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UK`s MoD report reveals over 260 safety incidents at Clyde nuclear bases

text stupidity

from Sunday Herald, 20 April 2014

http://www.robedwards.com/2014/04/mod-report-reveals-over-260-safety-incidents-at-clyde-nuclear-bases.html

Over 260 nuclear safety incidents have been reported at the Clyde naval bases in less than five years, according to an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) report seen by the Sunday Herald.

Three quarters of the incidents are blamed on human error, and are likely to include fires, leaks and procedural blunders. There have been “issues” with a system meant to protect an explosives store from lightning strikes as well as problems caused by staff and resource shortages.

The MoD has also revealed that it is planning a new conventional explosives handling facility at Coulport to deal with the growing number of nuclear submarines due to be based on the Clyde over the next few years.

The revelations on safety have been described as “chilling”, “shocking” and “simply unacceptable” by the Scottish National Party (SNP), which opposes nuclear weapons. But the MoD said it was “entirely misleading” to focus on the number of reported incidents.

An MoD report on its annual review of safety at the Faslane nuclear submarine base and the Coulport nuclear bomb store in Argyll has been released under freedom of information law. Dated September 2012, it discloses how many “nuclear safety events” have occurred in recent years.

Between April 2008 and August 2012 there were 262 such events, most of which were attributed to “human factors”. More than 50 incidents have been logged every year (see table below).

The report does not describe any of the events, but MoD safety reports released for earlier years have revealed that they can include radioactive contamination, small fires and failing to follow safety rules.

The figures do not include incidents involving nuclear weapons, for which no numbers are given. The report does say, however, that there have been “false alarms and system failures” with an “environmental hazard detection system” for the warheads.

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April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tokyo Shimbun and the flycatcher contaminated with hot particles

20 April 2014

Today’s Tokyo Shimbun evening paper has picked up on this bird from a barn in Iitate which is in Fukushima Prefecture, This local bird, the flycatcher is from the  ficedula family and seems to be systemically exposed with hot particles.

The black spots are radioactive substances, we can guess where the radiation in the body is from. It is from eating insects and plants containing radioactive material and also you can see part of the abdomen is uniformly black.

Screenshot from 2014-04-20 20:48:20

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Pakistan may ban Japan edible items, Senate told – 3 years too late!

The scientists had advised the government after they detected high levels of Iodine from the consignments imported from Japan…. (in 2011)

[Arclight2011part2 note: I have made some small changes to the grammar of this article and will contact Kawar Klasra, the journalist, (to confirm I have not manipulated the meaning of the article) whose original article can be found on the link below ]

http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/18-Apr-2014/pakistan-may-ban-japan-edible-items-senate-told

April 18, 2014
Kaswar Klasra  You can contact the author on kaswarklasra@yahoo.com

ISLAMABAD  – Pakistan has cautioned it may impose a ban on the import of edible items from Japan if traces of radioactive material are found in them,
Federal Minister of Commerce Khurum Dastgeer Khan told the Senate on Thursday, who is currently the Minister of National Food Security and Research. He is tasked to conduct thorough research to determine if the edible items from Japan were/are affected by radioactive contamination or not.
“Concerned officials have been advised to investigate the matter relating to the import of edible items from Japan following the release of radioactivity in Japan. It is up to Ministry of Food Security and Research to advise Ministry of Commerce whether to continue the import of edible items from Japan or impose a ban on it,” Dastgeer told Senate in a written statement.
He was responding to question asked by Senator Suriya Amiruddin who was interested to know whether there is any proposal under consideration of the Government to impose a ban on the import of edible items from Japan so as to avoid the negative effect of radiation in those items.
Almost three years back in April 2011, the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, had directed authorities dealing with Cargo arriving directly or indirectly from Japan to screen all types of consignments including edible/non-edible items, for radiation.
The directives were issued from the country’s well-reputed institution, the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) following serious crisis of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The PNRA made clearance mandatory for every consignment being imported from Japan.
It is worthy of mentioning here that country’s nuclear scientists had advised the federal government three years back to halt all types of goods from Japan to minimize the threat of radiation following the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis in Japan. The scientists had advised the government after they detected high levels of Iodine from the consignments imported from Japan.
Although India, Pakistan’s immediate neighbour, had banned imports from Japan following the Fukushima Nuclear Plant tragedy, the view that the move to ban imports from Japan could hurt bilateral relationship between the two friendly countries meant that the Pakistani government never imposed a ban on the import of goods from Japan.

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

OpEd by David Polden – CND UK

OP Ed by David Polden of CND UK

20 April 2014
A series of comments and information from D Polden on the state of the nuclear industry
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR NUCLEAR RE-START

On April 11th,
Japan

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/japan/index.html?inline=nyt-geo
Cabinet approved a new national energy strategy calling for the restarting of
nuclear power stations that meet new safety standards. This restart was first
proposed by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/shinzo_abe/index.html?inline=nyt-per
Two months ago, and scraps a promise made by a previous government after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to phase out atomic energy. Under the new plan, Japan could start as early as August to restart at least some of its 48 operable commercial reactors which were all progressively shut down
after the Fukushima accident spread nuclear radiation across northern Japan. Two reactors at the Oi nuclear power station had in fact been re-started in July 2012, but were both shut-down again in September 2013 for “routine inspections”, but have not re-opened since, so there are currently none operating..

However hostility continues to this policy among the majority of Japanese.
According to an opinion poll conducted on 15th and 16th of March by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, 59% of the Japanese population now oppose the restart of any or all 48 nuclear reactors as against 28% who would support it. This is an increase on a parallel poll in January when 56% were opposed. Opposition is much stronger among women (66% to 18%) against than among men (51% to 39%). Also, 77% of the population would like all nuclear power plants to be shut down either immediately or gradually;
only 14% would not.

HINKLEY REACTOR SHUT DOWN OVER FEARS OF FUKUSHIMA-STYLE SHUTDOWN

The Daily Mail reported on March 19th that, unreported at the time, one of the two reactors at Dungeness nuclear power station were shut down for five months by its owners EDF last year over fears that it could be flooded – the event that caused the melt-down of three reactors at Fukushima.

This was after the flood defences at Hinkley were reviewed in an official government report in reaction to the Fukushima disaster. The report found that its shingle bank flood defences were “not as robust as previously thought” and could be breached during a catastrophic weather event. Indeed the Daily Mail reported that EDF told the Office for Nuclear Regulation in December 2012 that it “no longer has confidence” in its sea defences being able to defend against rare weather events such as the Japanese tsunami, but the reactor was not shut down till May 22nd 2013.

It re-opened again in October after a new barrier wall was built. A new permanent wall around the site was expected to be completed by the end of March 2014, which it was claimed would upgrade the defences from protecting against a one-in-a-thousand year weather event to a one-in-a-ten-thousand year event. But, as we all know, climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events.

Dungeness is not the only nuclear power station threatened by the sea. In 2010 a
survey of UK nuclear stations by the Department of Energy, Food and Rural Affairs found that the flood risk was “high” at existing Sizewell and Hartlepool nuclear stations as well as Dungeness, and “medium” at Oldbury and Sellafield. It was predicted that by 2080 it would also be “high” at Bradwell and Hinkley. Earlier plans to build new nuclear reactors at Dungeness have been shelved; not so at these other sites.

CZECH POWER PLANT PLANS SCUPPERED BY “PRICE GUARANTEE” DEMANDS

Let us re-cap: last October, the UK government agreed a deal with EDF to guarantee EDF a price of £92.5/Megawatt-hour for the electricity it produces from its planned Hinkley C nuclear power station for a period of 35 years from the time it starts delivering electricity to the grid, this price to be index-linked against inflation.

This year bidders for the contract to build the two reactors at the Temelin nuclear
plant got a very different reaction when they demanded a much smaller price
guarantee from the Czech government in order for it to be prepared to go ahead and build the reactors.

CEZ, the Czech utility 70% owned by the Czech government, put out the contract to build the two reactors to tender as long ago as 2009 and received bids from Areva, Westinghouse and a Russian-Skoda consortium.

Just like the UK government in the Hinkley case, the previous Czech government was planning to offer a cost-difference guarantee for electricity from the two new
reactors “to ensure that investment was viable”. This would cover the difference
between wholesale electricity prices and price levels claimed to be needed to cover construction costs. The Ministry of Industry and Trade wanted this guarantee written into a new long-term Czech energy framework, but this was opposed by the Ministry of Finance. Estimates of its impact varied up to 10% extra on retail power bills. The Industry Ministry was working on €60/MWh; others suggested that €90 would be needed, indexed. CEZ claimed it required €70/MWh for the new units to be profitable, compared with mid-2013 forward prices of under €40.

Faced with this demand the Prime Minister of the new coalition government said it was not open to providing price guarantees that would “dramatically burden” consumers, such as the one being demanded.

Following government confirmation at the beginning of April that it would not
provide any future price guarantees, CEZ informed the bidders that it had cancelled the procurement process.

However the Czech government continues to support in principle in its draft energy policy the development of nuclear power and a new plan for this is to be prepared for this by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade by the end of the year. Info from World Nuclear News, 10/4/14.

HINKLEY PLANS UNDER TRIPLE THREAT

1) In March, Vesna Kolar Planinsic, Chair of the UN’s Implementation
Committee on the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context wrote to the UK’s Department of Communities and Local Government to say that there was “profound suspicion” that the UK failed to properly consult neighbouring countries, including Norway and Spain, over the possible environmental impact that Hinkley Point C could have on them and told the Department to send a delegation to be questioned by the Committee in December.

2) On 19th March, Joan Halley, Chair of the Parliamentary Environmental
Audit Committee, wrote to the European Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, to dispute government claims that the price guarentee offered to EDF over Hinkley was the same as that offered for electricity generated from renewables and also further government claims that caps on contractors’ liability for decommissioning, waste management and nuclear incidents did not constitute subsidies.

3) On 27th March, An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland obtained leave
to take its Hinkley Point legal challenge to the Court of Appeal in London. An
Taisce argues that the UK government’s decision to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear plant (on England’s west coast) without first consulting the public in Ireland is contrary to international, EU and English law.
The High Court in London found against An Taisce’s arguments in December 2013, ruling that there was no need to consult the public in Ireland in the circumstances.
However, the letter relaying the views of the UN Implementation Committee referred to in 1) above seems to support An Taisce’s case.

NTAG SUPPLEMENT 2: NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

In the February edition of Nuclear Trains & Nuclear Power I set out the current
situation with nuclear power stations in Britain, Japan, France, the US, China and Germany. In the March edition I included Supplement 1, covering the nuclear power station situation in the rest of Western Europe. The details relating to countries already covered available at request.

PORTUGAL

Portugal  has one research reactor located in the National Nuclear Research Centre. Further nuclear energy activities are not planned in the near future. In 1971, Portugal planned to build an 8,000 MW nuclear power plant to be completed by 2000. Plans were delayed until 1995 when it was decided to not proceed with the project. Since the military coup in April 1974, projects for the construction of nuclear power plants have been postponed or dismissed by the government.

SPAIN

Spain has seven nuclear reactors producing 21% of the country’s electricity, or 7,416 net megawatts. A nuclear power moratorium was enacted by the Socialist government in 1983. For a time the country had a policy of phasing out nuclear power in favour of renewables. The oldest unit (at José Cabrera nuclear power
plant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Cabrera_nuclear_power_plant )

was shut down at the end of 2006, 40 years after construction. In December 2012, the Garoña plant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Mar%C3%ADa_de_Garo%C3%B1a_Nuclear_Power_Plant
was also shut down. In 2011, the government lifted the 40-year limit on all
reactors, allowing owners to apply for license extensions in 10-year increments.
However, there are no plans for new nuclear plants.

ITALY

Italy started to produce nuclear energy in the early 1960s, but all plants were closed by 1990 following a nuclear power referendum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_nuclear_power_referendum,_1987.

An attempt to change the decision was made in 2008 by the government, which called the nuclear power phase-out a “terrible mistake”. The Minister of Economic Development

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Economic_Development_(Italy),
Claudio Scajola, proposed to build as many as 10 new reactors, with the goal of increasing the nuclear share of Italy’s electricity supply to about 25% by 2030. However, following the 2011 Japanese nuclear accident , the Italian government put a one-year moratorium on plans to revive nuclear power and then in June 2011, in a referendum, 94% of the electorate voted to cancel plans for new reactors. As 55% of eligible voters participated this made the ban binding on
the government.

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland has five operating nuclear reactors at four stations. Nuclear power accounts for about 40% of the total production of electricity in the country.

There have been many Swiss referenda on the question of nuclear power which have all supported nuclear power except one in 1990 which supported a 10-year moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction. However a 2003 referendum voted against extending this moratorium. Nevertheless in May 2011, as a consequence of Fukushima, the Swiss government abandoned plans to build new nuclear reactors. The country’s five existing reactors will be allowed to continue operating, but will not be replaced at the end of their life spans. The last will go offline in 2034.

AUSTRIA

Started building a nuclear power plant in 1972. This was never opened, as large
demonstrations against the plant were followed by a vote in the Austrian Parliament in 1978 in favour of a 10-year ban on nuclear fission being used to produce energy as well as bans on the storage and transport of nuclear materials in and through the country. In 1997, the Parliament voted to continue the ban indefinitely and remain a non-nuclear country.

GREECE

Has one operational nuclear research reactor but has never shown an
interest in building a commercial one. In 2007 its Finance Minister announced that nuclear was not part of Greece’s plans for future electricity generation.

TURKEY

Though it has had plans for nuclear power stations since 1970, none have as yet
started construction. Nevertheless Turkey has ambitious plans to open 20 nuclear reactors by 2030, the first five of which are planned to start construction by 2018, and be opened by 2023.

MALTA & CYPRUS

No nuclear power stations

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Column: How my trip to a children’s mental asylum in Belarus made me proud to be Irish

I left thinking that what I had witnessed was a drop in the ocean. There are 300 orphanages in Belarus and this is the best one.
I thought about the mundane lives of these children and how the only bit of hope they have is the groups of volunteers that travel over, and the lucky ones who get to come to Ireland during the summer or over Christmas.
Mar 18 2014

http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/the-experience-of-a-trip-volunteering-at-a-childrens-asylum-in-belarus-1363102-Mar2014/

Clíodhna Russel
A trip volunteering at a children’s asylum in Belarus showed me the harsh reality for many children affected by the Chernobyl disaster but it also let me see the hope that Irish people have brought to their lives, writes Cliódhna Russel
CHILDREN ROCKING BACK and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats.
Some of the children’s teeth were in very bad condition and they were offered very little love, affection – or indeed care – by many of the nurses minding them.
This is what I witnessed when I volunteered at Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus last month.
I was expecting children with physical and learning disabilities. I was expecting to see the physical effects that the Chernobyl disaster has caused.
I wasn’t expecting to see children treated as if they weren’t human or didn’t count.
I wasn’t expecting to hear about the adult institutions where people are beaten and abused.

Screenshot from 2014-04-20 03:23:44
Disaster
The Chernobyl disaster happened in 1986 when an explosion and fire at a nuclear plant released large amounts of radioactive particles.
A new UN Report now states that Chernobyl released over 400 times (and not 100 times as originally quoted) the amount of radiation that was released in the Hiroshima bombing.
Children born in Belarus since 1986 are affected by a 200 per cent increase in birth defects and a 250 per cent increase in congenital birth deformities.
Walking around the asylum, it was pointed out to me that the trees have also been contaminated. What I thought were nests, were actually radioactive growths.
Founder of the Chernobyl children international charity, Adi Roche said,
Radiation knows no territorial boundaries, it doesn’t apply for an entry or an exit visa, it travels wherever the winds take it. At 1.23 am on 26 April 1986 a silent war was declared against the innocent peoples of Belarus, Western Russia and Northern Ukraine. A war in which they could not see the enemy, a war in which they could send no standing army, a war in which there was no weapon, no antidote, no safe haven, no emergency exit. Why? Because the enemy was invisible, the enemy was radiation.
Reality of life
There were about 160 children aged between four and 20 years old at the orphanage that I was in.
The children have beds, they are fed and are changed but that’s where their care ends.
I saw a child being fed a full bowl of what I can only describe as slop in 46 seconds.
It took myself and those who travelled with me at least 10 minutes to feed a child. In one case, I saw the child lie down and the food was literally poured into his mouth.
That was the case for the children who couldn’t feed themselves due to physical disability.
The children who could were brought into a large cafeteria – where the sight of them gulping down food as quickly as they could was actually horrifying.
Adi Roche was with us on the trip and she lined up our group so we could witness the speed at which these children ate.
It was clear by looking at them that food wasn’t something they enjoyed, it was just another part of their day were they had to fight to survive.
At one stage, I saw an older girl move towards an extra piece of fish that was on a plate a few tables away. She got up from her seat and made a run for it with a spoon in her hand. A nurse ran after her and the girl began shaking badly, she dropped the plate in the panic and the food fell to the floor.
She then got on her hands and knees and began eating from the ground.
Attitude
The orphanage itself is in good condition and is kept extremely clean. There’s even a sensory room where lighting and music and exercise toys can be used to relax the children.
This was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip; I would walk into a unit (there were eight units in the asylum) and pick a child, feeling awful that I couldn’t attend to every one and I’d bring that child into the sensory room and spend as long as I could giving them my full attention.
One little boy, Zgorik, who spent his days with his fingers in his ears and rocking his body at speed relaxed so much he started singing.
To see a child enjoy himself like this, even for just a few minutes, means so much when you consider that he never gets hugged or held or any affection until the next group of volunteers come in.
CHILDREN ROCKING BACK and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats.Some of the children’s teeth were in very bad condition and they were offered very little love, affection – or indeed care – by many of the nurses minding them.
This is what I witnessed when I volunteered at Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus last month.
I was expecting children with physical and learning disabilities. I was expecting to see the physical effects that the Chernobyl disaster has caused.
I wasn’t expecting to see children treated as if they weren’t human or didn’t count.
I wasn’t expecting to hear about the adult institutions where people are beaten and abused.
Disaster
The Chernobyl disaster happened in 1986 when an explosion and fire at a nuclear plant released large amounts of radioactive particles.
A new UN Report now states that Chernobyl released over 400 times (and not 100 times as originally quoted) the amount of radiation that was released in the Hiroshima bombing.
Children born in Belarus since 1986 are affected by a 200 per cent increase in birth defects and a 250 per cent increase in congenital birth deformities.
Walking around the asylum, it was pointed out to me that the trees have also been contaminated. What I thought were nests, were actually radioactive growths.

Screenshot from 2014-04-20 03:21:47

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April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment