……..

September 21, 2013 Posted by | history, resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big corporate money funding climate sceptics

The Competitive Enterprise Institute  has in the past received funding from Exxon Mobil, the oil company, and the American Petroleum Institute, Texaco, General Motors and the Koch Family Foundations, controlled by the Koch brothers who made their fortune from fossil fuels.

spin-global.nukeBig business funds effort to discredit climate science, warns UN official  Climate change summit braced for counterblast from sceptics as report warns greenhouse gas emissions still increasing   and Graham Readfern The Guardian, Saturday 21 September 2013 Big companies are paying contrarians to undermine the work of climate scientists, according to a top UN official speaking before the release of a landmark review of climate science this weekby international researchers next Friday.

Halldór Thorgeirsson, a director who reports to the head of the UN body that governs the on-going high level international climate negotiations, said that scientists would need to be prepared for a counter-blast from sceptics.

“Vested interests are paying for the discrediting of scientists all the time. We need to be ready for that,” he said……..

His outspoken views will set the tone for a fractious meeting of the world’s leading climate scientists, kicking off on Monday in Stockholm, that will set out the evidence that the world’s governments use when formulating policies to deal with global warming for decades to come. More than 800 scientists have contributed to the report, the final details of which will be hammered out in a gruelling four-day session next week.

According to a draft of the “Summary for Policy Makers” dated June , seen by the Guardian– the most important part of the document – the scientists will argue that the evidence points to 95% certainty that climate change is occurring and is caused mainly by greenhouse gases released by humans – up from 90% certainty in the previous 2007 report.  Continue reading

September 21, 2013 Posted by | climate change, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Serious legal problems for India in weakening Nuclear Liability


The Act does have its flaws but it has raised some key challenges to international liability principles that historically insulated the supplier from liability in practically all situations. It should be borne in mind that these provisions will be interpreted by an Indian court in the context of a nuclear incident. Any watering down of the law by the operator offering waivers of statutory provisions would only increase the ambiguities, and is in no one’s interests, including those of the foreign suppliers.

flag-indiaDon’t waver now on nuclear liability THE HINDU, MOHIT ABRAHAM  M. P. RAM MOHAN , 20 SEPT 13, India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, 2010 (the Act), was a watershed moment in international nuclear liability jurisprudence because of the unique way in which 

justiceit dealt with supplier liability. Up until this enactment, all liability in relation to a nuclear power plant was channelled exclusively to the operator. The only two situations in which a operator could claim a subsequent right of recourse against a supplier under international liability law as well as under domestic law of other countries were i) where the nuclear incident arose out of an act or omission by the supplier with an intent to cause damage (which is covered under Section 17(c) of the Act); and ii) a contractual right of recourse (which is covered under Section 17(a) of the Act).

The Act however, also introduced a novel concept of supplier liability in Section 17(b) by which the operator would have the ability to reclaim any compensation it may pay, from a supplier, if the product supplied has patent or latent defects or the service provided is substandard.

Section 17(b)

This expanded concept of supplier liability is vehemently resisted by major supplier countries including the United States, Russia and France, Continue reading

September 21, 2013 Posted by | India, Legal, Reference | 1 Comment

USA’s Energy Secretary Moniz promoting nuclear industry

UNM, LANL reap funds for nuclear energy push The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday announced major grants to New Mexico institutions that total $2.2 million. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced that the state will receive the money as part of a $60 million initiative to invest in nuclear energy research at the university level.  Reporter-Albuquerque Business First  U.S. Department of Energy on Friday announced major grants to New Mexico institutions that total $2.2 million.

Moniz,-ErnestSecretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced that the state will receive the money as part of a $60 million initiative to invest in nuclear energy research at the university level.

“By supporting cutting-edge nuclear science and engineering across our universities, national labs and industry, we can strengthen the foundation for a continuing important role for nuclear energy in America’s low carbon future,” said Moniz. “Training and educating the next generation nuclear energy workforce plays a critical role in ensuring American leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear power worldwide.”

The announcement included two grants for the University of New Mexico totaling $1.2 million for research into fuel cycle technologies. The DOE is awarding schools a total of $42 million to develop new technologies for energy.

Also, the DoE is supporting Los Alamos National Laboratory with $1 million to research advanced materials for reactors.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Europe considers cutting carbon emissions by 20%

globe-warmingflag-EUEurope weighing 40 percent 2030 carbon-cutting goal: EU sources By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS | Thu Sep 19, 2013  (Reuters) – European Union regulators are considering doubling the bloc’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and setting a tougher binding goal for renewable energy use, EU sources said…… If agreed, the new European goals would be more ambitious than other nations have managed…..

September 21, 2013 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Niger government wants French uranium company AREVA to stop ripping it off

areva-medusa1Niger audits Areva uranium mines, seeking better deal By Daniel Flynn and Abdoulaye Massalatchi NIAMEY | Fri Sep 20, 2013  (Reuters) – Niger has ordered an audit of French nuclear group Areva’s (AREVA.PA) uranium mines in the West African country as it presses for a better deal in talks over a new long-term contract, Mining Minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana told Reuters.

Areva’s two mines in Niger – Somair and Cominak – produce the fuel for roughly one-third of France’s nuclear power, providing some of the cheapest electricity in the West.

Niger, a former French colony and one of the world’s poorest countries, has long complained it does not reap enough benefits from these resources……..

Extractive industries watchdogs, including the local branch of Publish What You Pay, have accused Areva of a lack of transparency in its revenues and costs in Niger…….

Previous Niger governments have struggled to substantially increase the state’s take from uranium and details of the 2003 mining contract have been kept confidential. The IMF estimates Niger’s gross domestic product at around 5.5 billion euros, only just over half of Areva’s revenues of 9.3 billion in 2012……..

September 21, 2013 Posted by | France, Niger, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

“Confidentiality Agreement” on nuclear sales USA to India

Decks cleared for nuclear pact with US firm, TNN | Sep 21, 2013 NEW DELHI: India and the US have cleared the decks for a pre-early works agreement betweenNPCIL and US nuclear company, Westinghouse. National security adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon said, “The two sides have resolved all government-to-government permissions and understandings required for enabling commercial negotiations”. The two sides signed a “confidentiality agreement” last week that would allow both sides to share confidential data with each other.


Speaking at an event at Aspen Institute on Friday, Menon said the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) will soon begin safety evaluations of Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear reactor that they propose to sell to India.Westinghouse is already building four of these reactors in China, the first of which is expected to begin operations next year……

September 21, 2013 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s economy can move forward without nuclear power

flag-japanElectricity in Japan  Power struggle The Economist,  Sep 21st 2013 | TOKYO “……….The LDP’s anti-nuclear coalition partner, New Komeito, also constrains the government somewhat. Meanwhile, rising business optimism appears to undermine the case that economic recovery depends on nuclear power. Probably no more than 12-15 reactors will be switched back on, says Kazuhiro Ueta, a renewable-energy specialist who sits on the government’s energy-advisory board. For the nuclear village, which once expected to supply at least half of Japan’s power, that would be a grave disappointment.

Instead, Japan is preparing for other long-term energy supplies. Since 2011 the number of independent power producers tapping renewable sources, such as solar power, has tripled, thanks in part to a new “feed-in” tariff system for renewables. Including hydro-electricity, renewables now represent 10% of the energy mix, leading to hopes that they might one day replace the share that nuclear power once claimed…………..

 The cranking-up of fossil-fuel power stations, many working at well under capacity before March 2011, is one reason why the predictions of widespread black-outs never came about after the Fukushima scare. But another reason was the room for conserving energy. Tokyo alone has slashed electricity consumption by a tenth since 2011, according to the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation. The demand for power-saving devices has leapt. Sales of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have shot up from 3% of all Japanese bulbs sold in 2009 to over 30% today. By 2015, says the head of Philips Electronics Japan, Danny Risberg, incandescent and fluorescent lights will be nearly a thing of the past.

Long-overdue proposals to liberalise the electricity market may do much to diversify energy sources and lower electricity bills. The government’s plan, easier to push through now that TEPCO, the biggest utility, has been brought low by its handling of the Fukushima fiasco, is to split generation and transmission, with the residential electricity market open to new competition. If the reform succeeds, says Hiroshi Takahashi of the Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, the share of nuclear power in the energy mix would fall as new, non-nuclear providers won customers. It would, at long last, give the public some say over Japan’s energy choices.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Nuclear free USA – a good business plan for America

nuclear-costsShould the U.S. Go Nuclear-Free? The Motley Fool, By Justin Loiseau   September 20, 2013 For the second time since the Fukushima disaster and the third time in over 40 years, Japan is entirely nuclear-free. With proponents and opponents battling fiercely over the future of nuclear power in Japan, let’s take a look at whether the United States should be nuclear-free….

….With the recent rise of natural gas and renewables, a decline in nuclear might not seem so bad. Natural gas has already surpassed coal as our largest source of electricity, and wind power alone is expected to triple capacity in the next three years. Crude oil is a relic of the past for electricity, and we’ve managed fine with recent coal closures………

If the United States said no to nuclear, we’d be in a tight spot. Nuclear provides cheap baseload electricity with enviable consistency. But there are advantages to a nuclear-free nation. If supportive policy jumps in to save the day, the generation gap could put the U.S. on a fast track to ramping up alternative energies. Duke Energy’s (NYSE: DUK  recent win for wind energy storage would need a massive influx of R&D to expand beyond a 36 MW battery, and new energy sources like Dominion‘s (NYSE: D  )  long-term lease for offshore wind would need a timelier timeline than ten years from now.

Our nation would also need to take a hard look at its power system, decentralizing generation via smart investments in smart grid technology………

September 21, 2013 Posted by | general | 1 Comment