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Fukushima nuclear plant: 40,000% increase in radiation below ground between Units 1 & 2 this month

water-radiationMassive radiation spike at Fukushima: 40,000% increase below ground between Units 1 & 2 this month — Order of magnitude above record high set last year

TEPCO: Monitoring at the East Side of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1-4 Turbine Buildings:

Groundwater pumped up from the well point (between Unit 1 and 2)

>> Nov 13, 2014:

  • Cs-134 @ 920 Bq/L
    Up over 40,000% in 10 days
    Previous record @ 110 Bq/L
  • Cs-137 @ 3,000 Bq/L
    Up over 40,000% in 10 days
    Previous record @ 250 Bq/L
  • Mn-54 @ 110 Bq/L
    Up over 2,000% in 10 days
  • Gross β @ 3,200,000 Bq/L
    Up over 1,000% in 10 days

>> Nov 3, 2014:

  • Cs-134 @ ND (MDA=2)
  • Cs-137 @ 6.3 Bq/L
  • Mn-54 @ 5 Bq/L
  • Gross β @ 230,000 Bq/L

Underground water observation hole No.1-17 (near well point between Unit 1 and 2)

See also from today: TV: Attempt to stop flow of highly radioactive liquid at Fukushima “in doubt” — AP: Much of it is pouring in trenches going out into Pacific — Experts: Amount entering ocean “increasing by 400 tons daily” — Problem “so severe” it’s consuming nearly all workers at site — Top Plant Official: “Little cause for optimism” (VIDEO)

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Uk’s new nuclear reactor designs likely to become a financial drain, warns Stephen Chu

Steven Chu warns UK its nuclear plans risk becoming financial drain

Former US energy chief and Nobel physicist says UK plan to build various types of reactors is expensive and time-consuming    The Guardian,  17 November 2014  “……Steven Chu, the former US energy secretary and Nobel prizewinning physicist, believes using a variety of reactor designs – as the UK looks poised to do – is not the best way to keep costs down.

“Unless we can learn to build nuclear on schedule and on budget it will be a financial drain. ………

“That is true of all industries. If you build exactly the same its get cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. ……..

Atomic plants being built in Finland and France are much more expensive than forecast and are suffering significant delays but EDF, the company planning to build Hinkley Point C reactors in Somerset, says it will learn from those mistakes. While EDF plans to use an “EPR” design at Hinkley and possibly at Sizewell in Suffolk, other developers in Britain are planning different models……….

November 17, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK | 3 Comments

An embarassment to Shinzo Abe if anti nuclear candidate wins Okinawa election

ballot-boxSmflag-japanAnti-nuclear critic of US base set to win key Japan election In Japan a former mayor opposed to nuclear power and the presence of a US military base in his region is on course to win a key local election.

Takeshi Onaba’s likely victory in Okinawa according to opinion polls will embarrass Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party.

There have been plans to relocate the base on the island but many residents want it removed entirely.


November 17, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Radioactive water from Fukushima to Pacific Ocean increasing by 400 tons daily

TV: Attempt to stop flow of highly radioactive liquid at Fukushima “in doubt” — AP: Much of it is pouring in trenches going out into Pacific — Experts: Amount entering ocean “increasing by 400 tons daily” — Problem “so severe” it’s consuming nearly all workers at site — Top Plant Official: “Little cause for optimism” (VIDEO)
NHK, Nov. 13, 2014 (emphasis added):


Radioactive water may still be entering tunnels — [TEPCO] faces another challenge in its effort to address radioactive water at the complex. It says highly contaminated water may still be flowing from reactor buildings into adjacent underground tunnels even after a work to stem the flow ended. The water in the tunnels is believed to be leaking into the sea… the firm began work in April to stem the flow of radioactive water between the reactor buildings and the tunnels… TEPCO finished the work on November 6th. But workers found that water levels in the reactor buildings and the tunnels are still linked

ITAR-TASS, Nov 14, 2014: Radioactive water discharge from Fukushima Daiichi NPP into ocean continues; According to specialists, the volume of contaminated liquid that is leaking into the ocean is increasing by 400 tons daily— The repair operations… aimed at preventing radioactive water discharges into the ocean have yielded no result, the NPP operator [TEPCO] reported on Friday. The water… is still leaking into the NPP drainage system even after last week’s operations to stop the leak… [D]ue to the major damage of the plant’s infrastructure most of the water that is poured in… leaks into the drainage system and gets into the ground waters and then into the Pacific Ocean… The radioactive contamination level in the ground waters, according to TEPCO, is very high…

AP, Nov 12, 2014: Japan’s nuclear cleanup stymied by water woes… nearly all the workers are devoted to a single, enormously distracting problem: coping with the vast amount of water that becomes contaminated after it is pumped into the reactors to keep the melted radioactive fuel inside from overheating… The water becomes contaminated upon exposure to the radioactive fuel, and much of it pours into the reactor basements and maintenance trenches that extend to the Pacific Ocean.

The Guardian, Nov. 13, 2014: The man in charge of cleaning up the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has admitted there is little cause for optimism… The water problem is so severe that [Tepco has] enlisted almost all of their 6,000 workers… to bring it under control… “ I have no intention of being optimistic” [Fukushima Daiichi’s manager Akira Ono] told the Guardian… large quantities [of contaminated water] find their way to other parts of the site, including maintenance trenches connected to the sea… “The contaminated water is the most pressing issue – there is no doubt about that,” Ono said… “I cannot say exactly when, I hope things start getting better when the measures start taking effect.”

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | 2 Comments

USA’s Government Accountability Office wants public input into decisions on nuclear waste


wastes-1Flag-USAGAO: Nuclear Waste Issue Requires Public Buy-in By Randy Leonard Nov. 13, 2014 In response to a request from House Republicans, the Government Accountability Office looked into the challenges of the Energy Department’s handling of spent nuclear fuel – which without a central or interim waste storage facilities has been piling up at reactors in 33 states. The office concluded that no matter which path the administration and Congress take, the department needed to conduct a public outreach program.

“Without a better understanding of spent nuclear fuel management issues, the public may be unlikely to support any policy decisions about managing spent nuclear fuel,” the GAO wrote.

The administration in 2010 stalled plans for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, though a court order last year and Republican control of the Senate will likely meansome further action toward developing the site.

But even proponents of Yucca like Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., say that an alternative strategy and facility are needed to process all the waste being generated. He has signed on to a bill that would set up a new administration for handling nuclear waste.

“Officials noted that the department’s strategy cannot be fully implemented until Congress provides direction on a new path forward,” GAO wrote. “However, experts and stakeholders believe that one key challenge – building and sustaining public acceptance of how to manage spent nuclear fuel – will need to be addressed irrespective of which path Congress agrees to take. In this context, they suggested the need for a coordinated public outreach strategy regarding spent nuclear fuel management issues, including perceived risks and benefits, which would be consistent with the administration’s directive to be more transparent and collaborative.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan’s utilities want to open new controversial nuclear plant, and prolong life of others

safety-symbol1flag-japanNuclear operators push to open new plant, extend life of aging reactors THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, 14 Nov 14  Across Japan, utilities are backing the Abe administration’s support of nuclear power generation by continuing construction of a new facility and seeking to extend the life of reactors that have been operating for about 40 years.

Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) announced Nov. 13 that it will apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety screenings to start operations at its Oma nuclear power plant, which is currently under construction.

The announcement came at a town assembly meeting at Oma, Aomori Prefecture, where J-Power President Masayoshi Kitamura said the company will submit the application by the end of the year and plans to have the new facility fully operational in fiscal 2021.

If everything proceeds as scheduled, the Oma plant will be the first instance in which power companies applied for the start of operations at new reactors that are still under construction.

While the No. 1 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Higashidori plant in Aomori Prefecture and Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant No. 3 reactor in Matsue are also currently under construction, the utilities have not submitted applications to start the reactors.

Although the central government’s basic energy plan states that dependency on nuclear power should be reduced as much as possible, it does not clearly mention the construction of new nuclear facilities.

The government does not deem nuclear plants as “new or additional” if their construction started before the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which set off the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Forty percent of the construction of the Oma plant had been completed prior to the disaster.

However, there is no guarantee that the screening process will proceed smoothly because the structure and operation procedures of the Oma facility are different from those of conventional nuclear plants.

MOXThe Oma plant will be the world’s first 100 percent MOX nuclear facility, where only mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel, consisting of plutonium and uranium, is used at reactor cores for the purpose of consuming plutonium produced in processing spent nuclear fuel………

“No full MOX facility has so far gone online around the world,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a Nov. 12 news conference. “We will examine extremely carefully (if countermeasures are sufficient).”…….


Elsewhere, with the Abe administration supporting the restarts of the nation’s idle reactors after they pass NRA safety screenings, Kansai Electric Power Co. is making efforts to prolong the operating lives of aged reactors……..

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear catastrophe could result from isolating Russia from the West

diplomacy-not-bombsFor U.S. and Russia, Isolation Can Lead to Nuclear Catastrophe NYT,  NOVEMBER 15, 2014,  Siegfried S. Hecker is a research professor and senior fellow in the department of management science and engineering at Stanford University. He was director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 to 1997, and is completing a book with Russian colleagues on U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation.

Moscow’s announcement that no new joint Russian – U.S. projects to secure nuclear materials in Russia are “envisioned” in 2015 came as no surprise. Over the past 10 years the Russian government has systematically terminated most cooperative threat reduction projects initiated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nuclear cooperation was born of necessity because the political chaos and economic hardship endangered Soviet nuclear assets, those in Russia and other former Soviet states……..

Cooperative threat reduction was highly successful. Nothing really terrible happened in the Russian nuclear complex since the Soviet collapse. Threat reduction was not only cooperative, but it was highly collaborative. Hundreds of Russian and American nuclear weapons scientists and engineers worked hand in hand in each other’s facilities to vastly improve Russian practices and technologies to help them better secure and safeguard their enormous stocks of weapons-grade nuclear materials. They collaborated on how to ensure the safety and security of nuclear weapons in transport, storage and disassembly. They collaborated on how to strengthen nonproliferation and export control regimes and to prevent nuclear terrorism………

Moscow is willing to collaborate in science and nuclear energy technologies, but is terminating bilateral security cooperation. Washington wants to continue the latter, but in response to the Ukraine crisis, is isolating Russia from broader scientific and nuclear energy cooperation. The combined actions will diminish safety and security, as well as threaten nuclear cooperation in other key areas of common interest, such as countering nuclear terrorism and preventing nuclear proliferation.

My Russian colleagues and I believe that in nuclear matters, collaboration is essential, whereas isolation can lead to catastrophes. It is important for both Moscow and Washington to heed this message.

November 17, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Logistical nightmare of radiation exercises by the Dead Sea

Chilling radiation exercises by the Dead Sea The Independent 17 Nov 14 “…...The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has the job of sniffing out any tests of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, using hundreds of monitoring stations.

In 2013, the CTBTO spotted signals that a blast had shaken a mountain in North Korea. The organisation tweeted its suspicion that the pariah state had tested a bomb, before North Korean officials confirmed it. But even with its sophisticated equipment, and a budget of $130m (£83m) a year, the CTBTO can only suspect a nuclear test. To know for sure, it must get its experts and equipment on the ground.

The exercise in Jordan is the largest the organisation has ever carried out, covering 1,000sq km of desert. It is also a logistical nightmare. Equipment has been shipped from Vienna, and hundreds of experts have been flown in. The cost of the exercise, which runs for several weeks, is around $10m.

One thing stands in the CTBTO’s way: none of the protocols can be carried out for real, as the treaty that the CTBTO is to work under is not yet law. A number of states known to possess nuclear technology, including India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed and ratified the treaty.

“One way or another we will get this treaty to ratification,” says Dr Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of CTBTO.

“If it takes a visit to North Korea and that brings an end to nuclear testing, I will do it. Isolation does not work, you need dialogue.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Jordan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brazil becoming world’s top market for biopower

Brazil To Overtake US As Leading Market In Renewable Energy Metric By @DionRabouin IBT, on November 16 2014  Brazil will surpass the United States as the world’s top market for biopower, research firm GlobalDatareported. The U.S. remains the world’s global biopower leader for now, but Brazil is expected to increase its countrywide biopower installed capacity from 11.51 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to an estimated 17.1 GW by 2018, to become the world’s premier market.

Biopower, also known as biomass power or bioenergy, is the use of any organic material to generate electricity. The U.S. has long been the global leader, but the report suggests outdated infrastructure and a bloated existing capacity that has saturated the market will lead to Americans being overtaken in four years’ time……

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Brazil, renewable | Leave a comment