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Climate change adds to nuclear danger, bringing Doomsday Clock closer to midnight

doomsday-clock-15Climate change inaction pushes ‘doomsday clock’ closest to midnight since 1984 Guardian,  , US environment correspondent 23 Jan 15 Symbolic clock is now at three minutes to apocalypse, the darkest hour for humanity since the cold war. The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war.

It was the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down………

Meanwhile, the scientists said, global efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals have slowed since 2009, and all of the nuclear powers were expanding reactors and weapons programmes.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the symbolic clock in 1947 to indicate the cold war threat. In 1991, when the threat of nuclear annihilation receded with the end of the cold war, the clock stood at 17 minutes to midnight.

But it was now moving closer to the apocalypse because of climate change. “We are not saying it is too late to take action, but the window to take action is closing rapidly,” Benedict said. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/22/climate-change-nuclear-bombs-doomsday-clock-near-midnight

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January 24, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 2 Comments

USA looking at mnimum $348B for the decade’s nuclear weaponry

missile-moneyCBO: Nuclear arsenal to cost $348B over decade http://thehill.com/policy/defense/230520-cbo-nuclear-arsenal-to-cost-348b-next-decade By Martin Matishak – 01/23/15 1 The U.S. will need to spend $348 billion over the next decade to maintain its nuclear arsenal, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released on Thursday.

The nonpartisan agency said that, while the estimated price tag is lower than a previous estimate of $355 billion in December 2013, the figure still amounts to 5percent-6 percent of the Obama administration’s national defense plan over the next 10 years

 The CBO attributes the lower tab to “budget-driven delays in several programs, including a three-year delay for the new cruise missile and its nuclear warhead.” The Defense Department would be on the hook for $227 billion in costs, while the Energy Department would spend $121 billion, the agency estimates.

The updated estimate comes as the administration is set to unveil its fiscal 2016 budget on Feb. 2, and with sequester cuts set to resume, the timing could not be worse for the three legs of the U.S. nuclear “triad.” The land-, sea- and air-based platforms and the atomic weapons they carry “are reaching the end of their service lifetimes,” the CBO warns.

“Over the next two decades, the Congress will need to make decisions about the extent to which essentially all of the U.S. nuclear delivery systems and weapons will be modernized or replaced with new systems.”

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, argues the cost of maintaining the arsenal could still top $1 trillion over the next 30 years. He cites a report from the National Defense Panel’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review that found refurbishing all three legs of the triad would cost roughly that amount.

Last year, the think tank released a report that said the U.S. could save around $70 billion by adjusting plans for new ballistic submarines and bombers, delaying or nixing the purchase of new delivery systems and taking a new approach to rebuilding warheads.

“CBO’s reports on the projected costs of nuclear forces have brought a much-needed dose of fiscal perspective to the debate about the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Reif wrote.

“Whether one thinks the United States has too many or too few nuclear weapons, it is no longer possible to hide from their immense cost.”

January 24, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Florida lawmaker wants repeal of laws allowing nuclear power companies to get “advance money” from customers

text-my-money-2Flag-USALawmaker joins calls for repeal of nuclear advance fee with new bill, Tampa Bay Times, Ivan Penn, 23 Jan 15  State Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, this week filed legislation to repeal the so-called nuclear advance fee that allowed Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light to collect money from their customers before new plants come online.

Ahern’s legislation is the third bill filed for the 2015 session aimed at ending the fee. The measure largely targets Duke Energy over its troubled nuclear operations detailed in reports by the Tampa Bay Times.

Duke used the advance fee to charge its Florida customers about $1.5 billion for the now-canceled Levy County nuclear project. In addition, the utility spent hundreds of millions of dollars more through the advance fee to increase power at the broken and now shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant. Neither Levy nor Crystal River will ever produce a kilowatt of electricity for the money.

“The consumers are being taken advantage of by utility providers,” Ahern said. “We need to take precautions to ensure that these types of events don’t happen again.”……..

The Murphy and Latvala bill would also require Duke Energy to refund all or most of the money collected from its customers through the advance fee.

Contact Ivan Penn at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332. Follow @Consumers_Edge.  http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/lawmaker-joins-calls-for-repeal-of-nuclear-advance-fee-with-new-bill/2214873

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

North Dakota citizens angry at plan to increase allowable levels of radiation at dump sites

radiation-warningFlag-USARaising radiation limits draws citizens’ anger Bismarck Tribune January 21, 2015   By LeAnn Eckroth A state Health Department plan to track and dispose of radioactive waste from the oil patch drew nearly 130 people to a two-hour hearing Wednesday in Bismarck. A majority who testified said the plan had serious gaps in public safety.

Signs against higher levels of TENORM — technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material — at special landfill sites were taped to the walls of the Environmental Training Center and even hung over a few attendees’ necks.

Dakota Resource Council members and members of area tribes said the state Health Department had given inadequate notice and education about the plan to increase TENORM levels allowed at radioactive disposal sites from 5 picocuries per gram to 50. They demanded more hearings, saying the Feb. 6 deadline for comments was not enough time…..

Audience members challenged whether the state agency had enough staff and money to fully regulate TENORM disposal sites.

“You told me that the industry came and asked you for this. I know no North Dakota citizen came to you asking for an increase in radioactivity to poison themselves, their children or grandchildren,” said Joletta Birdbear, a member of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikira tribe and a DRC member.

Gene Wirtz, a farmer  from Underwood, said the levels shouldn’t be raised. He said county commissioners voted against a radioactive waste site near his home.

“I see this as an end run to get that dump back,” he said. “No amount of radiation is good. Anytime you raise the amount of radiation you are exposed to, you are going to raise the risk of cancer.”……..

A meeting was held Tuesday in Williston and a third was to be held Thursday at the Fargo Public Safety Building at 4630 15th Ave. N.

Radig said the state health officials will consider extending the public comment and education period on the draft regulations.

(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.)    http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/raising-radiation-limits-draws-citizens-anger/article_7e95e08d-9526-5aa0-bc76-1114a9d7a925.html

January 24, 2015 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Vietnam’s nuclear power programme slowing – could grind to a halt?

Vietnam’s Slowing Growth and Safety Concerns Delay Nuclear Plans  WSJ, By VU TRONG KHANH, 23 Jan 15 Vietnam’s plan to introduce nuclear power to its energy mix faced a fresh setback on Thursday as safety concerns and legal issues pushed back the planned construction of the country’s first nuclear plant by about five years from the initial schedule………

Construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant isn’t likely to begin until 2019, said Hoang Anh Tuan, director general of Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency. The revised schedule comes after the government had already pushed its planned 2014 construction date to 2017……..

The need for the new plant had become less pressing recently, though, as Vietnam’s demand for electricity hasn’t risen as fast as previously forecast, Mr. Tuan said………

Phan Minh Tuan, director of Vietnam Electricity Group’s Nuclear Power & Renewable Energy Projects Pre-Investment Board, said safety concerns had also had an impact on the proposed construction start date……..

The country has chosen Russian utility and nuclear energy company Rosatom to build the first plant, the 2,000 megawatt Ninh Thuan 1. The Russian government has also pledged to lend Vietnam at least $8 billion for the project.

In 2011, Vietnam signed a contract with Japan Atomic Power for a feasibility study to build a second nuclear power plant nearby, the 2,000 MW Ninh Thuan 2, which is expected to use either Japanese or U.S. technology.

Mr. Tuan said Westinghouse is keen to supply its technology for the construction of the second plant, adding that the company earlier this month signed an agreement with Vietnam to train Vietnamese personnel to manage and operate nuclear power facilities in the country. http://blogs.wsj.com/frontiers/2015/01/23/vietnams-slowing-growth-and-safety-concerns-delay-nuclear-plans/

January 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, Vietnam | Leave a comment

Soldier exposed to depleted uranium has cancer, but no disability compensation

depleted-uraniumflag-canadaCancer-stricken soldier denied disability claim over exposure to depleted uranium CTVNews.ca Staff , January 20, 2015 A cancer-stricken warrant officer who served with the Canadian military for nearly three decades is facing a long appeal process after Veterans Affairs denied his application for disability compensation.

Alain Vachon of Calgary spent 27 years in military service, which included deployments to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo, among other places. For the past two years, he has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system.

Vachon believes his exposure to depleted uranium at Camp Doha in Kuwait caused his illness. Although Canadians did not use depleted uranium, the American troops at the base did, Vachon said. There was an incident in which “their ammunition dump blew up,” he said in an interview with CTV Calgary………

The couple has a letter from the military admitting that Vachon was exposed to depleted uranium, pesticides and other unknown substances………. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/cancer-stricken-soldier-denied-disability-claim-over-exposure-to-depleted-uranium-1.2198339#ixzz3PhSiGCYs

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Canada, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

UK’s toxic waste of money in attempting to clean up Sellafield’s toxic nuclear waste

 Nuclear clean-up has been a toxic waste of public money MARK LEFTLY Author Biography The Independent 23 JANUARY 2015 WESTMINSTER OUTLOOK A HAPLESS CONSORTIUM LED BY URS (NOW PART OF US RIVAL AECOM) WAS FINALLY AXED FROM LEADING THE CLEAN-UP OF CUMBRIA’S SELLAFIELD LAST WEEK.

Over-budget and behind schedule on numerous projects on what is, admittedly, one of the most hazardous nuclear detoxifications in history, this consortium had been remarkably fortunate to see its contract renewed in 2013. After it had regained its contract, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) even apologised to MPs for its dismal performance…..

money-in-nuclear--wastes

At a price tag of nearly £80bn, the Sellafield deal is one of the most significant commercialisations of what, historically, would have been public sector work. Davey, who I think has otherwise emerged from Coalition as a quietly formidable secretary of state, must ask himself why he did not block the contract extension in 2013.

It was a poor call from a minister who has otherwise earned the compliment of being a safe pair of hands. While he should be congratulated for finally getting this right, the GMB is equally correct that NMP should not stay in place any longer.

Time, on this project in particular, is money – and we cannot allow taxpayer funds to be mishandled for another 15 months. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/mark-leftly-nuclear-cleanup-has-been-a-toxic-waste-of-public-money-9997054.html

January 24, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

North Dakota’s proposal for tenfold increase in permissable level of radiation in waste –

text-radiationControversy Surrounds Proposed Increase in Radioactive Waste Limits, KX News, Jan 23, 2015  By Ben Smith, Reporter  A controversial proposal could allow state disposal sites to accept oil-waste with higher levels of radiation.

But several people are speaking out against the idea……….There is 1000’s if not 100’s of thousands of tons of radioactive waste that’s been scattered all over North Dakota.  Nobody seems to know where it is at.” says Darrell Dorgan
Freelance journalist Darrell Dorgan has seen three oil booms in North Dakota–he says a problem in all three has been the radioactive byproducts of oil production.

“The bottom line is that the state health department doesn’t know how much radioactive waste is generated in North Dakota either.” he says
Recently the Health Department held hearings about a proposal that would change the law, allow North Dakota landfills to accept waste ten-times more radioactive than the current standard………People like Dorgan would prefer to avoid the change all together..and make people’s health a priority over profits.

“It’s time just to halt this, take a deep breath, enforce the laws that are on the books to keep it at 5 Picocuries.  Don’t ask me to increase it to 50 if you can’t keep track of 5.” he says

The State Health Department is accepting written comments on the proposal up until February 6th. http://www.kxnet.com/story/27919618/controversy-surrounds-proposed-increase-in-radioactive-waste-limits

January 24, 2015 Posted by | environment | Leave a comment

US Republicans out to destroy nuclear talks with Iran

fight Iran Sanctions Supporters Don’t Want To Improve Nuclear Talks. They Want To Destroy Them. 
Huffington Post  01/23/2015 WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to have pulled off a masterful political victory against the Obama administration Wednesday when he revealed that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the dangers of the administration’s negotiations with Iran.Coming a day after President Barack Obama threatened to veto new Iran-related sanctions legislation that he said could harm the negotiations, Boehner’s move looked like a smart way to reinforce support for such bills — a priority for the Republican-led Congress — by showing that the U.S.’s top ally in the region supported them.

Then things started to fall apart.………

Kerry’s comment altered the conversation, making it about whether Republicans want to torpedo nuclear talks with Iran. The Obama administration describes the negotiations as the only way to ensure that Iran cannot gain a nuclear weapon to threaten the very country Boehner says the administration is failing: Israel. Kerry’s message: It’s Republicans, and the Democrats who support them on new sanctions, who would fail Israel by antagonizing Iran and destroying the chance of a peaceful resolution to the years-long controversy over Tehran’s nuclear program……….

the story had shifted as Kerry boxed the Republicans into admitting their possible true intentions — and all Boehner was left with was a promise for a Netanyahu address at the time of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in early March, by which point the administration has said it hoped to already have a framework for the deal.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu got his own rebuke as the White House revealed that it would not meet with him during that March trip. “We do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

Ryan Grim and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.

This article has been updated to include comments from M  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/kerry-israel-boehner-_n_6527826.html

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Mossad breaks ranks with Israel’s PM Netanyahu, warning against Republican inspired sanctions against Iran

flag-IsraelMossad says Netanyahu is wrong about Iran nuclear sanctions, The Times 23 Jan 15 Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, has broken ranks with Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, to warn that Republican-inspired sanctions on Iran would wreck nuclear talks.

John Kerry, the secretary of state, said that a senior Mossad official had told him that passing a new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process” of talks towards a deal with Iran on its nuclear programme. The same warning was delivered to a congressional delegation that visited Israel last week – ……(subscribers only)  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article4331537.ece

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

British tax-payers to buy into the French-led new Hinkley Pointnuclear power plant consortium

text-my-money-2flag-UKBritain to take nuclear plant share for national security, Economic Times, By AFP | 23 Jan, 2015,LONDON: Britain will have a “special share” in the French-led new Hinkley Pointnuclear power plant consortium to safeguard national security, British energy officials told a parliamentary hearing this week.

“The UK will have a special share in the consortium,” energy minister Ed Davey said on Wednesday when asked about safeguards for the project, which is led by French giant EDF and should include Chinese partners.

The Chinese firms, CGN and CNNC, are expected to get a stake of between 30 and 40 percent. ……..

Britain has placed nuclear at the heart of its low-carbon energy policy in stark contrast to Europe’s biggest economy Germany, which has vowed to phase out nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Hinkley Point contract is worth £16 billion. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/britain-to-take-nuclear-plant-share-for-national-security/articleshow/45996556.cms

January 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

US govt takes 4 years to respond – and reject – petition to to close Fukushima-style nuclear reactors

exclamation-SmFlag-USAFour years later, NRC rejects Beyond Nuclear and 10,000+ co-petitioners’ call to close Fukushima-style reactors Beyond Nuclear 23 jan 15  After nearly four years of behind closed doors deliberations, on January 15, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its “Final Director’s Decision” rejecting the April 13, 2011emergency enforcement petition filed by Beyond Nuclear along with more than 10,000 co-petitioners from around the country. The public emergency enforcement petition called for the immediate suspension of the continued operation of the General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors in the U.S. that are identical to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors units 1, 2 and 3 that exploded and melted down following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The NRC makes its best case for dismissing the petition by arguing that “each of the Petitioner’s requests has been addressed through other actions.”  We acknowledge that after four years a portion of the actions that we requested in April 2011 have been taken at some of these reactors. However, we strongly disagree with the NRC’s overall conclusion that each and every action request is addressed and that the public health and safety hazard is resolved such that the petition can be legitimately dismissed in total. We remain concerned that the agency is not capable of effective regulation and enforcement given the long standing nature of the Mark I reactor hazards and a recalcitrant nuclear industry that first considers its financial margins over public safety margins.

Regrettably, we recognize that under existing NRC provisions (Chapter 10 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulation Part 2.206) the public has absolutely no recourse to appeal a Director’s Decision to the Commission level or legally challenge Mark I design vulnerability and its operational hazards in a court of law. This denial of due process comes in spite of the fact that agency orders and industry corrective actions referenced in dismissing the petitioner are inadequate half measures that need not be fully implemented for years still to come, if ever. In critical safety areas for the Mark I, the proposed corrective actions credited in the Director’s Decision are not even conceptually finalized nor approved by the regulator as we approach the fourth anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe. Moreover, there are numerous agency staff non-concurrences on how to even proceed with post-Fukushima action plans………….

Any one of the hazards cited for suspension of the operating licenses in the April 2011 petition serves as ample reason for why the GE Mark I reactors need to be promptly and permanently shuttered.  But a primary focus remains on the threat of catastrophic failure of the Mark I containment under severe accident conditions.

The petitioners remain concerned that because the GE Mark I containment system is only 1/6th the size by volume of a typical pressurized water reactor like Three Mile Island it will not reliably serve to “contain” the tremendous pressures, extreme heat, explosive hydrogen gas and highly radioactive releases associated with an accident involving reactor core damage. In fact, this was demonstrated by a 100% failure rate of the Mark I containment systems for Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2 and 3 which were operating at full power at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The current action plan is  a rehash of a 1989 “fix” to deliberately vent a nuclear accident to the environment by temporarily defeating the containment concept to save it from permanent rupture. Moreover, the current NRC order to improve the reliability of containment venting systems similar to those that failed Fukushima, need not be fully implemented by industry until 2019.

Ironically, when the NRC’s Japan Lessons Learned Task Force reviewed the nuclear catastrophe for recommending modifications to the U.S. Fukushima-style reactors, the staff concluded that what was really needed was not only an enhanced hardened containment vent for the controlled release of heat, pressure and explosive gas but requiring the re-institution of the defense-in-depth concept to more reliably contain the high-level radioactive releases that would also be generated by the nuclear accident. On November 29, 2012, the Japan Lessons Learned Task Force recommended that the Commission issue an Order to all GE Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactor operators to promptly install hardened containment vents with the engineered radiation filters as a “cost-benefited substantial safety enhancement.” The nuclear industry vigorously opposed the additional radiation filter concept on economic grounds and “unintended consequences” and successfully lobbied the five-member Commission by majority vote to reject the filter recommendation on containment vents. The Commission instructed the NRC staff to take up consideration of the installation of radiation filters  in a proposed rulemaking and gather independent scientific expert experience as well as public and industry comments. However, in December 2014, the NRC rulemaking staff reversed course for considering the addition of external radiation filters and now seeks to abandon the rulemaking process effectively locking out public and independent expert input.

Our common struggle for real public safety, environmental protection and energy independence remains to permanently closing down an inherently dangerous atomic power industry.

Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on. http://www.beyondnuclear.org/freeze-our-fukushimas/2015/1/21/four-years-later-nrc-rejects-beyond-nuclear-and-10000-co-pet.h

January 24, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Lowest production in 16 years – uranium in Australia

bull-uncertain-uraniumLowest Australian uranium production for 16 years, World Nuclear Association 23 Jan 15  Due to the shutdown of ERA’s Ranger plant to June, and despite the rich Four-Mile deposit coming on line, Australia’s uranium production in 2014 at 5897 tonnes U3O8 (5000 tU) was the lowest since 1998. Two thirds of it was from Olympic Dam, where uranium is a by-product of copper.  Production from Four Mile is recovered at the Beverley plant, replacing output from that mine at about double the level. http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=140c559a3b34d23ff7c6b48b9&id=e08ac096b6&e=ae5ca458a0

January 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

The Radiation and Public Health Project

Japan’s deadly game of nuclear roulette, Japan Times, BY LEUREN MORET MAY 23 2004“……The Radiation and Public Health Project, a group of independent U.S. scientists, has collected 4,000 baby teeth from children living around nuclear power plants. These teeth were then tested to determine their level of Strontium-90, a radioactive fission product that escapes in nuclear power plant emissions.

Unborn children may be exposed to Strontium-90 through drinking water and the diet of the mother. Anyone living near nuclear power plants is internally exposed to chronically low levels of radiation contaminating food and drinking water. Increased rates of cancer, infant mortality and low birth weights leading to cognitive impairment have been linked to radiation exposure for decades.

However, a recent independent report on low-level radiation by the European Committee on Radiation Risk, released for the European Parliament in January 2003, established that the ongoing U.S. Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Studies conducted in Japan by the U.S. government since 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors underestimated the risk of radiation exposure as much as 1,000 times.

Additionally, on March 26 this year — the eve of the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history, at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania — the Radiation and Public Health Project released new data on the effects of that event. This showed rises in infant deaths up to 53 percent, and in thyroid cancer of more than 70 percent in downwind counties — data which, like all that concerning both the short- and long-term health effects, has never been forthcoming from the U.S. government……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2004/05/23/to-be-sorted/japans-deadly-game-of-nuclear-roulette/#.VMMMH9KUcnk

January 24, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | Leave a comment

Nuclear danger predictions for Japan in 2004: they are the same today

Japan’s deadly game of nuclear roulette, Japan Times, BY LEUREN MORET MAY 23 2004  Of all the places in all the world where no one in their right mind would build scores of nuclear power plants, Japan would be pretty near the top of the list.

The Japanese archipelago is located on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, a large active volcanic and tectonic zone ringing North and South America, Asia and island arcs in Southeast Asia. The major earthquakes and active volcanoes occurring there are caused by the westward movement of the Pacific tectonic plate and other plates leading to subduction under Asia.

Japan sits on top of four tectonic plates, at the edge of the subduction zone, and is in one of the most tectonically active regions of the world. It was extreme pressures and temperatures, resulting from the violent plate movements beneath the seafloor, that created the beautiful islands and volcanoes of Japan.

Nonetheless, like many countries around the world — where General Electric and Westinghouse designs are used in 85 percent of all commercial reactors — Japan has turned to nuclear power as a major energy source.

In fact the three top nuclear-energy countries are the United States, where the existence of 118 reactors was acknowledged by the Department of Energy in 2000, France with 72 and Japan, where 52 active reactors were cited in a December 2003 Cabinet White Paper.

The 52 reactors in Japan — which generate a little over 30 percent of its electricity — are located in an area the size of California, many within 150 km of each other and almost all built along the coast where seawater is available to cool them.

However, many of those reactors have been negligently sited on active faults, particularly in the subduction zone along the Pacific coast, where major earthquakes of magnitude 7-8 or more on the Richter scale occur frequently. The periodicity of major earthquakes in Japan is less than 10 years. There is almost no geologic setting in the world more dangerous for nuclear power than Japan — the third-ranked country in the world for nuclear reactors.

“I think the situation right now is very scary,” says Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist and professor at Kobe University. “It’s like a kamikaze terrorist wrapped in bombs just waiting to explode.”……..

Yoichi Kikuchi, a Japanese nuclear engineer who also became a whistle-blower, has told me personally of many safety problems at Japan’s nuclear power plants, such as cracks in pipes in the cooling system from vibrations in the reactor. He said the electric companies are “gambling in a dangerous game to increase profits and decrease government oversight.”

Sugaoka agreed, saying, “The scariest thing, on top of all the other problems, is that all nuclear power plants are aging, causing a deterioration of piping and joints which are always exposed to strong radiation and heat.”

Like most whistle-blowers, Sugaoka and Kikuchi are citizen heroes, but are now unemployed…….

It is not a question of whether or not a nuclear disaster will occur in Japan; it is a question of when it will occur. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2004/05/23/to-be-sorted/japans-deadly-game-of-nuclear-roulette/#.VMMMH9KUcnk

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment