nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Very high abnormality rates in Fukushima insects eating radiation contaminated leaves

“Groundbreaking” study reveals Fukushima nuclear waste is poisoning wildlife: Up to 99% of offspring died after eating ‘low-level’ contaminated food — “Very high” abnormality rates including “severe and rare” deformities (PHOTOS) http://enenews.com/groundbreaking-study-fukushima-radiation-poisoning-wildlife-99-offspring-died-after-eating-food-low-level-contamination-severe-rare-abnormalities-photos?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

PhysOrg, Sep 23, 2014 (emphasis added): In a previous study, the group [of university researchers] suggested that eating leaves with high levels of radiation seriously affected the pale grass blue butterfly. Their new study investigated the effect of eating leaves with much lower levels of radiation… Joji Otaki, University of Rukyus, says… “Our study demonstrated that eating contaminated foods could cause serious negative effects on organisms. Suchnegative effects may be passed down the generations… eating non-contaminated food improves the negative effects”…

AAAS, Sep 22, 2014: Fukushima radiation still poisoning insects — Eating food contaminated with radioactive particles
may bemore perilous than thought… The findings from Otaki’s group are “groundbreaking,” says Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina… there have been “almost no studies” on how ingestion of radiation-tainted foods affect wildlife.

Study by University of the Ryukyus and Nagasaki University researchers, published Sep 23, 2014: [We] examined the effects Fukushima-insects-14of low-level-contaminated diets… The mortality rate increased linearly in accordance with an increase of the caesium… Remarkably, the mortality rate of the Koriyama group [.04 Bq per larva] was 53% [in the first generation]… We discovered various morphological abnormalities in the surviving adults… severe and rare abnormalities shown in Figure 5might imply the effects of a contaminated diet. Only three [that ate] Okinawa leaves [1760 km from Fukushima Daiichi] showed very minor morphological abnormalities… As observed in the F1 [first] generation, various morphological abnormalities were detected in the surviving F2 [second generation] adults… very high mortality and abnormality rates [were] recorded…low-dose effects were clearly detected… results suggest that low-dose ingestion of approximately 100 Bq/kg may be seriously toxic to certain organisms… The biological effects of ingesting the contaminated diets were more severe in the F2 generation…

Mortality Rates

  • Koriyama [60 km from Fukushima Daiichi] F1 group and the Koriyama F2 group obtained from the Koriyama F1 adults were 53.0% and 79%, respectively
  • Motomiya [also 60 km] F1 group and the Motomiya F2 group obtained from the Motomiya F1 adults were 31.2% and 99%, respectively… “very small number of surviving adults”

Prof. Otaki: Many theoreticians and politicians have claimed [that Fukushima has caused] no harmful biological effects… Even worse, some biologists have claimed that there are no biological impacts… to our surprise, leaves contaminated at relatively low levels… resulted in a mortality rate of more than 50%… Moreover, the sensitivity of the offspring generation increased, resulting in very high mortality rates… it is widely believed among modern biologists that insights obtained from one biological system are largely applicable to other systems…

See also: Study: Deaths, mutations increased sharply from Fukushima exposure “especially at low doses” — ‘Small’ levels of cesium may be significantly toxic

Advertisements

September 26, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | Leave a comment

shock and collapse – the plight of Fukushima nuclear plant officials in March 2011

Leader of Fukushima plant “started staggering… mumbling ‘It’s all over’” before last reactor melted — Appears to collapse, has visions while motionless on floor — Top official “bursts into tears” at meeting — No way to prevent ‘utter catastrophe’ — ‘Chilling’ sound soon heard, ‘gaping hole’ in reactor suspected http://enenews.com/leader-fukushima-plant-started-staggering-around-mumbling-all-before-last-reactor-melted-appears-collapse-begins-having-visions-motionless-floor-senior-official-bursts-tears-around-same-time?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Kyodo News (Part 9), Sep 23, 2014 (emphasis added) : Reactor 2′s cooling system finally stopped functioning at 1:25 p.m. on March 14… [In 5 hours]… the water level had drained to 3.7 meters below the top of the nuclear fuel… leaving it fully exposed. There was also no signthe seawater was entering the reactor… firetrucks that were supposed to be injecting water into the reactor had run out of fuel… [Fukushima chief Masao] Yoshida would later recall that this felt like a “turning point,” beyond which “we had run out of all options and I thought I might really die.”… Yoshida went up to [the many workers on the 2nd floor] and said: “Thank you for dealing with the situation until now. It is OK to go home.”…  8:30 p.m… Yoshida then asked [if] there was any place people could evacuate to… Yoshida [was told] that the No. 2 plant was ready… With workers unable to operate the venting valves, the pressure continued to build… an experienced leader… felt that the reactor’s containment vessel could break at any time

Kyodo News (Part 10), Sep 23, 2014:: A [Tepco] senior official broke down and wept in the prime minister’s office when the utility felt it had exhausted all options to prevent an utter catastrophe... bursting into tears… Shortly after 4 a.m. on March 15 [Japan was] facing a potential rupture of the reactor 2 containment vessel… [Prime Minister Naoto] Kan soonrealized it was too late to rein in the crisis… a chilling sound swept through the response office at 6:14 a.m, albeit duller than that of the two previous hydrogen blasts. Those present felt their blood freeze as they were told by reactor operators that the pressure inside the reactor 2 suppression chamber, connected to the containment vessel, had dropped to zero… radioactive steam could pour out into the external environment, leaving no safe place inside the plant or in the surrounding area. “The suppression chamber might have a gapping hole… [Yoshida] instantly decided it was time to evacuate the site.

Testimony reveals odd behavior just before ‘chilling sound’ and pressure dropping to zero at Unit 2: Early on March 15, silence engulfed the emergency response office as the point of no return nearedYoshida stood up and started staggering around, mumbling to himself, “It’s all over.”… Yoshida was searching for the right time to allow Tepco employees to leave the plant, except for a skeleton crew… As he returned to his seat, he leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms and closed his eyes… he was thinking about what might happen if the reactor 2 containment vessel failed, discharging a catastrophic amount of radioactive materials… He could not think of a way to avoid such a scenario. [Shiro] Hikita… sawYoshida’s body slide from the chair onto the floor. At first he thought Yoshida had collapsed but then realized he was sitting cross-legged as if meditating. With his eyes closed,Yoshida did not move for several minutes. Yoshida later said he was calling to mind the faces of his longest-serving colleagues: “There were about 10 or so. I thought those guys might be willing to die with me.”

See also: Secret Fukushima Testimony: Plant boss considered disemboweling himself after blasts… “I should kill myself” — “I was in despair… panicking… I could not afford to logically think” — Saw smoke at Unit 3 before it exploded, and “figured this was the end”

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Lack of accountability of Russia’s nuclear corporation Rosatom

Russian-BearAnalysis: Why we won’t be getting any nuclear power plants from Russia anytime soon, Daily Maverick, DIRK DE VOS SOUTH AFRICA  25 SEP 2014 …….who is this Rosatom, then, and what is their track record? Full details of Rosatom are hard to find, but the organisation is tracked by a Norwegian-based NGO, the Bellona Foundation, which has a significant presence in Russia. It was cobbled together from the husk of the Soviet era nuclear programme, incorporating more than 250 enterprises and scientific institutions, including all civil nuclear companies of Russia and nuclear weapons complex’s facilities. It covers everything from exploring, mining and enriching uranium, constructing and operating nuclear power plants, nuclear plant decommissioning and managing and storing spent nuclear fuel. It emerged from Russia’s energy 2003 strategy of 2003, which prioritised reducing reliance on natural gas-based power supplies which could be more profitably exported.

Rosatom is part of a central concept in Russia’s President Putin’s economic policy of having national champions or vertically integrated companies in strategic sectors that are expected to become self-sustaining, but also to advance the interests of Russia. Rosatom is the result of Putin’s efforts at restoring its nuclear energy industry, subsidised up to 2015 by $42.7 billion from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015. Quite quickly, Rosatom has become a major player in the global nuclear sector. Rosatom owns the world’s 2nd largest uranium reserves, is the 5thlargest uranium miner, is the 4th largest in electricity generation, provides 40% of the world uranium enrichment services and 17% of the world nuclear fuel market.

…..the corporate and governance structure of Rosatom is unusual. It is governed by its own legislation, enacted in 2007, roughly translated as “On the State Atomic Corporation Rosatom“.  The Corporation is not a part of the government apparatus and does Kiriyenko--tsarnot report to government either. It has been headed by Sergey Kirienko from the outset, who, in terms of the specially adopted legislation, is appointed by the Russian president and can also be dismissed by him. The president retains wide-ranging powers. For example, by decree various enterprises and organisations can be placed under the auspices of Rosatom and become a property investment of the Russian Federation. While it is separate from the state, its funding is closely tied to the state budget.

More unusually, especially in the context of nuclear energy, its powers cover important aspect of the licensing and control over the activities of entities engaged in development, preparation, experimentation, transport, storage, liquidation and dismantlement of nuclear weapons and military nuclear energy installations. Rosatom also has the responsibility for assuring government control for the safety of nuclear materials transport, for radiological installations, and also for taking measures to warn of nuclear and radiological disasters. It therefore exercises significant oversight functions over its own activities and this function is not monitored by the Russian state either. Instead it operates under its Director General, appointed at the discretion of the Russian president.

This is not an insignificant point: When there is no history of independent nuclear regulators standing at arm’s length to the state, the processes and detailed assessments required to guarantee safety of any future facilities in the country were they are to be built are not necessarily top priority. Nuclear firms from western countries can point to a tradition of independent regulation. Safety is not just about reactor design; the Rosatom reactors  1200 MWe VVER (AES-2006) appear up to standard. Safety in nuclear is about relentless quality control, which is harder when there is no regulatory background, or when there are questionable records on quality control and corruption……

Rosatom’s success in building its book is widely ascribed to the financing terms it is able to offer. This is described in detail in different postings in a fascinating blog run by Aaron Stein who runs the nonproliferation programme at the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies in Istanbul, where he works on security and proliferation issues in the Middle East. In one posting, he gives a fascinating and detailed history of the efforts to build a (desperately needed) nuclear power plant  at a site known as Akkuyu. The history goes back to the 1980s, when Turkey’s government developed a build-operate-transfer (BOT) financing model for nuclear procurement. This would see the supplying company pay 100 percent of the construction cost, operate the reactor for a specified period of time, and then transfer the operation and ownership to a local firm. The foreign nuclear firm would recoup its expenses through guaranteed electricity sales at a fixed cost.

Eventually in 1996, Stein describes how Turkey tried to open a bidding process, but after intense lobbying by nuclear firms and several missed deadlines, this mismanaged tender process was cancelled in 2001, only to be revived in 2008. Because Turkey insisted on its BOT financing model and the tight construction deadlines imposed, only a Russian-led consortium submitted a bid. The BOT financing model was one of the major reasons for this lack of interest. The problem for Turkey was the price of electricity to be generated from the facility. Eventually, this tender was also cancelled. Rather than pursue a new nuclear tender, Turkey and Russia opted to negotiate bilaterally and came to an agreement for four reactor units at a total cost of $20 billion. …..http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-09-25-analysis-why-we-wont-be-getting-any-nuclear-power-plants-from-russia-anytime-soon/#.VCXSO2ddUnl

September 26, 2014 Posted by | politics, Russia | Leave a comment

The cargo Cult mentality of pro Thorium Nuclear Power Trolls

Thorium-cultCargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on?

Thorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists by D. A. Ryan  It is interesting how Thorium trolls  always complain about ad-hominem comments when such personal attacks are the preferred tactic of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) fans in responding to critics, is the pot calling the kettle black? And why is it you always run up huge blog strings attacking opponents? The (lftr)lady doth protest too much me thinks!

The vast majority of people contributing to LFTR research on these forums are merely cool-aid drinking bloggers, few have any relevant qualifications, nor experience. Even you’re deity Kirk lacks a PhD or indeed any relevant qualification in Nuclear physics. You cannot design a reactor over the internet, nobody will ever give them serious funding, licensing authorities will never sign off on anything and indeed you’re very tactics of trolling any attempt at a critique is precisely the sort of stuff to send sponsors running for the exit.

There are indeed some “real” scientist working on LFTR’s and Thorium research in general (oh! and btw Seaborg’s and Weinberg have been dead for over a decade! Material science has moved on significantly since then, check out chapter 3 of my post below). As an academic, I have access to the scientific literature, and the odd MSR related paper pops up from time to time (indicating that somebody somewhere is doing serious research on the topic…Kirk’s name’s never come up mind!), but the message from all of them is nowhere near as rosy as what you see on these blogs. I am reliably informed by people in the know (those being nuclear scientists with decades of experience in the field) that it would take many decades to get LFTR’s working and given the current level of research at present (concept stage), they cannot be sure that some hard and fast showstopper won’t emerge to kill the idea off in future. While I don’t identify any definite showstoppers in my post, I do note several potential directions from which one could appear.
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/part-8-msr-lftr/
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/

Like I said, its a blue sky idea that simply may not work, more research (in labs mind!) is needed to answer the many technical questions. Powerpoint and photoshopped images aren’t much use. Hence why I favour focusing on renewable technology which already exists and is cheaper than nuclear energy also.
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/myth-iv-nuclear-power-is-cheaper-than-any-of-the-alternatives/

– $3 billion in funding in SA, got a reference for that? Last I heard the South Africans cancelled all such research and decided to focus on conventional LWR’s.
– The Chinese? They are raiding every bit of science worldwide that’s not bolted to the floor, so hardly a surprise. They are also trying out every possible idea they can. Why? because they are playing catch up with the west. If the idea works, in 30 years time they may have an alternative to western LWR’s (tho if you read my post you’ll see it will likely be a completely different beast to what LFTR bloggers are proposing). If not? well they get a couple of well trained post-graduates out of it and experience working with MS technology (useful for concentrated solar power tech!). Also, the bulk of Chinese thorium research is focused on existing gas cooled reactors, not LFTR’s, that’s more of a side show. Indeed as I recall from Zhang etal (2006) the Chinese HTR-PM (Gas cooled, not a MSR) will initially run on Uranium, tho backward compatibility with Thorium will be engineered into the design.
– My question tho, why is nobody in the Dept of energy worried about all this? Occum’s razor would say its likely because they know something the Chinese don’t (that they’re wasting their time!).
– If the MSR is such a great idea why did it only get 3 provisional’s, 1 observer and no signatories in the 2009 Gen IV report?

Cargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on? http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302

 

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Time for USA Department of Defense (DOD) to come clean on use of depleted uranium weapons

depleted-uranium-weaponDepleted uranium coordinates needed for clean-up of dangerous sites in Iraq International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium (DU).
25 September 2014 – The CCR

As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.

DU is but one example of the toxic legacy left by our wars in Iraq,” said CCR Attorney Jeena Shah. “Veterans who served in Iraq are suffering side effects, while many Iraqis still live surrounded by piles of metal debris left over from the war and with soil and ground water potentially contaminated by DU. The only way to deal with its effects and to ensure it is cleaned up is to have a full accounting of where weapons containing DU were deployed.
DU is a byproduct of enriched uranium and is used in armor-piercing weapons due to its high density. When DU hits a target, its fragments burn and vaporize into a fine dust. If a person inhales, ingests, or is exposed by radiation to DU, radioactive material can be absorbed into the lungs, bone, kidney, skeletal tissue, reproductive system, brain, and other organs. A report recently published by the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons concluded after reviewing approximately fifty peer-reviewed studies on DU that it is clearly a genotoxic agent, known to be involved in the development of cancer and potentially responsible for genetic damage. Some of the wreckage left behind from the war has entered the unregulated trade in scrap metal, sometimes even made into cooking pots. No safe levels of exposure to DU have been established, and researchers advise that all exposure should be avoided. Iraq and other UN member states have called for the banning of DU and the issue will be before the United Nations in October…….http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/depleted-uranium-coordinates-needed-for-clean-up

September 26, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

The US Nuclear Power Program is Based on an Exceedingly Bad Business Model

dollar-2Will Fukushima Become An Extinction Level Event? “Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization?” — The Final Chapter, The Millennium Report 13 Sept 14  “……….Bear in mind that the following quote comes from a 1986 issue of Forbes Magazine, and that the economic and financial status quo throughout the US nuclear power industry has only sunk lower since the mid 1980s.

The failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history. The utility industry has already invested $125 billion, with an additional $140 billion to come before the decade is out – and only the blind, or the biased, can now think that money has been well spent. – Forbes Magazine, February 1986

Maintenance procedures and preventative measures, plant overhauls and cold shutdown, temporary plant closures and premature decommissionings have plagued the nuclear energy industry from the very beginning. It is now experiencing a snowballing of these events, as the costs associated with them are skyrocketing. What relevance does this worsening predicament have to Earth changes and technospheric breakdown?

First, both of these major co-factors — Earth changes and technospheric breakdown — will only intensify for the foreseeable future. As they do, the business model that undergirds the nuclear energy industry will become more untenable. Not only is nuclear power generation the most cost ineffective of all the major energy-producing platforms, it is vulnerable to the greatest costs associated with required maintenance and repair, as well as failure prevention and remediation in the wake of a nuclear accident.

Clearly, because of unrealized revenue generation targets and cost overruns alone, the NEP business model is unsustainable. Global Climate Change and Technospheric Breakdown will only create an environment wherein costs will continue to escalate dramatically as the many aging plants worldwide get older and more decrepit. Ultimately, a breaking point will be reached whereby the current form of the Nuclear Energy Paradigm will no longer be a reasonable business proposition; not that it ever has been.

That Fukushima has placed such an exceptional financial burden on TEPCO validates this ubiquitous and ongoing scenario. Not only has Fukushima effectively bankrupted TEPCO, it has placed a huge cost burden on the Japanese government. It also has the potential to drag down every other business concern associated with TEPCO. The Japanese government is not immune to the extraordinary claims which may be filed in the future by the countless citizens and businesses that have legitimate grievances. These unfunded liabilities alone may end up taxing the people in ways never seen before.

The international cost ramifications have been curiously downplayed in this regard. However, given the current state of tensions between Japan and some of its neighboring countries, the current compassionate stance can easily be replaced with an understanding that Japan really screwed up, and that it ought to be held liable for damages related to all Fukushima-generated radiation damage. If damages could be proven in an international court of law, both China and North Korea might have a serious change of attitude in the not-too-distant future.

Perhaps then the politicians in Tokyo will begin to respond to this matter with prudence and foresight. The current energy policy surrounding nuclear power has been a gross failure, even when based on economics alone. Since 2011, so much has happened, and not happened, throughout the Japanese nuclear energy industry that it is a wonder any money is still allocated toward its proliferation.http://themillenniumreport.com/2014/09/will-fukushima-become-an-extinction-level-event/

 

September 26, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Kirk Sorenson – the Master of pro Thorium Spinology

Thorium-cultThorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302  October 26th, 2011 Kirk Sorensen is apparently a one-man propaganda machine. His personal energy must be immense. He keeps turning up everywhere.

Never since the days of Tesla versus Edison has there been such an energy-related public communications coup.

He is a social media god. He has to be – he’s running an enterprise start-up marketing an unproven energy process.It appears that Bryony Worthington has been scooped up. But then she backed carbon offsetting andCarbon Capture and Storage. Can we ask if her judgment has improved lately ? And Friends of the Earthhave been hypnotised. Or maybe not. George Monbiot was taken in a while back.

From now on, I can predict British environmentalists from every sector of society to call for the development of the Thorium Fuel Cycle – although I think it’s a waste of time and resources, and in my view cannot be scaled up quickly enough to be of any use in dealing with the global energy crisis.

All we have so far is a massive, well-researched sales pitch. And Kirk Sorensen’s done his homework on networking the institutions. In fact, I think that’s all he’s capable of – talk. I sense he is a Master of Spinology.

Miracle energy sources are a never-ending source of humour and despair. Remember cold fusion ? Where’s that now ? Still in a test tube ? Burning seawater ? Are you serious ? Remember Carbon Capture and Storage ? Where’s that now – after all the hype ? And what about algae biodiesel ? Will theflow rates of output fuel ever be high enough ?

The Thorium Fuel Cycle is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The simplest solutions are the best. Ones that already exist and already work. We need to stop hoping for the future and live in the now. We already have all the technology we need to solve climate change and the energy crisis – gas and power. Renewable electricity. And renewable gas.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Japan’s media self-censorship about radioactive particles

see-no-evilflag-japanNHK changed their TV program about Fukushima radioactive particle to dinosaur with no explanation http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/09/nhk-changed-tv-program-fukushima-radioactive-particle-dinosaur-explanation/    25 Sept 14,   NHK cancelled their TV show about radioactive particle scheduled for 9/21/2014.The title of the show was “Nuclear accident – Follow the unidentified radioactive partile !”. It was scheduled to be broadcast at 23:30 of 9/21/2014, but instead, they rebroadcast the show about dinosaur, which was originally broadcast only 5 weeks ago.

About the sudden change of the TV program, NHK has made no announcement though it’s public broadcasting.

https://twitter.com/kingo999/status/513960180745109505

http://www.nhk.or.jp/zero/contents/dsp474enc.html

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Delays and impediments to South Africa getting Russian nuclear power plants

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaAnalysis: Why we won’t be getting any nuclear power plants from Russia anytime soon, Daily Maverick, DIRK DE VOS SOUTH AFRICA
25 SEP 2014
 
 The Department of Energy recently issued a statement regarding a new partnership in nuclear energy. But let’s not get excited. Nuclear power is a diversion from the real issues in the energy sector – and the culmination of a whole lot of dreaming. By DIRK DE VOS.

The recent media release issued by the Department of Energy, on the agreement regarding a strategic partnership in nuclear energy, will go nowhere.

We are advised that the agreement was signed between the Director-General of state-owned Rosatom but on behalf of the Russian government and Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersen, our minister of Energy, at the 58th session of the Atomic Energy General Conference. While the actual agreement is not available, the announcement reads that it “lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plants (NPP) procurement and development programme of South Africa, based on the construction…of new nuclear power plants with Russian VVER reactors with a total installed capacity of up to 9,6GW (up to 8 NPP units)”.  It goes on: “Rosatom seeks to create in South Africa a full-scale nuclear cluster of a world leader’s level – from the front-end nuclear fuel cycle up to engineering and power equipment manufacturing.” (sic) It ends with the sentence: “This agreement opens the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, [and] infrastructure, and provides a proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration”.

So, not that clear at all……..

 Already, the Rosatom view has been qualified with a senior government source tellinReuters “[t]hey jumped the gun” and Xolisa Mabhongo, an executive at South African state agency Nuclear Energy Corporation confirming that there would be a bidding process before any final contracts were signed.

The whole drive for nuclear power is very hard to understand, especially since it goes against the government’s own policy document, the Integrated Development Planwhich advises that commitments to long range, large-scale investment decisions “should be avoided” in order to ensure “decisions of least regret”. Nuclear builds take a long (a decade) to be completed and therefore do nothing to ease our current pressing energy problems. If nuclear were to get the green light, other shorter-term solutions would still be needed and then, when nuclear eventually comes online, we will find ourselves sitting with thousands of megawatts of excess and extremely expensive baseload capacity. ……….

…..Perhaps “jumping the gun” has something to do with the pressure Rosatom is facing from its various foreign nuclear power station builds, which it says amounts to $100 billion due to tighter economic sanctions imposed against Russia for its role in Ukraine’s civil war. This includes a $8.4-billion nuclear power project in northern Finland (where Rosatom has a 34% ownership stake) and a $10 billion nuclear plant expansion deal brokered between Rosatom and a Hungarian utility company. The Hungarian one is especially  interesting. It is reported that Benedek Javor, a Hungarian member of parliament, requested that the EU investigate Rosatom deal because he says that it secured its deal without a public procurement process in violation of EU regulations……….

Despite everything, nuclear energy is just uneconomic and will not solve our immediate energy problems either. Countries that select power supplies through democratic, transparent and market-based methods aren’t building new nuclear reactors. The cost differentials between nuclear energy and anything else can’t be fixed by sharpening pencils – the gulf is just too big. None of this means that we should not be vigilant. Rosatom’s footprints in Hungary and Turkey should be closely tracked.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our government’s apparent fixation with nuclear power is that it diverts attention away from the very many things in our energy sector that desperately require our attention. We can but hope that our decision makers will consult the IRP and put these nuclear dreams aside.DM http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-09-25-analysis-why-we-wont-be-getting-any-nuclear-power-plants-from-russia-anytime-soon/#.VCXSO2ddUnl

September 26, 2014 Posted by | politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

Global Climate Change Reveals Fatal Flaws of the Nuclear Energy Paradigm

“Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization?” — The Final Chapter, The Millennium Report 13 Sept 14“……While Fukushima is the poster child for everything that can go wrong — very wrong — with nuclear power generation, there have been several instances since March of 2011 which have highlighted the inherent weaknesses found in the global Nuclear Energy Paradigm.

Photos often tell the story much better than all the words in the world. The media carried startling photographs of Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station during the floods of June, 2011. The plant was completely surrounded by floodwaters and under threat of losing its power supply. Even though it had been in cold shutdown since April, it was still vulnerable to problems not too dissimilar to the Fukushima Daiichi plant…….

Fort-Calhoun-nukeplant-floo

Because of the ongoing intensification of Global Climate Change, this scenario can repeat itself virtually anywhere around the globe. Wherever there is a nuclear power plant, it can be overwhelmed by floodwaters if the rains and subsequent flooding are severe enough. When the plants are located on the coastline, as many are, to provide easy, inexpensive access to ample water supply, the threats greatly increase due to hurricanes and typhoons.

The real question remains, therefore, as to what type of contingency plans the various nations of the world have in place to address the worst case scenarios. The Perfect Storm that occurred at Fukushima can easily be duplicated in the form of a catastrophic weather event that temporally paralyzes a nuclear power plant, especially one that is in the way of raging floodwaters or a category 5 hurricane or typhoon.

 

September 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australian research shows the way to 50% renewable energy by 2050

Parkinson-Report-Australia Encouraged To Set 50% Renewable Energy Target By 2030 September 25th, 2014 by   RenewEconomyImagine a world in 2050. Everyone drives an (electric) car, homes have all the gadgets, appliances and nick-nacks. The public transport system is emissions free. Mining work and transport is electrified, and diesel is dumped. Electrification has taken place in much of the steel industry. And it is all emissions free. It might be powered by 100 per cent renewables – the sun, wind, the sea, and geothermal, hydro and biomass. And the economy is still strong.

Welcome to the zero carbon world awaiting Australia and much of the rest of the world.

Major new analysis – Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation – produced by Australia’s ClimateWorks, along with ANU, shows that 15 of the world’s biggest economies can move to “net carbon zero” by 2050, and it need impose no extra costs over business as usual. In fact, electricity bills will be lower than what they are now. Economic growth will remain more or less the same, and the benefits, in terms of health and the environment, will be enormous.

The report is timed for the New York climate summit being hosted by the UN this week, and in the 12 months leading up to the Paris event that will hopefully result in a new climate treaty next year. It is designed to help change the political rhetoric around decarbonisaion. In Australia, only one party, the Greens, talks in terms of net carbon zero by 2050, and of higher renewable energy targets. Yet this report says not only is it necessary to meet climate goals, it is eminently doable.

Anna Skarbek, the executive director of ClimateWorks, says that Australia’s political rhetoric needs to change quickly. While the Abbott government is talking of the need to “cut” the renewable energy target down to a “real” 20 per cent, for “fear” that it might reach 25 or 26 per cent by 2020, Skarbek says that to achieve climate goals, Australia’s renewable energy target needs to be at least 50 per cent by 2030 – and then carbon free by 2050.

“There are many pathways for Australia to substantially reduce emissions, but all include greatly improved energy efficiency across the economy, a nearly carbon free power system and switching to low carbon energy sources in transport, buildings and industry,” Skarbek says.

“Taking the carbon out of our electricity system provides the largest reduction in emissions. Then we can use the carbon-free electricity to replace petrol in cars, and gas in buildings and some industrial processes.”

“The move to a low emissions electricity system can be developed with technologies that exist today. But we need to move faster – this report shows we’ll need at least 50 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 to achieve a decarbonised electricity system in the time we have left to stay within the carbon budget.”….in all scenarios, even those that hope for cost-competitive carbon capture and storage, renewable energy is the dominant technology, and solar provides at least 50 per cent of all generation.

By 2030, under the renewable scenario, coal is nearly eliminated, although it plays a greater role in the other scenarios because CCS will take a decade at least to bring into production (if it can ever deliver the costs, which many think it won’t), and nuclear will not have a presence before 2030.

Even then, it is assumed that nuclear would provide no more than one-quarter of generation  – and this is based on the rather generous cost estimates of past government reviews, and does not reflect the significant cost declines that can be expected of solar. Note however, that the emissions per MWh is the renewables scenario is nearly half of that entertained in the CCS or nuclear scenario – that’s because coal generators get to pollute for many years longer in those scenarios……..

The ClimateWorks report was one of 15 prepared for the UN Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project that involves modelling teams from 15 major emitters that also include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and the USA.

The findings are being presented to the UN this week by leading economist Jeffrey Sachs. It shows that these countries account for 70 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The interim results show that all 15 countries found ways to achieve near zero carbon electricity by 2050, while sustaining economic growth……http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/25/australia-renewable-energy-target-50-2030/

September 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Big media fails the public on environmental and public health matters

spin-media-nuclearflag-indiaEconomy & Ecology: The Inconvenient Truths The Global Calcuttan, September 21, 2014 “…..Manufactured Complacency The facilitators of our collective slide to environmental devastation is Big Media. Owned, globally by a few corporate houses, they are failing miserably in their job of informing the public. This is an essential function as democracy is premised on the notion that the electorate are informed. If problems are not given due attention in the media, politicians find them easy to be ignored.

Just as investors cannot take rational decisions on investing without proper information, how can the public take rational decisions about their future if information is withheld or they are simply distracted by noise?

In the last Indian general election, political parties ignored environmental issues, which is alarming considering the problems India faces:

The World Bank estimates that environmental degradation costs India 5.7 per cent of its annual gross domestic product, and causes a quarter of the country’s 1.6 million deaths among children each year.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Thorium proponents created the cult of Weinberg

Thorium-cultThorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists  D. A. Ryan November 19th, 2011 Also as regard Weinberg, another classic symptom of any cult is the adulation of a particular hero figure. Look at the scientologists and Ron Hubbard. If Kirk is the High Priest of the LFTR cult, clearly Weinberg is its Saint (or its martyr if you believe some LFTR propaganda!).

Of course the fact the LFTR bloggers are putting words in Weinberg’s mouth and misrepresenting his views completely, as well as ignoring certain basic scientific facts (the primary purpose of the MSR experiment of the 1960’s was to create a breeder cycle to feed nuclear fuel into other reactors, they were never intended as a major source of power, or so my nuclear engineer buddies tell me!) has little to do with anything. But let’s not let pesky little “facts” get in the way of a good fantasy!

Furthermore, science is about rigorous critical analysis. The instant one scientist’s words (or supposed words) are elevated to the point where they cannot be challenged or criticized is the point where you cross the Rubicon between science and pseudo-science.

Perhaps LFTR fans should get some E-meter’s and build Weinberg a temple?http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302

September 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dispute over water – uranium miners fight it out in Africa

Uranium producers in fight for water http://www.africaintelligence.com/AMA/exploration-production/2014/07/29/uranium-producers-in-fight-for-water%2C108033195-ART?did=46190443&eid=206481

Hit by the fall in the uranium price of $28.5/lb in recent months, the Rossing mine that Rio Tinto has …...(subscription only) 

September 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Bribery, corruption, and birth defects near India’s uranium mine in Jharkand

secret-dealsflag-indiaEconomy & Ecology: The Inconvenient Truths The Global Calcuttan September 21, 2014 “Capitalism, as it’s conceived and conducted today; capitalism that relies on globalization, unbridled consumerism, deregulation and perpetual economic expansion, is irreconcilable with a livable climate.” – Naomi Klein, Capitalism vs. The Climate

Economy and Ecology: Disclosing the Inconvenient Truths By SB Veda CALCUTTA – This week we feature two articles on the conflict between capitalism and the environment: One describes the mysterious set of illnesses affecting children in the village of Jadugora in Jharkand, India, the sight of India’s first major uranium mine (now closed); and the second is an interview with left-wing author and thinker, Naomi Klein on her new book, which was published, yesterday called Capitalism vs. The Climate……..

Nuclear Poisoning in Jharkand
It is already too late for many of the children of Jadugora, born with birth defects, destined to develop cancer. The story is one of ignorance, lack of adequate regulation, and finally a total breakdown of institutional responsibility within the Indian republic.

In fact, the owner of the Uranium mine situated in the village, The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) is owned by the Government. UCIL, instead of acting in the people’s interests, systematically dumped nuclear waste, ending up in Jadugora’s water supply. This is water used to drink and wash, water that grows the vegetation consumed by the villagers and their livestock. They are literally consuming and bathing in nuclear poison.

It is no wonder that the defeated UPA government under Manmohan Singh, sought to export liabilities from nuclear mismanagement to potential foreign suppliers after India became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). In India, the government seems to have abdicated its responsibility to effectively regulate the civil nuclear industry to safeguard the people.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) owns UCIL and its operations are covered under Atomic Energy Act, which makes accurate information about the mine extremely arduous to obtain. There is no requirement for public participation at any stage of the process of sighting, designing or building nuclear facilities. In an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1999), T.S. Gopi Rethinaraj writes: “The department [of atomic energy] has happily exploited the ignorance of India’s judiciary and political establishment on nuclear issues. In the past, it has even used the Atomic Energy Act to prevent nuclear plant workers from accessing their own health records. While nuclear establishments everywhere have been notorious for suppressing information, nowhere is there an equivalent of India’s Atomic Energy Act in operation. Over the years, in the comfort of secrecy, India’s nuclear establishment has grown into a monolithic and autocratic entity that sets the nuclear agenda of the country and yet remains virtually unaccountable for its actions.” (Source:http://jadugoda.jharkhand.org.in).

Even lawyers at the legal aid society whose responsibility it was to advise the victims of the environmental calamity of their rights and recourse are named as defendants in the public interest suit brought on behalf of the afflicted. Everybody, it seems, was bought and paid for in the oligarchic legacy left by Jawaharlal Nehru that is The Republic of India.

Nehru’s views on the nuclear industry are revealing. The former Gandhian Satyagrahi, wrote to his defence minister shortly after independence that not only did the “future belong to those who produce atomic energy”, but “Defence (was) intimately connected with this.” He was at the ready to fund atomic research – the first Asian government to do so, and his surreptitious plan for a nuclear defence was carried to the next generation and revealed in the misuse of civilian nuclear technology imported from Canada by Indira Gandhi for purposes of defence. This caused all nuclear cooperation between the two nations to cease until recently.

The BJP may have taken the nuclear defence programme out of the darkness, making India a declared nuclear power but it also did little to clean up the civilian nuclear power industry.

Getting back to bribery – though more flagrant in India, is also present in Western democracies as Klein pointed out in her interview: ‘Both by . . . bribing politicians and serving as (an election-campaign) disciplinary force for politicians — you get the money if you do the right thing. But if you don’t do the right thing from the perspective of the oil companies then that same money is used to attack you in television ads and so on.’…

September 26, 2014 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment