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Court orders TEPCO to compensate evacuees


Court orders TEPCO to compensate evacuees
A court has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company to compensate a family who chose to flee after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The Kyoto District Court issued the ruling on Thursday and told the utility to pay about 30 million yen, or over 260 thousand dollars.
The plaintiffs evacuated from Fukushima to Kyoto Prefecture and elsewhere on a voluntary basis.
They were seeking compensation of nearly 1.6 million dollars. They say they could not work since the accident due to insomnia, depression and other stress-related health problems.
The court said it’s reasonable that the plaintiffs voluntarily evacuated, as information on the danger of the unprecedented disaster had not been revealed.
The court also said the plaintiffs had to evacuate from familiar surroundings and that this caused considerable stress and illnesses.

TEPCO ordered to pay damages for voluntary evacuation from Fukushima
KYOTO — A court has ruled that the operator of the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is liable for damages stemming from voluntary evacuation by residents in Fukushima Prefecture, believed to be the first ruling of its kind.
The Kyoto District Court on Thursday ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay about 30 million yen in damages to a couple in which the husband lost his job and developed mental illness after the family voluntarily fled in the wake of nuclear disaster triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The sum the court awarded to the couple in their 40s is also much bigger than the 11 million yen proposed by a government-established center to mediate out-of-court settlements for nuclear accident compensation.
The plaintiffs said the ruling “set an example that there is no need to give up when evacuees do not feel satisfied with the sum” presented by the dispute resolution center. The couple, who have evacuated to the city of Kyoto, sought about 180 million yen from TEPCO in the lawsuit filed in 2013.
According to the ruling, the husband was managing a company before he and his family fled Fukushima in the wake of the nuclear disaster. The husband then developed sleeping problems and suffered from depression before becoming unable to work around May 2011.
Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki determined that the nuclear accident “was one of the main reasons” that the husband suffered mental and other problems. He also found that the financial loss the couple faced was the consequence of the accident.
Of the amount TEPCO was ordered to pay, about 21 million yen in damages is associated with lost employment income and expenses due to evacuation, the ruling said.
Another 1.7 million yen is compensation for being “forced to move to a land with no ties with Fukushima Prefecture which they were familiar with,” the court said, adding that they “lost a stable life.”
During the triple reactor core meltdown disaster, residents living within 20 kilometers of the TEPCO nuclear plant and some areas beyond were ordered to evacuate. Many others also fled from their homes at their own discretion.


February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Criticism of Government Being Airbrushed Out News Shows Anchors Away


FOR a decade, millions of Japanese have tuned in to watch Ichiro Furutachi, the salty presenter of a popular evening news show, TV Asahi’s “Hodo Station”. But next month Mr Furutachi will be gone. He is one of three heavyweight presenters leaving prime-time shows on relatively liberal channels. It is no coincidence that all are, by Japanese standards, robust critics of the government.
Last year another anchor, Shigetada Kishii, used his news slot on TBS, a rival channel, to question the legality of bills passed to expand the nation’s military role overseas. The questioning was nothing less than what most constitutional scholars were also doing—and in private senior officials themselves acknowledge the unconstitutionality of the legislation, even as they justify it on the ground that Japan is in a risky neighbourhood and needs better security. But Mr Kishii’s on-air fulminations prompted a group of conservatives to take out newspaper advertisements accusing him of violating broadcasters’ mandated impartiality. TBS now says he will quit. The company denies this has anything to do with the adverts, but few believe that.
The third case is at NHK, the country’s giant public-service broadcaster. It has yanked one of its more popular anchors off the air. Hiroko Kuniya has helmed an investigative programme, “Close-up Gendai”, for two decades. NHK has not said why she is leaving, but colleagues blame her departure on an interview last year with Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman and closest adviser to Shinzo Abe, the prime minister.
Mr Suga is known for running a tight ship and for demanding advance notice of questions from journalists. In the interview Ms Kuniya had the temerity to probe him on the possibility that the new security legislation might embroil Japan in other countries’ wars. By the standards of spittle-flecked clashes with politicians on British or American television, the encounter was tame. But Japanese television journalists rarely play hardball with politicians. Mr Suga’s handlers were incensed.
It all shows how little tolerance the government has for criticism, says Makoto Sataka, a commentator and colleague of Mr Kishii’s. He points out that one of Mr Abe’s first moves after he returned to power in 2012 was to appoint conservative allies to NHK’s board. Katsuto Momii, the broadcaster’s new president, wasted little time in asserting that NHK’s role was to reflect government policy. What is unprecedented today, says Shigeaki Koga, a former bureaucrat turned talking head, is the growing public intimidation of journalists. On February 9th the communications minister, Sanae Takaichi, threatened to close television stations that flouted rules on political impartiality. Ms Takaichi was responding to a question about the departure of the three anchors.
Political pressure on the press is not new. The mainstream media (the five main newspapers are affiliated with the principal private television stations) are rarely analytical or adversarial, being temperamentally and commercially inclined to reflect the establishment view. Indeed the chumminess is extreme. In January Mr Abe again dined with the country’s top media executives at the offices of the Yomiuri Shimbun, the world’s biggest-circulation newspaper. Nine years ago, when Mr Abe resigned from his first term as prime minister, the paper’s kingpin, Tsuneo Watanabe, brokered the appointment of his successor, Yasuo Fukuda. Mr Watanabe then attempted to forge a coalition between ruling party and opposition. Oh, but his paper forgot to alert readers to all these goings-on. The media today, says Michael Cucek of Temple University in Tokyo, has “no concept of conflict of interest.”
It has all contributed to an alarming slide since 2011 in Japan’s standing in world rankings of media freedom. Mr Koga expects a further fall this year. He ran afoul of the government during his stint as a caustic anti-Abe commentator on “Hodo Station”. On air last year he claimed that his contract was being terminated because of pressure from the prime minister’s office. His aim, Mr Koga insists, was to rally the media against government interference. Yet TV Asahi apologised and promised tighter controls over guests. Now Mr Furutachi is quitting too. The government is playing chicken with the media, Mr Furutachi says, and winning.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

More than 1,100 water storage tanks at Fukushima plant … and counting



Storage tanks to contain radioactive contaminated water continue being constructed at Fukushima

February 13, 2016 By Satoru Semba

The construction of large steel tanks on the site around Fukushima nuclear power plant to store highly contaminated water running through the nuclear site continues. There is a planned further construction of 20 more steel containers which are expected to store 30,000 tons of contaminated water. In addition to the steel tanks that are being constructed with no end in site, there are more than 9 million large black vinyl bags piling up in neat rows around the site filled with radioactive contaminated soil that has been scraped off the surface around the nuclear plant. Heavy rain during September, 2015 around the area of Fukushima caused flooding and swept more than 700 of these bags containing Fukushima-contaminated soil and grass into local rivers. Many of these bags are still unaccounted for with some spilling their radioactive content into the water system.

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–From the air, the rows of different colored water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant resemble a giant integrated circuit board.

As the fifth anniversary approaches of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that unleashed the nuclear catastrophe, the stricken facility is fast running out of space to position the tanks holding highly contaminated radioactive water.

As of Feb. 12, there were 1,106 massive water tanks on the premises.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, constructed the tanks to store radiation-contaminated water that has been accumulating at the plant since the disaster unfolded in March 2011.

The utility plans to construct 20 more water storage tanks to accommodate 30,000 tons of water that is expected to be generated in the remaining months of 2016.

As the tanks occupy much of the parking lots, green spaces and vacant areas, TEPCO has no choice but to build new tanks in the narrow alleys between the huge containers.

The accumulation of contaminated water has been a persistent problem at the plant, which is only in the very early stages of decommissioning, a process that will take 30 to 40 years.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Speakers raise issues haunting Fukushima in finance panel public hearing

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture–To a central government committee meeting here on Feb. 17, hotel operator Shoko Yamazaki aired out her frustrations at the restart of nuclear power plants in Japan.
“Nuclear power plants in the nation were restarted with very little thought when the nuclear crisis in Fukushima has not even been settled,” said Yamazaki, whose hotel is in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. “Have we learned nothing from Fukushima?”
Yamazaki was one of the invited speakers who spoke of their concerns for a region still feeling the devastation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 2011 in the hearing held by the Lower House Budget Committee.
The prefecture was chosen for the second time since the catastrophe for the special regional hearing as “March 11 will be the fifth anniversary (of the disaster), a landmark year,” said Wataru Takeshita, former reconstruction minister and head of the committee.
The opinions of four speakers recommended by both the ruling and opposition parties were heard at the hearing, which was held as part of the committee’s budget deliberation for the upcoming fiscal year.
Hiromi Watanabe, one of the public speakers, said it was urgent that the region rid itself of bad publicity from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis that unfolded in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.
“It continues to haunt not just agriculture and tourism, but various industries as well,” said Watanabe, the head of the Fukushima Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He also urged the central government to put a stop to population decline and improve transportation in the region.
Meanwhile, Hajimu Yamana, the chairman of the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., said, “Findings on the cause of the nuclear accident and studies on its effects on population migration can be considered research for the reconstruction of Fukushima. It will become valuable information for the entire world.”
Yoshiharu Saito, a senior member of the disaster victim support group Fukushima Fukko Kyodo Center (Fukushima reconstruction communal center), talked about the central government’s plan to lift the evacuation orders on all regions except “difficult-to-return zones” by March 2017.
“The wishes of residents who want to return home should be granted, but at the same time we hope for the central government to assist those who are unable to do so,” Saito said.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | | Leave a comment

Research center to use atomic-bomb studies to rebuild Fukushima communities


The presidents of Nagasaki University, Hiroshima University and Fukushima Medical University sign the agreement to establish a joint research center on the impact of low-level radiation doses and related themes in Hiroshima on Feb. 17.


Universities in Fukushima Prefecture and the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will deepen collaboration on radiation exposure studies and expand a research network to help rebuilding efforts around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University and Fukushima Medical University will establish a joint research center in Hiroshima in the 2016 academic year, which starts in April.
The education minister approved plans for the center last month, and the facility will be operated on government funds.
Hiroshima University and Nagasaki University both have core facilities that have conducted decades-long studies on radiation. The two schools have dispatched researchers to the Fukushima Medical University since April 2011 for studies on the health effects of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March that year.
The three universities are expected to build research networks and expand cooperation at the new center.
“The study of low-level radiation exposure is growing urgent,” Mitsuo Ochi, president of Hiroshima University, said Feb. 17, when the university presidents signed the agreement to set up the center.
“We would like to fulfill our mission to contribute to Fukushima’s rebuilding efforts based on the results of basic research conducted by our university.”
The center will solicit research themes from across Japan in 10 areas, including assessments of the impact of low-level radiation doses on patients, development of methods to diagnose internal radiation exposure in patients, treatments of patients, and radiation protective agents.
Scientists who respond to the center’s request are expected to work together with researchers of the three universities.
The research center is also expected to cooperate with the Fukushima prefectural government on a program that assesses possible correlations between diseases and radiation doses.
In addition, it plans to offer advice on training people who are tasked to provide health care to those exposed to radiation.
The project also envisages providing assistance for workers who are exposed to radiation levels beyond expectations during the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Europe is more than 118 billion euros short of funds needed to decommission its nuclear reactors

nuke-reactor-deadEU lacks 118 billion euros in nuclear decommissioning funds – draft

BRUSSELS Europe lacks more than 118 billion euros ($132 billion) needed to dismantle its nuclear plants and manage the waste storage management, a working paper by the European Commission seen by Reuters shows.

Assets covering only 150.1 billion euros in decommissioning costs – which includes the lengthy dismantling of stations as well as the removal and storage of radioactive parts and waste – are available, compared with 268.3 billion euros in expected costs, the paper shows.

The data is part of a broader analysis of Europe’s nuclear capacity, the so-called Nuclear Illustrative Programme of the Commission (PINC), the last of which has been published in 2007, before Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis five years ago.

As a result, Europe’s largest economy Germany has decided to fully abandon nuclear power by no later than 2022, relying on solar, wind as well as coal and gas-fired instead to eliminate the risk of a meltdown.

Among 16 EU member states still operating nuclear plants, only Britain’s operators have sufficient dedicated assets to cover the expected costs, 63 billion euros, according to the paper. France, which operates Europe’s largest fleet of nuclear plants, is heavily underfunded, having earmarked assets only worth 23 billion euros, less than a third of 74.1 billion euros in expected costs.

In Germany, an additional 7.7 billion euros in funds are needed on top of the current 38 billion euros.

Decommissioning costs vary according to reactor type and size, location, the proximity and availability of disposal facilities, the intended future use of the site and the condition of the reactor at the time of decommissioning.

Although technology used for decommissioning might gradually become cheaper, the cost of final waste depositories is largely unknown and costs might spiral over time. Reactor lifespans are measured in decades, which means financing costs and provisions depend strongly on unpredictable interest rate levels.

($1 = 0.8952 euros)

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

February 19, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s nuclear waste problems piling up

waste acres FukushimaProblems Keep Piling Up in Fukushima Steve Herman  VOA News 17 Feb 16 TOKYO—

Experts say Japan’s nuclear energy problems are worsening, five years after a massive earthquake unleashed a tsunami that melted down the island nation’s nuclear reactors.

Nine million cubic meters of radioactive waste, much of it soil, are stored unsheltered in black bags throughout Fukushima prefecture, preventing tens of thousands of residents from returning home.

And the problem is going to worsen before it improves.

An estimated 13 million cubic meters of toxic soil is yet to be collected and technicians have yet to solve the contamination issue inside the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power Plant. Government and industry officials acknowledge cleaning everything up — including decommissioning the crippled reactors — will take at least another 40 years and cost as much as $250 billion.

And that timeline and the costs – considered overly optimistic by some industry experts – are based on nothing major going wrong. If another major earthquake hits and results in a tsunami, there will be major setbacks, admits the nuclear plant’s manager, Akira Ono.

Thousands of workers are dedicated to keeping under control the plant’s six reactors, four of which either melted down or were severely damaged.

Japan has never decommissioned a nuclear reactor, much less reactors as damaged as those at Fukushima.

It has resisted offers from foreign companies to help formulate an adequate cleanup plan.

“Unfortunately the cleanup effort continues to suffer from an inability to face the long-term decisions that have to be made in order to develop and implement an efficient plan,” said former U.S. diplomat Kevin Maher, who was running the State Department’s Japan desk when the earthquake struck.

The cleanup plan, he argues, should be driven by where to ultimately dispose the contaminated debris, fuel and water.

“Instead, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) continues to delay those decision, so we see the continual buildup of more stored water, because TEPCO can’t decide what to do with it. An experienced program management company could make those decisions,” said Maher, a senior advisor at NMV Consulting in Washington.

Even if Fukushima residents with homes inside the exclusion zone are allowed to return, the thousands of bags of radioactive soil in the prefecture may give them pause……..

The question of whether Fukushima can ever be adequately decontaminated is also an open one.

Japan’s environment minister has had to walk back remarks she made about the government’s decontamination target.

Tamayo Marukawa last Friday apologized for saying the government aimed to reduce the radiation level near the Fukushima-1 plant to an annual dose of one millisievert or less, a goal that has no scientific basis. (The average yearly human dose globally from naturally occurring sources is about three times that amount, according to scientists.)……..

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Limited liability for Germany’s nuclear operators in nuclear paseout

Decommissioningflag_germanyGerman commission favours limited liability for nuclear phaseout-document  Feb 18 Germany’s nuclear operators could face only limited long-term liability for the costs of the country’s nuclear phaseout, according to a paper from a government-appointed commission seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The paper indicates that the commission took on board concerns of the four utilities – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – which have earmarked nearly 40 billion euros in provisions to pay for the dismantling and storage of waste from their nuclear plants.

The last plant will be closed in 2022.

Worries over their financial health have raised fears that the companies may be unable to turn the provisions – including some illiquid assets – into liquid funds, eventually leaving taxpayers to foot some or much of the bill.

The paper said an unlimited liability would lead to excessive demands being made of the operators and that this would ultimately not be beneficial to society.

The paper said the operators may be asked to set aside additional funds on top of existing provisions for the costs of the nuclear phaseout, and that it favoured a state-controlled fund for the long-term costs.

A spokesman for E.ON said he did not want to comment before the final results of the commission are published. (Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf; Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Noah Barkin)

February 19, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Stolen nuclear material in Iraq – risk of an Islamic State “dirty bomb”

dirty bombSecurity firms deny responsibility for stolen nuclear material in Iraq, Islamic State dirty bomb fears linger , ABC News 19 Feb 16 Swiss inspections group SGS has denied any responsibility for security at the site in southern Iraq where radioactive material disappeared from last year, prompting fears it could be acquired by Islamic State militants……

Reuters released an exclusive report showing that Iraq is searching for “highly dangerous” radioactive material which the theft of has raised fears among Iraqi officials that it could be used to make a dirty bomb if acquired by IS militants.

A dirty bomb combines nuclear material with conventional explosives to contaminate an area with radiation, in contrast to a nuclear weapon, which uses nuclear fission to trigger a vastly more powerful blast.

“We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh,” a senior security official with knowledge of the theft, using an Arabic acronym for IS militants, said.

“They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb.”……

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The continuing saga of the plan to dump nuclear waste on Yucca Mt – an act of genocide

for Zaparte, the actions taken by the U.S. government so far constitute an act of genocide against the Western Shoshone and other tribal nations who have been subject to the effects of nuclear testing and power. He is determined to fight for his people’s way of life and the land that his ancestors fought for.

“We have a deliberate act by the United States to systematically dismantle my living life ways for the profit of the nuclear industry and the benefit of the United States,” Zaparte said. “At the worst, this is genocide underthe U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide

The battle for Yucca Mountain The Battle Continues To Stop Yucca Mountain From Becoming A Nuclear Waste Dump Not far from the site of 40 years of nuclear weapons testing, a proposed long-term nuclear waste dump draws opposition from the Shoshone and Paiute Nations, environmental activists and even Nevada state officials. MintPress News, By Derrick Broze February 18, 2016

“…………Commercial nuclear power plants produce spent nuclear fuel, a radioactive byproduct. High-level radioactive waste is also produced as spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed into material for nuclear weapons. Disposing of both of these byproducts is a difficult and dangerous task.

In response to growing concerns over nuclear waste storage, Congress passed the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982, which charged the Department of Energy with finding a place to build and operate a geologic repository, or underground nuclear waste disposal facility. Operating on the notion that the safest way to dispose of the waste is to bury it in rock deep underground, the DOE studied several sites for a possible geologic repository before settling on Yucca Mountain, located 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The plan for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository had the support of President George W. Bush, but met with opposition from Nevada state officials and environmental and Native activists, who fear that the rock at Yucca Mountain will not be able to contain nuclear waste for long periods of time.

In 2009, environmental and anti-nuclear organizations, including Beyond Nuclear, Greenpeace, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, and the International Society for Ecology, sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling the selection of the Yucca Mountain site “a purely political decision.” They argued that it has been been evident since 1992 that the site “could not meet the EPA’s general radiation protection standard for repositories.”

Obama opted to end funding for the project, setting off an ongoing legal battle. In August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve or reject the DOE application for the proposed waste storage site at Yucca Mountain. The Associated Press reported:

“In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was ‘simply flouting the law’ when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The action goes against a federal law designating Yucca Mountain as the nation’s nuclear waste repository.”

In January 2015 the NRC concluded that the DOE’s license application for Yucca Mountain satisfies nearly all of the commission’s regulations. The commission must now clear all challenges from the state of Nevada and Native communities, a process which could take several more years.

Then, in August, the NRC released a supplement to the DOE’s 2002 and 2008 environmental impact statements for the planned nuclear waste repository. The NRC’s report evaluates different potential radiological and non-radiological impacts on the environment, soil, and public health, and the potential for disproportionate impacts on minority or low-income populations. The NRC wrote:

“…[T]he NRC staff finds no environmental pathway that would affect minority or low-income populations differently from other segments of the general population. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that no disproportionately high and adverse health or environmental impacts would occur to minority or low-income segments of the population in the Amargosa Valley area.”

The nonprofit environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council disagreed, stating that the NRC “still adheres to the flawed assumptions the DOE used to frame the foundation of its analysis of potential environmental impacts of the repository.”

As this process drags on, two companies are providing interim storage sites for the country’s nuclear waste. One is located in Andrews County, Texas, and owned by Waste Control Specialists. The other is anunderground storage site in Southeastern New Mexico, operated by Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea Alliance of New Mexico. Waste Control Specialists are hoping to turn the temporary West Texas facility into a long-term waste storage site.

An act of genocide?

About 90 miles from the money and vices of Las Vegas, Ian Zaparte stands at the base of Yucca Mountain, discussing the history of theft of Shoshone land and the threats posed by the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Zaparte represents the Western Shoshone traditional government and has been fighting in defense of his community and the planet for 30 years.

The Western Shoshone are one of 12 Indian nations whose chiefs signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley with the governors of the Nevada and Utah territory in 1863. In addition to recognizing the sovereignty of each of the Indigenous nations, the treaty gave the Indian nations ownership over millions of acres of land in Idaho, Nevada, California and Utah. It also allowed settlers access to the land for gold mining and homesteading, but did not give them title.

However, a history of land grabs through controversial legal means saw that land handed over to various agencies of the U.S. government, including the Bureau of Land Management. In 1979, the U.S. put $26 millionin a fund for the Shoshone for title to 24 million acres, but the tribe declined the money. The Supreme Court ruled six years later that the settlement, whether officially accepted by the tribe or not, extinguished the Shoshones’ claim to the land.

Essentially, the U.S. government has stated that encroachment upon Indian lands by settlers, railroads, telegraphs, ranches and gold mines extinguished the Shoshone claim to the land. In 2006, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination found “credible information alleging that the Western Shoshone indigenous people are being denied their traditional rights to land.”

According to a University of Michigan Environmental Justice Case Study:

“The Western Shoshone argue that the basis of this plenary federal power is rooted in the colonial arrogance of the 17th century, and the laws that gave the United States Government control over the Native Americans are ‘extensions of Christian claims to world supremacy.’”

Since the Western Shoshone have lost claims to their traditional lands, the U.S. government is free to use the land for projects, such as nuclear weapons testing and the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Zaparte says the NRC and the DOE are ignoring the possibilities for danger in the area and denying the impact the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository would have on local communities, including the Paiute and the Shoshone.

“There are 26 faults, seven cinder cone volcanoes, 90 percent of the mountain is saturated with 10 percent water,” Zaparte told MintPress. “If you heat the rock, it will release that water. If the water comes up and corrodes the canisters, it will take whatever is in storage and bring it into the water and into the valley.”

The DOE is currently accepting public comment from communities, states, tribes and other stakeholders on how to establish a nuclear waste repository with respect to the community. The DOE says it aims “to establish an integrated waste management system to transport, store, and dispose of commercial spent nuclear fuel and high level defense radioactive waste.” The public comment period ends on June 15, and the DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission will likely issue statements shortly after.

Although the Yucca Mountain project has stalled during the Obama administration, a new president, especially a nuclear-friendly president, could theoretically rally for funding of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. The timing of the DOE’s study could potentially make the Yucca Mountain a topic of debate in the 2016 presidential election.

Still, for Zaparte, the actions taken by the U.S. government so far constitute an act of genocide against the Western Shoshone and other tribal nations who have been subject to the effects of nuclear testing and power. He is determined to fight for his people’s way of life and the land that his ancestors fought for.

“We have a deliberate act by the United States to systematically dismantle my living life ways for the profit of the nuclear industry and the benefit of the United States,” Zaparte said. “At the worst, this is genocide underthe U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.”………


February 19, 2016 Posted by | indigenous issues, Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

9,600 members of Fukushima plaintiff association suing Japanese govt and TEPCO

Fukushima disaster plaintiffs form association
Nuclear & Energy Feb. 13, 2016 –
Nearly 10,000 people suing the central government and an electric power firm in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have formed their first national association.
Representatives of 21 plaintiff groups joined a rally in Tokyo on Saturday to launch the association representing more than 9,600 members. Next month marks 5 years since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The groups are in class-action lawsuits to demand compensation from the state and Tokyo Electric Power Company over the accident.
The association plans to share information on the lawsuits.
It also intends to seek an extension of a free housing provision for voluntary disaster evacuees beyond March next year.
A co-representative of the association, Tokuo Hayakawa, said the accident deprived survivors of the right to live in their hometowns. He said he will join with the association members and fight until they win a victory.
Another co-representative Akiko Morimatsu said 5 years have passed since the accident, but that problems have yet to be solved. She added that the plaintiff groups will unite to claim that there will be no restoration without support for survivors.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Official Canadian report reveals Fukushima radioactive iodine in rain reached West Coast of America

Official Report: West Coast hit with 220,000,000 atoms per liter of Iodine-129 in rain after Fukushima — 15 Million year half-life — Detected in aquifer that supplies drinking water to large number of people — “Transported rapidly” to Canada and US — Elevated levels continued for many months

Matt Herod, Univ, of Ottawa Ph.D Candidate, Dec 21, 2015 (emphasis added): A recently published paper (by myself and colleagues from uOttawa and Environment Canada) investigates… [Iodine-129] which was released by the Fukushima-Daichii [sic] Nuclear Accident… Within 6 days of the FDNA 129I concentrations in Vancouver precipitation increased 5-15 times… sampling of groundwater revealed slight increases in 129I… The results in rain show an increase in 129I concentrations of up to 220 million atoms/L… 129I anomalies [in groundwater wells], which occurred exactly when the recharge age predicted they would, suggests that some of the 129I deposited by Fukushima was reaching the wells… [P]ulses of elevated 129I occurred for another several months. Elevated 129I concentrations were measured in two wells… indicating that 129I from Fukushima can be traced into groundwater… [M]odeling has shown that 129I can be rapidly transported to the water table

Scientists from Univ. of Ottawa’s Dept. of Earth Science and Environment Canada (Government of Canada), Dec 2015: The atmospheric transport of iodine-129 from Fukushima to British Columbia, Canada and its deposition and transport into groundwater

  • The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident (FDNA) released iodine-129 (15.7 million year half-life)… The mean pre-accident 129I concentration in rain was [31,000,000 atoms/L]… following the FDNA, 129I values increased to [211,000,000 atoms/L]… [P]ulses ofelevated 129I continued for several months
  • The 129I in shallow… groundwater showed measurable variability through March 2013 with an average of [3,200,000 atoms/L]… coincident with modeled travel times…
  • Radionuclides released from the FDNA have been detected across the globe… [R]eleases of 129I and 131I… travel great distances
  • The Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer… spans the Canada–U.S. border between [B.C., Canada and Washington, US] and supplies ∼120,000 people with drinking water
  • A pulse of 129I in precipitation with maximum concentrations of [211,000,000 atoms/L] in Vancouver and [221,000,000 atoms/L] at Saturna Island was observed 6 days following the FDNA. A value of [311,000,000 atoms/L] was also measured during the first week of July…
  • The high 129I concentrations while the FDNA was ongoing are attributed to the rapid trans-Pacific transport of 129I from Fukushima… This response in 129I concentrations shows that radionuclides from Fukushima were transported rapidly from Japan to the west coast of Canada and the US… [Sampling from Washington State], which is a composite of rainfall events spanning 15 March 2011 to 16 April 2011shows a significantly elevated 129I concentration of [95,000,000 atoms/L]…
  • There was a spike in 129I concentration observed in the precipitation sample from the period of 1 July 2011 to 8 July 2011 [which] rose to [311,000,000 atoms/L]… a substantially higher concentration than any other sample… As monitoring at Fukushima detected no pulse of 129I in precipitation in July… this spike is likely due to a… nuclear fuel reprocessing facility. Modeling of the air parcel back trajectories… for the sampling period shows air mass trajectories from Hawaii, north Japan, and Russia…
  • The initial increase in 129I concentration at the water table appeared within ∼95 days, with a maximum concentration of [10,500,000 atoms/L]…
  • In the model cases, 129I reached the water table very rapidly
  • Groundwater 129I concentrations in two nearby wells showed minor anomalies over the sampling period which could be due to rapid infiltration of the FDNA atmospheric 129Isignal… [M]odeling shows that it was possible for a component of the 129I deposited by the FDNA to be conducted rapidly from the ground surface to the water table… We conclude that it is possible that a fraction of 129I from the FDNA is transported conservatively in this aquifer via preferential flow paths to the water table…

See also: Official in Canada advises public not to drink rainwater coming from Fukushima

And: Rain with 20,000,000 particles of Iodine-131 per liter fell on US (VIDEO)

February 19, 2016 Posted by | environment, NORTH AMERICA, radiation | Leave a comment

How the nuclear lobby plans to get tax-payers to keep funding their industtry

hungry-nukes 1Innovative ways of funding nuclear power projects. World Nuclear News, 18 Feb “….set-up costs can be prohibitively high. Given the tight constraints on national balance sheets, governments and developers are creating new and often innovative funding methods for nuclear plants, writes Fiona Reilly.

Traditionally, nuclear power plants were financed, developed and operated by governments. During the mid-20th century, when a number of countries – notably the UK, US, France and Russia – chose to build nuclear power plants, they used direct government funding, partly because it was policy at the time and partly to maintain a high level of control. Later some countries adopted different ownership strategies, such as privatising plants (in the case of the UK) or maintaining their plant as national assets (Slovenia and Croatia).

A further shift in recent years is that government financing has taken on a new cross-border perspective, with Russia and China in particular offering complete solutions for developing nuclear projects in other countries.

Under these schemes, the country offering the solution puts together a consortium to deliver the project together with financing from its government, its government export credit agencies (ECAs) and/or national banks.

All in all, we’re seeing seven types of nuclear financing used across the world today. Aside from ‘traditional’ government funding, there are now six alternative methods: corporate balance sheet financing; the French Exceltium model; the Finnish Mankala model; vendor equity; ECA and debt financing; and private financing with government support mechanisms. In practice, projects tend to progress using a mix of these funding mechanisms.

Here’s a quick review of each of the six alternative models:

Corporate balance sheet financing

Financing a nuclear plant from a company’s own resources is really only an option for the largest utilities and developers. The cost of a large nuclear plant – with two or three reactors – is usually around $20 billion. For even the largest and most established company, it’s a huge challenge to carry such a large capital commitment for the average construction period of five to seven years before the plant starts producing revenue.

The French Exceltium model

Between 2005 and 2010, in an effort to address the increase in energy prices, a number of industrial investors – and banks – came together in France to form ‘Exceltium’. The purpose was to enter into a contractual arrangement with EDF to help finance its new-build plants in return for cheaper electricity from EDF’s portfolio. The payback to the investors – as opposed to the banks – comes over a period of 24 years through agreements to provide electricity to the industrial investors for a mix of fixed and variable pricing. The industrial investors can either use the electricity themselves or sell it to the market.

The Finnish Mankala model

The shareholders in the Mankala are a number of industrialists and utilities, and the Mankala takes a shareholding in the power plant being built. The owners of the Mankala are allowed and obliged to purchase electricity from the power plant equal to their shareholding at a cost price. This electricity can then be used by the investors or can be sold into the market. Other countries are now establishing laws to allow them to follow this model. As well as nuclear power generation plant, the Mankala concept has been used in Finland to help develop various other forms of infrastructure.

Vendor equity

In the late 2000s, it was recognised that reactor technology vendors may be able to support new build projects financially as well as technologically. This realisation gave rise to vendor equity, which helps to finance a project in return for the vendor’s technology being deployed in the new facility. However, technology vendors do not have the infinite balance sheets needed to allow them to invest in unlimited projects. In reality, they will only invest in the most advanced projects that are likely to succeed, will allow them to receive a return on their investment in the shortest possible time, and provide an option to exit the project at the earliest possible opportunity.

Export Credit Agencies (ECA) debt and financing

Non-recourse/limited recourse financing, where the lenders have no/limited recourse to the borrower and the only collateral for the loan is the project itself, is seen as the nirvana of nuclear new-build. However in reality this dream scenario still some way off. In the meantime, commercial banks are becoming less reluctant to lend to nuclear projects, and the support of a number of the ECAs has helped this shift to happen. ECAs have provided the backbone of debt lending to a number of projects in recent years through either direct or guaranteed lending to projects. The key is that the lending is there to support the export of goods or services from the ECA’s home country.

Private financing with government support mechanisms

For projects seeking private financing, the role of the government is key – and the government support mechanisms that are being made available can be crucial to getting deals underway. These mechanisms can take a number of forms, including a guarantee to support debt coming into a project (such as a sovereign guarantee or Infrastructure UK Guarantee), a revenue support mechanism (such as a Power Purchase Agreement or Contract for Difference), or in some cases both together. Much depends on the country in which the plant is being developed, taking into account a range of factors including its credit rating, financial reserves, electricity market, off-take regime, and the rights and obligations of generators. …...

Fiona Reilly

Fiona Reilly is head of nuclear Capital Projects & Infrastructure at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics, Reference | Leave a comment

New Report Ties “Hottest Year on Record” to Human Toll of Disasters

Natural disasters made 2015 a miserable year for many people around the world. According to the United Nations’ Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the statistics were brutal. At least 98.6 million people were affected by natural disasters ranging from droughts to floods, and the economic damage could have been as high as $66.5 billion. Using the data available from the Belgian non-profit Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), the UN reports that almost 23,000 people died from the 346 natural disasters reported across the world.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | climate change | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel lobby’s $millions going to USA’s Presidential Candidates

USA election 2016Fossil Fuel Industry Spending Millions On 2016 Presidential Candidatesfossil-fuel-industry
DeSmogBlog,  February 17, 2016  
By Alex Kotch

When candidates run for president, they receive a slew of donations from across the business world, from sectors such as finance, insurance and real estate, health, communications and electronics, labor, and energy and natural resources. Some of these donations have come under scrutiny recently, particularly those from Wall Street and those from the fossil fuel industry.

Disturbed by current elected officials’ inaction on climate change at least in part due to the powerful influence the fossil fuel industry has on policy, environmentalists and concerned citizens are pushing the 2016 presidential candidates to reject campaign contributions from industry political action committees (PACs) and people who work in the industry.

Last July, The Nation and 350 Action called on the candidates to sign their pledge to refuse donations from oil, gas or coal companies; however, direct federal contributions from companies are illegal. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who recently dropped out of the presidential contest, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have signed the pledge.

In December, Greenpeace and 19 other organizations asked the candidates to sign on to their Pledge to Fix Democracy, a pledge to defend voting rights, overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission decision, and to refuse “money from fossil fuel interests.” These interests, as defined by Greenpeace, mean fossil fuel company PACs, registered lobbyists that work on behalf of such a company, or top executives. Only Sen. Sanders has signed this pledge.

A look into the financial support that the fossil fuel industry has given presidential contenders may shed light on their resistance to these anti-fossil fuel pledges.

Millions of dollars tied to the fossil fuel industry in the form of campaign contributions, bundled campaign donations by lobbyists, donations to super PACs, and details in the candidate’s financial disclosures link many of these candidates to oil, gas, and coal mining companies.

In this presidential election alone, oil, gas and coal mining company PACs and employees have given over $1.8 milliondirectly to the campaigns of the eight remaining Democratic and Republican candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The top beneficiaries of the fossil fuel industry’s largesse this year are GOP Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Republican governor of Florida Jeb Bush, former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and GOP Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Still more, including GOP governor of Ohio John Kasich and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate who dropped out last week, have received considerable campaign contributions in past elections tied to oil, gas and coal mining companies…… [excellent tables]

Let’s dig into the candidates’ financial ties to the fossil fuel industry.
TED CRUZ climate-change denier from oil-rich Texas, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz leads the pack in campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry. ……

HILLARY CLINTON Clinton’s two Senate campaigns and two presidential bids have netted her nearly $810,000 from fossil fuel interests, including close to $228,000 in this year’s race.

She has disclosed her lobbyist bundlers, and Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal and Kate Sheppard were the first to report that most of them either currently or formerly worked for the fossil fuel industry……..

JEB BUSH With the legacy of his father George H.W. Bush, who made his fortune from the oil industry in Texas before entering politics, it wasn’t hard for Jeb Bush to cozy up with oil and gas companies…….

MARCO RUBIO In this election, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio has received more than $218,000 linked to the fossil fuel industry, the third-highest total among presidential contenders…….

JOHN KASICH  While his campaign has taken in the fifth-highest amount tied to fossil fuel companies in this year’s race, Republican John Kasich, a long-time member of the House and now governor of Ohio, has racked up a total of nearly $1.2 million in contributions from oil, gas, and coal mining PACs and employees, ……

THE REST OF THE PACK  Some other candidates still in the running have received less, but still substantial, dirty energy support………

February 19, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment