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It’s easy to find the world’s nuclear targets for terrorism

To Find America’s Nuclear Missiles, Try Google Maps NPR by GEOFF BRUMFIEL July 31, 2014 “……in truth, the location of these weapons is no secret.

The missiles and their command bunkers have been in the same place “for decades,” Air Force Capt. Edith Sakura of the 90th Missile Wing Office of Public Affairs wrote in an email. “They are near county and state roads that are public access to people. You need security clearances to access the sites; however, it would be hard to ‘hide’ such facilities.”

Moreover, as other commenters noted, the sites are already visited by foreign militaries. Russian officers regularly inspect U.S. missile silos to make sure America is adhering to international arms-control treaties. (And the U.S. sends its own observers to Russia.)……

August 1, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Japan returning to a new age of fascism with Shinzo Abe’s policies?

The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.


flag-japanAbe undermining rule of law, Japan Times, BY JIRO YAMAGUCHI JUL 31, 2014 A recent series of events has demonstrated the deterioration of Japan as a nation. At the root of the problem appears to be a bottomless nihilism on the part of those in power characterized by their thinking that the powers that be can ignore the rules and norms of society and polity.

On July 1, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision to pave the way for Japan engaging in collective self-defense. This is an act that alters the foundation of Japan’s national security policies developed over the past 60 years, and an outrageous move that way oversteps the power of a single Cabinet.

How vague and sloppy the decision itself is was illustrated by the Budget Committee debates in both chambers of the Diet held two weeks later……..

The new conditions for the use of force overseas set under the LDP-New Komeito agreement will never serve as an effective brake on Japan’s military actions overseas.

Questions and answers in the Diet showed that the text of the Cabinet decision allows different people to interpret it in their own way.

If so, the norms set by the Cabinet over Japan engaging in collective self-defense will be meaningless. In the first place, Abe does not have the idea that government leaders must exercise their power in accordance with rules that are set down in words…….

If the content of norms and rules of a nation can be freely changed by those who interpret them, the nation is no longer under the rule of law; it’s under the rule of man.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority screened Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in accordance with the NRA’s plant design standards updated in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and announced that the Sendai plant has cleared the screening. Thus the NRA has paved the way for restarting the idled plant.

At the same time, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said NRA cannot determine whether the plant is safe to restart. The NRA chief insists its screening standards are not safety standards.

Yet, the Abe administration, which had repeatedly said it would reactivate nuclear power plants that have cleared “the safety standards,” is expected to push for a quick restart of the Sendai plant. The government says that NRA screening has confirmed the safety of the Sendai plant.

As with the issue of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, each of the people involved in the nuclear power policy is allowed to interpret the rules in his or her own way.

All these events demonstrate that people in power in this country — in particular Abe — do not recognize that they are bound by rules. They defiantly argue that even if certain things are prohibited under rules, they can do them simply by first changing the interpretation of the rules. Or, if they cannot win a game, they think that it’s because the rules and the referee are wrong. They then think that if the referee is replaced, things will be all right.

The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.

Jiro Yamaguchi is a professor of political science at Hosei University.


August 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Ukraine Parliament considering Bill to renew nuclear ambitions

terrorism-targets-2flag-UkraineBill reviving Ukraine’s nuclear power ambitions goes to parliament  July 31, 20:20 UTC+4 KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. A bill restoring Ukraine’s nuclear power status was registered in the national parliament on Thursday amid the ongoing military conflict in the south-eastern regions and strained relations with Russia.

The bill, reviving Ukraine’s nuclear ambitions, was forwarded to the parliament’s security and budget committees………

Nikolai Filatov, head of the all-Ukraine Union of Strategic Missile Forces Veterans, said the restoration of the nuclear power status would take much effort and cost at least one or two annual national budgets but “maintaining [strategic missile forces] in combat readiness would be much less expensive,”

He said that Ukraine was able to create land-based mobile missile systems, “which will pose a threat to a potential enemy”……

Ukraine, which had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the USSR, abandoned nuclear weapons under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Russia and Britain.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Cover-up of Fukushima effects parallels the cover-up of Hiroshima’s

Abe NUCLEAR FASCISMFukushima disaster colors A-bomb anniversaries Parallels can be drawn between control of information during Occupation and today BY JASON BARTASHIUS JAPAN TIMES JUL 30, 2014   Over the past three years, the atomic bombing anniversaries in August have increasingly become a time to ask new questions. How did the only country to experience nuclear bombings come to embrace nuclear power, a decision that ultimately led to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant? Does Japan have the capability or political will to create its own nuclear arsenal? Is it morally acceptable to export nuclear technology to countries that are prone to natural disasters or may later decide to manufacture atomic weapons?

And what about censorship? Based in large part on its attempts at withholding or manipulating information related to the Fukushima disaster, the country has seen itself spiral down the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, falling a staggering 31 places between 2012 and 2013.

The situation can only worsen with the recent passage of the state secrets law. Will the law be used to keep important information regarding radiation and the safety of power plants secret? What impact will it have on anti-nuclear activism? And how do the new law, the overall lack of transparency and the handling of Fukushima compare to U.S. Occupation policies — especially those that squashed discussions of the atomic bombings?

One way history has repeated itself is in the way in which individuals and agencies have rushed to assure the public that radiation levels posed little or no threat to health………

As for the situation in Fukushima, the government hasn’t always been enthusiastic about radiation-related medical research. On Dec. 19, 2012, the Mainichi reported, “The Fukushima prefectural government has tried to kill a proposal by a local assemblyperson to store local children’s milk teeth to examine their internal radiation exposure stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been learned.” Fortunately, more recently, plans for a large-scale study to test milk teeth for cesium, strontium-90 and other isotopes were revealed to the public. But, understandably, the public has grown very suspicious of government involvement in research.

There are also parallels between the suppression of protests against the use of the atomic bomb by the U.S. and the potential for the state secrecy law to negatively impact upon the anti-nuclear movement……

orried about what impact the law may have on anti-nuclear activism. Johnston writes, “Receiving less attention is the question of whether ordinary citizens who are involved in anti-nuclear protests might be targeted and investigated under the new law.”

Koichi Nakano, professor of political science at Sophia University, is also concerned.

“You find a similar power with the Japanese government as existed during the U.S. Occupation,” Nakano said in an interview. “Self-censorship will become more prevalent. Journalists will censor themselves before asking questions. The activists who try to find out information about the nuclear industry may get in trouble, they may not, but they’ll worry about what they otherwise wouldn’t.”

August 1, 2014 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

No plain sailing for japan’s nuclear restart as Fukushima’s waste problems continue

nuclear-ship-sinkingPersistent Nuclear Waste From Fukushima Inhibits Restarts Fukushima’s long-term problems will make public acceptance of a general nuclear restart difficult. By Clint Richards July 30, 2014 After months of attempting to negotiate with local residents in Fukushima, the Japanese government has abandoned its attempt to purchase land to store nuclear waste from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Storing nuclear waste and preventing groundwater from entering the disaster site continue to be persistent problems for the government, with no clear solution. This inability is a key factor explaining why public sentiment remains so strong against restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors, despite newer and much more robust safety standards from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA).

Instead of purchasing nearby land, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto met with Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato and the mayors of Futaba and Okuma and proposed a 30 year lease for 230 billion yen ($2.25 billion). The Jiji Press reported that local residents had refused to selltheir land because they believed the temporary storage facilities would become permanent if the land was owned by the state. The mayors of the respective towns said they would submit the proposal to their residents, but that it would take time to gain acceptance.

Additionally, on Monday Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) finally admitted that an operation underway since May to divert groundwater from entering into reactor buildings was unsuccessful. TEPCO had been attempting to intercept the water before it entered the tainted facilities and divert it into the ocean, but so far “the utility has yet to see tangible results,”according to the Japan Times. There are reportedly 400 tons of water flowing into the contaminated area on average every day, with TEPCO’s operation intended to reduce that amount by as much as 100 tons. Instead, the company hopes to stop groundwater from entering by solidifying the nearby hillside soil with concrete.

The government’s piecemeal approach to the waste problem generated by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has done little to inspire the confidence of the Japanese population about plans to restart some of its reactors in the coming months. While Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant passed the NRA’s new, more stringent safety inspections on July 16, 59 percent of Japanese people oppose the restart, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll conducted July 26 and 27. Even though the Sendai reactors only need to gain local acceptance in order to restart, these poll numbers indicate that a more general restart will continue to be met with resistance. The government has further plans to stem the flow of contaminated groundwater, for instance revamping its “ice wall” beneath the Fukushima Daiichi reactors by adding additional pipes and dumping as much as 10 tons of ice a day. However, until Japanese people feel there is an effective, long-term solution to the nuclear disaster in place, public opposition to nuclear energy will remain.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Nuclear safety specialist fired from Los Alamos for pushing Obama’s Nuclear Agenda

exclamation-civil liberties USAFired From Los Alamos for Pushing Obama’s Nuclear Agenda, The Daily Beast, 31 July 14 The President says he wants to get rid of the world’s A-Bombs. But when an employee at the nation’s premier nuclear lab suggested the same thing, he got axed. By Douglas Birch, Center for Public Integrity

James E. Doyle’s ordeal with Washington began one morning in early February last year, when his supervisor stopped by his desk at Los Alamos National Laboratory and told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications.

The 55-year-old political scientist asked the reason for the request, and he eventually was told that someone at the House Armed Services Committee wanted to see the publications. But Doyle said officials refused to tell him who it was or why.

Later that day at the lab’s New Mexico campus, he said, two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.

They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama’s embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.

The assertion astonished Doyle, since the laboratory’s security authorities had already reviewed the article and declared it unclassified. But it was the start of a series of events in which Doyle first had his pay docked and his security clearance withdrawn, and then eventually was fired.

He got that final news on July 8, a day after the Center for Public Integrity asked the Energy department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nation’s nuclear labs, about the dispute over his article. “I was shocked,” he said, shortly afterward. “I am still shocked.”

Experts say Doyle’s treatment raises questions about the commitment of the nuclear weapons labs—which face increased competition for resources amid declining military interest in their key product—to intellectual independence in their workforce………..

Doyle, who holds a doctorate in international studies from the University of Virginia, has been at Los Alamos for the past 17 years. Before he joined the lab, he said, he wrote the Department of Energy’s strategic plan for keeping weapons-grade uranium and plutonium stored at hundreds of sites scattered across the former Soviet Union from falling into the wrong hands. He referred to this risky state of affairs as “the babushka-with-uranium-in-the-chicken-shed” problem.

As a nuclear safeguards and security specialist in the lab’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Division, which has 250 employees and an annual budget of about $185 million, Doyle has studied ways to verify reductions in United States and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles beyond the current levels. He also edited a textbook, Nuclear Safeguards, Security and Nonproliferation: Achieving Security with Technology and Policy, which, he said, is used in three dozen universities in the U.S. and abroad.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe pinning his political future on nuclear power restart

Abe,-Shinzo-nukeFlicking the switch Restarting nuclear plants is unpopular but crucial for Shinzo Abe  The Economist  Aug 2nd 2014 | SATSUMASENDAI|”……. The pro-nuclear government of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, hopes a restart at the Sendai plant can open the way for a dozen or more reactors to resume operations……..The cost of closure to the local economy means that officials who favour nuclear power overwhelmingly outnumber opponents in the local assemblies that will vote in the autumn. Yet on the national stage, Mr Abe may still pay a price. His popularity has recently flagged. Last month his Liberal Democratic Party lost a gubernatorial election in Shiga prefecture, partly due to rising anti-nuclear sentiment. Some three-fifths of people are against the Sendai restart, according to a recent nationwide poll of public opinion.

Back in Kyushu, the possibility of an imminent restart was driven home this week when the prefecture handed out iodine tablets to households near the plant to protect against thyroid cancer in case of an accident. Other plans are incomplete, most notably on basic evacuation routes in case of a nuclear emergency. The plant is likely to restart without an earthquake-proof off-site emergency centre, though these were mandated after the Fukushima disaster. Japan lies in one of the world’s most seismically active areas, but insufficient discussion has been held about the risks posed by a surrounding group of five calderas and by Sakurajima, an active volcano only 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the Sendai plant.

The central government has to date relied on the NRA and on Kagoshima officials to make the case for the restart. Yet the governor, Yuichiro Ito, now says the authorities in Tokyo must convince the public of the plant’s safety. In 2012, before two reactors at Oi in Fukui prefecture were switched back on for a while, the governor there ensured that the then prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, reassured the public over the plant’s safety. Mr Abe may have to dip deep into his political capital if reactors across the country are to be fired up.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Uranium miner Rio Tinto lies about its “sustainability”

Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories. It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing. Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:

  • with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
  • with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
  • with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
  • and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.

Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate. To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’

liar-nuclear1Rio Tinto’s ‘Sustainable Mining’ Claims Exposed By Kemal Özkan 
 July 31, 2014 Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate. Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.

Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine. The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory. If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations. Continue reading

August 1, 2014 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

Chem-Nuclear ordered by Court to protect groundwater from radiation

judge-1Flag-USACourt urges Chem-Nuclear safety  The Augusta Chronicle, By Sarita Chourey Morris News Service Thursday, July 31, 2014 COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Court of Appeals is ordering Chem-Nuclear to better protect the groundwater from contamination at the Barnwell County’s low-level radioactive waste disposal site. Under the order, the site operator and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control have 90 days to turn in a plan to reach compliance.

The Sierra Club, represented by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, had not asked for Chem-Nuclear’s license to be revoked, but rather that it improve waste-handling procedures at the 235-acre site near the town of Snelling.

In its ruling Wednesday, the three-person court said DHEC had not enforced the law on several parts of the regulation, and that the Administrative Law Court was wrong when it found Chem-Nuclear to be in compliance.

In one part of Wednesday’s decision, the court said the trenches at the site have no system to collect liquids that have drained or percolated through radioactive materials.

“DHEC and Chem-Nuclear argue Chem-Nuclear is justified in not having a … collection system due to ‘concerns regarding the radioactive exposure to workers handling and processing (it),’” wrote the court. “We fail to see how the danger of radioactive contamination to workers actually justifies releasing it into the groundwater without testing and remediation. Rather, it seems the danger to health and safety requires testing and remediation.”………

Tritium results from the manufacture of nuclear power, and is found in radioactive waste generated by nuclear power plants.

In 1999 a nearby church property was contaminated by radioactive material due to Chem-Nuclear’s disposal practice of pumping contaminated water out of a trench into lined ponds. …….

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Germany reaches record in share of renewable energy

logo-EnergiewendeRenewable energy share reaches record high in Germany, PV Magazine 31. JULY 2014 New installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014. The share of renewable energy in gross domestic energy consumption is expected to rise to a record high of 28.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a preliminary survey by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).

The construction of new renewable installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to record levels by mid-year. In the first half of 2013, the renewables share of gross domestic energy consumption was at 24.6%.

Producing 18.3 billion kilowatt hours, photovoltaic power generation increased by 27.3%, while wind grew by 21.4% to 31 billion kilowatt hours. Biomass energy generation increased 5.2% to 22 billion kilowatt hours in the period……..

Energy generation by conventional plants on decline

The production by conventional power plants is declining significantly, BDEW reported……..

Gas and electricity consumption saw a general decline in the period: Natural gas consumption amounted to 445.7 billion kilowatt hours, down some 20% from 555.5 billion. The BDEW attributed the drop to significantly warmer weather in 2014, which lowered overall heating demand, especially compared to the very cold first half of 2013. A decline in production in Germany’s chemical industry likewise contributed to lower gas use. Adjusted for temperature, natural gas consumption still fell nearly 7%.

Electricity consumption in the period dropped 5% to 268 billion kilowatt hours, down from 282 billion a year ago, due mainly to the mild weather.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

UK has record year for renewable energy

renewable_energyflag-UKRecord year for UK renewables  Renewables claimed a record 14.9% of the UK generation mix in 2013, figures from DECC reveal.Some 53% of this came from onshore (32%) and offshore wind (21%), accounting for 7.9% of the nation’s electricity. Offshore wind generation surged by 52% and onshore by 40%. Overall renewables output was up 30% on 2012.

Meanwhile, figures for the first quarter of 2014 showed a renewables share of 19.4%, up 43% to 18.1TWh on the 12.7TWh in the first quarter of 2013.

Onshore wind rocketed 62% in the quarter, from 4.1TWh to 6.6TWh, as a result of “much increased capacity and high wind speeds”. Offshore wind was up 53% from 2.9TWh to 4.4TWh.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “The government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off. Renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years.

“Having a strong UK renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating hi-tech green jobs. A green energy future that once seemed impossible for Britain is fast becoming a reality.”

RenewableUK welcomed the figures, which it said should “make those in government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice”.

R-UK director of policy Gordon Edge said: “More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10% of electricity from wind alone this year.

“That’s why it’s particularly puzzling to see some politicians fail to back the cheapest and most successful renewable technology, onshore wind, at a time when a majority of voters from all the main parties are telling them to support it.”

Installed renewables capacity in the UK increased by 27% (4.2GW) to 19.7GW in 2013, due mainly to a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity and a 23% increase in offshore wind capacity. For the first time, more than 5% of the total energy supply, covering electricity, heat and fuel for transport, came from renewables, up from 4.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013. The UK needs to meet a legally binding target of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020.

Meanwhile, figures for the first three months of 2014 showed high rainfall in Scotland led to hydro output increasing by 78% to a record quarterly level of 2.2TWh.

Renewable electricity capacity was 20.8GW at the end of the period, a 15% increase on the corresponding window in 2013 and a 5.4% increase on the previous quarter.

Some 145MW of capacity joined the feed-in tariff scheme, increasing the total to 2386MW or 11% of all installed renewable capacity. Solar PV contributed 107MW, wind 13MW and anaerobic digestion 7MW.

Overall UK electricity generation for the quarter was 93.3TWh, a dip of 8.2% on a year ago due to the warmest first three months seven years.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce exposed workers to harmful radiation

Rolls-Royce pleads guilty to exposing workers to radiation at Derby site By Derby Telegraph  July 30, 2014 ROLLS-ROYCE has admitted breaching safety regulations that led to employees being exposed to radiation.

The company’s Marine Power Operations business in Sinfin Lane faced seven charges in the case, which was brought by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

The charges centre on the management of risk of exposure of employees to ionising radiation from radioactive sources used in industrial radiography.

Derby Crown Court heard that a harmful radiation source was lost from its safety container when a test of a component was carried out……..

August 1, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Denmark’s wind power soon to be half the cost of fossil fuel energy

wind-nuclear-In Two Years, Denmark’s Wind Power Will Be Half the Cost of Fossil Fuels  BRIAN MERCHANT  SENIOR EDITOR  July 30, 2014 Wind power is officially the cheapest source of energy in Denmark, according to the nation’s government—and by 2016, it claims the electricity whipped up by its newest turbines will be half the price of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

Denmark’s Energy Association (everything about Scandinavia is friendlier, even its DEA) announced the news last week, and it’s an achievement worth highlighting. Wind and solar are achieving grid parity with fossil fuels—that is, it’s just as cheap—in many places around the world. Even without the tax breaks, declining manufacturing costs and growing scale have rendered wind power just as cheap as natural gas in many states right here in the gas-rich US. And at least one analyst determined that this is the “beginning of the grid parity era” for solar, worldwide.

But Denmark is blowing past grid parity and towards a scenario in which clean energy is actually much, much cheaper: When its two massive offshore wind farms come online, they’ll be the nation’s most inexpensive energy source by a wide margin, analysts say.

“Electricity from two new onshore wind power facilities set to begin operating in 2016 will cost around 5 euro cents per kilowatt-hour,” Yale 360 explains. “Wind power would remain the cheapest energy option even if interest rates on wind power projects were to increase by 10 percent, the report found.”

That’s good news for a nation that’s hoping to get 50 percent of its power from wind turbines by 2050. Right now, the nation already boasts an impressive clean energy mix of 43 percent. “Wind power today is cheaper than other forms of energy, not least because of a big commitment and professionalism in the field,” Rasmus Peterson, Denmark’s energy minister, said at a press conference. “This is true for researchers, companies and politicians. We need a long-term and stable energy policy to ensure that renewable energy, both today and in the future, is the obvious choice.”

Importantly, the DEA’s analysis “was not based on a full cost-benefit assessment of different technologies that included an assessment of environmental benefits, taxes or subsidies.” That is, the agency did not factor in the health and environmental costs of burning fossil fuels—which are considerable—and instead looked directly at the market forces in the country.

Natural gas and coal are much more expensive in Denmark than it is in the US, which helps make wind such an economic bargain, and the nation has explicitly pursued wind power for decades. But improving technology, falling costs, and the strong, consistently blowing offshore winds that will turn the new turbines are making the case airtight.

Yesterday brought the good news that Germany was meeting a full 28.5 percent of its energy needs with clean sources. Now Denmark is proving that running your nation on clean energy can be cheaper than we possibly could have imagined, even ten years ago.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Denmark, renewable | Leave a comment

Radiotherapy loses out to Chemotherapy in funding even though it works better – Genetic cancer research funding even less!

It goes on to suggest that the Government is wrongly ploughing funds into chemotherapy which would be more effective if invested in increasing radiotherapy provision.

It says: “The radiotherapy budget is about £350m a year, compared with a cancer drug budget of about £2bn. Forty per cent of major cancers are cured by radiotherapy and just 11% by chemotherapy.”


Radiotherapy Board responds to ‘A Vision for Radiotherapy 2014-2024’

The Radiotherapy Board has welcomed a joint report by NHS England and Cancer Research UK.

A Vision for Radiotherapy 2014-2024’ is a strategic outline of how future radiotherapy services might be best configured and delivered.

The Board, which was established by the Society and College of Radiographers, the Royal College of Radiologists and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, looks forward to working to turn the report’s aspirations into reality.

The Board’s response says: “The report provides both an opportunity and a framework to support the development of radiotherapy services enabling evidence-based treatments to be delivered to patients in a timely manner and using modern, advanced radiotherapy techniques.”

Commenting on the report’s publication, Dr Diana Tait, Chair of the Radiotherapy Board and Vice-President, Clinical Oncology, RCR and consultant clinical oncologist said: “The Radiotherapy Board welcomes this vision document with its aspirations for investment in state of the art radiotherapy equipment, reduced maintenance costs and down-time.

“However, we strongly believe that the proposed rationalisation, standardisation and development of NHS radiotherapy services can only be achieved with the necessary investment in a skilled workforce.

“Therapeutic radiographers, clinical oncologists and medical physicists already work closely together in a clinical setting. The workforce in all three professional groups needs to grow to deliver the Vision for Radiotherapy. The value of this integrated model of working can already be seen in better patient outcomes”

SCoR Professional and Education Manager Charlotte Beardmore commented: “It is really positive that the report sets out a 10 year strategy that will carry on the work started by NRAG and NRIG. It shows a continuing commitment to the drive to deliver the highest quality radiotherapy treatment to all patients.

“This vision puts a national focus on radiotherapy development and innovation, and therapeutic radiographers have an important role to play. As a professional body, the SCoR will continue to work with its partners in the Radiotherapy Board to drive innovation and service improvement.

“As professionals, therapeutic radiographers must continue to work with their clinical oncology and physics colleagues to develop their services and ensure they are delivering high quality patient care.”

Click here to read ‘A Vision for Radiotherapy 2014-2024

Click here to download the Radiotherapy Board’s response.

Anticipating the release of the report, the Sunday Times printed an article which criticises the Government for breaking David Cameron’s pledge that all cancer patients would have access to advanced radiotherapy techniques by April 2013.

The article suggests that the lack of radiotherapy provision has contributed to lower Cancer survival rates in Britain and highlights some cases where patients who have been refused funding for advanced radiotherapy techniques have died.

It goes on to suggest that the Government is wrongly ploughing funds into chemotherapy which would be more effective if invested in increasing radiotherapy provision.

It says: “The radiotherapy budget is about £350m a year, compared with a cancer drug budget of about £2bn. Forty per cent of major cancers are cured by radiotherapy and just 11% by chemotherapy.”

The Radiotherapy Board has responded to the article. Their letter, which was sent directly to the Sunday Times and added to the comments section of the article, praises the work which the radiotherapy community has already done to meet David Cameron’s target but emphasises the need for more investment.

It adds: “The timeframe of less than six months was challenging. In that time the needs of each of the 50 radiotherapy centres had to be assessed, the necessary facilities purchased, the appropriate workforce trained, and the services to be in effective clinical use.

“This was a complex programme and for anyone with experience of introducing change into a stretched healthcare system, it could be judged as phenomenally successful. The fact that the targets were not fully met for another six months is hardly surprising and should not be seen as a failure of this initiative.”

The letter welcomes the ‘Vision for Radiotherapy’ report as an opportunity to address what still needs to be done and states the three organisations that form the Radiotherapy Board are ready to work with all stakeholders to make the vision a reality.

It concludes by calling for a examination of the way funding is allocated. It says: “There needs to be a major look at cancer services funding with such a disparity between the annual funding for radiotherapy (£350 million) and the cancer drugs fund (more than £2 billion) and the reasons justifying this enormous differential.

“As clinical oncologists deliver both chemotherapy and radiotherapy to cancer patients, this is not about professional competition between two non-surgical cancer treatments. It is a call for a realistic examination of the way precious NHS resources are allocated.”

Click here to read the Radiotherapy Board’s letter to the Sunday Times.

Although the letter did appear in the Sunday Times (9 March) it was edited down to just two short paragraphs.

And while radiotherapy gets 350 million pounds a year (about 700 million dollars), genetic research into non nuclear therapies gets only 100 million a year (for three years)… Why is the UK trying to slow down the pace of genetic research, whilst claiming success? Why isnt the international community working on this project to speed the research – Arclight2011

“……Drugs that target cancer without harming healthy cells and triggering distressing side effects could be a reality in 20 years, claim British scientists.

A landmark project to map 100,000 complete DNA code sequences is set to transform treatment of cancer and rare diseases, meaning chemotherapy could be obsolete within a generation.

David Cameron said it will make Britain the world leader in genetic research as he announced a package of deals worth £300million to carry out the work, expected to be completed by 2017…..”

Read more:

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures from Tamioka after the Fukushima disaster may 2014

Power: A solar panel is still harnessing sunlight and generating electricity, despite there being no residents to use the resources

Image shows over 5.4 microsieverts per hour (5 mcSv/h) on official Geiger counter (More images on link)

Looking at these pictures from the Daily Mail, I wondered how the residents left everything behind in a hurry, never to return.

Being from a radiation zone, they might find it hard to be accepted by society at large.


It was a city known for its beautiful beaches and boasts one of the longest cherry blossom tree tunnels in Japan.

But after a tsunami and a nuclear disaster both struck in the space of 12 months, Tomioka was turned into a ghost city.

These eerie images, captured by a drone, show what is left of the area near Fukushima that had to be abandoned overnight.

More than 15,000 residents living in 6,000 houses were forced to evacuate in March 2011 because of safety fears concerning dangerous radiation levels.

Three years on, schools and business are still prevented from returning while parks, playgrounds, roads and the city’s train station have been left covered in overgrown grass.

A total of 300,000 people have been evacuated from the east coast of the country since the disasters and 15,884 have died.

Road to nowhere: The way into Tomioka, Fukushima, has been blocked off, preventing residents from going back because of dangerous radiation levels

Road to nowhere: The way into Tomioka, Fukushima, has been blocked off, preventing residents from going back because of dangerous radiation levels

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment