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South Korean civic groups, including one monitoring radioactive contamination, requested the cancellation of the event and an apology from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

we don't want to eat it


Tohoku promotional event in Seoul canceled at last minute
SEOUL – A Japanese government event in Seoul intended primarily to promote the tsunami-hit Tohoku region has been canceled at the last minute, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
“We continued talks with South Korean authority but could not obtain permission to hold the event,” a ministry official said. “We are not in the position to explain the background (of the cancellation).”
The event, “Explore REAL JAPAN in Seoul,” was to have started for a two-day run on Saturday at a shopping mall in Wangsimni Station in Seoul.
Participants planned to promote local foods and other products, such as confections and sake, at a joint booth run by the northeastern prefectures of Aomori, Miyagi and Fukushima in Tohoku and by Kagoshima Prefecture in the country’s southwestern region. Also planned was a folk singing performance.
The event was organized in part to help alleviate concerns about the safety of Japanese food due to the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power station in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011.
On Friday, South Korean civic groups, including one monitoring radioactive contamination, requested the cancellation of the event and an apology from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
Fukushima, Miyagi and Aomori suffered radioactive contamination due to the nuclear disaster, and South Korea imposes restrictions on the import of seafood from the prefectures, the groups said, adding that confections produced in Fukushima would be promoted at the event.
The groups also urged the South Korean government to request Japan cancel the promotion.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | 1 Comment

NRA commissioner suggests plan to remove all fuel debris at Fukushima plant may not be best option

FUKUSHIMA – A Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner has suggested that removing all fuel debris from reactors at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may not be the best option.
“I wonder if the situation would be desired that work is still underway to extract fuel debris 70 or 80 years after” the nuclear disaster, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa told reporters Friday.
“There are a variety of options, including removing as much fuel debris as possible and solidifying the rest,” he added.
Fuketa and another NRA commissioner, Satoru Tanaka, visited the complex Friday, the last of the commissioners to do so ahead of the fifth anniversary of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that triggered to the triple meltdowns at the atomic plant.
His remarks could affect the decommissioning plan drafted by the government and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Under that scenario, fuel debris is to be disposed of over the course of 30 to 40 years.
Fuketa said that unlike the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, it is “not realistic” to construct concrete buildings to cover reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant because the situation is different.
The commissioner also questioned whether construction of an underground ice wall around the reactor buildings to prevent radioactive water buildup will prove effective.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima disaster: Tepco to pay couple in landmark damages case

“A court in Japan has ordered the operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant to compensate a couple who fled radiation, even though they lived outside the evacuation zone”

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) will pay 30m yen ($265,000; £185,00) for financial losses and poor health.

It is thought to be the first time Tepco has been found liable for people outside the mandatory evacuation area.

In 2011 the plant suffered multiple meltdowns after a quake and tsunami.

After that people who lived within 20km (12 miles) of the plant were ordered to evacuate, but thousands of others voluntarily left their homes and businesses over fears of radiation

Analysts say Thursday’s ruling could pave the way for many more compensation claims from such evacuees.

Depressed and stigmatised

In April 2014 some residents started to return to their homes in the exclusion zone, but many areas remain ghost towns with their former residents in temporary housing.

The sum awarded to the couple, who have not been named but are in their 40s, is also far greater than the 11m yen proposed by a government-established centre to mediate settlements for compensation cases.

According to the written submission, the husband became depressed and developed pleurisy after the evacuation and their children were stigmatised for their association with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tepco has already been embroiled in a number of compensation claims. In 2011, the government ordered Tokyo Electric to pay 1m yen to every family within 30km of the plant.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Extent of suffering key to compensating Fukushima evacuees

march 12 2011.jpg

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 12, 2011, the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck


An estimated 100,000 or so people are still living as evacuees as a consequence of the catastrophic accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
This figure comprises about 18,000 evacuees who acted on their own initiative and fled from the 23 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture that are outside government-designated evacuation zones. They include people who lived in areas that are not covered by the government-supported compensation program.
The circumstances of their decisions to leave their hometowns are more or less similar to those of the people who fled from areas covered by the evacuation orders. Many of them were concerned about the health of their children or found it difficult to continue their businesses in the affected areas.
But compensation paid to these “voluntary evacuees” by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled nuclear plant, ranging from 120,000 yen to 720,000 yen ($1,000 to $6,400) per person, was far smaller than the amounts received by residents of the evacuation areas.
On Feb. 18, a local court handed down a ruling that may open the door to greater relief for these evacuees.
The Kyoto District Court ordered TEPCO to pay about 30 million yen to a man and his wife for mental illnesses the husband suffered following their “voluntary evacuation” from the calamitous accident. The man, who is in his 40s, together with his wife and three children, filed a lawsuit against the utility seeking 180 million yen in damages, claiming he became unable to work because of mental and physical problems caused by the effects of the nuclear disaster.
Concerned about the possibility of his children’s exposure to radiation, the man decided to leave his home with his family. After they fled, the family stayed at hotels and lived in rented accommodation outside the prefecture.
As he had to live in unfamiliar surroundings, the man developed insomnia and depression. The district court acknowledged that the nuclear accident was the cause of these health problems.
Compensation payments to such voluntary evacuees are based on guidelines set by a central government panel addressing disputes over compensation for nuclear accidents. The guidelines say compensation payments should be based on three factors: increases in living expenses due to evacuation, mental damages and expenses incurred in fleeing and returning home.
TEPCO had paid a total of 2.92 million yen to the family based on the guidelines, but the family claimed the compensation was insufficient.
In its ruling, the district court argued that the guidelines only show “items and scope of damages that can be classified according to type.”
The ruling showed the view that damages with a causal link to the accident should be compensated for according to the circumstances involved. The basic principle for compensation espoused by the ruling is that the amounts of damages to be paid should be determined according to the circumstances of individual cases instead of being uniform and fixed.
Compensation payments to victims of the nuclear disaster, such as evacuees and affected businesses, come out of a 9 trillion yen treasure chest provided by the government to TEPCO.
With its management priority placed on its own early recovery from the consequences of the accident, however, the electric utility has been trying to terminate the payments as soon as possible and keep the amounts within the framework set by the guidelines. The company’s compensation policy has been criticized for failing to make the benefit of residents a primary consideration.
About 10,000 evacuees are involved as plaintiffs in damages suits filed with 21 district courts and branches around the country. This points to the high level of discontent with the compensation payments that have been paid out.
TEPCO should respond with appropriate sincerity to the demands of victims entitled to compensation and review its compensation policy and procedures.
The courts that are hearing these cases should hand down rulings that give sufficient consideration to the plight of the victims.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

The week to February 20, in Nuclear News

a-cat-CANUN ruling on Julian Assange, and Constitutional Law.

Paris terrorist attackers had planned to target Belgian nuclear reactors.   Belgian terror suspect had video of high ranking nuclear official.

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

EUROPE is more than 118 billion euros short of funds needed to decommission its nuclear reactors.Limited liabilityfor Germany’s nuclear operators in nuclear phaseout.

BRITAIN’s nuclear project Hinkley Point C staggers againUK public conned by vested interests into funding Trident nuclear weapons system.

Call on the British govt to hold a public enquiry on the murder of Hilda Murrell. The unsolved murder of Hilda Murrell, Anti-Nuclear Activist.

FRANCE: EDF in its financial woes, extends the life of four nuclear reactors. EDF dodges making a decision on UK Hinkley nuclear station. Defective pressure vessel could seal the tomb of the EPR nuclear reactor.

UKRAINE. Radiation causing Chernobyl’s wild animals to lose their sight.



CANADA  Push to not just postpone nuclear waste burial near Great Lakes, but to stop it altogether. Official Canadian report reveals Fukushima radioactive iodine in rain reached West Coast of America.

INDIA . Corporate elites push their toxic nuclear products onto India

SOUTH AFRICA . President’s very proble

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

How to warn future generations about waste dumps? – Nuclear Semiotics

they established the field of nuclear semiotics…….  an “atomic priesthood”

waste warning Archbishops

The message walls would have the faces as well as simple messages

warning faces

Temple of Doom: How do we warn the future about nuclear waste?, Triple J Hack, by James Purtill, 19 Feb 16   This week the South Australian Royal Commission released “tentative findings” recommending the state take more than 100 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste and store it in the desert for hundreds of thousands of years.

……..If the facility goes ahead, the designers may consider a problem that has baffled linguists and semioticians (sign experts): how to tell the distant future don’t dig up the dump?

Atomic priesthoods and ‘ray cats’

In 1991, the Department of Environment hired linguists, scientists and anthropologists at a cost of about $1 million to answer what is basically a conundrum of labelling. How do you warn far-off civilisations or scattered bands of post-apocalyptic survivors that invisible beams of energy emanating from the earth could kill them, and this was not a trick, there’s no buried treasure?

The report runs to 351 pages and has the (rather dry) title: Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Wasteland Isolation Pilot Plant.

Here’s some of the problems they identified:

  • Languages evolve too fast to communicate with the future: Few English speakers understand Old English, which was spoken about 1000 years ago.
  • The meanings of symbols is too ambiguous: For example, the physicist Carl Sagan was invited to join the researchers, couldn’t make it, and wrote to suggest they simply use the skull-and-crossbones symbol to signify danger. But this symbol has only been current for a few hundred years, has meant ‘poison’ for the last 100, and is no longer very threatening. It’s on ‘pirate theme’ drink bottles.
  • Even if they understand the warnings, future trespassers might not believe them. Curses associated with the burial sites of the Egyptian Pharaohs did not deter grave robbers.

In 1981 the Department of Energy assembled a gun team of engineers, anthropologists, nuclear physicists, and science fiction authors to figure out how to prevent future access to a proposed deep geological repository at a place called Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

They were known as the Human Interference Task Force and they established the field of nuclear semiotics.

One of the team suggested creating an “artificial myth” that a certain area was dangerous and should be avoided. There was no need to explain radioactivity, but just convince people it was dangerous and they should avoid the place.

But how to ensure the myth was preserved? He suggested “a commission, relatively independent of future political currents, self-selective in membership, using whatever devices for enforcement at its disposal, including those of a folkloristic character.”

This effectively meant, he admitted, an “atomic priesthood”……….

‘This place is not a place of honour’

The 1990s study for WIPP eschewed ray cats and atomic priesthood in favour of gargantuan architecture, message walls in many languages, and faces contorted in expressions of pain and sickness.

The names of the enormous earthworks proposals are evocative: ‘landscape of thorns’, ‘black hole’, and ‘rubble landscape’, ‘forbidding blocks’ and ‘menacing earthworks’, ‘leaning stone spikes’ and ‘spike field’. There are animated versions of these designs in the documentary Contamination.

The message walls would have the faces as well as simple messages in the six languages of the United Nations (Arabic, English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese), as well as Navajo. There would be a blank area for the message to be inscribed in another language when these other seven languages grow too ancient “to read comfortably”.

The authors boiled down what they wanted to tell the future to key points, including:

What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger………

Though it may have been discredited, nuclear semiotics has entered the popular imagination through movies like Alien, Mad Max, The Road, Terminator and even Waterworld.

If the South Australian repository goes ahead, it’s likely it will play into public debate.

It popped up in Finland with the 2010 feature documentary film Into Eternity, about the construction of the country’s new deep geological repository.

These visions of hell – landscape of thorns and walls of screaming faces – are a graphic representation of the fear inspired by nuclear waste, but also of the need to find the safest possible repository.

A potential ‘scare campaign’ cuts both ways.

Most of the world’s high level nuclear waste is currently stored above ground in thick steel and concrete casks. Some say a relay system of these casks will be sufficient.

“The problem I see with dry casks technically is they last for some decades, maybe for 100 years even, but at some point they fall apart and we have to change out the waste into other casks,” says Macfarlane.

“The problem is you’re not sure of the control of this material. You can make the assumption you’re going to have caretaker governments like we have now in the US and Australia, and they’re going to monitor and make sure these don’t leak.”

“But do we have any guarantee of it?

“The institutional control side of things is unknown.”

Temporary storage is only as good as the government responsible for monitoring and upkeep. And as nuclear semiotics proves, you can’t predict the future.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear project Hinkley Point C staggers again

protest-Hinkley-CU.K.’s Nuclear Project Falters Again Feb 19, 2016  By Paul Brown / Climate News Network This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network.

LONDON—The future of the nuclear industry in Europe took another blow this week when the French state-owned power company EDF again postponed a final decision on whether to build two large nuclear power stations in the UK. Construction will now not start before 2019, the company said.

This is the eighth time a “final investment decision” on building two European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) has been postponed because the company has still to secure enough backing to finance the £18 billion (€23.26 bn) project.

The excuse this time was that the Chinese New Year celebrations had held up negotiations with the Chinese backers, who have agreed to put up one-third of the money.

Preparation of the site at Hinkley Point in the west of England was stopped last year while EDF sought partners for the project. Each time there has been a postponement the company has issued a statement saying it remains “fully committed” to building two 1,650 MW reactors (1 MW is enough to power 750-1,000 average US homes).

Decision close

This week was no different. “We have the intention to proceed rapidly with the investment decision for Hinkley Point,” EDF’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy told reporters. Adding that EDF had not yet finalised talks with its Chinese partners, he said: “Today we estimate this final decision is very close.”

Levy said it would take about three years, possibly a bit more, of study and work with sub-contractors before EDF will begin building the first permanent structures on the Hinkley Point C site, though it will do preparatory work between now and then.

“Definitive construction of what will be built on the site, what we call the first concrete, is on the horizon for 2019,” Levy said.

This date is a year after the reactors were originally due to be completed. The timetable has gradually slipped backwards. Last year the date for power to start being generated was put back to 2025, but this new date for pouring concrete makes 2030 more likely—if the reactors are built at all.

Problematic record

The new proposed start date of 2019 is very significant for reasons the company dare not spell out. This is because there is no evidence yet that these so-called Evolutionary Power Reactors will operate effectively. Four are under construction, but are years behind schedule, and costs have tripled. In Europe their earliest proposed start date is 2018—so it looks as though EDF is being careful not to begin building another one until it can prove the design actually works.

The EPRs are “third generation European Pressurised Water Reactors”—the largest nuclear plants in the world. They have a chequered history, even before any has actually produced a single watt of electricity. Construction of the first prototype began in 2005 in Finland: expected to be finished in 2009, it is still under construction.

The same is true of the second, at Flamanville in France, where construction began in 2007. It has also hit delays and cost over-runs of staggering proportions. It too is due to start in  2018.

The other two EPRs are being built in China. Both should have been in operation by this year, but both also have undergone unspecified delays.

Safety question

The biggest problem for EDF, which owns and is building the Flamanville reactor, is that there are safety issues over the strength of the steel used to build the pressure vessel. It contained too much carbon and is undergoing stress testing to see if it is safe. While the outcome of these tests remains unknown, a question mark hangs over the station’s future.

This, plus the vast amount of remedial safety work required by the French safety regulators from EDF on its fleet of 58 ageing reactors in France itself, has put the company under severe financial strain. It needs to find €100 bn for repairs, and to improve safety following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, to keep the plants operating until 2030.

As a result of fears that the company might overstretch itself and jeopardise jobs in France the six trade union representatives on EDF’s board have expressed opposition to the company going ahead with building reactors on British soil.

Unfilled gap

This further postponement of a start date for the new reactors leaves the UK government with a gaping hole in its energy policy, despite it offering to pay double the existing price of electricity for the output from Hinkley Point, a subsidy that will continue for 35 years.

The Conservative government has been relying on nuclear energy to replace fossil fuels from 2025, when it plans to phase out all its coal stations. Some renewable energy subsidies have been scrapped to make way for new nuclear stations.

In all, the Conservative government wants ten new nuclear stations in the UK—four EPRs and the rest from Japan and the US. None of these now seems likely to be built before 2030, if at all.

Perhaps to divert attention from the postponement of the new reactors, EDF announced that it was going to extend the life of four of the nuclear power stations it already operates in Britain. It bought eight ageing stations of British design in 2009 for £12.5 billion.

Longer lives

Some were already due to close in 2018 but have had their lives extended. Now another four will be kept open to bridge the gap left by the failure to build the new stations at Hinkley Point.

These are the Heysham 1 plant in northwest England and another at Hartlepool in the northeast, both of which had been due to be switched off in 2019 because of their advanced age. They will be allowed to keep producing electricity for another five years.

Two other reactors, Heysham 2 and Torness in Scotland, have been granted extensions of seven years to 2030. There is no reason—as long as the stations are deemed safe – why further life extensions should not be applied for, and granted.

Continuing to apply for life extensions for old nuclear stations also saves the company from technical bankruptcy. Once a station is closed its decommissioning costs become company liabilities. With the company’s debts already high, it would not take many closures for EDF’s liabilities to exceed its assets.

Paul Brown, a founding editor of Climate News Network, is a former environment correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, and still writes columns for the paper.


February 20, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Radioactive groundwater a difficult problem at Vermont Yankee nuclear site

water-radiationFlag-USAENTERGY GRAPPLES WITH GROUNDWATER INFILTRATION AT VERMONT YANKEE, VT Digger [good photos] FEB. 18, 2016,  BY  “……….Vermont Yankee stopped power production in December 2014, and the NRC last year removed its resident inspector from the site. But the federal agency has continued periodic inspections, and the groundwater issue first surfaced in the NRC’s fourth-quarter report released in January.

That document says that “radioactive water inventories were increasing due mainly to the intrusion of groundwater.” Officials wrote that Entergy had been considering options both to stem the flow of groundwater and to eventually dispose of it.

After the inspection report was released, Sheehan said the problem is occurring on the lowest level of the plant’s turbine building. Groundwater intrusion has been averaging a few hundred gallons daily, Sheehan said, but there had been “occasional spikes” that on one day rose to 1,500 gallons.

Entergy has a water-management plan and has been pumping and storing groundwater, which is considered contaminated due to its contact with the building. In early February, a total of 90,000 gallons had been collected.

Groundwater intrusion was anticipated and in some ways is a symptom of the plant’s shutdown, since heat from power generation previously had caused some of the liquid to evaporate. But officials said they had not expected so much water to arrive so quickly……..

Regardless of any short-term storage solutions, Entergy must come up with a plan for getting radioactive water off the property eventually. And that plan stretches beyond the groundwater issue, as the NRC has said there are more than 1 million gallons of water at Vermont Yankee including liquid stored in a large, donut-shaped reservoir at the base of the reactor building.

Entergy has requested NRC approval to ship about 200,000 gallons of radioactive water to Idaho for disposal. There also has been preliminary talk of possible discharges into the Connecticut River, though any such plan would come under intense scrutiny by state regulators.

Sheehan said Thursday that the NRC is still “awaiting additional information from Entergy on its broader plans for addressing radioactive water at the site.”……

February 20, 2016 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes will outlast the repositories by thousands of years!

Temple of Doom: How do we warn the future about nuclear waste?, Triple J Hack, by James Purtill, 19 Feb 16  “…….This week the South Australian Royal Commission released “tentative findings” recommending the state take more than 100 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste and store it in the desert for hundreds of thousands of years…….

The report notes that the used fuel of nuclear power plants requires isolation from the environment “for many hundreds of thousands of years” and that many countries, including Finland, France, Hungary and South Africa, have developed purpose-built waste repositories.This is true, but it’s worth pointing out none of these already built repositories are for the final disposal of nuclear fuel. They are either for low to intermediate level waste, which needs to be isolated for several hundred years, or they are temporary, interim solutions to the problem of finding a final resting place that will isolate waste for tens of thousands of years.

Finland is building the world’s first deep underground repository for high level nuclear waste and Sweden is close behind. The Finnish site is scheduled for completion in 2023.

A better example of the kind of repository proposed for South Australian is the United States’ Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), deep in the New Mexico desert. It’s the only working long-lived nuclear waste repository in the world. It holds barrels of gloves and masks and machines and bomb parts contaminated by nuclear testing. The site is designed to last for 10,000 years.

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPP

WIPP is scheduled to close in the 2040s. It will be sealed up and left alone. Centuries will pass and become millennia. On the surface, civilisations will rise and fall.

China, the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, stretches back about 5,000 years. The world’s oldest inscribed clay tablets date from about the same time.

timeline-radioactive-isotopesThe half-life of plutonium-239, which can produce fatal radiation doses during short periods of direct exposure, is 24,000 years – the time it takes to decay to half its level of radioactivity. In 10 times that period, or 240,000 years, it decays to uranium-234, which is fairly harmless.

Homo sapiens began to evolve about 200,000 years ago………..

February 20, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, wastes | 2 Comments

Fukushima evacuees urged to individually file suits against TEPCO

judge-1flag-japanLawyer urges Fukushima evacuees to individually file suits against TEPCO, Mainichi, 19 Feb 16—  A Kyoto District Court ruling on Feb. 18 that ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a man in his 40s and his family redress for damages due to voluntary evacuation has drawn mixed reactions from voluntary evacuees and other parties. The ruling marked the first time that TEPCO, the operator of the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, was deemed responsible for damages stemming from voluntary evacuation by local residents……..

Ido is a former judge who, as the then presiding judge at the Kanazawa District Court, ordered a halt to the operation of the No. 2 reactor of the Shika Nuclear Power Plant in Ishikawa Prefecture in 2006. Ido said at his news conference, ”It’s a commendable ruling in that it accepted our key arguments. There are many voluntary evacuees who have been compelled to settle for small amounts of compensation by TEPCO. They should file suit individually.”………

Evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster have filed class action lawsuits across the country. Akiko Morimatsu, 42, co-leader of a national coalition of groups of plaintiffs in Fukushima nuclear disaster lawsuits, fled from Koriyama to Osaka with her two children. She says, ”The ruling is epoch-making for ordering a far bigger amount of compensation than the ADR norms by taking individual circumstances of voluntary evacuees into consideration. If many people raise their voices in the future, the reality of damages will come to light more clearly.”

But she expressed her displeasure with the ruling in that it limited the reasonable period of voluntary evacuation to the end of August in 2012, saying, ”It’s wrong because it’s based on government propaganda.” The ruling reflects a decision by the governmental Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation to set the deadline for local residents to continuously evacuate rationally, arguing there was not enough information about dangers from the nuclear disaster up until that deadline.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Violation notices issued to Nuclear Waste Partnership and Los Alamos National Security

Department of Energy Cites Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC and Los Alamos National Security, LLC for Violations Related to Worker Safety and Health and Nuclear Safety Energy.Gov 19 Feb 16 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) to Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC (NWP) for violations of DOE worker safety and health and nuclear safety requirements.  Concurrently, DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) issued a PNOV to Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) for violations of DOE’s nuclear safety requirements.  Issuance of these PNOVs marks the completion of DOE’s investigations and enforcement process regarding two events in 2014 at DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

NWP is the management and operating contractor for WIPP, located in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  LANS is the management and operating contractor for NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), located in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Worker safety and health and nuclear safety are priorities for the Department, and DOE’s enforcement program, implemented by the Office of Enterprise Assessments’ Office of Enforcement on behalf of the Secretary of Energy, supports these priorities by holding contractors accountable for meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

The violations by NWP at WIPP are associated with two events that occurred in February 2014.  The first event involved a fire in a salt haul truck in the WIPP underground, and the second event involved a radiological release.  The violations by LANS at LANL are associated with processes used by LANS to package and remediate transuranic waste drums, one of which has been linked to the WIPP radiological release.

The NWP PNOV cites four Severity Level I violations and seven Severity Level II violations related to worker safety and health and nuclear safety requirements enforceable under Title 10 C.F.R. § 851, Worker Safety and Health Program; 10 C.F.R. § 820.11, Information requirements; 10 C.F.R. § 830, Nuclear Safety Management, and 10 C.F.R. § 835, Occupational Radiation Protection.  The LANS PNOV cites two Severity Level I violations and two Severity Level II violations related to nuclear safety requirements enforceable under 10 C.F.R. § 830.

In FY 2014, actions taken by DOE and NWP’s inability to earn fee resulted in NWP failing to receive 93 percent of the available fee, or approximately $7.6 million. NNSA reduced the total contract fee that was awarded to LANS by more than 90 percent, or approximately $57 million, with most of this reduction due to deficiencies in the processing and handling of transuranic waste and the resultant impact on operations at WIPP.  NNSA also reduced the potential length of the LANS contract by a total of 2 years. Due to these significant adverse contract and fee actions taken against NWP and LANS, DOE is proposing no civil penalties for the violations cited in the two PNOVs………..

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

With energy storage renewables now have the lead over fossil fuel and nuclear energy

SuzukiEnergy storage gives renewables a jump-start Independent Australia,  David Suzuki 20 February 2016Given the speed at which technology and inventions are advancing, it’s a no-brainer to see that the barriers to a clean energy shift are more political and psychological than technological, argues Dr David Suzuki.

REMOTE AUSTRALIAN communities often use diesel generators for power. They’re expensive to run and emit pollution and greenhouse gases. Even people who don’t rely entirely on generators use Australia’s power grid, which is mostly fuelled by polluting, climate-altering coal.

Now, one company is showing that supplying Australia’s energy needn’t be expensive or polluting.

AllGrid Energy produces 10 kilowatt-hour solar-power batteries that take advantage of Australia’s abundant sunlight and growing demand for solar panels. Their lead-acid gel battery is less expensive than Tesla’s lithium Powerwall, also available in Australia.

Many AllGrid systems are sold in indigenous communities, providing affordable energy independence.

It’s an example of the rapid pace of renewable energy development — one that clears a hurdle previously confronting many clean-energy technologies: their variable nature. One advantage of fossil fuels is that they’re both source and storage for energy; renewables such as wind and solar are only sources.

Many argue that because solar and wind energy only work when sun shines or winds blow, and output varies according to cloud cover, wind speed and other factors, they can’t replace large “baseload” sources like coal, oil, gas and nuclear.

But batteries and other energy storage methods, along with power-grid improvements, make renewables competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power — and often better in terms of reliability, efficiency and affordability.

With storage and grid technologies advancing daily, renewable energy could easily and relatively quickly replace most fossil fuel–generated electricity. In Canada, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator contracted five companies to test a number of storage systems, including batteries, hydrogen storage, kinetic flywheels and thermal systems that store heat in special bricks.

Ontario is aiming to get about 50 per cent of its installed generating capacity from renewable sources by 2025……..

Because renewables don’t pollute or create greenhouse gas emissions, they also help lower costs for health care and the ever-increasing impacts of climate change. Although every energy source comes with consequences, the damage and risks from mining, processing, transporting and using coal, oil, bitumen and uranium, and from fracking and other extraction methods, are far greater than for clean energy.

And fossil fuels will eventually run out, becoming increasingly expensive, difficult to obtain, and ridden with conflict as scarcity grows.,8692

February 20, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fukushima couple wins landmark case against TEPCO

Fukushima disaster: Tepco to pay couple in landmark damages case BBC News 19 Feb 16 A court in Japan has ordered the operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant to compensate a couple who fled radiation, even though they lived outside the evacuation zone.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) will pay 30m yen ($265,000; £185,00) for financial losses and poor health.

It is thought to be the first time Tepco has been found liable for people outside the mandatory evacuation area………Analysts say Thursday’s ruling could pave the way for many more compensation claims from such evacuees…….

The sum awarded to the couple, who have not been named but are in their 40s, is also far greater than the 11m yen proposed by a government-established centre to mediate settlements for compensation cases.

According to the written submission, the husband became depressed and developed pleurisy after the evacuation and their children were stigmatised for their association with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tepco has already been embroiled in a number of compensation claims. In 2011, the government ordered Tokyo Electric to pay 1m yen to every family within 30km of the plant.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Summary of Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission Report

the waste-to-fuel fantasies of Senator Edwards and Ben Heard are dead and buried.


timeline-radioactive-isotopes[Wastes storage] timeframes – 150 years in the U.S. report and 120 years in the Royal Commission study – are nothing compared to the lifespan of nuclear waste. It takes 300,000 years for high level waste to decay to the level of the original uranium ore. The Royal Commission report notes that spent nuclear fuel (high level nuclear waste) “requires isolation from the environment for many hundreds of thousands of years.”

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPPthe Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the U.S. state of New Mexico. WIPP was closed in 2014 because of a chemical explosion which ruptured a nuclear waste barrel and resulted in 23 workers being exposed to radiation. Before WIPP opened, the government estimated one radiation release accident every 200,000 years. But there has been one radiation release accident in the first 15 years of operation of WIPP.

see-no-evilThe Royal Commission’s report is silent about WIPP. It is silent about the Asse repository in Germany, where massive water infiltration has led to the decision to exhume 126,000 barrels of radioactive waste. The report is silent about the fire at a radioactive waste repository in the U.S. state of Nevada last year. And the report is silent about many other problems with the nuclear industry that it should have squarely addressed

Summary of ‘Tentative Findings’ of SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Friends of the Earth Australia,  by Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth 20 Feb 16     What does the report say?

In a nutshell, the Royal Commission is negative about almost all of the proposals it is asked to consider – but positive about the proposal to import high-level nuclear waste from nuclear power plants for disposal in South Australia. Continue reading

February 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

US Energy Dept cites two companies for violations at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

Two Contractors Cited for Radioactive Release at Nuclear Waste Sites  The companies responsible for nuclear waste are Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), which operates an Energy Department facility to store nuclear waste and Los Alamos National Security (LANS), the contractor that manages the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to the US Department of Energy.

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPP

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Companies in charge of nuclear waste at two facilities in the US state of New Mexico have been cited for safety violations in connection with a 2014 underground fire and an escape of radiation into the atmosphere, the US Department of Energy said in a press release on Friday.The companies are Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), which operates an Energy Department facility to store nuclear waste and Los Alamos National Security (LANS), the contractor that manages the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to the release.

“The violations by NWP… are associated with two events that occurred in February 2014. The first event involved a fire in a salt haul truck in the [waste storage facility] underground, and the second event involved a radiological release,” the release explained.

The violations by LANS are associated with the packaging of nuclear waste containers, according to the release.

The two events took place in February 2014 at the Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, an underground storage facility at a 600 meter deep salt bed, the release explained. Both companies have already been heavily penalized, losing 90 percent of their fees.

In the second event ten days later, air monitors detected unusually high levels of radiation, later traced to an exploding barrel of nuclear waste from Los Alamos.

The storage facility has been closed for the past two years, but the Energy Department expects to reopen the plant later this year with improved safety measures, according to an earlier posting on the department’s website.

Los Alamos is best known as the site where the United States developed the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment