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Marking Three Years of Post-Fukushima Progress

Many good comments here worth reading if you are interested in reactor “safety”.

U.S. NRC Blog

Allison M. Macfarlane

The approach to the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor complex winds through empty villages where weeds grow in silent communities, storefronts are shattered and advertising signs entice a population that may be years in returning.

A year ago I visited the site of the devastating March 11, 2011, accident triggered by a massive 9.0 earthquake and subsequent 46-foot tsunami.

Chairman Allison Macfarlane and other NRC officials stand in the darkened interior of Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex northeast of Tokyo Dec. 13, 2012. Photo courtesy of TEPCO Chairman Allison Macfarlane and other NRC officials stand in the darkened interior of Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex northeast of Tokyo Dec. 13, 2012. Photo courtesy of TEPCO

The site where four of six reactors were inundated bears testament not only to the power of the natural forces but also to the huge hydrogen explosions that rocked three of the reactors. Rusting trucks lay about the property. And thousands of workers in protective gear and full-face respirators scramble over the shattered industrial complex.

It is…

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March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN nuclear chief – ‘we can only try to prevent’ a nuclear accident

flag-UN-SmUN nuclear watchdog chief says atomic plants never ‘100%’ safe, 7 News, March 17, 2014 Tokyo (AFP) – The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said Monday his agency would keep working to improve safety after safety-symbol-Smthe Fukushima crisis, but no atomic plant could be “100 percent” safe from natural disasters.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the comments before he meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later Monday, as Japan moves closer to restarting two reactors despite objections from a nuclear-wary public……..Amano added that “what we can do is to prevent an accident (as much) as humanly possible, and to get prepared for the mitigation of the consequences” of one………

March 17, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

EDF and others set to make big profits from Britain’s tax-payer subsidised nuclear power

UK-subsidyReturns on EDF’s UK nuclear deal much higher than usual: report BY KAROLIN SCHAPS LONDON Mon Mar 17 (Reuters) – Returns for French utility EDF (EDF.PA) and other investors in Britain’s first new nuclear plant in two decades, supported by the government, are much higher than for other projects, according to a report by a cross-party think-tank.

EDF plans to start operating the first new nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point C site in southern England in 2023. The British government will guarantee a loan to finance the project as well as a fixed minimum price for the electricity it generates for 35 years.

The investors could earn a return of up to 21 percent over the lifetime of the project, Carbon Connect analysts said in a report, which was chaired by a former British conservative energy minister, Charles Hendry.

“Expected equity returns on Hinkley Point C are around 19 to 21 percent, substantially higher than expected equity returns on Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects and regulated electricity network assets,” the report said on Tuesday.

By comparison, returns are typically 12 to 15 percent for PFI projects and 8 to 10 percent on regulated networks, it said.

The European Commission is investigating whether Britain’s support for nuclear complies with European Union state aid rules. Continue reading

March 17, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

wastes-1Officials At Odds Over Storing Nuclear Waste WLTX19 Eric Connor, Greenville News March 17, 2014 Plans to ship decades-old weapons waste from South Carolina’s Savannah River Site are on hold still as the underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico that was to be its home remains shuttered indefinitely a month after a mysterious radioactive leak stopped shipments from sites nationwide.

The leak at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant raises new questions over another multibillion-dollar disposal site shut down in the American desert: Yucca Mountain……..

For environmentalists skeptical of nuclear energy, the incident in New Mexico stands as evidence that geologic disposal akin to the Yucca Mountain project is too risky. Continue reading

March 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Community meeting about decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Plant

text-Please-NoteSONGS: First Decommissioning Community Meeting Scheduled The Community Engagement Panel meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the San Clemente Community Center March 25. Will you go?  bPenny Arévalo (Editor) , March 17, 2014 An advisory board on the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will hold its first meeting with the public on March 25 in San Clemente, Southern California Edison announced today.

The Community Engagement Panel meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville, according to Edison, which is the plant’s majority owner and operator. San Diego Gas & Electric owns 20 percent of the plant.

The panel was established to exchange information between the owners and the public throughout decommissioning process.

“Public engagement is essential to our goal to decommission San Onofre in a transparent and inclusive way,” said Chris Thompson, SCE vice president of decommissioning.

SCE announced last June that it would retire the reactors instead of restarting them. The plant along the northern San Diego County shoreline has been idle since January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak was discovered.

The agenda for the first meeting of the panel, chaired by UC San Diego professor David Victor — an expert on energy markets — will include an overview of plans to dismantle the facility in 15 to 20 years, as well as a public comment period.

Members of the group represent the American Nuclear Society, California State Parks, Camp Pendleton, Capistrano Unified School District, Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, Ocean Institute, Orange County Coastkeeper, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, organized labor, South Orange County Economic Coalition and the University of California, Irvine. Also represented are the counties of Orange and San Diego, and the cities of Dana Point, Oceanside, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

The website will provide updates on panel activities, along with information about its members and the decommissioning process, including Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight. Members of the public can use the plant’s website to sign up for regular e-mail updates about the decomm

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World leaders meeting to counter dangers of nuclear terrorism

World leaders seek action to counter nuclear terrorism risk-draft BY FREDRIK DAHL, VIENNA Mon Mar 17, 2014 (Reuters) – World leaders are expected to call next week for more action to minimize civilian use of highly-enriched nuclear fuel to help prevent al Qaeda-style militants from obtaining atomic bombs, a draft summit statement shows…….

A senior U.S. administration official said the number of countries possessing HEU and plutonium – which she called “the world’s most dangerous materials” – had significantly declined.

“Twelve countries are now HEU-free, and a significant number of former nuclear facilities no longer possess HEU or plutonium,” said Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, coordinator on defense policy, weapons of mass destruction and arms control.

But much remains to be done: As of late last year, 30 countries had at least 1 kg of HEU in their civilian stocks, including several Western states and others such as Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the International Panel on Fissile Materials says on its website. Twenty-seven nations still had different types of research and other reactors using HEU, with Russia having the most, the data showed.

A senior U.N. official last year told Reuters that nuclear and radioactive materials were still going missing and the information the U.N. atomic agency receives about such incidents may be just the tip of the iceberg.

“DIRTY BOMB”….  a so-called “dirty bomb” is seen as a more likely threat than an atomic bomb: conventional explosives are used to disperse radiation from a radioactive source, which can be found in hospitals or other places that may not be very well secured………

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Africa to get Solar Inverter Manufacturing Plant

Solar Inverter Manufacturing Plant For South Africa Powerway PV SA and Sungrow have announced the two companies will be opening a solar inverter manufacturing facility in South Africa.

Situated at Coega Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth, the plant will be the largest of its kind outside of China.
Once built, inverters rolling off the production line won’t be sitting around waiting to be purchased – Powerway PV SA’s pipeline of projects will make good use of the units and allow the factory to operate at full capacity during its first year.

The facility is expected to begin full capacity production sometime between June and the end of this year – and with little in the way of competition in terms of locally built solar inverters, the two companies are expecting great success.

Powerway has executed the construction of solar farms in Europe, North America, Asia as well as Africa totalling over 680MW. It was also the first company to bring third party solar finance to South Africa. Powerway has big plans in the country; aiming to create over 2,500 jobs and to also construct a solar panel factory plus a mounting system production facility.

“With its irradiation resource second to none, South Africa is the best country to develop solar energy,” said Benson Wu, CEO of Powerway Renewable Energy Co. Ltd earlier this month

“With the net metering practice in place, added with our leasing model, I believe South Africa will be one of the biggest solar markets in the world. Powerway is proud to be part of it.”

Sungrow is Asia’s largest inverter manufacturer and the third largest globally; with only SMA and Power-One ahead of it. Sungrow has been making inroads in Australia, where its inverters are a popular choice in home solar power installations.In other recent Sungrow news, the company is partnering in two solar farmstotalling around 100MW capacity in two regions in Gansu Province, China.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crisis time for Scotland’s renewable energy

Critical time for Scotland’s renewable energy The Scotsman, Niall Stuart, 17 Mar 14THIS is a historic year for Scotland, and a vital 12 months for Scotland’s renewable energy industry. The successes of recent years have seen us invest billions of pounds into Scotland’s economy, finally make some progress on renewable heat and become Scotland’s second source of electricity. But it is clear that we are entering a new phase, with harder times ahead.

The Electricity Market Reform (EMR) process, which is now reaching its final stages, has brought the biggest shake-up of the renewable energy sector since the dawn of large-scale wind power in the UK.

EMR is designed to drive investment into the energy markets of the future, as well as to protect consumer bills – and few in the industry would argue with those objectives.

The final parts of the EMR framework will make or break the level of future growth onshore, offshore and on the islands. At the halfway point of the process, last summer, often against the prevailing mood of our membership, I felt positive that all the pieces of the jigsaw were ready to fall into place – and that it would all be alright in the end.

Fast-forward six months, and today I feel much less certain about the future. Some of the pieces are still to materialise, let alone find their place in the bigger picture, and it’s difficult not to feel nervous when there is so much to be won or lost in the next few weeks.

The immediate future also sees the staging of the Scottish Renewables’ Annual Conference, which is being held at the EICC today and tomorrow. While it goes without saying that there is already plenty to discuss, day one of the event will see a high-powered panel discuss the main threats to the development of their sector, and the actions necessary to overcome these challenges – among them Christian Egal, CEO of EDF Energy Renewables, Ronnie Bonnar, managing director of Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power……..
we need government to recognise the special characteristics, and importance, of renewable heat, without which we cannot hope to reach those 2020 renewables targets.

As an industry, we are acutely aware that the significant successes we have delivered for Scotland have been built on the solid foundation of government and industry working together to create the right framework for investment.

For all who care about the growth of renewables and the decarbonisation of our power sector, that task has never been more important than it is now, as the UK government finalises the final pieces of EMR.

•Niall Stuart is chief executive of Scottis

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The censorship of research on Fukushima’s radiation releases

censorshipSquelching Efforts to Measure Fukushima Meltdown By DAVID MCNEILL | THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATIONMARCH 16, 2014 TOKYO — In the chaotic, fearful weeks after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, in March 2011, researchers highly-recommendedstruggled to measure the radioactive fallout unleashed on the public. Michio Aoyama’s initial findings were more startling than most. As a senior scientist at the Japanese government’s Meteorological Research Institute, he said levels of radioactive cesium 137 in the surface water of the Pacific Ocean could be 10,000 times as high as contamination after Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Two months later, as Mr. Aoyama prepared to publish his findings in a short, nonpeer-reviewed article for Nature, the director general of the institute called with an unusual demand — that Mr. Aoyama remove his own name from the paper.
“He said there were points he didn’t understand, or want to understand,” the researcher recalled. “I was later told that he did not want to say that Fukushima radioactivity was worse than Chernobyl.” The head of the institute, who has since retired, declined to comment for this article. Mr. Aoyama asked for his name to be removed, he said, and the article was not published.
The pressure he felt is not unusual — only his decision to speak about it. Off the record, university researchers in Japan say that even now, three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, they feel under pressure to play down the impact of the disaster. Some say they cannot get funds or university support for their work. In several cases, the professors say, they have been obstructed or told to steer clear of data that might cause public “concern.”
“Getting involved in this sort of research is dangerous politically,” Continue reading

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Japan, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Global crisis in nuclear waste – we must stop making it

wastes-1Worldwide Nuclear Waste Crisis In the Wake of WIPP “If We Don’t Have a Place to Store it, then We Have to Stop Making It.” Alexandra Bruce March 15, 2014

The recent fire and release of deadly radiological poison from the Carlsbad, NM WIPP site is being whitewashed in the mainstream media.

The cover-up of the recent events at WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Program), where a plume of deadly plutonium particles were released and carried by winds over a vast swathe of the the US is such that we do not know exactly how dangerous this situation truly is. What we do know is that there was (and may still be) an out-of-control fire at that bomb-grade plutonium waste storage plant in Carlsbad.

The storage of nuclear waste remains an unresolved issue – and as one expert, interviewed here say, “If we don’t have a place to store it, then we have to stop making it.”

The lack of a real plan for managing the disposal of weapons-grade waste at Hanford,
WIPP and others have existed since these plants began being built, over 70 years ago, as can be seen by the age of this film. The issue of radioactive waste management has become so covered-up and controlled, that such a film could probably *not* be made today.

So, take advantage of seeing the preposterous ‘solutions’ which have been used, since the
beginning of the Nuclear Age, such as the savage dumping of steel barrels full of nuclear waste into oceans, surrounding highly-populated areas.

The lack of any resolution as to what to do with the nuclear waste from power plants has caused these to continuously stockpile the spent fuel rods on site, in conditions that are not very safe.

For example, when the reactors at Fukushima initially exploded, spent fuel rods, which were being stored ABOVE the reactors were shattered and sent flying in a radius of several miles surrounding the site, with this highly toxic debris covering the land that was the breadbasket of Japan.

Spent fuel, as I hope we have all learned by now, since the Fukushima disaster, is much more toxic than fuel rods are, before use.

Nobody really knows what’s going on under the Irish Sea, where British nuclear waste has been dumped for decades. This film attempts to find out.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | wastes | Leave a comment

Toxicologist finds high levels of cancer caused by uranium in water

cancer_cellsflag-indiaSA toxicologist’s study says higher uranium causes cancers in Malwa  ,TNN | Mar 16, 2014 FARIDKOT: Excessive presence of uranium in water in the Malwa region of Punjab is turning out disastrous for the residents of rural areas and is giving birth to cancer, neurological and birth abnormality. Taking leads from her study on the subject, South African clinical metal toxicologist Dr Carin Smit has confirmed that excess prevalence of uranium in human bodies is the biggest reason of cancer in Malwa region of Punjab. The Union and state government in the past had negated the affect of uranium in cancer incidence.  Dr Smit had obtained hair samples of 149 children with deformities in 2009 and urine samples in 2010 and had sent these to Micro Trace mineral laboratory in German where it was established that excess prevalence of uranium has caused deformities. These children are being treated at Faridkot. As per Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), the uranium level here have reached up to 1000 parts per billion(ppb) against permissible limit of 15ppb, she said. 

While visiting Baba Farid Centre for Special Children on Saturday, Dr Smit based her submission on a study carried out in Finland in the past and said, “Uranium toxicity is much more there as compared to Malwa region of Punjab but spray of fertilizers is filtered and eating habits are much more safe there, but in Punjab the use of fertilizers, pesticides is at much higher levels, which is leading to cancer and deformities among persons.”

Dr Carin finds faults in the state approach in tackling such an important issue with grave seriousness. She said, “Desiring to conduct a full study to establish excess uranium presence leading to cancer incidence, I had written to Punjab government in 2013 to provide infrastructure to conduct the study with Japanese scientists but an still waiting the government response.”  Claiming that presently Punjab is passing through a bad phase on health and environment front, she accused the state government of not being serious to tackle the issue. She said despite knowing the seriousness of the issue, the state government is doing nothing to provide respite to people. “Though courts are serious but the governments are not and Punjab government is not providing proper findings to the court in one petition related to uranium giving birth to cancer in the state,” said Dr Pritpal singh and Amar Singh Azad of Baba Farid centre.

She said a study published recently in a research journal titled ‘Comparing metal concentration in the hair of cancer patients and healthy people living in Malwa region of Punjab’ by scientists from USA and Germany too had mentioned higher toxicity as reason for cancer.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | health, India, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

Large rally against nuclear power in Tokyo

protestor-JapanJapanese rally against nuclear power Sky News,  March 15, 2014 Thousands of campaigners have rallied against nuclear power in Tokyo as the government and utilities move toward resumption of reactors in southern Japan.

More than 5000 protesters gathered at Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo on Saturday to urge the government not to restart nuclear plants, as regulators review whether to let Kyushu Electric Power to restart two reactors at its Sendai power plant. Japan is prone to earthquakes. We have to seriously think about whether nuclear power is a good idea for Japan,’ said Masatoshi Harada, 60, as he joined fellow protesters at the park and later to march toward the Ginza shopping district.

‘This is an opportunity for Japan to drop nuclear power,’ he said.

Last week tens of thousands held a rally at the same site to voice fears about any reliance on nuclear power.

Saturday’s event came days after Japan marked the third anniversary of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Japan in March 11, 2011………. protesters argued that Japan can live without nuclear power as it has done so for many months.

All of the nation’s roughly 50 commercial nuclear reactors have remained offline due to tense public opposition to restarting them.

‘Nuclear plants have been closed, so you cannot say we cannot live without nuclear energy,’ anti-nuclear campaigner Junichi Okano said.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | general | 2 Comments

A Proposal by a reader regarding Openness of Information in the NRC.

I just noticed this Reblog button and thought I’s try it out!
You might be interested in this:

Sure there will be always be Experts that disagree with everything that other Experts on the opposite side of any debate say!

I also agree that the global nuclear industry has the money it needs to fund all the peer reviewed studies it wants, that end up saying whatever they want them to, or they simply will not publish them…

We also know that exactly three years ago today, all the Japanese nuclear Experts (along with many other nuclear Experts across the World) that said that “modern” nuclear power plants were safe and had so many safety features that they would not meltdown because they were so well designed, were proven terribly wrong by Fukushima’s triple meltdowns and that it will take decades if not about 100 years to deal with its on-going pollution of the Pacific Ocean, that is, if nothing BIG goes BAD before then.

Also in all fairness, mankind will have to employ NEW types of equipment that have never ever been built, in order to deal with the new problems Fukushima has created. Also, until fully decommissioned, the Japanese will continue to contaminate massive amounts of sea water with radioactivity daily, that will all end up in the Pacific Ocean unless the UN sanctions the Japanese with penalties which should be used to finance Solar (of all flavors) R&D and it’s installation in developing Countries, if they will agree to not use nuclear. This will enable mankind to begin the transition to Solar while at the same time reduce the need for our Earth’s limited resources.

Yes I also agree that the Coal Industry has many health problems associated with it, which the Nuclear industry is all too eager to point out; but the SAME THING COULD BE SAID ABOUT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY; since it also mines radioactive Uranium ore which is then processed into highly radioactive fuel rods of several different types. Once this radioactive fuel is used in a reactor, it then produces huge amounts of additional radioactive waste that will have as yet unknown effects on mankind over the enormous timespan that it will take to render all of it harmless! Because this radioactive timespan dwarfs anything currently affecting mankind, it is completely unscientific to say today, what the harmful effect of our using nuclear power plants in the twentieth and twenty-first century will be generations from now!

For example, should highly radioactive “dirty” material from Fukushima be used in a terrorist weapon at some point in the future, its affect on man must be placed directly upon the nuclear industry that created it, because without building the nuclear power plants it would have never existed to cause harm to man’s health. This is yet another potential “future” health problem that cannot be discounted since there is so much radioactive waste material unaccounted for at Fukushima and many other locations globally!

It is no longer fair for the nuclear industries spokespersons, the IAEA and/or regulators like the NRC to try to limit Energy discussions to only the positive points that favor using nuclear while at the same time shrugging off all other negative points as not being relevant!

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March 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments