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Fukushima: Nuclear Disaster Killing Japanese Slowly

radiation-warningflag-japanUnspoken Death Toll of Fukushima: Nuclear Disaster Killing Japanese Slowly The Japanese government is still in denial and refuses to recognize the disastrous consequences of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, London-based independent consultant on radioactivity Dr. Ian Fairlie states, adding that while thousands of victims have already died, thousands more will soon pass away.

According to London-based independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment Dr. Ian Fairlie, the health toll from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is horrific: about 12,000 workers have been exposed to high levels of radiation (some up to 250 mSv); between 2011 and 2015, about 2,000 died  from the effects of evacuations, ill-health and suicide related to the disaster; furthermore, an estimated 5,000 will most likely face lethal cancer in the future, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

What makes matters even worse, the nuclear disaster and subsequent radiation exposure lies at the root of the longer term health effects, such as cancers, strokes, CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome) diseases, hereditary effects and many more.

Embarrassingly, “[t]he Japanese Government, its advisors, and most radiation scientists in Japan (with some honorable exceptions) minimize the risks of radiation. The official widely-observed policy is that small amounts of radiation are harmless: scientifically speaking this is untenable,” Dr. Fairlie pointed out.

The Japanese government even goes so far as to increase the public limit for radiation in Japan from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year, while its scientists are making efforts to convince the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) to accept this enormous increase.

“This is not only unscientific, it is also unconscionable,” Dr. Fairlie stressed, adding that “there is never a safe dose, except zero dose.”

However, while the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to radiogenic late effects, the evidence “is solid”: the RERF Foundation which is based in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is observing the Japanese atomic bomb survivors and still registering nuclear radiation’s long-term effects.

“From the UNSCEAR estimate of 48,000 person Sv [the collective dose to the Japanese population from Fukushima], it can be reliably estimated (using a fatal cancer risk factor of 10% per Sv) that about 5,000 fatal cancers will occur in Japan in the future from Fukushima’s fallout,” he noted.

Dr. Fairlie added that in addition to radiation-related problems, former inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture suffer Post-Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders that apparently cause increased suicide.

The expert also pointed to the 15 percent drop in the number of live births in the prefecture in 2011, as well as higher rates of early spontaneous abortions and a 20 percent rise in the infant mortality rate in 2012.

“It is impossible not to be moved by the scale of Fukushima’s toll in terms of deaths, suicides, mental ill-health and human suffering,” the expert said.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | Leave a comment

U.S. ballistic missile submarine arrives in Scotland

submarine-missileU.S. Nuclear Missile Submarine Surfaces in Scotland Pentagon deploys USS Wyoming amid tensions with Moscow Washington Free Beacon, BY:   September 17, 2015

 A nuclear-armed U.S. ballistic missile submarine arrived in Scotland this week amid growing tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Russia’s strategic arms buildup.

The submarine, the USS Wyoming, arrived at the British naval base at Faslane, Scotland, Wednesday morning for what the U.S. Strategic Command said is a routine visit.

However, ballistic missile submarine movements and port visits normally are not announced by the Navy or the Strategic Command, an indication the Wyoming’s port call is intended as strategic messaging to Moscow……….

The Wyoming’s visit followed the disclosure last week that Russia is building an underwater nuclear-armed drone submarine known as Kanyon. The drone is in development and is designed for strategic nuclear strikes on U.S. ports and coastal cities, according to Pentagon officials.

Russia has been building up its nuclear forces by adding 40 new long-range nuclear missiles, new submarines, and a new bomber. The buildup comes as Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, have issued threats to use nuclear weapons against NATO members over the alliance’s opposition to U.S. missile defenses, the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, and continued covert action aimed at destabilizing eastern Ukraine……..

September 18, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear radiation depletes the ozone layer, will eventually destroy planet’s oxygen

HAZARDS OF LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVITY, Nuclear Reader, ………OZONE BREAKDOWN The protective layer of ozone around the Earth filters out solar and cosmic rays and prevents them from reaching our planet. Ozone surrounds the Earth in a layer between six and thirty miles above sea level. It is formed when light rays strike molecules of oxygen, which is 02, and causes them to break into two separate oxygen atoms, or an 0 and 0. An atom of oxygen then combines with a molecule of oxygen and forms ozone which is 03. It breaks down again and then recombines again. And so on; unless it is interfered with.  Radiation interrupts the process of ozone formation.

text ozone-depletion

1957 – Walter Russell published his book Atomic Suicide, whose principle message was that the development of the nuclear weaponry and nuclear industry, if it continued, would eventually destroy the planet’s oxygen.

“The element of surprise which could delay the discovery of the great danger, and thus allow more plutonium piles to come into existence, is the fact that scientists are looking near the ground for fallout dangers. The greatest radioactive dangers are accumulating from eight to twelve miles up in the stratosphere. The upper atmosphere is already charged with death-dealing radioactivity, for which it has not yet sent us the bill. It is slowly coming and we will have to pay for it in another century, even if atomic energy plants ceased today.”

(Russell, Walter and Lao. Atomic Suicide? University of Science and Philosophy. Virginia 1957 p. 18)

1982 and 1984 – Two German reports conclude that radioactive krypton, which is released in the daily operation of nuclear plants and through the reprocessing of used reactor fuel elements, is affecting the distribution of the electric fields in the atmosphere.

1987 – The ozone hole is twice as large as the U.S. It is discovered that ozone is not only diminishing over the south pole but globally.

1987 – 1988 – Consensus has it that various man-made chemicals are the sole cause of ozone breakdown; especially compounds of chlorine (CFC’s) and bromine (from halon fire extinguishers) and there was an attempt to implicate hair spray and refrigerators.  A leading authority on the ozone problem, NASA’s Dr. Robert Watson, admitted many scientists were “baffled” by findings of ozone depletion even in areas where CFC’s action was negligible. He called the extent of the hole’s growth “absolutely unexpected”.

April 6, 1989 – “Scientists reported yesterday that for the first time they have detected an increase in “biologically relevant” levels of ultraviolet radiation reaching the ground as a result of the ozone hole over the Antarctica.”  This is the first indication that the depletion of ozone is beginning to cause the potentially harmful effect that has long been predicted.” (The Washington Post 4/6/89)

Late 1990 – University of California researchers publish their findings that phytoplankton are reproducing less profusely than before. Observing the plankton in the Belingshausen Sea (in the Antarctic) they found that increased UV appears to be suppressing the phytoplankton’s productivity by 6 to 12%.

1992 – Both NASA and The World Meteorological Society reported 10 to 25% ozone depletion measured over the northern United States, Canada, Europe and the Antarctic; and the ozone hole is now three times the size of the United States.

1994 – An article in a German journal Strahlentelex (March 3, 1994) argues that the nuclear industry is responsible for the hole in the ozone. The authors, Giebel and Sternglass explain that radioactive gases like krypton-85 from nuclear plants and from the recycling of spent fuel go up to the stratosphere where they create water droplets from the moisture which in turn form ice crystals which enhance the destruction of the ozone by the fluorohydrocarbons.
(Krypton-85 has a half-life of 10.7 years and a whole life of 217 years.)

March 1996 – The World Meteorological Agency reports “the extremely worrying” development of an unprecedented 45 percent ozone thinning over Greenland, Scandinavia and Western Siberia.

Summer 1997 – Research from the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program find “krill abundance in the Antarctic Peninsula region is down 60 to 90 percent since the early 1980’s”…….



September 18, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Reference | 8 Comments

Radioactive Cesium Contamination of Freshwater Fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan

Mining Awareness +

Overview of active cesium contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan p. 1
Overview of active cesium contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan, p. 2
Overview of active cesium contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan, p. 3
Overview of active cesium contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan p. 4
Original pdf found here:

Note the extremely high levels of contamination. Total allowed radionuclide contamination levels for Japanese food is 100 Bq/kg. It is less for children. The US allows the most at 1200 Bq/kg for Cesium only, and over 1500 Bq/kg total. If all Americans ate the maximum contamination levels of food, allowed by the US FDA, for several years, it would result in an additional 1,000 excess cancers per 100,000 people or 1 in 100 (1%) – by conservative estimates; some researchers put it at double. The US no longer allows food labeling of meat, buckling to a Canadian and Mexican lawsuits. It should be clear where contaminated Japanese food is going. Europe and the US accept Japan testing, too, putting Japan on the honor system. Most of the world has less protective standards than Japan, suggesting this food has been and will be exported elsewhere.

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September 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

David Attenborough backs huge Apollo-style clean energy research plan.

Source: David Attenborough backs huge Apollo-style clean energy research plan.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Republicans fail in final bid to stop Iran nuclear deal

Last bid to kill Iran nuclear deal blocked in Senate WASHINGTON | BY PATRICIA ZENGERLE U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation meant to kill the Iran nuclear deal for a third time, securing perhaps the greatest foreign policy win of President Barack Obama’s six years in office and clearing the way to implement the accord.

By a 56-42 vote, the Republican-majority Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the 100-member chamber.

Despite an intense and expensive lobbying effort against it, all but four of Obama’s fellow Democrats backed the nuclear pact between the United States, five other world powers and Tehran announced in July.

With no more Senate votes this week, the result ensured Congress will not pass a resolution of disapproval that would have crippled the deal by eliminating Obama’s ability to waive many sanctions.

A resolution would have had to pass both the Senate and House of Representatives by midnight Thursday, and survive Obama’s veto, to be enacted………

September 18, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Continuing legal battle over SNC-Lavalin, marketers of CANDU nuclear reactors

World Bank’s appeal over SNC-Lavalin to be heard by Supreme Court JEFF GRAY – LAW REPORTER The Globe and Mail Jul. 02, 2015 A battle over whether the World Bank can be forced to produce its files on the bribery probe in Bangladesh that later resulted in Canadian criminal charges against three former SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. employees is going to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Washington, D.C.-based World Bank is challenging an Ontario Superior Court decision that ordered it to produce documents related to its investigation of bribery allegations around a multibillion-dollar project to build a bridge in Bangladesh.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced on Thursday that it would hear the case. A date has not been set.

It’s the latest twist in the corruption allegations that for years have swirled around Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm, which also faces separate RCMP charges related to allegations that $47.7-million in bribes were paid to win contracts in Libya under the regime of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Starting in 2010, the World Bank conducted its own investigation into allegations around a bid by SNC-Lavalin for a $10-million contract to manage the construction of Bangladesh’s multibillion-dollar Padma Bridge project, which was being financed by the World Bank.

In 2011, the World Bank brought those allegations, including information from four unnamed “tipsters,” to the RCMP. Based solely on this information, the Mounties obtained permission to wiretap conversations. The RCMP then raided SNC-Lavalin’s Oakville, Ont., offices in September, 2011.

In 2012, the RCMP laid bribery charges against two now former SNC-Lavalin employees: Mohammad Ismail, the company’s former director of international projects, and his boss Ramesh Shah, a former vice-president of SNC’s international division.

In 2013, it added charges against Kevin Wallace, who was SNC’s vice-president of energy and infrastructure, and Zulfiquar Bhuiyan, a businessman with dual Canadian-Bangladeshi citizenship who was not an SNC employee but who is alleged to have been a representative of a senior Bangladeshi official, Abdul Chowdhury……

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

Iran’s nuclear programme was created by America

Born In The USA: How America Created Iran’s Nuclear Program, npr, STEVE INSKEEP, 18 Sept 15  “……..”The Iranian nuclear program has deep roots. In fact, it is four years older than President Obama,” says Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Iran. Vaez grew up in Iran, which means the nuclear program is a personal story for him.

“It started in 1957,” he says, “and ironically, it is a creation of the United States. The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran.”

The U.S. built that nuclear reactor on the campus ofTehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peaceprogram, an initiative to provide countries with peaceful, civilian nuclear technologies in the hope that they wouldn’t pursue military nuclear programs.

The beneficiaries included Israel, India, Pakistan — and Iran, then ruled by a U.S.-backed monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Under the program, many countries received what Iran did: their own small reactors, their own dollops of fuel. But, says Vaez, “as a result of the oil boom of the 1970s, that [Iranian] nuclear program morphed into a full-fledged civilian nuclear program.”

The Iranians had money to exploit the knowledge they were given, and to develop scientific minds. Iran provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a $20 million endowment in the 1970s to train Iranian nuclear scientists, Vaez says.

“The majority of people who returned to the country and started running the nuclear program were trained at MIT,” he notes.

The trainees have been central to Iran’s nuclear program ever since.

There was a moment in the 1970s when American officials thought they might be making a mistake. They feared Iran would become one of the nations seeking nuclear weapons.

U.S. diplomats began negotiating to limit Iran’s nuclear program. They ran into a problem familiar to diplomats today: Iran under the shah insisted it had the same right to nuclear power as any nation.

“The shah famously said that unless it was clear Iran was not being treated as a second-class country, he would look for alternative vendors and he would not work with U.S. companies to acquire nuclear technology for Iran.”

Iran bought nuclear plants from West Germany and France. The research reactor at Tehran University kept working. And then the campus became famous for something else.

After the shah was overthrown in 1979, under the new Islamist government led byAyatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of people gathered at the university every Friday and angled their prayer mats toward Mecca.

“Tehran University is at the epicenter of Friday prayer ceremonies,” Vaez says. “And [it] is also infamously known to be [the] epicenter of ‘Death to America’ chants that are heard every Friday during the prayer ceremonies.”

The clerics in power did not initially embrace the country’s existing nuclear infrastructure, Vaez says.

“In many ways, Iran’s nuclear program encapsulates Iran’s struggle with modernity,” he says. “During the shah’s time, it was the symbol of the country’s march towards modernity. After the revolution, it came to symbolize the kind of rapid modernization that was riddled with corruption and ‘West-toxification.'”

“West-toxification” was a term Iran created and used to denote pernicious Western influence that was to be rejected.

“Ayatollah Khomeni famously said the unfinished nuclear power plants in Bushehrshould be used as silos to store wheat,” says Vaez. Ultimately, “they were abandoned as a costly Western imposition on an oil-rich nation.”

This attitude lasted into the 1980’s. But by then, Iran was fighting a brutal war against neighboring Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein. As part of that war, Saddam repeatedly bombed the Bushehr nuclear facility, which was not operational at the time.

The war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, also created severe power shortages in Iran.

Eventually, Iran’s leaders decided to revive the nuclear program, though the precise reason was not clear…….

Iran has consistently denied that it wants a weapon, though the U.S. and many others argue otherwise. In the early 2000s, Iran offered to discuss the future of its nuclear program. It even reached a deal with European powers. But the U.S. under Bush did not sign on. The efforts to reach a deal fell apart, and Iran began building thousands of centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium.

Ali Vaez says at this point, the meaning of Iran’s nuclear program was “mutating.” Iran under Khomeini had rejected the program as a symbol of the corrupt West — but now, more than a decade after his death, it was becoming a symbol of Iran’s defiance of the West……

September 18, 2015 Posted by | history, Iran | Leave a comment

How Charles Koch operates to sabotage renewable energy development

Koch,Charles-D-&-GHow Charles Koch Prevents Clean Energy Businesses From Succeeding TruthOut 02 September 2015 By Matthew KasperRepublic Report | News Analysis Last week, President Obama correctly singled out the Koch brothers – Charles and David – and the Koch-funded network for standing in the way of America’s clean energy future. Charles Koch responded saying he was “flabbergasted” after hearing Obama’s remark. He continued, “We are not trying to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding.” This statement is, at best, highly misleading.

Charles Koch states that he believes government should be smaller and it should not subsidize businesses, including any form of energy business. But while he acknowledges that the fossil fuel businesses he owns benefit tremendously from government subsidies, he doesn’t refuse those benefits or do anything to stop those policy choices.  Meanwhile, the Kochs use their political influence and funding for efforts to repeal laws designed to support the deployment of more renewable electricity. Specifically, their political network’s agenda includes weakening renewable energy standards, preventing customers from installing solar panels (by charging fees on people that go solar), and protecting the government monopolized electric utilities.

The facts are indisputable.

Note: For more background, read this full briefing on the Koch’s web of influence across American society.

Here are the facts:

  • Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the largest electric utility company in Arizona, admitted that it worked with the 60 Plus Association, a Virginia-based nonprofit seniors advocacy group receiving Koch money, to support the utility company’s proposal to add fees on homeowners with solar panels. Here is anadvertisement paid for by 60 Plus Association attacking solar energy in Arizona.
  • 60 Plus Association is now working with the utility companies in Florida to preserve the status quo and the state’s outdated business model, and prevent customers from purchasing electricity from third party solar companies.
  • Americans For Prosperity has also worked in Kansas and North Carolina to repeal, weaken, or freeze those states renewable energy standards. In 2013, AFP flew Willie Soon to Kansas where he testified in front of state legislators that global warming isn’t a problem as part of AFP’s attempt to completely repeal the renewable energy standard. James Taylor, from the ExxonMobil and Koch-funded Heartland Institute, attended an AFP event the same year to increase support for repealing the state’s standard, and he also testified against the law. Furthermore, Koch Industries’ lobbyist Jonathan Small worked behind the scenes in the repeal efforts. Small held private talks with Representative Dennis Hedke (R-Wichita) about legislation to eliminate the law. In 2015, the standard waschanged to a voluntary one after legislators threatened to impose an excise tax on wind energy. Mike Morgan, a lobbyist for Koch Industries, joined Rep. Hedke and Jeff Glendenning of AFP at the announcement.
  • Additionally, Koch-controlled foundations approved grants for Art Hall, director of the University of Kansas’ Center for Applied Economics, to research the state’s renewable energy standard. Lee Fang at The Intercept writes, “The Koch money was part of an ongoing project Hall described as an effort to develop “intellectual products” to be used “as a tool in economic policy debates… Following his grant request, Hall testified before the Kansas legislature in 2014 in favor of repealing the state renewable energy portfolio.”
Last month, President Obama called out the Koch brothers for standing in the way of the clean energy future…….

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Despite widespread protests, Japan set to pass new laws on defense policy

Japan set to pass security bills despite widespread protests, Japan Times , 18 Sept 15 
Critics say the bills could herald the biggest shift in Japan’s defence policy in half a century, and tens of thousands have taken to the streets in anger 
Japan is expected to pass controversial security bills on Friday that critics say could herald the biggest shift in its defence policy for half a century, despite public anger that has seen tens of thousands protest.

The bills are expected to be passed in the upper house controlled by prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition after days of fraught debates that at times descended into scuffles, tears and tantrums.

Opposition lawmakers tried every delaying tactic at their disposal, even resorting to physically blocking a vote in a special committee, but it now looks like all of their options have been exhausted.

The controversial laws have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in almost daily rallies for the past few weeks, in a show of public anger on a scale rarely seen in Japan.

Opponents argue the new laws – which would allow the tightly restricted military to intervene overseas to defend its allies – violate Japan’s pacifist constitution and could see the country dragged into American wars in far-flung parts of the globe…….

there are growing signs the campaign has taken a political toll – opinion polls show the vast majority of the public is against the bills, and Abe’s once sky-high approval rating is dropping.

Protesters, including a Nobel-Prize winner, popular musicians and other prominent figures, fear the changes could fundamentally alter Japan’s character as a pacifist nation.

“Japanese are often seen as modest and humble, but it’s not the case this time,” said Ryoko Ikeda, a 36-year-old mother at one of the daily rallies against the bills held near parliament for the past weeks.

“It is our children and future generations who pay the price.”

Keiko Nagao, in her 40s, added: “A pacifist image is Japan’s treasure and if we lose it, it will be a big loss for our country.”

Security experts said the bills would also force a reevaluation of Japan’s place on the world stage.

“The bills are a psychological message to the world that an era in which Japan should not be involved in conflicts because of its exclusively defence-oriented policy is over,” said Hideshi Takesada, a professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japn’s govt closing down Social sciences and humanities faculties

Social sciences and humanities faculties to close in Japan after ministerial decree Seventeen universities are to close liberal arts and social science courses September 14 2015 BY JACK GROVE 

Many social sciences and humanities faculties in Japan are to close after universities were ordered to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs”.


Of the 60 national universities that offer courses in these disciplines, 26 have confirmed that they will either close or scale back their relevant faculties at the behest of Japan’s government.

It follows a letter from education minister Hakuban Shimomura sent to all of Japan’s 86 national universities, which called on them to take “active steps to abolish [social science and humanities] organisations or to convert them to serve areas that better meet society’s needs”.

The ministerial decree has been denounced by one university president as “anti-intellectual”, while the universities of Tokyo and Kyoto, regarded as the country’s most prestigious, have said that they will not comply with the request.

However, 17 national universities will stop recruiting students to humanities and social science courses – including law and economics, according to a survey of university presidents by The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, which was reported by the blog Social Science Space.

It reports that the Science Council of Japan put out a statement late last month that expressed its “profound concern over the potentially grave impact that such an administrative directive implies for the future of the HSS [humanities and social sciences] in Japan.

The call to close the liberal arts and social science faculties are believed to be part of wider efforts by prime minister Shinzo Abe to promote what he has called “more practical vocational education that better anticipates the needs of society”.

However, it is likely to be connected with ongoing financial pressures on Japanese universities, linked to a low birth rate and falling numbers of students, which have led to many institutions running at less than 50 per cent of capacity.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Safety problems at Fort Calhoun nuclear plant

The Saturday Night Live Approach to Nuclear Safety: More Cowbell! Dave Lochbaum, director, Nuclear Safety Project, 15 Sep 15  The April 8, 2000, Saturday Night Live broadcast featured a skit with cast members pretending to be the rock group Blue Oyster Cult in the recording studio with a famous music producer, played by actor Christopher Walken. The skit is remembered for Walken’s character stating “I gotta have more cowbell.”

The NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) needs more cowbell, too.

The Fort Calhoun nuclear plant shut down in April 2011 for a refueling outage. The outage was planned to last a handful of weeks while workers replaced spent fuel assemblies with new assemblies and performed routine maintenance and testing activities. The plan went awry when the ROP identified safety problems that needed to be corrected before the reactor could be restarted.

The operators restarted Fort Calhoun in December 2013 after a short refueling outage morphed into a 32-month safety restoration outage. On March 30, 2015, the NRCannounced that it was returning Fort Calhoun to normal handling under the ROP. The NRC also reported expending over 60,000 hours since December 2011 on inspection, assessment and licensing tasks at Fort Calhoun.

60,000 hours is a number without context. To help put this value in context, the NRCreported having expended 6,652 hours, 6,612 hours, and 6,782 hours of total oversight effort at the average nuclear plant in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively. So the average nuclear plant received an average of 6,682 hours of oversight from the NRC annually.

Between 2012 and 2014, Fort Calhoun received an average of 18,462 hours of oversight effort each year from the NRC.

Thus, Fort Calhoun received the equivalent of 2.76 nuclear plants’ worth of regulatory oversight attention from the NRC between 2012 and 2014……

The problems that kept Fort Calhoun shut down for 32 months were not introduced in 2009 and 2010 after the NRC returned Fort Calhoun to Column 1—they existed all along. Yet the NRC’s ROP missed them all. The ROP missed every single one of them, until after the first quarter of 2011. After that time, finding safety problems was like shooting fish in a barrel—NRC inspectors could hardly turn around without finding yet another safety problem that had to be fixed prior to restart.

So how could more cowbell improve nuclear plant safety?

Rather than expending so much time and effort ensuring that the barn door has been closed, safety would be better served by noticing that it’s open sooner. Cowbells should have sounded long before the first quarter of 2011.

UCS’s fact sheet documented many safety problems that existed at Fort Calhoun for years before the ROP’s inception in 2000. Two of the safety problems involved the emergency diesel generators (EDGs).

EDGs are among the most safety significant components at the plant. Consequently, they receive considerable oversight attention by the NRC. Yet that attention failed to identify either of these two problems that had existed since at least 1990.

And it was not just one miss or even two misses by one NRC inspector—it was a lot of misses by a lot of NRC inspectors over a lot of years. A search of ADAMS, the NRC’s online digital library, identified 39 inspections conducted at Fort Calhoun by the NRC between 2000 and 2010 inclusive that included some oversight of the EDGs.

Something is fundamentally wrong with safety inspections of highly safety significant components that fail to notice safety problems. Finding safety problems isn’t one of the reasons for conducting the safety inspections—it’s the only reason for doing them.

And yet many safety problems remained undetected until 2011 when it took an army of workers more than two years to correct them all.

Our Takeaway

Fort Calhoun is not an isolated case. It marked the 52nd time that a U.S. reactor had to remain shut down longer than a year while safety problems were corrected. The majority of these year-plus outages involved a myriad of safety problems that had existed for months and sometimes years before being noticed.

And yet many safety problems remained undetected until 2011 when it took an army of workers more than two years to correct them all…….

September 18, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Coal is subsidised by $billions, in USA and Australia

fossil-fuel-industryUS and Australian taxpayers pay billions a year to fund coal – report,

 Ending US subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, according to the report. , 16 Sept 15

Ending subsidies, that amount to almost a quarter of the sale price in some cases, would hugely reduce carbon emissions, new research reveals

Coal subsidies are costing US and Australian taxpayers billions of dollars a year, according to a new report.

The research examined the subsidies given to coal production in the US’s largest coal field, the Powder River Basin, and found they totalled $2.9bn (£1.9bn) a year. This equates to $8 per tonne, almost 25% of the sale price.

Ending the subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, the researchers found, leading to a large reduction in carbon emissions.

The report also analysed Australia’s exporting of coal for power stations in Asia and found these came to $1.3bn a year, or $4 a tonne. Ending these subsidies would cut demand by up to 7%, a smaller impact than in the US because coal users could buy supplies from other countries.

“The fossil fuel industry has gamed energy market consumers, with numerous subsidies evident over the long term,” said Tim Buckley, at the Institute forEnergy Economics and Financial Analysis, who worked on the report. “Any discussion of cost competitiveness of renewable energy and energy efficiency needs to take into account the decades of extensive subsidies evident for the coal industry and that, in many cases, remain in place today.”

Luke Sussams, senior researcher at Carbon Tracker Initiative, also part of the research team, said: “Policy makers concerned about climate change and a level playing field in energy markets should look to take coordinated action to remove the distortions to production these subsidies create.”

The subsidies given to coal companies included tax breaks, cheap leases, government-funded infrastructure including railways and ports and allowing inadequate funding of clean-up operation after mining ends.

The G20 nations pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies in 2009, but little action has been taken. However, falling oil and coal prices in the last year have seen some countries starting to reduce subsidies.

A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took into account not just direct subsidies but also the cost to nations of the damage caused by air pollution and global warming. It estimated coal, oil and gas were being subsidised by $5.3trn a year, more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. Much of the cost is due to the illness and death caused by air pollution.

“Eliminating coal subsidies in the Powder River Basin and throughout the world, is an obvious, no-regrets climate strategy,” said Doug Koplow, of Earth Track and another member of the research team.

The new report, called Assessing Thermal Coal Production Subsidies, was produced by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Energy Transition Advisors, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Earth Track.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s nuclear weapons plans

Britain’s nuclear plans: the Corbyn factor

PAUL ROGERS 17 September 2015

In the debate about replacing the Trident nuclear system, there is space for options that link British to international experience.  Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has long been opposed to the country’s possession of nuclear weapons. But he has also made it clear that this personal commitment does not extend to forcing this policy on the party he now heads. What he does want is an open debate and to convince others of the value of his views.

The replacement of the country’s Trident nuclear system is now being discussed (see “Britain’s defence policy: the path to change“, 7 May 2015). If this were to go ahead and a similar system put in place, the development and lifetime costs will approach £100 billion. Almost everyone in the Conservative government and parliamentary party, and many Labour MPs themselves, believe that a replacement should be built and that Britain should remain a nuclear-weapons power. Yet there is a substantial minority across the electorate that agrees with Corbyn. This view has gained far more traction since it was adopted by the Scottish National Party, a shift prompted not least by the persistent campaigning of nuclear disarmers north of the border, including the Faslane 365 initative. Yet political polarisation means it will be difficult to realise Corbyn’s aims.

The pro-Trident position has an uncompromising military rationale. It entails keeping a ballistic-missile submarine on station and ready to launch at all times – what is called “continuous at-sea deterrence” (CASD). In turn this requires maintaining four submarines, in order to allow one available for round-the-clock patrol, as well as substantial naval back-up. The latter includes what is euphemistically called “deterrence support”, an element that isn’t much talked about in polite circles.

The reason why is that deterrence support is onerous. There is a certain assumption that a Vanguard-class Trident-armed missile-submarine can disappear from its base at Faslane in western Scotland and go on secret patrol almost independently of the rest of the system. The reality is different: there is a continual need to protect Faslane, the Clyde estuary and the seas close to Scotland. Moreover, it is usual practice to have on patrol an attack-submarine, such as one of the new Astute-class boats (nuclear-powered but not nuclear-armed) between the general region of the Trident submarine’s area of operation and the perceived direction of threat. That, of course, means having several such attack-submarines available, which demands a substantial commitment.

The anti-Trident argument tends to the view that Britain’s nuclear weapons are little more than an historical anachronism (see “Britain’s nuclear endgame“, 28 September 2012). The ability to kill 5 million or more people in forty minutes may represent an inkling of great-power status, or a delusion of post-imperialgrandeur (of a kind shared with France). In practice, though, sufficient numbers of people still stick to the old thinking that the choice can be other than “all or nothing”. Corbyn’s supporters may need to recognise this.

A two-stage strategy

An earlier column in this series pointed to one way forward (see “Two steps to zero“, 17 July 2008). This was to scale down Britain’s nuclear forces to a background capability, involving the following steps:

* Cancel the plans to replace the current Vanguard-class boats and a new generation of nuclear warheads

* Reduce warhead numbers from around the current 160 to 30 (an 80% reduction); then have modified warheads available to deploy, if this were ever thought necessary, with cruise-missiles on attack-submarines, such as the new Astute-class (which can already deploy such missiles with conventional warheads)

* Phase out the entire Trident system as soon as this much-reduced force is available

* Adopt an openly stated policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons and aspire to the elimination of nuclear weapons in Britain when international progress allows.

This would essentially be a residual force. If embraced, it could be less than a decade or so before the very idea of maintaining nuclear forces might be dropped, with Britain then joining the ranks of the 186 member-states of theUnited Nations out of 195 which do not possess nuclear weapons.

What is often forgotten here, including by anti-nuclear activists, is that several countries have given up nuclear weapons on their territory. South Africa actually developed its own small arsenal and then dismantled it. Furthermore, a number of states have in the past decided against developing their own nuclear arsenals after active consideration; they include Argentina, Brazil, Sweden and Switzerland, and probably also South Korea and Taiwan.

At the level of elite power, British nuclear weapons are a symbolic indication of standing in the world. The habit is so strong that it would be easier to give them up in two stages: a radically scaled down and far cheaper force that could then be allowed to wither away.

Whether that becomes an option depends very much on domestic party politics. But the point about revisiting Britain’s nuclear-weapons policy is that the starting-point does not have to be a rigid “for” or “against”. The option just outlined is just one among several. Their very existence means that the debatenow getting underway can be much better informed and less hidebound by increasingly meaningless issues of imaginary great-power status

September 18, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deal about nuclear accidents signed, between Norway and Russia

Norway, Russia sign deal on nuclear accidents Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and Rosatom have signed a set of joint notification procedures in case of nuclear incidents, Barents Observer, Trude Pettersen, 16 Sept 15  ……..The notification procedures were signed by Harbitz and Director of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko during a meeting at a General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Tuesday, NRPA’s website reads.

In recent years the two countries have worked to strengthen the joint notification agreement on nuclear accidents of 1993 through concrete procedures for notification. The procedures that are now ready, have involved several authorities on the Russian side. They should ensure early notification in the event of a nuclear incident, which is crucial for Norway’s emergency preparedness.

Nuclear incidents include both accidents and incidents in peacetime or security crisis and war.

The agreement includes Kola Nuclear Power Plant, Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, ship reactors, storages of fresh and spent fuel, research reactors and other nuclear facilities in the whole of Norway, as well as in the 300-kilometer border area in Russia, writes……..

There have been several blazes at Russian shipyards in recent years whilst nuclear-powered submarines have been under repair.

2011 saw a serious fire occur aboard the Delta-class nuclear submarine the Yekaterinburg while she was dry docked at a shipyard in the northwestern Russia Murmansk Region. NRPA was informed about the fire through media, and better information exchange has since then been on the agenda

September 18, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment