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Radiation fears severely damaging South Korea’s seafood traders

flag-S-KoreaFish Is Off the Menu in South Korea Over Radiation Fears Koreans Avoid Seafood Over Fears of Fukushima Contamination, WSJ, By  KWANWOO JUN  14 Nov 13,  SEOUL—”There have been no buyers yet,” said fish trader Choi Mi-ja as the clock ticked toward 3 p.m., some 10 hours after her store at the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market opened for the day.

“In 26 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Ms. Choi added, standing by tanks where live, locally bred flatfish and Russian-imported king crabs were displayed.

Ms. Choi’s predicament provides a taste of the psychological impact of Japan’s nuclear crisis on South Korea’s seafood industry. Sales of marine products have plummeted in recent months as three out of every four Koreans say they have cut back on fish consumption following leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

The fears come despite Seoul imposing some of the toughest restrictions on seafood imports from Japan. Since September, it has blocked all fishery imports from eight prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi plant, on Japan’s Pacific coast.

Around 80% of seafood consumed in South Korea is caught locally, where there is no evidence of any impact from the nuclear disaster. Despite the facts, many Koreans are shunning seafood……..

November 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, South Korea | 2 Comments

Trans Pacific Partnership under a cloud, as people wake up to this corporate rot

The WikiLeaks release comes as developments in the US put the Trans Pacific Partnership under a cloud. More than 20 Republican Congressmen have written to President Barack Obama threatening to withdrawing the ”fast track” negotiating authority that allows him to close a deal. An influential group of Democrats is about to do the same.


Australia backs the US at every turn against its own consumers The Age, November 14, 2013    Economics correspondent,  In public the Australian government is on the side of consumers. Yet behind closed doors it is siding with the US government to block them at every turn.

The extraordinarily detailed information on negotiating positions released by WikiLeaks shows Australia repeatedly backing the interests of the US against the objections of countries including Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam on questions involving intellectual property. Australia is often the only one of the 12 parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to do so…….. Continue reading

November 15, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Finland nuclear power consortium sees exodus of 15 members

thumbs-downflag-FinlandMore partners pull out of Fennovoima nuclear project  UUTISET, 14  Nov 13, The consortium of Finnish power companies backing a planned nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, western Finland is shrinking. Some 15 members of the Fennovoima public power consortium announced Thursday that they were pulling out of the project, leaving 45 partners still on board. Thursday’s development saw 15 members of the Voimaosakeyhtiö SF announce their withdrawal from the planned nuclear power project in Ostrobothnia, western Finland. Voimaosakeyhtiö is a power consortium comprising 67 companies who jointly own Fennovoima.

Among the companies that decided to withdraw support from the nuclear power plant are Boliden Harjavalta, Boliden Kokkola and Componenta.

Back in 2012, Finnish retail cooperative S-Group and the German-based power giant  E.ON announced that they were leaving the project behind. E.ON sold its 34 percent stake in the consortium, saying that the move was part of a strategy to sell off all of its Finnish operations.

S-Group said it shed its three-percent shareholding to focus on investments that would benefit its shareholders.

Fennovoima still in talks with Rosatom

About 45 companies remain as partners to the project. However their support is still conditional, given that Fennovoima is still in talks with Russian nuclear contractor and proposed minority owner, Rosatom.

The remaining consortium members include mining company Talvivaara, steel company Outokumpu, dairy company Valio and a group of regional energy companies…….

November 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Call for German utilities to pay more of nuclear decommissioning costs

nuke-reactor-deadGerman parties want utilities to shoulder nuclear shutdown costs BY MARKUS WACKET BERLIN Thu Nov 14, 2013 (Reuters) – German parties negotiating the formation of a coalition government want to make utilities pay more to dismantle their nuclear power plants and protect taxpayers from billions of euros in related costs, documents obtained by Reuters show.

Such a move, if adopted by a coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD), would be a blow to E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW who have already put aside 30 billion euros in provisions.

“A … fund could be considered to safeguard the financing of the disposal of nuclear assets,” the paper from the working group on environmental policies said.

Under the new proposal, the utility companies could be forced to pay into the fund which would be under political control.

Over a dozen working groups are hammering out policy compromises on a range of issues with the aim of forming a government in December. The nuclear proposal would have to be approved by a larger coalition panel led by Merkel and other party leaders before it was set in stone.

“We expect cooperation from the nuclear power operators in the switch to renewable energy and an acknowledgement of their responsibility for the orderly ending of the use of atomic energy,” the paper said.

The idea of a fund reflects concerns that Germany’s four nuclear power companies have taken insufficient precautions to pay for the dismantling of the plants and storage of atomic waste…….

The SPD is also keen to raise nuclear fuel tax and to extend the levy beyond 2016, when it is currently due to expire. However conservatives oppose this notion.


(Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Susan Fenton)

November 15, 2013 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Treasure Island, in San Franciso Bay, holds radiation danger

text-radiationSan Francisco families could be at risk of radiation poisoning – report  November 14, 2013 A small island in the heart of San Francisco Bay could be a major source of radiation and the young families that live there may be at risk of poisoning, a new report from the California Department of Health has concluded.

Treasure Island, a man-made landmass within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the former site of a US military base that is now home to renovated land areas, playgrounds, and apartment buildings. San Francisco lawmakers previously announced their intention to build an 8,000-unit tower there once the Navy formally cedes land rights.

Earlier this year, workers with the California Department of Public Health found radioactive shards in the ground on the western side of the island. One object was so radioactive that holding it for an hour would result in burns, hair loss, and other maladies, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

An internal memo written in September and unveiled this week admonished officials’ prior notice for implying that the area is known to be safe.“Further evaluation should be made of the probability of a member of the public, especially critical members of the population (for example, children) picking up a radioactive fragment and being exposed,” state health officials wrote, as quoted by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

As of 2011, 575 radioactive shards had been found on Treasure Island,” the memo continued. “Regulators have speculated that the shards could have been buried for military practice using Geiger counters, which measure radiation. Earlier this year CDPH officials found radioactive shards buried in lawns near apartments on the island.” …..

November 15, 2013 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Mitsubishi cutting back on nuclear engineering staff

Mitsubishi cutting Charlotte nuclear engineering staff in half Charlotte Business Journal,  14 Nov 13   Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems will lay off 48 people from its Charlotte Engineering Center by the end of the year, cutting the staff by roughly half.

The layoffs come as Mitsubishi has decided to slow its efforts to get Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification of its US-APWR reactor. That led the power companyLuminant to announce plans last week to suspend its effort to license two 1,700 megawatt Mitsubishi reactors at the Commanche nuclear plant in Texas.

In April, Dominion announced it was abandoning plans to build a Mitsubishi unit at its North Anna Nuclear Station…….. Mitsubishi had about 100 workers when it celebrated the grand opening of its center in Ballantyne in spring of 2012.

At that time, executives said the center could have as many as 150 workers by 2017. But the center never got above the 100 mark.

The state offered $4.1 million in incentives to bring the center here.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Robot finds leaks in Fukushima nuclear plant’s Reactor 1,

Robot detects locations of radioactive leaks at crippled Fukushima nuclear plant  November 14, 2013 For the first time, a remote-controlled robot has detected the exact spot of radioactive water leaks from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant’s Reactor 1, local media reported.

The robot was sent close to the lower part of the Reactor 1 containment vessel at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi on Wednesday. Its camera captured images of radioactive water leaking from two holes of the vessel into the building housing the reactor, NHK television reported. ……… However, TEPCO engineers said that they cannot estimate the amount of water that leaked through the holes, NHK reported. They also admitted that Reactors 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi have similar problems.

TEPCO is now planning to use robots to locate other leaks which have been causing concern, as it is important not only in solving water contamination problems but also in carrying out decommissioning of the reactors…….

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Poor uranium market freezes Uranium One’s expansion

thumbs-downRosatom’s Uranium One to Freeze Expansion Moscow Times, 13 November 2013 | Issue 5255 Reuters  Canadian miner Uranium One Holding, acquired this year by state-owned reactor builder and supplier Rosatom, said it would freeze expansion projects in Russia and elsewhere due to low uranium prices.

The price of uranium, used mainly as fuel for nuclear plants, plummeted after the March 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant and has shown no signs of recovery.

“We cannot discount the dramatic fall in natural uranium prices, as a result of which more than 50 percent of global uranium production is currently loss-making,” Uranium One President Vadim Zhivov said in e-mailed comments Wednesday.

 “Given the unfavorable market environment, we have decided to freeze expansion projects both in Russia and abroad,” Zhivov said.

Uranium One, which Rosatom took private last month, will mothball the Honeymoon mine in uranium-rich South Australia, local media reported this week, citing high costs and unfavorable contracts with Japan’s Mitsui.

A company spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the mine would be put in “care and maintenance” mode. Zhivov did not specify which of the company’s projects had been cancelled, saying the details would be announced later…….

November uranium futures on the New York Mercantile exchange closed at $35.85 per pound on Tuesday, compared with $68 per pound before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Read more:

November 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

How USA and France killed off nuclear agreement nearly made with Iran

exclamation-flag-IranWestern Backtrack on Uranium Enrichment Killed Iran Deal, France Sought to Change Deal at Last Minute by Jason Ditz, November 11, 2013 More details continue to emerge on the disagreements that prevented an expected weekend pact between the P5+1 and Iran, with a last minute side conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius apparently keeping it from continuing. Fabius demanded last second changes to the draft agreement, including removing a clause guaranteeing Iran’s right to civilian uranium enrichment. Kerry reportedly endorsed that demand.

Iran has, under its safeguards agreement, every right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, and has insisted they are willing to limit that enrichment, but not abandon the right outright.

That already put the talks on shaky ground, and Fabius followed it up with a demand that Iran abandon the under construction Arak reactor, which runs on unenriched uranium. Between the two demands this amounted to a de facto demand to surrender their entire civilian nuclear program, but the US and France continued to insist on only minor sanction relief. At that point though, the deal was dead and everyone just decided to meet again later this month.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | France, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

For USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not all nuclear plants have equal safety standards

NRC-jpgNRC fails to apply standard earthquake protocols to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Cal Coast news. com, November 13, 2013  STATEMENT By UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not holding the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California to the same standards it requires of every other nuclear facility to address potential earthquake hazards, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS prepared the report, “Seismic Shift: Diablo Canyon Literally and Figuratively on Shaky Ground,” for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

“This is a dangerous double standard,” said David Lochbaum, director of UCS’s Nuclear Safety Project and author of the report. “At other facilities, the NRC enforced its safety regulations and protected Americans from earthquake threats. Today, in the case of Diablo Canyon, the NRC is ignoring its regulations, unfairly exposing millions of Americans to undue risk.”

It is widely known that Diablo Canyon sits near earthquake fault lines. In late 2008, the plant’s owner, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), informed the NRC about a previously unknown earthquake fault line running as close as 2,000 feet from Diablo Canyon’s two reactors that could cause more ground motion during an earthquake than the plant was designed to withstand. Since this new fault was discovered, the NRC has not demonstrated that the reactors meet agency safety regulations.

When similar concerns surfaced at nuclear facilities in California, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the NRC did not allow the plants to continue to operate until the agency determined they met safety regulations. In particular, the NRC needed to be sure that a number of devices, including “shock absorbers” on piping and other components, would limit earthquake damage. In contrast, the NRC has allowed PG&E to continue to operate Diablo Canyon’s reactors despite this known threat……..

“Despite solid evidence that Diablo Canyon does not comply with federal safety requirements, the NRC continues to allow the plant to operate,” said Rochelle Becker, executive director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility. “The NRC should enforce its safety regulations at Diablo Canyon.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org

November 15, 2013 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Wikileaks reveals Trans Pacific Partnership’s secret deals to benefit big corporations, not the pub;ic

Australian Greens spokesman on communications and the digital economy Scott Ludlam said the treaty was ”hugely dangerous” and people should be ”deeply concerned about what is being negotiated”.

The full transcript of the leaked negotiating text can by found at

logo-anti-TPPAustralians may pay the price in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement  The Age, November 14, 2013 Philip Dorling A leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal looks to have worrying intentions.Australians could pay more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy, according to details of secret trade negotiations exposed by WikiLeaks.

logo-WikileaksA leaked draft of a controversial chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement reveals the negotiating positions of 12 countries including Australia on copyright, patents and other intellectual property issues, with a heavy focus on enforcement measures against internet piracy.

Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices by reinforcing the rights of copyright and patent owners, clamping down on online piracy, and raising obstacles to the introduction of generic drugs and medicines.

The leaked treaty text also reveals new US and Japanese proposals designed to enhance the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend and widen their patents on drugs and medicines……… Continue reading

November 15, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

US Secretary of State warns against new sanctions on Iran

Kerry pleads for no new sanctions on Iran as nuclear talks continue By Ted Barrett and Greg Botelho,  November 13, 2013 — Washington (CNN) — Secretary of State John Kerry took his case on Wednesday to Capitol Hill, urging Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran as talks with that country on its nuclear program heat up.

“Our hope is that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that, if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we are negotiating with,” Kerry said before entering a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

“It could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement,” he added, “and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialogue that’s taken 30 years to achieve.”…….

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

Reasons behind Russia’s belligerent nuclear posture

Russia Flexes Its Nuclear Muscles, The National Interest, Nikolas K. Gvosdev  November 14, 2013   Two decades after the Cold War removed the Damocles’ sword of mutually-assured destruction in a sea of nuclear fire from over our heads, and, in the words of George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, “made the doctrine of mutual Soviet-American deterrence obsolete“, the Russian decision to update, modernize and upgrade its nuclear forces is seen as a worrisome harbinger of a new era of strategic competition between Moscow and Washington. …….

Last month, the Russian government unveiled spending plans that would double the amount allocated for the country’s strategic nuclear forces, to reach 46 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) by 2016. That announcement was followed by a “snap check” of the country’s nuclear deterrent, held at the end of October, in which both land-based and submarine-launched ballistic missiles were fired and Russian air and missile defense systems were tested at the Kapustin Yar proving grounds. This nuclear exercise was designed to remind the United States (as well as other powers) that Russia is no paper tiger, at least when it comes to its deterrent capabilities…….
Nuclear weapons hold a special pride of place in Russia’s strategic conception of itself as a great power. It is only in the nuclear realm (and in the related field of space flight) that Russia retains parity with a United States which otherwise far surpasses Russia in all other categories of national power—in terms of economic output, global reach, number of allies, or ideological “soft power.”…..

it is important to note important gaps between stated plans and executable outcomes. Reading the press releases of the Russian Ministry of Defense alone does not provide the entire story.

For one thing, the next generation systems have flaws. Nearly half of the tests of the Bulava missile—meant to be the signature piece of the new Borei-class boomers—have failed, with some experts questioning whether the other tests which were classed as “successes” are also masking problems…….

For an Obama administration that holds out the promise of a world without nuclear weapons, however, the Russian decision to renovate its nuclear posture creates real difficulties, especially when Russia is also resuming long-distance patrols and conducting exercises. (The Russian claim that these new efforts are in direct response to U.S. missile-defense efforts also creates political difficulties.)…… the Russian push to upgrade its nuclear forces may push the administration to scuttle any plan for shifting the U.S. nuclear posture to the most minimal one needed for deterrence.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A Cato Institute view on Nuclear Overkill

Ending Nuclear Overkill Cato Institute By CHRISTOPHER A. PREBLE 13 Nov 13 Benjamin Friedman and I have an op-ed in today’s International New York Times  (and theNew York Times iPad app, I just checked) which calls for shrinking the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and moving from a triad of delivery systems—bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)—to a submarine-only monad.

The main focus of the piece is on the strategy that led to the enormous growth of the arsenal in the 1950s and 60s, and the attendant history of the triad. We go into the history to show that the strategy driving our nuclear force posture is outdated and based on inaccurate assumptions. The rationale for the triad is equally dubious given the vast technological gains since ICBMs and SLBMs were first developed and deployed.

But the international system has obviously changed since the days of the Cold War. Potential targets for American nuclear weapons are growing scarcer…….

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

Climate change and the significance of Pacific Ocean’s tiny islands

Tiny islands with big climate change problems Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today

The delegates from Fiji and Samoa believe their nations do not get the support they need to conduct vital climate observations in the region.

“In terms of climate change, up to 90 per cent of heat is absorbed by oceans, so understanding how the oceans behave is critical to understanding how the atmosphere will change,” says Neville Koop, a climatology advisor with the Samoan delegation.

Considering the huge marine areas that Pacific nations cover — Kiribati consists of 800 square kilometres of coral atolls spread over an area half the size of Europe — the poor observational capacity of island states creates a large gap in the global climate data set, he says.

Better oceanic and high altitude measurements, as well as more rudimentary metrics such as rainfall and atmospheric pressure are vital for producing more accurate climate models, Koop adds.

Furthermore, as the birthplace of the El Niño Southern Oscillation weather system that periodically warms the waters of the Pacific Ocean, this patch of ocean influences climates across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and so accurate observations are necessary to predict future changes, he says.

But with populations often in the tens of thousands, these states’ meteorological agencies can never hope to fulfill this vital task alone, Koop says.

Some governments, such as the United Kingdom’s, are already working to increase the observational capacity in the Pacific, but a concerted international effort is needed to fully plug the data gaps, he says.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment