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Hiroshima Day – time to end the suicidal nuclear age

As the mayor of Hiroshima said last August on the anniversary of the bombings, “Nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist.”  the nuclear age is a suicidal age. We’ve had several near misses Fukushima highlighted the dangers of accidents, and nuclear waste can never be truly safely stored.  This Aug. 6th, let us remember the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and let us finally get out from under the nuclear shadow. On Hiroshima-Nagasaki anniversary, let’s end the nuclear age http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion/columns/article/772925–on-hiroshima-nagasaki-anniversary-let-s-end-the-nuclear-age  Darryl Lorenzo Wellington   Aug 04 2012 On the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we need to call an end to the nuclear experiment. At 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing around 140,000 people. The death toll included men, women and children who died instantaneously, and thousands who died within months from the lingering radiation sickness. The U.S. attack on Nagasaki three days later took the lives of 75,000 more. To these numbers should be added the plight of the Hibakusha: survivors of the nuclear bombings. The Hibakusha, who suffered lifelong diseases, including cancer, have been unwavering in their demand to ban nuclear weapons. Hiroshima-Nagasaki Memorial Day is an occasion to ponder the destructive capacity of nuclear weapons, as well as the wisdom of all uses of nuclear energy — particularly given the spectre cast by the meltdown of the reactors in Fukushima, Japan, last year. Continue reading

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August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment

Conclusion on Nuclear Power – Not Economic Nor Safe

text-nuclear-uranium-liesThe Truth About Nuclear Power – Part 30, Sowell’s Law Blog  August 3, 2014

Subtitle: Conclusion on Nuclear Power Not Economic Nor Safe

This is the 30th and final chapter in the Truth About Nuclear Power series, (see links at end of article) at least for now.  The TANP series was motivated by many conversations and digital exchanges via emails and online blogs over several years, in which most nuclear advocates advanced various statements about the advantages of nuclear power.  Knowing that those statements were false, I answered many of the false statements.

For those who have read some of or the entire TANP series, this concluding article will serve as a review and provide (hopefully) further insight into the actual world of nuclear power.  The article is in three parts: 1) the rosy claims of nuclear advocates, 2) questions raised by those rosy claims, and responses to the questions raised, and 3) an answer for why nations continue to build nuclear plants despite the serious and numerous disadvantages.

Part I of this article discusses nuclear advocates’ six primary claims, those being that nuclear power is 1) cheap,  only 2 or 3 cents per kWh,  2) reliable, and 3) extremely safe; they insist that 4) the plants run for 60 years before needing replacement, and 5) cost only $2.5 to $4 billion per 1,000 MW plant.  They also insist 6) the plants are built in only 4 years from groundbreaking to startup.   None of that squares with what I know about nuclear plants.

Part II of this article addresses a series of questions about nuclear power, the answers to which led to many of the previous articles on TANP.  The general form of the questions is, If what nuclear advocates say is really true, then Why (insert the question) is this also true?  These questions are shown below:

1 Why has nuclear power achieved only 11 percent of world power production, after more than 5 decades of competition?

2  Why do small islands have zero nuclear power plants, but burn expensive oil or diesel resulting in power prices of 25 to 35 cents per kWh?

3 Why do nuclear utilities never, ever, ask for a rate decrease when they build a nuclear plant?

4  Why did France install nuclear plants to provide 85 percent of the country’s power, and no other country in the world followed their lead?

5  Why does France have higher electricity prices than does the US, even with France heavily subsidizing their electricity industry?

6  Why does nuclear power in the US require heavy subsidies from government – and almost total indemnity from costs of a massive radiation disaster?

7  Why are nuclear plants shutting down in the US, with owners saying they are losing money?

8  Why are there so many near-misses on meltdowns in US plants, every 3 weeks?

9  Why were there three serious meltdowns worldwide in just a bit more than 30 years? (Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island)

10  Why are new reactor technologies being researched and developed?

Part III of this article poses, then answers, the additional question of Why do countries around the world continue to build nuclear power plants, in spite of all the obvious, documented, irrefutable disadvantages of nuclear power?

I    Rosy Claims of Nuclear Advocates………

II A Series of Questions……….

………….Conclusion

Finally, it has been shown throughout the TANP series that nuclear power is not economic – many citations are documented.  Nuclear power is not safe either – again many citations are documented.  Despite this, many countries are building nuclear plants and plan to build even more.   Their reasons to build nuclear may satisfy them, but it is very interesting to note why nuclear cannot compete in the US: the price of natural gas is too low.   Many other countries, France included, also have vast resources of natural gas locked away in shale deposits that can be developed (as is the US) using directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  Producing such gas reserves domestically would reduce the price of natural gas, perhaps far below the oil-based pricing currently prevailing.

As Germany reacted to the Fukushima disaster, declaring nuclear power a menace that will be shut down as soon as possible, other countries will very likely take the same decision.  While not wishing any ill effects on anyone anywhere, only one more major disaster such as Fukushima meltdowns and radiation release, would tip the scales in balance of no more nuclear power.  http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-30.html

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES, 2 WORLD, Reference | 1 Comment

How the victims of nuclear radiation simply become socially invisible

HibakushaThe Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.

Radiation makes people invisible. We know that exposure to radiation can be deleterious to one’s health; can cause sickness and even death when received in high doses. But it does more. People who have been exposed to radiation, or even those who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, including those who never experience radiation-related illnesses, may find that their lives are forever changed – that they have assumed a kind of second class citizenship. They may find that their relationships to their families, to their communities, to their hometowns, to their traditional diets and even traditional knowledge systems have been broken. They often spend the remainder of their lives wishing that they could go back, that things would become normal. They slowly realize that they have become expendable and that their government and even their society is no longer invested in their wellbeing.

As a historian of the social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies, I have spent years working in radiation-affected communities around the world. Many of these people have experienced exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons testing, from nuclear weapons production, from nuclear power plant accidents, from nuclear power production or storage, or, like the people in the community where I live, Hiroshima, from being subjected to direct nuclear attack. For the last five years I have been working with Dr. Mick Broderick of Murdoch University in Perth, Australia on the Global Hibakusha Project. We have been working with victims in radiation-affected communities all around the world. Our research has revealed a powerful continuity to the experience of radiation exposure across a broad range of cultures, geographies, and populations. About half way between beginning this study and today the triple disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant occurred in Japan. One of the most distressing things (among so many) since this crisis began is to hear people, often people in positions of political power and influence, say that the future for those affected by the nuclear disaster is uncertain. I wish that it were so, but actually, deep historical precedents suggest that the future for the people who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns is predictable.

Here I will outline some continuities in the experiences of radiation-affected people. Most of the following also holds true for people who merely suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, even if they never suffer any health effects. Many have already become a part of the experiences of those affected by the Fukushima disaster. There are, of course, many differences and specificities to each community, but there is also profound continuity……..

Conclusion–Radiation makes people invisible. It makes them second class citizens who no longer have the expectation of being treated with dignity by their government, by those overseeing nuclear facilities near them, by the military and nuclear industry engaged in practices that expose people to radiation, and often by their new neighbors when they become refugees. People exposed to radiation often lose their homes, at times permanently, either through forced removal or through contamination that makes living in them dangerous. They lose their livelihoods, their diets, their communities, and their traditions. They can lose the knowledge base that connects them to their land and insures their wellbeing.

Radiation can cause health problems and death, and even when it doesn’t it can cause anxiety and uncertainty that can become crippling. Often those exposed to radiation are blamed for all of the problems that follow their exposures. After a nuclear disaster we count the victims in terms of those who died but they are only a small fraction of the people who are truly victimized by the event. Countless more suffer the destruction of their communities, their families, and their wellbeing. The full scale of devastation that a nuclear disaster wreaks is unknowable.

The lives of those exposed to radiation, or those in areas affected by radiation but uncertain about their exposure, will never be the same. As Natalia Manzurova, one of the “liquidators” at Chernobyl said in an interview published two months after the Fukushima triple meltdowns: “Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They’ll worry about their health and their children’s health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn’t harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they’ve lost. What they lost can’t be calculated.”10

(This article is expanded from an article originally published on the SimplyInfowebsite. Original can be seen here)

Robert Jacobs is an associate professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University in Japan and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate. He is the author of The Dragon’s Tail: Americans Face the Atomic Age (2010), the editor of Filling the Hole in the Nuclear Future: Art and Popular Culture Respond to the Bomb (2010), and co-editor of Images of Rupture in Civilization Between East and West: The Iconography of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media (2012). His book, The Dragon’s Tail, is available in a Japanese language edition by Gaifu. apanese language edition by Gaifu. He is the principal investigator of the Global Hibakusha Project.  http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, social effects | 1 Comment

Fire risk at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

exclamation-SmLab Director: Expect radiation spikes coming from US nuclear facility — Gov’t pays for more air monitors to see impact on populated areas — DOE warns of ‘ignitability’ of 368 containers at site; “Significant fire risk” — Top Official: Material at WIPP “just disintegrated… got very hot, very quickly” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/lab-director-radiation-spikes-expected-nuclear-facility-govt-pays-air-monitors-impact-populated-areas-doe-ignitability-368-containers-wipp-underground-significant-fire-risk-top-official-mater

Dept. of Energy – Carlsbad, NM Field Office (pdf), July 30, 2014: The purpose of this letter is to provide you [New Mexico Environmental Dept.] written notice that the Department of Energy [is] provisionally applying EPA Hazardous Waste Number (code) D001** for the characteristic of ignitability to some nitrate salt bearing waste containers that have been disposed at the WIPP facility. […] This affects up to 368 containers […] in the underground WIPP facility […] The Permittees plan to implement the [plan] to expedite closure of Panel 6 and Panel 7, Room 7 so that a potential release […] will not pose a threat to human health or the environment.

** “Significant fire risk due either to their low flash point, ability to self-combust and burn, or are able to combust or support combustion” –EPA hazardous waste specialist Daniel Stoehr

Reuters, July 26, 2014: A team of government investigators has turned its attention to Los Alamos in recent days […] to determine whether additional barrels are affected, said [New Mexico Senator Peter Wirth]. “We’re making progress in determining what happened. Now we are much more focused on the scope,” he said.

Minutes of the New Mexico Legislature (pdf), published June 26, 2014: In further explaining what occurred [at WIPP, NMED Secretary Ryan] Flynn said that the material holding the bags of magnesium oxide together that had been on top of the drums just disintegrated. By all indications, he added, the area got very hot very quickly […]

Carlsbad, NM Town Hall, July 24, 2014:

  • 37:30 in – Question: Is Dr. Hardy saying that radiation from contaminated ventilation system will continue to be released to the environment periodically? Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center: That is Dr. Hardy’s assumption… we will probably see spikes at Station B, as contamination… makes its way out of the repository.
  • 52:30 in – Hardy: We did receive additional funding from DOE to expand our ambient air sampling sites… very soon we will be deploying 3 additional ambient air sampling towers… one will be here in Carlsbad… we think those 3 additions will give us much better coverage in the future with respect to how this release — or the potential for future releases — may impact the area.

Watch the WIPP Town Hall here

August 4, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s intractable and expensive problem of accumulating nuclear waste

waste-bunker-Kent-UKflag-UKBritain’s nuclear waste, a problem proving hard to bury, The Conversation, Stuart Haszeldine Professor of Geology at University of  Edinburgh 1 Aug 14 

A proposal for radioactive waste to appear at a burial site nearby, would be likely to fill the great majority of the UK population with thoughts of danger, cancer – and falling house prices. This illustrates the huge problem of public misperception to overcome when disposing of radioactive waste. Britain’s nuclear reactors have generated low-carbon electricity since 1956, in doing so creating around 260,000m3 (about the size of 700 double-decker buses) of intermediate-level wasteand 3,000m3 of highly radioactive high-level waste, as well as spent fuel, plutonium and uranium. The price for decommissioning past and existing nuclear power plant and disposing of that waste is around £70 billion – the single largest item of expenditure for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.

What to do with radioactive waste is a problem that has so far proved to be intractable to successive generations of civil servants and ministers. In the mid-1970s, it was decided that deep burial would provide the optimum secure solution.

Here, radioactive waste would be packaged and contained for one million years, sealed by multiple chemical and physical barriers within a repository dug out around 500 metres below ground level. A serious attempt was made to investigate a site in West Cumbria close to Sellafield in the 1990’s, but that foundered on the complexity of the geology and flow of deep groundwater, making it difficult to predict how well sealed the waste would be into the far future……….

Another review and public consultation was undertaken during 2013-14, from which emerged the White Paper “Implementing Geological Disposal” published in July 2014. The results show the government has done some serious listening, and it provides some distinctly new approaches.

First, a new body Radioactive Waste Management Ltd will be created to pursue a disposal site. The company will be wholly owned by the government and could propose more than one facility for different types of waste. This has been tried in the 1980s and 1990s with UK Nirex – a limited company wholly owned by UK government, which spent £400m investigating just one site. Can you spot any difference? So how this operates will be more important than the definition.

Second, the government states it is keen to “listen and respond to views and concerns”. Yet in the future this search will now become defined as a nationally significant infrastructure project, which means that many powers of local people to decide or influence could be restricted or removed. Specifically, the control and influence of local councils has been removed, combined with a statement that no tier of government will have the right to veto a project. So the responsibility of regional council authorities for managing this waste, and the associated road and rail and excavation infrastructure is also removed.

Third, the search for a site will become national, with a two-year period of geological survey and screening to identify suitable regions (not specific sites). Identifying secure regions may become difficult if the extensive fracking of England goes ahead for shale gas and oil, as, any effect on the underlying geology could affect a site’s long term secure storage potential………

Potentially the most significant statement of all comes from the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, stating that arrangements for waste disposal have to be in place before planning consent will be given for new nuclear power stations. Does this mean that one or more sites need to be specifically identified before construction can start on the new nuclear reactors planned at Hinkley Point and elsewhere? If formal discussions with new volunteers do not even start until 2016, and could conclude as late as 2030 – by which time Hinkley Point C should be generating power – that seems impossible.

Perhaps ministers of the future be satisfied merely to know that the UK “has a plan”? If the past is any guide to the future, relying on such a plan didn’t help to find a nuclear mausoleum in 1978, 1996, or 2012. https://theconversation.com/britains-nuclear-waste-a-problem-proving-hard-to-bury-29917

 

 

August 4, 2014 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK White paper – Implementing Geological Disposal

Written statement to Parliament UK

Publication of Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper 2014

 From:
Department of Energy & Climate Change and The Rt Hon Edward Davey MP
Delivered on:
22 July 2014
History:
Published 24 July 2014
Part of:
Managing the use and disposal of radioactive and nuclear substances and wasteEnergyEnvironment and Public waste-bunker-Kent-UKsafety and emergencies
Statement by Edward Davey on the publication of a white paper on geological disposal.

I am today publishing a White Paper on implementing geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.The White Paper – Implementing Geological Disposal –follows a public consultation that my department carried out during 2013 on potential amendments to the existing siting process established in 2008 for a geological disposal facility (GDF) and reflects key messages from that consultation, as well as lessons learned during the previous siting process.

The UK Government remains committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term, safe and secure management of higher activity radioactive waste……….

……….With regard to new nuclear power, UK Government policy is that, before development consents for new nuclear power stations are granted, I will need to be satisfied that effective arrangements exist or will exist to manage and dispose of the waste they will produce…….

The White Paper is issued jointly by the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive. The Welsh Government is currently considering a wider review of its higher activity radioactive waste management policy. The Scottish Government has a separate higher activity radioactive policy.

Today I am also publishing the latest annual report on the geological disposal programme, covering April 2013 to March 2014. This will be laid in the libraries of the House. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/publication-of-implementing-geological-disposal-white-paper-2014

August 4, 2014 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Tough times for nuclear giant AREVA – shares plunge, sales wither

thumbs-downAreva’s stock plunges on sales warning, solar exit  PARIS, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Shares in French nuclear power group Areva closed 20 percent lower on Friday, the worst fall since the company was formed in 2001, as it posted a first-half loss, exited a thermal solar power business and cut sales targets.

The shares were down by as much as 23 percent earlier in the session with trading the busiest by volume since late February, when Areva posted a net loss of nearly half a billion euros.

Chief Executive Luc Oursel dropped a long-held target to sell 10 nuclear reactors by 2016, saying it would “take a few more years” and the firm warned that 2014 revenue would fall 10 percent, more than the 2-5 percent decline forecast in February.

areva-medusa1Areva, which has not sold a new nuclear reactor since 2007, hopes French utility EDF will get the green light from European Union competition authorities this year to build two Areva reactors in Britain, but its reactor sales are suffering badly from the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Billions of cost overruns and multi-year delays in four projects involving its flagship EPR reactor have also hit the state-owned firm’s image, whileRussian, Korean and American reactor builders are winning orders at its expense……..

Revenue fell 12.4 percent to 3.89 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) more than halved to 226 million euros from 487 million.

Oursel said the nuclear market environment had further deteriorated as constructionprojects for new reactors abroad as well as reactor overhaul operations in France had been delayed.

As a supplier to the utilities industry – which is suffering from overcapacity and slack power demand – Areva is feeling the impact of its customers’ efforts to cut costs and is trying to make savings itself to restore profitability.

The firm hiked its cost cut target to 1.2 billion euros from 1 billion and said it would cut 1,500 jobs in Germany by the end of 2015, as well as 200 jobs in the United States this year. It had earlier warned of 1,200 to 1,500 job losses in Germany. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/01/areva-results-idUKL6N0Q71IK20140801

August 4, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Safety problems in the idea for floating nuclear power reactors

reactors-floatingFloating Nuclear Power Plants Might Be the Future of Energy, VICE News, By Kayla RubleAugust 1, 2014 “…………Critics are concerned about some of the design aspects of this type of NPPs. Edwin Lyman, a senior global security scientist at Union of Concerned Scientists, told VICE News that a lot of what needs to be done to make these plants deployable is the opposite of what the industry needs to do to make their land-based facilities safer. He explained that having to build lighter reactors for use in the ocean and accessibility issues are concerns with the floating plants.

 While it could be true that floating power plants might keep nuclear energy away from unstable governments, they do not currently fall under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Convention on Nuclear Safety. This agreement establishes safety standards for countries operating nuclear power facilities based on land, but does not have any jurisdiction over water-based facilities……….https://news.vice.com/article/floating-nuclear-power-plants-might-be-the-future-of-energy

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Discrimination against the victims of nuclear radiation

radiation-warningThe Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.

“…………Discrimination– People who may have been exposed to radiation often experience discrimination in their new homes and may become social pariahs. We first saw this dynamic with the hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who found it very difficult to find marriage partners, since prospective spouses feared they would have malformed children, and found it difficult to find jobs since employers assumed that they would be chronically sick. Hibakusha children, moreover, often become the targets of bullying. It became very common to attempt to hide the fact that one’s family had been among those exposed to radiation.6

Many people are familiar with the story of Sadako who died at the age of twelve after being exposed to radiation from the nuclear attack on Hiroshima ten years earlier. Sasaki Sadako folded paper cranes in accordance with a Japanese tradition that someone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. Sadako’s story has become well known and children around the world fold paper cranes when they learn her story, many of which are sent to Hiroshima. While Sadako has become a symbol of the innocence of so many hibakusha, her father tried to hide this fact so that his family would not suffer discrimination and was upset that his daughter had become so famously afflicted.

Children whose families evacuated from Fukushima prefecture after the triple meltdowns at Tepco’s nuclear power plant frequently became victims of bullying at their new schools. Cars with Fukushima license plates were scratched when parked in other prefectures. Often this is the result of the natural fear of contamination that is associated with people exposed to a poison. In the Marshall Islands those who were evacuated from Rongelap and other atolls that became unlivable after being blanketed with radioactive fallout from the US Bravo test in 1954 have had to live as refugees on other atolls for several generations now, with no prospect of return home. The Marshall Islands have a very small amount of livable land and so being moved to atolls that traditionally belonged to others left them with no access to good soil and good locations for fishing and storing boats. They have had to live by the good graces of their new hosts, and endure being seen as interlopers.

Becoming medical subjects– Many people who have been exposed to radiation then become the subjects of medical studies, often with no information about the medical tests to which they are subjected, and frequently without provision of treatment by those conducting the tests. Hibakusha of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki became medical subjects of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission during the American occupation of Japan after World War Two. This study has continued to this day under the now jointly administered US-Japan Radiation Effects Research Foundation. In the early days of the study Japanese hibakusha had no choice about being subjected to the medical exams. An American military jeep would appear in front of their homes and they had to go in for an examination, whether it was a good time or not. Not only did they receive no information about the results of their tests but the US government provided no treatment.7 This has happened in many radiation-affected communities.

In 1966 a US nuclear bomber blew up in midair and the debris fell on the small village of Palomares, Spain. Four H-bombs fell from the plane, one into the sea, and three onto the small village. None exploded but two broke open and contaminated part of the town with plutonium and other radionuclides. To this day some of the residents of Palomares are taken to Madrid each year for a medical examination as the effects of exposure on their health is tracked. They have never been given any of the results of the tests nor informed if any illnesses they develop were related to their exposures. They are subjects, not participants in the gathering and assessing of the effects of radiation on their bodies. There is no doubt that such studies contribute data to scientific understanding of the health consequences of radiation exposures (the data itself is contentious for reasons cited below)8, however for those from whom the information is gathered, being studied but not informed reduces one’s sense of integrity and agency in one’s health maintenance. Many Pacific islanders exposed to radiation by the nuclear tests of the US, the UK and France had such experiences where they were examined and then sent off with no access to the results and no medical follow-up. Many report feeling as if the data had been harvested from them and at their expense.

Anxiety– Often those exposed to radiation are told that they have nothing to worry about. Their anxieties are belittled. Radiation is a very abstract and difficult thing to understand. It is imperceptible – tasteless, odorless, invisible – adding to uncertainty that people feel about whether they were exposed, how much they were exposed to, and whether they and their loved ones will suffer any health effects. The dismissal of their anxieties by medical and governmental authorities only compounds their anxiety. When other members of their community develop health problems, such as thyroid cancer and other illnesses years later it can cast a pall over their own sense of wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

Every time that they run a fever, every time that they experience stomach pains, nosebleeds, and other common ailments, this anxiety rears up and they think – this is it, it’s finally got me. These fears extend to their parents, their children and other loved ones. Every fever that a child runs triggers fears that one’s child will die. Sadako was healthy for nine years following her exposure to radiation when she was two years old in Hiroshima, then one day her neck suddenly began to swell and she was soon diagnosed with leukemia. This is the nightmare world that the parents of children exposed to radiation, or who even simply suspect radiation exposure, experience on a daily basis. Every ailment can rip them apart.

Radiophobia and blaming the victim– Since it is often the case that who is and isn’t exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, especially to internalized alpha emitting particles, is unknown, large numbers of people near a radiological incident of some kind worry about their health and the health of loved ones. Among this group, some have been exposed and some have not. The uncertainty is part of the trauma. Often, as is currently the case for the people of FukushimaNorthern Japan, all of these people are dismissed as having undue fear of radiation, and are often told that their health problems are simply the result of their own anxieties. In some cases that may be true, but it is beside the point.

For those who have experienced a nuclear catastrophe, who may have been removed from their homes and communities and lost those bonds and support systems, who are uncertain as to whether each flu or stomach ache is the harbinger of the end, and who cannot be certain that contamination from hard to find alpha emitting particles is still possible when their children play in the park, anxiety is the natural response. Regardless of whether it causes acute health problems, forces outside of their control have upended their lives. They now must live a life of uncertainty and often experience discrimination. Of course they are going to suffer from the anxiety that this situation produces. To blame them for this is to blame the victims and is a further form of traumatization.9……….http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157

 

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, Reference, social effects | 2 Comments

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) simply too dangerous -that’s why it was stopped

Thorium-pie-in-skyPerhaps these technical problems can be overcome, but why would anyone bother to try, knowing in advance that the MSR plant will be uneconomic due to huge construction costs and operating costs, plus will explode and rain radioactive molten salt when (not if) the steam generator tubes leak.    There are serious reasons the US has not pursued development of the thorium MSR process.  

Reports are, though, that China has started a development program for thorium MSR, using technical information and assistance from ORNL.   One hopes that stout umbrellas can be issued to the Chinese population that will withstand the raining down of molten, radioactive fluoride salt when one of the reactors explodes.

The Truth About Nuclear Power – Part 28 Subtitle: Thorium MSR No Better Than Uranium Process, Sowell’s law blog  July 20, 2014

Preface      This article, number 28 in the series, discusses nuclear power via a thorium molten-salt reactor (MSR) process.   (Note, this is also sometimes referred to as LFTR, for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor)   The thorium MSR is frequently trotted out by nuclear power advocates, whenever the numerous drawbacks to uranium fission reactors are mentioned.   To this point in the TANP series, uranium fission, via PWR or BWR, has been the focus…….
I am familiar with the [thorium] process and have serious reservations about the numerous problems with thorium MSR Continue reading

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Ukraine tensions cause stalling of U.S.-Russia nuclear deal

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal Stalls as Tensions Over Ukraine Rise NYT, By  and AUG. 2, 2014 WASHINGTON — The growing confrontation between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine has derailed a recent accord that promised one of the most expansive collaborations ever between the countries’ nuclear scientists, including reciprocal visits to atomic sites to work on projects ranging from energy to planetary defense.

It was only 11 months ago that the American energy secretary — Ernest J. Moniz, a former M.I.T. professor who has championed scientific programs that would bury the Cold War competitions between the United States andRussia — went to Vienna to sign the agreement, an indication of how recently the Obama administration believed it had a chance of building on a quarter-century of gradual integration of Russia with the West.

Handshakes and congratulations exchanged with Mr. Moniz’s Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Kirienko, sealed an arrangement that would let Russian scientists into, among other places, the heart of the American nuclear complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was constructed 70 years ago, and a dozen sister laboratories devoted to the making of the American nuclear arsenal. In return, American scientists would be allowed deep into Russian nuclear facilities, including the birthplace of the Soviet bomb……

Today, the real-life accord is on ice. This year, the Energy Department canceled nuclear meetings, symposia and lab visits with Russia……http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/world/europe/us-nuclear-deal-with-russia-fails-as-tensions-rise.html?_r=0

August 4, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

The problems that hold back Japan’s anti nuclear movement

Japan’s anti-nuclear movement Where’s the protest? http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/08/japan-s-anti-nuclear-movement Aug 3rd 2014, by T.B. | SATSUMASENDAI ACROSS the rice-paddy fields from the Sendai (川内) nuclear plant, at the southern tip of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, Ryoko Torihara is battling to prevent two reactors being switched back on. She is in her 60s, and runs the local anti-nuclear association from her sitting room. That is a typical profile for the movement in Japan, which first gathered numbers in the 1960s. Her association has lacked the force to halt progress towards a restart at Sendai, she admits. Sendai is set to become the first plant to start operations since the last of Japan’s nuclear fleet was shut down last autumn. The plant’s owner, Kyushu Electric, by contrast, has dispatched a small army of around 80 public-relations staff to blitz local officials.

Another seasoned campaigner is Yoshitaka Mukohara, a book publisher who lost a race for governor of Kagoshima prefecture against the pro-nuclear incumbent in 2012, Yuichiro Ito. He won only half as many votes as Mr Ito. Even in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in 2011, it proved impossible to win on an anti-nuclear platform when people wished to hear mainly about the government’s economic plans to better their livelihoods.

One reason for the weakness of the movement in Kagoshima prefecture and beyond, Mr Mukohara says, is that its members are usually part-timers.

In Japan it took 15 months for mass anti-nuclear protests to emerge after the disaster of 2011, while thousands of miles away in Germany and elsewhere people took to the streets far sooner. When Japanese did mobilise, mainly in Tokyo, a large proportion were amateur protesters, including plenty of young mothers and unemployed youth. Their energy, and the size of rallies, diminished afterwards.

Since then the anti-nuclear movement has largely failed to gain political traction. Its nadir came in February this year when not even the backing of Junichiro Koizumi, Japan’s charismatic former prime minister, helped an anti-nuclear candidate win an election for governor of Tokyo. The movement has proven “stunningly ineffective”, says Jeff Kingston of Temple University in Tokyo.

There are some notable exceptions, such as Green Action, a Kyoto-based NGO. It is one of the few anti-nuclear organisations able to employ full-time professional staff. Aileen Mioko Smith, its director, says that the anti-nuclear movement has enjoyed a measure of success over the years. Local groups halted the construction of dozens of planned new reactors, including the Ashihama project in Mie prefecture, which wascancelled in 2000. Yet anti-nuclear groups have not managed effectively to lobby politicians or energy-industry leaders to shape government policy, she says, nor have they roused the general public to take action.

The fault may lie in the movement’s own structure. Eric Johnston, a journalist at the Japan Times, describes its elderly members as being out of touch with the media techniques of modern NGOs. Local groups in the regions are fragmented, parochial and suspicious of outsiders. They do not necessarily welcome the younger members who could bring fresh ideas. Potential recruits feel shut out by traditional groups’ seniority systems. And the movement is divided where it could be united. The organisations that demonstrate each year against nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain quiet on nuclear energy.

Anti-nuclear sentiment has made a strong impact in the politics of one prefecture, in addition to Fukushima itself. Last month, Taizo Mikazuki from the Democratic Party of Japan won an election for governor of Shiga prefecture after running a strongly anti-nuclear campaign. The public’s anger over the way in which Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, handled a change in national-security policy was crucial to his victory. But fears about more than a dozen reactors across the prefectural border in Fukui also played an important role. Polls of public opinion show that a consistent majority of Japanese, when asked, would prefer a total phase-out of nuclear power. With more modern and professional methods, the anti-nuclear movement might achieve more than it has.

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

The irradiated community – Losses of homes, community and identity

The Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.

“…………Losses of homes, community and identity–Areas that experience radioactive contamination often have to be abandoned by those who live there. The levels of radiation may be so high that continued habitation could be dangerous to health. In these cases people lose their homes, often permanently.

For communities that have to be abandoned, the bonds that have been built up and that sustain the wellbeing of the community disintegrate. Friends are separated, extended families are often separated, and schools are closed. People who have lived in the same place all of their lives have to make a fresh start, sometimes in old age, sometimes as children. The communal structures that sustained them are destroyed: shopkeepers who know them, neighbors who can be relied on, the simple familiarity of communities. What is lost when a person is no longer able to eat an apple from a tree planted by a parent or grandparent? Tony Hood, a former uranium miner from Gallup, New Mexico, spoke of the sense of loss when contemplating the necessity for his Navajo community to abandon their homes because of uranium contamination, “Our umbilical cords are buried here, our children’s umbilical cords are buried here. It’s like a homing device.”2

With the loss of community, many people lose their livelihood. This is especially true in places where many have been farmers, fishers or herders for generations. When someone who has only known farming is taken from the land they have tended, when fishers can no longer fish in areas where they understand the natural rhythms and habits of the fish, it can be impossible to start over. Often such people are forced to enter service positions or become dependent on state subsidies, further eroding their sense of self and wellbeing. Usually, those removed from their land because of contamination are placed into temporary housing. In Fukushima this has been the case for 100,000 who remain in temporary housing while hundreds of thousands of others who are not housed by the government have fled the area.3 In almost all cases the public housing provided to officially recognized victims proves not to be temporary, but becomes permanent.

Frequently, multigenerational families that have been living together for decades, find it impossible to remain together. This can remove care for the elderly, childcare for young families and further erodes the continuity of family identity, knowledge and support. Removal from land also is accompanied by the loss of a traditional diet. Those without access to the land and seas that have provided food for their families often begin a journey of dislocation and ill health. In some communities such as the small villages around the former Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, many people simply continue to live in dangerously contaminated homes. The state responsible for their exposures (the Soviet Union) no longer exists and neither the Russian nor Kazakh governments feel the responsibility to evacuate them or to provide health care for those with disabilities. Many live very traditional lives deriving most of their food from their own gardens and from livestock raised on their contaminated land. Many long-lived radionuclides simply cycle through this ecosystem and residents can be contaminated and recontaminated over generations.4

In Fukushima Prefecture the Japanese government proclaimed a 20km mandatory evacuation zone, while also designating a “suggested” evacuation zone from 20km to 30km. These zones do not directly reflect the dangers from radiation levels. In some of the mandatory evacuation areas the gamma levels are below those in parts of the suggested evacuation areas. Some areas where the plumes came down 50-80km away have even higher levels. The limits to mandatory evacuation areas reflect efforts to limit the direct liability of the government. Even today children live in areas where the radiation levels are too high for them to be allowed to play or spend significant time outdoors.http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157

Loss of traditional knowledge– In some remote places survival is dependent on centuries old understandings of the land. In Maralinga, Australia the areas where the British conducted nuclear tests between 1956 and 1963 are very difficult places to live. Traditional communities in these areas often have songs that hold and transmit essential knowledge about how to survive in such a harsh environment, such as where to find water, when to hunt specific animals, when to move to various locations. But can knowledge gathered over millennia be effectively applied to radiation disasters?

When the British relocated entire communities to areas hundreds of kilometers from their homes, the local knowledge chain was broken. It became impossible for the refugees to sustain a traditional life in areas where they had no knowledge of the rhythms of the land and animals. This removal from their lands led to ever increasing dependence on governmental assistance and severed what had been millennia of self-reliance. While self-reliance had been dramatically impacted by the brutal rule of the Australian government and its policies towards aboriginal peoples, the people living near the test site were still living on the land in the 1950s. Relocation led to the further erosion of community, familial and personal wellbeing………http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, social effects | Leave a comment