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Nuclear watchdog proposes raising maximum radiation dose to 250 millisieverts

Nuclear plant workers in Japan will be allowed to be exposed to more than twice the current level of radiation in emergency situations, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Radiation Council.

The radiation exposure limit will be raised from the current 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in emergencies, the radiation council announced in a report released July 30.

The higher level is still only half of the accepted international safety level of 500 millisieverts set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an influential independent organization that provides guidelines on radiation protection, for rescue workers in emergency situations at nuclear facilities.

The new cap will be activated from April 2016 after revisions to the nuclear reactor regulatory law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

The limit was temporarily raised to 250 millisieverts by the radiation council following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The decision was quickly made by the council members through e-mail discussions as the 100 millisieverts limit could have caused a shortage of workers tackling the emergency at the plant. Later, the limit was returned to 100 millisieverts.

Under the revised law, the exposure limit for plant workers will be immediately raised to 250 millisieverts when certain conditions arise, including the risk of radioactive materials leaking from the facility into the surrounding area.

The workers affected will include employees of utility companies and their contractors, inspection officers from the Secretariat of the NRA and other on-field workers.

Of the 174 workers who were exposed to radiation doses more than 100 millisieverts following the Fukushima accident, six were exposed to 250 millisieverts or more.

The radiation council decided that workers are protected if they wear masks and other gear even when exposed to 250 millisieverts. The health damage from acute radiation poisoning below that limit is negligible, it said.

The council’s report calls for nuclear plant operators to carefully explain to workers tackling emergency situations about their tasks and obtain their consent to work in such an environment.

It also requests utility companies to conduct proper training of workers, while one of the council members also called on them to conduct follow-up medical checks to detect cancer and other illnesses.

The report also acknowledges that nuclear plant workers could be required to engage in tasks that cause them to be exposed to more than 250 millisieverts in acute emergency situations.

At Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, which the company aims to restart in August, workers will carry out their tasks with an exposure limit of 100 millisieverts until the maximum limit is raised to 250 millisieverts.

A plant worker who has worked at nuclear facilities for 20 years said he suspects that workers from subcontractors will agree to work under the raised limit.

“The cancer checkups and other measures also sound to me as stopgap efforts to ease our anxiety,” he said.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507310057

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Three former TEPCO executives to stand trial – Residents hail indictment decision

 

Three former TEPCO executives to stand trial

Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company will face mandatory indictment over the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Nobody has been held criminally responsible so far for Japan’s worst nuclear accident.

The prosecution inquest panel of randomly-selected citizens voted for the indictment on Friday, disagreeing for a 2nd time with prosecutors who had dismissed the complaint filed against the officials. The prosecutors said the officials could not have predicted a quake and tsunami on the scale of the March 11th disasters.

The decision leads to the mandatory indictment of former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro for professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

Court-appointed lawyers will act as prosecutors in the trial.

In its decision, the panel said TEPCO should have taken measures to protect the plant from tsunami and flood-triggered serious accidents after it had made a projection of a 15.7-meter tsunami hitting the plant.

The panel said TEPCO could have foreseen that in a worst-case scenario, flooding would result in a massive release of radioactive substances or other severe situations. The panel said that if TEPCO had taken appropriate precautions, a serious accident like the one in March 2011 could have been avoided.

Prosecutors in 2013 dismissed the initial complaints filed by Fukushima residents and others against more than 30 former TEPCO officials for failing to take precautions against major quakes and tsunami.

The case was taken up for reconsideration by the inquest panel, which decided in July last year that the three officials should be indicted.

But prosecutors dismissed the case again in January, sending it back to the inquest panel. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_32.html

 

 

Residents hail indictment decision
The leader of the residents, Ruiko Muto, has praised the panel’s decision.

Muto said she believes a court will determine who was responsible for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and give a fair judgment.

She said that 110,000 people are still unable to return to their homes. She added that having the former executives face a criminal trial will help prevent a recurrence and create a society in which people can live in peace.

The residents’ lawyer, Hiroyuki Kawai, also said that if the former officials had escaped indictment, the real cause of the accident would have been covered up forever.
He expressed hope that the trial will find out more about what caused the nuclear accident.

TEPCO declined to comment on the decision or the criminal complaint that led to it.

But it said in a statement that it wants to renew its heartfelt apology to the people of Fukushima and many others for causing trouble and concern.

The firm said it will do its utmost for compensation, plant decommissioning and decontamination, based on the principle of seeking reconstruction of Fukushima. It added that it is fully resolved to improving the safety of nuclear power plants.

Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_80.html

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Robot probe into No.2 reactor may be delayed

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it may have to postpone plans to send a robot probe into the plant’s No.2 reactor due to difficult preparations.

Tokyo Electric Power Company was planning to send a robot into the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor in August. The purpose is to capture video images of molten nuclear fuel for the first time.

The utility assumes the fuel penetrated the reactor core and is inside the containment vessel.

The plan involved using a pipe sticking out of the container as an entry point for the robot. But some concrete blocks are blocking the way and need to be removed.

Workers found that the remote-controlled machinery they wanted to use to remove the blocks cannot operate in some areas of the reactor building due to an eroded floor and other reasons.

TEPCO says it is now considering using chemicals to clear the blocks or developing new machinery to remove the blocks.

Due to these reasons, the utility says the probe may be postponed from August until December or later, in the worst case. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_06.html

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant tunnels clear of radioactive water

 

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has finished removing highly radioactive water from underground tunnels linked to the reactor buildings.

More than 10,000 tons of highly contaminated water flowed into the tunnels outside the buildings for reactors No.2 and 3. Experts feared that the water might seep into the sea.

The concern led the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, to try and block any more tainted water from entering the tunnels.

The firm has been filling the tunnels with cement to pump out contaminated water since November.

It finished draining the No.2 reactor building’s tunnels late last month. The company says it also completed similar work on the tunnels connected to the No.3 reactor building on Thursday.

The firm will continue the work to fill the tunnels with cement until sometime late next month.

The utility initially attempted to freeze radioactive water in sections where the tunnels connect to the reactor buildings. But this did not work.

The government and TEPCO had placed top priority on addressing the highly radioactive water in the tunnels due to a fear that it might badly pollute the sea near the plant. The latest achievement will significantly reduce that risk. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_01.html

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Fukushima Unit 3 Seawater Trench Concreting Completed

fuk july 30, 2015

 

TEPCO announced that they have completed the concreting of the unit 3 seawater piping trench system. Two vertical shafts are being filled currently to complete the last of this project.

Source: Tepco

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150730_01-e.pdf

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Will USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission allow the nuclear lobby to set radiation standards?

If a pro-hormesis model is allowed to take hold, it will change things forever…

It could give the nuclear industry an excuse to release more radiation from nuclear power plants; an excuse for gov’t quackagencies to allow even more radiation in food and water; allow doctors to give you more radiation…

It allows you to be exposed to low-level radiation because “it’s good for you.”

ALERT: NRC may rule radiation exposure is healthful, Heal Fukushima July 27, 2015  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission may decide that exposure to ionizing radiation is beneficial – the radiation from nuclear bombs, nuclear power plants, depleted uranium, x-rays, and Fukushima. It has opened a proceeding to consider adopting this “radiation is good for you” model. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | 8 Comments

Germany sets new record for renewable energy – 78% renewable electricity July 25

Germany Just Got 78 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources, Think Progress BY ARI PHILLIPS JUL 29, 2015 ON SATURDAY, JULY 25, GERMANY SET A NEW NATIONAL RECORD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY BY MEETING 78 PERCENT OF THE DAY’S ELECTRICITY DEMAND WITH RENEWABLES SOURCES, EXCEEDING THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 74 PERCENT SET IN MAY OF 2014.

solar-rooftops

According to an analysis by German energy expert Craig Morris at the Energiewende blog, a stormy day across northern Europe combined with sunny conditions in southern Germany led to the new record, the exact figures of which are still preliminary. Morris writes that most of Germany’s wind turbines are installed in the north and most of its solar panels are in the south.

If the figures hold, it will turn out that wind and solar generated 40.65 gigawatts (GW) of power on July 25. When this is combined with other forms of renewables, including 4.85 GW from biomass and 2.4 GW from hydropower, the total reaches 47.9 GW of renewable power — occurring at a time when peak power demand was 61.1 GW on Saturday afternoon. To bolster his analysis, Morris points to early figures from Agora Energiewende, a Germany energy policy firm, that have renewables making up 79 percent of domestic power consumption that day.

Renewable sources accounted for 27.8 percent of Germany’s power consumption in 2014, up from 6.2 percent in 2000. The expansion of renewables and another weather phenomenon — a relatively mild winter — led to Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions falling for the first time in three years in 2014, a 4.3 percent year-over-year drop. Greenhouse gas emissions are now down to their lowest level since 1990, according to analysts at Agora Energiewende.

This made 2014 a big year for Germany’s renewable energy transition, known as Energiewende, which requires the phasing out of nuclear energy by 2022 and reducing greenhouse gases at least 80 percent by 2050. The government also wants the at least double the percentage of renewables in the energy mix by 2035………..

As more and more wind turbines and solar panels come online there is a major technology push to create better forecasting software and to increase the efficiency and enhance the location of these forms of power. IBM and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recentlyannounced that they are working on a producing solar and wind forecasting that’s at least 30 percent more accurate than conventional methods.

“There is good reason to believe that with better forecasts, it might be possible to push solar’s energy contribution up to 50 percent [by 2050],” IBM Research Manager Hendrick Hamann recently said about the United States. “As we continue to refine our system in collaboration with the DOE, we hope to double the accuracy of the system in the next year. That could have a huge impact on the energy industry — and on local businesses, the economy and the natural environment.” http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/29/3685555/germany-sets-new-renewable-energy-record/

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

California’s wildfire – a danger to buildings – later to nuclear reactors?

wildfire-nukeRapidly Spreading Wildfire North Of San Francisco Destroys Several Buildings, Forces 500 To Evacuate  Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown News  July 30, 2015 A rapidly spreading brushfire burning in parched timberland north of San Francisco has forced the evacuation of 500 people and destroyed several buildings less than 12 hours after it broke out, fire officials said on Thursday.

The blaze, named the “Rocky Fire,” is one of a string of wildfires threatening homes and scorching parched wilderness in the U.S. West, where several regions have endured sustained drought.

The Rocky Fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in Lake County, 110 miles (180 km) north of San Francisco. By early Thursday it had covered 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire)…….http://fukushima411.com/rapidly-spreading-wildfire-north-of-san-francisco-destroys-several-buildings-forces-500-to-evacuate/

July 31, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s government and the International Atomic Energy Agency “Normalise” the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

news-nukeNormalizing” Nuclear Catastrophe: Japan’s Abe Government Risks Fukushima Victims’ Lives with “Forced Return” to Contaminated Areas By Kendra Ulrich Global Research, July 30, 2015 Ecologist 29 July 2015 ‘Normalizing’ nuclear catastrophe

“…….In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to ‘normalize’ nuclear disaster.

If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose nuclear reactor restarts.

The effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the nuclear industry has been aided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency charged with the promotion of nuclear energy in its charter.

The IAEA has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011. In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement.

The reality is this myth making requires that the people of Fukushima prefecture – especially the people of Iitate – be the sacrificial lambs for the nuclear industry. This is not only wholly unjust, but is a violation of their human rights.

They have already been exposed to more radiation than any other population in the region. To deliberately force the people of Iitate, especially women and children, back to areas where dose rates reach up to 20 millisieverts per year puts them at significant, unacceptable, and unnecessary risk.

A deliberate plan that will have terrible consequences Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Media failed to report the death and health toll from Chernobyl

Fukushima Not Even Close To Being Under Control, Oil Price, By Sun, 28 June 2015 “……..As an example of how media fails to deal with disaster blowback, here are some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout.

Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults.

Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: “The home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions” (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK).

One million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age.

The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as “Death Valley.” It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent “dead zone.”

Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing “death march of radiation exposure” was too much to endure……..http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Fukushima-Not-Even-Close-To-Being-Under-Control.html

 

July 31, 2015 Posted by | children, health, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Failure of USA’s small scale reactor in Antarctica – costly and cancer-causing

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

This is quite an old article, but I find it remarkable because, for once, it mentions the enormous cost of security measures needed for small nuclear reactors in remote areas.

That is what is being proposed for Australia – by both the thorium enthusiasts, and the overseas companies desperate to keep the nuclear industry alive by selling  small reactors to Australa (or, even more insidiously, by providing them to Australia “for free”, in exchange for South Australia importing radioactive trash, as outlined by nuclear proponent Oscar Archer )

the PM-2A’s purpose was to test whether reactors could be built in remote locations using prefabricated parts.

After the reactor was closed down, the US shipped 7700 cubic metres of radioactive contaminated rock and dirt to California, but passed through Dunedin, with a population of 124,000, the second largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, where it stayed for four days, raising local concerns, the New Zealand news site stuff.co.nz.

Russia has found that the logistics of even finding customers for its ANPP’s outweigh even the logistics of operating the plants. Russia has staked a financial bonanza on prospective orders for the plants, but there are, simply, no takers. And if there were, the logistics of securing such a plant against terrorists or accidents in remote areas would require at least the staff of a stationary plant.

smr-aUSTRALIA-copy


Small-scale US nuclear reactor blamed for spiking cancer rates, casting pall over Russia’s FNPP fetish 
AMSTERDAM – A small nuclear power plant operated the United States at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound has been implicated in dozens of cases of an unusual cancer in personnel who worked at or near the station between the years 1964 and 1973, US and New Zealand media have indicated. March 7, 2011 by Bellona  Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Corruption scandal may halt Brazil’s nuclear power programme

corruptionIldo Sauer, a nuclear physicist who worked under Pinheiro in the late 1980s, says Brazil’s nuclear program is too expensive and has been co-opted by politicians and major construction and engineering firms.

“The problem is the lobbyists who see nuclear as a chance to build expensive megaprojects with little regard for cost,” said Sauer, a former head of natural gas at Petrobras. “It’s no longer about science or energy. It’s about politics and money, and that brings corruption.

Brazil Nuclear Leader’s Arrest May Stymie Atomic Ambitions Reuters, VOA, July 30, 2015  RIO DE JANEIRO— The arrest of the longtime head of Brazil’s nuclear energy utility on corruption charges could disrupt a plan to revive Brazilian nuclear ambitions whose roots go back to its atomic-bomb program in the 1980s. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The end of the line for AREVA’s model of “birth to grave” nuclear processes

Areva bankruptAs losses mounted, so did Areva’s debt, which reached six billion euros at the end of the first half of 2015.

The sale of the nuclear reactor unit to EDF marks the end of Areva’s formerly profitable full-service model, which offered clients all aspects of development ranging from conception and construction to fuel procurement and waste treatment.

France sells major nuclear stake   http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/france-sells-major-nuclear-stake-1.1893029#.VbqVMvOqpHw July 30 2015 Paris – Atomic energy giant Areva on Thursday agreed to sell a majority stake of its nuclear reactor unit to electricity group EDF as part of a shake-up of the French sector. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

€7bn needed to keep loss-making nuclear company AREVA alive

scrutiny-on-costsLossmaking Areva needs €7bn capital injection, Ft.com Michael Stothard in Paris, 30 July 15  Struggling French nuclear group Areva on Thursday disclosed it needed a bigger than expected capital injection worth €7bn as the company also unveiled a far-reaching agreement with EDF on asset disposals and other projects.

The two companies — both state-controlled — agreed in principle that EDF will pay €2bn for a 75 per cent stake in Areva’s reactor unit, called Areva NP, in a radical reshaping of the French nuclear industry that has come after months of tense negotiations……..

Following the deal, Areva, which reported a €4.8bn net loss last year, will be reduced to a nuclear fuel company that mines, enriches and then disposes of uranium. The heart of the company — designing, building and servicing nuclear reactors — is being sold off.

Areva said that overall it would need €7bn in capital over the next two years, however, meaning that as much as €5bn will be required from sources other than EDF, the French utility group. Much of these additional funds are likely to come from a government-backed capital raising.

The French government may have to contribute between €4bn and €5bn, far more than the €2bn to €3bn that ministers had hoped for just a few months ago, according to people familiar with the situation, although the exact level of the capital raising was not announced on Thursday.

Areva said it could secure €0.4bn from selling some other assets including Canberra, its nuclear measurements subsidiary, and as much as €1.2bn from other sources of equity financing. This suggested a government-backed capital raising that might be closer to €4bn.

On Thursday the two companies also said they would set up a dedicated company to be 80 per cent owned by EDF and 20 per cent by Areva NP, aimed at improving the design and management of brand new reactors projects.

One of the problems that has weighed on Areva in recent years has been cost overruns at key projects, particularly the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, which is 10 years behind schedule and prompted the company to take €3.9bn in impairment charges………..http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/110c0476-368c-11e5-b05b-b01debd57852.html#axzz3hPaCUU5g

July 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

UNSCEAR All-Clear Report on Fukushima – not really

text-UNSCEARFukushima Not Even Close To Being Under Control, Oil Price, By Sun, 28 June 2015

“………A UN (UNSCEAR) report on April 2, 2014 on health impacts of the Fukushima accident concluded that any radiation-induced effects would be too small to identify. People were well protected and received “low or very low” radiation doses. UNSCEAR gave an all-clear report.

A rebuttal of the UNSCEAR report by the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War d/d July 18, 2014 takes a defiant stance in opposition to the UN report, to wit: “The Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite the declaration of ‘cold shutdown’ by the Japanese government in December 2011, the crippled reactors have not yet achieved a stable status and even UNSCEAR admits that emissions of radioisotopes are continuing unabated. 188 TEPCO is struggling with an enormous amount of contaminated water, which continues to leak into the surrounding soil and sea. Large quantities of contaminated cooling water are accumulating at the site. Failures in the makeshift cooling systems are occurring repeatedly. The discharge of radioactive waste will most likely continue for a long time.”

“Both the damaged nuclear reactors and the spent fuel ponds contain vast amounts of radioactivity and are highly vulnerable to further earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and human error. Catastrophic releases of radioactivity could occur at any time and eliminating this risk will take many decades… It is impossible at this point in time to come up with an exact prognosis of the effects that the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have on the population in Japan… the UNSCEAR report represents a systematic underestimation and conjures up an illusion of scientific certainty that obscures the true impact of the nuclear catastrophe on health and the environment.”………http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Fukushima-Not-Even-Close-To-Being-Under-Control.html

July 31, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment