The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Soil Sample July 2015 from Nakano, Tokyo — Cesium 134 Cesium 137



From  Mimi German, the head of Radcast​ in Portland, Oregon, USA:
Latest from RadCast Labs… not surprised to find Cesium134 and Cesium 137 in soil samples from Nakano, Tokyo.

Tokyo is 240 kms South of Fukushima Daiichi…
RadCast received samples of soil from Nakano, Tokyo which clearly showed both Cesium 137 and Cesium 134. This sample is from July 2015. We have 476 Bq/kg


September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | 4 Comments

Japan to lift evacuation order for Fukushima town of Naraha

FUKUSHIMA – The government is set to lift at midnight Friday its evacuation order for the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha, most of which is located within 20 kilometers of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Naraha will be the first of the seven Fukushima municipalities where the entire populations were instructed to evacuate to have the order removed.
It will be the third such order to be lifted for a municipality in the former no-go zone set within 20 kilometers of the northeastern Japan power station, which suffered a reactor meltdown accident after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Naraha had a registered population of 7,368 in 2,694 households as of Tuesday. According to a survey by the government and others, some 46 percent of the residents hope to return home.
Only a portion of them are likely to go back immediately, however, including 780 people at some 350 households who are doing long-stays at their homes in the town to prepare for permanent returns.
The central and town governments will reopen a medical clinic in the town in October. A new prefectural clinic will be built as early as February.
To handle sudden illnesses among elderly people wishing to return home, medical services will be reinforced through steps such as the distribution of emergency buzzers to those who need them.
In a bid to meet requests for shopping services, a supermarket in the town launched free delivery services in July. A publicly built, privately run shopping center with a supermarket and do-it-yourself store will be established in fiscal 2016.
Dosimeters will be handed out to help people check radiation levels, while 24-hour monitoring will be conducted at a water filtration plant. Tap water will be tested at households hoping to check for radioactive materials.
The government lifted its evacuation order for the Miyakoji district in the city of Tamura in April 2014 and the eastern part of the village of Kawauchi in October 2014.
In August 2012, Naraha was redesignated as an area being prepared for the removal of the evacuation order and where people are allowed to enter during the daytime.
With decontamination work largely completed, evacuees have been allowed since April 2015 to return home for long-term stays to prepare for permanent returns.

Source: Japan Times

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi drainage system enters operation

The flow of groundwater into the reactor buildings and port area of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan should be significantly reduced with the start of use of a new system to pump, treat, test and discharge the water.

Fukushima Daiichi subdrain system -sept 3 2015

The subdrain system is a group of 41 wells installed in the vicinity of the reactor and turbine buildings. Pumped up by the subdrain, the amount of groundwater flowing into the buildings is expected to be significantly reduced. The groundwater flowing into the port area is held back by the coastal impermeable wall and pumped up by another group of wells, the groundwater drain system, installed in the bank protection area.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) announced the first pumping up of groundwater by 20 of the wells in the subdrain system had begun at 10.00am today.

The collected groundwater will be temporarily stored to check its quality and then discharged into the port area, with thorough treatment processes.

Tepco said it expects the water pumped up by the subdrain and groundwater drain to be slightly more contaminated than water from the existing groundwater bypass (which intercepts water on the land side of the reactor buildings). However, it said the water will be treated to meet the more stringent quality standards for the subdrain and groundwater drain than for the groundwater bypass. The company noted the water would also be monitored more frequently to verify its quality for discharge.

Once the subdrain and groundwater drain systems are found to be operating stably, the opening that was left in the seaside impermeable wall will be closed to prevent groundwater flowing into the port area, Tepco said. The subdrain and groundwater drain will then work to keep groundwater from accumulating behind the impermeable wall.

Tepco estimates the subdrain will reduce the flow of groundwater into the reactor buildings to 150 cubic meters per day from the current 300 cubic meters. In the longer term, the company said the pumping systems and seaside wall are expected to be joined with the land side impermeable wall (frozen soil wall) currently under construction, “creating a wall around the reactor buildings and further reducing the intrusion of groundwater”.

Tepco sought the approval of prefectural and national fishermen’s associations for use of the system.

Tepco’s chief decommissioning officer Naohiro Masuda said, “The activation of the subdrain system is a major milestone in redirecting fresh water from contaminated area. It also enables the seaside impermeable wall to be closed to further prevent any leakage of contaminated water.”

Source: World Nuclear News

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO pumps up groundwater for release into sea

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun pumping up groundwater from around reactor buildings with the aim of releasing it into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, hopes the move will slow the accumulation of radioactive wastewater in the buildings, which is building up at a rate of 300 tons a day due to the inflow of groundwater.

The utility will target groundwater from wells dug around the No.1 through No.4 reactor buildings. It plans to filter out much of the radioactive material before releasing the water into the ocean.

Workers on Thursday began pumping up groundwater from 20 wells. They plan to remove 200 tons through the afternoon and store it in special tanks.

TEPCO has yet to reach an agreement with local authorities and fishermen about when to release the decontaminated water, but it will likely be later this month.

The utility claims the drainage will cut the amount of wastewater in the reactor buildings by about half.

But local authorities and fishermen worry about what could happen to the environment if something goes wrong.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO starts pumping up Fukushima groundwater

FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. started pumping up groundwater from wells at its disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Thursday in an operation to prevent radiation-tainted water from increasing further.

TEPCO plans to remove radioactive substances from the pumped-up water.

The groundwater will be released into the sea if radiation levels fall below preset limits after the cleanup. When to start the water release has yet to be decided.

On Thursday, TEPCO was to pump up a total of 100-200 tons of groundwater from 20 of the 41 wells, called subdrains, located near the No. 1 to No. 4 reactor buildings at the plant, which was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The water will be stored temporarily at a tank with a capacity of 1,000 tons.

At the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, groundwater flows into the reactor buildings and mixes with water that has become highly contaminated with radioactive substances after being used to cool melted nuclear fuel, leading to an increase in the amount of tainted water.

On Aug. 25, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations decided to allow TEPCO to release purified groundwater into the sea.

Source: Japan News (Jiji)

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Roundup of nuclear news this week

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Three months until the Paris United Nations Climate Conference – November 30 to December 11

The cashed up nuclear lobby will be there promoting themselves as the world’s saviour from climate change, and pollution.

They will base this claim on 3 lies:

  1. that new nuclear power will solve the wastes problem
  2. that low dose ionising rdaiation is harmless, even healthy
  3. that nuclear power is essential to combat climate change

I would love it if people would join  in examining and exposing those 3 lies.

For September the focus is on Lie No. 1

I see that the Nuclear Information and Resource Center has already a website for this:

Much as I hate Facebook, I have started a Facebook Page: The more the merrier- perhaps.

Red Cross Red Crescent call for binding international agreement on nuclear disarmament.

OCEAN. Ken Buesseler, Jay Cullen, lead independent research into radiation in the Pacific Ocean

JAPAN   Ex-Fukushima No. 1 worker sues Tepco over cancer.  Despite Sendai restart, the outlook for Japan’s nuclear industry is poor. Miyagi residents physically block officials from surveying proposed nuke waste dump sites. Tochigi town residents rally against selection as candidate site for final disposal of radiation-tainted waste. How nuclear-free Japan made it through hottest summer yet without brownouts.


USA. Key Democrat votes now ensure success in the Iran nuclear deal. USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission ignores Recommendation on Plans to Address a Core-Melt Accident.  Radiation testing by govt in 4 Bay area cities in USA, by low flying drones. A splurge of spin for NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. USA’s super costly new bomb could ignite anew arms race. Significant levels of thorium 230, a radioactive isotope found in USA residential area. USA’s Department of Energy finds that Disposal of plutonium – burial is cheaper than MOX processing.

GERMANY. German govt to change nuclear liability law – to make utilities pay up for nuclear exit costs.

UKRAINE. Ukraine’s Neo Nazi unit The Azov Battalion is training child soldiers, and getting USA funding.

S KOREA. Radioactive trash mounting in South Korea, with no solution in sight.

S AFRICA. Exposed: confidential agreement gives Russia unfair control over South Africa’s #nuclear project.

UK. UK govt pre-empts Parliament on more money for Trident nuclear weapons. Yet more delay for New Hinkley Point nuclear power station. UK under pressure to buy nuclear reactors – from GE/Hitachi, Westinghouse/Toshiba and Areva/Mitsubishi.


September 4, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Despite Sendai restart, the outlook for Japan’s #nuclear industry is poor

nuclear-dead-catflag-japanJapan nuclear power outlook bleak despite first reactor restart, Yahoo News, 1 Sept 15, By Kentaro Hamada and Aaron Sheldrick TOKYO (Reuters) – The number of Japanese nuclear reactors likely to restart in the next few years has halved, hit by legal challenges and worries about meeting tougher safety standards imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a Reuters analysis shows…….

analysis shows that of the other 42 operable reactors remaining in the country, just seven are likely to be turned on in the next few years, down from the 14 predicted in a similar survey last year.

The findings are based on reactor inspection data from industry watchdog the Nuclear Regulation Authority, court rulings and interviews with local authorities, utilities and energy experts. They also show that nine reactors are unlikely to ever restart and that the fate of the remaining 26 looks uncertain.

“Four-and-a-half years after the events started unfolding at Fukushima Daiichi, the Japanese government, the nuclear utilities and the NRA have not succeeded in overcoming complete planning insecurity for investors. The outlook for restarts is as cloudy as ever,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant in Paris…….


Legal challenges from local residents have hit all atomic plants, with the country’s most nuclear-reliant utility Kansai Electric Power issued with court rulings preventing the restart of four reactors despite two of them already receiving NRA approval to switch on.

Kansai has appealed the judgments but the court cases may take years to resolve if the rulings are not overturned on the first appeal.

Tougher safety standards and stricter implementation of rules since Fukushima have also been hitting restarts. Japan Atomic Power has been battling a regulatory ruling that one of its reactors sits above an active fault, meaning it must be decommissioned.

And highlighting the pitfalls of rebooting the industry, Kyushu Electric was forced to slow the ramp up of power from its Sendai No. 1 reactor after it restarted around mid-August due to problems with pumping equipment. Engineers warn that firing up reactors that have been offline for prolonged periods could be fraught with such troubles……..–finance.html

September 4, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Cesium – radioactive contamination in Japan

Starr,-StevenI am afraid that there are many Japanese people now living on lands equally Cesium-137
contaminated with radioactive cesium. If Japanese children are allowed to routinely ingest foodstuffs contaminated with Cesium-137, they will likely develop the same health problems that we see now in the children and teenagers of Belarus and Ukraine.

Thus it is very important that we recognize the danger posed to children by the routine ingestion of contaminated food with Cesium-137 where ever they might live. It is also important to prevent further nuclear disasters which release these fiendishly toxic poisons into the global ecosystems. Given the immense amounts of long-lived radionuclides which exist at every nuclear power plant this is an urgent task.

The Implications of The Massive Contamination of Japan With Radioactive Cesium 
Steven Starr  Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility  Director, University of Missouri, Clinical Laboratory Science Program Helen Caldicott Foundation Fukushima Symposium  New York Academy of Medicine, 11 March 2013 A large number of highly radioactive isotopes released by the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant grossly contaminated the Japanese mainland. Most of these radionuclides had short half lives which meant they would essentially disappear in a matter of days or months. For many of those who were exposed to them there will be major health consequences.
However, there were some radioactive elements that will not rapidly disappear. And it is these long-lived radionuclides that will remain to negatively affect the health of all complex life forms that are exposed to them.

text cesiumChief among them is Cesium-137, which has taken on special significance because it is has proven to be the most abundant of the long-lived radionuclides that has remained in the environment following the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima. It has a 30 year radioactive half life which is why it persists in the environment. Scientists now believe that it will be 180 to 320 years before the Cesium-137 around the destroyed Chernobyl reactor actually disappears from the environment. Continue reading

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference | 6 Comments

Radiation testing in 4 Bay area cities in USA, by low flying drones

drone-1Flag-USALow-Flying Government Helicopter Testing For Radiation In 4 Bay Area Cities September 1, 2015 (CBS SF) — If you see a low-flying helicopter buzzing above the Bay Area this week, don’t freak out. It’s just the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) testing for radiation.

The government helicopter may seen flying in a grid pattern at 300 feet or higher above Berkeley, San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland between Tuesday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 6.

According to a statement by the City of Berkeley, the federal government is partnering with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab on a program “to improve the U.S. government’s ability to detect nuclear and radiological material.”

The city posted a notice about the flyover, along with the Bay Area flight schedule for this week.

A similar test measuring for naturally-occurring background radiation was done in August 2012.

NNSA was established by Congress in 2000 as a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy “responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science,”according to a press release.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Not one drop of nuclear waste treated after 25 years of costly Hanford project

The Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant project there, known as WTP, is meant to exhume the waste, freeze it in glass, and give it a proper burial. But it’s been plagued by delays. It was expected to cost $4.3 billion and be built by 2011. Instead, the cost has swelled past $12 billion to date, with an estimated $7 billion in work left to be done. So far, not a drop of waste has been processed.

Nuclear cleanup project haunted by legacy of design failures and
whistleblower retaliation, Center for Public Integrity,  Twenty-five years after the project began, the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant at Hanford is nearing a three-fold cost overrun, and not a single drop of waste has been treated 
By Patrick Malone 2 Sept 15 

The largest and most costly U.S. environmental cleanup project has been dogged for years by worries about an accidental nuclear reaction or a spill of toxic materials that could endanger residents nearby, as well as a history of contractor retaliation against workers who voice worries about persistent safety risks.

But it hasn’t fully turned the corner yet, according to recent comments by the federal officials now overseeing its operation. Continue reading

September 4, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Ukraine’s Neo Nazi unit The Azov Battalion is training child soldiers, and getting USA funding

Military Training for Young Children at Ukraine’s “Neo-Nazi Summer Camp”. Recruitment of Ukraine’s “Child Soldiers” Financed by US “Nonlethal” Military Aid?, Global Research [excellent photos] By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, August 30, 2015 Unknown to most Americans, the US government is channeling financial support, weapons and training to a Neo-Nazi entity –which is part of The Ukraine National Guard– The Azov Battalion (Батальйон Азов). Canada and Britain have confirmed that they also are providing support to the National Guard.

The Azov Battalion -which “officially” displays the Nazi SS emblem–  is described by the Kiev regime as “a volunteer battalion of territorial defense”. It’s a National Guard battalion under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the equivalent of America’s Homeland Security. 

Officially based in Berdyank on the Sea of Azov, the Azov battalion was formed by the regime to fight the opposition insurgency in the Donbass region. (Eastern and Southern Ukraine).   The Azov battalion supported by its Western partners is not only involved in para-military operations in Eastern Ukraine. According to reports including the Kyiv Post (Ukraine mainstream media), it is running a Summer Camp military training project for young children as part of its broader training and indoctrination program.

According to RT:

“The camp was established to show the children that there are things in life besides school and mobile devices and to “give them our love,” Oleksii, a platoon commander in the Azov battalion and instructor at the camp, told Ukrainian ICTV channel. “One has to be strong; has to be courageous to defend the territorial integrity of our motherland,” he added.” (RT report)

Western media sources (quoted by the Kyiv Post) confirm that children as young as six years old  (see images below) are participating in the Azov Summer Camp located in the Vodytsya district outside Kyiv.

The Kyiv Post –which blames the Western media for its biased coverage– nonetheless acknowledges the diabolical nature of the military training project:

… this particular camp is run by the Azov Battalion founded by lawmaker Andriy Biletsky, its former commander. Located in the wooded area of Kyiv’s Pushcha Vodytsya district, kids at this summer camp aren’t just playing soldiers – they’re getting actual military training from soldiers who have fought on the front line in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Named Azovets, the camp has been the subject of negative coverage in the Russian media, pro-Russia websites and even U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail.

“Neo-Nazi summer camp: Ukrainian kids taught to shoot AKs by Azov battalion members (PHOTOS),” reads Kremlin-controlled RT’s headline for its story about the camp.

“Shocking pictures from inside neo-Nazi military camp reveal recruits as young as SIX are being taught how to fire weapons (even though there’s a ceasefire),” reads the headline in the Daily Mail’s sensationalized and inaccurate article. (Kiev Post, August 29, 2015)

While the Kiev regime denies that Azov is a Neo-Nazi entity, the logos of both the Azov batallion as well as the Avovets Summer Camp (displayed on the Summer Camp T shirts) bear the symbol of the Nazi SS Wolfsangel with shadows of “the Nazi Black Sun” in the background.

Recruitment of Child Soldiers

The Summer Camp training program constitutes the first stage of the recruitment of child soldiers in derogation of international law.

Invariably, the recruitment of child soldiers implies a training program which familiarizes young children with the use of light automatic weapons.

The military trainers are part of the Azov paramilitary dispatched to the Summer Camp  The Kyiv Post article describes in detail the nature of the “Neo-Nazi Summer Camp”. What the reports confirm is that an entity under the jurisdiction of  Ukraine’s National Guard (financed by the Ukraine Ministry of internal Affairs) is training and indoctrinating small children in the art of warfare:

The Azovets summer camp accepts children of Azov Battalion members, as well as kids from Kyiv’s nearby Obolon district and further afield. It opened on June 22, runs weeklong programs of activities for groups of 30 to 40 kids. Officially, it is for children aged from nine to 18, but there are kids as young as seven there. A few of the kids had already attended it for several weeks in a row.

What makes the camp most controversial is that it’s run by Azov fighters, some of whom have been labeled as far-right supporters and neo-Nazis. Critics say the battalion’s symbol is an inverted Wolfsangel that has oblique but uncomfortable associations with Nazism.

In previous interviews with Ukrainian media, Biletsky says the symbolism is misunderstood. The letters “N” and “I” make up Azov’s insignia, which he says stand for “national idea.”

Biletsky founded a neo-Nazi group in Ukraine called the Social-National Assembly, and there certainly are neo-Nazis among the battalion’s ranks, some sporting Nazi tattoos. Some media have reported that up to 20 percent of Azov’s fighters are neo-Nazis, though the battalion’s press officers are always at pains to emphasize that Azov, as a military formation, does not share the ideology of its founder Biletsky, or indeed have any ideology other than fervent patriotism.

When the Kyiv Post visited the Azovets camp on Aug. 19 the kids were busy with a range of activities, including stripping down and assembling AK-47 assault rifles, target practice (with air guns), tackling assault courses, and practicing combat poses and patrolling. They also take part in various sports and games, do rappelling and climbing, and practice other more traditional scouting and woodcraft skills like tying knots……….

US Military Aid

This diabolical endeavor, which incites hate by innocent children against ethnic Russians as well as opponents of the Kiev regime is broadly supported by US military aid channelled to the Ukraine National Guard via the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The MIA coordinates the “anti-terrorism operation” (ATO) in Donbass.

While the US Congress has adopted amendments to its “Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015.” to block the training of the Azov battalion’s Neo-Nazis, in practice the money trickles down.

Moreover, in addition to military aid channelled under the jurisdiction of the Pentagon, the California National Guard has established a partnership with the Ukraine National Guard, which includes the Azov Battalion:……..

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive trash mounting in South Korea, with no solution in sight

At all of the sites visited, the author found local opinion leaders making clear their concerns about the safety of spent fuel management in addition to their concerns about the overall safety of nuclear power plant operations

As they grapple with safety concerns regarding nearby nuclear facilities, local residents typically lack unbiased information on the issues involved

The Search for Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage in South Korea,
Nautilus,   By Jungmin text-wise-owlKang 31 August 2015

I. Introduction

Plans call for a continued expansion in South Korea’s fleet of nuclear reactors, but at the same time, facilities for the temporary storage of spent fuel, mostly in at-reactor pools, continue to fill up. Negotiations between the nuclear industry and central government agencies on one side, and local host communities on the other, for siting of interim spent fuel storage facilities, let alone permanent waste disposal facilities, have been largely ineffective to date, due in large part to a combination of the tactics used by authorities in approaching local communities, and a lack of unbiased information about nuclear facilities on the part of local stakeholders. In the last few years, a new effort to engage host communities has been undertaken, and shows some promise, though much work remains before agreements on facility siting can be reached.

Nuclear Spent Fuel is Accumulating at Reactor Sites in South Korea

As of 2015 about 760 metric tons of spent fuel is discharged annually from 23 reactors in South Korea.[1] About half of this total comes from four CANDU heavy water reactors (HWRs) and the other half from 19 pressurized light-water reactors (PWRs).[2] As of the end of 2013, 6,541 tHM (tonnes heavy metal) in spent PWR fuel and 7,258 tHM in spent HWR fuel were stored in the spent fuel storage facilities at four different nuclear power plants clustered into four coastal sites: Hanul (Ulchin), Wolsong and Kori along the East coast and Hanbit (Yonggwang) on the West coast. Continue reading

September 4, 2015 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Ken Buesseler, Jay Cullen, lead independent research into radiation in the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Great article. As an anti nuclear activist myself, I think that it is most important that we keep our concerns in proportion. The nuclear industry has so many bad effects, that we don’t ned to exaggerate ones that are not clear. Thankfully, despite government inertia, Buesseler and co are working to establish the facts on the effect if the Fukuhsima disaster on the ocean.


Pacific-Ocean-drainhighly-recommendedRadiation in the Ocean  Director, World Ocean Observatory The West Coast of the United States seems under siege by negative environmental news: earthquake predictions, oil spills, drought, critically diminished water supply, wildfires, and numerous accounts of unusual coastal events: algae blooms, whale strandings, cancer in seals, collapse of fish stocks, and more.

How to explain? Well, much of this can be attributed to climate factors where rising temperatures have resulted in multiple inter-related consequences: limited glacial melt, increased evaporation, no water, dry land, and the inevitable fire darkening that pristine Pacific air with smoke and ash the length of the coast.

The ocean phenomena may be different. The warming of the ocean surely has an impact on changing growth patterns of marine plants and animals, just as the changing pH or acidity of the ocean has been shown to modify habitat and migrations. But what else?

One argument has been the effect of radiation leaking from the three nuclear power plant reactors shut down by the earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal wave that inundated Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and has been thereafter distributed by ocean currents; indeed there is evidence of a plume of increased concentration of Cesium-134, and other radioactive elements that have been observed at unprecedented levels, spreading out some 5,000 miles into the Pacific toward North and South America. In April of this year, there were headlines declaring that “Fukushima radiation has reached the North American Shore” and concerns were raised, spread through the Internet and press, that this was surely the cause of these otherwise inexplicable anomalous natural events.

There is no Federal agency that funds monitoring of radiation in coastal water, and the present effort, conducted since 2004 by Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been underwritten by crowd-funding and the efforts of volunteers taking samples to provide data on cesium isotopes along the west coast of Alaska, the U.S. mainland coast, and Hawaii, the information that has been used to model potential distribution and concentration of any contamination. A comparable effort has been launched in Canada, led by Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in collaboration with government, academic, and NGO partners.

The radioactivity has been decreased by time, the natural half-life of the isotopes, and by dilution in a very large and deep body of water. In their samples, Buesseler and his “citizen scientists” did detect cesium-137 already in the waters as a result of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and cesium-134 which does not otherwise occur naturally in the ocean and can only be attributed to Fukushima, to serve as a first baseline for subsequent collection, analysis, modeling, and conclusion.

Buesseler channels his research through the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Institute, where he offers a preliminary conclusion that “the amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less that 2 Becquerels (a radioactive measure) per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Buesseler continues, “We emphasize that cesium-134 has not been detected YET as it has been detected offshore of North America by Canadian oceanographers… The uncertainty in the predictions by these ocean models only emphasizes the importance of collecting samples from along the shores. Remember too that those models predict interacting levels of both cesium isotopes for the next 2 or 3 years, the highest published prediction is for 20 to 30 Becquerels per cubic meter, or well below what is thought to be of human health and fisheries concerns.”

So, yes, and no. No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence. The question is immensely important and thanks to Ken Buesseler and all those volunteers alongshore and in research vessels who are working to provide the substance for a real answer.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | oceans, Reference | 3 Comments

Exposed: confidential agreement gives Russia unfair control over South Africa’s #nuclear project

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaExposed: Scary details of SA’s secret Russian nuke deal , Mail & Guardian 2 Sept 15 The secret nuclear deal our leaders have signed with Russia carries many risks for South Africa. Shocking details of the secret nuclear deal that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed with Russia last year can, for the first time, be revealed. The text, which has been jealously guarded by her department and Russian nuclear company Rosatom, holds many dangers for South Africa.

It creates an expectation that Russian technology will be used for South Africa’s trillion-rand fleet of new nuclear power stations. And by laying the groundwork for government-to-government contracting, it appears designed to sidestep the constitutional requirement for open and competitive tendering.

Once the agreement comes into force, the Russians will have a veto over South Africa doing business with any other nuclear vendor. And it will be binding for a minimum of 20 years, during which Russia can hold a gun to South Africa’s head, in effect saying: “Do business with us, or forget nuclear.”

The agreement confirms the government’s intention to make “Atomic Tina’s” energy department the procuring agent for the nuclear programme rather than Eskom – where the country’s nuclear expertise lies, despite the utility’s travails. Joemat-Pettersson signed the agreement in Vienna on September 21 last year, three weeks after President Jacob Zuma held talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the latter’s country estate.

The terms of the agreement lean heavily in Russia’s favour. They:

  • Indemnify the Russians from any liability arising from nuclear accidents during the reactors’ life. The agreement says South Africa is “solely responsible for any damage both within and outside the territory of the Republic of South Africa”;
  • Hand the Russians a host of regulatory concessions and “special favourable treatment” in tax and other financial matters, but offer South Africa no such incentives; and
  • Require Russia’s permission if South Africa wants to export nuclear technology it develops locally as a result of learning from the Russians, thereby hindering government’s aim that the nuclear new-build programme will develop a globally competitive local nuclear industry.

David Unterhalter, a University of Cape Town law professor and constitutional expert, this week said the agreement appeared to go far beyond the type of general framework document that government officials have declared it to be………

How we got the secret documentThe supposedly confidential agreement is published among the list of bilateral treaties on the website of the legal department of the Russian foreign ministry.

It was first obtained by South African environmental organisation Earthlife Africa Johannesburg by Russian anti-nuclear activist and head of Ecodefense Vladimir Slivyak, who got it from a source in the Russian foreign ministry. It is in Russian, and includes the signatures of Rosatom’s director general Sergey Kirienko and South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

A Russian translator commissioned by Earthlife to translate the agreement into English subsequently also found it publicly available on the ministry’s website.

amaBhungane has compared Joemat-Pettersson’s signature on the document with her signature on a current document; they are identical. amaBhungane has also commissioned its own translation of the agreement, which is available to download by clicking on the link at the top of this story. – Lionel Faull

September 4, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

UK govt pre-empts Parliament on more money for Trident nuclear weapons

missile-moneyflag-UKTrident: pre-empting Commons vote on new nuclear weapons project, Guardian, , 1 Sept 15  Key questions remain over relevance of nuclear weapons to Britain’s security. George Osborne’s carefully-timed announcement that the government will spend £500m more on the Trident nuclear missile submarine base at Faslane in Scotland – on top of the £3bn already spent on replacing the existing Trident fleet – appears designed to pre-empt a parliamentary vote and close down a much-needed debate.

It was, as Osborne made clear on Monday, a politically-motivated announcement, whatever defence officials may say about the need to spend early on such long-lead items as components for nuclear missile submarines…….

Which country, now or in the future, threatens our national security with a nuclear attack? Russia, as concerned as the UK is about what both nations consider to be a real threat – violent Islamist terror groups?

China, a country with no interest apart from a commercial one, in Britain, a country also deeply concerned about terrorism? Are the Scandinavian countries, or Germany, less secure, because they do not posses nuclear weapons ?

Would the US sit back and happily give a green light to Britain firing a nuclear weapon in a conflict in which it was not a protagonist?

I ask these questions in the spirit of inquiry around the key issue, namely, is the UK’s nuclear arsenal a credible deterrent? (Is the French nuclear arsenal, for that matter?)

The biggest threat to Britain’s national security is from terror groups (who might get their hands on chemical and biological ones, though not nuclear ones). They are unlikely to be deterred by Britain’s long-range Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Or is it a question of Britain’s status and prestige?…….

September 4, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment