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

Nuclear power an expensive distraction from REAL solutions to climate change – Gregory Jaczko

Given the lead-time of about ten to fifteen years for nuclear power plant design, approval and construction, a massive program of new construction would need to begin within the next few years to start to replace the soon-to-be-retiring units.

globalnukeNOThe latest poster child for nuclear climate change salvation is a fleet of advanced reactors, which — on paper — do provide enticing improvements to the current generation of reactors. At best, however, this technology is several decades from becoming commercially viable, too far into the future to be relevant.

The reality with nuclear power is that it has proven time and again to take longer and cost more to develop than predicted. There is nothing in the new designs nor the performance of the industry today that suggests this trend will end.

Jaczko,-Gregory  Fmr. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman and Commissioner As world leaders convene in Paris in an attempt to prevent a rise in global temperatures, the nuclear industry has — not surprisingly — seized this moment to once again promise the perfect solution to the climate challenge. Having witnessed this industry up close for the last decade and a half, I am concerned that the uniquely perfect promise of safe, clean, predictable, and affordable nuclear power will divert our focus from solutions that will actually work to control greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

December 16, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Official data now reveals hugh extent of Fukushima radiation to USA West Coast

OFFICIAL DATA: FUKUSHIMA BOMBARDED WEST COAST WITH 790X NORMAL RADIATION  DECEMBER 14, 2015 | JOSHUA KRAUSE | THE DAILY SHEEPLE |Ever since the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, our government has been pretty quiet about the environmental and health implications of that disaster. When the plant first melted down, much of our population was justifiably alarmed. After all, many of us remembered the Chernobyl incident and how the radiation it produced spread all across Europe, and in smaller amounts, the world.

But the government assured us that everything would be fine, and at most we would see a negligible amount of radioactive particles in the United States. Everyone who said otherwise was and still is, called a quack or a conspiracy theorist.


However, official government data that was collected in 2011 has just seen the light of day, and it suggests that our initial concerns were probably correct. The information was collected by officials with Los Angeles County when concerns were raised by residents. After state and federal agencies failed to test the area for radiation in a timely manner, the county hired their own people to run the test. Natural News reported on the results.

Samples were taken between April 29 and May 2, 2011, approximately seven weeks after the radioactive releases from Fukushima. The county found that gross alpha radiation levels at a location in Los Angeles were 300 femtocuries per cubic meter (fCi/m3), and levels at a Hacienda Heights location were 200 fCi/m3.

For context, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reports the average (annual median) level of gross alpha activity for the state of California as just 0.38 fCi/m3 – that is, 790 times lower.

The levels detected in Los Angeles County were a full 100 times higher than the level that requires an investigation at a U.S. nuclear laboratory, according to the Environmental Monitoring Plan at Brookhaven National Laboratory: “If the gross alpha activity in the [air] filters is greater than 3 fCi/m3, then collect more samples in the vicinity, and project manager will review all detections above the limits … All values greater than the above-stated gross alpha/beta concentration shall trigger an investigation.”

Finally, the Los Angeles County levels were almost 15 times higher than the federal regulatory limit for alpha radiation, which is 21 fCi/m3, according to a 2010 document from Idaho National Laboratory.

Moreover, the alpha radiation emitting particles that were deposited on the West Coast are incredibly dangerous for humans. While Gamma and Beta Radiation have far more power and penetration, Alpha rays produce a tremendous amount of damage in the human body when ingested. Because they don’t penetrate materials like Gamma rays do, all of their energy is deposited into the cells that reside near the particle.

More importantly, it doesn’t take very many of these particles to ruin your long-term health. For instance, if you were exposed to a temporary large dose of radiation, your body could probably recover from it, perhaps without even developing cancer. But when the particle itself is embedded in your tissue for weeks, months, and in some cases for years, as it destroys and mutates surrounding cells over and over again, you can expect a significantly shorter lifespan. Even if the amount radiation is small, it’s also continuous, and its source is difficult to remove

So while the government was telling us that everything was hunky dory in the weeks after the Fukushima meltdown, major West Coast cities like Los Angeles were being drenched in alarming levels of this radioactive waste.

Who knows how much of that fell onto the countless farms in the Central Valley, which feed much of the United States? And since they failed to inform us about the danger we were in then, who knows how much danger we are in now? Our government hates to admit when its wrong (or they won’t admit that they lied to us), so if we are still in danger, somehow I doubt they will have anything to say to us now.

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December 16, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Once again the world at the nuclear brink

Book Journey at Nuclear Brink The New Nuclear Arms Race Former Clinton Defense Secretary offers dire warning. The Nation 16 Dec 15  By  Katrina vanden Heuvel

 On a frigid day in February 1994, William Perry was sworn in as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense. Perry would take over at the Pentagon during one of the most fluid times in geopolitical history—between the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the attacks of September 11, 2001. During his time in office, Perry was one of the architects of a strategy he called “preventive defense,” the goal of which was to reduce global threats rather than just contain them. The greatest threat of all was nuclear, as fears spread about such weapons falling into rogue hands.

 Two decades later, Perry has written a new book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” in which he offers a dire warning: “Far from continuing the nuclear disarmament that has been underway for the last two decades, we are starting a new nuclear arms race.”

This is not hyperbole. The United States and Russia are acting with increasing belligerence toward each other while actively pursuing monstrous weapons. As Joe Cirincione described in the Huffington Post, the Pentagon plans to spend $1 trillion over 30 years on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines,” including a dozen submarines carrying more than 1,000 warheads, capable of decimating any country anywhere. In the meantime, President Obama has ordered 200 new nuclear bombs deployed in Europe.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here

December 16, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

IAEA concludes its probe in Iran’s history of nuclear weapons research

Global nuclear watchdog IAEA ends Iran ‘weapons’ probe , BBC News, 16 Dec 15 The global nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons.The move is seen as a key step towards lifting UN, EU and US sanctions.

The IAEA concluded that Iran conducted nuclear weapons-related research until 2003 and to a lesser extent until 2009, but found no evidence of this since.

The lifting of sanctions, agreed in a July deal with world powers, hinged on the IAEA’s findings on the issue.

Iran has strongly denied pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by the Vienna-based IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), saying it showed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

“This resolution goes far beyond closing the issue of so-called PMD (Possible Military Dimension) and cancels the 12 previous resolutions of the council of governors of the IAEA which seriously restricted our country’s nuclear programme,” Mr Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Vienna says sanctions against Iran could be lifted as early as the middle of January……………..

Key areas of the nuclear deal:

Uranium enrichment: Iran can operate 5,060 first generation centrifuges, configured to enrich uranium to 3.67%, a level well below that needed to make an atomic weapon. It can also operate up to 1,000 centrifuges at its mountain facility at Fordow – but these cannot be used to enrich uranium.

Plutonium production: Iran has agreed to reconfigure its heavy water reactor at Arak, so that it will only produce a tiny amount of plutonium as a by-product of power generation, and will not build any more heavy water reactors for 15 years.

Inspections: International monitors will be able to carry out a comprehensive programme of inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Sanctions: All EU and US energy, economic and financial sanctions, and most UN sanctions, will be lifted on the day Iran shows it has complied with the main parts of the deal.

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Secret nuclear dealings behind the sacking of South Africa’s Finance Minister Nene?

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaNene axed: Cabinet denies knowledge of secret nuclear dealings

14 DEC 2015 13:03 MATTHEW LE CORDEUR Cabinet has denied reports that it approved the start of the nuclear procurement programme just before Nhlanhla Nene was removed as finance minister. President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet has denied claims that it secretly approved the start of the nuclear procurement programme during its meeting just before finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired last Wednesday.

Business Day journalist Carol Paton, who has a reputation for excellent sources, wrote on Monday that “the decision was made at the last Cabinet meeting of the year on Wednesday, after which Nhlanhla Nene was fired as finance minister. The approval was not announced by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe in his Cabinet briefing on Friday.”

Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a brief response on Monday that she was not aware of this. “(I) saw it in Business Day.”

Nene stalled the 9 600 MW nuclear build programme, saying it was too expensive in the current economic climate. He had allocated R200-million in his mini budget for the departments of energy and finance to investigate the costing of the programme. There were no indications of this having produced any results.

Paton said “several independent studies have found that the cost of new nuclear energy will be greater than energy produced by other technologies”.

The nuclear process has been veiled in secrecy for over a year. As a result, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Earthlife Africa Jhb and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institution approached courts to challenge government’s plans to procure nuclear reactors.

Nomura emerging market analyst Peter Attard Montalto told Fin24 on Monday that if Cabinet had approved the programme, it was very serious. “I believe this move is illegal under the Public Sector Finance Management Act. Major public procurement projects have to have National Treasury cost-benefit analysis and affordability sign off.”

Montalto believed Treasury provided initial evidence to Cabinet that the project was unaffordable, which was the “wrong” answer for Zuma. “Hence Nene was ousted,” he said.

Montalto said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had always objected to the nuclear deal due to the cost and the possibility of corruption.

“He was in the Cabinet meeting when it was approved (by a majority) and would not have been presented with funding/guaranteeing, as it was a done deal back at National Treasury. Maybe he even didn’t object to it given it wasn’t his area at cooperative governance?” – Fin24

December 16, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

China keenly marketing nuclear technology to South Africa

Buy-China-nukes-1China confident of winning $80b S. Africa nuclear power bid
By Lyu Chang (China Daily): 2015-12-12 Industry officials are confident of China being the front-runner to win the right to build South Africa’s new generation of nuclear power stations.

“We think we are likely to win the bid, after preparing all the documents for the tender,” ZhengMingguang, head of the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, ahigh-tech arm of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.

“The nuclear energy industry also involves other issues, so we can’t set any date yet on thefinal bidding process,” he said.

The country hopes to land the contract using its CAP1400 nuclear technology, which isdesigned by SNERDI and based on the AP1000 reactor technology developed by the UnitedStates-based Westinghouse Electric Co LLC.

South Africa currently operates the continent’s only nuclear power plant, near Cape Town, butthe country is currently facing chronic electricity shortages.

The Pretoria government invited tenders in July for an estimated $80 billion contract to buildfour nuclear reactors-the largest contract in the country’s history-which attractedwidespread interest, including from State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, Russia’s stateatomic agency Rosatom and French nuclear firms…….

December 16, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing, South Africa | Leave a comment

Concerns about China’s nuclear technology: is it safe?

China’s nuclear technology ambition is worrying: The Yomiuri Shimbun 15 Dec 15   In its editorial on Dec 15, 2015, The Yomiuri Shimbun hopes China will follow up on its nuclear ambitions with suitable regulatory measures. We cannot afford to be unconcerned about China’s moves to accelerate construction of nuclear power plants.

Is the safety of these facilities ensured?….

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to further increase the number of nuclear power plants to cope with the nation’s serious air pollution, which stems from coal-fired power generation, and increasing energy demand.

According to local media reports, Beijing will build six to eight nuclear reactors annually in the next five years. By 2030, the number is set to reach 110, surpassing the 99 in the United States.

One major concern is that information about nuclear power plants in China is extremely limited.

China’s nuclear power operations began in 1994, and the number of nuclear reactors has increased rapidly since then.

However, the details of regulatory standards are not disclosed – it is quite obscure what kind of safety measures China is currently taking.

There are limited examples of the Chinese government officially disclosing troubles with the nation’s nuclear power plants to the public, such as leaks of radioactive material or mechanical problems caused by accidents.

The less information available, the more concern there is. The Japanese government must reinforce its measures to collect information on China’s nuclear power plants.

Prevailing westerlies bring yellow sand and air pollutants to Japan from China. If serious nuclear accidents occur in China, there could be serious repercussions for Japan.

It cannot be overlooked the fact that China’s nuclear power plants are concentrated in coastal areas.

After the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Beijing has put restrictions on the construction of nuclear power plants in inland areas. We assume Beijing is wary of the domestic impact from accidents if they occur inland.

China’s nuclear reactors rarely use technologies developed in the country – they are basically an amalgamation of technologies imported from European countries, the United States and Japan.

Japan provides core parts, such as reactor pressure vessels.

In recent years, China’s export drive on nuclear power plants has received worldwide attention…….

Beijing is also constructing Hualong One reactors in Pakistan, and is seeking to launch a promotion drive in South American and African countries.

However, we must point out that Hualong One is a model still under construction even in China itself. It is problematic that a model without sufficient operation records has begun sweeping the whole world……..

December 16, 2015 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s troubles continue with the toxic Chernobyl site

Fukushima Amplifies Murphy’s Law COUNTERPUNCH DECEMBER 14, 2015 by ROBERT HUNZIKER   “……….. In sharp contrast to Japan’s position, Chernobyl’s officialdom has a different take on “permissible annual radiation exposure,” specifically: “The radiation limit that excluded people from living in the 30km zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant exclusion zone was set at 5mSV/year, five years after the nuclear accident. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from within the zone and will never return,” (Greenpeace Japan). Never ever return!

Nuclear disasters don’t go away easily. For example, Chernobyl is already facing a brand new crisis. The durability of the original decaying blighted sarcophagus expires within the next 12 months. However, the new replacement sarcophagus, the world’s biggest-ever metallic dome, will not be accomplished in time as they are short of funds (615million EUR).

chernobyl 2013

In addition to Ukraine’s internal strife with pro-Russian citizens, the country has serious financial difficulties. All of this amounts to one more “spoke in the wheel” against nuclear reactor proliferation (Incidentally, China has 400 reactors on the drawing board). Who knows if and when a crippled reactor ends up in the hands of a financially strapped country? Then what?

Already, Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors standing tall, so far, amongst whizzing bullets and powerful rockets. Dismally, Ukraine has conceivably become a nuclear holocaust tinderbox in the midst of cannon fire, rumbling tanks, and surface-to-air missiles, for example, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a missile, supposedly by accident, on July 17, 2014, all 298 on board died………..

December 16, 2015 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, wastes | 1 Comment

India’s authorities in denial about nuclear industry’s radiation-caused deaths

“Inside UCIL, they see themselves as under siege, defending the nation, one atom at a time,” Biruli said, “and outside … we are absorbing those atoms and whatever else the corporation spews out from its broken pipes and dams. We’re drinking it all up, feeding it to our kids, and our wives, if they can conceive, are absorbing them into their blood stream.”

liar-nuclear1flag-indiaIndia’s nuclear industry pours its wastes into a river of death and disease  Scientists say nuclear workers, village residents, and children living near mines and factories are falling ill after persistent exposure to unsafe radiation Center For Public Integrity ,  By Adrian Levy December 14, 2015  Jadugoda, Jharkhand, INDIA    

……..Denying what scientists documented

India’s nuclear project is seen as the country’s most prestigious enterprise, a tangible expression of the nation’s resilience and resourcefulness. This idea was cemented when India tested nuclear devices in 1998, in twin blasts. Feeding the weapons program was UCIL’s duty, and protecting the mines became paramount.

As a result, the UCIL-funded health studies were not welcomed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, the country’s premier civil and military nuclear research facility, which has a Health Physics Laboratory in Jadugoda. It said in 1999, after a quick visual inspection of villagers living close to the mines, that its own experts “unanimously agreed that the disease pattern could not be ascribed to radiation exposure.” The complainers were “backwards people” who suffered from “alcoholism, malaria and malnutrition,” the company said. But it took no soil, water or air samples and launched no epidemiological study.

UCIL subsequently reversed its own position. “There is no radiation or any related health problems in Jadugoda and its surrounding areas,” J.L. Bhasin, the managing director of UCIL, concluded in 1999, in a press conference before local reporters in Jadugoda. A.N. Mullick, UCIL’s chief medical officer for 25 years, issued a press statement a few months later that “I have not come across any radiation-related ailments during my entire career.” Continue reading

December 16, 2015 Posted by | India, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Missing highly enriched uranium canisters probably came from Mayak nuclear facility

In the age of terrorism, disturbing questions remain on nuclear security, WP,  By Editorial Board December 14 THREE TIMES in the past 16 years — Bulgaria in 1999, France in 2001 and Moldova in 2011 — containers of highly enriched uranium have been seized by authorities, according to an article published online last month by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization. In each case, the person holding the uranium said it was part of a larger cache for sale.

Such proffers have in the past been made by employees at nuclear facilities in the former Soviet Union who smuggled the material out of their plants. In 1992, a worker diverted approximately 3.3 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from a facility in Russia, taking it home bit by bit, storing it on his balcony. He was arrested at the local train station, planning to travel to Moscow to sell it.

But the three containers of highly enriched uranium have something in common that until now has been kept secret. According to the article, forensic analysis by U.S. and French nuclear scientists strongly suggests that the materials came from the same source. The analysis indicates all three samples were produced in the early 1990s at a Russian nuclear facility, the MayakProduction Association, located near the town of Ozersk in the Ural Mountains region of Chelyabinsk. The uranium could have been removed in the chaotic early years after the Soviet Union collapsed, when many such facilities were poorly guarded, and it may now be anywhere……..

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Middleman for North Korea nuclear program found guilty

Singapore shipping agent guilty of acting as middleman for North Korea nuclear program  Anna Fifield and Monica Miller, Washington Post | December 15, 2015 TOKYO – Singapore sent a stern warning Monday to companies doing business for North Korea, with a court handing down guilty verdicts to a local shipping agent accused of transferring money to help Pyongyang buy weapons.

The case against Chinpo Shipping – which had transferred millions of dollars for North Korea – revealed a trove of information about how North Korea has been using intermediaries to send money through the international banking system without detection.

“This is a significant case in terms of prosecuting North Korean middlemen,” said Andrea Berger, a nonproliferation expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, noting that this was the first case under a Singaporean regulation that bars companies from helping North Korea with its nuclear and missile programs…….

December 16, 2015 Posted by | ASIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Electrical problem shuts down nuclear reactor at Indian Point

,Nuclear Reactor at New York’s Indian Point Is Shut Down DEC 15 2015 

An electrical disturbance at New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant caused one of its reactors to shut down, its operator said late Monday.

Entergy, which runs the plant around 30 miles north of New York City, said no radioactivity was released and there was no threat to the public or staff at the site.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 reactor automatically shut down “safely, as designed” at around 7 p.m. Monday, Entergy said in a statement. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that because there had been a “number of recent unplanned outages” at Indian Point, regulations meant it would result in “increased inspections and scrutiny” at the site.

“A thorough investigation of this shutdown is underway and we will make sure the safety of New Yorkers is not compromised,” he said.

In May, a transformer exploded at Indian Point causing a large cloud of smoke and alarms that were audible across the river but no injuries, NBC New York reported.

Entergy said initial investigations showed that Monday’s incident was caused by an electrical disturbance “related to a high voltage transmission line that carries electricity from Unit 3 to an offsite electrical switch yard.”

Indian Point is home to two reactors — Unit 3 and Unit 2 — which usually generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity for homes and businesses across New York City and Westchester County.

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mission Innovation should not send tax-payer money to Bill Gates’ nuclear dream

We cannot trust billionaire philanthropists to lead the way on climate action, Online Opinion, By Noel Wauchope , 16 December 2015  “…….At the opening of the Paris Climate Summit (COP21), with the blessing of the White House, Bill Gates announced the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEA), with an ambitious goal to deal with climate change. 24 billionaire philanthropists have joined in the BEA. They include Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.

Simultaneously 19 governments, including the United States, China and India, announce “Mission Innovation”, a project that will involve tax-payer money to explore and invent new ways to develop low carbon energy.

Not surprisingly, the two organisations will work in tandem. The billionaire philanthropists plan a public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors that will focus on new energy methods especially for developing countries……

For a start, this twin project is directed at researching new forms of low carbon energy. A lot of money therefore is to go into trying out new plans, that exist at best, only in blueprint form. Yet already there are in operation large scale and small scale renewable energy projects that could be deployed. In particular, small scale solar energy is very well suited to being deployed in rural India, Africa, and other developing nations, as well as in Australia and other developed nations. It is happening now. Projects such as Barefoot Power have operated for years now, bringing affordable solar power to millions of rural poor in Africa, Asia Pacific, India and the Americas.

The energy need now for poor countries is deployment of existing technologies, not years of research and testing of so far non-existent ones………

  • The one and only University that has joined BEA is the University of California, which runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, well known for its nuclear research.
  • Bill Gates is co-founder and current Chairman of the innovative nuclear energy company TerraPower Gates has a long term history of enthusiasm for small nuclear power reactors. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission has tightened the rules for new reactors. Fortunately for Mr Gates, China is less fussy about this, so Gates has been able to do a deal with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). TerraPower and CNNC will build the first small 600 MW unit in China, and later deploy these nuclear reactors globally.

Gates and Branson

I don’t doubt that Bill Gates is sincere in his goal of reducing greenhouse gases. It’s just that I have reservations about Small Nuclear Reactors having any impact on global warming.

If Small Nuclear Reactors did in fact reduce greenhouse gases, the world would need thousands of them to be up and running quickly, but they’re still at the planning stage. They’re supposed to be much safer than conventional nuclear reactors, but still produce radioactive wastes, and are targets for terrorism. Each and every one of them would need 24 hour guarding. It gets expensive………

The term selected “Breakthrough Energy Initiative” gives the game away. For many years now, America’s Breakthrough Institute has lobbied and publicised “new nuclear” as the solution for climate change. The Breakthrough Institute has many well-meaning and enthusiastic environmentalists as members. Its philosophy, expressed in “The Ecomodernist Manifesto” is full of beautiful motherhood statements about climate and environment, and only a few paragraphs about new nuclear technology.

This Manifesto, by the way, appears as a Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

The effect of the Breakthrough Institute, over the years, has been to slow down action on reducing the use of fossil fuels. It has also aimed to discredit renewable energy……..

December 16, 2015 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

India’s secretive, toxic, uranium industry and its radiation deaths

According to the uranium corporation’s own records, 17 UCIL laborers died in 1994, 14 more in 1995, 19 in 1996 and 21 in 1997; no cause of death was revealed in the records seen by the Center, but critics claim most if not all were radiation-related.

The corporation will not discuss the causes of these deaths. But a spokesman for the Jarkhandi Organization Against Radiation (JOAR), a local group formed in 1998 out of a student lobby for indigenous rights, said it has investigated these cases and that “from what we can see all of them contracted illnesses associated with radiation or exposure to heavy metals.”

India’s nuclear industry pours its wastes into a river of death and disease Scientists say nuclear workers, village residents, and children living near mines and factories are falling ill after persistent exposure to unsafe radiation Center For Public Integrity ,  By Adrian Levy  December 14, 2015  Jadugoda, Jharkhand, INDIA    “………Charting the trail of disease and ill health back to its source, Ghosh’s team learned that the alpha radiation they had recorded came from the mines, mills and fabrication plants of East Singhbhum, a district whose name means the land of the lions, where the state-owned Uranium Corporation of India Ltd is sitting on a mountain of 174,000 tons of raw uranium. The company, based in Jadugoda, a country town 160 miles west of Kolkata, is the sole source of India’s domestically-mined nuclear reactor fuel, a monopoly that has allowed it to be both combative and secretive.

After starting work in 1967 with a single mine, the corporation now controls six underground pits and one opencast operation that stretch across 1,313 hilly acres, extracting an estimated 5,000 tons of uranium ore a day, generating an annual turnover of $123 million. It supplies nine of the reactors that help India produce plutonium for its arsenal of nuclear weapons, and is thus considered vital to India’s security.

The company crushes the ore below ground and treats it with sulfuric acid, transforming it into magnesium diuranate or “yellowcake,” which is then loaded into drums and taken to the Rakha Mines railway station. From there, it is transported to the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, 861 miles to the southwest. Workers ultimately process it into uranium dioxide pellets that are stacked in rods, inserted into reactors all over India.

Wherever uranium is extracted, anywhere in the world, from Australia to New Mexico, it is a messy, environmentally disruptive process. However, the poor quality of ore eked out of these wooded hills means that for every kilogram of uranium extracted, 1750 kilograms of toxic slurry, known as tailings, must be discarded into three, colossal ponds. Studies by scientists from North America, Australia and Europe show that while these ponds contain only small quantities of uranium, equally hazardous isotopes connected to uranium’s decay are also present, including thorium, radium, polonium and lead, some of which have a half-life of thousands of years. Arsenic is a byproduct, as is radon, a carcinogen.

The tailing ponds in Jharkhand, Ghosh’s team and other scientists discovered, have never been lined with rubble, concrete or special plastics, as organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have advised for domestic ponds, and as a result their contents leached in winters into the water table. Lacking a cap, the ponds evaporated in summers, leaving a toxic dust that blew over nearby villages. Thirty five thousand people live in seven villages that lie within a mile and half of the three huge ponds, most of them members of tribal communities.

Moreover, during the monsoon season, the ponds regularly overflowed onto adjacent lands, with contaminants reaching streams and groundwater that eventually tainted the Subarnarekha River, according to studies of the issue by Ghosh’s team and other scientists. Pipes carrying radioactive slurry also frequently burst, leaching into rivers and across villages, according to photographs taken by residents. Lorries hired by the mines also dumped toxic effluent in local fields when the ponds were full, actions caught in photographs and on video taken by villagers and shown to the Center.

When Ghosh published his team’s results, there was no reaction from the mine or the Indian government. A senior official in the U.S. State Department declined to discuss the contents of Jardine’s leaked cable, but said he was aware of criticisms about the uranium corporation.

The evidence begins to pile up………  According to the uranium corporation’s own records, 17 UCIL laborers died in 1994, 14 more in 1995, 19 in 1996 and 21 in 1997; no cause of death was revealed in the records seen by the Center, but critics claim most if not all were radiation-related.

The corporation will not discuss the causes of these deaths. But a spokesman for the Jarkhandi Organization Against Radiation (JOAR), a local group formed in 1998 out of a student lobby for indigenous rights, said it has investigated these cases and that “from what we can see all of them contracted illnesses associated with radiation or exposure to heavy metals.” The spokesman, who asked the Center to withhold his name because intelligence officials and police have arrested him in the past and accused him of “anti-national activities,” claimed the number of deaths was actually “four times higher” than UCIL admitted.

Birulee contacted doctors and public health researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Delhi, one of India’s best government-funded institutions. They came up with a hypothesis about his mother’s death, blaming the family’s laundry. “My father,” Birulee said, “would bring back his cotton uniform, caked in uranium dust, to be washed once a week, as did all the other contract laborers. There were no facilities in the mines and no warnings.”

Birulee wondered how many other families had been similarly affected and, working with the JNU doctors, helped arrange for midwives to visit nearby villages. They found that 47% of women suffered disruptions to their menstrual cycle, while 18% had had miscarriages or stillborn babies over the previous 5 years. One third were infertile. Many complained their children were born with partially formed skulls, blood disorders, missing eyes or toes, fused fingers or brittle limbs. Livestock too were suffering, with veterinarians reporting that buffaloes and cows were infertile or suffering from blood disorders.

Arjun Soren was one of those affected. Born in Bhatin village, adjacent to another uranium mine on the other side of the tailing pond, Soren became the first member of the Santhal tribe to get a medical degree, and one of his first cases was to track the deteriorating health of his family. “My aunt died of cancer of the gallbladder,” Soren recalled. “My nephew has a rare blood disorder.” Then Soren himself was diagnosed with leukemia and transferred to Mumbai for treatment. “Radiation and toxins from the mining processes has to be the reason,” Soren said. “I spent my childhood playing, breathing, drinking, eating there.”………..

Birulee lodged a protest with the state’s Environment Committee, in Bihar’s capital. Its chairman, Gautam Sagar Rana, directed UCIL to finance an independent health inquiry, led by two professors from Patna Medical College, who were accompanied by the uranium conglomerate’s deputy general manager, R.P. Verma; and the head of its health unit, A.R. Khan. Analyzing a representative sample of those between 4 and 60 years old living within a mile and a half of the third tailing dam, the researchers hired by UCIL concluded that the residents were “affected by radiation.”……..

December 16, 2015 Posted by | environment, health, India, Reference | Leave a comment

If anything can go wrong it will, and it has, at Fukushima nuclear complex

“It is unconscionable to increase the allowable dose for children to 20 millisieverts (mSv). Twenty mSv exposes an adult to a 1 in 500 risk of getting cancer; this dose for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered ‘safe’ for children.”

Murphy's LawFukushima Amplifies Murphy’s Law COUNTERPUNCH DECEMBER 14, 2015 by 
ROBERT HUNZIKER Murphy’s Law has found a permanent home in Fukushima: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

For instance, only recently, radioactive cesium in tunnels at Fukushima suddenly spiked by more than 4,000 times similar measurements from one year ago. This spooky/huge spike in radiation levels hit 482,000 Becquerels per liter. TEPCO intends to investigate the reason behind the enormous anomalous increase, Radiation Spikes in Fukushima Underground Ducts, NHK World, Dec. 9, 2015. Over the course of a year, 4,000 times anything probably is not good.

Not only that but the barrier constructed at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to hopefully prevent contaminated water from leaking into the ocean is tilting and has developed a crack about 0.3 miles in length along its base. The wall is 0.5 miles long and 98 feet below ground.

An ocean barrier, indeed: “Higher levels of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident are showing up in the ocean off the west coast of North America, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported,” Higher Levels of Fukushima Radiation Detected Off West Coast, Statesman Journal, Dec. 3, 2015. Fortunately, so far, the detected levels still remain below U.S. government-established safety limits.

In the meantime, TEPCO battles one of the most perplexing disasters of all-time with an average number of daily workers more than 7,000. The difficulty of procuring workers at the site is beyond imagination. Homeless people are hired off the streets to do the dangerous decontamination work.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The situation better get better really soon because the Olympics are scheduled for 2020, which brings to mind perilous lost corium, the sizzling hot melted core in Plant #2, that hopefully, keeping one’s fingers crossed, has not burrowed into the ground, spreading deadly isotopes erratically, ubiquitously throughout. Still, nobody knows where this Missing Corium-Waldo of the Nuclear World is located.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace/Japan accuses the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of downplaying the health risks of the 2011 Fukushima disaster and accuses the agency of acting in concert with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempts to “normalize” the disaster, Greenpeace Japan: IAEA Downplays Dangers of Fukushima Disaster, Sputnik News, Feb. 9, 2015. Hurry, hurry, the Olympics is coming!

One clever approach to the problem of too much radiation is to increase the “allowable limits”: “The permissible annual level of radiation exposure has been dangerously heightened in Japan after the March 11th accident. One (1) millisievert (mSv) has been elevated to 20 mSv for residents in affected areas. The government increased the annual limit for nuclear workers’ radiation exposure from 100 mSv to 250 mSv in ‘emergency situations,” Mitsuhei Murata (Executive Director of Japan Society for Global System and Ethics and former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland) Nuclear Disaster and Global Ethics, UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, March 16, 2015.

When the “permissible level” of radiation was initially moved higher, the Japan Medical Association stated: “The scientific basis for choosing the maximum amount of 20 mSv in the band of 1 to 20 mSv is not clear.”

Furthermore, according to Physicians for Social Responsibility, there is no safe level of radiation. Apropos the Fukushima situation: “It is unconscionable to increase the allowable dose for children to 20 millisieverts (mSv). Twenty mSv exposes an adult to a 1 in 500 risk of getting cancer; this dose for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered ‘safe’ for children.”

Recent studies confirm “exposure to low levels of radiation can cause cancer,” specifically, “No matter whether people are exposed to protracted low doses or to high and acute does, the observed association between dose and solid cancer risk is similar per unit of radiation dose,” (Source: British Medical Journal, Press Release, Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation Increase Risk of Death from Solid Cancers, International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, Oct. 21, 2015)………

December 16, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment