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S. Korea rejects calls for nuclear armament

 

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South Korea on Tuesday rejected public calls for the country’s own nuclear armament, saying it remains firmly committed to the global nonproliferation regime. – Korea Times, 23 Feb 16

 

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February 25, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New UN Talks on Nuclear Weapons Start

Stigmatize and Prohibit: New UN Talks on Nuclear Weapons Start Today http://www.logo-ICANhuffingtonpost.com/beatrice-fihn/stigmatize-and-prohibit-n_b_9287144.html  Beatrice FihnExecutive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

When North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in January, condemnation from all around the world flowed within minutes. A week later, the United States carried out a mock nuclear weapons test of a new type of “more usable” warhead in the Nevada desert. Aside from a small number of civil society organizations, the international community was silent.

Just two weeks ago, North Korea carried out a rocket launch and thereby tested the capability to launch long-range missiles, capable of delivering nuclear weapons on targets far, far away. The world once again rose up and criticized this, with statements by the United Nations Security Council and condemnations from Foreign Ministers all around the world.

Early this morning, the United States tested its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, a missile that is intended for launching nuclear bombs on Russia or any other target on the other side of the world. Again, few seem to care.

The United Nations Secretary-General has said, “There are no right hands for the wrong weapon”. But many in the international community often act with implicit acceptance of American, British, French, Russian, and Chinese nuclear weapons.

The “Humanitarian Initiative”, however, is challenging this implicit acceptance. Through a series of international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and a formal pledge to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” endorsed by 123 governments, non-nuclear weapon states are working to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

By stigmatizing nuclear weapons — declaring them unacceptable and immoral for all — the international community can start demanding and pressuring the nuclear-armed states and their military alliances to deliver what they’ve actually promised: a world free of nuclear weapons.

Negotiating a new international treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, even without the participation of nuclear-armed states, would be one of the most effective toolsfor achieving such stigmatization.

And that work starts now. Far removed from headlines regarding North Korea’s recent tests or other non-proliferation issues like the Iran deal, a new UN Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland, will start today.

In true UN-style, the Working Group has a blurry and bureaucratic mandate, wrapped inside a Resolution of several pages from the UN General Assembly. However, its task is to work on new legal measures for nuclear disarmament.

Through this Working Group, the 123 states that have endorsed the humanitarian pledge to “fill the legal gap” have an opportunity to start work on a new, legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The Working Group might not cause big headlines like the Iran deal, but judging by the strong reaction from the nuclear weapon states and those under the nuclear umbrella, it is clear that they do not see it as just another talking shop.

The nuclear weapon states seem genuinely dismayed about the efforts to stigmatize and prohibit nuclear weapons. They are all boycotting the Working Group and are strong-arming allied states under the US nuclear umbrella and NATO members into representing their interests whilst pretending to be disengaged.

The nuclear weapon states are doing everything they can to stop the process to stigmatize and prohibit nuclear weapons – as they know it will challenge their self-proclaimed right to keep these weapons of mass destruction around for as long as they wish.

70 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s time to see nuclear weapons for what they really are. Not a sign of power and prestige. But as a weapon created to ensure as much destruction and human suffering as possible.

The use of nuclear weapons would cause an instant vaporization of huge numbers of civilians, followed by an even larger number of excruciatingly painful death caused by fires, blasts and immediate radiation. First responders and medical personnel — if they survive the immediate, devastating impact – would be unable to provide adequate relief to survivors. Those that despite this would survive would be faced with the medium and long-term consequences of radioactive fallout, contamination, and environmental devastation.

No matter which country possess them, be it North Korea, United States, Russia, Pakistan or the United Kingdom – nuclear weapons are inhumane, indiscriminate, and should be unacceptable for any state to possess.

It’s time to start working on an international prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Follow Beatrice Fihn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BeaFihn

February 25, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Tragedy of Countless Unreported Nuclear Worker Deaths

death-nuclearflag-japanFukushima – Deep Trouble, CounterPunch, FEBRUARY 22, 2016  by ROBERT HUNZIKER “………Indeed, the question of whether Fukushima can ever be adequately, safely decontaminated is wide-open, which logically segues to question who does the dirty work, how workers are hired, and what’s their health status? According to mainstream news sources in Japan, workers are doing just fine, estimates range up to 45,000 workers all-in, no major problems.

As far as the world is concerned, the following headline sums up radiation-related issues for workers, First Fukushima Worker Diagnosed With Radiation-linked Cancer, The Telegraph, Oct. 20, 2015. All things considered, that’s not so bad. But, who’s counting?

Trustworthy sources outside of mainstream news claim otherwise, none more so than Mako Oshidori, a Japanese freelance journalist and a director of Free Press Corporation/Japan, and a former student of School of Life Sciences at Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, in a lecture entitled “The Hidden Truth about Fukushima” delivered at the international conference “Effects of Nuclear Disasters on Natural Environment and Human Health” held in Germany in 2014 co-organized by International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.

Free Press Corporation/Japan was formed after the 2011 Great Sendai Earthquake as a counterbalance to Japan’s mainstream government influenced media, described by Mako as journalists who do not report truth, journalists afraid of the truth!

“There is one thing that really surprised me here in Europe. It’s the fact that people here think Japan is a very democratic and free country.” (Mako Oshidori)

According to Mako, TEPCO and the government deliberately cover-up deaths of Fukushima workers, and not only do they cover-up deaths, but once she investigated stories of unreported deaths, government agents started following her: “When I would talk to someone, a surveillance agent from the central government’s public police force would come very close, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation,” Exposed: Death of Fukushima Workers Covered-Up by TEPCO and Government, NSNBC International, March 21, 2014.

Mako Oshidori: “I would like to talk about my interview of a nurse who used to work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after the accident… He quit his job with TEPCO in 2013, and that’s when I interviewed him… As of now, there are multiple NPP workers that have died, but only the ones who died on the job are reported publicly. Some of them have died suddenly while off work, for instance, during the weekend or in their sleep, but none of their deaths are reported.”

“Not only that, they are not included in the worker death count. For example, there are some workers who quit the job after a lot of radiation exposure, such as 50, 60 to 70 mili Sieverts, and end up dying a month later, but none of these deaths are either reported, or included in the death toll. This is the reality of the NPP workers.”

The “reality of the NPP workers… dying a month later” does not correspond very well with Abe administration insistence that nuke plants reopen, even though the country has continued to function for five years without nuclear power, hmm.

In her speech, Mako talks about problems for journalists because of government interference: “An ex-agent who is knowledgeable about the work of the Public Security Intelligence Agency (“PSIA”) said that when you are visibly followed, that was meant to intimidate you. If there was one person visible, then there would be ten more. I think that is analogous to cockroaches. So, when you do a little serious investigation about the nuclear accident, you are under various pressure and it makes it more difficult to interview people.”

Still, she interviewed Fukushima mothers, e.g., “Next, I would like to talk about mothers in Fukushima. These mothers (and fathers) live in Iwaki City, Fukushima. They are active on school lunch issues. Currently, Fukushima produce isn’t selling well due to suspected contamination. So the prefectural policy is to encourage the use of Fukushima produce in school lunches, in an attempt to appeal to its safety… the mothers claim that currently in Japan only cesium is measured and they have no idea if there is any strontium-90. They oppose the use of Fukushima produce in school lunches for fear of finding out, ten-plus years down the road, that there was actually plutonium in the food that children ate.”

Mothers who oppose the prefecture’s luncheon policy are told to leave Fukushima Prefecture, move out if they worry about contamination, pull up stakes and move on.

Mako’s full interview is found here.

All of which begs the question of who does the dirty work? According to Michel Chossudovsky, director of Centre for Research on Globalization (Canada), Japan’s organized crime syndicate Yakusa is actively involved in recruitment. Personnel who qualify for radioactive cleanup work include underemployed, impoverished, indigent, unemployed, homeless, hard up, down-and-out, and poverty-stricken individuals, as well as non-destitute people willing to undertake under-paid, high-risk work. The nameless are shoe-ins…….. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/22/fukushima-deep-trouble/

February 25, 2016 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

The collapse of UK’s planned nuclear power programme ?

nuclear-costs3flag-UKHorizon boss’s statement exposes fantasy nature of UK nuclear power programme http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/horizons-boss-statement-exposes-fantasy.html  The boss of one of the three supposed consortia claimed to be building Britain’s nuclear power stations has all but admitted that his project is a fantasy one. As can be read in the Telegraph story below, the boss of the ‘Horizon’ project has said that new nuclear power in the UK depends on private investors. Well, that is not going to happen. Who would want to put shares in a venture that might (as in the case of its project in Taiwan) take 15 years not to be completed, or which may not work very well? Nobody.   The only possible exceptions to this are (foreign) governments with political, rather than than money-making, objectives. Even they are disappearing! (France and China).

The Hitachi based ‘Horizon’ project with two ‘planned’ developments in Wylfa and Oldbury has always looked unlikely, especially given the chequered operating record of the chosen reactor which would, on its own, scare off any investors. I certainly wouldn’t want my pension to depend on this, for financial, never mind radioactive, reasons.
Of course, some people, breezily argue, the government could pay for the power stations. As if we need to spend billions and billions money on nuclear power stations that never seem to be finished instead of hospitals……

In reality the nuclear power programme collapsed in 2012 when it emerged that the Treasury insisted that nuclear power should not receive a state blank cheque. E.ON, RWE, SSE and Centrica all withdrew from nuclear power construction plans. But now for four years our energy and carbon reduction programmes have been distorted in order to preserve the British engineering establishment’s soft spot for nuclear power. The current government defends its lack of investment in real green energy by referring to its fantasy plans for new nuclear power stations.

Nuclear power ‘expansion’ plans are collapsing all around the world, the only few exceptions being where there are state sanctioned electricity supply monopolies where nuclear interests can control government policies. Even then, there are limits, as in the case of  EDF. This mainly state owned dinosaur is heading for financial collapse as the long term costs of nuclear power come home to roost, and the failure to implement new ‘safer’ reactor designs become apparent (see earlier blog posts on this).

EDF has announced once again (Feb 16th), that its decision on building Hinkley C will be taken ‘soon’ (soon has meant the same for the last 3 years) and in practice it is waiting, in effect, for the French Government to agree that French electricity consumers/taxpayers should subsidise nuclear power for the British! All to save the pride of the EDF leadership! It sounds bizarre, and I doubt whether even EDF’s hold on the French Government can engineer such an outcome.

EDF could still turn their ship around of course, by helping achieve France’s targets to expand renewable energy. But are they capable of dragging themselves away from their nuclear-dream-turned-sour, or will they waste what few reserves they have left in planning new reactor designs?

See the Telegraph article:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/12156773/UK-new-nuclear-plan-will-fail-without-private-investors-says-Horizon-chief.html

February 25, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy wants to dump nuclear waste on Sacred Native American Lands

indigenousFlag-USASacred Native American Lands Could Become Nuclear Waste Dump  Derrick Broze February 22, 2016 (ANTIMEDIANye County, NevadaDuring the 1970s and 80s, a large movement of antinuclear and anti-war activists protested the growing acceptance of nuclear power and the possibility of an impending global nuclear war. The protesters were not only concerned with the Cold War breaking down into a hot war, but also with the dangers that nuclear technology presented to the environment and the health of the public……..

Unfortunately, Native communities in the region are not new to this type of exposure to radiation. From 1951 to 1992, the U.S. government used a 1,300-square mile patch of land known as the Nevada Test Site for nuclear weapons testing. 928 American and 19 British nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site. Although no official tests have been conducted to examine the health effects on the Paiute and the Shoshone, the communities believe the radiation has affected their health — and the health of the land…….

The DOE is currently accepting public comment from communities, states, tribes, and other stakeholders regarding 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.

Ian Zaparte, representative of the Western Shoshone government, says the NRC and the DOE are ignoring the possibilities for danger in the area.

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.

However, Ian Zaparte takes his criticism of the project even further. He believes the actions taken by the U.S. government constitute acts 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. http://theantimedia.org/sacred-native-american-lands-could-become-nuclear-waste-dump/

February 25, 2016 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Huge savings in planned solar energy project for Marshall Islands

Big solar project aims to save Marshall Islands millions of dollars, Marianas Variety, 22 Feb 2016 By Giff Johnson – For Variety MAJURO — A large-scale solar project that would slash the need for diesel imports for power generation in the Marshall Islands is being considered by two big donor agencies, said the new President of the country, Dr. Hilda Heine.

Although the carbon output of the Marshall Islands is virtually non-existent when compared to developed nations, Heine said Friday her country wants to “walk the talk” on climate by reducing its carbon footprint.

The planned solarization of Jaluit, Wotje and Rongrong islands will dramatically change their energy status from 100 percent reliance on diesel-powered electricity to a 90 percent solar-10 percent diesel mix. This is projected to save the government $1 million in annual subsidy. Ebeye Island, which has a 20 percent of the Marshall Islands population of 55,000, is to convert 35 percent of its grid power to solar, with a 12-acre array of solar panels being installed on a neighboring island. This will slash the Ebeye utility firm’s fuel bill by over $1 million a year, a cost now subsidized by the government………http://www.mvariety.com/regional-news/83935-big-solar-project-aims-to-save-marshall-islands-millions-of-dollars

February 25, 2016 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Secrecy laws and intimidation cloud information on effects of nuclear meltdowns at Fukuhsima

Abe NUCLEAR FASCISMFukushima – Deep Trouble CounterPunch, FEBRUARY 22, 2016  by ROBERT HUNZIKER “………As intimated by Mako Oshidori, governmental secrecy laws and intimidation techniques vastly overshadow the tragedy of the disaster, an oppressive black cloud that won’t go away. People are scared to say anything for fear of reprisal, jail, and blacklisting. Mako Oshidori’s name is prominently secretly blacklisted. A government mole told her.

Accordingly, it is instructive to look at Japan’s new state secrecy law Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS) Act No. 108 of 2013 passed on the heels of the Fukushima meltdown, very similar to Japan’s harsh Public Peace and Order Controls of WWII. According to Act No. 108, the “act of leaking itself” is bad enough for prosecution, regardless of what, how, or why.

Thereupon, Susumu Murakoshi, president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations says: “The law should be abolished because it jeopardizes democracy and the people’s right to know,” Abe’s Secrets Law Undermines Japan’s Democracy, The Japan Times, Dec. 13, 2014.

Public opinion is shaped by public knowledge of events, but the Abe government’s enactment of an extraordinarily broad dastardly secrecy law (almost anyone can be arrested) that threatens prison sentences up to 10 years undermines confidence in believability of the Japanese government.
But categorically, Japan needs to nurture confidence. Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/22/fukushima-deep-trouble/

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Legal challenge to Florida utilities’ Nuclear Cost Fees

justiceFlag-USALawsuit Challenges Florida Utilities’ $2B Nuclear Cost Fees By CURT ANDERSON, abc, AP LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER MIAMI — Feb 23, 2016,  A federal lawsuit has been filed challenging $2 billion in fees charged by Florida’s two largest electric utilities for nuclear plant projects, some of which were never completed.

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed Monday seeks to stop the fees and recover unspecified damages for about 6.4 million customers of Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy. The fees were imposed on ratepayers under a law passed in 2006 by the Legislature and implemented by the state Public Service Commission.

The suit contends that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against other out-of-state energy producers and that it is pre-empted by federal energy and nuclear laws. It also claims Florida customers are improperly charged for nuclear projects that can be subject to huge cost overruns or that are never built.

One example cited in the lawsuit is Duke’s plan to build two new reactors in Levy County, which enabled the utility to begin collecting recovery fees in 2008. Even though the project was abandoned in 2013, Duke can keep all the fees it has collected plus other amounts deemed prudent by state regulators.

“These two utilities have racked up huge expenses with nuclear power plant projects — some of which they completely abandoned — and have left ratepayers holding the bag,” said attorney Steve Berman, managing partner at Seattle-based Hagens Berman, which filed the lawsuit in South Florida federal court.

Berman’s firm and the nonprofit Institute for Southern Studies say other states, including Georgia and Louisiana, have laws similar to that in Florida allowing utilities to collect such fees…….

According to state records, Duke Energy has collected more than $1.2 billion in nuclear cost recovery fees since 2008. For FPL, the total tops $814 million.

If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, it could eventually repay millions of Florida customers of the two utilities a portion of the fees they have been charged under the law. The lawsuit also asks U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas of Fort Lauderdale to halt further collection of the fees by declaring the law unconstitutional. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/lawsuit-challenges-florida-utilities-2b-nuclear-cost-fees-37145865

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Deal Will Play A Role In Iran’s Elections

February 23, 2016 Iranians vote Friday for parliament and a committee that could someday choose the next supreme leader. Reformers aren’t getting traction as the benefits from the nuclear deal are slow to materialize. [incl audio] ……http://www.npr.org/2016/02/23/467768259/nuclear-deal-will-play-a-role-in-irans-elections

February 25, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry AND tax-payer funds both may be needed to cover nuclear shutdown costs

DecommissioningSHUTDOWN COSTS Picking Up the Nuclear Tab, Handelsblatt BY KLAUS STRATMANN 23 Feb 16, A leaked draft report on Germany’s exit from nuclear power recommends the nation’s four big utilities foot the €19.7 billion bill for decommissioning their power plants – but any costs above that may be carried by taxpayers.

FACTS In 2011, Germany announced a complete phase-out of nuclear power by 2022, with a target of 80 percent renewable energy by 2050.

The four major power firms in Germany, E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall, and plant operator Krümmel have set aside €39.6 billion for their share of the phase-out costs.

A government financial commission has now devised a structure for dividing the responsibilities and clarifying the financial liabilities of industry and government. Germany moved a step closer this week to deciding how to pay for its forced exit from nuclear power. The government is moving toward requiring four nuclear plant operators pay the first €19.7 billion ($22 billion). Any costs above that — including hard-to-estimate expenses for storing nuclear fuel — would be paid for by taxpayers.

The recommendations are included in a draft of a government report on the issue obtained by Handelsblatt. The document was described as a preliminary recommendation and could have been leaked as a trial balloon.

The draft recommends making E.ON, RWE EnBW and Vattenfall, the four utilities, pay for “decommissioning and demolition” of their nuclear power plants. The government would then step in assume the costs of the trickier task of removing and storing radioactive waste.

The utilities together have set aside about €39.6 billion ($43.6 billion) to cover their costs of decommissioning. But there is a strong possibility that final costs may rise well beyond that.

The cost of waste disposal and storage, in particular, is seen as particularly difficult to gauge, promting fears among consumer advocates that the utilities could end up saddling taxpayers with the majority of costs.

The report recommends that a state fund be set up to pay for the waste disposal, financed in part by the four utilities, which would transfer in about half of their total reserves. But the report stops short of saying how costs would be divided between industry and taxpayers if disposal costs are greater than expected…… https://global.handelsblatt.com/edition/374/ressort/politics/article/utilities-wont-escape-nuclear-clean-up-costs

February 25, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany’s “big four” utilities liable for nearly 40 billion euros for nuclear waste storage

Nuclear commission proposes firms transfer cash by 2022 to pay for clean-up http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFB4N10000F  Feb 22, 2016 BERLIN  (Reuters) – Germany’s utilities will have to transfer provisions set aside to pay for the interim and final storage of nuclear waste to a fund in cash by 2022, according to a draft report from a government-appointed committee seen by Reuters on Monday.

The report recommends that Germany’snuke-reactor-dead— E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall — remain liable for the cost of up to double the 18 billion euros ($19.8 billion) allocated so far to pay for interim and final storage.

The companies will also have to set aside a further 1.3 billion euros in provisions, according to the report which is due to be presented at the end of the month. ($1 = 0.9084 euros) (Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Christoph Steitz)

February 25, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Entergy won’t save loss-making FitzPatrick nuclear plant

nuclear-costsEntergy rebuffs latest NY plan to save FitzPatrick nuclear plant, syracuse.com By Tim Knauss | tknauss@syracuse.com  SCRIBA, N.Y. – The state Public Service Commission said today it is working on plans to provide financial assistance to the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in a desperate attempt to keep the plant from shutting down.

PSC officials said they will undertake a rushed review of the plan and expect to have financial subsidies available for FitzPatrick by June, long before the plant’s scheduled closure next January.

The commission did not specify how much assistance it would provide. ………

PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman beseeched Entergy Corp., which owns FitzPatrick, to work with state officials on a financial rescue for the nuclear plant.

“The plan would enable expedited financial support to FitzPatrick and other qualified nuclear power plants in Upstate New York,” said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman. “Until then, we invite Entergy to work with us to make the plans necessary to refuel FitzPatrick and to support the statewide objectives of New York’s new Clean Energy Standard.”

Entergy officials responded that it is too late to save FitzPatrick, which the company plans to close because it loses money. The company added that if Cuomo wants to reduce carbon emissions, he should back off his insistence that Entergy shut down the Indian Point nuclear facility, which Cuomo says is unsafe because of its proximity to New York City.

Cuomo recently announced his plan to offer financial “clean energy” payments for nuclear power, but the help would only go to Upstate nukes – FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point in Oswego County, and Ginna in Wayne County. Indian Point’s two reactors would not qualify…….

The commission today agreed to conduct a speeded-up review aimed at making financial supports available to Upstate nuclear plants as early as June. Entergy officials dismissed today’s action as too uncertain and too late to save FitzPatrick…. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/entergy_to_cuomo_its_too_late_to_save_fitzpatrick_but_not_indian_point.html

February 25, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

“disaster waiting to happen” – Indian Point nuclear plant called

reactor-Indian-PointIndian Point nuclear plant called “disaster waiting to happen”  CBS News, 

AMY KRAFT CBS NEWS February 23, 2016,  The recent radioactive leak at New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant is prompting renewed calls for the site to be shut down, amid growing concerns about the potential damage a nuclear accident could do in one of the most densely populated parts of the country.

In the past year alone there have been a number of mishaps at Indian Point, including a power failure in the reactor core, a transformer fire, an alarm failure, and the escape of radiated water into groundwater. The plant sits about 25 miles north of New York City, so a serious mishap could potentially put millions of people in harm’s way.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen and it should be shut down,” Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, told CBS News.

The Indian Point Energy Center, located on the bank of the Hudson River in the town of Buchanan, supplies electricity for millions of homes, businesses and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County, just north of the city.

Environmental groups call the latest problem just the tip of the iceberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is joining with organizations like Riverkeeper, the National Resources Defense Council and others in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.

Earlier this month, Entergy Corporation, which owns Indian Point, reported increased levels of tritium-contaminated water at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen that occurs naturally in small doses and is a byproduct of nuclear reactors. It could enter a person’s body by drinking tritiated water, or it can also be inhaled as a gas or absorbed through the skin. Tritium can reach all parts of the body like normal water and is eventually expelled through urine. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says tritium emits “very weak radiation and leaves the body relatively quick.”

Little research has been done on the health effects of exposure to increased levels of tritium. But the NRC states: “Exposure to very small amounts of ionizing radiation is thought to minimally increase the risk of developing cancer, and the risk increases as exposure increases.”……..

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standard limit for tritium in drinking water, established in 1976, is 20,000 picocuries per liter. (A picocurie is a unit of radiation that could be measured in a laboratory.) By comparison, after the recent leak, samples showed the tritium-laced water at Indian Point had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter. That level was the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, Cuomo said, compared to a normal reading of about 12,300 picocuries per liter.

According to a 2014 notice in the Federal Register, EPA is expected to update the standards for tritium in drinking water. EPA did not make anyone available for comment……..

“The good news is, advances in alternate power sources, grid management and energy conservation have brought us to the day when the aging, unsafe Indian Point can close,” Gallay said. He enumerated a number of other available sources of energy for the region, including 600 megawatts thanks to transmission system upgrades and another 500 megawatts available through energy savings achieved through efficiency and renewable energy.

“There will be enough power to keep the lights on in our homes and hospitals, our businesses and schools — in every place that makes our communities healthy and vibrant,” Gallay said. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/indian-point-nuclear-power-plant-called-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

February 25, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Trouble brewing in South Africa over nuclear energy programme

Storm brewing over nuclear energy programme, My Broadband, 23 Feb 16  A storm that has been brewing over the Department of Energy’s nuclear energy programme and PetroSA could erupt, reports News24. By  – February 23, 2016 A storm that has been brewing over the Department of Energy’s (DoE) nuclear energy programme and PetroSA could erupt at its portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday, after Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson snubbed the session last week.

“Tomorrow’s (Tuesday) committee meeting will present the minister with a real opportunity to deliver on her promise of transparency and provide the South African public much needed and vital information on South Africa’s proposed nuclear deal,” according to Democratic Alliance MP Gordon Mackay on Monday.

Last week, the committee asked Joemat-Pettersson to explain the implications of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation (Sona) address in which he cautioned that the country would “only procure nuclear on a scale and pace that our country can afford”.

“The minister, who arrived an hour late, dodged addressing the issue by saying she is going to be part of a parliamentary debate on Wednesday and couldn’t pre-empt this in a portfolio committee meeting,” according Liz McDaid, spokesperson for environmentalist group Safcei.

“The chair then promised that the committee would hear what the minister planned to do given Sona and also for her to account for her own parliamentary comments,” she said. “This is all meant to take place on Tuesday 23rd”.

During her Sona debate on February 17, Joemat-Pettersson said the country had to go nuclear because of the water situation in the country.

“We simply have to go the nuclear route,” said Joemat-Pettersson, “because we don’t have enough freshwater. Koeberg recycles 22bn litres of seawater, while Medupi (coal-fired) power station uses 17bn litres of freshwater.”

Gordon, who heads up the DA’s energy portfolio, told Fin24 that the committee has been clear.

“We want all pertinent documentation relating to SA’s proposed nuclear new build programme,” he said. “Specifically, the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Programme (an assessment of SA’s readiness for civil nuclear expansion), all financing options and economic impact assessments.”

“Without these documents any decision to proceed with nuclear must be seen to be irrational,” he said.

McDaid said Parliament has failed to hold Joemat-Pettersson to account. “At one stage, the chair told the public that there would be a discussion on the nuclear deal, but it never happened,” she said. “Then last year, the minister arrived at the meeting with a classified document, which could not be discussed.”

Nuclear train steams ahead

“At the end of last year, during the budget review process, the DoE failed to account for Necsa (SA Nuclear Energy Corporation), which did not report and asked to be exempt from reporting to parliament.”

“Necsa has major liabilities for its failure to address nuclear contamination,” she said. “There is no information on the extent of the contamination, the amount of the liability and the timeline to fix this. Now Necsa is saying that the government must pay and that it is not liable.

“Despite the lack of the accountability, the nuclear train steams ahead.”…….. http://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/156097-storm-brewing-over-nuclear-energy-programme.html

February 25, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

United Nations works toward legalisation of absolute nuclear disarmament

flag-UN-largeUnited Nations Working on Legalisation of Absolute Nuclear Disarmament  http://www.australianetworknews.com/united-nations-working-on-legalization-of-absolute-nuclear-disarmament/United Nations is fighting its way to legalise absolute nuclear disarmament. The decision was made after North Korea’s nuclear weapon test in January, as well as the United States’ mock test for more usable nuclear weapons.

rocket launch was carried out by North Korea in the first part of February. They allegedly tested the capability of their long-range missiles. The intercontinental ballistic missile of USA named Minuteman III has also been tested out on Feb. 21, Sunday. In response to this, a small fraction of the international community rose up to express their sentiments on the issue.

While the UN’s Secretary-General commented that wrong weapons would always be wrong, regardless who uses it, the rest of the international community has already shown acceptance of the idea that nuclear weapons can be used to defend a territory.

Despite the acceptance of the major countries of the world, United Nations continues to stigmatize nuclear weapons. The international organization does this by declaring the weapons as unacceptable and immoral,Huffington Post reported.

United Nations is also working on negotiating an international treaty that will prohibit the use of nuclear weapons and they are planning to push through with the idea whether or not the nuclear-armed states approve it. They intend to do this to show other nations that they are making a bold point on the issue.

The nuclear weapon disarmament work starts now as there are more and more headlines regarding the recent tests of North Korea. They have designated a new working group based in Geneva to work separately with this problem,ICANW reported.

United Nations is investing its time and resources in creating legal measures that can legalize nuclear disarmament. They are doing their best to stigmatize nuclear weapons while the nuclear states continue to counter the UN’s strategies.

UN aims to make a nuclear weapon free community by reminding people of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 70 years ago. They aim to show people that this is what nuclear weapons symbolize.

February 25, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment