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Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast

cesium in california 10 nov 2014

November 10, 2014

Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.

In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami off Japan, the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant released cesium-134 and other radioactive elements into the ocean at unprecedented levels. Since then, the radioactive plume has traveled west across the Pacific, propelled largely by ocean currents and being diluted along the way. At their highest near the damaged nuclear power plant in 2011, radioactivity levels peaked at more than 10 million times the levels recently detected near North America.

“We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast.  The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort. “Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope.  Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s.  Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”

The amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less than 2 Becquerels per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water). This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies.  And it is more than 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.

Scientists have used models to predict when and how much cesium-134 from Fukushima would appear off shore of Alaska and the coast of Canada. They forecast that detectable amounts will move south along the coast of North America and eventually back towards Hawaii, but models differ greatly on when and how much would be found.

“We don’t know exactly when the Fukushima isotopes will be detectable closer to shore because the mixing of offshore surface waters and coastal waters is hard to predict. Mixing is hindered by coastal currents and near-shore upwelling of colder deep water,” said Buesseler. “We stand to learn more from samples taken this winter when there is generally less upwelling, and exchange between coastal and offshore waters maybe enhanced.”

Because no U.S. federal agency is currently funding monitoring of ocean radioactivity in coastal waters, Buesseler launched a crowd-funded, citizen-science program to engage the public in gathering samples and to provide up-to-date scientific data on the levels of cesium isotopes along the west coast of North America and Hawaii. Since January 2014, when Buesseler launched the program, individuals and groups have collected more than 50 seawater samples and raised funds to have them analyzed. The results of samples collected from Alaska to San Diego and on the North Shore of Hawaii are posted on the website http://OurRadioactiveOcean.org. To date, all of the coastal samples tested in Buesseler’s lab have shown no sign of cesium-134 from Fukushima (all are less than their detection limit of 0.2 Becquerel per cubic meter).

The offshore radioactivity reported this week came from water samples collected and sent to Buesseler’s lab for analysis in August by a group of volunteers on the research vessel Point Sur sailing between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Eureka, California. These results confirm prior data described at a scientific meeting in Honolulu in Feb. 2014 by John Smith, a scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who found similar levels on earlier research cruises off shore of Canada. Buesseler and Smith are now working together on a new project, led by Jay Cullen at the University of Victoria, Canada, called InFORM (http://fukushimainform.wordpress.com/) that involves Canadian academic, government and NGO partners to determine and communicate the environmental risks posed by Fukushima for Canada’s Pacific and Arctic coasts and their inhabitants.

Buesseler believes the spread of radioactivity across the Pacific is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring of the sort conducted from the Point Sur.

“Crowd-sourced funding continues to be an important way to engage the public and reveal what is going on near the coast. But ocean scientists need to do more work offshore to understand how ocean currents will be transporting cesium on shore.  The models predict cesium levels to increase over the next two to three years, but do a poor job describing how much more dilution will take place and where those waters will reach the shore line first,” said Buesseler. “So we need both citizen scientists to keep up the coastal monitoring network, but also research vessels and comprehensive studies offshore like this one, that are too expensive for the average citizen to support,” said Buesseler.

Buesseler will be presenting his results on Nov. 13, 2014, at the SETAC conference in Vancouver (http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/presentation/listForPublic ). He is also responding to questions from the public on the “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit at 1 p.m. EST on Nov. 10 (http://www.reddit.com/r/science).

Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who specializes in the study of natural and man-made radionuclides in the ocean. His work includes studies of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, assessments of Chernobyl impacts on the Black Sea, and examination of radionuclide contaminants in the Pacific resulting from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Dr. Buesseler has served as Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI, as Executive Scientist of the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Planning and Data Management Office, and two years as an Associate Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Program. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2011 he was noted as the top-cited ocean scientist by the Times Higher Education for the decade 2000-2010. He is currently Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at WHOI. For more info, visit his lab, Café Thorium.

Funding for the citizen monitoring effort at ourradioactiveocean.org comes from close to 400 individuals and sponsoring organizations including Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska SeaGrant, Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Cook Inlet Keepers, David Suzuki Foundation, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Dominical Real Estate, Fukushima Response Campaign, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Parks Canada, Humboldt State University Marine Lab, Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) Network, International Medcom, KUSP Santa Cruz, Lush Cosmetics, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Nuxalk Nation, Onset Computer, Pacific Blue Foundation, Peaceroots Alliance, PFx, a Picture Farm Company, Point Blue Conservation Science, Prince William Sound Science Center, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Say Yes! to Life Swims LLC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Program National Park Service, St. Mary’s School, The Guacamole Fund, The Institute for Building Biology and Ecology, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Ucluelet Aquarium, Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District, University of California Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, University of Hawaii, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu

Originally published: November 10, 2014

Source:  http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/Fukushima-detection

November 10, 2014 Posted by | USA | , , | 3 Comments

Fukushima: Japan has chosen to incinerate tons of radioactive waste

Catastrophe nucleaire de Fukushima, pres de 4 ans apres, travaux de decontamination a l'interieur de la zone contamineeThree and a half years after the tragedy, most of plants and materials will be burned and the ashes stored.

By Marc Cherki Published 11/09/2014
Translation by D’un Renard

In Kawauchi, a small village located on both sides of of 20 kilometers division line around the Fukushima plant, many one cubic meter bags, are filled by the decontaminators with radioactive vegetal waste. Plants, grasses, lichens, shrubs that lined the road are now piled into these big bags.

Thus, the radiation received by persons traveling on this path is reduced. The plants are also removed within 20 meters around houses.

With Date and Minamisoma, Kawauchi is one of the “model villages” exemplified by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the Japanese government.

The committed efforts are huge . In less than a year, since the nuclear accident in March 2011, projects funded by the government were already valued at 10 billion euros only for the decontamination of soils, houses and a microscopic part of the forests.

At present, the kariokiba, the temporary storage sites, are overfull of waste.
About 43 million cubic meters (43 million tons), as plastic bags of blue, black or gray colors depending on the choice of the town, are piling into a thousand temporary sites.

The bags are half filled with plants.
The others contain the contaminated soil removed from the surface of rice fields and schoolyards, materials polluted by radioactive fallout cloud or dust collected in houses gutters,

The Japanese government has pledged to deal with the waste from 1 January 2015. But nobody believes this possible in such a short time. “We’re late,” admits Mr Ozawa, deputy director general of the department of environmental restoration in Fukushima, under the Ministry of the Environment.
As early as our first work, which started in the summer of 2012 and mobilized 17,000 people, “local authorities told us that we were too slow,” he admits.
But it is “like playing chess without having the rules. So we had to make the pieces and invent the rules. ”

At the Otsube storage site in Kawauchi, Youichi Igari, 40, who works for decontamination, admits that the government should not be able to recover the waste in the time promised.
This thorny issue of waste is closely related to the return of populations. Currently, 130,000 people are still displaced, according to the Government, out of which 50,000 out of the Fukushima Prefecture. The family of Youichi Igari family is one of those who left the town of Kawauchi. “My wife is afraid to come back,” admits the technician.

Compared to our own surveys made with a Geiger counter, the measuring of the radioactivity carried by the city is minimized by a third.
A difference that their expert justified by “the margin of error of measurement” … More serious over the bags covered with a green tarp, plants began to grow. Sign that the sealing is no longer guaranteed.
And if in the kariokiba visited in Date the black bags seem tight, the official measurements of radioaction that people can find on the Internet are lower than our measurements.

Divide by ten the number of bags could improve decontamination and encourage the return of the nuclear exiles.
The Japanese government is planning to burn and store its waste on two sites in Futaba and Okuma for those highly radioactive and in Tomiaka for those weakly radioactive (8,000 Bq / kg). Three towns near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The most active ash (100,000 Bq / kg) will be trapped in concrete and stored in an intermediate site for thirty years. Then to be moved after to a final repository to be stored there for more than two centuries and a half.

For already one year the Japanese government has informed the IAEA of its intentions.
“It’s good management, rather than letting the plants rot and release biogas. Burning waste is a method that we already use in France to reduce volumes.
For some of the waste, the operation in France is performed at the Centraco plant near Marcoule, a subsidiary of Socodei, which packages the ash into concrete, “says Bruno Cahen, the Andra industrial director.

This is particularly the case of technical waste containing cesium-137 which radioaction is halved every thirty years. “It is not possible to recover 100% of the fumes.
But technology can improve the collection of emissions to limit emissions into the atmosphere, “says Didier Dall’Ava, deputy director of sanitation and nuclear decommissioning at CEA.
Finally, in the case of the Japanese waste “the safety of the ashes with concrete must be confirmed from a chemical and mechanical point of view,” adds François Besnus, director of waste at the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety.

Still, the scale of the Japanese project is extraordinary, outside the norm.
The Marcoule site has the capacity to incinerate 3,000 tons of solid waste per year, it is quite low compared to 22 million tons of radioactive waste that the Japanese government wants to eliminate. Even if Japan opts for the best technique (rejection of one radionuclide in 100,000 to 1 million, according to Areva) this operation will lead to significant emissions into the atmosphere. As to incinerate waste will not remove the radioaction . Reconquérir le territoire reste une tâche titanesque. To reconquer that territory from radiation will remain a gigantic task.

Source : Blog de Serge Angeles
http://blog.serge-angeles.com/2014/11/09/japon-2014-fukushima324/

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 10 Comments

TEPCO removes 2nd canopy panel covering Fukushima reactor building

November 10, 2014

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–In preparation for clearing debris and eventually removing nuclear fuel from inside, Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Nov. 10 temporarily removed another panel from the canopy covering a damaged reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Debris inside the building were visible from the opening, which is 40 meters long and 14 meters wide, equivalent to one-third the size of the entire roof.
The first of the six canopy panels was removed on Oct. 31.
The utility has been spraying the inside of the reactor building with liquid anti-scattering resin since Oct. 22 to prevent radioactive materials from being stirred up during the dismantling work. The interior of the building will be checked throughout this month.
TEPCO also plans to keep a close eye on radioactivity levels inside the plant grounds and will notify local municipalities if any abnormalities are recorded.
The removed roof panels will be reinstalled as early as within this month, and their full-scale removal is expected to begin in March 2015.

Sources:

NHK http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20141110_11.html

Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411100047

Reactor 1 Nov 10 2014

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Ever increasing costs for USA’s aging nuclear weapons system

missile-moneyAging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly LA Times,  By RALPH VARTABEDIANW.J. HENNIGAN contact the reporters, 8 Nov 14 Pipes, tanks and other equipment rust in the humid Southern air. Leaky roofs leave puddles on factory floors. Abandoned buildings are scattered across an 800-acre site contaminated with hundreds of tons of mercury.

If this were a factory making cars in Detroit or steel in Pennsylvania, it would have long ago been shuttered.

But this is the Y-12 National Security Complex, a linchpin of the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons complex, responsible for making thermonuclear assemblies for hydrogen bombs.

The 1940s-era plant is part of a weapons program that has become increasingly costly to operate because of aging equipment, deteriorating facilities and soaring overhead costs. At its root, it is bloated and mismanaged, say former Energy Department officials, outside experts and members of Congress.

The nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile has shrunk by 85% since its Cold War peak half a century ago, but the Energy Department is spending nine times more on each weapon that remains. The nuclear arsenal will cost $8.3 billion this fiscal year, up 30% over the last decade.

The source of some of those costs: skyrocketing profits for contractors, increased security costs for vulnerable facilities and massive investments in projects that were later canceled or postponed……..

Now the Obama administration is moving forward with a plan to modernize the strategic weapons system over the next decade, an effort the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost $355 billion. That comes as the Pentagon is under pressure to reduce its budget, and outside experts warn that the modernization could reach $1 trillion over the next 30 years……

The eight major nuclear weapon labs and production sites are run by a network of joint ventures and private companies, including the University of California, Bechtel Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Honeywell International Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

 The increases came after a series of embarrassing security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory while it was managed by the University of California. The lapses led to a movement to pay more and demand far stricter security. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nukes-cost-20141109-story.html#page=1

November 10, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Unidentified attackers kill 5 nuclear engineers near Damascus

murder-15 nuclear engineers murdered near Damascus: monitor Agence France Presse, Daily Star, Lebanon 9 Nov 14  BEIRUT: Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus, near the research center where they worked, a monitor said on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its reports, was unable however to say how they were killed or supply their nationalities.

“Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighbourhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman………. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Nov-09/276996-5-nuclear-engineers-murdered-near-damascus-monitor.ashx#ixzz3IhMal9A0

November 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

China joins the throng trying to flog off nuclear reactors to South Africa

China becomes latest country to sign SA nuclear accord http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-south-africa/china-becomes-latest-country-to-sign-sa-nuclear-ac  Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg| 09 November 2014

Deal signed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her Chinese counterpart Wu Xinxiong.— South Africa, the continent’s second- largest economy and biggest power producer, signed a nuclear cooperation accord with China following similar agreements with Russia and France.

fighters-marketing-1

The framework agreement, which is a precursor to procurement, was signed by South Africa Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her Chinese counterpart Wu Xinxiong, the Pretoria-based Department of Energy said today in an e-mailed statement.

South Africa is planning agreements with other countries including Japan as it decides how best to procure as many as 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2030. The country, which through its state-owned utility has installed capacity of about 42,000 megawatts, is struggling to meet power demand and on Nov. 2 had rolling blackouts, a consequence of decades of underinvestment in generation.

Companies that have expressed interest in building nuclear power plants in South Africa include France’s Areva SA and Electricite de France SA, Westinghouse Electric Corp., a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., Russia’s Rosatom Corp., China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp. and Korea Electric Power Corp.

November 10, 2014 Posted by | marketing of nuclear, South Africa | 2 Comments

56 prominent individuals across the globe write to oppose nuclear energy for Bolivia

Protest-No!Open Letter to Evo Morales about nuclear energy Carwil without Borders,  November 9, 2014  Re-posting from Breaking the Nuclear Chain (en) and Julio Lumbreras (es)…

Dear Evo Morales,

First of all we would like to emphasize that those who sign this letter consider themselves to be friends of the Bolivian people. We applaud what your government has done over the years for the welfare of the people of Bolivia, for the recovery of control over your natural resources as well as for social justice and the redistribution of wealth. We also support the strong stance you and your government have taken on the protection of the environment, with the institution of the Day of Mother Earth and the acts against the exploitation of food resources for purposes other than the nourishment of the people. Moreover, we have been fighting for years, in our countries and internationally, against military and civilian nuclear energy.

In this light, as friends, we have been surprised by the announcement of your government’s plans to start the process of building a nuclear plant in Bolivia.

We believe this to be a move in the wrong direction and we wish to explain why in the following few points. Continue reading

November 10, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Renewed exposure of dirty tricks campaigns by fossil fuel industries

spin-corporate.Fossil fuel industry’s dirty tricks campaign exposed, Independent Australia,   DeSmog Blog 4 November 2014 A leaked tape from an oil and gas industry conference shows how Big Carbon uses dirty tricks to undermine science, vilify its critics and discredit journalists who criticise the use of fossil fuels, writesSharon Kelly via DeSmogBlog.

Leave it to Washington’s top attack-dog lobbyist Richard Berman to verify what many always suspected: that the oil and gas industry uses dirty tricks to undermine science, vilify  its critics and discredit journalists who cast doubt on the prudence of fossil fuels.

In a speech at an industry conference in June, surreptitiously recorded by an energy executive, Rick Berman ‒ the foremost go-to guy for Republican smear campaigns ‒ gave unusually candid advice to a meeting of drilling companies.

Think of this as an endless war,” he told executives in a speech, which was leaked to the New York Times by an attendee at the conference who was offended by Berman’s remarks. And you have to budget for it.”

He said the industry needs to dig up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, exploit the public’s short attention span for scientific debate, and play on people’s emotions: Continue reading

November 10, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Extremely high level of Cesium 134/137 in agricultural products near Minamisoma city

Author-Fukushima-diaryStill 102,900 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 measured from Matsutake mushroom in Minamisoma city  Fukushima Diary, 9 Nov 14, According to Minamisoma city government, still extremely high level of Cs-134/137 is detected from agricultural products.

From their latest report of September, 102,900 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 was measured from Matsutake mushroom. The city government reports it was collected for self-consumption, but the ratio of Cs-134 and Cs-137 was not announced.

Also 28,240 Bq/Kg and 17,058 Bq/Kg were measured from other Matsutake mushroom samples.

2,094 ~ 14,140 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 were detected from “Inohana” mushroom as well.

Still high level of radioactive material is accumulated in mushroom in Minamisoma city.

http://www.city.minamisoma.lg.jp/index.cfm/10,1672,c,html/1672/h26.09.pdf

http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/11/still-102900-bqkg-cs-134137-measured-matsutake-mushroom-minamisoma-city/

 

November 10, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Protest in Tokyo against decision to restart 2 nuclear reactors

protestor-JapanHundreds in Tokyo protest Japan’s decision to restart nuclear plant, ABC News 7 Nov 14  By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney Hundreds have protested near the Japanese prime minister’s office in Tokyo against the decision to restart a nuclear plant.

The decision paves the way for a revival of the stalled nuclear industry more than three years after the Fukushima disaster.

Two reactors will restart at the Sendai nuclear plant, 1,000 kilometres south-west of Tokyo.

It represented a victory for Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who said the shutdown of the nuclear industry led to an over-reliance on imported and costly fossil fuels.

But the move sparked protests and critics said proper safety and evacuation plans were not yet in place……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-08/protests-as-japan-to-restart-sendai-nuclear-plant/5877040

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

US-NATO intervention in Ukraine could start World War 3

World War 3: Russian Nuclear War Possible If U.S. And NATO Intervene In Ukraine, Claims Noam Chomsky INQUSITR 8 Nov 14 World War 3 has been feared for most of 2014 ever since the Ukraine crisis started, but most believe the worst outcome is a new Cold War. But Noam Chomsky believes that nuclear war is a real possibility if the United States and NATO intervene against Russia.

 In a related report by The Inquisitr, Charles Krathammer claims Vladimir Putin is like a “weaker” Adolf Hitler for sending Russian nuclear bombers over Europe. But Putin believes the real threat to world peace is the Islamic State, not Russia’s nuclear weapons.

Noam Chomsky questions whether NATO needs to exist, claiming that the United States has used the European organization to assert influence on the rest of the world.

“The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe,” says Chomsky. “Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world.”

The Ukraine crisis is assumed to be potential trigger point for World War 3. Russian tanks and troops were allegedly sighted invading eastern Ukraine, although these reports remain unconfirmed. Chomsky believes the situation is tense enough that nuclear war could happen quickly.

“There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can’t guarantee that’s going to continue,” Chomsky claims according to Reuters. “It may not be a high probability each time, but when you play a game like that, with low probability risks of disaster over and over again, you’re going to lose. And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it’s a threatening situation.”……….http://www.inquisitr.com/1595955/world-war-3-russian-nuclear-war-u-s-nato-ukraine-noam-chomsky/#ddwBVCFzwYZyDDwf.99

November 10, 2014 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Weaker radiation standards, Price Anderson Act – recipes for nuclear disaster

regulatory-capture-Bowling for Nuclear Meltdowns (and Throwing Gas on the Fire), Common Dreams, 31 Oct 14  by John LaForge Weakening radiation standards; a cap on accident liability; reactor propaganda vs improvements; old units running past expiration dates; revving the engines beyond design specs …. You’d think we were itching for a meltdown.

The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended increased radiation exposure limits following major releases. It would save the industry a bundle to permit large human exposures then, rather than shut down rickety reactors now.

The EPA proposal is a knock-off prompted by Fukushima, because after the triple meltdown started three years ago, Japan increased — by 20 times — the allowable radiation exposures deemed tolerable for humans. Prior to the meltdowns of March 2011, Japan allowed only 1 milliSievert of radiation per year in an individual’s personal space. Now, the limit is 20 milliSieverts per year. This is not safe, it’s just allowable, or, rather, affordable, since the cost of decontaminating 1,000 square miles of Japan to the stricter standard could bust the bank.

The Price Anderson Act provides US reactor owners with a liability cap and a tax-payer bailout in the event of serious accidents or attacks. The law relieves utilities of hundreds of billions in financial risk posed by our ongoing meltdown roulette game. The owners won’t be bankrupted by the next loss-of-coolant disaster, but the US might.

Fukushima has spewed more long-lived radioactive chemicals to the air, the soil and the ocean than any catastrophe in history. But the chant heard round the world is: “The dose is low, there’s no immediate danger.” Promoters of nuclear power repeat this mantra at every opportunity, hoping to dodge Germany’s answer to Fukushima — a permanent reactor phase-out — and it has nearly drowned out all warnings of radiation’s health and environmental effects.

Have you heard of PSR’s March 2011 “Health risks of the releases of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactors: Are they a concern for residents of the US?”; or IPPNW’s June 2014 “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report”; or the Nov. 2012 “Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health within the context of the nuclear accident at Fukushima”; or Greenpeace’s two major reports, “Lessons from Fukushima,” and “Fukushima Fallout”? No, the feds would rather you read the UN Scientific Committee’s exec. summary which claims Fukushima’s effects are “unlikely to be observable.” This conclusion was made before any research was done.

The chances of radiation disasters will increase further if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows US reactors to run for 80 years. This is what Duke Power, Dominion Power and Exelon suggest for seven of their 40-year-old rattle traps now operating in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina………http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/31/bowling-nuclear-meltdowns-and-throwing-gas-fire

November 10, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Recators (SMRs) ? – they’re a delusion

nuClear News Nov 14 
…………..Small Reactor delusion There’s an Alice in Wonderland flavour to the nuclear power debate, writes Jim Green of FoE  Australia, in the Ecologist. Lobbyists are promoting all sorts of new reactor types – an implicit  admission that existing reactors aren’t up to the job. But the designs they are promoting have two severe problems.

They don’t exist. And they have no customers. (1) On Patterson’s favoured Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) he quotes Thomas W. Overton,  associate editor of POWER magazine, who wrote in a recent article: “At the graveyard wherein resides the “nuclear renaissance” of the 2000s, a new occupant appears  to be moving in: the small modular reactor (SMR). … Over the past year, the SMR industry has been bumping up against an uncomfortable and not-entirely-unpredictable problem: It appears that no one actually wants to buy one.”(2)

SMRs-mirage

The reason conventional nuclear plants are built so large is the economies of scale: Big plants  can produce power less expensively per kilowatt-hour than smaller ones.
The SMR concept  disdains those economies of scale in favour of others: large-scale standardized manufacturing  that will churn out dozens, if not hundreds, of identical plants, each of which would ultimately  produce cheaper kilowatt-hours than large one-off designs. But first someone needs to build a  massive supply chain. Money for that would presumably come from customer orders – if there  were any.
Former CoRWM Chair, Professor  Gordon Mackerron says no SMR (properly defined) has yet  been commercialised anywhere in the world, and work on them – mainly in the USA – has been  waning, as their developers, notably Westinghouse, have said they cannot find a market. This is  unsurprising as their cost per unit of output is higher than the already expensive conventional,
larger reactors, unless hundreds can be sold to give manufacturing economies.
The MIT, in their  study of the future of nuclear power convincingly argue that radically new nuclear technologies  take up to 50 years to become established due to factors like the need for safety licensing,  prototype experimentation, planning and siting approvals, slow construction times – all in the  context of historically rising costs and a need to win public acceptance. So we should expect no significant contribution from SMRs by 2050, even if they do become commercialised, which is

November 10, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

India to invest $100 billion in renewable energy

flag-indiaIndia Eyes $100 Billion Investment In Renewable Energy Clean Technica, November 9th, 2014 by  The new Indian government is taking serious initiatives to boost the power sector, which is in dire need of financial and structural reforms. A large number of these reforms will be implemented in the renewable energy sector.

India’s minister for coal, power, and renewable energy last week announced that his government would push for an unprecedented $100 billion investment in the renewable energy sector over the next few years. With this plan, he also announced seemingly impossible solar energy capacity addition targets for the next five years………http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/09/india-eyes-100-billion-investment-renewable-energy/

November 10, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | 1 Comment

World leaders focus on economic growth, while destruction of ecosystems is rampant

G20-danse-macabreMarton-Lefèvre is in Sydney for the World Parks Congress, a once-in-a-decade international conservation gathering that starts this week.

The week-long congress will feature an update on global progress in meeting the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Signed in 1992 by 193 nations, a key target is to protect at least 17% of the world’s terrestrial areas and 10% of marine areas by 2020.

World governments failing Earth’s ecosystems, says top conservationist, Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 10 Nov 14,  Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, says political leaders have not properly embraced conservation Governments are lagging behind on international commitments to safeguard the planet’s ecosystems, with politicians failing to grasp that economic growth depends upon environmental protection, the head of the world’s leading conservation organisation has warned. Continue reading

November 10, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment