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


feb 15 2016

On the February 11th the NRA for safety reasons said no to Tepco starting the freezing of its Fukushima Daiichi ice wall, now 4 days later on February 15th the NRA says yes.
How could Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority change its mind that way so rapidly about a matter regarding safety…..

NRA to allow part of frozen soil wall at Fukushima plant
The nation’s nuclear watchdog decided that Tokyo Electric Power Co. can start freezing soil in a limited area around crippled reactor buildings at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to prevent radioactive water accumulating in the buildings from leaking into the ground.
The conditional permission by the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Feb. 15 means TEPCO will get the go-ahead for a section of frozen soil wall in the area of the complex facing the sea.
Initial plans called for TEPCO to surround the four reactor buildings with a 1,500-meter-long circular frozen soil wall by inserting 1,568 pipes to a depth of 30 meters at 1-meter intervals. Each pipe would then freeze the soil around it once liquid of minus 30 degrees circulated inside the cylinder.
Building the wall was intended to prevent the flow of groundwater into the reactor buildings, where melted nuclear fuel has accumulated in the basements, thereby reducing the volume of water contaminated with radioactive substances.
TEPCO completed the installation of the pipes on Feb. 9.
However, the NRA was worried that the level of groundwater inside the frozen soil wall could drop drastically once the frozen soil wall surrounds the reactor buildings, causing levels of highly contaminated water in the reactor buildings to become higher than the groundwater level. That, NRA officials feared, would cause the highly contaminated water to leak into the ground.
With caution the buzzword of the day, the NRA had called on TEPCO to change plans and operate only a part of the frozen soil wall.
In a meeting held Feb. 15, the utility said it would freeze only the soil on the side of the stricken facility facing the sea.
Once the NRA grants official approval, TEPCO will move quickly to freeze the soil.
TEPCO also said that it wants to freeze the remaining portions in a step-by-step manner. The NRA supported the proposal, saying it would make it possible to “collect data on water levels.”
However, the two sides did not reach any agreement on this other than to continue their discussions.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | 1 Comment

Radiation causing Chernobyl’s wild animals to lose their sight

Radiation causes blindness in wild animals in Chernobyl
February 10, 2016 This year marks 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Vast amounts of radioactive particles spread over large areas in Europe. These particles, mostly Cesium-137, cause a low but long-term exposure to ionizing radiation in animals and plants.

This chronic exposure has been shown to decrease the abundances of many animal species both after the Chernobyl and later Fukushima nuclear accidents. Damage caused by acute exposure to high radiation doses have been demonstrated in numerous laboratory studies, but effects of chronic exposure to low radiation in the wild remain largely unknown.

New research now suggests that chronic exposure to low radiation can cause damage to the eyes of . This is shown in an international study led by researchers Philipp Lehmann and Tapio Mappes from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, which recently was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

In the study higher frequencies of cataracts were found in the lenses of bank voles which had lived in areas where background radiation levels were elevated compared to areas with natural radiation levels. Cataract frequency increased with age in the voles, similarly as in humans generally. In addition, the effects of aging intensified as a result of elevated radiation.

vole with cataract

Interestingly the effect of radiation was significant only in female voles. Also in humans there are indications for high radiosensitivity of lenses. Persons with occupational exposure to radiation, such as radiology nurses, nuclear power plant workers and airline pilots have increased risk of cataract, but potential gender differences in radiosensitivity should be further studied.

Reasons for the gender differences in wild mammals are still largely hypothetical. However, the present study suggests that increased cataract risk may be associated with reproduction, as female bank voles who had severe cataracts received fewer offspring. Whether poorer reproductive success was caused by cataracts or by radiation is still unclear, and will require further experimental studies.

Nevertheless these new results support observations of negative consequences of chronic exposure to low radiation on wild animals and whole ecosystems. Studying effects of chronic exposure to low  in natural ecosystems is highly important, as it will help to prepare for new nuclear accidents and predict their consequences, which can entail widespread effects that can persist for hundreds of years in nature.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Pressure on Electricite de France to abandon Hinkley Point C nuclear power project

AREVA EDF crumblingEDF under pressure to abandon Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project

Project is supposed to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity by 2025
  • John Lichfield Paris The giant French energy company EDF is under pressure to abandon or delay building the nuclear power station in Somerset which is at the heart of David Cameron’s strategy to “keep the lights on” in Britain in the next decade.
  • An internal report to the EDF board has warned that for technical reasons it will be impossible to complete the two “new generation” nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point within the nine-year timetable. The report also suggests that the much-delayed project would be financially disastrous for the struggling French company, despite a commitment by the British Government to pay double the market rate for the station’s electricity.
  • EDF is also reported to be having difficulty raising the £12.4bn it needs to build the two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) in Somerset – a capital sum almost as much as it entire stock market valuation.
  • The company’s powerful unions and several senior EDF executives are said to believe that the project could be suicidal for the world’s biggest generator of nuclear energy.  They want EDF to abandon the project – or at least persuade Britain to wait for another three years until a more advanced generation of EPR reactors is available.

    Nonetheless, the French government, which owns more than 80 per cent of EDF, is putting pressure on the company to fulfil its agreement.

    The British Government would face huge embarrassment if Hinkley Point, intended as the first of three new mega-stations, was abandoned or postponed. In October last year, China agreed, amid much fanfare in London and Beijing, to invest £6.2bn in the project.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry funded under the mask of “clean energy”

Obama’s “Clean Energy” budget is propping up nuclear energy, Enformable 12 Feb 2016 “………Cut to page 19 of the Office of Management and Budget’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget document.  Here we find “clean energy,” a phrase no longer to be trusted at face value, having been purloined into meaning at times something quite the reverse.  For example, nuclear energy tends to hide beneath the “clean energy” mantel, muddling the message and undermining cause for optimism.

While it may be true that the nuclear power fuel chain does not produce the kind of dirt that can be swept under rugs, the nuclear industry has metaphorically done exactly that by presenting itself as a “clean” energy technology.  There is nothing particularly clean about an industry that contaminates the air, land and waterways with heavy metals and with radioactive isotopes that, among other things, give kids living nearby leukemia.

But let’s gerund away anyway and see what lurks beneath the section entitled, “Doubling the Investment in Clean Energy R&D.”  Here we learn that the U.S. Government indeed intends to double its current $6.4 billion investment in clean energy for 2016 to arrive at $12.8 billion by 2021.  A hefty chunk — $7.7 billion — will be given as discretionary funding to the Department of Energy in 2017 alone for “clean energy R&D.”

But for what, exactly?  “About 76 percent of the funding is directed to DOE for critical clean energy development activities, including over $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies,” the Budget document reads.  Just two billion dollars for energy efficiency and renewable energy combined?   That leaves $5.7 billion for something else that the DOE considers “clean energy.”  One of those claimants undoubtedly is nuclear power.

Emperor's New Clothes 3

More clues to the likely destination of this unassigned mystery money can be found in a later section where the Budget document reveals that the $7.7 billion is actually earmarked as funding for the “first step toward the Mission Innovation doubling goal.”

The White House describes Mission Innovation, which was announced during the Paris climate talks last December, as an “all-in, all-sector approach,” which is basically the same old “all of the above” foolish compromise on energy policy that the Obama administration has held to from the beginning.

Since this strategy is roundly contradicted by what is actually happening across the country — wind and solar energy installation outpacing natural gas while coal fades and nuclear plants close — there is only one logical explanation for this “fair and balanced” energy policy nonsense: corporate captivity.

To oversimplify: Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, emerged from Rahm Emanuel’s clamshell, and Emanuel invented Exelon and Exelon is today the country’s leading nuclear behemoth.  Exelon’s chief lobbyist in the early days was David Axelrod.  Team Obama was born in the country’s nuclear cradle, then.  Nevertheless, it’s high time that a U.S. president as committed to renewables as Obama, ceased tossing favors — aka our money— to his corporate nuclear cronies.

And so it goes on. Sitting on that Paris stage last December for the Mission Innovation announcement was Bill Gates, whose only energy agenda is tinkering around with nuclear unicorns, an exercise so devoid of relevance to the urgent battle to address climate change that every dime spent there is a dime wasted.  OK they are his dimes, trillions of them.  Breakthrough Energy CoalitionBut think what he could really do for climate change if he spent his riches wisely.

Let’s follow the trail of budget breadcrumbs a little further.  The OMB goes on to say: “Mission Innovation is complemented by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a separate, private sector-led effort whose purpose is to mobilize substantial levels of private capital to support the most cutting-edge clean energy technologies emerging from the R&D pipeline.”

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is Bill Gates again, and loaded to the hilt with his fellow billionaires all salivating at the prospect of old nuclear pots to mend.  But given the Breakthrough Coalition is entirely “separate” and “private,” what is it doing even being mentioned in a government budget rollout?

What comes out of the Clean Energy R&D pipeline rather depends on what goes into it.   It would be good if that turned out to be a true renewable energy revolution and not more deadly radioactive effluent from an obsolete fleet of new nuclear power plants.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear power project to be derailed unless private investment magically comes to the party

nuclear-costs1UK new nuclear plan will fail without private investors, says Horizon chief  Britain cannot just rely on state-backed enterprises like EDF and its Chinese partners to build a fleet of new nuclear reactors, Alan Raymant warns , Telegraph UK By , Energy Editor 14 Feb 2016   It wasn’t meant to be this way.

By now, construction of EDF’s new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset was supposed to be well underway, ready to fill the looming energy supply crunch as old coal plants close.

More reactors were supposed to be following on Hinkley’s heels, with 16 gigawatts – enough to meet about a third of peak winter UK electricity demand – up and running by 2025, replacing Britain’s existing nuclear plants as they retired.

Instead, cash-strapped EDF is still to take a final decision on Hinkley, with the latest hoped-for decision date, this Tuesday, likely to be missed.

First power from the Somerset plant is not due until 2025 and while other developers are aiming to start generating around the same time, they are years off investment decisions.

“Everybody would have liked the nuclear new build programme to have happened sooner,” admits Alan Raymant, chief operating officer of Horizon Nuclear Power, which plans to build two reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey, followed by two more at Oldbury in Gloucestershire……..

With new owners bringing a different reactor technology to the project – twin Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) with a combined capacity of 2.7GW – Horizon pushed its target for first power from Wylfa back to the “first half of the 2020”. This remains the aim, Raymant confirms: “We are looking at 2024, 2025.”

To do that, it needs to take a final investment decision on the plant in “early 2019”. That gives Horizon three short years to secure planning consent, safety approval for the ABWR design, a Government subsidy contract, EU state aid clearance, and the backing of investors……..

the biggest hurdle will be finding the money. If the UK wants to deliver16 gigawatts of new nuclear – now by a revised target of 2030 – it is going to need to secure many tens of billions of pounds of investment.

“We have to look to widen the pool of investors as far as we can,” says Raymant. “We can’t just rely on state-owned enterprises to provide that investment.”

The comment is a clear reference to Hinkley. EDF (85pc French state-owned) had hoped to build the plant in partnership with Centrica, the listed UK utility, but Centrica withdrew in 2013, citing spiralling costs and delays.

EDF set out to bring other investors on board: pension funds and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds were touted, but none signed up. “For third parties observing the announcements of delays and cost overruns for the EPRs [the Hinkley reactor technology] under construction, it is difficult to commit,” Jean Bernard-Levy, EDF chief, admitted.

Only China’s state nuclear corporation has so far agreed to invest, taking a lower share than EDF had hoped and even then only in return for a red carpet invitation to build its own reactor technology at Bradwell.

EDF also abandoned the idea of project-financing Hinkley, despite securing £17bn of Government loan guarantees; it has since emerged the loans had been awarded a sub-investment grade, BB+ rating by Infrastructure UK. EDF is now struggling to get the project over the lineby funding its share from its own balance sheet.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, the head of Hitachi, has already warned that the debacle raises “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK and questions over the “real solutions for setting up financial support”.

For Horizon, Raymant says, project-financing is a must. Hitachi only plans to retain a minority stake in the eventual construction.

“The challenge for us and for Government is to make sure that the framework that’s in place actually enables a wider range of investors to participate,” he says. “If it doesn’t do that, we won’t deliver a programme of new nuclear.”……

February 15, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

EDF’s financial woes increases delay on decision about Hinkley nuclear plant

text Hinkley cancelledEDF funds shortfall adds to nuclear plant delay Michael Stothard in Paris and Kiran Stacey in London, 14 Feb 16 High quality global journalism requires investment.
EDF has still not secured funding for a £18bn nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, further delaying one of the UK’s biggest energy projects.

Board members at the French utility will meet on Monday to sign off on the company’s annual results. Some supporters of the Hinkley Point plant had hoped they would use the meeting to give the scheme their final approval, but two people close to the process told the Financial Times EDF has not secured the necessary funding.

The final investment decision is not on the formal agenda, those people said, with one person saying it could be several months before all the financing is lined up…….

The market turmoil this year has made discussions over the financing more difficult, one person close to the talks said. EDF is in discussions with the French government to help find financing.

EDF is also spending at least €1.25bn to buy a majority stake in Areva reactor unit, Areva NP, as part of a government-backed bailout. It also faces a €100bn bill to upgrade its ageing nuclear power stations by 2030.

EDF said in September last year that the plant it is building in Flamanville, Normandy — already years overdue — would be delayed another year until 2018 and would cost €10.5bn, up from an initial budget of €3bn.

The UK government and EDF executives had hoped a final investment decision would swiftly follow the company’s agreement in October with CGN, the Chinese state-owned nuclear group, on how much of the deal each would finance.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Defective pressure vessel could seal the tomb of the EPR nuclear reactor

pressure vessel olkiluotoFrench Nuclear Safety Authority has discovered a serious fault in the construction of the pressure vessel  Allan Jeffery, Bridgwater 14 Feb 16   Before Hinkley C can be built, the EPR reactor of the same design being built at Flamanville in France must be completed and be established generating before 2020, or else the UK government’s guarantees and financial agreements fall apart.

So it is not surprising that EDF tried to go unnoticed as it drove a convoy carrying the steel lid and pressure vessel from Chalon, where it was produced across France to Flamanville, though this was documented and publicised by Greenpeace last week.

 These two parts, the pressure vessel and lid, could signal the final death tomb of the dream French EPR nuclear reactor, because they do not meet the high quality safety standards required for nuclear technology.

In April the French Nuclear Safety Authority, (the ASN) discovered a very serious default in the composition of the steel used in the pressure vessel. Tests showed excessive presence of carbon, which makes the steel more brittle and subject to breakage. The pressure vessel contains the huge amounts of atomic fission energy in the core.

EDF was quick to minimise the problem and promised other tests. If EDF was serious with the safety measures the company should await the validation of the ASN of the test results that might be released in late 2016 or early 2017.

As Yannick Rousselet from Greenpeace France quoted, “Once again, EDF is turning a blind eye to all the issues, continuing as though no one else would notice and going forward anyway until there is no turning back.”

The nuclear industry is desperate and that new failure in safety could have serious consequences, not only in France, but also in China (Taishan) and England at Hinkley Point, which are among the other vessels produced with the same steel.

If the tests confirm the safety problem, EDF would have to replace the whole vessel, and have to break open and remove the first pressure vessel at Flamanville, adding huge costs and further delays, which would bring the final blow to the industrial jewel already dying.

This defective lid could seal the tomb of the EPR reactor!


February 15, 2016 Posted by | France, safety, UK | Leave a comment

PRISM and Pyropressing – untested , toxic and dangerous new nuclear toys


What the pro nuclear apologists don’t talk about is just as important as what they do focus on. Because the PRISM reactor requires a mixed fuel, which has not yet been perfected and must still be ‘designed’ and experimented with, this reactor also requires a very dangerous pyroprocessing technique, which requires huge amounts of energy and must be done remotely, because it so toxic and radioactive.  To create the fuel to burn in nuclear reactors required building two massive coal fired plants that were dedicated just to running Savannah River nuclear fuels site. How much energy will this ‘new’ fuel processing technique take, and how many coal fired plants must be dedicated to it?
The technical challenges include the fact that it would require converting the plutonium powder into a metal alloy, with uranium and zirconium. This would be a large-scale industrial activity on its own that would create “a likely large amount of plutonium-contaminated salt waste,” Simper said.
Now PRISM requires the making of radioactive fuel as well, which must also be ‘manufactured’ using even more toxic and dangerous processes than what has come before. PRISM does not burn pure plutonium, as it requires a ‘mix’ of things, which must be manufactured, in a process that has not yet been perfected. The processing and burning of plutonium, will release plutonium into the environment, guaranteed.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Dr Helen Caldicott has no confidence in USA’s Waste Confidence Act

There is a situation in America called the ‘Waste Confidence Act’ which means that the industry has ‘confidence’—confidence that one day they’ll work out what to do with all this radioactive waste. So, the situation is insane, or should I say is “there is a gap between reality and perception of reality.” And it’s extremely serious.

Waste Confidence 1

Helen Caldicott to conduct nuclear symposium in St. Louis: ‘The Atoms Next Door’ Examiner, Byron DeLear  14 Feb 16 Byron DeLear: “……….“Why do you think that these federal agencies seem to tend to want to obfuscate and cover-up the real health impacts of this contamination?”

HC: “The federal agencies are not really interested in remediation unless they absolutely have to do it because they’re interested in building bombs and building nuclear power plants—but cleaning-up their mess? That’s not part of their agenda and never has been. The problem is that we’re now moving into the period of nuclear waste—we’re leaving the period or the “age” of nuclear power because it’s not working and cannot be financed; it’s so expensive, and because we’re moving rapidly into renewable energy.

So, now we’ve got, I think its 350,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste accumulating around the world; in Japan, in Britain, in France, in many European countries at their nuclear reactors. Specifically in America and Russia, the waste is emanating from the production of nuclear weapons and this is what we’re dealing with at West Lake. There’s no interest really in the government doing anything about it because they like to invent things and in particular want to work with the atom which is an extreme and powerful form of energy. But cleaning-up the waste doesn’t interest them because many of them are physicists and engineers—they don’t understand the medical ramifications.
If they themselves get cancer from having dealt with radiation then they kind of understand, but its swept under the carpet mostly and so the money at present—over a trillion dollars—is going to build new nuclear weapons and delivery systems over the next 30 years—a trillion dollars, which is absolutely obscene.

There’s a kind of “nuclear fiction” in America that stems from the Manhattan Project and that brings us back to West Lake again and the people who are suffering there. The problem is the absolute persistence of this waste—the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, so it will be there forever. And what do they do with it? Pick it up? And where do they take it? What poor community will have to put up with this radioactive detritus for the rest of time? Do they bury in the desert? What if it rains because of global warming and it contaminates underground rivers and food supplies and all that? So, the situation is overwhelming.

No one knows what to do with radioactive waste. I’ve been saying for 40 years, what are you going to do with the waste? And they say, ‘Trust us we’re excellent scientists, one day we’ll find the answer.’ Well, that’s like me saying to a patient, ‘Well, you’ve got a pancreatic carcinoma, your prognosis is about six months, but trust me in about 20 years time I’ll find a cure.’ There is a situation in America called the ‘Waste Confidence Act’ which means that the industry has ‘confidence’—confidence that one day they’ll work out what to do with all this radioactive waste. So, the situation is insane, or should I say is “there is a gap between reality and perception of reality.” And it’s extremely serious. This waste down the time-track will induce, as I wrote in my book Nuclear Madness in 1978, epidemics of cancer, leukemia, genetic disease, congenital deformities for the rest of time. But no one really wants to know about it until there’s a nuclear accident like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima, where everyone is desperate to know what’s happening. So you can talk until you’re blue in the face to educate people, but until they really understand in an acute situation they tend not to be so interested. But the people living near West Lake, they understand, and the power of the people is the ultimate power for redress. As Jefferson said, ‘An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion.’ So, what I like to do is practice preventive medicine by teaching people the dangers so that they’ll do something about it.

While the event is free and open to the public, reservations are required. To register, visit

Saturday, Feb. 20 from 6-9 p.m. at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, 2645 Generations Drive in Wildwood, Missouri.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

English countryside dotted with nuclear bunkers from the Cold War

There are hundreds of secret nuclear bunkers in Britain ready and waiting for WW3

RUSSIA has announced that we are in a new Cold War after the relationship between the West and them have become more and more strained. By Helen Whitehouse [Good Photos] 14th February 2016 Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said: “One could go so far as to say we have slid back to a new Cold War” after describing NATO’s policies towards Russia as “unfriendly and opaque”.

The biggest ever bombing raid is currently taking place in Syria, pounding anti-Assad rebels.

But the US, Britain and France claim that air strikes against the rebels are helping ISIS, causing tensions to rise between them and Russia.

The last Cold War, spanning from the 1960s right to the 1990s saw the UK bracing for a nuclear attack – and this could be looking likely once again.

The doomsday clock is set very close to midnightNorth Korea have recently announced they successfully tested the H-Bomb and Russia are claiming a new Cold War.

Should the UK be preparing for the nuclear apocalypse?

If that is the case, luckily there could be a specially re-enforced concrete bunker to protect you from atomic attack within minutes of your front door.

Thousands of bunkers were built in the last Cold War when nuclear attack seemed more a likelihood than a possibility.

And a lot of these structures still remain dotted around the English countryside – but the bad news is you would never be able to use them.

Instead of offering protection to normal people, these would be manned by teams of specially trained officers sending vital information across the country.

And although in the event of another nuclear war we might be able to use the remaining bunkers as protection, less than 1% of the general population would be able to seek shelter.

The biggest UK shelter in Burlington, Wilts, potentially had space for 100,000 people but only a fraction of that would be housed in the event of an attack.

In the last Cold War, those really desperate for a safe spot could volunteer at one of the 1,500 small boltholes dotted within ten miles of every home.These were manned by four members of the public who would gather information on what the world was looking like after the attack and send it into the bigger bunkers for officials to process.

People did volunteer for these positions – but if a bomb did go off, it would have meant leaving family behind.

One of the remaining sites is a bunker in York which gives an insight of what might go on as the UK braces for war.

It once would have housed staff and officials monitoring the dire situation on the outside – and had supplies and equipment stockpiled in the event of an attack.

It is open to the public and still in working order as it was in the 80s when tensions over nuclear war were last at the highest.

Rachael Bowers, English Heritage site manager said: “When a nuclear bomb explodes, it generates heat, blast and radiation – all of which are harmful to humans.

“The thick concrete walls of the bunker are covered with a layer of brick, three layers of asphalt to make it watertight and almost a metre of soil.”

She added that, like the other bunkers in the UK, all the doors are fitted with a seal to keep radioactive material out and the bunker would be pressurised – meaning no dust particles could end up inside.

In the event of a nuclear attack, radiation sickness would kill of those not immediately obliterated by the blast.

It would be a long, painful way to go – so in the event of a bomb, it’s important to have systems in place to keep people safe from the radiation.

The prospect of this was so terrifying in the last Cold War that police would have manned the bunker door if a bomb went off to stop general people attempting to rush inside.

There would be enough supplies stockpiled inside for occupants to survive 30 days, the most harmful period after a nuclear bomb hit.

There are still hundreds of these concrete shells around the UK. But if we came under threat of a nuclear attack, could we run and hide in these safe rooms?

Nick Catford, author of Cold War Bunkers, says the shelters were designed only to provide a place for officials to work safely through the crisis.

He says that the concrete shells could be used as protection against the aftermath of the bomb but would need kitting out with more up-to-date tech.

He also added that no bunker could ever take a direct hit from a weapon and survive especially with the stronger, more sophisticated bombs we have today.

“None of the shelters were designed to take a direct hit. Many of them would survive a near miss and those that are still in use would continue to function. The problem with the old bunkers is that all the life support plant, if it is still there, will no longer be operational so if any are to be brought back into use they would have to be completely refurbished and probably refitted.

“If we refurbished some of our old bunkers they would really only be any uses as fallout shelters as they equipment they were designed for would be totally obsolete.”

During the Cold War members of the public were advised to build their own shelters in their homes.Advice was to stock up on food, re-enforce the walls with sandbags and even paint windows white to reflect heat.

Whereas the specially built bunkers had air conditioning and sealed doors, the general public was encouraged to use sandbags and heavy objects to re-enforce walls and stop as much radiation seeping through as possible.

No nuclear weapon ever went off in the UK, so it was never tested how successful this advice would be.

200 of the shelters are still left in tact and dotted around the country but it would never ever be an option for civilians to use them as protection.

So anyone concerned about the Cold War heating up this time best get building their own bomb shelter.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear crooks prosper in USA

13 Feb 16 The article on the criminality of GE/Hitachi suggests that the old adage: “crooks never prosper,” is accurate. However, in December 2015, the double-tongued NRC and DoE > the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority rewarded GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy with a contract worth more than $70 million to provide outage services for units 1, 2 and 3 of the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant.

In October 2014, corporate felons, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (partnering with ANL) were rewarded with a DoE multi-million dollar grant for “development and modernization of next-generation probabilistic risk assessment methodologies” on the PRISM reactor.

This is despite the fact that in September 2014, GE was hit with a “consent agreement” totalling $24 million to clean up its PCB contamination of the Hudson River. The Hudson River PCB Superfund (hazardous waste site) is located in New York and consists of 200 miles of the river. The Site is one of the largest Superfund Sites in the country thanks to GE.

The EPA estimated that GE dumped approximately 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river.
GE knew of the deadly health and environmental hazards of PCBs as early as 1937 when employees were sickened – some dying of liver disease yet it continued contaminating the river until the tardy EPA banned PCBs in 1977.

The nuclear behemoth is a magnet for corporate thugs who hide beneath Obama’s “clean energy” mantle muddling the message whilst fouling the biosphere with impunity. The nuclear industry relies on Joe Public’s apathy.

Conclusion: The old adage: “crooks never prosper” incubates in the bowels of mythology.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Corporate elites push their toxic nuclear products onto India

Perverted Logic of Powerful Corporate Interests drive the India-France Nuclear Connection Mainstream Weekly, VOL LIV No 8 New Delhi by Harsh Kapoor The French President was in India as the chief guest at the surreal nationalist military parade of January 26, 2016. As is the practice, he was accompanied by a high-powered delegation and many multilateral deals got signed between the two countries. There are big ones that have been in the news, have been in the making for many years and may still take time to fructify. These concern the sale by France of nuclear power plants and of flying war toys to India.

India’s proposed purchase of military weaponry and nuclear power plants from France constitute the big centrepiece—attention and money involved in the overall scheme of Franco-Indian ties of the moment. These involve the sale of the Rafale-Multi Role Fighter jets, made by Dassault, said to be the most expensive in the world, and the sales of EPR (European Pressurised Reactors) nuclear reactors, made by Areva, also in the league of the most expensive.


Both these, that is, the civilian nuclear programme and defence procurement, are holy cows that are tightly sealed off by a firewall insulating them from reasoned public scrutiny; all this is managed and scripted by bureaucrats, lobbyists and keepers of ‘national interest’ who hold the keys. The Indian establishment of recent times seems to have grown very big pockets and a big-time ‘folie de grandeur’ where the bigger, more expensive, noisier, higher, shinier are seen as better benchmarks. (A sign of times we are in, that India’s Prime Minister walks about in clothes with his name printed on it all over.) Undue influence of foreign vendors and big Indian and foreign firms and lobbyists is a new reality in the corridors of our decision-making circles. That a new corporate-military industrial complex is shaping India’s drive down this road is a matter which should be the subject of social and economic enquiry by the academia. That is the Indian side of the picture.

But what is driving the French establishment in this foray into India?

The French authorities and the corporate elites see India (and China) as the new market to push their wares. It’s as banal and straight as that. It’s mostly about shoring up economic ties and in the process principally to bailout two crises-ridden sections of the French economy, namely, the civilian nuclear sector and the sagging military-industrial sector. Both of these continue to exercise a considerable hold over the French elites……..

Let us look at the story of the crisis-ridden French civilian nuclear programme to under-stand why the sale of the French EPR reactors for the proposed Jaitapur nuclear park is important to the French……..

The European Pressurised Reactor or EPR was a new generation design and a big bet of the French reactor-maker, Areva NP. The initial optimism from the EPR and the orders for new plants—first in Finland in 2003 (Olkiluoto), then in France in 2006 (Flamanville) and thereafter in China in 2007 (Taishan)—has dissolved with both Olkiluoto and Flamanville now nearly three times over-the-budget and at least 10 years and five years late respectively. Even the Chinese plants under construction are running late. Not a single functioning nuclear plant running the EPR reactor exists so far. There have been huge problems with the reactor design and construction quality despite years of experience in nuclear plant engineering in France. The highly trusted and independent-minded French nuclear safety agency (ASN) has found problems with the pressure vessel forgings in the Flamanville plant……..

The initial cost of the French EPR reactor was to be 3 billion euros but current estimates say it would be close to 11.5 billion euros. [One billion euros come to Rs 7000 crores and one French reactor would cost more then Rs 70,000 crores whereas the annual plan outlay for Maharashtra is Rs 47,000 crores.] The very largely state-owned company, Areva, that made the EPR has been running huge losses. In 2014 the losses were close to 5 billion euros. In July 2015 Areva sold off its reactor business to the French state-run electricity utility, EDF, which is also the biggest operator of nuclear power plants. Now the EDF, which has been economically sound, will have to manage the many very economically risky foreign projects of the former Areva. Experts say the EPR’s design problems and costs have dragged down Areva economically and the EDF is unlikely to want a similar fate for itself. The EDF has been developing its own designs for smaller nuclear reactors. Given the construction and operation problems of the EPR there is a possibility that the EDF could shelve the EPR’s giant reactor programme and place it in long-term cold storage.

The in-principle sale of six EPR reactors to India is a bet for the rescue of the crisis-marked French nuclear sector — imagine an injection of 60 billion euros if the price is, say, 10 billion dollars a piece. There was a joint venture by Areva and L & T, the Indian engineering major, which is negotiating the price of building the Jaitapur reactors with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). They say the will bring down the price by sourcing the parts under a ‘make an India’ bid. All this will need to be reworked with the EDF being the new French entity in charge……….

February 15, 2016 Posted by | France, India, marketing | Leave a comment

Native Americans’ water supply contaminated by uranium mining

indigenousNative Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply? Celebrities and politicians have rallied around the city of Flint, Michigan, where thousands of children have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead in drinking water. But Native Americans say they have been facing an even more dangerous water contaminant for decades – uranium – and received far less attention

The Cold War arms race triggered a boom in uranium mining in the U.S. Between the 1940s and 1980s, uranium mining operations were carried out under a 19th century mining law that did not require them to clean up after themselves.When demand for uranium waned in the 1980s, companies simply walked away, leaving open pits and tunnels – and enormous amounts of radioactive waste. Today more than 15,000 abandoned uranium mines dot the U.S. West. Three-quarters of them are located on federal and tribal lands.

Ray Manygoats grew up near Tuba City, Arizona, near a now-abandoned uranium mine. He is no stranger to the substance the Diné (Navajo) people call “the yellow monster.”

“Yellow stuff was always everywhere,” Manygoats told the House Oversight Committee in 2007. “I saw liquids bubbling and tried to stay away from them…we would play in the yellowcake sand near the mill, jumping and rolling around in it.”

Manygoats has suffered from a variety of health troubles, including growths on his eyes; his father has respiratory problems.

Effects on drinking water

“There is a really large and convincing and definitive literature that shows that for miners working underground, uranium mining is associated with a greatly increased risk of lung cancer,” said Douglas Brugge, Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. “We also know that uranium, radium, radon and arsenic – which is frequently in the ore as well – are toxic. And we know from a fairly large number of studies that people who are drinking water contaminated with uranium have some adverse health effects, mostly kidney damage.”

In 2014, University of New Mexico researchers sampled mine waste at one Arizona site and found uranium concentrations in spring water that was four times the federal drinking-water limit. Thirty percent of Diné lack access to public water and are forced to drink from unregulated wells, springs and livestock ponds, any of which could be contaminated.

Mining ongoing

Today, only a few companies continue to mine for uranium in the U.S. The most common method is in situ leaching: oxygenated water is injected into the earth, where it dissolves uranium. The solution is then brought back up to the surface and shipped off to processing plants.

In situ mining has been going on since 1988 in northwestern Nebraska, not far from the South Dakota Pine Ridge Reservation that is home to the Oglala Lakota people.

“We are 30 minutes away as the crow flies, fifteen minutes as the wind blows, from the mine site,” said Debra White Plume, executive director ofOwe Aku (“Bring Back the Way”), a grassroots Lakota environmental group.

White Plume and other concerned activists have gone up against one of the world’s largest mining corporations in an attempt to block it from opening up three new mines in the area.

Ninety-eight wells have had to be closed on Pine Ridge because of unusually high rates of cancer, kidney disease and other health problems, said White Plume. She’s convinced that uranium is to blame, and she grows frustrated over suggestions that poor diet or smoking could be a factor.

“Why do the innocent human beings at home have to prove that the big corporation is contaminating them? Why aren’t laws in place that say, ‘OK, if that corporation is going to come into our community, let them show us how they will not harm us, let them show us how they aren’t going to threaten everything we depend on for life: Water, food, air, land?’” she asked.

The US Environmental Protection Agency says it has spent more than $100 million to identify areas at highest risk, part of a multi-year plan to address uranium contamination across the country.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, water | 2 Comments

UN ruling on Julian Assange, and Constitutional Law

Whether or not you believe Mr. Assange is guilty of a sexual offence, whether or not you think he is a self-publicist deliberately resisting arrest, the fact remains that the authorities could use less restrictive means without compromising the initial investigation into the allegations regarding his sexual conduct in Sweden

Liora Lazarus: Is the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Decision on Assange ‘So Wrong’?UK Constitutional Law Association 13 Feb 16 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention handed down its decision on Julian Assange on Friday 5 February 2015 (A/HRC/WGAD/2015/54). It has been met with almost universal ridicule from a line of British officials, legal academics and the press. The decision has been described as ‘ridiculous’ by the UK Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond, and former Director of Public Prosecution Ken MacDonald argues that describing Assange’s conditions as ‘arbitrary detention’ is ‘ludicrous’. The press is equally incredulous. ………

This point of this piece is to correct the imbalance of coverage on this decision, which consistently fails to explain the arguments which persuaded the Working Group in the first place.
Julian Assange UN Ruling – Geoffrey Robertson QC Joseph Kotrie-Monson interviewed

Factual background

Mr. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault. The Swedish prosecutorial authorities have issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) which the UK authorities are bound to implement. Mr. Assange, after arrest of 10 days and house arrest thereafter, was granted asylum by Ecuador after his appeal against the EAW failed. This is when he took up residence in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. Assange argues that he fears ultimate extradition from Sweden to the USA on the grounds of his involvement in Wikileaks.

This is obviously no small fear, given the sentencing and treatment of Chelsea Manning in the USA, and the decision of Edward Snowden to take up asylum in Russia. The Swedish authorities refuse to grant Assange any guarantee of non-refoulement to the US, and his right to asylum has also not been recognized by the UK or Sweden. ……..

Mr. Assange argues that he is not free to leave the Embassy; he would have to accept the conditions of his immediate arrest, his extradition to Sweden and his subsequent questioning there. He would have to undertake the risk that he would be extradited to the US, and the subsequent risks to his rights were that to happen.

The mandate of the UN WGAD and the test for ‘deprivation of liberty’

In order to establish its competence, and to decide upon the case, the UN WGAD has to decide whether there is a ‘deprivation of liberty’ under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This involves a more severe restriction of motion within a narrower space than mere interference with liberty of movement. (This is explained in General Comment 35 by the UN Human Rights Committee, para. 5……..

The UN WGAD is given a very specific mandate by the United Nations and its Members to decide on these very issues. ……..

The European Arrest Warrant and the Swedish investigation

As easy as it might be in the press to simplify the issues surrounding this case, it is worth elaborating on some key technicalities. The UK authorities are acting pursuant to the conditions of a EAW issued by Sweden who are asking to question Mr. Assange on allegations of sexual assault in order to decide whether to charge him.

The prosecutorial authorities in Sweden re-opened the case against Assange, despite an earlier preliminary investigation (in which Assange had co-operated while in Sweden) that decided there was no case against him in respect of the alleged rape. There is to date no charge against Mr. Assange. The EAW has been at the core of Sweden’s approach, and there had been no attempt by Swedish prosecutors to make use of ‘mutual assistance protocols’ in which Mr. Assange could be interviewed by video-conference (a procedure available under Article 9 of Second Additional Procotol on ‘mutual assistance’)………

Assange’s lawyers have offered co-operation on this alternative a number of times. The Swedish prosecutorial authorities have refused to explore these alternatives, relying instead on the EAW they have issued. They have also failed to disclose the full case against Assange.

Assange has tried but failed to challenge the European Arrest Warrant against him in Sweden and in the UK. In a judgment handed down on 11 May 2015, the majority of the Swedish Supreme Court held that the EAW was valid, but a dissent in this case by Justice Svante Johansson also argued that the arrest warrant was ‘in violation of the principle of proportionality’, as the reasons for continued detention did not ‘outweigh the intrusion and inconvenience’ caused to Assange. According to the Guardian coverage of this case, the ‘Swedish Supreme court also stated … that the investigating authorities “must examine what alternative investigative opportunities are available to drive the investigation forward”. Former Legal Counsel to the United Nations and Legal Adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hans Corell, has stated that he “does not understand why the prosecutor had not questioned Julian Assange during all the years he has been at the Ecuadorian Embassy”………….

The main arguments of Assange’s lawyers

The central argument of Assange’s lawyers’ proceed on the basis that his confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy ‘cannot … be characterized as volitional’ (para 13). He is not free to leave, because he is protecting himself from the violation of other human rights: ‘the only way for Mr. Assange to enjoy his right to asylum was to be in detention’ (para 11). If Assange were to leave he would be arrested in the UK and extradited pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Sweden. Consequently, he would expose himself to the risk of a ‘well founded fear of persecution’ were he to be extradited to the US from Sweden (para 12).

In the UK, Assange’s challenge goes to the validity of the EAW under UK law……….


In essence, the UN WGAD had to decide two questions. Firstly, whether there was a ‘deprivation of liberty’ as opposed to a ‘restriction of liberty’. Secondly, assuming the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, whether that deprivation of liberty was ‘arbitrary’.

In response to the first question, the UN WGAD clearly accepted the argument that Assange’s conditions are not volitional, or self-imposed……..

the UN WGAD was persuaded that the confinement was arbitrary. The most compelling grounds were those based on proportionality. In short, there could have been another, less restrictive way of proceeding. Before issuing a European Arrest Warrant, the Swedish authorities could have followed the normal practice of interviewing Assange in a British police interview room. After Assange, sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy they could have questioned Assange by video link. He could have been provided the chance to respond to the allegations against him, or provided with an assurance related to his refoulment to the US. But his conditions currently are based on the legitimacy of an EAW which two UK Supreme Court justices consider invalid under UK law, and which one Swedish Supreme Court judge considers disproportionate……….

There is still no charge against Mr. Assange. He has, under international, European, and domestic law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. He has offered to respond to the process in other ways, and would co-operate fully if he had a further guarantee of non-refoulment.

Whether or not you believe Mr. Assange is guilty of a sexual offence, whether or not you think he is a self-publicist deliberately resisting arrest, the fact remains that the authorities could use less restrictive means without compromising the initial investigation into the allegations regarding his sexual conduct in Sweden. ……….

Reasonable (and even judicial) minds have clearly differed on these issues, which suggests that the UN WGAD decision cannot fairly be described as ‘ridiculous’, ‘ludicrous’, or ‘so wrong’. No doubt views on this may be coloured by our particular position on the integrity of Assange’s himself. But human rights are not meant to favour the popular amongst us; they are meant to favour us all.

Liora Lazarus is a Fellow of St. Anne’s College and an Associate Professor in Law at Oxford University.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

NRA calls a halt to TEPCO’s plan to freeze soil at Fukushima plant

February 10, 2016. The nation’s nuclear watchdog has put the kibosh on plans by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to start freezing underground soil at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant–a stunningly expensive project intended to solve the crisis of accumulating radioactive groundwater at the site.

Tepco finishes installing Fukushima ice shield equipment

Feb 10, 2016. FUKUSHIMA – Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it has finished installing equipment to freeze the ground around four reactors at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a project that aims to reduce the flow of groundwater into the site. …

The success of the project is not assured. The Nuclear Regulation Authority is monitoring it closely as the shields may lower the level of groundwater around the reactor buildings, potentially triggering a release of contaminated water that is currently sitting in the buildings’ basements.

February 15, 2016 Posted by | general | 1 Comment