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Were there radioactive materials in the Tianjin warehouse?

text-cat-questionAs China races to clean up the still very dangerous Tianjin explosion site, and censors the Internet on news and images of this disaster – we are left with the question  – “What was stored in that warehouse?”

The fact that military staff, and International Atomic Energy Agency staff rushed to the area – does make you think that Chinese authorities considered that there was radioactive material stored in that warehouse.

If that were the case – the local area and even Beijing might be in danger from radioactive isotopes blown out by the massive explosion.

Unfortunately, information about this possibility is not forthcoming.

It underlines a serious problem about China being the current poster boy for the nuclear industry. A totalitarian and secretive regime is simply not  a safe place at all for nuclear facilities.

Tianjin doesn’t have nuclear power plants, as far as I can find out. But it is  a worry to find that Tianjin has a company that makes nuclear reactors – Tianjin Electric Power Company – Construction of Nuclear Power Plants

Of course, it’s not as if ionising radiation is the only, or even the most serious, threat from this explosion. The chemical fallout in itself is  a monstrous heath hazard to the clean-up workers, and to the area’s residents.

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

China’s race to clear dangerous chemicals from Tianjin explosion site

China warehouse explosion: Tianjin workers race to clear site of deadly chemicals before it rains Fears potential showers could create clouds of toxic gas. Chinese officials face a race against time to clear toxic chemicals from the site of the Tianjin warehouse explosion, amid fears the blast may have released hundreds of tons of toxic gas into the air.

Soldiers have joined rescue workers in gas masks and hazard suits in the port city where the death toll from Wednesday’s massive explosion has risen to 112. Another 95, the majority of whom were firefighters, remained missing.

Officials confirmed the warehouse where the blast occurred was used to house more than 100 tons of sodium cyanide, a potentially deadly substance.

Explosion tianjin 3

The presence of the chemicals was confirmed by Shi Luze, the chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army’s Beijing Military Region.

He said workers were trying to clear the area before possible rain showers, which could create toxic gas……..

August 17, 2015 Posted by | China, incidents, safety | 1 Comment

China censors Internet on Tianjin explosion news

China’s censors crack down on online chatter about the Tianjin explosions,, 16 Aug 15  Aside from some wind-related misinformation leaking through, China’s censors have managed to maintain that tight control of the Chinese internet we have come to expect following disasters like the Tianjin explosions, liberally expunging thousands upon thousands of “dangerous” tweets.

Many Weibo posters have claimed that their posts on the disaster have “disappeared”. With just two days gone by since the blast and so little reliable information available, it is hard to discern if China’s PR team are simply deleting inaccurate and potentially harmful rumors—like that pollutants from the explosions will be blown to Beijing—or are harmonizing potentially inconvenient truths.

The top 10 most censored terms on Free Weibo, which captures all messages censored or deleted on the social media platform, are almost entirely made up of some combination of “Tianjin” and “explosion.”……..

China Digital Times has published Chinese media directives about how best to report/bury the disaster: “Remove news and images from the explosions from headlines.” Reporters are also forbidden to write posts about the explosions on their personal Weibo and WeChat accounts.

Explosion Tianjin 2

However, some conversations are still allowed to go on…….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | China, media | 1 Comment

Japanese environment groups protest against Restart of Sendai Nuclear Power

logo-NO-nuclear-Smflag-japanJoint Statement to Protest Restart of Sendai Nuclear Power
Government does half-hearted review, downplays risks, pretends Fukushima accident never happened 
August 11, 2015

Today, the Sendai No. 1 nuclear reactor was restarted.

We strongly protest the restart of the Sendai nuclear power plant, which has been done as if the Fukushima nuclear accident never occurred.

The problems with the Fukushima accident have still not been resolved. More than 100,000 people lost their communities and are being forced to live in long-term shelters. Contaminated water is still being discharged, and radiation concentrations continue at high levels in seawater inside and outside of the bay. In Fukushima Prefecture, more than 100 children have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and even the prefecture’s thyroid assessment committee has had to admit that there are many cases.

The review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority is merely a facade to produce the desired result. It is no guarantee of the safety of the Sendai power plant.

The volcanic risk assessment went ahead without a volcano expert. Kyushu Electric Power. The Authority blindly accepted Kyushu Electric Power’s monitoring guidelines that pretend they can predict a major eruption. Earthquake-related reviews were done based on the Irikura method, which has been pointed out to underestimate earthquakes, and NRA’s “ aging management implementation guideline for nuclear power generation equipment ” were circumvented at the last minute in order to rush the restart of the reactors .

Evacuation plans are riddled with problems, and no one has verified their feasibility.

The problem of nuclear waste remains completely unresolved.

In public opinion surveys, nearly 60% of the public both in Kagoshima Prefecture and nationwide are opposed to the restart of the reactors. Many people demanded that Kyushu Electric Power and the national government hold briefings and public hearings, but their voices were ignored.

Many people are aware of the deceptive actions of the government and Nuclear Regulation Authority, and are raising their voices in protest.

Once again, we call on the government to acknowledge the seriousness of the Fukushima nuclear accident, to listen to the many voices demanding an end to nuclear power in Japan, and to change course toward nuclear-free policy.

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

France worried that China’s hasty nuclear power programme is unsafe

“the state of conservation” of large components like pumps and steam generators at Taishan “was not at an adequate level” and was “far” from the standards of the two other EPR plants, one in Finland and the other in Flamanville, France

 in a rare public comment about safety concerns, China’s own State Council Research Office three years ago warned that the development of the country’s power plants may be accelerating too quickly.

Critics of China’s nuclear safety regime, including Albert Lai, chairman of The Professional Commons, a Hong Kong think tank, says that lack of information risks eroding confidence in safety controls in what’s set to be a 14-fold increase of atomic capacity by 2030.

“The workings of China’s atomic safety authority are a ‘‘total black box,’’ said Lai. ‘‘China has no transparency whatsoever.’’

safety-symbol-Smflag-ChinaChina Regulators ‘Overwhelmed’ as Reactors Built at Pace,
Bloomberg  ,   , June 20, 2014 (Bloomberg) — China is moving quickly to become the first country to operate the world’s most powerful atomic reactor even as France’s nuclear regulator says communication and cooperation on safety measures with its Chinese counterparts are lacking.

In the coastal city of Taishan, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the financial hub of Hong Kong, Chinese builders are entering the final construction stages for two state-of-the-art European Pressurized Reactors. Each will produce about twice as much electricity as the average reactor worldwide.

France has a lot riding on a smooth roll out of China’s EPRs. The country is home to Areva SA, which developed the next-generation reactor, and utility Electricite de France SA, which oversees the project. The two companies, controlled by the French state, need a safe, trouble-free debut in China to ensure a future for their biggest new product in a generation. And French authorities have not hidden their concerns. Continue reading

August 17, 2015 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

America and Churchill planned huge pre emptive nuclear strike on USSR

atomic-bomb-lUnthinkable as it may seem, Churchill’s plan literally won the hearts and minds of US policy makers and military officials.

These “first-strike” plans developed by the Pentagon were aimed at destroying the USSR without any damage to the United States.

The 1949 Dropshot plan envisaged that the US would attack Soviet Russia and drop at least 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg)

the Kennedy administration introduced significant changes to the plan, insisting that the US military should avoid targeting Soviet cities and had to focus on the rival’s nuclear forces alone.


text-historyPost WW2 World Order: US Planned to Wipe USSR Out by Massive Nuclear Strike, Sputnik News. Ekaterina Blinova. 15 Aug 15,  Was the US deterrence military doctrine aimed against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era really “defensive” and who actually started the nuclear arms race paranoia?

 Just weeks after the Second World War was over and Nazi Germany defeated Soviet Russia’s allies, the United States and Great Britain hastened to develop military plans aimed at dismantling the USSR and wiping out its cities with a massive nuclear strike.

Interestingly enough, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had ordered the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to develop a strategy targeting the USSR months before the end of the Second World War. The first edition of the plan was prepared on May 22, 1945. In accordance with the plan the invasion of Russia-held Europe by the Allied forces was scheduled on July 1, 1945.

Winston Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable The plan, dubbed Operation Unthinkable, stated that its primary goal was “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though ‘the will’ of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment.” Continue reading

August 17, 2015 Posted by | history, Reference, UK, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Obama can still do the Iran nuclear deal, despite Congress opposition

Obama,BarackPresident Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress rejects it Chicago Tribune, By Tribune wire reports contact the reporter , 16 Aug 15 President Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to make a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.  The September vote on the Iran nuclear deal is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Yet even if lawmakers reject the agreement,  it’s not game-over for the White House.

A congressional vote of disapproval would not prevent Obama from acting on his own to start putting the accord in place. While he probably would take some heavy criticism, this course would let him add the foreign policy breakthrough to his second-term list of accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program — at least for now.

“A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations, but limited practical impact,” says Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It would not override President Obama’s authority to enter into the agreement.”

Lawmakers on their summer break are deciding how to vote. A look at the current state of play:


With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the House and Senate are expected to turn down the deal. Obama has pledged to veto such a resolution of disapproval, so the question has turned to whether Congress could muster the votes to override him, in what would be a stinging, bipartisan vote of no-confidence against the president. And Obama would forfeit the authority he now enjoys to waive sanctions that Congress has imposed.

But Democrats and Republicans have predicted that his expected veto will be sustained — that opponents lack the votes to one-up Obama……

WHAT CAN OBAMA DO ON HIS OWN? The president could suspend some U.S. sanctions. He could issue new orders to permit financial transactions that otherwise are banned now. On the financial sector, Obama could use executive orders to remove certain Iranians and entities, including nearly two dozen Iranian banks, from U.S. lists, meaning they no longer would be subject to economic penalties……….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran has complied on key condition of the nuclear deal – submitting documents to IAEA

flag-IranIran submits nuclear activity information to UN watchdog, Yahoo News Vienna (AFP), 16 Aug 15,  – Iran has submitted documents linked to its past nuclear activity, the UN’s atomic watchdog has confirmed, a key condition of a probe into suspected efforts to create nuclear arms. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed a “roadmap” with Iran in July to investigate its nuclear programme, as part of an overall accord with major world powers.

The historic deal is aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for relief on painful economic sanctions.

The IAEA said Iran had met a key deadline by handing over the papers on Saturday.

“Iran… provided the IAEA with its explanation in writing and related documents as agreed in the roadmap for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme,” the agency said in a brief statement published Saturday.

A senior Iranian official also confirmed that the documents had been submitted.

“We have achieved our commitments as part of the deadline set out in the agreement,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

The IAEA is to issue a report on its investigation by December 15……….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

South Africa’s incorrect environmental assessments for proposed nuclear power stations

safety-symbol1flag-S.AfricaNuclear deal environmental assessments don’t match proposed plants: DA RDM News Wire | 16 August, 2015 

The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) conducted to assess and predict the environmental consequences of chosen nuclear build sites – and which are necessary by law – are outdated and obsolete‚ and cannot be used in support of the proposed trillion rand nuclear build programme, the Democratic Alliance says.

The DA said on Sunday that this is yet another reason why Minister of Energy Tina Joematt-Pettersson must “move to scrap this secretive and unaffordable nuclear deal once and for all”.

In a statement‚ DA spokesman on energy Gordon MacKay said this information had come to light in a reply to a DA parliamentary question in which the Minister of Energy revealed that the EIAs – which are needed before construction can begin – were carried out for only three of the proposed sites by Eskom between 2007 and 2008.

“The DA has reviewed the existing EIAs and we have noted deficiencies in at least two respects.

“Firstly‚ the EIA’s have only assessed the suitability and environmental impact of High Pressurized Water Reactors‚ a technology currently being used at South Africa’s sole nuclear site at Koeberg.

“The EIA’s have not considered technology being offered by other bid vendors such as Rossatom’s AES 2006 reactor. This reactor‚ the VVER‚ is a water to water pressurised rector and differs materially from the design evaluated by the EIA. Adoption of technology from vendor nations with designs deviating from Koeberg’s would therefore be ill advised and invalid.

“Secondly‚ the EIA was conducted when the power utility was planning on expanding its nuclear generating fleet through the nuclear-1 project – a much smaller‚ single site project which does not compare to the current proposed build programme‚” Mr MacKay asserted.

“Indeed‚ the Environmental Consultants who did carry out the EIA indicated that the evaluation was only for a single nuclear power station of a maximum of 4‚000 MW‚” he added.

He quoted the consultants as making clear in their report that “In spite of the above-mentioned broad recommendations regarding the number of power stations that could potentially be constructed at each site‚ it must be emphasized that the current application is for a single nuclear power station of a maximum of 4‚000 MW. The cumulative impacts of any additional nuclear power stations on a particular site (if authorised) would have to be confirmed in a new EIA process prior to any further development”.

“This‚” stated MacKay‚ “is significantly less than the current nuclear build programme‚ which is estimated at 9600MW‚ more than double the maximum of 4000 MW stipulated in the EIA. The report also makes it quite clear – anything above 4000MW would have to be confirmed in a new EIA process prior to any further development.

“The fact that the Minister is trying to distort South Africa’s legislative processes‚ in this way‚ is deeply concerning.

“It is now increasingly clear that the proposed trillion rand nuclear deal is ill-thought out‚ and rushed‚ and should not be pursued. The Minister must now put her pride aside‚ and do what is right: scrap the deal‚ once and for all.”

August 17, 2015 Posted by | safety, South Africa | 1 Comment

TEPCO’s problem of finding exact location of molten nuclear fuel

All Nuclear Fuel Has Melted At Fukushima, Say TEPCO The Tokyo Electric Power Company Tells All Neon Nettle  |@Neon Nettle 24th March 2015 The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are claiming that almost all the fuel inside one of the Fukushima nuclear plant’s reactors has melted. reports:

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said the technology, which uses elementary particles called “muon” to create x-ray style images, gave the most concrete evidence yet the fuel had dropped to the bottom of No. 1 reactor.

The data, though largely expected, should help TEPCO as it continues its effort to decommission the plant four years after an earthquake and tsunami caused one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in living memory.

Engineers have not been able to develop a machine to directly see the exact location of the molten fuel, hampered by extremely high levels of radiation in and around the reactors…….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Mururoa nuclear test victims affected by nuclear fallout

Mururoa-test-1971Mururoa nuclear testing witness spent years in pain, group seeks answers, Mururoa Veterans, SIMON EDWARDS, August 17 2015 There’s no doubt in Christine Hapuku’s mind that her late brother’s health problems stemmed from his exposure to fallout from the French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll.

At the weekend Christine and Alec Gage’s wider family unveiled his headstone at Wainuiomata’s Memorial Garden, a year ago almost to the day since his death.

……..Gage was a sailor on HMNZS Otago, which with the frigate Canterbury sailed to Mururoa in 1973 to protest the nuclear testing by France.   He and his brother Bob, who was also on board, would talk about standing on the ship’s deck wearing metal discs around their necks that were to measure how much radiation they absorbed.  The pair said the atmospheric testing fall-out was like fine rain, Hapuku said.

“Even the French acknowledged the bombs were a lot stronger than they were meant to be.

“Those discs were collected and never seen again.”

…….Christine Hapuku said medical researchers used to talk to Alec when he was in hospital but they never heard anything more.  She is hoping further research being pursued by the Mururoa veterans’ group might give the family some closure.

The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is searching for all those who sailed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 aboard HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Otago. The group, formed in 2013 and registered as a Legal Society, monitors the medical conditions that have affected not only the personnel aboard the two frigates but also their children and grandchildren.

The group’s president, Wayne O’Donnell, said because there was no full list of the veterans who served at Mururoa they need the public’s help.

“Unfortunately over the years contact has been lost with the widows and children of those who have ‘crossed the bar’ and we need to make contact with these people so they can be informed of any findings.”

The group established a trust fund to enable the medical testing of the veterans’ children and grandchildren. “It is hoped the results will establish the truth of the genetic transfer of illnesses related to the nuclear exposure encountered by the crews,” O’Donnell says.
……Anyone with information should

August 17, 2015 Posted by | health, New Zealand | Leave a comment

Questions on safety, and silencing of critics – HUMBOLDT BAY POWER PLANT


PG&E is set to hold a public open house at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the ongoing decommissioning of the plant’s nuclear power facility known as Unit 3………

Earlier on Wednesday at the Arcata City Library, former Eureka resident and former plant nuclear control technician Bob Rowen is set to hold a lecture and Q&A session to discuss the allegations he has raised about the plant’s operations and government oversight.

Having already written a book on the topic, “My Humboldt Diary: A True Story of Betrayal of the Public Trust,” Rowen claims PG&E and government agencies — like the now defunct Atomic Energy Commission — made decisions or intentionally ignored incidents of radioactive exposure to both power plant employees and members of the surrounding communities.

After bringing his allegations forward, Rowen claims he and other employees were fired in 1970 as retaliation with subsequent police investigations, attempts to smear his character and even death threats occurring in the aftermath.

The Atomic Energy Commission investigated Rowen’s claims, but found that PG&E had not committed any major safety violations relating to radiation exposure in its investigation.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.

August 17, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Norway’s dangerous plan to dump nuclear trash on island

radioactive trashflag-NorwayNorway wants to dump nuclear waste on island, The Local,  14 Aug 2015 Norway’s government wants to dump 1,200 tons of radioactive waste on an island an hour south of Oslo, even though the waste company which owns the site believes it is too dangerous. According to Norway’s VG newspaper, Norway’s Ministry of Industry has hired a Swedish consultant in order to overall the objections from NOAH, which owns the waste dump on Langøya, and so force it to take radioactive sludge from the Søve mines an hour inland.

 “We are reacting very strongly to this,” Stein Lier Hansen, the chief executive of the the industrial trade group NHO, told the newspaper. “It’s simply startling that the ministry is trying to overturn the  expert assessments of a private company.”…….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, wastes | Leave a comment

Seabrook Nuclear Station’s 10-mile evacuation plan inadequate

Seabrook Station’s 10-mile evacuation zone draws scrutiny , SeaCoast Online, By Max Sullivan Aug. 16, 2015   The Massachusetts House of Representatives is considering a bill to extend the emergency planning zone surrounding Seabrook Station nuclear power plant. Some New Hampshire lawmakers support the idea and are considering similar legislation for the Granite State.

The bill, H.2031, would extend the zone to 50 miles out from Seabrook Station in Massachusetts only. There is currently a 10-mile radius around the nuclear plant. Within that radius, first responders receive special training, siren equipment and a supply of potassium iodide pills to be dispersed to counteract some of the health problems caused by exposure to radiation.

Potasium iodide can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Bill supporters note during the meltdown of the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, American citizens were urged to evacuate at least 50 miles from the site.

The bill is currently in the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health.

Massachusetts state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, a Democrat representing the First Essex District, wrote a letter in support of the bill and said she has concerns about the fact only three of her towns, Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury, fall within the 10-mile radius. The other towns she represents, Haverhill, Merrimac, Methuen and North Andover, do not have the same emergency resources, she said…….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Administration Act a poor solution to USA’s radioactive trash dilemma

Oscar-wastesNuclear Industry, Not Government, Should Handle Nuclear Waste Issue, The Daily Signal, Katie Tubb / August 16, 2015   By law, the Department of Energy is supposed to collect spent nuclear fuel and deposit it at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. Nuclear power customers in 33 states have paid billions of dollars into a federal fund to finance this service. Yet the DOE has never collected a single ounce of spent fuel. Indeed, the Yucca Mountain facility still isn’t open for business.

Federal courts have ruled that the DOE is in partial breach of contract for not handling the waste—and that’s costing taxpayers, too. The federal government has already paid out $4.5 billion in legal settlements and could be liable for as much as another $50 billion (the “low” estimate is still $22 billion). Meanwhile, the spent fuel continues to pile up—growing by some 2,000 metric tons per year—awaiting safe disposal.

There’s no denying that this is a huge problem. Which is why senators from both sides of the aisle are working together to find a solution. Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington and Dianne Feinstein of California, have a hammered out a proposal to relieve DOE of its nuclear waste management responsibilities.

Unfortunately, they would transfer that responsibility to a new federal bureaucracy: the Nuclear Waste Administration. The intention—to rebuild trust between the federal government and both the American people and nuclear power industry—is good. But to shift responsibility from one federal agency to another is about as promising as moving loose change from one holey pocket to another.

The senators’ Nuclear Waste Administration Act fails on another front as well. The legislation could delay a permanent solution to nuclear waste management for at least another 30 years. Instead, the bill would authorize construction of one or two interim storage facilities. This represents no progress whatsoever. When the Energy Department never showed up to collect waste, nuclear power plants began storing waste safely in de facto interim storage facilities……..

The Nuclear Waste Administration Act really fixes only one problem: It would stop the lawsuits against the DOE for failing to collect waste from nuclear power plants. That’s assuming, of course, that the new agency actually picks up the waste…….

August 17, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment